Bearing up wonderfully…a New Hampshire weekend

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The 2017 fall conference of the U.S. Power Squadrons was held this past weekend at New Hampshire’s North Conway Grand Hotel. Boaters from Cape Cod and Rhode Island to northern Maine attended my Saturday NFCT presentation. I was grateful that the books had arrived in time and that folks enjoyed my talk. The organizers (one of whom was my father) had asked if I would be willing to bring my boat and gear, which sparked much discussion with the conference participants. I continue to enjoy listening and learning from them and hearing their stories, as much as telling mine.

I’ve been working on a slide that better explains the direction of flow for the NFCT’s major rivers. One man added that paddling north on Lake Champlain is actually going downstream, as there is some slight flow or current to the lake. I did not know that.

On Sunday, I came home by way of West Milan, Errol, Rangeley, and Farmington, visiting friends and stores along the way. Here’s the day in photos:

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This unique looking shop, with a refreshing focus on independent authors, is in North Conway, NH. I dropped off some informational materials there and will wait to hear if they are interested in selling Upwards. Next was a drive through the White Mountains…

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I sense a theme emerging…the book keeps popping up in my photos! Seriously, it was a lovely ride through Pinkham Notch, where the foliage is fading to brown, rather than orange and red, with the yellow of the birches now the brightest color on the mountains.

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The Androscoggin River, along the NFCT, was just calling to me, “Come and paddle!”

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In Errol, NH, I stopped in unannounced at L.L. Cote, a large outdoor supply store, and was warmly welcomed. They took and paid for six books, my first sales outlet in New Hampshire! Then on to Rangeley, to drop off books at Ecopelagicon, where I proposed a book signing during the Logging Festival next July.

I will close with Amazon news. This morning I set up my Amazon Author Central Page and discovered that we are #240,887 in sales among 8 million books, after 4 days. There is nowhere to go but upwards!

 

A special date for the release of Upwards

Grandma Jan

Today would have been my maternal grandmother’s 110th birthday. Growing up, Grandma Jan and I shared a love for books and birds and wildflower walks. Through her, I discovered treasured favorites like The Secret Garden, and she encouraged me to publish my first article at age 13. I have chosen today, October 19, 2017 as the official release date for Upwards, in honor of a very special woman.

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The weather has been glorious for fall paddling with family and friends. Karen Jones, who I met at the Maine Canoe Symposium, joined me for a paddle (and swim) on nearby McCurdy Pond.

As you may imagine, the five days since the books arrived have been incredible. Incredibly busy, humbling, energizing, exhausting, and amazing. A quick update:

  1. Friends who are reading Upwards like it. A simple statement, but imagine writing for well over a year, then transforming those words into a book (over another long five months), then handing a copy to a friend. And holding your breath..
  2. You can now purchase the book here, as well as on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and Maine Authors Publishing websites. Our Amazon listing is a work in progress, as we are debating which categories and keywords to use.
  3. Books are on their way to or have recently arrived at: The Maine Coast Book Shop in Damariscotta, The Corner Shop in Greenville, The Birches Resort in Rockwood, Ecopelagicon in Rangeley, and even Newbury Kayak & Canoe in Newbury, MA.
  4. This coming weekend, I will be in North Conway, NH speaking at a conference of the U.S. Power Squadrons. If you’re in the area, the public is welcome to stop by Sat., Oct. 21, from 2 to 5 p.m., downstairs in the North Conway Grand Hotel. I’m bringing my canoe and gear and will, of course, be signing books. More news soon!

Floating on cloud nine

Somehow, I was still floating on cloud nine yesterday afternoon, even after discovering exactly how heavy 1,000 books truly are. Most of them are now tucked away upstairs, after Dad, Mom, and my Aunt Sue drove to Cambridge, Massachusetts to pick them up. I love them. I adore them. I slept for eight hours last night and have woken ready to start shipping. Then, this evening, I’m doing a short talk for the Penobscot Bay Sail and Power Squadron in Bangor, Maine. It’s started and I’m loving it!

