Mistaken Sexual Privilege in YA Males

I was struck by two different articles I read today that touch upon an issue briefly raised in GOODNESS FALLS: that of the inappropriate assumption of sexual privilege by too many and typically young males. The first article, written by Brittney Cooper, appeared in Salon (http://tinyurl.com/mxfh9or). You can read the article for yourself, but it basically asserts that many young men have come to believe that they somehow inherently deserve sexual access to women. To illustrate her point, Cooper uses the recent killing spree on the University of California, Santa Barbara campus in which a sexually-frustrated twenty-two year-old targeted and gunned down young women as revenge over his frustration with his inability “to score.” The second article, an op-ed written by Ann Hornaday, appeared in the Washington Post. Hornaday questions whether films targeting the young and new adult demographic, such as Seth Rogen’s NEIGHBORS, promote the notion that all guys – even those lacking matinee idol looks, like Rogen himself – deserve “hot chicks” (http://tinyurl.com/mxfh9or). The article inspired a volley of Twittered insults fired at Hornaday by Rogen and his sophomoric friend and mentor Judd Apatow. (What’s that old saying again about slaying the messenger?) In both cases, we should all be sickened by such sexual objectification of females.

I find this issue to be exceptionally poignant today and in great need of being addressed for the well being of both young men and young ladies, and I believe that YA literature is an effective means for doing it. There’s no need for me to elucidate the many ways in which we all are bombarded with sexual imagery in our daily living. As adults, the vast majority of us have already come to terms with our own sexuality. We have come to recognize and adhere to the limits that are necessarily placed upon our desires, or we have discovered how to circumvent them in self-serving ways that are harmless to others. This, however, cannot always be said of teenagers. As a society, we do such a piss-poor job of educating them about their sexuality that they are typically left to figure it out for themselves. In the process of which, they often fall prey to the absurd expectations perpetuated by pop culture and by the lurid exaggerations of their more experienced peers, and they make misjudgements – some they never stop paying for.

I’m willing to bet that if I could ask for and see a show of hands of all of those who read this article and I could ask them how many have either been guilty of forcing themselves sexually upon another or how many have allowed such unwelcome sexual advances due to not wanting to be considered uncool or a prude, the hands still resting on the table would be few. For those of us with our hands upraised, we can’t all be “bad” people, can we? In fact, we are all victims of our ignorance of proper sexual protocol (an ignorance perpetuated because we, as a society, are too squeamish to talk honestly and openly about human sexuality) and of the false expectations put forth by pop culture. Trust me, I’m no puritan. I believe consenting individuals should be left to their own imaginations. With too many teens, however, the consent is only given under intense duress and with great reluctance, and it quickly morphs into shame – and worse.

GOODNESS FALLS includes a scene in the back of an SUV in which a drunken young man “hears Time’s winged chariot” drawing near and pressures his girlfriend into acquiescing to his sexual desires. At only eighteen, he feels the loss of his virginity is long overdue. He has been dating his girlfriend a significant length of time and feels sexual access to her is his right. To learn how that scene turns out, you’ll have to read the novel, but I believe it’s a fairly typical scene in the lives of the majority of teenagers, including our own teenage pasts and our children’s present and future.


Little Help?

A Little Help
If I had been given a quarter every time I asked for a “Little Help?” from a neighbor or a passerby in returning a stray football, baseball, basketball, brother, etc., when I was a kid . . . well, let’s just say I’d have had to do a lot less digging underneath the couch cushions to find enough change for an ice cream cone at the Dairy Frost. Here I am, however, many years later, asking for a “little help.”

I’ve written several blog posts about the differences – both the advantages and disadvantages – of publishing GOODNESS FALLS independently. Perhaps the biggest downside is not being assigned a publicist to help in the promotion of my book. Although the majority of debut and mid-list authors receive only the minimal of push from their assigned publicist, it’s better than nothing. As an independent author, however, the entire burden of marketing and publicizing a book falls on the author’s shoulders.

