These are "Reports from the Newsstand," my comments on the publications in our catalogue at We offer sample copies of our publications, not subscriptions. Each sample copy costs $2.59, well below newsstand cover prices (if the publication is available on your newsstand at all). A $2.00 shipping charge is added to each order. Publishers use to get their publications into the hands of potential subscribers.


Ed Rust, proprietor of, has worked in publishing in a variety of capacities for decades. He started as U.S. circulation director of the Financial Times "way back when they flew the papers into Kennedy Airport from London a day late." He most recently was managing editor of publications at the General Society, Sons of the Revolution.

Monday, February 27, 2006

HORSES IN ART: Equines at Work and Play

I'm starting this frosty morning looking through the Winter 2005 issue of Horses in Art, a magazine published in Jamul, CA that is devoted to images of the horse in contemporary art. There are no traditional thoroughbred race horse images in this magazine, but colorful and imaginative depictions of all sorts of horse breeds at work and at play. Most of the articles are by or about the artists, and they have interesting stories to tell. For instance, Dan Stivers comments on his oil painting, commissioned by the 2nd U.S. Cavalry, showing some of the famed Lipizzaners of Vienna's Spanish Riding School being "liberated" in 1945 by American soldiers on horseback from the Czechoslovakian farm where they had been sent by the occupying Germans. The Americans were fearful they would fall into the hands of the advancing Russian Army. Interestingly, as the painting illustrates and the article explains, young Lippizzan horses are brown or black, and don't turn white until they get past the age of six. Another artist specializes in the striking Stonewall Sporthorse, with black speckles on a white coat, resulting from a cross of the Appaloosa and Percheron breeds. The artist who created the cover of this issue, Lynn Thomas, had worked for many years running a pack outfitting business in Wyoming and loves to paint sturdy working horses. In the cover article, Horses in Art editor Sarah Crampton quotes Thomas, "I feel sad that this kind of scene is slowly disappearing and large tractors with automatic feeders are taking the place of the big draft teams." I have three pictures from the issue to show you before I get back to work in the newsstand. Two are from an article about the artwork of a horse named Romeo, who paints greeting cards and such with a brush held firmly in his teeth. The third, from an ad in the issue, is a bronze in the Remington style by Sandy Wisecup that I dedicate to the late Betty Friedan, who gallantly let me buy her a Coke while I interviewed her for my college newspaper quite a few years ago. An annual subscription (four issues) to Horses in Art is $19.95 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


New to the newsstand today is Children's Book Insider, a monthly newsletter for writers of children's books, a highly competitive and potentially lucrative occupation. I've got the January issue here in the newsstand. The first couple of pages of this eight-page publication are devoted to news of publishers looking for manuscripts and announcements of writing workshops and conferences in various parts of the country. The rest of the Children's Book Insider, which is published in Ft. Collins, CO, contains short articles of advice from experts on getting your book written and sold. One example is a nifty article on writing dialogue, in which author Gail Martini-Peterson bluntly warns that "actual dialogue bores the reader," being filled with hems, haws and idle, irrelevant chatter. She shows how dialogue should always advance the plot, should be broken up with action and scene description, and, interestingly, "should never be an information drop." The centerfold of the January issue is a good discussion of the benefits of becoming a book reviewer (besides possibly getting free books), and it's applicable advice for all sorts of writers. Author Mary Bowman-Kruhm notes that opportunities to review books for children are much greater now with the advent of the Internet, and argues persuasively that the effort and discipline of critically analyzing a newly published book can help you better understand how to structure and write your own saleable manuscripts in that field. Another winner in the issue is an article that suggests you search for your own "inner child" when working on your children's book. Think back to what it felt like to arrive at a big test completely unprepared (still the subject of nightmares umpteen years later!), make a visit to your old childhood playground to summon up long-ago joys and fears, try to remember how you felt when your icky new brother became the center of your parents' world when you were six. Such emotions, properly worked into a setting that reflects the world of your readers (popular movies, cartoons, music, electronic gear and so on), will make your words live for a new generation. An annual subscription to Children's Book Insider (12 issues) is $34.00 from the publisher; we'll send you a sample copy for $2.59.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

