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Reaching Beyond the Shores of Traditional Publishing
by Nicola Burnell
The Provincetown Public Press is a ground-breaking new digital press that launched its first publications in November of last year. A project of the Provincetown Public Library, this new imprint was created by library Executive Director Cheryl Napsha, and technically supported by Creative Director Matt Clark.
This e-publishing venture opens the door for local writers and artists to share their work on an international stage via iBook (Apple) and EPUB formats. By producing original, quality content the Provincetown Public Press hopes to capture the unique voices of Cape Cod's cultural community.
Projects are selected through a juried selection process comprised of the Director of the Provincetown Art Association Museum, senior staff from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and local artists and authors. Shadow & Light, An Anthology of Poetry & Prose by the Women of Dune Hollow Writers is one of five eBooks that was selected for publication by the new imprint in 2013. This collection of short stories and poems, initially created in thirty-minute prompted writing exercises during a weekly writing group, features the unique voices of seven Cape Women who speak to us through the universal themes of human relationships and the power of nature.
Dune Hollow Writers: (1st row) Marylou Mansfield, Joan Barnes, Nancy DiFinzio, (2nd row) Margaret Rice Moir, Irene M Paine, (top) Ginia Pati, Kim Berner.
"It is an exciting honor to be a part of this ground-breaking project through the Provincetown Library. The technical work done by Matt is actually phenomenal; he is the wizard who formatted the winning books for iBooks and Amazon," says contributing writer Irene Paine.
"We Dune Hollow Writers have gotten together for years to write to prompts (Amherst style) every Friday morning in Orleans at Joan Barnes' studio. However, we never dreamed we'd be compiling and proofreading an anthology for such a revolutionary cause - that of a library creating its own original digital content.
"Cheryl is indeed forward thinking, as Amazon now sells a majority of the books offered in eBook form, and libraries have been lending in this form for several years now. The Provincetown Public Press is an imprint we are thrilled to have been chosen to represent."
Transforming the weekly prompted writings into a polished eBook format was "a process!" recalls Irene. "As always, every project requires far more work than could be imagined beforehand. For me, the work proved to be a bonding exercise between the seven of us women who had submitted writings for the Shadow & Light anthology.
"I count more than 100 group e-mails over several months where we worked on separate tasks and checked and re-checked with each other to build consensus. Matt was a very good listener and technical interpreter of the eBook we wanted to present to the world."
Once their eBook was available the Dune Hollow Writers set to work on their marketing campaign using social media and hosting readings throughout the Cape. They drew a full house at their November 9 reading at the Chat House, in Dennis.
Kim Berner reads an excerpt from her work in the
anthology at the Chat House in November 2013
Contributing writer Kim Berner is thrilled with the accessibility of the eBook. "It is an amazing thing to have strangers read your work and be moved by it! To have those strangers then say, "hey, we're going to take your work and publish it", so that anyone with a computer, tablet or smart phone can download and read it, is pretty much an all-time best present! It is with a great sense of pride that I can now say you can find my work on Amazon.com or iTunes."
Kim was also impressed by the collaborative nature of the project. "Cheryl and Matt came to us with ideas about the cover, colors, fonts and the use of photographs based on having read the material while also listening to and allowing us input.
"We, the writers come together Friday mornings and write and read and listen and then write some more. So when we decided to put together a collection of our work that had begun in one of our weekly meetings, we truly thought, 'what do we have to lose?'
"In fact, we've had a series of wins. We have gone from a group meeting to write and support one another in that pursuit, to a group of published authors while also supporting one another as we navigate editing, social media, readings and press and PR materials."
Joan Barnes, owner and facilitator of the Dune Hollow Writers, in Orleans, was thrilled with the results of the project. "It was such a pleasure to work with the Provincetown Public Press in getting our anthology ready for ePublishing.
"Matt was accommodating and professional as we bombarded him with questions and worked to get the look just right. Cheryl oversaw the whole project with grace and organized expertise, getting our final product out just when we wanted it to be launched. I would recommend them highly and would most certainly go to them with future projects."
According to Irene, working with the Provincetown Public Press has served to strengthen the Dune Hollow Writers. "The Women Writers of Dune Hollow are closer and more appreciative of our separate talents and desire to contribute."
While the Kindle version is a text-only publication, the Apple version is illustrated with wonderful photographs by contributing poet Ginia Pati. She was inspired by her experience with the new imprint.
"The exemplary talents of Provincetown Public Press created a seamless journey from the solitude and intimacy of the author's word...to a lively page ready for sharing! Cover designs were generously drafted with imagination and flexibility, as Matt made his time and design expertise seem an effortless gift. So, together we wove a partnership, which he then offered like a warm mantle of shared pride! "
The Provincetown Public Press is currently accepting submissions through April 1, 2014. Submission guidelines must be met for all prospective entries and can be found by following this link: http://provincetownpublicpress.org/submission-guidelines/
To learn more about this community based library publication project visit
For information about the Dune Hollow Writers visit: www.DuneHollowWriters.com
Photograph by Irene Paine
Nicola Burnell is the Publisher, Editor and a contributing writer for this magazine. In addition to writing her own novels, she teaches a series of Writing, Creativity Development and Personal Growth Classes. She also works as a freelance editor and writing coach.
Nicola is a member in Letters of the National League of American Pen Women and is Historian of the Cape Cod Branch. She strives to support the Arts on Cape Cod and collaborates with several cultural organizations in her community.
Reviews for Shadow & Light
"Every piece in this collection of poetry and prose by The Dune Hollow Writers sings. I tip my pen to all the women who have shared themselves so lovingly on the page." Sally Cabot Gunning, author of Benjamin Franklin's Bastard, The Widow's War, Bound, The Rebellion of Jane Clarke.
"Through this intimate collection of meditations the Dune Hollow Writers let you in on their thoughts and feelings about love, loss, and the natural world. You'll come to know these women well— as if they're right next to you, sharing a pot of hot coffee." Barry Hellman, author of The King of Newark, Finishing Line Press, 2012
Joan W. Barnes
"It is the meat of the summer. In the kitchen, black flies stick themselves to the long yellow strips of flypaper, buzz frantically for minutes until their predicaments overwhelm them and they are quiet. Lydia blows thin streams of moist air upward through her lips, pushing the dank strands of hair from her forehead. Her hands are immersed up to the elbows in the hot, greasy water, running the soapy sponge over and around the bowls and plates, bowls and plates, so that when her shift is over the skin there feels boiled and tender."
"Breathing in, shards of pain radiated out and away from his heart. He saw them as bright yellow bits of glass, exploding and splintering away, taking the pain with them. … She must have been here while he slept. He was angry he'd missed her, and afraid. He wanted to see her. Again. He'd put off the morphine until she arrived."
"Do I imagine I see the joy of freedom in your skip here and there? You inspire me as my next thoughts are of freedom for me."
"The young Marine was caught off guard—disarmed in a way. His mind raced to form answers and queried if he should indeed even respond at all (what was in the rule book?). He felt an uncontrollable tear gathering in the corner of his eye"
"And then she was up and over to him, extending her hand, shaking his, and leading him to the stools at the window counter where he'd be far more comfortable than he would have been at our little table. They snapped together like Legos, those two. First they turned to the French textbooks, and then she asked him something, I could tell by the inflection of her voice but couldn't hear the question. In response, he began to recite a poem in French. I didn't know the words, but felt the meaning to my core. The poem was all about Beautiful Life. …"
"A single, briny … cool succulence
Margaret Rice Moir
"the day you left, mama