Mill Park Publishing of Eagle, Idaho was created in 2003 by author Elaine Ambrose.
The company facilitates fee-based book publication and marketing for local authors
and organizes writer's retreats.
Mill Park Publishing of Eagle recently donated $3,000 to organizations that promote
writing, music, and job placement for disadvantaged women. The donations resulted from proceeds earned from the sales of three books published in 2011.
Mill Park Publishing, owned by author Elaine Ambrose, focuses on books written by
and for women. The Backyard Chicken Fight by Gretchen Anderson is in the second printing, and Mother Knows Best compiled by Patti Murphy is fifty percent sold. Little White Dress edited by Liza Long features 25 women authors and was written and produced in six weeks. That book is almost sold out.
“Mill Park Publishing provides opportunities for women to write their stories,” said
Ambrose. “Our books offer authentic, captivating, often humorous writing in a quality product. We’re excited to give back to the community through the proceeds.”
Dress for Success Treasure Valley received $1,000. The organization provides job placement services, career counseling, and professional attire for women looking for work. The Idaho Writers Guild received $1,000 as seed money to create a writers conference in Boise in May. Ambrose is a member of the group’s advisory board and is assisting with logistics for the conference. The third recipient is the University of Idaho School of Music. Ambrose is on the advisory board for the University’s College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences. As a student, she sang with the Vandaleer Concert Choir and the Jazz Choir.
Mill Park Publishing intends to publish more books in 2012 and donate the proceeds
to organizations that promote the arts and support disadvantaged women and children. Find more details on the web site, www.MillParkPublishing.com
Mill Park Publishing presents
A Workshop with Cowboy Poet Ernie Sites
“Writing the Songs of the West”
Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012
The Cabin – 801 S. Capitol, Boise, Idaho
9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Includes writing workshop, time for readings from participants, lunch, materials, and foot-stomping musical performance.
Ernie Sites recently completed a residency in the schools in New York and is coming through Boise on his way to another national Cowboy Poet Festival. Ernie combines traditional and original western singing, songwriting, storytelling and cowboy poetry with his own brand of country humor to enlighten, educate and motivate audiences of all ages. Ernie is a hit at corporate functions, guest ranches, schools, Cowboy Poet gatherings, and festivals throughout the country. Don’t miss this opportunity to lasso your inner cowboy (or cowgirl) poet! Ernie’s books and CDs will be available for purchase.
“Writing the Songs of the West”
Featuring Cowboy Poet Ernie Sites
Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012
The Cabin – 801 S. Capitol, Boise, Idaho
9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
City ____________________________State___________Zip Code______
Vegetarian meal? Please select one: _____Yes _____No
Registration includes writing workshop, time for readings from participants, lunch, materials, and foot-stomping musical performances.
Please print, complete and mail with $50 check payable to Mill Park Publishing. No refunds after February 6, 2012. Gift certificates are available.
Mill Park Publishing
PO Box 1931
Eagle, ID 83616
Workshop for Amanda Turner,
Grassroots Celebrity: Making a Name for Yourself from Scratch
Guest Speaker: Elaine Ambrose,
Author, Owner, Mill Park Publishing
Elaine Ambrose left the family potato farm in southern Idaho to travel the world, write and publish books, and encourage lively reading and writing. She is an author of six books, and her national bestseller is Menopause Sucks. Her author web site is www.elaineambrose.com and her business web site is www.MillParkPublishing.com.
A simple message on Facebook about observing used wedding dresses at thrift shops captured the attention and creative skills of 25 women who spontaneously gathered in one day to write their stories about "The Dress." Six weeks later, Mill Park Publishing had compiled the stories into a book.
The book won the Bronze Medal in the Women's Issues Category in the international Independent Book Publisher's Award program (IPPY.)
Award-winning author Alan Heathcock wrote this review for the back cover: “If I learned something about women from this awesome little book, it’s that each has her own dress, her own story; some of hopes fulfilled, some tragic, some funny, all compelling. Little White Dress holds the truths of humanity stitched into every poem and story. It sometimes made me laugh, sometimes made me somber, but always made me consider how the value of the dress has little to do with the fabric.”