BYLINE: A Comfortable Home for Writers

Happy Valentine's Day! Today we welcome ByLine to the newsstand. This monthly magazine provides a warm, comfy home for beginning and working writers, offering them practical advice, a host of writing contests and the opportunity to publish in its own pages. It's a tough world out there for freelance writers; very few make it big, and not many even do well enough to support themselves without a day job. But it can be fun, and getting that first article or poem into print with a check coming back to you is a psychological kick akin to winning a jackpot at a slot machine. I've been looking through the January issue of ByLine, which was founded in 1981 and is published in Edmond, OK. It starts with editor and publisher Marcia Preston examining what she calls "old chestnuts" of advice for writers. The first she cites is "When you get a rejection, put that manuscript right back in the mail." Whoa, she cautions, first consider the new publication to which you're sending the manuscript and revise it to meet that market's unique needs (and, I guess, be thankful that word processing and computers have replaced the typewriter and made revisions much, much easier). In the next article, Patricia Fry warns self-published authors that the big chain bookstores don't want their books. She suggests all sorts of strategies for promoting your own book, from approaching local independent bookstores to locating special interest groups that will find the subject of your book right up their alley for a lecture or presentation. You'll encounter another article about publicity of a slightly different kind: Setting up a simple Web site that will have a search engine like Google send someone typing in your name right to that site, which can contain your picture, biography, list of writing credits and maybe a couple of your articles. Then add your Web site address to your business card. That way, writes author Joan Upton Hall, "a business card becomes your portfolio in the pocket of an agent or editor." The article I liked the best, by Al Peck, is titled "Double-Dip to Sell More Articles." It's traditional advice to a freelancer, but it can't be repeated enough: Take the same research and interviews and create different articles for a variety of markets. He also stresses keeping your eyes open, and in a delightful sidebar writes of seeing a large concrete penny, a monument of some kind outside a hospital. He made inquiries and found that it was erected to honor a long-ago drive to start the hospital that brought in millions of pennies from around the country. "This heartwarming story was appealing to coin-collecting magazines, medical magazines and a state history magazine," Peck writes. "But I wouldn't have known if I hadn't asked." Each issue also contains some poetry and short fiction. An annual subscription to ByLine (11 issues) is $24.00 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Monday, February 13, 2006

THE INTERNATIONAL RAILWAY TRAVELER: All Aboard for Exotic Destinations

After shoveling the blizzard of '06 off of the newsstand, I've settled down with coffee and a bagel to leaf through the Winter issue of The International Railway Traveler, cutely abbreviated as IRT (also the name of one of the New York City subway lines), a MagSampler newsstand veteran that's recently undergone a facelift. It used to look like a newsletter, but now has a pretty cover and attractive four-color photos throughout each quarterly issue. The magazine is published by The Society of International Railway Travelers from its base in Louisville, KY. It's an organization for people who like to travel by rail, especially to exotic international destinations, but its magazine has an undeniable appeal to armchair travelers and railroad buffs as well. The opening article in the Winter issue of IRT is about riding the train from Lima, Peru to Machu Picchu, the "Lost City of the Incas" that was rediscovered by American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1913. There's no road to Machu Picchu; you have to either hoof it for miles or take the train from the city of Cusco, a 58-mile adventure over narrow-gauge track on a train named the "Hiram Bingham." The next story is about the fabulous Moscow Metro, built in the 1930s by a young Nikita Khrushchev and filled with statuary, stained glass, chandeliers and marble walls and floors. Things have apparently loosened up in Moscow in recent years. Writer Samuel L. Scheib reports he was stopped from taking photos in a Metro station by a young militiaman with an assault rifle dangling from his neck.
"Are you a terrorist?" he was asked.
"Worse," Scheib replied, "I'm an American writer."
"Well, you can't take pictures."
"Because it is forbidden."
"But it's art!" Scheib protested.
"Oh! Take your picture then."
In the issue you'll also find an article about a $5 weekend pass on Chicago's Metra Electric, a commuter railroad that will take you to a number of interesting places in Chicagoland such as a riverboat casino, a minor league ballpark, the Botanic Gardens, the Oak Park haunts of Ernest Hemingway and Frank Lloyd Wright, Arlington Park racetrack and the Brookfield Zoo. I also liked a piece about a peculiar train that travels once a day between coastal Anchorage, Alaska and interior Fairbanks (a 12-hour trip). It's composed of a variety of domed cars, some of historic interest to railroad buffs. Several of the observation cars are operated by cruise lines (Royal Caribbean, Princess) taking cruise passengers off their ships for inland excursions.
A $69.00 annual membership in The Society of International Railway Travelers gets you four issues of the magazine as well as discounts on a variety of railroad tours organized by the organization and a number of other travel deals. You can get a sample copy of The International Railway Traveler from us for $2.59.

