Letter of Appreciation

The “Authorteers” would like to thank all the people who visited our canopy on Saturday during the Arts By the Sea Festival in Swansboro, NC. Whether it was to share their own inspirational stories, listen to ours, grab a patch of shade or pick up copies of our written works, intimate memories were made that day that won’t be forgotten. It was encouraging to hear appreciative words spoken regarding the value placed on story telling and our efforts to document life in Eastern North Carolina historically, poetically and through personal experience. Although we anticipated meeting a number of out-of-state tourists enjoying our coast, the local North Carolinians (or transplants of many years) truly understood our cause and enriched the day. Our number of visitors may have also been a direct result of strategic positioning across from the free sample “bread lady” and the “shaved ice” truck. I (Linda) learned more about growin’ “Tobacca” than I truly knew there was to know. Jumping in, I shared some detasseling corn experience that failed to compute. We send special thank yous to the Swansboro Chamber for inviting us, Suzanne Smithson (proprietor of the Market Place and Fudge Factory on W. Main Street in Swansboro) for promoting us, and to Judy Hailey, who was so helpful in our set up and the mad, scurried take down when rain knocked at the door. Thanks again to all the attendees who braved the heat, challenged the wet forecast and seized the day!

Authorteers:

Linda Bergman-Althouse, author of Save Them All
Nancy Tripp King, local award winning poet
Jack Robinson, historical researcher

My Ten Plus Reasons

With so many choices, hundreds of thousands of books on the shelves, how in the world can a person narrow their take to a manageable number of reads over the summer? Guess you just need a little help from your friends. That’s how I get by.

Awarding winning poet, Nancy Tripp King, writes: “Linda Bergman-Althouse’s book, Save Them All, lingers with me long after I have placed it in its alphabetical order on my bookshelf of ‘Keepers.’ It wasn’t just that I learned so much about the nature of wild creatures (despite my growing up on a farm), it wasn’t just the easy flow of extensive events nor the ease of the dialogue and interactions between this northern transplant and all those southerners, who she portrayed with such justice and kindness; nor was it the complicated love triangle focused on Colbi, her lead character. It was the way this author dealt with prickly situations. I, as a reader, fell in love with Elliot, the ‘older’ doctor who befriended Colbi when she first came to Locus Point, and did not want him hurt. I began to wonder how she was going to handle my heart if he became the ‘one-not-chosen.’ The writer in me struggled with the notion that if she rejected and, therefore, hurt him, I would dislike this Linda Bergman-Althouse. Sometimes, we just need to take luxurious pleasure in love found within the pages of a book. Linda, with the ease and generosity that, I think, is her trademark, let love happen on a ride running the gamut of emotions. This, and her expertise with plot and character, allowed me to wallow in this wonder called ‘Love.’ And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what makes Linda Bergman-Althouse’s Save Them All a keeper.”

Nancy Tripp King authored “Tobacco Blossoms and The Pulled-Tight Twine,” a nominee for the Roanoke-Chowan Award For Poetry and “Those Days When Love Doesn’t Work,” which was selected and published as part of Main Street Rag’s Editor’s Select Poetry Series. Her most recent writing credits include Evansville Review, Concho River Review, Pembroke, Asheville Poetry Review, Iris, and a Pushcart Award nomination from Coal City Review.

It’s a fact. Self-publishing demands self-marketing. Therefore, I submit to you my 10 plus sane reasons to choose Save Them All for a perfect summer read.

IF: You are a person who doesn’t follow trends.
You want to live another life for 256 pages.
You want and need romance in your life.
You want to hone or manifest coping skills.
You don’t know what a Dovekie is.
You want to bathe in an invigorating story blessed with strong female, as well as, male characters.
You care about our natural resources including wildlife and want to know others care too.
You choose to spare yourself from yet another book that imagines our nation’s catastrophic decline.
You are going on vacation and want a book that doesn’t take up too much room in your travel bag.
You want to read an intriguing and unusually packaged novel, washed in peach, a cool summer color.
You want to vacation on the coast but because your funds are so scarce, your only ‘resort’ will be visual imagery.
You want to get to know me better.

AND you may choose Save Them All because Nancy Tripp King, a darling of a southern writer who delivers a mix of soothing and gritty prose we can all dance to, recommends it.

Basically there is no reason, I can think of, not to experience the subject author’s book! Check out my website for umpteen methods and locations offering Save Them All. If you’re an avid reader with a number of titles in mind, just add it to your summer reading queue. I recommend placing it on top of the pile and keeping it handy after the read just in case the second book in the stack causes you to want to revisit Locus Point, where romance and passion, awakened, go wild! Some people actually have time to read 4 or 5 books a week. I find that ability staggering, and I’m quite envious. I can just imagine all the adventures I’m missing. “One Day,” she sighed.

