Monday, January 21, 2013

10 Reasons I'm a Writer

Scene from the movie Stranger Than Fiction
1. I have an office: computer, novels, printer/scanner/fax, books on writing, a print dictionary that I never use because I get it online, pencils, legal pads, back-up drive, paintings of typewriters...

2. I have contracts in my file. Even ones that are ten years old. I keep them to prove I'm a writer.

3. I belong to writers groups.

4. I have a literary agent to represent me.

5. I have tons of business cards from other writers, many of whom I can't even remember meeting.

6. I rarely leave my home.

7. I hear voices. I really do! And it's okay.

8. I have a subscription to Writer's Digest.

9. I have a cup warmer right by my computer screen (meaning I'm there a lot.)

10. I do the only thing that really matters: I write!

Friday, January 18, 2013

5 Reasons Immigrants Came to America

If you have immigrant ancestors, you've probably wondered why they came to America. There were many reasons, but here are a few to consider:

1. They came to escape poverty.

This was probably the biggest reason. Famine, particularly the Great Potato Famine--an Gorta Mór--of Ireland in the 1840s to early 1850s, compelled people to seek their living in another place. 

2. They came for religious freedom.

We've all heard that this is why the pilgrims came to America. Many of our ancestors' narratives passed down contain this reason. But don't forget that in centuries past the church ran the government, so in a sense they were coming for liberty. However, religious freedom is one of our rights we cherish in America.

3. They came to avoid persecution.

I'm sure that reason does not appear in any family Bibles, but it was feared enough that the US government put in place more stringent immigration rules so we did not end up with all world's criminals. This did not appear to be a widespread problem at the turn of the 20th century, however, according to this paper. I'm sure there were some good stories out there, though, about folks who ran from the law.

4. They came because a relative was already here.

Often men would come first, get a job, earn money, and then send for their wives and children. Or older children in a family would come first and prepare the way. I'm sure many people have stories in their families about reunions at Ellis Island and other immigrant stations. At Ellis Island in the room where families were finally reunited, there was a post nicknamed The Kissing Post.

5. They came not to stay.

This was particularly true of some Italian immigrants in the early 20th century. They brought no family, sent for no one, and came just to work and save enough money to buy their own businesses or farms in their native country. This was the Industrial Revolution. American needed workers. These immigrants put up with squalid living conditions because they hoarded all they could to send home to their families and to invest there. It's not a story you hear very often when you look at those tenement pictures. I'm not saying everyone who came chose that kind of life, but some did. And some who had planned to only stay temporarily actually never did go home.

What stories have you heard? Why did your ancestors immigrate?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My First Celtic Wisdom Pic

I pinned this on Facebook and Twitter, but in case you missed it, here it is again. I'll be posting these photos with Celtic sayings from time to time. The photographs are mine. The sayings will mostly come from my book, Celtic Wisdom, as this one did. Please feel free to share liberally. ;)

Friday, January 11, 2013


These are ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) for media outlets. Excited to hold an actual book, words from my imagination. And blessed to have Tyndale publish it.

Know of any local media (in Ohio?) Let me know.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Learn More About Ellis Island

I love the Bowery Boys podcast. I've learned a lot from them about New York history. If you're a history buff like me, or you are curious because you are among the multitudes whose ancestors came through Ellis Island, have a listen.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I Am the Voice

I'm deep into edits as my deadline approaches, but I thought I'd share something I found inspirational. This link will direct you to my Celtic Voices blog, which you can also get to with the tab above. Comment on the blog if you'd like to tell me what you thought.