Self Published Authors is proud to introduce you to Terry White. She’s an experienced writer who has won several awards to back her unique writing style. Welcome Terry!
Author Name: Terry L. White
Book Title: Drama Queen Rules
Book Price: $19.95 print, $7.99 kindle
I hear your book has received some great reviews. Please share one with us.
“I can describe Drama Queen Rules in two words – seriously funny. The trials and tribulations that Lainey finds herself going through would “seriously” put most of us under or at least make us give up. Lainey, on the other hand, handles her kidnapping by Skip with tolerance and humor. She has a determined mind that won’t give up its dream no matter how hard times become nor what hardships might come her way. Author Terry L. White has a way of telling her story in a style that reminds me of one other writer – Louis Grizzard. She turns a back woods life into a success. I loved every page I turned and when the book ended, I wanted more!”
What do you feel is the best aspect about Drama Queen Rules? I think the best thing about Drama Queen Rules is that it is a story about a woman a lot of us know. Lainey family always has some opinion about the things she wants to do. Her boyfriend Skip is borderline criminal and lazy as a pet coon. She works as a waitress and scratches her way through college to earn her a degree that fits her for an administrative job in a nursing home. She’s pretty familiar to the folks I know.
It sounds like you’re book could be a big hit. How do you go about promoting it? I tell everyone about Drama Queen and ask people who have read it to post interviews and reviews in their part of the web. I go out and show the book and talk about it at community events and schedule signings where I can.
I see you’ve written several other titles. Tell us about a couple of them. Wow… My historical The Last Priestess was nominated for an Eppi. My biggest project is a historical series centered on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and follows a family of women descended from a young girl who comes to the colony as an indentured servant in Chesapeake Harvest, subsequent volumes deal with prejudice as her grandaughter is banished from the settlement because she has a Native American parent in Chesapeake Destiny. The third volume deals with domestic abuse in Chesapeake Legacy.
In Chesapeake Visions the heroine is blind and must learn to cope with life without slaves. Vienna Pride is the story of a cannery girl in danger from a stalker. In process is First Waltz, the story of a young woman who meets a soldier who was sent here to guard German prisoners of war. Each of these women live on the same plantation during their lives and each story is pinned to a war that impacts the area. I have two books of poetry – one embraces long tales such as the story of Harriet Tubman. I am currently working on a historical with photos concerning the waterman’s culture on and near the Chesapeake Bay. All of these are available at Amazon, Kindle and www.writewordsinc.com. Drama Queen rules is an Xlibris product as my publisher was very ill when it was ready and I felt it needed to be on offer because of its nature as a book about the sort of people we all know.
How do you feel you’ve grown as an author with each new book? I think each story makes me more sure of myself as a storyteller. I love the work and can’t imagine doing anything else. When I read anything, I am more aware of the way an author uses words and all this input helps me make the stories richer and more real.
Do you have any wisdom you’d like to pass down to new authors? I would tell a new author to do their homework, to learn to produce pristine manuscripts and not to give up because of rejections. I collected a three-inch stack of rejection letters that ended up in a friend’s bonfire. I also worked as a newspaper reporter and photographer, which helped me to understand that a writer’s block is not necessary. My deadline was 9 a.m. and if I covered a meeting the night before, that meant I had to be at my desk by 6 a.m. in order to make that deadline. I highly recommend the experience and would tell any writer to work with the news at some point in his or her career.
Terry L. White was raised in Appalachia, eldest of eight children. She always wanted to write and has spent many years in the craft. She has won a number of little and literary awards and was cited for the excellence of her work on special sections for Independant Newspapers, Inc. She has written nearly 20 books, including the Bride of the Condor series and the Chesapeake Heritage series. She is a veteran of several years as a news reporter and worked for non-profits as a fund-raiser on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where she makes her home. Her work is available at Amazon.com, Kindle books, and www.writewordsinc.com. She writes a blog at www.terrylwhitesblog.blogspot.com. (Author photo by Lisa Krentel.)
