Friday, December 31, 2010

Fat Years, Lean Years



I got up this morning to the news that the price of everything is going up. Isn't that a heck of a note for the last day of the year? I would like to know why we can't have a little good news once in a while! What could be wrong with that?

The truth is that I have lived a poverty level most of my life and there has not been a lot of difference between the fat years and the lean no matter how hard I tried to better my lot in life. Are there really supposed to be seven of each in a never-ending cycle? When I was a kid, there didn't seem to be much difference, and there isn't now. Life is pretty much a struggle one way or the other. The news says that big lottery winners also win their share of misery from the folks who want to share the wealth.

It may depend on how we look at the year that was. As a nation, our new African American president seemed to lose ground as he struggled like Atlas to push the boulder of American debt uphill to the promised land. I can't figure out why any sane person would want his job, and it is a true wonder that he is still standing after all his hard work and the hard words much of it generated. After all, he inherited generations of mis-management and folks are upset that he couldn't fix the downhill slide in only two years! I don't know if Mr. Obama is a good president or a bad one, but at least he is trying! Give him a break people.

On a more local note, it is sad to ride past a marina and see all the workboats stored on dry land. Generations of watermen are looking at their kids and shaking their heads and wondering how the young people will fare if they can't work on the water.

It is sad to ride down Race Street and see the homeless people sitting by the new mural commemorating the good old days in Cambridge.

It is sad to know people have lost their homes.

It is sadder still to see everyone with a cell phone, so familiar with the devices they forget the thrill of a call from a loved one far away.

I published three books last year, which on the face of it seems like a huge accomplishment - the only trouble is that there are millions of other literate and talented writers out there who also published new books last year.

The trick of the whole deal these days is to get noticed and to rise above all of the other hopeful authors who also want to have their work become best sellers.

I saw a Kindle the other day and the owner had loaded one of my Chesapeake Heritage books so that our friends in the art group could see what the device is like. Heck yes! I would love to own one - and for every person who ever had a Drama Queen in his or her life to purchase a download for their Kindle or Nook or other reading device! I would love to have a best seller!

So, that is my wish for the New Year. If I sell enough books, then maybe I will survive the past few lean years and see what a fat year looks like for a change. I can think of some things I would like to do if I had plenty of money - like teaching children trades, and providing food for the elderly - stuff like that...

In the meantime, I think I had better keep working at my writing and other crafts.

As for the new year, I hope you have faith in the future and stay on the sunny side! Love, Terry

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Myth to Me: Songs From The Inner Light




Wow! The Christmas holiday was so busy that I didn't get to post an announcement that my newest book - the 17th! - was published in December. Myth to Me: Songs From the Inner Light is a book of verse inspired by just about everything!

Some of the poems in this new book have been hanging around in notebooks for some time. Others were written during the summer and autumn of 2010. While it is true I have published a volume of poetry before, Myth to Me was a different sort of work.

Runaway Hearts is my first book of verse and it is centered on the history of the area in which I live and includes stories about a pirate, a waterman and the history of Harriet Tubman, who wove a legend so large it cast its shadows across the years and shines as an example of selfless courage to the young people everywhere.

Myth to Me is a collection of shorter verse, with much more personal focus. Some of the verses take on the world and my take on current events. Some are from my personal history and a few are more classically formed. So far, my readers have had good things to say about the collection, I don't know.

I never really thought of myself as a poet, and certainly never aimed at that designation. The thing is, when I have an idea, I don't always have much control over the form that idea must take in its final form.

A great deal of my interests and theories appear in my novels, and sometimes in the country songs I make. Poetry is more rare, so it took years to put Myth to Me together. I am not sure I will write another, but like my good friend Dawn Tarr always says, "It's all good."

I hope that everything you do is goo and that you keep on the sunny side!

Love, Terry

PS: If you love poetry, Myth to Me is available at Amazon, Kindle, etc. Happy
Reading

PPS: The photo for this edition is Fire Island Walk by my great friend Claudia Conlon.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Postcard Snow




The snow came with perfect timing this year - the day after Christmas and a Sunday, which allowed everyone to enjoy the white stuff a bit before having to deal with slippery roads and time clocks. It was perfect.

I remember winters of my childhood when we had to mush through a foot of snow to get to the little three-room school down in LeRoy, a town in Pennsylvania where French royalty were to come and hide during their revolution. It didn't happen, but the snow fell deep back in the 50s and it wasn't unusual to have to walk through a considerable amount of the white stuff to get to school. School never closed in those days. As long as your feet worked, you had to go.

When I grew up and moved to upstate New York, it seemed like the winters got even worse, a gift of the jet stream, which often saw two-foot drops that meant moving tons of the white stuff before going to work as a waitress or chambermaid - jobs that never shut down for a little bit of snow. At one point I drove a '47 Willys that could go through anything - but you had to plug in the block heater or it wouldn't start. Heck, when I went to college, they even offered ice fishing as a PE class. You couldn't miss any of those days either.

After a while, my life changed and I moved to Maryland, where snow is rare and winters are mild. Someone even told me they had roses in December, a concept I couldn't quit fathom, but they do - at least in the beginning of the month.

Winter here starts late and ends early. You hardly need boots, and often can go about in a sweater and call it good. I still don't care for snow, and last winter I lost a big portion of a huge hedge due to the weight of a huge snowfall. The broken branches had to be hauled to the dump and emptied my piggy bank paying for a man to come cut and haul away my beautiful, beloved yews and boxwoods.

Today I looked out my window and saw my cat - an all black, long haired critter - racing around the yard, climbing the one bush that survived the snow we got last night. He was definitely having a good time. Not me. I'm in for the duration and plan to stay in and just enjoy looking at our postcard snow. Hey, it's a Christmas gift. Gotta love it.

Keep warm and on the sunny side,

Love, Terry

Friday, December 24, 2010

Winter Songs



Christmas is just one day away and carols echo all through the land as frantic shoppers scrabble through nearly empty shelves looking for the perfect gift to give their loved ones. The carols, in case we don't understand, are playing to keep us in the mood to buy - and not so much to celebrate the birth of one of the world's greatest teachers.

People have always married songs to the way they worship - sometimes with complicated orchestration, sometimes to the pulse of a single drum. Music seems to make the magic and it certainly does when it comes to Christmas.

Some Christmas songs are reverent and beautiful, evocative (one supposes) of the peaceful night in Bethlehem when a baby was born in the stable of an overflowing inn. The carols mention the beautiful star, the pilgrimage made by wise men, and the stillness of a winter night when not even a baby's cry can be heard.

Other Christmas songs could not be sillier. Grandma got run over by a reindeer while a little kid looks for his (or her) two front teeth and Mama is seen kissing Santa under the mistletoe. Reindeer have bright red noses, and Santa slips down the chimney to leave lots of toys for little girls and boys. HO HO HO

Well, whatever your favorite holiday music, I hope it is playing in your heart and that you have the best Christmas ever! Love, Terry

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chesapeake Winds



Hello, some people have wondered why I chose to write fiction about the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The easy answer is that I live here. I moved here nearly 18 years ago and never found reason to leave. Oh yes, there are things I love and things I dislike about the place - but you could say that about any spot in the world. God didn't make mistakes, and every spot on earth surely has its own unique beauty and character.

Over the years I have heard many stories about the Eastern Shore and the characters who populated its marshy shores. There were Indians who were pushed aside in favor of white settlers who claimed every bit of arable land for their plantations. There were those who built towns and paid their taxes first in tobacco, and later in various sorts of produce that kept our sons and husbands fighting through a good number of wars.

There was the story of Harriet Tubman and Anna Ella Carroll, iconic figures in the story of slavery and emancipation - but there were also stories of quiet people whose names were never mentioned in the history books, which were all too often written by the political powers at the time. Missing, it seems, were the stories of the common farmer and the humble watermen, characters with rich and meaningful stories waiting to be shared.