Friday, February 10, 2006

DOLL CRAFTER & COSTUMING: A Merger in the Doll World

This morning we report a merger in the magazine business that involves two publications in our newsstand. Doll Crafter and Doll Costuming, both from Jones Publishing in Iola, WI, have been combined into Doll Crafter & Costuming. We've received a supply of the new April 2006 issue in the newsstand (how time flies in the magazine world!), and have been taking a tour through the issue. It starts with a wonderfully illustrated article that shows how doll crafter Annie Wahl sculpts very expressive faces out of clay, using only a stick to poke the clay and glass beads for the eyes. She offers all sorts of advice that makes me want to look in the mirror, such as, "Eyes placed close together is cute. Set eyes far apart for 'beautiful' faces." and "Ears placed high on the head are cute but lower is funnier." Another article discusses detailing the hands on a doll, from applying paint to nails to adding subtle veins to the arms. This is followed by a nicely illustrated piece about making incredibly detailed doll cowboy boots, again out of clay. I found out that the length of the shoe equals the length of the head, and the width of the shoe equals the width of the palm of the hand. The issue also has several articles on dressing French dolls, from outerwear to underwear (oh-la-la!), as well as one about creating an automaton doll that's based on a French design from 1890: when a key in her back is wound, a music box plays and a large egg in her Easter basket opens to reveal a smaller doll inside. Doll crafters who want to sell their creations on the Internet and elsewhere will find a useful discussion of how to photograph their dolls using the right lighting, clothing and backgrounds. There is some dissension in the doll world, as evidenced by a letter to the editor decrying both the end of Doll Costuming as a separate publication and what the writer, Heather Smith, describes as the tendency in doll magazines to write about clothes for what she calls a "figurine," which she defines as "a fixed-pose thing with clothes that are impossible to remove." She adds, "Since I was a very small girl, to me a doll was a humanlike figure that could have many outfits that are easy to change, just like a real person." An annual subscription to Doll Crafter & Costuming (12 issues) is $39.95 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

DOGGONE: Roving with Rover

Today's new arrival in the newsstand is no puppy: DogGone just completed its 13th year with the November/December issue. DogGone is a 16-page bimonthly newsletter from Estes Park, CO that offers information crucial to anyone traveling with a dog. It tells you where you can stay, pet-friendly outings to plan, and endearing sidenotes, such as suggestions as to what booties would be perfect when Fido goes skiing with you―or what protective lotions are available should Fido be boot-resistant. The cover article in this issue discusses cross-country skiing and snowshoe expeditions in the Western states (California, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, Arizona and Oregon), and specifies what ski areas permit dogs to accompany you. It's often for an additional fee, apparently—at the Kirkwood Cross-County Ski Center in Colorado, according to the newsletter, "doggie passes are hefty." The one irritation I have with DogGone is that specific prices for lodging or for such things as dog ski passes are never offered. But DogGone does go out of its way to warn readers that any information about the dog-friendliness of a hotel, restaurant or park from a book, a friend or a Web site should be checked out before you arrive with your pooch, since policies can change. Publisher Robyn Peters writes in this issue, "The keyword is Check, Check, Check, regardless of the source (even DogGone), and even if you've stayed somewhere in the past. And confirm, with the name of the person you spoke with and get it in writing. I do." The newsletter does a good job in covering the country, and in this issue alone are articles about lodgings in Colorado, Florida, New York State, Oregon, New Jersey, California and New Hampshire, as well as Quebec, Alberta and New Brunswick in Canada. I was intrigued by the doggie-friendliness of the Loews Hotel Vogue in Montreal, a five-star boutique hotel that reserves two of its nine floors for guests with pets (no carpets on those floors). DogGone writes that "the pet room service menu at every Loews Hotel is prepared and approved by licensed vets and includes gourmet dinner options such as Beef Tenderloin and vegetarian entrees… Your pet's meal will be hand-delivered on a silver platter complete with two large stainless steel dog dishes, one for the entrée and the other for your pooch's bottled Evian spring water." Just don't try to tip the waiter with dog biscuits. An annual subscription (six issues) to DogGone is $25.00 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006 Home of Wondrous Crannies

