The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Black River Books, South Haven

I always love visiting Black River Books 
in South Haven, Michigan. 
Booker and Dewey, the store dogs, are always glad to see me!

As are Pam & Dick Haferman, owners of this lovely indie bookstore.

They invited me to come and read from my new book about the islands of the Great Lakes.

Thanks to everyone who came out to chat with me and to support their local indie bookstore.

Here I am with the Hafermans, owner of Black River Books.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Summer Top 20 & Me!

Forever Books in St. Joseph, Michigan has a wonderful event where they talk about the new book releases for summer.
And they ask an author to come and do a short reading from their new book.

Over 50 people gathered at Forever Books

The stack of new releases

Robin Allen (owner of the bookstore) and staff Diana, Sherry, and Stephen 

Independent bookstores are sites for fantastic literary events like this one. The staff at Forever Books is engaged with literature and with their community. 

The staff took turns talking about the new releases they've read

After each of the 20 new releases were discussed, I gave a short reading from my new book
A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes ISLAND Adventure.
And then I signed books, one of the great joys of being an author!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Battle Creek was Hopping!

Downtown Battle Creek was hopping for the annual "Spring into the Arts"
event this May.

I was delighted to be part of the event by signing my books at the brand new indie bookstore downtown, 

It was great to see the store (and town) swarming with people for this event!

At 51 West Michigan Ave. (kitty-corner from the Griffin Grill & Pub)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Monday Night Live

My book tour continued this week in the Kalamazoo/Portage area. 
Gloria Tiller, owner of Kazoo Books in Kalamazoo, interviewed me on Monday Night Live (see video below) about my new book.

And then I gave my Great Lakes Island presentation at Portage District Library. 

Portage District Library

Marsha (Director of Portage Library) and Gloria (of Kazoo Books)

Audience at Portage District Library 

My book tour continues all year. 
See full schedule HERE 
or in sidebar of this blog.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

First Book Tour Events for my Great Lakes ISLANDS Book

My newest book hit the shelves of select indie bookstores on May 1, and my book tour took off!

My first event was a book signing at the 
during May's Art Hop.

What fun talking to everyone who stopped by my table! 

Then I headed to Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor to give my dynamic presentation about the islands of the Great Lakes.

A nice group came out on this rainy evening 
to my presentation.

Signing books after my talk 

And a lovely dinner afterward

 My tour then took me to the city of Northville to speak at the community center there (event organized by the Northville District Library)

The audience filters in to hear about the islands of the Great Lakes

My book tour stretches into October... 
Find the full schedule HERE.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Lori Moore Show

WWMT in Kalamazoo

I have been interviewed by
Lori Moore many times in the past on her radio show.

Lori has made the leap to television now with her own show on WWMT/CW7.

The Lori Moore Show is all about happenings in and around Kalamazoo...from important issues and events to everything Kalamazoo.

Also on the show was 
a librarian talking about the 
"Battle Creek Reads" 
program and asking for suggestions from holders of Willard Library cards to nominate books for this year.
Hmmm...maybe a book by a local 
Great Lakes author??

Headquarters of CW7 in Kalamazoo

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tales from the Book Tour

During mid-April, I headed north to speak at libraries in Mackinaw City and Rogers City.

Icy Straits of Mackinac!

I was greeted by a bit of snow -- and a RAINBOW that landed on Mackinac Island -- but that didn't stop the intrepid northerners from coming out to hear my presentation about my second hike touching all five Great Lakes.

Library in Mackinaw City

The city of Cheboygan is located in between these two towns, and I stopped in to meet the 

Exterior of Purple Tree Books

owner of the bookstore there, 
This is a great little bookstore, and Emily said she'd stock my new book about the islands when it enters full distribution in June.

Emily Clare, bookstore owner  

Thanks to everyone who came out to hear me speak in these wonderful Great Lakes communities!

Library in Rogers City, Michigan

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Day I Held a Lamprey

The United States Geological Service (USGS)
 has a research facility on northern Lake Huron dedicated to studying and controlling the invasive lamprey. This creature (it resembles an eel, but is actually in a separate class) suctions on to large fish and literally sucks the life out of them.

I interviewed Dr. Mike Hansen, Field Station Supervisor, for my second book. 

While back in Rogers City recently to give a talk at the library, I stopped in at the facility to see 
Dr. Hansen and tour the facility.

USGS Station signs

 Lamprey entered Lake Erie through the Welland Canal in the 1930s. Prior to this, the lamprey had populated Lake Ontario, but were prevented from moving into the other lakes by Niagara River and the mighty Niagara Falls.

Lauren (a communications rep) with the eggs from just one female lamprey 

A single lamprey lays tens of thousands of eggs. It is impossible to eradicate them, so controlling the population is the best option.

