Saturday, March 29, 2014

Places in My Novel Grace's Pictures

One of the places in my novel (Grace's Pictures) where a lot of the action takes place is Battery Park.

Not only is Battery Park a beautiful place to visit where you can watch boats and observe the Statue of Liberty, it is full of history--the very spot many of our ancestors first embarked after leaving Ellis Island.

Immigrants arriving in Battery Park.

When I was there I admired this statue and the old trees surrounding it, imagining that many early immigrants must have sat near it and rested from their journeys. If you read Grace's Pictures, you'll remember this statue.

At the edge of Battery Park is Castle Clinton, which at the time of my Ellis Island series was an aquarium.


In 1917

So much history exists on that small stretch of a park. Certainly much has changed. There are many statues now, not just the Ericsson one. The trees have grown large. On the weekends the park is filled with tourists, many who are preparing to take the ferry over to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Street hawkers rest here, but there were certainly those in the era of my novels. And I noted something else. A rat scurried past me when I was there, and so Grace experiences the same thing in my novel. But don't let that deter you if you have the chance to visit. Go sit on a bench and watch the sunset and think about our immigrant ancestors arriving in that spot over a hundred years ago. That's what I was doing when I took this photograph.

©2012 Cindy Thomson

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Voice From Ireland's Past offers immigrant interviews to listen to for free. I could spend all day listening! Here is one with a lady named Lillian Doran Cavanaugh from Ballymore, County Westmeath.

 I found this amusing in some spots, such as when she was asked if she knew how her parents met. She says she doesn't know: "They don't talk that way over there."

This may have been Lillian Doran Cavanaugh's church in Ireland 
Lillian and her sister Peg departed Ireland at Queenstown for America where their uncles awaited them.

At about 27:09 on the recording Lillian talks about her arrival in America.

Friday, March 21, 2014


I've listed a Goodreads giveaway for Brigid of Ireland. I hope you'll help spread the word!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson

Brigid of Ireland

by Cindy Thomson

Giveaway ends April 20, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Monday, March 17, 2014

Gifts for St. Paddy's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! To celebrate, I would much rather talk about the country and its people than drink in a bar that Americans call an Irish pub. If you feel the same way, or even if you don't--I don't mind--I've got some things to brighten your day.

Throughout the day I plan to share some of my favorite photographs from Ireland over on my Facebook page. You can find it here: (and don't forget to click the like the button while you're there.)

And here's something fun! My friend Corey over at the Irish Fireside is sharing a free ebook of sites to see in Ireland. If you're not already, you really should be following the Irish Fireside!

Download it at

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Chance to Actually See the Setting My Characters Lived In

This is so incredible. If you've read Grace's Pictures, you'll remember the characters riding the trolley. You may have tried to imagine it. Well, now you can actually see it! I just ran across this clip. What do you think?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

5 Family Trees For Your Wall

Yes, you can keep your family records online, and you really should. Just back them up! But I love graphic family trees. Anyone else? Here are few I found on Etsy that I think are beautiful. I tried to link to the sites, but I'm not sure it worked. If not, just search for family tree on Etsy. (I don't get any kickbacks. I was just window shopping!)

Love the Bible verses!

What a great idea to use photos!

Names like a trunk, leaves, and branches. Beautiful!

Reminds me of candy hearts. :)

Why not frame your chart as a tree? It's a map of humanity!

Do you have a tree hanging on your wall? Here is mine, made by my friend artist Deirdra Doan.

It's on top of my bookcase and it was no easy feat to get a picture for you. Hope you can see it all right. And by the way, visit Deirdra for more of her artwork!