Dogs, fracking, Civil War are book topics for upcoming signings

Posted: November 7, 2013

The Winchester Star

Winchester — The Winchester Book Gallery will hold book signings Saturday for a former journalist turned novelist, a dog-loving couple and their canine kids, and a historian.

The day begins with a book signing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for Bruce and Claudia Winkle’s children’s books “The Tail of Two Corgis” and “The Tails of Three Corgis at the Dog Show” at the bookstore, 185 N. Loudoun St., said Christine Patrick, the store owner. Larry “Bud” Meyer will sign copies of his first book “Mother Fracker” from 2 to 4 p.m.

The bookstore will also have a signing from 5 to 7 p.m. for Scott Patchan’s “The Last Battle of Winchester.”

All events are open to the public.

The ‘Tails’ of Razz, Merlin,  and Whimze

Although they are children’s books, the stories behind “The Tail of Two Corgis” and “The Tails of Three Corgis at the Dog Show” are true, said Bruce Winkle of Leesburg, who wrote the books with his wife, Claudia. Penny Hauffe is the illustrator.

The books follow the adventures of the couple’s Cardigan Welsh Corgis, who are “very amusing, fun, energetic boys,” Winkle said. They started with Merlin and the little dog “changed our lives.” Then they added Razz and finally Whimze.

“There is something magic about them, and people want to know about them,” Winkle said.

When they still only had the first two dogs and were entering them at shows, the Winkles decided to write a book about the breed. The result was “The Tail of Two Corgis,” self-published in February 2012. The book is $14.95.

After Whimze joined the family and started competing as well, the couple wrote “The Tails of Three Corgis at the Dog Show,” published this June. It is $16.95.

“Since Merlin and Whimze compete in breed confirmation and Razz competes in rally, we decided to do a book about what it takes to get them ready with training, grooming, and competing,” Winkle said. “All of the stories in there are absolutely true.”

The books reflect the dogs’ engaging personalities, he said. The dogs are clowns who “make us laugh every day.”

Merlin will come to the book signing and possibly Whimze but definitely not all three, Winkle said. “If you are not paying attention, they will think of something to get into.”

‘Mother Fracker’

After a long career in journalism and telling the facts as they are, Meyer of Rappahannock County said he reveled in writing his first novel, “Mother Fracker.”

Like the author, the main character of the novel, Tippecanoe “Tip” Tyler, is a retired journalist. Tip’s specialty was in environmental reporting, something he has put behind him to “live on his family's estate and make apple brandy,” Meyer said.

But a series of “drama, intrigue, and shenanigans” draws him back in as the threat of fracking looms in the fictional version of Rappahannock County where Meyer set the book. Hydraulic fracturing involves the use of water pressure to create fractures in rock that allows oil and natural gas to be extracted.

While the real Rappahannock County is under no threat of fracking, by using the topic for the book, Meyer said he could “write almost a worst-case scenario of what fracking could bring to any part of Virginia if it came and was mismanaged. Doing so with a light touch and some humor allows me to address a serious issue in what I believe is a fun book, starting with the title.”

The book, released in September, is the first book by Morningside Press Inc., which Meyer started with his wife, Anne Robertson. It costs $30.

Meyer spent two decades in print journalism, largely with the Miami Herald, and another 14 years with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in Miami. In the five years since he retired, he has been an independent strategic communications consultant.

‘The Last Battle  of Winchester’

“The Last Battle of Winchester: Phil Sheridan, Jubal Early, and the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, August 7 — September 19, 1864” is a serious study of the Third Battle of Winchester, said Patchan of New Market. The book is $34.95.

“It was the largest and bloodiest battle ever fought in the Shenandoah Valley and was critically important because of its political consequences toward the re-election of Abraham Lincoln in the November 1864 elections as well as the congressional elections that year,” he said.

The book dissects the five weeks of complex maneuvering and sporadic combat before Union troops under Sheridan and Confederate forces under Early faced off in Winchester.

It is based on more than two decades of research by Patchan and includes nearly two dozen original maps and scores of photos.


The Winchester Book Gallery, 185 N. Loudoun St., will have book signings from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday for Bruce and Claudia Winkle’s books “The Tail of Two Corgis” ($14.95) and “The Tails of Three Corgis at the Dog Show” ($16.95), from 2 to 4 p.m. for Larry “Bud” Meyer’s “Mother Fracker” ($30), and from 5 to 7 p.m. for Scott Patchan’s “The Last Battle of Winchester.” Call 540-667-3444.

— Contact Laura McFarland at