Maura English Gallagher, using the pen name "R. E. Cluse" (nicknamed "Clu") began writing in 2007 at the age of sixty . . .

                                            My Mission Statement  


"Reading is a pathway to the mind. The destination is the 'soul', or whatever it is that you call that special 'place' we all share as humans. I take on the task of providing the written word with a great deal of responsibility to those who have so willingly allowed my work to enter their most precious of all places,their intellects."

Maura Patricia English was born on May 21, 1947 in Pittsburgh PA. She is the second child born to Robert L. English and Mary Margaret Longmore. 

 

 

THE MAKING OF A SELF-PUBLISHED ARTIST

 

Maura (CLU) Gallagher is a self-published author who has a ‘grass roots beginning’ as an author only starting to write in 2007 after spending six years battling an illness which had disabled her from her career as an Art/Computer Teacher in the Pittsburgh Public Schools in 2001 at the age of fifty-four. CLU GALLAGHER is a nickname that Maura had received from another author whom she had met during her days on the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Forum. She had chosen the screen name ‘R.E. Cluse’ because of her very reclusive life accompanying her illness. Some ABNA Authors had found that choice very confusing for a pen name for an author who had expressed her great desire to have her work read. Hence, the nickname ‘CLU’ was one that stuck. Maura found that she was very comfortable using it for her author name for the publication of her first novels. From her earliest childhood, she had loved to write and draw. She had always had a dream of writing a novel about a little girl who had come to America seeking a new life . . .  but it seemed that “life had always gotten in my way.”

 

In 2007, homebound because of continuing illness, and using her home computer and the magic of “Google” she began researching every aspect of writing her first story. First, she had to begin the awesome task to teach herself the basics of composition and grammar that she had lost due to the arrival of the “FOG,” or loss of mental acuity, that had accompanied the mysterious disease that the doctors had diagnosed as “Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” It was non-life threatening but had no known cure. She had no experience as a writer, having been trained as an Artist and Teacher—attending non-degree evening classes at Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1966 – studying Painting and Drawing, and later graduating from Edinboro Pennsylvania State Teachers College in 1970 with a B.S. Degree in Art Education. She accepted a contract with the Pittsburgh Public Schools and worked in the capacity of an Elementary Art Teacher and in the Woodland Hills School District and the Wilkinsburg School District in the capacity of permanent substitute and day-to-day substitute – retiring with a disability pension totally almost twenty-eight years. During the time she was raising a family and teaching, she earned a Masters Equivalency from Penn State Continuing Education and the University of Pittsburgh External Studies. She worked at the Pittsburgh Public Schools Elementary Teachers Center from 1985-1990 as a Replacement Teacher for ART/COMPUTER and was assigned to twenty-nine of the districts elementary schools. In 1991, she accepted a position back in the classroom teaching Elementary Art and Computer Education Grades K-8. With no experience as a writer, but who had worked her way through college as a secretary with some limited training in word processing, Maura worked diligently preparing her manuscripts for publication until finally she felt that her original manuscript, “THE QUILT,” was ready for publication.

 

A meeting with a woman who had come from Germany to marry an American soldier inspired her to write her first story about a little girl who had come to America to build a new life. She made the character German and set her life in the 20th Century.  When asked about her inspiration for "THE SHATTERED SEEDS: "SOFIA'S STORY", she shared that, at the time, she thought that it was “certainly amazing that my German acquaintance and I were sharing the particulars of our lives growing up in post WWII – her in Germany and I in the United States . . . . because, if we had met when we had been children, we certainly would have been enemies! My father fought for the Allies in the Pacific and hers defending Germany". Maura used that inspiration to draft her first manuscript describing the life of a little German girl named "Sofia" and her most prized possession, her Oma’s heirloom quilt. At seventeen in 1938, Sofia’s very traditional and patriotic father arranged her marriage to the neighborhood police officer, 'Herr Felix Fuerst' – that was just before Felix had been forced to “become a Nazi or die.” War changed Sofia's life forever. Her ancestors were farmers and because of circumstances were not able to purchase heirloom seeds for the next season's crops. They lost their fields and were homeless. Similarly, because of war, Sofia lost her German heritage and became a refugee seeking refuge in America. The story is one of tragedy and triumph and victory of the human spirit over adversity. 

