Saturday, July 13, 2013


Detroit Harbor, Washington Island -

Over the past number of years while working on projects, each with its own immediacy, I've sat on an idea for a book on Rock Island and its one-time owner C. H. Thordarson.

I had many materials on Thordarson and a notion of how best to use them, but I didn't have sufficient time or confidence to give it the concentration and the push needed to finish such a project.  That changed when I decided to step back from daily duties at the Ferry Line January 1st, and since then I've been concentrating on this history, now titled Thordarson and Rock Island.   Of course, I'm still actively working for the Ferry Line, and the warmer weather and tourism of summer mean I have added responsibilities of operating the Karfi a few days each week in Jackson Harbor and driving tours on the Cherry Train.  But I'm far enough along with the book that those days come as welcomed breaks, allowing me to step back from what becomes obsessiveness to finish what I've started.

Book will be soft cover and will include
over 100 historic images, maps and illustrations.

The time involved to complete this book became far greater than I dreamed.  First, it took me time just to get going, to convince myself I was on the right track, and to make sense of the whole.  New questions cropped up that needed answers, and they were often left hanging (some will never be answered).  As early as March, the endless but essential task of editing began.  I've been fortunate to have the help of a number of friends with a qualifying background (they like to read!), eager to offer comment on what started out as very rough copy.  Through their collective comments the manuscript has become much smoother and easier to read, I believe, vastly improved from both accuracy and grammatical standpoints.  However, that editing is still going on today, with two, final "readers" lending their sharp eyes and minds to necessary corrections.

Although publication was already set back several times, the project is now much closer to print-ready.  But I've said all of this before...and then reset my own deadline.  But deadlines are the only way to bring reality to such a lengthy and multi-headed project, and I need to give several weeks' lead time to the printer.   At the same time, I want a product that won't cause me to cringe later due to egotistical blunders and grammatical errors.

In addition to volunteer readers, Amy Jorgenson is doing my digital page graphics for a printer-ready file.  I coordinate my ideas and edits with Amy.  With so many steps involved, I'm not planning on a sequel.   I hope this one will be a book readers will find informative, enjoyable and error-free.

A sample page:

Added to my research and the writing portion of this book project is the fact that early on I decided the surest way to get this to print would be to self-publish.   While I've done this sort of thing before, this time the steps were multiplied and they were larger steps that ended up stretching my time and my resources.   Along with the decision to be my own publisher, I also take on responsibility for marketing the finished product.  In this, I've been fortunate to have many local readers and the bookshops to sell books to motivated readers, but for this topic on Thordarson I wanted greater reach.

To this end, I wanted my own website to promote book information, sales and marketing, and so I asked Courtney Cauldwell, an Island resident, to help me set this up.

Yesterday, Friday, this website was officially opened at:

I would encourage you to look at my new website.  Sales of two previous books are also offered, but please note that until later in August the Rock Island book will not be available.  At a future date, advance orders will be taken.  But not yet, please!   I'd like to assure everyone that a product is in hand before commitment is made to an order.

In the middle of the final editing and publishing process is a trip Mary Jo and I have planned to visit England, to view crop circles among other things.  This trip was decided on a winter's whim back in January when the snow was flying and I still had great optimism this book would have been to the printer and back again by now, with a pallet of boxes awaiting orders in my basement.  But not so, as it turned out.   The time to see crop circles is when grain fields are mature, in late July and early August in Wiltshire County.  Nearby are the Standing Stones and many other ancient stone circles, mounds and monuments of earlier civilization.

We're committed to this trip, just as I am committed to finishing this book!

 -  Dick Purinton

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