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Earlier this month, I had the honor of presenting to the Medford-area (NJ) Branch of the American Association of University Women. Last fall they had contacted me after Tricia Reace, Vice-President of the chapter’s literary group read coverage of my book Around the World in 1909: Harriet White Fisher and Her Locomobile that had appeared in the Times of Trenton. http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2015/01/book_details_ewing_residents_1909_journey_around_t.html#incart_river
The AAUW’s mission is to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research, breaking through educational and economic barriers so that all women have a fair chance.
When Cid Richards, Vice President of Programs, contacted me she explained that each year the group invites a woman author from New Jersey as their guest presenter at their annual Book & Author Champagne Brunch. The goal of this occasion is to raise money for their scholarship fund. As this book was authored by an author from New Jersey, about a New Jersey-based automotive pioneer, she thought the event’s attendees would appreciate this subject matter during Woman’s History Month.
At this gathering that over-looked the beautiful grounds of Medford Leas, I addressed a roomful of women (and a few men) that were fascinated by the life and travel of Trenton’s Harriet White Fisher and her intrepid band of traveling companions. Together, this team covered four continents during the course of thirteen months in a vehicle called a Locomobile.
During the event, I received several questions about Harriet’s trip as well as inquiries about how I came to tell her story and about my writing process and impressions of the publishing industry. What a great opportunity to share, and hopefully inspire, others.
At the conclusion of the address, I had the pleasure of signing copies of Around the World in 1909 as well as copies of Dog’s Best Friend and Something’s Lost and Must be Found. As an added bonus, I learned that a donation had been made in my name to the Alice Paul Institute. The Alice Paul Institute educates the public about the life and work of Alice Stokes Paul (1885-1977), author of the Equal Rights Amendment, and offers heritage and girls’ leadership development programs
I thank all of those of the AAUW involved in making the day so special including Elsie Behmer, Co-President, Treasurer Mary Ann Brookes, VP of Membership and Publicity coordinator June Ramondetta, Co-Vice President Literature Group Tricia Reace, AAUW NJ State Board Member Mary Switzer and of course, Cid Richards, Tri-Vice President of Programs; my point of contact throughout the planning process.
In turn, I will be contributing a percentage of book sales from this event to my “Be the Change” collection to benefit a local animal advocacy group.
Happy National Women’s History Month, Happy Spring. Watch for exciting news about National Dog Week 2016 in a subsequent post. Visit and LIKE the NDW Page:https://www.facebook.com/National-Dog-Week-218596591491974/?fref=ts
Amazon Link: http://tinyurl.com/obfhemv
I started blogging in January 2010 and I don’t know where those five years have gone. But when I look back, each post reminds me of my long journey to launch a career as a writer. I realize now I really had no idea of what I was getting into. But that’s a good thing because I might have reconsidered my choices. But I prevailed, and with the help of so many, saw several projects launched and completed; five books in all.
2014 was very busy with three of my books finding their way to the market. One, the first of the Collar and a Dream series was self-published. Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher was released by McFarland & Co in September, followed by my most recent, Around the World in 1909: Harriet White Fisher and Her Locomobile published by American History Press.
You might say I am driven to write (pun intended). But with so many fascinating events and people to write about, I see words and chapters as a literal path to adventure and self-discovery. I often find myself wondering if I could choose just one day to spend with Harriet’s traveling party, which would it be?
On the occasion of a visit to my hometown of Hackensack, NJ, during the holidays, I took a ride downtown to visit the street where Hackensack Middle School is located. As fate and coincidence would have it, the home of Alice Huyler Ramsey stands just a few houses down the road from my old school. Alice, if you don’t already know, is celebrated for being the first woman to drive an automobile from New York City to San Francisco in 1909, accompanied by three female companions. My “discovery” of her story would later inspire me to write the book about her equally famous contemporary and fellow-New Jerseyean, Harriet White Fisher.
When I pulled up to “Alice’s” house last month, I got out to take a few photos with my IPhone and noticed the house was being restored. I became aware I was being watched by neighbors and I shouted to one woman that I was just doing some research. Before long, I was aware of a person coming to the front door. A man emerged, “Can I help you he asked?” with a look of mild suspicion on his face. He explained the neighbors had alerted him of my presence.
I answered with a question, “Do you know the significance of this house?” to which he replied that he indeed did. “This is the house that belonged to the first woman to drive across America,” he stated. I was overjoyed. I quickly explained why I was there taking photos, and showed him a copy of Around the World in 1909 in case he thought I was a lunatic. I expressed that I was so glad to know the house would remain standing and he assured me in turn that it was being lovingly restored and served as offices for his law practice.