Hi, my name is Carol and I am a newspaper reporter, have been for years, which wasn’t always easy because I have always tried to walk for Spirit too. A person might not think the two jobs could go together, but I learned a lot of neat stuff and kept my fingers clean all the time I was with the Rapid City News. Ask anyone. I made my mark all over that paper. People know my byline all the way to Pierre and far into Montana. I always listened to people and wrote down what they said, and I got a reputation for being fair when it came to telling a story straight.
I remember one day my editor, a woman grossly overweight and sporting a full beard, adjusted her wedding photo on her desk and kept me waiting while she talked to someone on the phone.
I could not help but notice that her husband was quite good looking and fit. He was bearded as well, which I like – in a man. I wondered how she did it. I looked normal, but I didn’t even have a boyfriend.
You see a lot of strange things in Rapid.
I got to go out the first of the month to take a picture of the newest guy they made into a statue for the big Presidents Project. The city, hooked onto the Rushmore tourism thing, and was trying to put a statue of every single American president on the downtown street corners. Last month they installed Teddy Roosevelt, and the month before, it was the guy who played the fiddle. I never could recall his name – I think was it Andy Jackson. Was he a president, or was it somebody else?
Oh yeah, I was talking about my conversation with Cissy Tate.
I never could get past the nickname, so I always called my editor Mrs. Tate. I think she might have allowed me the diminutive Cissy, which implied she was somebody’s little sister but she was pushing three hundred pounds. It took her quite a while to show me two errors on the front page and asked what in the world was wrong with me. “It isn’t like you to be so sloppy,” she shook her head. Her hair, as usual, followed, sprayed to immobility. She swilled her diet cola and stared at me, willing me to be guilty so she could feel good about her having all the power.
I did the pee pee dance, wiggling in my chair, hoping she would notice my discomfort and let me go. But no, the woman had all the sensitivity of an armadillo. I said I thought Fiona Brant was still the copy editor – and ultimately responsible for the paper’s punctuation.
Fiona, like a lot of other employees at the paper, did the absolute minimum to get by. Apparently she passed my story without reading it, hence the errors Cissy found. I try to write right, but sometimes I make a mistake. I think the trouble with the world is that too many people are trying to pass the buck. I don’t mind being responsible for my own errors. But just show them to me and don’t make a federal case out of it.
“I need you to do a story for me.” Cissy banged the diet soda can on the desk and heaved herself up to stare out the window.
I hoped the editor had an assignment I could live with. If so, I could get home by two and I could nap an hour or so before I ate my supper and drove out to Pine Bluff for the monthly fireman’s meeting. Some of the guys out there were really concerned about the town’s safety. It gave me hope. Pine Bluff was having a hard time fitting into the modern world.
“I want you to find out who is pissing in the city fountain.” Cissy gripped the short drape with a wide and powerful fist. The last caller had her all stirred up. I figure some little old lady heard about the fountain being sullied and called the paper to lodge a citizen’s complaint. It sounded like a case for RCPD, but what did I know? An awful lot of justice gets carried out by the press if you ask me.
I didn’t get the problem. The city fountain only worked about an hour or so a year. I talked to Dave, over at Public Works, and told me the fountain wasn’t worth fixing, and that he couldn’t fix it. “You’d think the town would just replace the bitch,” he mumbled through a big cud of Red Man. “They don’t cost all that much, couple hundred bucks, maybe. It’s not like they don’t make the damned things any more.”
When I hung up, I tried to figure out what Cissy really wanted. I had the idea it was something other than this piddly little civic problem. She had a bee in her bonnet about something and it felt to me as if she was going to worry me to death about it until I either got it fixed or quit – one or the other.
I was the company’s award-winning reporter two years in a row, and I wasn’t about to hang around the city park to watch some wino take a wiz. “Give me a real story or let me get going.” I said. I had all I could do not to smack her ugly face. I also had all I could do not to tell her to get her hormones checked. Women just don’t have beards like that if there is nothing wrong with them.
The assignment stunk in more ways than one. I had an idea the poor old drunks who happened to see that old fountain as a urinal were doing the town a favor. What if they decided to use the water fountain the city put in for the kids to drink from instead? I mentioned that.
