It feels like a homecoming.
I retired to my Cobleskill home in 2019 after a career in public communications that spanned nearly five decades. When I wasn’t getting a weekly paycheck as a writer or editor, I honed related skills in public relations, advertising, graphic design, and marketing. But deep inside, I was always a writer.
In 1990. I was thrilled to see my first book, “The Remarkable Howe Caverns Story,” published by The Overlook Press of Woodstock, a prominent regional publisher at the time. It was even in hardcover format for the first press run of 2,000 copies. A trade paperback followed in its second. printing. (You can still find copies online.)
Not long after the book came out, I met Wray and Loni Rominger at Purple Mountain Press. I was brought on as a freelance editor, and I’m proud to say I worked on a half-dozen or so wonderful books that are still part of the Purple Mountain Press catalog. It was a great gig! I read fascinating books, corrected some grammatical errors and fixed a few typos here and there, all the while learning more about this remarkable, historic part of upstate New York. (If you must know, my editor’s marks appeared on early drafts of two of Michael Kudish’s wonderful field guides for railroad aficionados, on The Travels of Peter Kalm and on Doug Cubbison’s book on the British artillery campaigns in 1776 at Valcour Island and Saratoga, to name a few.)
With Wray Rominger’s retirement (following Loni’s passing during 2019), Purple Mountain Press has begun a new chapter under the stewardship of the couple’s longtime friends. James and Maureen Krueger of Bovina Center, Delaware County.
It was at about the same time the Kruegers were breathing new life into PMP that I was busy looking for a publisher for a new book I had written. And when I heard Maureen earlier had been employed at Overlook Press in a sales capacity, I immediately felt the connection; I knew PMP would be the best possible place for my new book on the cave country’s fascinating history.
Maureen, James, and I met for lunch at the Bull’s Head Inn in Cobleskill ostensibly to discuss the book, and not surprisingly we spent a good part of that time talking about our days at Overlook Press. While our paths never crossed at that time, we had lots to share, and we were both familiar with one another’s work. A contract was signed not long after.
My new book, still in manuscript form, documents a never-before-told true story of a tragic event in Howe Caverns and the legal struggle of one of the bereaved. It’s part underground adventure, part mystery, and part courtroom drama. The ending will surprise many.
The Kruegers and I are all looking forward to a successful launch of the book and have confidence it will be popular with readers. It’s tentatively titled, The Cave Electrician’s Widow. You can expect it in bookstores during Women’s History Month, March 2024. More details to come.
It’s a truly great feeling to have a book publisher put their faith in your work, as I’ve put my faith in theirs. I’m proud to again be affiliated with Purple Mountain Press; and I’m thrilled to be working with a trusted editor/publisher from the company the gave me a start with my first book all those years ago.
It feels like a homecoming.
Dana Cudmore’s most recent book, “Underground Empires: Two Centuries of Exploration, Adventure and Enterprise in NY’s Cave Country” was published in August 2021 by Black Dome Press of Catskill.