Tag Archives: Book

Stetson Kennedy

We were saddened to learn of the death of Mr. Stetson Kennedy this past weekend. Here is a nice article from the New York Times about Stetson Kennedy’s great work,
and one from the great Jeff Klinkenberg.

Here is a link to his obituary in the New York Times. Below is a repost of a previous post about Mr. Kennedy’s work.

Stetson Kennedy is the author of Grits and Grunts, Folkloric Key West for Pineapple Press. He is a prolific writer with varied interests. But he is also a human rights activist known for his infiltration of the Ku Klux Klan. He’s really quite fascinating–there’s even songs written about him. Below are links to learn more, including how what he and Superman have to do with each other!







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Guest Post: Do you need a publishing degree to work in publishing?

No—but there’s no denying it helps. What does a master’s degree in publishing teach you and how useful is it?

I was lucky enough to first experience the publishing industry at Pineapple Press, where I found that I wanted to learn more about it through a master’s degree in publishing. I ultimately decided to get my publishing degree at Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom, but no matter where you get your degree, the publishing industry is very similar on both sides of the Atlantic. (One of the big differences, though, is in production—paper is measured in grams and books in millimeters which, for this American, takes some getting used to!)

At Oxford Brookes, the publishing degree has four major courses:


The editing module covers the basics: learning the editing marks; learning how to edit on-screen; and the role of the editor in the publishing process. For me, our editing class wasn’t too useful as I already obtained many of the skills in my time at Pineapple Press and had no interest in becoming a full-time editor; for others, it may be among the most beneficial classes on a publishing course.

Design and Production

Design and production are a half-semester each, with the design half focusing on learning how to use Adobe InDesign through designing a cookbook. The production half covered how to put a book together—things like binding, paper weight, and a fair amount of math—and what’s suitable for certain situations, such as publishing academic monographs or trade paperbacks. I’ve been surprised by how helpful my production seminar has been; knowing how to correctly produce printed materials has been a very useful skill in my subsequent jobs.


The marketing module not only teaches marketing in publishing, but general marketing tips and tricks. For someone who majored in medieval history as an undergraduate, it’s been incredibly useful to know how to do a SWOT analysis, marketing plan, and how to identify a target market. This class, along with New Product Development, was the most beneficial class on the course for me.

New Product Development

This class was specific to my degree program; other publishing degrees don’t typically require it. We were assigned to teams of 7 or 8 students and were responsible for creating a publishing proposal which was presented to the entire course at the end of the semester. From accounting to website design, we had to learn it all and I think it’s a good thing that my program taught us the business side of publishing, as it’s a business just like any other.

We were also required to take two electives in our second semester: mine were Rights Management and Publishing & Language Issues. All of this coursework led to our master’s thesis or final project, which was the culmination of our degree. (By the way, if you need to know anything about state-sponsored publishing in endangered languages, I’m your girl.)

So, what did I do with my degree? I ended up working at Oxford University Press UK, helping to market their scholarly reference materials and online resources, which was a great experience. Though I’ve since moved back to the US and taken some time out of the industry, I would still say that the skills I learned while doing my publishing degree have been very helpful in my career. I met someone just the other day who also has a publishing degree; both of us agreed that many of the things you learn are easily transferable to other jobs and other industries, such as developing a product from the ground up, the new frontiers of digital media, or learning to think creatively in a creative industry.

If you’re thinking about a publishing career, look into some of the programs either state-side or further afield, like Columbia, University of Denver, or Rosemont. Networking is a skill you need in publishing and by getting a degree, you’ll learn the skills needed to get into the industry and meet some great, passionate people while doing it. And who knows where you can go from there?

Caitlyn Miller is a 2008 graduate of Oxford Brookes University’s publishing program. She is currently the Center for Career Education & Off-Campus Study Assistant at New College of Florida and a freelance writer and media strategist. She can be reached via email at caitlynmiller@gmail.com or on Twitter at @NewCollegeCCE.


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Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings House in Cross Creek, Florida

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I took some vacation time a few weeks back and visited the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings house in Cross Creek, Florida.

The first thing you see is this great display about the area and house. And then you venture through the gate and enter Marjorie’s world. One of the coolest things about the place is that the rangers wear period clothing. This really helps you imagine that you’re  there visiting Ms. Rawlings.

We perused the grounds for a while and saw the chicken coops, the barn, the garden, and the outbuildings. There were even chickens walking around, actual plants in the garden, and tools in the barn. We spent a lot of time looking at the equipment in the barn and at the period tools. I thought it was neat to see the car in the garage, even if it was explained later that the car wasn’t hers. Of course we spent some time looking at the outhouse–my son wasn’t so sure he would want to use one.

