5 Year Author Journey!

Today marks the five year anniversary of my first book, Perfect Scents, releasing to the world! It has been an amazing five years, and I can’t believe it’s here already! So much has happened, it’s almost impossible to believe! I’ve made more friends, both author and reader, than I ever expected. I’ve attended author events in several different places. People actually like my books and can’t wait for the next one! I was hoping that would happen, but wasn’t sure it would. I have loyal fans. Again, not expected but hoped for.

My author proof shelf!

The only thing I would consider to be awful about these last five years was losing Gunney, my writing companion. I haven’t talked about it much, but I lost my best friend in March of this year. He was a special part of each book and writing was easier with him around. The words have been a struggle this year since losing him, but they’re coming faster now. He was always lying at my side or near me on a blanket, so it has taken some time to write alone without him when I’m writing at my place.

So, let’s go through some of the highlights (there are so many, I’m not going to be able to go over them all in this post).

The first is that I found out there are author signings. This is a two way street here. First, I got to meet my favorite author in person. I’d loved Karen Lynch’s books since I started reading them, and when I found out she was signing at different events, I had to go so I could meet her. Since then, I’ve read more and met more amazing authors as a reader. Those friendships have gone on to bigger and better things.

On the flip side, I have attended several signings as an author. It’s amazing to be able to network with other authors but then to also share my precious books with readers from all over. I still have a goal to do a signing outside of the USA, so one day it’ll happen. I’ve had to learn to come out of my shell and learn how to sell my books to those who’ve never heard of me. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s fun either way.

Last year, I participated in my first shared world anthology in The Diner. It was a fun experience to be able to build this world with three awesome ladies!  It was definitely a learning experience for all of us, and I continue to learn more as I do it. This year, I’m embarking on joining another shared world as we also work on The Diner 2. This is both an exciting thing to do, but it does have its challenges. I guess we’ll see how it all goes!

One of the things that has been special about this year is that my sister, Melanie Gilbert, and I have finally sat down and decided what book we’re writing together and going to finish it. So, in September, that book releases. We’re still working on it, but we’ve grown a lot in writing together since we first started doing it a few years ago. That was all great practice that has led up to the creation of Dark of the Night. It’s fun to be able to do what we love, but even better to do it together. So many people have been telling us to do it for years, and we’re finally doing it!

My last happiness of this adventure that I’m going to touch on, is my readers. I have several who tell others to read my books if I post in various groups. I have readers that one click whenever I post up a pre-order. I have FANS!!! Like, how did that happen? When did it happen? I love each and every one of them. They are the ones who make this an amazing adventure. If I didn’t have readers, I’d still write, but they make the experience far worth it. To each of you, thank you for enjoying my stories. You are amazing!!

There are so many more highlights to this author journey, and not enough time or space to write them all. I have been blessed beyond belief to make this journey. I’m hoping the next five years are even better than the first!

Heather

Getting Crafty: Book Cozies

Let’s get crafty!!

This week we’re talking crochet. To be more specific, let’s talk crocheted book cozies. For anyone who may not know what a book cozy is, it’s a sleeve that keeps your book safe. You slide it in and voila, safe, especially when traveling. I’ve seen some crocheted and sewn with material.

Almost a year ago, I wanted to start crocheting more again, and to make something others might like or want, so I decided to create a book cozy. Now, I’m positive there are patterns out there and they’re wonderful, but I decided to use my creativity even more and created my own pattern.

I have two sizes, one for a 6×9 book and a 5.5×8. Each one also has a fun decoration on the top. At the beginning, it was only flowers as I became familiar with the pattern. Now, I have more yarn color choices and want to create better themes and also branch out in color. I made a cozy out of pinker yarn and then added some leaves to the front. Soon I plan to attempt a sunflower.

So far, I’ve kept the pattern to myself, but perhaps some day I’ll write it up better and put it on this site for people to find. The next goal is to attempt to make up another pattern for something fun and to create another style of book cozy. I can’t help but want to make more, and they don’t take long.

If you’re interested in a custom cozy or one that I have already created, please reach out to me via my contact page. They’re $10 plus shipping. Every book lover needs a cozy!

Happy reading!

Travel Thursday: Shipshewana, Indiana

Welcome to one of my favorite places on Earth: Shipshewana, Indiana! You’ve probably never heard of it, and that’s okay. It’s a small town in northern Indiana with some of the best shopping and food imaginable!

What I would say is the biggest attraction to Shipshewana is the Flea Market. Rows upon rows of vendors with some unique items all for a fair and cheap price! It’s fun to see the popular items that change year after year as so many people will sell those. There are staples that my family checks out every year, and new vendors we find along the way. One of our favorites is the Spice Guy. I’m not sure what his shop is called at the moment, but that’s our family nickname for him. He’s got a multitude of variety in large containers. If you love to cook, he’s a must see.

It doesn’t matter who you are, there’s something for everyone! There’s booths with clothes, dresses, purses, tools, wooden crafts, guitars for kids, movies, books, flowers, and so much more! And let’s not forget the food vendors. There are lots of those too. Depending on how fast or slow you go through, it could take all day to explore!

The flea market itself is open with individual booths being covered by buildings, tarps, or nothing but open air. In rainy weather this can be an issue, but we’ve rarely ran into this situation. For us, it’s almost always been sunny and HOT. Very hot.

Also, unless specified as a special weekend event, the flea market is only open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays weekly and runs throughout the summer. You never know what you’re going to find. It changes year to year!

Right behind the flea market (or in front depending on which way you’re facing) is Yoder’s Meat & Cheese Co. Let me tell you, they have the BEST cheese ever! It’s also a great price. Plus, the variety of cheese they have makes me a happy person: they have samples I can try! (or so they did before this year, and I’m unsure if the pandemic has affected this or not)

My dad would say the best part are their pickles. They’re huge and whole. He likes to buy them by the 5 gallon bucket.

Now, for my second favorite place of all (and reason for going) is The Blue Gate Restaurant. Their family style chicken dinner is AMAZING!!! It’s now a buffet style meal, and you can’t go wrong with all you can eat of the best food around. Plus THE PIES!!! Yummy!! There’s always new flavors as well as the staples. Come with an empty stomach because you’re going to want all the room you can get for this food. They also have little bread loaves you can spread peanut butter and/or apple butter over. Their peanut butter and apple butter are both homemade and you can even buy them in the Blue Gate’s store. The store also sells pies, candy, mugs, knickknacks, Christmas ornaments, and soooooo much more food. I can’t name it all. And outside they have small ponds with fish (the kids in our family always find this facsinating)

Across the street and all throughout town are stores with furniture, decorations, and food! These stores are open during the week and after the flea market closes so there’s always something to do on days the flea market is closed.

The Shipshewana area is celebrated for being home to the third largest Amish community in the United States, for having the Midwest’s largest flea market, and for its reputation of hand-crafted wares. 

https://www.shipshewana.com/

While you’re planning your future family trips, make sure Shipshewana is on that list. You’ll never regret it. I wasn’t able to go this year when some of my family visited because I had car trouble on the way, but I can’t wait for my trip next year! (Pictures taken by my mom)

For more information, check out: https://www.shipshewana.com/
They even have an IG account: @shipshewana_flea_market & @shipshewanaindiana