Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cheeseburger Fest great for local authors, too

The annual Cheeseburger in Caseville Festival is great for those chasing good music, food and fun in the sun. But it's also turning out to be pretty burger-flippin' good for writers, too.

Somewhere, every day during the festival in this Lake Huron coastal town, writers of various stature could be found signing and selling books.

The biggest name in this group is childrens' book author Jonathan Rand, who has written a series of chiller stories from around Michigan that young folks seem to love. Rand brought his act to town to sign and sell books at the Lemon Tree Marketplace in downtown Caseville. Hundreds of people lined up to meet the author, buy his book, get it signed or get a photo with the legendary writer.

Rand's latest offering is "Catastrophe in Caseville," a story about a mad scientist who creates a giant mechanical cheeseburger and threatens to destroy the town with it. Sounds a little far-fetched, but the cheeseburgers of this town have been known to cause a belly blast or two, so why not?

Another story that spins out of our tiny city and out of the festival is the latest book by author Dennis Collins. "Nightmare" is Collins' piece of fiction that puts bull sharks, which can survive and thrive in warm fresh water, in the swimming area of a local park where 10,000 people are in the water seeking relief from a hot August day during the height of the festival. Yikes!

Collins was all over town, every day somewhere different, signing and selling his book. Because of its automatic and natural connection to the town and the festival, you could say that the Thumb-area author was trying to make some cheese while the sun was shining.

Bill Diller, a noted Thumb nature photographer and author, finished his latest book just in time for the Cheeseburger Festival. "Every Photo Has a Story" is Diller's beautiful coffee-table style book. It's chock full of jaw-dropping photos and interesting narrative about how the images were captured.

In addition to the book, Diller also displayed and sold a number of his photos under a tent at the Brew Moon Cafe, where the owners hosted a small craft show, flipped cheeseburgers on a grill, and offered the sounds of live musicians to festival shoppers.

I took advantage of the fabulous location our real estate office has in downtown Caseville. David L. Kraft Realty LLC is right in the middle of the festival party. Every free moment I had turned into an opportunity to sell books. Since I always travel with a card table, chair, box of books and ink pen in hand, putting up a display for visitors was a snap. I sold books, met a ton of nice folks and made connections with book clubs and public libraries each day of the 10-day event.

This year's Cheeseburger in Caseville Festival was another overwhelming success for the community, but it's also giving local writers a boost. This area of Michigan is becoming a haven for authors.  And I'm delighted to report that it's also gaining a reputation as a good place for fun as well as good reads.

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