Sunday, November 29, 2009

Andy's Desk: Ready for Cyber Monday on

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 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
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.

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
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.


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.