The book is available for $10.00 (plus Idaho sales tax) from Mill Park Publishing, Amazon.com, and some Boise stores.
A simple message on Facebook captured the attention and creative skills of 25 women who spontaneously gathered on August 8th to write their stories about “The Dress.” Mill Park Publishing of Eagle compiled the stories into a book titled Little White Dress – Women Explore the Myth and Meaning of Wedding Dresses. The published book took six weeks to produce and premieres at a festive party and reading with the authors on Thursday, October 20, 20ll at Hillcrest Country Club in Boise from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend, and proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to Dress for Success Boise Valley®.
“My friend Liza Long wrote a brief but poignant message on Facebook about observing used wedding dresses in thrift shops,” said Elaine Ambrose, owner of Mill Park Publishing. “The message prompted immediate responses from women who wanted to share their own thoughts about their dresses. The result, six weeks later, is a book full of tender, funny, heart-breaking, and irreverent stories.”
Long, a college professor and single mother of four, designed the cover, edited the stories, and wrote the Foreword to the book. She noted that the little white dress is a symbol of self, and that if a man really wanted to know a woman, he should try to understand her relationship to her wedding dress. Award-winning author Alan Heathcock agreed and wrote this review for the back cover:
“If I learned something about women from this awesome little book, it’s that each has her own dress, her own story; some of hopes fulfilled, some tragic, some funny, all compelling. Little White Dress holds the truths of humanity stitched into every poem and story. It sometimes made me laugh, sometimes made me somber, but always made me consider how the value of the dress has little to do with the fabric.”
I had intended to write about the recent Elizabeth Warren quote that many of my intelligent, creative friends are promoting as “the best thing ever written. Possibly ever.” I had intended to gently but respectfully explain how this Marxist philosophy of class warfare seeks to take from the hard-working job creators, the achievers, the entrepreneurs, the risk-takers, inventors, and major tax-payers and give in larger proportion to the underachievers, the mediocre, the government, the lawyers, and the constant complainers. In my opinion, Comrade Warren is the Pied Piper of the new Proletariat.
But then my brother gave us tickets to see Larry the Cable Guy in Jackpot, Nevada. I laughed until I hurt, and now I feel so good that I don’t care if my friends become dedicated followers of the teachings of Mao Tse-Tung. (Just don’t take away my factory, if I choose to build one.)
The world is bloated with chronic stress, angst, and anger, and the only cure is a massive enema of laughter. It truly is the best medicine. Last night, the audience sat in cheap, plastic chairs in front of a bare stage as a chubby guy in combat shorts and a sleeveless, plaid shirt made them cry and howl for ninety minutes with his irreverent jokes and saucy humor. And, they paid their money in exchange for the joy of being happy. Last night, Larry the Cable Guy made thousands of dollars and flew away in a Lear jet. He earned every penny.
During the show, more than 3,000 people in the audience didn’t care if they were the boss or the employee. They didn’t care that it’s the factory owner who takes the risks to create jobs and pay the salaries that are taxed so that roads and schools can be built. They came to forget the political and social manipulation of organizations on the left (and the right) that seek only to divide, distract, and destroy our country.
I can’t convince my liberal friends to understand why I believe organizations such as MoveOn.org are promoting the Elizabeth Warren speech in order to penalize and diminish entrepreneurship and to advocate dependence upon the government. Conversely, my liberal friends can’t convince me that the individuals who created great inventions and took risks to start businesses should pay even more to those who didn’t try or sacrifice as much.
Instead of wasting time and energy on unproductive debate, friends should go to comedy shows and laugh until milk (wine, beer, water) runs out their noses. Friends who laugh together can acknowledge and honor their individual differences. Then they can walk away lighter, happier, and momentarily stress-free. And, if someone continues to argue, in the immortal words of Larry the Cable Guy, "Just call 'em a peckerhead."
