Sunday, December 2, 2018

Christmas Book Sale: Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Memories

With all the snow, the Adirondack Park is beginning to look a lot like Christmas season. That means it's time for Hungry Bear Publishing's annual Christmas book sale. This year, save $5.00 (20%) on Andy Flynn's "Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Memories."

See how Saranac Lake puts on its biggest event of the year -- a 10-day party -- full of snowy activities, parades, fireworks and an Ice Palace on the shore of Lake Flower. Hear stories from the people who organize the event and from the visitors and residents who enjoy it every year -- in their own words. There's a little history and a lot of photos.

This is the perfect gift for anyone who loves Saranac Lake.

Buy now. $19.95 plus $5.00 shipping and NYS sales tax.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Free shipping on "Adirondack Attic" book sets in September

Through the month of September, Hungry Bear Publishing will be offering free shipping on Andy Flynn's "Adirondack Attic" book set, volumes 2-6 (volume 1 is out of print).

Whether it's a present for a birthday, anniversary or holiday, buying your special person a set of "Adirondack Attic" books is must for people who truly love the Adirondack Park. Each chapter features a story about a different artifact in the collection of the Adirondack Experience (formerly the Adirondack Museum) in Blue Mountain Lake. Andy traces the human history behind each artifact, and stories come from all corners of the Adirondack Park.

Each book will be signed by the author and includes a free Adirondack bookmark.

The cost is $90.00 for the set of five books ($18.00 each), plus NYS tax (8%).

If you buy the set and want to order copies of Andy Flynn's "Lake Placid Diet" ($17.95) and/or "Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Memories" ($24.95) at the same time, shipping is still free.

For all book orders, call Andy Flynn at 518-891-5559 (cell).

Sunday, June 3, 2018

PR workshop great training for school districts

As the Lake Placid News editor, I see a lot of press releases come into my inbox every week -- the good, bad and the ugly. Needless to say, I see a definite need to train organizations about how to properly write and distribute their press releases to newspapers.

I wish I got more releases from our local school districts. Most of what I get are very basic. A few include photos. Some are just news tips. It's all appreciated; I just wish I got more of them. My guess is that teachers and school staff are not getting enough -- or any -- training on sending out effective press releases to the local media, especially to their hometown newspapers, where parents yearn to see the accomplishments of their kids.

School districts should offer this kind of training, as it will yield benefits beyond their wildest imaginations. I'm not kidding. Empowering school staff to send the media news about all the cool projects they and their students are working on will ripple through the community -- first by having the news published and then by having people talk about the neat things they saw in the newspaper.

What I've found, working with the Lake Placid Central School District, is that when teachers, staff and administrators send me press releases or columns, they re-purpose those news items -- republishing them for the school's newsletter or website. So it's not just a news release; it's free content for the school district's publications.

It's great marketing. And, once the training is over, it doesn't cost the school district any money to get this kind of priceless publicity. Want your community flooded with "good news" from your school district? Empower your staff. Hire me to train them with "Press Release Essentials: Best Practices For Your Community Newspaper." It's worth the investment.

Learn more on the PR Workshop page.


Andy Flynn
Writer, Editor, Publisher, Public Radio Producer

Friday, March 2, 2018

Press release workshop designed to save small businesses money

This week, I'm finalizing a new workshop designed to save money for small business owners, nonprofit organizations and people interested in starting a small business. It's called "Press Release Essentials: Get Media Attention on a Shoestring Budget."

The two-hour workshop was created so chambers of commerce and Small Business Development Centers could host a training event for their constituents.

As I was writing the workshop, I thought of the proverb, "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." The same is true with press releases. As a small business owner with a limited marketing budget, I know firsthand that I can't afford to hire a public relations firm to write and distribute my press releases. So I do it myself. And I'd like to teach others how to do it for themselves. It's an essential skill when you are running a small business or a nonprofit organization.

One of the fun parts of developing this workshop was getting advice from some of my friends in the public relations and newspaper industries. They reinforced what I had already written and added their own tidbits of knowledge and experience. Some of their frustrations with poorly written press releases came out when I asked them about their pet peeves.

"Too long. Don’t follow AP style. Missing information that forces us to call (no time or location, for example)," said Plattsburgh Press-Republican Editor Lois Clermont.

The bottom line is to make it easy for editors to do their job. Then you are more likely to get a release in the newspaper, and it expedites the process.

Sandy Caligiore, the media guy for a number of organizations in Lake Placid, New York, including USA Luge, the Empire State Winter Games and the Mirror Lake Inn, summed it up clearly when he said, "The best tip I can offer is that if you are going to issue a news release, you must make sure it contains real news."

I am looking forward to meeting small business owners and people at nonprofit organizations around the Northeast. I know I can make life better for them and help them get the media attention they deserve, all on a shoestring budget.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Happy Winter Carnival book sale!

To celebrate the annual Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, coming up Feb. 2-11 this year, Hungry Bear Publishing is selling author Andy Flynn's book, "Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Memories," for $15.00 each (plus tax and shipping). That's a savings of nearly $10. (The regular retail price is $24.95.)

