Friday, December 31, 2010


Crystal vision lollygags over past failures.
appiness demands focus on future promise.
Effervesce. Your bubbles pop in lives around you.
Expect happiness.
Rejoice in small things.
Savor friends.

To all the writers whose works and friendship have enriched my life, shored up my sagging spirits, allowed their effervescence to bubble over me, I wish a new year full of vision, creativity, joy and good health. Happy New Year!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

St. George Island in My Rear View Mirror

The last time I posted here, I wrote of my excitement about the upcoming St. George Island Writers' Retreat. Now here we are, two weeks since the retreat ended, and I'm so focused on the memory that I'm having a hard time moving forward again.

The writers--nine attended--were smart, creative, kind, funny, talented (picture me shaking my head in awe, here)--and some revealed their talents as fabulous cooks, preparing meals to live on in memory.

Adrian Fogelin fed our writers' souls with workshops and exercises that stretched our minds the way her evening floor routine stretched cramped muscles. We listened, we bent our brains in new ways, and then we wrote. After we'd written, we marveled at what came from our minds after their contents had been manipulated and moved around. And we delighted in what different directions each woman around the table had taken each exercise. The heady sense of freedom generated by being able to set our own courses seemed to ignite little embers of worry in many of us, causing us to question the tack we had taken. Many announced to the group before reading their new work aloud, "Well, this isn't any good, but...." Exercising freedom is scary.

But it was good. Even the work that needed editing and rewriting was good. Everything we did led us forward to a greater understanding of what works and what needs to be improved. That's progress.

Over our time together at the beautiful beach view retreat site of Abbeyfeale, friendships were created or reinforced, group jokes were hatched and a support network was formed. As always, I was sad when the retreat came to an end (but could I have lasted another day with five hours of sleep?), but full of happy memories, new skills and inspiration. Some photos have been posted on our Fiction Among Friends Facebook page, and I'll be updating my web pages soon with pictures, feedback and recipes.

I know I can't forever stare into the rear view mirror or I'll stray off course, but a glance now and then reminds me of a wonderful retreat that I'll savor and draw on repeatedly. Thanks, all.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Countdown for St. George Island Writers' Retreat

Next Wednesday I'll be jaunting up to the Florida Panhandle, about three and a half hours away, and as I drive north, then west, I'll feel the daily humdrum slough away. One by one I'll tick off the towns along the route; Fanning Springs, Old Town, Cross City....Steinhatchee...Perry......don't forget to veer west there onto 98....enough wilderness and coastline to charm and pull me onward. The highway hugs the coast around Carrabelle; getting close; then it's Eastpoint, and time to turn off the main drag and head out to the Island. After the initial flurry of unloading the car and unpacking totes and coolers of groceries and other supplies for the retreat, I'll be eager for the arrival of our mentor Adrian Fogelin (see thumbnail photo at left) and all the writers who've signed up for this year's adventure.

Ten of us will settle in for four days of workshops and writing. Most of us have a work in progress, so between the workshops we'll hole up to see if we can forge ahead with our projects, or perhaps double back and fix a trouble spot--often after consulting with Adrian.

Our group is diverse, having walked various paths in life -- journalism, small business, homemaking, teaching and other professional careers. The writing we do ranges from general fiction to history to mystery to memoir. Some are struggling to find a beginning to a work, while others are plowing on to end a work or polish a finished draft. Some unabashedly say they are coming hoping to learn how to cultivate self-discipline in their writing. Diversity aside, there is a unity of purpose that unites us. We all want to learn, and we want that shared sense of purpose the retreat promises. Together we'll commiserate over plot snarls and roadblocks, and rejoice over each victory, each landmark passed.

I've been revising the first three chapters of my very rough first attempt at a mystery, trying to whip them into good enough shape to serve as a foundation for the work I want to do next week. I've introduced the characters and am fine-tuning details of the setting. I have a pretty good hunch about what the crime will be and "whodunit".

Will I get it all down on paper? Can I make all of the threads twist into a believable, engaging plot? I'll have to answer that next week, after the retreat. That is, unless you are planning to attend, in which case I'll tell you there. Oh -- you haven't signed up? Get in touch. There's room for one more.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

You know you're getting old when...

