• Maine's Patrick McGowan writes modern day Robin Hood page-turner with first novel

    From Maine Insights Newsmagazine: Former DOC Maine Commissioner Patrick McGowan writes modern day Robin Hood page-turner with first novel

    One Good Thing — A Maine adventure story with purpose

     By Ramona du Houx

    Patrick McGowan weaves the spirit of adventure and social justice into his first novel in a twenty-first century Robin Hood story—with a twist. Our avengers take to the skies over the wilds of northern Maine and remote Canada risking everything in a mad-caped scheme to kidnap a couple of crooked, greedy billionaires.

    McGowan will be on Bill Green's Maine, TV show, on June 23rd at 7pm and the 24th in the morning. Green traveled to Rangeley, Maine to interview the author.

    More about the book:

    Mac McCabe, the owner of Allagash Air, flies wealthy customers into the wilderness to unforgettable and often life-changing experiences, camping, fishing, and hunting. When the man behind the deal to close the local paper mill forces Mac’s airplane into a deadly spin with his jet, Mac dreams up a plan to get even. He recruits the military discipline of his brother-in-law, the skills of a journalist and a beautiful computer expert to form his band of thieves.

    The personal motives of Mac McCabe’s merry band often put them at odds, raising the tension level with nail biting situations. But McCabe never wavers from his goal to do one good thing—correct an injustice to a Maine community and create a universal health care system for America.

    Patrick McGowan’s descriptions of flying over the northern woods and fishing are awe-inspiring. His gripping novel is hard to put down. A great summer read.

    One Good Thing brings Patrick McGowan’s public service, floatplane adventures, and love of storytelling to the public. McGowan campaigned for single-payer health coverage in a congressional race in 1990 and has never given up on this bold idea for America.

    “During the winter of 2014-15 we lost power over the entire Christmas holiday. Luckily I had this story in my head for a book. I started writing," said McGowan. “It’s an adventure story with purpose.”

    More about the author:

    Patrick K. McGowan was born in Bangor, Maine, and raised in Somerset County. He learned to fly at the age of sixteen and began a lifetime of adventure and backcountry bush flying. Inspired by his home state, a place of magnificent beauty, he began a public service career, which included being a legislator, presidential appointee, and member of a governor’s cabinet.

    He has owned and operated many small businesses over four decades.

    His drive for continued adventure included ten years as a skydiver, forty years as a floatplane and backcountry airplane pilot and multiple Maine canoe trips.

    McGowan is an accomplished conservationist.

    Published by Polar Bear & Company, of Maine, an imprint of the Solon Center for Research and Publishing – head office: PO Box 311, Solon, ME  04979. In town location: 20 Main Street, Rockland, ME  04841.

    Available online including Barnes&,, and at local bookstores by request, or directly from the publisher.

    $17.95/Pages: 260

    ISBN-13: 978-1882190812

  • Professor Pasztory launches book— Exile Space: Encountering Ancient and Modern America in Memoir, Essay, and Fiction

    From Maine Insights Newsmagazine: Former Deer Isle Professor Pasztory launches book— Exile Space: Encountering Ancient and Modern America in Memoir, Essay, and Fiction

    Because of her groundbreaking research book now being considered for Pulitzer 

    By Ramona du Houx

    Professor Esther Pasztory has written a new book, Exile Space: Encountering Ancient and Modern America in Memoir, Essay, and Fiction. This is her 14th book,and her most personal. It comes at a time when PBS is doing a series on Native Americans and tells more about these fascinating cultures that lived in harmony with nature.

    Pasztory is an art historian, specializing in Teotihuacan, Aztec, and Art Theory, as well as being a writer. She is a Lisa and Bernard Selz Professor Emerita of Pre-Columbian Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University.

    Exile Space: Encountering Ancient and Modern America in Memoir, Essay, and Fiction is published by Polar Bear & Company, of Maine, an imprint of the Solon Center for Research and Publishing.

    “We’ve submitted the book for consideration for a Pulitzer because Esther Pasztory’s body of work has been groundbreaking in her field,” said Paul Cornell du Houx, Executive Director of the Solon Center for Research and Publishing. “She continues to shine a light on the Ancient American civilizations, changing academic preconceptions.” 