My Chesapeake Heritage series and poetry in Runaway Hearts follows these unsung characters from colonization through the end of the civil war, and shortly there will be a new novel set in the same fictional town, about the same family and same farm - the threads of stories that weave their way to the present.

I hope I can continue with this work because it is easy to say that the North won the Civil War, but harder to tell the story of the woman who waited for her man to come home and found him changed.

Ask for my books at your public library, or purchase the books at Amazon.com, Kindle.com, my publisher www.writewordsinc.com, and any number of online booksellers. You are sure to find Chesapeake Country a fascinating place to visit.

Oh.. and keep on the sunny side! Love, Terry

PS: The photo is of Handsell, an early plantation in Dorchester County.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fascination - Something You Can't Teach



Last night I was at the Main Street Gallery helping with the Art-cessories reception. It was a very nice reception with fantastic exhibits, home made refreshments and an opportunity to meet the artists who exhibit their work this month. Among the offerings are imported textiles and clothing, fancy feathered accessories, pottery and jewelry. The show will continue until the end of the year during gallery hours.

One gentleman, upon buying a copy of my novel Ancient Memories, asked me how I set about writing a book, and I am here to say, I really don't know. Basically, I sit down and take dictation, but that is only part of the process.

The first thing that happens is that I am fascinated by a word, a sentence or maybe an idea. That trigger, for better words, percolates in my subconscious for days or months until the story is ready.

That done, I have to submit to and trust the process that results in a story - whether as a poem, a song or an entire book. It doesn't work if I try to force the product. I have to be willing to let the story come to and through me and to believe the story has a reason to exist.

Coming home after the reception, I was talking with a photographer friend who said she cannot possibly teach anyone how to become a photographer. The want-to is present but the skill develops as it will - but (as with me) she can't share the process, because it just happens!

It occurs to me that true art is an expression of spirit that comes to us without warning, and that we have to allow the book, the photo, the painting to come through us in order for it to be shared.

I have an idea the work is the gift and that we are blessed by the ability to put our books, images and other art out there in the world because those things are a measure of our trust in life and our place in the world. The products of our various arts show how we grow - and isn't it a miracle?

I would love to know what you think about being an artist... so drop me a line and keep on the sunny side! Love, Terry

Friday, December 3, 2010

How Do You Buy Books?



My big news this week is that my newest book Myth To Me: Songs From The Inner Light will be available soon.

Myth To Me is a book of poetry, most brand new, and while I do not fancy myself a poet, I am proud to have produced this newest volume to follow my best-selling (of all my books) Runaway Hearts - long poetry about the characters that once inhabited the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Myth to Me is more personal and explores not only my world, but also the events and situations that have presented during the past year. The volume went to the printer yesterday and I have placed an order for some copies for sale and for holiday giving.

I can't wait to put one in your hands and to share my inner light with all of you whether in a paper edition or an electronic transfer to read on your Kindle or Nook. Enjoy!!!

Keep on the sunny side Folks, I love you. Terry

PS: The cover photo (above) is one of the beach walks at Fire Island, taken by my dear friend Claudia Conlon, who gifted me with a week on the island a year ago. It was a trip to a different world and I thank her for sharing!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Drama Queen Rules


One of the greatest thrills of my life was publishing my latest novel Drama Queen Rules. This is the story of a woman who grows up in a trailer park. Lainey Cook works at the bowling alley and pays her own bills. She has the idea her life can be better, but her sister thinks her sister is an idiot who couldn't get in college, let alone graduate.

A drama queen sister is hard to take, but she isn't Lainey's only handicap. Her mother is dying from hard living and too many cigarettes. She needs constant care.

Lainey's boyfriend likes fast cars, beer and being waited on - pretty much in that order. Skip boyer wouldn't want Lainey to change, and he doesn't want to work, either.

Witnessing a robbery at the local market leaves Lainey with the realization she has to find a way out of poverty - and a new boyfriend if she can! The one she has couldn't even drive the getaway car properly!

When Skip shows up in the middle of the night and takes Lainey on a crime spree, she knows without doubt she can't depend on anyone else to help her find a better life.

Drama Queen Rules will make you laugh and cry because it is about thousands of women who are trying to find their way into better situations, no matter what the drama queens in her life have to say about it.

Look for Drama Queen Rules at your favorite online bookstores. You are gonna love it!

See what happens when

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Follow Your Muse





I have been a writer for nearly half a century, and have more than a dozen books published - either in print or as e-books. During the course of all this work I attended a number of writers conference where the theme was to follow one's own bliss.

Following one's muse can be hard on the people who love you, but I discovered that there were times when I was in the throes of writing the newest book it is sometimes pretty difficult to get away. If you aren't following your characters into the darkest wilds of Upstate New York - or the Nazca Plain - you may only be out to lunch, and you may also be giving your story short shrift.

It is no mean thing to offer up your day-to-day life to write a 150,000 word opus that no one may ever read.

Muses, it seems, have become a dime a dozen with would-be writers following in their wake and ten cent publishers offering truly limited fame without fortune to those who buy their product. These publishers have a mantra: No copywrite necessary.

With all those writers out there, who is going to stoop to steal a story line? Anything, apparently, goes for these word mongers who will publish anything a writer can finance - an awful work has about the same chance of making the big time as a really well-crafted piece of work.

Not that some of these publishers do not have a good product. some of them produce really lovely copies of your book - but they cut the profit margin so closely that the only way a writer can earn even pennies on his or her work is to find ways to sell their work themselves - work it out: You get a 40% discount on copies, and pay postage to get the books to your doorstep - this leaves about 28% to offer your vendor. Trouble is, that vendor wants 40$, so you end up paying 12% for them to handle your masterpiece. Looks like a negative return to me!

That's a real bite! The bottom line is that everyone who handles your work makes more money on it than you do.

To me, it gives a muse a bad name and sometimes I wish I could get rid of the bitch, but after 50 years of being a writer it isn't all that easy. I guess I have to hang on and hope someone notices that there are some really good writers out here. I know some of them who truly deserve recognition.

Let's hope their muses infect the publishers and lead them out into the sunny side! Love, Terry

Saturday, October 9, 2010



Did you know you can read an excerpt from my newest book Drama Queen Rules? Check it out at the following link. You can get a copy from me, or from Amazon.com and Kindle.

https://www2.xlibris.com/bookstore/book_excerpt.aspx?bookid=82131

It's a nice day out there. Keep on the sunny side! Terry

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Thank You for Helping Me



I meant to come home from today's book reading and to sit down and relax for the rest of the evening. I managed to ignore the dirty (but rinsed) dishes in the sink, and wondered (not much) why the cat went out so early tonight. I realized, you see, that I really should thank the people who helped me get situated today.

Paul Stone picked me up and got my stuff where it was supposed to go. Lynne and Terry watched one side of my table, Nancy and Bob watched the other side while I coped with a bladder infection - I did get my exercise, though.

Come time to pack up the gal I am going to be with tomorrow at Showcase arrived to carry my books, table, chairs and etc.'s -- oh -- and me home.

Were you wondering if I sold any books. Indeed, I did. For some reason, I was reading from my poetry about Harriet Tubman when this small dark woman came and sat down to listen. That made me nervous. I don't always know how people will take something like that.

Why did I write about Harriet Tubman? believe Harriet Tubman did something that made her life as near to immortal as folks can get in this world. I meant what I wrote as a tribute. So ... Yes, I sold a book. The lady came back with her husband he he purchased Runaway Hearts for her and saw it signed. I was honored, so it was an exceptional day. The sun did shine.

To get back to my theme, you don't know how grateful I am for the friends to take care of me as I grow older. I always believed I was an important writer (if only in my own opinion), and I am touched by the kindness in my life.
If I ever do become "wealthyrich and famous" (my little brother made that one up didn't you, Guy?), I hope to repay all the helpers I've met in this life. I really
appreciate all the help, the rides and the kind words. They are a true treasure for this life. Thank you - every one of you, and keep on the sunny side. Terry

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Reading My Work




On Saturday I will be at the Hyatt Chesapeake here in Cambridge and I don't know whether to be nervous or to look forward to the experience. Technically, I will be part of an art show offered by the Wednesday Morning Artists. I am a member of that group and do try my hand at various artistic creations, however words are my forte.

