Monday, December 21, 2009

Writer Spotlight: Caperton Tissot


NAME: Caperton Tissot
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Saranac Lake
FIELD: writer
EMPLOYER: self-employed (Snowy Owl Press)

Q. What were your main writing & publishing accomplishments this past year?
Shared weekly column in Adirondack Daily Enterprise: Friends and Neighbors; various oral history workshops and talks.

Q. What new projects are you working on for the upcoming year?
A new slant on Adirondack History

Q. What are your upcoming public appearances?
Lake Placid Historical Society talk on oral history projects.

Q. If you were to write a book with one other person in the world, who would it be and what would you write?
Who knows?

Q. What do you like the most about living in and/or writing about the Adirondack region?
The wilderness, community and writing (because it is a means of sharing observations and history with readers).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Caperton Tissot comes to the field of writing via a career in health care, pottery, environmental politics, and published cultural commentary. Caperton and her husband live in the Adirondacks, where she combines active outdoor exploration with a passion for writing about history, memoirs and social commentary. Published works include magazine and newspaper articles, a book, "History between the Lines: Women’s Lives and Saranac Lake Customs," and an upcoming book addressing an aspect of Adirondack history to be published in the summer/fall of 2010.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Writer Spotlight: Joe Hackett


NAME: Joe Hackett
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Ray Brook, N.Y.
FIELD: Columnist/freelance outdoor writer
EMPLOYER: Self-employed


Q. What were your main writing & publishing accomplishments this past year?
Completing a full decade of writing two columns a week for different newspaper groups

Q. What new projects are you working on for the upcoming year?
A continued commitment to reconnecting children and nature, with an emphasis on rural youth and traditional sporting pursuits

Q. What are your upcoming public appearances?
This afternoon on Scarface Mountain, I'll be in my backyard delivering a keynote address to the first buck passing by

Q. If you were to write a book with one other person in the world, who would it be and what would you write?
A how to guide for aspiring outdoor writers with James Prosec, author/illustrator of “Trout of the World, Fishing with Joe” and several others

Q. What do you like the most about living in and/or writing about the Adirondack region?
The endless supply of topics and material and the unlimited human resources, a wealth of characters

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joe Hackett is a full time, year-round Adirondack guide operating primarily for flyfishing enthusiasts seeking traditional backcountry adventures. With a reputation for father/son and mother /daughter adventures, he recently completed his 31st season in the woods. He lives with his wife and two daughters in the sprawling metropolis of east Ray Brook; within a stone's throw of the Adirondack Park Agency and Department of Environmental Conservation headquarters.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Adirondack Attic: Volume 1 is now officially OUT OF PRINT

Hungry Bear Publishing announced today that its first book -- "New York State's Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, Volume 1," by Saranac Lake author Andy Flynn -- is now out of print. It was released in May 2004.

"That means we are critically low on copies of this book, and there will not be a second printing," said Hungry Bear Publishing publisher and "Adirondack Attic" author Andy Flynn. "We have made plans to sell the rest of the books on our web site."

Hungry Bear Publishing will sell its remaining 50 copies of "Adirondack Attic 1" during a special "Going Out of Print Sale" on HungryBearPublishing.com as part of a set. Buy the six "Adirondack Attic" books for $99.95 (a savings of $7.00) and get six Adirondack Attic bookmarks for free.

Since "Adirondack Attic Volume 6" will not be released until the spring of 2010, people who buy the complete sets will get the first five volumes immediately (plus five bookmarks), and Hungry Bear Publishing will ship Volume 6 when it is released. Shipping is an additional $10.00.

"Volume 6 will be the final book in the series, so this is the last time people can get a complete set of signed 'Adirondack Attic' books from Hungry Bear Publishing," Flynn said. "As other volumes of 'Adirondack Attic' are sold out, they will not be re-printed, so this is definitely a set to collect."

Single copies of "New York State's Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, Volume 1" are still available at bookstores and gift shops in the Adirondack region.

The six-part "Adirondack Attic" book series features more than 300 human-interest stories about a variety of artifacts at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y. The books represent a collection of Flynn's "Adirondack Attic" column, which ran weekly in several northern New York newspapers from 2003 to 2009. Volume 1 includes the full set of columns, a total of 45, from the inaugural year.

For more information, contact Andy Flynn at (518) 891-5559 or visit online at Hungry Bear Publishing.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Andy’s Desk: Tupper Lake/Long Lake/Newcomb Meet the Town books arrive

The Tupper Lake/Long Lake/Newcomb Meet the Town booklets arrive today. That means I’ll be spending the next two days folding maps, stuffing them in books, and distributing them around Tupper Lake, Long Lake and Newcomb. They’re a little late, due to illness and computer crashes, but this edition is much better than the previous (we always try to improve each book).

First of all, the Tupper Lake Meet the Town only featured the Tupper Lake community in 2008-2009, the inaugural edition. In the 2009-2010 Tupper Lake booklet, we are also promoting the town of Newcomb and the town of Long Lake, which includes the hamlets of Long Lake and Raquette Lake This is a more regional approach. At first I just wanted to add Long Lake because there is a lot of travel between Long Lake and Tupper Lake, and that made it a perfect direction to expand the booklet. Then I thought, “Newcomb is pretty close to Long Lake; let’s add Newcomb, too.” And that was that. Newcomb was in.

Raquette Lake is included in the new Meet the Town because it is part of the town of Long Lake. The community of Blue Mountain Lake is not detailed in the guide because there is limited space, and the hamlet is located in the town of Indian Lake. By political boundary, we are keeping true to the guide. We admit, though, that the traveler may see it otherwise. You see, folks have to drive through Blue Mountain Lake on State Route 28N in order to get from Long Lake to Raquette Lake.

Simply ignoring Blue Mountain Lake is not in anyone’s best interest. Therefore, we haven’t forgotten Blue Mountain Lake, a community that is near and dear to my heart, home of the Adirondack Museum, where I have traveled to research Adirondack history for my writing over the past six years. In the Attractions section of the Tupper Lake/Long Lake/Newcomb booklet, we have included the Adirondack Museum and the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts, two of the major attractions in the Central Adirondacks, ones that I highly recommend for the resident and visitor.

Every time a new book arrives, I always get nervous. Did the printer do a good job? How many boxes were smashed on the ride from the printer to Saranac Lake? Will I slip and fall in the snow while carrying 35 boxes from the FedEx truck to my storage area? It’s exciting, like when a new baby arrives, but there are always things to worry about until I get the new book in front of a customer and get a review, hopefully a positive one. Please enjoy the new Meet the Town for Tupper Lake, Long Lake and Newcomb. The online version will be available soon on the Meet the Town web site.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Andy’s Desk: New Saranac Lake Winter Carnival book in the works

Today I begin my training to help maintain the new Saranac Lake Winter Carnival web site. I currently maintain my own two web sites – Meet the Town and Hungry Bear Publishing – and the Adirondack Writer blog, and have now volunteered to help the Winter Carnival Committee update its web site with one other volunteer. Nick Wakeman, who re-designed the Winter Carnival site, will visit me this afternoon and show me the ropes. Then I will try to train the other volunteer at a later date.

This web site work coincides with, but is not related to, the formation of a new book, “Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Memories,” which Hungry Bear Publishing expects to release in the fall of 2010. After working with the Tupper Lake library on the reprint of “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock,” my wife, Dawn, and I began looking for another community organization to help with the publication of a new book. We didn’t have to look far; Saranac Lake was the perfect choice, as we live here, and this is Dawn’s hometown (Tupper Lake is mine). So we began working on the creation of the new Winter Carnival book last week.

I’m currently working with the Winter Carnival’s official photographer – Mark Kurtz – to pick two photos for the cover of the book. I want it to look fun, like a carnival, yet professional. It should also be a different design from the other seven book covers I’ve published so far. The layout is complete but may be tweaked (I’m always tweaking). Then I have to decide on a font. I’m shopping right now for a font that is fun yet professional and easy to read on a book shelf.

“Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Memories” will be a true community book in the sense that it will be written by the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival community – past and present residents and visitors. In early January, we will start accepting submissions of essays (even poems) of no more than 450 words and photos (two per person) of Saranac Lake Winter Carnival memories. I estimate that the book will be 480 pages, paperback, and will retail for $24.95. I will be the editor.

Furthering our community commitment, we will donate 10% of the book’s proceeds to the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee. Given this, we are asking that submissions be donated to the cause. Entrants must sign waivers and entry forms, which will be available in early January. We hope to sell most of the initial print run of 2,000 via summer presales and through the 2010 holiday shopping season in order to help the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee pay for its 2011 event. That’s the plan so far.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Adirondack Attic: Lake Placid decoupage skates

(Editor’s Note: The following is a sample of an “Adirondack Attic” story, by Andy Flynn, originally published in newspapers in 2004 and re-printed in “New York State’s Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, Volume 2.” See a photo of the artifact on the cover of the book.)

