Monthly Archives: April 2010

Contest Riddle

Okay, the answer to the riddle was Thornton Wilder. About 69% of you got it right!  For those who didn’t, here’s how the riddle was solved.  First, here’s the riddle, again:

A person of literary significance
Three prized awards won he;
Crack the code below to learn
What valued awards these be.

ANBP, FLB1, W9, L1
ANBP, FLB4, W4, L3
ANBP, FLB7, W8, L6
ANBP, IB1, W5, L6
ANBP, IB3, W3, L2
ATPP, EB2, W35, L1
ATPP, WSB1, W12, L5
ATPP, WSB2, W2, L3
ATPP, TSBB3, W28, L5
ATPP, IB2, W4, L5

The first he won for seeking God
In far away Peru;
The second for lifting daily life
Above the mortal view;
The third was said to show we face
Same problems every age;
Tell me the name of whom I write–
He’s listed on a page.

The first thing you needed to do was figure out that ANBP was the sheet entitled A Nick Bertetto Primer, and that the ATPP was a Tony Perona Primer.  These sheets were in the envelopes I left at each library.  FL was Family Life, B was for the bullet point, and the number following the bullet point indicated which one of the bullet points to look at.  W indicated which word within the bullet point to look at, and L indicated the letter within the word.  Once you had that figured out, you could determine that the ‘prized awards’ the person of significance won were Pulitzer Prizes.  Then I proceeded to give you clues about the particular works that won this award.  Finally, I told you that the person was listed on a page.  By examining the names listed, particularly under Influences, you could check to see if any of them had one three Pulitzers, and if those matched up with the descriptions I provided.  Only one fit:  Thornton Wilder, a personal literary hero of mine.

So, thanks for playing and for guessing! I had such fun devising the contest that I might do another one on my website in a few months.  Not sure what the award would be this time, but I’ll be thinking about it.  Please check my website occasionally to see what’s going on.

30-Day Adventure, Blog 17

So, it’s Wednesday, and although I have only two counties to go (Hamilton and Tipton), Tipton is north of Hamilton, so I still have a bit of a drive.  Plus, I need to hit the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library, which I haven’t done yet.  I decide to do Indianapolis first, which means I don’t have to leave as early as I did yesterday.

The IMCPL, as it’s abbreviated, has been renovated recently, and although I took the photo from the front, which is the old facade, the interior and the remaining parts of the building are very modern.  I parked in the underground parking garage (free for the first half hour!) and took the elevator to the main floor.  I spoke with Melissa, to whom I’d sent the letter and who I knew from working with her on a couple of programs last year.  She was preparing for a meeting, so I left the materials with her (she knew about the contest), and headed back out, easily within my free half hour in the parking garage.  Here’s a photo of the library:

IMCPL website

I went north on Meridian Street to 38th Street, took it across to Keystone Avenue, and took Keystone all the way into Carmel.  I went down Main Street in Carmel until I found the library, which is just past Carmel High School on the other side of the street.  I met Cynthia at the readers advisory desk.  She was very nice, and listened to me talk about why I was there.  She took the contest materials and we had a nice discussion about the mystery readers group that meets at the Carmel Library (it used to meet at The Mystery Company bookstore, which is now defunct–RIP).  Anyway, she said she’d give the materials to either Deanna or Christine.  The Carmel Clay library has a no photos policy, unless it’s arranged through the communications department, so I thanked her and left.  Here’s a photo of the library’s exterior:

Carmel Clay PL website

From there I went north on S.R. 31 to Tipton County and the city of Tipton, which is the county seat.  With Hamilton County now in the completed column, Tipton was the 92nd and last county.  I celebrated by taking my photo outside the library.  You can see I’m happy:

Me at Tipton website

I went inside and met Kendra, who works in their Indiana Room.  She is very supportive of Indiana authors and asked if I would come back to do a program.  I told yes, and that I’d try to bring some additional mystery authors with me and do a panel discussion.  She liked that idea.  Kendra also accepted the contest materials.  Here she is, holding the envelope:

Kendra at Tipton website

Okay, so while I was technically finished, I still had two other libraries to hit.  One was in Alexandria, where my father-in-law is from.  I promised him I’d go past there after Tipton.  So I did.  And it was a fun visit.  Alexandria is on S.R. 38 east of Tipton as you head toward I-69.  It’s in Madison County, which had been covered by my visit to Anderson.  Anyway, I met the children’s librarian, Beth, and had a delightful talk with her about how difficult it can be to get your name out there as an author.  She was amused by the path I was taking, visiting so many libraries.  She took the contest materials and said she’d pass them onto the director.  Here are the photos from my visit to Alexandria:

Alexandria PL website Beth at Alexandria website

One more stop to make, and that was the Fishers Library.  It’s in Hamilton County, which I’d already covered this morning, but I have relatives in Fishers (hi, Dan!), so a stop was in order.  I swung around I-69, got off on 116th Street, and then went around Municipal Drive.  I had a great visit at the Fisher Library!  First, the librarian, Trudy, knew who I was!  She recognized the name immediately and said some of her co-workers had read my books and were enthusiastic about them.  The library has a mystery book club (Mystery Loves Company) that’s been meeting for 10 years, and she would love for them to read my new book and then have me back for a discussion!  Of course I said yes!  Now it’s just a matter of working with her on the month, but no doubt it will be in the fall.  Here are the standard photos of the library and of Trudy with the contest materials.

Fisher PL website Trudy at Fisher website

I love Fishers!!

After that, I headed home.  It was nice to get home in the early afternoon instead of late.  As of now, I’ve hit all 92 counties and exceeded my 101 library goal.  In fact, it stands at 92 counties and 107 libraries.  But there is still one more day, and I’ve got one more library, my home library of Plainfield, where I’ll be presenting the final envelope and giving a talk.  I can hardly wait to complete my adventure tomorrow!

