Once Upon A While Book-Signing Events…


November 2017



Thanks to Toby and Shelley for live-streaming the book-signing event and for posting their great photos. Forrest asked me to write a few words and post a few pictures. Here is a written account of what I remember with a few of my photos (and some texted to me) capturing most of the events from my view with a few words to explain.

The Pre-party was organized by Whiskeyes (from the Chicago area) and held at The Thunderbird Bar and Restaurant above the plaza. They planned for 16 people and gave us our own private room… we filled it over the course of the 2 1⁄2 hours we gathered there. Most of the regulars were there, plus some new faces. It was a joy for me to hang out with new and old Fenners. I remembered all the names for about an hour… here it is two days later and I’ve forgotten a few. I apologize for the names I’ve forgotten but will mention some of the ones I remember. If people could post comments with their name and identifying photo, that would be nice for those who could not attend.

BoomerGirl brought her grandson all the way from Portland, Katya from Taos, Amy from way out in the boondocks near Nederland Colorado, and Desertphile from way out in the boondocks across the Chama River across from the monks who all live near Ghost Ranch (Abiquiu), New Mexico. Whew!

BoomerGirl and her grandson

Me and a really nice guy whose name might be John, Doug, or Greg, or none of those. I knew I should have taken notes. My fault, and I apologize!

Shelley (looking so eloquent) hanging out while Toby mingled taking pictures.

Katya, Amy, Desertphile, and Doug Melching (from Michigan) posing for me. These folks hung out with me all day, all evening, and the next morning. You’d think we’d be sick of each other by now… but no, we love gathering for Forrest’s events, and we always pick up where we left off

Darcy Howat

Darcy Howat came all the way from British Columbia, Canada, to attend the events. He was smart and brought paper and colored markers for us all to sign our names and where we came from (and I don’t mean our mothers… he wanted to know where we reside.) I would have thought he might have won the no-prize for traveling the farthest but I met people from Florida and someone from Hawaii. Sorry, Darcy.

Andrea and Slurbs

Everyone knows Slurbs and his beautiful wife Andrea. They both live near me in Rio Rancho (near Albuquerque). I hope I’m allowed to announce that Slurbs plans to retrieve Fenn’s treasure chest next weekend. It’s funny how many people told me they would have the loot before June 1st, 2018… and they all are looking in different states! Ha Ha… Gosh, I just love this game!

Toby Younis and …maybe John or Johnathon

Toby Younis and a guy named John or Jonathon, or not. Why do I think he’s from the mid-west and searches in Yellowstone National Park? I might be wrong about one of those…

The blond woman is from Canada… I’m almost certain.

Around 4:00 people started leaving The Thunderbird and walked the block to Collected Works Bookstore. Amy and Desertphile danced their way there.

Or they were driven by their chauffeur. Jamie is the driver and Whiskeyes Michelle is standing outside the car laughing.

Some of us were not as savvy and waited until almost 4:15. Once inside the front door, we encountered a long line (mob) of attendees who were receiving their book and ticket from the desk. Dorothy the owner did not allow anyone to take a seat prior to the scheduled starting time of 4:30 sharp. Kudos to Dorothy and all her staff for putting on this event. (I asked Dorothy for permission to take her picture for this story and she adamantly said NO. Hmmm… she probably heard about what happened in 2015 at the Gaspard Book-Signing when I took a picture of Charmay and posted a story about her on this blog. AND… I want you all to know Charmay attended this event and was sitting in the second row from the stage. I did take a picture of her but did not speak to her, but I waved. I bet she had nightmares later!)

While folks waited to pick up their book and ticket, Forrest so graciously meandered through the mob and chatted with the attendees.

Promptly at 4:30, Dorothy ushered us to the seating areas. Different colored tickets meant different sections. Toby was already prepared and set up for the live-stream. ABC Nightline also had a crew recording the event and interviewing searchers one- on-one afterwards. Hopefully Dal will post the air date several days in advance. This screening should have concluded the footage they needed.