Ask 100 Olympic village tourists — “What’s the first thing you think of when you think of Lake Placid?” — and you’ll get 100 different answers: the Winter Olympics, the 1980 “Miracle on Ice,” bobsledding, horse shows, the Ironman triathlon, Mount Marcy, Jimmy Shea, hockey.

Ask 100 screaming girls the same question while they’re watching Scott Hamilton or Kristi Yamaguchi perform in the Olympic Arena, and you’ll get only one answer — a high-pitched “figure skating!” guaranteed to knock you out of your red, plastic seat.

The Skating Club of Lake Placid can trace its roots back to the early 20th century at the Lake Placid Club, where competitions in the village were first held outdoors. Today the Skating Club offers programs and events to help skaters of all ages learn about basic skills and performing.

Barbara Tyrell Kelly, of Lake Placid, is a shining example of how creative, enthusiastic and successful figure skaters can be in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. She is a Lake Placid Hall of Fame adult figure skater and a founding member of the Skating Club of Lake Placid. In 1997, Kelly won an adult figure skating gold medal in the United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA) Adult Nationals in Lake Placid. In 1999, she was honored with the Mountain Cup Trophy at the first international adult competition for “being an inspiration for adult skating around the world.”

Kelly donated a pair of decoupage skates to the Adirondack Museum in the summer of 2003. The women’s figure skates are decorated in decoupage style with newspaper and magazine clippings that illustrate the history of the club. Some headlines came straight from the tabloids. Many of the photos were taken from local newspapers. Depicted are events such as the Mid-Summer Operetta and Skate America, the names of coaches, photo headshots and the names of famous male and female skaters. The skate laces are made of lace.

The year was 1932, and the Olympic village needed an organization to sponsor competitions, ice carnivals and testing under the USFSA. The Skating Club of the Adirondacks was formed to do just that. In 1937, the group’s name was changed to the Skating Club of Lake Placid.

(Read more about this artifact in “New York State’s Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, Volume 2.” Buy online @ the Hungry Bear Publishing Bookstore. $18.00)

Copyright 2004 Andy Flynn/Hungry Bear Publishing

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Writer Spotlight: Hallie E. Bond


NAME: Hallie E. Bond
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Long Lake, N.Y.
FIELD: Museum curator (history)
EMPLOYER: Adirondack Museum

Q. What were your main writing & publishing accomplishments this past year?
“Cover Story” about Adirondack quilts in Adirondack Life, September/October 2009

Q. What new projects are you working on for the upcoming year?
“Passion in the Park,” a special Valentine's Day edition of Cabin Fever Sunday (Feb. 14, 2010) and ongoing research on quilts and other domestic textile production in the Adirondacks.

Q. What are your upcoming public appearances?
Cabin Fever Sunday program, Feb. 14, 2010, at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y.

Q. If you were to write a book with one other person in the world, who would it be and what would you write?
I'd work with Laurel Thacher Ulrich on a book on the home life of Adirondackers between the Civil War and World War II (non-fiction)

Q. What do you like the most about living in and/or writing about the Adirondack region?
I like the integration of life and the outdoors.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hallie E. Bond has been Curator at the Adirondack Museum since 1987. She has written extensively on regional history and material culture including “Boats and Boating in the Adirondacks,” published by Syracuse University Press in 1995, “A Paradise for Boys and Girls: Children’s Camps in the Adirondacks,” and numerous articles in magazines and contributions to books. Ms. Bond has a B.A. in History from the University of Colorado, an M.A. in Medieval Studies from the University of York (England) and an M.A. in American History with a Certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Delaware. She lives in Long Lake, N.Y., with her husband, Mason Smith, and two children.

PHOTO: Hallie Bond integrates the study of history with the outdoors on her BYOBoat trip during the summer of 2009, “The St. James of the Wilderness and the St. Regis Lakes,” with Mike Prescott in foreground.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Andy's Desk: Ready for Cyber Monday on HungryBearPublishing.com

Selling regional books in the Adirondack Mountains is, by no means, big business. But that doesn't mean small publishers can't offer Christmas savings on their web sites during Cyber Monday. So, this year, we're ready at Hungry Bear Publishing.

The big Christmas Book Sale at HungryBearPublishing.com will last one week only (Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 2009) and will feature 20% off select items:

1. the 2009 reprint of "Mostly Spruce and Hemlock," by Louis J. Simmons, plus 1 FREE Adirondack Attic bookmark (Price: $19.96 - a total savings of $6.24);

2. a full set of the five-volume "Adirondack Attic" book series, by Andy Flynn, plus 5 FREE Adirondack Attic bookmarks (Price: $71.16 - a total savings of $24.04).

Friday, November 27, 2009

Andy's Desk: Freedom on Black Friday

For the past eight years, I never had any extra time around the holidays to explore the Adirondacks. You could always find me in the woods at the Paul Smiths Visitor Interpretive Center holding down the fort with one or two others while the rest of the staff traveled to visit family. My family lives in the Tri-Lakes region, and the farthest I have to travel this time of year is 22 miles to Tupper Lake to see my mother. This year, life during the holidays as a full-time work-at-home writer and publisher is much different.

Today, for example, is still a work day, but I’ll be spending it on the road, delivering the new “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock” books to stores in Old Forge and Inlet, where I’ll be able to experience the annual Adirondack Christmas on Main Street, a three-day extravaganza in both communities designed to lure shoppers to these resort towns. I’m looking forward to seeing my book-selling friends at Old Forge Hardware and the Adirondack Reader in Inlet. And I’ll be taking photographs to use in future editions of the Adirondack Vacation Guide, which I edit for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

This trip will be unique, as Dawn and I will be transporting a passenger, our nephew Michael, a 9-year-old from Piercefield. We usually ride alone on business trips. Michael has the day off from school and jumped at the chance to get away from home (especially his older sister) and do a little traveling for the day. An Adirondack Christmas on Main Street instantly had new meaning. A few days ago, Dawn and I were merely going to witness the festivities, and now we will see if Michael wants to do anything fun. Face painting at Old Forge Hardware? Make a stuffed animal at the Inlet Town Hall? Fun sounds good.

These are the kinds of days I envisioned when I said I wanted to write full time and be self-employed. Summed up in one word, it is called “freedom.”

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Industry News: Book sales on the rebound in the U.S.

Reports from the Association of American Publishers (AAP) reveal that U.S. book sales seem to be on the increase after slumping in 2008 and the first several months of 2009.

As a matter of perspective, net book sales in the U.S. in 2007 totaled $25 billion, an increase of 3.2 percent from 2006. In 2008, net book sales in the U.S. decreased 2.8 percent to $24.3 billion. The AAP reported in a press release on September 2009 sales (dated Nov. 17, 2009) that net book sales in the U.S. are up 3.6 percent overall for 2009.

In the same release, the AAP showed that net book sales in the U.S. totaled $1.26 billion in September 2009, a substantial increase of 12.3 percent from September 2008.

In September, gains were made in Adult Hardcover (74.1 percent), Adult Mass Market (33.3 percent), Children’s/YA Paperback (8.6 percent), Audio Books (2.9 percent), E-Books (170.7 percent), University Press Paperback (5.0 percent), Higher Education (5.8 percent), and Elementary /High School (1.0 percent).

In September, sales decreased in September in Adult Paperback (1.7 percent), Children’s/YA Hardcover (24.3 percent), Religious Books (18.4 percent), University Press Hardcover (3.6 percent), and Professional and Scholarly (3.7 percent).

Personally, I’m interested in the Adult Paperback category, which is the medium for my Adirondack books. Although those numbers saw a slight decline in September, and are down 8.2 percent for the year, I’m cautiously optimistic. Adult Paperback sales decreased steadily from September 2008 to April 2009 (except in December 2009, which saw an increase from the year before), but gains were made from May to August 2009. Adult Hardcover sales saw a similar trend, with decreased sales from September 2008 to May 2009 and increases from June to September 2009.

Does this mean the economic downturn is over for book sales? I don’t know; I’m not an expert. But the book sales reports are encouraging.

