News and Notes

August, 2016, Mark Twain Forum approves of Diamond Jubilee

I can't speak for any other writers, but when I'm working on a book I often find myself writing to some specific audience. This is a more or less involuntary process; as I write, it just dawns on me where I seem to be aiming the book. Usually the audience I have in mind is a fairly specific group of people, and once or twice it's even been an individual.

I imagine that people in the publishing industry would warn me that having such a narrow focus isn't necessarily good for sales, but there it is. It's how I seem to do it. More important, it's how I like to do it, and I'm not sure I could change if I tried.

When I was writing Diamond Jubilee, my recent Sherlock Holmes/​Mark Twain novel, if I had any specific audience in mind, I was especially hopeful that the book would find its way to enthusiastic readers of Mark Twain, and, of course, that some of them might like it. A recent review of the book gives me hope that they will.

One of the great clearing houses of news and information for Mark Twain readers and scholars is the Mark Twain Forum, a very hospitable website (http:/​/​www.twainweb.net) that provides a spectacular array of Twain-related services, including many reviews of the continuous flood of new books relating to Mark Twain. As a happy member and steady reader of the Mark Twain Forum, getting a good review from them was about as far as my hopes could go for Diamond Jubilee.

So I was really tickled when, on August 29, the Forum published a kind and thoughtful review by veteran historical novelist, Tim Champlin, whose perspective, based on a long successful career writing novels, means a lot to me. Among other things, he said that "This is a fun read. Paul Schullery is an accomplished professional. He has a smooth narrative style that moves the story along while providing all the small asides and details necessary to picture what is happening and to feel the elation, pain, fear, and confusion of the characters." I worked very hard at setting the right mood for Diamond Jubilee, especially in getting the tone, setting, and details right, and I'm delighted that Mr. Champlin approved: "Paul Schullery is a novelist who does all the little things right. For an author who writes historical fiction, using small details correctly and in the right proportion is critical to creating a world where a reader can find a comfortable escape," adding later that "Paul Schullery has done his homework and does not disappoint. The mannerisms, dialogue, dress and habits of both men are correct down to the last detail."

So, my thanks to the Forum and to Mr. Champlin. If you'd like to read the full review, it's here: http:/​/​www.twainweb.net/​reviews/​DiamondJubilee.html

June, 2016, Diamond Jubilee, a new Sherlock Holmes novel, teams Holmes and Watson with Mark Twain during Queen Victoria's historic jubilee celebration.

I've always been an enthusiast of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and I often thought it would be fun to write one. It turns out I was right; it's a great treat to write a story in the Holmes tradition. Writing Diamond Jubilee was even more fun than writing The Time Traveler's Tale. The original Holmes stories, the so-called "canon," have become the heart of an immense body of literature用astiches, parodies, tributes, and a host of studies both light-hearted and intensely scholarly葉hat testify to the joyous fascination we have with our friends at 221B, Baker Street.

The adventure begins in June, 1897, on the eve of the greatest celebration in the history of London葉he Diamond Jubilee of Her Royal Highness Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom and Empress of India. At 221B Baker street, happy anticipation of the event is shattered when an alarmed Samuel Clemens bursts in and informs Holmes and Watson that his life is threatened by a bizarre international conspiracy. Holmes, Watson, and Clemens spend the frantic final days before the Jubilee discovering that the conspiracy is much worse than Clemens imagined. The very fate of the Empire is at stake. Replete with brilliant Holmesian insights and London underworld adventuring, Diamond Jubilee features a host of colorful Victorian characters, including a bewitching London "crime queen," British Prime Minister Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Mycroft Holmes, Scotland Yard's best and worst, the Baker Street Irregulars (themselves infiltrated by unknown sinister elements), and thousands of the most appalling rats.

November, 2015, Marsha's Art from Paul's Books: need a print/​card/​t-shirt/​tote bag/​shower curtain?

My spouse and best friend, Marsha Karle, and I are pleased to announce that Marsha's new website, marsha-karle.artistwebsites.com, features lots of her pencil drawings and watercolors that appeared in my books. All of these images, plus many other superb watercolors by Marsha, can be ordered in a great variety of print formats, as well as cards, t-shirts, tote bags, and even (I'm not making this up) shower curtains!

It's been great fun to see all this wonderful art made available in so many ways; we've checked out the quality of these things and we're really impressed. Marsha is busily posting more of the images from Yellowstone Bear Tales; This High, Wild Country; The Rise; Royal Coachman; and other books that we've worked on together.

To go directly to Marsha's website, just click on the link to "Marsha Karle Fine Art" on my home page.