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Look at that grin from Dad, who carefully packed and tied in his precious cargo

The official book release date has been set for Thursday, October 19, 2017. That would have been my Grandma Jan’s 110th birthday…good memories and a good feeling about choosing that date. By then, I hope to have the books available for purchase here and on Amazon. You can already find them for pre-order in the Northern Forest Canoe Trail’s online store, where members receive a 15% discount.

So thank you, readers and friends, family and organizations, for patiently waiting!

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Ah…holding a copy in my hands

 

The Old Stone Wall, a poem

              

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Stone wall that runs along in the woods behind our house

The Old Stone Wall

We wander, both, the crisp clear slopes of autumn,

Through scattered leaves of faded, fallen color.

For me, a carefree hour, or maybe two.

The stone wall, though, has twice outlived its builder:

He who plucked the granite from heavy, stubborn soil.

Dragging, rolling, hefting the puzzle pieces into place.

 

That wall and man shared much in common,

in their struggle to tame nature’s endless march.

Rugged, stalwart, they took the character of an unyielding land,

framed fields that winter buried deep in drifted white,

that spring sprinkled with tender newborn calves,

and summer balanced barefoot children on the winding way.

 

In time, the passing years gathered up the man

and crusted stone with olive moss and lichen gray.

Stumbling with age and witness to a different time,

still, there are stories harbored here,

meaning to be found in the wall’s enduring presence,

if only that, when I am gone, the silent stones will stay.

Up, up and away!

 

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“You must do something to make the world more beautiful.”

These words of wisdom, from a grandfather to a small girl, are at the heart of the beloved children’s book Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney. A lifetime later, little Alice grows up to become the Lupine Lady, spreading seeds of joy in her town by the sea.

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Miss Rumphius and her lupines from Barbara Cooney’s award-winning book

I hope you know this story and its talented author/illustrator, who lived in Damariscotta, the town where I work. Barbara Cooney Porter was a major benefactor of Skidompha Library, providing the foundation gift for the building that became its new home in 2001. When my children and I moved to Maine in the frigid depths of the winter of 2003, we started volunteering at Skidompha. Every Thursday evening, I would process new books and the children’s librarian would patiently and creatively put the kids to work.

I wish Barbara Cooney were still here, to read and talk about my about-to-be-released adventure memoir, Upwards.

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It is an honor and a delight to announce my Book Launch Party, to be held at Skidompha Library,  184 Main St., Damariscotta, Maine, on Sunday, October 29, from 2 to 4 p.m. Everyone is welcome to this celebration, which will include a short talk with the author, refreshments, and plenty of copies of my long awaited book. Please join us if you can!

Wow, we’ve arrived at our new website

The more twists and bumps in the road, the slower you go and the more time there is for learning, reflection, and appreciating the scenery along the way.

I went looking this morning for a quote that articulated all that I am feeling as, one by one, the roadblocks to printing Upwards fall behind. I couldn’t find one, so I wrote one. Yesterday, the book went to press, which we’ve discovered is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dad is already planning a road trip down there in mid-October to fill his truck with boxes of books, 1,000 copies for the first print run.

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With Jane Karker, president of Maine Authors Publishing, having a first look at the interior press proofs. There will be 10 pages of color photos in the center of the book.

What is on my list of author chores this weekend? Writing this post, most importantly, to let everyone know that the book launch party will happen in late October. The delay has given me precious time to work on marketing and publicity and business tasks such as getting set up to accept credit card payments and collect Maine state sales tax. My next post, very soon, will announce the exact date and location for the book launch! In the meantime, I would love to hear back from a few of you that this post reached you fine.

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It’s amazing how excited this pile of stuff makes me. My Square gadget, for an extra $29, will be able to accept chip credit cards. I’ve joined the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, am scheduling presentations, and there, on my brand-new business cards, is the cover of Upwards!

We’re moving…come along for the ride

This post will be short and sweet. As the publication of Upwards gets closer (really it is), it’s time for me to have an author’s website, with an easily remembered address and expanded content. My blog, Laurie’s Adventures, will soon be moving over to become part of the new website, at laurieachandler.com.

(If you go take a peek now, you’ll discover that it’s still a work in progress).

All of the existing blog posts and followers of Laurie’s Adventures will migrate to the new site at some point during the next week or two. At least that’s the plan. If by chance we miss moving you, the home page of the new website makes it simple to subscribe again.