U.S. sales in the Adult Paperback category below show the strongest and weakest months:

August: $152.7 million (2009)
December: $132.8 million (2008)
June: $132.6 million (2009)
September: $132.4 million (2009)
July: $124.0 million (2009)
April: $114.8 million (2009)
May: $113.2 million (2009)
January: $102.0 million (2009)
November: $95.4 million (2008)
October: $95.0 million (2008)
March: $89.1 million (2009)
February: $79.7 million (2009)

The poster child for success in U.S. book sales is the E-Book category, which is up 176.1 percent in 2009. Still, E-Books only represent a small portion of the book marketplace, accounting for 0.6 percent of consumer book purchases in 2008 and 2.4 percent of purchases in the first quarter of 2009, according to Publisher’s Weekly. This category is one to watch. On the other end of the spectrum, Audio Books are struggling with a decrease in sales of 21.2 percent so far in 2009. It will be interesting to see where this category goes as well.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Writer Spotlight: Phil Brown


NAME: Phil Brown
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Saranac Lake
FIELD: Editor, writer, publisher
EMPLOYER: Editor of Adirondack Explorer, owner of Lost Pond Press

Q. What were your main writing & publishing accomplishments this past year?
Edited the six regular issues of the Adirondack Explorer, our Annual Outings Guide, and Wild Times, an anthology of hiking and paddling stories from the Explorer. Lost Pond Press’s "Adirondack Birding: 60 Great Places to Find Birds" received honorable mention at the Adirondack Center for Writing’s literary awards ceremony. As the Explorer editor, I received the Adirondack Mountain Club’s communicator of the year award.

Q. What new projects are you working on for the upcoming year?
I’m always thinking about new books. I don’t anticipate publishing any this year.

Q. What are your upcoming public appearances?
I give several slideshow/lectures a year on Bob Marshall, the legendary wilderness advocate and the first Adirondack Forty-Sixer. The slideshow is based on my book “Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks: Writings of a Pioneering Peak-Bagger, Pond-Hopper and Wilderness Preservationist,” published by Lost Pond Press.

Q. If you were to write a book with one other person in the world, who would it be and what would you write?
Stephen King, as I’d be assured of writing a best-seller.

Q. What do you like the most about living in and/or writing about the Adirondack region?
There is always adventure outside my door, and adventure refreshes the soul. I enjoy writing about the Adirondacks because it’s an interesting place—one worth protecting.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Worked in daily journalism for 20 years before taking a job as editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine in 1999. Author of “The Highroad Guide to the New York Adirondacks” and “Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks.” As owner of Lost Pond Press, published the Marshall book and two others, “Adirondack Birding,” by John M.C. Peterson and Gary N. Lee, and “Within a Forest Dark: An Adirondack Tale of Love and Suspicion,” by Michael Virtanen. The last book won the best-fiction award from the Adirondack Center for Writing. Enjoy hiking, canoeing, backcountry skiing, trail running, and rock climbing, though not all at once. Father of three grown children.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Andy's Desk: Riding waves of optimism

Riding the waves of optimism from the successful launch of “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock” last week, I began thinking about publishing a new book for the community of Saranac Lake. After all, part of the proceeds from “Mostly Spruce” is going back to the Goff-Nelson Memorial Library in Tupper Lake. Dawn and I are now searching for an organization in Saranac Lake to support, one that would benefit from a book that the Saranac Lake community can rally around. Our ideas, for now, are top secret, but we almost have a plan in place. Stay tuned.

I’ll be heading out to distribute and sell ads for our Meet the Town booklets in Lake Placid/Wilmington this week. It’s a tough and brief one for sales, especially an annual publication, as many people are going out of town or are simply not at work because of the Thanksgiving holiday. Yet, there’s always plenty to do, like prepare for the Tupper Lake Meet the Town booklets to arrive (moving boxes and such) and write the new Plattsburgh Meet the Town. Plus, I’m still sending out orders of “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock” every day. And then there’s that pesky Business Plan Dawn and I are writing for our AEDC course. It needs to be done soon because class ends in a few weeks, and we are applying for a microenterprise loan.

The holidays are here, for better or worse. I wish all the retail outlets the best during these tough economic times and hope they have a successful season. Just remember, people love getting books for Christmas!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Special Events: Book party was a huge success



(Photo: Andy Flynn, left, watches library board president Jim Kucipeck say a few remarks at the book-release party. Photo by Dawn Flynn.)

It’s been almost a year since the Goff-Nelson Memorial Library and Hungry Bear Publishing began working on the re-print of “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock,” the classic history of Tupper Lake by Louis J. Simmons. And, by all accounts, the book-release party the evening of Nov. 19 at the library was a huge success.

Promptly at 7 p.m., at a podium in front of the periodical shelves and to the left of an exhibit on Louis J. Simmons, Library Board president Jim Kucipeck welcomed a crowd of more than 60 people to the special event (even more people streamed through the library throughout the evening). His warm comments were followed by a few touching words from Tupper Lake Free Press Publisher Dan McClelland, who wrote the Foreword to the new book. Louis, the editor at the Free Press for more than 40 years, was Dan’s mentor. Author Carol Poole, who wrote the Index to the new book, was absent because she was sick. And Hungry Bear Publishing Publisher Andy Flynn (that’s me) said a few words of thanks and handed out complimentary books to library staff and Chamber of Commerce staff, who were all very supportive of this effort. Also, my wife, Dawn, received flowers for her love and support, and library manager, Linda Auclair, received flowers for her constant support throughout the project. My mom, Michele Flynn, could not make the event, as she was sick as well. Michele works at the library and helped out with organizing the event and presale orders. I stopped by her house before the event to give her a book and a bouquet of flowers. Carol Poole will get her flowers today.

The event was festive with a historic theme. Refreshments, including cookies and brownies from The Marketplace and warm punch, were served on a table near the front desk. Computers were set up around the library showing audience members oral history interviews from Tupper Lakers. Two tables were set up, one for people to buy books and one for people to pick up books. Presale orders were taken between March and October. This paid for the printing and other production costs.

This book project was a fund-raiser for the library, which gets 50 percent of the proceeds from the books it sells and 10 percent of the proceeds from sales at other retail outlets. The library sold more than $1,300 worth of books during the party.

This project was worthwhile for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the library staff and board and my wife and I believe strongly that “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock” should be available to the masses. There were 2,000 copies printed in 1976, and they were gone within two years. Generations of Tupper Lakers have grown up since then. They, and future generations, should have the opportunity to have their own copies of this book so they can learn about the formative years of their hometown. History is an important part of our lives, and we have a chance to give Tupper Lakers their history. And now we’ve done it! This was a model partnership between a publishing company and a library for the benefit of the community.

So, please, enjoy the new version of “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock.”

[Buy copies of “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock” at the Hungry Bear Publishing web site.]

Writer Spotlight: Louis J. Simmons


(Editor’s Note: This is the obituary of Louis J. Simmons as printed in the Tupper Lake Free Press on Wednesday, April 5, 1995. He died on April 4, 1995.)

Louis J. Simmons, who for over six decades chronicled the news happenings of Tip Top Town and its residents, died Tuesday morning at his home at 12 Lake Street. He was transported by the Tupper Lake Rescue Squad to the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake where he was pronounced dead.

Louis John Simmons, who was 86, was born December 21, 1908 to a railroad family in Faust. He was one of eight children born to Mary Jane (Flanigan) and William Valentine Simmons. Louis was the last of the eight siblings. He was predeceased by his brothers Frank, Lawrence, Fred and Raymond, who died as a baby, and sisters Harriet Beige, Anne Frenette, and Ethel Girard.

He graduated from Tupper Lake High School in 1926 and then graduated cum laude from Syracuse University in 1930. He held Phi Kappa Phi honors with a bachelor of science degree in business administration-journalism.

He began his career with the Tupper Lake Free Press on Tuesday, July 7, 1932—little more than a day before the Free Press would hit the streets that week. From that day on, he would be a key ingredient in every issue that would be published for the next 50 years.

In 1938 he married Grace Oberlander of Syracuse in that city. His first wife, a long-time local librarian, died in 1968. On May 1, 1969 he and the former Marcia Irene Oberlander of Syracuse were married at St. Alphonsus Church in Tupper Lake. They have since resided at 12 Lake Street. In addition to his wife, Lou is survived by many nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews and great, great nieces and nephews.

Since 1932, the hometown newspaperman covered the news in Tupper Lake, not only as editor of the Tupper Lake Free Press, but as reporter for both the Watertown Daily Times and the Syracuse Post Standard. He alone covered the news beat during many of the years that followed.

When Louis retired from his part-time posts as correspondent for the dailies in the late 1970s, his superiors on those two papers had many good things to say about his career.