February, 2015, Past and Future Yellowstones published by the University of Utah Press

My Wallace Stegner Lecture, "Past and Future Yellowstones: Finding Our Way in Wonderland," which presented in March, 2014, at the Nineteenth Annual Symposium of the University of Utah's Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment, has just been published. The folks at the University of Utah Press have done a lovely job transforming an extended version of the lecture into a handsome little book (or a booklet, depending upon your definition of a book), which should be available soon and is already listed on Amazon.com and elsewhere.

It was a great honor to be invited to give this important lecture, and I'm very excited about it having an additional life and audience beyond that of the Symposium. The lecture gave me a great opportunity to synthesize and summarize some of my recent thinking on the history and fate of national parks, as exemplified by Yellowstone. I'm very pleased with how the book came out; I even got to add a few of my own photographs to ornament the text a little.

October, 2014, Induction into the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame

In October, 2014, the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum, in Livingston Manor, New York did me the astonishing honor of inducting me into the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame, stating that "Paul Schullery, fly-fishing's preeminent historian, has been a pioneer of the study of the cultural foundations of our sport and the values upon which it depends. As a lifelong professional conservationist, he has effectively championed a host of natural resources, all of which related to the protection of the fly fisher's world. As a writer he has published path-breaking literary and scholarly explorations of the richness of the fly-fishing experience."

To my lasting disappointment, the day of the induction ceremony Marsha and I were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on a long-planned and non-adjustable trip, so I was unfortunately unable to attend. Luckily, a friend, New Yorker George Black, author of several excellent books on conservation, natural history, and trout fishing, was kind enough to stand in for me and accept the honor on my behalf. A few days later, after our ship landed in New York, Marsha and I drove directly to the Catskills to visit with the wonderful folks there and thank them for this great honor. This fun visit did help make the whole thing seem a little more real to me, but it was still hard to imagine that I was really seeing my name on a plaque among the plaques of the genuinely great names from the sport's history. All I could say was "amazing" and be grateful for the stupendous compliment.

For more about the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame and the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum, a fine institution that richly deserves the support of the fly-fishing community, go to http:/​/​www.catskillflyfishing.org

Spring, 2014, happy reviews of The Fishing Life

The Fishing Life, published in 2013, has received some very nice early reviews. Writing in the Spring, 2014 issue of The American Fly Fisher, Jim Merritt, angling historian and scholar of the American West, says that "Paul Schullery is unique among contemporary authors who write about fly fishing. He is not a fly-fishing writer per se, but a historian, naturalist, and philosopher whose fishing informs his writing but isn't always central to it. He is difficult, maybe impossible, to pigeonhole and emphatically not a writer of the how-to, where-to variety." These are apparently traits that Mr. Merritt approves of, as his review is a generous and supportive summary of many of the points I make and stories I tell in the book.

A thoughtful review in Montana Quarterly is likewise very complimentary, concluding that "Schullery's passion for wild landscapes and wild fish runs through every page of this collection, and his close attention to the details of the natural world reminds us of all that we love about being outdoors."

March, 2014, delivering the Wallace Stegner Lecture at the University of Utah

On March 26, it was my great honor to deliver the annual Wallace Stegner Lecture at the Nineteenth Annual Symposium of the University of Utah's Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment, "National Parks: Past, Present and Future." My lecture, entitled "Past and Future Yellowstones: Finding Our Way in Wonderland," was a rumination on the many purposes to which Yellowstone has been put since its founding, and how those purposes have broadened and deepened over time.

I was as grateful to be able to attend this extraordinary conference as to be invited to deliver the lecture. It was an exciting gathering of some of the brightest and most influential people in the park business today, which meant that it was a welcome opportunity for Marsha and me to renew some great old acquaintances.

I am especially pleased to report that the lecture will be published as a small book by the University of Utah Press next winter.

Winter, 2014, This High, Wild Country praised and featured in the premier issue of the University of Montana Crown of the Continent and Greater Yellowstone E-Magazine

Marsha and I were delighted when the editors of UM's gorgeous new e-magazine asked if they could feature our book This High, Wild Country: A Celebration of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park in their first issue. This includes both a review of the book and a showcase of the book's art and text.

Magazine Co-editor Jerry Fetz begins his review by describing the book as "'the gift that keeps on giving,'葉o the International Peace Park, to all of us in love with this spectacular, rich, and complex piece of nature, and to all of us who have the good fortune of taking this book into our hands and beginning our adventure with it." He concludes that our book "is a real star in the ever-growing list of important publications" about these magnificent parks, and encourages everyone "to buy it for yourselves or as gifts for others who already know or should get to know the fascinating international park."