    Pasztory has published extensively in the field of pre-Columbian art, including the first art historical manuscripts on Teotihuacan and the Aztecs.

    “I became interested in this field when I was taking an anthropology class at Barnard and we were told to write on some piece of primitive art and sent to some galleries. So when I went to graduate school, I decided to study “primitive” art. That consisted of all of Africa, all of Oceania from New Guinea to Easter Islands, all of North American Indian and the Amazon region of South America as well as pre-Columbian art which was kind of attached to primitive which included Mexico, Guatemala, Central America and the Andean regions. In fact this area was ¾ of the world that we studied. And it was all material that was unknown to most people,” said Pasztory.

    “I was fascinated by their mystery and by the fact that I could be the first person to study some of these things. I could be a pioneer. I wrote a book on Aztec art that was the first book ever written on the subject. When I went to Mexico, and I saw the ruins, which were so impressive and so large, and yet they were made by people that had no metal tools, only stone ones to build pyramids the size of those in Egypt. I became fascinated by how and why they did this.”

    Exile Space: Encountering Ancient and Modern America in Memoir, Essay, and Fiction has three main sections:

    1. “Multiple Horizons: Tales From the Life of a Refugee” is the often humorous account of a Hungarian refugee trying to assimilate into American life and in the process discovering the Ancient American cultures of the Aztec, Maya, and Inca.

    2. “Stone Age Civilization in the New World” is a controversial memoir about Ancient America as it compares to Europe, as an overview written in the freedom of retirement. It is written as advice to the BBC, which had recently interviewed her for a program called Civilizations.

    3. “The Maya Vase” is a novel of fantasy in the reconstruction of ancient Maya life as seen through the eyes of a graduate student as the author once was, with comparisons to modern American life. 

    "The heroine of The Maya Vase is able like a shaman to travel between Tikal and a twenty-first-century archeology department . . . You'll be absorbed in the parallel subtext that weaves like an Amerindian textile, warp and woof intentionally thinly veiled."— George Nelson Preston, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Department of Art, CCNY/CUNY, Academico, Pierre Verger Chair, Academia Brasileira de Arte, Rio de Janeiro.

    "This three-part memoir allows us to peek into the personal life experiences of a remarkable thinker and writer, and everyone who reads it will ultimately benefit in one way or another. The benefits, moreover, will be positive and uplifting, for the book is not only downright funny in places, but Esther makes it clear that she has no regrets about the rupture that changed her life forever. Her curiosity about the world, her sense of adventure, her ease at entering into someone else's world . . . all combine to edify and enchant the reader. Enjoy."— Cecelia F. Klein, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Department of Art History, UCLA.

    Born in Hungary, she immigrated to the United States in 1956. With her dissertation at Columbia, entitled The Murals of Tepantitla, Teotihuacan, she received her PhD in 1971. She was recently a Visiting Professor at UCLA in Los Angeles. Esther now lives in San Francisco, California after moving from Deer Isle, Maine where she resided for a number of years. 

    She has taught the art of both Mesoamerica and the Andes and is immersed in a theoretical study of the relationship of art and society.

    As she’s stated in her ground breaking book Thinking with Things (2005): “’Art’ does not reside in objects; it is society that decides what is and what isn’t art. Naturalism and abstraction are both always available to the artist if required by the social context. Depending on their size and complexity different societies have chosen specific types of styles and subjects for their communicating devices. The widespread use of writing fundamentally changes the role of things and puts them in a secondary position.”

    Available online at Barnes&,, and at local bookstores, $18.95. ISBN-13: 978-1882190829

  • Fukurou — Gallery/Book showroom for the Solon Center for Research and Publishing opens in Rockland, Maine

    From Maine Insights Newsmagazine: Fukurou — Gallery/Book showroom for the non-profit Solon Center for Research and Publishing opens in Rockland, Maine


    Fukurou’s first exhibit features Ramona du Houx’s mystical watercolor like art photographs

     by Kitty Greene

    Fukurou — Gallery/Books,, will represent Maine artists, as well as foster cross-cultural connections with Japanese artists and others. We will host exhibits, booksignings, have lectures, workshops and other events.