Yes, I know. This could be the longest blog post in history. Could be, but won't be, because I'll need my nap pretty soon.

Seriously, I looked at yesterday's mail and was assaulted by an envelope. There, on the top of the wad of stuff that passes for correspondence, perched a letter from The Scooter Store. The Scooter Store! I couldn't believe it. Did they think I was old or something?

I assessed the situation. Well, sure, I had spent part of the previous evening with the latest issue of AARP on my lap, reading an article in which Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis and Betty White shared advice about aging. I identified best with Betty White's remarks. Hmmm. Betty White.... And when did AARP, replace my Grisham novels, anyhow?

What else was in the mail? Oh, perfect--two pitches to change my health insurance plans. Change them? Not likely! I still bear scars from having to wade through all that paperwork when I approached my 65th birthday -- not that all the "wading" did a lot of good. In the end, desperate to make a decision--ANY decision--I played what I call Medicare-meeney-miney-moe, arbitrarily picking a plan and tossing around big words like "deductible" and "co-pay" to justify my decision. It had all the science of throwing a dart at at target and being satisfied if it landed somewhere on the wall. Why can't health insurance selection for seniors be easy? We old folks confuse easily, you know.

And don't even think of getting me started talking about long term care insurance (yup, did that, too) or the dreaded "doughnut hole" in prescription coverage. Being a senior citizen is not for sissies, indeed.

And how about that term "senior citizen"? Remember when being a "senior" was something to anticipate with pleasure, the year you'd attend your senior prom and later parade across the auditorium stage wearing a robe and mortarboard, diploma clutched in hand? Anticipate being a senior citizen? Not so much.

You know you're getting old when you can get fired up talking about health insurance before most people half your age have had their first cup of coffee. Me, I'd had three before I even penned the first line of this post.

You know you are getting old when a New York Times article by Sandra Day O'Connor and others, called "The Age of Alzheimer's", reminds you that you now are in the age bracket of those whose chance of developing Alzheimer's doubles every five years. The article, concise and powerful, clearly describes what the US must do to prevent the dire future these numbers portend. I encourage you to look it up. It's not pleasant reading, but remember, we aren't sissies.

Much of the remainder of my day will be spent writing and preparing for an upcoming writers' retreat. But, before I do anything else, I'm going to snatch up that letter from The Scooter Store, toss it into the recycle bin and then plot a few other acts of senior disobedience.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

St. George Island Writers' Retreat 2010

NOVEMBER 10 - 14, 2010
I can't wait--white sand sparkling, sunlight dancing on surf, shrimp boats plying through gentle waves...the perfect backdrop for four days of glorious writing, of putting all other distractions on hold. I am SO ready for the retreat to begin.

We have a super group this year. As always, Adrian Fogelin, award-winning author of over seven young adult works, will be our author in residence. She will lead workshops and feedback sessions, offer private consultations, advice and encouragement. We'll have large blocks of writing time, too, so plan on making significant advances with your personal work-in-progress. The experience is magical.

Six of us who have attended one or more times in the past (this is our fifth year at St. George Island) will be there, laptops and dog-eared novel or memoir drafts in tow, and three new writers are on board, too--a great mix of interests and experience. We can fit in two more writers, but after that I have to close registrations and will be able to place interested writers on a waiting list only.

We check in at beautiful Abbeyfeale (a spacious private home overlooking the Gulf of Mexico) the afternoon of November 10 and stay through Sunday the 14th. If you are on the fence about signing up, do visit my website to look over the information and photos, and email or phone with questions or concerns. Hope to see you at the retreat.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

You know you've been too busy when...

The summer of 2010 saw the arrival of three trains weekly at Thurman Station, and, as president of the Thurman Station Association, I was involved in helping to create and publicize special activities in Thurman to attract and entertain rail passengers. Added to my other regular activities, it made for one crazy summer, with way too much stuffed into my volunteer schedule. Not only did I not blog, I let myriad other things slip between the cracks of my life, as well. I've finally found a few minutes to reflect on that crazy busy-ness, and the impact it had on me:

You know you've been too busy when your "short" hair cut is curling down around your collar and you realize it has been three months since you felt you could afford twenty minutes to sit down and have it cut.

