Friday, March 30, 2012

Barbara Ross

Barbara Ross’ first mystery novel The Death of an Ambitious Woman was published by Five Star/Gale/Cengage in August 2010. In addition to her novel writing, Barbara is one of the co-editor/co-publishers of Level Best Books, which publishes an annual anthology of crime stories by New England writers.  The most recent edition, Best New England Crime Stories 2012: Dead Calm, was published in November 2011. Barbara recently signed a contract with Kensington to write a mystery series about a young venture capitalist who returns to run her family’s clambake business in coastal Maine. The first book will be published in the fall of 2013.

Barbara blogs with the Maine Crime Writers, a wonderful group of Maine mystery authors including Kate Flora, Gerry Boyle, Paul Doiron, Kaityn Dunnett, James Hayman, Vicki Doudera, Lea Wait, Julia Spencer-Fleming and Sarah Graves at

In 2005, Barbara and her husband Bill Carito bought Bill’s mother’s home, the former Seafarer Inn at the head of the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. When they aren’t in Boothbay, Barbara and her husband live in Somerville, Massachusetts. They have two grown children.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Kate Shaffer

If you've ever had a fantasy of living on a Maine island, this book is for you. It,s just icing on the cake it that is also happens to involve chocolate. Kate Shaffer and her husband moved to remote Isle au Haut nearly seven years ago. Once there, they were inspired to open a chocolate company and cafe featuring delicious chocolate and fresh Maine ingredients. Now their products are shipped all over the world ~ and their island cafe is a true Maine destination. This armchair travel log and cookbook all in one describes the fantasies ~ and fantastic realities ~ of island life in Maine while featuring more than forty-five of Shaffer,s delicious recipes for her renowned chocolates and chocolate-inspired recipes from her seasonal cafe.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ardeana Hamlin

Ardeana Hamlin is the author of Abbott's Reach, the sequel to her novel Pink Chimneys. She also is the author of A Dream of Paris. In 'real life' she works for the Bangor Daily News where she writes the "By Hand" column and feature stories for the Lifestyle page.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Kevin C. Mills

Kevin C. Mills is a product of his own rich maritime history. A love of the ocean and its history has been passed down from numerous Mills generations.

One ancestor was a privateer. Others fought in the Revolution and led the charge at Bunker Hill. A great, great grandfather built the first three-masted schooner of its kind in New England. His great grandfather was the longest serving keeper at Goose Rocks Lighthouse in Penobscot Bay. His grandfather was an assistant keeper at the Rockland Breakwater.

Mills has researched that fascinating history extensively over the last decade. He spent over four years producing a book on his Mills family history. He followed that up with another lengthy project that chronicled the life of his grandfather. He has also transcribed diaries of both his grandfather and great grandfather, which included an account of life on a coastal schooner in 1883.

His two novels continue that work, shaping historical fiction out of his family history.

Sons and Daughters of the Ocean is the first novel for the award-winning journalist, who has spent nearly two decades covering sports from the high school to professional levels for many of New England's top newspapers.

This novel is based loosely on the maritime history of various ancestors. The characters are rooted in true life experiences from the age of sail and portray an accurate account of life many generations ago.

His most recent work, Breakwater, follows the Miller family generations later after Sons and Daughters of the Ocean. Though not a sequel to the first novel, a few characters make return appearances in Breakwater. It is a story of love, faith and tragedy as two members of the Miller family seek to understand the purpose of their lives.

Mills, voted Best Author in the Portland Phoenix online reader’s poll in 2011, also has a nonfiction work called Sidelined. It is a collection of offbeat adventures and experiences from his award-winning journalism career. He provides the story behind the story while taking readers to the sidelines of sports reporting.

Mills is a native of Gorham, Maine and graduated from Gorham High School. He earned an English degree and a minor in Biblical Studies at Gordon College in Wenham, Mass.

After working extensively for the college newspaper, where he was a writer and sports editor, Mills embarked on a career in sports journalism.

While in college, he covered high school sports for the Boston Globe, was the sailing writer for the Lynn Daily Evening Item and covered local sports for the Portland Press Herald.

In 1992, he began working for the Lewiston Sun Journal. In addition to being the regular beat writer for the Portland Pirates for 10 years, he has also been responsible for the paper’s award-winning coverage of women’s sports, including soccer, basketball and softball.

He has also freelanced for a variety of other newspapers and magazines.

During his sports journalism career, he has been recognized on numerous occasions by the Maine Press Association and the New England Press Association. He earned awards from the MPA seven times in eight years.

He has also been honored by the Maine Basketball Coaches Association and the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Darcy Scott

Darcy Scott is a former symphony orchestra marketing director who works as a freelance writer and marine industry publicist when she’s not off adventuring. An experienced ocean cruiser who lives on her sailboat in Kittery, Maine much of the year, she’s sailed to Grenada and back on a whim, island-hopped through the Caribbean, and been struck by lightning in the middle of the Gulf Stream. Her favorite cruising ground remains the coast of Maine, however, and her appreciation of the history and rugged beauty of its sparsely populated out-islands serves as the inspiration for Matinicus and the other novels in her Island Mystery Series. She recently completed book two, Reese’s Leap, and is currently drafting the last of the trilogy. Her debut novel, Hunter Huntress, was published in June, 2010 by Snowbooks, Ltd., UK. Learn more at

