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

 

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!

Upwards: The life of an author 3 months out

Three months out from what, you ask? Actually, many of you are deliberately NOT going to ask, as you’ve heard about little else from me for many months!

Just in case, though – three months out from holding Upwards in my hands. That shiny new cover, those color photos, my words in print. Actually, the cover won’t be shiny. One decision firmly made is to have a “Matte/Satin” cover. And color photos? That’s my hope and dream, but I’m waiting anxiously for cost estimates for a center section of photos.

No matter how thrilled I am about publishing, the whirlwind of life goes on. The end of the school year is upon us, bringing field trips and frenzy. This week, we visited the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, Maine. Run by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, the park cares for and exhibits only animals that are unable to live in the wild.

The more natural habitat areas were fascinating, while I struggled to watch two black bears panhandling for treats beneath a machine being fed by an endless stream of quarters, the huge glass window above obscured by a wall of captivated children.

After taking the above photo, I decided that I would learn about the Canada lynx. (That’s Canada lynx, not Canadian lynx, just like the goose). The bobcat, also found in Maine, is a different critter. Similar in size and appearance, there are differences between the two species: Bobcat = shorter legs, smaller ear tufts, smaller paws, more likely to look spotted or striped and Lynx = the opposite. The tip of a lynx’s tail is solid black, the bobcat’s black on top and white below. Plus, in the deep snows of the north woods, a sighting will probably be a lynx, well-adapted for life there.

Somewhat of a picky eater, the lynx dines on snowshoe hares at least 75% of the time, eating 1 to 2 per day. Historically, lynx populations have cycled up and down in rhythm with hare populations. In Maine, however, both have been booming for years, as young spruce-fir forests grow back following devastating waves of spruce budworm mortality. The young-growth timber provides ideal cover for the lynx’s favored prey.

I can’t recall having seen a water snake in Maine, until my visit to the wildlife park. Research seems to indicate they live only in the southern half of the state, so my best chance will be during my excursions close to home.

Out on the pond this week, it was cool and my sightings were all avian. It’s too early in the season to take the leaves for granted and the maples were particularly striking. Vivid red clumps of maple keys jumped out among the shoreline greens and pinks, and I tried to draw in calm as I paddled and let go of some of the excitement that is keeping ME keyed up!

One afternoon, swallows had overtaken the water and swooped in acrobatic dance, surely happy to find many squadrons of mosquitoes on patrol. They can also drink mid-flight, quickly scooping up water from the surface. On shore, a solitary spotted sandpiper winged from stone to log ahead of me, the first time I’d observed this species on McCurdy Pond. Now, today, a quiet Saturday, I rose with the dawn again and hope to squeeze in another paddle among the expense-filing, permission-requesting, photo-choosing tasks of a busy soon-to-be-published author.

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Upwards: Going Public with Publishing

What a long-awaited post this is! The time has come at last to officially share my plans for Upwards, the story of my 2015 NFCT thru-paddle. Some 81,000 words over which I’ve struggled, rejoiced, and labored for many months. The book manuscript will arrive at the publisher for editing on June 1.  

Every author should have a cat to sit near the keyboard purring, at least for a delightful interlude. I’ve had Maggie Jane and her riverside home to enjoy while I put the finishing touches on what the editor calls my “inspirational adventure memoir.” We had a surprise visitor right outside our windowsill on Sunday (or two if you look behind the flower).
  

My feet felt fabulous on a couple of weekend forays out on McCurdy Pond in the spring sunshine.  There were breezes to keep the bugs at bay, blueberries in bloom, an osprey, a heron, and the first kingfisher of the year.   

Publishing a book certainly qualifies as one of Laurie’s Adventures, so expect to hear from me often this summer. And always remember…Every day is a gift!