    Fukurou means owl, prosperity and health in Japanese. The owl in Ancient Greece often is associated with Athena, the arts and wisdom.

    Fukurou is the gallery showroom for the Solon Center for Research and Publishing. The Solon Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit Maine Public Benefit Corporation that helps build community in Maine and beyond through educational, literary, scientific and artistic means, with publications, research, exhibits, and other events and initiatives. The Solon Center for Research & Publishing  works to help the humanities flourish.

    Democracy flourishes when creativity is allowed freedom of expression.

    Our Solon Center books have themes of long-term intrinsic value and are published through our imprint, Polar Bear & Company. Over seventy titles have already been published and are available at Fukurou, as well as in bookstores and Amazon.

    Solon Center is also a platform where people from diverse disciplines can examine issues of cultural and environmental importance, while developing connections.

    The current exhibit at the Solon Center's Fukurou features Ramona du Houx who creates fine art photography that looks like watercolor paintings, evoking a sense of wonder. Many have found they relieve stress, as they are relaxing, thought proving and mystical. Her new work will include images created with her technique she first discovered in 1979.

    “I try to bring the beauty, magic and mystery of nature to viewers by amplifying nature’s essence. I translate what I feel when I’m outside, merged within nature’s embrace, through my art work, thereby bringing the energy and peace of the natural world into the lives of folks who view my images.”

    She uses the camera with a painter’s eye. Her technique uses movement to create a sense of wonder through colors, textures, memories, energy and the seasons. Everything within the viewfinder becomes visibly interconnected when objects merge with the motion of the camera as the image, the “lightgraph,” is taken.

    “Many Native American’s believed that everything is interconnected. I try and depict the energy and emotion that makes those connections tangible. But the technique can be challenging, as I never know exactly what the results will be,” said Ramona.

    “Scientists, innovators, and inventors throughout history took the time to observe the connective rhythms in nature. Ben Franklin’s electrical experiment depended upon his observation of those connections. Aerodynamic technologies that make cars, planes and athletes faster have relied upon recording those rhymes. But the innovators of tomorrow may be in jeopardy for now society plugs us into the Internet, and while that can open doors, sometimes too much of being Internet-connected disconnects us from the mysteries of the natural world — that can be transformational.”

    By the time Ramona was 12 she couldn’t be seen without a camera. By 18 she was teaching photography and industrial design at Collegio San Antonio Abad in Puerto Rico.

    During college she worked with three New York City photographers. In 1979 she landed jobs to take political photographs of Sen. Ted Kennedy, and President Jimmy Carter. The same year she discovered her “lightgraph” technique and held her first exhibit in Huntington, Long Island. Excited by the new way of expressing herself she took her “lightgraph” images to the Museum of Modern Art, where they were put on file.

    The Zen nature of her work became obvious to Ramona so she continued her studies in art, and philosophy in Kyoto, Japan while teaching. Her travels in the East led to numerous exhibits in Japan and lifelong connections.

    In England and Ireland, she explored the mythology of the region, while raising three children, ghost writing a novel, and forever taking photographs. After returning stateside to Maine, she started Polar Bear & Company, with her husband and was hired as a consultant by a local artist. During this time she also explored more about the mysteries of motion in her lightgraph technique, worked for newspapers and wrote a children’s novel. By 1998 she was given access to a color darkroom at the Lewiston Creative Photographic Art Center to print a backlog of work in exchange for advising the Center’s photography students.

    In 2005 Ramona started a newsmagazine, Maine Insights, which continues to this day. She worked as a photographer for the 2008 DNC convention in Denver, Colorado, and photographed President Barack Obama’s second Inauguration in 2012.

    In 2013 she became the President of the Solon Center and recently organized the Elected Officials to Protect America’s Lands, a group comprised of veterans who are also lawmakers, to send a letter to Sec. Zinke requesting he support the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The LWCF supports millions of dollars of projects, in every county in Maine and in every state, for the upkeep of our parks. As the organizer/photographer she traveled with the EOPA delegation to Washington, D.C. where they made their case to seven U.S. Senators.