And so, on Saturday I will be there reading from my poetry and novels to my fellow artists, and possibly to individuals who are staying at the big hotel for the weekend.

I hope to meet some new friends and to share some of my work. A number of people have purchased my newest novel Drama Queen Rules and I am getting some pretty great feedback on the book. It is the story of a redneck girl who wants to do more with her life - despite the drama queens who say she can't - and thereby hangs a tale.

I really hope those who buy my book go to their Amazon.com account and leave a review on the Drama Queen Rules page. Customer reviews go a long way toward the success of a book, so I hope you will take the time to leave a comment about the book if you can.

Today, I see my doctor and will have lunch with an old friend, so there is no question about staying on the sunny side. Hope yours is great too. Terry

Friday, September 17, 2010

Waiting For My Muse




I finished writing my 17th novel the other day and it has thrown me into a complete funk. A big project is my anchor from week to week, but I go a bit crazy when there is no idea, no focus - there is nothing to do during those cool morning hours when I would normally be blissfully pecking away at the keyboard.

Over the years I have written a lot! Jean Auel, author of a sexy prehistoric series, said one has to write a million words before he or she is competent to tell a proper story. Her Clan of the Cave Bear series sold millions, but it would never have been read of at all if some janitor had not pulled it out of the publisher's slush pile and tugged on an editor's sleeve - or so the story goes. I imagine Raquel Welch or Bo Derek must have been the muse for those books - the heroine succumbs to the powerfully muscled male about every other page.

I quite enjoyed Ms. Auel's prehistoric vistas, but I always felt there was life after romance, and so my books tend to draw the curtain on the love scenes and work a bit harder on the romance of olden times. If I am going to spend a year writing a book, I want it to have a bit more historical meat to the story.

I'm waiting. I have cleaned the floors and refrigerator, and washed down the porch. My muse wasn't there. I have plenty of work to do. I could make something arty - or clean the john - but I want an idea, a theme, a story to return me to my proper
attitude. If you have one, let me know. I know I have written my million words by now and I want another story to tell.

In the meantime, I plan to join my cat just hanging around. Hope your muse is with you and that you walk on the sunny side! Terry

TO THE ARTIST;

Paint me a picture,
sing me a song,
Shape me a memory
That comes on
So strong
I hold my breath
To ringing truth;
And to my sweet surprise
The moment is truer than
The hour that it passed –
Reborn in the mind’s
Bright looking glass.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Staying Home




I will admit I have traveled about a bit during my life, although I seem to have put down roots here in Cambridge and I love being part of the community here. It is almost as good as growing up here - because the town I did grow up in was about the same size as Cambridge.

When we were kids, we had a lot of freedom. I guess our parents figured we could take care of ourselves, or we might never have been allowed to walk nine miles up LeRoy Mountain to wade in Sunfish Pond. Pop came up after work in that old red and white Chevy wagon with a can of beans some hot dogs and buns - and if we were really good, a box of campfire marshmallows. I know my memory has changed a lot of things over the years, but it seems to me that the marshmallows in the box tasted better. They weren't quite as soft, but they had a powdery goodness that today's marshmallows don't seem to have. We cooked them on a peeled stick and never had the chocolate bars and graham crackers that are all the fad today. Probably couldn't afford them.

But I think we had a good childhood, and if there had been places to work when it was graduation time, I guess I would have stayed there in LeRoy forever. I wonder what that might have been like. Would I still see the classmates who populated my youth? I wonder. I wonder if they wonder what happened to the rest of us too.

I guess it doesn't matter because wherever we go - there we are. I just hope it is on the sunny side! Have a great day and be good to each other. Terry


WHAT IS IT LIKE

What is it like to live in one place
For all the seasons of one’s life,
To know the same neighbors,
And walk about at night
With the lights turned off?

What is it like to have a friend
Known through the back yards
Of lazy childhood play
Through daunting death
And drizzling days of rain
Where you were born to live and stay?

What is it like to know the same
Familiar kindly faces for the entire span
Of a life – The librarian, and
The hard-muscled men who
Fix your cars and toilet clogs?
What is it really like?

What is it like to sing the very same hymns
From Sunday School all the way through
Your elder years when
You can comfortably nap
Through the service on responsibility,
And talk to the Master one on one?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Bring Words



On September 25 I will be reading from my poetry and novels at the Hyatt Chesapeake Resort here in Cambridge from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. I will try to read on the hour and share passages from the sixteen books I have published.

The art you see for this blog is the cover to one of my Chesapeake Heritage series - Chesapeake Visions. The book tells the story of Jewel LeCompte, who is born before the Civil War. Of course that world passed, and she soon had to learn to function as so many others did without the help of servants since most southern families after the war were not able to pay for hired help.

The twist in this story is that Jewel is blind. She is modeled on a sweet friend of mine, Jewel Banning, who was blind from birth, who spent her childhood in a school for the blind, and met her husband - Donald is also blind - in a rehab center. Miss Jewel shared her music and her life with joy and enthuasiasm. She passed this past spring, and I miss her presence in the world.

The good thing is that she knew I had written this book and dedicated it to her. Her husband is now reading Chesapeake Visions with a program that translates computer files into human-like speech. It blows my mind.

Which brings me around to words. I seem to have a lot of them and I love sharing. I hope to see you when I read at the Hyatt, and that you enjoy the art the Wednesday Morning Artists will share that day as well. In the meantime, have a great day and keep on the sunny side! Love, Terry

I BRING WORDS

I bring the words I collect
From here and there
And put them in boxes
Covered with shells.

I bring words
I find along the street
With lost pennies, clovers
And strange skewed attitudes.

I bring words
To cover my hair with snow
And paint the roots of meaning
A smarter, indelible shade.

I bring whispered words
And look for rainbows
In the giddy thoughts I see
Others fashion from thin air.

I bring words
When the awful thunder speaks
And black storm clouds roil
Over sullen skies of saddest gray.

I bring words of glee
On summer starlit nights
To waltz along the Milky Way
And race the Northern Lights.
Like fireflies at dusk.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Remembering the Women Who Came Before Us




I blogged this poem before, but I really loved the comments you all offered this one - I think because it causes all of us to remember the women who made our world better, no matter how hard times were in our youth.


I will be reading from my poetry and my novels at the Hyatt Chesapeake on September 25 on the hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. I hope you can join me and the Wednesday Morning Artists exhibiting that day. In the meantime love one another and keep on the sunny side! Terry

MOM MOM

She sits, her hands in her lap at rest,
Fingers bundles of broken twigs,
Brown and knotted, scarred,
Big-knuckled from long hours with the knife
Worrying the sweet meat
From horny red shells that cut to the quick.

Her dress is clean,
Faded at shoulder, breast, and thigh,
Patches over patches
Covered with a familiar apron
Of clean, dim rose print.

Her hair is pulled back each morning
Anchored against the wind –
The constant wind.
Fine lines fan out from
Eyes once as blue as bay and sky,
Now faded into pearly haze.

She was always there
In the house beside the water
Where the fiddler crabs
Clattered their shells
At break of day,
Annoyed at her steps
As she tended the goat,
The chickens, the pig.

She doesn’t need much now.
The neighbors look in on her.
She smiles, says she is fine.
And they leave, shaking their heads
At her presence at all.

Her voice is now an echo
Of the persisting wind
As she whispers her prayers
Over sourdough batter
Started years before and
Stirred with a tarnished spoon.

Her children live on
In faded photographs ranked
By size and age on the mantle shelf
Where the flu is cold
In the summer damp.
They rarely call.

Her man was heavy of hand.
His shoulders as strong as
Trees from the tongs.
She loved him when
The two were young,
But then he lay down to sleep
One night, and did not breathe
In morning’s light.