You know you've been too busy when the pile of documents to be dealt with on your desk teeters above the screen of your open laptop and threaten to topple down onto it.

You know when you listen intently to a story your spouse is telling and realize moments later that not one word pierced your brain --- which was focused on that teetering pile.

You know when you forget to eat, to sleep, to go to the bathroom.

When you forget what file you were just about to open, whose number you were about to dial, what face belongs to the name on the page in front of you.

I knew best yesterday, when I sat down to work and suddenly was flooded with the awareness there was nothing -- NOTHING -- that I needed to do right away for any of those volunteer projects. It took a few minutes to fully realize that I had time what? I'd almost forgotten the alternatives.

I had time (not unlimited, but time, nonetheless) to phone a friend. Time to listen to some music and plug a few pieces into a jigsaw puzzle on the coffee table. Time to pull up a piece of fiction I wanted to noodle around with before my next writers' retreat.

Time to share a few thoughts with you in this long-neglected blog.

I've missed that.

Till soon,

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fiction Among Friends ~ A busy summer

Whoever coined that expression "lazy, hazy days of summer" didn't live in a small Adirondack town. As those of you who check in on this blog from time to time have noticed, it has been months since I've jotted a line here.

Chalk it up to Thurman and the myriad activities bubbling away here. I haven't stopped running since we returned home in April. Thurman Townwide Sale, Thurman Station Farmers' Market and Thurman Station Association's new projects (I'll blog more about those soon) have swallowed half of my waking hours. The work has been challenging, interesting and rewarding, so who can complain?

I have, however, enjoyed spending time organizing events for Fiction Among Friends, the "business" name under which I play with planning events for writers. The first was a writing workshop at Thurman Town Hall on June 19th. A good group of writers turned out, and we spent an enjoyable day working together on fleshing out characters and learning about publishing options--and all that goes with publication of a work.

The Second Thursday Readings at Willows Bistro, 3749 Main Street, Warrensburg, NY, have really taken off. Now in our second year, thanks to the hospitality of proprietor Debbie Swan, the list of so-called "Bistro Readers" boasts over forty members, most of whom have read for our group one or more times. The next session will be July 8th, when we welcome writer/poet Pedro Ponce from Canton, NY, where he teaches writing at St. Lawrence University, and Charles Watts of Lake Placid, a former TV scriptwriter now writing short fiction. If you are in the Warrensburg area July 8, stop in for the program at 7. The public is welcome at no charge. Desserts and beverages will be available.

On Thursday, July 29th Willows Bistro and Fiction Among Friends will host writer/poet/teacher Irene Sherlock's 5 p.m. memoir-based workshop to be followed about 6:30 by a delicious Willows Bistro dinner. The cost of this offering is $20 (including the dinner!), but you must preregister for the workshop and pre-order the dinner, both through me--no later than July 22, please. Irene is an amazing teacher. Visit my website for details and to read comments from former students and workshop attendees. Email me from the site to sign up, and mail your check to 11 Clarence Russell Road, Warrensburg, NY 12885. I'll email to ask your choice of entrees. After dinner Irene will present a reading, followed by readings by RayLene Corgiat and Gail Huntley. It will be a fine evening.

More is on tap for Fiction Among Friends, but I'll save that for my next post (soon, I promise), along with some exciting news.

Till then, all my best,

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Making Your Voice Heard - Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award

As writers know, getting published is difficult. It usually begins with sending a story or novel out to acquisitions agents, editors or contests. It's a time-consuming business, apt to be frustrating and ego-deflating. The first rejection is devastating; subsequent ones become mind-numbing. But once in a while you send the right work to the right audience, and things click.

Gainesville writer Rhonda Riley, a member of the critique group I belong to, entered her book-in-progress in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. Amazon had invited submissions of adult accepted) and young adult novels, cutting off the entries at five thousand in each category. The grand prizes include cash and publication of the book by Penguin Publishers.

In pursuit of that brass ring, the manuscripts began a rigorous judging process in which the stack of ten thousand entries was reduced first to two thousand, then to five hundred.