30-Day Adventure, Blog 16

It’s Tuesday, and I have only two more days to go!  When I planned out these routes four weeks ago, I’d had a route that started at Greensburg and went down along the Ohio River valley.  It was a long one, and it hit seven counties.  Because of how things had gone in previous weeks, I’d kept putting it off.  But I couldn’t do it any longer.  I knew I had to hit it today.

The thing that helped was that the first library on my stop, Greensburg, opened at 8 a.m.  That meant that I could leave the house and start the route early, with the expectation I could get home at a decent hour.  My goal was to be at the library by 8:30, and I hit it almost exactly on the nose.  I took I-74 east to the Greensburg exit, then went in and met with Andrea, the library director.  Andrea was very nice and seemed to get a kick out of the contest.  She even told me they had a couple of my books, which I always like to hear.  Anyway, here is the Greensburg-Decatur County Public Library and Andrea with the envelope:

Greensburg PL website Andrea at Greensburg website

From there I returned on I-74 and went on down to Batesville exit.  Batesville is right at the tip of Ripley County, but it counts!  I went into the city and found the library right on the main drag through town, Walnut Street.  I stopped across the street, took the obligatory photo, and then drove around to the entrance in the back.  Inside I spoke with Jane at the reference desk.  She listened to me talk about the adventure and how I wanted to let people know about me and my books because people didn’t know about me.  She laughed and admitted she was one of them.  But now she knows. She took the materials and said she’d give them to her library director.  Here are the photos of the library and Jane with the envelope.

Batesville PL website Jane at Batesville PL website

From there I decided that I was better off continuing on I-74, even though it went into Ohio, and coming back on I-275 to Lawrenceburg than I was taking S.R. 1.  It would have been shorter staying in Indiana, but I wasn’t sure it would be faster.  Some of those S.R. can be winding, and if you get stuck behind a truck on a 2-lane road and can’t pass for a long time it can really slow you down.  Anyway, I took U.S. 50 west from I-275 and went right into Dearborn County and Lawrenceberg.

All I can say is wow!  Lawrenceberg has a really nice downtown area down by the river.  It’s still being rebuilt, and there are a number of vacancies, but clearly the city is putting their riverboat money to good use.  I’d love to have one of those townhouses within walking distance of everything.  Very cool.  And the library was fairly new as well.  I parked along the courthouse, snapped a photo of the library from across Mary Street, and then went inside.  I spoke with Darlene, who listened to my story of the adventure and the contest.  She took the materials to give to her director who wasn’t there at the time.  Darlene was very kind.  Since she didn’t feel it was appropriate for me to take a photo, I didn’t push the issue.  I thanked her for her time and left.  Here’s the outside of the library, though.

Lawrenceburg PL website

Today I was anxious to get as much done in as little time as possible.  I went immediately back to U.S. 50, took it through Aurora, and then caught S.R. 56 down to Rising Sun.  Rising Sun also has a riverboat, and they, too, were using their money to build up the town.  Rising Sun, though, is much smaller than Lawrenceburg.  It was still a nice area, though.  Rising Sun is home to the Ohio County Public Library.  I found Second Street easily enough, and from there figured out where the library was.  I loved the exterior.  The architect played off the ‘Rising Sun’ theme very well.  (You may not be able to see it on the photo, but there are a couple of large Rising Sun logos on the building.)  I went inside and met the library director, Cynthia.  She was great to talk with and even gave me a heads up about a nice bookstore in the area and a few suggestions on where to eat lunch.  She also wanted to know if I was interested in doing a program there, so I might be back in the fall.  Here’s Cynthia and the Ohio County Public Library.

Cynthia at Rising Sun website Rising Sun PL website

I decided not to go back into town to eat.  It was a little early for lunch, and being obsessed with getting through today as quickly as I could, I wanted to move on.  So I continued along S.R. 56 until it went overland, and then I switched to S.R. 156 along the river.  What a beautiful drive!  At times you’re coasting right next to the river; other times you see the river through budding trees.  But you’re never far from it.  The day was nearly perfect, and that helped, too.  Not a cloud in the sky and the temperature was unseasonably warm.

It actually proved to be a bit of drive to Vevay, which is in Switzerland County.  Vevay is another small town, like Rising Sun, only I think Vevay is smaller.  I found the Switzerland County Public Library without even having to ask for directions!  Anyway, a quick photo outside and I went in and waited in line at the circulation desk.  The library director, Shannon, who was out in the library at the time, asked if she could help me.  As we talked, she remembered the letter I’d sent in advance and seemed interested in the contest.  She said they had a lot of mystery readers and that she would get someone on posting a notice about the contest.  She also said she’d order my book if she didn’t already have it on order.  Here’s the library and Shannon with the envelope.

Swtizlnd Co PL website Shannon at Switzlnd County PL website

I had one more stop along the Ohio River, and that was at Madison in Jefferson County. Madison is a beautiful city with lots of well-kept historic homes and a historic downtown area, too.  I found the library and went inside.  The person at the circulation desk said the director had gone to lunch and would be back in a half hour.  Since it was now about 12:30 and I was hungry, I decided it was worth waiting for the director, and that I would eat lunch in Madison. Often I bring lunch with me, but that morning I’d be so focused on getting out of the house early that I hadn’t made lunch.  I walked around the downtown area, but was most intrigued by a guy selling BBQ out of a cart on a grassy mall area where there was a fountain.  The area is where the town has its farmers market, and I gathered this gentlemen sold his BBQ there during the market, too.  I joined some of the locals standing in line and bought a sandwich and some water, then sat on a bench by the fountain and enjoyed a wonderful, peaceful lunch.  It was nice to have a moment like that in the middle of such a busy day.  Here’s where I had lunch:

Lunch spot Madison website

I went back to the library and there was a different person at the circulation desk.  She told me the director wasn’t there and wouldn’t be back, nor would she let me explain about the adventure, the contest or anything.  She just said to leave the materials and she would give them to the right person.  If that person had questions, they would call.  I thanked her, gave her the materials, and left.  I didn’t even bother to ask if they’d let me take a photo.  Here’s the outside of the Madison-Jefferson County Public Library, though.  Beautiful building.

