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claysh@gmail.com

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Thank you Carol & Dave!






I found this article I'd written about Ligonier last year:



On a snowy December night in 2013 as the wind whipped outside the windows of Thistledown at Seger House, I was unable to sleep. My parents who have been married almost sixty years were heavily on my mind. Mom has the onset of dementia, and Dad still adores her, still treats her as if she’s the young beauty he married so long ago.
My husband slept soundly beside me while a story began forming in my mind.

We travelled to Ligonier that weekend for a winter getaway, escaping the Christmas shopping and hustle bustle of busy Monroeville. My husband had been working long hours and Ligonier is the perfect retreat for us, the quaint, charming town with the atmosphere of stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting.

We’d decided to stay at the newly renovated inn, Thistledown at Seger House, a wonderful old Victorian building in the heart of town. It was in that lovely inn with the snow falling outside that a wonderful golden year romance came to me.

I began thinking about my love for Ligonier and the historic place we were staying at. What mystery, what romance surrounded it? Or the whole town for that matter. What if I used the town of Ligonier as the backdrop for the story in my head? What if I approached not only the innkeepers of Thistledown, but other shops in town to see if they’d approve of me using their real store names? For I’d love to give something back to the town of Ligonier, as I feel they give to me and my husband each time we’re there. When Jim and I visit no matter what the season, we always take long walks, sharing stories with one another, bonding over our love of the cozy town. Shopkeepers and restaurant owners have been amazing, telling us stories of living there, and their own love and pride of that beautiful place.

Every nook, every avenue, every storefront is a writer’s delight. My vivid imagination runs wild when I am in Ligonier. Little by little, the golden romance, the story of Harry and Rose, progressed. Two people who meet in an independent living center and begin a warm friendship. Though they both carry secrets and issues from their past, and the relationship with their children is precarious, their lives become intertwined in ways even they won’t believe.

On February 15th of last year, a dream came true for me as a book launch was held for “Love Woven in Time: A Ligonier Golden Romance” at Thistledown at Seger House, the very place the idea for the book had come to me. In the charming sitting room of the inn, over thirty people ventured out on one of the most bitterly cold days of this winter. As I would find, it would take a lot more than a few snowflakes and below zero temperatures to keep hearty Ligonier people away. Everyone was cheerful on this cold day as I handed out a small gift to each person who attended: a hand-dried rose, in honor of the main character, and chocolates for Valentine’s weekend. We had a hearty, hot apple cider drink, lime punch, and homemade chocolate chip and Italian orange cookies. A giveaway of three baskets filled with lovely gifts and books was another nice touch, and the ladies who came remarked on what a lovely event it was.

Michelle Gardner, one of the owners of Thistledown spoke of the inn’s history, for it was once a hospital many years ago. Debbie Brehun of the Ligonier Echo also spoke about the town. I gave a little talk about my writing journey and all the events that have inspired me through the years to come up with my “stories from the heart and inspiration for the soul,” as I call them. We had a book reading and even popped a bottle of champagne in the end.

The amazing people of my favorite town did not disappoint. They showed up to support an author who hopefully captures some of the charm and old-fashioned goodness of a town that feels as if it has stepped back in time. For Ligonier will always be that to me: a place where I can leave the harsh reality of day to day living behind, if only for a weekend.

It is with great excitement that I write about the sequel to this first book. It is in the hands of my publisher, and will be available very soon. I am extremely fortunate to have an upcoming book launch at Carol & Dave's Roadhouse on Sunday, August 28th 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  

Once again, this awesome town did not disappoint. Carol was gracious and receptive to holding the book event at her establishment. And I'm thrilled to have it there since her restaurant is one of many of the shops mentioned in my upcoming fictional book. You see, I wanted to write a labor of love back to you all. For the many times my husband and I travel there, and how kind the townsfolk and shopkeepers have been to us. I'd like to paint a portrait of this town that I've fallen in complete love with. Here's hoping we have a great turnout that afternoon and make some new and lasting friendships. 

A very special thank you to Heather Roddy for the above photograph she took which is being used on the cover of the sequel.

Karen Malena