Category Archives: 30-Day Adventure Blog

30-Day Adventure, Blog 8

Got a late start this morning because I was trying to finish up my blog from Tuesday before taking off, but it worked out. My goal was to start in Madison County at the Anderson Public Library at 9:00, forgetting to check their website to make sure they were open that early.  Well, I got there at 9:45, only to discover they didn’t open until 10!  But at least I only had to wait 15 minutes instead of an hour…

So, it’s hard to describe just how big the Anderson Public Library is.  I took this photo, but it doesn’t really do it justice.  The place is huge.

Anderson PL website

I had talked to Tyson at the library last week, and I was looking forward to meeting with him, but Amy at the information desk told me he wasn’t in yet.  I ended up leaving the materials with her.  Tyson, if you’re reading this, send me a photo of you holding the envelope (you can always take it with your cell phone) and send it to me, and I’ll put it on the website.

From there it was back to I-69 and onto Marion.  But before I drop Anderson, a big shout-out to Wes at the circulation desk for giving me exact directions to get to I-69.  He made sure to tell me that “even if you think you’re lost, you’re not lost.”  And he was right!

So I took I-69 to the S.R. 18 exit and headed west into Marion (Grant County).  Honestly, I hadn’t expected Marion to be as large is it was.  And it seemed like a nice place to live.  I found the main library easily on South Washington Street, and went around back to park in the lot.  The same building also houses a museum, and I gather it was at one time the U.S. Glove Manufacturing Company.  I went in and went upstairs to the reference desk,  where I met Mary.  When I told her who I was, she said, “So you really are doing it?” and we had a nice talk about the stresses and joys of undertaking this 30-day adventure of mine.  Mary accepted the materials.  Here’s a photo of the back entrance to the library (sorry, it’s not a great photo…) and of Mary.

Marion PL website Mary at Marion website

From there I went back on S.R. 18, stopping briefly at Arby’s for a quick lunch.  I continued past I-69 until I reached S.R. 3, which I took down to Hartford City.  By this time I was in Blackford County.  The Hartford City Library has a stately feel to it.  I went inside and spoke with Jolene at the reference desk, who seemed to be manning everything by herself that day.  I discovered that the library director was the person I needed to speak with, but since she wasn’t there, I left the materials with Jolene.  Here’s a look at the library and Jolene with the envelope.

Hartford City PL website Jolene at Hartford City website

From there I got turned around and made an extra trip around the library trying to find my way to S.R. 26, and then I headed east into Jay County.  My destination was Portland, Indiana, home of the Jay County Library.  The library was well-marked on S.R. 26, and I found it easily (even if I did go the wrong way into their parking lot.  No one was injured by this mistake, however).  The Jay County Library is located in a fairly new building (I think I saw a construction date of 1995), and so it’s very up-to-date inside.  The director I needed to see wasn’t there, but the assistant director Gail was very helpful and, after I explained to her why I was there, accepted the contest materials and said she would give them to the director.  Here are the photos from my visit.

Gail at Jay County website Jay County PL website

I caught U.S. 27 out of Portland and drove south to Randolph County’s Winchester Community Public Library.  The library must’ve started out in the front half of this building (as you’ll see below), but built on in the back.  Though it looks traditional outside, it’s a very modern library inside.  I introduced myself to Jana, and she exclaimed, “I know who you are!” which was a very nice reception to get.  Jana was charming and I enjoyed chatting with her.  Here’s a photo of her holding the envelop, and a photo of the library.

Jana at Randolph website Randolph County PL website

From there I headed back west on S.R. 32 into Muncie.  My older daughter Liz and her husband Tim went to Ball State, and one of my favorite mystery conventions, Magna cum Murder, is held in Muncie, so I’m familiar with the city.  Or so I thought.  I’d never been through the east side of the city before.  It was very different to come in that way, and I wondered if I was lost until I reached the downtown area, where the Horizon Convention Center is.  Once I located that, I was able to get up to McGalliard.  My destination was the Kennedy Branch of the Muncie Library, where my friend Harriette is a librarian.  Harriette is a mystery enthusiast, and we know each other from being at Magna, and also from Bouchercon, where she won a ticket to an event the Mystery Writers of America sponsored.  (Bouchercon was held in Indianapolis this past year.)  Anyway, Harriette was working later that day, so I spoke with her supervisor, Mary Lou, who knew I was coming but wasn’t sure why.  I explained about the adventure and the contest, and she accepted the materials.  Here is photo of the Kennedy branch and Mary Lou.

Kennedy Muncie PL website Mary Lou at Muncie website

From there I took the back way out of Muncie so I could go by Yorktown, where my sister-in-law Lisa’s sister Bobbie lives, and where my daughter Liz had a fabulous student teaching experience at Yorktown Elementary.  I wanted to make sure this town had the materials.  The Yorktown library director, Liz, had received my advance letter and was expecting me, which was nice.  She wanted me to meet Jennifer to talk about a possible program there, but Jennifer was teaching a class, so Liz accepted the materials.  Here are the obligatory photos.  I hope to come back to Yorktown to talk to their reading group sometime.

