Now if this back cover text isn’t jaw-dropping…

Here is the text that is planned for the back cover of my upcoming book, “Wicked in Columbus, Indiana,” due out probably late winter:

Dubbed “The Athens of the Prairie” for its array of stunning modern architecture, Columbus still endured its share of unsavory citizens, crime-ridden neighborhoods and tales of woe. Many residents avoided the infamous slums of Smoky Row and Death Valley, while others gave in to the allure of Lillian “Todie” Tull’s famed house of ill-repute on North Jackson Street. Two different father-son hoodlum partnerships, The McKinneys and Bells, terrorized the area in the 1800s. And a brutal fist fight between a newspaper editor and the mayor sparked a scandal in 1877. Author Paul J. Hoffman guides the reader on a wild ride through the city’s salacious side.

And below are some photos that have a really good shot at being included in the book:

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Moonshining was big business in Columbus, even into the 1960s. Here, Sheriff J. Walter Johns inspects a homemade still found in a local chicken house.

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Lillian “Todie” Tull was one of Columbus’ most famous madames. She, along with a couple of alleged accomplices, was accused with trying to entice a young woman to come to Columbus for employment with the intention of turning her into a prostitute.

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Ralph Drake, a man who battled alcoholism as a young adult, killed his lover, Ida Ward, and tried to kill himself in a Columbus boarding house in 1893.

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The first local speech on the Ku Klux Klan was held at city hall in 1922.

Making ‘wicked’ progress on my next book

I’ve been researching at breakneck speed for my second book, “Wicked in Columbus, Indiana.” The book, which will be published by The History Press, should be out sometime early 2017. It focuses on some of the crummy stuff the city has experienced (although nothing more recent than 1980). I also talk about how some of this crummy stuff has been cleaned up.

I’m about 90 percent done with the research for three of the chapters, which center on a public fight between the oldest editor and the youngest mayor in the state of Indiana in 1877, the Ku Klux Klan’s presence in Columbus and Bartholomew County over the years, and a look at two doctors who were poisoned and the investigation into who did it.

Many more chapter to work on, including two areas of the city that were considered the worst slums the city has ever seen, a bevy of brothels in the early 1900s, as well as a few murders and robberies and a few other topics.

Click on the photos below to see caption information.

So, I think I’m an expert?

My schedule is set for Imaginarium Convention in Louisville Oct. 7-9. Below are the sessions that I’ve been chosen to serve on as a panel expert.

The event is centered entirely around creative writing, including the worlds of books, movies, gaming, music, and comics/graphic novels. It will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Click here for more info on the convention.

Besides serving as a guest panelist for the five sessions detailed below, I’ll also be doing a book signing Saturday at 10 a.m. Signed copies of my first book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher” will be available for $10 each. You’ll have to wait until early 2017 to get my second book, “Wicked in Columbus, Indiana” yet. Both are/will be available in print and e-book formats from all your regular book outlets online and in bookstores.EntertheImaginarium

Historical Writing
Whether it’s immersive content or just a hint of flavor for the period, historical writing can challenge your skills with setting and the portrayal of historical events for a contemporary audience.
Friday, Oct. 7, 5 p.m.

New Author Boot Camp
So you wrote a book…now what? This panel will take you through the steps of being a new author – from publishing to promotion, the tools you need to succeed, making friends in the industry, and the hard lessons learned from simple mistakes.
Friday, Oct. 7, 6 p.m.

Faith in Fiction
A general discussion about presenting spiritual beliefs in fiction, how to be culturally sensitive to others’ beliefs and your audience, and how to write about religions/spiritual paths you do not know.
Saturday, October 8, 7 p.m.

Breaking into Freelance Writing
Many individuals want to write full time, but they do not yet have the financial freedom to do so. Freelance corporate writing can offer flexibility and financial security as they pursue a full time fiction/non fiction writing career. This panel will explore how to break into freelance corporate writing, the skills required, where to find clients, what they can expect to earn and more.
Sunday, October 9, 10 a.m.

Homonymns, Semi-Colons, Serial Commas, Oh My!
Grammar Geeks, come on down! Panelists discuss why grammar is so important to a writer, why editors enforce the rules, and best resources for those tricky little squiggles.
Sunday, October 9, noon

This is going to be great!

