Mystery, poetry book signings

Posted: April 17, 2014

The Winchester Star

Barry Fulton
Robyn Budge

Winchester — A small-town murder mystery with global implications and one woman’s poetic self-discovery will be the focus of two book signings at the Winchester Book Gallery.

The book store at 185 N. Loudoun St. will have a signing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday for Barry Fulton’s “Flame: Hackers, Artists, Lovers, and Spies” followed from 4 to 6 p.m. by a poetry reading and book signing for Robyn Budge’s “From These Eyes: Poems with Heart” and “Whoda Thunkit: Rhyming Tales for the Young and Not So.”

Barry Fulton

The action in “Flame” begins when what appears to be a body is found in the Ice House Artists’ Co-Op gallery in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., said Fulton, of Chevy Chase, Md.

When highly advanced technology is found at the scene, the main character, Thomas Sebastian Scott, is drawn into the case. He is an expert on cybertechnology and a man who is supposed to have given up his stressful lifestyle as a secret government agent to settle down in West Virginia, the author said.

The case will take Scott from the wilds of West Virginia to Pakistan searching for answers in the case, Fulton said. The trail leads to a group working under Iranian expertise. The mystery has to do with how the device ended up in small town America and how it could affect national security.

Surrounding Scott is a complicated cast of characters and a book filled with plot twists that Fulton hopes will keep readers guessing to the very end.

Almost all of the locations in the book are places Fulton has been personally. After 30 years in the foreign service, Fulton has been all over the world and done speech writing, scholarly journals, and reporting. Now he works as a consultant in information technology.

About two years ago, he had free time and decided to try his hand at fiction, not sure if he would like it. “By the time I finished the fourth chapter, I had my rhythm and pace and took pleasure from it.”

The book took 13 months to write, and then he had it edited and self-published March 15. Fulton said he wrote chapter by chapter, not knowing how the book was going to end. “I was pleased to let my characters get into trouble and then try to figure out how to get them out of trouble.”

“Flame: Hackers, Artists, Lovers, and Spies” is $14.95.

Robyn Budge

When people think of poetry, many times it makes them think of English class and searching for hidden meanings for an assignment. With her two poetry books, Budge wanted to show that it’s possible to simply have fun with rhymes and word play.

“If they find a meaning of depth, it can do that, too. A poem doesn’t have to be anything. Sometimes it’s just for fun,” said Budge, 61, of Winchester.

A retired registered nurse, Budge was unable to work in her field after a car accident. She had written poetry since she was a teenager, and with a fall she took in 2012, she found a great deal of time during her recuperation to keep writing. She and her husband, Gary, have lived in Winchester since 2000.

The first result was “From These Eyes: Poems With Heart,” which was published in April 2013 and is $12.95. The poems in the book deal with three main subjects, waiting for the notes, life — messy, neat and in between, and God’s tender mercies.

“Sometimes it is the stories someone has told me. Sometimes it is an experience in life,” she said. “Sometimes it is just two words together, and it builds from there.”

The poems range in subject and tone of voice with both rhyming and non-rhyming selections, she said. “Forty-two Inch Hips” is a poem about looking inside a person, not only paying attention to the outside. “Not If, But When” is about the end stages of her mother’s life.

Some of the poems are parodies that could be set to existing tunes, such as “Nothing Could Be Finer,” written to the cadence of “Carolina in the Morning,” she said.

“Whoda Thunkit: Rhyming Tales for the Young and Not So” was published in November 2013 and is $15.95. It is a collection of poems for children pulled from Budge’s imagination and from raising a son and daughter, Nathan and Kaitlyn.

The book is formatted with framed blank pages encouraging the readers to create illustrations to express themselves and what the poems mean to them, Budge said. It also includes a glossary to help with some of the more difficult words.

In “Dumb Dinner Plate,” a piece of pie is separated from the rest of the meal, but when the food on the main plate complains about touching each other, the pie reminds them they are all going to the same place — someone’s stomach, Budge said.

“Lizard of Snaozz” is a long poem about Larry, a lizard, born with a spot that makes him different and how he takes advantage of that to make himself stand out, she said.

“I like the fun of building stories. I enjoy the imagination that goes with it,” she said.


Winchester Book Gallery, 185 N. Loudoun St., will host a book signing for Barry Fulton’s “Flame: Hackers, Artists, Lovers, and Spies” ($14.95) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday followed by a book signing and poetry reading from 4 to 6 p.m. for Robyn Budge’s “From These Eyes” ($12.95) and “Whoda Thunkit” ($15.95).

For more information, contact 540-667-3444.

— Contact Laura McFarland at