Cover Reveal!

Here is the cover to my new book, Sofia’s Tune, which will be published in November, the final book in the Ellis Island series following Grace’s Pictures and Annie’s Stories.

A Little Background

I directed this cover myself, it was designed by the talented Kim Draper, and photographed by my daughter-in-law Kelsey Thomson. The model is Kelsey’s long-time friend Kaitlan Livingston. I rented the costume from a local shop.

The Meaning

The dog in the story is named Luigi. He plays such an important role, he had to be on the cover. The music represents “tune,” the direction of our lives, the manner in which we orchestrate our plans.

Please Leave a Comment Here

I would love to know what you think! (Description below)

 

Sofia's Tune by Cindy Thomson

 

In Sofia’s Tune, we meet Sofia Falcone, a young woman who has been living in New York only a short time when she is stunned to discover a family secret, one that soon sends her beloved mother into a mental institution. Scrambling to keep her job and care for her mother, Sofia is convinced confronting the past will heal all wounds, but her old world Italian family wants to keep the past in the past.

During this time, she encounters Antonio, a Vaudeville pianist with a street-smart dog, seeking to discover why his father was mysteriously killed. Their crossed paths uncover a frightening underworld in Little Italy. Bringing the truth to light may cost Sofia’s mother’s sanity, Antonio’s career, and the livelihoods of countless immigrants. Change is on the horizon, but it may not bring what they expect.

Celtic Wisdom Audio

Celtic Wisdom by Cindy ThomsonAlmost an Audiobook!

I’m trying something new! Since Celtic Wisdom is out of print, I thought I’d try recording an audio version. Uh, not as simple as it sounds! There are Irish words in there, and the book was published in UK English, so some things are not the way I would usually say them. For instance, sometimes their verb-subject agreement is different.

It’s not perfect, but for those of you who like listening to podcasts, you might like it. (It’s possible I’m the only who will notice these quirks.)

A Free Introduction

So I’m posting the mp3 here of the first chapter. If you like it, let me know: would you be willing to pay say, 99cents, for additional chapters? It takes me hours to record one part, so I need to know if this something readers would like before I press on.

The chapter titles:

How the Ancient Irish Found the Christian Path

Patrick

Brigid

Columcille

The Apostles of Erin

Celtic Learning and Art

Celtic Prayer

Learning about the Scots-Irish with author Cindy Thomson

The Free Chapter

Festival Time!

I recently posted some pictures from my time at the Dublin Irish Festival over on my blog Celtic Voices. Click here to see them.

I promised a young reader there that next year I would have the sequel to Brigid of Ireland. (So I have to do it now!) She said, “I will buy it for $10 or whatever it costs!”

Melted my heart!

Author Cindy Thomson at Dublin Irish Festival

 

Meeting Readers

It’s one of my favorite things about these festivals. I’ve discovered that a lot of young girls enjoy Brigid of Ireland, but even though I told a 30’s-ish young man this, thinking he wanted it for his daughter, he bought it for himself. (Oops!)

I talked to people from Ireland who wandered over to my table. Some just wanted to tell ME a story, and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed that. The craic is well worth coming for! Other people wanted to know a bit about the writing process. The stage manager at the tent where I spoke wanted to know what I thought about ebooks. Other people had questions about a series how my books reflected the actual immigrants who came through Ellis Island. Whether or not these people bought books, I had a great time just meeting them.

Meeting Other Authors

You can’t spend an entire weekend in a tent with other authors without getting to know them a bit. Some I had met before, and others were new friends. I heard a little of their publishing tales, and also their thoughts on Celtic spirituality, which was fascinating.

A highlight this year was sitting next to Sean McCabe, who not only is a novelist and poet, but also a musician, born in Ireland and living in Sweden. He even played some music for us right there in our tent when traffic was slow on Sunday afternoon. Here is a link to one of his albums on iTunes. Do yourself a favor and listen to a preview.

Have you ever been to an Irish festival?

Let me know in the comments!

Hurry To Get These Shirts For Readers

Bedtime Hoodie CampaignDo you read past your bedtime?

