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Festival Recap

How It Began

DIF 2017. Missing: Brenna Briggs, Therese Gilardi, Ben Anderson

First, let me say the people at the Dayton Celtic Festival were very good to me. They stopped by to talk about Ireland and genealogy, and which books of mine they’ve read. They bought a lot of books, and it was my privilege to be able to sign them for folks. They were also good at making St. Brigid’s crosses! Excellent students. 🙂 Heather has worked hard to grow the Cultural Area, and she is a delight.

But the week brought some tough news for no less than five people in various walks of my life: cousins, prayer partners, my son’s National Guard unit (there was a fatal car accident), and one of the festival authors who normally would have been at the Dublin Festival. Really, really tough stuff.

So when I got to the Dublin Festival, I admit I was not in the best of moods. And then our tent looked backwards to us. We were convinced no one would find us this year, and Friday sales were slim.

But, there are some fantastic authors in that tent. Add in some Irish humor from a couple of the new authors, and things got better. As a whole the festival was very good for me, and I hear it was for the other authors as well. The fantastic weather on Saturday brought a ton of people to the festival and at times our tent filled up with book browsers.

I just found out what happens when a writer leaves her computer for a weekend. #connecting… Click To Tweet

The Readers Show Up

Oh, my goodness. I talked to so many interesting people. I can’t begin to describe all the conversations I had, so I’ll just share a few.

This young woman, Rebecca, has become a big fan. She’s read the entire Ellis Island Series, and is currently reading Brigid of Ireland. She picked up Pages of Ireland at the festival. She makes me think I better get a move on with the next novel! She’s so faithful to email me, read my newsletter, and show up at my appearances. It’s for readers like Rebecca that I’ve written these stories.

This is Jessica Krcal. She stopped by because her boss sent her. You see her boss, Lexi, is my friend from my youth group days. And she doesn’t live in Ohio. Neither does Jessica. They are in Virginia. Jessica was visiting family and planned to come to the festival. When Lexi heard that, she said go see my friend Cindy. So she got this photo to show her boss she followed up. 🙂

And I met a young woman named Autumn, who had bought a book last year. I had a nice chat with her and her friend. Turns out Autumn works for a book printer and they do work for Tyndale, one of my publishers!

Another woman popped in to tell me she bought Brigid of Ireland the weekend before in Dayton. She said she enjoyed it and read it in two days!

A few readers who get my newsletter and/or follow me on Facebook stopped by to tell me that. A young woman who was named after St. Brigid decided she must get Brigid of Ireland. I talked to several people about places in Ireland and about their genealogy. I signed a copy of Brigid for a young girl whose mother a few months ago gave birth prematurely. Her dad told us a bit of the struggle that family is having but things are improving and they are coping. Several people told us how very much they love books!

And then these folks stopped by.

Can you see what is on the leash?

Yes, I Did Talk

I had a talk on Saturday titled, Turning Novels Into Novels. I read excerpts from my books. There was a decent size audience and they were attentive, which is always nice. 🙂 On Sunday the group was smaller, but still attentive and even asked some good questions. That topic was The Ancient Books of Ireland, a bit of the research I enjoyed doing that didn’t make it into my novels.

So, Pretty Good!

Even with the bad hair days I had.

I also enjoyed catching up with some vendors I know. I met a new lady too. She makes embroidered designs copied from grave markers in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, and frames them. She told me how she got this inspiration, and how she kept dreaming about these designs until she landed on the idea to make them into wall hangings and then the dreams stopped. She doesn’t want them on clothing. She wants to respect the original intent of the families who erected these markers. She lives here in Ohio.

And Tom and I enjoyed the festival finale before we went home and fell exhausted into our bed. I have since received some emails and Facebook messages from readers, and fun chatter with the authors and Barb, our author’s corner coordinator who is so good to us. Oh, and one more thing I want to mention: The Book Loft!  Julie, Sean, Josh, and Ross, are such nice people not to mention knowledgable about all kinds of books. If you are in Columbus don’t miss visiting the unique book shop, The Book Loft.

Because I Don’t Get Out Much

SharingWriting is by necessity a solitary endeavor. So it’s great to get out and meet the people who will read your books. And connect with friends and family who came to the festival. I’ve heard it said that to write a novel people will want to read, you have to have experiences, which means you can’t stay behind your desk all the time! This time of the summer and fall is my time to do that. Make sure you get my newsletter to find out what else is in store.

Been to any good festivals lately? Tell me about it in the comments.

When Feeling Thankful is Hard

What the World Needs Now

Sure, the world needs love, but seriously what the world needs now is more people with grateful attitudes. I’m afraid we’ve become complainers, at least in this country. I’m challenging myself to look for the good no matter what. I’ve faced some tough situations, and am currently facing some, but they aren’t things I can change, so I try to talk myself into focusing on what’s good about these things. Or at least, what good can be found.

