Bird photographer to share photos, stories at Sundance Books and Music Tuesday evening

From a Sundance Books and Music news release

SierraWingsCover_smallAcclaimed bird photographer and author Marie Read will share photos and stories from her new book Sierra Wings: Birds of the Mono Lake Basin (Graphic Arts Books, 2014) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, at Sundance Books and Music. Participants will learn about the fascinating lives of the millions of birds that breed or migrate through this spectacular birding hotspot in California’s Eastern Sierra. Read will also show her photographic equipment and describe how she obtained some of the behavior and action shots in the book. Signed copies of her book will be available for purchase.

Mono Lake, one of the most important lakes for wildlife in North America, offers a vast food resource for breeding gulls and other birds in summer and an essential refueling stop for countless migrating shorebirds and grebes in autumn. David W. Winkler, ornithologist and cofounder of the Mono Lake Committee, invites us in his introduction to Sierra Wings to come wander this magical land.

The lake is an oasis in the dry Great Basin and a vital stop on the Pacific Flyway providing habitat for millions of migratory and nesting birds. By midsummer abundant alkali flies and brine shrimp provide an endless food supply while stream delta and near-shore wetland habitat also provide good bird habitat. Mono Lake is a small, integral part of the big migration picture. Because large numbers of phalaropes, gulls and grebes depend on the lake, along with approximately one hundred species of other birds, Mono Lake was designated as a part of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN).

Read’s images and articles have appeared in magazines such as Living Bird, Bird Watching, Nature’s Best, Birds & Blooms and National Wildlife as well as in books, calendars and websites. She has authored two previous books: Secret Lives of Common Birds: Enjoying Bird Behavior Through the Seasons (Houghton Mifflin, 2005) and Common Birds & Their Songs (with Lang Elliott, Houghton Mifflin, 1998).

Learn more at

This event is made possible through a partnership Nevada Humanities and with support from the Nightingale Family Foundation.

A quick look at ‘The River and the Railroad’

riverrailroadThe River and the Railroad: An Archaeological History of Reno by Mary Ringhoff and Edward J. Stoner

Genre: Nonfiction

My Synopsis: History of Reno and details of the archaeological study of the railroad trench excavation.

Publisher: University of Nevada Press, 2011

Format and Number of Pages: Hardback, 189 pages including notes and index

Where to Find: University of Nevada Press

How Much Read: Most

Comments: This is not light reading. Instead, it’s a scholarly presentation of Reno’s history, specifically in the area of the downtown railroad trench. It’s well researched, and I will keep this book to use as a reference. There are few photos, all black and white and mostly of the artifacts and dig sites. I wanted to go back through the Neal Cobb–Jerry Fenwick photo book while I was reading it.

“These are the layers that compose the Daylight site, a rare place containing evidence of more than 5,000 years of human activity. The site lay untouched beneath the Central Pacific Railroad tracks for 136 year until it was discovered in 2004.”

“Before the railroad came through, Reno’s location-to-be within the Truckee Meadows was fairly unremarkable and was definitely not urban. The area was home to members of the Washoe and Paiute tribes, ranchers, homesteaders, and entrepreneurs who operated small river crossings and supply stations for emigrants headed to California.”

“Reno’s history has changed dramatically in the past sixty years, and many of the buildings and features that provide connections with history have been obliterated.”

A quick look at ‘Hope Knocks Twice’

HopeHope Knocks Twice: An Emma Parks CPS Novel by J T Hume

Genre: Women’s contemporary

My Synopsis: Emma Parks, the main character, is a new CPS (Childrens Protective Services) worker. The structure of the book is her first week on the job. Accompanying her supervisor, she becomes involved with her co-workers, the people whose cases they follow and others in the system. Although each of her cases is a story in itself, the main story is about Emma’s developing confidence and the relationships she forms with her crusty supervisor and an irresistible police officer.

Publisher: Self

Format and Number of Pages: Kindle, 164 pages

Where to Find:

How Much Read: All

Comments: The setting is intended to be any city, but I did recognize a case from Carson City at the end.

Sure, do what you love, but…

loveWhen I read Marsha Sinetar’s Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow in the 1990s, it made sense to me. A few years later I quit my job and started a freelance technical editing business. I never made a living at it and crawled back to my old job a couple years later.

Oh, I gave my business everything I had. It didn’t come naturally to me, but I forced myself to make cold calls and network. I produced a brochure (do businesses still do that?) and wrote a monthly client newsletter. I landed a few good jobs, but they dried up. My specialty was editing documents for environmental and engineering consultants; there weren’t many of those in Northern Nevada, and they were sure they didn’t need an editor or could edit as well as I could. In those days when few were using email, my market was too small.

Over time I’ve realized that I’d seen what I wanted to see in Sinetar’s book–the parts about doing what you love. She certainly didn’t promise I’d make money doing it nor did she say how long it would take for the money to follow.

