Tuesday, December 16, 2008

French Pond Road Podcast

Take a listen to this week's podcast of French Pond Road...

"She'd thought of herself as a mover and shaker, hired by Bert's Ski Peak as a Marketing and Events Planner at the tender age of thirty-two..."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ice Storm

Powerful again after three days of camping. Thank God for the wood stoves and charades. Our tenants, Bill and Lisa, toughed it out. Bill grew up on a farm in Maine, and, when he's not drinking, is pretty cool. How their water pipes did not freeze I have no idea. Yesterday we bought a X-mas tree and decorated it. Michael went out on his 1st ever date with a girl, watched her ice skating recital at the Tri-town rink. Stephanie did Santa Baby and afterwards her grandparents took them both out to Friendly's. When he came back, Susan and I were in the living room with the candles on. He came in and said, "This house is nice," the first time he's ever had anything good to say about his home in the modern era.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

First snow

Here we are in front of the barn posing for the X-mas card. It's snowing and today I stayed home from work to get some stuff done on the local energy committee, writing the minutes and thinking about what we're actually trying to get done there. I'm also organizing a renewable energy forum in january with a professor at the local college, and today I did some telephoning around to get speakers for it.

The one car broke down, water pump seized up and last night it wouldn't start in the cold and after jump starting it and racing it down the road to Bradford suddenly the belt stopped shrieking, the lights did something funny and I knew something was not right. So today I had a chance to pick Eve up at dance class, see her do a cartwheel for Miss Dee Dee and then take Michael to his wrestling practice in our remaining vehicle.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Audio Podcast French Pond Road

A lot of water under the bridge. Back at work, the frenzied factory setting where the youth pass through the gauntlet. Times are hard, which means we come down harder on them. The shit, after all, rolls down the hill.

There's a new president elect, a new breeze blowing. but it might not be enough to stave off the shit hitting the fan, to continue with my bodily wastes metaphor, of our cankered and cancerous body politic. In the end, though, we will emerge a better nation, more aligned with the good.

Here's my two bits again. If this works, the theory is I will be broadcasting a weekly installment of French Pond Road, in the authentic quavering voice of the self-published author. You heard it here first.

Monday, August 11, 2008

French Pond Road Launch Extended

Here's the news release which went out today:

New Hampshire Author Extends Marketing Launch of Inspirational Road Novel

HOPE MOUNTAIN PRESS, (Henniker, NH) -- New Hampshire author Anthony Catlin announced today that due to interest from readers he was extending the launch of a road novel hailed as inspirational.

The novel, French Pond Road, is the story of a father and son reunited after sixteen years, and is published by Hope Mountain Press. The marketing launch, originally scheduled on July 31, featured a package of bonus gifts offered by experts and authors along with the purchase of one copy of French Pond Road.

“I’m very pleased by how it’s done so far. Many people have contacted me and asked to have the offer put up again,” said Catlin.

Responding to the interest, which saw sales of the book steadily grow since the end of last month, Hope Mountain Press extended the package of bonus gifts through the end of August.

The novel has garnered critical praise for its vivid characters and uplifting message of redemption and hope against the odds. Catlin is a writer and high school teacher in New Hampshire and is also the author of a previous novel, Birdman, published by Trafford Press in 2001.

Both novels feature Billy Kagan, an itinerant roofer who struggles with a legacy of youthful crimes and peccadilloes, including losing contact with his wife and child. He has found some peace of mind and a semblance of order in middle age while living in a trailer on the edge of a state park in central New Hampshire. His way of life is interrupted when his son, following in his father’s delinquent footsteps, appears in his driveway on a motorcycle with his Venezuelan girlfriend in tow.

“It’s about how both father and son struggle with their own self-images in the course of coming to grips with their love and need for each other,” said Catlin.

Authors and experts featured with bonus gifts in the French Pond Road sales offer include creativity expert Mark Fox, personal coach and spiritual mentor Sandy Schussel, parenting consultant Vanessa Van Petten, psychiatrist Dr. LesliBeth Wish, and sustainability expert Roy Morrison. More information can be found at http://www.frenchpondroadoffer.com.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Go to French Pond Road this summer

Today is the day. Launched a marketing campaign for French Pond Road. Here's the email announcement:

Dear friends,

Sometimes an opportunity comes along that can change your life. This summer, author Anthony Catlin's book French Pond Road is just such an opportunity. Read this book and uncover the secrets of joy, parenting and simplicity that lie within.

And today only, when you buy French Pond Road, you will get a package of bonus gifts that will truly help you unlock your potential, overcome your fears, become better parents, friends, brothers and sisters and partners and learn how to transform our world from within.

So go here now and tap into your inspiration:


Friends, this is a package not to be passed up. We all need inspiration, and especially in today's changing world, with all its trials and tribulations, this story of men and women overcoming the obstacles that block them from their passions in life will be a memorable read. Learn more about French Pond Road.


Here's what reviewers are saying about French Pond Road.