Rhonda's novel, "Adam Hope: A Geography" is one of the two hundred fifty hundred still vying for top position in the adult category. On April 27th, the current tier of judging will be completed, and before that time you can weigh in at this level of the judging by reading and reviewing the writers' first chapters. I hope you will.

Here's how:
1. Go to
2. Select a category from the left column. Rhonda's entry, "Adam Hope," can be accessed by clicking on the "General Literature" link, and then scrolling through the list to see selections you'd like to read.
3. If you choose to read Rhonda's selection (I'm a little biased, of course), scroll down through to "Adam Hope," which usually appears on the first or second page. Click on it.

This is where it gets tricky, unless you already use Kindle.

4. If you don't have Kindle, and don't want to buy the device, you still may download the software for your PC or Mac to view the electronic version of the literature. Just click where indicated. Follow the download instructions on your screen. Initially I found it a little confusing, but eventually I got Kindle installed and was able to download the one-chapter sample of "Adam Hope." All I needed to do was log in with the info I usually use when I buy books. If you don't have an Amazon account, you'd need to start one. All of these things (downloading Kindle, starting an account and downloading the entries) are free.
5. Read, enjoy, rate the entries, write reviews (all optional).

What's next?

On April 27th, the number of contestants will be reduced to one hundred. A month later, six. Amazon customers will vote for their favorites, and on June 14th the winners will be announced. It's exciting to be on the fringe of the selection process. I think you'll like participating in the voting, and you'll certainly enjoy reading these works of literature.

The contestants deserve hearty congratulations, first for all of the hard work involved in preparing a book-length work, and second for their courage in sending their work out into the world to be scrutinized by selected editors and general readers. Good luck to all!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Readers at the Ready for Willows Bistro

Informally dubbed "The Bistro Readers," an expanding group of Adirondack area writers continue an ambitious program of monthly readings at Willows Bistro, 3749 Main Street, Warrensburg, NY.

On the second Thursday of each month, four to six writers give short readings from their published and unpublished works--fiction, memoir, humor, poetry and more. They serve up excellent entertainment, with that electricity that new work carries. Bistro owner Debbie Swan dishes up some fine food and beverages.

The free program to be presented on April 8th at 7 p.m. will highlight L.R. Warner, Elizabethtown, author of From the Blackest Cloud; Sonja Aubin, Elizabethtown, co-author of Growing Up Strong; Kathleen O'Day, Warrensburg, sharing memoir about teaching on an Indian Reservation; Carol Gregson, of Minerva, author of Leaky Boots, with new complaints; Doug Deneen, Warrensburg, with new...well, just come see what he has come up with. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll eat, you'll drink.... You don't really want to spend another night in front of TV reruns, when you could enjoy the most fresh material in the county, do you? Pick up a friend and get out to Willows. More readings are coming up, and you won't want to miss them.

Perhaps you've been wondering how to become a reader? Feel free to leave a comment here, email me from my web site ( or call Debbie at Willows Bistro (518-504-4344). Each month's lineup is put together about three weeks in advance in order to make publicity deadlines. Readings will continue at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday throughout the spring and summer. See you there.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Maple Madness Continues in Thurman

Small towns seem to grow legendary characters the way the north side of a tree grows moss, and Thurman has a new one in the making. It all started a few years ago with a shy sugar maker named Marc, who didn’t think he’d be able to make himself talk to a group of visitors on tour. His wife, Cheryl, told all the children in the group that there was an ancient Adirondack hermit named “Tapper” boiling sap up at the old sugarhouse, and they should go ask him to show them how to make syrup. Charmed by the children's wide-eyed interest, Kenyon forgot to be nervous and stepped into the role Cheryl had created. A character was born.

Now the kids come looking for him. At last weekend’s Maple Days, one spied him. “THERE’S TAPPER!” resonated through the sugarbush, and kids flocked around him for their annual lesson in sugaring. Some gave him a goodbye hug before leaving Adirondack Gold Maple Farm.