Madison PL website

Now I needed to head inland to North Vernon, to the Jennings County Public Library.  I took S.R. 7 north out of Madison, switched over to S.R. 3, and found the library along S.R. 3 north of the split.  I parked, took the library’s photo, then went inside and spoke with Ed, the assistant director.  Ed was very nice, and I liked that he said ‘not a problem’ after I explained about the adventure and the contest.  He seemed to think I had hit on a good idea to visit at least one library in every county.  He accepted the envelope and even let me take his photo with it.  He said he’d give it to the appropriate person, who would be back the next day.

Here’s Ed, the envelope, and the library:

Ed at Jennings Co website Jennings Co PL website

I took S.R. 3 back to U.S. 50, which also crossed North Vernon, and then took it to I-65.  I went north on I-65 to Indianapolis, I-465 around the south end of Indy, and then I-70 home to Plainfield.  It was my last long day, and I was glad it was over.  With 7 more counties down, I now have only 2 left to go.

The new totals:  90 counties down, 2 to go.  And I’ve hit 102 libraries.

30-Day Adventure, Blog 15

Today I’d been invited to the Clinton, Indiana library to do a booksigning with several other authors, including by writing partner Phil Dunlap, so I had saved the libraries in Clay County (Brazil, Indiana) and Vigo County (Terre Haute, Indiana) to do on the way to the signing.  Phil and I rode together.

We took U.S. 40 out of Plainfield and stayed on it all the way into Brazil.  About halfway through the city I was certain we’d passed it, but Phil kept telling me we hadn’t, that he’d kept his eyes out for it.  Sure enough, he was right.  It turned out to be on the western side of the city.  I pulled in the parking lot and went in while Phil went to the bank next door to get change in case he needed it at the booksigning.

Okay, let me be honest–I love reactions like the one I got in Brazil.  Jim at the circulation desk had been aware for weeks that I was coming, and he was excited to see me.  He handed me copies of my earlier books they’d pulled out of their stacks for me to sign, which I did.  Then one of his co-workers, Ann, came by and he introduced us, and then Phil came in, and I introduced Phil.  We had a good talk, and I couldn’t have felt more welcome.  Here are photos of the Brazil Public Library and Ann and Jim with the envelope.

Brazil Public Library website Ann and Jim Brazil website

From there we continued into Terre Haute.  Phil and I each had a connection to the city.  Phil had lived in Terre Haute for quite a while when he was younger, and I told him most of my mom’s side of the family lived in Terre Haute, and that I’d gone there a lot over the years (I still have relatives there).  It turns out Phil lived not too far from where my aunt lives now.  Small world.

Anyway, for as well as both of us should have known the city, we got turned around and had to ask for directions to the library.  But, to our credit, we were only about a block away.  We parked and went in, and I asked to see Chris, who I’ve known for years.  But, alas, she was on vacation that day.  I left the envelope with Sally, who played along with us and let me take a photo of her holding it.  Here’s the Vigo County library and Sally.

Sally at Vigo County PL website Vigo County PL website

After we left the library, I had to pull over, and Phil and I did a frantic search of the car for the bluetooth adapter for my phone.  I’d accidentally dropped it under the seat.  This was important because I was expecting a phone call any moment from a reporter from the Jasper Herald, who’d contacted me earlier.  Fortunately we (or should I say, Phil) found it.  We hadn’t left Terre Haute yet when she called, so Phil found it just in time.   It was a great interview, and we chatted all the way to Clinton.  In fact, Phil was in the Clinton library and already setting up when my interview wrapped up.

It was a nice booksigning.  My friend Marlis Day was there and sat next to me.  It was good to see her again, especially since the last time we’d been together (at Bouchercon) we’d both been stressed out.  Her books hadn’t shown up for her signing, and I was upset because she’d brought author Wendelin Van Draanen in late for a HOT TICKET event.  Anyway, I apologized again (although ‘yell’ is strong word; I don’t really think I yelled at her).  Anyway, it was nice event, and thanks to the Clinton Public Library for putting it together.  Karen, the library director, and I have known each other for a long time.  Here’s a photo of the two of us clowning around with the envelope.

Tony and Karen Clinton PL website

However, between the interview and the booksigning, I forgot to take a photo of the library itself.  Sorry about that.

With three more counties and libraries down, that means my total is now up to 83 counties and 95 libraries.  Only 9 more counties to go!

30-Day Adventure, Blog 14

Saturday I headed down to Louisville for a booksigning and talk at the April meeting of the Sisters in Crime, Ohio River Valley chapter.  The chapter holds its meetings at the Barnes & Noble on Hurstborne Parkway.  I’ve remained a member of the chapter, even though they spun off the Speed City Chapter in Indianapolis a few years ago, to which I also belong.  So I was delighted when they asked me to speak and then sign books.