Tons of writing topics to be covered at Imaginarium

Tons (figuratively) of topics will be covered at Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, Oct. 7-9, an event that I’m proud to be a part of for the first time this fall. The event is an annual event centered entirely around creative writing, including the worlds of books, movies, gaming, music, and comics/graphic novels.

Authors, illustrators, poets, publishers, podcasters, gamers and more will benefit.

Here are just a few of the topics to be discussed:EntertheImaginarium

What’s in a Name?
How to create names for your characters that fit your world’s language and culture.

Controversy!
Panelists discuss how to navigate the minefield of controversial topics without censoring yourself or offending the masses.

Faith in Fiction
A general discussion about presenting spiritual beliefs in fiction, how to be culturally sensitive to others’ beliefs and your audience, and how to write about religions/spiritual paths you do not know.

New Author Boot Camp
So you wrote a book…now what? This panel will take you through the steps of being a new author – from publishing to promotion, the tools you need to succeed, making friends in the industry, and the hard lessons learned from simple mistakes.

Query Crazy!
The book is done and polished. Now…to query. Our panelists provide tips on how to write a query which will sell your book.

Getting Into Illustration
You like to draw and would like to do it for books. How do you go about it? Do you need an agent? What’s it like to work with the author? This panel will cover these questions and more.

Creating Your Romantic Lead
Romantic leads don’t have to look like Fabio anymore. What makes a good romantic lead, male or female? They can be quirky, nerdy, and even a little bit evil … so long as we love them.

Game of Thrones
All things GoT! Panelists discuss the books, the tv adaptation, and how the two can coexist so peacefully in such a hard world.

Page to Screen
What books-to-screen have worked, and which could have worked better? Does a great book make for a great TV show or movie?

The Language of Fear
Good horror is all about atmosphere. Panelists discuss how to set the scene for a good scare without going too far.

Promotion for Self-Pubbers
How to cost-effectively promote your books on-line and in person without the support of a publisher behind you.

Podcasting 101
Technology has lowered the bar…you should be podcasting! Our panelists will tell you how and why.

Historical Writing
Whether it’s immersive content or just a hint of flavor for the period, historical writing can challenge your skills with setting and the portrayal of historical events for a contemporary audience.

The Psychology of Speculative Fiction
Why do people write (and read) it? Using examples – and writers – to help explain the effects of being creative in this field. I’ve never had a boring session moderating this panel!

Why Young Adult Works for All Ages
From The Hunger Games and Harry Potter to Goosebumps, writers discuss the universal appeal of writing for the YA audience – and why it’s never just for teens.

Again, this is just a tiny smattering of topics to be covered. See the entire list here.

Specific times and dates and my schedule to be announced.

 

Columbus, Indiana, isn’t all that wicked

“Athens on the Prairie they call this mecca of architecture …Columbus, Indiana.

Yes, Columbus is a fine city. I’ve lived in it the past seven years, and have lived within a 40-minute drive of it since 1994.

But, as with any location, Columbus has seen a few unsavory sorts, its share of difficult times and just pure bad luck.

Those exceptions are what The History Press has asked me to write about in a book tentatively titled “Wicked in Columbus, Indiana.”

I’ve been collecting ideas for the book and think I have enough to eventually produce 35,000 words of exquisite copy. The Wicked books typically feature about a dozen or so lighter crimes such as political corruption, con men, quack medicine, prostitution and red light districts with a few murders thrown in.

So, I’ve gone into research mode once again, just like I did when delving for information for my 2012 debut book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher.” Fortunately, the digging should be much easier as I won’t have to drive to Wisconsin every time I want to scan some microfilm.

I’ll keep everyone updated on progress as I move along.

I’ll be a guest panelist at ‘nation’s premiere creative writing convention’

Imaginarium Convention is an annual event centered entirely around creative writing, including the worlds of books, movies, gaming, music, and comics/graphic novels. The convention features extensive programming content, with panels and workshops
presented by more than 150 professional guests covering everything from the craft of writing to various genres, industry-specific topics, publishing, and social media/publicity. The convention features a film festival with a full array of awards, a masquerade/costume contest, live music, gaming, an expo open to the general public, an awards banquet, a series of literary awards called the Imadjinns, and many more activities, creating a welcoming, inclusive atmosphere that is content-rich and ideal for networking, promotion and personal development.