Andy will once again be announcing the Gala Parade this year at the review stand in front of the Harrietstown Town Hall, starting at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10. It will be the ninth time announcing the parade since 2009.

"Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Memories" was designed to answer the question, "What is the Winter Carnival?" With interviews from residents, visitors and Winter Carnival Committee members, the story of the carnival is told in their own words. It has a little bit of history, but it mainly captures the highlights of the 2012 and 2013 Winter Carnivals, giving an excellent overview of how the carnival was created and how it is operated today.

ORDER "Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Memories" by contacting Andy Flynn at 518-891-5559 or by email at

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Book sale for medical expenses

Hungry Bear Publishing is offering a book sale through the end of 2017 to help with author/publisher Andy Flynn's expenses incurred during his health scare in September.

"I don't want charity donations," Andy said. "I'd rather sell my books to pay for my bills."

Proceeds from the book sale will help with co-pays from emergency room visits, hospital stays in Burlington and Saranac Lake, tests, medications and follow-up visits, plus other household bills that have been piling up during Andy's recovery.

"Hopefully, people will see this as an opportunity to both help me and get some good bargains for Christmas," Andy said. "Books make wonderful Christmas presents."


MAIL YOUR ORDER (see prices/format below) with check/money order for full amount to: Andy Flynn, Hungry Bear Publishing, 40 McClelland St., Saranac Lake, NY 12983.

CREDIT CARDS: Credit card purchases can be made on this website using the PayPal buttons on the navigation bar to the far right. Please note that the books are full price; however, there is no tax added and there is FREE SHIPPING for all PayPal customers.

TRI-LAKES RESIDENTS: Books will be delivered for FREE; there is no shipping charge.

BOOKS (Learn more about Andy's books.)

Adirondack Attic, Vol. 2: $15.00 (save $3.00)
Adirondack Attic, Vol. 3: $15.00 (save $3.00)
Adirondack Attic, Vol. 4: $15.00 (save $3.00)
Adirondack Attic, Vol. 5: $15.00 (save $3.00)
Adirondack Attic, Vol. 6: $15.00 (save $3.00)
Lake Placid Diet: $15.00 (save $2.95)
Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Memories: $20.00 (save $5.00)

Sales Tax (included in price)
Shipping (U.S. only): $5.00 (outside the Tri-Lakes Region)

Include the following contact information with your order:


For more information, call Andy Flynn, (518) 891-5559, or email him at

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

10k race on hold during health recovery

I'm spending more time this week recovering from a health scare that sent me to the hospital for nine days, six in Burlington and three in Saranac Lake. Needless to say, walking the Lake Placid Classic 10k race on Oct. 7 is nowhere near possible and not even on my radar right now.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 6, the Saranac Lake Rescue Squad transported me to the Adirondack Medical Center emergency room in Saranac Lake while I was on deadline for the Lake Placid News. At the hospital, they found multiple pulmonary embolisms in my lungs and a large one closer to my heart. The ambulance then transported me to the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, where the doctors treated me with blood thinners. That caused bleeding somewhere above my left kidney. I had returned home on Monday, Sept. 11 before the general location of the bleeding was realized. With a blocked left kidney on Wednesday, Sept. 13, I was taken off blood thinners, treated by Dr. Lieb for the blockage and bleeding, and Dr. Roland placed a filter in my inferior vena cava to break up any blood clots that may travel from my legs to my lungs. That's when I was admitted to AMC Saranac Lake, where the bleeding finally stopped. I was released on Saturday, Sept. 16, and I have been home ever since recovering and following up with the doctors.

There are more challenges yet to come. Once cleared by Dr. Lieb, I can go back on blood thinners, and once safe from any bleeding, Dr. Roland can take out the IVC filter, possibly in November. The blood thinners should take care of any potential PEs in the future. That's the plan.

In the meantime, getting enough rest, losing weight and moving my legs more are high priorities. Walking a 10k is not. Yet I hope that races are in my future. For now, I'd be happy with getting back to a normal schedule.

Thanks to all the people who sent me well wishes and visited me in the hospital.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

LAKE PLACID DIET: I had another 'Are you OK?' day

After losing 80 pounds three years ago, I walked the roadways training for the Lake Placid Half Marathon, and a number of people said, "Good for you."

Now they're saying something different: "Are you OK?"

"Good for you" was said from the heart, and I always took it that way, but it also irked me because people would never say that to a skinny person walking down the street. They just wouldn't. It's only because I'm morbidly obese, walking in public, exercising, that people say, "Good for you." They were being condescending without knowing it. In my mind, I heard, "Good for you. Glad you got off the couch and decided to walk among the rest of us, fat guy."

After gaining all the weight back, whenever I walk the roads just trying to lose a little weight, people stop in their cars when I'm resting and ask, "Are you OK?" Last summer, it happened three times, and now that I've begun training for the Lake Placid Classic 10k race in October, I'm hearing it again.

