We All Do

IndiePics

Sitting in on a writing seminar a while back, the keynote speaker, finishing his remarks on the business of publishing, opened the floor for questions. A young lady, seated at the end of my row grew visibly nervous and asked, “But, I don’t want to have to market my books, I just want to write them.”

In a gentle voice, the guest speaker replied, “We all do, but that’s no longer how the book business works.”

And, readers, that no longer is how the book business works.

Agents and publishers today are far more concerned with a writers social media platform, then any content wedged between a book’s jacket. Even traditionally published authors must carry the heaviest burden of getting their works into the public arena. For example, I’ve been watching a news commentator on one of the cable networks handling the publication of his new book. He still does his broadcast every night, but goes on air from the various venues where he is presenting–like the parking lot of Barnes & Noble the other night. At the end of each program, this correspondent plugs his title and where his next appearance is scheduled. He has quite the platform, and his publisher loves it.

Now some everyday folks are pretty savvy at this platform game, too. Utilizing electronic media, many writers successfully finesse Facebook analytics, embed advertisements on search engines, as well as on Nook Press, Kobo, Amazon, and a multitude of other outlets.  And I must add that I am in awe of this style of enterprise and business outreach. Many of these electronic resources are way out of my skill set–cultivating an online following one of my most daunting challenges.

Plainly history education and story telling is my forte; Selling–shilling my name and image about, leaves me a bit overwhelmed and self conscious. Like the young lady at the seminar, I just want to write my books, too.

Sometimes I wonder if I would have written anything, knowing what I know now about the media game. But then I remember some particular episode, his heart-pounding night flight in 1933, or her dance tour of Europe during the rise of Hitler, and I realize writing River of January, and Figure Eight was never a choice: life handed the task to me, and I am responsible.

So I switched on my laptop and wrote this blog.

Gail Chumbley is the author of River of January and River of January: Figure Eight

Also available on Amazon. River of January is on sale this weekend on Kindle.

 

Oh, To Be Young

Kindle patrons! River of January is on sale this weekend! From Friday through Sunday night, the adventure is yours for 99 cents. What a barg! Download the book, give it a read, and leave a short review.

Enjoy this sneak peek.

rojcover

“Hello, Chumbley here—hello?”

“Morning Chum,” flashed an urgent voice. “This is Richard Ross, and I am awfully glad I caught you at the office! We have a horse posted in the third race and need to get to Baltimore, fast.”

“Havre de Grace Race Track?”

“A horse in the third.”

“Wait, where are you calling from?” the young man asked.

“Newark. We’ll be waiting at the airfield for you to arrive.”

“Horse track, huh?  Roger that. I’ll gas up the Waco and be over soon.”  Jogging to the hangar

“Hello, Chumbley here—hello?”

“Morning Chum,” flashed an urgent voice. “This is Richard Ross, and I am awfully glad I caught you at the office! We have a horse posted in the third race and need to get to Baltimore, fast.”

“Havre de Grace Race Track?”

“A horse in the third.”

“Wait, where are you calling from?” the young man asked.

“Newark. We’ll be waiting at the airfield for you to arrive.”

“Horse track, huh?  Roger that. I’ll gas up the Waco and be over soon.”  Jogging to the hangar Chum reflected, “This trip sounds like fun, especially if I make a couple of bucks.”

Taxiing down the runway, the flyer lifted off—his trip was just a short hop west—and Chum presently approached the New Jersey landing strip. From his windshield he could see three figures moving outside an office building near the tarmac.

“Must be Ross,” Chum mumbled. Touching down, the pilot slowed and turned the plane toward his passengers. But he noticed they were running toward the Waco. Ross was shouting something and waving his arms.

“We need to go, now, Chum!” the pilot finally heard above his roaring engine. Chuckling, as they clambered aboard, the flyer again turned and taxied down the same airstrip, quickly lifting off toward the southeast. His three passengers breathlessly discussed the upcoming race card. Thoroughly entertained by their excitement, Chum listened.

“That number six will be tough to beat,” and “I paid a call to those stables and I wasn’t that impressed.”

This flight wasn’t long either, but apparently too lengthy for the impatient stockbrokers. As Chum circled the county airfield, Ross reached up and patted his shoulder. “Not here, Chum. It’s too far from Havre de Grace. Land the plane at the track, put it down on the infield!”

Stunned, the pilot clarified, “At the horse track?”

“Yes sir! There’s no one better than you to pull off a landing like this one!”

As he doubtfully turned his plane around, dangerous images passed through Chum’s mind—in particular, the incident in Elmira. He understood, as every pilot understood, that potential disaster rode along with him on every flight.

Chum worried:  What are the chances of cart-wheeling the plane? Can I regain lift if I come too close to the viewer stands? Will I be arrested?