Yorktown PL website Liz at Yorktown website

I completed the journey back out to I-69 and took it down to S.R. 13, which I thought would get me into Fortville (in Hancock County).  Wrong!  The road is under construction.  Fortunately they warn you before you get too far.  So I got back out on I-69 and took the S.R. 238 exit and went south into Fortville that way.  I located the Fortville-Vernon Township Library with only a couple of turnarounds, and went in.  This was not one of my planned stops, so I hadn’t sent an advance letter.  Rebecca, who greeted me at the circulation desk, was very nice and explained that their director had left for the day.  So I went over the 30-day adventure, the contest, and gave her the materials.  She said she’d give them to her director.  (I think she got a kick out of the idea of winning a character name in the next book.)

Here’s the library and Rebecca.

Fortville PL websiteRebecca at Fortville website

There’s no good way to get back to I-465 from Fortville other than take S.R. 67 through McCordsville and Lawrence.  There was a lot of traffic.  But I finally got to 465, then I-70, and then home.  Another exhausting, but pleasant day.  And guess what?  I managed to hit the halfway mark.  I realized it when I got home.  Fortville in Hancock County was my 46th county, halfway to the 92 mark.  And since I hit two libraries in Delaware County (Muncie and Yorktown), I’m now even.  I have 46 counties under my belt, with 46 to go, and I have 55 libraries down, with 46 to go (to reach the magic 101 mark).  Yeah!

30-Day Adventure Blog 7

When days were as nice as it was today, it’s really tough to spend them driving all over the state, but I knowing it was just for awhile longer, I pressed on.  I put the key in the ignition and backed down the driveway.

My first stop was the Shelbyville -Shelby County Public Library, so I took I-70 to I-465 to I-74 and headed south.  Then I took S.R. 9 into Shelbyville and found the library.  The thing that struck me most about this library was that clearly the Carnegie part came first and they added on.  But look how skillfully they did it.  The building looks balanced and everything just flows.

Shelbyville PL website

Inside I spoke with Diane, the adult services librarian, and Laura, who handles the library’s public relations.  They were delightful to talk to and very encouraging.  When it came time to take the photo, they went back to the stacks and found my two older books and held them up with the envelope.  Thank you, ladies!

From there I took S.R. 44 over to Rushville in Rush County.  Rushville’s library looked somewhat like a church, and I missed it at first, despite the sign in front.  I went up the street and turned around, and coming back I parked across from the library and snapped a photo.

Rushville PL website

Going inside, I found the circulation desk and spoke with Pat, who checked with another librarian, and they determined that my advance letter probably went to the director, who’d just gone into a meeting.  So I explained the adventure and the contest to Pat, who accepted the contest materials and said she’d give them to the director.  Here’s Pat holding the envelope:

Pat at Rushville website

Continuing my journey eastward across S.R. 44, I came to Connersville next, in Fayette County.  The drive into Connersville from the west is really quite nice, and different from the flat farmland that precedes it.  There’s a nice forest-y ridge that you drive over the crest of, and then you continue down into the town.  It’s pretty.  I had to make an 11:00 phone call before going into the library, so I had took the library photo and then sat in the car talking with the Mystery Writers of America’s public relations agency (about the upcoming  Edgar Awards, if you must know) before going inside.  When the call was over, I went in and met Daniel, one of the librarians.  He was excited about the contest, particularly the idea of winning a character name.  He promised to give the materials to the library director and spread the word among their mystery enthusiasts.  Here’s the library and Daniel:

Daniel at Connorsville website Fayette County PL website

Back on S.R. 44, I drove into the town of Liberty, which contains the Union County Public Library.  I was very much looking forward to this stop, since I’d spoke with Nicki, the adult services librarian, and Karen, the library director, and they’d invited me to lunch.  What I didn’t know was that this was the day they have their monthly program where they invite a senior citizens’ group and a group of fifth graders from the county into the library to hear a speaker, usually from the seniors’ group.  The talk today was about a bicycle trip across Austria, which one of the seniors, a retired physical education teacher and her husband had taken (and let me tell you, she didn’t look like a senior.  She and her husband were in great shape!)  Anyway, the conniving Nicki and Karen thrust me into the meeting at the end, and had me introduce myself and talk a little bit about who I was and the adventure I was on.  Though it was very impromptu, the two groups received me very kindly and I took photos of them.  Here they are.  The fifth graders, by the way, are from Liberty Elementary.

Seniors Group Liberty website Liberty Elementary website

What a great group!  Anyway, immediately after this I had lunch with the adults (homemade beef and noodles, homemade mashed potatoes, applesauce, a roll, and homemade pie–I had a piece of pecan, which was incredibly rich and good).  Authors:  if you EVER get asked to lunch at the Union County Library in Liberty, take it!  These people know how to cook!

So, the kids wanted my autograph…how flattering!…and I ended up signing the napkins they used at lunch, which was endearing.  And if meeting me encouraged them to go home and pick up a book, then I’m thrilled.  After that, Karen and I hammed it up for the camera (Nicki took the photo) of me presenting her with the contest envelope.  Here’s the library and the photo of Karen and me.