ANYWAY, since I was headed southward on I-65, I thought I’d take in a couple of counties on the 30-day adventure.  I first stopped at the Bartholomew County Library in Columbus, taking the short drive on S.R. 46 into the downtown area.  Columbus, by the way, is noted for its architecture. Many of its buildings have been designed by world-famous architects and engineers because of a charitable program of the Cummins Foundation, founded by the late J. Irwin Miller, which helps subsidize architectural projects.  If you haven’t been, it’s really quite an interesting city to tour.  But I didn’t have time to tour.  I had to locate the library and move on if I was going to get to Louisville on time.  I parked on a street nearby Fifth Street (legal on weekends), and went into the library.  I waited at the reference desk until it was my turn, and then spoke to Denise, who thought the contest sounded like fun.  But because her supervisor wasn’t there (Saturdays is a bad day for that), she could only promise to hand it off to her supervisor on Monday.  Alas, no picture of her with the envelope or even just the envelope.  But here’s the library:

Columbus Bartholomew County PL website

I got back onto I-65 South to the Seymour exit, and then took U.S. 50 into the city.  Because of construction, I ended up having to turn around a couple of times, but I did find the Jackson County Public Library on W. Second Street,as promised.  I parked in front of the library and snapped a picture, only to find that I had to walk all the way around the sizeable library because all the entrances are in back.  I went in and found the reference desk, where Monica gave me the bad news that both of the people I needed to talk to were not in because it was Saturday.  She said she would give the materials to her supervisor, and encouraged me to call on Monday.  So, again, no photo.  But here’s a picture of their stately-looking library:

Seymour PL website

I got back to I-65 and made it to the book talk with a half-hour to spare.  I was really glad I hadn’t planned more Saturday stops, since it seemed that Saturdays were not good days to try to connect with the right people about my contest.

At any rate, that’s 80 counties and 92 libraries down.  Only 12 counties to go.

The book talk and signing went great, and I want to express my appreciation to all the sisters in the Ohio River Valley chapter who came in from the beautiful weather to listen to me talk!

30-Day Adventure, Blog 13

Today is my birthday.  Happy Birthday, me!

Though it’s my birthday and I’d love to take it easy, I knew I needed to take Friday off to handle stuff that hadn’t been done yet (like mowing the lawn and getting ready for my book launch), so today had to be another big travel day.  My original thought had been to do the southeastern swing down toward Lawrenceville, Madison, and the Ohio River counties, but Debbie and I had dinner plans to celebrate my birthday and I was afraid that itinerary was just too ambitious.  So I went for the middle central Indiana route that still took me pretty far south into Orange County.

That said, I was down in Greenwood at 9 a.m. for the opening of the Greenwood Public Library.  I’ve spoken there before on previous occasions, so I wasn’t unfamiliar with the library or how to get there.  I spoke with Cheryl, the head of adult services, and she was amused by the adventure I was undertaking.  She allowed me to take her photo with the envelope, but she was going to pass it onto Susie, the library’s multi-media department head, who also heads up a mystery reading group.  I’ve met Susie before, and I probably should have sent the original letter directly to her.  Anyway, here’s the library and Cheyrl with the envelope.

Cheryl at Greenwood website Greenwood PL website

From Greenwood I went to Franklin.  They’re both in Johnson County, but Franklin is the place where Nick Bertetto, my series’ main character lives, so I wanted to make certain that city’s library had the contest materials.  The Johnson County Public Library, which is the name of the library in Franklin, is located on the campus for Franklin University, which also just happens to be where Nick received his BA in Journalism.   Anyway, I stopped by and spoke with Tod, who took the envelope and said he’d give it to the library manager, Ann.  Tod thought the contest was a fun idea.  I think he’s planning to enter.  Here’s the Johnson County Public Library and Tod:

Franklin PL website Tod at Franklin website

I caught S.R. 44 out of Franklin to S.R. 135, which I took south to Nashville and the Brown County Public Library.  Going into southern Indiana meant going back into the hills and forest area.  For those who’ve never been to Indiana or for those northern Hoosiers who haven’t made it down to Brown County, it’s the home for one of the state’s best parks, Brown County State Park, and also has a quaint downtown with unique little shops that attract hordes of tourists from spring through Thanksgiving.  The library fit the town perfectly, built into a hill with a brown stone and limestone facade that felt very natural.  I found Diane at the reference area, and she had a positive reaction to the adventure and the contest, and said she’d seriously consider ordering my books and doing something about the contest.  She had a lot of people in line to be helped so I didn’t feel like I could take up too much more of her time trying to get a photo.  But here’s the library:

Brown County PL website

I took the roller coaster ride that is S.R. 46 west from Nashville over to Bloomington.  The one thing that struck me during the drive, in addition to the loopy twists and turns, was the number of flooded fields.  We had a lot of snow during the winter and have had quite a bit of rain so far this spring, so I guess it makes sense, but it must really difficult for the farmers.  I located the Monroe County Public Library in downtown Bloomington and drove around for about 15 minutes trying to locate a spot to park.  Finally I decided I’d have to go to a public lot several blocks from the library and walk back, which I did.  I went into the library and was introduced to Sarah, who handles programs for the library.  She was enthused about the contest, but she was also thinking ahead to the winter and the possibility of having a program with mystery authors.  I assured her I knew other mystery authors I could put her in touch with, so I maybe back in the winter with friends.  It was great talking to Sarah.  Here’s the library and Sarah with the envelope:

Monroe Co PL website Sarah at Monroe website

From Bloomington I got on S.R. 37 and went further south to Lawrence County and the city of Bedford.  The Bedford Public Library was my destination, and I found it on K Street in the downtown area.  I parked and went inside.  I spoke with Mary, the adult services librarian.  She said she’d give it to the programming person to “whip something up,” and I thanked her for that.  I have really appreciated how most librarians have embraced my visits and my contest.