Ross read Chum’s alarm and assured the pilot, “I trust you. The field is long enough for a good flyboy like you to manage. And we’ll pay for any mishap or damage.”

“How ’bout my broken neck?” the pilot half-joked.

The broker snickered.

Chum shrugged, lowered the nose of his Waco, and touched down firmly, bouncing on the grass, and smoothing out as the plane slowed. By the end of the infield, the Waco stopped, facing the viewing stands. Safe. No snags. Leaning over the yoke, he inhaled deeply realizing he’d held his breath through the approach, the landing, and the braking.

Movement in his peripheral vision caught his notice. Four race officials were rushing from under the track’s white railing. The men waved their clipboards and arms over their heads, rushing toward his Waco.

Chum caught the crowd’s mixed responses to his sudden appearance. Some in the crowd stood stunned, mouths hanging open, while others cheered, jumping and clapping as though his arrival was scheduled entertainment.

The pilot burst into laughter. “Now, there’s the sensible crowd!” he chortled, watching as the panicked stampeded out the exits. Chum turned to tell his passengers to look at the stands, but saw that Ross had popped open the cabin door, and was dropping down from the plane.

“Take it easy, fellas. Take it easy,” Ross shouted to the officials. “This pilot is the best. He does this kind of landing all the time!”

The police quickly arrived and Ross, now joined by his two associates, stood outside, as if guarding the plane. The broker talked fast, and to Chum it appeared as if the authorities were calming down, physically stepping back from the wealthy New Yorker.

Maybe they realize he’s a big shot, the pilot concluded. After some tense moments the police, track managers, and officials unexpectedly shook hands with the New York businessmen, and strolled off the grass.

Hoisting himself back up into the cabin, Ross smiled. “No jail for us today, Chumbley. The track manager—the palooka in the blue blazer—only asked that you move your plane to the center of the infield, and that we stay until today’s race card is finished.”

Finally unhooking his safety harness, Chum stretched, climbed out of the Waco and shook his head in disbelief. He mumbled, “Tough treatment for men who live for horses.”

Chum reflected, “This trip sounds like fun, especially if I make a couple of bucks.”

Taxiing down the runway, the flyer lifted off—his trip was just a short hop west—and Chum presently approached the New Jersey landing strip. From his windshield he could see three figures moving outside an office building near the tarmac.

“Must be Ross,” Chum mumbled. Touching down, the pilot slowed and turned the plane toward his passengers. But he noticed they were running toward the Waco. Ross was shouting something and waving his arms.

“We need to go, now, Chum!” the pilot finally heard above his roaring engine. Chuckling, as they clambered aboard, the flyer again turned and taxied down the same airstrip, quickly lifting off toward the southeast. His three passengers breathlessly discussed the upcoming race card. Thoroughly entertained by their excitement, Chum listened.

“That number six will be tough to beat,” and “I paid a call to those stables and I wasn’t that impressed.”

This flight wasn’t long either, but apparently too lengthy for the impatient stockbrokers. As Chum circled the county airfield, Ross reached up and patted his shoulder. “Not here, Chum. It’s too far from Havre de Grace. Land the plane at the track, put it down on the infield!”

Stunned, the pilot clarified, “At the horse track?”

“Yes sir! There’s no one better than you to pull off a landing like this one!”

As he doubtfully turned his plane around, dangerous images passed through Chum’s mind—in particular, the incident in Elmira. He understood, as every pilot understood, that potential disaster rode along with him on every flight.

Chum worried:  What are the chances of cart-wheeling the plane? Can I regain lift if I come too close to the viewer stands? Will I be arrested?

Ross read Chum’s alarm and assured the pilot, “I trust you. The field is long enough for a good flyboy like you to manage. And we’ll pay for any mishap or damage.”

“How ’bout my broken neck?” the pilot half-joked.

The broker snickered.

Chum shrugged, lowered the nose of his Waco, and touched down firmly, bouncing on the grass, and smoothing out as the plane slowed. By the end of the infield, the Waco stopped, facing the viewing stands. Safe. No snags. Leaning over the yoke, he inhaled deeply realizing he’d held his breath through the approach, the landing, and the braking.

Movement in his peripheral vision caught his notice. Four race officials were rushing from under the track’s white railing. The men waved their clipboards and arms over their heads, rushing toward his Waco.

Chum caught the crowd’s mixed responses to his sudden appearance. Some in the crowd stood stunned, mouths hanging open, while others cheered, jumping and clapping as though his arrival was scheduled entertainment.

The pilot burst into laughter. “Now, there’s the sensible crowd!” he chortled, watching as the panicked stampeded out the exits. Chum turned to tell his passengers to look at the stands, but saw that Ross had popped open the cabin door, and was dropping down from the plane.

