Local authors drawn to Meet and Greet

BELPRE – The Belpre Women’s Club held its second annual “Meet and Greet” for residents to meet and talk to local authors.

Karen Matthews, education committee chairman of the Belpre Woman’s Club, said 12 authors in attendance last year and 24 participated this year.

“We’ve doubled out authors and also we got the school involved somewhat with five students to read their works,” she said. “Each of authors talk a little bit about the books they’ve written or how they got into writing.”

Matthews said all of the authors at the Meet and Greet are local.

“They are local, the furthest away is from Athens County,” she said. “Most are form Wood, Washington and Noble counties.”

Matthews said the education committee organized the event as an attempt to encourage people in the area to read and write more.

“They will be able to come out and meet other authors who are local and hear how they got started,” she said.

Mathews said this year’s edition included a used book sale that covered a wide range of genres. Those that do not sell will be taken to a book sale in June to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network, she said.

“Any money we make from this sale will go to paying for any expenses we have from this and any left over will go to our general fund to pay for our community service work.

Bee Corra, a member of the Belpre Woman’s Club, said the money raised will also go to fund the breakfast the club serves on Sunday morning to vendors at the annual Multi-Cultural Festival in City Park.

“This will be the fifth year we’ll do that,” she said.

Corra said the event helps fill the void left for local authors since there are no local book stores for them to have book signings.

“They have no place to go to promote their works,” she said. “Some of these authors are unique and need a place to promote their works.”

Roger Pickenpaugh, from Caldwell said he attended the event last year as well.

“I was invited last year and I had a good time,” he said. “When they called again I was glad to come.”

Pickenpaugh, who has written 15 books, said most of his works center on history and weather.

“I’m a retired history teacher, so of course, history came naturally for me and I’ve always been interested in the Civil War,” he said, “Mostly I write about prison camps, especially Camp Chase which was in Columbus.”

Pickenpaugh, who graduated from Ohio State University, said he heard about the camp when he was a student.

“It stayed in the back of my mind over the years and finally I decided to do a book about it,” he said. “Those stories were so interesting I decided to do a book about all the northern prisoner camps and then I decided to do one on the southern camps.”

Mary Holman of Parkersburg was at the event for the first time to talk about her first book, a Christian fiction mystery, Maggie and the Missing Louthrophros.

“It’s about a lady named Maggie who went to Greece on vacation and bought a vase that was not supposed to be sold,” she said. “The old owner was trying to get it back and she and her friend were kidnapped and escaped and got caught and their husbands, who did not go with them, were the trying to help.

Holman said her imagination was what got her into writing.

“I’ve always had a big imagination,” she said. “I decided to try it and find that is is interesting and I’;d like to more of the Maggie series.”

Holman, who used to work for Lee Middleton Dolls, said the next book in the Maggie series will be a mystery about a doll house.