 

In 2011, after she had spent four years working on the novel and after it had gone to the Quarter Finals in the 2010 ABNA competition before its elimination at the PITCH, Clu published the manuscript as a novel on createspace.com. Soon after, she published her second manuscript, also a story about an immigrant to the United States. She titled it  THE ROAD TO RIGHTEOUSNESS but later changed the title to DARBY'S ROAD and made both novels part of a Collection of stories about immigrants to the United States. In 2012 she self-published it at createspace.com. It is the story of a scandalous Irishman, the son of an aristocratic Protestant family in 1855 who banish him to America when he had disgraced them the final time by murdering a man in a drunken barroom brawl. Darby Martin becomes the newest immigrant to America, changing his name, and also vowing to change his evil ways in order to survive. By hiding all of his dark family secrets, he becomes a righteous man to everyone – but himself.  Maura shared that this novel was based upon folklore from her own family history, telling a tale of one of her ancestors who had changed his name before coming to America and who had never shared the secrets of his past with anyone. 

 

In March of 2011, she self-published her first novel,  “Sofia’s Story” but only in paper and using the on-line publisher, createspace.com. At the time, she did not own the necessary software to publish it electronically, nor did she have the knowledge of how to do it. This was the time that she had made a decision that she would eventually call “the biggest mistake of my life.” She shared her files with another who had the software and who had made an offer in ‘friendship’ to market the book for her and pay her royalties. She sent her file to him and he published it – in his own account and kept all of the royalties. After nine months, she received no royalties, no reports on sales, no tax forms to file for income, no records of the status of her beloved first novel that she had worked so hard to produce. Realizing that she had given her work to someone that she could no longer trust, she withdrew her book from the “publishing company.” However, it was obvious to her (for the first time) that electronic files are “difficult – if not impossible to retrieve” – and so began the process of trying to get her work back. Not sure how to handle the situation and still very ill from a series of mini-strokes that sapped her strength, she began by retiring all editions of both of her novels. She began a new process of educating herself on how to self-publish an eBook.

 

Thinking that if she republished her novels as new editions, she would gain control of them again and she published two more editions of SHATTERED SEEDS: “SOFIA’S STORY” as SPECIAL EDITION I and SPECIAL EDITION II – both of which  “somehow” had become corrupted. She published them again. While she was in the process of that, her computer crashed on two separate occasions – infected by a Virus and Trojan horse corrupting her computer files including her books. Then, her amazon.com account was hijacked – fraudulent purchases of her own book were attempted – forcing her to close her Visa account;  her email account was hijacked – she lost her contact list;  and she sent for a copy of her book from a third party seller – it showed that it was not the book she had approved for publication, an apparent counterfeit; and after the book had been retired and no copies were available or in circulation, another third party posted that he/she was selling her book as a PRINT ON DEMAND at B&N.  Subsequently, she withdrew her debut novel yet again. At the same time, she realized that she had also shared her electronic files for the second novel that she had just published, THE ROAD TO RIGHTEOUSNESS. As a result, she retired it as well. With all of her attempts to share her work failing so miserably, it was no wonder that she had another mini-stroke, setting her back in her great desire to be a published author.

 

In late 2012, feeling a great loss at the debacle that had become her first publishing experience, that had denied her the right to enjoy the positive reviews from the readers when the novel had placed in the Amazon competition, she knew that her debut novel could be anywhere, and in the hands of anyone. Conceivably her files are reaping profits from her hard work and dedication giving it to others – everyone but her. She had second thoughts about her decision to retire them to the attic and hoping that her grandchildren would someday realize them as their legacy. For the first time, she spoke out about her experience as a self-published author and posted some remarks on her Facebook page. A former classmate from high school contacted her. She stated that she wanted to help her publish them again and make them available to readers. Kathleen Sukalac, whom she hadn’t seen or talked to since 1965 when they had graduated from St. Paul Cathedral High School in Pittsburgh, contacted her after she had read the novels, offering praise and distain for what had happened, as well as a desire to help Maura get them published again. She offered to be her “Editor”— free of charge. Kathie is not a professional. She is a registered nurse, an avid reader, and a true FRIEND. With an offer like that and a burning desire as an artist to share her work, Maura could hardly refuse. At the time, Maura had three manuscripts written and had attempted to publish two of them before she realized that all of her novels had one common element. The characters and plot involved immigrants to America. She decided to restructure the novels and include them in a new series of her novels, THE SCATTERED SEEDS, tales from "the great melting pot"- America. She rewrote the original novels with special emphasis on plot and characterization to include them in this new collection of fiction about Immigrants to America during various times during the nation’s short history. After she prepared each for a new publication, she gave the files to Kathie and she worked some magic! 

