Childhood dream comes true for Washougal author

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When she was 10, Cheryl Linn Martin devoured the Nancy Drew novels. She loved them so much that she vowed to write a mystery of her own one day.

"It was a goal I never forgot," the Washougal resident said.

Her first book, "Pineapples in Peril" was published Oct. 2 by Comfort Publishing. The tale for readers ages 8 to 12 is the first in "The Hawaiian Island Detective Club" series.

Martin started writing seriously in 2001 before she retired from her parks and recreation career. She attended writing conferences, joined critique groups, and sent her manuscripts to editors and literary agents. Eventually, Hartline Literary Agency accepted her as a client, and she secured her first contract. Her road to publishing took 10 years.

She set her stories in Hawaii, where she once lived, and has completed the first three books in the series so far.

Martin encourages children to write their own stories.

"It's possible for that dream of being a writer to come true," she said.

Martin will chat with young readers and sign copies of her new book, "Pineapples in Peril," from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. today at Journey Community Church, 304 N.E. Fourth Ave., Camas. Kids can also make leis and draw at the event.

For more information, call 360-944-8080. To learn more about Martin and her book series, visit http://www.cheryllinnmartin.com.

— Susan Parrish

New camera brings new career for photographer

Sandy Caldwell first started taking photographs, mostly of her kids, 35 years ago with a 35 mm film camera. But purchasing and developing film was costly, and she was busy raising her family, so the hobby fell to the wayside.

About eight years ago, her husband, Les, bought her a digital camera for her birthday. The Caldwells of Washougal, who have been married for 34 years, then planned vacations around scenic areas, so Sandy could take photos with her new Canon T4i.

"I started experimenting (and discovered) I could take hundreds and hundreds of photos, and only print the ones we wanted," she said.

A year ago, Caldwell entered her photo of a frozen Multnomah Falls in the Camas Public Library's photography contest. It received the People's Choice Award.

This month, that photo — and 31 others — are being shown at a solo exhibit at Second Story Gallery in the Camas library. She has sold four photos from the show and has others for sale at Anything But Ordinary in downtown Camas.

Caldwell credits her success to her husband: "I wouldn't have any shows without Les; he does all my printing and framing."

"The Four Seasons" exhibit is on display from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 27 at 625 N.E. Fourth Ave., Camas. For details, call 360-834-4692 or visit http://www.secondstorygallery.or.. For more information on Caldwell, visit http://www.caldwellpics.com.

— Susan Parrish

Bits 'n' Pieces appears Fridays and Saturdays. If you have a story you'd like to share, email bits@columbian.com.