Saturday, September 24, 2011

"Lives Well Spent"

Ernest Peter
I was saddened to hear the news of the death of Mr. Ernest Peter last week. Ernest left this earth after 93 well spent years, quite an envious accomplishment in my book.  
Ernest, along with his wife Judith, have been the driving force behind Stemmer House Publishers since 2003. It was also that same year that Stemmer House agreed to publish my first book entitled "I Hear the Wind", it would be the first book for the new ownership. 
Craig Thorn IV

The editor-in-chief at that time was Mr. Craig Thorn IV. It was Craig who first showed interest in my work. Every other publishing house I submitted "I Hear the Wind" to sent me rejection letters, but Craig saw something in those black and white illustrations that he liked.  
Not only was he the acting editor at Stemmer House, he was also a member of the English department at Phillips Academy in Andover. 
The e-mails and phone conversations we shared while editing this book were an exciting learning experience for me. He made me feel like my words were actually worth reading. He made me feel like maybe, just maybe, I could be a writer. 
It was after the editing process was finished and the book was in production that Craig informed me that due to health issues he wouldn't be active in the day to day operations anymore, that was in late April...he died of cancer in June.

Both these men gave me an opportunity at something I had only dreamed of, a chance to be published and a chance to share my words and pictures with the world. 

After Craig died, Ernest believed enough in my work to publish two more of my books, with the prospect of doing a fourth. Now with his passing, his wife Judith seems poised to carry on. I haven't heard any definite plans, but they are moving forward with my newest book entitled "At the End of the Day".  Time will tell as to what will be the future of Stemmer House, I can always speculate...but that would be a waste of time.

For now, I take time to salute these two men who believed in me and decided to give me a chance. 

For this...I am forever grateful. 

Thank you.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

"So When Is This New Book Coming Out?" I lied. The new book didn't come out in late spring like I promised, it didn't come out in early summer, or even mid summer!  And the way things look, late summer is looking pretty frickin' shaky as well. Let's face it, I have no idea when this thing is going to see the light of day!!

Well that's not exactly true. I was informed by my wonderful compositor Michel Newkirk that it was indeed either going to or is at a printer somewhere in the U.S.A. That much I know is true. So I will sit and wait with the rest of the world until that fateful day when my twelve author copies (as stipulated in my contract mind you!) arrive on my doorstep. Michel has been a wonder through this whole project, my lifeline to the status of my book. She has supplied me with countless e-mails that have led me through the entire lay-out process for the book, for that I am forever grateful!

The proofs she sent me were amazing! I'm really excited to see this thing become real and not just a PDF file on my computer. My only hope is that the printer is able to do justice to the full, deep color of the original artwork, something I was not totally over joyed with on my last book entitled "Still (A Winter's Journey)". "Still" looked okay...sort of like old sepia tone photographs. But when I realized how much of the varied blues tones didn't come through in the final printing, I was a little heart broken.

But I've come to realize, unfortunately, that sometimes things don't work out they way you would like them to. 
I wish my first book entitled "I Hear the Wind" would have been released in hardcover as originally planned. Even my publisher has agreed to that fact, he now admits that not releasing that book in hardcover was a mistake. 
I wish that at least one of my books would have been included in the Library of Congress catalog, all the other books released by Stemmer House at the same time were, but not mine. 
I wish my publisher would be a little more motivated on my newest book. They haven't even submitted an image to Amazon yet for the books page, and the book description from the publisher states... "Reflections on the passing of summer's day."  REALLY?!! That's the best you could come up with?!! I was extremely underwhelmed with that lack of effort. They even had the title of the book listed's called "AT the End of the Day" not "The End of the Day".
I wish my books could have had more national exposure and been sent to Publisher's Weekly or Booklist for review. I am eternally grateful to the smaller yet just as important book review sites that have reviewed my books, but getting a starred review from Booklist can have libraries all over the country buying your books.

I'm sorry for coming off as a bit of a sour puss on this subject, I guess I've dealt with and accepted these realities over the last five years, I should keep listening to those inner voices that tell me..."You should consider yourself lucky and be grateful for all the success you've had... at least you've been able to get published!!!!" But sometimes isn't it nice to maybe, just maybe, get what you really want instead of settling with what you're given? Maybe on the next book...

So when is the new book coming out? Hopefully soon...I'll try to keep you posted!!!  

Take care