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An Independent

Publishing Company 

Conversations With US - Great Lakes States

(Print, Digital, & Audiobook)

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Conversations With US - American Southwest

(Print & Digital)

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- Future Titles -

Appalachia & Bluegrass Country

Prairie Heartland

Eastern Seaboard

West Coast

Alaska / Big Skies & Rocky Mountains

Hawai'i / Deep South Revisited


Recent Events

- Touring Today's Publishing Options -

Free Seminar

Saturday, July 18

10:30am EST

(online event - click logo)

Thinking of publishing your own work? Join Chris and historical fiction author Libby McNamee (Susanna's Midnight Ride) live as they discuss the myriad paths to publication available to today's writers. Sign up for the entire free online festival, or attend just this course.

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- Book Signing -

(bring your mask!)

Saturday, August 1

12pm - 4pm

Horton Vineyards

Barboursville, Virginia

Horton Vineyards Event

Chris and the touring bike are returning to Horton Vineyards for an afternoon of chatting and signing books! We'll be keeping our distance and playing it safe. This will be the first public appearance of the print volumes of CWU - American Southwest

- Capture, Consolidate, Craft, & Connect -

Saturday, August 2

10am EST

(online event - click logo)

Learn how to share your own adventure! Chris will be bringing his writing and cross-country trekking experience to the 2020 Virginia Writers Club Navigating Your Writing Life symposium, to help you think though the steps necessary to Capture your adventure, Consolidate your data, Craft your product, and Connect with your audience. The entire weekend symposium is free to all VWC members; you can join for just $15. 

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- Touring Today's Publishing Options -

Five-Day Online Course

Monday, August 10 - Friday, August 14

9:30am-11am EST each day

(online event - click logo)

For this extended survey of today's publishing landscape, Chris will help you evaluate your readiness for publication, choose the route that best fits your goals, hone your work and approach to match that route, and explore alternative options for getting your work out into the world. The course will be taught via Zoom through the nonprofit WriterHouse. No membership necessary, though members do receive a discount. Registration info coming soon!


News & Past Events


Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, Spoke & Word Books was formed to take the Conversations With US project from pedal to print. This tiny independent publishing company has big things in store for readers yearning to better understand the United States, and ready for some armchair adventure, to boot. 


Spoke & Word is not presently accepting submissions or queries. 

Cycling journalist Chris Register set forth into the United States to hear from the real America, escaping the cable news pundits and internet trolls on a Surly Long Haul Trucker touring bicycle. State by state, he found that the bike also served as a conversation piece on wheels, opening up folks to sharing their thoughts on who we are, where we come from, and where we might be headed. After a cumulative year on the road logging some 16,000 miles and 400 interviews, it's now Chris's turn to share what he discovered.

Learn more at:

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Conversations With US


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"[Great Lakes States] is much more than a travel book as there are no recommendations on roads to drive, places to stay or eat. As his interviewees/hosts (all total strangers) address what they love about America, what they worry about, what they're hopeful about, how they have been impacted by the US, their families and life work and history, Register shares this with the reader and gradually we begin to "see" US through the eyes especially of small town America."

-Sue Hoyt Aiken (Peace Corps Volunteer; Ethiopia 1962-64)

See full review here.

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"Well, when I started reading Conversations With US - Great Lakes States, I kept my tin of book darts at hand so I could mark any bits that I found noteworthy or delightful and might want to quote in a review. Reader, I emptied the tin."

-Melissa McCurley (Wabash River Cycle Club)

See full review here.

"Register’s writing style lets the subject do the talking, and gives the reader a sense of being part of the conversations. It’s the stories and voices of those subjects that make this book compelling. They are told chronologically as Register makes his way across the Southwest. Every day brings a new person with a story to tell -- and they are all unique. This device, which kept me staying up late a few times, makes you want to find out who’s next and what they have to say.
And what they had to say, gave me hope for the future."

-Cheryl Thornburg (Goodreads user / American Southwest)


"This is a kind of Steinbeckian travelogue, 'Travels with Charley' style, but the remarkable thing about this book in our tech age is that he took the time to really get to know his subjects, to learn and then transcribe their stories, and then marvel about them." 

-David Kahler (Amazon reviewer / Great Lakes States)

"This is an excellent book for all kinds of readers – travel enthusiasts, history buffs, fans of bicycle tours, people who want to know America better, and those who want to explore political and cultural issues. If any of these sound like you, I urge you to pick up this volume of Conversations With US."

-TBF (Amazon reviewer / American Southwest)

"In this day of bourgeoning human numbers and mass communication it seems that those who rise to power espouse only extreme and angry points of view. Moderate folk, among whom I see myself, hold back, afraid to approach sensitive subjects with our neighbors and leaving our thoughts unheard. Chris has invited our voices. His bold interviews have documented some individuals who are angry and dissatisfied. He has questioned them deeply, hoping to understand the causes of their angst. More importantly, as I see his work, he has met citizens with little, and only local, name recognition who sound more intelligent and aware than those political party wonks called leaders who serve narrowly-focused constituencies and think only of winning."

-Harley Shaw (Amazon reviewer + American Southwest interviewee) 

"Part memoir and travel essay, this is an outstanding way to cross the country alongside someone who has a gift for storytelling and a fundamental desire to unite us through our most human of commonalities."

-Alicia Cahalane Lewis (Amazon reviewer / Great Lakes States)

-----Leave your own review-----

Spoke & Word Books and author Chris Register are both new to the publishing industry, meaning your feedback is essential to helping fuel and shape our growth. We appreciate and value all thoughtful reviews.

No matter where you get your CWU volume--from the CWU website, a bookshop, Amazon, a friend, an author book signing event, the library--these are a few ways to be part of the project by sharing your thoughts:

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Reading is fun!
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Spoke & Word Books is not accepting queries or submissions for publication at this time.

- Contact -

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