Liberty Union PL website Karen and Me at Liberty website

It was a great visit and a wonderful lunch.  Thank you Union County Public Library!

Now I had to get back on track.  I took C.R. 101 down to Brookville in Franklin County to see my friend Melody, who is the library director there and who tells me that it’s ABOUT TIME I put out a new Nick Bertetto book.  She’s a delight, loves mysteries, and really promotes local authors.  Here’s a photo of the Brookville Library and Melody holding the contest materials.

Brookville PL website Melody at Brookville website

I retraced my path back up C.R. 101 into Liberty, and then north on U.S. 27 into Richmond.  There I located Richmond’s library, the Morrisson Reeves Public Library, which was my stop in Wayne County.  Richmond is a sizable city, so the library was a large one.  I talked to librarian and was referred to Mary, who is in charge of ordering mysteries.  Mary was very nice and seemed to recall reading about the novel, if not my adventure and contest.  She took the contest materials but told me I couldn’t take a photo in the library, which I understand.  Here’s the library:

Richmond PL website

From there I got on I-70 (interstate at last!) and drove to the New Castle exit and took S.R. 3 into the city.  From there I know the way to the New Castle-Henry County Public Library on S. 15th Street, having been there a few times for program.  I stopped to see my friend Debi, who is the adult program coordinator, and presented her with the official contest materials.  She promised to make sure their writers’ group (a couple of whom are friends of mine) knew about the contest.  Here’s a photo of the library and of Debi with the envelope:

Debi at New Castle website New Castle PL website

Whew!  I was ready to head home.  I got back on S.R. 3, took the ramp to I-70 west, and took the interstate all the way to Plainfield.  Another great day of meeting some wonderful librarians.

The total now stands at 39 counties down, 53 to go; 47 libraries down, 54 to go.

30-Day Adventure Blog 6

Friday started out a little dicey in that I was almost to Lebanon in Boone County when I realized I had forgotten my camera!  Fortunately everything takes pictures these days–cell phones, the new ipod nanos–and I had my cell phone with me, of course.  (Didn’t have the ipod; I was using old fashioned CDs in the CD player…)  So I used the cell.  My photo skills aren’t as good with the phone–some of you will snort and say you didn’t know I had any photographic skills at all–but you do the best with the tools you have.

My first stop of the day was the Lebanon Public Library.  I was delighted when I looked through their mystery shelves and discovered they had both of my first two novels.  (In full disclosure, I had done a signing there, but it was some time ago…)  After that I approached Sandra at the adult services desk.  I discovered that the person I needed to see wasn’t there.  But like so many other helpful librarians, she was gracious as I talked about my books, the 30-day adventure, and what was in it for their library.  She accepted the envelope (see below for a photo of Mary and also the Lebanon Public Library) and said she would get it to their director.

Lebanon PL website Sandra at Lebanon website

With Boone County checked off, I drove up S.R. 39 to Clinton County where I stopped at the Frankfort Community Public Library.  I guess I was feeling good about finding my books at Lebanon, so I wandered into their mystery stacks and discovered they had Angels Whisper, but not Second Advent...maybe it was checked out :)

Anyway, after talking to one of their staff members, she directed me to Tom, their assistant director.  I introduced myself as an author, mentioned that they had one of my books in their collection, and told him why I was there.  Although Tom hadn’t received my earlier letter, he allowed me to have a few moments of his time, which I appreciated.  He also allowed me to take a photo of him holding the contest materials.  Tom mentioned their brown bag author program as something they’d like to have me back for, so I hope that I’ll be returning to Frankfort again within the next several months.

Frankfort PL website Tom at Frankfort website

Don’t you just love how stately their library looks?  I understand it also houses a theater and a coffee shop, but I didn’t feel like I should take the time to explore it since I had many more counties I wanted to cover that day.  Although I had resolved to breathe deeply and enjoy my adventure more, I still felt I should keep an eye on the time.

Driving from Frankfort to Delphi (in Carroll County), I couldn’t help but be struck again by how big Indiana is, and how many farms there are.  In Hendricks County, we have some farmland on the eastside, but the area is really more suburban and becoming more congested all the time.  When Debbie and I moved out to Hendricks County in the 1980s, there was farmland to the south of our home and we used to sit on the porch and watch the farmer work his crops.  Now that land has become a big subdivision.  You have to go to the western part of the Hendricks County to see lots of farming–in Clinton and Carroll counties, farmland is about all you see.

I reached the Delphi Library in Carroll County and found I had to park on the street.  Fortunately I was able to snag a spot not too far from the entrance.  Here’s a photo of me just before I went in.

Tony at Delphi website

Don’t I look awake by now?  I went into the library and up the stairs.  They didn’t have any of my books … and I decided I needed to get over myself and stop checking.  Anyway I met Patsy in adult services, and she took the materials and said she’d give them to her director.  Here’s Patsy with the envelope.

