Devastation on the Delaware, Book Nears 5,000 Copies Sold; Seeks Material for Revised, Updated Edition

Ferndale, Pa. – Devastation on the Delaware: Stories and Images of the Deadly Flood of 1955 the only comprehensive documentary book about the record-setting weather disaster that killed nearly 100 people in the Delaware Valley, is nearing 5,000 copies sold on the third anniversary of its release in October, 2005, by Word Forge Books.

Author and publisher Mary A. Shafer of upper Bucks County is pleased with the performance of her company’s flagship title. “It hasn’t reached bestseller status, but we’re very happy that the book continues to sell steadily. Over the three years since we released Devastation, it continues to sell more than a thousand copies annually. It always experiences a little bump in sales at the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season, as well as any time a major hurricane strikes the U.S.”

Shafer still makes appearances in support of the book, both at bookstore signings and giving her hour-long digital slide presentation to various organizations. “I’ve made more than a dozen appearances this year and about ten last year. That brings total appearances to about 80 since the book came out.”

Fifty cents from each copy sold is donated to the Delaware RiverKeeper Network, to support the organization’s ongoing advocacy on behalf of the Delaware’s environmental health. So far, donations to this non-profit watchdog group have exceeded $1,500 and are headed toward $2,000. “We’re happy to be able to contribute to such a worthwhile cause, which has proven its effectiveness in saving the river from lots of environmental threats in the past few years,” says Shafer.

The publisher is at work on an audio CD version of the book, and is considering releasing an interactive DVD containing audio, video and photos that wouldn’t fit in the print version. “We’re also going to begin work on a revised, updated edition that we’ll likely release toward the end of the decade,” Shafer reports. “Lots of people have come forward with material I didn’t have access to during my original research, which will help me make the book more historically accurate and complete.” She invites anyone with material or information to offer to contact her at floodbook@thewordforge.com or 610-847-2456 with an inquiry.

The book retails for $19.95 and may be purchased at area booksellers, or ordered direct from the publisher at its website, wordforgebooks.com. Those interested in ordering the book through the mail, or retailers wishing to sell the book should call the publisher at 610-847-2456 or send an email to floodbook AT thewordforge.com.

Flood Book Author Announces Busy April Appearance Schedule in Delaware Valley

Appearance Schedule Announced
Archived Press Release – Release Date: April 17, 2006

Ferndale, PA – Mary A. Shafer, author of Devastation on the Delaware: Stories and Images of the Deadly Flood of 1955 announces a busy schedule of appearances in the Delaware Valley on both sides of the river during the month of April. Following a recent slide talk and book signing at the Burlington County Library in Westampton, New Jersey, Shafer is gearing up for four more appearances by the end of the month.

This Thursday, April 20, the author will be presenting a digital slide show, followed by an audience question-and-answer session, and will be selling and signing copies of the book at the Phillipsburg Public Library at 200 Frost Avenue in Phillipsburg, NJ. For more information, contact Linda Paff at 908-454-3712, or visit the library’s website at http://www.pburglib.com.

From 1:00-3:00 p.m. this Saturday, April 22, the author will be signing copies of her book at the Hobby Hangout at 3701 William Penn Hwy. in Easton, PA. For more information, call 610-252-6871.

The Haycock Historical Society will be hosting the author’s digital slide show, Q&A and a book signing at 7:30 p.m. next Thursday, April 27. The event will be held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 837 Old Bethlehem Road in Applebachsville, PA. Contact Chris Handschin via email at chandschin AT netcarrier.com for more information.

Finally, Shafer will be appearing to sell and sign her book during this year’s annual ShadFest celebration in Lambertville, NJ. The author will be found in the Word Forge Books booth on Saturday and Sunday, April 29-30, from Noon-5:00 p.m. More ShadFest information is available on the Web at http://www.lambertville.org/main.php?page=shadfest.

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CONTACT:
Mary Shafer, author – 610-847-2456 or floodbook AT thewordforge.com
Or directly contact the author

Media materials:
Click here to download a high-resolution digital image of the book cover, suitable for printing.

