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Singing Wind

March 5th, 2007

I actually posted this entry yesterday, March 4, but just as I finished it, I got dropped and lost everything. So today, as I re-post, I’m stopping every ten words or so to save it.

On February 25, I did my first event for 2007 at Singing Wind Bookshop, the most unlikely book store it’s ever been my privilege to see. Singing Wind is located 2 1/2 miles north of the I-10, just west of Benson, AZ, on an old cattle ranch. The incredibly interesting shop takes up the front half of the ranch house, and is crammed with both new and hard-to-find used books.

The owner, Winn Bundy, has run this southern Arizona institution for many years out in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, and not only has a booming mail order business (without a web site, no less), but holds special book and author events almost every weekend. She also hosts several regular book clubs. All of this is very good, because there certainly isn’t much foot traffic.

I first read about Singing Wind in the travel section of the Arizona Republic newspaper late last year. I thought at the time that it sounded intriguing, and made a note to visit it next time we spent any time in Tucson. Then lo and behold, it wasn’t two weeks later that Winn’s manager, Kathy Suagee, called me and asked if I would participate in their Mysteries Southwest Fiesta at the end of February.

I was asked to be there by 11:00 a.m. for a light buffet lunch which Winn prepared for the participating authors and guests. We live in Tempe, which is about 135 miles from Benson, so in order to get there by 11:00, we had to leave the house at 8:00. This sounds like a reasonable time to most people, but since we no longer keep office hours, Don and I are used to staying up very late and getting up not very early. And I can’t just get up, throw on some clothes and go, especially when I’m going to talk to an audience. Sadly, it takes me at least an hour to pretty myself up.

We managed to get away from the house by 8:00, and Don drove while I went over my talk by mumbling to myself for most of the 90 miles to Tucson. I took the wheel just outside of Tucson and drove the 45 miles to Exit 304, where I exited and drove north a little over 2 miles the Singing Wind Road. We drove east another quarter mile, over a dirt road, through a gate to the ranch house, where Don dropped me off before he parked the car, along with all the other attendees’, in the middle of a cow pasture.

We enjoyed a very nice lunch at picnic tables in the courtyard with the five other Arizona authors who were speaking that day. Around 1:00, a wonderful trio called Loveland began to play, and the author readings started shortly thereafter. Winn had asked us to limit our performances to 20 minutes, and had arranged the program so that we spoke in alphabetical order. Which was good for me, since I got to go third, while the crowd was still fresh. Right after I spoke, there was another musical interlude in which the audience members milled about buying books and getting them signed. My books did pretty well, selling-wise, since I was still fresh on everyone’s mind.

After the second group of authors spoke, we were gathered together in the courtyard for a group photo, and the party broke up at about 4:00. It was a really fun event, and quite an interesting venue. I’d recommend a detour to find Singing Wind to anyone who finds herself driving down I-10 between Tucson and El Paso. They don’t have a web site, as I mentioned earlier, but the address is 700 W. Singing Wind Road, P.O. Box 2197, Benson, AZ 85602-2197, and the telephone number is (520) 586-2425.

Don and I did take several pictures of the shop and the event itself. I intended make a valiant effort to post some of the photos on this site. However, after I uploaded them from my camera onto my laptop, I found I can call them up but can’t figure out how to move them about. But have courage, Dear Reader. I shall persevere.

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