In my constant search for interesting magazines to add to the newsstand, I've stumbled on a treasure trove of info that I have to share with you. It's, a Web site that promises―and delivers―"news, information and guides to independent bookstores, independent publishers, literary periodicals, alternative periodicals, independent record labels, alternative newsweeklies and more." It's a place where readers can find all sorts of wondrous things, including hundreds of thoughtful reviews of books and literary journals. There are up-to-date lists of literary and alternative magazines, independent bookstores, even e-zines (those friends of trees and enemies of newsstands). You'll also find a blog about things literary and a directory of alternative music labels, with links to their Web sites. It's hard to keep to a plan of action when visiting this Web site; too many crannies and nooks to explore. I was reminded of my student days, on a mission from my political history professor to research some early 1950s topic in the library's microfilmed New York Times (do they still have microfilm?). I'd inevitably spend happy hours gaping at the prices of shirts and apartments in July 1955, and worriedly checking the standings of the Brooklyn Dodgers (even though I knew they would finally win it all), ignoring my initial purpose of finding out who said what in the U.N. Security Council that long-ago Cold War week. is working hard to recruit more literary journals and alternative magazines into our catalogue, since our purpose is to let our visitors discover the new, the good, the passionate, the not-widely-known and the strange in periodicals. This Web site will be a big help in finding candidates. Casey and Denise Hill run out of Bay City, MI. May they endure and prosper.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

FINE ART CONNOISSEUR: Celebrating the Traditional

This morning the newsstand welcomes our newest publication, Fine Art Connoisseur. The magazine's Web site proclaims that it "educates affluent buyers about art, artists and art movements, giving them tools to make and execute major purchase decisions." Fine Art Connoisseur, a monthly published in West Palm Beach, FL, is also a good read, filled with articles about the work of rising contemporary painters and what makes them tick (and paint). It's an art magazine with a strong point of view, as you can easily see from the editorial in the January issue by publisher B. Eric Rhoads: "Fine Art Connoisseur believes millions of people like you love premium-quality, traditional realism, and are disturbed by the direction art has taken at the hands of a very few who are in defiance of most art-loving people. In spite of the dominance of contemporary art and the avant garde, significant evidence shows that the greater body of art enthusiasts is taking a U-turn back toward the classics that focus on truth and magnificence instead of anger, disgust and shock. This magazine is for those who seek this finery and crave to expand or refresh their edification. It's for the informed, new-generation collectors and enthusiasts who are rediscovering art works considered by the modernists as passé." Leafing through the issue, my ears ringing from the publisher's fusillade, I encountered a series of gentle, informative and well-illustrated articles on a number of diverse subjects. One was a thoughtful meditation on how Dutch landscape painting of the past 300 years was influenced by such factors as economic development, the influx of immigrants attracted by religious and political tolerance, and the Dutch age-old struggle to reclaim land from the sea. I found a fascinating history of how the European academic tradition took hold in the People's Republic of China in the 1950s (it came with all those Russian advisors), only to be stomped down during the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s. But it created a group of Chinese painters who have since found their way to North America, where they have settled and developed their own individualistic styles, diverging from the Socialist Realism as well as the traditional Chinese painting techniques they absorbed when young. I also enjoyed the issue's "hidden collections" feature, this one about how former U.S. ambassador to Denmark John L. Loeb Jr. has become an avid collector of late 19th century Danish art. An annual subscription (12 issues) to Fine Art Connoisseur is $39.99 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Friday, February 03, 2006

