Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pulpwood Festival/Girlfriend Weekend 2009


That feels better. I was wondering how in the world to blog about last weekend, but now that I'm resolved of any responsibility for the length and/or continuity of this post I'm all good.

Months ago yours truly was invited by THE Pulpwood Queen, Kathy L. Patrick, to be a guest author at her highly popular book festival: The Pulpwood Festival of Jefferson, TX. I accepted the invitation gladly. I thought, "I've been to book festivals before and I totally enjoyed them." What I didn't fully grasp is that said event is no ordinary book festival. This three day extravaganza is also known as Girlfriend Weekend and as my d-in-law put it after looking at my pics "seems to serve as an opportunity for middle aged women to act crazy." I wholeheartedly concur, although I would add to the record here that there were several males as well as some pre-middle aged women and post middle aged women who seemed to be as short of center as the rest of us.

Having been informed that the last night of the event would be the Big Hair Ball with the theme of "Black, White, and Read All Over", my bff and traveling buddy Rhonda Perry, (known affectionately as Red), partnered with me in renting some fine outfits from the Costume Shop in West Monroe, LA. Here we are in the hall of my home before the big trip, trying on our dresses. I am sans crown in this photo, but as you will soon see-- we aren't entirely done up-- YET. This is just us getting in the mood to par-tay like Scarlett and Melanie.

Upon my arrival, I joined a host of authors for a meet and greet with the media and honored queens. This weekend, you see, is all about celebrating the reader and I for one LOVE that. Book clubs come from everywhere in their tiaras to mix and mingle with each other and the writers.

After the media deal we all went to Kathy's Beauty Salon/Bookstore, a one-of-a-kind wonder to write on her wall. Yes, to write on her wall. Why do you ask? Here are a few authors and queens in their normal clothes. Please note how delightfully they contrast with some of the pics that follow.

Meet Jeannie Ralston of The Unlikely Lavender Queen

Kaya McLaren author of "Church of the Dog"-- you will hear/see more about Kaya. :)

What it is all about: Reader Queens!

Margaret Cezair-Thompson, author of The Pirate’s Daughter -- Pulpwood Queen Book of the Year!

Patricia Hickman of "Painted Dresses"

TADA!!!!!!!!! Meet Kathy L. Patrick, The Pulpwood Queen herself. This is Kat's "day tiara", not to be confused with her evening outfits. You can read ALL about Kat here:
Oh-- and check out Kat's blog while you're there for more pics.

Kat's able-bodied assistant Tywana is on the right in this pic with a queen whose crown came from Paris! I wanted to steal it but was too chicken 'cuz that's one of the big ten, you know.

You've heard of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour? Well, move over boys. Meet The Pink Collar Comedy Tour. We debuted on Friday night. I was honored to share the stage with Kathy Patrick, the Pulpwood Queen, Suzanne McLennan author of "Praise the Lord and Pass the Biscuits" and author and Nashville Free Radio Host, River Jordan. We had a blast tossing a subject out and milking it. Please note our matching pink hair extensions.

"What's that you say, River?" Notice we three listening intently, trying to hear a word we might can use to segue into a story of our own. More often that not we didn't bother. Segues are so over-rated.

Nice, nice man-- this Mr. Robert Leleux , author of "Memories of a Beautiful Boy." Robert: thank you for the instant friendship.

An act I will never, ever, forget: Kathy and her buddies lighting up the stage as Special ABBA Entertainment: Splinter Helaina Patrick, Pulpwood Queens, Wendy Looney, Karen Penner, Tiajuana Neel, and Kathy Patrick.

In a desperate and yet highly successful bid for equal billing, the Timber Men of Jefferson, TX rock the house: Bill Smith, Andy Looney, Jay Patrick, Richard Penner, and Greg Ashley! MAMA MIA!

Several of my new author friends pretending to be normal:
Leslie Lehr of Wife Goes On
Kaya McLaren of Church of the Dog
Patricia Hickman of Painted Dresses

More new author friends. On the left is Margaret Cezair-Thompson author of "The Pirate's Daughter" and on the right, Karen Herrington, author of "Janeology"

Note to new author friends: I'm missing representation of some of you among my pics for various reasons: You had your eyes closed, the pics came out fuzzy, you were dancing (or having a seizure-- one can never be sure) or something and I didn't want to be sued. If anyone has any to add to this collection, send. THANKS!