Susan Caldwell and Lou Bruno are the team behind the book. Here Susan is signing my book and telling me which star on the front cover I should fish for… OMG, I’m kidding!!! Please don’t call her and ask her what she wrote in my book. Forrest and Susan might actually kill me… I will be banned from future events if anyone calls her.

Forrest continued to mingle within the crowd for awhile…

Then he got tired and sat down on the edge of the stage. He was so kind and entertained us with photo ops. (Eric, Desertrat, Sacha, Forrest, Katya)

I think this is a selfie taken by Sacha of herself, ff, and me. Covert One is in the seat in white shirt behind me.

Shiloh, Forrest’s grandson (the young hunk as I heard numerous women refer to him) introduced Forrest and Doug Preston promptly at 6 pm. The event was officially underway. Forrest spoke a bit and then turned the talk over to Doug Preston. There was a Q and A afterwards but very few questions were answered regarding the treasure hunt or poem. Shiloh reminded everyone this event was about the new book. However, there were some very comical moments during the course of the Q&A and the room exploded with laughter multiple times.

About 50 minutes later, Forrest shook Shiloh’s hand and thanked him. The three guys on stage applauded and the room followed in one great big loud applause, thanking all three men for a very enjoyable and entertaining evening.

We all stayed seated while Forrest and Doug made their way to the back room to the table that was set up for the actual book-signing portion of the evening. Then one very long line formed to take your turn. You would have thought they were selling an iPhone X. Except none of us had tents and sleeping bags. We waited patiently to get our turn.

Sacha, Eric, Desertphile, Amy, and I were some of the last few to get our books signed. It was now approaching the witching hour at La Fonda and we were parched!

It was almost 8:30 by now and all the tables were taken but we found a few empty spots at the bar. New faces in this photo are Brooke from Texas behind Katya and Bill Gorman behind her.

There was drinking….

There was dancing… (Amy, Desertphile, and Katya doing the TWIST, for Pete’s sake. You’d think we were at an AARP meeting.)

And there were dogs… This is Jack (Bill G’s dog.)

I don’t know what time the lights came on and they had last call, but we were there until almost midnight. Doug was a real gentleman and walked me the four blocks to my Inn.

I tried to sleep but my mind was racing… thank goodness I scheduled the Friday morning brunch for 10:30. I set the chirping crickets alarm on my phone just in case. Then I realized how hungry I was, and realized, like an idiot, I did not bring any food or snacks with me. I’m much more prepared when I treasure hunt. I remembered walking by a little alcove just past the lobby (in the Hilton just behind the bookstore… awesome room and an affordable rate on a week night in the off season, for future information) that was filled with drinks and snacks. I was too lazy to get up, get dressed, and get there… it involved a long walk down dark hallways and using either a tiny elevator or steps in a window-less stairwell. I disliked both choices so drank more water.

I may have dozed off but I didn’t think so. All of a sudden I realized I had not put my parking permit on my dashboard. What if they had towed my truck and I got up later and had no transportation to get to Brunch? I looked at the clock and it was 5:30 am. The adrenlin rush caused my brain to awake fully. I had to get dressed and verify if my truck was beside the back door of the Inn where I had parked it. It was easy to get to… a few steps down the hall to the door. I pushed on the door to exit. It was locked.

OMG, I retreated back the dark hallway towards the lobby. I chose using the elevator. I stopped in the alcove and grabbed a bag of white cheese nips, about the only kind of junk food I could stand to eat. The hallways and lobby were empty and I startled the woman behind the desk to pay for my snack. I told her I’d forgotten to place the bright magenta parking permit on my dash and I was worried my truck might have been towed. She smiled and said it was ok…

Making my way from the lobby back down the hall, into the elevator, down a longer darker hall and finally to my room, I opened the bag of junk food and ate as much as I could stand. It helped erase the hunger, and I slept.