John B. Johnson, publisher of the Watertown Daily Times, wrote: “Louis’ reliability, as well as his accuracy, impressed three generations of editors on this newspaper. It was never necessary to verify what he wrote because he had already done it beforehand. Thus his stories moved from copy to the printed page virtually unchanged. His editors knew that his was accurate writing and reporting.”

The managing editor of the Syracuse Post Standard at that time, Robert Atkinson, said of Lou: “When I arrived in Saranac Lake as bureau correspondent 25 years ago, Lou Simmons had already become somewhat of a legend with more than 20 years service to the community. If there was ever a question about Tupper Lake raised, the response was always the same ... ask Lou Simmons.”

When Louis was not busy as editor or reporter, he volunteered his free time as town and village historian, two positions he held for more than 40 years. In a role virtually unchanged over the years, the Tupper Lake historian has been the link between the past and the present for many residents and former residents.

In recent years he has served as a member of the board of directors of the Goff-Nelson Memorial Library. He has represented Tupper Lake in thousands of pieces of correspondence or personal inquiries about the heritage of the village and town.

In 1976, Louis authored Tupper Lake’s historical best-seller “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock” in which the complete record of the development of Tupper Lake and the Town of Altamont was reported. He has also authored several publications for the town’s recent centennial and other community milestones over the years.

This July, Lou would have celebrated his 63rd anniversary at the Tupper Lake Free Press.

During his early years with the Tupper Lake Free Press, he knew and interviewed many of the men who pioneered the region and their reminiscences he filed in news clipping for historical reference. He continued in those endeavors until his death. Tupper Lake’s well known journalist retired from full-time service as editor of the Tupper Lake Free Press in 1979, and since then he has held the position of “editor emeritus”—working with the Free Press staff two days a week. He was at his desk in the Free Press office Monday.

In 1967 Louis was the recipient of the Franklin County Bar Association “Liberty Bell” award for community service. In 1979 he was distinguished as Tupper Lake’s “Citizen of the Year” at the annual chamber of commerce banquet.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Adirondack Attic: Noah John Rondeau and his Aunt Maggie’s doll


(Editor’s Note: The following is a sample of an “Adirondack Attic” story, by Andy Flynn, originally published in newspapers in 2005 and re-printed in “New York State’s Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, Volume 3.” See a photo of the artifact on the cover of the book.)

When Adirondack hermit Noah John Rondeau decided to write his “Recollections of 60 Years” in 1943, he chose to document some of his earliest memories at “A French Wedding in a Log House” near Au Sable Forks. He authored four poems that year along with this manuscript at his Cold River City encampment in the high peaks.

Author Maitland DeSormo fit the “Recollections” on 48 pages in his 1969 book, “Noah John Rondeau: Adirondack Hermit.” Rondeau (1883-1967) was 6 years old at the time of the French wedding on New Year’s Day in 1890. His aunt, Margaret “Maggie” Corrow, was to marry Henry Miner Jr., of the village of Au Sable Forks. Rondeau and his parents, Peter and Alice Corrow Rondeau, arrived at his grandparents’ home before breakfast. Gramp and Gram, Charles and Marie Antoinette Corrow, were born in Canada and settled in the log house near Au Sable Forks, where they raised eight children. As young Noah explored the log cabin that New Year’s Day, he looked at a few photographs in the living room.

“Then I stood before a Niche that hung on the Wall and I made a careful Visual Survey of the little doll,” Noah wrote. “Then I moved to the next and the next and so I made the Stations of the Dolls.”

One of those dolls in the “niches” belonged to his Aunt Maggie, who was 24 when she married Mr. Miner, too old to play with such toys. But it certainly caught this 6-year-old boy’s attention before he apprehensively moved on to the green plush-covered photo album.

“In time I dared to touch it and nothing happened,” Noah wrote. “Even the Dolls on the Wall kept Mum.”

One of Maggie’s dolls is now artifact No. 2004.69 in the Adirondack Museum’s collection. It was donated by Kathryn Lanigan, of Morrisonville, in the memory William A. Calhoun Jr., who died in his home in March 2004. Margaret Corrow Miner (1866-1963) was Calhoun’s grandmother and the donor’s greatgrandmother. They affectionately called her “Little Gram.” At the time of Calhoun’s death, the doll was hanging in a shadow box on the wall of his Au Sable Forks living room, in the same house where he was born. A picture of Maggie in front of his house is on page 143 of DeSormo’s book.

(Read more about this artifact in “New York State’s Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, Volume 3.” Buy online @ the Hungry Bear Publishing Bookstore. $18.00)

Copyright 2005 Andy Flynn/Hungry Bear Publishing

Monday, November 16, 2009

Andy's Desk: Wrapping up 'Mostly Spruce' and Tupper Lake Meet the Town

I’m still trying to catch up on my work after being sick all of October. The Adirondack Winter Guide was emailed out to Gloversville on Friday, Nov. 6. I’ve been frantically trying to get the new Tupper Lake/Long Lake/Newcomb Meet the Town edited and ready for the printer. It will go out today. Then I have to finish working on the second version of the “Adirondack Attic” Radio Series pilot for North Country Public Radio, now that I have a voice again.

Thursday, Nov. 19 is the big day for me in Tupper Lake. You’re all invited to the book-release party for the reprint of “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock,” by Louis J. Simmons. It starts at 7 p.m. at the Goff-Nelson Memorial Library. The official book release date is Friday, Nov. 20; that’s when retail outlets are able to start selling the book. I’ll have the books available on my Hungry Bear Publishing web site on Friday morning as well. This was a long and worthwhile project. Partnering with the library was the key to this book’s success, as the presales paid for the printing. With 2,000 copies printed, we may be out of books by the end of 2010. Then we’ll ask the question, “Do we print another 2,000?” It will all depend on finances. So get your copies once they’re on sale!

We’re wrapping up the Business Plan course through the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation in Saranac Lake. We have about a month left of this 60-hour course, meeting Tuesday evenings for three hours for 15 weeks and another 15 hours outside of class. Dawn and I have learned a lot about the Business Plan process, and we’re looking forward to the class ending and applying for a microenterprise loan to get ahead and grow our publishing business.

Well, have to get going and plan this busy week. We have major deadlines to meet.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Writer Spotlight: Randy Lewis


NAME: Randy Lewis
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Paul Smiths, N.Y.
FIELD: Writer: poetry, creative non-fiction, nature writing, newspaper columnist
EMPLOYER: North Country Community College (adjunct writing instructor and math tutor)

Q. What were your main writing & publishing accomplishments this past year?
A. Biweekly column, “Actively Adirondack,” published in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise; in May, “A Garden Library” poem published in the Northern New Yorker, literary journal at North Country Community College; in July, a presentation: A Walk in the Woods, at the Paul Smiths Visitor Interpretive Center; on Sept. 19, journaling/writing workshops for 11th annual Adirondack Arts and Healing retreat at Great Camp Sagamore, Raquette Lake, N.Y.; and Sept. 29, a lecture/reading at Paul Smith’s College from “Actively Adirondack” for PSC college freshmen’s First Year Experience classes

Q. What new projects are you working on for the upcoming year?
A. Putting together the manuscript for my next book. And since I am working on two, it may take twice as long! One is a compilation of poems written daily during National Poetry Month for the past five years. The other is essays and photography, honoring this strange wild place I find myself calling home.

Q. What are your upcoming public appearances?
A. Monday through Thursday in my writing classes at North Country Community College. After the semester is over, I'll look up to see if there are any upcoming appearances on my calendar.

Q. If you were to write a book with one other person in the world, who would it be and what would you write?
A. I think it would be mighty difficult to write a book with someone, if not annoyingly frustrating. But my sons Colin and Nathan and I frequently discuss putting a book together with our photography and words … and I think that would be fun. I also think every year I teach Creative Writing that I would love to assemble a book with my students on a unified theme. But phew, that would be a LOT of work, so I doubt that will ever happen.

