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