Maybe you want people to know that the dark circles under your eyes are not from drinking late the pub. Maybe you just want to celebrate the fact that reading is your pastime. Perhaps you want to invite other readers like yourself to speak up and introduce themselves.

Maybe you just want to support a cause.

I think there could be lots of reasons you need one of these shirts, and time is running out!

Be Proud

Some people wear shirts bearing the logo of these favorite sports teams. Some people wear flags on their shirts. Some wear proudly their favorite clothing brand. So, why not readers?

Wear Quality

I’ve ordered these shirts before. They are well made, one of my favorites to pull out of my closet. So there is no need to worry about that. They are available in blue or green, children sizes through XXXXL. T-shirt or sweatshirt hoodie.Bedtime t-shirt campaign

Tell a Friend About These

If you’ll let people know about these shirts, you’ll be doing me a favor. Below are two ways:

Share this link: http://www.booster.com/ellisislandseries

Thank you!

A Woman’s Place

Women in Church

We have a woman pastor, and for the United Methodist Church, that is not an unusual thing. It’s the first time I believe in my particular church. It has, therefore, brought up the question (so I’ve heard, I’ve not been in these discussions) about the appropriateness of women in leadership positions in the church.

woman praying

photo by https://www.flickr.com/photos/daveclarkecb/

I Am Just a Woman, Called by God

I think it’s ridiculous to even have that discussion. A 91-year-old woman I know repeatedly says, “They are called by God just like a man is.” But still it persists. Some even say there is Biblical reason for their belief that women should not be in leadership.

Royal Anglian Regiment Parade 129: The Reverend Jacky Page Photo by Peter O'Connor aka anemoneprojectors

Royal Anglian Regiment Parade 129: The Reverend Jacky Page
Photo by Peter O’Connor aka anemoneprojectors

The First Woman Preacher

I don’t listen to this much, but today it came to mind because when I went to www.sacredspace.ie for my devotional, I discovered it’s the saint day for Mary Magdalene. Therefore, the scripture is about her: John 20:1-2, 11-18. As I read it, it hit me. What if Mary had not been allowed to “preach?”

 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

The Dress by Kate Kerrigan, Book Review

Reading Widely

That’s what I try to do, and sometimes that means reading books not yet published in this country. I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of The Dress by Kate Kerrigan. If you can, order it from the UK.

My Review

The DressThe Dress by Kate Kerrigan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Dress by Kate Kerrigan combines fashion and one’s search for love beautifully in a tale that spans generations. Told with an obviously deep knowledge of the world of fashion design, this novel made me root for Honor and Joy, the two main characters in the 1950s tale, and certainly for poor workaholic Lily in the modern tale whose grandfather’s past in Ireland is a mystery to her. There were a lot of characters in this novel, and at first I did not understand how their stories would connect, but wanting to know what would happen to them kept me turning pages, and the beautiful message that Honor learns late in her life gave me that satisfied sigh that I’m always looking for in a book. Recommended for those who love stories that dig to a level deeper than mere romance to explore human relationships and family legacies.

View all my reviews

I Am an American!

Family Tree. Tracing your Scots-Irish roots.

With my interest in genealogy, you might think I’d call myself Irish, or Scots-Irish, or even Welsh. But I don’t. I’m an American born to American parents. My family tree is so rooted in America no one remembers who came over (until I did the research, of course.) But we know someone did. We’re Americans, after all. Not Native Americans.

My Birthplace

Ohio Barn www.cindyswriting.comI was born in Kansas, but I don’t identify with Kansas (sorry.) I only lived there the first three months of my life. My mom packed me and my sisters up and moved us to Indiana while my dad served in the army in Korea. When he came back we went to AZ, then Alaska. Then he retired and we returned to AZ. A few years later we moved to Ohio and I’ve been an Ohioan since the second grade, which I believe makes me more of a Buckeye than anything else. Yes, I’m an American.

