The Land O’ Lakes Branch Library had an even larger volume of books stacked up as it held its annual Authors’ Fair on May 18.
The event featured 20 writers from the Tampa Bay area showcasing their works across many genres.
It was an opportunity for Pasco County residents to discover local literature, speak with the authors and purchase signed books.
Deborah Cameron had her booth set up just outside the kids’ play area in the library.
It was a suitable location to display her children’s novel, “The Mel Monsta” which she co-authored.
The story features Mel the Monsta whose encounter with a friendly girl, helps Mel become more soft and gentle.
The idea initially came from Cameron’s journey in becoming a better person to herself, and others.
“We thought, ‘what can we do to help children with this?’” she and her co-author thought. “It’s to encourage children and adults to look beyond race, gender [and] who you love in life.”
With the books neatly laid out on the table, Cameron also had a stuffed animal of Mel the Monsta for kids to marvel at.
In the past, she has donated the books to sick youth at Shriners Hospitals for Kids as a way to encourage them.
Cameron said she plans to write literature geared toward helping kids with autism.
Booths like hers is what intrigued Beth Smith to come out to the fair.
She enjoys combing through children’s books she can read to the youngsters in her family.
“I have nieces and nephews, so I deal with them,” Smith said.
Other authors’ works caught her eye as well, especially a book on cats.
“I’m an animal lover,” she explained with a smile. “I picked up a dog off the side road and still have him living with me today.”
She had her hands full as she exited the library with five purchased books.
Some authors present had work that was religiously inspired, such as Mary Perrone Davis.
Among some of her books displayed were “Mary Loves to Sing” and “Mary’s Butterfly Garden.”
“It’s a series of books about a little girl’s growth and her relationship with the Lord,” Perrone Davis explained.
The picture books are geared towards children between ages 2 to 6.
However, the school nurse had no intention of writing until 2002 when she had a unique encounter with a butterfly.
Her relation with nature, coupled with prayer, inspired her series, she said.
“I think that people tend to underestimate a child’s ability to understand the spiritual,” Perrone Davis reasoned.
She added that she wants to use the books to further inspire her seven grandchildren.
“I love to look at local authors’ work,” said attendee Lynn Landseadel. “I think we should buy small and support the community.”
An avid book reader, the Spring Hill resident was present at last year’s fair as well.
This year, she said she was impressed by what writers had to offer.
As a fan of mystery and psychological thrillers, she was attracted to J.C. Gatlin’s booth.
Gatlin is known for his murder-mystery novels and was eager to showcase his most recent project: “Hangman (spelled H_NGM_N): Murder is the Word.”
He attributes other authors of similar genres in sparking his interest.
However, some writers draw from their own trauma to put words to paper.
Loren and Lisa Murfield were present to promote their collaborated efforts as co-authors.
“The R.O.I of Compassion” was published in 2010 and was inspired after the couple’s son, Caleb, took his own life in 2007.
“He was the life of the party,” explained dad Loren. “He had a Robin Williams, razor-sharp wit.”
What added inspiration for the writing was when Caleb’s sister said at his funeral that the family “can’t let his life be for nothing,” Loren recalled.
The book not only opens up about the grief Loren and Lisa were going through, but how they were able to pick up the pieces of their lives to move forward.
While the book is a means of helping those suffering trauma, it is also a guide in helping employers better sympathize with their grieving employees.
This aspect of the book was in response to Lisa being laid off from her job shortly after Caleb’s passing.
She described her subordinates as being insensitive in their approach, given what she had just experienced.
“I started to think ‘how do employees handle it in that type of a situation?’” Lisa contemplated.
In the book, she and Loren address steps that employers should consider in reaching out to their workers, and being more invested in their mental well-being.
“There is a better way,” Loren stated. “We argue that compassion is the best business model.”
The couple added that the book’s title “R.O.I” – Return on Investment- is what employers will see when having a deeper connection with their workers. When an employee feels wanted and respected, it will show through their work ethic.
Their most recent book, “Leading with the Power of Compassion,” also delves deep into appreciating people on a whole and learning to care for an individual on a human level.
The event’s range of genres and personally-inspired writings showed the relevancy of literature for all age groups and backgrounds.
Published May 29, 2019