WICKED DEBUT: As a shy teenager, Denise Eagan of Chelmsford said, she read romance novels "because the heroes were a great deal less confusing than teenage boys." When she ran out of books by her favorite authors around age 14, she began writing her own.
Now the mother of two teenage boys, Eagan (below) estimates she has received upward of 75 rejections from publishing companies. Her dream of becoming a published author has come true, however, as her historical romance novel, "Wicked Woman," was distributed this week by Zebra Publishing, a division of Kensington Publishing Corp. in New York. Eagan received a two-book contract after her novel gained attention through the American Title II contest run by Romantic Times magazine and Dorchester Publishing.
"Rejection has been such a long road that when I looked [at caller ID], I wondered why Kensington Publishing would be giving me a rejection over the phone," Eagan said. "I heard 'Congratulations,' and I have no idea what she said afterward."
Set in Boston in 1854, "Wicked Woman" follows a former English noblewoman and the captain of the ship who brought her to America after the accidental death of her third husband. Eagan is writing its sequel, "Wild Card," which is scheduled for publication in 2008.
A launch party for "Wicked Woman" will be held 4:30 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Annie's Book Stop, 1280 Westford St. in Lowell. For more information, visit deniseeagan.com.
SPIRIT OF THE SEASON: When Edie Tompkins of Groton was a music teacher at Groton-Dunstable Regional High School 33 years ago, she was asked if the school's new chorus would perform some songs at Christmastime.
"I was thinking two or three songs, but then I went to the drugstore and saw a sign advertising the Groton Youth Choir concert," recalled Tompkins, who retired from teaching in 1994. "Instead of asking that the sign please be taken down, I did the opposite and found other chorus groups to join us. Now we do three concerts to accommodate the audience."
The first Groton Community Christmas Choir featured about 50 high school students and members of the youth and adult church choruses that Tompkins directed. The choir today consists of 120 singers between 8 and 80 years old from a dozen surrounding communities. New members are always welcome, she said, with no auditions required.
In addition to directing the Groton Community Christmas Choir, Tompkins sings with the Concord Women's Chorus, teaches drama, and has written compositions that have been performed at schools as well as the town of Groton's 350th birthday celebration in 2005.
The Groton Community Christmas Choir will perform free concerts on Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the Union Congregational Church, 224 Main St. in Groton. For more information, call 978-448-2480.
AWARD-WINNING SCOUTS: Eleven-year-old Ophelia Macdonald of Lexington said she was excited when her Junior Girl Scout Troop 3279 decided to clean up the town-owned Juniper Hill conservation area as the final service project required to earn the Girl Scout Bronze Award. "I took a walk there with a friend," she said, "and all the trash looked horrible."
The troop has been active since the girls were Brownies in the first grade at Bridge Elementary School in Lexington. The Bronze Award, the highest award a Junior Girl Scout can achieve, requires a two-year commitment and involves planning and executing a service project.
Ophelia and her fellow troop members, all classmates from Jonas Clarke Middle School, spent a recent weekend removing logs, leaves, sticks, and trash that included soda cans, an orange traffic cone, a pair of men's pants, and plastic bags that had been clogging the stream and surrounding area. They had previously participated in other conservation-related activities, including traveling to Woods Hole for their oceanography badge.
The other troop members who participated in the cleanup and earned their Bronze Award are Isabel Aguirre, Emma Brinton, Vivien Chen, Katie Goodwin, Emma Kaftan-Luckerman, Claire Kerper, Alexandra Lapides, Isha Mehra, Madison Smith, and Bryn Weiler.
People items may be submitted to Cindy Cantrell at email@example.com.