Down at Kenyon’s new sugarhouse, used primarily for displaying merchandise and sugar making equipment, guests from near and far—some as far as Texas and Arizona—enjoyed sampling and shopping for maple products—maple syrup, maple sugar, maple cream and maple cotton candy, to name a few. And Sally Feihel of Adirondack Suds and Scents showed of f her homemade soaps, lotions and soy votives, talking to visitors about how the products are made and playing a video of the soap making process. Tour-goers soaked up the friendship, good fun and hospitality that permeated the place, sometimes pausing to sit with a cup of Cheryl’s special maple chili, trying to wheedle from her the secret recipe. Adirondack Gold was just one of four stops on the trek around town. Many enjoyed fluffy pancakes with syrup at Valley Road Maple Farm and watched a sawing demonstration at Martin’s Lumber, where big slabs of maple, stained glass stepping stones and other crafts were on display. A stop at Toad Hill Maple Farm, said to be the largest in Warren County, rounded out the tour, as the Galusha family opened their sugarhouse to friends old and new, with high technology assisting them in an age-old art largely dependent upon weather conditions beyond the control of man.

Maple madness continues in Thurman each weekend through March 28th. To see a map and more information, visit Email or phone 518-623-9718.

Tapper will be waiting for you.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

March Madness, One Drop at a Time

In some parts of the North Country of New York, "March Madness" is translated as "Maple Sugaring." Thurman is one of those places. Our little town is believed to have one of the highest concentrations of maple producers in the region. Some boil just enough sap to fill the larders of family and friends, while others run commercial operations. Some boil in old evaporating pans over wood-fueled fires, while others employ high technology, using equipment like SteamAways and reverse osmosis machines. Most of our Thurman producers learned the maple business from a parent or grandparent, but whatever the background or the scope of operation, all will tell you that sugaring is an addiction. One Thurman "addict" reminded me that "Old sugarmakers never die; they just evaporate."

This is the month that Thurman celebrates its romance with maples, and you can join the fun. For the last three weekends of March (March 13-14, 20-21, 27-28), three maple farms and one sawmill will open their doors to the public for tours, demonstrations, browsing and family fun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There's also a Maple Sugar Party on March 13th.

Valley Road Maple Farm will open early (9 a.m.) to begin serving their renowned fluffy pancakes drizzled with pure Thurman maple syrup. They'll also have tours and will offer products for sale, including their award-winning maple candies.

Gary and Wini Martin of Martin's Lumber will give demonstrations of their sawmill and explain the concept of sustainable forestry. They will display their lumber (featuring maple slabs for tables and bar tops), stained glass stepping stones, paper bead jewelry and Jackie's quilted items. Be sure to add this stop to your tour.

Toad Hill Maple Farm
, began producing syrup in the 1970s when the Galusha children asked their dad to help them hang a couple of coffee cans on a big tree in the yard. Today those kids are grown, the operation has grown, and Toad Hill, now run by Randy and Jill Galusha, is said to be the largest in Warren County.

Adirondack Gold Maple Farm
will offer not only maple demonstrations and displays of products, but also will host chandler Sally Feihel of Adirondack Suds and Scents, with her soaps, lotions, soy votives and soap-making demonstration video. On March 13th only, Froggy 107.1 will broadcast from 11 a.m. till 1 p.m.

Not to be forgotten on this first weekend is the Thurman Maple Sugar Party, held March 13th at Thurman Town Hall (311 Athol Road, Athol, NY 12810) from 4 p.m. until all have been served. Set to live local music and small-town banter, this all-you-can-eat buffet is topped off with old-fashioned jackwax, also known as sugar-on-snow, a traditional confection created by boiling down syrup until it achieves a taffy-like consistency when chilled. Admission for this dinner is $10 for ages 12 and up, $5 for kids age 5 through 11, and free for kids under five. All proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.

Pick up a brochure around the area, or check details and see a map at, or just follow signs to the sugarhouses. Find Thurman just 6 miles from Northway exit 23 (Warrensburg) via NYS routes 9 and 418, and Athol Road. Share the madness and enjoy the maple!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Celebrating "Cold Winter Nights" by Anne White

Cold Winter Nights my sound like just another weather forecast to my friends in NY's Adirondack Mountains. For author Anne White of Glens Falls, however, it is the new winning title in her Lake George Mystery series. My review below, written for, will warm you just enough to send you scurrying to Red Fox Books or Dog Ate My Homework (for those of you in the Glens Falls area) or Borders in Saratoga Springs to buy a copy. Also available on Amazon, it's a great book to snuggle down under the covers with on, um, cold winter nights. Read on, please.