 

ANEW, replaces SHATTERED SEEDS: "SOFIA'S STORY” and was launched in August 2013 using createspace.com and Amazon Kindle. It is available in Paper and eBook and is enabled for worldwide distribution as a Print-On-Demand for bookstores, retail outlets, and libraries. DARBY'S ROAD, replaces THE ROAD TO RIGHTEOUSNESS. It was published in Sept. 2013 and is available in Paper and eBook with the same worldwide distribution, Print-on-Demand, etc.  The original editions of her novels are no longer available - a decision Maura made because of her devastating previous experience with sharing her files electronically. It is her belief that she will never again retrieve true control of those files she had unwittingly shared. They are lost in cyberspace forever and, therefore, lost to her forever. Currently, Maura (CLU) has published her third novel, A MEMORY FOR MIRRY, a manuscript that she has never shared with anyone and the third volume in her new collection titled SCATTERED SEEDS TALES FROM THE GREAT MELTING POT. The anticipated reader audiences for her works are those “young adult readers and adult readers of all ages who enjoy literary fiction set in history.”

 

Maura's great love for storytelling, history and the creative process led her to develop this new collection, THE SCATTERED SEEDS, but she has many more ideas for other novels with different themes and hopes to continue her great love of Writing in her “twilight years.” Some have said that her writing is "very descriptive.” Her reply, “I write as I paint – trying to bring the pictures that I see in my mind as a visual artist into creative word pictures. I love the English language and I am thrilled by the play of words that allows me to create sentences, paragraphs, and chapters that can be described using the basic elements that make up a work of ART: Line, Color, Shape, Texture, Form, and Design. It pleases me that because of my great admiration of the visual arts, I have been blessed with an ability to translate them into another ART form – Literature. Each of my books is a stand-alone novel and not sequential, although I have such an emotional stake in my characters, I have contemplated writing sequels to each – God willing.” Counting the novels she published and had to retire and republish in different forms, A MEMORY FOR MIRRY will be the ninth book that Maura has self-published since 2011. It will be her fifth book available in Paper and the third available in eBook. Like the first two volumes in THE SCATTERED SEEDS SERIES, it is literary fiction set in history and describes the life of a Scottish family who came to America to build a Lighthouse and start a new life. 

 

Now that she has complete control of her work as a self-published author, she is the one who determines the pricing, the distribution, and the destination of any future royalties from the sale of her books. It has been a long process, one of trials and tribulations, defeats and victories, but it seems there is a light at the end of the long dark tunnel and the birthing of a “self-published artist” has come full circle. Recently, the cause of her illness has been attributed to Thyroid disease, a condition she was most likely born with and known as "Hashiomoto Disease". The medications and treatments have been the miracle for which she had prayed. 

 

Maura is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She was raised in the East End, (Stanton Heights) and attended parochial schools, graduating from St. Paul Cathedral High School in 1965. She continues to live in southwestern PA and her adopted NEW hometown, Ocean City, Maryland, where she enjoys writing. She lives with her loving husband of over forty years. They have two daughters and six grandchildren. She has developed a Mission Statement for her work. “Reading is a pathway to the mind. The destination is the ‘soul’ or whatever it is that you call that ‘special place’ we all share as humans. I take on the task of providing the written word for readers with a great sense of responsibility to those who have allowed my thoughts to enter their most precious of all places – their intellects.” More information may be found on the pages of this website personally designed by Maura/Clu, on Amazon.com/, Facebook, Twitter, About Me, or on a Google search. 

FYI

 

"MY SOFIA"

 

A line from a poem, “The New Colossus,” by the nineteenth-century American poet Emma Lazarus. “The New Colossus,” describing the Statue of Liberty, appears on a plaque at the base of the statue. It ends with the statue herself speaking:


"Give me your tired, your poor, 
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, 
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. 
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: 
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

 

I SAT DOWN AT THE KEYBOARD OF MY COMPUTER

 