Here’s the Bedford Public Library, but I can’t find a photo the photo of Mary.  (Sorry, Mary…)

Bedford PL website

I went even further south on S.R. 37 into Orange County, but just barely.  I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time, so my scheduled stop was at Orleans, a few miles past the county line.  I found a spot on the street right outside the library and went inside and spoke with Tammi at the circulation desk.  She listened to me explain about the adventure and the contest.  Tammi took the envelope and said she’d give it to the library director, who was at lunch.  Here’s the library and Tammi with the envelope:

Orleans PL website Tammi at Orleans PL

I backtracked on S.R. 37 to Bloomington.  It was my intention to take S.R. 46 to Spencer, but I was so close to Oliver Winery that I couldn’t resist stopping and buying some of their Sauvignon Blanc, a wine my wife and I are enthused about.  If you have not been to Oliver Winery, it’s beautiful place, like a little bit of Napa Valley in Indiana.  Then I backtracked, but not too far, to catch the road into Spencer and the Owen Valley Public Library.  Brenda, the circulation clerk, told me that everyone I should talk to was not there today, but she’d be happy to talk to me, even though she was “just a clerk.”  I told her I would be delighted to talk to “just a clerk,” and that she was an important person in the library.  Brenda liked the adventure and the contest and took the envelope, but was shy about letting me take her photo, so we compromised and she allowed me to let Nicolas Cage hold the envelope.  (I hope I don’t get myself in trouble for this…)  Here’s the library and my good friend Nicolas unwittingly promoting my contest.

Owen Co PL website N Cage with envelope website

Last stop for the day was in a county I’d already covered, Morgan County (Mooresville was one of my first stops), but I wanted to cover Martinsville, too.  I took S.R. 67 to the Martinsville exit, then cut across S.R. 39 to the city.  I drove past the town square and then found Jefferson Street and the Morgan County Public Library.  Inside I found Krista, the library director, and she remembered my advance letter. We talked a little about the adventure and the contest.  She told me they had all my books.  I told her I LOVED Martinsville!  She laughed and let me take her photo holding the envelope:

Krista at Morgan Co website Morgan Co PL website

I had thought it wouldn’t be a long day, but I didn’t get back to Plainfield until suppertime.  So much for my ability to estimate driving time…ha!  I’m not getting better, even though I’ve nearly covered the whole state.

With six more counties and eight more libraries down, I’m getting there.  The total is now 78 counties and 90 libraries.  Only 14 counties to go!

30-Day Adventure, Blog 12

We’re really into crunch time here, so I decided I needed to concentrate on the remaining outliers and hold the ones closer to Indianapolis for next week, the last week of this adventure.  So I set out to do the southwest swing between where I’d been on Monday (which started in Petersburg and Princeton) and Terre Haute, which I’m planning to do next Monday in connection with a booksigning in Clinton, which is just north of there.  So, on this cloudy, dismal-looking day I took I-70 out of Plainfield to Terre Haute and then went south to S.R. 54, where I crossed east to Sullivan.  There I found the Sullivan Public Library (Sullivan is both a county and a town).  It’s a Carnegie Library, but a different style than I’d seen before, with a round tower to one side.  Like most other Carnegie Libraries, it’s had an addition to accommodate growth.  Inside I found Carole at the circulation desk, who said I needed to talk to her director, who wasn’t there.  I explained everything about the contest and the adventure to her.  I left her with the envelope, but since she was reluctant to have her photo taken, I found a location on the circulation desk that was irresistible, with Dobby (from the Harry Potter series) in the background.  Here’s the envelope, Dobby, and the library:

Sullivan PL website Envelope at Sullivan with Dobby

Next I took the state road back to U.S. 41 and went south to Vincennes.  Downtown I located the Knox County Public Library.  I took the photo from the back of the building, so you could see the Knox County designation on the awning, but I have to admit it’s not a pretty view from the rear.   Anyway, I went inside and met Emily, the library director, who accepted the envelope and said she’d put out an email to their mystery fans about the contest.  She was gracious and allowed me to take her photo.  Here’s the library and Emily with the contest materials.

Emily at Knox Co website Knox Co PL Vincennes website

I got turned around coming out of Vincennes and had to ask directions–twice–but managed to find my way back to U.S. 41 and onto U.S. 50, which I took east to Washington in Daviess County.  I had already spoken to Rick Chambon there, who is in charge of their outreach services (I’m doing a program in June), and I was able to meet him and also the director, Teresa Heidenreich.  They were both terrific people, and I look forward to being back with them in June.  Here are the obligatory photos:

Washington PL website Rick at Washington website

From there I continued on U.S. 50 into the town of Loogootee, which is just inside Martin County.  As I drove through the farmland area, I breathed in a smell that those of us from Indiana recognize oh so well–the smell of a pig farm.  Trust me, there is nothing that smells like a pig farm.  It is unique.  But the smell is not deadly to my knowledge, and so i didn’t hold my breath for miles as I passed the farm and reached Loogootee.  When I went to take the photo, I realized I hadn’t shown myself in a picture in a while, and just to prove I was in Loogootee, I took it of me standing in front of the sign.  Then I went in and met Mary, the director of the library.  She remembered receiving my letter and said she would let her mystery fans know.  If I remember correctly, they may even have a readers group that she thought might be interested in participating.  Mary was another reluctant soul to have her photo taken, so I propped the envelope up in their mystery section (in with Sue Grafton’s alphabet series–it’s a long story, but I’m Sue’s new best friend, or was back in October…) and took the photo.  Here are the photos, although the envelope one is kind of blurry.

Envelope at Loogootee Me at Loogootee website

From there I took U.S. 231 up to Greene County and into Bloomfield, and then back west on S.R. 54 into Linton.  I traveled through the downtown area and found the library on 1st Street.  I met the library director, Shelley, who thought the 30-day adventure was a fun idea, took the envelope and said she’d pass it onto another employee for publicizing it to their mystery readers.

Here’s a photo of the library and another of Shelley with the contest materials.

Shelley at Linton website Linton PL website

From there I took S.R. 54 back through Sullivan and onto U.S. 41, then back to Terre Haute and I-70 and home.  It was a long day, and I wished I could have done more libraries, but I needed to get back home.  At least I took care of some of the more distant libraries that hadn’t been covered yet.  Only five counties and five libraries today.  I’m starting to get a little panicky that I won’t be able to finish this in 30 days.

