We were simply overwhelmed by your generosity of so many donations in Nancy Hiller’s name to support The Ranch Cat Rescue – a rescue in Nancy’s adopted hometown of Bloomington, Ind. (and that Nancy continues to support in perpetuity with 10 percent of net sales of her book “Shop Tails”). It’s enough to make me well up (which usually happens only when someone accidentally hits me with a hammer). To everyone who donated: You’re so very kind; thank you. Today, I’m mailing a cashier’s check – for $8,770.85!!! – to the rescue’s director/resident human Alison Zook. The raffle winner of Carol Russell‘s fiddleback Tasmanian blackwood cat (I’ll miss this gorgeous little carving!) is Melinda in California; the winner of the book we used as “cover art” for the audio version of “Shop Tails” is Jay in Virginia (both have been notified via email).
Alison asked me to share the paragraph below –
Y’all. To say I don’t have words for this generosity is an understatement. These last few weeks I’ve been thinking I want to do something permanent with these funds, something that really honors Nancy. So I had an idea. While some of your donations will go toward medical care, food and supplies, I’m putting a portion aside and starting the Hiller Fund (working title). This will specifically be used for building projects and improvements made at The Ranch Cat Rescue, with a focus on empowering women and girls to pick up tools and get some sawdust in their hair. While these projects won’t hold a candle to Nancy’s woodworking skills, I know that she would have loved to be a part of them. This way she always can be. Thank you, new friends, for being the beginning of this.
As soon as Alison schedules that first building project, I’m clearing my schedule. I’ll be there.
There are but three days remaining to donate to the Nancy Hiller Ranch Cat Rescue Memorial Fund, and be entered in our raffle to win a gorgeous cover carving from Nancy’s last book, “Shop Tails,” and a copy of the book.
Ten percent of net profits from “Shop Tails” – a tribute to the many four-legged friends (and one feathered friend) whose lives were intertwined with Nancy’s – go to The Ranch Cat Rescue, in Bloomington, Ind., a non-profit run by Alison Zook that is funded solely by donations. To help Nancy’s favorite cat charity just a little more, we’re asking for $5 donations via this PayPal link (while the fundraiser is channeled through my personal account – all donations will of course go to The Ranch Cat Rescue).
Not only are you helping to support Alison’s work in Nancy’s name, with your $5 (or more) donation you’ll also be entered to win one of two fabulous prizes in a random drawing. First prize is the beautiful fiddleback Tasmanian blackwood cat carved by Australian wood artist and teacher Carol Russell for the book jacket. Second prize is the book we used as the art for the audio version of the book (which Nancy performed). The fundraiser runs through March 13; I’ll the announce winners on March 14.
One of Nancy Hiller’s last “jobs” (which she insisted on doing herself) was recording the audio version of her final book, “Shop Tails” (an often grueling job on a book that clocked in, after final editing, at almost 12 hours). We posted it on the LAP store just hours after we got the final files from her and Jacob Belser at Primary Sounds Studios; that was Aug. 4, 2022. We lost Nancy on Aug. 29, 2022.
Ten percent of net profits from “Shop Tails” – a tribute to the many four-legged friends (and one feathered friend) whose lives were intertwined with Nancy’s – go to The Ranch Cat Rescue, in Bloomington, Ind., a non-profit run by Alison Zook that is funded solely by donations. In a small effort to help Nancy’s favorite cat charity just a little more, we’re asking for $5 donations via this PayPal link (while the fundraiser is channeled through my personal account – all donations will of course go to The Ranch Cat Rescue).
Not only are you helping to support Alison’s work in Nancy’s name, with your $5 (or more) donation you’ll also be entered to win one of two fabulous prizes in a random drawing. First prize is the beautiful fiddleback Tasmanian blackwood cat carved by Australian wood artist and teacher Carol Russell for the book jacket. (She – I’m convinced it’s girl cat – has been keeping me company on my desk since last July. I will miss her, but am willing to let her go in support of such a good cause.) Second prize is the book we made into the audio book cover “Woof!! The Audiobook.” The fundraiser runs through March 13; I’ll the announce winners on March 14.
The audiobook is read by author Nancy R. Hiller and is unabridged. It clocks in at 11 hours and 50 minutes. The audiobook also includes a bonus chapter not found in the print edition titled “Coda: Not in Kansas Anymore.” The audiobook is $24 and will play on almost any digital device (the files are in mp3 format).
The audiobook represents weeks of sometimes-grueling work by Nancy (and her supporters) plus Jacob Belser at Primary Sound Studios.
Nancy insisted that she do the recording, even though the process was made difficult by her fight with pancreatic cancer. After listening to the audiobook, I’m so pleased that Nancy made that call. She is one of those authors where I can hear her voice as I’m reading her words. So “Shop Tails” really comes to life with her at the microphone.
You can hear this for yourself by downloading and listening to the chapter: Shadow the Turkey Vulture.
If you love Nancy’s “Making Things Work,” we’re sure you’ll enjoy this David Sedaris-like audiobook version of “Shop Tails.”
(Yesterday this post was sent out to email subscribers with a draft introduction. If you received that yesterday and were confused, blame me. You can see the post in its correct entirety here. Below is the introduction to the piece you didn’t receive.)
During the last four years, I’ve lost four members of my immediate family (mom, dad, stepfather, sister), most of them suddenly and unexpectedly. And if I’ve learned one thing from the experience, it’s this: Tell people who are important to you how you feel about them. Today. Don’t wait for a nice evening on the back porch.
As many of you know, Nancy Hiller is battling pancreatic cancer. Her treatment has its ups and (deep) downs. And while I am counting on her to be one of the long-term survivors of this horrible disease, I also didn’t want her to ever leave this earth without know how important she has been to me as a person, woodworker, writer and supremely ethical being.
I’m not alone. Kara Gebhart Uhl spent the last couple weeks talking to some of the people in and out of Nancy’s orbit. And below is what they had to say.
If you’ve read her books, been a student in one of her classes or been a customer of hers, you know that this only scratches the surface of a most impressive and lovely person.