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

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 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

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

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

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:

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:

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!