The tour started at 1pm that day after a brief introduction by the rangers. It was super neat to see the display of the typewriter and the desk she used. You could visualize Ms. Rawlings bustling about the house and in the kitchen. I enjoyed seeing all of her books and cooking items. The story about the roses in the toilet bowl during the party celebrating indoor plumbing was so funny! My son talked about that the rest of the day! It seems like Marjorie really led a fun life and found joy in the little things

This state park is a must-visit! Here’s the website for more information: http://www.floridastateparks.org/marjoriekinnanrawlings/

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Pineapple Press books

A question we get asked a lot goes something like this: “Do you have any books on Sarasota or Tampa or Ft. Myers or this specific hotel or this specific tourist destination?” The answer is often yes, kinda–because we don’t have a lot of books that just focus on certain cities or tourist destinations. We publish a lot of travel titles that are about backroads or small towns or traveling by boat and these contain information about certain cities or hotels or tourist destinations. We often have books that are about south Florida or northwest Florida or all of Florida and relate to museums, gardens, bicycling, fishing, etc. We also have compilations of historical stories that cover the whole state of Florida. We are always happy to answer your questions about our titles. Give us a call and we’ll gladly research what we can for you to see what books might have a certain city or place in it.

Below are some of our newest titles that relate to this post.

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The Lakeside Inn in Mount Dora, Florida, a guest post by Greg Jenkins

Spirits of an Old Florida Inn

The Lakeside Inn is one of central Florida’s best kept secrets. This modest Inn with its bed and breakfast charm, surrounded by huge canopy trees and resting on sparkling Lake Dora, is a true remnant of a more civilized time and culture from Florida’s past. Originally built in 1883 as a simple 10-room inn, it now offers Great Gatsby–like bungalows situated near the lake, a grand lobby and reception area, and the elegant Beauclaire dining room and Tremain’s Lounge. Guests desiring a brief escape from our fast and weary world will experience a fabulous, yet restful stay here. Although this lovely town offers many restaurants, antiques and variety shops, it’s the Lakeside Inn that serves as the brightest beacon to those venturing to Mount Dora…And apparently, it serves as a beacon for ghosts and other sundry spirits too.

The Lakeside Inn boasts of at least four resident ghosts. Reports of haunted experiences and accounts come from both staff and guests. Two of the spirits haunting the area in and around the Lakeside Inn are young girls dressed in costumes from various time periods. The first apparition is of a girl around the age of nine. She is believed to be Amy, a child who disappeared from the hotel around 1890. She wears a red dress and is seen standing near the lobby fireplace. Another spirit is of a girl around the age of twelve, seen sporting a blue dress, often seen smiling at a dining room table. She has been credited with moving chairs and chandeliers around the property.

Another spirit is that of a small man wearing a top hat. He has been witnessed walking through the lounge, and into the restroom, only to then disappear. Finally, there is the specter of a gangster who stares out a gable window. This dapper-dressed gentleman is believed to be the spirit of one of the many gangsters that stayed at the Lakeside Inn during the 1920s. Though he’s not dangerous, he is a bit intimidating to witnesses.

—Greg Jenkins

Greg Jenkins has close to 20 years working in the mental health and medical fields, and is currently a mental health therapist and case manager with several psychiatric and medical facilities. Since an early age, Greg has had a profound interest in the supernatural and fringe science, and after a personal experience with the unknown in 1987, he began his journey into the realms of parapsychology and all things mysterious. Greg is a folklorist and collector of oral traditions and urban legends, and is an associate member of England’s Society for Psychical Research. He has written a series of books called Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore and Chronicles of the Strange and Uncanny in Florida. Reach out to Greg on Twitter @HauntedFolklore. His blog can be found at http://psiresearcher.wordpress.com.

LAKESIDE INN: 100 North Alexander Street ~ Mount Dora, FL 32757 USA

Toll Free 800.556.5016 or Local 352.383.4101

Email: info@lakeside-inn.com

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Let’s talk about the editing part of editing, by June Cussen

Conceptual editing for nonfiction

To most people editing means “fix writing,” that is, cutting the excess verbiage, correcting the grammar and spelling, checking for consistency, and such. That kind of editing is called copyediting. (And it makes an editor-blogger very nervous to get everything just right.) But let’s back up to the first stage of editing after acquisition. We’ll call it conceptual editing. I see some self-published books these days that are well copyedited. Either the author is good at that or has hired someone who is. Nary a misspelling nor one grammar no-no (well, almost nary since I’d bet money that every book has some head-slapper boo-boo buried in there somewhere). But the reader still senses something is wrong, something makes it reek of self-published, even if it has a handsome cover. The problem is that the author did not undergo that necessary step-outside-yourself process of conceptual editing.