"French Pond Road is a terrific road novel, populated with characters whose lives are hard, delusional and totally worth fighting for. Normal folk, in other words. Like the best road novels, French Pond Road is less about the journey than about the people who skid out on the turns…

Catlin is a moralist, in the same way that Tolstoy was a moralist. Like characters in the Russian master's novels, the cast of French Pond Road are serfs—tied to the great land of America, North and South—who toil and suffer in the belief that God is good, if distant, and that life's never-ending pains in the ass are redeemable by a simple awareness of one's own soul."

Philip Herter writes from New York.

This is summer magic. So take a trip this summer. To a place of hardship and inspiration. To a place like life itself. French Pond Road


And as if that was not enough, Anthony Catlin is joined today by nationally and world renowned experts in the fields of human potential and sustainability who are offering some of their most valuable ideas and expertise to help you.

Act now, and when you buy French Pond Road you will be able to receive a package of bonus gifts worth thousands of dollars that you can begin to apply immediately!


Here are some of the partners of French Pond Road:

Mark L. Fox is a leading authority on teaching practical creative thinking techniques. Some of Mark's unique accomplishments include receiving NASA's highest recognition of "Launch Honoree" at the age of 23, and being the youngest person promoted to the position of Chief Engineer on the Space Shuttle program at the age of 31. Mark's interest in creative thinking dates back to the early days of his career when good, practical, creative thinking training simply couldn't be found. Over the years, Mark has developed a unique and practical creative thinking program that really works.

Vanessa Van Petten says: "As an author, entrepreneur and life trainer, I have dedicated my life to helping parents and teenagers mend their relationships. After witnessing many of my friends from high school and college ruin their lives with drugs and alcohol, I learned that most of their anger stemmed from poor relationships with their parents. I believe that by helping bridge the communication gap and providing safer activities for teens, generation Y will grow up to be happier and healthier adults."

Sandy Schussel was an unhappy attorney whose life almost ended at 41. Now he helps people who feel stuck, frustrated and burnt out find and capture their dreams. Sandy has helped hundreds of people figure out what they really want in their lives, develop a plan to go get it, and take action on that plan.

Dr. LesliBeth Wish is nationally recognized for her groundbreaking work with women's relationship, career and childhood abuse issues, as well as her work with soldiers and their families. She offers sound, research-based relationship advice that is unique, innovative and fun - and makes sense. Her areas of expertise include issues such as smart dating, women's relationship advice, divorce, career and workplace advice, happy family advice, post-traumatic stress, stress management, holiday stress, sexual dysfunction and leadership training.

Roy Morrison is a life-long activist, writer and poet working on sustainability issues and moving from an industrial to an ecological society. His previous books include We Build the Road as We Travel, and Ecological Democracy.

This offer expires at 12:00 pm EST Aug. 1, 2008.

Buy French Pond Road today and be on the road to changing your life.



Hope Mountain Press

810 Ray Road

Henniker, NH 03242

Monday, June 23, 2008

Midsummer Night Dreaming

The coyote howl always means something is up. There's a shift in the wind, the tide has turned in some imperceptible way. It means listen. At three in the morning, the dark side of the night, at the turn of the year there is hunger. Life climbs higher in search of sun, blood and satisfaction.
The coyote is supposed to be indistinguishable from the Eastern Timber Wolf genetically. Smaller than the gray wolf, its howl is higher pitched. But the common appeal to chaos is unmistakable.
The wild is the opposite of what is good. It wants disorder, destruction, tearing down the boundaries. We are supposed to get in touch with our wild side, acknowledging there are some things in us, our past, that are unspeakable, unnameable, indecent. But to be honest, the wild is anathema to us, it is what we are against. And the howl of the wild dog raises hackles because it is a language we still understand.
But listen closely. There is a nobility, an honesty in what the coyote sings. Co-existence and mutual respect are a good thing and that is how the wild and the human depend on each other. When I hear a coyote howl, it thrills me to know that the woods are alive. As long as they stay away from my sheep, everything is okay.
I am reading a book called A Fighter's Heart by Sam Sheridan - Nietzschean in a comfortable globalized jet setting way. It is about the world of ultimate fighting. In it Sheridan quotes a jiu jitsu master saying "everything fights". The universe is framed in such a way that conflict and struggle are part of life

Monday, April 21, 2008

Looking forward to decrepitude

There's something about planting a tree that makes you feel good about the future. Despite the dire predictions of global catastrophe, and the increasing likelihood that nothing will be done to avert the worst, (at least not if recent polls showing Americans remain largely apathetic about the threat are correct), you plant a tree and you feel that somehow everything's going to be all right. Planting 80 trees, however, is a bit of lunacy that leaves most sane people quaking in their boots. Not this boy, though, for whom staring into the dark cavern of bodily and mental failure from now on means getting one day closer to the sight of spreading apple trees putting out their lovely and life-giving fruit. The setup for grafting involved receiving shipment of scion wood (varieties including Northern Spy, Starkey, Liberty, Canadian Strawberry, Black Oxford, Cox's Orange, Keepsake, etc. ) and root stock - Antonovka standards - splicing them together with bench grafts, and wrapping up the work with protective plastic tape and a coating of emulsion. Nothing beyond the skills of anyone with experience of any sort of manual work and a minimum of dexterity with a whittling knife. Now they sit in the nursery bed through the summer, fall and winter to be planted into their permament locations out in the old cow pasture next year.

