Byte-Size Blair | July 7

We’re back with Byte-Size Blair, our weekly wrap-up of all things social media. If you’re not already following us on FacebookTwitterTumblr, or Pinterest, give us a look.

1. We hope everyone had a great Fourth of July. And if you’re still in the mood to celebrate the early days of the United States, check out these “revolutionary” titles from Blair (and one hilarious gif, courtesy of Funny or Die.)

2. Bearwallow author Jeremy B. Jones has been busy touring the South with his amazing memoir about the influences of place and ancestry on identity. Here’s one of our favorite photos from a recent signing, proving you’re never too young to start loving books!

3. The October release of beloved UNC-TV foodie Bob Garner’s new book, Foods That Make You Say Mmm-mmm, may still be a few months away, but we’re already excited. Why? Because even just proofing the book made our mouths water (and tickled our funny bones.) We think this pin pretty much sums it up.

4. One of Blair’s favorite volunteer activities these past few years has been World Book Night, butunfortunately, last week, WBN announced they would be suspending operations in the United States. We’ll miss them dearly and shared a few photos on our Tumblr from our time as givers.

5. Just a friendly reminder that our July newsletter will be out this Thursday.

Our social media maven will be out of the office next week, so for now, enjoy this double-dose of Office Manager Artie’s adorable old pal, Snuffy.



Byte-Size Blair | June 30

We’re back with Byte-Size Blair, our weekly wrap-up of all things social media. If you’re not already following us on FacebookTwitterTumblr, or Pinterest, give us a look.

Wow! We can’t believe it’s almost July. The end of June has brought with it big thunderstorms and a nice little cool snap (which is now, sadly, over), as well as some of our favorite posts of the summer so far!

1. Artie reading Chasing MoonlightBlair employee Artie suggested a great post last week, one to celebrate the 109th anniversary of Moonlight Graham’s brief career as a professional baseball player. There’s a whole lot more to the story and you can read about it here. In the photo above, see Artie celebrate Moonlight’s anniversary his own way, by reading Chasing Moonlight at SEA-TAC on his way home from an Alaskan vacation. Welcome back to the sticky Southern summer, Artie!

2. In other news from our beloved backlist, The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break was just named one of SIBA’s Lady Banks’ favorite Proustian books of the summer. What does that mean? You’ll have to read to find out. And once you do, you can find a good porch chair, a cold glass of tea, and revisit Minotaur, which has recently received quite a bit of love as one of Telegraph’s 10 Best Food & Drink Books of All Time.

3. We pinned this great video from our friends over at Our State Magazine about two buddies in search of all of Stone Mountain Park’s historic stills. With over 150 discovered, no wonder Wilkes County is sometimes called the moonshine capital of the world. Although Virginia’s often the focus of many moonshine myths and legends, we know more than a few from our native state.

4. Our #FridayFollow this week was also an announcement for a great new program from NC LIVE. Now through the end of the year, NC LIVE’s Homegrown Initiative will provide state libraries with access to e-books published by North Carolina presses, John F. Blair among them. We thought it was a great time to celebrate our friends and neighbors on social media.

5. Last but not least, Steve Almond, who wrote Lookout Books’ distributed title God Bless America and contributed a story in their Astoria to Zion, recently had a great post up on AWP’s Writer’s Notebook. We thought we’d post our tweet about it instead of our tumble because Steve Almond also recently relented and got a Twitter account and the world needs to know!

We’ll see you next week for more Byte-Size Blair, and for now, enjoy this picture of our president’s husband and their adorable golden Carmen (with a stylish summer buzz cut), taking a break on the Mountain-to-Sea trail last month.


Byte-Size Blair | June 23

We’re back with Byte-Size Blair, our weekly wrap-up of all things social media. If you’re not already following us on FacebookTwitterTumblr, or Pinterest, give us a look.

1. Only a few weeks after the passing of Dr. Angelou, North Carolina lost another great writer and one of our most beloved authors here at Blair. Claiborne S. Young, author of Cruising Guide to Coastal North Carolina and Cruising Guide to Coastal South Carolina & Georgia, was a sailor’s (and a publisher’s) best friend. We said goodbye here.

2. Jeremy B. Jones celebrated Bearwallow at the official launch party. Books were signed, pictures were taken, a great time was had by all.

