Wewahitchka author Michael Lister is celebrating an award by giving back to the area that informs so much of his writing.
In addition to a book signing Friday at the No Name Café in Port St. Joe, Lister will be part of a River Day Celebration on Saturday at Gaskin Park, at the end of Lake Grove Road in Wewahitchka.
He will also donate a portion of book profits from his award-winning novel to an organization advocating for the health of the Apalachicola River and Bay.
Lister recently won his second Florida Book Award, a Silver Medal in Popular Fiction, for the fifth volume in his John Jordan mystery series, “Blood Sacrifice.”
Lister won a Bronze Medal in General Fiction for “Double Exposure” in 2009.
The Silver Medal was of particular import because the John Jordan series is the springboard for everything Lister has written in the past 15 years.
“It was really a surprise,” Lister said. “It meant so much to me. That was so special. I didn’t see it coming. I was just thrilled.”
To date, Lister has had 11 novels, three short-story collections, and three non-fiction books published.
“I have written a lot of other books, but I always return to John Jordan,” Lister said. “There is a soft spot in my heart for that series. My first published novel was a John Jordan mystery and now 15 years later for the fifth book in the series to be honored in this way means so much to me.”
Lister serves on the board of the Apalachicola Riverkeeper, a non-profit organization advocating for the health of the Apalachicola River, its tributaries and watersheds as well as Apalachicola Bay.
And as “Double Exposure” and “Blood Sacrifice” touched on issues surrounding the river and swamps that surround it, Lister saw a “great opportunity to do something.”
That something is two days of celebration of his writings and the river, with a portion of proceeds going to the Riverkeeper organization.
Lister will donate half of all profits from every copy of “Blood Sacrifice” sold this summer to the organization.
“Winning a Florida Book Award really helps boost the profile of the book and the series and the other things you have written,” Lister said. “There is no question you get a bump from that for everything you write.
“Part of the mystery/thriller plot of “Blood Sacrifice” involves key environmental issues facing Florida so it’s a natural fit to use sales of the book for this cause.”
Serving on the Riverkeeper board he understands the dire need for and the importance of the organization.
“With all the water wars and issues we are facing, the collapse of the bay especially, there is a real challenge here,” Lister said. “It seems like there is no reasonableness, nothing makes sense. And there are solutions. We can do so much more with less water.
“There is a great deal of concern among Riverkeeper for the bay and I am equally concerned about the rivers and the swamps. I just love this area so much and I am mindful of the issues we are facing.
“If we just rely on our elected officials, we are screwed. Alabama and Florida seem to be on the same page, but the way Georgia and the (U.S. Army) Corps have managed things, how do you get someone who has everything they want to the table.”
Lister will hold a book signing at No Name Café and the following day the River Day Celebration promises something for all ages.
Wewa Search and Rescue will offer free boat rides on the river, including sonar so passengers can get a glimpse of life below the surface.
There will be a boat poker run and a biker rally which will begin in Bay County, meander through Port St. Joe and Wewahitchka and end at Gaskin Park.
Dave Lloyd out of Bay County will be on hand to provide live music throughout the day, there will be a boat and car wash and a rides, pony and bounzee, for the kids.
Lister will be reading from his writings and the photography of Clyde Butcher will be on display.
“I just thought it would be a great idea to meet at the river and on it and entire thing is a fundraiser for Riverkeeper.”
Entry to the event is free, though there will be charges for some activities.
“I’ve always wanted my books to be highly entertaining, but not just that,” Lister said. “I want them to make a difference in the lives of their readers, to enrich them, to expand them in some small way. Partnering with Riverkeeper is doing the same thing—trying to make a difference.”
“Blood Sacrifice” and Lister’s other books are available in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audiobook, and can be found online, at bookstores, and at his website www.MichaelLister.com
For more information call Dawn at 628-4559 or email Pulpwood Press at PulpwoodPress@gmail.com
Michael Lister will be signing his award-winning book and other titles at the No Name Cafe in Port St. Joe from 4-7 p.m. ET on Friday, June 28. A special River Day Celebration will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT on Saturday, June 29 at Gaskin Park in Wewahitchka—an event that will feature free boat rides, live music, food, games, river portraits, a boat poker run on the river, a Rally for the River fun run, and much, much more.