Speaking of eternal optimism, just caught the end of a Michael Moore interview on Canadian radio where he endorses Obama and expresses disgust at the turn of the Democratic primary. All i can say is what did anyone expect? This is a competition for the most pwerful position on the globe, and when push comes to shove the gloves will come off. Any of the three candidates you would think would put America back on track after the disaster of the Bush years. For the teenagers I teach, this is all heady stuff, but for me, I am tending my trees and thinking of The Who. I get on my knees and pray...we don't get fooled again.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Snow day in March

Wet, sticky snow, the Inuit undoubtedly have a word for it - the kind that sticks to things like Velcro, turning everything into a reverse negative of itself; that's the stuff we've got here this morning. Everyone is sick of it by now, although it's beauty is undeniable. I love the silence as it falls, a testimony to the temporary state of noise and the timelessness of a vacuum. We're living inside one of those magical crystal balls again, but we've had enough, thank you. Send it to the Wilkinson Ice Shelf, which is in danger of falling off and adding fuel to the fire of a warming planet.

Maple syrup producers are happy; snow cover in March delays budding on the maple trees. Last winter there was no snow to speak of and the maples budded in early February, drying off the run of sap. The snow insulates the roots, keeping them cool, the way it's supposed to be, apparently.

But we used to plant out our potatoes by St. Patrick's when we lived in West Cork. We want to dig, smell the beautiful rich smell of black earth as the spade turns it up. We have some leggy leek and cabbage seedlings on the kitchen and dining room windowsills, some potato seed in the basement in a couple plastic Walmart bins with holes punched in them for air. Everything's primed for spring, but old man winter ain't giving up that easily, this year. Good for him, I say. Deep down I'm always sad when the last of the snow goes. It makes me think of Frosty the Snowman melting. Even though I know he comes back again some day, part of me isn't ready for goodbyes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Running Out the Clock

Went out for a run after work today. Still a foot of snow on the ground. Thought about the story I'm working on at the moment, how to layer the plots so one frame, the abduction, fades out, as the survival frame takes over - the relationships among the various people who have been kidnapped by the terrorist, the unlikely heroism, etc. Need to include a character, maybe a woman who is a struggling artist dealing with issues of personal identity and authentic expression. Maybe she can be found at a gas station, an unlikely situation, while they are on their way north to Vermont.

I find that I have very clear ideas of plot and character development often while I'm running and then by the time I have a chance to write them down they have usually faded. Still, all it takes is a couple of notes usually jotted down at the top of the page I am working on to jog my memory later, sometimes weeks or months later while I am rereading or editing.

Ordered seven different types of scionwood, a total of eighty trees to be grafted and eventually planted out, our small apple orchard, from Fedco in Maine. They should arrive sometime in April, about the time I have a break from teaching for a week. By then the lambs will almost all be born also. Stay tuned for pictures. The Icelandic ewes we have, this is our fourth lambing season, are very self-reliant and have never had difficulties birthing, although our oldest ewe, Sadie, developed mastitis and had problems nursing last year and we had to put her down. A cruel business, but not as harsh as watching her lambs die two years in a row. We tried bottle feeding, but it was not enough to keep them healthy.

Promotion for French Pond Road continues. The print edition should be out sometime soon after some technical glitches with the cover and then available through the website and Amazon. Watch this space.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

March Madness

Home sick from work with the flu; with four feet of snow outside by the woodshed, it hardly feels like spring is anywhere near. Not much writing lately either, which always maks me feel down. Just read Timothy Egan's opinion piece in the NYT with St. Patrick's day around the corner, typically maudlin view of what constitutes identity. The soul of suffering is universal and not endemic to any race or people. But it is what makes us tick, therefore I welcome my sickness and yesterday felt almost alive walking up hill against the wind, feeling the shivers down my back. I couldn't get warm. Then my son Michael came running up the hill after me and when i turned and saw him coming, I realized my self-pitying was selfish and I needed to reach out and I did as he ran by.

Glad to see French Pond Road available on the Kindle at Amazon. The wave of the future is here my friends. Ernest Hebert, venerable dean of New Hampshire writers, has one. See The Valley News, Wednesday march 12 edition.

Without risk there is no faith -- S. Kierkegaard

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

French Pond Road

My second novel published this month by Hope Mountain Press. Billy Kagan back in the saddle, so to speak. I'm not expecting a barrage of sales, but it would be nice to see some support. In case anybody's interested, the ebook is available for download and the print edition will be soon, hopefully. It took me three years to write and revise, so this is all a kind of anti-climax. But it is nice to see the characters take on a life of their own outside of my study and my head. Hope Mountain Press might just issue a reprint of Birdman, at least in ebook format. Their website: