A Rotary Club Presentation

Yesterday, on September 29, 2021, I was the guest speaker at the breakfast Rotary Club in Fredericksburg, VA. It was the largest audience I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to so far. I was more nervous the Wednesday before a week ago than I was the day of my appearance.

It was most fortuitous that an invitation was extended to me. Years ago, as an employee of a bank, I became a member of a women’s professional organization. Although, I had been laid off for years, I stayed a member and continued to receive invitations through emails. So, a few months ago, I decided to start attending the get togethers. It would be a wonderful way to meet smart women who have enriched the various entities in the city.

Along with the invitation, we were asked to donate a gift for the door prizes which are a staple of these networking events. Well, I certainly could donate my book. So, I bought a festive gift bag, decorated it with pastel tissue paper, and inserted a tasseled bookmark and my business card inside On the Wings to Freedom.

When it was my turn to present my door prize, I was unprepared to talk about the book. Had I known, I would have read my latest synopsis. Anyway, I quickly described the plot in a few sentences and drew a name out of the box.

Afterwards, a woman approached me and inquired if I would like to be a guest speaker at the Rotary Club’s breakfast meeting. Well, yes, of course! What a wonderful opportunity! As it turned out, Beth was a member of the same church as I. We got together about a week or so afterwards so she could find out what kind of book I wrote and give me the scoop on what to expect as a speaker at the Rotary Club. She hadn’t read the book but had intended to do so.

As it turned out, I was worried for nothing. My presentation went well. I talked of plot, characters and of course the history in which my characters lived. There were about 40 guests, besides those on Zoom. At the end of my lecture, I sang my original song Steal Away Home (to Jesus). It was unexpected which made it a bonus to my listeners.

Needless to say, I was so proud of myself. I feel I’ve reached a milestone. From now on, I don’t think I will feel as nervous as I did this time when I next have a speaking engagement. I’ll simply enjoy myself.

Published by Malanna Carey Henderson

Malanna Carey Henderson is a Detroit native who presently resides in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Her adoptive city is rich in history. America's early colonial period and four major battles of the Civil War have marked its landscape. George Washington, his mother, sister, and brother-in-law attended the same church of which Malanna is a member. As a child, Malanna was an avid reader. Her favorite genres were biographies, mysteries, and historical fiction. The more books she read, the greater the urge to write grew. Malanna's creative attributes encompass playwriting, composing music, and singing. She has won two first-place awards for her one-act plays. On the Wings of Freedom is a book that combines several genres: a quest for social justice, adventure, and romance. The backdrop is 19th-century America. Here, the legal practices of the antebellum south are tested against the principles of freedom and democracy. On the Wings of Freedom is Malanna's first novel.

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