Friday’s Brunch was scheduled for 10:30 at the Tesuque Village Market. I arrived shortly after 10 am to let them know a crowd of possibly a dozen or so people were about to descend on the place. As I stepped inside, I noticed a long row of tables with familiar faces. You guys are so awesome!! There were already a dozen Fenners seated with more people to arrive. The woman owner/manager said they’d turn on the heaters out in the enclosed porch area and set up the entire area for our group.

Forrest had emailed me that morning that he planned to attend but would be late. None of us cared what time he’d arrive… we just hoped he could attend, eventually.

Our group grew to 30, and Forrest did indeed arrive around 11:15. He ordered coffee, sat at various places around the table to talk to most folks, and eventually stood around and posed with us for even more pictures.

Focused, Desertphile, Amber, Forrest, me

Jeff Burch and Titan

It must have been well after twelve by the time we all started to leave. A small group continued to hang out near the entrance where I had parked. I think we didn’t want the event to end… it was hard to say goodbye, not knowing when the 5 of us would see each other again. It was 1:09 pm when someone said “here comes Forrest.” He approached us grinning from ear to ear. He said he was hungry and came back for a frito pie. He hadn’t eaten breakfast like the rest of us. He motioned for us to follow. We were seated at the original table where the large group had assembled briefly 3 hours earlier. Sometimes it pays to linger awhile… Forrest ate his Frito pie, a few of us ordered and ate again, and then we listened to Forrest tell stories about his business days selling art. It was the end to a perfect 24 hours for Amy, Desertphile, StrawShadow, Amber, and me… and hopefully Forrest.

Thanks to everyone who made these events so successful! Here’s a link to all the pictures:

November 4th 2017


61 thoughts on “Once Upon A While Book-Signing Events…

  1. Thanks Cynthia for your wonderful article, reflections, and photos. It was almost like being there.

    Michael from Oshkosh, WI

    • He said he was. I asked him where and he said the town/city but I didn’t recognize it so he said British Columbia. Are you joshing me because of all the Canada stuff he was wearing??

  2. Awesome Cynthia!
    I hope one day I will be able to meet Forrest and all you fine folks.
    Until then, take care 🙂

    • awesome write up Cynthia thank youfor your time and that hug Well we made it back to COLorado safe I WOKE THIS Morning with my mind raceing of coarse my first thought as with most days is as i have gone alone in there wich is today for me and with my treasures bold wich for me today the memories of the time i spent with all of you and the journey home we passed through Durango i saw something i wanted to share IT WAS A CARTOON With this saying on the boot it said you have to step in failure before you can walk to success sounds like treasure hunting to me. it was good to see and spend time with you all stay safe out there. thank you Forrest for your time and every one else too lets keep it fun as it should be

  3. I agree with Michael Raymond, like being there. One of the most enjoyable posts on here in a while. Would have loved to have attended just to hear the banter about all things “chase”. Thanks so much, Cynthia! Well done!

  4. Excellent review of the book signing Cindy! I am so sorry that I had to miss out on being there.
    Thanks for posting!

  5. Sure seems like “A good time was had by all”. Sure wish I could have attended – maybe Fenboree 2018 – JDA

  6. Well done Cynthia! Well done!

    Thank you again for arranging so much around the book signing. Meeting the group before the event and after was great! And the highlight was being able to eat brunch with Forrest and the rest of the group!

  7. Cynthia, thanks for such a great recounting of what seems like was a great time. Sorry to have been out of town (mom duty) and to have missed a fun time and seeing everybody again – and to think I live just 2 miles up the paved road from the Village Market. Damn. Plus, I missed a bowl of TVM Frito Pie. Double dog damn.

    Did anyone else notice that Shiloh looks exactly like Forrest? I mean, exactly?

    • Mel-
      I had never tasted Frito Pie until I went to TVM with Forrest. I decided to try and make a dish of the stuff myself at home. Seven bags of Fritos later I finally got a version I could actually swallow…
      It’s great comfy food when properly made…

  8. thanks for the great article/photos Cynthia – def looks like everyone had a fun time, and hopefully Forrest didn’t need to post bail for anyone the next morning 🙂

    (sheesh.. more rascals than a Peter Jackson trilogy imho 🙁 )

  9. This is a great write-up, Cynthia. As many have already stated, it was like being there. Thank you so much. Enjoyed seeing everyone’s smiles. Hope to see them in person.

