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Author's fair highlights Valley's talent

Date: 1/11/2011

Jan. 12, 2011

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD — Authors from around the Pioneer Valley will gather in the first floor rotunda of the Springfield City Library on State Street on Jan. 15 for the second author's fair presented by the library.

Although the daylong event will be a place to buy books written locally, it will also be a place that writers can meet one another and talk about the joys and challenges of their vocation.

The fair will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature Sparkie Allison and Brenda Child, both of Chicopee, Michael Dialessi of Agawam, Genevieve Fraser of Orange, Mike Maloni of East Longmeadow, Lorene Morin and Melva Michaelian of Feeding Hills and Stephen Patrick, Joan Morris Reilly, Charlene St. Onge, Donalyn Gross, Durham Caldwell and Marty Dobrow, all of Springfield. This reporter will also be one of the authors.

Dobrow, an associate professor of communications at Springfield College and an award-winning sports writer, will be at the fair with his two non-fiction books, "Going Big Time: the Spectacular Rise of UMass Basketball" and "Knocking on Heaven's Door: Six Minor Leaguers in Search of the Baseball Dream."

He told Reminder Publications he is looking forward not only to speaking with prospective readers of his work, but with his fellow writers. He described writing a book as a "lonely process."

"It's just you and a keyboard," he said.

The ability to "talk shop" is something valuable, he added.

Dobrow is interested in speaking with his colleagues on the challenges involved with getting work published. Some of the authors at the fair have had their books published by traditional publishers while some have worked with on-demand publishers.

Allison is also looking forward to speaking to other writers about such subjects as the marketing of their work.

She is both a singer and songwriter and a disability consultant who also works in holistic health and has written "Moon's Embrace," a novel. The story is set in a fictitious town in New York's Catskill Mountain and revolves around the characters and how they overcome their disabilities.

She said she would like to write two more books to expand the stories of the characters she has created and is one-third of the way to completing her second book.

"It's bitten me," she said with a laugh of her interest to write.

Matthew Jaquith, the librarian who has organized the fair, explained the event fulfills the library's mission of "connecting people with the information they want and need."

He noted that many books from smaller publishers may not get the exposure they need and such an event helps put a spotlight on them.

"It's an opportunity to promote reading, writing and literacy on a local level," he added.

For questions on the fair, contact Jaquith at 263-6828, ext. 213.

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