We took the bus to Noussa, a dusty old fishing village on the Greek island of Paros. The travel guide had warned of primitive conditions, so we weren't shocked when we noticed a group of fishermen casually talking to each other as they urinated off the public dock into the water. Their catch of the day hung from wooden racks: flat silver fish with sharp teeth, round black fish with white eyes, squid with wispy tendrils of upended suction cups.
We walked through the narrow maze of stone streets past whitewashed buildings, tiny shops, lazy cats sleeping in the sun. The air was heavy with the smells of incense, tobacco, and wild roses. We stopped at a sidewalk cafe near the ocean and ordered sharp cheese, crusty bread with olive oil, and beer.
When traveling, I try to locate water closets (bathrooms) with the same zeal that I search for ancient castles and new wine bars. Noussa was becoming a bit of a challenge, and by late afternoon, I regretted the second beer. We entered a small grocery store tended by a matronly, black-toothed woman. "Toilet?" I asked. The woman shook her head, apparently not understanding. to
"Bano?" I implored, holding both palms up. No response. Words from my Greek phrase book were useless.
Finally, with a bit of urgency, I showed my travel packet of toilet paper and plunked down a euro coin on the wooden counter.
"Ah," she replied, nodding her head. She took a broken pencil and drew a simple map on the back of my book. I smiled and hurried to follow the map like an eager explorer with directions to the Holy Grail. I found the water closet, a tiled room with two foot rests and a hole in the ground. I'd seen these before, and can attest that strong thigh muscles are necessary to be successful. There was no sink, so I washed my hand with the wipes I carry - almost as necessary as my passport.
Later, as we hiked back to the port, we passed the woman's shop and I waved to her.
"Good-bye," she called in English. We laughed, and then turned toward the bus stop.
Today with the simple click of the send key, 133 pages of our new book, Little White Dress, are magically traveling through cyberspace to the printer, less than one month from the evening we gathered to write about “the dress.”
Technical details: The book will be 4-3/4 inches by 7-7/16 inches, with a perfect binding, black ink on 60# white paper, and have a four-color cover with gloss UV coating. ISBN is 978-0-9728225-7-2. Price is $10.
Creative details: The book shares cheers, tears and fears from 24 women whose relationship with a wedding dress (or two) made a profound impact on their lives.
The book’s authors include physicians, photographers, television producers, best-selling authors, filmmakers, professors, and stay-at-home moms. We have never-married, divorced, gay, and happily married women, and even a former nun. Ages range from a high school teen to grandmothers. The stories will touch, inspire, and surprise.
Little White Dress will be printed, bound, packed into cartons, and delivered in October, less than two months after Liza Long wrote a post on Facebook about finding used wedding dresses at thrift shops. Liza’s message prompted powerful responses from women who wanted to write about “the dress.” So, of course, we decided to write a book and invite other authors to contribute. With an added hook, we decided to write it in one day and complete publication by October. Done.
Liza set up a Facebook page and sent a call for entries. Then we met at my house on August 8 for the initial writing. Some of the authors are from out of state, so they emailed their stories and poems. Liza formatted the text and designed the cover with a dynamite photo from local photographer Amber Daley. I secured a printing bid and other publication details and then laughed and cried my way through the stories. Our talented friend Amanda Turner assisted with copyediting. We expanded the book by 33 pages, and decided to donate a portion of the proceeds to Dress for Success. We finished the final edit at Liza’s house on September 1.
Our stories and poems about wedding dresses incorporate our passionate dreams, some fulfilled, some destroyed. The stitches of our dresses create significant pieces in the fabric of our lives. (Cue Carole King singing “Tapestry.”) Stay tuned for book signing events and festive holiday parties. Wedding dress, optional.
I survived childhood on an isolated potato farm near Wendell, Idaho (population 1,000) by reading about adventures and faraway places. Back then, it was a big deal to go to Twin Falls, and the 100-mile trip to Boise demanded weeks of preparation. Sometime during those formative years, I made a personal promise to explore the world, and since then I’ve been fortunate to travel to more than thirty countries. Soon I’ll leave on another journey to celebrate six decades of wonder and wander.