I’ve been seeing lots of people like me lately. Our sons, for example, are starving artists. (Well, they live on homemade pizza and fast food dollar items.) They build custom motorcycles using parts they make themselves and create metal and leather artwork. Their work has been in national and international motorcycle magazines and websites. Almost no one buys what they make.

It’s maddening for them. They’ve dreamed for years of being famous artists and often don’t feel any closer than when they started. They don’t understand how people can reject what they think is great. I asked them for input on this post, and one of them said, “It’s impossible to do what you love and appeal to a mass market.”

They do get praise, which means a lot to them, but how sincere is praise when no one buys their work? Pay is evidence of appreciation and vice versa.

I’m seeing lots of authors in the same position now that I’m doing Trembling Leaves and working at Booktrope. I have the same motherly feelings toward them, but I don’t have much comfort to give. Instead, here’s my advice:

First, keep doing what you love. You will be miserable if you don’t. I don’t agree with Samuel Johnson that “no man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.”

Second, have realistic expectations. Being a famous best-selling author would be a bonus; few reach that level, and (ahem) you have lots of competition. Some say, “Aim high! Reach for the stars! Don’t limit yourself! Do what you love, the money will follow!” I say, “Do your best and you might be surprised at what happens.”

Third, if you’re truly doing what you love, you’re writing your own story in your own genre in your own voice. Your work is unique and is likely to appeal mostly to readers who like the same kind of writing you do. Consider the possibility that there aren’t many like you. You have to figure out how to reach them, but you have a tool I was just beginning to use in the ’90s: the Internet.

Finally, appreciate the readers who do enjoy your work. Write more for them. Thank them for reading your books and appeal to them to help you with word-of-mouth marketing (maybe their friends like what they do). Don’t take them for granted while you’re worrying about the people who don’t appreciate you.

I’m impatient when I tell people I’m an editor and they reply, “I’d love to be a writer.” I want to scream, “Then write!” If only getting paid for it were as simple.

Author of ‘Who stole the American dream?’ to be in Reno Sept. 16

DreamBookCover.1231-173x259From a Sundance Books and Music news release

Bestselling author, Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter and Emmy Award–winning producer Hedrick Smith will sign and discuss his newest book at Sundance Books and Music next Tuesday. Who Stole the American Dream? has been hailed by critics for its brilliant analysis of political and economic trends and changes in the United States over the past 30-40 years.

Smith’s book is an eye-opening account of how, over the past four decades, the American Dream has been dismantled and we became two Americas. Smith takes us across America to show how seismic changes, sparked by a sequence of landmark political and economic decisions, have transformed America.

As only a veteran reporter can, Smith fits the puzzle together, starting with Lewis Powell’s provocative memo that triggered a political rebellion that dramatically altered the landscape of power from then until today.

This is a book full of surprises and revelations—the accidental beginnings of the 401(k) plan, with disastrous economic consequences for many; the major policy changes that began under Jimmy Carter; how the New Economy disrupted America’s engine of shared prosperity; the “virtuous circle” of growth, and how America lost the title of “Land of Opportunity.” Smith documents the transfer of $6 trillion in middle class wealth from homeowners to banks even before the housing boom went bust and how the U.S. policy tilt favoring the rich is stunting America’s economic growth.

The book is essential reading for all of us who want to understand America today, or why average Americans are struggling to keep afloat. Smith reveals how pivotal laws and policies were altered while the public wasn’t looking, how Congress often ignores public opinion, why moderate politicians got shoved to the sidelines and how Wall Street often wins politically by hiring over 1,400 former government officials as lobbyists.

Finally, Smith offers ideas for restoring America’s great promise and reclaiming the American Dream. This magnificent work of history and reportage is filled with the penetrating insights, provocative discoveries and the great empathy of a master journalist.

About the Author
Hedrick Smith has established himself over the past 50 years of his career as one of America’s most distinguished journalists. In 26 years with The New York Times, he covered Martin Luther King Jr and the civil rights struggle, the Vietnam War in Saigon, the Middle East conflict from Cairo, the Cold War from both Moscow and Washington and six American presidents and their administrations. In 1971, as chief diplomatic correspondent, he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team that produced the Pentagon Papers series. In 1974, he won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting from Russia and Eastern Europe. His book The Russians, based on his years as New York Times Moscow Bureau Chief from 1971 to 1974, was a No. 1 American best-seller. His next book, The Power Game: How Washington Works, was also a major best‐seller. His newest book, Who Stole the American Dream? was published by Random House in September 2012.

6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 16, Sundance Books and Music, 121 California Ave. Learn more at

This event is made possible through a partnership with the University of Nevada, Reno’s Reynolds School of Journalism and Nevada Humanities and with support from the Nightingale Family Foundation.