The first Buddy T-shirt

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The first Buddy T-shirt

I just received the first T-shirt featuring the cover of my book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher.” I’ve got the cover on the front and back of the shirt. I also got a QR code put on the front, in case people who have that sort of reader on their smartphones and want to purchase a book immediately, can do so. I got premium, super soft shirt from Vistaprint, which I’ve also used to print business cards, a mouse pad and a coffee cup. If anybody wants something like this, let me know and I’ll check into pricing. Vistaprint offers specials now and then, so we might be able to do it pretty inexpensively.

Update on my next book

The follow-up to “Murder in Wauwatosa” will be something much different. My first effort was a true story that involved tons of research, interviews and days spent in front of a microfilm machine reading gobs and gobs of newspaper articles.

The book I’m writing now is a fiction kids’ book focusing on a sixth-grade boy who moves to a new town, tries to fit in and encounters a haunted house. Tentatively called “The Hillcrest Heights Kids,” the manuscript is about halfway done … at least the first draft of it anyway.

The main character, Donnie Hart, moves to a middle class suburb from a big city and finds some things about his new town aren’t quite like what he left behind. He tries to adjust to his new school, new kids and new neighborhood, with varying success.

Donnie gets befriended by a boy named Robert Underwood, who is known by most everyone as Woody. Donnie’s new friend isn’t very athletic nor really all that intelligent, two traits Donnie sees himself having an abundance of. But Woody seems to have Donnie’s back pretty much from the start at John F. Kennedy Elementary School, which endears him to Donnie.

He also makes friends with a girl in his class, Annie, a bright, level-headed compassionate soul.

In addition to his own sometimes misguided thoughts about himself and the world around him, Donnie’s main adversary is the school bully, Lloyd Goldberg III, who pretty much doesn’t seem to like hardly anyone.

Here’s the part I haven’t written yet. But I think it’ll go something like this: Donnie and his friends somehow end up going to the creepy old Howard Mansion, the old house owned by and old man and his old wife. Strange things have been going on at the Howard Mansion for years, and our heroes investigate.

Donnie will probably live happily ever after, or at least with a clearer view of himself and the people around him.

Much of this book is inspired by real events that happened in my hometown of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, when I was young. But I stretch the truth, inserting events, places and characters for my own amusement and/or your entertainment.

Most of the characters are based on people I’ve known, sometimes quite loosely. Some characters are even a conglomeration of several people, and some of those folks aren’t even people I knew when I was a kid.

It’s been a fun trip so far as I’m up to about 24,000 words. I’m aiming for close to 40,000, at which point the story better have concluded. Then, I’ll go into editing and rewriting mode. I reserve the right to change the names of characters, streets, schools, towns, as well as change story lines and pretty much everything I’ve done thus far … all in the name of entertainment, of course.

When I feel pretty good about the manuscript, I’ll start looking for a publisher and perhaps an illustrator. I think this book needs some drawings.

I’ll try to update everyone as developments occur.

Thanks for your interest and support!

Paul

Tomah! Tomah!

There’s a new event planned for west central Wisconsin this spring at which folks will be able to purchase autographed copies of “Murder in Wauwatosa.”

The first Tomah Rotary Beer and Sausage Fest is scheduled for 2-6 p.m., Saturday, May 3, 2014 at the Tomah Recreation Park.

I was invited to attend and sell autographed copies of my book. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend due to a previous engagement. But the host said he’d be willing to promote and sell autographed books at the fest as long as I supply him with said books. So, that’s what we’re going to do.

Tomah is southeast of Eau Claire, east of La Crosse and northwest of Portage and Wisconsin Dells. 

If they run out of books, just send $20 to me at PO Box 2611, Columbus, IN 47203 and I’ll get you an autographed copy.

We’re back in the top 1%

It’s been a while, but “Murder in Wauwatosa” has jumped back into the top 1% of books ranked by Amazon’s author website. Of more than 8 million paperbacks listed on the site, “Murder in Wauwatosa” hit spot No. 62,660 on Feb. 12, 2014.

We’ve only finished a day ranked that high three other times since the book came out in July 2012:

38,028 on Sept. 23, 2012

40,637 on May 8, 2013

46,660 on Dec. 1, 2012

Thanks for all your support!

 

Scrapbook of the Book

For Christmas 2013, my wife spent endless hours making a scrapbook of my journey of getting a book published, then going around to all sorts of presentations, book signings, and whatnot. She sprinkled in inspirational quotes, author-type artwork and more. thought it was kind of cool, so I’ll share some of what’s in it.

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2013 in review (Thanks!)

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,700 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Middle-schooler’s book report on “Murder in Wauwatosa”

OK, this is totally cool. We now have access to the first known book report on “Murder in Wauwatosa,” and it’s fantastic!

Longfellow Middle School student Katie Scallon did a book report on “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher” and put together a slide show with music for her presentation. I also attended Longfellow (although at that time, it was a junior high school).

The song she chose was “Midnight, The Stars and You,” an old jazz tune that is also played under the ending credits for the movie “The Shining.” You know, that one with Jack Nicholson and one of my all-time favorite actors/voices, Scatman Crothers (the voice of Hong Kong Phooey!)

Click here to see it.

