Teresa Millias may have born in Cooperstown, but she has lived the rest of her life in Worcester. Indeed Millias, 68, has resided in the same house by the railroad tracks. Still, the newly-published author, whose first book, “Stories from Lone Moon Creek,” came out in e-book form from Brighton Publishing in January, says that living in one place does have its advantages.
“It just makes you know what you’re talking about,” said Millias.
“Stories from Lone Moon Creek” is a collection of 23 short stories that are set in, or connected to, the fictional town of Lone Moon Creek. Millias said that Lone Moon Creek, “could be any little town around this area,” noting the presence of such regional signifiers as maple trees and snow. However, she also noted the stories’ connection with rural America in general.
“It doesn’t hurt for people to take a little harder look at who we really are up here,” said Millias, noting the perception that rural life is boring. “When you get into people’s lives it’s pretty exciting.”
Millias is a graduate of Worcester Central School and the State University College at Oneonta, where she received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She then spent 25 years teaching kindergarten and first grade at Worcester Central School. She is also a mother of three and a grandmother of nine. Although retired, she still teaches piano.
“I’ve always liked to write,” said Millias, who said that she has known this about herself since elementary school.
About 10 years ago, Millias said, she began writing short stories seriously.
“I just did it as a hobby,” said Millias. “To me it was fulfilling.”
She also began to start sending some of her stories to magazines, and was encouraged by her friends to do so. However, her efforts met with no luck. Then, one of her friends suggested that she try to tie her stories together. Millias took the idea and ran with it and began linking the stories in two crucial ways, the first being that she changed the setting of all of her small town-set stories to Lone Moon Creek.
The second way that Millias found that she could tie her stories together was through the creation of two new characters, Agnes and Marjory, who she uses to introduce each of the stories in “Stories from Lone Moon Creek.”
“Agnes and Marjory have lived in Lone Moon Creek all their lives,” said Millias. She noted that while they know a lot about the town, they don’t know everything.
Millias said that, although Agnes and Marjory’s interactions at first seem like those of two older ladies socializing, as their story is told in the framing of the 23 stories that comprise “Stories from Lone Moon Creek,” the reader becomes aware that something else might be going on.
“There’s more to it than that,” said Millias, who said that she discovered this plot thread in much the same way she thinks her readers will.
Once “Stories from Lone Moon Creek” was completed, Millias said, she researched different publishers on the Internet and submitted to three of them. One of these publishers was Brighton Publishing. She said that Brighton Publishing was the only one of the three that she heard back from, but there was an issue that was brought to her attention by the company’s head, Kathie McGuire.
“Kathie said ‘I love your two stories but I can’t get into your third story,’” said Millias.
She said that of the three stories she’d submitted as a sample, one was in a program other than Microsoft Word, and McGuire had been unable to open it.
Millias then sent the story in another program, after which she was asked to send over her entire book.
McGuire said that “Stories from Lone Moon Creek” was released in e-book form on Jan. 23. According to a release it is available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble among other e-book retailers, and it is listed on Amazon for $5.99. Millias said that a physical version of the book is scheduled for release in late summer.
Millias is a lifetime member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Worcester, and she said that faith played a role in the writing of her book.
“I give a lot of credit to the holy spirit,” she said.
She also said that in a number of stories, something about God is included.
“I had to try hard to keep God out of every story,” said Millias, who noted that not everybody goes to church. “Everybody has their own ways.”
One thing that is a recurring theme and present in all of her stories, Millias said, is goodness, despite her work sometimes featuring dark subject matter, including murder.
“Goodness comes right out, plain as day,” she said.
When asked what she would say to aspiring authors looking to get published, Millias said, “You might just be surprised (at the results).”
Millias said that there are other Lone Moon Creek stories that she is interested in releasing. She also said that she’d be willing to do readings of her work if invited.
“Be prepared to be thoroughly entertained and engrossed and shocked,” said Millias, of her book. “(If) you knew all that went on in Lone Moon Creek you’d be surprised.”