As 2007 Atlantic Hurricane Season Becomes Active,  Flood Book Featured in Cable TV Segment on Record-Setting Flood of 1955

Archived Press Release – Release Date: October 1, 2008

Ferndale, PA – As the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season heats up, the only comprehensive book about the worst hurricane-caused flood in the Delaware Valley has been featured in a recent cable TV segment. View the segment!

Devastation on the Delaware: Stories and Images of the Deadly Flood of 1955, the latest book by Bucks County author Mary A. Shafer, was featured on Monday, August 15, on the “Weather Whys?” segment of “Weather World,” a regular feature on PCN cable.

The show is produced by the Penn State University School of Meteorology. This segment was hosted by Dr. Jon Nese, former Storm Analyst with The Weather Channel, and author of the foreword for the book. Nese is now teaching in the PSU meteorology department.

The flood that is the subject of the book took place 52 years ago this week, and remains the worst flood ever to hit the Delaware Valley.

The title was named a Notable Book in the Reference category of the 2006 Annual Book Awards by Writer’s Notes Magazine, as well as winning honorable mentions in both the History and Nature Writing categories of USABooks.com’s 2006 Book Awards. It has sold more than 3600 copies since being published in October, 2005.

A 456-page softcover book, Devastation on the Delaware contains more than 100 black & white historical photographs of the record-setting flood disaster, some never before published. Its compelling and fast-paced narrative nonfiction has been described as “reading like a thriller.”

The true stories of dozens of eyewitnesses and victims take readers through three terrifying days and nights as Diane, the second of two training hurricanes, dumps up to a foot of rain on the valley. A half-dozen maps, a reader’s notes section, extensive bibliography, appendix and an exhaustive index help readers place the weather disaster in historical and regional context.

Fifty cents from each copy sold is donated to the Delaware RiverKeeper Network, to support ongoing advocacy on behalf of the Delaware’s environmental health.

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CONTACT:
Mary Shafer, author – 610-847-2456 or floodbook AT thewordforge.com
Or directly contact the author

Media materials:
Download high-resolution digital image of the book cover, suitable for printing

Devastation on the Delaware Book Highlights Eerie Similarities

Release Date: September 7, 2006

Between Present Hurricane Disasters and Record-Setting Flood of 1955 Ferndale, PA – Unusually warm Atlantic Ocean waters spawn a disastrous hurricane season. Hurricanes cause massive flooding and break all-time damage records. Hundreds of people are dead, many missing, and thousands are left homeless to face the coming winter.

The Gulf Coast in 2005? No: The Delaware River Valley in 1955.

Author Mary A. Shafer points up many similarities between last year’s catastrophic hurricane season and that of fifty years ago in her newest book, Devastation on the Delaware: Stories and Images of the Deadly Flood of 1955.The 456-page softcover book contains more than 100 black & white historical photographs of the event, some never before published. In compelling and fast-paced narrative nonfiction form that has been described as “reading like a thriller,” it takes the reader through three terrifying days and nights of the largest flood disaster ever to hit the Delaware Valley. Follow the true stories of dozens of eyewitnesses and victims as Diane, the second of two training hurricanes, dumps up to a foot of rain on already-saturated ground on both sides of the river from Port Jervis, NY through Trenton, NJ.

A half-dozen maps, a reader’s notes section, extensive bibliography, appendix and an exhaustive index help readers place the weather disaster in historical and regional context and make the book a valuable historical reference.Fifty cents from each copy sold is being donated to the Delaware RiverKeeper Network, to support their ongoing advocacy on behalf of the Delaware’s environmental health. That translates into a healthy donation from the first printing to this non-profit watchdog group.

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CONTACT:
Mary Shafer, author – 610-847-2456 or floodbook AT thewordforge.com
Or directly contact the author

Media materials:
Download high-resolution digital image of the book cover, suitable for printing.

Devastation on the Delaware Book Hits One-Year Mark With 3,100 Copies Sold; Donates $300 to Delaware RiverKeeper Network

Release Date: February 5, 2007 

 Ferndale, PA – Devastation on the Delaware: Stories and Images of the Deadly Flood of 1955 sold more than 600 copies in the first half of this year, pushing total copies sold to over 3,100 for its publisher, Word Forge Books.