It was August 2007. . . I had been ill for years, having been completely disabled from my job and forced into an early retirement in 2001 due to pain and fatigue -- both physical and mental. If I could have fast forwarded to the present, I would have known that my life long illnesses were the result of an under diagnosed Thyroid Disease. I had a "dying thyroid" and a disease known as "Hashiomoto Disease". As my physical and mental health slowly diminshed and I struggled to maintain it, I remember thinking that I had been blessed by God with a strong body and mind at birth but somehow it had been misplaced or worst yet . . . lost forever. I had difficulties remembering the curriculum I was trying to teach to the elementary aged children in my charge and sometimes, I even struggled to remember their names. I searched my memory in desperation after the treatments and drugs that the doctors prescribed had only exasperated my conditions. I came up with a time in my childhood when I had been writing stories in my mind, one after another, but never writing them down. It had been a way of coping, but I didn't know it at the time. There was always one story that I had wanted to write but until 2007 when I was sixty years old, I never did.  It was a story about an immigrant to America, a young girl. As hard as I had struggled with the theme, I could never give her a name, a TIME, a country, or a reason for coming to America. In late August of 2007, I began to type at the computer and the only thing that came to mind was some typing exercise from my high school Typing I class: "All good men should come to the aid of their country." After days of typing nonsense, I used the internet to Google information about the English language that had escaped me and soon my babble turned into sentences, paragraphs, and chapters. If it were not for the vast information available on the internet and my training in Computer Education on how to use computers when I worked as an Elementary Art and Computer Education teacher at the Pittsburgh Public Schools, I would never have been able to write my first manuscript. I titled it  "THE QUILT" and created my first character, 'Sofia'. She is German and came to America as a French refugee fleeing her Nazi husband. The first person to read the manuscript was my mother. She was in her late eighties and she didn't think she could read it. However, to my great pleasure, she said she "couldn't put it down." She called me several days later and cited an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette announcing a writing competition at an on line company called AMAZON. The rest is history. I entered the competition and my 'SOFIA' went to the Quarter Finals in 2010. After its elimination, I self published it at createspace.com. The next chapter in my saga ended when I made some terrible marketing mistakes and shared my files with the wrong person. Feeling that my copyright was indeed threatened, I was devastated but decided to move forward and I issued multiple editions of that first novel hoping that the cyberspace world would recognize the story and know who was the rightful author. Here they are listing the current one(s) first and their availabliltiy:  

 

ANEW, ("Sofia's Story")

                    THE SCATTERED SEEDS TALES FROM THE GREAT MELTING POT, Volume 1         

                          AMAZON. COM ; LIBRARIES AND BOOKSTORES PRINT ON DEMAND 

 

 

FOR THE COLLECTOR:

*SOFIA’S STORY, THE SHATTERED SEEDS 

DIRECT LINK TO CREATESPACE: MESSAGE THE AUTHOR

 

*THE SHATTERED SEEDS (No longer available)

DIRECT LINK TO CREATESPACE: MESSAGE THE AUTHOR

 

*SHATTERED SEEDS: ‘SOFIA’S STORY’ (COLLECTOR EDITION) 

DIRECT LINK TO CREATESPACE: MESSAGE THE AUTHOR

 

*SHATTERED SEEDS: ‘SOFIA’S STORY’ SPECIAL EDITION II 

DIRECT LINK TO CREATESPACE: MESSAGE THE AUTHOR

 

*SHATTERED SEEDS:"SOFIA'S STORY" SPECIAL EDITION 1 (NO LONGER AVAILABLE)

DIRECT LINK TO CREATESPACE: MESSAGE THE AUTHOR

 

*SHATTERED SEEDS: "SOFIA'S STORY" COLLECTOR EDITION 

DIRECT LINK TO CREATESPACE: MESSAGE THE AUTHOR

 

 

AND THE ORIGINAL PUBLISHED 22 MARCH 2011

*SHATTERED SEEDS: "SOFIA'S STORY"  (NO LONGER AVAILABLE)  

 

 

 

There are now three books in my collection:

 

 ANEW ("Sofia's Story")

DARBY'S ROAD

A MEMORY FOR MIRRY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT 

 

MY AUTHOR PAGE 

 

http://www.amazon.com/CLU-GALLAGHER/e/B004PWRP5C/ref=bseries_abAuth_

My beloved novel . . . now in its final, cameo edition and in paper and kindle exclusively at amazon.

                                P.S.

                     CLU'S CORNER

My BLOG

I try to keep my readers up to date with as much information about me and my work as possible. I have a blog page and I hope that you will stop by and become a FOLLOWER.

The blog is called CLU'S CORNER Here is the link:

http://cluscorner.blogspot.com/

THE SCATTERED SEEDS TALES BOOK 1
THE SCATTERED SEEDS TALES BOOK 2
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