Me and River still posing. We're with Deeanne Gist, author of "Deep in the Heart of Trouble."

Queens do the Black, White and Read All Over up right!

Red and I stepping out! I felt duty bound to show you that I'm stepping in my rhinestone houseshoes just 'cuz they're comfy and they matched.

Egyptian Queens no less!

Top Hat Queens...

The lady in the big hat is Heidi, Kat's bff, posing with another lovely queen. Heidi can sing like Patsy Cline. I know this because she blew our socks off on karaoke night. Someone else you know may have participated in that, but I'm not telling.

The Pulpwood Queen in ONE of her many outfits/looks. I love Kathy Patrick World!

Even as a writer, words fail me here. This is the one and only Kaya! Dear Kaya won the Big Hair Ball Costume contest in this delightful outfit. I wish I had done it justice but alas, I'll have to try and describe it. Kaya is in a full body unitard that she has covered with the words from her novel and topped with this slightly see-through silver go-go dress. This prompted River to say, "Shellie, did you see Kaya? She's come to the ball nekkid."

"No, she hasn't River. She has clothes on."

"No, she doesn't, Shellie. Kaya's at the ball nekkid. Is she the coolest kid on campus, or what?"

A few more happy queens...

Red with attitude.

Go Queens!

Kaya AND Red with attitude.

Posing with some fun queen friends!

The girls from the Katy, TX bookclub won the club costume award with matching dresses that all sported "the end" on, well, their ends.

Posing with beautiful young queens. Far right, daughter of Kathy Patrick and her friend, far left. I think the slightly more mature women should be credited for being willing to pose and post this pic.

Queen Latifah just had to show up, natch.

I'm sure there is more but I'm tired and I need coffee. I told you it was long, remember? Later gators and gatorettes.



  1. Please don't tell me those poor people had to listen to you sing??? :)))) J/K
    Love you so much!!!!

  2. Shellie, I loved looking at all the photos. I'm so sorry I missed the ball but the pics are great and your blog brought back great memories. Hope you're doing well and I'm sending tons of love your way.


  3. Shellie,

    What a great post. It WAS a wonderful time, wasn't it? Such an interesting, beautiful mix of people and ideas and BOOKS. Great pics!

    Much love,

    Karen Harrington

  4. And yet somehow you thought this would be right up my alley? Hummm. Loved the pics!

  5. Shellie,
    Your name should be under the Webster's dictionary for the definition of HOOT! You are a hoot! And now I am forever going to be your BFF whether you like it or not too! Move over Rhonda, Red, WHATEVER, you rock my southern world! Now when I think of one author that could be the poster child for Girlfriend Weekend, GIRl, it is you! Great blog and now if I can just figure out how we can hang out more. You do know that noboby and I mean nobody wanted the weekend to end. So it is now up to all of us Carey, Jane, Karen, Jessica and Shellie to keep this bookloving party that will keep it going until next years 10th Anniversary Big Book Blow Out Girlfriend Weekend 2010!
    For all my pics go to and to buy some real professional photos, go to I kind of like the ones I just took for the heck of it and can you believe Kaya came to the Hair Ball practically nekkid on a SKATEBOARD!
    Now my big mission this year is to top this past GF Weekend! Don't worry, I say that everything year and somehow I do. But I assure you it is because of each of every one of you that this weekend is such a success.
    So now be thinking of SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW as also the 70th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. Would you believe I already have four chapters signed up for next year? I hope Jefferson is ready for all of this as I have the feeling more than a tornado is a brewing!
    There's no place like home, there's no place like home, (and mine has a pretty incredible library!)
    The Pulpwood Queen
    P.S. January 14 - 17, 2010 Girlfriend Weekend so mark your calendars now!

  6. Wow Shellie and Red, very elegant.
    I thought I was watching the Red Carpet Coverage
    of the Oscars for a moment
    You girls clean up pretty dang good!!
    It looks like you all had a great time.
    (Voice of the All Things Southern Radio Show)

  7. Oh, how fun! Shellie, you and Red look like precious princesses in your black and white gowns!

    Aileen S.