Cissy glared at me over her little drugstore glasses. “Get the story,” she said, teeth clenched, knuckles white. I guessed it must have been the Mayor on the phone and not just some old lady with a Joan of Ark complex.
I said I would look into it, but I didn’t say when. Days like that I just hated my job. I also hated to think of the homeless folks out there. It was summer, but winter would come. It always did, and winter was a big deal in Rapid. We had snow from September through June, and yes, often it was butt-deep to a tall Indian, as the locals would say. Last spring I had to laugh when a weathercaster happened to mention it had warmed up to ten below zero and that spring was definitely on the way.
I started talking about some other story leads I had thought about following, and after a while Cissy quit being a complete bitch and let me pick a couple of features to balance the sheer drudgery of reporting the government’s doings to the common man. What you had to do with civic meetings was to put the big issues in words a fifth grader could understand and retain.
An awful lot of people in Rapid couldn’t get the retain part, though. There were some stories I wrote over and over again, trying to help folks understand what was really happening and what they stood to lose.
That Wednesday, Cissy decided I could go out to Porcupine and do a story on an old Lakota grandmother who claimed she was over a hundred years old. Word was, the old lady still kept a store. I was delighted with the assignment and couldn’t wait to meet her. I loved to talk with the elders.
That night I had to sit through the School Board meeting, and put down what each of the board members said about each and every thing on the agenda, and how their decisions could affect the other guy’s children and the teachers’ vacation time. The meeting lasted for three hours. I had all I could do to stay awake. I was up again at five.
Did I mention deadline was 9 a.m.? If I hadn’t had my nap, I would have been up that old creek without a paddle because I would have to go in at 6 o’clock in the morning to file my piece on the School Board meeting.
To make a long story short, I got my second wind, and I filed my stories before I went to bed, and sent them in an email to Cissy and told her she wouldn’t see me until Monday.
I had Thursday for the story about the old woman at Porcupine, and then I had Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for my regular third-weekend-of-the-month off. I felt as if I had all the time in the world for the interview, and in the end I was glad for every minute of it.
I got to Porcupine early and wandered around the old woman’s store until a couple of customers left. The young woman stood behind the cash register and scowled at me. “What do you want?” she asked rudely. I said I was there to talk to the old woman who owned the store. The woman scowled and led me into an overheated room in the back.
Betty Running Deer was bowed by time. The flesh of her face had melted, exposing the elegant angles of the cheekbones beneath the skin. Her store teeth were large and very white, and her long horny nails had never seen a manicure. She was dozing in her chair when the daughter led me through the narrow aisles of their store and into to the little room where her mother lived.
Betty wakened quietly, her eyes moved slowly from wall to wall. She entered the world gently, and she must have had a pleasant journey, because there was a half-smile on her face. Her eyes, white with cataracts, looked at me and grew small and hard. “Who are you?” she demanded. “I told Susie not to let you white-eyes in the house.”
“I am Abnaki, Grandmother, not white-eyes.” I inclined my head as my people did when they meet an elder. “How are you today?”
The old woman sucked on a cup of coffee thick with canned milk and plenty of sugar. “Don’t you have a name, woman of the Abnaki?”
“I am Carol… no…. I am Mockingbird… Mockingbird” I said firmly. Mockingbirds repeat everything they hear. It was the perfect name for me.
“Well, Mockingbird, what do you want?” The old woman squinted at my spandex pants and cashmere sweater. I made a good harvest at the thrift shops. Who knows if you buy a thing new or not? Good stuff is good stuff. She reached out to stroke the soft wool of my top and smiled.
“Will you tell me about the Old World?” I asked, and used the words for the time before the white man came to gobble up the continent.
“It was a long time ago.” Betty shook out her skirt, a bright affair, pieced from a rich woman’s scrap bag. I could see damask, velvet, and thick, raw silk. I wasn’t the only woman in the room who liked second hand stuff.