3. Ever wondered what our warehouse looks like? It’s every book lover’s dream: stacks on stacks!

4. Former Blair employee and current NCWN executive director Ed Southern was interviewed for Charlotte Talks, so we made him the focus of our Words with Friends last Tuesday.

5. One of Twitter’s best hashtags is #FridayReads, and we had a great suggestion, our newest release. See it here.

And your adorable Blair pet of the week is…Ernest Tubb. Tough as nails, soft as a pillow, hungry as a bear.


Byte-Size Blair | June 16

We’re back with Byte-Size Blair, our weekly wrap-up of all things social media. If you’re not already following us on FacebookTwitterTumblr, or Pinterest, give us a look.

1. Jeremy B. Jones gave a great radio interview in anticipation of the official Bearwallow launch party, which was held this past Saturday at Fountainhead Bookseller in Hendersonville. Listen to it here.

2. Speaking of great radio interviews, did you hear Clifton Taulbert, author of The Invitation, on the Tavis Smiley show? The extended interview about Clifton’s latest memoir was thought-provoking, charming, and just plain interesting.

3. On Throwback Thursday, we dug up a classic Blair flyer for an author signing, or “autograph party.” Hand illustrated and totally groovy, circa 1971. Check it out!

4. Just this morning, we tweeted a photo and quote from a great review of the Parkway Playhouse stage adaptation of Sharyn McCrumb’s Ghost Riders.

5. Brad Herzog, author of States of Mind and recent MCM literary crush on our Tumblr, has a new illustrated book coming out and the trailer was featured on Shelf Awareness. Watch it here.

That’s all for now. Sales and Marketing Assistant Anna’s dog Minnie Pearl says enjoy this hot summer day…inside with a book!


Byte-Size Blair | June 9

We’re back with Byte-Size Blair, our weekly wrap-up of all things social media. If you’re not already following us on FacebookTwitterTumblr, or Pinterest, give us a look.

  1. Our most popular post this week was an excerpt of an interview with Dr. Maya Angelou from our 1994 title, Parting the Curtains: Interviews with Southern WritersThe excerpt included some wonderful insight into Dr. Angelou’s writing process and her relationship with her mother. Read the entire post on our Tumblr.
  2. Friday was National Doughnut Day, and Blair’s hometown of Winston-Salem knows from doughnuts. It’s the Krispy Kreme headquarters, and has been for more than seven decades. Check out this great photo we dug up of the first Krispy Kreme storefront, circa 1937.
  3. Our crush for last week’s Man Crush Monday was none other than debut memoirist Jeremy B. Jones, author of Bearwallow. Here’s why!
  4. The North Carolina coast is not just a great summer beach destination, it was also briefly the “retirement” home of Blackbeard the pirate. We revisited Blackbeard the Pirate, a Blair title from 1974, in last week’s Throwback Thursday Tharrrrrsday.
  5. Speaking of beach vacations, do you need some suggestions for loading up your e-reader? We’ve got some.

We’re fresh out of photos from our collection of adorable Blair pets, but seriously, y’all, did you see these dancing kittens?

Byte-Size Blair – June 2

We’re back with Byte-Size Blair, our weekly wrap-up of all things social media. If you’re not already following us on FacebookTwitterTumblr, or Pinterest, give us a look.

  1. The loss of Maya Angelou last week was felt by the literary community, doubly so by those of us who were her neighbors in Winston-Salem. Her influence was evident in the enormous number of touching and lovely social media posts. E.C. Hanes is the author of Billy Bowater and a longtime friend of Dr. Angelou. He shared his feelings about his dear friend and we were truly grateful for the chance to celebrate her. Read Hanes’ beautiful words here.
  2. o-OWN-SUPER-SOUL-SUNDAY-GUY-JOHNSON-MAYA-ANGELOU-facebookIn addition to Hanes’ post, we collected some of our favorite photos of Dr. Angelou over the years, including the above striking image of her walking and laughing with her son. See the full post here.
  3. In happier news, Porch Dogs, which we previously announced was a nominee for the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award in the category of Animals/Pets, took home the gold! Congratulations to Nell Dickerson, creator of this beloved book!
  4. Our Summer Sale is here! Nine outdoor titles are 30% off all summer long. Whether you want to go on a hike, a bike ride, discover a waterfall, or reel in that big catch, there’s something here to help you celebrate North Carolina’s sunshine season.
  5. Did you have a chance to view the new book trailer for Jeremy B. Jones’ Bearwallow? If not, you’re in luck: here it is!

