Ligonier Valley Vignettes: Coming Spring 2013 from The History Press!

Greetings friends and readers! Regrettably I haven’t posted on my blog in quite a while.  The primary reason for my absence is that I have been engrossed in pretty big project – my first book!

I am pleased and excited to announce that my first book, Ligonier Valley Vignettes: Tales from the Laurel Highlands, will be released by The History Press this spring as part of the American Chronicles series.   It will be available as a paperback book and an e-book.  In a nutshell, it’s a series of historical vignettes about the Ligonier Valley, which is located within the mountainous Laurel Highlands of southwestern Pennsylvania, about an hour southeast of Pittsburgh.

The Diamond in Ligonier

The Diamond in Ligonier (Photo by Jennifer Sopko)

The Ligonier Valley holds a special place in my heart.  My freelance writing career started in Ligonier in October 2003, when I covered my first local government meeting for the Latrobe Bulletin, a weekly newspaper based in Latrobe, PA.  Since then I have continued to cover this region for the Latrobe Bulletin as well as write historical pieces for the Ligonier Echo, the town’s local newspaper, as well as for the Westmoreland History Magazine.  During my time spent in Ligonier I have met so many wonderful people intimately connected with the area, many of whom have been instrumental in the completion of my book.

This book is not a comprehensive history of the Ligonier Valley, but rather a series of historical vignettes that highlight interesting and significant stories of the region, combining familiar history, such as Fort Ligonier’s role in the French and Indian War, with nostalgic reminisces of local attractions such as Idlewild Park.  Ligonier Valley Vignettes is a mixture of previously published historical articles and new content.  If any reader has followed my work with the Latrobe Bulletin, Ligonier Echo or the Westmoreland History Magazine, you may recognize some of the vignettes in this book.  I’ve written about Ligonier in all three of these publications and it’s really been a great opportunity to be able to republish them in one source.  In addition, I’ve been able to add some fresh vignettes about the origins of the valley, the development of the town, and Ligonier’s connection with the historic Lincoln Highway, which celebrates its centennial in 2013.

Ligonier Valley VignettesThis project has been a long time coming.  It’s definitely the most challenging piece of writing that I’ve worked on and I’ve honestly struggled over the last year to complete it.  Writing a book has taught me a lot about writing, editing and proofreading through this that I didn’t know before.  I’ve learned a lot about time management.  I’ve learned that there are certain areas that I’d like to learn more about and improve. Thanks to many encouraging conversations with my wonderful editor, Hannah Cassilly, pep talks with my friends and family, last minute fact checking from my awesome sources and self-imposed pressure, I finally have a tangible work to show for my efforts.  I can’t wait to share what I’ve been working on and I can’t wait to get started on the next project!

Ligonier Valley Vignettes has finally been sent to print and should be available within in the next several weeks. Please stay tuned to my website for additional information on when Ligonier Valley Vignettes will be released, where you can find it, and where I’ll be promoting it!

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