Therefore, I’m asking anyone who is willing and able for a “Little help?” If you have read GOODNESS FALLS and especially if you have enjoyed the story or have found the issues it addresses to be worthwhile of dissemination, I’d greatly appreciate any help you may provide in encouraging others to read it. In fact, no publicist can do for a book what positive word-of-mouth can do. Neighbors and friends making a book recommendation to another neighbor or friend is a million times more powerful than paid for advertising or product placement.

Initial sales have been solid, and words cannot express my appreciation for all of you who have purchased GOODNESS FALLS. It amazes me that anyone would take any time out of their busy lives to read anything I’ve written. It is vital, however, that with my second novel I expand my readership beyond friends, family, and return readers from SO SHELLY. Therefore, if you’d like to give me a little help in reaching that goal, recommend GOODNESS FALLS to a friend or family member, give it as a graduation gift, write an Amazon review, or recommend it on Facebook or Twitter.



The Future of Story: Be Not Afraid

The future of reading?

The future of reading?

A recent column in the New York Times by Frank Bruni, one of my favorite columnists, bemoans teenagers’ lack of interest in reading and reveals his concern for the quality of living in a world increasingly bereft of readers. It’s an indictment he directs toward young people that could just as easily be directed towards adults. Bruni cites a report by Common Sense Media as showing that 27 percent of 17-year-olds say they “hardly ever” or never read for pleasure. As a high school teacher, I do not find this percentage surprising, for I have noticed a marked decline in the number of students carrying “pleasure reads” amongst their stacks of textbooks. As an avid reader myself and as an author attempting to tap into this demographic, I find this percentage somewhat disheartening.

The easy-to-scapegoat causes for the decline are often and easily identified: video games, television, computers/tablets/smart phones. Advocating for the benefits of reading, Bruni argues that it “does things – to the brain, heart, and spirit” that these other mediums cannot. He cites “several studies” that suggest that “people who read fiction . . . are more adept at reading people too: at sizing up the social whirl around them,” and another that asserts that regular daily reading results in “enhanced neural activity.” Bruni finishes his article with an impassioned plea for encouraging reading: “Books are personal, passionate. They stir emotions and spark thoughts in a manner all their own. I’m convinced that the shattered world has less hope for repair if reading becomes an ever smaller part of it.”

It’s difficult to disagree with any of Bruni’s assertions. I, however, try to take more of a pragmatist’s view of the issue. It’s a view largely born out of my utter refusal to live in nostalgic denial of the current state of things or to become a surly curmudgeon forever stuck in the “good old days.” The reality is that the primary means through which people find their entertainment and enlightenment have always been subject to change. Words on the page have had a long and distinguished run, but prior to the advent of the printing press and the expanded literacy it inspired, the oral tradition of storytelling had an even longer period of dominance. I’m sure as the slow transition from the spoken to the written word was occurring, there must have been many old-timers who bemoaned the change and upbraided those who preferred to read independently and in silence rather than partaking in communal storytelling. Perhaps, man has simply entered another evolutionary stage in which storytelling will take place in a virtual realm where reading words on a page and creating entire worlds inside ones own head will no longer be necessary.

I can very easily imagine a future in which every home contains some kind of virtual reality headset or pod (as pictured above) in which we no longer listen to, read, or watch our entertainments; rather, we are totally immersed in a 360 degree world of virtually-created sensations. We will no longer read about our heroes, we will be them. We will no longer fantasize about illicit lovers, we will bed or be bedded by them. We will no longer yearn for adventures, we will undertake them. Yes, these experiences will occur in a vicarious and virtual manner but still more realistically than can be provided by the spoken word, the page, or the screen. Imagine not reading about the girl with the dragonfly tattoo but being the girl with the dragonfly tattoo, not merely imagining or watching her entanglement in a thrilling plot but living the intrigue yourself. You will suffer the rewards and consequences for your choices and actions yet step out of the virtual reality device and story and back into actual life just like closing a book or turning off the television. I do not think that this is science fiction. Oculus Rift, the most-promising virtual reality headset yet produced, was recently purchased by Facebook with bold plans for its implementation into the mainstream of life. To the contrary, I believe it will happen in the not-too-distant future. I see it as occurring in a fairly seamless manner as in the transition from radio to television in the 1950s and 60s and as the current movement away from cable/satellite services to Internet-ready televisions. I do not see it, however, as a death knell for the human imagination. It is simply the next and inevitable evolutionary step in storytelling.