The World Needs More Thankfulness Click To Tweet

Making the Decision

“If we think that impressive food, decorations, and presents constitute celebration, we will miss out on an important spiritual practice that will draw us toward the joyful heart of God.”~Deeply Loved by Keri Wyatt Kent

I took way more than 40 days to finish a 40 day devotional called Deeply Loved by Keri Wyatt Kent. But the important thing is I did finish it, today, two days before Thanksgiving. The last  chapter was titled Celebration and she spoke about Thanksgiving. I wrote down in my journal a couple of things she said that spoke to me. (I started this post a few days before I read this chapter. A coincidence that I was thinking about these things and then read this? Probably not.)

“…celebration is not restricted to times when everything is going perfectly.”

The quote above reminds me of The Grinch.

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
― Dr. SeussHow the Grinch Stole Christmas!

So the celebration will come, how I respond is up to me. Keri drove that point home in Deeply Loved when she wrote:

“By choosing to be grateful, to celebrate and be joyful, we begin to feel thankful for what we do have, and to transform our attitude about life’s challenges. The discipline of celebration ushers in joy.”

#Feelinggrateful!

Books Read in 2015

Cindy Thomson's reading list 2015Thanks, Goodreads

I’ve found it helpful to keep track of the books I’ve read using Goodreads. I also do a challenge, which I did not meet this year. It was too optimistic. I would have loved to have read 55 books this year, but I only made it to 35. Goodreads also tells you the shortest and longest books you read. For me, the shortest was an ebook called How To Make a Living With Your Writing by Joanna Penn and the longest, Ulyssess by James Joyce. My average length was 370 pages. The book I read that was the most popular with Goodread users was, no surprise, To Kill a Mockingbird. Surely I’ve read it before. I watched the movie, but I thought I should re-read it. I wanted to be ready for Go Set a Watchman.

A Few of My Favorite Books

Secrets She Kept by Cathy GohlkeNot all of what I read was released in 2015. But some were. I loved Cathy Gohlke’s Secrets She Kept! Another favorite: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Actually 2014, but it still seemed new.) I Read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins just to see what all the fuss was about. It was a very good book. For the same reason I read Go Set a Watchman, the controversial book that was kind of a new story, kind of not. And actually, for me, both of those books by Harper Lee had disappointing endings. Kind of like no ending at all. But I’m still glad I read the “new” one. She was a talented author.

And I read some oldies. Like Ulyssess. I listened to that one or I surely never would have finished it. What an odd book. Still, I can say I’ve read it now!

A surprise was Jane Kirkpatrick’s The Daughter’s Walk, published four years ago. Very good historical fiction. I love how Jane makes people who lived long ago seem like someone you’d like to know today.The Daughter's Walk by Jane Kirkpatrick

Another oldie was Mariana by Susanna Kearsley, published in 1994. Very good, but really, really liked Sophia’s Secret, 2008. Very clever plot, and of course I’d love a story about a novelist. I read these because on the advice of my friend Rebecca I went to hear Susanna speak.

Thomas MertonIt Was a Good Reading Year

As usual I read a variety of things from a biography of C.S.Lewis, a work from Thomas Merton, and Mark Batterson’s The Circle Maker, to a few baseball books, more clever, enjoyable novels, and few I didn’t care for all that much. I liked all of them somewhat, however, or I would not have finished them. There were some of those this year. I’ve decided life is too short, there is too much out there to read to settle for an uninteresting book.

I’m going to set my 2016 goal for 35.

What Good Books Did You Read in 2016?

 

It’s Advent, Not Christmas

The Lost Season

Christmas Carolers

photo by wolfgangfoto


There’s Christmas, and then there’s the Twelve Days of Christmas, and then Epiphany. But, not yet. First, it’s Advent. The meaning of that season seems to be getting buried. Anyone else feel that way?

We once had a pastor who insisted that the music in the service be Advent music. No Away in a Manager or Joy to the World, because Advent leads up to that. Don’t get ahead of things. The hymns that we should be singing are O Come O Come Emanuel and Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. And the Baby Jesus in the manager? Nope. Not until Christmas Eve.

Who Likes to Wait?

I understand that patience is a virtue. It’s hard to wait, especially for Christmas. After all, I know what’s coming. I know the story. It’s no surprise. Let’s just celebrate! Many people are complaining about how early Christmas is observed these days. When I was a kid, we put up our Christmas tree the week before Christmas. Who does that now? No one I know, including me.