Patsy at Delphi

After that I got back on U.S. 421 and took it up to Monticello, which is over the border from Carroll.  (It’s just inside White County, but it counts!).  Monticello is on Lake Shaffer, and once I got into town I decided it had a definite lakeside/resort feel to it.  Very different from what I had been seeing that day.  It took me a little while to get oriented and locate Broadway Street (maybe should have used mapquest…), but once I did I found the library easily.  Inside, I met Monica, the manager of adult services, who was intrigued to find out why an author from the Indianapolis area was there.  She listened to my tale and took the envelope, promising to give it to Rachel, the library director, who Monica tells me came to Monticello from Plainfield, my home library.  Here’s Monica and the Monticello Library.

Monica at Monticello website Monticello PL website

Sorry about the photo of the library.  The sun was in the wrong position, and with only my cell phone to take the photo, I couldn’t do much about making adjustments.

From Monticello I drove into Cass County and over to Logansport on U.S. 24.  The library was not difficult to find, and I went in and met Mary, who said she’d get the envelope to Scott, who she believed had likely received my advance letter, but wasn’t there that day.  Mary was kind to me and listened patiently while I told her my story.  Here she is, along with the Logansport Public Library.

Logansport PL website Mary at Logansport website

There was probably a way to get to through Logansport and catch U.S. 24 on the eastside of the city, but I didn’t see it easily, so I backed out to the westside where I knew how to find U.S. 24.  I went east again to the Peru exit and then located their library.  There I spoke to three different people, the last one being Terri.  Once Terri learned I was an author, I think she was hopeful that maybe someone had walked into their library who could take over the new writers group they were starting :).  So she was disappointed to learn that I was from Indianapolis.  But we had a great conversation about writers and writing, and I may be going back sometime to do a program.  Although Terri was willing to take care of the contest envelope, she wasn’t willing to have her picture taken, so she sent me to their designated model, Susie.  Here’s the Peru Library and Susie with my envelope.

Peru PL website Susie at Peru website

I got turned around in Peru and had to ask directions to get back to U.S. 24.  I was looking for a Wendy’s because that’s what I really wanted for lunch, and it was already after 1:00.  But there wasn’t one on the way out and I ended up getting really hungry on the way to Wabash.  The first thing I did when I reached Wabash was to turn on S. R. 15 toward the city and stop at the local Wendy’s.  After wolfing down some food, I spoke to the helpful employee in the lobby, who  gave me directions to the library.  On the way there I even survived a trip over some railroad tracks without getting stopped.  I used street parking, got out of the van, and stood on the steps to take a photo of the library with my cell phone.  A man in a blue blazer and a tie watched me do this and asked if he could help me.  At first I said no, but when he asked a second time I decided he must be some kind of official and asked if he was connected with the library.  He turned out to be the library director, Ware.  What luck!  Although he didn’t remember receiving my advance letter, he did listen to me explain about the adventure and the contest, and he let me take his photo with the envelope.  The thing I remember most about our conversation was when he questioned why I was undertaking this trip, I said, “If your name isn’t Dan Brown, you have to do something to get librarians to know you.”   (I liked that impromptu line, and decided I should use it again later.)  Here’s the Wabash Library and its director, Ware:

Wabash PL website Ware at Wabash website

Sorry if Ware looks a little fuzzy.  My cell phone must’ve had focusing problems.

Anyway, it was back out to U.S. 24, then south on U.S. 31 and into Kokomo.  This was probably the most difficult of my stops because I had the address for the downtown library which I didn’t know was under construction.  Although there was a sign posted for the new temporary location, I wasn’t familiar with Kokomo and couldn’t find it on the map I had.  (Maybe I need to break down and get that GPS unit.)  Anyway, I tried asking several people, including a used bookstore owner, but no one was certain where it was.  Finally I stopped at a Marsh, and an employee was able to set me straight.  I drove to the library, found the adult services area, and discovered that neither of the two best people for me to see was there.  One was on vacation and the other was located at a totally different location, one back near the original library.  Fortunately the very nice librarian gave me Tammy’s phone number, and Tammy was gracious about seeing me.  She gave me directions to her location.  When I got there, she smiled as I went through the reason I was there, and I think was even amused by my new Dan Brown line.  :)   She said she would tell the staff about me and the contest, and get the materials to the right person.  Thank you, Tammy!

Here’s a photo of the library’s temporary location.  Sorry, no picture of Tammy.  I was so frazzled I forgot to ask her!

Kokomo PL website

Those of you who have been to Kokomo know how long it takes to get out of the city.  So, when I finally got down to Indy and reached the westside of I-465 and ran into a traffic jam, you can imagine how frustrated I was.  I managed to get off on Crawfordsville Road, back near my old stomping grounds in Speedway, and I took the back roads to Plainfield. It was another exhausting day, but having covered Boone, Clinton, Carroll, White, Cass, Miami, Wabash, and Howard counties, I was now 8 counties closer to my goal.

New total:  32 counties down, 60 to go; 40 libraries down, 61 to go.