New total:  72 counties, 82 libraries.  Only 20 counties left to go.  I have a week left, but I’ve got so much other stuff packed into next week…

30-Day Adventure, Blog 11

Tuesday didn’t start out very well for me.  I got a late start, about a half-hour later than I’d planned, but I’d stayed up late finishing the blog the night before and watching the Butler/Duke basketball game.  Have to say I was disappointed in the outcome, of course, being from the Indianapolis area.  But Butler certainly had nothing to be ashamed of.  They were 20 seconds and 1 basket away from winning it.  Wow!  Great game, tough outcome.   But I digress…

The thing is, it turned out to be a good thing I was running late, because Tell City, my first stop of the day, is on Central Daylight Time.  Now, why is that?  It’s far enough east that it shouldn’t be associated with Illinois, where most of Indiana’s counties on Central Daylight are located.  I guess I should have checked.  Anyway, I sat outside the library and spoke two young men also waiting for the library to open.  Given that I had time, I asked them where to get a good cup of coffee, and they recommended The Freezer.  So I went into their little downtown area and bought a cup of coffee.  The Freezer is a hole-in-the-wall diner, but the woman behind the counter was very nice; the coffee so-so.  I’ve had worse, but I’ve had better, too.  Back to the Tell City-Crawford County Public Library I went, and still sat outside until 10 a.m. my time, 9 a.m. theirs. Larry, their director, and I had emailed ahead of time, and I knew he wasn’t going to be there, but he’d told Paul I’d be stopping by.  Here’s the library and Paul holding the letter:

Tell City PL website Paul Sanders at Tell City website

Now I was way behind, and I hurried as much as I could to English, Indiana, home to the Crawford County Public Library.  The drive was a beautiful one as it goes through the Hoosier National Forest.  I took S.R. 37 up to I-64, then across I-64 until I connected with S.R. 237 up to English.  It’s a winding drive, and I was already looking at 11 a.m. before I got there. (English is on Eastern Daylight Time.)  Of course, to make things more difficult, I got lost in the countryside outside of the town, and had to ask directions–and even then, I was lucky to have found it.  Once inside, I met with Tracy, who will be their director in a few months, and fortunately for me she likes to promote Indiana authors. She took the envelope and allowed me to take a photo of her holding it.  Here’s Tracy and the library.

Crawford Co English website Tracy at Crawford website

I was now late for an appointment with Sue at the Harrison County Public Library in Corydon, so I had to call her and let her know I was in still in English.  She was gracious about it and I practically flew back down to I-64 and took it across to the Corydon exit.  Corydon, for those of you who may not know, was the first capitol of Indiana, and it  has a great historic downtown area, which is also where the library is located.  Sue met with me immediately when I got there, and we had a nice chat.  I may be returning there in the fall to do a program.

Corydon PL website Sue at Corydon website

If you love history, Corydon is a terrific place to visit.

Next I got back on I-64 and had a short drive to New Albany where my stop was the New-Albany Floyd County Public Library.  FLOYD COUNTY RESIDENTS ALERT:  The director of the New Albany library–who I didn’t get to see, by the way–declined to let me leave the contest materials at the library.  He said (through an intermediary) that he’d order my book, but that he wouldn’t let his library participate in the contest.  Now, that’s perfectly within his right to do that, but I’m not sure that, working through this intermediary, that he really understood what was going on.  Anyway, I didn’t have time to find out if there were other libraries in Floyd County who would want to participate, so I recommend that Floyd County residents who want to play go to Corydon or to Jeffersonville, my next stop, where the librarians ‘get it.’  OR, IF THERE ARE ANY LIBRARIANS IN FLOYD COUNTY READING THIS AND YOU WANT A CONTEST ENVELOPE, send me an email at and I’ll be back to you (remove the + signs from the email address, and you’ll have it right).

But to prove I was in Floyd County, here’s the library:

New Albany website

So, as I said, I was pleased to stop at Jeffersonville (a trip back to I-64, then around I-265 to I-65, and then down I-65 to Jeffersonville), where I was warmly received by Harriet, their public services librarian.  She even asked if I did programs, and of course I said ‘yes,’ so I may be back down there later in the year.  Here’s the beautiful, modern-looking Jeffersonville Township Public Library and Harriet with the envelope.

Harriette at Jeffersonville website Jeffville PL website

Buoyed by the Jeffersonville stop, I went back to I-65 and headed north to the Scottsburg exit.  I took S.R. 56 into town and located the Scott County Public Library.  That library, like many others I’ve visited, is a Carnegie Library that’s been expanded to accommodate a lot of growth since it was built.  Nice historic library. I spoke with Martha at the circulation desk, and after I explained about the 30-day adventure and the contest, she said she knew some mystery patrons who’d get a kick out of trying to solve the riddle when I post it on April 15th.  I left the envelope with her.  Here’s the library and Martha with the contest materials.

Martha at Scott Co website Scott Co PL website

From there I took  U.S. 56 back across the interstate into Washington County to the Salem-Washington Township Public Library.  Salem also has a beautiful, historic Carnegie Library, and I had to marvel at how well kept up the entryway is. The stately wooden columns made a great visual impact, and the stained glass window at the top of the dome was in marvelous condition.  I met with Sarah, one of the librarians, and she was pleased to receive the contest envelope.  I’m only sorry the photo of her is so blurry.  This leg of my journey started in Jasper, so I still was using my cell phone camera since I’d forgotten my regular one.  Here, nonetheless, is the library and Sarah.

Salem PL website Sarah at Salem website

I’ll try not to forget my camera again!!!  (Sorry, Sarah!)

At that point I went back across S.R. 56 to I-65 and headed home.  It was great to get back to Plainfield and be able to sleep in my own bed.

I’ve now visited 67 counties (Floyd County does count–I was there!) and 77 libraries.  Just 25 counties to go!