“I know,” I settled more comfortably on my chair. “I want to learn about it.” I looked back towards the store, where the shelves were stocked with the finest the big Food Mart chain could offer. I heard everyone in town who went to Rapid picked up an item or two for Miss Betty, and she marked everything up a little bit for her share when they bought it back.
And they think white people invented entrepreneurs.
“God made us,” Betty pulled a richly embroidered shawl around her shoulders. It must have been ninety in there, but old people get cold. I hoped if I held the camera she would get comfortable with the idea of being photographed and then I could catch a really good expression.
People said I made good pictures. It isn’t as easy as it looks. You have to be patient, to ask the right questions, to wake the subject’s passion for the matter at hand. You have to wait until they forget the camera and what they are wearing. You can make a good picture every time if you wait long enough.
“And then what happened?” I prompted, using the reporter’s most efficient tool.
“And then the walkers learned to walk, and the runners learned to run. The singers sang from morning to night, and the storyteller kept the villagers entranced while she spun her web of beautiful words that looked like butterflies in flight.”
I nodded, unwilling to break her spell. I closed my eyes and saw words rising from the ghost of a woman in a two-hide dress decorated with elk teeth.
“The builders made houses of wood and hide, and the fishers waded in the creeks until the leaves turned to gold in the fall. The weavers made blankets from dusk until dawn, and the cooks, mmmmmmmm– the cooks made the best cakes and soups you could ever imagine.” Betty smacked her gums at the thought of such heavenly food.
I said she had teeth. I didn’t say she was wearing them.
“If a person was confused, why then, being confused was their job,” she grinned. “My son was like that. He liked to dress in my clothing and braid my hair.”
My notes told me her son died from a drive-by. There was a lot of crime on the res. I felt sorry for her.
“You’re a storyteller?” She squinted at me with a raptor’s quizzical gaze.
“I nodded, and scribbled on my narrow reporter’s pad. I didn’t want to lose a word of what this wild old woman had to say.
“You are too early,” the old woman bit off her words as if she was scolding a wayward child.
“What do you mean?” I didn’t see a clock, but my watch was right about half the year. The clock in the car worked, though. I was almost always five minutes early. That was only polite, it showed respect for my elders. You can be a little early, but not late. Late wasn’t good at all.
“You are too young to tell stories.” The old woman set her jaw. Her fingers played with the silky ends of her scanty braids. “A storyteller should wait for autumn to tell her tales.”
I stared at the old woman. “What?”
“Don’t you know why?” Betty bumped her foot on the floor and the younger woman appeared with another cup of coffee. This time she banged a second white earthenware mug down in front me. It was filled it to within about a half inch from the top. The brew looked like hot tar.
I put in some evaporated milk and sugar. It wouldn’t have been polite not to share Betty’s offering. You have to understand how The People think about giving.
Giving is a job. Receiving is a job. You have to learn both.
“If you tell stories in the summer, the animals will sit down to listen and forget what they are supposed to be doing and starve. You have to tell your stories in the autumn, when the animals have time to listen before they fall into their winter sleep.” Betty looked at me as if I was touched by a lazy spirit. “A good storyteller is hard to find.” she sucked at her mug and stared at me. “Are you any good?”
I was getting confused. I was supposed to be interviewing a nonagenarian. Most often people that old fell asleep after trying to name all their children, but Old Betty just kept going like that slack-eared rabbit on TV with the big drum. It sure felt like I was the one being interviewed. I should have been getting the “facts about Betty” from her daughter by now, but here she was, getting the facts on me.
Not that time mattered. I didn’t have to produce even one story until Monday morning deadline at 9 a.m.
That was maybe ten, fifteen years ago. I came across that story I wrote about Betty Running Deer last night when I was cleaning out under the beds. You wouldn’t believe the junk I found: old manuscripts, boxes of tear sheets, three manuscripts for novels no one will ever read – a lifetime of writing, gathering dust.
Betty Running Deer, bless her heart, was right. I have worked my way into my own autumn and it is time to tell my stories. I get calls to come to schools, and I bring the books I write to all the powwows. There aren’t that many Native American writers, you know.
So, autumn has come. Why don’t you sit down and rest a while? I have a story to tell you.