I want to say a very special thank you...
Updated: Aug 26, 2021
... to several gift stores and independent books stores who are stocking Boundary Waters Search and Rescue: Beyond Belief on their shelves. If you're in their towns, please consider giving them business and thank them for being willing to give local authors and artists a chance.
1. Back Forty Books and Gallery (formerly Sweet Pea) in Two Harbors, Minnesota. (On the left heading North on Hwy 61) This is the store pictured in the above photo. The owner's name is Randy, and he is a native to the area. This is a bookstore well worth the stop. He not only took the time to talk with me, but he had some very helpful suggestions for marketing. I so appreciated the time he gave me in the midst of a busy day.
2. Piragis in Ely, Minnesota. This is one amazing store, and I could probably spend a year's salary here between the camping gear, the jewelry, the clothing, and THE BOOKS. I spoke with the person in charge of all these glorious books earlier this week, and she has agreed to order several copies of Boundary Waters Search and Rescue: Beyond Belief for their shelves. I hope one day to do a book signing at Piragis, as it is here, in Ely, that my fictional couple make their home. I love this area and it's proximity to several entry points to the BWCA.
3. Drury Lane Books in Grand Marais, Minnesota. The buyer in this wonderful store took time out of a busy day to talk with me about Boundary Waters Search and Rescue: Beyond Belief. She bought two copies from me immediately to put on her shelves. She also had some helpful suggestions for marketing. Long before I started writing, this was one of my favorite stops in town. So please, if you're in the neighborhood, stop in and browse, buy, and enjoy. (Right next to World's Best Donuts-just sayin')
4. Lake Superior Trading Post in Grand Marais, Minnesota. This large, iconic, and FAMILY owned store is another one that I could easily drop a year's salary in, because they have everything---- including outdoor equipment, gifts, jewelry, and, of course, BOOKS! (We also got our Hudson Bay wool blanket there-an investment, but a wonderful one, it will outlive us). I spoke with one of the owners and he not only committed to ordering several copies of Boundary Waters Search and Rescue: Beyond Belief and to give them prominent placement, but also expressed interest in knowing when Boundary Waters Search and Rescue: Beyond Imagination is released this fall. That was so exciting for me. Again, this is a store owner that took time to talk with me in the midst of a busy day. I am so grateful.
5. Beagle and Wolf Books & Bindery in Park Rapids, Minnesota. This was the first bookstore in Minnesota to stock my books. I could get lost in shops like this, it was beautifully merchandised and had a wonderful, engaged owner. If you want a copy of my book, or simply want to browse some wonderful reads, this is a great stop. I am very grateful for the owner's willingness to stock my books.
Now I want to talk about something near and dear to my heart. I grew up on Lake Superior's north shore, I have spent many, many joyful hours up north in the Ely and Grand Marais, MN area. I am asking you to pray for those folks up there for a couple of reasons.
First, this has been a very difficult fire season, so much so, that for the first time since 1976, they have closed the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and a good portion of the Superior National Forest. The US Forest Service did this for several reasons. First, the drought conditions are so severe that there is a very real danger of more fires and with that danger, the possibility of lives lost, particularly with less experienced canoeists and campers who are not extremely familiar with the area. The second reason is that firefighters are stretched to the maximum battling existing blazes, some of which threaten both homes and human lives. Please pray for the backcountry rangers paddling from campsite to campsite to complete the BWCA evacuation. Please pray for the firefighters from all over the country battling wind and drought-driven flames in sometimes treacherous terrain. (And while this post is about northern Minnesota, please pray for the firefighters everywhere who risk their lives to protect lives, animals, land, and homes) Please pray for the livelihoods of the folks in this tourist-oriented economy. BWCA guides and outfitters, in particular, are finding themselves having to either re-route trips or refund them. Because of cancellations, businesses in the entry towns may be struggling with poorer than average sales. On the heels of last year's COVID closures, this has the potential to be disastrous. So thank you for your thoughts and prayers. As the fires wane, please consider a trip to this beautiful country. (I currently live in the south of the state and have no vested business interests in this area, apart from a few books, my heart just aches for these towns and their residents). And, finally, please pray for rain. Thank you!
Second, please pray for the economy in northern Minnesota to normalize. (Actually this is a problem impacting the entire country). Many of our favorite places to go and enjoy up north were unavailable to us because the owners/managers can't find people to employ. This, in turn, causes customers to either get very cranky at wait times, or simply to turn away and never come back. Both of these scenarios are detrimental to everyone concerned. It is not my intent to get into a political discussion, I am simply asking for prayer, for our nation, and for my beloved northern Minnesota. I want others to be able to share the beauty and fun of this area. I hope that future generations will be able to stand beside a tent in the Boundary Waters and say with me 'I can breathe up here!' I pray that those who have invested sweat, money, and tears in local businesses will see the fruit of their labor realized (especially when folks walk in their front door and say "this is the most beautiful place I've ever seen!") None if this will happen if people don't support the local economy with their belief in it and with their labor. Enough said, please pray.
Third, and about this I want to be very clear. If you want to make an autumn or winter trip up the north shore of Lake Superior or to Ely, Minnesota, or anywhere in northeast Minnesota, do it! While the BWCA is currently closed, there are miles of waterways on pristine rivers and lakes to be paddled (and outfitters willing to show you all the best spots), there are hiking trails and miles of lakeshore just waiting for the imprint of your hiking boots, there are art galleries, restaurants, and lodges occupying some of the most beautiful real estate on the planet. Lighthouses, history, fishing, kayaking, and quiet can still be found in abundance. Just be patient if service takes a bit longer than usual, and enjoy this land and people that I feature in my books.
In Him. For Him. Through Him.