30-Day Adventure, Blog 10

I had a long initial journey this morning as I drove from Plainfield to Terre Haute on I-70, then took U.S. 41 south to Vincennes.  My intent was to take S.R. 61 south directly to Petersburg, but I somehow missed the fact that there’s no exit for 61 on the by-pass around Vincennes.  I ended up having to go further south to S.R. 56  and take it across country to Petersburg.  While U.S. 41 goes mainly straight through flat fields, 56 is a winding road that snakes its way through hilly farmland and pasture.  One unusual thing I noticed was that there were small oil wells scattered in the fields, some pumping, some not.  I made it into Petersburg and found the Pike County Public Library on Main Street.  I went in and met Ginger, the library director.  She was very nice and had even remembered receiving my letter.  I explained the contents of the envelope and we chatted for awhile.  Here’s the library and Ginger holding the contest materials.

Petersburg Pike County website Ginger at Petersburg website

From there I took the S.R. 65 (more winding roads) down to Princeton.  Princeton has a beautiful Carnegie Library that’s been been restored and added onto.  I admired the stained glass window in the ceiling and the original chandelier that had electric lights on it, even back when it was built in 1905.  I spoke with Brenda, the library director, who filled me in on the history of the library after I’d filled her in about the contest.  Here’s Brenda with the envelope, and a look at the outside of the library.  You’ll have to see the inside yourself.

Princeton PL website Brenda at Princeton website

From there I had an easy drive down U.S. 41 to Evansville.  Once I managed to get to downtown, finding the library was easy, as the city has it well-marked.  (But I got lost getting downtown…)  I went inside and had a great talk with the folks at the reference desk, and discovered that Evansville had not only received the letter, but had ordered my books as well.  How cool!  Here is a photo of the library, and of Fran (at the reference desk) holding the envelope with the contest materials.

Fran at Evansville website Evansville PL website

From there I took S.R. 62 over to Mt. Vernon to the Alexandrian Public Library in Mt. Vernon. (I’m not sure why it’s called the Alexandrian Public Library.  I tried looking it up and couldn’t find information on it.)  Anyway, I spoke with Patty, their head of adult services, who, as it turns out, lived in Plainfield for about ten years.  She didn’t work at the Plainfield Public Library, but she did work at the Mooresville Public Library.  We had a great time talking about the changes in both towns since she left in the late 90s.  It was such a delight talking to her that I forgot to take her picture with the envelope.  Here’s the library, though, obscured as it is through the budding trees.

Mt. Vernon PL website

I went back across on U.S. 62, taking it through Evansville, but somehow I ended up on U.S. 66 and had to catch U.S 261 into Boonville in Warrick County.  I spoke to someone at the circulation desk, and she determined that I needed to talk to the director, who wouldn’t be back until tomorrow.  I told her I couldn’t come back tomorrow and needed to give someone the contest materials.  She connected me with Julie, who was the bookkeeper.  Julie listened to me explain about the new book, the 30-Day Adventure, and the contest, and agreed to take the envelope and give it to the director the next day.  Since Julie doesn’t work with patrons, I decided not to ask to take her photo with the envelope.  But here’s the library:

Boonville PL website

I left Boonville and headed up U.S. 231 into Spencer County and took in the Lincoln Heritage Public Library in Dale.  There I learned that the person I needed to see, their director Lynn,  wasn’t there.  But the person that I spoke to at the desk, Marsha, listened to me explain about the contest and agreed to take the materials and give them to Lynn when she was in next.  Here’s the library (beautiful library, by the way), but I can’t find the photo I took of Marsha (sorry, Marsha).

Lincoln Heritage Dale PL website

My last stop for the night was the Jasper Public Library, which was wonderful since Jasper is the city Saintly Remains is set in.  I arrived in time to speak with Rita, the library’s director.  We’d communicated by email prior to this.  She was very nice and informed that they had ordered all my books.  She was camera-shy, though, and made me take a photo of Sandy at the circulation desk with the envelope.

Here’s the Jasper Public Library and Sandy:

Sandy at Jasper website Jasper PL website

I stayed the night in Jasper, so I’d be ready to take the southern-most swing on my trip early in the morning.  At this point, I have 60 counties and 70 libraries visited, leaving me with 32 more counties left to visit to finish it out.

30-Day Adventure Blog 9

Yesterday was an incredible day. The weather was great here in Indiana, sunshine all day and record highs for the date (80° F), and if only I’d had a convertible for driving around :) , it would have been perfect.

I decided that it was time to basically finish off the northern half of the state by taking a westward swing again, south of the Newton County/Jasper County line I’d hit last week.  I started off by cruising down U.S. 40 out of Plainfield, then taking the S.R. 240 shortcut into Greencastle to the Putnam County Library, where my long-time friend Margot works.  It was fun to see her again, and after a little catching up and after debating what to use as the background for photo (we selected art), we asked her co-worker to take the picture.  Here’s the library and Margot and me with the envelope.  Margot, by the way, already has the library Facebook page encouraging their patrons to learn about the contest and enter on April 15th.  Putnam County wants to win, so I think other counties better watch out!

Putnam County PL website Margot and me Putnam website

After that I headed up U.S. 231 to U.S. 36, and took it west into Rockville.  This area of the state, while it still has plenty of farmland, also has some gentle hills and woodlands, so it’s a nice drive.  I got into Rockville and went straight to the Rockville Public Library in Parke County.  There I visited with Cindy, the library director, who has me booked for a talk in June.  I gave her the envelope with the contest materials in it, and they got out a copy of my last book, Angels Whisper, and we took some promotional photographs for my talk and the contest.  Here’s the Rockville Library and Cindy and me:

Cindy and me Rockville website Rockville PL website

From there I took U.S. 41 north.  As I passed Turkey Run State Park, I couldn’t help but think of all the good memories I have from there, of childhood trips with Mom and Dad, and later many family reunions.  Some of the earliest pictures of my paternal grandma and the man I knew as my grandpa (my dad’s actual father had died when Dad was only eight) are from that park.  So l spent some reflective moments as I headed up toward Fountain County.

