Best. Present. Ever.

On Christmas, I got the best present ever. I’ve had other best presents ever, including a shoebox crammed full of wonderful paperback books when I was a preteen, sweaters, afghans, wall art and other beautiful handcrafted items, and other gifts that weren’t handmade but were incredibly thoughtful. As we all know, this is Christmas #2 … More Best. Present. Ever.

A Civil War veteran was finally honored for his service on Veteran’s Day

Today is Veteran’s Day, 2021. It’s the first Veteran’s Day that William Boyd of the town of Jim Thorpe, PA finally has a military marker. William Boyd was a Private in the 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry in the Union Army during the Civil War, and for a time he was a prisoner of war in Richmond. … More A Civil War veteran was finally honored for his service on Veteran’s Day

Beyond the battlefield: how one little girl lost not only her father, but her entire family during the Civil War

Life can be really unfair. I’ve been doing research for a book that I’m writing based on the letters of the first husband of my great x4 Aunt Hester. John Williamson wrote these letters home to Hester while he was serving in the Union Army during the Civil War. He didn’t make it home. John … More Beyond the battlefield: how one little girl lost not only her father, but her entire family during the Civil War

How I was able to honor a hero with the help of a few good people

Somehow, with no idea of what I was doing, I was able to get a military marker for a Civil War veteran who had none. A cousin of mine (four times removed) was in the 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry during the Civil War and became a prisoner of war at Libby Prison in Richmond, from which … More How I was able to honor a hero with the help of a few good people

When the present blocks you from the past: one of the challenges of writing about the past

I never thought I’d write about history. I’ve always liked to write, sure, and I tried my hand at writing novels years ago. But when my grandmother died a few years ago and we found a little autograph album in her records, I unexpectedly found my reason to write. The autograph/friendship album was filled with … More When the present blocks you from the past: one of the challenges of writing about the past

My great-grandfather died in the 1918 flu epidemic. I never thought we’d face something as bad, if not worse

This is a photo of James and William Shaffer, my grandpa and great-grandpa. James was 18 months old in this photo and his father William was 23 years old. They lived in Northumberland, PA where William worked at a silk mill and was a member of a local baseball team. The photo was taken in … More My great-grandfather died in the 1918 flu epidemic. I never thought we’d face something as bad, if not worse

Lesson learned: taking time between rough draft and revision is invaluable

I’m an impatient writer. And an impatient artist. I want to get everything done right away, which is definitely not how most writing and art works best. So that I was able to push through and finish my book on family and local history, page count over 500 (including bibliography), is amazing. And even though … More Lesson learned: taking time between rough draft and revision is invaluable