Ellen Blum Barish

Ellen Blum Barish

In this month’s blog, I highlight some of the people who were invaluable in helping me publish and promote Seven Springs.


Nature inspires art. Art reveals spirit. Spirit changes the world.

When I was searching for independent book publishers who might resonate with my memoir manuscript, the ten words above caught my attention.

Now, a year later, with my memoir released just last month by a beautiful independent press, I see how essential it is for an author and a publisher to share a vision.

Woman-owned and operated, Shanti Arts Publishing produces 25-30 books each year, as well as a quarterly art and literary magazine, Still Point Arts Quarterly. Christine Cote is the company’s solo publisher-preneur, a second professional life for her after twenty years in data analysis as Director of Institutional Research at Bowdoin College.

“I spent a career looking for patterns in data,” Cote told me, “and wrote reports to show what I saw. These skills transferred well into making art because art is about finding patterns, telling people what you’ve discovered and asking if they can see it too.”

Cote discovered the potency of art through a camera lens as she recovered from a long illness. With the digital camera her husband had given her, she found that her mind emptied when she took pictures in the north woods of Maine near her home.

“It allowed me to be totally in the moment,” she said. “I felt better.” Highlighting how people can heal through art became a personal and professional mission that not only drives her book selections, but also the essays and photos for her literary publication.

“I look for words and images that people need to see and hear,” Cote says. “Art that will reflect the spirit and change the world.” Cote is inspired by the work of the Dalai Lama and has strong Buddhist leanings. Her own photography (@cbcote) captures the quiet, meditative quality of nature and the Buddha.

This year, Shanti Arts celebrates ten years publishing a wide range of genres, the largest selections in poetry and spirituality.

Which may be why Seven Springs was a fit.

Cote told me that she chose my memoir because she loved the story, its connection “something bigger” and reflections on Judaism. She also liked the language, the use of present participles for chapter titles – remembering, breaking wrestling, stirring, returning, speaking and repairing – appreciating its symmetry and the ongoingness they expressed.

I like to think that I share Shanti’s mission of taking notice, capturing moments that reveal what matters. My hope is that when shared, others may be feel some of this, too.

The process of bringing a book to life can feel like it takes forever, but it’s so worth waiting for the right publishing partner. A book and a book maker need to find a place where they can meet so that when it comes to delivering the book to the world, they can be on the same page.


It’s known as a writer’s “platform,” the ways writers get their words out into the world, but Allison K. Williams likes to call it a bridge. That’s why she named her bi-monthly, online writer’s gathering with Ashleigh Renard  “The Writer’s Bridge” – a resource that was invaluable to me during the post-sale preparation for my book launch. Their goal: to link writers to writers, writers to readers, writers to agents, and writers to publishers. Allison and Ashleigh are compassionate communicators and connectors who are all about community. They also happen to be gifted teachers and excellent writers. Ashleigh’s memoir, Swing: A Memoir of Doing it All was just released last month and Allison’s Seven Drafts: Edit Like a Pro from Blank Page to Book is due out in September. Find out more here. 

Photo by Christine Cote.


Upcoming Events with Ellen in June!





Writing the Lost Loved One, Lighthouse Lit Fest, June 10 (virtual single-session writing workshop)







Ragdale Ring, June 16 (in-person book conversation with Valerie Wallace)







North Castle Public Library, June 22 (virtual conversation with Miriam Bauer)


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