Sunday, August 31, 2014

91.1 FM WRUW

I have some really good news! I'm going to be doing my first radio interview for Rainbow Plantation Blues! It will be on 91.1 FM WRUW, which is Case Western Reserve Universities radio station. The interview will be on Tuesday September 16th 2014 at 9 PM. I'm not sure of the shows name but it's a show that discusses issues/themes of social justice and equality and the host is a young women named Sarah Robinson.
    I got the gig quite by chance[if there is such a thing]. I was at work and Sarah and her partner came into the shop to get subs. I had seen her in there before but I never talked to her at length about anything. But for some reason this time we started talking about veganism. I told her that I am a fruitarian[although lately I have been a bad ''fruity'' because I've been eating veggies, too]. As far as my being Gay is concerned I'm never a bad fruity and I'm always ripe and ready! Okay, that was a bad joke But I don't care I'm leaving it anyhow. Anyway, Sarah and her partner had just come from some women's party associated with the Gay Games and they started telling me about it. At first I didn't know that they were a couple, or even Lesbians for that matter, But them telling me about the party told it all. In light of that information, I got the bright idea to tell them about my novel. Then Sarah said ''Oh, you've written a book? I could interview you on my radio show!'' Then I said ''Oh, you have a radio show...?'' And the rest is history, or should I say the rest is ''historical fiction!'' Boy, I'm just full of bad jokes today aren't I? Well, I don't care. I'm leaving that one, too!
   The funny thing about this is that about a year and a half ago I had been trying to contact radio shows to see if I could get a few of them to interview me about the book[ and Case radio had been one of those stations] but I got nowhere, or did I? That's why I said earlier that maybe this interview is not just some ''by chance'' thing. Natural law[ or some people might call it God] works in mysterious ways. The thought of a radio interview was the farthest thing from my mind when I was talking to Sarah and her partner.
    So, I met Sarah last week at a local smoothie shop to give her an author copy of the book so she could read it and look it over before the interview. Like I said at the beginning of this post, this radio interview will be my first but I'm certain it will not be my last!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

fannie johnson 1932 - 2014 part 2

This is the speech I read at my grandmother's funeral. I gave the back ground regarding it in my last post if your asking yourself  ''why the hell is he posting this?'' Here's the speech:
    For those of you who don't know who I am, I am Fannie's first grandson.
    I would like to talk about the Fannie Johnson that I knew. Growing up with her in the 1970's and 80's was  a joy. She was that storybook kind of grandmother who always made sure my belly was full and I had a warm and cozy place to sleep when I came to visit her in East Cleveland. She was never mean or distant and only had kind and uplifting things to say to me.
    When I went to Hollywood to become a rock star all she said was ''bring me back a hit record!'' When I didn't bring her back a hit record all she said was ''well, don't worry about it. Just try something else.'' When I came out to her all she said was ''yeah, and...?!'' Your my Grandson, right? So, what else matters?
    All I ever got was forty-six years of pure love and kindness from her, period. No additives, no fillers, no artificial colors or flavors.
    I took all this for granted and it took me decades to realize what a gem of a person she was. When I became mature enough to realize that the world did not revolve around me, I asked her about her like. I was shocked to hear that she had been through so much and I never even got a hint of it! Smiles, encouragement, hugs, and kisses was all I ever got from 1968-2014.
    Fannie Johnson, I solute you, I love you and I thank you for being my friend for every moment of our lives together.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

fannie mae johnson 1932 - 2014

On July 22nd my grandmother passed away. It was no surprise because, first of all, she was up in age and her health had been failing for some time. But even when the writing is on the wall it's not an easy thing to except.
    I decided I was going to speak at her funeral. I am not a good extemporaneous speaker, so I wrote a speech/tribute to her. I had several goals when I set out to do this. First, I wanted to be truthful and honest with my feelings about her and with the final analysis of my forty-six years with her. I also wanted to move people through those years in a visual way. I wanted people to be able to visualize me as a boy in the 70's, a teen in the 80's, a young adult in the 90's and 2000 zero's[if that's the correct term for the first decade of a century] and a middle-aged, but still hot and sexy, man in the present. Look, you can call me conceited but I say if you've got it don't deny it - amplify it![LOL] Anyhow, I also wanted to move listeners emotionally with a little sentimentality, a little humor and a little personal nostalgia. Listen to me- a little sentimentality, a little humor... was I writing a speech or seasoning a dish? But on the other hand, maybe crafting a good speech is the equivalent of a chef crafting a gourmet meal. Spices/seasoning can make or break a dish. And just as food is nourishment for the body, words are nourishment for the soul. So, I guess I was right to be concerned about that delicate balance of ''flavors'' just as a chef would be, and I was given just two minutes to convey that balance! It was my ''quickfire challenge'' like they have on Top Chef[one of my favorite reality shows].
    The funeral was held on July 30th. I had written my speech several days prior and I did read it but I just barely got through it before I broke down into tears in front of the other mourners. After the service an aunt of mine from my mother's side of the family[it was my father's mother who passed] came up to me and told me that I had had her in tears as she sat way in the back of the church and listened to my tribute. That let me know I had done what I intended to do, but I will post the speech on this blog next week so you can decide.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

