A self-described humble school cook, Eva Dimel was delighted to hear a celebrity was to appear at the cancer survivors group she'd been invited to address.

A self-described humble school cook, Eva Dimel was delighted to hear a celebrity was to appear at the cancer survivors group she'd been invited to address.

Dimel looked around eagerly, thinking maybe she could get an autograph from someone neat. It turned out that the signature she was hoping to get is the same one that appears on every check she writes.

Dimel was flabbergasted to discover that she was the celebrity, based on the success of her first self-published book of inspirational Christian poetry, "Hope in the Storms."

The Grove City resident, who has panic disorder as a result of a troubled childhood - by the time she left home at 19, the family had moved 14 times - and who lost an eye to cancer, has now produced and self-published a second volume of poems, "Showers of Blessings."

Dimel, 50, had no intention of turning out one book, let alone two. It was just, she recalled, that a friend was going through some rough times. Looking to uplift her spirits, Dimel wrote some poetry, with a little bit of help.

From God.

Sometimes, Dimel said, the stanzas would be produced with little conscious effort on her part.

The friend, greatly comforted by the words, urged Dimel to get them published. Others did, as well, so she finally looked around and found Uni-Print Products LLC of Mount Sterling, which produces promotional materials for companies as well as self-published books.

"I literally sat and cried as I read the poetry myself," said Candy Valentine, owner of Uni-Prints. "I don't think she recognizes just how talented she is. She's very humble."

At first, Dimel ordered only 200 copies of "Hope in the Storms," thinking to distribute them to family and friends and be done with it.

"It didn't work out that way," she said.

"Hope in the Storms" is in its fourth printing, according to Dimel. A total of 1,400 copies are "out there," in the hands of people she knows and many she's never met, including inmates in a Kentucky women's prison, some residents of Florida who have called her and even people out in Iowa. She knows of at least two copies that are in England. Only about 100 are left, Dimel said.

"I had people asking for a second book and now I have people asking for a third book," she said.

"It was really just a project of love for those who knew her best and just wanted a copy of her poems," Valentine said. "It's shocking how much that book has traveled."

Keeping up with the demand is getting expensive, Dimel said, since she ends up giving most of the books away.

Half of the 600 copies she had printed of "Showers of Blessings" are already gone.

Dimel is a 1975 graduate of West High School who got married at 19, seeking the stability that had been lacking her childhood.

"All I ever wanted out of life was a little house with a white picket fence and someone to love me," Dimel said.

She and her husband of 26 years, Thomas, moved to Grove City around the time they got married, when he went to work as a custodian at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church. Initially she cleaned houses for others. Now she's a cafeteria cook at Hayes Intermediate School.

Dimel was absolutely overwhelmed by the success of the first book, but has also found it to be very rewarding.

"Being able to reach out and help someone means more to me than anything," she said.

"She is such a person who is full of love for other people that that is her goal in life, is to reach out to people in trouble and help them," Valentine said. "You don't find many people like that in life."

"I'm just so moved that something God has allowed me to write touched someone," Dimel said.

Copies of "Showers of Blessings" are available at Family Traditions on Hoover Road and in the gift shop at the Grove City Church of the Nazarene. More information is also available at Dimel's Web site, www.freewebs.com/hopeinthestorms.