Q. What do you like the most about living in and/or writing about the Adirondack region?
A. I like how much this environment feeds the soul. Most folks don’t allow that to happen, or make themselves available for that to happen, but if they would, it would. There are real and obvious lessons to be learned from the world that isn’t totally orchestrated by man. I also like the visual stimulus … the photographer in me is constantly reaching for the camera. There is art in every single view we see. Now, about winter? I dislike winter and the dry indoor heated places, and the slippery roads and careless drivers … but there is nothing more inviting than having a day off, and seeing a wilderness of whiteness out the window, begging for words to be written on its empty page.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Titles: “Actively Adirondack: Reflections on Mountain Life in the 21st Century,” which won Best Book Award, People’s Choice, for 2007 at the Adirondack Center for Writing’s Adirondack Literary Awards, and contributor to “A North Country Quartet”

I teach writing, walk in the woods every day, and drink a lot of tea. I read poetry, enjoy visiting NYC whenever I can, and am the proud parent of three grown sons who live far away. My favorite spot to visit is the Pacific Northwest, my favorite ocean is the Pacific, my favorite west coast city is Portland, and my favorite trees are redwoods. I am a hermit most of the time, go to bed early, and would always rather respond to an email than talk on the phone. Among jobs I've enjoyed are copy editor at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, veterinary assistant, bookstore clerk, advising coordinator at Paul Smith's College, writer for A Writer's Almanac (for Minnesota Public Radio), and being a math tutor for college students. I love teaching writing, but when it takes time away from my own writing (which of course it does), I find myself with a dilemma that confounds me. I dislike summer heat and winter cold, but fresh apples in the autumn? Nothin’ better.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Adirondack Attic: Tupper Lake porter’s cap from the Hotel Altamont

(Editor’s Note: The following is a sample of an “Adirondack Attic” story, by Andy Flynn, originally published in newspapers in 2006 and re-printed in “New York State’s Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, Volume 4.” See a photo of the artifact on the cover of the book.)

Tupper Lake had its own share of main street hotels, but one stood out among the rest: the namesake of the town, the Hotel Altamont. Until July 2004, the village of Tupper Lake was located in the Franklin County town of Altamont. Today it’s the town of Tupper Lake. The Hotel Altamont was located on the corner of Park Street and Wawbeek Avenue, where the Adirondack Medical Center’s physical therapy building is currently located. Earlier, it was the Rite-Aid and, before moving to Demars Boulevard, the Grand Union.

The late Tupper Lake historian Louis Simmons summed up the Hotel Altamont’s impact on the community in his book, “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock,” lamenting the days when it was pillaged for scrap and torn down in 1957: “Hotel Altamont was a ‘fixture’ and a landmark among Tupper Lake commercial properties since 1890, and its passing left a gap in Park St. to old timers which nothing can ever quite fill.”

One of the Tupper Lake businessmen who made his own memories at the Hotel Altamont, by working there as a teenager, was Marcel V. Richer (1920-1994), a former village mayor known mostly for operating the Richer Funeral Home at 29 Park St., one block away from the hotel. Richer donated a Hotel Altamont porter’s cap to the Adirondack Museum in April 1975.

The cap is navy blue, and the name of the hotel is embroidered with gold thread lettering on the crown. It has a black leather visor and a strap attached at each end with a brass button. There are two air openings on each side of the crown and a 1.5-inch strip of heavy ribbon. Inside, there is black lining, a trademark and a leather band. This cap is size 6, a small size for a man’s head. That’s because it is believed that Richer wore it while he was a porter/bell hop for the Hotel Altamont when he was a teenager. That would date the cap to the early 1930s.

The Hotel Altamont was the second hotel within the current Tupper Lake village limits. John H. and Thomas L. Weir built the three-story structure in 1890, the same year that the town of Altamont was formed, and opened it on New Year’s Day in 1891.

(Read more about this porter's cap in “New York State’s Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, Volume 4.” Buy the book at the Hungry Bear Publishing Book Store. $18.00)

Copyright 2006 Andy Flynn/Hungry Bear Publishing

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

'Mostly Spruce and Hemlock' Book Release Party set for Nov. 19 in Tupper Lake

A book-release party for the reprint of “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock” will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009 at the Goff-Nelson Memorial Library, 41 Lake St., in Tupper Lake.

The party will feature brief comments from library officials, Tupper Lake Free Press Publisher Dan McClelland, index author Carol Payment Poole, and publisher Andy Flynn. Refreshments will be served, and historical exhibits will be on display throughout the library.

“We see this party as a celebration of Tupper Lake’s heritage,” said Goff-Nelson Memorial Library Manager Linda Auclair. “Louis Simmons gave this community a huge gift in 1976 with ‘Mostly Spruce and Hemlock’ and the library is proud to give the same gift to even more people with a reprinting of this classic volume of Adirondack history.”

In June 1976, Tupper Lake Free Press Editor Louis J. Simmons released the first comprehensive volume of Tupper Lake history in “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock” at a book release party at the Goff-Nelson Memorial Library. It was a fitting location; the research room – the Grace Simmons Memorial Room – was named in honor of Louis’ first wife, a longtime Tupper Lake librarian. Louis Simmons used a lot of photographs from the library’s collection for his book.

At 461 pages and more than 140 photos, “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock” was an instant best-seller in the Tip Top Town and was sold out in less than two years. People have been searching for copies of the book for more than 30 years. Only 2,000 copies of the original were printed.

Simmons used more than four decades of experience at the editorial helm of the Tupper Lake Free Press to write “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock.” A 1926 graduate of the Tupper Lake High School and 1930 graduate of Syracuse University, he was hired as the Tupper Lake Free Press editor in 1932. He retired as full-time editor in 1979 and continued writing and editing until his death on April 4, 1995. He was also the Tupper Lake historian for many years.

“Mostly Spruce and Hemlock” details the early days of life in the village of Tupper Lake and the town of Altamont (the name of the town was changed to Tupper Lake in 2004). Histories are offered on the logging industry, railroading, churches, schools, hotels, Sunmount DDSO and businesses such as the Oval Wood Dish Corporation.

The new “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock” includes all of the original text and photos, but there will be some major differences. It is a paperback book, instead of hardcover, and the cover was redesigned. The original book did not include an index; however, the 2009 version has an index, which was written by author and Tupper Lake native Carol Payment Poole. Tupper Lake Free Press Publisher Dan McClelland wrote a new foreword. And the book is dedicated to Simmons and “Tupper Lakers everywhere.”

The reprinting is a joint project between Hungry Bear Publishing and the Goff-Nelson Memorial Library, which received permission to reprint “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock” as a fund-raiser. The library will receive all the author’s royalties plus a retail percentage for copies it sells directly to the public.

Presale orders for “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock” were taken between March and October 2009; anyone who prepaid for a book may pick it up at the library at the book-release party on Nov. 19. Prepaid orders to be shipped will be sent out as soon as the books arrive. No more orders will be taken until Nov. 19; anyone may purchase a copy at the party or during library hours anytime afterward. The books will also be for sale at various locations throughout the Tri-Lakes beginning the week of Thanksgiving. A print run of 2,000 was ordered for the Second Edition.

Based in Saranac Lake, Hungry Bear Publishing is home of the five-volume “Adirondack Attic” book series (Adirondack history) and the Meet the Town Community guide series. The company is owned and operated by Tupper Lake native Andy Flynn, who personally produced and edited the Second Edition of “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock,” and his wife, Dawn, originally from Bloomingdale.

For more information about the new “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock,” call the Goff-Nelson Memorial Library at (518) 359-9421.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Andy's Desk: Editing the Adirondack Vacation Guides, summer and winter, a good fit


This is the time of the year I say, “Winter’s almost over,” because I’m always wrapping up the Adirondack Vacation Guide (winter edition) for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise during the first week in November. I’ve been editing the ADE’s winter and summer guides for about seven years now, taking over about a year after I left the ADE’s managing editor post for a PR job at the NYS Adirondack Park Agency. While it’s been a stressful side job, it’s one that I am thankful for keeping.

The Adirondack Vacation Guide series has been a good fit for me, since I already had working knowledge of the ADE newsroom, computers and software. Plus, as the PR guy at the APA’s Visitor Interpretive Centers for Paul Smiths and Newcomb, I had direct experience in the tourism industry and had plenty of contacts for the guides’ content. For photos, I’ve used the vast ADE photo library and have taken a lot of photos myself for the pages, which are laid out by community.

Production time for the Vacation Guides was always stressful; after all, I already had a day job when I started in the fall of 2002 and began writing my weekly "Adirondack Attic" newspaper column in the spring of 2003 and started selling my “Adirondack Attic” books in the spring of 2004 by doing lectures in the spring and fall. There were many times I said to myself, and others, “This is the last time I’m doing a guide.” The job itself wasn’t stressful, having multiple jobs was the key stress point. Yet, here I am, still doing the guides, because, as I’ve said over and over, I need the money. I guess when you find a gig that’s a good fit and pays well, you shouldn’t just give it up because it’s stressful.

