Tag Archives: barnhills

A Book and A Blog

Whenever it’s my turn to blog, I’m always in a quandry. Do I talk about my latest work? Do I lament on how difficult it is to be an author? Do I take the flip side and discuss running a bookstore? What about taking a stab at the merits of running a publishing company?

And then I noticed that I get to follow  J. B. Kohl’s post about Barnhill’s. https://secondwindpub.wordpress.com/2010/06/09/barnhills/

Ha! What fun! I am in the unique position of actually meeting many of the Second Wind Authors face to face. There are 26 Second Wind authors in our little family, and at least 2 more in the wings currently. And that doesn’t include the 12 authors who won a place in the “Mystery is in the Wind” anthology. I’ve met 10 of the authors in person.

In February of 2009, I came from Phoenix AZ to Winston-Salem and met up with Norm Brown, Chris Husom, Lazarus Barnhill, Mairead Walpole, Suzette Vaughn, and Dellani Oakes.  This is all of us together: Facebook I’m the one on the bottom right. I write as Claire Collins, but my real name is Tracy and I manage a bookstore in Winston-Salem, NC called Barnhill’s. You can read more about it in the newspaper article about us that came out today.

J. Conrad Guest has the pain and pleasure of being the very first author to ever have a book signing at Barnhill’s. Ladies, he’s tall, good-looking, and funny. Call me and I’ll put you in touch…

Lucy Balch was gutsy enough to jump in right before our grand opening. She got to hang out with a masseuse and a winery and we sat in the back room and pigged out on Burke Street Pizza because we were all starving.

J. B. Kohl came to visit during the first day of our Grand Opening. Everything was just crazy around here that day. I was worried that I had neglected J.B and her friend but they both had a great time.

JJ Dare was supposed to have been part of our original group, but she came down with Strep throat right before we all met. Someday soon she will make it up to see me.

I was going to go up and meet Sherrie Hansen for an event at her beautiful bed and breakfast, but I wasn’t able to get up there.

I’ve also met a new Second Wind Author, Laura Wharton. Her book , “The Pirate’s Bastard” will be out by the fall.

So to everyone else… what are you waiting for? The invitation is open to have a book signing at Barnhill’s! Maybe this September, you can all come down for the Bookmarks Festival?


Filed under books, musings

A Day at Barnhill’s

I recently spent a magical day at Barnhill’s Bookstore in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for a book-signing. I didn’t sign many books, but I nevertheless had a fabulous time, finally getting to meet Second Wind writers Lazarus Barnhill, Claire Collins (Tracy Beltran), and Suzette Vaughn. In the process of hanging out, I got to know Barnhill’s pretty well.

First of all, it’s in a prime location. The president of SIBA, Kelly Justice of Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, summed it up well when she said, “Winston-Salem needed an Indie Bookstore.”

Inside Barnhills, polished hardwood floors match a centrally-located, hand-crafted check-out island. The cashier’s stand also matches the bookshelves, since it’s made from a blend of two types of wood.

The two huge storefront windows let in excellent light, and the throughway (you can enter through the back or the front) creates a friendly, open mood. The walls are covered with art and murals from local artists, and Tracy’s warm greeting is a given.

Unique gifts delight at every turn: In one cubby you’ll find an eclectic collection of letter openers. In another, homemade pickles. There is something for everyone, from jewelry, to ornaments, to children’s toys, to hand-sewn wine bottle gift bags, to gourmet tea, to fudge, to … well, I won’t give it all away. You need to visit Barnhill’s yourself … or, if you live too far away, you might have to settle for visiting online.

More about the wine bottle gift bags: They have an excellent purpose for being there. Barnhill’s also offers a wide variety of wines from the North Carolinian vineyards. The day that I was there, Ken, from Round Peak Winery, led a wine tasting, and I bought a red zinfandel and a sangiovese. I’d have bought more if I hadn’t been driving down to Atlanta the next day, before heading home to Richmond. I wasn’t sure that the wine would appreciate being jostled so much … but I’ll be back for more in June.

And, of course, Barnhill’s is a bookstore and has books of all kinds. If you don’t see one that you want it can be ordered. When I was there, Carri Davis, the massage therapist who was giving chair massages (proceeds to benefit the Shephard’s Center), found an amazing book by artist Mark Ryden.

And that’s really one of the coolest things about Barnhill’s. Being there is like being on a treasure hunt. You never know what you’ll find.

May you be around for many years to come, Barnhill’s!

Lucy Balch

Author of Love Trumps Logic, available at Barnhills’s

And at http://secondwindpublishing.com


Filed under writing

…Who are you?

A couple of years ago when I was nearing the reality of being published, I had to make a decision about what name I would be published under. I knew it wasn’t a good idea to publish under my own name. I had a corporate identity and a family to think of. My real world and the fantasy world around my writing didn’t mesh. I borrowed from my maternal great grandmother Tereasa Clair (who I was named after) and her husband Guy Collins and I created Claire Collins.

As Claire Collins, I… she… we (?) wrote Images of Betrayal, and Fate and Destiny.

We started Seeds of September and planned to finish it last summer but then that whole real world stepped back in and I took a hiatus from writing. Somewhere along the way, I had stepped back from writing so far that I decided I would never finish my third novel, not to mention the six other novels jostling for position behind it.

Along the way, my fantasy writing world became my real world when I gave up my corporate job and 9 to 5 employee life, packed up my house and family, and moved to North Carolina to manage Barnhill’s Bookstore.

We hit our grand opening last weekend and now I’m settling into this whole new life. I think part of this new life includes Second Wind Publishing and Seeds of September, but if I do, I’m going to write under my own name instead of my alias.


Filed under books, life, writing

A Book Store is Born

Hello! I am Tracy Beltran, Manager of Barnhill’s Books, Wine, Art, and Gift store in Winston-Salem North Carolina. You may also know me by my author name of Claire Collins. My work with Second Wind Publishing since it’s inception has been a lot of hard work but worth every moment I’ve spent with the authors and the readers.

And now, this relationship with Second Wind has allowed me to branch out and open a bookstore and it’s a dream come true for me. When other little girls were having tea parties, I was using my vast collection of books to start a library in my bedroom and I would loan my books to my younger sister this way. The golden look look books were labeled with check out cards and I would hold her stuffed animals hostage if the books were late being returned.

In college, I worked in the library. In February, I resigned from my position in Phoenix, packed up the family, and drove across the country to come to Winston-Salem and be part of Barnhill’s. I don’t regret that decision at all, even when we were supposed to be open on March 1, and now it’s looking more like March 20 or so. Who knew getting permits and revamping a 104 year old building would be so time consuming and difficult?

So that’s where I’ve been lately. You can follow the progress here: http://onlyatbarnhills.com/ and here: http://onlyatbarnhills.wordpress.com/

I have boxes and boxes of Second Wind Publishing books, and they are truly beautiful to hold and read. (When are you guys going to come visit me and do booksignings? Do I have to beg?) I have to remember that they are stock and belong on the shelves. Soon, they will be nestled among the bestsellers as well as other independent publishers. Speaking of which, if you are an independent publisher, email me: Tracy@onlyatbarnhills.com

We will also carry art from local artists and gift items including jewelry. Stop by and see me if you get a chance.

Tracy Beltran – Barnhill’s Manager


Filed under books