Co-editor Fetz's gratifying review is followed by a full six-page spread featuring many of Marsha's beautiful watercolors様andscapes, local scenes, flowers, wildlife, even one of the park's famous red buses庸rom the book, accompanied by excerpts from my text.

A great advantage of an e-magazine is that you don't have to stack up the back issues in your basement; you can just sign on to its website and enjoy any back issue you like. So take a look at this wonderful combination review and art feature, and get to know this beautiful new e-magazine about our region while you're at it:

http:/​/​issuu.com/​um_crown_gye/​docs/​crown_of_the_continent_and_greater__fa97bedc25c8ea

December 20, 2013: Yellowstone Bear Tales highly recommended in review in Ranger

Yellowstone Bear Tales received a splendid review in Ranger, the journal of the Association of National Park Rangers. Reviewer Rick Smith, former president of the Association of National Park Rangers and the International Ranger Federation, described the book as ""a fun read . . . . Schullery, a former Yellowstone employee, has collected some of the best bear stories from Yellowstone's history. His research took him to the park archives, into extended conversations with park historians and bear management specialists, and to area newspapers for the stories themselves. A real bonus in this book are the sketches of bears done by Paul's wife, Marsha Karle, an award-winning nature artist and former Yellowstone employee. Also included are numerous historic photographs that illustrate the attitudes that people, including rangers themselves, had toward bears. It's a fascinating glimpse." Rick concluded that "I highly recommend its purchase."

The full review can be seen in Ranger, the Journal of the Association of National Park Rangers 30(1), Winter 2013-2014, page 23.

December 1, 2013: Yellowstone Bear Tales excerpted in Big Sky Journal

Most people in our region are familiar with Big Sky Journal, one of the most popular and handsome magazines published in the American West. I'm especially pleased that they've chosen to feature several chapters from Yellowstone Bear Tales in their winter issue, on newsstands now. The article includes some of the great historical photographs from the book, as well as the cover of the book, featuring Marsha's wonderful watercolor portrait of a big male grizzly bear.

If you're interested in the book, here's an opportunity to read a few sample chapters.

Late Summer, 2013: American Bears receives splendid review in IBA Newsletter

The 2012 edition of American Bears: Selections from the Writings of Theodore Roosevelt has received a heartening and thoughtful review in International Bear News, the newsletter of the International Association for Bear Research and Management, the leading organization for bear researchers and managers. Reviewer Lance Craighead said that "this is a delightful little book that gives us a clear window into the beginnings of scientific game management in North America," adding, "This book is a fun read, and a great contribution to bear literature. I highly recommend it, not only for its information on bears, but for its insights on Theodore Roosevelt. It's hard to imagine any modern-day politicians, with their canned hunts, photo ops, and disregard for hunter safety, having a similar appreciation for the natural world."

For the full review, see International Bear News, Summer 2013, 22(2), 39.

September 5, 2013: Yellowstone Bear Tales now available on Amazon in paperback or in the Kindle edition

The new and greatly enlarged edition of Yellowstone Bear Tales is available in a handsome trade paperback and as a Kindle book through Amazon.com, as well as from local booksellers and other on-line booksellers.

It's always exciting to keep a good book alive; as long as there are new visitors showing up at Yellowstone's gates, there will be plenty of people to enjoy these vintage stories. Originally published in 1991, this collection of early accounts of Yellowstone bears outlived my earlier book The Bears of Yellowstone even though I always saw it as a companion volume for that more "important" book. People love bear stories, and this book contained scores of them, written by a great cast of early Yellowstone characters: explorers, hunters, tourists, rangers, naturalists, and pretty much anyone else who might have run into the park's bears back when they were more or less permanent residents around the park developments and along the roadsides. The book finally went out of print a few years ago, giving me the opportunity to revise and expand it to include quite a few new stories that I'd either not had room for last time or hadn't even been aware of twenty years ago.

It was especially satisfying to collaborate with my spouse, the gifted artist Marsha Karle, on this one. Marsha provided the dramatic cover portrait of a big grizzly bear, and many of the black-and-white illustrations in the book as well (for more on Marsha's work, go to her website, marsha-karle.artistwebsites.com).

For more information and an excerpt from Yellowstone Bear Tales click the book's title in the right-hand column, or see the Winter Issue of Big Sky Journal, which has excerpted several chapters and some of the historical photographs.

June 20, 2013: Reading and Signing for The Fishing Life

The nice folks at the Country Bookshelf, 28 West Main Street, here in Bozeman, hosted a get-together on June 20, 2013, at 7:00 p.m. I read some representative tales from The Fishing Life, and Marsha (the illustrator) and I both signed copies. Those of you who live in the Bozeman area know what a grand and important institution the Country Bookshelf has been in our community for the past couple generations. Marsha and I always look forward to whatever time we spend in that joyously bookish atmosphere. Our thanks to all of you who attended and so graciously listened, and laughed at almost all the right times. It was great to have time to visit with you afterwards, too. And thanks again to the Country Bookshelf.