The conceptual editor stands back and looks at the whole. Gestalt used to be a hot concept. It still is, though the term died out with tie-dye. It’s the forest before plunging into it and seeing each tree. It’s the wide Google Earth view before you fly down to see the rooftops. In conceptual editing, you read the whole manuscript, get a feel for what the author is doing in general, and see if there are any overall issues that need addressing before the nitty-gritty editing starts.

The conceptual process differs for fiction and nonfiction. Let’s look at nonfiction this time. The first thing to consider is, drum roll, the reader. Always consider the reader. Who is this book for anyway? How will the reader use the book? Will it be read straight through from cover to cover, or will someone look up what they want and hop around, using different sections at different times? How much introduction does the topic need? How versed in the topic will the typical reader be? Many nonfiction books, in an effort to attract as many buyers as possible, try to straddle the line between amateur and professional user. Good luck, writing to both without boring or confusing either is a fine art. It can be done, but find an editor who understands some of the needs of both kinds of readers.

I looked at a book recently that was about all the practical stuff of life, the life skills you don’t learn in school but need to know to succeed in daily living. You know: balance a checkbook, burp a baby, clean the bathroom, unplug the toilet, write proper thank-you notes. All good, but who was this book aimed at? Some of the book seems aimed at the parents, how to teach your kids this stuff. Some of the book addresses the young person: here’s what you should know. I couldn’t tell if I should buy this book for my niece or for my sister. (Of course, I don’t need it, me of the more or less tidy house—if you don’t count the manuscripts piled everywhere waiting to be read.) A good conceptual editor would have helped this author decide her readership and speak truth to it—in a palatable way. I have to tell you that the first chapter was called “Cleaning Supplies.”

Enough for today. I’ll look at conceptual editing for fiction next time. And that’s a much slipperier proposition.

My animal picture this time is a Florida neighbor. You are never far from a gator in these parts.






— June Cussen, Pineapple Press



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The Last Doughboy, a guest post by Zack C. Waters

The passing, on February 28, of Frank Buckles received scant coverage from the news media. He did not meet the current qualifications for celebrity. Had he been a Charlie Sheen, whose unbridled personal habits caused his hit show to be canceled; a corrupt politician, whose avarice destroyed the lives of thousands; or even a serial killer—or serial philanderer, like Tiger Woods—his antics might have stopped the presses. Frank Buckles’ death, however, went almost unnoticed.

Frank Buckles was America’s last-known surviving veteran of World War I. He was too young to fight, but his constant attempts to join the AEF (American Expeditionary Force) impressed a recruiter enough to turn a blind eye to his youth.

Buckles and my grandfather were truck drivers in France. These young idealists thought they were fighting “the War to End All Wars.” They came back to an America that soon spiraled downward into the Great Depression and the criminal violence of the Prohibition era. Worse yet, they lived long enough to send their sons and daughters to fight in the Second World War.

The Americans who fought in World War II received the moniker, “the Greatest Generation.” Their fathers, who fought in the “Great War,” were forgotten, ignored, and pushed into the dustbin of history. Few know about their battles, and even Armistice Day (November 11), the holiday that Congress enacted to honor their service, has become Veterans Day.

The last of the Doughboys are now gone. Frank Buckles passed away on February 28 at the age of 110. Peace and honor to his ashes.

Zack Waters is the author of Blood Moon Rider. He is a fifth-generation Floridian. He has a B.A. from the University of Florida and a law degree from Memphis State University. He is a frequent contributor to Civil War publications on the topic of Florida’s Confederate soldiers.

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Piracy Today, a guest post by Terrance Zepke

During the Golden Age of Piracy, which was the heyday of colorful characters like Stede Bonnet, Mary Read, and Blackbeard, piracy was a way to survive. These folks had few options for earning a living. The same is still true today. The African coast is ripe with pirates, especially the waters around Somalia, because men can earn only $2 a day doing legitimate work. Or they can score $4-5 million per heist. Last year, Somali pirates pocketed $238 million in ransoms.

Where’s our navy when we need them?

It is impossible to patrol and protect the thousands of miles of water infested with pirates. The Somali coastline is a 1,900-mile-long stretch that is one of the busiest shipping channels in the world. Add that to the fact that pirates have gone high tech and it is an impossible situation. Nowadays, pirates in this part of the world are gangs of thugs dressed in military fatigues who use GPS systems and satellite phones to define their targets. They use super fast speedboats to carry them from their “mother ship” to the target vessel. Using sophisticated weaponry, they quickly conquer the slow-moving, unarmed ship they have targeted. Another problem is that ship owners prefer to negotiate with pirates rather than try other tactics because they need to secure their vessels quickly. They could avoid these pirate-infested waters if they sailed around the Cape of Good Hope instead. But this would add another three weeks to the journey, as well as result in higher fuel costs, so they won’t do it.

So is there anything we can do about piracy?

