Friday, August 28, 2015

Special ~ August 28th Update on Montana & Idaho Wildfires

Fires are expected to burn in The Clark Fork Complex until September 28th, according to the latest estimate posted approximately half an hour ago on  inciWeb, Incident Information System.

Comprehensive Map of the region.

Ross Creek Cedars near Bull Lake, in neighboring Lincoln County, may be spared according to latest information that said the Scotchman Peak fire is one mile from the ancient grove.

Friendsof Scotchman Peaks Wilderness 

Fire Update:

"Infrared technology was able to cut through the smoke and give fire managers a picture of what the fires have been doing under their blanket of smoke over the past few days. The Scotchman's Peaks Fire is now measured at only 1920 acres, a decrease from previous measurements. It continues to burn islands on the interior of the fire and up on the steep, rocky slopes beneath Scotchman #2. Activity on the southern edge of the fire, near Clark Fork, has nearly ceased....
"The Napoleon Fire has continued to grow to the south in un-burned areas below Pillick Ridge, and is now measured at 7,896 acres. Crews have laid hoses along the Pillick Ridge trail, which will be used to knock heat down between Highway 56 and Gin Gulch, where the fire has crossed the ridge. We hope that the firefighters can continue to ensure the safety of homes along the Bull River. 
"The Sawtooth Fire is now measured at 2010 acres. Although two large spots grew together recently, it has (thankfully) not made any progress towards the Ross Creek Cedars.

"In case you missed the announcement yesterday, FSPW received a request to help feed firefighters at the Lakeside Restaurant in Trout Creek, MT. If you would like to help out, please call the Lakeside Restaurant at (406) 827-4458."
The fires in Kootenai (KNF) and Idaho Panhandle National Forests (IDP) include individual fires are the Scotchman Peak (IDP), Whitetail (IDP), Marten Creek (IDP), Sawtooth (KNF), Napoleon (KNF) and Government (KNF). The Northern Rockies Wildland Fire Management Team, under the command of Diane Hutton, are managing all fires in the complex. All of the fires were started by a lightning event that ran across the geographic area. Evacuations along Highway 56 run from milepost 2.7 to milepost 14. Additional resources remain difficult to obtain due to the unprecedented number of fires in the north western states. Firefighter and community safety are the top priorities for all fire suppression actions.

Additional information is in Becky Kramer's August 26th assessment of the Ross Creek Cedar grove.

For an overall assessment of wildfires, read this Bloomberg Business article which gives you their realistic viewpoint. It includes the following:

"The Forest Service, the countrys largest wildland firefighting agency, has spent $800 million trying to control the flames this year, and its only August. As such, 2015 is on track to become the 15th year in a row the agency has laid out roughly $1 billion on firefighting alone. Expenses in some areas are equal to or greater than the value of the threatened property$200,000 to $400,000 per home, according to Bozeman (Mont.)-based Headwaters Economics. Yet the Forest Service doesnt have much choice: It cant just let communities burn. So the service and its partner agencies keep putting out the flames, even though years of study have shown that doing so only leads to even hotter, more devastating fires later."
One quote in the article states,
“If you always do what youve always done, youll always get what youve always got, says Tom Harbour, who, as the chief of the Forest Services fire department, sets the agenda for dozens of other federal, state, county, and municipal agencies and is effectively Americas wildland fire chief. One hundred million people in the West can no longer expect to just pick up the phone, dial 911, and have a Hotshot come and save them.”
The harrowing tales those rugged Montana homesteaders told about surviving the 1910 holocaust in those mountain valleys are in Volume 1 of Behind These Mountains, a trilogy of northwestern Montana. To read their accounts free here, Chapter 18, 1910 Fire.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Clark Fork Complex - August 23, 2015

So far, the agencies managing the Clark Fork Complex fire area are allowing small fires to burn. Clark Fork Complex (August 23, 2015) and August 22, 2015.

Our daughter and husband, Annette and Wayne Hill, who live in Noxon, Montana, have been driving to about the 8 mile marker on Hwy 56, part of the Clark Fork Complex, every day. They turn back there, at the Bull River Ranch where I grew up.

Yesterday [August 22] she said they see numerous fires on the mountain slopes bordering each side of Hwy. 56, which appear to be an acre in size.

Hills own and operate Wayne Hill Outfitting in Noxon. Both are life-long residents and grew up exploring the mountains, enjoying hiking, berry picking, fishing, fun family excursions and hunting. After logging became unprofitable, they established their hunting guide service. Wayne Hill Outfitting soon became the premier outfitting service in that area.

Having lived near Noxon for sixty years, we realize the gravity of the situation. In reality, there simply isn't manpower or resources, and most of the roads listed no longer provide sufficient access to the affected areas.

It was a similar situation in 1910, long before the Civilian Conservation Corps built roads into those mountains. However timbermen and their crews, and hundreds of imported men walked into the mountains and fought them as best they could.