May 3, 2013: Honorary doctorate from Ohio University

On May 3, my alma mater Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio, presented me with an honorary doctorate of letters at their graduate commencement, in recognition of my work as a writer and conservationist. This was one of those moments in life when you keep thinking, "There must be some mistake; surely something this nice was supposed to happen to someone else; but maybe if just keep my mouth shut I'll get away with it." (for more on the doctorate, go to Biography/​Honors and Awards).

Our time in Athens was a wonderful treat. Ohio University President McDavis and his staff were the most gracious of hosts. My mother, Judith Schullery, who lives in Lancaster about 45 miles from Athens, attended commencement, as did my brother Steve and spouse Nancy, who came down from Michigan for the festivities. One of many fun moments was during my thank-you remarks, when I introduced my mother and asked her to stand. An alert lighting technician instantly put a spotlight on her and several thousand people applauded heartily; she was delighted, and it was a high point for the family. Long-time Lancaster pals Deb and Dave Smith and Judy and Jim Edwards honored us by attending commencement, and the whole thing was just thrilling for me. We also got to spend nearly a day with our dear Athens friends Kate Fox and Bob DeMott, soaking up the beautiful spring weather and scenery of Athens.

Other New and Recent Books

2013: The Fishing Life: An Angler's Tales of Wild Rivers and Other Restless Metaphors

Books happen in many ways. This one happened because I finally accumulated enough of the right stories and essays on fishing to call it all a book. Over the past thirty years or so, in my rather scattershot approach to publishing I had put quite a few of my favorite fishing stories in books that weren't really aimed at fishermen. I had long hoped that some day I could sweep up all that material and put it in a book that fishermen might notice. Just in the past year or so, the copyright stars finally realigned appropriately so I could do just that. The result, I'm told, amounts to more than one of those "uncollected works" sort of collections that we writers occasionally feel obligated to put out; instead, the chapters hang together in a winding, diffuse, and yet satisfyingly unified memoir of life spent in the company of some of the most famous (and obscure) trout waters of the country. I'm also pleased with it because it's my sixth collaboration with my spouse, Marsha Karle, who provided the charming chapter-opening pencil illustrations.

A chapter from The Fishing Life is previewed on Midcurrent, a swell fishing website at http:/​/​midcurrent.com/​books/​dithering-over-dogs. Another chapter appears in the August-September issue of Fly Fisherman magazine starting on page 64.

2012: The Time Traveler's Tale: Chronicle of a Morlock Captivity.

The whole process of doing this book was a hoot. I've been an enthusiastic science-fiction and fantasy reader since I was young and discovered many of the authors whose works we now regard as classics: Wells, Verne, Morris, Burroughs, Dunsany, Asimov, Tolkien, and many others. But H.G. Wells' The Time Machine was always a special favorite of mine, probably because, like so many other readers over the past century, I couldn't help wondering what happened next in that wonderful story; Wells' open-ended conclusion was so tantalizing that we couldn't help ourselves. So I decided to find out for myself by writing a sequel in which I preserved as much as I could of the voice, mood, and style of the original book. I was hardly the first to write a sequel to The Time Machine, and now that I've done it I better understand the attraction of doing such a thing. To immerse oneself in a universally admired story like that and try to combine the sensitivities of the original work with one's own is a daunting undertaking, but it's absorbing, even compelling, work. The Time Traveler's Tale is available in paperback and as a Kindle book on Amazon.com, where it currently enjoys a five-star rating.

2012, NEW EDITION: American Bears: Selections from the Writings of Theodore Roosevelt

I've always been especially fond of this collection. TR wrote vividly about hunting and natural history. In fact, his tone, style, and intensity were reminiscent of John Muir's wilderness books. But this book sticks in my memory for other quirkier reasons, too. For one thing, when it came out thirty years ago it had the odd publishing distinction of appearing simultaneously in editions from the University of Colorado and the Outdoor Life Book Club; this was not an easy audience overlap to achieve. Eventually, it moved to another publisher and after a nice long run it went out of print. I was pleased to revive it through the Authors Guild, whose members are entitled to resurrect out-of-print books through their Backinprint.com program. The cover of the new edition features a handsome historic late-Ninetenth Century engraving of a grizzly bear's head that my spouse Marsha Karle has hand-tinted beautifully with watercolors. It's a great effect.