The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

National Indie Bookstore Day

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and Great Lakes speaker. She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has written three books about the Great Lakes [A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach *a Heartland Indie Bestseller*A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk *winner of the Great Lakes Great Reads Award*, and A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure]. To learn more about her work, or to book her as a speaker, go to http://LakeTrek.com




Show your support for your local indie bookstore this Saturday (and throughout the year)!

Indie bookstores are vital to our communities and to keeping literature alive. 
 An essay I wrote on this topic can be found HERE.

This Saturday I will be at Brilliant Books to my sign books for you -- or recommend another great read -- to show my support for the great indie bookstores that have shown such great support for my Great Lakes Adventure Trilogy.

#indiebound

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Speaking Tour 2016 Begins


Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and Great Lakes speaker. She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has written three books about the Great Lakes [A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach *a Heartland Indie Bestseller*A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk *winner of the Great Lakes Great Reads Award*, and A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure]. To learn more about her work, or to book her as a speaker, go to http://LakeTrek.com



This month I headed out on my speaking tour once again. My first engagements were in SE Michigan.

Fraser Public Library












Librarian Lawrence Marble introduces me to the audience at Clarkston Public Library


I also spoke to a nice group at the Woods Branch of Grosse Pointe's Library system.

I now have presentations for each of my adventures:

Lake Michigan Walk
Great Lakes Walk
Great Lakes Islands

The presentations correlate to my three books:


Go here for a list of my upcoming author events.
This fall I will add a fourth lecture about
ISLE ROYALE.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Mylar Balloons

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and Great Lakes speaker. She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has written three books about the Great Lakes [A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach *a Heartland Indie Bestseller*A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk *winner of the Great Lakes Great Reads Award*, and A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure]. To learn more about her work, or to book her as a speaker, go to http://LakeTrek.com



I've blogged about the persistence of mylar balloons in the environment. In fact, the most-viewed post on my blog in 2011 was about mylar balloons I found while hiking around Lake Michigan.

This winter I had the pleasure of taking some long hikes along the Atlantic coast on North Carolina's gorgeous beaches. 

Caswell Beach, NC


Mylar balloons also accumulate here. The photo below shows 4 balloons I picked up along 
Caswell Beach.





Four weathered mylar balloons


Mylar balloons are even more harmful when in the ocean because they resemble jelly fish. Many creatures who feed on the jellies will ingest the balloons and other plastic items because they resemble the jellies. The final photo shows some of the other plastic items I found on this stretch of beach.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and Great Lakes speaker. She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has written three books about the Great Lakes [A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach *a Heartland Indie Bestseller*A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk *winner of the Great Lakes Great Reads Award*, and A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure]. To learn more about her work, or to book her as a speaker, go to http://LakeTrek.com



Today is the seventh anniversary of my hike around Lake Michigan. 

I began that journey on Chicago's Navy Pier on a cool March day. 





1,019 miles later, I walked back into Chicago completing my loop around my favorite place.




I have completed a trio of Great Lakes Adventures now. I learned so much on these journeys. Our Great Lakes are vast inland seas that we all should cherish and protect.

Books about my three adventures are available wherever books are sold. The first two adventures are now available as audiobooks.
Our Great Lakes are waters vital to us all.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Post Viewed Most in 2011

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and Great Lakes speaker. She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has written three books about the Great Lakes [A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach *a Heartland Indie Bestseller*A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk *winner of the Great Lakes Great Reads Award*, and A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure]. To learn more about her work, or to book her as a speaker, go to http://LakeTrek.com


My blog has now surpassed 150,000 page views. Here is the post with the most views in 2011:

The Case Against Mylar Balloons

I have spent the month of October on the shores of Lake Michigan near the lovely town of South Haven, Michigan. It has been a wonderful time to reconnect with my favorite place while preparing for my next 1000-mile hike.

Every day, I have hiked a couple of miles in one direction, then returned to my cottage retracing my steps. And every day as I returned, I picked up trash along the shoreline.

Day after day I have picked up plastic bottles, aluminum cans and collapsed juice pouches.