Cold Winter Nights, A Lake George Mystery
by Anne White

The serene backdrop of the Adirondack Mountains’ pristine Lake George seems an unlikely place to find the ugly snarl of infidelity, deception and murder, but mystery writer Anne White offers just that in Cold Winter Nights, the fifth in her Lake George Mystery series. We willingly follow White’s deft transformation of that idyllic northern New York setting into center stage for the killer’s desperate attempt to silence the too-perceptive (and delightful) Emerald Point mayor, Loren Graham.

It all begins at a holiday concert featuring a solo by the teenaged daughter of Graham’s good friend, Kate Donohue. Sheriff’s deputy Jim Thompson pulls the mayor out of the concert to tell her that Denise McNaughton, a respected RN from the area, has been murdered. It doesn’t take long before the small town is abuzz with gossip and theories about who might have killed McNaughton, and why. While Thompson and other law enforcement officials methodically investigate, Graham can’t help evaluating the evidence herself. Was it the Adirondack hermit, who reportedly had broken into cottages near McNaughton’s home? Could it have been Kate’s ex-husband, said to have been “involved” with the murdered nurse?

As the tale progresses, the reader is transported to various sites in the Adirondacks – from the New Year’s Day festive Polar Bear Plunge in the icy waters of Lake George to the snowy slopes of Gore Mountain Ski Resort, as Graham spends time with friends, conducts her official duties and does a bit of sleuthing. Throughout the fast-moving plot we meet more and more characters from the Lake George area – Don Morrison, Loren Graham’s fiancĂ©; Dr. Kennison, the philandering physician; Teddie Murray, the incorrigible gossip; radio announcer Billie Jorgensen; newspaper reporter Stephanie Colvin; and Lucas Prendergast/AKA Luke Prenders, called by many “the Woodsman.”

Anne White weaves these characters and their motives so skillfully into the fabric of the story that we are at a loss to know just where to point the finger of guilt. As the plot reaches its apex, we find ourselves shivering on the shore of Lake George, trying to enjoy a skating party, but feeling the ominous approach of what we know to be the efforts of a killer to silence Loren Graham. The arctic-like waters kept unfrozen by ice-eaters just beyond the skating area threaten death as the killer makes the fatal move.

This reviewer predicts you’ll find a stack of White’s novels as irresistable as a high-carb snack; nobody can read just one. I’m already waiting for the next.

Fiction: Mystery
Publisher: Hilliard and Harris
ISBN: 1-59133-298-2, 978-1-59133-298-5.

Other Lake George Mysteries by Anne White include:
An Affinity for Murder, 2001, Oak Tree Publishing
Beneath the Surface
, 2005, Hilliard and Harris
Best Laid Plans, 2006, Hilliard and Harris
Secrets Dark and Deep, 2007, Hilliard and Harris

Persis Granger, a reviewer for Book, authored of two works of historical fiction, Adirondack Gold and A Summer of Strangers. She edited and coauthored Shared Stories from Daughters of Alzheimer’s: Writing a Path to Peace, and also edits Adirondack Guest Informer, a travel magazine, and the John Thurman Historical Society Quarterly, as well as organizing and hosting events for writers.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tooting the (Tin) Horn for Paul Pines

One of the great pleasures of becoming acquainted with others in the writing field is hearing and celebrating their good news. Many of the Willows Bistro gang were on hand for the SRO reading by author/poet Paul Pines. Paul shared some wonderful news with me last week, and I want to share it with you here. His book "Last Call at the Tin Palace" was selected by Bob Holman as one of the "Best Books of 2009." See below (and linked below) some of the kudos for Paul's book. Find the book in Glens Falls at Red Fox. It may also be ordered on Amazon. To read more about Paul, see his bio below the press release here.