“Take it easy, fellas. Take it easy,” Ross shouted to the officials. “This pilot is the best. He does this kind of landing all the time!”

The police quickly arrived and Ross, now joined by his two associates, stood outside, as if guarding the plane. The broker talked fast, and to Chum it appeared as if the authorities were calming down, physically stepping back from the wealthy New Yorker.

Maybe they realize he’s a big shot, the pilot concluded. After some tense moments the police, track managers, and officials unexpectedly shook hands with the New York businessmen, and strolled off the grass.

Hoisting himself back up into the cabin, Ross smiled. “No jail for us today, Chumbley. The track manager—the palooka in the blue blazer—only asked that you move your plane to the center of the infield, and that we stay until today’s race card is finished.”

Finally unhooking his safety harness, Chum stretched, climbed out of the Waco and shook his head in disbelief. He mumbled, “Tough treatment for men who live for horses.”

 

Book Two, River of January: Figure Eight is available at http://www.river-of-january.com or at Amazon.com

Steal This Clip

 

A wonderful video for a wonderful story. Feel free to share with contacts.

“River of January,” and “River of January: Figure Eight,” are both available at

http://www.river-of-january.com

Also found at Amazon.com

 

 

Gail Chumbley is the author of the two-part memoir, River of January

Winter Wonderland

The New York World’s Fair opened in April, 1939. The event, located in Flushing, New York, offered a wide variety of attractions for visitors. Below is a brief clip of the Ice Skating exhibit.

A number of these skater later worked for Sonja Henie in her ice show at Rockefeller Center, and appear in the pages of “River of January: Figure Eight.”

 

WinterWonderland0001

Nearly all of these girls moved over to Center Theater in Midtown, premiering “It Happens On Ice,” in October, 1941.

For more of the story read River of January: Figure Eight, and book one of the series, River of January.

 

Reading Aloud

There were a lot of short stories that worked well for my history students. “The Fog on Pemble Green,” by Shirley Barker “Sowing the Wind,” by Bruce Catton, and “A Spy for Washington,” by Leonard Falkner are just three that quickly come to mind when I think about reading to my classes. Students appeared to like listening, too. Their usual frenetic teenage energy melted away, and the kids seemed to remember their first grade sense of wonder.

Over thirty years I read those pieces, changing the dramatic rise and fall of each story; a girl falsely accused of witchcraft to hide a real murder plot, bitter ante-bellum violence foreshadowing  the Civil War, and a brave nondescript man who made General Washington’s attack on Trenton possible with his secrecy.

And reading aloud worked, providing literary backdrops to historical events. Evidently, despite one’s age, everybody loves a good story.

Tomorrow I have the opportunity to record my first book, River of January, at the Commission for the Blind. I earnestly hope to revive that voice that once held kids still, captivated and comforted. However, an extended reading session is both exciting and a bit terrifying–I’m not sure the old pipes are still as flexible. But, hopefully the flow of the story will compensate for any vocal deficiencies I’ve acquired.

 

 

Perhaps you might enjoy a preview of tomorrow’s narrative

Gail Chumbley is the author of River of January and River of January: Figure Eight.

For the remainder of March, 2017, all purchases of book two, Figure Eight includes a complimentary ebook of book one, River of January.

 

The Running Joke

Gail Chumbley

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Each year, by spring break, my history classes had completed their study of the Kennedy years, 1961-1963. We discussed the glamor, the space program, civil rights, his charisma and humor with the press, and most importantly, JFK’s intense struggle with Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev. In a provocative challenge to America, Khrushchev ordered the building of the Berlin Wall, and construction of nuclear missile sites in Cuba. This second and more direct challenge led to the 1963 Missile Crisis. At the end of deconstructing Kennedy’s delicate decision-making and the negotiations that peacefully ended the 13 day crisis, I often joked, “aren’t you glad Andrew Jackson wasn’t president?” That line always earned a good laugh from the kids.

But really it isn’t funny. Not any more. Let me explain.

America’s seventh president was a mercurial character. He loved blindly and hated passionately. If convinced his honor had been challenged, the man dueled—sometimes…

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Under the Weather

My computer has been hacked . . . Badly. Hijack-ware, (that’s a thing) malware, spyware, and other such gremlins. The security software failed, and I noticed it was produced in Moscow, Russia. It’d be funny if it happened on the Big Bang Theory, but, alas, the hackers got me.

Still “River of January,” and it’s sequel, “Figure Eight” can be purchased at http://www.river-of-january.com

We shall rebuild and carry on!

Gail Chumbley is the author of the nonfiction saga, “River of January” and “River of January: Figure Eight.”