    The Solon Center is the Elected Officials to Protect America’s Land’s fiscal sponsor.

    “I see my political work as an extension of my art work. I’m passionate about protecting our public lands, without them we loose sight of who we are as a people,” said Ramona.

    Yohaku Yorozuya will be Fukurou’s next exhibit. Yorozuya, also known as Takafumi Suzuki, is an artist with Fukurou. Professor Suzuki, has had multiple exhibits over his forty-two year career as a photographic artist. He is renowned for his use of classic black and white darkroom techniques spending days perfecting his images.

  • ‘A Writers’ Compendium: Quotations of the Trade’

    Post Date:  

    SOLON — Polar Bear and Company is proud to announce the publication of “A Writers’ Compendium: Quotations of the Trade”, edited and compiled by author Peter Bollen. Illustrations are crafted by Ramona du Houx.

    Writers often spend hours, days working away on manuscripts. Sometimes in their self imposed isolation they wonder if their experiences are unique. A Writers’ Compendium: Quotations of the Trade allows them to see how their process may or may not be similar to other writers. It brings the writing community together and offers inspiration within unexpected quotes.

    This unique collection of quotes by writers on the process of writing, on journalism, on censorship, poetry, writer’s block, and on other writers and critics is a wonderful resource.

    Bollen is the author of “Nuclear Voices”, “Great Labor Quotations” and “Frank Talk”. He’s currently a contributing columnist for the Bridgton News.

    “As a long time literary book collector, I have concentrated on writers’ memoirs and biographies, as well as interviews and conversations with a wide range of writers working in various fields. This obsession became my education for my own writing and my career in publishing. Gleaning all this literary wisdom fueled my desire to compile a useful and entertaining collection of literary nuggets for readers and anyone who aspires to write. Putting this volume together and reading the words of these lively minds on the craft of writing and the creative process was particularly enjoyable and personally edifying.

    “The chapters in this book include quotations on creativity, censorship, critiques from fellow writers, and the importance of journalism. I hope they convey something about the writing life and the importance of the printed word.

    “I intend for this collection to serve as a helpful guide for aspiring and fledgling writers. I have included a chapter on the dreaded “writer’s block” – that familiar malady suffered, at times, by even the most experienced wordsmiths. When I interview and talk with writers personally, I always ask them about ‘The Block.’

    “Writers often refer to and use their favorite quotations by their colleagues and mentors. Many of these quotations are well known and often repeated. In this book, where the actual source of a quote could not be definitely determined, I have added ‘attributed’ following the author citation.

    “I hope this compendium is entertaining as well as useful for readers and writers alike. I have tried my best to be accurate and correct in attributing the quotations. Any inaccuracies discovered after publication will be corrected in subsequent editions of this volume.” —Peter Bollen


    Please visit Peter’s Facebook page at:

  • Neil Rolde’s history of the War Refugee Board highly significant now

    Neil Rolde’s new history of the War Refugee Board highly significant now

    Post Date: 
    Neil Rolde's series about how holocaust survivors fought for their lives and what the US did to help

    Rolde returns from Israel where he researched next book in 3 part series

    The War Refugee Board saved over 200,000 lives, but there hasn’t been a comprehensive written history about the extraordinary work that the Board did—until now. Neil Rolde’s More Than a Teardrop in the Ocean, The Tempestuous Story of the War Refugee Board is the definitive history of this heroic organization.

    “The War Refugee Board’s feat of saving some 200,000 targeted innocents is surely worthy of respect. I’m proud to have told the saga of the War Refugee Board in its detailed entirety, in these two volumes,” said author Neil Rolde.

    A new documentary by Ken Burns, The Sharps’ War, is the story of how a Unitarian minister and his wife risked their lives to save an estimated 125 Jews, during the height of WWII. Burns said that their story needed to be told.

    While researching, Rolde found a treasure trove of stories where people accomplished extraordinary things to save Jewish refugees but their actions were rarely attributed to the work of the War Refugee Board.

