From the Editor / Worth Reading

Worth Reading Moose Mash and Other Stories

"Moose Mash and Other Stories"For 88-year old writer and mystery novelist Mary Hitchcock Cone, Moose Mash and Other Stories (2011 FolkHeart Press) represents a life committed to literary pursuits.

With help from her two daughters Chris Cone and Lucinda Cone, they worked with the member’s of her writing group to compile a 144- page manuscript of original short stories which were all created in the latter part of Cone’s life.

Making her dream of being a published author a reality, Cone’s gift as a writer will be preserved, thanks to her family and literary friends. In her unique collection of contemporary short stories, her writing reminds all of us that it is never too late to leave a legacy. Not only do Cone’s characters exhibit vital, engaging, and rich inner lives, her crisp dialogue and subtle insight into the human condition deliver a delightful mix of laughter and tears.

 

Here is what Chris had to say about her mother’s book:

Q: What made you and your sister, Lucinda, decide to support the request to publish this collection of short stories?

A: Mary is primarily devoted to the process of writing rather than the business of publishing. Her family and writing group, however, were always interested in seeing her work published. When FolkHeart Press approached us about publishing a collection of Mary’s short stories, my sister and I were thrilled. The book project involved a team of Mary’s colleagues and family. Mary’s writing group (Amy Ingersoll Beauchamp, Claudia Bloom, Terri Tate, and Margit Liesche) assisted Mary in the selection of the stories and provided the book’s foreword; Wordsworth of Marin, owned by family friends Larry and Barbara Brauer, provided copy editing and pre-press services; Mary’s daughter, Lucinda Hitchcock Cone, provided the book cover illustration; I helped facilitate the book production; and Karen Pierce Gonzalez, owner of FolkHeart Press and a dear family friend, provided the introduction, imprint and publication services, and book promotion.

Q: Is it important for writers to see their work published?

A: I believe there is value in publishing one’s work. Not for fame or fortune, but to complete the sacred creative journey from that very personal place in which all that exists is you and the blank page to that community of readers who will find meaning in your story, novel, or article. This is why writing is an art, because it creates a bridge between the personal and the community.

Q: What message do you hope your mother’s work sends to other writers?

A: Mary focused her attention on the humanity in ordinary lives. Her stories bring insight and humor to the life journey we all share. Despite her duties as a parent, her career, and later caring for my father as his health failed, Mary, 88, kept faith with her art and produced a body of work that we are so very proud to debut with FolkHeart Press. Some, like Mary, are writers by calling. I hope my mother’s story inspires other writers to keep writing and share your work with the world. It is never too late.

Q: Do you have a favorite story? Tell us why it is your favorite.

A: “Point of No Return” is near and dear to my heart because it is based on a true story from our family. I’m not going to name names, but as I child I remember gift giving was always complicated by an eccentric relative (not my mother’s sister) who, like Aunt Lila, had a penchant for returning gifts. No matter how thoughtful or useful, all gifts were returned, sometimes the same day as in the story. And yes, it was Mary who doggedly searched for the one gift that would stick. I don’t remember if there was a happy ending to the real life story; I just remember driving back from Christmas dinner with that one lonely rejected gift tucked in the trunk, again.

Through dedication, support and a love for writing, Cone and her daughters prove that anything is possible at any age. For more on information on Moose Mash and Other Stories go to www.moosemash.com.

About Mary Hitchcock Cone: She is a fiction writer specializing in short stories and mystery novels. She began her writing career in mid-life while working for San Francisco Supervisor William C. Blake and later in the environmental field on staff with the Trust for Public Land and Nature Conservancy. In 1997 Mary joined a Marin County–based writing group inspired by author Anne Lamott, whose members meet weekly to share and critique their original fiction works. Mary was married for fifty-three years to the late Russell Cone, a journalist for the San Francisco Examiner, and raised two daughters. She instilled in her children a strong creative spirit founded on the idea that living a life of meaning is an art — that each choice, each risk, each moment of love and understanding is a colorful brush stroke on a ever evolving self portrait. She has traveled to Europe, across the U.S., and throughout California. Mary currently resides in Sacramento, California.

 About Chris Cone: She is an Energy Efficiency Implementation Manager for the Climate Protection Campaign, overseeing energy efficiency initiatives for residential and commercial buildings. Chris helped develop the Energy Upgrade California™ program (one-stop-shop for building efficiency/solar generation providing education, rebates, qualified contractors, and financing). She has over twenty-five years’ experience in the publishing, journalism, and environmental advocacy.

 

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