What heartens me is that the fundamental human desire and need for story remains. Whether experienced orally, in print, on film, or through virtual immersion, people will always want stories that allow them to escape temporarily from their own lives, to elevate them to experiences of sublime thought and emotion, to capture for them the beauty and wonder of the universe, to reveal the fundamental truths of existence,and to teach and to reinforce the lessons for how to live appropriately and well. As long as there is a need for stories, there will be a need for storytellers – like me.

Order my most recent novel, GOODNESS FALLS, here: http://www.amazon.com/Goodness-Falls-Ty-Roth/dp/162287529X

“Is You Really Real or Is You Really Fake?”

Fact or Fiction
I’m often asked if the characters, events, and settings of my novels are based on real life. The answer is yes . . . and . . . no. In general, readers tend to be more intrigued by stories that are grounded in actual experiences, and the simple (and often greatly exaggerated) claim of “Based on a True Story” seems to increase a story’s impact. Maybe, that is why people ask me the question. In general, I think we are too hung up on the desire to make distinctions between fact and fiction, reality and fantasy. In much of my own reading of late, I’ve been drawn to magical realists like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Sherman Alexie, and Toni Morrison, writers whose stories insist that what is real is not limited to that which is phenomenal, meaning factual or provable. I’ve always enjoyed historical fiction (an oxymoron if I ever saw one), and I’m not in the least bit bothered by authors of memoirs who stretch the truth in order to enrich the story or shed light on a truth beyond the parameters of pure literalness.

The fact is that reality is messy and doesn’t provide such a clear demarcation, so why do we expect such exactitude in the stories we read? I’m a lucid dreamer. While inside them, I live them. They are my reality. I feel emotions. I smile, laugh, cry, desire, fear, etc. Why are those feelings any less valid than those I experience with my eyes open? As another example, how many times have I thought I heard or saw something (an intruder in my home, a familiar face in a crowd, the tricks of an illusionist) but actually didn’t? I swear I once saw a deceased friend running down Hull Road. It made no sense, but in that moment, I’d have sworn it was true. Whether or not I actually experienced these things is irrelevant. What matters is that, whether real or imagined, what I heard or saw affected me in a manner that was undeniably real.

Along similar lines, although I consider myself a man guided by reason and science, I’ve come to make some allowance for the existence of the preternatural – not to the extent of the magical realists mentioned above, but I won’t be so arrogant as to deny the possibility. I’m far from a believer in the paranormal, but I’m willing at least to adhere to Hamlet’s words of wisdom to his best friend Horatio: “There is more in heaven and earth, Horatio, than is dreamt of in your philosophy.”

As for the original question of “is any of GOODNESS FALLS based on reality?” the answer is “Yes,” but primarily in terms of the setting. I’m pretty sure every novel I write will be set in the Erie-Ottawa County area. It’s the only place I’ve lived long enough to re-create with any sort of authority. Goodness Falls, therefore, is a thinly-veiled, fictionalized version of the Village of Castalia, White’s Landing, and Margaretta Township. It’s largely a rural area where, as a teenager, my football buddies and I spent a great deal of time doing a lot of the inappropriate things teenagers are wont to do, as are the characters in the novel. Local readers will recognize places like Resthaven and the quarry (two of our favorite hangouts), street names, and various other references to landmarks and locations. The greatest liberty I take is to place one of the waterfalls, which actually do exist in the area, smack dab in the middle of the village on Main Street. Beyond the setting, which is particularly placed, I hope that the characters, their motivations, and their behaviors are universally recognizable along with the lessons and truths the story illuminates.

