Tag Archives: South Norfolk

Thanks to Serendipity, Another Leaf is Added to the Tree

Last week, a friend went to Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore and stayed at an inn for a few days and met the couple who was running the inn while the owners slipped away to to a Jimmy Buffett concert across the

My aunt, uncle and grandmother in my great-grandmother's backyard. South Norfolk, 1940s.

My aunt, uncle and grandmother in my great-grandmother’s backyard. South Norfolk, 1940s.

Chesapeake Bay in Virginia Beach. After my friend learned the wife grew up in South Norfolk, she told her of my novel, Cooley & Rose, which begins and ends in her hometown.

The substitute innkeeper downloaded the e-book and immediately read it. What follows is a portion of the email she wrote to my friend.

“Just finished reading Cooley & Rose. I love it and imagined the place she wrote about to be places from my childhood. My sister did the same. She even mentioned a Mrs. Dowdy being “saved.” That was my maiden name, and my great grandmother was extremely religious . . .”

If you think this is a shameless plug for Cooley & Rose, you’re only half right. There’s a story here.

Because I thought the reader would be interested, I wrote her the following:

“I think that your religious great-grandmother was probably the woman that my grandmother referred to as “Sister Dowdy.” I don’t think I ever met her, but my grandmother talked about her often, and the name stayed in my mind for all of these years. I liked the sound of “Dowdy,” so I used it.”

I went on to give her some of my family background – the names of my grandmother, my great-grandmother, my great aunt and her husband who was the local pharmacist.

She replied to my email. The first line read, “I think we are related!” Then she told me why. In short, our great-grandmothers were sisters. As adults, they lived only three houses away from each other.

Now, I also have unknown cousins on my mother’s side, and only the Chesapeake Bay separates me from this one, whom I hope to meet soon.

What I haven’t told her is that about 15 years ago, my HOBL and I went to the town where she lived and looked at property, and we came across a charming old brick church that was for sale. In my mind I began envisioning it as a house, then as a home, but my HOBL nixed that idea when he learned that the town didn’t have a clay tennis court.

If it had, my new cousin and I might have discovered each other sooner.

cover final 3-2-13NOTE: Goodreads.com is giving away three paperback copies of Cooley & Rose. Deadline to submit our request is Sept. 15, 2013. Paperbacks are for sale at Amazon.com, and e-books are available for all readers. Visit your favorite online store.

Oh, The Places This Novel is Taking Me!

cover final 3-2-13My novel, Cooley & Rose, is now available as a paperback from Amazon.com and as an e-book from Amazon, ITunes, Sony, Kobo and seven other online sites, including one specific to the United Kingdom. Both reader and mobile formats are available.

Included at the end of Cooley & Rose is a book club guide. For those groups on the southside of Hampton Roads who decide to read this novel and would like me to attend their meetings, I’ll be glad to do so. By the way, the novel begins and ends in South Norfolk, Virginia, and, with the help of historian Raymond Harper and my aunt, Ruby Ene, I tried to capture the essence of that area as it was in 1948. I’ve also tried to do the same with the other settings — Clinton, OK; Los Angeles; and Palm Spring, CA.

As I write this blog, I feel almost too calm, especially since I wrote the first pages of this book almost 20 years ago. I should be punctuating this entry with a lot of exclamation points !!! But a lot has happened during that time. More than enough for a book or two. But none of that matters now.

After the death of my second agent, I decided to take on publishing Cooley & Rose by myself, and I don’t regret it for a moment. That decision pushed me to start this blog, something I had thought about but had lacked the energy or motivation to do. In the few months that it has been online, more than 2,500 people from at least 49 countries have visited this site, accidentally or not. Still the idea, that as an electronic community we are one, awes me.

I’ve also received several dozen comments on my blog and many more emails from friends and strangers with kind words and, sometimes, their own stories, which I greatly appreciate.

So far this is one wondrous ride.

Now, before I end this buy-my-book blog and return to story telling next week, I ask those of you who read and like Cooley & Rose to post reviews or ratings on the site from which you purchased your e-book and on Goodreads.com. It’s not easy for an indie to market her work, but your words could help a lot.

Thank you.

No Chat About Cats Today. I’ve Got A Book To Flack!

IMG_0141I had in mind to write about the frenzy over cat this and that, especially videos.  Then, while studying how to promote an e-book, I read that an author is supposed to blog about his novel and post comments on social networks as the book takes shape and makes its way into the market place. Sigh.  I learn this in the last month of a writing project that has taken years.  As most everyone who knows me will attest, I have no gift for timing, except on the dance floor.

So here goes.

Next month, as long as that wicked non-planet Pluto and his two moons are not hanging over my head, Cooley & Rose will be published as an e-book that will be compatible with all makes of readers, plus I-Phones, Droids and computers.

I’ve yet to write the zingy blurb for the distributors to use as a sales tool, but this novel, set in South Norfolk, VA during the summer of 1948 is about a married couple who part ways after their love sours.  Rose takes off to start a new life in Hollywood; her husband, Cooley, goes to visit his girlfriend, LaBelle.   Erle Stanley Gardner, Bob Hope, Louis Prima and a young Keely Smith make cameo appearances, as do an Indian preacher and thieves posing as rich Southern Baptists.  But more on that at another time.

For now, I offer the following:

From Janet Peery, National Book award nominee:

“This eminently readable story is a romp in the tradition of Crazy in Alabama and a love story as rewarding as Cold Sassy Tree.

Cooley & Rose is imbued with place and period but never at the expense of story.  As these original and unforgettable characters explore the vagaries of love and the boundaries of connection, they leave their marks on the reader’s imagination, providing the best that can be asked of a good book; a feeling that we’ve encountered people we thought we knew but now more fully understand, the sense that – like family, whether near or far – they’ll stay with us, ours for life.

“Terry is a gifted storyteller with an eye for detail, an ear for the rhythms of what’s said as well as what’s unsaid,  and a heart for character depth.  I hope you’ll give her a read.”

From Bob Shacochis, National Book Award winner:

“I loved reading Terry Perrel’s first novel, Cooley & Rose. And feel that it’s a wonderful . . .work of comic Southern literature.  And it goes without saying that Terry is a terrific writer.”

A third author, who read Cooley & Rose in a shorter form, said it has “echoes of Anne Tyler, Flannery O’Connor and Eudora Welty.”  I told this to my agent before he died last year, and he thought the comparison was a bit over the top. Ha!  What an understatement.

By the way, the photo at the top of the page?  That’s my writing shed that my husband, one of my brothers, a few of our friends and I built.  That’s where I work and nap and, sometimes, hide out.

UPDATE: Cooley & Rose is available as a paperback from Amazon and as an e-book everywhere!