Gearing up for the official book release party

Moving the event back a month has allowed Dover Friends to spread the word more widely, and I’m definitely excited.

Well, it’s their history, too.

The official book release party for Quaking Dover is Saturday at 7 pm in the historic meetinghouse at 141 Central Avenue in Dover, and you’re welcome to join us, if you’re in the area.

In addition to the meet-and-greet, I’ll present an illustrated overview of the story and the ways this book came to be. I have to admit I was surprised by much I uncovered along the way.

Here’s me, above, with the meetinghouse.

Hope to see you!


This side of being an author is all new to me

Eastport’s senior center has invited me to talk about my new book, and that’s what I’ll be doing Friday, October 21, at 1 pm.

I’ll be focusing on Maine’s Nicholas Shapleigh, who was not a Quaker but played a crucial role in sheltering the missionaries who came to Dover. As a powerful lumber merchant, magistrate, and leader of the provincial militia, he was an important figure in what would become the Pine Tree State. His manor on the Piscataqua River sat directly across the water from Hilton Point, where the action began 400 years ago.

The overall content of Quaking Dover has been generating interest in a way I haven’t encountered with my novels or poetry. Having a handsome paper edition from the start is another plus. As much as I love aspects of ebooks, they are much harder to promote than a physical copy in your hand.

Dover may be a five-plus hour drive from Eastport, but there have long been connections.

The center’s at 9 Boynton Street, where I’ll be greeting friends and neighbors.

It’s the first in a series of presentations I’ll be announcing over the next few months. Please stay tuned!

And now in paper!

Taa-tah! My Quaking Dover is officially out as a print-on-demand paper book around the globe.

Check it out through your favorite bricks-and-mortar bookstore.

It does mean going to your favorite book retailer for a copy, but there we are.

Independent bookstores and libraries have their own insiders’ routes to obtain it. Go to them to keep these channels alive.

As for me, I’m stocking up for copies to keep in my car, wherever I go.

How about you?

Come to the book release party!

If you’re anywhere near Dover, New Hampshire, on Nov. 5, feel free to stop by the Quaker meetinghouse for the official Quaking Dover book release party.

The meet-and-greet event takes place at 7 pm at 141 Central Avenue and is free and open to the public. As a Covid precaution, we will be masking.

Copies of the book will also be available for purchase and author signing.

In the meantime, it’s release date is coming up on Saturday. Check with your local bookseller to order a copy.


My new ebook goes live today

Yeah, yeah, yeah, everybody these days is touting a book. But my Quaking Dover really is different, starting with its contrarian take on New England history.

Let me proclaim: Quakers are NOT extinct!

Check it out at Smashwords and its associated digital ebook retailers.

Besides, there are good reasons they’re the oldest independent congregation in a future state that’s itself in a town that’s the seventh-oldest in America.

These things go WAY back but are still with us.

Look, I’ve spent two years researching, drafting, and revising this for publication.

If you’re tech-savvy, you’ll go for the ebook edition, which goes worldwide today.

Otherwise wait for a month, when the print version goes live.

Go for it! Pretty please?

Imagine what Marx would have said about Putin

Or even Stalin.

The revolution was supposed to be about liberating the people, not obliterating them. Well, we have seen more than a few of them run amuck. The guillotine was one example.

As for wealth being the cause of war and class oppression?

It’s time for a devoted Marxist to stand up and expose the old spymaster. I was going to say “from the left,” but that distinction loses all meaning in our time. He’s going to brush off any criticism from capitalist countries, in part because of his Communist roots.

The tyrant’s grounding and career, let’s be clear, were largely party-line Communist, which claimed to be based on the teachings of Karl Marx. So somewhere in that philosopher’s matrix imprinted in Putin’s mindset may be the key to turning him around. Maybe even call him to repentance.

Just what manifesto is today’s czar wannabe following, anyhoo? Does anyone want to remind him what happened to the last one?

This will be the Barn’s biggest year yet, I promise

It’s hard to believe the Red Barn has just passed its tenth anniversary. Frankly, I thought this blog would be going dormant by now, that we would have exhausted everything I have to say or show, but that’s not what’s on the horizon after all.

Instead, thanks to our downsizing and relocating to a remote fishing village with an active arts scene on an island in Maine (whew!), I promise you the best year yet. And, yes, Dover back down the coastline will still be a big part of the mix, but in a new way.

Each year, the Red Barn has changed its emphasis somewhat, and in doing so explored new fields while leaving others behind. Looking back, I’d say it’s made for a natural evolution. The poetry, for instance, has moved over to my unique digital Thistle Finch imprint. Much of the Quaker experience has gone to my As Light Is Sown blog. And newspapers just aren’t what they were, while their “war stories” fade into a foggy past.

During that decade, though, my novels were finally finding publication, and that provided a lode of new material and thinking to share with you.

Photography also became a much bigger part of the mix, thanks to my digital cameras, so much so that I can now claim shooting as one of my hobbies.

Add to that the bunnies and vanity plates and some wordplay, for a little fun, which will continue, as will the Tendrils.

The original visual artwork from my high school portfolio, alas, has been depleted. Let me confess that as the pieces came up, I often wondered why I had done this or that back then. There are some wild leaps of intuition that amaze me now, not that I’d ever venture such confidence these days. Ah, youth! (Sigh.)

