My latest book, “You Don’t Know Squat!” will be released on March 2, and I’m very pleased on how things turned out. Of course, it’ll never make any bestseller list, but I’m okay with that. I wrote this book as a remembrance to a late friend, Rod Steiner, plus for friends, family, and especially my grandchildren to enjoy. There’s a total of 102 short stories inside front and rear covers.
Some of the compositions are from my early years while most are later in life, including a few work related tales. A good many of them were published in the “Today’s News-Herald” the past two years. A big thanks to, Publisher Rick Macke – Editor Brandon Bowers, for allowing me to share them.
I’m asked on occasion by family and friends, “How many of these books do you think will sell?”
That’s an impossible question for me to answer. Famous author’s, Henry David Thoreau and Herman Melville, sold more books after dying than when they were alive. Taking that into account, I doubt either man knows their final tally. Undoubtedly, I’m going to have the same problem.
I’ve read many bestselling books, often finding they weren’t good reads, with some being downright boring. Huge publishing firms with mega promotion dollars hawked them to the masses specifically to make a dollar. It’s said that some celebrities go on talk shows, merely for the reason of holding up their latest book to a camera. I’d love to do the same. That promo by itself is probably good for twenty-five thousand copies out the door.
There are many good reads out there written by excellent authors, that’ll never see the light of day, unlike a, Bill O’Reilly or Bill Maher, mass-produced publication. That’s part of the writing game I suppose. “Those with clout have the loudest shout!”
One of my favorite books was penned by a woman named Decema Kimball Andresen. I met this lady many years ago in a small dry goods store that she owned in Anchorage, Alaska. Decema was 90 at the time. The name of her book is, “Memories of Latouche.”
It’s only forty pages, but I learned more from reading it than I did from some novels 300 pages or longer. Very few people know that Phoenix, Alaska ever existed. The town, if you can call it that, was located on Latouche Island in Prince William Sound. Decema Kimball and her family lived there, along with perhaps ten other people. A story about the place is in her short story.
When the Bucket-O-Blood saloon caught fire, the whole village went up in smoke, with the Kimball family business totally destroyed. Unlike the fabled Phoenix bird rising from the ashes, Phoenix, Alaska, remained down for the count. The Kimball parents wisely moved both daughters, and whatever furs and valuables they could salvage, to newly established Anchorage where they successfully rebuilt their store.
You’ll most likely only find mention of Phoenix, Alaska in Decema’s book or on vintage maps of Prince William Sound. The very small village was located between Powder Point and Wilson Bay.
I’ve made several trips to Latouche Island. On one of them with some friends including my son, we discovered the exact location of Phoenix. At that point, it only amounted to overgrown root cellars carved into a steep hill, with remnants of dock pilings still visible on the beach.
Poking around a bit, at least three feet under wet tundra, Doug Harvey discovered several large, blackened timbers used as cabin foundations. The ultimate find was by my friend, Jeff Thimsen. Jeff located a rare, J.W. Little, trade token. Mr. Little owned one of the two destroyed taverns.
Unlike Decema Kimball Andresen’s book, mine is a whopping 338 pages long. That’s a record for me. My wife calls it a catalog based on weight alone. It’ll never be a best seller just as Mrs. Kimball’s isn’t, yet the two share one common trait: they’re good reads. Where literature is concerned, I believe that is the ultimate compliment.
*My book available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, others, starting March 2nd.