Lamprey are kept in these containers for study

 This facility studies the lamprey, organizes monitoring of streams and rivers where they spawn, and coordinates the treatment of waterways to kill lamprey when they are in the larval stage.

It's best to keep your eye on the lamprey...especially if it's got an eye on you

The multi-toothed suction mouth of the lamprey

Juvenile lamprey. Not so scary, but they'll latch on faster than the adults 

You can stop in and get a tour of the station located on Hammond Bay just north of Rogers City on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 2pm, or by appointment.
Learn more about the station HERE
And read about this important work in my second book, A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Indies-Only Release of Great Lakes ISLAND Book

The indies-only release of my new book is timed with Independent Bookstore Day (May 2).

And here is an updated re-posting of my 
"Amazon is Evil" 
essay from 2013:

If you know me or my books, if you've met up with me on the lakeshore or hiking path or while I'm touring with one of my books, our conversation may have touched on the future of books or the importance of indie bookstores in our discussion of the Great Lakes. As an adventurer who has explored over 3,000 miles of the Great Lakes, I love talking to people about these vast waters encircling my home state of Michigan. 

And as an author (and avid reader), "bookish" topics 
are important to me, too.

I am encouraged in these conversations as more and more people are coming to understand the value of our Great Lakes and the importance of independent bookstores. These lakes are essential to life in the Midwest (almost 40 million people get their drinking water from them), and indie bookstores are vital to keeping literature rich and diverse. 

The Great Lakes nurture life, recreation, commerce, industry.
Our indie bookstores nurture our communities, pay into the tax base, are gathering places for discussion, and play an important role in launching new writers. 

Am I pushing the parallel too far? I don't think so.

People ask me how I got my book to be on the shelves of Barnes & Noble stores (B&N). The answer is that indie bookstores sold so many copies (my first book was on the Heartland Indie Bestseller List for several weeks in 2011) that B&N began stocking it. B&N will stock what SELLS because the big chain is interested in SELLING. They call their workers BOOKSELLERS. There's nothing inherently wrong with that business model, but the primary focus of this model is to stock books that will sell, not seek to enrich the book world by what they stock.

Indie bookstores want to sell books, too, but the people who own and work at these stores also tend to LOVE books. 

I was at Saturn Booksellers in Gaylord, Michigan on my book tour this month, and doing book reviews to post in the store and online was part of the job description for the workers there. READING was part of the job. I've seen listings for positions in indie bookstores that read, in part, "...candidate must be well read..." (in an ad for a job at Women & Children First Bookstore, Chicago). I've seen indie bookstore people greet patrons with exciting news about a new book they know the patron will love because they've had long conversations with that person about books. Book conversations. 

Now, I titled this essay "Amazon is Evil" and haven't even gotten around to talking about yet. Let me first say that all the good things that the indies give to their communities (and even B&N supplies on some level), Amazon does not provide. They will not donate books for a fundraiser in your community or pay into the tax base. They don't provide jobs (in general) near you. 

But beyond being contrary to the smart-headed "Buy Local Because the Money Stays in Your Community" philosophy, has pushed their business model toward one of being a predatory marketer ("scan the barcode in the store and see what Amazon sells it for" sales pitching), a bully toward suppliers including publishers (they delisted some publisher's books if the publisher dared to disagree with Amazon's discount pricing [article HERE in New York Times), and -- Amazon's most recent move -- they've purchased (article HERE) in order to market directly to the reader using GoodReads data and to push readers toward the Kindle.

From the New York Times: Inc., with a market capitalization of $117.48 billion, is the largest company in the Internet and Catalog Retailing sector. 

I don't have a problem with big businesses, but I do have a problem with a big business that actively tries to crush small businesses or actively bullies other sectors of the publishing world.

The consumer has the real power in this equation, though, because it is YOUR dollar that these businesses are competing for. 


Once again, I am doing an indies-only release of my new book. On May 1, the following independent bookstores will have 
a full month ahead of Amazon or chain bookstores:

  • Battle Creek Books, Battle Creek, MI
  • Black River Books, South Haven, MI
  • Brilliant Books, Traverse City, MI
  • The Cottage Book Shop, Glen Arbor, MI
  • Dog Ears Books, Northport, MI
  • Forever Books, St. Joseph, MI
  • Great Lakes Book & Supply, Big Rapids, MI
  • Horizon Books, Traverse City, MI
  • Kazoo Books, Kalamazoo, MI
  • Leelanau Books, Leland, MI
  • Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI
  • McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI
  • Michigan News Agency, Kalamazoo, MI
  • Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI
  • Reader's World, Holland, MI
  • [also The Nature Connection of Kalamazoo]
Please support your local indie bookstore or order your books through one of the many indie bookstores with online purchasing.