There was a time she waited
On the bridge near the water’s edge
For the sight of a well known sail;
And now for the Maker’s call …
There’s nothing more.

Her world has passed,
And soon her memories will be
Found only in a tattered book
That once fell into the green water
So that the ink ran
And the tales were lost.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Smoke and Mirrors



SMOKE AND MIRRORS

Years ago I found a little volume of poetry by Robert W. Service called Songs of a Sourdough.It was worn, cupped to fit the rear pocket of the last owner, and some of the pages were gone. Still, it seemed a precious thing to me for the stories and rhythms of the times – and for the vision of a man who could see the future from the giddy pinnacles of the Alaskan Gold Rush. This is for you, sir:


“It’s all in how you do it, Kid.”
The man told me one day.
“It’s all just smoke and mirrors
And it’s hard to find your way.

"It’s hours you spend in grieving
For love that can not be,
It’s Pine Sol and bubble gum,
The ones you long to see,

"The precious things you know
You’ve got – or lost along the way
It’s freshening winds and
rosined strings
The harps of heaven played.

"The smoke and mirrors stage the
World for lessons yet to come,
You mind the smoke and mirrors, Kid,
The best is yet to come.

"So set your course for heaven, Kid,
That’s all I’ve got to say.”
It’s only smoke and mirrors,
The game of life we play.

"It’s only smoke and mirrors, Kid.

I saw you try, I saw you fail,
I saw you try again.

"But trust the smoke and mirrors, lad,
As you sail against the wind.


I thought you might like to share, hope you enjoyed, and invite you to keep on the Sunny side. Regards, Terry

Friday, September 3, 2010

Anna Ella Carroll's Life to be Illuminated




Something unusual and stunning is scheduled to take place in Cambridge on November 20 at the Hyatt Chesapeake Golf and Conference Center. Would you believe the world premiere of a movie about one of Dorchester County's (and Maryland's) most notable women?

Anna Ella Carrol spent much of her life in Dorchester County after running her father's office - he was a lawyer and Maryland governor - and participating in some of the most momentous incidents our country has ever seen.

Ms. Carroll, better known as Ann to her many friends and admirers, somehow became an adviser to President Abraham Lincoln. She had a hand in the framing of the Emancipation Proclamation and created the Tennessee River Plan, a brilliant military strategy that cut off supply routes from the south to battlefields in the north.

All that said, when President Lincoln's cabinet was recognized in a life-sized oil painting, Anna Ella Carroll was painted out - the result of protests by the rest of the nearly all-male cabinet - and jealous outrage expressed by Mary Lincoln, who may not have been entirely sane after the death of her son Tad.

The Victorian attitudes of those times surely had an impact on the lack of the illumination of the useful and helpful life of a mere woman who happened to find herself a pawn in one of history's most dramatic stories.

After President Lincoln was assassinated, Ms. Carroll moved to Dorchester County, MD where she lived out her days quietly in hope she would be recognized by the government and given the same pension the males in Lincoln's cabinet enjoyed throughout their lives. That never happened and she died alone and in poverty.

Bruce Bridegroom, a New Mexico attorney has put his own funds into this film depicting the life of Anna Ella Carroll, a woman history nearly erased from the annals of the state and nation. In addition to the film, the historic painting of Lincoln's Cabinet is being re-created by local artist Laura Era, who places Ms. Carroll in the empty chair of the original art. This painting will also be on display at the film's premiere.

Plan to attend this special event in Cambridge on November 20.

I'm looking forward to going to my very first premiere, and staying dry and on the sunny side while hurricane Earl passes by. Cheers! Terry

Friday, August 27, 2010

Pictures From the Past




Recently a friend called and asked if I would collaborate on a pictoral history of Dorchester County, Maryland. Well, I have done a lot of writing about pictures during my lifetime - I worked for non-profits, and a daily newspaper - I was more than happy to come on board.

Ann Foley write the first Dorchester County book (via Arcadia Publishing), the Cambridge book and two books about Elliott Island, where she has made her home for the past 35 years. I am a mere newcomer, having landed on the Eastern Shore only 18 years ago. But both of us love it here and putting together a new book will surely be a labor of love.

Finding the old photos will be an interesting process. We are looking for snapshots of school classes, country stores, boats and boat-building, photos of old businesses and photos of organizations such as fire companies or red cross teams or even grandma posed beside grandpa's brand new Studebaker!

So, I am writing this blog to ask if any of my followers - here or on facebook - have old photos they might like to share in this new book about Dorchester County. Hopefully, these will be photos no one but the owner has seen before, and the book will be one that people treasure for its information and glimpses of the old days on the peninsula.

If you have photos, Ann and I will do our best to borrow them, take them to my house to be scanned, and returned to the owner that same day. We will sign a release that says we do not own the copywrite on your photos. The photos you loan us will be used one time only.

Incidently, the photo at the beginning of the blog is of Colton's market, which did business on the first floor of the Odd Fellows Hall in LeRoy, Pennsylvania, the village in which I grew up. Looking at this shot reminds me of my childhood and many walks on the sunny side. Hoping to hear from you soon... Terry

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Loneliest Journey?



It has been said that writing is the loneliest profession and I have to agree. I have been sitting down in front of a blank screen - I started out with a yellow legal pad and a #2 pencil - for nearly as long as I have been alive. I could read long before I started school and pretty soon I was scratching out words on whatever paper the grownups would let me have.

Luckily I had a grandmother who set type at a book factory and she brought home endless supplies of paper trimmed from schoolbooks of various sizes. My love affair with books started soon after when she enrolled me in a book-of-the-month club for children. I cut my big girl teeth on the brothers Grimm and Lewis Carroll. Pretty soon I was reading the magazines that came into the house - Reader's Digest, Life and the Saturday Evening Post. I was interested in everything and being near-sighted, I suppose it was only natural for me to end up with my nose in a book - that was where my eyes focused best!

I won't say we had a lot when I was a child. My dad worked in factories, Mom stayed home, and toys came at Christmas. The rest of the time we entertained ourselves if we couldn't manage to play together nicely... never mind.

What with all that reading, I soon made up my mind that I wanted to write stories when I grew up - and I have. I wrote for a newspaper, I wrote poems, and songs, and grants, and articles and most of all - I wrote books. I can account for 16 novels in print or as e-books. (There were a couple of others that got lost in my search for the home of my heart!)

This year, I published two books. Book four of the Chesapeake Heritage series is the story of Jewel, a blind girl who has to learn to run two plantations after the Civil War was published last winter.

This summer I published Drama Queen Rules, the story of a redneck gal from a trailer park who wants a better life and works hard to get it - despite what the drama queens in her life have to say about it. (There is a lot of my life in this one!)

I work alone, and I guess that is to be expected. My favorite prayer is to connect all my hard-working, brave heroines with all the women in the world who are working toward better lives. YOU CAN DO IT!

And so, while life sometimes seems lonely, I know there are lots of people out there who want to improve their lives, so I am here to tell their stories and to say this: Keep on the sunny side girl - your miracle is coming! Terry

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Whole New Project




Last week my friend Ann Foley and I signed a contract for a brand new Arcadia Publishing book about Dorchester County - which will be called Dorchester County Revisited. We did not choose the name, but we are tickled to death with the concept and can't wait to talk to friends and neighbors about the photos they may have of earlier days in Dorchester County.

We are hoping this book will bring out new photos in several areas. One is "restorations" and we have already been able to copy some unpublished photos that show the restoration of a local landmark.

We are always interested in ships and shipbuilding and are looking for fresh shots of boats, boatbuilders and boatyards. Let me know if you have some you are willing for us to scan and use in the book, I'm in the phone book. If you do allow us to use your photos, we will only borrow them for a few hours while we take them back to my house for scanning and return them that same day.

Shots of graduating classes, work picnics and church gatherings are all great for this sort of history book and we would like to see yours. Photos of people doing what they do - fishing, trapping, working - are always interesting and people love to see if they happened to be in one of the shots or the other.