Grief is a (not so) Funny Thing

Grief is a funny thing, not “Ha-Ha!” funny, but funny as in peculiar. It’s like a distant relative or an old college buddy who shows up uninvited and at the worst times. To my dismay, Grief has taken a keen liking to me of late. In the past twelve months, I have lost a remarkable first cousin, who was my same age; two of my favorite uncles/role models; my larger-than-life father-in-law; and my own inimitable dad. Because I descend from a long line of stoics, I’ve faced these passings with a Victorian stiff upper lip. Strangely, I’m very comfortable with others’ tears, just not my own. To be honest, I really haven’t spent much time dwelling on their deaths. Most days, I just press on. What else is there to do? After all, life is for the living. But today, I found myself unexpectedly paralyzed by grief and weeping.

Due to some road work, I was forced to take a detour to school today and to drive past the empty green space in the middle of Port Clinton over which the Port Clinton Middle School once lorded before being demolished. It was a fairly typical school building of its era, built for function not aesthetics. Like any structure, what made her special wasn’t the bricks and mortar of which she was comprised but the students, staff, and faculty that peopled her. In all of her long history, one of her most cherished tenants was an English teacher named Julie Quayle. Julie died last month.

Julie Quayle was the personification of refinement. It were as if the Three Graces of Greek mythology (Charm, Beauty, and Creativity) took up residence in her form. She was that rarest of thinkers whose mind struck an honest balance between reason and faith. Julie studied French at the Sorbonne and was an accomplished pianist. Her talents and intellectuality were such that it left one wondering, “Why is she not teaching at a university?” In fact, she once was. For a brief time, Julie taught English at Utah State University, but she followed her husband Bill’s career moves and eventually landed at Port Clinton Middle School, where she became one of its most beloved teachers. As if all of the above isn’t enough to feed one’s sense of inadequacy, perhaps, Julie’s greatest achievements were as a wife to Bill and a mother to (Doug and Matt).

I had the honor of being mentored by Julie at the Port Clinton Middle School after I’d made the rather drastic switch from teaching senior level English in a small, Catholic school to teaching seventh grade language arts in a public school. Without Julie and our shared good friend and fellow English teacher Geoff (Michigan fans all three), I may have run screaming back into the sheltering arms of Saint Mary. With Julie’s patience, wisdom, and guidance, however, I survived and remained, and as Frost writes at the conclusion of “The Road Not Taken,” “And that has made all the difference.” As I moved to the high school and on with my life, I did not remain particularly close with Julie; actually, we rarely spoke in the eighteen years since we were colleagues.

This morning, driving past the school that was no longer there led me to think of Julie no longer here, which brought me back to the empty spaces left in my heart and life by my lost cousin, uncles, and fathers. Empty spaces I’ve been navigating around all these months and pretending they didn’t exist by burying myself in routine and in the stuff of living. That empty lot spoke to me of regret – regret that I had not stayed close with Julie and regret that I had far from fully appreciated her friendship or my family members when I had the opportunity, and now it is too late. Like that grand old school building, they are all gone forever.

So, this morning, I sat in my car with my head down and wept. Grief is a funny thing. It never dies. It never goes completely away. I expect it will return with unpredictable regularity at the most random times for the rest of my days. It’ll ram its foot in the door, shoulder its way inside, and stay as long as it damn well pleases.

For what it’s worth, I miss you Julie, Brad, Uncle Bill, Uncle Bud, Mr. Guerra, Dad. I should’ve done better. We all should do better.

Ty is the author of SO SHELLY and GOODNESS FALLS.