A Friend,

Linda Bergman-Althouse
Author of “Save Them All”
Coming Soon(er or later) – – “The Purple Fence”

Hot Town, Summer In The City

The temperatures are climbing and so is the need for my energy to spike to meet the heavy schedule I’ve committed to for the next five months. I find the more I write the more I’m asked to do. I have actually had to turn down a few requests because I also find I can’t do it all. Valuable time for writing has suffered because I went piggy on my plate and piled it too high. Recent world events in too many hot spots to list have also clouded my focus. Thank goodness the end of our college semester is near. I’m looking forward to the break so I can get to the beach, wring out my mind and start fresh. Yesterday, I sat in my car, outside the new science building, munching a granola bar (one of the good ones that cancels out all the health benefits because it’s chocolate covered) and just chilled before my 6 pm class; last class of the day. I kept scanning the new architecture and wondering if the PC tower to my computer and overhead projection system would be heavy enough to crash through the thick glass windowpanes if we needed to get out of the classroom in a hurry. New buildings just don’t have windows that open any more. I wondered if we could all drop and roll from the second floor to the hard, barren clay without major injury. I mulled over Friday’s arrest of a quite normal looking, high school senior from one of our county’s small towns. The student’s car, parked on school grounds, contained an A-15 semi-automatic Colt with 120 rounds of .223 ammunition. The private, staccato cognition wrenched my heart as real and hypothetical scenarios painfully shot through my brain like arrows, one after another. Fortunately, a snowy white Ringbilled Gull swooped on the descent past my car, distracting me from the discomfort of my, at least once-a-day, thoughts. I thanked him. Checking my side mirror, I saw him touch down in the lot and commence a tug of war with a Crow over a carelessly tossed Cheetos bag. It was intense. Both hungry birds pulled and pulled. Although the Crow was slightly smaller, he held his own. At one point they dropped the bag at the same time, squawked and cawed at each other, then both grabbed the bag again and yanked back and forth some more. With the second release by both allegedly deserving parties, the Crow did all the talking. The Gull stepped back without a squawk and allowed the Crow to shake the bag vigorously, sprinkling orange crumbs and one chunk of Cheeto on the ground. The Crow made off with the big piece and the Gull cleaned up the crumbs. Both had won. Just another example of effective communication; the key to understanding and satisfactory resolution. Now, back to my crazy schedule. I plan on country and city book touring this summer in my own casually subtle but reaching way. Central Illinois, Texas and New York City are on the itinerary. It will be HOT in New York City, and hopefully, in more ways than one. If anyone would like me to come your way for an author/book event, just let me know. There are festivals and readings at home to look forward to at Hammocks Beach, New River, Topsail Beach and the famously delicious Blueberry Festival inBurgaw. Come. Stop by the “Authorteers” corner at the BBF in June and we’ll share some warm kettle corn and cold blueberry cider. No matter what . . let’s find moments to laugh, days to love, and precious life to live. That’s how I roll.

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Linda Bergman-Althouse

author of, “Save Them All”