In every case the photos you allow us to use still belong to you and neither Ann, I, or the publisher have any claim on them.

So. Give us a call, or find me on facebook. We would love to see and use your excellent photos in our new book. Thanks a lot and keep on the sunny side! Terry

Monday, August 9, 2010

Been Festivalized Lately?




Anyone who lives in Dorchester County knows it is a party place. There is something going on all the time and a great deal of it is free or available at a low cost. It is true that Dorchester County isn't the richest place in the world, but it is a place where people love to get together and have a great time.

This past weekend I spent at Sailwinds Park - in an old tuna warehouse the community turned into a civic center - being poor doesn't mean we aren't averse to a little hard work and Governer's Hall at the park is the scene of many local events and usually whatever they present is met with a lot of enthusiasm.

Friday through Sunday was the scene of the Annie Oakley Wild West Festival in Cambridge. What fun. The music didn't stop, there was all sorts of great things to eat, Indian dancers and much, much more.

My booth (with seven other local authors) was indoors and we had a ball talking to people and showing off our work. We had to thank the festival, for they allowed us to display our work and did not charge for the space. That is a great gift to the "starving artists" who live here on the Eastern Shore.

I hope the photo I put up came out all right - it looks good, but it is pretty small. Don't know if I can fix that! At any rate I belong to a group called the Wednesday Morning Artists who brought a door with an outline on it for children to paint. The little people were so excited to take part and even when the painting was done, they kept coming back to admire their work.

As I said, it doesn't take a lot to make an impact on our community, and we were delighted to find so many little people who like to paint.

If you don't live on Delmarva, check out your community to see what is going on for free on the weekends - you might be surprised at what's going on! Have fun and keep on the sunny side! Terry

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How To Say Thank You



This morning before 8 a.m. my friend's husband brought my computer home. It had crashed, leaving me with nothing but porn sites, which are a bit on the useless side for me. I am a writer. Why would I want to watch people doing sex? I can't think of anything less useful to me. (Except, I suppose, for writing this blog.)

My computer was down from Sunday morning until Wednesday morning, and I will tell you I really felt disconnected. It seems I have come to enjoy the easy communication found on the Internet. It is great to keep up with friends at a distance, to find folks I thought were lost, and to use the space here to let the world know what is going on in my corner of the universe.

I like to communicate, and a blog is a good way to do that, even though one might be talking to nothing at all. The point is, we all need a place to put our thoughts and somehow the airy impermanence of a blog is the perfect place to try out new ideas and report on how the old ones worked out.

Of course, I am a writer, and I enjoy watching the screen and reading what is really on my mind - or what the next thing the heroine of my book is going to do. I think we all need to connect, and writing is a good way to do that. The Internet is also really good for connecting people, thoughts, ideas and regard.

I am here to encourage you to write down your thoughts. Post your photos. Talk to friends. Thank people.

A blog is a good place to thank the people in your life who help you when you think you just can't keep going. I would like to thank the friend's husband who fixed my computer. I would like to thank the gal who got my cat in a free spay/neuter clinic. I would like to thank the programs that allow me to keep my house and fix the floors. I would like to thank the women who help me get where I need to go. I come from a place of gratitude, and that is a good place to be.

So. Write down your thoughts. Appreciate your friends. Thank those who lend a helping hand, and keep on the sunny side. These flowers are for you. Terry

Saturday, July 31, 2010

What Happens Next ?




This month I released my 16th novel, and one might suppose that much work would result in fame and fortune. It has worked for some people, but the jury is still out in my case. I expected it to work for me, and still do.

I just have to figure out how to get people to notice. I write books about women who are brave, strong, hopeful and loving. My stories are about women who endure and find sustaining love in spite of all odds. I think these should be good qualities for today's world - so much so I wrote a book about them!

On Thursday I got a shipment of copies of Drama Queen Rules, the story of a woman who comes from a trailer park, a girl who believes deep down in her heart that she can have the life she wants - and she sets out to get it in spite of all the folks in her life who want her to stay just the way she is. (That's the hard part for all of us. Our loved ones don't really want us to change and many times they won't hesitate to say so.)

The sad fact is that change is the only real constant. Whew, it is getting warm outside and the hedge needs to be clipped. You have a great weekend and keep on the sunny side! Terry

PS: If you have any idea of how to get people to notice my books, let me know.

PPS: Look for me and my books at the Annie Oakley Festival in Cambridge next weekend. This is a free event on Saturday and Sunday and promises to be great fun. Check it out at www.annieoakleyfestival.com

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Letters From the Edge




This morning it occurred to me that I no longer get any mail. Oh, don't get me wrong. My mailbox is filled with bills and advertisements daily. What a shame.

I used to look forward to mail - it was the best thing about my day. Sometimes there was news from a family member or an old friend. The news wasn't always good, but there was concrete proof someone thought of you.

Today, people keep in touch on social media programs like Facebook, and I am the first to say it is a wonderful innovation. It is not, however, free, because we pay for internet service, don't we? It is also not very satisfying.

Some people put their journal entries online. Whoa! I have a hard time wading through the events of daily living. We all eat, sleep, work and roam about- which are important things - to one's family.

Some people augment their business advertising by becoming a presence online, and I am guilty of that - however - I am now telling folks I write local histories when I request they add me. Some people like to know what I am doing and when the next new book will be available.

Then there are the people who play games on the social media site. I wish they would play the games and not ask them to work on their social media farm. I grew up on a real farm and I am not living on one now. Get the picture.

The best posts I see on social media are enlightening. This morning I saw a trailer for the best Native American film of 2010. Rainbow Boy looks wonderful and I hope I find a way to see it. I adore posts like this.

I like the beautiful music clips and views of brand new art - keep them coming and walk on the sunny side. Regards, Terry

I Have a Letter

I have a letter that
A soldier wrote to my
Grandmother. He
wrote about the
Morning his captain
Read an announcement
That the Armistice had
Been signed.

I have a letter from my
Grandmother’s
Grandmother that said
She went upstate
For a cooler summer.

I have a letter from
My father that says
Nothing – but that he
Loved me in every line.

I have a letter from my
Son who blamed me
For everything that ever
Went wrong in his life.

I have a letter from my
Sister justifying her
Marriage to the man
I once promised to love.

I have a letter from
A big publisher
Saying they can’t
Use my work. (I
Burned a lot of those.)

I have a letter from
A friend who moved
Far away only to find
she had not changed at all.

It makes me sad to think
That in a few more years
There will be no more
Letters from anyone –
Since everyone texts
On the little computer
They keep in their pockets
So’s not to miss a thing.

Their histories will
Consist of mis-spelled
Words and fractured
Histories out in space

And the book stores
Will go out of business.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tie Dyed




Yesterday I had lunch with a friend and we looked back through the thickets of our memories and laughed at the children we were when we found our way out of the garden and had to 'grow up' and run the world as best we could.

There was so much that changed. We went from the "aw shucks" world of Mayberry and Beaver Cleaver (where the women had tiny waists and perfect hair) where nothing bad ever happened - not even cloudy skies - to the bloody fields of Watts and Vietnam. We marched in riots and learned the freedom songs we still sing.

Not all of us got to Woodstock - you can't say that. Some of us went through that revolution of sex and female power and black integration in small towns and colleges in upstate New York and sunny California and Fargo, North Dakota. We did not turn that farmer's field into a stew of love and pot and magic music, but the sounds of freedom resonated through a land scrambled and re-arranged in thought and deed.

Not all of us lived in communes or practiced free love, but in our hearts we wanted the freedom everyone was talking about. We wanted to sing the songs and have a hootenanny on the lawn. We wanted to change the world.

And we did - or at least we thought we made a difference, but the truth is change is the real constant in any epoch. I leave you with these thoughts and the wish that you have a good day and walk on the sunny side. Terry

Tie Dyed

I would love to go back
To the psychedelic days
When love was free
And the background was
Batik and paisley –
And all the hippies were
Beautiful.

