Books, Magazines, Art, Music and People (Especially Children) Are the Joys of My Life

Updated: Apr 26, 2018

by Mary Ellen Redmile Cooper, editor

for the Mistral Editions Website 2018

Books, Magazines, Art, Music and People (Especially Children) Have Been and Continue to Be the Joys of My Life. They also constitute the basis of my life's work . . .

I began my career by helping to build a small independent press based in northwestern Philadelphia in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The foremost author was a gentleman who had gained fame doing neurological research to help the parents of brain-injured children work with their own children, teaching and nurturing them to read, to crawl, to creep, to walk, to learn math and gain knowledge of the world, both physical and intellectual, to the farthest extent of their own potential.

Books Glenn Doman had written, already in existence, were to be updated and re-released through major publishers Random House, Doubleday, Simon & Schuster, Jonathan Cape in London, and other major-player publishers throughout the world. Our press would and did co-publish with them, providing the opportunity for me to learn from more than 18 different foreign-language and domestic publishers (and especially their topnotch editors) the ropes of the mainstream publishers of that time. When I integrated a mail-order catalogue company into the existing equation, Encyclopedia Britannica looked at us with great interest and helped us to manufacture and distribute our reading books and kits of materials on an even wider basis.

Along the way I had the opportunity to travel widely, printing color as art in Hong Kong, and working with fine people like anthropologist Raymond Dart, discoverer of what was then thought to be the missing link between apes and Man, Australopithecus, and through him, Buckminster Fuller, Linus Pauling—and Dr. Marion Diamond, noted neurobiologist. This meant a several million dollar business for this international nonprofit; I sold world rights, kept copyrights under lock and key and edited manuscripts and encyclopedias.

The "Itch" to "Create One's Own

The universal "itch" to create something of my own meant that with the product safely launched in Philadelphia, and monies directed toward helping hurt kids, I could go to work with a major publisher, Stackpole, in the state capital of central Pennsylvania, to do an international magazine startup for them.

So came to life a niche magazine called Rug Hooking, a celebration of hand-hooked art with a fascinating history—as practiced by many women in the US, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and even Japan. It was a bit of a hike for a commute, but the excitement and exhilaration I felt in creating from start to finish: from design and content through interviews, photography, and historically staggering subject matter helped to mitigate my fatigue. I was fortunate to have the mentoring of a superb rug hooker, writer, newsletter editor and strong, wonderful woman, Joan Moshimer, of Kennebunkport, Maine.

To this international magazine I added a yearly book that was really a world-wide contest of hooked rugs—the best of the year—that was also judged and juried by the best, and looked forward to by just about all my readers worldwide. It was a mighty exhibit on the page, and is still being published annually to this day. Both the magazine and the other books that would evolve from it, still use my original designs and layout. That brightens my day almost every day, since I come upon them often in web searches, on Facebook—or on the Amazon site.

A Passion for the Creative Life; Textiles to Lift the Spirit

One of my proudest accomplishments is a book I helped to research, organize, edit and design for a woman who was the pre-eminent talent in the rug-hooking field at the turn of this century (the year 2000). While I was working with author and textile artist Mary Shepphard Burton, we placed ten of her most joyful, historical, primitive rugs in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

I also had the enormous help of one of the finest photographers I have ever known—who had just done some teaching at the Smithsonian. His name is Ed Fitzpatrick (from outside the Beltway). I did production and printing for the 400-page "cocktail-table-sized" book in Hong Kong and sold it worldwide. It won several awards including "Textile Book of the Year" in the U.S. in 2004. Having graphically designed the book using bolder than ever colors that literally sang off the pages, and establishing a bit more history for rug hooking, I felt good about the features we were able to make available to so many craftswomen, some craftsmen, artists, textile historians and the general public.

Ingrid's Wars, Book One, The Resistance Between Us,

Book Two, Hard of Healing;

and Book Three, Hostage to Life

"Please know that I am a professional literary editor, and also the editor of this book. I have nearly forty years of experience in publishing, going back to early publications through Random House, Doubleday, Simon & Schuster and Encyclopedia Britannica. There are fifteen years of joint research, writing, editing, proofreading, layout and design in The Resistance Between Us between Phyllis Kimmel and me.
"This is literary fiction as it used to be written, with a strong voice, a deep attachment to its characters and text that moves in a lyrical fashion. One professional reviewer told Ms. Libby early on that it is 'narrative fiction with a voice that reads like poetry.' It is alternately devoted to love, betrayal, vengeance, atonement—and to borrow some words from a friend—somehow, humor.
"I still find it irresistible. Even among the best of the books, fiction and nonfiction, I have shepherded through the editing process for all these years, it stands alone for thoughtful, good writing, persistent and captivating action within the confines of the French Resistance in World War II, and an insightful view of courage thrust upon one. It is representative to me of the classic fiction of the 1940s, epic and sweeping, rich and full. As such, it paves the way for the two books that will follow as Ingrid's passionate journey continues to find meaning and peace in a world grown terribly wrong.
"It is more than well worth the read."

Mary Ellen Redmile Cooper, Editor, June 2017

In June 2017, Book One of Ingrid's Wars was released after by-that-time sixteen long years of research and writing, rewriting, editing and formatting took place, and Books Two and Three were readied for appearances now slated for 2018 and 2019. These are exciting books of literary fiction, women's fiction, actually, alive with the spirit of survivorship and the blessings of healing and forgiveness. But how does one forgive the murder, the rape, the complete destruction of the land and its people, no matter their race; events that forged two world wars and ravaged Europe, Japan and Africa?

On this website and in these blogs you will find historical backstory and the keen feelings of spirituality that arose when ordinary people stood up to save the lives of strangers. These are not just books about World War II and the French Resistance, but rather about the journeys we all take to find our souls' best expectations: to provide rest and sanctuary, escape, and worthwhile new lives for absolute strangers.

These are books that ask as many questions as they answer. I am proud that they may cause you to think about your progress on your own life's path, your integrity and personal honesty, and the way you might like to "give back" to the world.

I hope you will read them all, and visit this website, time and again. Welcome to our famille de Resistance!

Most sincerely,

Mary Ellen

copyright March 2018; all rights reserved

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