Solitude promotes reading – Lincoln is larger than life at the boxoffice and in print

Rhonda and I have just returned from a long Thanksgiving weekend to our glorious place of solitude, the Cabin at the Pond. While basking in the whispering peace of nature one is bound to feel the greatness of a presence bigger than oneself. In our time of tranquility we grew closer to each other and the greatness of God’s marvelous creation about us.

We watched some new videos, rewatched some enjoyable ones and did some reading. Among the videos was Wuthering Heights, the bittersweet tale of the misguided love between a young heiress, Catherine, and a waif named Heathcliff brought to live with the family at their estate. Their twisted love destroyed them both as well as the lives of everyone around them. Yet even in such a weary yarn there are always lessons to absorb. The book by Emily Bronte is one of the most famous of all time and on the list of Classics to be published by St. Clair Publications in 2013.

But on a lighter note, while Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln‘ was one of three films which combined to make this Thanksgiving weekend the most profitable ever at the boxoffice, I was engrossed in a true classic about the man, Abe Lincoln, himself. The book, A Man for the Ages, by Irving Bachellor, which was one of the best selling novels in America in 1920, begins as Abe is a young lanky youth working in a general store in New Salem, Illinois. It is certainly worthy, itself, of being transformed into a movie, which could rival others in depth and power of lines. But it is already available at and on Amazon. Get it today or purchase one for a loved one for Christmas. I promise you, no one will be disappointed.

And if you ever get a chance, spend a weekend at Cabin on the Pond near Monterey, Tennessee. It’s a genuinely unique experience.

Bringing back the past – even the Big Wheel!


Big Wheel

The Big Wheel® was first developed by Louis Marx Toys and presented to the public at the 1969 New York Toy Fair. It immediately became a national success in the US. Now Alpha International in Cedar Rapids, Iowa is bringing it back.

Across America nostalgia is raging. 50s style restaurants with the appearance of Arnold’s on Happy Days are reaching a feverish peak. That’s partly because people like the ‘warm fuzzy feeling’ that comes from the that bygone era. In fact, facebook has been overrun by images of the past recently.

Classic autos are also very popular, and millions go out to see them at car shows each year, and prices of totally refurbished classics are prime.

The older I get, the more I like reminiscing and reading about the past. Not just my own lifetime, but topics of historic significance. I don’t want to live in the past. Heavens, no! We have to look to our future. But the past is certainly something we can learn from.

We have published a number books of historic significance. Books like SIlas Marner, A Man for the Ages, Men of Iron and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. If that story doesn’t take you back to a simpler time and make you feel warm and fuzzy, what can? There is also Beyond the Thistle Patch which draws from the 1950s and ’60s. Hope you get a copy of one today!

Getting ready for R&R

Today has been spent putting finishing touches on the Prince Henry children’s book–something still not yet completed, and cover changes for Tom Sawyer. A Man for the Ages has now been approved for release, and will be on Amazon within a week. It has been a day well-invested. I enjoy when I near the conclusion of a day looking back and feeling a sense of accomplishment, having traded a day of my life for those tasks.

In the morning Rhonda and I will be leaving for our get away at Muddy Pond. Time always well spent because we come back ready to get at it again. Muddy Pond is a MInnonite community high atop the Cumberland Plateau toward the Kentucky line which is an escape from the business of life as we know it in the twenty-first century. We love the log cabin on the pond which has no cell phone or television reception. It is like going back in time where we can really carry on conversations and play scrabble. Both are relaxing. Muddy Pond, here we come!


New releases

Every month we are releasing about three new titles. Sometimes more, perhaps some months, less. It is so exciting to participate in the birthing process.

One of our ongoing projects is classic literature. More than one book is being formatted and prepared at a time, and progress depends upon being able to work them in with new titles. Before the first of September we will be releasing both The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the timeless classic by Mark Twain based upon his life growing up on the banks of the Mississippi, and A Man for the Ages, Irving Bacheller’s enduring best-seller about the life of our beloved 17th American President, Abraham Lincoln.

Add to this a beautiful 8.5 X 11 full color children’s book, Prince Henry St. Clair, Earl of Orkney, by noted British faerie artist, Hazel Brown, based on the brave voyage made to the New World almost 100 years before Columbus, and you have a trio headed for success.

When new authors come to St. Clair Publications they receive one-on-one personal attention,  true value unbeatable in today’s publishing market, and worldwide distribution. Our motto is Small enough to listen to the author, large enough to reach the world.

Classic novels

One of the tasks that we are undertaking at St. Clair Publications is to publish in both high-quality paperback and ebook format a good number of classic novels which shaped our literary history. Already Men of Iron by Howard Pyle with a forward by Kent Hesselbein and Silas Marner by George Eliot with the forward by me are out in paperback, and I have prepared The Adventures of Tom Sawyer  by Mark Twain for future publication.

Now I am formatting and preparing the classic Abraham Lincoln novel, A Man for the Ages by Irving Bacheller (1919). Not much is known by many younger people about Irving Bacheller, but he was a great person in his day. After graduating from St. Lawrence University in upstate New York, where he was later granted two honorary Masters and two Doctorial Degrees, he founded the Bacheller Syndicate which popularized of such works as Stephen Crane’s Red Badge of Courage, and those of Rudyard Kipling and Arthur Conan Doyle. 

Bachelor was also the author of another popular novel titled Eben Holden. A Man for the Ages  is divided into three books; the first as a niave young man, the second dealing with his self-education, entry into the public arena, and the third with his rise to the presidency and his death. A lot of it deals with the division of the nation concerning the slavery issue. In my youth, my mother read this book to our family, and it had a powerful impact on my sense of values. Well worth the read when we get it out.

The more things change the more they stay the same

One of the tasks with which I am involved on a daily basis is the preparation of books for publication, either in printed form or as e-books. When working with classic litterature–those endearing yarns of the nineteenth or early twentieth centuries–I certainly realize the evolving of our language and the difference in common terms which have been lost in the marching onward of the years. That’s why it is intriquing to me to work with cliches, proverbs and idioms in determning their origins and how their meanings have altered with the turning of the pages of time.

But a saying that is certainly an axium is ‘The more things change the more they stay the same.’ The first time this proverbial phrase was brought to my attention was as the title of an article by a dear friend of mine several years back. I am currently formatting the charming Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain for release by our new eVolve e-book division. Though some of the phrases and expressions have gone the way of the dodo bird, the quaint charm and insights into human nature are timeless.


Gold on the hearth

One of the classic stories of all times is Silas Marner by George Eliot. The story is set in early nineteenth-century England. Marner is a weaver who minds his own business and goes to church every Sunday. But a man whom he sees as a friend falsely accuses him of a crime that he, himself,  has committed. Forced out by the society of the town, he settles in another village and plies his craft there. Just as he feels safe once again, while he is away one day, his entire savings which he has worked so hard to put away is stolen from under his hearth where it was hidden. Devastated, he throws himself once again into his work, but is leary of everything and wants nothing to do with religion.

Suddenly, one winter day, a poverty-stricken mother wanders into his yard where she collapses and dies. Her blonde toddler daughter wanders into Marner’s open door and ends up on his hearth. When he sees her, he feels that his gold has returned to his hearth. He takes her in and adopts her as his own daughter. But is there more to the story than meets the eye? Who was this forlorn mother, and even more of a mystery, who is the child’s father? Will he once again be forced to give up what is keeping him sane?

Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe is a true classic and available on St. Clair Publications site. Preserving the classics is one way that we will keep alive the tales which never grow old.