Fifty cents from each copy sold is donated to the Delaware RiverKeeper Network, to support the organization’s ongoing advocacy on behalf of the Delaware’s environmental health. That translated into a $300 donation to this non-profit watchdog group at their annual dinner on September 28 at the Hyatt Regency in Penns Landing.

WHYY Public Radio’s Mike McGrath, the evening’s featured speaker, accepted the check on behalf of the RiverKeeper. As she handed him the check, author and publisher Mary A. Shafer told the audience of nearly 100 that she is pleased to be able to contribute to the group, whose efforts “keep the Delaware a river worth writing about.”

Shafer says plans are in the works for an audio version on CD, and perhaps an interactive DVD containing actual interviews with flood survivors, photos that wouldn’t fit in the print version, and even some film footage of the worst flood the Delaware has ever seen.

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CONTACT:
Mary Shafer, author – 610-847-2456 or floodbook AT thewordforge.com
Or directly contact the author

Media materials:
Download high-resolution digital image of the book cover, suitable for printing.

Devastation on the Delaware Recognized as USABookNews.com Announces Winners And Finalists Of “Best Books 2006” Book Awards

USABookNews.com Awards
Archived Press Release – Release Date: November 29, 2006

LOS ANGELES – Devastation on the Delaware: Stories and Images of the Deadly Flood of 1955 by Ferndale, Pennsylvania author Mary A. Shafer has received two more awards from the publishing world. Following the book’s designation in March as a Notable Reference Book of 2006 by Writer’s Notes Magazine, the documentary has been named Finalist in two categories, Writing: Nature and History: United States, in the “BEST BOOKS 2006” BOOK AWARDS (BBA) today by USABookNews.com.

The premiere online magazine and review website for mainstream and independent publishing houses announced 408 winners and finalists in more than 120 categories covering print, audio, e-books and interactive CD-ROMs. Awards were presented for titles published in 2006 and late 2005. Jeff Bowen, president and publisher of USABookNews.com, says this year’s contest yielded an unprecedented number of over 1200 entries.

Bowen says of the awards, now in their fourth year, “The 2006 results represent a phenomenal mix of books from a wide array of publishers throughout the United States. As an executive in the publishing PR and marketing industry, and as president of both USABookNews.com and PubInsider.com, I wanted to create an awards competition that recognized books in their publication year, rather than months after the original launch window.”

Winners and finalists traversed the publishing landscape. Simon & Schuster, Warner Books, New American Library (a division of the Penguin Group,) Red Wheel Weiser and Conari, New World Library, and hundreds of independent presses, including Word Forge Books of Bucks County, Pennsylvania contributed to this year’s outstanding BBA competition.

Bowen adds, “BBA’s success begins with the enthusiastic participation of authors and publishers and continues with our distinguished panel of industry judges, who bring to the table their extensive editorial, PR, marketing, and design expertise.”

USABookNews.com is an online publication providing coverage of books from mainstream and independent publishers to the world online community. USABN Magazine Online is the monthly electronic magazine e-mailed free to a large cross-section of the book buying public. Los Angeles-based JPX Media is the parent company of USABookNews.com.

A complete list of the winners and finalists of the USABookNews.com “Best Books 2006” Book Awards is available online at http://www.USABookNews.com.

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CONTACT:
Mary Shafer, author – 610-847-2456 or floodbook AT thewordforge.com
Or directly contact the author

Media materials:
Download high-resolution digital image of the book cover, suitable for printing.

Local Author to Bring Flood Story to Life in March

Presentations Scheduled
Archived Release – Release Date: February 22, 2005

Ferndale, PA – Local writer Mary A. Shafer, author of the recently released documentary book Devastation on the Delaware: Stories and Images of the Deadly Flood of 1955, will be bringing the story to life in an ongoing series of digital slide presentations, readings from the book, and audience question and answer sessions in March.