30-Day Adventure Blog 5

On Wednesday I started from Warsaw and drove to Ft. Wayne, where I stopped by the Allen County County Public Library.  Believe it or not, Dunkin’ Donuts has a concession at one corner of the building.  I loved that!  Because it’s a downtown location, you can even park in the library’s lot at specially marked spaces and and run in to get your daily donuts on your way to work.  At how many other downtown libraries can you do that?  Anyway, the combination of coffee, donuts, and books seems like a good one to me.  Too bad I was in a hurry.

Here’s a photo of the Allen County Public Library.  If you look closely at the window closest to the entrance, you can see the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cup symbol.  (I don’t know why this cracked me up, but it did.)

Allen Co PL DD

Inside, I had hoped to meet with Kathy, the adult bibliographer, but she was at a library association function that day, so Dave at the Readers’ Services Desk listened patiently while I explained the adventure, the contest and the materials, and he promised to get them to Kathy,  (In fact, he took the envelope to her desk while I waited and brought back a business card for me.)  So, for you readers who live in Ft. Wayne and want to enter the contest, see Kathy or Dave.

From Ft. Wayne I drove north on I-69 to the Auburn exit, stopped at a Starbucks for a cup of Tazo Awake tea and a restroom break, then proceeded to the Eckhart Public Library in Auburn in Dekalb County.  In contrast to either the modern styles of the libraries at Allen County and Michigan City, or the classic Carnegie Libraries I’d encountered in a lot of other places, the entrance to the Eckhard Public Library in Auburn looks like the door to a beautiful cottage out of a fairy tale.  (Of course, it’s attached to a rather large building, but still, I was enchanted, even if the door is only for show now.  The entrance is around back.)

Eckhart Auburn DeKalb

I went in and introduced myself to Stacy, who was interested in the journey that brought me to Auburn.  She took the materials and said she’d be sure to let her mystery readers know about the contest.  It was great to talk with her.

Back in the car I just avoided yet another train delay (the RR crossing arms went up just as I arrived…perhaps my luck is improving…)  and headed back to I-69 and to the furthest county northeast, Steuben, and their main library in Angola.  I was looking for Wayne Street but missed it twice and ended up going through the roundabout that marks the center of town a few times.  I loved the statue in the middle of the roundabout, so I took a photo of it. (I think Trine State University uses it as their symbol.)

Angola Roundabout

Once I located Wayne Street, I went south and found the library.  Once inside, I met with several librarians, including Margaret, who noticed the return address of Plainfield on my contest envelope.  It turns out she’s a frequent visitor to the Plainfield Public Library because she does genealogy work on her family, and many of them are from Hendricks County.  So we had a long talk about family names and relatives of hers still living in Hendricks County.  It was great fun, and the librarians there were very supportive of my adventure and promised to order the new book.  Here’s Margaret with the envelope:

Margaret Angola

I returned to I-69 and, after a break for lunch at a Taco Bell, took the interstate back south until I reached U.S. 27/33 east to Decatur, which is in Adams County.  My contact there was Louise, the supervisor of adult services, who remembered receiving my advance letter.  She said she’d ordered the book, which made me feel good.  After a brief chat, she let me take a photo of her with the envelope.

Louise DecaturAdams

From there I went west on U.S. 224 into Wells County and diverted off onto S.R. 1 down to Bluffton.  Bluffton is quite the historic town.  In fact, I was really amazed at how many of these northern Indiana towns I’d been in that had long histories and well-preserved historical districts.  Anyway, that being said, the library was more modern than historic.  It even included a coffee shop, the Bohemian Bean Cafe.  Here’s a photo of me across the street from the library.  (Did you forget what I looked like?  Every once in a while I feel I have to take my photo at a library just to prove I was there…)

Tony Wells County PL

I went inside and found Vi, the adult/reference librarian.  Although Vi hadn’t received my advance letter (or maybe hadn’t read it…she showed me her big box of unopened junk mail), she was very nice, and when she read the Library Journal review of Saintly Remains in my materials, she recognized it and said she’d been interested in the book and had ordered it.  The library also had a copy of Angels Whisper.  I felt really good at this point.  Vi was gracious about taking the envelope and said she’d recommend me to her mystery readers.  Here’s Vi with the contest materials.

Vi at Wells Co

One last stop before I headed home:  Huntington City Township Public Library in Huntington County.  I went back up S.R. 1 and took U.S. 224 until I got into the city and found the library.  The library has a whimsical feel to it, with a creative sculpture outside the entrance and little touches of fancy inside, like the sitting bench that looks like a train that kids can play on in the children’s area.  (I was told it was the first in the nation.)  So here’s the library and the outside sculpture.

Huntington Library website Sculpture Huntington

Inside I met the library director, Kathy, who, although she was not aware I was coming, was amused by my adventure and agreed to order a copy of my book.  She gave me a short tour of the library, explaining the changes that were coming as the library was under construction.  The expansion is expected to open during National Library Week.  Kathy was very gracious with her time, and I thank her for that.  Here is a photo of the two of us joking around as I officially handed her the envelope.  By the way, the desk we are standing behind is the library’s original circulation desk, circa 1904.

Tony and Kathy Huntington

Well, that was it for the day.  After three days out, it was time to head back home.

The total now stands at 24 counties down, 68 to go; 32 libraries down, 69 to go.  I’m getting there!

