July 2020 newsletter: With Apologies to Jon Bon Jovi, We’re Halfway There

July 2020

Is the year half over already? Yes, it is. There’s your answer right there. Now, you don’t have to search the inner recesses of your brain to recall how to do math … nor do you have to locate a calendar and count the months. You’re welcome.

I’m sure many of you are ready to move on from 2020, kick it to the curb, leave it in your rear view mirror, and spew dust upon it as you step on the accelerator, tires slinging smoke and gravel … you know, that sort of thing. I don’t blame you.

I gotta tell you, though. On a personal level, there’s a lot of stuff in store for the last six months of this year. At least that’s what I’m telling everybody.Artcraft Blade

One of our favorite theaters is opening back up the first weekend of July. Precautions will be taken due to the coronavirus, and it’ll be different to be sure. But a night at The Historic Artcraft Theatre in Franklin, Indiana, awaits us in the not too distant future. Now, let’s see. Which movies will we see in our triumphant return? “Space Jam?” “Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town?” “Monty Python and the Holy Grail?” “In the Heat of the Night?” “Goldfinger?” All of them?

My three girls had the “Space Jam” VHS tape when they were little, and I’ve seen that one a gazillion times. While I enjoy it, I might skip it this time.

My wife and I will celebrate our 11th anniversary on July 4. No fireworks this year, though (yeh, yeh, yeh, enough with the fireworks jokes); the city has canceled or postponed the 2020 musical fireworks, which are held annually on our anniversary eve. I don’t think we’ve missed a performance since we’ve been married; we even went the night before our wedding, and then I had mango habanero wings. But that’s another story for another time.

A few other events are on the schedule that I’m pretty sure will actually happen, including my stepdaughter’s wedding on Halloween. Her older sister got married earlier this year; that’s 40 percent of our girls. Events, both personal-fun and work-satisfying, will be added. I just don’t know exactly what. Let me explain, at least the work part:

The Social Selling Summit 2020, hosted by John McGarry, provided loads of useful information for business owners such as myself.

Aiming to Be the Best Publisher I Can Be

PathBinder Publishing, which I bought in mid-May, has been taking up most of my time. I’ve been immersed in Zoom (or other video chat) meetings and seminars designed to help me better explain to both authors and readers what we have to offer them. MySocial_Sam Twitter 2 training has included tips on employing social media to get the word out. But it has also taught me how to educate my corner of the world about the writing, editing, authoring, publishing business as a whole.

I’ve been talking to lots of talented designers, authors, editors, and illustrators and should have a few exciting projects to tell you about soon. Visit us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or the website to keep up to date and for lots more info. Some changes to those sites have already been made; there are more in store. There will be lots of cool updates made to the PathBinder website … as soon as I get all the stuff together and talk to Wil, who magically makes things cool.

By the way, sales of the first two books I published ― under my 18% Gray Publishing company earlier this year ― are doing well: “Shut Up and Listen: Me vs. Me – Confessions of a Bipolar Rock and Roller” by Rob McCuen and “The Tales of Hoffman(n): Memoirs, Essays and More Covering World War II All the Way to Coronavirus”by my dad, Raymond J. Hoffman. In case you were wondering.

I may also get back to writing. My novel based in Ireland, “3 Months in Dublin,” needs to get out. Publishing is my top priority right now, but I have had that tugging on the back of my brain to finish this novel.


What has Paul Hoffman, author, publisher, renaissance man, been reading lately, you might ask. My last two books have been very different.

#KnowtheTruth: Why Knowing Who You Are Changes Everything” by Gordana Biernat reminds you who you are, why you’re here, and how much control you really have over your own destiny. I enjoyed it a lot, and got a lot out of it.

My most recent read was a classic science fiction offering: Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.” Written in the early 1950s, “Fahrenheit” paints the picture of a society in 2052 in

Read_451 excerpt
An excerpt from Ray Bradbury’s novel, “Fahrenheit 451.”

which books have been outlawed; in fact, a fireman’s job is to burn them. One fireman, Guy Montag, goes about his business of torching books until he meets an eccentric young neighbor, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television. Montag then begins to question everything he has ever known.