Vigilant Environmental Partners

They’re on their way back! Chimney Swifts, capturing our imagination and respect, are flying a 3,000 mile journey from South America’s Amazon River Basin to spend May through August in Carteret and Onslow County, to breed and raise their young. About five inches in length, with a twelve-inch tip to tip wing span, these sooty gray to blue-black heroes are fascinating to watch, as well as, extremely valuable to our quality of life. The fantastic flyers emerge from their roost at dawn and dusk to snatch nasty mosquitoes, gnats, biting flies, spittlebugs, aphids, winged ants, wasps, mayflies, stoneflies and termites from the air. With long, scythe-shaped wings and a short stubby tail that spreads when they make crazy, acrobatic turns in flight, those sleek little insectivores deserve our respect and our protection. Two Chimney Swift parents and their offspring will consume over 12,000 flying insect pests every day, that’s – every day! Chimney Swifts once had opportunities to nest inside tree hollows, but with the loss of mature trees and similar wooded habitat, they have taken up residency inside chimneys or any structure they find suitable. Unfortunately, since the 1980’s, many homeowners have capped or closed chimneys that were once used for nesting. New construction design is another reason Swifts cannot enter a chimney. Many houses are now built without chimneys or chimneys that use smaller metal flue pipes rather than clay liners. Devastatingly, Chimney Swift numbers are declining. On the flip side, insect pest numbers are growing. How do those sayings go? Sometimes we chop off our noses to spite our face, or we end up shooting ourselves in the foot. I believe that’s what one does when they become annoyed by the Chimney Swift’s presence and block an entrance to a chimney used by a Swift couple to roost and raise their babies. Although the sound of Chimney Swift newborns is not everyone’s favorite melody, normally by the time the babies become loud enough to hear, they are less than a couple of weeks from being old enough to feed themselves. After that, the cute, chittering noise of a baby bird begging for food is over. It might be an entire three weeks. Are we so intolerant of something so natural that lasts a mere few weeks that we are willing to give up the benefits Chimney Swifts provide? I don’t know about you, but I can’t wield a fly swatter fast enough to be the extraordinary bug killer a Chimney Swift is as it soars through the sky vacuuming those mosquitoes who would surely make a blood meal of me if they had the chance. I appreciate seeing a Chimney Swift colony chattering overhead in the evening while I enjoy supper on the deck. I’m confident they are helping to keep our menacing insect population down. Before the first Carolina cold snap, Chimney Swifts will return to their favorite resort area in South America. We don’t start using our fireplaces until then anyway. Loss of habitat in this country is obscene, and some people truly don’t understand the Chimney Swift’s worth. Please keep in mind that Chimney Swifts are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and should not be intentionally harmed. As of 2006, North Carolina has only four Chimney Swift towers in use state-wide and none are in our coastal region. Texas holds the record with eighty-three. If you have Swifts in your chimney and don’t want them there, for whatever reason, please call a wildlife shelter (OWLS at 252-240-1200 in Carteret & Onslow Counties) before removing them. You might consider building a tower to accommodate these tiny environmental activists. Maybe a Scout Troop or a 4-H club would enjoy taking on a conservation project like a Chimney Swift tower. If saving one of our natural resources sounds like something you’d like to do, please call your nearest shelter for information and recommendations for construction sites. The nasty mosquitoes will hate you for it, but your spring and summer, resident Swifts will be appreciative and pay you back many times over. OWLS has a variety of plans and styles for towers, or you can also find very simple instructions for towers online at www.chimneyswifts.org. Protecting our natural resources and improving the environment is a darn good thing. It confuses me why some folks would rather inhale a fog of insect ridding chemicals than allow environmentally friendly Chimney Swifts who, by their diet and most efficient exterminating nature, are capable of doing the job. Besides all that, they’re cute, don’t you think?

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Chimney Swift fledglings raised with plenty of TLC and mealworms by rehabilitators at the Outer Banks Wildlife Shelter, 100 Wildlife Way, Newport, NC. This tiny trio is gearing up to practice their flight skills and ultimately join a Swift colony already engaged in environmental duties.

Happy Easter!!!!!!!

Linda Bergman-Althouse

author of Save Them All

http://www.owlsonline.org

 

FEEDBACK; a B-12 Shot

 

Selling books is exciting. Knowing that your story is going home to who knows where, to be held and read by someone young or old in the morning or the late of night, in absolute quiet or over the chaos of three and four-year-olds dashing about the living room symbolically saving the world with innocent bravado and Ninja swords gives me a great feeling. Sometimes I wonder where my book finds a resting place; on a night stand, in someone’s purse, left on an airplane (accidentally or otherwise), in a cue stack (maybe the fifth one down), in the mail being sent to a reader’s Aunt Carol, or wrapped in a bow to be handed to a special someone. I’m always wondering, but what I wonder most is what the reader thinks about my story, my style, my philosophy and maybe, even the color choices of my cover. I continually mine the mail for feedback. A primary reinforcer for me, feedback opens the curtain between me and my readers. One of the first people to read my book was a columnist from the Jacksonville Daily News. She wrote a very positive article that contained “The animal stories from the Down East center are all there for us animal lovers, but there is so much more: drama, mystery, violence, romance, friendship. ‘Save Them All’ is pure Linda, a well-written book with a lot of depth and passion.” I appreciate reviews and critiques from fellow writers and those in the biz; however, candid reader feedback is the most energizing and grandest evaluation of all. I provide my email and address on my website for readers to contact me if the mood strikes and sometimes it does. Generally, if I receive an email or a note by snail mail, it’s from someone who really enjoyed my work, such as Shannon from Clinton, NC who wrote, “I loved your book! Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. It was so wonderful to read a book that captures the spirit of wildlife rehabilitation. You are a gifted writer, and I hope to read more books by you in the future.” This general but all encompassing comment was a hefty shot of B-12 that produced a surge of motivation, arousing me from complacency and willing me down the hall to the computer again. Tracy from Weldon, Illinois wrote “While reading “Save Them All”, I found myself jealous of the easy way in which Colbi told people just what she thought about them. I actually covered my mouth with my hand a few times! It made her character all the more intriguing to me. I can’t wait to read the sequel in order to find out what will happen with all of the characters that you weaved into charming Locus Point.” Tracy let me know there was something Colbi could teach her, maybe the value of becoming more assertive and going after what you want or standing up for what you believe. Pam, a home schoolteacher from Dallas, Texas, told me my book is appropriate for her social science class. “Your book is entertaining and surfaces social issues not contaminated by discussion (opportunity to encourage critical thinking and free thought). Ordering more copies for my home school class.” That was a comment to do cartwheels over for a few reasons! It’s interesting to hear what others garner from your story. Brenda from Jacksonville said “I really enjoyed your book, it was exciting, sad, and had some sexy parts in it too (lol), and some parts made me mad.” Sexy? Okay, I’ll take that. Sometimes I even have the pleasure of receiving feedback from someone I’ve met in person, like April from the western mountains of South Carolina, close to the North Carolina border.
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I stopped by her father’s produce market for some Strawberry Cider and Green Pepper Jelly. While cracking and bagging pecans for his customers, April’s Dad asked the leading question, “What brings ya’ll to these parts?” That opened the conversation of book distribution visits to a few specialty stores in Brevard. He became intrigued and generously offered a corner in his store to set up shop. Although it would have been fun to hang out for a while, my tight schedule demanded I pass on his hospitable gesture.
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April was so excited by my random stop at their store along that long stretch of winding road, she wanted a copy of my book on the spot, even though she was currently in the middle of a thick read. A few weeks later she sent an email that made me smile when I remembered meeting her. “Your book is amazing, it just sucked me right in, and I can’t wait until the next one comes out.” I consider my readers a blessing and without their feedback, I’d feel like I was on a hike in precarious and unfamiliar territory without my GPS. Reader feedback taps into my desire to continue doing what I do and inspires me to always raise the bar. My readers deserve that. How about you . . . does feedback do as much for you as it does for me?