I always enjoy my visits back home and I’ve come to learn that roots go deep. Little did I know as a gangly tween attending Hackensack Middle School that I was less than a block away from my future. So I say, forget about The Snookie and her shore buddies, dismiss the Housewives of New Jersey, and embrace some True-Jersey treasures and the way they opened doors (cars and otherwise) for those to come. I hope that when I return to Hackensack to speak at the Johnson Public Library, or a hometown bookstore, I might stop by again and this time, be invited in to that historic home of Alice’s.
Well, that’s my “True Jersey” story, and this is where I exit.
AN UPDATE RE: PUP SHOP DISCLOSURE LEGISLATION
Some Good News from Janice Fisher Patterson!
I hope my NJ friends will help here! Please share if you do.
WE NEED YOUR HELP ASAP!
NJ SENATE BILL (S1870) has been introduced by Sen. James Holzapfel (District 10 – Ocean). It will require pet stores to provide very specific breeder information on each cage card for every animal offered for sale. It will provide a USDA website where buyers can research breeder inspection reports PRIOR TO BUYING A PUPPY.
PLEASE e-mail YOUR SENATOR and ask him/her to co-sponsor S1870.
Tell them that you want pet stores held to a higher standard. Tell them that you want more consumer protection. Tell them that you have a RIGHT TO KNOW where a puppy comes from PRIOR TO PURCHASE.
Please follow these instructions (they are not complicated):
To find your state Senator, click on the link below and find your town from the drop-down box. Once you choose your town, then click on the tab “Select Your Representative(s)” and it will list your one Senator and two Assembly representatives. Check only your “Senator” (as this is a senate bill) and then click on the tab “Select Your Representative(s)” again. An email- page will appear which you can complete and submit.
(cut and paste into browser if needed)
IMPORTANT: If you have time, follow up with a phone call to your senator’s office. Please let me know if you are able to get your senator to either support or co-sponsor the bill by e-mailing me.
Thank you so much,
Coordinator Puppy Mill Awareness Campaign
Happy Spring to all. I realize it has been three months since my last post, but it was time to take a little break. Besides, there are like a million plus blogs out there to enlighten and entertain you, and many are written just for dog-lovers like you! Although I was not writing posts…I was writing.
For the past five years, I have been hard at work on two non-fiction projects and happy to say, both will be published this year. As you may have noticed, the name of the working title of the Dog Week book has changed over the years, but it is officially now titled, Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher (McFarland & Co.). This book will be out during the Dog Days of Summer, just a few weeks before National Dog Week enjoys its 86th Observance. I can’t tell you how rewarding this experience has been. When I started this blog in 2010, a book was merely a concept.
The First Draft of my other book, Around the World in 1909: Harriet White Fisher and Her Locomobile (American History Press) will be complete by month’s end and will be available in the Fall of this year! Loved writing this, too. It is the real-life story of Trenton Industrialist, Harriet White Fisher, who took an automobile to places where no car, had ever ventured. It is the ultimate road trip taken by a dynamic woman and her entourage, and I feel so privileged to be the one to tell their story.
My Middle Grade book, When We Fostered Furley (the proposed first book of the Collar and a Dream Series) is just about ready to roll-over, hopefully sometime next month. It will be good to get back to some fiction writing. The follow-up to Something’s Lost and Must be Found is in the works, too,and will eventually make its crate escape.
Last week, a friend, Martin O’Sullivan of the Marty O’ Show! (YFN Radio), announced that he was going to be adding a pet segment to his show. What’s more, he said that I was one of the people who inspired this. That is the ultimate compliment, because as a blogger and an author in a crowded, busy on-line world, it is validating to know that one’s words are impacting others. We will tape a segment tomorrow morning and provide a link as soon as it becomes available. In the future, Marty hopes to be able to talk about issues surrounding our Companion Animals in the Garden State and across the nation. Tomorrow’s taping will discuss some pending legislation that will impact the way dogs are sold in retail shops, and will feature an update from Janice Patterson Fisher, who has been a such an informative and influential guest on this blog.
Our Foster-turned-Furever dog Teddy continues to be our pride and joy. It is amazing that even after a year, his true colors and confidence are still evolving as he enjoys the good life! I thank everyone who has followed our story, and that of the positive power of fostering.
And one more thing, can I just celebrate March Gladness one more time. As a UCONN Grad and Forever Husky, I congratulate Coaches Ollie and Auriemma on their “Double Dog” Victories! Somehow, I think Teddy’s wearing of his lucky hat had something to do with it.
After a winter that felt like a very bad dream, we look forward long walks, and long talks, on-air, on pages of magazine, and anywhere anyone will listen to our stories. Writing is the practice of putting one word in front of the other and hoping some day, all those words come together to inspire and entertain many. I look forward to getting back to posting, launching a new website…and hearing from you all.
http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-7120-1 (will also be available as an e-book).
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