Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Updated Book Signing Schedule

Scheduled book events for Call Me Kate

Saturday, February 7, 2009 12-2 PM Barnes & Noble Main St. Wilkes-Barre

February 23, 2009 Beta Sigma meeting (both books 4 PM)

Friday, March 6, 2009 Otto Bookstore, Williamsport 5-8 PM

Saturday, March 7, 2009 12 noon-2 PM Anthology Bookstore Scranton

Saturday, March 28, 2009 The Bottega, Clarks Summit 2-4

Wednesday, April 1 book club meeting in Clarks Summit 7 PM

Sunday, April 5 2 PM Lackawanna Historical Society
Catlin House 232 Monroe Avenue Scranton

Thursday April 16 Teen book club signing from 6:30 to 8 PM
Dimmick Library, Jim Thorpe

Monday, April 27, 2009 Wyalusing teen and adult book clubs 7 PM

Sunday, May 3, 2009 Eckley Miners' Village 2 PM

Saturday, June 20, 2009 Local authors program Danielle and Co., Scranton TBA

July 15, 2009 Tunkhannock Library book event age 11-up, 7-8 PM

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Writer's Retreat

The beautiful grounds of Fatima Center in Dalton inspired twenty local writers who attended the third Writer's Retreat. A few hardy individuals walked outside and took pictures of the pristine wonderland, while others huddled in the library or lounge over laptops or manuscripts. With no responsibilities or interruptions, the writers indulged in their work. Lunch and dinner in the cafeteria provided a time to break the silence and discuss current events and individual projects. What a luxury in these hectic modern times!

My project for the day was moving forward on Sarah's Story: The Curse on Centralia. The second book in the "Mollies trilogy" follows Kate McCafferty's younger sister, Sarah, to the new town of Centralia, PA (Boy, those McCaffertys can pick them!) where she goes to work for Alexander Rea, the local mine superintendent. You may know the the fate of the town, but do you know about Father McDermott's curse? I'll be presenting the next few pages this Thursday at EMW Writing Group.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mine Tour and Museum

Call Me Kate is now on sale at the Number 9 Mine Museum gift shop in Lansford. Dave Kuchta, manager and fellow writer, was enthusiastic about the book's sales potential. In a phone conversation, Dave told me that people are always asking for books about "the Mollies." The mine attraction is close to both Alec's Campbell's house and the site of the "Molly Maguire" murder of John P. Jones. Shop hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 12 -4 P.M.

My husband and I took the mine tour a few years ago. The ticket price of is well worth the experience. It's hard to imagine being a miner and having to face that damp darkness every day. God bless those who went before us, paying the high price to make our lives better!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Looking for the Silver Lining

It may seem crazy, but I see some benefits to the current economic situation. I know, I know, people are losing their jobs, their homes, and their retirement income. It's happening to people near and dear to me too. But, sometimes systems have to fail for new ones to surface.

For several years I've been concerned about the future of the US economy, and now it looks as though those concerns were valid. As a teacher of twelve to sixteen year olds, I've seen a disconnect between work and reward. Young people showed off their material possessions (iPods, cell phones, Ugg boots, and the sneaker-brand-of-the-month), but never seemed to associate them with any kind of work. Parents seemed to be in the same dreamland, charging luxuries to major credit cards and maintaining a high monthly balance. Houses were getting bigger, cars more expensive, and dining out became a regular routine. Plastic ruled; reality was replaced with instant gratification.

The same lack of discipline became evident in school. Kids thought they deserved to get an A with minimal effort. They expected to go to college and land terrific jobs, without expending any energy. As a teacher I found it hard to get students to understand that eventually they would have to "pay the piper" because their limited experience said otherwise.

I believe the current economy will stimulate American inventiveness. It's a great time for entrepreneurs who are willing to work hard to grow new companies, just as our predecessors did during the Great Depression. The message to reconnect behaviors and consequences came in time for us to turn things around. Another decade of heedless spending and living the good life and it may have been too late. We still have Americans who lived through cycles of hard times and know that good times will return, but not without rediscovered effort and discipline - that seems like a silver lining to me.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Courage to Write

Brrrr! The decision to go out in the negative degree weather we're experiencing here in NePA is not lightly made. For twelve Endless Mountain Writers (EMW) to brave the bitter cold to attend Thursday night writing group shows intense dedication to the craft.

Courage is a hallmark of the writers I've met, and it is not just apparent in their willingness to brave the elements. Several writers been brave enough to scrap multiple drafts of a work-in-progress in the quest for quality. Others have bared their souls to their audience in memoirs and essays. All of the EMW authors have gathered the courage to open themselves to the scrutiny of others when they present a piece of writing. As readers, these same individuals honestly give their opinions to their peers. Giving constructive criticism can be even more difficult than being critiqued. I'm proud to be a member of this fine group and hope I have the courage to tap sensitive areas of my psyche in my own novels.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Book Signing Schedule

Book signing dates for Call Me Kate are beginning to add up. I now have several in February, one in March, two in April, and one in May. The venues include Otto's in Williamsport; The Bottega in Clarks Summit; Barnes & Noble on Main Street in Wilkes-Barre; The Anthracite Museum in Eckley; and, the Lackawanna Historical Society in Scranton. I'll update with more specific information at a later date in case you are in the area and would like to stop by and say hello.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Promoting Call Me Kate

John and I made two side trips while visiting the Bonner relatives in Schuylkill/Carbon Counties today. First we delivered some promotional bookmarks to the Anthracite Mine Museum in Lansford and spoke to the friendly people working there. Dave Kuchta, the manager, was not available so I left a copy of Call Me Kate. The salespeople in the museum store said visitors often inquire about the Molly Maguires, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Our second stop was at a used bookstore on Ridge Street in Lansford where I left bookmarks and sold a copy of my book. I bought several items, of course. How could I resist? The store has limited hours, but LOTS of used books in great condition. If my husband was not waiting in the car I would have spent hours browsing. If you ever visit Lansford (Route 209 between Tamaqua and Jim Thorpe), stop and take a tour of the mine, then check out the selection at Marek's bookstore.

I was in a happy mood on the drive home and became exuberant upon hearing the good news that significant progress was made in negotiations between the union and school board, so the current strike is suspended. We go back to class on Monday!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Luck in the New Year

Pork and sauerkraut is a traditional meal for the new year here in NePA. I think it stems from the Pennsylvania Dutch (German) heritage. I’ve heard lentil soup is served in the south, and fish is eaten elsewhere. The pork dish is supposed to be lucky, but it didn’t turn out that way for our beloved Nittany Lions. They were defeated by USC in the Rose Bowl game. As enthusiastic Penn State fans, we had considered going to Pasadena, but eventually decided against making the trip. Guess that was a good decision. Hope the fans who made the trip had a good time though.

This holiday break has been longer than usual. Since I don’t have work until Monday, I’m hoping to take in a movie. I haven’t seen any recently so it will be a tough decision. I’m considering Marley and Me, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, or The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Any recommendations?