ARTFUL DODGE: A Pride of Literary Lions

Today marks the debut in the newsstand of the jauntily named Artful Dodge, a hefty literary journal published from the College of Wooster in Wooster, OH. Founding and current editor Daniel Bourne started Artful Dodge in 1979 in Bloomington, IN. The journal's Web site furnishes this little history: "During the 20-plus years of the journal's existence, we have pretty much lived up to our name, dodging our way along with the help of grants from the Ohio Arts Council and support from the College of Wooster; keeping our head above water and somehow managing to publish work from such writers as Nobel Laureate for Literature Czeslaw Milosz, William S. Burroughs, Charles Simic, Naomi Shihab Nye, Tim Seibles, Stuart Friebert, Elizabeth Bartlett, Ronald Wallace and others. There have also been the Artful Dodge interviews, which Library Review reviewed as 'much more perceptive than most,' with such writers as Jorge Luis Borges, Czeslaw Milosz, W.S. Merwin, Nathalie Sarraute, Gwendolyn Brooks, William Least Heat-Moon, Michael Dorris, Tim O'Brien, Stuart Dybek, William Matthews and Stanislaw Baranczak. We've left the years of xeroxing and stapling journals and have arrived at our present production of one perfect bound, four-color double issue a year, annually receiving more than 3,000 works, and keeping up with a subscription list of 1,100 and growing." I've been looking through combined issue 46-47 here in the newsstand, which features quite a bit of translated poetry as well as new prose and poetry (200 pages in all). I liked one poem by Tess Gallagher titled "Lady Betty" which carries this intro: "Given the death sentence for murder, she saved her life by becoming executioner at Roscommon Jail, Ireland, 1740." I've already started my screenplay; I envision Bill-killer Uma Thurman as Lady Betty, a weary smile on her face and a murderous glint in her eye. A two-year subscription to Artful Dodge (one double issue each year) is $14.00 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

BLACK WOMAN AND CHILD: Advice on Pregnancy and Parenting

We start February with an interesting addition to the newsstand. Black Woman and Child is a new quarterly magazine about pregnancy and parenting in the black community. Publisher Nicole Osbourne James begins a recent issue with an editorial decrying media depiction of black mothers as either victimized or irresponsible, and makes it clear that her magazine has the purpose of promoting "the capable and positive parenting from which African families benefit." The first few articles in the issue are about pregnancy and giving birth, and the emphasis is strongly on natural birth, at home if possible. One is a vivid but very matter-of-fact account by a mother of four of her most recent experience of giving birth at home, assisted only sporadically by her husband―he kept leaving the room to get the kids ready for school, etc.―while she found herself unexpectedly having her second set of twins. This section is followed by practical advice on purchasing maternity clothes that make a pregnant woman feel both comfortable and proud of how she looks. You'll also find an interesting article about youth sports, which stresses that the reasons kids should play are because they want to and because in a team environment "your children see themselves as important to someone other than family," not because you expect them to become a Shaq, Venus or Michael. This is followed by two pages of readers' comments about the decisions they came to on circumcision of their male children. I liked an article titled "When Discipline Becomes Destructive." Author Akilah Haneef-Jabari, a mother of four, admits that she and her husband were both "raised with the strap," and adds, "Historically I do know that it is a definite part of our culture. It is not solely familiar to Africans in the Diaspora. Unfortunately, because of our heritage of whippings and slavery, we have the idea that we have to beat our children and discipline them into being the best that they can be for them to thrive in a society that sees them as less." She perceptively notes that physical discipline is the result of "the parents' lack of resources on how to deal with misbehavior," and suggests solutions like letting a child make his or her own decisions based on good or bad consequences, e.g., "you can invite your friend over to play once your room is clean." Black Woman and Child is published by NuBeing International in Toronto, Canada. An annual subscription (four issues) is $25.00 from the publisher, but I encountered a blow-in card that ups the offer to six issues for that price. We'll send you a sample copy for $2.59.