Saturday, May 30, 2015

Launched into the World

And we're off...

Rather, IT'S off.

The fly fishermen book, that is. It was released to the world this past Tuesday, although I must admit it has been up on Amazon since May 2. You're invited to write a review, by the way.

But Tuesday, we partied. We celebrated not only the book itself, but the men and women who contributed and told life stories. Here we are all gathered together:

We had a little ceremony, Ron Beane explaining his dream of the book to tell these men's lives, me thanking everyone. The women in the photograph helped by writing about their husbands or fathers. Their stories were from the heart, honoring, showing love and pride.

We presented each man or a representative with a copy. That was the fun part, thanking them for baring their souls for the world to read.

Bill Everhardt

Alen Baker and Gene Swanson
Monte Seehorn

Note their nametags. We wrote page numbers on the tags so that during the signing, people could skip to their pages quickly. And the fishermen could sign on their own profile pages.

I signed books
Co-author, Ron Beane signed books
We all signed books

And signed books

I'm not too fond of overused expressions, but sometimes there's no other way to express a feeling. So here goes: 
A good time was had by all.

Catch of the day,


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Book Launch






Isn't it beautiful! That's Newland Saunders in action in a picture taken by Bill Everhardt. Thank you Kim and Brian Thigpen for the cover design.

Now for the flip side back cover:

Thank you to Jim Childers for the fly pictures and to Alen Baker and Doug Suddreth for their eloquent comments we garnered from their writings. In the background is a picture of Wilson Creek taken by Bill Kincaid, the exact same photograph that is at the top of my blog page. 

This book was truly a cooperative venture. So many people contributed their time and talents into making this a reality. We can never express enough appreciation for what you contributed.

To all twenty-eight fishermen in the book, I hope we did you justice. 

I'm proud to be a part of it.

Catch of the day,


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Naming Names

We're four days from book launch and today I'm naming names, revealing the twenty-eight fishermen in the book.

To make the book more user friendly we inserted not only the regular table of contents at the beginning, but also on the next page an alphabetical listing of the fly fishermen for easy reference.

Some of the men wrote their story in four or less pages.

Some of them wrote and wrote and wrote. Their submissions contained unbelievable fish stories, make that unbelievably long fish stories. Our chore was determining which to include and which to toss. Hard decisions.

One minor issue that I pushed for, and achieved, was to label each man's pages with their names in the heading. Since each chapter (by the way, we did not number chapters) is written in first person, the reader must stay aware of who is doing the speaking. Using the word "I" throughout the book works only if the "I" is identified and the reader is reminded which "I" is which.

Are you ready for the "I" list? Here goes:

Newland Saunders
“Cap” Wiese
Charlie Bean
Joe McDade
Henry Wilson
John Turner
Cecil Harman
Stanley Tuttle
Monty Tuttle
Bill Barlow
Monte Seehorn
Jay Reese
Ken Beard
James Henson
Wayne Storie
Kyle Garrou
Tony Woods
Doug Suddreth
Mark Miller
Kevin Story
Don McNeill
Gene Swanson
Brian Suddreth
Bill Everhardt
Jim Childers
Randy Benfield
Alen Baker
Ron Beane

Recognize anyone? If not, don't worry, you'll meet them soon in the book. The order isn't random. Many of the men mention each other and the reader must meet some of them early on in order to fully understand the stories.

The first fisherman on the list, Newland Saunders, was part of the inspiration for the book. He's the one that, just before his death, told Ron Beane, "Tell our story." He's the cover fisherman. He had a strong influence on fly fishing in Caldwell County, in all of North Carolina for that matter. His daughter and his nephew wrote his chapter. He would be proud of what they said.
Newland Saunders at his fly tying bench
We saved Ron's chapter for the end. In the preface he explains his reason for writing the book. In the final chapter he tells his own story. 

This format sandwiches all the stories in between. My, what a sandwich to digest. I can't wait for you to consume it.

Catch of the day,



Saturday, May 16, 2015

Picture Perfect

To color or not to color. That is the question.

True, color photographs add a dimension to a book that black and whites can't. But also true, color photographs add cost. When the fly fishing book ended up 194 pages, the cost of publishing in color tripled over the cost of publishing in black and white.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

To color or not to color.

We chose not.

To begin with, our book is about story, life stories of these twenty-eight men, not that color photographs wouldn't enhance their stories. But since several members of earlier generations had only black and white photographs, a fraction of the pictures would be in black and white anyway.

Cap Wiese

There is a certain air of distinction in old black and white photographs. The photograph of Cap Wiese came to us only in black and white, so we had no choice.

Cecil Harman

Look at these two photographs, the same ones of fly fisherman, Cecil Harman in Gunnison, Colorado...Black and white vs color.

When color is removed, you see the person and the story and not all the peripheral trimmings. It is almost a truer picture.

Well, that theory usually works. Look at the two versions of this photograph that didn't make the book in the end. It's of a group floating down the Green River in Utah. On the bank is a deer. 
See it? Or did you have to find it first in the color version?