Finally, Mother Nature blew the scattered small fires into a firestorm that nothing halted .... until finally the rains came in early September

God willing, this year weather conditions will keep the small fires from spreading, and fall rains will come to the rescue soon.

The harrowing tales those rugged Montana homesteaders told about surviving the 1910 holocaust in those mountain valleys are in Volume 1 of Behind These Mountains, a trilogy of northwestern Montana. To read their accounts free here, Chapter 18, 1910 Fire.

Chapter 14, Laying Out The Forest Service System, relates the beginning of forest management in the region. The CCC stories and pictures are in Behind These Mountains, Vol. 2

Friday, August 21, 2015

Consequences of Misguided US Officials: Bull River Valley Ablaze!

While listening to news of fires devastating Washington and northern Idaho regions and causing residents to evacuate towns, I went online to check on the mountainous region around Noxon, Montana where my husband and I lived for 60 years, before moving to Washington in 2005.

My heart ached when I read about the current forest fire situation in the Bull River Valley in Sanders County, where I lived like a homesteader during my teenage years. Pilik Ridge, north of the historic Bull River Ranger Station, is afire, as are numerous gulches and peaks. The ranger station, the first built on the Cabinet National Forest in 1908, survived the fires in 1910. If winds carry the Pilik Ridge blaze north across Billiard Table Mountain it will torch stands of northern Idaho timber, as well! 

IF winds kick up in what became roadless areas, the whole valley is in danger of burning as it did in 1910. I pray the ancient grove of Ross Creek Cedars near Bull Lake, in neighboring Lincoln County, is spared.

Montana lacks resources to fight those fires so agencies and rescue teams are focusing on evacuating Bull River Valley residents, and letting the fires burn; hoping they don’t race across mountain ranges to the south, and surround Noxon, as it also did in 1910.
Update 8/21/15.

It may be worthy of note that an agonist to these fire conditions was born in the early 1970s when new settlers, like all new arrivals, were impressed by the beauty of their surroundings.
Unaware of past history, and ignorant of the reasons why the Civilian Conservation Corps [CCCs] built roads into the forested mountains, and the importance of controlled logging  in forest management, they pursued their selfish agendas.

Their uproar to keep roadless areas roadless, block logging from roadless areas, and to get CCC-built Forest Service roads removed (which is currently being systematically done). Many were retired, and  had the luxury of time and money. They instigated a rise in the wave of environmentalists bent on "saving" the forests.They prevailed against experienced forest service personnel, timbermen, and logger's protests.

Along with timbermen and loggers put out of work, long-time residents like myself and local government agencies charged with managing the forest watched, infuriated, as beetle bark bugs attacked the forest. Year after year they blighted the beautiful, healthy evergreens, turning them into stands of disease-killed standing timber.

Each succeeding year I prayed not to live long enough to experience another hot, dry summer, like 1910, with conditions ripe to ignite the thick stands ~ easily recognizable by their dried brown needles.

However, I fear we're now seeing the ugly resuts of the environmentalist's errors. The federal government should never have acceded to those demands.

This week we are reaping the results of uninformed decisions. Montana and Idaho's once productive forests seem doomed.

The harrowing tales those rugged Montana homesteaders told about surviving the 1910 holocaust in those mountain valleys are in Volume 1 of Behind These Mountains, a trilogy of northwestern Montana. To read their accounts free here in Chapters 14, Laying Out The Forest Service System, and Chapter 18, 1910 Fire.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Indie Only Bookstore Opens in Florida

"First Bookstore Dedicated to Self-Published Authors Opens in Florida,"by Judih Rosen, April 20, 2015, Publisher's Weekly Booklife, tells why and how self-published children’s author and illustrator Patti Brassard Jefferson and history author Timothy Jacobs created Gulf Coast Bookstore to exclusively market Indie books. The store is located in downtown Fort Myers, Florida.

Let's hope this is the begining or more such outlets for authors who chose to be independent.

Learn more about PattiBrassard Jefferson [Facebook ]and Timothy Jacobs.
For information on do-it-yourself marketing check out DIY. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Writers Markets and Classified Calls For Submission

Have you read and studied YES! Magazine? Or The Sun magazine? Both are open to nonfiction submissions.

YES! Magazine is published on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, and publishes nonfiction articles about global topics. See Writers guidelines .
The Sun writes about personal topics. Writers guidelines .

At New Pages scroll down the left panel, and under Classifieds you’ll find Call For Submissions that list a wide variety of markets.

Writers, who are members of Internet Writing Workshop  [IWW], report that they've had their greatest success submitting to markets that are actively calling for material similar to what they write.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Book Marketing Through Radio Interviews

Silvia Villalobos, a native of Romania who lives immersed in the laid-back vibe of Southern California, is a writer of mystery novels and short fiction. Her mystery novel, Stranger or Friend, was released by Solstice Publishing.

