Templeton’s Weekend at the SIBA Fair

And now, without further ado, I bring you the promised SIBA report with a warning, I’m fairly sure I’m about to be major wordy…

SIBA stands for Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance and last weekend was the big fall bash, a veritable smorgasbord of book writers/bloggers/sellers and lovers all gathered in the beautiful historic city of Charleston, South Carolina. The best way I can describe my response to such a cornucopia of events all built around one of my greatest loves– words– is to say that in the past I’ve tended to look a bit like Templeton at the fair before it’s time to head home.

This year was no exception. It’s hard to process all that happened during my short stay in Charleston but I’m going to allow myself the luxury of slowing down and beginning with the Friday night author meet and greet.

I was excited about the evening and looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones when I made the mistake of checking email on my phone as we were arriving at the bash. Unfortunately, I’ll have to be a little cryptic here with the details as the time isn’t right to share everything. I’ll just say that the email threatened to strike fear and uncertainty in me about a very big decision I was in the throes of making and had, up until that moment, felt pretty good about!

I tried to put it out of my mind and enjoy myself, but when that seemed harder than usual, I excused myself and left the party a moment to pray and regroup. Upon my return, the Lord placed a lady named Beverly directly in my path. Beverly is a poetess who introduced herself to me as God’s secretary, but scout’s honor here, for a while there I wasn’t sure that she wasn’t a masquerading angel. I half expected someone to say, “What lady, Shellie? I didn’t see an elderly lady anywhere tonight.” (To double-check, I looked her up the next day to get her picture!) Y’all, this dear woman who has been all over the globe sharing her poetry, took my hands in hers and began to recite to me an incredible message that spoke directly to what was going on in my life at that very moment. I did me some ugly crying right there, yes I did. There went the makeup for the next party…

Immediately following the author party, we were welcomed to the home of Nathalie Dupree, situated in the heart of the historic district where Nathalie and her co-author, Cynthia Graubart, laid out an amazing spread of delicious food. 

Mrs. Dupree has appeared on more than 300 television shows and specials, which have shown nationally on PBS, The Learning Channel, and The Food Network. She holds an Advanced Certificate from the Cordon Bleu and has also written extensively for magazines and newspapers. Cynthia Stevens Graubart is an author and former television producer who began her culinary television production career with New Southern Cooking with Nathalie Dupree in 1985. She is the author of The One-Armed Cook, called the culinary version of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. And yet, there were no airs here, folks. The ladies were as gracious as their food was delicious. I just thought I could cook shrimp and grits! The following pic, left to right Dorothy Benton Frank Folly Beach, Nathalie’s husband, Nathalie, and Karen Zacharias Will Jesus Buy Me a DoubleWide (Because I Need More Room for my Plasma TV!).

More pics from that party:

Another party pic: (l to r) Karen Spears Zacharias, Mary Alice Monroe The Butterfly’s Daughter, and River Jordan Praying for Strangers, an Adventure of the Human Spirit.

Saturday afternoon I had the honor of both presenting my latest book, “Sue Ellen’s Girl Ain’t Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy” and moderating the Steel Magnolia Panel. I’m bummed about not getting a picture — though I saw others taking ’em and hope one may float my way. However, the participating authors were Lisa Wingate “Dandelion Summer”, Lisa Patton “Yankee Doodle Dixie”, Susan F. Craft “Chamomile” and Jessica Tuccelli “Glow”.  The panel spoke from their hearts and completely captivated our audience, for which I was exceedingly grateful, especially since my tongue decided to tangle more than once! My dear friend Nicole, The Inheritance of Beauty, seen below signing books, noted that I was the George Bush of Moderators! (And in case you’re wondering, it was said with great fondness. No offense meant or taken, simply a spot on humorous observation.)

Upon further consideration, perhaps I was a tad overly excited during the panel. And not just because I was in the midst of a slew of great writers and book lovers– that’s enough in and of itself. But there’s more, for I DO have another announcement that I can share with y’all.

Earlier that day, the ladies of Southern BelleView had surprised me and invited me to join their distinguished group as Girl Friday! I’m pretty sure they had no idea that I had been stalking them and longing for an invite, at least I don’t think they invited me out of self-preservation, but hey– whatever works, right? ! Not only will I be blogging at Southern BelleView on Fridays, but I”ll be smack in the middle of some great plans in the works for that site, so stay tuned!

Here we are now. Belles left to right (mentioned here with just ONE of their many titles): Rachel Hauck The Sweet By and By, Beth Webb Hart Love Charleston, ME!, MaryBeth Whalen She Makes It Look Easy, and Lisa Wingate Dandelion Summer.

There were so many other fantastic authors at the convention that it was hard for me to post these few pics. I do feel like I’m leaving folks out– but for the record, author buds, the selection criteria I went with was using the photos that made their way to my cell! 🙂

And now, if y’all are STILL with me, I shall close with one more bit of totally irrelevant trivia that has nothing to do with this post and I am clueless as to how to segue it in, so we’ll just take a hard right and go there, k?

Saturday night I met a fish. No, he was not on my plate. He was in an aquarium but I honestly think he wanted to come home with me. Really! Ask Nicole, the little fella and I bonded. I have never met a fish who seemed to interact like say, a dog or cat, but this one did. I was down on my knees talking to him and when I would move to look at another fish, he would FOLLOW me, as if to say “I thought you only had eyes for me.” I’m about to post a pic so y’all can see his most charming face. (No, I don’t know that he was a he. I’m not really sure how you can tell and I didn’t try. So there.) If you know what type of fish he is, please share. Otherwise, tell the truth and stay in church, is this the cutest little face you’ve ever seen on a fish, or what?

Just so you know, I LOVE comments. 🙂



About Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

Known as The Belle of All Things Southern, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson is a national best-selling author, speaker, radio host, and columnist from Louisiana.
This entry was posted in All Things Southern, Random Thoughts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Templeton’s Weekend at the SIBA Fair

  1. Nicole Seitz says:

    The pic of the fish so so adorable…just as he was then. And you know I meant George Bush in a good way. I admire anyone who can make up words on the fly. 🙂 But truly it endears each of you!! So proud of you and your new gig at Southern Belle. Can’t, can’t wait to talk soon. Nicole

  2. Renea says:

    I love it when God places Beverly, AND a happy smiling fish in Shellie’s path. Perhaps he sent them both in case you were beginning to doubt his BIG plans for you. Love and hugs, Renea

  3. Al says:

    Pretty sure that’s a Puffer… and I can only wonder at was going thru his mind.
    Shellie, I get the feeling that this trip was, and will be, a blessing to you. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Barbara says:

    Thank you for sharing! I really like the fact that you include us in the wide range of interests you have. I appreciate that you also give us glimpses of the fact that things happen that you would not choose to happen to you too. We don’t need details just knowing that you are challenged helps us to deal with our own sticky issues and don’t we all have a few ‘Tar Babies’ in our closets! Rock on girl we love you!

  5. rhonda says:

    My stars!!! That is real????? How could you help but not love it!?!
    Amazing how God gave you someone when you were worried…said a prayer for you and hope it all works well.

  6. zibilee says:

    You were really the life of the party over there at SIBA, I think! Were you able to snag one of those mini-biscuits over at the party? A nice gentleman brought us over a little plate of them and we scarfed them down. And that fish is adorable, by the way. It almost like he is smiling at you!

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