My Roots are in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England

High Cross www.cindyswriting.comMostly. So I tell people who ask I’m American with Irish roots. (If they want to know more, I’ll tell them about the rest of my lines.) I know some people visit Ireland and tell the Irish people that they too are Irish, when actually, they are American. This can be offensive to some people because it sounds like you are marginalizing their ethnicity and cultural pride. If you didn’t grow up eating at a chipper, don’t know what colcannon is and can’t pronounce taoiseach, stop insisting you are Irish. Instead, embrace being an American.

What Americans Understand That Others Don’t

American Flag

Lee Coursey

If you know the rules of baseball, you’ve been to at least two Great Lakes, have eaten sweet corn in July, have seen a tractor pull, eaten cotton candy, played corn hole, eat turkey on Thanksgiving but not usually on Christmas, you are an American. :)

Americans understand that states have rights. They appreciate the veterans of (too) many wars for protecting their freedom. They believe in freedom of speech. They hold to the faith that every voice should and will be heard, and that majority rules–like it or not. They are a bit “old-fashioned” at times and completely unorthodox at others. History matters to most Americans, even history that is not that old in European terms. They are as varied as a people can be, but stand together when terrorists threaten.

Be Proud!

Flag of the 89th OVI Civil War

Battle flag of the Ohio 89th, Civil War unit my ancestor served with.

I seriously feel a strong pull to Ireland. If you follow me, you know that. I always want to know more about the land, history, and its people. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m proud to be an American. I don’t want to live anywhere else. Visit? Absolutely! Move? Never.

This was my patriotic post for the year. Happy 4th of July!

 

Comment if you are proud of where you come from!

Books by Cindy Thomson

Writing Globally

Recently on Twitter I saw this picture:

On Twitter

American Politics Abroad

And it immediately reminded me how many people we met while in Ireland who asked about how we felt about the Clintons or about Obama or Bush. They wanted to know how Americans felt, and I quite honestly said that I didn’t feel right speaking for all Americans. Perhaps it’s the size difference in countries or how they view politics. I just didn’t understand it. So, when I saw this, I posted a response saying how I didn’t understand why other countries jump into our politics.

Maybe I should have worded it differently. Maybe it sounded snooty. I meant it literally. I didn’t say this but looking at that tweet I wondered… “their” candidate? As I said, I don’t get it. And for me, I dread the upcoming election. I’m tired of politicians and their games. Why would you want to get into this when you didn’t have to? (I know lots of people are politically active. No criticism intended.)

And then I got this:

On Twitter

 

Woo. I tried to keep the conversation going, saying, no, I am puzzled. But David, it seemed, was finished. I’d been judged.

To Whom Does a Country Belong?

And of course, this got me thinking some more. I have never claimed to be anything but American. We know because of a current ethnic denial that the public looks down on this sort of thing, for the most part. I know I’m American. My research has shown my family has been in America long before we were even a country, about 150 years before in one line. Sometimes at book signings people ask me if I’m Irish and I reply that I have Irish roots way back.

af90c-dunluce-meme

So why write about a country that you personally are not from? Well, if I wrote about Kansas, where I was born, I wouldn’t know much about it. I only lived there the first three months of my life. I haven’t done the research. But I have researched Ireland because of my genealogy search and just because it interests me, greatly. Is that wrong? I never thought so. I still don’t. David on Twitter was just spouting off. I’ve met plenty of people from Ireland who seem to appreciate my work. My first two Irish books were published by a British publisher. They didn’t mind I was American. If you research, you can write about any country in the world, and in fact, by doing so you help enlighten the people in your own country, who will be primarily the ones who read your stuff anyway.

I have a friend who lives in Northern Ireland. Most of his writing is about Americans with Irish roots. He has traced their history here, and he knows a lot about it, more than most Americans know. He is writing often about his kin, those who left Ireland and came here, and I am doing just the opposite when I trace my line from here back there.

America is a Melting Pot That Some Want to Deny

Students at Ellis IslandA few months ago I was scolded by a Scottish man for claiming a connection to Scotland (He might have had too much whiskey because his posts consisted of scattered thoughts.) Well, it’s a historical fact that at least one of my ancestors was born in Scotland, moved to Ireland, and then on to America. I do have a Scottish connection, whether he liked it or not. (You can search for his comments here on this blog if you’re interested. I’m not going to link to it because….well, it was just silly.)