gay games and google dispalys

First I would like to welcome the 2014 gay games to Cleveland! The kick-off to the games and the other week long events started yesterday. The city is buzzing with activity and my pride in being a Clevelander is magnified tenfold.
   Last week I left off talking about tenacity, so I would like to talk about my latest example of tenaciousness. Remember tenacity is basically the willingness to do whatever it takes [short of a blood sacrifice but not ruling out the writer's couch] to succeed as an author. Scratch that comment about the ''writer's couch.'' I guess I'm just super horny these days. Right now I'd get on that couch book deal or no book deal! Anyhow, let me get my mind out of the gutter. Where was I? Oh yes, tenacity. My latest example of doing whatever it takes is buying a Google display marketing network ad. These are those ads that appear on web site for people to click on and be taken to another web site to buy something. In this case it will be to Iuniverse's web site to buy Rainbow Plantation Blues. It will appear on 2,000,000 web site world wide.
    It's going to cost me $500.00 which I will pay in three monthly installments from August through October. The ads will begin just in time for the book buying season in November and run for thirty days. I know it sounds like a lot of money for only thirty days but 2,000,000 web sites is an ambush and it will [I'm certain] increase awareness of my novel by well over a million in a very short time. Everybody who sees the ad wont click on it and everybody that clicks on it wont buy it but they will at least know about it and there will be a percentage of people that will buy it.
   I will be working with Iuniverse for the next few months to design the ad, select key words and go over the web sites it will appear on. But I'd better not miss any of my payments or I'll be subject to all kinds of late fees and penalties if I want to continue the project. The package is normally $699.00 up front but I talked them down to $500.00 and a payment plan, so I'm sure I'll be okay. Things will be tighter for the next couple months though.
     I'm really excited about his project and I'm sure it will have some sort of impact. I'll be back next week with another electrifying, spine-tingling, intoxicating, titillating and just plain exciting post[LOL]. Happy Gay Games 2014!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

calling my woot! part three

Tenacity. This is the last word represented in the ''woot'' acronym, but it is most certainly not the least important. In fact, if the acronym's letters were placed in order of importance it would have to read ''twoo'' [tenacity,willingness, objectivity, optimism]. personally I don't know which reads worse, woot or twoo. But that's neither here nor there. The point is that tenacity is key to successful authorship. Actually, tenacity is key to successful anything!
    The article "The Four Characteristics of Author Attitude and Why You Need Them,'' from which the woot acronym comes from, says that an author has to be willing to do whatever it takes to reach his/her goals. It talks about the need for determination, persistence and perseverance. It also talks about the need for a shear love and/or passion of writing, authorship, publishing, etc. and how money cannot be ones prime objective. These things might seem like common sense but, first of all, everybody doesn't have common sense and many people are simply not trained and/or experienced in them. They're almost like a set of skills that some people are born with and others have to study, learn and practice.
    I personally see myself as someone who has them naturally to various degrees and from time to time. They seem to fluctuate with me. But I am always aware of tenacity and it's power because I've seen it work for me. Refer back to my July 13th, 2014 post entitled ''I Love New York'' for an example of tenacity at work! I have a number of  experiences over the six years since ''Rainbow Plantation Blues'' was published where the principles of tenacity have worked for me, but by no means have I mastered them. I wonder if anybody ever does 100%. Anyhow, I really do have a strong belief that my novel is well written, unique and timely and those beliefs drive me forward.
     Speaking of tenacity, my next post will impart another example of my being tenacious. I'm starting a new promotional project that I'm really excited about. Stay tuned next week, same time same channel, for details!