My journal is the first priority on my packing list. I used it to write poetry after exploring Coole Park in Ireland and walking in the same woods that inspired William Butler Yeats. My writing is more frantic after riding on the back of a bull elephant and witnessing a tiger kill a water buffalo during a wilderness safari in Nepal. While floating the Nile, I wrote of the breathless excitement I felt descending into the tombs in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. Each visit, each discovery is an essential part of my own journey through life.
My journal reminds me of the good times - I’ve swilled beer in Germany, haggled with a jade dealer in Hong Kong, flown through the trees on a zip line in Costa Rica, hiked across a volcano in Hawaii, and sang Handel’s Messiah with a concert choir in the American Cathedral in Paris. Some places I never want to see again: Thailand because I didn’t feel safe, South Africa because it’s just too darned far away, and India where a beggar tried to sell me a baby in the shadow of the opulent Taj Mahal.
I have three favorite places: The Duomo in Florence, Italy stirs my soul. I wept there while standing in Mass and then lit candles for my family members. (Yes, even Presbyterians can attend Catholic Mass.) My second favorite place is Galway, Ireland where somber, intelligent villagers swear that magical fairies live in the trees. I believe them. My third place is home, in Idaho.
Many of my trips were inexpensive. I sang with the Vandaleer Concert Choir at the University of Idaho, and we toured six countries in Europe in 1971. Much to my daughter’s chagrin, in 1995 I volunteered to chaperone her high school tour of Europe. Years later, as the volunteer president for the University’s Alumni Association, I hosted alumni tours through Ireland and Spain. After that, I purchased packaged trips through Egypt and Italy, and yes, I was in a group of gawking tourists that obediently followed the tour guide with the obnoxious flag. But, then it was the best way I could afford to travel. Now I’m grateful for the opportunity to plan and chart my own trips.
As I pack for the next adventure – a two-week excursion of islands in the Mediterranean – it’s easy to pick the regular necessities: comfortable shoes, drip-dry clothes, and my journal. And I’ll make room for my Ipad, digital camera, cell phone and their chargers. Throw in the blow dryer and adapter and I’m ready. This trip will inspire some interesting writing because it’s with my soul mate. After we return, there will be several more pins on my wall map that connect and complete the dots of my personal path.
I was grounded for most of my childhood, mostly for being sassy. I thought my brilliant and clever command of vocabulary and rapier wit should be universally admired, but my parents thought otherwise. I never quite understood their admonition to, “Don’t get smart with me, young lady!” They never appreciated my retort of, “So you prefer I get stupid?”
A typical conversation from my teenage years:
Father: “You're grounded for a month.”
Me: “So what? I never get to do anything anyway.”
Father: “You're grounded for two months.”
Me: “Come on, do I hear three?”
The exchange deteriorated from there. My brothers learned from me and never talked back, so they got to go into town while I stayed back on the farm assigned to random chores or exiled to my room. But, being forever grounded provided plenty of time to write short stories and poems full of anguished souls who struggled for freedom. My 15-minute poem “Revenge” won top honors at the state high school speech declamation competition. (Sorry, Dad.)
Words always have fascinated me, and I’ve used them to make people cry, or laugh, or react with a variety of anticipated responses. I love the word “rejoice” because it inspires a positive eagerness for joy. “Despise” makes me snarl. “Pickle” is just too cute and fun, and the word “fart” brings laughter, especially from the 12-year-old crowd. Other favorite words: suddenly, shudder, gargle, snot. I value the onomatopoeia that links sound to subject, and as writers know, the right word can make all the difference in transforming an average sentence into a splendid one.
Sir Alfred Tennyson integrated onomatopoeia to bring the sounds of birds and insects into the reader’s head. In his poem “Come Down, O Maid” he crafts the lines,
…the moan of doves in immemorial elms,
and murmuring of innumerable bees.
This eloquent example is so much better than tritely writing: Birds and bees moan and buzz in trees.
Several years ago, I spoke at my father’s funeral. I told jokes that made people laugh, and I read a poem that made them cry. Maybe all those turbulent, formative years provided the foundation for my goal to be a writer. Then as now, writing is freedom. Rejoice.