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Oregon Authors Take the Spotlight at the 148th Oregon State Fair (VIDEO)

Knowledge and fun go hand in hand at this year's Oregon State Fair!

Oregon State Fair authors
Photo by Bonnie King; Video by Tim King

(SALEM, Ore.) - The Oregon State Fair is going strong, rain or shine, with tens of thousands of new and returning visitors making the most of the last few days of the 2009 fair.

In the former Jackman/Long building, every collection imaginable from quilts to woven products to canned goods, honey, even military things from the past, they show up here in these fantastic collections. But nothing beats the Oregon Authors exhibit.

Event Founder

Mary Kay Callahan is the Founder of the Oregon Authors exhibit. What began as a discussion she had some 28 years ago, is today an extremely important aspect of the Oregon State Fair, especially in a time when writing is in demand, and the need for knowledge is high.

The event allows personal interaction with authors and the public, and it is a unique opportunity for young & old alike. And one that spread from Oregon to other state fairs.

Callahan explains that over time, the idea of an Author's Table at state fairs caught on, and today the concept that began right here in Oregon thanks, to Mary Kay's discussion almost three decades ago, is a regular practice all over the nation.

Meeting the Authors

Author of the "Dark Things" series, Joe Brown of Salem, explains that his book series began as a screenplay many years ago, and was at one point a serious plan with actor Ricky Schroder cast for the main role. But problems came up, due he says to the intensity of the script. Later a publishing offer came along, and his trilogy has since been a widely read series. To learn more about this Oregon Author, visit: ImaginativeReading.com

Jim Fowler writes about Oregon history, with titles that include Memoirs of Oregon - IN THEIR OWN WORDS, A Journey of Ripples - a Collection of Short Stories, and Mister Coach. Jim says writing is a rewarding experience, and he believes he is fortunate to have been able to spend time interviewing historic Native American residents of Oregon about earlier years. He says his books feature and explore some of Oregon's most vivid and interesting locations. Jim's books can be purchased on Amazon.com, as well as those of other featured authors.

RC Marlen, Oregon Author of The Hat Boxes, has written a trilogy and her latest book is a prequel to that series. Her trademarks include surprise endings, and she says her books are some real page turners. She is an Oregon Author, but her books take place in a Midwest state in the 1800's. She jokingly says her books take place in Missouri, at the beginning of the Oregon Trail, "It just took a long time to get here", she adds with a smile. To learn more about her series of books, which she says are interwoven with real accounts of history in a way that keeps the interest level high, visit her Website: rcmarlen.com.

Dolores Dahl began writing after the loss of her husband, and her poetry ranges over many subjects, offering inspiration and motivational words that can really boost a person's spirits. With titles like, >b>"The Inward Journey" and "Everything's a Mountain", she says her collections of poems are good for the people who read them, and they can restore some of those missing ingredients in a person's life while allowing them a chance to refocus. To learn more about the lovely work of this this Oregon Author, please visit: DoloresDahl.com.

Gary Hartman is the author of "A complete toy making book for several toys" and he says a kid can do anything if he sets his mind to it, and has a coping saw and a carving knife. Hartman says the designs featured in his book hearken back to his boyhood. He describes them as an escape from modern technology and a lesson in science at the same time. To learn more about Gary's book and Toymaking techniques, visit him Online: jgenasplace.com.

Oregon Sci-Fi Author David House, says, "My series is about a Salem boy who goes on adventures across the galaxy because of advanced aliens. Some of these adventures are humorous, like his first attempt to use an alien toilet for the first time, for example." David's eyes light up when he describes his series of books, the "Spaceworthy Chronicles". And he says there is a frightening flipside to the story's humor, "The boy's 14-years old and he has to keep this deal of space travel a secret, in his life here on Earth. And some of them are quite scary..." A spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation, you just might recognize David without knowing he was also an author. I think his book series looks like a lot of fun! David's books can be purchased on Amazon.com, as well as those of other featured authors.

Bill Parks, Oregon Author of "God's Little Messengers", said "I'm an author here out of Salem, and this is my first book. It's a little different book, a book about child evangelism." He says his special book takes a different approach, and shows Jesus as a boy, learning about life from his father, Joseph. He says it features, "Kids talking about sin and how they can be saved. Later on it talks about asking Jesus into your heart." Bill says you can learn more about his book by visiting this Website: authorhouse.com.

Oregon Author Linda Fayne of Tangent, Oregon, is new at this venue, but she has been writing for some time, and has several books published as part of a special series. They include "Budding Magic: the O'Byrne Daughters - Book 1", and "Myst". "This is my first year at the state fair as an author, and I write for ages 14 through adults. I do a lot of research while I'm writing this to make sure my facts are correct." She says she does a great deal of research to ensure that the historical events that coincide with her writing are described accurately. She says she has a Website on the way, Linda's books can be purchased on Amazon.com, as well as those of other featured authors.

David Espinoza's book may be the most inspiring work of all at the Author's Table. "NOZA: A True Basketball Success Story", is the story of his son, who as a kid was small and slow and unable to keep up with others. "Then his mother died of brain cancer and I had to raise the boys on my own for a while" Espinoza says he never stopped believing in his son and supporting him, and watched his son go from a struggling and determined would be ball player, to leading his high school team to state tournament in 2003, and now returning to his school, McNary High School in Salem, at the age of 24. His dad's book is a story in what is possible. It can be purchased on Amazon.com, as can the other author's books.

Roy Ryan described a delightful pair of books inspired by a barnyard story from home. He says the stories from the Bonkers series are about "...a little runt pig. We had when we had some acreage out in the country... we brought him in the house, bottle fed him, burped him and brought him back to life three times." Rob is a retired elementary school teacher. He says friends urged him to write the first book and soon the success of that was followed by a second. Roy Ryan's books can be purchased on Amazon.com, as can the other author's books.

Joe Blakely has written seven books. They range from Oregon history, to sports history and historical based fiction, as well as advocacy for historic locations, like the last all wooden sports stadium in Eugene, which he hopes to raise attention about. Oregonians will enjoy reading the various accounts which range from fictional novels like "Heirloom" and "Kidnapped on Oregon's Coast Highway" which is set in 1927. His most recent book is Eugene's Civil Stadium". Joe's books can be purchased on Amazon.com, as well as those of other featured authors.

These are but a few of the many Oregon authors available to speak with and have sign their books.

Even without the motivation of raindrops, some of the most sought after entries in the fair are found indoors. My only advice? Give yourself plenty of time, because it truly is too big to miss.


Produced by Tim King

Bonnie King is one of the few media professionals who has extensive time in four relevant areas; radio, television, newspaper and Internet. She has been with Salem-News.com since August '04, when she became Publisher. Bonnie has served in a number of positions in the broadcast industry; TV Production Manager at KVWB (Las Vegas WB) and Producer/Director for the TV series "Hot Wheels in Las Vegas", posts as TV Promotion Director for KYMA (NBC), and KFBT (Ind.), Asst. Marketing Director (SUPERSHOPPER MAGAZINE), Director/Co-Host (Coast Entertainment Show), Radio Promotion Director (KBCH/KCRF), and Newspapers In Education/Circulation Sales Manager (STATESMAN JOURNAL NEWSPAPER). Bonnie has a depth of understanding that reaches further than just behind the scenes, and that thoroughness is demonstrated in the perseverance to correctly present each story with the wit and wisdom necessary to compel and captivate viewers.

View articles written by Bonnie King

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