Monday, July 25, 2011

My Local Newspaper Gives Me Some Love

My local newspaper recently did a story about me, my writing, and being a firefighter. Here are a couple of my immediate thoughts.

First, after doing the interview and having a few photos taken, I realized that I had no idea what the theme of the article was going to be. The anticipation started to feel like torture. After all, I had given him an ARC copy of the book, so the article could have been about how crappy of a writer I was. For all I knew, he could have written that he hoped I was a better firefighter than I was an author. OK, the article probably wasn't going to turn out that way, but that's my point-- an author can’t help but feel vulnerable in this situation, even though rationally he knows it’s a good product.

Also, I'm not a professional speaker, so in any interview I do, my words could easily be misconstrued or the wrong parts emphasized, and I’d look like a tool. (Heck, I talked quite a bit and even I don't know everything I said.) Our interview was probably 15 or 20 minutes long and then we spoke again casually on another occasion for a bit longer. What if I had come home from a bad day at the fire house and said, "Man, I hated work yesterday?" The entire story could have been "Firefighter Who Hates His job." Or "Fireman Complains of Hard Work." See how easy it is to misinterpret?

Here is another potential pitfall in speaking to the press. As you talk to reporters, because their job is to be good listeners, you quickly forget that everything you say is on the record. Like a good friend, they don't cut you off after you make your point either. They will let you drone on and on and on for as long as you want to talk. Because he listened so well, I found myself unable to resist the urge of elaborating on whatever I had just said when there was actually no need.

I'm reminded of President Obama saying Chris Brown was a "jackass" to a reporter after the singer assaulted Rhianna a couple of years ago. And then I remember the president's immediate backpedaling as he realized that he wasn't talking to friends off the record, but to the media. Now, after doing my interview, I can see how that can happen. Though, I didn't call anyone a jackass...

I don't think.

Most of these fears, I admit, are fairly far-fetched, but, hey, it could happen. Overall, I don't think that I said anything too awful and, in the end, the final article turned out to be pretty cool. Here it is:

What do you all think? My thanks to Chad Klimack of The Pastaskala Standard for his professionalism and accuracy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Book Launch Party- Newark, Ohio

If you are in the central Ohio area on Aug. 6th, 2011, please join me at The Comic Shop Plus, 235 s. 21st street between 1:00 and 4:00 to celebrate the launch of "The Light of Epertase: Legends Reborn." I will be there along with cover artist, Steve Murphy, signing copies of the book. Come on by, I'd love to meet you. And bring your family. Everyone is welcome.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Local Firefighter Reactions to my Book

Now that "The Light of Epertase: Legends Reborn" has started to make its way into readers' hands, I thought I'd tell you how my firefighter friends have reacted. Although the book's official release date isn't until August 1, 2011, and Amazon have started sending out their orders. Plus, I have received my allotment from Rhemalda and have broken my own release date (please don't tell them).

The first reaction I'd like to mention was from my good friend, John. John and I have a rather unique friendship in that we spend most of our time cutting on each other. It can be quite comical as well as quite brutal, especially when others are around. In fact, if you read the acknowledgements in my book, I thank "everyone at station 22 except for John." I was excited to be able to actually dig at him in print. Let's see him top that.

Anyway, in front of a bunch of firefighters, and might I add potential buyers, John asked me how much I make per book sold. Mistakenly thinking he was genuinely interested, I told him. He said, "Then can I just give you a couple of dollars and not have to buy your stupid book?" Everyone thought that was pretty hysterical. It was, after all, the first funny thing John has said in the 11 years I've known him. ;)

Now that I've received copies of the book that I can sell, I've sold them to about 20 or so firefighters. Overall, the reaction has been better than I expected. (No, John still hasn't bought one.) The surprising part is in who has bought them. I have had three firefighters buy my book just to support me with no intentions of reading it, saying that they weren't much into reading. Here's the cool part. All three of them decided to try a chapter or two (probably so they would have fodder for their coming wise cracks) and all three of them finished the book within a couple of days. To me, that is a great sign when people who aren't big readers are unable to put my book down once they start. I'm beyond thrilled.
Having said all of that, they are still firefighters. My friend Roger read it at work while I was doing paperwork in the office. He found a small overuse of a particular word and proceeded to announce over the PA every time he came across that word. Just what I wanted to hear, an announcement to everyone what he perceived as a mistake. Arrrgghh.

In telling you that, I suppose you'd like to know what my overused word was. Well, you'll have to pick up the book and find out for yourself as I don't want to taint your reading of it. BTW, no one else has complained of the same, so I think it is just Roger.
But, let me tell you, I'll never overuse that word again just in case.

I've had other firefighter friends ask me what the book was about and I've told them a brief synopsis while adding, "You wanna buy one?" To which they've replied, "I'm not buying that crap."

I've even tried to convince one or two of them that my book comes with 384 pieces of kindling to no avail. Oh well, you can't win them all.

So, there you have it--my firefighter friends' initial reactions to one of their own releasing a book. In reality, 99.9% of my coworkers who have read Epertase have enjoyed it so much that they have called me at home and asked to preview book two so they don't have to "wait an entire year to find out what happens." That's pretty cool. If they were simply being nice, I don't think they would have taken the time to call me at home.

Though John did call me one night to tell me he was at a bon fire and needed something to burn. I told him he could burn as many of my books as he wanted...

As long as he paid for them first.

That damn John.