A double rainbow, as seen when I was caught in an unexpected shower behind us last summer.

What’s new this year is a close look at Eastport itself and the surrounding Bold Coast and Sunrise County. It’s a remarkable landscape with a host of fascinating characters and wildlife. Having been here a year now allows for some perspective in the discoveries, ones you, too, will be sharing. The encounters have opened a whole new world for me, even as part of upright New England. They’ve also revived many sensations I’d been forced to leave behind in the Pacific Northwest more than 40 years earlier. I hope to be able to convey that awe of natural wonder. I still can’t believe this landlocked Ohio boy looks out the window and sees the ocean daily.

A neighbor’s first holz hausen firewood pile, though it took him three efforts to get it right. I didn’t miss stacking firewood last year, but I definitely missed the comfort of wood-stove heat through much of the winter.

The year also provided me with a writer’s retreat, long stretches of solitude while the rest of the family remained behind, apart from their festive visits.

I was already well into the first draft of my next book when we uprooted but quickly got back down to business here. Alas, after showing the manuscript to a circle of beta readers, it was back to the drawing board for a thorough reworking. I should have been suspicious when the book seemed to write itself. Without revealing too much, I will say the project keeps me connected to Dover but in a fresh way. You’ll definitely be hearing much more while it inches along toward publication.

Another neighbor’s red barn just isn’t the same as the one I left behind.

The barn itself has become a memory, a symbol of the longest place I’ve lived in my life, and maybe even my roots in the farming heartland.



Cheers! They’re officially opening today

We’ve been watching the renovation of a former bakery downtown, including the clues it was going to be a brewpub. Everyplace seems to have one, except Eastport, until now.

Only a month ago.

The work felt like it was taking forever, but then, to our surprise, the one storefront had some “soft openings,” 2 to 7 or so over the past couple of weeks, ironing any kinks out. It was announced only by a small chalkboard on the sidewalk. I’ll just say they’ve been lovely, low-key, and fun. The Horn Run’s brew’s excellent, too. From all signs, Lisa and Jeff know what they’re doing. They already have a loyal following.

The interior is cozy with an English pub feel, with a view that would be hard to beat. It’s become a place where it’s easy to make introductions.

The choice for the official opening matched many of the downtown stores and galleries, which already planned to reopen for the season today. We’ve definitely felt something building in the air.

But look now. And, yes, there’s an outdoor deck to our left.

Horn Run? Well, for baseball fans, it’s a kind of pun, with a moose as the runner. But it’s also an inside joke, based on the nearby Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. Seems that when the pub’s owners were younger and wanted to go for a drive, they’d say, “Let’s take a run around the ‘Horn.” Which then introduces a second inside joke. Moose don’t have horns – they have antlers.

Overlooking the harbor, once the porches are finished.

Work on the apartment porches overlooking the harbor continues. I have seen some of the daring residents already having their morning coffee on the deck, enjoying the ocean air and the view.

The hope is that Horn Run will spark renewed vitality downtown as we come out of Covid. It definitely has appeal for summer visitors as well as younger residents looking for a suitable social center.

A preview of what’s shaping up for the Barn’s tenth year

Reflecting on the ways the Red Barn has evolved over its nine years so far, I find it hard to think this started out as a text-driven vehicle, but then how quickly I started shooting my own digital photos and we got into a wild ride.

Yes, we really are entering the tenth year of this blog.

It’s still a merry-go-round approach of recurring categories, though I’m always tweaking, and I’m excited about the plans for the coming year.

The release of my eight novels in paperback volumes last year – in addition to their ebook availability – prompts me to step up the Cassia’s World postings to twice a week, including its Greek-American awareness and related dimensions. Sometimes I wish she’d just take over the entire Red Barn. Her snarky voice would be more entertaining, for sure.

That’s not the only shift.

Postcards will be branching out into original art from way back in my high school years as well as continuing the photos of my world today.

Home & Garden’s getting beefed up, too, thanks to my wife’s sharp-eyed cell-phone photos. Privately, I’m calling the series Rachel’s Showcase. You’ll see why.

There will also a prose-poem every Saturday under the Arts & Letters category. It’s a challenging and refreshing genre, in this case often drawn from my correspondence, back when we actually wrote letters and cards to each other.

For the record, the Poems and Poetry Footnotes categories left the lineup a few years ago when the Red Barn got a new look, one that didn’t handle verse well. That literary action instead moved over to my  Thistle Finch blog and its free chapbooks and broadsides. Please check them out.

Much of the Quaker Practice category, meanwhile, has branched off into my As Light Is Sown blog, where it’s taken on a more theological bent. Currently, it’s presenting weekly reflections and insights on my experience of reading the Bible straight-through. I hope you’ll take a look there to see my unorthodox line of commentary.

And Newspaper Traditions is no longer a regular entry, not just because of my retirement from the field but also because of the financial collapse of the once vibrant business. I just don’t have much to report there anymore, not apart from my novel Hometown News.

That still leaves plenty of room for Tendrils, Personal Journey, American Affairs, and Wild Card surprises, as well as the Trail Markers parade of vanity license plates (in a new slot on Fridays, as if taking off for the weekend).

Well, readers are supposed to be curious about what makes an author tick. I think you’ll get a good idea just by nosing around in the barn.

And please remember, your comments and questions are always welcome. Please, please, please pipe up!

So here we go again, to round out a full decade online.