I would love to go back
To the carefree hours
When music thrilled our souls
And it didn’t matter what
We packed, because
We simply always had
Enough.

I would love to go back
And see the colors of our minds
That made all things possible
No matter how hard
They looked to our parents
When we told them our tie dyed
Dreams.

I would like to go back
And see those friends we made
In a haze of fragrant smoke
While the sitars played
All the way across
The land of the brave and home
Of the free.

I would like to look back
And see that our world changed
Fast when we were young
And sent to war against our will,
And taught to kill
People we never even
Got to know.

I would like to look back
And know that we did
The best we could – in spite
Of a world set in stone.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

To Give Up or Submit




I have been a writer for nearly 50 years and while I must have written several million words during that time, looking back I can see that all those words have had some pretty uneven results. Some days I really wanted to quit, on others, I just wanted to keep going to see what was around the next bend.

When I declared my intention to be a writer when I grew up – at the age of 39 – people told me it could not be done. They said I would starve. They said my work would not amount to a hill of beans. They did not believe a writer could make a living from his or her work.

I am here to tell you that is not exactly true. After I worked my way through college with the goal of becoming a famous writer; I went to work for a small-town daily newspaper and stayed on for five years, writing whole pages full of story five, six, and even seven days a week. I liked it. I loved meeting people and learning new things so I could explain them to our readers. In short, I submitted to the experience, and while I just barely made a living from the work, I would not have changed the experience for the world. I learned discipline and what a deadline means.

For the next several years I worked for non-profits and the lion's share of the work involved writing copy to get the organization noticed and to raise money for its very good cause. Technically, I suppose I was still writing for a living, but it about killed my soul. I won't however, say the experience was useless... it was very good for my creativity. For instance, how many ways can you think of to promote the sale of Christmas wreaths? See?

I had a calling, and writing historical fiction has always been my passion – a passion I submitted to, even during the long periods of time when I was writing for those non-profit organizations that sustained my life.

Today, I have published 16 books. Some are e-books and have been since the very earliest days of this art form. Others are in print and available at a variety of places on the Internet. My quarterly royalty checks will barely buy a week's groceries, but there seems to be nothing more to do than to just carry on.

I could give up, but after 50 years, I am still a writer and I am still writing. The way I see it, if I give up, failure is what I will get from a lifetime of experience.

I think I will keep going and keep writing. It keeps me on the sunny side. Terry

Monday, July 19, 2010

Drama Queen Dreams





My newest novel Drama Queen Rules was released by Xlibris this week. Don't let anyone fool you. It is just as exciting to publish book number 16 as it was to publish the very first one!

Drama Queen Rules is the story of a young woman who won't let life say NO. She may have come from a trailer park, she may have to work at a bowling alley where the tips are small and opportunities are nil. She may have to walk home in a blizzard, but Lainey Cook won't give up on her dream.

Dreams are hard to give up. At least they were for me. I always wanted to be a writer, and 16 books later I still want to get up in the morning and hit the keyboard. That holds true - even on the morning a new book is first available for sale.

Right now you can find Drama Queen Rules at Xlibris, and soon it will be available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Kindle - not to mention more than 2000 online outlets. I hope lots of people find Drama Queen on one of these sites and want to read all about Lainey Cook's dream.

I am still dreaming, and working on a couple of new books today - and every day! It is my calling and I am going to follow my dream as far as it will take me. Maybe some day I will have a best seller and see the name of Lainey Cook's story up in lights.

In the meantime I wish you a happy day, the realization of your dream, and a walk on the sunny side. Terry

Friday, July 16, 2010

Here Kitty, Kitty




A couple of weeks ago my next door neighbor moved away and left two de-clawed cats alone without food or water. I was livid. A de-clawed cat can't hunt or fight and it must be a mortal sin to leave one out in the world without food or shelter.

I found a home for the older cat fairly quickly, and her new family is tickled right to death with Miss. Bootsie, named for her four white feet. She is a love and I was so happy to quickly find her a home.

The second cat was less than a year old and I wasn't aware he had been de-clawed until my friend Sandy Saunders took him to a free neutering clinic in Salisbury. She was told that Shadow, as I now call him, was also de-clawed. What a horrible thing to do to a young cat. This poor kitty had been left out in a blizzard, abandoned and generally abused.

Well, once Shadow was fixed, there was nothing to do but to let him in the house where we are experiencing a period of adjustment that includes a rousing game of 'kill the toes' at four in the morning.

Shadow is a real sweet kitty and he has several 'godmothers and fathers' who are helping an old lady out with his welfare. Yesterday he got a play cube and three months worth of flea dots from his 'aunt' Dyan.

I forgot to mention Shadow is a completely black angora. He is really going to be something if he grows into the tail! Is he a witchy cat? That remains to be seen, but he sure is happy to have a home.

So. I have a cat to wake up. May your day be as interesting - keep on the sunny side. Terry

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Annie Oakley Festival




Hello Everyone!

A couple of days ago I was asked to participate in the new Annie Oakley festival to be held at Sailwinds Park. The festival starts off with a barn dance on Aug. 6 and runs through the weekend. You can read more about it at: http://www.annieoakleyfestival.com/home.aspx

I have been asked to help coordinate a complementary space for local writers and artists to show their work, so if you want to participate, please let me know. My email address is: terrylwhite@verizon.net

I am looking forward to offering my Chesapeake Heritage books at the festival and am celebrating the arrival of the fourth book in the series Chesapeake Visions, which I dedicated to my friend Jewel Banning, who passed in May of this year. She knew I had dedicated the book to her and was delighted that the heroine in this new volume is blind - which presents a new 'view' of the Eastern Shore.

Cambridge Main street is busy creating new events and enriching old ones. Come to Cambridge and spend some time on the sunny side. You won't be disappointed!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dorchester's Ag History




Dorchester County has a rich agricultural heritage and has employed the largest part of its population in the growth and harvest of various crops.

During the colony's earliest days, Dorchester County plantation owners, who had their land in the form of grants from England's crowned heads, grew tobacco. "Tobacco on the banks" paid their taxes to the crown, but the plant wore out the soil, and soon farmers further inland and down the Atlantic coast grew the lion's share of tobacco and Dorchester County farmers turned to other crops.

The Revolutionary and Civil wars saw Dorchester farmers not only fighting in those conflicts, but also growing produce to feed our troops. After the Civil War, Dorchester's rich farmlands produced fresh vegetables that were either transported to the large cities across the Chesapeake Bay, or canned for future use.

The canneries were important agricultural and financial entities for many years, ending with the closing of nearly all of the plants by the 1960's when the end of World War II and segregation spelled the death knell of migrant worker camps and government contracts.

Today, Dorchester's farmers grow some produce for local farmer stands or markets, or sell to larger packers like Frito Lay, but the fields that were once full of melons, cucumbers, and tomatoes are now seas of grain destined to be food for the huge chicken farms that dot the area.

Last year, residents living near the Allen plant in Hurlock saw local farmers produce a veritable mountain of corn so tall that when it was covered with plastic local kids used it for sledding during one of Dorchester County's rare snowfalls.

The mountain of grain is now gone, used to feed the thousands of chickens raised for distribution all along the Eastern Seaboard.

Dorchester County may well be the garden of Eden, for it has fed millions over the years and its fields continue to be rich and fertile, bringing wealth and work to the residents in the land of pleasant living.

Just a bit of a history lesson today, so thank a farmer and keep on the sunny side. Terry

(The photo is a picture of children on a tomato farm about 1941. The photographer was John Collier and the photo is in the collection of the United States Department of Agriculture.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Oil Spill Lament



Everyone is all in an uproar over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and it is easy to see why. What isn't so easy is what we are going to about it - because in the end, it is likely too late to prevent much of anything connected to this huge fiasco.

There is a big discussion about blame - and power. Power is the crux of the matter. The power to repair the rift, the power that allowed drilling for oil in the middle of the world's largest ecosystem.