Byte-Size Blair – May 19

We’re back with Byte-Size Blair, our weekly wrap-up of all things social media. If you’re not already following us on FacebookTwitterTumblr, or Pinterest, give us a look.

1. Bearwallow author in Brevity: Jeremy B. Jones has a beautiful essay about the ties between writing and our senses–particularly smell–in this month’s Brevity.

2. Blair in the Community: The John F. Blair staff volunteered last Friday at the Forsyth County Friends of the Central Library Book Sale. We helped unpack and organize thousands of titles as part of our efforts to give back to Winston-Salem.

3. Beardfellows: Do you know what it means to rire dans sa barbe? We tweeted about it with Anna and Julia Hider, authors of our upcoming Badass Civil War Beards.

4. Pinworthy: We pinned this great image that gives new meaning to the idea of “reading in bed.”

5. More Awards!: In other tweets, we congratulated Hub City author Angela Kelly for her SIBA win and NewSouth author Anna Olswanger for her honor.

And as always, let’s close this update out with a great picture of a beloved Blair staffer’s fuzzy friend. This week it’s Carmen, a dog who wears many hats…like this one.


Byte-Size Blair – May 12

Welcome to the second installment of Byte-Size Blair, our weekly wrap-up of all things social media. If you’re not already following us on FacebookTwitterTumblr, or Pinterest, give us a look.

  1. More Awards for Blair Authors–

  2. Writers Speaking Out Loud–Hub City, a nonprofit in South Carolina and one of the presses for which Blair distributes, has been making waves and headlines with their new movement, Writers Speaking Out Loud. They’ve been featured in Publishers WeeklyThe Guardian, and other news sources.
  3. Words with Friends–Speaking of our distributed lines, last week we introduced Words with Friends, a weekly post on our Tumblr that will highlight some of the amazing news coming from our friends at Hub City Press, Lookout Books, NewSouth Books, Eno Publishers, and all of our distributed lines.
  4. Crushworthy–The past week’s #MCM and #WCW entries were certainly notable. Teresa Kravtin, one of our reps, was voted Rep of the Year by Publishers Weekly. Brad Herzog, author of States of Mind, runs a hilarious blog and a press of his own. Plus, check out Y2K-era Matt Lauer… so much hair!
  5. Tweeting @ Blair’s Authors–The Hider triplets (two of whom, Anna and Julia are the authors of our upcoming Badass Civil War Beards) heart-ed our shout-out to their November pub date. Plus, Jeremy B. Jones of Bearwallow was just as excited as we were about the arrival of his memoir.

See you next Monday for more Byte-Size Blair. And for today’s bit of karma, we give you Tigger and Minnie Pearl, two doppelganger dogs of different owners, vintage, and gender, brought together when those owners became coworkers. Love at first walk.

Tigger and Minnie


Byte-Size Blair – 5 Fave Moments from the Past Week

It’s been a busy week at Blair. B.O.Q. author N.P. Simpson is on tour, we’re getting ready for the release of Bearwallow, and the 2014 IPPY Award winners included three Blair authors and two books from our distributed lines. And that’s just a small sampling of all that’s happening at Blair.

If you’re not already following us on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest, give us a look. Below are five of our favorite social media moments from the past week, in random order.

  1. The IPPYs!Met Her on the Mountain, Long Gone Daddies, and Porch Dogs all took home Independent Publisher Book Awards, as did In the Garden of Stone (Hub City Press) and Astoria to Zion (Lookout Books)
  2. Throwback Thursday–For our first #ThrowbackThursday, we threw it way way back, to Mr. Blair in the 1900′s, looking both dapper and adorable in an…ascot? Bow-tie?
  3. World Book Night–Okay, okay, we know World Book Night was weeks ago, but we got this adorable picture of our Designer Debbie and Business Manager Margaret up online a little late and it is just too cute!
  4. Uncovering quotes from Ron Rash–While looking for great lines from our April sales titles, we discovered a knockout from Ron Rash’s 2011 collection, Waking. Rash, better known for his prose, can even break our hearts with a dozen words.
  5. Dapper display in Wilmington–Pomegranate Books in Wilmington, NC, did a bang-up job of displaying the latest title from local, award-winning press Lookout Books, who just added another accolade with an IPPY win for Astoria to Zion.

