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Sentinel reporter returns to his roots in fiction with new book

Sentinel reporter Peter Rouleau recently published "Masquerade Ball," a collection of short stories -- many set in Montgomery County.  COURTESY PHOTOSSentinel reporter Peter Rouleau recently published "Masquerade Ball," a collection of short stories -- many set in Montgomery County. COURTESY PHOTOS  ROCKVILLE — Silver Spring resident Peter Rouleau, 36, recently published the book “Masquerade Ball,” a collection of short stories, many of which are set in Montgomery County.

In it, Rouleau explores “deception of how little we know about people we see day to day.”

Rouleau said the inspiration for many of the stories comes from his five years working as a reporter for the Montgomery County Sentinel. Many of the stories are set within the county. One story takes place at the County Agricultural Fair, which the Sentinel has covered extensively.

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Never too old to tell a really good story

x90 year old authorRecently published author Frances Chavarria.  COURTESY PHOTO   Frances Chavarria was in her eighties when she sat down to write her first book. Now 90, the Rockville resident is getting ready for book signings and dreams of seeing her novel up on the big screen.

Chavarria’s novel, “Let Us Dream of Turtles,” is a love story that pits greedy developers against environmentalists and takes place in Costa Rica, where she lived for 35 years. Chavarria took two years to complete her 300-page book that includes events such as an earthquake and tsunami.

In 2010, she found an editor, who wanted to publish the book if she agreed to make a few cuts, including many of the food descriptions. Chavarria agreed, but eventually stopped, believing the revisions were hurting her book. She put it on a shelf and moved on.

Four years later, Chavarria moved into senior citizen housing in downtown Rockville and met fellow resident, Edith Billups, who had written and edited magazines.

The two hit it off immediately and soon found themselves reworking the manuscript. Billups said she loved the manuscript instantly, especially “all the suspense and intrigue.” And, Billups laughed, Chavarria “may be 90, but she’s got some great love scenes in here.”

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