Friday, March 9, 2012

Author announcement: Lou Ureneck

CABIN was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the
Top 10 memoirs to hit stores in fall 2011.
Lou Ureneck was looking for something that would lift him from his gloom.  He had been city-bound for a decade, and was dealing with some of the usual disappointments of middle age—the loss of a job, the death of his mother, a health scare, climbing back from a divorce.  He needed a project that would engage the better part of him, one that would pull him from an uninspired state of mind. Being a lifelong outdoorsman, Ureneck realized that he was at his happiest when outside, working with his hands. In 2008, he purchased a five acre lot in rural western Maine near the New Hampshire border, and set his sights on building his dream cabin, aided by his brother, Paul. The cabin became the inspiration for Ureneck’s blog for The New York Times called “From the Ground Up,” and now the trials and tribulations of this two-year process are chronicled in his new book, CABIN: Two Brothers, a Dream, and Five Acres in Maine (On Sale: September 19, 2011; Viking; 978-0-670-02294-6; $25.95).

At first, Ureneck saw the cabin simply as a way to put some nature back into his life. However, as Ureneck and his brother spent more time together, working through endless problems during the construction process, he came to see that building the cabin was also a way for him to hold on to the most important pieces of himself, the memories he shared with his younger brother.  As Ureneck reveals the actual construction of the cabin—excavating, digging the foundation holes, and assembling the frame and the rafters—he also lovingly describes the bond that is renewed and strengthened between him and his brother, as well as his nephews, who tag along to help whenever they can. Ureneck writes tellingly of the landscape of his childhood, the New Jersey shore, where he caught crabs and trapped muskrats in the swamps, and of the struggle he and his brother had growing up in a poor household with no father and a mother who was constantly moving them from place to place. In building the cabin, Ureneck comes to realize that he is not just building himself a retreat from big-city life and its problems, he is building himself a “home,” a concept that had eluded him for most of his life.

CABIN is a beautifully written story about the evolving relationship of two brothers who are building their way to the far end of middle age and dealing with the issues those years present, such as loss, change, and the search for renewal. Ureneck also explores the satisfactions to be obtained from physical labor and the pleasure and emotional healing that can come from nature and country living, as well as drawing a portrait of the historical and cultural context of this specific corner of New England.

Lou Ureneck was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey.  A former newspaper editor at the Portland Press Herald in Maine and the Philadelphia Inquirer, he is now head of the journalism department at Boston University.  His first book, Backcast:  Fatherhood, Fly-fishing, and a River Journey Through the Heart of Alaska received the 2007 National Outdoor Book Award.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mystery novelist Gerry Boyle

Gerry Boyle is a crime/mystery novelist based in Maine. Gerry is a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose crime reporting has provided the raw material for his novels. Beginning in 1993, Gerry began writing mysteries featured Jack McMorrow, a former New York Times reporter transplanted to Maine (some might say exiled). In the books, McMorrow, his social worker partner Roxanne, and their ex-Marine commando friend Clair have explored Maine mill towns, country hideouts, and the Maine woods, often fighting their way back home. As Gerry says, “I never send Jack anywhere I haven’t been.” That means dispatching McMorrow to courtrooms, mill-town tenements, marijuana fields, jail cells, and police interrogation rooms. The McMorrow novels, beginning with DEADLINE (1993) and the ninth in the series, DAMAGED GOODS (2010) have been translated into several languages.

In 2009, Gerry launched a new series with the novel PORT CITY SHAKEDOWN, featuring young Brandon Blake, a Portland, Maine boat bum with a troubled past. Brandon has grown up on the water, raised by an alcoholic grandmother after his mother was lost at sea in a sailing accident. He’s decided that there are two things in life: right and wrong, with nothing in between. Brandon is tough beyond his years, hardened by life. From his aging cabin cruiser Bay Witch, he makes his way along the waterfront, attracting a lovely writer friend, Mia, and some nasty criminals.

This fall, the second Brandon Blake novel, PORT CITY BLACK AND WHITE, was published by Down East Books. In this novel, Brandon realizes his dream of joining the Portland P.D., with mixed results. The police cruisers are black and white but to Brandon’s surprise, even the world of cops is colored in many shades of gray.

Gerry recently completed his 10th Jack McMorrow novel, ONCE BURNED. He expects that book to be published in 2012. He plies his trade from a small village on a lake where he indulges his passions: books, boats, and birds.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Harry Gratwick

Harry Gratwick has been writing books about Maine since he retired from Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia, where he chaired the history department. Gratwick has also written extensively on maritime history for The Working Waterfront and the Island Journal, publications of Island Institute in Rockland.

Gratwick’s previous books have attracted favorable notices: Penobscot Bay, People, Ports and Pastimes, “An eclectic, entertaining collection told with an engaging style and a flair for storytelling”. Hidden History of Maine: “Author Harry Gratwick unearths some captivating stories about Mainers you probably haven’t heard about before.”  Mainers in the Civil War: “The experiences of its people, well told by a dedicated historian with a passion for his subject, have much to teach us today”. Harry’s fourth book, Stories from the Maine Coast was published in April of 2012.

Gratwick is a life-long summer resident of Vinalhaven Island in Penobscot Bay. He and his wife Tita spend the winter months in Philadelphia. Harry is a graduate of Williams College and has a master’s degree from Columbia University.  Read more about Harry at his website,