    For example, Raoul Wallenberg, a heroic Swede who saved at least 20,000 Hungarian Jews is known. “But not many people know that the War Refugee Board had sent Wallenberg secretly to Hungary,” said Neil. “Most of the workers weren’t Jewish. They were a small group of about thirty people doing extraordinary things.”

    Tragically, during WWII the U.S. didn’t help refugees as much as the should have because of the U.S. State Department official in charge of matters concerning all European refugees during the Holocaust, Breckinridge Long.

    Niel Rolde’s biography on Long, Breckinridge Long, American Eichmann??? An Enquiry into the Character of the Man Who Denied Visas to the Jews, exposed the tragic reality that Roosevelt appointed the wrong man for the job. “He’s an example of the banality of evil,” said Rolde.

    As a result to Long’s policies 90 percent of the quota places available to immigrants from countries under German and Italian control were never filled. When President Roosevelt learned about what Long had been doing he had his power over visas and refugees taken away and in January 1944 established the War Refugee Board.

    Of the nine million Jews who had resided in Europe before the Holocaust, approximately two-thirds were killed. Over one million Jewish children were murdered in the genocide, as were five million Jewish adults in more than 40,000 concentration camps.

    Many of the same elements that led to WWII survive today. Polar Bear & Company believe we must reflect and understand more about this turbulent time—a time that brought the best out in everyday people—a time that also saw the worst in too many.

    Neil Rolde has dedicated himself to broadening our awareness of this era. His histories highlight the degree to which the U.S. helped save Jews during the war and what that required.

    “When I researched Long I came across the War Refugee Board and soon saw the need to write about their work. That lead to my latest about what happened to the Jews after the allies ‘liberated’ Europe. It concentrates on the Bricha, which is Hebrew for escape.”

    “After WWII, over one million Jewish Holocaust survivors were classified as ‘not repatriable’ and had to remain in Germany and Austria in Displaced Persons camps. Bricha was the underground-organized effort that helped them escape Europe to Palestine, in violation of the British White Paper.

    “Bricha was perhaps the largest organized clandestine population transfer in history. It was astounding both in the organization that directed the flow and in the mass movement itself. The aim was to reach the coasts, where clandestine ships arranged by the Aliyah Bet organization could transfer the DPs to Palestine.

    Rolde’s books are always extensively researched. He’s recently returned from Israel after spending a month researching his next book.

    “I spent a lot of time researching documents one can only access there. I also visited Atlit Detention Camp, where the British held refugees. Long before, Atlit had been an outpost for the Crusaders.

    “At one point the Haganah, the underground, managed to break into Atlit and break out a couple hundred prisoners. It must have been horrific to be freed from a concentration camp, then have to escape continued anti-Semitism in Europe locked up in another camp, only to be ‘detained’ in a British camp.”

    Neil has won awards for his books from the Maine Historical Society, the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, and the Maine Humanities Council.

    The War Refugee Board, by Neil Rolde
    Vol I: ISBN-978-1-882190-75-1
    Vol II: ISBN-978-1-882190-76-8
    $16.95 each

    A list of Neil Rolde’s other books:

    • Crimes of War
    • Real Political Tales: Short Stories by a Veteran Politician
    • Breckenridge Long: An American: An American Eichmann??? An Enquiry into the Character of the Man who Denied Visas to the Jews
    • Continental Liar from the State of Maine: James G. Blaine
    • Unsettled Past, Unsettled Future: The Story of Maine Indians
    • The Interrupted Forest A History of Maine’s Wildlands
    • Maine A Narrative History
    • Maine Downeast and Different an Illustrated History
    • An Illustrated History of Maine
    • Your Money or Your Health: America’s Cruel, Bureaucratic, and Horrendously Expensive Health Care System How It Got That Way and What to Do About
    • Rio Grande Do Norte: The Story of Maine’s Partner State in Brazil What It’s Like, What Its past Has Been, and What Are Its Ties to Maine
    • The Baxters of Maine: Downeast Visionaries
    • So You Think You Know Maine
    • Maine in the World: Stories of Some of Those from Here Who Went Away
    • O. Murray Carr: A Novel
    • Sir William Pepperrell of Colonial New England