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Writers Share their Work at Orion Twp Library’s Author and Illustrator Fair

gardenPURPLEtopWriters Share their Work at ctechadOrion Twp Library’s Author and Illustrator Fair

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Dec. 12, 2015)

Orion Township, MI – “I don’t think that any writer writes stuff that doesn’t have something autobiographical in it,” said author Ronald (R.L.) Herron as he peddled his books at the Orion Township Library’s Authors and Illustrators Fair on December 5.

His three-part series starts with Reichold Street, a coming of age novel about a teen with an abusive stepfather and a litany of problems associated with youth. “There’s bullying, family dysfunction, and the Vietnam War,” Herron said. “It’s not all about that, there’s good things too.”

blumz ad 05 holidayThe reader follows Albert Parker as he struggles to fit in. The book is followed by two more: One Way Street and Street Light.

“I did not go to Vietnam,” Herron said. “But a lot of my friends did, and not all of them came back. People tell me this is really accurate, like I was there. But I wasn’t. I did a lot of research though to make it as realistic as I could.”

Herron lives in Lake Orion but travels through the State doing book shows to sell his self-published works. He worked for 40 years in advertising and began writing when he retired in 2008. “I don’t make a lot of money, but I love talking to people. I get a kick out of kids that come by and want an autograph.”

The Library was packed for the Fair, which featured works of all kinds and for all ages. The event meant potential gifts for the whole family, with books being signed by authors and illustrators giving the holidays a special, more personal feel. Santa Claus joined in the fun too, DDAnew01seated next to a giant tree-shaped tower of books adorned with sparkling lights, and surrounded by helpful elves.

A Michigan notable author, Jean Alicia Elster, also had a booth. Her book, The Colored Car, is set in Detroit in the 1930s. The book looks at the joys and challenges of daily life in a world where segregation is the reality for the characters.

“It’s fiction, but the core is real,” Elster said. “It’s all based on real events that are in my family history.” Elster was raised in Detroit and raised her kids there. When asked what people should take away from her work, Elster said “You can overcome any obstacle in life. There are no barriers you can’t overcome.”

Romance writer J. Thomas-Like also experienced inspiration for her novels. The Widow and the Rock Star came to her in a dream after watching The Voice television show. “I didn’t realize that Adam Levine was from Maroon Five. It just blew my mind and I had a dream garden16_pamela_williamsabout him that night. I had the idea and I went from there,” said the St. Clair Shores-based author. She’s since written other novels with a “widow” theme, including The Widow and the Will and The Widow and the Orphan that comes out in Spring 2016. The stories do not share common characters, just the common theme.

“My husband worries about this sometimes,” Thomans-Like said with a potentially evil laugh.

Though many of the authors were fiction-writers, there was some non-fiction representation. Jack Dempsey of Plymouth is a regulations attorney and a member of the Michigan Historical Commission. He’s written several including Michigan and the Civil War, Capitol Park: Historical Heart of Detroit and Ink Trails: Michigan’s Famous and Forgotten Authors.

“I want to tell stories that people don’t know, not the same old topics that have been covered,” Dempsey said. “History is important because we need to know where we are going. Just like POWELLad_01we’re all a product of our stories that make up our life, the same is true of our story as a nation.”

Dempsey sat kitty corner from a large booth that had two authors, a toddler, and two brightly-colored birds. Emily Chand and Falcon Storm signed copies of their children’s and teen books, while their daughter enjoyed exploring the library, and people took extra interest in the birds. The Bird Brain series is particularly appealing to kids aged 3-7, while the Farsighted Series appeals to teens. The couple writes full time and helps other authors make a go of it as well. Chand’s advice to other writers is simple “Follow your heart and passion,” she said. “Don’t chase trends. Take your time and do what you love. If you fake it, your readers will know.”

To learn more about programs and events at the Orion Township Library, visit their website at

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