The work and the wait were worth it; today, I’m self employed and consider the editorship of the Adirondack Vacation Guide as simply part of my everyday workload, even though it still means working evenings and weekends. It keeps me in touch with the newspaper staff and feeling part of an organization larger than my home-based business. One of the hardest parts about transitioning between a day job and self employment is the lack of an office to go to everyday. I have a desk at home, and while it’s a convenient commute, there’s something about the camaraderie of an office that can’t be replaced. Although I’m generally working alone in the newsroom on the Winter Guide and Summer Guide, there are times that the sports writers or production manager will come in the office, and that little contact with others goes a long way. It makes me feel like part of a team. I'm thankful the ADE management has kept me around for the past 15 years (full time from 1994 to 2001 and part time since 2001).

In any case, winter is almost over. The Winter Guide will be emailed this week to the printer in Gloversville (at the sister newspaper of the ADE) and will be available to the public by Thanksgiving.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Writer Spotlight: Justin and Gary VanRiper


NAME: Gary Allen VanRiper
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Camden, N.Y.
FIELD: Author, photographer, pastor, Adirondack 46’er
EMPLOYER: The Wesleyan Church and Adirondack Kids Press, Ltd.

NAME: Justin Robert VanRiper
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Camden, N.Y.
FIELD: College Student

Q. What were your main writing & publishing accomplishments this past year?
A. This summer of 2009 we officially hit a major milestone for The Adirondack Kids® series of books with 100,000 copies in print.

Q. What new projects are you working on for the upcoming year?
A. We are excited as The Adirondack Kids® #10 is scheduled to be released in 2010, which is the 10th anniversary for the series. We have just confirmed plans with Old Forge Lake Cruises (http://oldforgelakecruises.com/) for an Adirondack Kids Family Day (Cruise & Book Party) on Saturday, June 5, 2010. We are also working on an art retrospective (10 years of original Adirondack Kids artwork) to be shown at the Old Forge Arts Center. Details on these and other 10th anniversary events will be on our official website and Facebook site and on twitter. We are also working on The Adirondack Kids #1 to be produced as an audio book.

Q. What are your upcoming public appearances?
A. During the public school year, nearly all of our appearances are at schools where I talk to elementary school children about reading & writing. Book signings and other public appearances can be found as they are scheduled on our official website: www.adirondackkids.com or by following me on twitter at adirondackkids

Q. If you were to write a book with one other person in the world, who would it be and what would you write? 
Gary: Other than Justin? Actually, I am working right now with our daughter, Sarah, on a work of fiction, also set in the Adirondacks.

Justin: I do like writing fantasy – but would write solo.

Q. What do you like the most about living in and/or writing about the Adirondack region?
Gary: I am so thankful to have access to one of the most beautiful and interesting spaces on this planet – the Adirondacks. My plan is to hike and photograph as many of the 6 million acres that I can while I still have my health – my legs underneath me. Regarding writing, it is the juxtaposition of the ancient with the modern that creates such a dramatic landscape in which to develop and set characters loose.

Justin: I like how close the Adirondacks are for vacation!

ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Gary Allen VanRiper is a husband, step father, foster father, adoptive father, pastor, writer, photographer and Adirondack 46'er. He has won multiple awards in journalism, photojournalism and in 2004-2005 won with The Adirondack Kids® co-author, Justin VanRiper, the Adirondack Literary Award for Best Children’s book for Islands in the Sky. He recently narrated chapters for an Audio CD to accompany the field guide, Birding the Great Lakes Seaway Trail – and he hosts a weekly segment, Adirondack Journal, on the popular regional television show, Mohawk Valley Living. In the spring of 2010, Gary and his wife Carol, are headed as photojournalists to Zambia in Africa as short term missionaries for Global Partners.

Justin Robert VanRiper is a sophomore at Houghton College in Houghton, New York. He is majoring in psychology and is in the Army ROTC program currently aspiring to be an Army Chaplain.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Professional Development: Book TV a helpful resource

There are a good number of resources available for writers and small publishers, both at home and online.

I like to refer people first to the Adirondack Center for Writing, based at Paul Smith’s College, because that is our local resource for writers, and, for a very small staff, they do an extraordinary amount of work to help writers of all ages improve their craft. Yet, as small business owners, we know that market research and professional development is an ongoing process that always takes us well beyond the geographical boundaries of our region. The Internet is full of industry news and ideas to help writers write better, publish, and get paid for their work.

One great resource is Book TV, a product of the C-SPAN2 cable television network. Sunday morning is a great time to flip on Book TV and watch non-fiction authors tell us about their latest books (I’m partial to non-fiction). The video usually comes from an event at a bookstore. At the very least, watching Book TV is a tremendous motivating tool. I’ve seen people watch the videos and say, “I can do that. That should be me up there.”

The Book TV web site is a helpful place to find all the network’s video features, links to book fairs, and News About Books. Some of the latest News blurbs are: Publisher Sets EBook Price at $35; 2009 National Book Award Finalists Announced; Libraries Start “Lending” EBooks; Textbooks Go Digital; and Book Sales Are Down in 2009. Now, tell me, you’d probably click on a few of these stories, right? Each is a link to another web site with the news story.

The online Book TV news story I recently found most interesting was tagged “Authors Look for Novel Ways to Promote Books.” Click on the link, and it takes you to the Washington Post web site. The article, written by Neely Tucker and published on Sept. 24, 2009, had the headline: “On Web, A Most Novel Approach: With Promotion Money Tight, Authors Take to Online Sites To Toot Their Own Horns.” One focus of the article was the story of Kelly Corrigan, author of “The Middle Place,” who took marketing into her own hands, and, with the help of a web site, a video trailer, a YouTube video of her reading samples of her book, and countless hours pounding the pavement peddling her books, she hand-sold between 2,000 and 3,000 copies of her book. Within a year, her book sold 80,000 copies in hardcover and 260,000 copies in paperback and was on the New York Times bestseller list for 20 weeks, topping off at the No. 2 spot.

Stories like this really motivate me to get out there and write, publish and sell my books. There is so much to learn from others, and there are thousands of resources to tap. Have fun exploring!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Adirondack Attic: Long Lake stoneware cooler


(Editor’s Note: The following is a sample of an “Adirondack Attic” story, by Andy Flynn, originally published in newspapers in November 2007 and re-printed in “New York State’s Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, Volume 5.” See a photo of the artifact on the cover of the book.)

Exploring one of the Adirondack Museum’s storage areas, I stumbled upon a piece of White’s stoneware made in Utica. The tag attached to the object reads: “John Lamere / Long Lake / Oct. 31, 1958.”

The cooler is not the typical stoneware jug spun on a potter’s wheel. It is made from a mold, as there are relief illustrations on the front and back, including some markings that help tell the story of this object. On the front, in a banner, are the words, “LONDON/ WHISKEY / CLUB.” The illustration around the lower half of the cooler features polo players on horses, and the word “POLO” is located in the center below one of the horses and just above the cooler spout hole (actually, the hole has been plugged and painted green). Originally white stoneware with a Bristol glaze, the illustrations and lettering were accented with cobalt blue glaze by the manufacturer. A past owner, however, had painted parts of the cooler green, red and brown. On the back of the cooler, the name of the distributor is highlighted in blue lettering on a banner: “JOHN P. / SHEEHAN / UTICA, N.Y. / SOLE ACTS.” It held about 3 gallons of liquid and the manufacturer was “White’s Utica,” circa 1880.

White’s Pottery was known by many names throughout its history, producing a wide variety of stoneware items from 1838 to 1907, including jugs, crocks, coffee pots, pitchers, beer steins, water coolers, butter crocks, butter churns, cheese jars, lager glasses, mugs, canteens, punch bowls, bean pots, humidors, match safes, umbrella stands, and vases.

Noah White (1793-1865) moved to Utica in 1828, three years after the entire length of the Erie Canal opened. Utica was an important hub of commerce along the canal, which stretched from Albany to Buffalo. White worked as a laborer and a boat captain until 1834, when he entered the pottery business under Samuel Addington. White was on his own by 1839.

(Read more about this stoneware cooler in “New York State’s Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic, Volume 5.” Buy now at the Hungry Bear Publishing Book Store. $18.00)

Copyright 2007 Andy Flynn/Hungry Bear Publishing

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Special Event: Chronicle Book Fair Nov. 1 in Glens Falls

The largest book fair in the Adirondack North Country region – the 14th Annual Chronicle Book Fair – will be held this weekend, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1 at the Queensbury Hotel in downtown Glens Falls. It promises to be another successful event, with wall-to-wall authors and booksellers (about 120 vendors) ready to sell visitors and residents stacks of reading material for the winter or bags full of Christmas gifts.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the Chronicle Book Fair this year as I will be working on a layout project for the local newspaper (deadline is looming for the annual Winter Guide). I have been selling my books at the book fair for the past several years, and I will miss the camaraderie of my fellow authors and the hospitality of the hosts, Chronicle Arts Editor Cathy DeDe and Editor Mark Frost.