We like to think of the oceans as being able to process everything we pitch into them, but we are quickly learning that isn't true at all. We have this big mess to clean up, and while BP has a primary responsibility, surely the United States and the other political entities in the Gulf are also going to have to put forth a great effort to clean up whatever amounts of goo and tar that wash up on their beaches and shores.

Power is at the bottom of the problem, but not one of us have the power to turn back time and impose the proper regulations and policing of those regulations to prevent the mess in which we are now bathed.

I wish we could wave a magic wand and see the ocean as pure and clean once more, but in our greed and reach for power we have created a sickness that will eventually circle the globe.

I submitted the following poem to the New Yorker this morning, and I guess it will be their property if they choose it. In the meantime, I would like to share my thoughts on this disaster. I hope you like it and that you keep on the sunny side as much as you can. Terry

Power Play

The electric power went off this
Morning and everything stopped.
The google-eyed plastic frog
That doesn’t quite keep time; it
Stared back at me, the subtle grind of
Its gears and crimson sweep hand stilled
While the world we know
Decided whether or not to awaken at all.

I planned to do a wash and
Rendered paid some bills, and then
I had a thought to read a
Page or two about Australia’s early days.
It seems to me that far country had
Its own wild, wild, wild west that
Kept the farm wives looking over
Their shoulders in case of rape or worse.

I shivered in this big, damp old
House that holds my heart strings
Hostage with its trailing ants
And termite-nibbled kitchen walls.
I wondered then, why what comes free
To all should cost so very much –
When the wind blows every morning
Just as it has from the start of time.

I guess the end is near – the prophets
Are polishing their holy rants
And earthquakes mutter
Beneath cities crafted from redwood slabs
Torn from the forest’s living heart
That thirst for clear, cool water
Untainted by the carbon prints
Of a million dolls in fashionable garb.

What is this thing that powers clocks
And wells and pornography films?
Willie and the boys can sing on
And on and on about the delta oilslick
From a crack in the earth that
Leaked the gas that blew the well that
Belled the cat that ran the train that
Moved the wheat that lay in the house
That Jack built.

It is a shame we did not learn
More from the last time. The dinosaurs
And mastodons lie in their frozen beds
With buttercups in their huge bellies,
Their world quite dark for the lack
Of a horse – or a windmill to grind –
While Don Quixote tilts at the wind
Where the children’s tumors grow.

Why all the fuss for power? We are
All correct, and what may be perceived
As differences are blessings and
Doors to vistas painted in purple and gold –
So then, what is power but the
Potential to destroy everything in sight?

I think the disaster we saw last night
At seven must be the dinosaur’s revenge.


PS: The photo was by my beloved friend, Claudia Conlon

Friday, June 18, 2010

"Chair - ity!"



The Main Street Gallery is happy to announce a very special gallery show starting July 1. The show is entitled "chair-ity" and is one of the major fund-raisers for the gallery, which will soon lose funding for its community art programs.

Gallery visitors will find chairs and chair art of every description, all for sale. Some of the creations by local artists will be donated to raise money for the youth program at the Dorchester County Center for the Arts and New Beginnings.

There will be a special gala at the Main Street Gallery at 413 Muir Street in Cambridge on July 9 from 6-9 p.m. with a $25 charge at the door. The event will feature a silent auction of chair-related and other items, live entertainment and lavish refreshments. This Friday night gallery show is a one-time event since most gallery openings coincide with Second Saturday in Cambridge, however the gallery decided on a Friday night gala so that it will not conflict with the Taste Of Cambridge event on Second Saturday this year.

I will be making a number of chair-related items, and many of the Wednesday Morning Artists will also be donating their time and art for the silent auction and gallery hanging.

There will be a number of chairs that have been salvaged in the show - as well as paintings and photographs with chair themes.

I sure hope to see lots of people come out for this fantastic show. It is gonna rock!

Have a great day and stay on the sunny side! Terry

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My Books Are E-Books Too



About ten years ago, my friend Arline Chase told me about a new way to publish one's books. Back then, e-books were a brand new way to do business, and no matter how the traditional publishers tried to pooh-pooh the innovation, some intrepid individuals stuck out their necks and set to build a brand new business based on the talents of writers who had been trying to get published for years.

I fit the description. I had a three-inch stack of rejection letters - and that represented a lot of skipped lunches and movies for all that postage. (You had to include funds to send the manuscript back in those days!)

Well, I met Connie Foster, thanks to Arline Chase, and she published several of my novels as e-books. She said she loved my stories and worked hard to tap the market where the Franklin e-book reader was causing quite a stir. It made such a commotion, in fact, that Stephen King published one of his unfinished novels in installments as e-books and made a couple of million, ... but I'm not sure he ever finished the book --

For much of the next ten years I did my best to edit the considerable library of books I had written and eventually Connie (and then Arline - she bought the company when Connie fell ill) worked hard to get them in a format that could be sold as an e-book. A number of my novels are still not in print, but they are for sale at Kindle and various other e-book sites.

This Christmas a couple of new readers hit the market, driving the market price for the devices downward and marking an increase in e-book sales. At this point, all of my 15 (or is it 16 books?) are available as e-books.

I believe I have been a pioneer all this time, and I didn't even know it. But do look for my e-books on Kindle - there are a bunch of them there. A couple of great things to consider: E-books are easy on the environment. You don't need trees or petroleum to produce them. They cost less: About $10 less than my latest novels, which sell at $16.95 as compared to $6.95 for an e-book. And lastly, they can be loaded into a reader which can hold as many as a thousand books! How cool is that?

So. My books are at Kindle, All Romance E-Books, Barnes and Noble and a number of other websites where e-books are sold. Enjoy an e-book this summer, and keep on the sunny side! Terry

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dream



Did you ever lie on your back in the middle of a summer afternoon? Remember the clouds and how they seemed to take on a life of their own? Don't you wish every day could be like that? That's one of the nifty things about technology. We can go find a picture to remind us just exactly the way we remembered those fluffy clouds of summer.

I was thinking the other day about the sunny days of childhood and how my elders would tell me to work hard and not give up - because all of your efforts count. I'll never forget the day I took my friend Ken Bonner a dish of home made bread pudding because they didn't serve it at the diner where I worked. Mr. Bonner, Ken, was an itinerant musician who did carpenter work to get by and leave time for playing his fiddle.

He arrived at the restaurant I worked at one evening, paused in the doorway, and asked me loudly if I played the fiddle. Then he asked for bread pudding. We didn't have it.

I had to admit that, when I delivered the pudding to Mr. Bonner's place of business, that I played a bit of guitar and he handed me an instrument from the chaos of the garage sale he was running to dispose of his mother' s goods. He asked me to sing and I did. I think the song was Redwing.

"You ought to do something about that," Ken said and grinned. "You just keep practicing - every five minutes counts."

Talk about encouraging words. From that time on, I worked on my fondest dreams - singing my songs and writing. Over the years I worked with bands and cut a couple of CDs - the gospel one ain't half bad. I also worked really hard with my storytelling.

You know how people say so and so has a calling? Well, music might have been my passion for a while, but writing was my true love, and I have worked at it no matter how hard the rest of my life got. There are a lot of books out there with my name on the covers. I'm hoping one day I will learn enough about the business of it that I can break out of the pack of writers trying to get known and have people say I am a success.

This is my point: Work on your dreams. They are worth the effort. If Ken Bonner was around he would tell you the same thing... oh, and keep on the sunny side. Terry

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Chesapeake Visions Arrived!




Hello Everyone and Happy Memorial Day!

Wonderful news! The last novel in my Chesapeake Heritage Series arrived yesterday! Chesapeake Visions continues the story of Baron's Hope, a plantation in the fictitious town of Somerset on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

In Chesapeake Visions, we meet Jewel LeCompte, daughter of a prosperous planter who keeps a few slaves in the period just before the start of the Civil War. Blind, Jewel wonders how she will manage when Emancipation changes the way farmers do business. Jewel marries, but loses her husband when a hurricane sweeps the coast and when her father dies, she is left with not just one - but two big farms to run. Her overseers are competent and care deeply about Jewel, who must make a choice between them in order to find fulfillment in her own life.