Her stories have appeared in The Riding Light Review, Pure Slush, and Red Fez, among other publications.
In the following guest post, Silvia shares her experience with book marketing through radio interviews.

Silvia wrote,
"As a published author, you will inevitably look to publicize your book via guest-blog articles, social media, and radio interviews. Assuming we’re talking about a good book, nothing drives sales more than marketing.
I was thrown into the deep waters of marketing with my first novel, Stranger or Friend. In the course of two months, I did over 30 blog posts, more social media than I can remember, and three radio interviews -- one in person and two over the phone. With some help from my publisher and other authors, I immersed myself in publicity training.

For the purpose of this post, and at Mona’s invitation, I will focus on one aspect of book publicity: radio interviews – how to secure them and lessons learned.
In this day and age of internet radio stations, it really isn’t that difficult to secure an interview. However, as a new author, I was fortunate enough to receive help from my publisher, who, through a fellow author, helped schedule my very first internet radio interview with Power of Perception. For this appearance, I was asked to provide a short bio, book cover and blurb, and to be punctual.
Once immersed in the school of marketing, I found that booking radio interviews, while time consuming, is something I can do on my own.
Step one: I crafted a query email and sent it to the PR manager for my local radio station as well as to several independent stations. I received two invitations, one from said local station and one from a popular internet radio host. For the local station, I was asked to provide a Press Kit. For the second internet-radio interview, I was asked for a list of talking points and the usual promo materials (cover, bio, and book blurb).
Step two: Once the interviews were scheduled, I spent hours going through the archives and listening to previous author interviews. Preparation, after all, is everything. 
A few take-aways from this experience: 
  • 1. Each interview process is different. For internet radio, you will be asked to provide a bio, book cover and blurb, and depending on the host, talking points. These interviews are long (45 minutes to one hour) with no breaks, so long answers are standard. 
  • 2. For the in-person 30-minute interview with commercial breaks, keep your answers brief and to the point. 
  • 3. Prepare some possible responses, but don’t write them out verbatim; that would sound automatic. 
  • 4. Listen carefully to the questions. It’s easy for authors to become anxious and interrupt the host. I did it a couple of times; had to catch myself and relax, wait for my turn. 
  • 5. Be energetic. If the guest comes across as distant, the audience will not care. If you are doing a phone-in radio interview, smile. The audience will hear it in your voice.
  • 6. Refer listeners back to your book. This is why you’re doing the interview in the first place. Subtly refer people back to your book every chance you get.
Creating name recognition through marketing is a process; one that might take several books and a focused marketing plan. Writing a great book is half the job. For the rest, we have to step out of our creative comfort zone. While we’re at it, and because marketing is different from writing, it’s important to relax and have some fun."
Silvia can be found blogging here. See her Press Kit

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Unexpected Marketing Venue

I'm delighted to share with those of you who publish non-fiction books a way of marketing I hadn't anticipated when I published my Montana trilogy,
Behind These Mountains, Vols. I, II and III on Kindle.

My 'education' derived from happenstance. While researching her genealogy, Karen Drain, a stranger who'd never heard of me discovered members of her family tree are mentioned in Volume I. She contacted me by email.

Tip: Promote your book also in the genealogy genre.

Subsequently, Karen purchased a DVD of the three books in .pdf format which I sell for $50. I include permission to print the books. They're selling faster than the Kindle editions. My cost is minimal: a DVD, a label, and a simple pasteboard mailer [available at Wal Mart for less than $1.] Postage depends on the postal clerk’s judgement call ~ approximately $.99 to $2.50.
Karen wrote,
"I received my DVD today and I cannot wait to begin reading [on her large screen computer]! My hope is to print out a chapter at a time and send it to my Great Uncle Jack. We will print them for personal use for Jack. My thought is that he will have something to look forward to every week as I send him one or two chapters at a time. I believe I mentioned that Jack is 91 and he doesn't even have a working television, let alone a computer. His phone is not a fancy one either so hard copy is the only way for him to read your book. I want to send a few chapters at a time so he has something to look forward to and he will check his mail more often than he does! Thank you so much for sharing all of your research with me!"

Later, she shared this,

"Mona, I have been reading your book and have discovered an interesting coincidence. You have written that in 1909, a smallpox outbreak inundated Heron, Montana. Coincidentally, Flora Emma Honberger Dingley died in January of that
Tip: Maximize exposure through blogs and websites. Make it easier for those using the Internet to find your books, and entice them with a vignette about someone’s ancestor in the books.

I'll include Karen’s tidbit in human interest stories I post about this experience on
North Palouse Washington e-newscast , and on my 21st Century Old Folks Home blogspot.

I'll also maximize publicity by publishing the family information Karen shared on my
Bygone Montanans blogspot in an excerpt about her Honeberger and Dingley family members from Volume I.

I expect another surge in book sales, both Kindle and .pdf copies.

Tip: Consider selling .pdf copies of your books.

Include these strategies in your marketing toolkit and increase your profits, too.