Little Victories

Little Victories

Love Amazon (the Internet mega-store, not the river) or hate Amazon, it has become quite possibly the most influential player in the publishing industry. From the monolithic, Big 5 publishing houses to the plucky, self-publishing writer/dreamer, Amazon is the goddess to whom we all must supplicate ourselves in order to earn her favor and an invitation to her online temple. There are few brick-and-mortar bookstore chains left, and the ones that survive are on life support. Independent bookstores are following the sad and narrow path of local record stores. They both occupy a cool but mostly nostalgic niche in their respective industries. Those who are old enough to remember the bookstores’ heyday will certainly miss them, but those who have and are coming-of-age on the Internet will think of them in the same way I think of drive-in movies – meaning not at all. Just as I effortlessly and happily stream my movies to my television rather than drive to a theater, an ever-increasing number of readers will download their books to their eReaders rather than make a trip to the bookstore. As for me, I’m not the nostalgic type. I say the King is dead; long live the King.

I have had the good fortune of traveling both routes to publication: traditional and independent. Each of these routes ultimately ran into the mighty Amazon. Under the traditional model, I initially loathed Amazon, believing its pricing severely reduced an already slim profit margin for the author. Ultimately, I recognized the hypocrisy of my position, for although I condemned Amazon’s squeezing of authors’ profits, as a reader, I was benefiting on the other end and purchasing books at much more affordable prices. And, as a lover of literature, I want to support anything that puts more books into more hands.

Now that I’ve independently published GOODNESS FALLS, I’ve come to see what a friend to underdog writers Amazon is. The simple fact is that without it, the vast majority of self-published authors would never have lived to see their dreams come true through the traditional publishers if Amazon had not cleared a path. Who cares that much of what is self-published is fairly amateurish? Don’t be such a snob. Childhood dreams are coming true! Who is hurt by self-publishing that anyone should give a shit about? Yeah, the traditional playing field is being a little bit muddied, but it’s also being leveled. The book market has been truly freed from the control of agents and editors who have long enough acted as self-appointed gatekeepers. The party isn’t being crashed so much as being taken to the streets by upstart writers who refuse to take “No” for an answer and, instead, turn to the reading public as the arbiter of what deserves to be read. What could be more democratic.

As for “Little Victories,” over the little more than a week that GOODNESS FALLS has been available for purchase, it has danced in and out of the “Top 100″ YA Sports Fiction Books” in one of Amazon’s many bestselling lists. It doesn’t sound that impressive, and to be honest, it isn’t. But, it is something for a book that has no support from a big publisher’s publicity department. The coolest thing for me is that it has frequently been on that list right next to various books by Matt Christopher, who was my favorite author as a child (“Catcher with a Glass Arm,” “Crackerjack Halfback”) and who initiated my love of reading by fusing my love of sports with fiction. That alone has made publishing GOODNESS FALLS well worth it.

GOODNESS FALLS is available for purchase: http://www.amazon.com/Goodness-Falls-Ty-Roth/dp/162287529X

Boys and Books

Boy with a Book

Since its release, I have found myself frequently describing my new novel, GOODNESS FALLS, as a far more “male” story than SO SHELLY. I use this designation for several reasons: 1) the story is told from the point-of-view of a male protagonist; 2) one of the major conflicts is the timeless struggle between a non-communicative father and his son, the protagonist; and 3) the plot’s emphasis on traditionally male interests, including such topics as football, hunting/fishing, heavy metal music, and, of course, girls.

The hard fact is that teenage, male readers of fiction remain one of the most elusive demographic groups in the publishing industry. Outside of the fantasy genre, it has been exceedingly difficult to establish a consistent presence among this age and gender grouping. For a long time, publishers have searched for the author/novel that would attract and engage this potentially massive audience. Insiders have posited many explanations for the dearth of fiction readers among teenage males: their preference for active, physical activities rather than passive ones like reading; their preference for stories as played out in video games; the lack of avid readers among their adult male role models; the Young Adult industry’s own seeming favoritism towards female authors and books with female protagonists confronting distinctly feminine experiences and issues – this results in the proverbial “chicken or the egg” conundrum; and the basic fact that most worthwhile stories tap into difficult-to-face emotions, and few males, teenage or adult, have ever been made or allowed to feel comfortable with their feelings. I think that there is some merit to each of these explanations; however, I also feel that we have been too quick to accept them as irreversible and to throw up our hands in resignation and diminish the importance of effectively connecting with young, male readers.