The Gift of Preparation

Christmas cookiesMost people do, however, feel a need to prepare when an event is coming up. That includes Christmas, at least the way most people usually prepare: shopping, wrapping gifts, baking cookies, planning meals, inviting guests…

But that’s not the kind of preparation I’m talking about. Advent is a season the church recognizes as a time to prepare our hearts for Jesus. True, he has already been born, died, crucified, buried,  risen, and ascended into heaven. And yet by observing the religious tradition of remembrance, I find I am able to receive him anew in my heart each Christmas, IF I observe Advent and don’t rush right to the prize. By taking the time to reflect, pray, and ask myself if I were one of the people in the Biblical Christmas story, how would I respond, I am preparing myself. I think that’s a gift.

Mary and Jesus

photo by PROWaiting For The Word

“At this Christmas when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? Mark the season of Advent by loving and serving the others with God’s own love and concern.”
― Mother TeresaLove: A Fruit Always in Season

Slow Down

What’s the hurry? Maybe I’m just getting old, but the pace that life seems to want to push everyone along on bothers me. I’m going to make an effort to slow down, listen, watch, and enjoy more.

silent night

What about you? Do you feel that the season rushes by faster than you’d like? What will you do differently this year?

“God is here. This truth should fill our lives, and every Christmas should be for us a new and special meeting with God, when we allow his light and grace to enter deep into our soul.”
― Josemaría EscriváChrist Is Passing by

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.

Who puts their dog on their family tree? Click To Tweet

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?

10 Irish Books: Reading Your Way Through St. Patrick’s Day

10 Irish Books for St. Patrick's Day! Click To Tweet

About St. Patrick

There are many history books and some fiction choices. If you really want to know the man, start with his writings. Two exist: St. Patrick’s Confession

Book of Armagh page

A facsimile page from the Book of Armagh where St. Patrick’s Confession is found. Held at Trinity College in Dublin

and his Letters to the Soldiers of Coroticus. The letter is shorter and meant as an excommunication for Coroticus whose men struck down new converts. The Confession is much longer and is a bit of a biography where we learn about the man.

“I did not, indeed, know the true God; and I was taken into captivity in Ireland with many thousands of people, according to our deserts, for quite drawn away from God, we did not keep his precepts.”

But of course his story does not end there. Here are some reading suggestions, in no particular order.

Fiction About St. Patrick

I read this many years ago.

1. Patrick, Son of Ireland by Stephen R. LawheadPatrick by Stephen Lawed

 

I haven’t found much out there. If you know of any St. Patrick’s novels, please leave them in the comments.

2. Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie DePaola

Patrick post by Cindy Thomson

Learn About Ireland

Of course you can read many books about leprechauns, if you choose. But if you are like me and want more history, here some suggestions.

3. Celtic Wisdom, Treasures From Ireland by Cindy Thomson

Celtic Wisdom by Cindy Thomson

Even though it’s short, I’m still proud of the early history squeezed into these page with color photographs. If you’d like an autographed copy, let me know. Click on the picture.

 

About Ireland in General

4. Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson, ebookDid you know there are three patron saints of Ireland? (If you’ve read Celtic Wisdom, you do know that!) I still have print copies of Brigid of Ireland, or you can get one on your Kindle (or the Kindle app on your computer) for just a few bucks.

But there are plenty more choices than just my books!

5. How The Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill

 

How the Irish Saved Civilization, top Irish books Cindy Thomson

 

A condensed, but still useful, overview of Irish history according to the influence of the Christian monks.

6. Ireland, a Novel, by Frank Delaney

Ireland by Frank Delaney, Irish books Cindy Thomson

Featuring a seanchai, said to be the last of the itinerant storytellers, I really enjoyed this one.

7. Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherford

 Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherford, Irish books Cindy Thomson

Rutherford writes Sagas, spanning generations of characters. No one offers so much history in a  500 or so pages like he does.

8. The Tea House on Mulberry Street by Sharon Owens

The Tea House by Sharon Owens, Irish Books Cindy Thomson

For a different pace and a great glimpse into modern Ireland. Funny and entertaining. Owens has others as well.

9. The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry/Cindy Thomson Irish books

Barry is a gifted writer so you should check out all his books. I enjoy these types of stories where an elderly character tells about her past.

10. In Search of Ancient Ireland by Carmel McCaffrey and Leo Eaton, companion to the PBS Series

In Search of Ancient Ireland by McCaffrey and Eaton/Cindy Thomson Irish books

Truly, if you want to know about Ancient Ireland, read this book. Excellent!

 

Of course there are many more. What Irish books would you recommend for St. Patrick’s Day reading?

A Giveaway to Prepare for St. Brigid’s Day!

In honor of the upcoming St. Brigid’s Day, I thought I’d host a Goodreads giveaway for a print copy of Brigid of Ireland. Please share!

Get ready for St. Brigid's Day with this Goodreads giveaway: http://wp.me/p5bkeC-iR Click To Tweet

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson

Brigid of Ireland

by Cindy Thomson

Giveaway ends February 04, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win