The overwhelming majority of photographs we used in the book are personal snapshots the fishermen had taken of them in action as opposed to professional portraits. We did that on purpose. We wanted organic, natural. That we got. Even the posed photographs of the men holding the catch of the day are Kodak Moment glimpses into the story of their lives. 

When it was all said and done, our decision was to keep the price at an affordable level, ten dollars. After all, the purpose of publishing this book was to tell the life story of these men. If the cost is extraordinarily high, then fewer people would purchase it. And fewer people would read it. And the stories don't get told.

These stories are too precious to sit on a shelf in a bookstore.

Just saying.

Catch of the day,


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Meet the Co-Author

Release day is getting closer and closer for Fly Fishermen of Caldwell County. We've even selected a subtitle that explains everything: North Carolina Life Stories. That way the reader isn't confused about what is in store. This is not a "how to fly fish" book. It is a collections of life stories about twenty-eight fly fishermen of the county where I live, Caldwell County.

For three years one of those same fly fishermen collected the stories (and wrote his own chapter). He visited. He made phone calls. He followed up on suggestions. He took a chance and stepped into his uncharted waters of writing a book. It's been a bumpy ride, but like the true adventurer he is, he sailed through with flying colors.

Let me introduce him to you.
Ron Beane
He brought the materials to me...raw materials in some cases. We interviewed a few fishermen and came up with chapters from those. We revised. We selected photographs. We debated style and format, details like font and placement on the page. We revised again. And again. And even with the final proof in our hands, we found issues that needed attention. Whew!

Each chapter starts with a profile of the fisherman, a list of vitals important to understanding the individual before the reader can continue. Here's Ron's: 
Favorite fishing rod - Winston 8′ 4 wt with either an Orvis Battenkill reel or a Ross reel with a 4 wt-forward air cell supreme fly line, and never with a tippet shorter than 9′
Favorite fliesWulff, the Beane Wulff and the Caddis flies sizes 14, 16, or 18
Favorite angling waters – Streams that are known for holding browns
Largest fish caught – In the 20″ plus class
Fishing partners - Son, Dr. Scott Beane, and his daughter and my granddaughter, Peyton Beane; Cap Wiese, Cecil Harman, and Joe McDade; Randy Benfield and Jim Childers

You know, important stuff.

After it was all said and done, we still weren't said and done. We had to insert the upfront and online info like key words for the search engines and author description. Here's Ron's:
  • North Carolina native, Ron Beane, is a former teacher, coach and school administrator. During his tenure as a Caldwell County (NC) Commissioner, a local stream, Wilson Creek, was designated as a Wild and Scenic River. Serving on the National Public Lands Steering Committee and the State of North Carolina’s Clean Water Management Trust Fund Committee gave him a greater appreciation for protecting natural resources and for passing on that passion to our younger generation “to pick up the mantle and carry on.” Through his love of fly fishing, he was fortunate to have met and fished alongside several extraordinary men with equally extraordinary life stories that he felt needed to be preserved. Fly Fishermen of Caldwell County, North Carolina is his response. Ron and his wife live in western North Carolina. They have two children and four grandchildren.

I can't wait for you to read the book, but be ready. Some chapters are real tear jerkers and some will have you rolling in the rivers.

Catch of the day,


Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians

There's nothing quite like a relaxing afternoon with no obligations, no deadlines, just chilling. Just reading.

Add to that the May/June issue of a magazine, not just any magazine, mind you, but The Travel and Outdoors issue of WNC Mountain Living in Western North Carolina. 

Add to that, the guideposts segment on page 23, the "Spot for Timely Tidbits & Newsy Snippets," and on that feature page, an article, "Reelin' in the Years." Click over and take a look at the online version.

Yes, a fly fishing article.
Caldwell County native Joe McDade

There they were, two of the Caldwell County fly fishermen featured in our soon to be released book, Joe McDade and Charlie Bean. Actually we submitted the photographs a few months ago and I completely forgot about them, so the magazine came as a surprise, a treat for my relaxing moment.

Caldwell County native Charlie Bean
A third Caldwell County fly fisherman is in the article as well, Alen Baker, talking about the "pioneers of mountain fly fishing" and the need to preserve their stories. That's being done, not only in (have I mentioned it lately?) my upcoming book with Ron Beane, Fly Fishermen of Caldwell County, North Carolina, but also in a new museum, The Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians. It's in Cherokee, North Carolina, next to the Cherokee Welcome Center on the banks of the Oconaluftee River. 

Alen Baker in action
This museum is not a "how-to-fly-fish" spot, although anyone browsing through it will no doubt pick up tidbits and newsy snippets to learn more about the sport. Rather, this museum is about the men (and I hope women) behind the rods, who they are, what motivated them, and yes, the flies they created.

Joe McDade in action
If you are looking for a great side trip this summer, might I suggest this, the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians.  Do drop in.

Catch of the day,