Feathers Artist Market in Irwin to host local author open house

Jan. 14—Tracy Alaia, owner of Feathers Artist Market and Gifts in Irwin, describes herself as "a crazy book person."

"I read 48 books last year, and I've already read five books in January," she said. "Reading is my peace and my stress relief. If I can't sleep, I read; I prefer it over TV."

Her passion for books extends to hosting a book club and carrying the works of local authors in her shop and gallery at 102 4th St.

"Since I opened my doors, I've always carried some local authors," Alaia said. "I kept thinking I wanted to do a book-signing, then I thought, I should just have all of them at once."

Feathers will host an open house with 10 local authors from noon to 3 p.m. Jan. 22.

The featured authors work in various genres, including fiction, nonfiction and children's literature. Some are self-published, others work with commercial publishers.

Among them will be Jill Cullen of Monroeville, whose first novel, "Flirting With a New Life," was published Oct. 15 through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing platform.

Cullen describes the book as women's fiction, featuring a main character who is a writer and newly single mother, struggling with writer's block as she faces a deadline.

"She's on a short timetable to finish the book before the money runs out," said Cullen, a librarian at Greensburg Hempfield Area Library. "She gets herself into some wacky situations in the process."

Because her book is independently published, Cullen said, she relies on events such as book talks and the open house to promote her work.

"I hope to get my book in the hands of people who haven't heard of it and, hopefully, will enjoy it," she said. "I've had a great response from people who have read it, and I'm just trying to branch out further and further."

Alaia said that people do come to Feathers specifically to find books by local authors.

During the open house, each author will have a table, where attendees will be able to talk with them, buy their books and have them signed.

At 1 p.m., each author will give a brief talk about themselves and their work.

Alaia will provide visitors with a complimentary lunch, featuring a variety of wraps from The Lunch Lady on Wheels in Irwin.

"What Tracy does is great," Cullen said. "She's a woman helping other women, and a local artist helping other local artists. I love what she's all about."

Information on the open house is available at 412-930-1954 or feathersartistmarket.com.

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley by email at smcmarlin@triblive.com or via Twitter .