Monday, May 16, 2011

An Afternoon at Barbed Wire Books

BWB1345web Thirty-eight authors from northern Colorado and southern Wyoming gathered for five hours on Saturday afternoon at a terrific independent bookstore in Longmont, Colorado. Barbed Wire Books has been around for a couple of years now and is located right downtown on Main Street. This is cowboy country, so the name is a propos. And the owner, Kathe Heinecken, has been crazy about books all her life.

It’s spacious, packed with new and used books, and also showcases the work of local artists who create, among other things, textiles, jewelry, clothing and wood carvings. And let’s not leave out the musicians and poets who perform.

As for the staff, they could all come on over to my house for supper. I tend to categorize people that way. Some folks I’d want to spend an evening of food and conversation with; others, not so much.

newBook The author signing extravaganza lasted five hours on a cold and cloudy Saturday afternoon. Perfect. A constant stream of book lovers wandered through, and I was hoarse by the end of the day from all the chatting. During the brief lulls I had a chance to catch up with authors I hadn’t seen for a while. Carol Ann Kates, whose Corner Market oils, vinegars and Worcestershire sauce are amazing, was there with her Secrets Recipes from the Corner Market cookbook. I gave that cookbook to several friends for Christmas a while back. Carol Ann tells me she is working on another cookbook. I can hardly wait.

And Sue Quinlan was there with her natural history books for children. She not only makes education fun for the 10+ set, she illustrates as well. With her extensive background in biology and botany, you can bet those pictures are accurate to the last detail.

Then there were the new-to-me authors from the area. Devin O’Branagan writes comic chick lit and canine chick lit. Obviously a dog lover, she uses her writing projects to support animal rescue. She also began a writing forum to encourage young writers, and it’s expanded to include all writers.

I shared a table with Ted Ringer who writes – and draws – offbeat humor. He was a hoot to spend five hours with, a new connection and a new friend.

And there were so many other interesting folks, among them Paul Pointer, illustrator extraordinaire and Greg Paullus, author of Blue Collar Haiku. Camaraderie built throughout the day and at the end we all left happy. I hope the string of customers lining up at the register ended up happy, as well. Given the number and variety of their purchases, I can’t imagine they didn’t.

By the way, I did take my camera, but it wasn’t much good with a dead battery. So no pics of authors – I apologize. The one of the store above is from the Barbed Wire website. However, others did take pictures which I’ll share if I manage to get my hands on them.


  1. What a great day. Wish I could've been there, but I'll stop by every once in a while after work. Didn't know it existed until I read this.

  2. This bookstore is new to me, too. I love the fact that new bookstores have popped up over the last two years and more are opening this year. After all the bad news about closures, it's exciting to think indies are coming back stronger than ever. And the way they support local authors is amazing.

  3. I love that places can support local authors and not close, like Patricia said. Maybe it's because I grew up going to Powel's in Portland, but I've always loved being around books and have been sad that so many have gone out of business. Who said the days of paperback were dead?