This book was dedicated to my great friend Jewel Banning, who passed away unexpectedly early this month. She knew about the book, which I dedicated to her, and was anxiously awaiting the arrival of Chesapeake Visions. I hope she would be pleased with this last volume in the set.

Cover art for this last book in the Chesapeake series was done by Snow Hill artist Dawn Tarr and features a steamboat and strawberries. The steamboat was the main mode of transportation for people and goods around the bay and the Eastern Shore was once known as the Strawberry Capital of the World - they seemed appropriate for the cover of this special book.

The Chesapeake Heritage books are available in Cambridge at Luna Chic, Bay Country Shop as well as Amazon.com and Kindle. Contact me directly for a special price for all four books in the series and keep on the sunny side! Terry

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ancient Memories




I was browsing through some clip art and was reminded of my novel Ancient Memories when I saw this drawing.

Ancient Memories is the story of the soul's journey, following the lives of two souls bound in a single lifetime. It is a story of love, love lost, love denied and finally love affirmed.

I have believed in reincarnation since I sat with my grandfather who taught me some of his own magical beliefs. I believe we are meant to come back to new lives to work out our problems, and to express the love we have known for eternity.

Lately I have turned my hand to poetry and this short poem came to me. I hope you like it and that you always keep on the sunny side. Terry

I COME TO YOU


I come to you through the ages.

I come to you through the love
that sustains the universe and molds the bay.

You know my name
from the wind in the hedge and the willow’s sigh.

I come to you, a tale of hope on a
winter’s eve with one held close beside the fire.

You know my heart, it is folded in the linens
and sits in a corner beside the pink geranium.

I come to you to say the myth is real,
and welcome the one with hard square hands
I somehow knew before.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Good Morning!

I tend to be an early riser since childhood when Mom called us from our beds to work in the garden. We were pretty young and it seemed cruel at the time, but I don't think we were very well off and the garden work guaranteed a larger food supply - and kept us busy so we didn't get into too much mischief as the day wore on. Once we finished our hour pulling weeds in the garden, we often were given pails and dishes to go out and pick strawberries, black raspberries or gooseberries in the fence rows.

Later in the summer, we walked up to the mountainside across the valley and picked blueberries in 12-quart zinc-lined pails in an area where a fire had denuded a miles-wide swath of forest. When we got home the next thing was to pick all the little branches and bugs out of our harvest so it could be frozen for pies and cobblers during the coming winter.

There were always things to do on the farm, and usually those things involved getting up early, so it wasn't so hard to do the same when I went to the city and worked for a living. Writing for the newspaper was both the easiest and the most difficult. I had to go to the office at 6 a.m. in order to make deadline at 9 o'clock! (Even if I had attended an important meeting that lasted until midnight.)

Now I am retired and still find the urge to wake early and write, which I do, although I admit I sometimes lie lie in bed and listen to the birds celebrating the break of day.

All that said, I wish you a glorious day. Keep on the sunny side! Terry

AM

I’d nearly forgotten how good morning could taste,
There are birds out there, celebrating – or gossiping!
Or, maybe they just tend to business straightaway
So the rest of their day is free.
To fly would certainly make me lose my concentration!
Hey! Maybe they have the idea they can
Hustle the sun up sooner or something.
But the sun moves by its own lights.
See how gently it handles spring
Coaxing each leaf to unfurl its banner –
Green canap├ęs and coupolas for spring.

It did rain, but it isn’t now.
The car tires schlusch through the puddles --
Where red maple flowers float through the night --
First one, then more,
Armored for the day in steel on rubber wheels.
Well, I still have time for my rich black cup,
To smell its hot perfume,
and watch the morning waken up –
I had nearly forgotten how good it could taste.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

On a Quiet Life



Good Day!

I have been compiling a book of poetry lately - some brand new, others that I made years ago. I don't know if they will ever be published, so I am posting them here since my instinct is to share and there are so many piling up in the corners of my rooms.

The photo you see above was taken in Chamberlin, SD, on a trip with my good friend Melanie. She wanted to see some buffalo. I wanted to see my brother in Rapid City. We did both, and I took about 300 photos along the way. Photos are another way to tell stories, so I am posting a few of my efforts here.

My life has been a series of journeys and I have traveled far from the little Appalachian village where I lived and went to school. My favorite occupation - then as now - was reading, and when I have nothing to read, I make things up. I have been writing for more than 40 years, and probably will continue until I die.

One thing I have not experienced in this life was the privilege of staying in the same place my whole life. As a wanderer, my roots are shallow and there is no moss on the stone I roll. Consider yourself fortunate if you have had the honor of staying in the same place from birth to death. Maybe next time ...

Blessings and keep on the sunny side, Terry



What is It Like?

What is it like to live in one place
For all the seasons of one’s life,
To know the same neighbors,
And walk about at night with the lights turned off?

What is it like to have a friend
Known through the backyards of lazy childhood play
Through daunting death and drizzling days
Of rain where you were born to live and stay?

What is it like to know the same
Familiar, kindly faces for the entire span of a life –
The librarian, and the hard-muscled men who
Fix your car and toilet? What is it really like?

What is it like to sing the very same hymns
From Sunday School all the way through
An elder’s years when you can comfortably nap
Through the service on responsibility, and talk
To the Master one on one?

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Dog Next Door

Last year I bit the bullet and finally got cable television. Now, I know a lot of people grew up with this cornucopia of the good, bad and ugly that plays 24 hours a day, but it was all new to me. There are entire networks dedicated to everything from food to bridal gowns.

One of my very favorite networks is Animal Planet. The various shows about wild and tame animals are just amazing. I like learning what it takes to raise a baby rhino and how an elephant's pregnancy progresses. I even saw a whale give birth!

What I liked less, but find myself watching mesmerized are the animal rescue shows. I absolutely marveled at the cruelty humans can impose on their pets. Dogs especially seem to have such empathy for the humans that hurt them. All they want is a little love.

When the young man next door brought home a Rottweiler and proceeded to chain the dog in the back yard of his apartment house, I was scared to death as the huge animal lunged at the chain, trying to get loose and perhaps eat me alive. That was the first day.

As time went on, I experienced other emotions as I watched this magnificent animal grow quiet and lie listless in the yard, his chain tangled in a brush pile, his food dishes far out of his reach. What I felt then was less fear than sadness and anger at the person who cautioned me against touching the dog - because he had been in a fight. What sort of fight? I wondered.

I watched all this for a few days and called animal control... in fact it took several days before anyone came out to look at the dog... and then the owner was cautioned against failing to feed and water this dog, but the sad chapter continued and one day the big dog simply disappeared. I don't know what happened to the poor thing but I heard a big dog fighting ring had been busted up a few days before.

I can only hope that the poor dog had the opportunity to have a better life, even though I know that dogs that have been fought for entertainment most often end up being euthanized. I can only hope the poor thing went straight to doggie heaven. I eventually wrote the following poem about the experience.

With that thought, I urge you to support the Humane Society any way you can - oh yes, and keep on the sunny side... Terry


THE DOG NEXT DOOR


The dog next door
Dug a hole to sleep
In the cool, dry earth.
His ears pick up
With every foot fall
On the blighted yard.

The dog next door
Is hope, chained to hate,
With food and water
Past the links that bind him
In dirty, rusted pans.

The dog next door
Paces back and forth,
Unmoved by the
Squirrels that come there to
Eat his food and bury nuts
As if he was not there.

The dog next door
Does not note the singing
Birds that bathe in the
Dirty water he cannot reach –
It is too far away
For him to reach and drink.

The dog next door does not
Lunge or bark or whine.
I think this morning that
He has given up on life,
And I want to weep.

La