Linda Bergman-Althouse

author of “Save Them All”

www.bergman-althouse.com

The “Red” State

I find reading events and book signings thoroughly enjoyable activities along the winding road in ‘author world.’ Meeting like-minded folks around the bend who appreciate and share the same interest, passion and intense commitment toward protecting our environment and conserving wildlife is thrilling. However, I also find the ‘unknown factor,’ like meeting people who think nothing like me and who object adamantly to my conservation views, exciting as well, in an intriguing way. Those experiences I take on as opportunities to educate. I haven’t run into many I’ve offended, but it happens. During a book distribution stop over the holidays a man asked, “Do you know where you are?” The silent question ‘Do I NOT know where I am?’ pulsed through numerous neuronal axons, spastically hurdling synaptic gaps in the right frontal lobe of my brain, but I answered “I think so.” The tall man with the stern face towered over me as he said, “This is a ‘red’ state.” All things red immediately raced through my mind. Red Rover, Red Rover, didn’t South Carolina ask me over? How about ‘Little Red Corvette’ or ’99 Red Balloons?’ Does he not notice my red hair? I had a feeling that whatever he was about to say next was going to be less than pleasant. I braced myself with a smile and internally ordered ‘Shields UP!’ He proceeded. “We’ don’t take kindly to liberal . . . socialist . . . tree huggers heya.” I’d never describe myself as a liberal or a socialist, but I will embrace tree-hugger. He continued by saying, “Let me give you an education, little woman.” My table had been turned. He told me how my “views conflict with everything ‘we’ progressive South Carolinians are all about. If it takes trees coming down and animal habitats lost, so be it. Progress means development and vice versa.” It was odd how he believed he possessed the knowledge and right to speak for ALL South Carolinians, because I know fellow wildlife rehabilitators and friends, from my neighboring state of South Carolina, who are also actively involved in environmental issues. Guess he wasn’t aware of that. From my 65″ frame, my ears perked respectfully skyward to listen attentively to his words of aggravation. I watched his face contort in disgust and couldn’t help but think ‘he must be a developer and wants to set me straight (from his point of view, of course).’ He’s afraid my little book may influence some caring group to rally behind saving our natural resources, which could possibly result in a negative factor for his wallet. My book had crashed into a nerve; a hot nerve that became so riled the man spent valuable moments of his day explaining to me what he thought about my perspective and recommended I revisit my cause. In moments like this I always wonder how other authors handle the controversy they go on record creating. But for me . . . on that day . . . the more he talked, the more elated and powerful I felt. I wanted to jump up and down, spin and yell ‘YAHOO,’ because I knew it had happened!~! My downeast, North Carolina story had already made a difference! Still smiling, I thanked him for his opinions, shook his hand and asked if he’d like an autographed copy of my book, “Save Them All.” He said, “No.”
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Linda Bergman-Althouse

www.bergman-althouse.com