In any case, I hope you are able to get to the Queensbury Hotel Sunday. The first floor will be packed with authors, and the best thing about this event, for visitors, is that admission is free. That in itself is admirable and something that should not be overlooked since authors give presentations all day long: readings, book signings, children’s activities, demonstrations, slide-illustrated talks. It’s free entertainment, a great opportunity to bring the kids along and open their eyes to the world of Adirondack literature: children’s books, regional history, travel books, Adirondack titles, hiking guides, photography, poetry, mystery and detective novels, science fiction, cook books, antique and used books. This is an event that has a conference feel to it, in a comfortable way, and gives readers complete access to their favorite local authors.

The headline author this year is John F. Ross, author of the ground-breaking new book “War on the Run: The Epic Story of Robert Rogers and the Conquest of America’s First Frontier.” Ross will speak at 1 p.m. in the Warren Room of the Queensbury Hotel, and he will be available all day to sign books.

Some of the authors who have signed up for presentations include photographers Carl Heilman II, Mark Bowie and Paul Gibaldi. Authors will include: “Dr. Dan” O’Keeffe, Glens Falls physician; Gail Fraser, author of the hugely popular Lumby series of mysteries; Teri Gay, who wrote a new history of the Suffrage movement in the North Country; children’s author-illustrators Sheri Amsel, Bruce Hiscock, Tatine Rehm, Frieda Toth, Marika McCoola and Marlene Newman; and Bill Gates, with his numerous histories of Bolton Landing and Lake George.

The full program and schedule of events will be printed in the Oct. 29 issue of The Chronicle For more information, call (518) 792-1126.

(Thanks to Cathy DeDe for providing the above information.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Andy’s Desk: Improved blog keeps people connected to Adirondack writers

Welcome back to the Adirondack Writer blog, which I launched in 2007 and discontinued briefly from spring 2009 until the re-launch on Oct. 21, 2009. I hope to make this site a place for all people – readers and writers – to stay connected to professional writers in the Adirondack North Country region of New York state. When I say writers, I mean published authors and poets, journalists, columnists, professional bloggers, storytellers and musicians. You’ll find some photographers in there as well because some of them are also writers and/or have published books.

WHY TURN OFF THE ORIGINAL BLOG?
Fact is, when newspapers began dropping my “Adirondack Attic” column in the fall of 2008 and then in the spring of 2009, I had a lot of soul-searching to do, as a writer, and I had to figure out how to continue writing and continue to get paid for my work.

So I discontinued my column and began working with the Adirondack Museum, singer/songwriter Dan Berggren and North Country Public Radio to develop an “Adirondack Attic” radio series to begin in January 2010. We’re still working on the pilot. I had been writing the weekly column for several northern New York newspapers for more than six years. It had become so much a part of me, writing stories nonstop every week since 2003 (more than 300 in all), that simply shutting it off was both a relief and a crisis of the soul. Who was I without the column? Well, after thinking about it, I wasn’t going to give up the storytelling; I was only changing the media (going back to my roots in public radio). And, after all, I had collected those columns in five books, a series called “New York State’s Mountain Heritage: Adirondack Attic,” with a sixth book ready to be printed in the spring of 2010. I had essentially written six books in six years.

WHY TURN ON THE BLOG AGAIN?
I finally realized that without the column, I am still an author and publisher. I am still an Adirondack writer. I go to most of the author fairs in the region and see many of my author friends every summer (at Hoss’s Country Corner, the Adirondack Reader, etc.). I sign books at bookstores and stay connected with readers at lectures throughout the region on the Adirondack lecture circuit during my summer/fall book tour every year. And I still get paid for my work.

There is a community of professional writers in the Adirondack region, with different genres, styles and employers (many are retired, some have day jobs, and some are full-time freelancers). Yet there isn’t one place on the Internet that people can stay connected to them, as a whole. I wanted to create such a web site, one that gives updates on Adirondack writers – bios, accomplishments, features, news, etc. I envision it as being a way for writers to promote themselves and their work; a place for readers to get informed about the writing community; a place for writers to learn about other writers; and a place for writers to learn about professional development and special event opportunities. This is the new vision for the new Adirondack Writer blog.

At the same time, the subtitle of this blog is “Adirondack literature from a writer’s perspective.” That writer will be me at many times, yet it will include posts from other writers from time to time. I’ll give an update on my career once a week. Plus, I’ll post Writer News, Special Events, Book Reviews, Industry News, Professional Development news, Writer Spotlights, Publisher Spotlights, Performer’s Corner (musicians and storytellers), and “Adirondack Attic” stories from my archives.

YEAR OF REINVENTION
This has been a year of reinventing myself, partly because of the changes in my Adirondack Attic History Project but mainly because I left my public relations job at the NYS Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center in Paul Smiths in June 2009. I decided to take the plunge and write/publish full time. I currently operate my company, Hungry Bear Publishing, with my wife, Dawn, who left her banking job a year ago. Hungry Bear Publishing is the home of the “Adirondack Attic” book series and the Meet the Town community guide series. So Dawn and I have taken the plunge together, holding hands like Thelma and Louise, driving off a cliff and looking for something better in the next life. I hope we find it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

ABA asks DOJ to investigate Wal-Mart, Amazon.com and Target

On October 22, 2009, the American Booksellers Association (ABA) Board of Directors sent a letter to the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney and Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Matters Molly Boast) asking them to investigate allegations of illegal predatory pricing of books by Wal-Mart, Amazon.com and Target. The ABA contends that these practices are damaging to the book industry and harmful to consumers. Here is the letter:

Dear Ms. Varney and Ms. Boast,

We are writing on behalf of the American Booksellers Association, a 109-year-old trade organization representing the nation's locally owned, independent booksellers. A core part of our mission is devoted to making books as widely available to American consumers as possible. We ask that the Department of Justice investigate practices by Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, and Target that we believe constitute illegal predatory pricing that is damaging to the book industry and harmful to consumers. We are requesting a meeting with you to discuss this urgent issue at your earliest possible opportunity.

As reported in the consumer and trade press this past week, Amazon.com, WalMart.com, and Target.com have engaged in a price war in the pre-sale of new hardcover bestsellers, including books from John Grisham, Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, Sarah Palin, and James Patterson. These books typically retail for between $25 and $35. As of writing of this letter, all three competitors are selling these and other titles for between $8.98 and $9.00.

Publishers sell these books to retailers at 45% - 50% off the suggested list price. For example, a $35 book, such as Mr. King's Under the Dome, costs a retailer $17.50 or more. News reports suggest that publishers are not offering special terms to these big box retailers, and that the retailers are, in fact, taking orders for these books at prices far below cost. (In the case of Mr. King's book, these retailers are losing as much as $8.50 on each unit sold.) We believe that Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, and Target are using these predatory pricing practices to attempt to win control of the market for hardcover bestsellers.

It's important to note that the book industry is unlike other retail sectors. Clothing, jewelry, appliances, and other commercial goods are typically sold at a net price, leaving the seller free to determine the retail price and the margin these products will earn. Because publishers print list prices indelibly on jacket covers, and because books are sold at a discount off that retail price, there is a ceiling on the amount of margin a book retailer can earn.

The suggested list price set by the publisher reflects manufacturing costs -- acquisition, editing, marketing, printing, binding, shipping, etc. -- which vary significantly from book to book. By selling each of these titles below the cost these retailers pay to the publishers, and at the same price as each other, and at the same price as all other titles in these pricing schemes, Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, and Target are devaluing the very concept of the book. Authors and publishers, and ultimately consumers, stand to lose a great deal if this practice continues and/or grows.

What's so troubling in the current situation is that none of the companies involved are engaged primarily in the sale of books. They're using our most important products -- mega bestsellers, which, ironically, are the most expensive books for publishers to bring to market -- as a loss leader to attract customers to buy other, more profitable merchandise. The entire book industry is in danger of becoming collateral damage in this war.

It's also important to note that this episode was precipitated by below-cost pricing of digital editions of new hardcover books by Amazon.com, many of those titles retailing for $9.99, and released simultaneously with the much higher-priced print editions. We believe the loss-leader pricing of digital content also bears scrutiny.

While on the surface it may seem that these lower prices will encourage more reading and a greater sharing of ideas in the culture, the reality is quite the opposite. Consider this quote from Mr. Grisham's agent, David Gernert, that appeared in the New York Times:

"If readers come to believe that the value of a new book is $10, publishing as we know it is over. If you can buy Stephen King's new novel or John Grisham's 'Ford County' for $10, why would you buy a brilliant first novel for $25? I think we underestimate the effect to which extremely discounted best sellers take the consumer's attention away from emerging writers."