A hot read, I blazed through it in a few days.

Packy the Coin Finding Pooch

My buddy, Packy, has proved to be quite the good luck charm. That stuffed border terrier who arrived from England not long ago to spread awareness of Huntington’s Disease has spurred my coin finding skills to new heights. I do quite a bit of walking (some biking, too), and one of my pastimes on the walks is looking for spare change on the ground. You can’t do that while biking; you’re going too fast and there’s often traffic anyway. Bad

Packy has been finding lots of spare change on our walks.

things would happen; bad things, man! But walking is an activity that lends itself to the casual glance around oneself to see what is what.

Since Packy arrived, it’s been a bull market here. With two days to go in June, the total find for the month is $7.45. For comparison’s sake, I found 51 cents in May, and only twice before have I ever found more than $3 in one month. This is dating to the beginning of 2018, when such records started being compiled.

That dog is dynamite!

Since it’s been so doggone hot and humid in the afternoons in central Indiana lately, I’ve been getting up at the crack of dawn (insert your favorite Dawn crack joke here), grabbing a small glass of orange juice, a small glass of coffee, and an apple, and walking while the sun is still fairly low on the eastern horizon. The resultant lighting conditions have made for some groovy photographs. See?

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Ailment of the Month

Warm weather means outdoor work at the homestead. Chop down this invasive beanstalk of a vine, saw off that dead tree limb, cut the grass, wash the junk off the awnings and scrub the junk off the siding that gets close to zero sunlight after the silver maple’s leaves cover it with a canopy of darkness. All that outdoorsy stuff means I’m fair game for every biting, scratching, clawing insect in the yard. How in the heck they get to some of the remote locations they get to, and inject me with poison to make me itch, swell and turn pinkish-red I shall never know. Demons they are, pure demons.

As far as podcasters are concerned, I’m a celebrity

Soon to be posted: two podcasts featuring me. At least this is what I have been led toPodcast _ Scott Stick Buddy believe.

I did two interview sessions with Scott Stick on true crime, doing research, and my first book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher.” We actually did three sessions, but Scott forgot to record one of them, so we had a do-over. Don’t get upset with him, though. I actually came oh so close to asking him if he’d started recording the Skype conversation on the one where he hadn’t, so I take partial blame for that. If I had followed my gut instinct, it would have saved both of us some time. Then again, maybe my answers the second time around were just that much more brilliant for the debut segment of his “Undoing Evil” podcast.

Sadie Chelsea’s podcast covering a good bit of my professional career ― from journalism to writing to publishing and some of the obstacles they’ve entailed ― should also be available soon, too. Her podcast is called “Pick Up the Pen.”

I’ll make sure to let you know when both of these are available to listen to while you cut the grass, swat at chiggers and mosquitoes, or need some soothing voices to cuddle you to sleep.

Au revoir, Mr. Gopher … OK, Mr. Chipmunk. No gophers (or chipmunks) were harmed in the relocation program.


Our chipmunk relocation program proved successful. I said “our,” but it was almost entirely my wife’s program. Four varmints, which I started calling “Mr. Gopher,” were humanely trapped and relocated to a place where they could not nibble on our (my wife’s) vegetable garden. We (she) also trapped one possum. Those things are creepy, but helpful, so we (she) let that out back on our property. We (she) didn’t set the trap at night after that.

The Hoffman(n) family reunion, which normally occurs biennially (every two years; I looked it up) at the end of July was canceled. The Hoffman(n) and related cousins and uncles and such annual fishing trip that normally happens over Father’s Day weekend, was canceled. But at least we got the fishing crew together for a Zoom chat. Remember … what happens during fishing Zoom chat stays in fishing Zoom chat. Good to see the guys, even if it was over a computer screen instead of in a boat on a lake that can’t decide if it’s in Wisconsin or Upper Michigan, so it picked both.

In conclusion

Yes, the first half of the year has presented many challenges, especially the past three months. As for me, I’ve been in a constant state of adjustment, honing skills, developing new ones, learning all I can. Here’s hoping you’re able to do some of the same.


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