Twenty percent is often quoted as the proportion of readers of adult fiction that is comprised of men. If increasing that percentage is a worthwhile effort, which I wholeheartedly believe it is, the change is going to have to begin with young readers. As children, there exists little, if any, gender gap between readers. But at some point and for some reason, the vast majority of boys fall by the wayside and lose their interest in the reading of fiction and close themselves off to the wonders and benefits of a well-told story. For its own well-being, I hope the publishing industry has the wisdom and courage to intensify its efforts to reach this group of reluctant readers and quell boys’ abandonment of books.



In this post, I will address a few additional questions that I’ve been asked since the release of GOODNESS FALLS.

Question: How does the experience of publishing a second novel compare with the first?
Answer: Because I’ve published GOODNESS FALLS independently, there’s been much less fanfare, and I’ve had to do a lot more self-marketing. However, my original publisher did very little promotion other than trade shows and catalogs, so it doesn’t feel that different other than I’m now much more aware of how just how much of the marketing falls upon the shoulders of the author. I’ve also lost the starry-eyed wonder of seeing a book of my creation in shelves or listed and ranked on Amazon. It just doesn’t seem like a big deal; it’s just something I do, and it really isn’t that impressive. In some ways, however, I’m more proud of this one than my first novel, SO SHELLY. Unlike SHELLY, GOODNESS FALLS is entirely my vision/version of the story. Chunks of the story have not been expurgated to fit the tastes of an editor. Also, with SHELLY, I tapped into my background as a literature teacher. It was a story largely derived from actual events in the lives of the historical characters upon whom the novel’s characters were based. GOODNESS FALLS, on the other hand, is completely a creation of my imagination. It feels more mine. I like that.

Question: What inspired you to write a novel about concussions?
Answer: As I said, SHELLY was inspired by my life as a teacher. GOODNESS FALLS is based on my experiences in athletics as both a player and a coach. As a fourteen-year old football player, I suffered a mild traumatic brain injury that rendered me semi-conscious for better than an hour. I recovered and have experienced few, if any, long term effects that I can trace directly to that incident, but the brain is an extremely sensitive organ. Medical personnel themselves are far-from-fully-knowledgeable regarding the after effects of such an injury. In recent years, much needed attention has begun to be directed at the issue of concussions in football, especially at the NFL level, but not nearly enough of the focus is on kids. Therefore, based upon my nearly twenty years of experience in coaching high school football, I felt qualified to direct some of the attention toward the far greater number of youth football players who regularly suffer head injuries, many of whom do go on to endure long-lasting symptoms as adults. As an author, I feel I may be able to help ameliorate the problem of football-induced brain injuries, especially in high school-aged athletes, through story. I strongly believe in the power of a well-told story to affect change. Also, I may be seeking expiation for my own ignorance of the devastating effects of concussions which caused me not to show proper caution in the treatment of my own head-injured players. At this point, it’s not much, but it’s what I can do.

Question: Where is Goodness Falls?
Answer: This too is a question I’ve addressed in a previous blog post, but I’ll do so once again. In my writing, I like to fictionalize real places, primarily locales in and around my hometown of Sandusky, Ohio. Goodness Falls is my fictionalized version of Castalia, Ohio. Those familiar with Castalia will recognize actual street names, various locations, and references which, I think, ground the story in reality; however, it’s a mistake to make too close of a connection with the actual place. In the end, GOODNESS FALLS is a novel, and I’m just making shit up. I also took the liberty of adding a waterfall to the real Cold Creek. It’s this waterfall that gives the village in the novel its name. Additionally, “Goodness falls” also serves as a succinct, subject-verb summary of the plot.

Purchase your copy of GOODNESS FALLS today!


GOODNESS FALLS FAQS (After 1 Week) – Part 1


I thought I’d address a few of the questions that have been directed my way since GOODNESS FALLS became available for purchase.