Shafer will be appearing at the Palisades High School Library on Thursday, March 16, 2006 at 7:00 PM as a guest of the Riegelsville Kiwanis Club. The event is free of charge, but seating is limited and will be made available on a first-come basis to non-Kiwanis members. The high school is located at 35 Church Hill Rd. in Kintnersville. Contact Anne Lyons at 610-847-5268 for more information.

On Thursday, March 30, at 7:00 PM, the author will be giving her presentation to the Durham Historical Society. The event will take place at the Durham Township building at 215 Old Furnace Rd. in Durham. Interested parties should contact Steve Willey at 610-346-1672 for more information.

The author will be offering her book for sale at a special appearance price, and will be signing copies at both events. For a complete, current schedule of the author’s upcoming appearances, visit 55flood.com.

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CONTACT:
Mary Shafer, author – 610-847-2456 or floodbook AT thewordforge.com
Or directly contact the author

Media materials:
Download high-resolution digital image of the book cover, suitable for printing.

Flood Book by Local Author Finds New Home; Publication Date Announced

Publication Date Announced
Archived Release – Release Date: July 28, 2005

Ferndale, PA – Those who have been following the development of Devastation on the Delaware: Stories and Images of the Deadly Flood of 1955, the latest book by local author Mary A. Shafer, will be pleased to learn that the book has found a new publisher and now has a definite publication date.

Devastation on the Delaware will be released to the public on October 1 by Word Forge Books, a division of the author’s freelance writing business. Originally scheduled to be published by Writers Room Books this summer, the project was dropped due to a combination of difficult circumstances. The situation has been resolved, with Writers Room Executive Director Jonathan Maberry wishing Shafer much success with the book and offering to help promote it, as the Writers Room does with many local authors.

The book will be a 6” x 9” softcover of 440 pages, and will contain 75-100 black & white photographs. 10 maps and diagrams will illustrate the extent of the weather event that caused the 1955 flood and its damage. The book will retail for $19.95 and may be pre-ordered now at its website, https://www.55flood.com/order. Those who pre-order will receive their copies before they hit store shelves, and are entitled to a custom inscription by the author.

Fifty cents from each copy sold will be donated to the Delaware RiverKeeper Network, to support their ongoing advocacy on behalf of the Delaware’s environmental health. Delaware RiverKeeper Maya van Rossum looks forward to her organization’s association with the book. “We’re pleased that the book has been written by an informed local author with both a passion for the river and an understanding of the challenges it faces in remaining a viable ecosystem. Mary’s book does a good job of connecting the causes and effects of the 1955 flood with issues we still struggle with today. And she does so while telling a heck of a good story.”

“I like to think the donations will make some small contribution to helping ensure there will always be a river worth writing about,” says Shafer.

Over the past three years, the author interviewed more than a hundred survivors and eyewitnesses of the record-setting flood caused by hurricanes Connie and Diane. In addition, she performed dozens of hour of research at many public and private archives on both sides of the river. “I also had a great deal of help from several people who are interested in seeing this book come to fruition,” she says. “I had a great deal of help from my summer interns Caryn and Casey Newton of Revere, and Noreen Wickert of Kintnersville. I couldn’t have completed my research without these amazing friends whose willingness to do a lot of the inglorious drudgery behind the scenes showed me how important this project is to so many people.

“H.J. Opdyke Lumber of Frenchtown, New Jersey, was actually born in the flood. Second-generation owner Jack Opdyke has generously agreed to sponsor the first printing of the book as a way to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary in business. I owe the ability to get the book to the press-ready stage to a number of private donors. Their kind and generous funding gifts have allowed me to pay for reprint permissions for historical photos, production and promotional costs. Local graphic designer and illustrator Laura Pritchard of Doylestown’s Pritchard Design (pritcharddesign.com) donated the cover art to give the title an attractive, professional look.

“I had access to many great stories and private photo collections, thanks to many others up and down the river,” the author continues. “I hope my work will please everyone who has made this truly a community effort. It’s been extremely gratifying.”

