Authors converge on Carson Valley Museum to talk books

GARDNERVILLE - Authors armed with their published prose dropped by the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center on Sunday for a "Spring Afternoon With the Authors."

Sixteen authors from Carson City, Carson Valley, Dayton, Reno and Alpine County willingly talked about the books they have written and many titles were for sale in the gift shop.

It's the third year for the book show, put on by the Carson Valley Historical Society. C-SPAN hasn't caught on yet but the show has grown from eight authors the first year and 10 last year to 16 authors this time, said Donna Allgeier, who chairs the event as well as manages the museum gift shop.

All the books featured at the "Spring Afternoon With the Authors" are available year round at the Carson Valley Museum gift shop and the Genoa Courthouse Museum gift shop.

Carson City author/publisher Charles Convis filled his allotted table space with all 15 titles in his "True Tales of the Old West" series. He envisions the full series coming to 36 or 37 titles.

So far, he has written and published three books a year for the past five years. "Pioneer Women" and "Frontiersmen" - what Convis describes as the miscellaneous categories - have sold the best so far.

"The titles are basically by occupation," Convis said, adding that on a few occasions the same people appear in "Lawmen" and "Outlaws." "These guys went back and forth between being outlaws and lawmen."

Convis took up collecting tales from the Old West as a retirement project after retiring as a lawyer five years ago. He publishes his own books under the Pioneer Press name so he doesn't have to worry about rejection letters.

Convis has brought books to all three "Spring Afternoons."

"I like the interaction with people interested in the history of the West," Convis said.

Jane Lehrman, who lives just outside Carson City off Jacks Valley Road, enjoys mingling with the authors and the visitors.

"I always enjoy seeing people I know in the community and meet new people," Lehrman said.

Lehrman compiled in three books columns she wrote for the Nevada Appeal and the Leader-Courier in the 1980s and earlier 1990s. "Around Douglas," "Around Douglas and Beyond" and "Around Dayton" each compile 100 articles published in newspapers.

"These started out as columns in the Nevada Appeal," Lehrman said. "The first 100 I decided to put in a book. After the first 100, I was still writing for the Appeal. Then out in Dayton, they were jealous because I had written the two about Douglas."

Lehrman is a retired teacher. The "Around" trio are her only books but she has written many articles for music magazines.

The columns in the "Around" books each focus on a person or a family or a small group.

"My whole concept is to write about people who aren't real famous," Lehrman said.

Dixie Westergard has lived in Carson City since 1958 but last November saw her first book published: "Dat-So-La-Le: Washo Indian Basketmaker." She's still getting used to the idea of being a published author.

"When you are researching and writing and choosing photographs, it all seems so far away," Westergard said. "When it comes, it's such a surprise."

Fourth-graders at Bordewich-Bray Elementary School each received a copy of Westergard's book as have students in 11 other classes in schools in Douglas, Lyon, Churchill, Washoe and Pershing counties.

Dat-So-La-Le lived in Carson City 100 years ago and became a nationally renowned weaver.

"I chose Dat-So-La-Le because she was from our region and she was a remarkable woman to look up to," Westergard said.


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