Library sponsors ‘meet and greet’ with local inspirational writers

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The Vinton Public Library hosted a “meet and greet” with five local writers on April 8 in observation of National Library Month.

Authors Mary Clark Dalton, Dr. Dikkon Eberhardt, Dr. Fred Eichelman, Dr. Carolyn Adams Roth, and Dr. Kathy Stewart are all described as “inspirational, faith-based” writers by Vinton Branch Librarian Sarah Rodgers.

Dalton drove up from Stanleytown in Henry County to be part of the program. Her books include the Rainbow series for children written to impart basic moral values in an enjoyable format. The series begins with “Rainbow’s Promise—How It All Got Started” about the adventures of Rainbow Butterfly, followed by “Rainbow Learns the Golden Rule,” “Rainbow deals with Pride,” and Rainbow Learns to Fly.”

She wrote her first book in 2010 after her children were grown and has just kept writing.  She says the idea of featuring a butterfly as her main character was “almost like a vision.” Her books deal constructively with problems that children face with bullies, boredom, pride, payback, and patience.

The butterfly begins as a rather unattractive caterpillar teased by his classmates who eventually ventures out into the world transformed into a butterfly. Dalton’s books are unique with the inclusion of a coloring book in the back. Her illustrator for the Rainbow series is teacher Stacy Moody, who teaches in Henry County. The Rainbow series is written at a second to fourth grade reading level.

Dalton is also the author of “Squirrely” about an animal who learns a lesson when he doesn’t prepare for winter, a Christmas book, and the “Prince of Deep Within” for middle grades. Her books are available online from Amazon or at maryclarkdalton.com.

Dikkon Eberhardt has published his third book, a new memoir entitled “The Time Mom Met Hitler, Frost Came to Dinner, and I Heard the Greatest Story Ever Told.” He is the son of Pulitzer Prize winning poet Richard Eberhardt and grew up in a creative world surrounded by “literary giants” like Robert Frost and T.S. Eliot.

Eberhardt describes his memoir as a “lighthearted book based on a home filled with interesting people and stories” which also covers his conversion from Judaism to Christianity when he was in his late 50s, having raised his family in the Jewish faith.

Yes, his mother did actually meet Hitler on a rope line when traveling in Germany in 1936. Eberhardt says he used the story in kindergarten to ingratiate himself with his classmates and caused quite a stir.

His book is available from Tyndale House Publishers and Amazon, with a special e-book discount during the week of April 24.

Dr. Fred Eichelman, a retired teacher who began his career at William Byrd Middle School, has written three textbooks and a science fiction novel. His current book, “Faith, Family, Film: A Teacher’s Trek” details how film and television have influenced his own development, teaching, and Christian ministry.  He shares anecdotes involving John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Elizabeth Taylor, Jimmy Stewart, Ronald Reagan, Andy Griffith and others.

He also has a charming story out entitled “A Cat’s Tale of a Rescued Kitty by TC (Tuxedo Cat) Eichelman as Dictated to Dr. Fred and Carolyn Eichelman.”

This is the true story of a cat tossed out of a car window and rescued by the Eichelman’s daughter, Carol Webster, theatre teacher at William Byrd and director of the Roanoke County Center for the Performing Arts.

TC has turned out to be the “entertainment director” for the Eichelman’s home. Unlike many cats, he prefers the indoors and dry food. The cat insists that artists have left out the cats who must surely have been present at the manger for the birth of Jesus. The main purpose for, and message of the story, is to encourage animal adoptions from local organizations.

Eichelman’s books are available on Amazon.

As for books in the works, Eichelman would like to write a mystery novel next. His wife and daughter would prefer one based on family genealogy.

Eichelman is a Western enthusiast with plans in the works for the “Happy Trails Virginia Style” event at the Valley View Holiday Inn on October 7. Featured guests include stars from Dallas, Rawhide, High Chaparral, Chisum, and Lassie, along with Dodie Rogers, daughter of Roy and Dale Evans Rogers. Details are available by emailing him at dreichelman@yahoo.com.

The latest book from Dr. Carolyn Adams Roth is “God as a Gardener: Parables Illustrated by Plants,” describing how God used plants in parables in both the Old and New Testaments. “God as a Gardener” is beautifully illustrated by jewelry designer Maria Lin.

Roth has a book coming out the week of April 10 entitled “Out of the Shadows” about the true power of women in the Bible such as Bathsheba, Jezebel, Sarah, and Esther. When Esther is first encountered in the Bible, she has become queen at just 15 years of age. Over time she matures to become a true leader of the Jewish people.

She is also the author of “Rooted in God: Interpreting Plants in Bible Lore,” telling the stories of the 125 plants mentioned in the Bible. It sold out at 1,000 copies

Roth has written about dozens of briefly mentioned individuals— the “Lesser Known Bible Characters: Using Their Relationships to Restore Ours,” and how we can learn from their stories.

She is a Master Gardener and creator of the award-winning St. John Lutheran Bible Gardens in Roanoke, which includes about 100 biblical plants.

Roth speaks to church groups at no charge, and also does Master Gardener presentations like one coming up at the Vinton Library on June 19 on “Gardening with Bible Plants.” Dalton says that while so many people nowadays live in apartments and patio homes, they can still cultivate biblical plants, such as aloe— the oldest medicinal plant on Earth.

Dr. Kathy Stewart has written her first book about her favorite book in the Bible, “Hebrews— It’s Not How You Start— It’s How You Finish.” She subtitled it as “A Study Guide to the Most Encouraging Book in the New Testament.” She also describes Hebrews as the “most-exalting book in the New Testament.” She says the topic “burned” within her and she carried the idea around with her “for a long time.”

The writing process for this book was a little disjointed. Stewart says the words would flow smoothly for six or so chapters; writer’s block would take hold; then she would put it aside for a time until the words started flowing again— hence the “It’s Not How You Start—It’s How You Finish” segment of the book’s title.

She says she has enjoyed interviews she has given for the book. She flew to Tampa, Fla., to talk with a Christian TV network and appeared on a radio program in Nashville. She was also featured in a West Bow Press iPod interview conducted for new writers.

Her book was published in 2013, just before her father passed away. She says he was tickled that she had become a published author. She teaches adult Bible studies and substitutes at the Parkway House of Prayer. Her book is available from West Bow Press or on Amazon.com.