30-Day Adventure Blog 4

So, I’m starting out this morning with 10 counties, 16 libraries under my belt.  Yesterday was such a beast of a day that I had to remind myself that this is supposed to be fun.  Driving from Warsaw (where I spent the night) to Plymouth, I decided that even if it meant not getting in as many libraries as my original plan described, I was going to enjoy the ride.

And what a ride Tuesday was!  When I got to Plymouth, I spoke to the library director, and when I got to the point where I wanted to take a picture of her with the materials, she decided to bring in a sub.  To my surprise, she pulls in Barb, who knows me.  We’re related.  Her uncle Joe married my dad’s first cousin, Delores.  We tried to figure out what that made us, and the best we could come up with was some kind of cousins by marriage.  Anyway, the library director took a photo of us together.  Here we are, in the mystery section at the Plymouth library:

Barb & Tony at Plymouth website

As I left the library, I happened upon the Java Trail coffee bar on nearby LaPorte Street.  I desperately needed caffeine, but since I gave up coffee for Lent (don’t ask…it’s tough), I went in hoping they would have tea, which they did.  I just want to say that it was a great little coffee house!  I wish I’d had time to sit down and enjoy the atmosphere there.  But I knew I really shouldn’t take the time.  I took my tea with me and jumped on U.S. 31 south to the Fulton County Public Library in Rochester.

Rochester PL website

There I met up with John, whom I’d spoken with on the phone.  John was a great guy, very supportive of what I was doing, and we had a nice visit.  Here’s a photo of him holding the contest materials.  (Notice how many of these photos take place in front of the mystery section!)

John Davis Rochester website

I drove back up U.S. 31, past Plymouth (wish I hadn’t had to backtrack, but I felt I needed to cover Rochester while I was up north…) until I reached S.R. 104, which I took over to Bremen.  Though I’d already checked Marshall County off my list by hitting Plymouth, I wanted to stop at Bremen because they have a great readers group there that loves mysteries, and I’d spoken to the group before.  Here’s the library at Bremen.

Bremen PL website

Isn’t that a great little library?  I went in and introduced myself to Ruby, who looked really familiar.  She took the contest materials envelope and promised to pass it on the library director as well as their readers group.  (This time the photo is near the magazine section, just for variety…)

Ruby at Bremen website

From Bremen I took U.S. 331 up to U.S. 20, and then U.S. 20 into South Bend, where I stopped at the St. Joseph County Public Library.  As you might imagine, St. Joe’s is a huge library, and I couldn’t reach the person I needed to talk to, but a very helpful young man at the reference desk, Jeremy, took the materials and promised to give them to the public relations department and have them call me.  Sorry, no inside photo, but here’s a shot of St. Joseph’s central library in South Bend from across the street.

St. Joseph PL website

I drove from South Bend over to Elkhart in Elkhart County.  Here’s a photo of me at the main library.

Me at Elkhart website

I went inside and found Jeanne, the Readers’ Advisory librarian who handles mysteries.  She’d read the letter I’d sent ahead and had even ordered a couple of my books!  Thanks, Jeanne!  All you mystery fans in Elkhart should know you’ve got a great resource if you’re looking for a good mystery!  Here’s a photo of Jeanne with the envelope.

Elkhart PL libraian website

I had lunch in Goshen and then stopped at their library, my second stop in Elkhart County.  There I met Vonda, who had read my advance letter and had already looked up my novels and knew about me.  Here’s the Goshen Libary, and Vonda, holding (or should I say modeling?) the contest materials.

Goshen PL website Vonda at Goshen website

Trains seemed to have been my evil nemesis that day.  I had already been stopped by three trains, and train #4 caught me as I was trying to exit Goshen.  It slowly rolled back and forth, blocking the road for over fifteen minutes (I counted).  Not sure what it was accomplishing.  Anyway, I finally joined the other cars in vacating the area and trying to find a way around the train.  Unfortunately, not knowing the area, I got lost and took a cross-country road trip on county roads until I located U.S. 20, which I then took it into Lagrange.

The Snag:  Well, here’s where the plan to visit libraries in all 92 counties hits a snag.  The Lagrange County Public Library is closed because it’s moving to a new location.  Seriously.  Here’s a photo of me in front of the library and a close up of the sign at the door.

Tony at Lagrange website Closed at Lagrange website

Clearly they will be closed a long time.  I probably should have checked on that before I started out.  The strange thing is, the Shipshewana branch is also closed.  So, I decided that technically, I did visit the library, and that I would send the materials to them in the mail so they would have them when they re-open on April 4, which is still within the 30 days.  (Later I discovered they had one other branch, in Topeka, that really was open, but I didn’t know that at the time…)

Anyway, it was on to Noble County, and to my good fortune I located the Limberlost Library almost immediately upon entering the county in Rome City.  The library is quite picturesque.  It’s a branch of the Kendallville Public Library.  I went in and found a patron checking out a bunch of mysteries.  I introduced myself to her and made a friend, who immediately asked the branch manager, Bridget, to get a copy of Saintly Remains in for her.  Bridget was very nice also, and we chatted about favorite mystery authors, especially those who had recently passed away, like Robert B. Parker and Dick Francis. I left her with the contest materials.