In other book news, the interior design is virtually complete and only a Library of Congress number stands between us and the long-awaited press proof. After that, the order goes out to the printer and we wait for that glorious moment when the boxes arrive. It can’t come soon enough for this anxious, exhilarated first-time author.

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A waterfront look at The Birches, the latest business to order advance copies of Upwards

Fonts, blurbs, and dingbats: Putting the finishing touches on Upwards

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Like this porcupine, I’m scrambling to finish by the publisher’s deadline for the fall trade catalog

After returning home from Virginia (and waiting for the laptop that I left in my bedroom there to arrive by Fed Ex), it was time to accept or reject Dan’s edits. Dan Karker, my editor from Maine Authors Publishing, not only found mistakes, but added consistency to the style and formatting of the manuscript. And boy did I have a lot of commas to move around! I added scene breaks, cleaned up my bibliography, and even paid $90 for permission to use two opening quotes from Sigurd Olson that were dear to my heart.

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The owner of Ecopelagicon in Rangeley ordered 4 autographed copies, my first commercial sale

With the edits finished, photos chosen and captioned, and graphics in hand, it was time to go up to Maine Authors Publishing for the design meeting. From here on out, the book will be in the designer’s artistic hands. Decision by decision, the interior layout is coming together, as Wendy Higgins translates my ideas into PDF drafts. Next week I hope to receive the first full-length layout, and September 1 is the finish line, when the press proof must be done.

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What a delightful surprise and honor to have Gil Gilpatrick feature Upwards in his August column in the Northwoods Sporting Journal. Gil, the author of Allagash: A Journey Through Time on Maine’s Legendary Wilderness Waterway, has inspired both my paddling and writing journeys over the years.

Look for a trip report from our Jackman area NFCT trip in my next blog post!

Upwards: Two months to go!

 

Megan at Humpback Rocks above the Blue Ridge Parkway, where we hiked on Saturday

Last Thanksgiving, my daughter Megan and I chose some photos as candidates for the book’s cover. She’s a graphic designer and had been working her magic on them, but hadn’t given me even a peek. So I was beyond excited to see the two versions she liked the best.

 

View of the log cabin from Jacob’s garden. Visiting for a week has given us lots of design time together.

Friday was the evening, and we sat in the darkening living room as the first cover appeared on the computer. My heart jumped. There was Upwards and my name and it looked like a book, a beautiful book. It was absolutely an amazing moment, and then I liked the second version, Megan’s favorite, even more. Yesterday, the afternoon drifted away while Megan fine-tuned the cover and I worked on photo layout for the inside.

Who would have dreamed that publishing a book would have so many steps? I’m frazzled. There’s still so much to finish up. My editor at Maine Authors Publishing has given me his corrections, and each has to be accepted or rejected. I’m digging out childhood photos, getting the last few stubborn permissions, and searching for quotes in the public domain, to replace a few from Dr. Suess and Winnie-the-Pooh that I’m scared to use.

Inspiration comes from every attractive book I see and there sure are a lot of pretty books out there!

 

Katina and Sam treated Megan and me to breakfast at the Iris Inn, where we congratulated her on finishing her AT thru-hike and talked map details.

 

On Wednesday, I’ll head back to Maine and the upcoming design meeting, where we’ll finalize the rest of the interior look. Until then, we have plans to celebrate July 4th with lots of fun family togetherness and wish the same for all of you!

Spring morning, a poem

Spring morning

 If you would know the pond today, come early.

Hasten with deliberate slowness,

hurry, linger, before the now becomes the when.

Clouds shift, light evolves, each moment more, each moment less.

Faint and ancient epoch now is winter,

that held the world in its unyielding grasp.

Breathe and all is new, unfurled, colored, textured, gone.

Nature writes her poem anew each morning,

and erases it at night.

Canoe glides a path and with it pens a verse,

Plucking twang of bullfrog chords,

Grackle’s iridescence hidden in silhouette against the sky,

Old men turtles in a line plop away, and I must go.

Headed home, flowers dust the shore with white.

Each tiny cluster speaks the pace of spring.

Round pink buds of promise

turn to stars of white perfection,

then fade to fuzzy frazzle.

If you would know the pond tomorrow, come early.