Just this morning, as I was resting during my 1-mile walk on Ampersand Avenue, a woman in a car stopped and asked, "Are you OK?" She was worried because it was getting warm out in the sunshine. I told her I was just taking a break, and I was fine. I thanked her, and she drove away.

I actually like "Are you OK?" I prefer it to "Good for you" because people are showing genuine concern, as they would for anyone who may pass out on the side of the road, no matter their weight.

I wasn't about to pass out, but she didn't know that. I was just taking a breather. After walking a half mile on Monday around the Lake Placid High School's track at the horse show grounds (in the rain), I failed to walk again until Friday, when I walked my first mile in a long time on the Ampersand Avenue route, starting at my house on McClelland Street. It's pretty hilly, so I am getting a good workout.

After walking 0.7 miles during Week 1 of training, I tallied 2.5 miles during Week 2. I also weighed in at 450 pounds on Tuesday, July 25, a loss of 2 pounds since beginning my training. It's a small improvement, but at least I'm going in the right direction.

Only 10 more weeks to go.

Although I want to lose weight and get back to the Lake Placid Half Marathon, I'm not looking forward to the "Good for you" days again. I've flirted with the idea of making a training T-shirt that says, "Good for you," throwing it back in people's faces, but I've decided against it. Instead, I may get one that says, "Yes, I'm OK."

Sunday, July 23, 2017

LAKE PLACID DIET: Here's my plan to get out more

A week ago, as I lamented the fact that I feel like a prisoner in my own home — due to the shame of being so overweight — I began coming up with a realistic plan to get out more. My solution is to compete in this year's Lake Placid Classic 10k on Oct. 7.

After the treatment of leg ulcers in the winter, my legs lost a lot of strength, and it's taken this long — many days walking with the aid of a cane — to get enough strength back to walk without a cane. Now I believe I can take a slow approach to getting back to walking a half marathon next year. My first stop, a 10k (6.2-mile) race.

One of my problems, for the first month at least, is trying to find a place to walk away from the public. There really aren't too many options, other than walking in the woods, which I don't want to do right now. I want to train on the same surface as the race, or as close to it as possible.

Therefore, I've decided to spend the first month training on outdoor school tracks in Saranac Lake or Lake Placid. It's far enough away from the public, I'm around other athletes, and I can stop more frequently if I need a break. In the car, I've packed walking sticks for support and stability and a folding chair so I can sit in between laps. Right now, I take frequent breaks, about four or five every lap, but that will change as I get stronger.

I ended my first week of training today with a half-mile walk at the Saranac Lake Central School outdoor track. It was not a good opening week. On the first day, I could only walk up the street and back, about two-tenths of a mile. But it was better than nothing, which is what I did the rest of the week.

Only 11 more weeks to go.

I'm looking forward to getting back on the road, working toward a goal and meeting it. I enjoy the physical challenge and being around the running/walking community in Lake Placid and Saranac Lake.

I'm also looking forward to losing weight. As I've learned in the past, the training can only be effective if I lose weight as I tone up and get stronger. On July 18, I weighed in at 452 pounds, so I have a long way to go. I'm expecting major improvements on the scale if I am going to succeed on Oct. 7. That, however, is a battle in itself.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

LAKE PLACID DIET: I'm a prisoner in my own home

There are so many things I can't do because of my excess weight, and more and more, one of those things is to go outside and be in public.

I feel like a prisoner in my own home.

One of the worst things I can do is look at myself in the mirror. I hate what I see. I'm embarrassed at what I see, and it's difficult for me to be out in public. When I look at myself in the mirror, it can take days to recover from the feelings of shame, embarrassment, depression and hate. Yes, it's at those times I hate myself the most, for what I've done to myself and for how I look.

I don't expect everyone to understand what I'm talking about, but there are more people who feel this way than will admit openly. This post is for you.

Just today, I was looking at a sunset boat tour on Lake Champlain. It would have been a perfect way for my wife and I to spend our 20th wedding anniversary, but I can't do it. Not because of my embarrassment about being in public, but because it is a boat and I weight 450 pounds. As I looked at a photo of the tour boat, I envisioned the difficulty of trying to get in and out of it, finding a seat that would fit (they are usually too small) and hearing the staff orchestrate the passengers in a way that would prevent me from tipping the boat to one side.

You laugh, but I've experienced that firsthand. When I took the pontoon boat shuttle to Chapel Island one time, the boat driver asked me to stand in the middle so I didn't tip the boat. That, my friends, was seriously embarrassing. While I understood, from the perspective of physics, I was outraged and will never take that shuttle again.

It's situations like this that I want to avoid, so the safest thing is to stay home. I have a hard time walking these days anyway, and I often have to use a cane. That's embarrassing enough, especially when someone asks if they want me to have them open a door for me. No! I'm not an invalid. Or am I? I certainly act like one sometimes.

Things have to change if I'm going to get out there again and start doing things in public. After all, that's what I want. There are so many things on my want-to-do list, things I haven't been able to do in years and things I've never been able to do.

I'm hoping today will be the start of a new chapter in my life, one that will lead me to freedom from these walls I've put up because of my weight.