The big surprise in lakeshore trash is the number of mylar balloons I have found. These festive inflatables take FOREVER to degrade. Some, like the one to the left, has all of the color worn off by wind and waves, but it is still intact. These three (below) were tied together and washed up together.












This photo is ONE DAY'S gathering of trash.



Sure, there is the expected plastic and aluminum...














and there were FIVE mylar balloons just this one day.

Oh no...








Et tu, SpongeBob?










Et tu?

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Post Most Viewed in 2010

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and Great Lakes speaker. She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has written three books about the Great Lakes [A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach *a Heartland Indie Bestseller*A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk *winner of the Great Lakes Great Reads Award*, and A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure]. To learn more about her work, or to book her as a speaker, go to http://LakeTrek.com


Thank you all for reading my blog. It has now surpassed 150,000 page views!

Here is the most viewed post from 2010:

Lake Michigan Rocks!

I've always been a rock hound, and my Lake Trek gave me a golden opportunity to collect rocks from the entire shoreline of Lake Michigan.

The series of four 'waves' of glaciers that formed our Great Lakes dragged rocks from as far away as within the Arctic Circle and deposited them in our lake. You won't find this wide a variety of color and mineral composition anywhere else in the world.

In the video below, I've placed my collection of Lake Michigan rocks on a map of the lake.




Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Post Viewed Most in 2012


Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and Great Lakes speaker. She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has written three books about the Great Lakes [A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach *a Heartland Indie Bestseller*A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk *winner of the Great Lakes Great Reads Award*, and A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure]. To learn more about her work, or to book her as a speaker, go to http://LakeTrek.com


Thank you all for reading my blog. It has now surpassed 150,000 page views!

Our fascination with Great Lakes shipwrecks made this the 
post with the most views in 2012:


Shipwrecked!

Along the Great Lakes shoreline there is evidence of how dangerous these vast inland seas could become in a storm.



Shipwreck on North Manitou Island

Even with the guiding lights along the shoreline, many ships were lost. The Manitou Passage between the Manitou Islands and the shoreline of Michigan's Lower Peninsula was especially treacherous.








Portion of shipwreck in water near North Manitou Island


One clue that a ship (specifically, a steamer that burned coal) has gone down is the presence of coal washing up on land. Along the NW corner of North Manitou Island, I came across handfuls of coal mixed with zebra mussel shells.

This wreck was recently exposed near Sleeping Bear Dune



Sunday, February 28, 2016

Audiobook Release: A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and Great Lakes speaker. She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has written three books about the Great Lakes [A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach *a Heartland Indie Bestseller*A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk *winner of the Great Lakes Great Reads Award*, and A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure]. To learn more about her work, or to book her as a speaker, go to http://LakeTrek.com


Available now: the audiobook from my second Great Lakes Adventure!




A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk
This audiobook will take you along the shores of all five Great Lakes. 

Midwest Book Review said this about the book:
“What emerges is an unmistakable reverence for the beauty and tremendous legacy of this ancient water trail....For a wonderful mind- and soul-enlarging experience, read A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk.”

And now with the audiobook, you can listen to this amazing journey of my hike along the edges of our Great Lakes read by ME!

Download the new audiobook HERE.
_______________________________________

The first installment in this trilogy is also available as an audiobook. 

Here's a review from a listener:
"A beach book with substance"
What made the experience of listening to A 1000-Mile Walk on the Beach the most enjoyable?
I loved how the author would divert from the retelling of the journey to give facts about the history of each area, environmental concerns, and other information. It was done masterfully so as to not take away from the flow of the book. The narration was also wonderfully done.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved hearing about the history and the places. I also liked hearing about the current concerns due to industry's footprint in the area.

What about Loreen Niewenhuis’s performance did you like?

Her voice is soothing, and holds your interest. So much so that my four-year-old son insists on listening to the "lake book" at bedtime. It is hard to find a narrator that I enjoy and Loreen did a wonderful job narrating her own book. The only disappointment I have is that the rest of her Great Lakes treks are not available on Audible yet.

Any additional comments?

Read this book! I enjoyed it, and was impressed so much by Loreen's knowledge about environmental concerns and history in each area that I find myself hoping to steal away to one of her lectures next time we are visiting family in Michigan!