Poetry Picks — The Best Books of 2009
Selected by Bob Holman
By Bob Holman & Margery Snyder, Guide

In the Spotlight

More of the Best Books of 2009

The 2009 poetry harvest was bountiful, and Poetry Guide Bob Holman is still sifting through his shelves to present the best of the year for your library. This week we've added notes on books by Ed Sanders, Craig Arnold, Breyten Breytenbach, Mahmoud Darwish, Rodrigo Toscano, Wednesday Kennedy, Elena Georgiou, Gil Fagiani, Robert Polito, Norma Cole, Paul Pines, Ed McClanahan, Edwin Torres, and the Belladonna Elders Series--and there are still more to come next week. Our list is the best place to find the new poetry book that suits your fancy!

"Last Call at the Tin Palace," by Paul Pines

(Marsh Hawk Press, 2009) Back in the day, 1970 say, Paul Pines, bartender/poet, decided that the thing to do was open a jazz/poetry club, genius, and for the next 18 years or so the Tin Palace was a beacon on the Bowery. If you were there, you knew. And if you weren’t, well, you can feel it in Last Call at the Tin Palace, poems that are stories that are jazz that are memories that are everlasting imprints of music on retinas and the truth from the other side of the bar. Some crazy surrealist collages and all—a gift. - Marsh Hawk Website


About Paul Pines
Paul Pines grew up in Brooklyn around the corner from Ebbet’s Field and passed the early sixties on the Lower East Side of New York. He shipped out as a merchant seaman, spending 1965-66 in Vietnam, after which he drove a taxi and tended bar until he opened The Tin Palace in 1970, the setting for his novel, The Tin Angel (Wm Morrow, 1983). Redemption (Editions du Rocher, 1997), a second novel, is set against the genocide of Guatemalan Mayans. My Brother’s Madness (Curbstone, 2007) a memoir, has recently enjoyed wide critical acclaim. Pines has also published seven volumes of poetry: Onion, Hotel Madden Poems, Pines Songs, Breath, Adrift on Blinding Light, Taxidancing and Last call at the Tin Palace—selections set by composer Daniel Asia appear on the Summit label and in his 5th Symphony commissioned by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. He lives in Glens Falls, New York, where he practices as a psychotherapist and hosts the Lake George Jazz Weekend. High praise for Pines’s work include: The Tin Angel, “Superb” (The Washington Post); My Brother’s Madness, “great writing, no doubt about it” (NPR commentator Andre Codrescu); Hotel Madden Poems, “brilliant and compelling…” (American Book Review); Breath, “…instantaneous travel along our internal galaxies” (American Book Review); and, Adrift on Blinding Light “[that] navigates the conscious and subconscious worlds with fluid, imaginative, and fascinating energy” (Multicultural Review).

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Willows Bistro - January 14th, 2 p.m.

The Bistro Readers are at it again!

Thursday, January 14th Debbie Swan will again welcome the Second Thursday Readings at her cozy cafe, Willows Bistro, 3749 Main Street, Warrensburg, NY. These readings have been running since June of 2009, and the number of participating writers has grown from eight to thirty. Over the half year we've enjoyed hearing short selections from most of these writers, and are looking forward to hearing from the rest in coming months. We've heard fiction, memoir, humor, and poetry, though these genres often overlap. Some of the writers have published works, while others are working toward publication. Willows Bistro is a friendly and supportive setting for all of us as we test-drive our material with the public (always invited--no admission charged) and fellow writers.

Starting out the new year of readings will be Susan Jefts, Doug Deneen, Pat Leonard and Jessica Kane. The event begins at two p.m. and runs until about four. Come early for lunch, then stay to enjoy the program. This month's art exhibit showcases the photography of Herb Dieck. Those interested in reading at a future program should leave contact information with Debbie Swan. We set up the schedule several weeks before the reading dates, in order to be able to publicize names of readers.

The Bistro Readers are grateful to Debbie for providing such a wonderful spot for the readings and for always having such delectable treats available. I was delighted to notice on her website the option of voting for Willows Bistro on "Urban Spoon". Urban Spoon's website offers the chance to leave a review of the restaurant, so if you have time, visit Urban Spoon, click the voting button (see what it looks like below) and then leave feedback.