Sue Robishaw has thirty five years of magazine articles and six books to her credit, mostly from the forty years she and her husband, Steve Schmeck, have spent building and living on their off-grid Upper Peninsula Michigan homestead. Her life is full of variety and interest. A large organic garden and orchard provides most of their food and unending topics for her writing. All of the pieces of her world are woven together in a way that suits her belief in the joy of life -- gardening, homesteading, hiking, writing, watercolor, music, dance, community, and designing and knitting colorful wool socks for warmth and fun!
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Answering questions from readers, usually about gardening or various homesteading questions. I wrote regularly for "Countryside" magazine for 25 years and many of those articles are stil 'out there' (though I "retired" from that regular column a bit ago). That along with other articles, interviews, and presentations I've done, and the many articles and information on our website (www.manytracks.com). It all results in a fair amount of correspondence from readers. It's fun to hear from those who are contemplating or involved in similar projects or lifestyle to ours, whether they have questions or just want to share their experiences. Plus our original "Homesteading Adventures" has been around since 1997 and is still being read. So I think our (Steve and I share this impulse!) tendency to share what we've learned "markets" our books in a rather natural way.
Describe your desk
I'm sitting at an old light green drafting board "desk" whose painted service is getting rather rough and someday I'll get around to refinishing it. On one side is Steve's desk (a piece of 1/2" plywood). The other side sits a custom moveable file unit that Steve made me one Christmas with one drawer below and a top that hinges open to a top file bin. I really like this! It does tend to get piled with stuff so you can't open the top though. I'm working on an IBM Think Pad with Windows XP (by choice) (PageMaker is still my favorite word processor and layout program!). Behind the computer are several pottery mugs with pencils, pens, markers, Prismacolor pencils, a decades old really nice stapler, a small pottery bowl for snacks, dust bunnies (preferably not in the bowl), probably cat hair. On the left is a pile of my blueberry/strawberry/raspberry gardening notes for reference for current book project, and several song & tune sheets that I need to change chords or words or clean-up to share with fellow musicians. Right side has many pieces of paper covered with various "things to do" -- book work, music, dance, arts organization (website, PR, board stuff), homestead chores, scratches and doodles. Mouse, mug (local potter) with herb tea or water, pencils, pens. Wall behind is corkboard with many little notes, often for inspiration, that I seldom read because it's rather dark back there, and doodads that get stuck there and forgotten but seen and enjoyed now and then. Above shelves have office stuff, folders, bins, notebooks, books, on up to the 10"x10" beam that helps hold the roof of our underground house up off our heads. LED lighting. Slightly padded folding chair from an old cardtable set. Fits me nice and it's comfortable, especially nice is a sheepskin pad on it. Surrounded by pine wood floor, walls, posts, beams (we live in forest land). Comfortable place.
Picking fresh berries from your own home-grown plants is a treat no matter where you live, but in the cold short season climate of the northern Midwest there is a special satisfaction. Between the long winters, short summers, wild critters, busy schedules and varied weather it is a real joy to finally hold in your hand sun ripened fruit that you grew. This book helps you get there.
From bare beginnings to a comfortable, ever changing homestead, Sue leads the reader through their early years of building, learning, laughing and creating their home in the woods. Both fun and practical with plenty of how-to and a little bit of philosophy, from home building to home power, from organic garden to country kitchen, and a whole lot in between.
Here is a concise, friendly garden book free of fluff and fuss, full to its short but sturdy brim with useful, nippy, usable ideas for short-season gardeners who want to grow their own food. With more than 240 down-to-earth tips from Sue’s own thirty-five plus years of organic gardening even those in warmer climates will find something here.
Published: December 18, 2013 by
Fiction » Urban
Here she was in the city, in an old house that looked worse than she felt. The past hadn't gone very far away but she didn't expect much. They would clean up the house; they would live here. Then the neighborhood walked in with young Ramon leading, and Sara’s world opened up.