See you next Monday for more Byte-Size Blair. Until then, we’ll leave you with this final thought from Publicist Trisina’s dog, Oatmeal:

Oatmeal's Nosevember Submeesh

Being Best Friends with Brine Shrimp

This week in our Summer Reading Series, Trisina, Blair’s publicist, talks about her summers in Utah and the memorable scene in a book that finally brought her to tears.


I imagine most teenagers spend the summer at the beach, frolicking in bathing suits, playing volleyball in the sand, and watching the sunset. My image of a typical teenage summer is very cliche.

summer gif photo: summer (animated gif) summer.gif

But not my summers. I grew up in Utah very pale and very . . .

US_map_-_states (1)

So the beach was off limits to me.

And I know what you’re thinking: I don’t know what she’s complaining about. Why didn’t she just swim in the Great Salt Lake? Right?

Uh, WRONG. I don’t know about you, but I think being intimate friends with brine shrimp is overrated. I’ll take the mountains over shrimp, seagulls, and salt water any day.

brine vs mtns

That meant I spent a lot of summers camping, hiking, and generally raising a ridge-line ruckus. It was great. But more than that, it was also a great place to catch up on some light summer reading, like Crime and Punishment.

51y0rkji55l-_bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_aa300_sh20_ou01_I know, I know, I KNOW. If I had just read the stupid thing when I was supposed to, at the beginning of the summer, I could have spent the rest of the summer reading fun and whimsical things like Bridget Jones’s Diary. But I’m a procrastinator. I’ve accepted it. You should, too.

So. Crime and Punishment. Random House calls it the story of “an impoverished student living in a garret in the gloomy slums of St. Petersburg, [who] carries out his grotesque scheme [of murder] and plunges into a hell of persecution, madness and terror.” Not usually what you would think of as summer reading, but truth be told, I wasn’t that upset about it, even if I did procrastinate. That’s the glory of being a book nerd; you don’t really mind catching up on reading. 

Now, hand in hand with being a book nerd is crying. Book nerds love to talk about all the books that have made them cry, like somehow you really love books only if they make you sob.

And if you know me, you know that I’m a crier. A straight-up, soggy-eyed mess. The number of things that make me cry are endless: Sarah McLachlaninfused animal cruelty commercials, A River Runs Through It (obviously), marriage proposals, other people crying in front of me, King Kong (yes, the one with Jack Black), and hunger (so help you God if you stand between me and food).

Things that Make Me Cry

But here’s the thing. I don’t cry at books. I don’t know why. It’s not like I’m emotionally removed. I’m in it with the characters. I gasp and laugh in all the right places. But crying? Please. I’m an adult.

That said, here’s the caveat. I was 17 or 18, lounging about in a lawn chair, reading Crime and Punishment at our campsite when I got to Raskolnikov’s dream. In it, he’s a little boy walking through town with his father. When they pass the tavern, they see a skinny little mare hitched to a cart much too big for her. Raskolnikov and his father witness a crowd of drunks pile into the cart at the urging of the horse’s drunk owner. They all know that the horse won’t be able to pull the weight, but the owner is determined to make her carry them all at a gallop. He whips her despite all her trying, and several others join in. Raskolnikov is horrified and runs to the horse, trying to protect her. The whips catch him in the face, but he doesn’t feel it because he’s so upset. Eventually, the owner beats the horse to death with a crowbar, and Raskolnikov is powerless to stop it. “The poor boy, beside himself, made his way, screaming, through the crowd to the sorrel nag, put his arms round her bleeding dead head and kissed it, kissed the eyes and kissed the lips.”

crying gif photo: crying zoey crying.gif

From “New Girl”

And that, my friends, is my most memorable summer reading experience. Bawling, while camping, about a horse that died in a dream I didn’t even have. Even now, I’m still a bit of a mess about it.

crying gif photo: crying how i met your mother crying.gif

From “How I Met Your Mother”


Check back next week for another post in our Summer Reading Series. Happy reading!