A few photos – just for fun

My wife and I before going to see "Grease" at The Historic Artcraft Theatre in Franklin, Indiana.

My wife and I before going to see “Grease” at The Historic Artcraft Theatre in Franklin, Indiana.

 

A photo illustration by by high school classmate, Art Mellor, famed Milwaukee photographer.

A photo illustration by by high school classmate, Art Mellor, famed Milwaukee photographer.

At Bradford Beach, Milwaukee, on the shores of Lake Michigan.

At Bradford Beach, Milwaukee, on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Here I am at my table at the Greenwood (Indiana) Public Library during its Local Author Fair on Nov. 9, 2013.

Here I am at my table at the Greenwood (Indiana) Public Library during its Local Author Fair on Nov. 9, 2013.

Here I am placing one of my "Murder in Wauwatosa" books in a Free Little Library on Warren Avenue in Wauwatosa this summer. These little libraries are so cool. People come by, pick up a book and leave one.

Here I am placing one of my “Murder in Wauwatosa” books in a Free Little Library on Warren Avenue in Wauwatosa this summer. These little libraries are so cool. People come by, pick up a book and leave one.

Advertising campaign

I’m starting an advertising campaign with Marcus Promotions, placing ads in some of its Footlights programs – the in-theater programs you get at plays and shows in and around Milwaukee. I’d like to thank Angie Mack for helping me get this campaign under way, and the Marcus Promotions design staff for its great work on these ads. 

Hopefully, we’ll be able to spread the word about Buddy Schumacher’s story around the Milwaukee area in the next few months. I believe the first Footlights we’re scheduled to run in is the “Groucho: A Life in Review,” the story of funny man Grouch Marx, at Next Act Theatre in Walker’s Point,  Nov. 14 to Dec. 8.

My wife and I love to attend live theater. There are so many great productions, something for everybody in the family. I encourage you to check out the huge variety of great shows you can see in the Milwaukee area by clicking right here!

MP ad half.MP Q ad

Marcus logo

A possible excerpt from my next book (maybe)

Below is an excerpt from the first draft of the book I’m currently working on. Note that this is only a first draft, the names may be changed to protect the guilty, and it’s a kids book, nothing like “Murder in Wauwatosa.” That book was nonfiction; the new one is fiction all the way, albeit with many incidents based on real events of my childhood and the childhoods of others who may or may not have grown up in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

I’m bandying about titles and place names and people names and such. But the story will focus on a slightly awkward boy whose family moves to a new town. There, he encounters a bully, an unlikely friend, a first romance and a haunted house. I shall attempt to negotiate said boy through all his obstacles in one piece and perhaps allow him to mature just a teeny little bit along the way.

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Standing a foot or so to my left was a roly, poly boy, a little shorter than I was, with glasses and a shirt with horizontal stripes that looked like they used to be fairly colorful and was about two sizes too small for him. He had a couple books clutched to his chest. And they weren’t school books either. They were books you read for fun.

“He’s actually Clark Ludington the third,” the boy deadpanned. “He’s named for his grandpa and his dad.”

“That make sense, since he’s ‘the third,’” I said, rolling my eyes in a slightly different way than when I rolled them a minute before. This was more like a rolling of the eyes that said “Well, duh! I know that.”

“Oh, yeah,” the boy said, forcing out a little “ha ha” afterward.

He took a step back from me and was about to move away, when I stopped him by introducing myself.

“I’m Donnie Hart. I just moved here.”

I figured if this kid knew who that jerk was, and was willing to tell me about him, he might come in handy. I could pump him for information.

The boy’s eyes opened wide. His slightly chubby cheeks all of a sudden were separated by a big smile, teeth full of braces.

“I’m Warren,” he said with more enthusiasm than I’d heard out of anyone in a long time. “People call me ‘Woody,’ because my last name is Underwood.

“We live on 81st Street. Where do you live? Cause if you live near 81st Street, maybe you can come over sometime.”

He kept talking really fast one sentence after another, like he didn’t want me to give him an answer he didn’t want to hear. I just kind of folded my arms and stared at this boy who others called “Woody” and let him ramble.

“My mom and dad are kind of weird and I have a younger brother. But he won’t bother us. I can make him stay in his room when you come over.”

It’s like this was the first time anybody had ever talked to him and he was going to say each and everything he’s had on his mind since he started bottling everything up in kindergarten. “Go for it, dude,” I thought to myself. “I want to see how long this can go on. Maybe you’ll set a world record.”

“Are you in Mr. Hopper’s class? I’m in Mr. Hopper’s class. He’s kind of weird, but OK for a teacher, I guess. He tells really bad jokes.”

I shook my head.

“Your name’s Donnie, huh? I have an uncle named Don. He’s OK. He makes really good steak on the grill. It’s really good. You should try some sometime.”

Woody paused for a second, only a second, as he went into thought. The silence lasted barely a second or two before he muttered, almost to himself, “Actually, Uncle Don lives kind of far away.”

He immediately launched his monologue in a completely different direction.

“I like bubble gum, but I’m not supposed to have any because I have braces. But sometimes I still chew a little bit. You can do it if you’re real careful to chew in little bites and not blow bubbles. Do you like bubble gum?”

I nodded.

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So, there you go. Hopefully, that’s not horrible. And if it is, it can be fixed.