Limberlost PL website Bridget at Limberlost website

Would loved to have called it a day, but I still had two more libraries on my list and they were on the way back to Warsaw anyway.  So I drove south on S.R. 9 into Whitley County to Columbia City’s Peabody Library.  It’s a large library and looks like it’s fairly new.  I met Ray at the dult services desk, and he accepted the envelope with the contest materials for the library.

Peabody-Columbia City website Ray at Columbia City website

The last stop for the day was back in Warsaw in Kosciusko County.  Unfortunately, the people I need to talk to weren’t there, but Carole in the adult services section was very helpful, listened to the tale of my 30-day adventure and accepted the contest materials.  Since then, I’ve heard from the person who handles their library programs, and so I may be coming back to Warsaw for a talk.  (Watch the Appearances page for that!)

Carole at Warsaw website Me at Warsaw website

Eight counties, ten more libraries covered.  That makes 18 counties and 26 libraries total.  Just 74 more counties and 75 libraries to go!

30-Day Adventure Blog 3

Monday began early at 9 am at the Gary Public Library, the first of—are you ready for this?—nine library stops.  Here I am in front of the Gary Library

Tony at Gary website

Inside I spoke with Diana, who is the collection development coordinator, and she was kind enough to let me bring her up to speed on my adventure and my books.  She took the materials and said she would encourage their mystery readers to check me out.  Library policy prevented her from being in the picture, but here is the envelope sitting on the reference desk.

Ref Desk Gary website

From there, I drove over to Chesterton.  What a picturesque little town!  I especially loved the downtown area, where the library is located.  Enjoyed very much talking with Ruby, the reference manager.  She accepted the contest materials and we chatted about mystery authors.  Here she is accepting the envelope, standing in front of their featured mystery books display (where I hope one of mine will be located shortly!)

Ruby at Chesterton website

From Chesterton (in Porter County) I backtracked to Lake County to see the Lake County Library in Merrillville.  The mystery enthusiast librarians, though, were located at the Schererville/Dyer branch, so I shuttled over there to meet them, Lani and Chris.  We sat down and had a nice talk about their mystery reading groups.  Sounds like they have a lot of mystery readers spread between their various branches.  I hope to be able to return to do a talk there.  Here are Lani and Chris accepting the envelope.  The photo was taken in their mystery section.

Chris & Lani at Lake Co website

From there it was a long trip down to Newton County’s Brook-Iroquois Township Public Library.  I wasn’t able to meet with Joyce, the library director who had received my earlier letter, but I did talk to one of her assistants.  Here is the envelope with the contest materials sitting on her desk.

Ref Desk at Brook website

And just to prove I was at Brook, here’s a photo of me sitting on the library steps.

Tony at Brook website

Then it was a bit of drive over to Rennselaer in Jasper County.  I was amazed when I went by St. Joseph College, which is located south of town.  Wow!  What a beautiful college.  I almost put in a photo of it, but that’s not what I’m blogging about.  Instead, I have this photo of the Jasper County Library, and then of Angela, one of their librarians, accepting the materials.  It was a pleasure to visit with Angela, truly one of the nicest people I met that day (and I met a lot of very nice people!).

Rensselaer Library website Angela at Rensselaer website

I was about halfway to Pulaski County when I realized that I should have used the restroom before I left the Jasper County Library.  By the time I got to Winamac, where the Pulaski County Library is located, I was somewhat distracted and distressed because I couldn’t find it.  A BIG shout-out to Freddie at the Arby’s in Winamac for not only telling me how to get there, but drawing perfect directions.  (And thank heavens for the men’s restroom at Arby’s…)  At the Pulaski County Library I met with Linda, who was very gracious about listening to my 30-day adventure story and was intrigued by the idea.  She accepted the contest materials.  Here’s the proof.

Linda at Winamac

Next I drove to the Starke County Library in Knox.  There I met with Diantha, who also arranges programs for the library, and I hope to return to Knox to do a talk there sometime in the summer.  Thanks, Diantha!

Diantha at Knox website

Though it was late in the afternoon, I wasn’t finished yet.  I still had two more libraries to visit.  I drove further north to La Porte in La Porte County.  La Porte, I have to say, was another one of those really nice, picturesque Indiana towns. Gorgeous, well-kept-up, older estate-like homes lined the drive up U.S. 35 into town.  La Porte, like Chesterton, has a wonderful downtown area.  I stopped at their stately library and met with Deborah, one of their reference librarians.  Here’s a picture of their library and of Deborah inside the library holding the envelope with the contest materials.

La Porte Library website Deborah at La Porte website

I ended my long day with a drive further north to Michigan City.  The MC library has a very modern look, as you’ll see from the photo.  Inside I met with a librarian and left the materials with her.  The second photo is of the envelope at the information desk.