Here is where I think the misunderstanding comes from. The United States is by and large a country of immigrants. And as such, we identify with many other countries. In contrast, those whose families have lived in an area for many generations, as far back as can be remembered, identify themselves as wholly that–Irish, Scottish, French, German or wherever they’re from…and some of them have a strong dislike for Americans who seem to want to say they are one of them. They aren’t at all, in their minds. I’m all for pride in one’s heritage, but I think that’s taking it a bit too far.

Tom&Cindy Thomson, Ireland 2010

Our 2010 trip to Ireland, taking at Inch Abbey, County Down, Northern Ireland.

To be fair these people who pop up on Twitter or Facebook or even this blog are few compared to those who are welcoming, helpful, and interested in the stories from Americans about those who immigrated. I’m thankful for that. It helps lead to understanding and peace, no matter their political preference.

What do you think?

Birth Order and Fictional Characters

My Ellis Island Characters

So far I’ve avoided birth order with my series, pretty much anyway. Grace McCaffery was an only child until she was an adult. Of course, she did work as a nanny for four children, so there was some sibling rivalry there that she had to work to understand, but basically she was an only child.Grace's Pictures by Cindy Thomson

And then Annie Gallagher. She was only child. Her mother died after Annie was born and her father never remarried. She had a special relationship with her father, very different than Grace’s experience.

Annie's Stories by Cindy Thomson

And now Sofia’s Tune. She is the oldest of five children, plus their entire neighborhood consists of people who lived near each other back in Italy. She feels protective, impatient, and sometimes ignored–all within her family unit. Is she a typical oldest child? Yes and no.

Friends as Family

You may have noticed if you’ve read these books, but friends become family as these immigrants have to redefine their lives. Historically, the people who came through Ellis Island often left their families on the other side of the Atlantic. They built new family units.

This idea intrigues me. I want to know, do you count some friends as family?

1934Siblings in Fiction

227571Countless novels have featured siblings or explored birth order and relationships. Little Women, for instance or Peace Like a River, just to name two. Which are your favorites?

 

Puppy Tales

Let’s see if a cute puppy gets me more comments. 😉

My Puppy Tales

The Grand Puppy

The latest grand puppy is a Short Haired Pointer named Gibbs who belongs to my son Jeff.

The first puppy I had was a family dog named Boots. I remember going with my parents and sisters to pick out a puppy from someone who had a litter. I must have been about five. We played with them for a while and someone said it’s decided, and I remember being annoyed that no one asked my opinion. I had been interested in a different puppy. Well, such is the life of the baby in the family! And it continued. My sister Sharon really took over and Boots, while I enjoyed her, never really was MY puppy.

Later we added a dog (not a puppy) that my oldest sister Regena rescued off someone’s clothesline chain. Then a cat that Sharon rescued (after the dogs were gone.)

When I got married, I did not want a dog. Boots had turned out to be a neurotic mess in her old age during thunderstorms and the 4th of July. Boots and the rescued dog fought terribly. I just didn’t want that. We got cats.

Whose Dog?

Later we did get a dog for our boys, and he turned out to be my dog. A sheltie named Cody who was so sweet and loyal. He’s been gone a few years now. Then we had Jeff’s dog Mia while he was in the army, but she left to move in with him when he returned. She was my husband’s dog second after Jeff. A boxer that was well trained and trailed Jeff obediently, hanging on to his every word. We all miss her.

Then our son Kyle and his wife Kelsey got two dogs. They visit and romp and play at granny’s house.

Gibbs. He's bigger now.

Gibbs. He’s bigger now.

And now Gibbs. Jeff got his dream job working for the National Park Service for the season so we have his puppy while he’s away. Gibbs loves everybody, but since I’m spending the most time with him, I think I’ve adopted him. He’s very sweet, but yeah, he’s a puppy, so there are puppy problems sometimes, but mostly he’s a great puppy to have around.

Which Got Me Thinking About Pets As Family

When people do genealogy, they rarely include pets. You don’t put them on your tree. But they are an important part of people’s lives. I wonder if there should be a secondary page in the family record for pets. What do think?