For our members -- locally owned, independent bookstores -- the effect will be devastating. There is simply no way for ABA members to compete. The net result will be the closing of many independent bookstores, and a concentration of power in the book industry in very few hands. Bill Petrocelli, owner of Book Passage in Corte Madera, California, an ABA member, was also quoted in the New York Times:

"You have a choke point where millions of writers are trying to reach millions of readers. But if it all has to go through a narrow funnel where there are only four or five buyers deciding what's going to get published, the business is in trouble."

We would find these practices questionable were they taking place in the market for widgets. That they are taking place in the market for books is catastrophic. If left unchecked, these predatory pricing policies will devastate not only the book industry, but our collective ability to maintain a society where the widest range of ideas are always made available to the public, and will allow the few remaining mega booksellers to raise prices to consumers unchecked.

We urge that the DOJ investigate and request an opportunity to come to Washington to discuss this at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,
ABA Board of Directors

Writer Spotlight: Brian Mann


The following is a Q&A with Brian Mann, author of "Welcome to the Homeland: A Journey to the Rural Heart of America's Conservative Revolution."

NAME: Brian Mann
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Saranac Lake, NY
FIELD: Journalist
EMPLOYER: North Country Public Radio (Adirondack Bureau chief) & Freelance

Q. What were your main writing and publishing accomplishments this past year?
A. This was the 10th anniversary of the Adirondack News bureau, so a lot of the funnest work was in celebration of that milestone. NCPR also won two national Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Q. What new projects are you working on for the upcoming year?
A. I'll be covering the "white nose syndrome" outbreak that's killing bats in the Northeast. I also hope to rededicate myself to more outdoor writing. Q. What are your upcoming public appearances?
A. I'll be speaking at an Adirondack Mountain Club event in the fall and taking part in an Adirondack Center for Writing seminar. But I hide out as much as I can when I'm off duty!
Q. If you were to write a book with one other person in the world, who would it be and what would you write?
A. Great question, but I'm a horrible collaborator. I love working with editors, who tighten and sharpen my writing. But putting my fingers on the keyboard is a very personal, private thing for me. The next book I'd love to write is about the demise of North American bats ... how's that for wonky!

Q. What do you like the most about living in and/or writing about the Adirondack region?

A. This landscape and community offers everything I want, from hard winter (which I love) to the open field country of the Champlain Valley (I spent part of my childhood in the Midwest) to the mountains and alpine country of the High Peaks (I also grew up in Alaska). People keep telling me I'm not really a local yet, but I think I've always been a local.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I grew up in Kansas and Alaska. For years I made my living butchering fish on the coast of the Gulf of Alaska. Then I started volunteering for public radio stations, where I learned my craft. We moved to the Adirondacks a decade ago. My wife Susan is a village trustee in Saranac Lake. My son Nicholas is an eighth grader. We feel blessed to be part of this community - and I feel blessed to be in a place with such a rich community of writers.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Adirondack Journalism Conference

The Adirondack Center for Writing, based at Paul Smith's College, is doing a great service to writers and editors by offering the ACW Journalism Conference on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009 at the Blue Mountain Center in Blue Mountain Lake. It promises to be informative and educational to writers and editors wishing to either continue their growth as professional journalists or to simply network with fellow newshounds. I'm hoping that students will take advantage of this unique opportunity as well.

When I worked at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and Lake Placid News, first as a staff writer and then as an editor, I always enjoyed the journalist-only events, especially the awards ceremonies at the New York Press Association (for weeklies) and New York Newspaper Publishers Association (for dailies). We got a chance to network and learn from staffers at similar newspapers from around New York state.

The Adirondack journalism community is pretty tight-knit, and it's important to have that support, even with competing media organizations; however, there is so much we can learn from one another, and regional journalists rarely have a quiet time away from the news scene to work together and improve our skills together. This community is a pleasure to work with because it is generally not cut-throat like in bigger markets, which becomes apparent when a rude TV news crew shows up late and starts jumping in front of your camera shot at a news conference. Here in the Adirondacks, thank God, journalists are still courteous to each other. It speaks a lot to our small-town way of life and the people who live here.

I'm impressed with ACW's lineup of experienced presenters. Environmental journalist Jeff Goodell will give the keynote address, and other speakers will include Brian Mann, Adirondack News Bureau chief for North Country Public Radio; Mike Hill, Associated Press reporter in Albany; and Will Doolittle, projects editor for the Post-Star in Glens Falls.

Topics will include “How to Write A Compelling Story with a 24-hr Deadline;” “Tough Reporting in Small Towns,” how to effectively report tough stories even when they involve neighbors and friends; and “How to Make a Living as a Freelance Journalist,” strategies for building a sustainable income as a journalist working in the Adirondack North Country. This discussion will include nuts and bolts issues of multiple sales, quality control, contract arrangements, and deadline management. There will also be a “Blogging Panel Discussion” with John Warren of Adirondack Almanack and New York History, Brian Mann of The In Box, Lisa Bramen of Smithsonian Magazine: Food & Think, and Elizabeth Folwell of Adirondack Life magazine.

The conference will be held from 9:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. with lunch provided. The cost is $30 per person. Group discounts are available for three or more attending from the same newspaper or school. For more information, contact the Adirondack Center for Writing at (518) 327-6278.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Adirondack Trails with Tales

Black Dome Press released “Adirondack Trails with Tales: History Hikes through the Adirondack Park and the Lake George, Lake Champlain & Mohawk Valley Regions,” by Russell Dunn and Barbara Delaney, in May 2009. I had the honor of fact checking their chapter on the hike to the Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center at Paul Smiths, where I worked from 2001 to 2009 as the public relations specialist.

The book cover features an image of Winslow Homer’s oil painting, “Two Guides,” with Keene Valley guide Orson “Old Mountain” Phelps hiking in the Adirondack high peaks with fellow guide Charles Holt in the early 1870s. In their book, Russell and Barbara are your trusty Adirondack guides, taking us to places throughout New York’s North Country with history in mind. They are masterful storytellers, and even those not inclined to follow in their footsteps can appreciate this detailed volume of New York history, one chapter at a time.

I encourage you to take some of the authors’ “History Hikes” and re-live history. Heck, make your own memories, but don’t forget to bring along this wonderful book as your hiking companion. With directions, maps and photographs, it is an extremely user-friendly guidebook – not too bulky for the backpack and a perfect size for the car.

The hikes include: Valcour Island, Coon Mountain, Crown Point: Fort St. Frederic & His Majesty s Fort of Crown Point, Fort Ticonderoga, Ironville & Penfield Homestead, Rock Pond, Rogers Rock, Shelving Rock Mountain & Shelving Rock Falls, Prospect Mountain, Fort George and Bloody Pond, Cooper s Cave & Betar Byway, John Brown s Farm, Mt. Jo & Mt. Van Hoevenberg, Adirondac & Indian Pass, East Branch of the Ausable River & Adirondack Mountain Reserve, Santanoni, The Sagamore, Paul Smiths, Hooper Garnet Mine, Chimney Mountain, Kunjamuk Cave, Griffin, Griffin Falls, & Auger Falls, Moss Island, Tufa Caves & Waterfalls of Van Hornesville, Canajoharie Gorge, and Wolf Hollow.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Russell Dunn and Barbara Delaney, both New York State-licensed guides, are the authors of Trails with Tales: History Hikes through the Capital Region, Saratoga, Berkshires, Catskills & Hudson Valley (Black Dome Press, 2006). Dunn is also the author of an ongoing series of guidebooks to the waterfalls of eastern New York State and western New England, including Adirondack Waterfall Guide: New York's Cool Cascades (Black Dome Press, 2003), Catskill Region Waterfall Guide: Cool Cascades of the Catskills & Shawangunks (Black Dome Press, 2004), Hudson Valley Waterfall Guide: From Saratoga and the Capital Region to the Highlands and Palisades (Black Dome Press, 2005), Mohawk Region Waterfall Guide: From the Capital District to Cooperstown & Syracuse (Black Dome Press, 2007), and Berkshire Region Waterfall Guide: Cool Cascades of the Berkshire & Taconic Mountains (Black Dome Press, 2008). He is also the author of Adventures around the Great Sacandaga Lake (Nicholas K. Burns Publishing, 2002), and a soon-to-be-published guidebook on kayaking the waterways of the Capital District Region.

BOOK STATS

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Black Dome Press
ISBN-10: 1883789648
ISBN-13: 978-1883789640
LAYOUT: 9 x 5.9 inches
LIST PRICE: $17.95