This book will always be special to me. As I wrote and self-published this book it became the catalyst for major changes in my life. I decided to leave my job of fifteen years to move to Florida and design, renovate, and open an ice-cream and candy shop called Sandy Gull’s Sweets. The actual business, Sandy Gull’s Sweets, was represented in the Meet Sandy Gull book as Gram’s shop. That was me, the proud gram! With the help of family, friends, and my new community, it was one of the happiest times of my life.
While working with the cartoonist for the book, I asked him to design the little boy character after my grandson and emailed him a picture. He did a wonderful job with each and every illustration. The cartoons brought my characters to life.
The shop’s theme revolved around the book and the book referenced Gram’s shop. A tourist area, the book was purchased by locals and tourists from all over the United States as well as many countries. What a kick it was when I received a post card from a woman telling me Sandy Gull had arrived safely in Germany! I performed readings at schools and libraries and the heart-warming Saint Joseph’s Hospital’s annual celebration for children who survived major heart illnesses. Meet Sandy Gull was a big hit at the seventh inning stretch of a Dunedin Blue Jays opening day celebration with a candy bag give-away, gift basket raffles, and book signings. It was wonderful being a part of the lovely community.
Intended as a series of “Sandy Gull” rhyming pictures books with a subtle morals. I wrote three more rhyming stories for the series. Unfortunately, when the country fell into a historic recession in 2009, I was forced to close the shop. Heart broken, I tucked the other manuscripts away and eventually did a revision to remove the business address from the book. After years of those little stories aging in a file folder, I pulled one out the one legged seagull story, did a few revisions and entered it into a writing contest sponsored by the FWA. It is one of the stories chosen for their 2021 anthology titled, Footprints! You can see the Footprints book cover on this website. My story is called, A One-legged Seagull-My Story. The release date is October 14, 2021.
The book Meet Sandy Gull is still sold on Amazon and other online retailers. https://www.amazon.com/Meet-Sandy-Gull-Mary-Staller/dp/1425131719/
Here are some photos of the Sandy Gull’s Shop. The store is not open anymore, but was a great time in my life! I did not post pictures of customers due to privacy concerns.