  10. Thanks for doing this, the report and pics are great. I couldn’t attend but was there in spririt watching alone with Tony’s video feed.

  11. Thank you so much for sharing Cynthia! Such a gracious host even for the ones who werent there. You’re such a bright light shining on the chase, thanks for being you!

  12. Thanks for write up, Cynthia. Wow, had I not left brunch for another five minutes, I’d have dug into a Frito pie too. I also told Forrest of my plans next weekend. He didn’t appear impressed as he has heard similar exclamations plenty of times before. I felt like the boy who cried wolf. LOL. Oddly enough, now, it feels kind of good in this case.
    I’m surprised that you didn’t have any pictures of Christie and her mother, Rita. They are great searchers with great stories.
    At brunch, I was able to ask Forrest what he would like the finder of Indulgence to do upon the actually finding it. He replied that he wanted a photo of it via e-mail. I mentioned returning his bracelet to him with you (Cynthia) escorting the finder. He said that’d be fine, but he would still like to have the photo sent first. The photo being sent first sounded like it should be priority numero uno. Now I shall get back to my viewing of Top Gun. The events were fun! I’m glad my Babydoll, aka Mrs. Slurbs, was able to attend.

  13. Cynthia you know you have done a great job of documenting the events when we all look at the pictures, read the words and comment , ‘ Oh wish I had been there.’. Thanks for including us. I liked Desertphiles shirt!

  14. Thanks Cynthia. As always great write up .

    Thought that man with Canada jacket said South America?


  15. sure wish I could of been there to see mr. forrest and his family and you guys.hope mr. forrest is relaxing after all that.so sweet shiloh is named after his grandpa,as he sure is mr. forrest look alike.I saw the video,thought it was great.he takes care of his grandfather very well,he loves his grandpa.of course all the family does.lucca,I can still smell the scent in my doll,it opens my sinuses,and thanks for nameing it in honor of my late daughter jamie.you r so sweet to of done that for me.the fenn family has been taught well.much love to all of you out there.

  16. Cynthia—-

    Thanks for the write-up and photos. Very nice recounting of events. I wish I could have been there also. It would be great just to shake Forrest’s hand and get to meet some of the great folks from this blog.
    It looks like everyone had a really fun time!

  17. Cynthia,
    Thanks for the write-up, you done a great job. I was nice to meet up with you again and visit old and new friends.
    I really enjoyed getting to meet Jeff Burch and Titan. Jeff , if you read this, hats off to ya buddy….
    I vote that we should hold Fennboree every third Saturday of the month… lol
    It was a blast !
    Pdenver and JDA you guys need to mark your calendar for Fennboree 2018….
    Cynthia, thanks again for all you do, if you and desertphile need help with Fennboree 2018 just let me know……

    Until next time… see ya

    • I do not know what the dates are to consider if I can go. If it’s during the time my husband cannot take vacation, I can only hope he could ask his boss for a personal day during that time. The sooner I can find out, the better the chance may be to convince his boss to accept it. They make schedules a month in advance.

      • Pdenver, As soon as I hear I’ll let ya know my friend…. I don’t think it’s set yet…. I would just love to meet ya…. take care and have a great night… see ya

  18. ~ Cynthia ~
    It is always a great pleasure when you provide all of us with your write-ups, stories and pictures. You are the greatest.


  19. Thanks, everyone, for all the nice things you said. I’m so fortunate to be able to be part of this awesome community. And thanks, Dal, for re-sizing and posting all those pictures in my story. Without you, we wouldn’t be a community.

  20. Lovely write up and pictures! I really enjoyed meeting everyone from the blogs. So many good memories…

  21. What a great service you have given us all, Cynthia! 🙂

    It is so good to put a face with many of the names. Such a wonderful group of folks!