Once you get into Fountain County, the land really levels out.  This is where Indiana gets its reputation as a farm state.  For as far as the eye can see in all directions, it’s farmland.  My original plan called for only stopping in Attica, which is at the north end of the county, but as I went by Veedersburg, on a whim I drove into town to see if they had a library.  I was really glad I did!  Veedersburg is a cute little town, still very much a farmtown, and its small town center recalls long-ago times.  I found the public library and went in and visited with Gale and Dale.  I’m serious–that’s who they are.  They even joked about it with me. Gale is their library director, and Dale handles circulation.  I don’t think very many authors stop by Veedersburg, and it was enjoyable getting to know them.  I hope their mystery enthusiasts want to enter the contest.  Here is a photo of their Alpine-looking library and Dale and Gale with the envelope:

Gale and Dale Veedersburg website Veedersburg PL website

I went back to U.S. 41 and continued into Attica, buoyed by the nice reception I had in Veedersburg.

Attica is quite a picturesque place, too, and larger than Veedersburg.  Attica has this well-preserved, historic downtown district that reminds me of the one in Madison, Indiana, along the Ohio River.  Their library (which is not located downtown, by the way) is also very historic.  When you walk in, it’s like walking into the library as it when when it was constructed, with pillars and real crown molding and an old circulation desk.  Behind that first room, however, is a modern addition.  From the outside, the architecture blends wonderfully.  There, I met Lisa, the assistant librarian, and Norma, their library director of 32 years.  It was great to meet them both, and Lisa had been expecting me, so I received another warm reception.  Here’s a photo of their library (which was being landscaped that day) and Lisa holding the contest materials.

Lisa at Attica website Attica PL website

From there it was a quick trip across the Wabash over to Williamsport in Warren County.  Lisa had told me that the Williamsport Library had burned down sometime ago, and that they had built a new library there.  It was right on S.R. 28 as you head into the town, and easy to spot.  I went in and me with Chris, their director.  Chris has a remarkable collection of action figures in his office.  It’s his homage to the fact that comic books led him to become a reader.  There were action figures everywhere, covering a huge variety of comics, and we discovered that we had both been fans of DC Comics when we were young (as opposed to Marvel Comics), though both of us enjoyed certain Marvel heroes, too.  Chris thought my 30-day adventure was a creative approach to introducing librarians to my mystery series.  Here’s the Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library and Chris holding the envelope.  (Side note:  as I headed out of Warren County, I realized I should have taken the photo of Chris in front of his action figures collection.  Don’t know why I didn’t think of it then.)

Chris at Williamsport website Williamsport PL website

I continued up U.S. 41 into Benton County, and almost as soon as I reached the Benton County line, I saw the wind turbines in the distance.  They’re a dull gray color, and they appear almost ghostly rising up out of the land.  I guess the electric company set up this wind generation station because the land is so flat and Benton County is located in an area that gets a lot of air flow.  Anyway, here’s a photo taken along U.S. 41.

Wind Turbine field 2

U.S. 41 takes you right through this field.  It’s fascinating to see them up close.

I cut across S.R. 18 to get to Fowler and the Benton County Public Library.  I went in and discovered that I had just missed Sandy, their library director, who had left for the day.  So I spoke with Sandi at the circulation desk, explained about my book, the 30-day adventure and the contest.  Sandy took the envelope and told me she would be sure to get it to their director.  Here’s the library, and Sandi (with an ‘i’) holding the envelope.

Fowler PL website Sandi at Fowler website

From there I went south on S.R. 52 toward Tippecanoe County.  This route took me back through the field of wind turbines which stretches quite a ways through the county.  Still fascinated, I stopped and took a close up photo of the massive turbines.

Turbine Close Up website

I headed into Lafayette along U.S. 52, knowing that I would eventually recognize where I was because my younger daughter goes to Purdue and when we go to visit her, we come from the south on 52.   But I didn’t find the library and had to stop at a CVS and ask directions.  (Some of you are thinking…Tony, by now you should recognize the need for that GPS unit.)  Anyway, I found the Tippecanoe Library branch that serves as the library for IVY Tech in Tippecanoe County.  I stopped at that branch because I had met Sarah, their reference librarian, at Bouchercon in Indianapolis several months ago.  But, alas, Sarah was not in, and I left the envelope with Kathy at the circulation desk.  Here’s a photo of the library.

Tippecanoe County PL website

Lesser people might have called it quits for the day, but not this intrepid adventurer.  I was determined to fit in Crawfordsville before heading home.  So I fought the Lafayette/West Lafayette traffic over to U.S. 231, and took that road south into Montgomery County.  Crawfordsville is a college town (Wabash College is located there), and together with its population, is a sizable place.  I wasn’t surprised to find they have a large library.  For some reason, I also wasn’t surprised to find that the librarian who serves as a readers’ advisory librarian, Angela, wasn’t there.  But I explained who I was to the assistant manager, Bill, told him about the adventure and the contest, and gave him the materials.  I wasn’t able to take a photo of him with the envelope, and so I resorted to something I hadn’t tried before–I held it myself in their library and took a photo.  Also, I realized I hadn’t done the “here’s me in front of the library” photo in a couple of days, so this is what I have from Crawfordsville.  (The sign next to me testifies to the fact that it’s the Crawfordsville Library, though it’s difficult to read.)

Tony at Crawfordsville website Envelope at Crawfordsville website

From Crawfordsville I took I-74 east to the Brownsburg exit and then took S.R. 267 back home to Plainfield.  Another fun but exhausting day…and I’m now fully over the half-way mark, both in terms of days remaining (14) and in counties (53 down, 39 to go) and libraries (39–one in each county left–is all I’ll need to make my goal of over 100).  Still, I worry about how I’m going to fit all this in!  More next week…