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.

IMG_6639.JPG
A waterfront look at The Birches, the latest business to order advance copies of Upwards
Advertisements

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

IMG_6148.JPG
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.

IMG_6326.JPG
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.

IMG_6486.JPG
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.

 

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.

IMG_5909

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!

One last weekend

One last weekend

Pulled from summer’s grasp into the chilly hands of fall

Our gear, gathered from the jumble of adventures past, rejoices to venture forth just one more time

The lake, discovered by friends who camped there first and generously shared the story of its wild, empty shores

The surge on windy crests of white to find our home, where some good soul has left us firewood beneath a tiny roof of birchbark

Dreams of swimming lie buried under wooly hats and added layers and we scramble over jumbled rocks to a woodland trail instead

A garter snake, like us, seems unwilling to surrender the feisty warmth of summer and defends his trail with fierce tenacity until we slip away

Hotdogs drip, above the glowing coals, beneath the toasting buns, and we eat with gusto

Later, the wind has calmed and water gently laps the shore. Does it dream of summer’s radiance or long for peaceful snowbound sleep?

In quiet unity, we write, we draw, we scoot ever closer to the living glow that wrestles with the icy night, as stars emerge

Dawn pulls us from the best of sleep, as crazy, restless calls surround our narrow point. Then, paddling out, the echoes become a bouncing dot of black and white, a loon to say farewell until summer comes again.

(by Laurie Chandler, Tunk Lake, Maine, September 2016)






It doesn’t take much, a poem

041915 Black ice
Friday evening – just before ice-out, the surface of the lake turns a uniform black color
041915 ice breakup
By Saturday morning, the ice was starting to disintegrate and today…none there!

Spring just makes me want to grab hold of life with both hands.  To sit in the sun and absorb the warmth with all my being and, yet, to say a lingering goodbye to the waves of icy air that are still flowing from the patches of ice marooned in the woods.  I am restless, not least of all because I am in the process of leaving my lay ministry job and embarking before long on my paddling trip.

Poetry is new for me, but today’s just seemed to write itself:

041915 skunk cabbage

It Doesn’t Take Much

It doesn’t take much, this time of year, to lift a tired heart.

Just a quiet hour to roam the woods, to wander with springtime dreams.

Rubber-clad feet sink deep in the mud, but at least it isn’t ice.

No slippery, sliding, breath-taking suspense to see if you’ll stay upright.

Just a cushion, a carpet of softest duff, welcoming, moist and brown.

It doesn’t take much this time of year, to feel the throb of life.

A barred owl calls in the height of day…”Who cooks for you?” he asks.

Then comes a sound to drown out them all, a chorus of horrid croaks.

“What species is this?” you want to know, so stealthily you sneak near.

Quietly perch near a murky black pool that gradually comes to life,

With tens or hundreds of busy gray frogs in a noisy springtime dance.

It doesn’t take much, this time of year, to find beauty at every turn.

No need for a violet, a lupine, or rose… a humble skunk cabbage will do.

Squat down to look closely as the new plant unfurls,

And you’ll be amazed what you’ll see.

Bright shiny purples and pale mottled greens have a beauty all their own.

No, it doesn’t take much this time of year, for hope to spring anew.

God in Nature’s Song, a poem

DSCN1308

Oh, how I long for spring. Every inch of brown and muddy earth seems a victory, wrestled back from the tenacious hold of winter. The mud may suck and clutch at the soles of my wellies, but at least it isn’t frozen, at least not on the sunny afternoons. I will ignore today’s weather forecast, which shows snow of varying amounts on five upcoming days!

I’m back on the lake for a time, caring for my dog and cat friends.  Here I will watch the ice as its character changes, until finally it will be gone.  The kayak rides promisingly on top of my RAV4. Paddles, PFD, seat, are all handy in the back. It won’t be long.

While we’re waiting, here’s a poem I wrote on another early spring morning…

God in Nature’s Song

Tendrils of rosy mist swirl in tantalizing morning dance,

as God hints,

Beech leaves rattle, delicately breaking winter’s icy silence,

as God whispers,

Spires of deepest feathery green climb the endless azure sky,

as God beckons,

Raindrops drop a gentle soothing patter on an unnamed lake,

as God sympathizes,

Lady slippers shyly bow, delicately framed in darkest brown,

as God rejoices,

And those who truly listen, pause in understanding wonder,

as God speaks.

Inspired by Romans 1:20 – Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.