Purchase the audiobook HERE.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Post Viewed Most in 2013

Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and Great Lakes speaker. She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has written three books about the Great Lakes [A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach *a Heartland Indie Bestseller*A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk *winner of the Great Lakes Great Reads Award*, and A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure]. To learn more about her work, or to book her as a speaker, go to http://LakeTrek.com

Thank you all for reading my blog! It has now surpassed 150,000 page views!


Here is the most viewed post from 2013. It's unusual because it is a "think piece" instead of my usual photo essay. This post explores  the way Amazon.com conducts business when it comes to selling books. And it urges readers to think about where they buy their books:

Amazon is Evil

If you know me or my books, if you've met up with me on the lakeshore or hiking path or while I'm touring with one of my books, our conversation may have touched on the future of books or the importance of indie bookstores in our discussion of the Great Lakes. As an adventurer who has explored over 2,000 miles of the Great Lakes shoreline, I love talking to people about these vast waters encircling my home state of Michigan. 


And as an author (and avid reader), "bookish" topics 
are important to me, too.

I am encouraged in these conversations as more and more people are coming to understand the value of our Great Lakes and the importance of independent bookstores. These lakes are essential to life in the Midwest (almost 40 million people get their drinking water from them), and indie bookstores are vital to keeping literature rich and diverse. 


The Great Lakes nurture life, recreation, commerce, industry.
Our indie bookstores nurture our communities, pay into the tax base, are gathering places for discussion, and play an important role in launching new writers. 

Am I pushing the parallel too far? I don't think so.

People ask me how I got my book to be on the shelves of Barnes & Noble stores (B&N). The answer is that indie bookstores sold so many copies (my first book was on the Heartland Indie Bestseller List for several weeks in 2011) that B&N began stocking it. B&N will stock what SELLS because the big chain is interested in SELLING. They call their workers BOOKSELLERS. There's nothing inherently wrong with that business model, but the primary focus of this model is to stock books that will sell, not seek to enrich the book world by what they stock.

Indie bookstores want to sell books, too, but the people who own and work at these stores also tend to LOVE books. 

I was at Saturn Booksellers in Gaylord, Michigan on my book tour this month, and doing book reviews to post in the store and online was part of the job description for the workers there. READING was part of the job. I've seen listings for postiions in indie bookstores that read, in part, "...candidate must be well read..." (in an ad for a job at Women & Children First Bookstore, Chicago). I've seen indie bookstore people greet patrons with exciting news about a new book they know the patron will love because they've had long conversations with that person about books. Book conversations. 

Now, I titled this essay "Amazon is Evil" and haven't even gotten around to talking about Amazon.com yet. Let me first say that all the good things that the indies give to their communities (and even B&N supplies on some level), Amazon does not provide. They will not donate books for a fundraiser in your community or pay into the tax base. They don't provide jobs (in general) near you. 

But beyond being contrary to the smart-headed "Buy Local Because the Money Stays in Your Community" philosophy, Amazon.com has pushed their business model toward one of being a predatory marketer ("scan the barcode in the store and see what Amazon sells it for" sales pitching), a bully toward suppliers including publishers (they delisted some publisher's books if the publisher dared to disagree with Amazon's discount pricing [article HERE in New York Times), and -- Amazon's most recent move -- they've purchased GoodReads.com (article HERE) in order to market directly to the reader using GoodReads data and to push readers toward the Kindle.


From the New York Times:  

Amazon.com Inc., with a market capitalization of $117.48 billion, is the largest company in the Internet and Catalog Retailing sector. 

I don't have a problem with big businesses, but I do have a problem with a big business that actively tries to crush small businesses or actively bullies other sectors of the publishing world.

The consumer has the real power in this equation, though, because it is YOUR dollar that these businesses are competing for. 

I released my new book, 
A 1,000-MILE GREAT LAKES WALK
to select indie bookstores 8 weeks prior to putting it into distribution  (where Amazon.com can access and sell it). If you're going to purchase my book -- or any book -- I encourage you to think about the importance of indie bookstores.


Go HERE for a complete listing of indie stores that have the early release edition of my book.

And thank you for your 
time, thoughtful consideration, and comments.