Question: Why is GF so short?
Answer: First off, publishers play a lot of formatting tricks to make books look longer in some cases than they really are. The opposite can also occur. GF is printed in a slightly larger size than many novels, and the font size is slightly smaller. The result is less paper used and a slimmer book. More importantly, however, when I start writing a novel, I have no specific length in mind. I simply write until the story plays itself out. GF is a little bit shorter than I’d normally write, but I wanted it to be a fairly fast-paced and snappy story. Typically, my novels fall in between the 65,000 to 75,000 word range. I’m very comfortable there, and it’s a nice size for YA fiction. GF is slightly over 63,000 words.

Question: Since it is so short, shouldn’t it be less expensive?
Answer: I don’t believe the value of any artwork should be determined by its length. Some of the novels that have brought me the greatest joy have been very short (Alan Lightman’s “Einstein’s Dreams”); others have been veritable tomes (Stephen King’s “The Stand”). I don’t feel I can put a differing price tag on the joy either of them brought me. Another example – this from the world of pop music – would be The Beatles’ “Love Me Do,” which clocks in at two minutes and twenty-five seconds versus Don McLean’s “American Pie,” which, by comparison, is an epic eight-and-a-half minutes long. Although it’s over three times as long, I wouldn’t put a higher price value on McLean’s song over The Beatles’.

Many artists of divergent mediums are selling their wares at extremely low prices or even literally giving them away on the Internet. I think this practice – although it may make marketing sense – in the end, diminishes the value of art and artists. I do not want to be a part of such a devaluation. I spend countless hours perfecting my craft in order to bring a polished product to market. Why should I not receive appropriate remuneration? And shouldn’t I be the one to measure the value of my work against the market and be the one to set a price with which I am comfortable? Would you expect a builder to work for months remodeling your home, practicing his craft, for a nominal charge or for free? I think not.

Question: What’s with the cover?
Answer: I think I addressed this in an earlier blog post, but I’ll explain once more. The protagonist of GF is a high school football player who has suffered repeated head traumas. In the course of the story, he suffers another that sends his world spiraling out of control as he tries to self-medicate his pain with illicitly-acquired prescription pain meds in order to avoid detection and continue playing football. The combination often leaves him in hallucinatory states. The cover attempts to capture his messed up head space.

Question: Where can I purchase GOODNESS FALLS?
Answer: Currently, they are available at The Shops at Sawmill Creek or through any online bookstore. You can find a direct link to Amazon below.

More FAQs to come in my next post. Check back. If you have any questions of your own, please use the “Comments” section to ask them.

GOODNESS FALLS at Mr. Smith’s Coffeehouse

Book Signing at Mr. Smith's Coffeehouse

Book Signing at Mr. Smith’s Coffeehouse

I had an amazing day yesterday at my first book signing for GOODNESS FALLS. It was held at Mr. Smith’s Coffeehouse, where Trent and Sara, the co-owners of Mr. Smith’s, could not have been more friendly or accommodating. What I love most about them and their coffee house is that they are true supporters of the arts, and they provide a place for a particular art that is fast losing its place in our society: Conversation. I know that I and a group of my friends have committed to meeting weekly at Mr. Smith’s for just that. I would encourage everyone to stop in. The atmosphere is great, and the beverages are even better!

A large number of old friends and family and some new friends were in attendance. As always, I was and remain more-than-humbled by people’s interest in my novels. Writing is such a lonely and introspective process that I relish days like yesterday, when I finally get to share the product of all those hours and to connect with real people rather than those characters who only live inside my head.

If anyone is interested, I will be doing another signing at the Performing Arts Center in Port Clinton on Wednesday, May 14th, at 7:00. At this event, I will also be discussing the genesis of GOODNESS FALLS, performing a reading from the novel, and taking any questions about the book or the writing/publishing process. I am also working with the Shops at Sawmill Creek, which is shelving the novel, to arrange some sort of signing there.