  22. thank you all for covering the event and providing pictures for those of us who couldn’t travel there. for all who add to the blog thank you for you ideas and work.

  23. This was great to read, thanks. We need an official book of searchers, who wants to help me write it?

  24. Cynthia what would we do without u great write up and great pics bad memory of names but will let you slide on that lol . Sacha great selfi pic all y’all looked great And the ole coot sportin that purple sweater again. Hint hint

  25. Cynthia,
    Thanks for arranging the activities and providing these pictures. It was a great event with Forrest, his grandson and Doug Preston.

  26. So many horns a tootin! You didn’t even see that piece of gold sitting right in front of you. I’m gonna go hang out with Bob Seagar and Christie Hynde. See ya!

  27. Nice summary and photos, Cynthia, thank you, I had the chance to go but had some pressing academic things with deadlines and consequences I had to attend to that I simply could not ignore. Next time!

  28. Cynthia,
    Very nice! I haven’t seen the pictures yet but your write up paints a cozy picture of lasting friendship. Thanks for the refreshing review.

  29. I truly hope that those who have not purchased “Once Upon A While” will do so. Words aren’t enough to explain how wonderful this book is, especially the added personal touch of “My Two Sense”.

    • pd;

      I second that (e)motion. I have a GREAT imagination, but in the end, I found a “hint” or “Nudge” in every single chapter of the book. Some were related to the solving of the riddles, others were just hints on what to do (and how to act) if you do find Indulgence, and a couple were just hints about “living” a certain kind of life. But “ALL GOOD” stuff – JDA

  30. A purple sweater…a sign of Royalty!
    I hated missing the book signing and parties after, but other things had my attention.
    So good to see Forrest and everyone, the video and questions were great. Great write up, Cynthia.
    As I type this, I’m on my 6th reading of OUAW, and loving every second. Thank you, Forrest.

  31. Sorry if this is the wrong place for this but seemed the most closely related thread:

    I never noticed this until I just reread the skippy/firework story in the new book Once Upon a While…but Skippy started a “New Years” firework business…which apparently took off in the wrong direction.
    (New Years?)

    Anyhow…at the end of the story Forrests “two sense” involves a funny comment about how he set off a cherry bomb in a tub of water and soaked a bunch of girls…the last line says “Maybe we should start celebrating 4th of July with banana cream pies instead”

    Its interesting to me that the beginning states it was a New Years.

    I know that Eric was well known for trying to reinstate the New Years tradition of ringing bells across the country.

    I’m sure unrelated to finding the chest…but still curious. Seems like F is using some sort of literary device…full circle would put banana cream pies on New Years (??) ….or did he just want to imply hed have had more fun throwing pies at the girls? Something about the transposed holidays is just driving me nuts…and I KNOW IT WONT HELP FIND THE CHEST- I’m just enjoying the book as it is.

    Seems that surely theres some sort of joke or pun to be understood….and usually I’m okay at finding them…or at least guessing…but I got nothing on what the pun could be.

    Any help?

    • I thought Forrest decided on a Banana Creme Pie as a more peaceful and fun device than an exploding, irritating firecracker or firework. These days Forrest seems to be interested in getting along with folks more than warring with them. I also suspect that Tesuque dislikes fireworks as most dog do…and Forrest was trying to make his pal’s life a bit less anxious.

    • Hello Jonsey1. I thought the chapter was interesting, too. Perhaps the attention is to the banana cream pie, which is a custard pie. A play on words could suggest General Custer or Custer’s Last Stand.

    • Tricky one. He said I boy he knew lit the cherry bomb, but may imply it was him. Irony, he may not have met Peggy Jean if not for this incident. Great joy from tragedy. Banana cream pies? May contradict, life is too short to wear both a belt and suspenders or I’ll just throw a fish at it and run down hill. Risk, reward?? Or just straight forward, his opinion on fireworks. One never knows. I’ve tried lately to concentrate mainly on the poem, but who can do that when there are so many hints to be had. Anything could prove to be important or not, but everything will eventually fit. This is fun. g

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