Michigan City website MC Reference Desk crop small

I was exhausted by that time, but I still had to drive east quite a ways to Warsaw where I stayed with my daughter and son-in-law that night.  It was my first really long day.  I have come to realize that although I always knew Indiana was a big state, you have no idea how really big it is until you drive it like I’m doing.  But I have to say I’m enjoying it.  With only one exception, the people I’ve met so far have been very friendly and have been willing to give this author a little of their time and a lot of encouragement.  Thank you, all my newfound librarian friends!

30 Day Adventure, Blog 2

This afternoon I had a little time, so I drove out of Plainfield on what we locals call “Old 267″ although it hasn’t been ‘267’ for something like 25 years.  Anyway, so Old 267 joins up with regular S.R. 267 south of town, and I took it into Mooresville to where it meets West Harrison Street, and that’s where the library is.  Here’s a photo of the library entrance:

Mooresville Library

Did you know Mooresville is an award winning library?  Here’s the sign to prove it.

MPL Winning

I’m holding the contest materials, of course.  Then I went into the library and spoke with Judy Morehouse, the Reference Librarian, because the adult services librarian wasn’t there at the time.  I gave her the materials, but she wouldn’t let me take her photo (some people are so shy), so she made Bob Gilliland from Circulation hold the envelope.  Here’s Bob:

Gilliland Mooresville

If you live in Mooresville, you can look at the contest materials by seeing Bob or Judy or Meghan, who’s the adult/young adult program coordinator, or, well, just ask at the reference desk.

One library today, one more county (Morgan) covered.  To go:  94 libraries (to reach over 100) and 89 counties.  And four of my days are gone.  Yes, I’m getting a little nervous.  But next week I’m going to make big progress covering northern Indiana.  You watch!

30 Day Adventure, Blog 1

The One State, 92 Counties, Over 100 Libraries, 30-Day Adventure got off to a slow start. My first two days were so busy that I didn’t get the chance to visit any libraries.  Today was really the first day I could get out.  I feel like I’m already behind…

From the very beginning when I conceived this adventure, I wanted the first and last libraries to be special.  I knew the last would be my current home library in Plainfield; it seemed the first should be my former home library in the town of Speedway.  And that’s where I went.

Here’s a photo of me at the Speedway Library, in front of their sign:

Tony sign Speedway

This next photo was taken just after I presented my good friend Toni  at the Speedway Public Library with the contest materials.

Toni Sekula, Speedway Public Library

Each library I visit will receive an identical set of materials.  Once I post the contest riddle on the evening of April 15, anyone who wishes to find the answer can search through these materials at their library.  The answer will require some detection and some research, but the answer is in there.  Contestants should submit their answers via my website, and after three days, I’ll draw one entrant from the pool of correct answers.  REMEMBER:  the winner will get a character named after them in my next published novel, and the winner’s library will receive $250 to spend on books, PLUS a signed set of first edition copies of my three Nick Bertetto novels.

Anyway, following my visit with Toni, I realized I was hungry so I stopped by the Einstein Bros. Bagels at the corner of Cunningham and Crawfordsville, only to be disappointed.  They were out of Powerbagels.  I ended up instead with a whole wheat bagel and munched on it as I took I-74 west to Brownsburg, the second library I visited.  There I found Jay, who greeted me and accepted the contest materials on behalf of their library.  Here’s Jay’s photo.

Jay at the Brownsburg Library

Jay at the Brownsburg Library

Just down State Road 267 I came to the Avon-Washington Township Public Library, and gave the contest materials to Lynn.  (Be sure to look these people up at your libraries when you are seeking the answer to the riddle.)

Lynn Mills accepts the contest materials at the Avon Library.

Lynn accepted the contest materials at the Avon Library.

After a brief stop for lunch back at my house, I headed out U.S. 40 until I reached the turn-off to Clayton.  At the Clayton Library I received a warm reception from Library Director Jonnie, who had been intrigued by the letter I’d sent about the contest and had my first two novels on her desk.  We spent some time catching up, and then I gave her the envelope.

Jonnie Wallis and I ham it up for the camera.

Jonnie and I ham it up for the camera.

From there it was back to U.S. 40 and then up S.R. 75 to Coatesville, where Library Director Cheryl accepted the envelope and mentioned that they have a mystery book club that meets there. I hope the club is interested in the new book as well as entering the contest.

The Coatesville-Clay Township Public Library

The Coatesville-Clay Township Public Library

Library Director Cheryl...has the envelope at Coatesville.

Library Director Cheryl has the envelope at Coatesville.

More driving took me to U.S. 36, where I drove east until I reached the Danville Public Library. Here I am in front of the Danville Library.
Tony Danville

Cindy, who operates the Indiana Room at the Danville Public Library, shows the envelope.

Cindy, who operates the Indiana Room at the Danville Public Library, shows off the envelope.

Inside, I was able to give the envelope to Cindy, who told me she’d just ordered Saintly Remains, and pointed out where my current books were in the Indiana Room at the library.

It was great to visit these six libraries.  But since five of them were in my home county of Hendricks, I only hit two of Indiana’s 92 counties today (Hendricks and Marion).  But still, it’s six libraries, two counties down.

Yet to come:  95 libraries, 90 counties!