Several East Texas authors gathered Monday at the M.P. Baker Library for a community book signing and showcase.

The M.P. Baker Library at Panola College and the Sammy Brown Library in Carthage worked together to co-host the author showcase.

Cristie Ferguson, director of the M.P. Baker Library, said they have begun to make a concentrated effort to host author events at least annually and to focus on local talent.

“I think for one thing it encourages our students in this area to see that it’s okay to dream and think about doing things like this,” Ferguson said. “I’ve had students in the past who have come to us in the library and asked if we know how they can write and become published authors, and so we thought, well, if we bring authors in, it gives them an opportunity to visit with them and find out for themselves, how do you do this thing and how can I make it work?”

Five authors attended the showcase with their books in hand — Ryan Burchett, Dr. Barbara Cordell, Bill O’Neal, Elizabeth Powell and Louis Powell.

Burchett’s book, “Walking Together Through Trials: And How God is STILL Good” details the ongoing challenges he and his wife Lindsie face from her diagnosis of ataxic cerebral-palsy with neuropathy.

“What kind of makes this book different from others that I saw on the market, was it’s told from my perspective, which is the caregiver’s perspective, and just kind of what I deal with and think about and all that. And other parts of it are kind of what the Bible talks about in dealing with those things too,” he said.

Cordell’s book, “My Gut Makes Alcohol” talks about auto-brewery syndrome, which her husband Joe was diagnosed with.

Bill O’Neal, former Texas State Historian, attended to discuss his most recent book “Billy and Olive Dixon: The Plainsman and His Lady.” He has published over 40 books and also had many of them on hand during the showcase.

Elizabeth Powell’s book, “Ying Yue and Me” details her friendship with a Chinese woman and how the two women have affected each other’s lives without ever meeting in person.

Louis Powell wrote “Seven Resurrections” about an important question faced by believers.

“I’ve been to China 20 times on mission trips,” he said. “I’ve been to Venezuela, El Salvador, like 19 different countries. One of the questions that comes up is how is it that the people that never hear the name Jesus can be held accountable by God, and so that’s what this book does, it answers that question.”

Kim Turner, director of the Sammy Brown Library, said that all these authors have a connection to Carthage or to East Texas.

“And it’s information,” she said. “All of these are nonfiction authors, and so there’s something that maybe everyone can use or everyone can learn from. And so we just want to provide that opportunity for people to, if they’re writing their own book, to think about joining us for a future event. They all have a good story to tell, and so that’s what we want to hear.”