They came by car, they came by boat, they came by bicycle and they even came by golf cart to Pine Island author Robert Macomber's annual "Reader Rendezvous" party at Woody's Saturday. More than 200 people overflowed into the parking lot.
"I want everyone to relax, eat, drink and enjoy the music," Macomber said. "We will officially open this annual book party in the same way we opened all of the previous parties, with my half century old conch shell. This is the most fun you've ever had at a book event in your life."
The Reader Rendezvous parties at Woody's often coincide with the release of Macomber's latest novel. This year's novel is "An Honorable War: The Spanish-American War Begins." This is the 13th book in the Honor Series of Naval Historical Fiction following the career of Capt. Peter Wake.
Robert Macomber gets ready to kick off the event by blowing the conch shell horn
The Amazon review says: "Politics, love, and war swirl around Captain Peter Wake (USN) in Havana when the USS Maine explodes on a quiet evening in February, 1898. Working with Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt in the tense pre-war days, carrying out a perilous espionage mission inside Cuba, and leading a disastrous raid on the Cuban coast, Wake is in the middle of it all. This is the first of a dynamic trilogy set during the Spanish-American War in the Caribbean, when America changes forever into a global power."
Macomber's "eyeball recon" research included exploration of El Morro Castle, the Siboney invasion beach, the Guasimas battlefield and the American Army's route of approach to Santiago. He hiked across the battlefields of El Caney, Kettle Hill and San Juan Heights. He worked with Cuban scholars comparing period maps, logs, and recounts of what is termed in Cuba as the Spanish-Cuban-American War.
He summarized the experience in his own words, "This journey was a step back in time. It's an area of Cuba less travelled by tourists and important for those enticed by the war which made America a global power. I had to see the vistas, smell the air, feel the terrain, and meet the locals in order to make it come alive in my books. Now I'm excited to share this with those curious about the Spanish-American War." Adding with emphasis, "Remember The Maine!"
Kathy and Mike Taylor have read all of Macomber's books and accompanied Macomber on one of his Havana history tours last August.
"There were 19 guests along with Bob and his wife, Nancy," Kathy Taylor said. "Bob wanted to give his readers a walking tour of Old Havana that included all the places from his books. You can still stay in the hotels and go to the restaurants he writes about."
"I am always amazed at the turnout," Macomber said of this Readers Rendezvous. "You'll never have as much fun at a book bash as this one, and Woody's menu includes fresh seafood, slow-roasted pig, tropical drinks, with special live music entertainment including The Cuban Duo and a rare reunion by The Yard Dogs. I want my readers, when they think of me, they smile, because they remember great parties."
Partial proceeds of book sales always benefit a credible charity. This year, it's Home For Our Troops. (www.hfotusa.org). Homes For Our Troops is a privately funded 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that builds mortgage-free, specially adapted homes nationwide for severely injured Veterans Post 9/11, to enable them to rebuild their lives. Most of these Veterans have sustained injuries including multiple limb amputations, partial or full paralysis, and/or severe traumatic brain injury.
Visit www.RobertMacomber.com or find him on Facebook!