The host venue is the Crowne Plaza Hotel at the Louisville Airport, 830 Phillips Lane, Louisville, KY 40209. Phone: (502) 367-2251

I will let everyone know specifics on the schedule as it becomes available.

I’m excited to have this opportunity.

Poetry section added to this here website

Years ago, I tried my hand at writing poetry and song lyrics. Most of what I wrote was awful. And yet, for some reason, I kept most of it around.

I’ve recently gotten interested in writing poetry again. Poets I know in the Columbus, Indiana, area such as Matthew Jackson and Nancy Pulley, have helped inspire me to try this art form once again. I have also been inspired by longtime friend Rob McFadden, whose poetry intrigues me. And I have to thank author Jim Hunt, whose work on uncovering the mysteries of Jim Morrison’s poetry was groundbreaking.

There are poets I recall reading back in my high school and college days that inspired me, too. I just wasn’t able to transform that inspiration into much worthy of sharing back then. I’m glad I kept what I wrote years ago, though, since I can see some phrases, lines, verses that are worth sharing. Some of that will need to be reworked.

I also have a ton of notes I’ve been taking, either from conversations I had with Jim Hunt, or from dreams I’ve had, or things I’ve written down while listening to people talk.

The stuff I’m writing now doesn’t suck nearly as badly as it used to. And some of has actually been fairly decent.Below is a list of the poems I’ve posted to this website thus far. More will be added as they are finished (or get close to being finished), along with a note on how the poem came to be. I hope you enjoy some of them.

You can access them by clicking on the titles below. Or you can hover your cursor over the Poetry tab on this page and click on the poems.

Fish on the Highway

Note: I wrote the first four lines of this in the early 1980s. I wrote the rest in 2016. It’s pretty silly … or is it?

I Asked, You Answered

Note: I spent some time relaxing in a forest once, moving a chair from spot to spot, just opening up my senses to what I noticed.

One Tree (And Me)

Note: I watched a tree for a while and noticed how similar I am to it.

Prophets’ Blues

Note: People who understand the complexities of life can sometimes feel frustrated when they try to teach them to those who are not aware, and the teachings are sometimes misunderstood.

Those People

Note: I wrote this when I was very upset with someone. I realized that if I said and did all the things I thought of doing when I was upset that I would just do the things that other people did that made me upset. What good would that do?

To Save Man

Note: A description of a vivid dream I had.

Just added to the schedule: Author’s Fair at Edinburgh mall Saturday

A change in plans over Memorial Day weekend has allowed me to participate in Saturday’s Pen It! Publications Authors Fair at Edinburgh Premium Outlets.

Come see me (and a bunch of other great local authors) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 28 in store B100, at the southwest corner of the mall between Charlotte Russe and Claire’s.Authors Fair 052816

There will be plenty of great books available for the whole family. I’ll be selling copies of my book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher,” for $10 each. I’ll throw in a personalized autograph for free, if you’d like one.

The mall will also be having sidewalk sales throughout the day. There are plenty of places to eat on the mall property and nearby.

Hopefully you can stop by if you’re in the neighborhood.

A map of Edinburgh Premium Outlets can be found here.

Check out Pen It! Publications, the fair sponsor at its website here.

 

Paranormal podcast interview … on a non-paranormal subject

No. My book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher,” doesn’t have anything to do with the paranormal. Well, we’re pretty sure it doesn’t anyway.Kinda_Makes_you_think_Logo_1400

However, a paranormal enthusiast decided to go true crime for an episode of his normally paranormal podcast and interviewed me about the book and my exciting, jet-setter lifestyle recently.

Perhaps it helps that I have attended a few of his comedy shows (his real job) and told him he’s funny. Maybe it’s because we both worked at the same newspaper once. Or perhaps it’s because I have a face for podcasts.

Whatever his reasons for inviting me into the posh Kinda Makes You Think podcast studios, Jeff Bodart did a great job with the interview and allowed me to be me … which was a bold move on his part.

The interview was posted on Sunday, May 15, and can be found here.

Jeff’s comedian website is here.

He also has a podcast devoted to comedy, called Sticky Candy, which can be found here.

 

 

Wikipedia notices Buddy

I don’t know who posted it, but apparently someone has decided that Buddy Schumacher is worthy of an entry on Wikipedia. No, I didn’t post it, although I may have added a few sentences. Go here to check it out; I have a feeling the entry will evolve.

Now, when do I get an entry on Wikipedia?