Shafer has developed a digital slide show about the flood, which she has already presented to several area organizations, with new appearances currently being added. The presentation consists of a 45-minute slide show and 15-minute question-and-answer session, and is ideal for libraries, historical societies and schools. Groups interested in scheduling a presentation, those interested in pre-ordering the book through the mail, or retailers wishing to sell the book when it comes out in October should call the author at 610-847-2456 or email her at floodbook AT thewordforge.com.

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CONTACT:
Mary Shafer, author – 610-847-2456 or floodbook AT thewordforge.com
Or directly contact the author
Jack Opdyke, Opdyke Lumber – 908-996-2241
Maya van Rossum, Delaware RiverKeeper – 215-369-1188 or maya AT delawareriverkeeper.org

Media materials:
Download high-resolution digital image of the book cover, suitable for printing

Writers Room Will Publish 50th Anniversary Account of ’55 Delaware Flood

Publication Announced
Archived Release – Release Date: October 4, 2004

Doylestown, PA – The Writers Room of Bucks County has signed a publishing agreement with local writer Mary A. Shafer of Upper Bucks County to produce an oral and pictorial history of the great flood of 1955. The book, entitled Devastation on the Delaware, will be published early next year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the catatastrophic, hurricane-driven flood that killed nearly 100 people, wiped out bridges, and changed the character and culture of the Valley forever.

Devastation on the Delaware will be based on extensive interviews with eyewitnesses that Shafer has been conducting over the past year or more, and will include a rich collection of photos. Anyone with dramatic pictures or stories to tell are invited to submit them for inclusion to The Writers Room at 4 W. Oakland Ave., Doylestown, PA 18901.

Profits from the book will benefit The Writers Room’s programs and a portion of the proceeds will go to The Delaware Riverkeeper Network, a Washington’s Crossing-based nonprofit that is devoted to protecting the natural balance of the sprawling Delaware watershed extending from the Catskills to Delaware Bay.

Foster Winans, Writers Room Executive Director, said the book represents the first foray of the nonprofit writers center into the publishing business. “Although we have produced four books for our writers under our new imprint, Writers Room Books,” said Winans, “Devastation on the Delaware will be the first title we have actually acquired in the traditional sense of licensing the copyright from the author.” Winans said he jumped at the idea when Shafer first proposed it. “Like many local residents, I was a witness to this calamity, a wide-eyed seven-year-old standing in the bright sunlight in Lumberville on August 19, 1955, watching whole houses racing downstream in the middle of a boiling river swollen beyond anyone’s memory or imagination.”

The flood, resulting from back-to-back hurricanes, destroyed several bridges that were never replaced, cutting communities in half; it left widespread devastation; it changed the way residents and land-use planners approached flood-plain building; it sparked a fierce debate over damming the river; and it left an indelible mark on the memories of all who experienced it. About 70 people staying at a summer camp upriver were washed away by a 40-foot wall of water, and bodies were still being recovered years later and miles away.”This will be a must-read in communities all along the Delaware next year,” said Winans, “no less so because of heightened interest by the recent flood triggered by Hurricane Ivan. Shafer is a consummate storyteller with a knack for making history come alive. She is also a self-described ‘weather weenie,’ fascinated and engaged by nature’s fury, drama, and history.”Funding to produce the book is being raised from local patrons. Anyone interested in contributing should call The Writers Room at 215-348-1663, or email info@writersroom.net.

The Writers Room of Bucks County, Inc. offers educational and professional-development programs for writers of all ages, genres, and experience; editorial and publishing services; and is publisher of The Bucks County Writer and Underage Thinking magazines. More information at www.WritersRoom.net.

The Delaware Riverkeeper and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) is committed to restoring the natural balance of the River, its tributaries, and its watershed where it has been lost, and ensuring its preservation where it still exists. It’s mission is to educate and engage communities and citizens to act and advocate for change. Contact: Maya van Rossum 215-369-1188. More info. at www.delawareriverkeeper.org.

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CONTACT:
Mary Shafer of Ferndale is a freelance author and journalist.
610-847-2456 or floodbook AT thewordforge.com
Or directly contact the author