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.

100_3311 100_3319 100_3320 100_3321 100_3322 100_3324 100_3325 100_3326 100_3327 100_3328 100_3330 100_3331 100_3333 100_3334 100_3335 100_3336 100_3337 100_3338 100_3339 100_3340 100_3342

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.

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.

___________________________________ 

 

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.

_______________________________________

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

The scuttlebutt around town

I recently received an email from a man who grew up in Wauwatosa who in his youth discussed with pals theories regarding who might have killed Buddy Schumacher. One of those theories was that a female relative might have committed the crime. There’s no evidence that lends any credence to this theory, but it is interesting to know what townspeople were saying about this case “way back when.”
Russell Ritter is now 71 years old. Here is a portion of what he had to say (and thank to Russell for letting me post this):
I am certain that the Buddy Schumacher story was known to us kids because some of our older relatives–my parents, my uncle, my aunt included–lived through the ‘twenties in Wauwatosa. Both of my parents, as well as uncle and aunt, graduated from Tosa, and a number of us kids–I am 71, and they are about the same age–had parents or other relatives who also went to Tosa. The theory that intrigued us was that Buddy might have been killed by a female relative–it was never clear which one–and that (William) Brandt was considered the killer partly because, as you imply, he was already in prison and would have provided closure to a major case, because authorities were preoccupied with the problem of “degenerates,” but also because it would have been highly controversial to bruit (spread news) about the idea that a woman had done the deed.
 
I’m pretty sure this line of thought comes from one of our parents. At our age, we weren’t able to consider in any mature way the way in which an investigation of female suspects might have affected a community in 1925. The theory was kept suitably vague, and we had an idea only that our parents or other relatives knew–or thought they knew–something that they didn’t quite want to tell us. I know that neither my parents nor my aunt or uncle told me of this theory, but because of the adult mentality that lies behind it, I have to believe that someone’s parents mentioned it and thus endowed us with a capital mystery, all the more capital because we swam at Hoyt Pool and knew that once Buddy had swum there too.
 
One of the people who came to our school, perhaps Tosa but maybe Hawthorne Junior High School, was an officer named Louis Wrasse. As I recall, he told us about the dangers of walking near the railroad tracks [we did this] and going near the “hobo jungles” [we did this]. Our response was, “What’s the big deal?” Your reference to Officer Louis Wrasse in connection with something that occurred in 1925 jumped out at me. My recollection is that Officer Wrasse was pretty important when he talked to us in 1955 or so.

A night at the Yes Cinema – in photos

The PowerPoint presentation included sound effects and portions of newspaper covered read over the slides.

The PowerPoint presentation included sound effects and portions of newspaper stroies read over the slides.

DSC01783

Yes Cinema had the concession stand open. Yummy popcorn. You know you want some!

DSC01785

Me and my guest speakers before the presentation. Left: Lt. Mike Ward of the Columbus (Ind.) Police Dept. Right: Retired publisher of The (Columbus) Republic, Bud Herron.

DSC01788

And here we go…

DSC01790

Audience members listen intently.

DSC01792

Bud Herron speaks eloquently on “yellow journalism,” how this story was covered by newspapers in 1925 and how it might be covered today. More importantly, he explains why.

DSC01795

Lt. Mike talks about some of tools police use today to solve crimes that they may not have had in 1925. He also talks about how to keep your kids safe.

DSC01798

Here I am signing a book for Elizabeth. Her mom went to school with NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, a Columbus native.

DSC01799

Mr. Brackney, a very nice fellow, gets his book signed. Viewpoint Books in Columbus sold books afterward.