The International Maritime Bureau was established in the early 1990s to help control the epidemic. One of the first things they did was to create a 24/7 Piracy Reporting Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. If a ship’s captain sees anything suspicious or is being pursued by pirates, he can contact PRC and get help. Not only does this help a distressed vessel, it pinpoints the most dangerous places and warns other vessels. Additionally, PRC works with various governments and law enforcement agencies through combined efforts in an attempt to thwart piracy. If you’re interested, you can follow them on Twitter: @IMB_Piracy

During the era of Blackbeard and Captain Kidd, there wasn’t much that could be done about pirates. Because pirates were willing to “fight ‘til the death,” most captains were (and still are) reluctant to battle buccaneers. They chose to surrender instead. If engaged, pirates typically used crude weapons, such as one-shot pistols, canons loaded with whatever could serve as ammunition, and homemade grenades hurled at the pirate ship.

Today, there are many defensive products and techniques already being used to keep pirates from ever boarding a ship, as well as several other exciting tools being invented to combat piracy. One of the latest was invented by Mace Personal Defense, in conjunction with Shipboard Defense Systems. Three-hundred gallon pressurized tanks with loop piping are installed around the ship at intervals of one hundred feet. When activated, pepper spray is released. This keeps pirates from being able to get on board. This spares the crew from having to be armed and facing a shoot out with pirates or being held captive during ransom negotiations.

But despite our best efforts, piracy will continue to be a problem. There’s just too much loot to resist and too many men who like the life of a pirate…

Stay tuned for more on piracy, ghosts, lighthouses, and travel.






Terrance Zepke, www.terrancezepke.com

Guest Blog by Terrance Zepke, author of Pirates of the Carolinas and Pirates of the Carolinas for Kids. Terrance Zepke has written several books including Best Ghost Tales of North Carolina, Best Ghost Tales of South Carolina, Coastal North Carolina, Coastal South Carolina, Ghosts and Legends of the Carolina Coasts, Ghosts of the Carolina Coasts, Lighthouses of the Carolinas, Lighthouses of the Carolinas for Kids, and Lowcountry Voodoo.

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Pineapple Press is all about Florida

If it’s a Florida subject, we probably cover it.

Whether it be about Florida’s beaches or water

Florida towns or Florida travel

or rural Florida…

Learn more at our website at www.pineapplepress.com

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More about editing: The acquisition phase, by June Cussen

Let’s continue on the acquisition phase of the book editing process, and just to keep up with the times we are in, consider it from the more digital point of view. What’s different? What’s the same?

A big difference, of course, is that with that great equalizer, the Internet, everyperson is a publisher and his/her own editor. And that’s a great thing, mostly. Fling open those gates of publishing elitism. All of us have our stories to tell. Most of us are experts in something or other. We can share all that acquired wisdom and/or storytelling talent with anyone in the world with an Internet connection. You’ve heard of the ‘long tail’ concept of retailing on the Internet, that you can sell a lot of items by selling in small quantities to a lot of different people. So if you write your book on some niche topic, an iguana cookbook say, you might just reach enough buyers on the Internet to make it worth your while. But, hey, that’s marketing. That’s on the other end of publishing, right? Nay. The good editor knows that you have to think about the back end, how to sell the darn thing, right up front in the acquisitions stage. And so our everyperson can be his own editor and get that book out there—either as a p-book (you know, the old-fashioned printed kind) or e-book, which will go digitally into the buyer’s electronic device.

Did I just say that our writer can be her own editor? (No, I just said ‘his’ own editor, but I’m trying to juggle our inherited language to play fair with the genders.) Be one’s own editor: let’s consider that for a moment. An editor acquires, edits (in its many phases), marshals through production, proofs, pitches to the sales folks, keeps the momentum going for his author as long as he can keep that book alive and selling. There are some parts of that process that you can do yourself, and maybe better than some professional sort of editor. We’re looking at the acquisition phase here. And, sure, you can certainly ‘acquire,’ that is, decide to publish, your own book. You can count on the ‘long tail’ as your marketing nod during acquisition phase. Are you entirely realistic about a) the quality of your book, b) how well you can perform the copyediting, design, and production, and c) how many buyers might really be out there and how well you can reach them? Being realistic is what editors quickly learn about manuscript acquisition. In big publishing companies, if an editor’s list doesn’t sell after a few years, it’s out the door—your acquisition stinks. In smaller companies, it’s, well, OOB (pub-speak for out of business). In self-publishing, it’s, hmmm, better stop spending my children’s inheritance (or if they’re younger, lunch money) on this vanity.

Enough today. And just to keep up with the animal ending theme, here’s our latest kitty, Phoebe. She’s the one by the door. The other one is a neighbor cat, Rory, come to court (to no avail, of course).






— June Cussen, Pineapple Press



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