Posted tagged ‘Red Hot Series’

Saying Goodbye…Kinda!

September 9, 2021

Yesterday was my last day teaching/leading/corraling my seventh-grade language arts students. Divided amongst four classes, about 90 students at various levels of maturity and immaturity would descend upon me each day to engage in the “E’s”: Entertainment, Experience, Expression (creative writing), and Education. Some days, perhaps, there was more entertainment than education!

I had been asked to fill in until a new teacher could be hired. Since I’m a “pretend teacher” (pseudo instructor), I wasn’t being considered for the teaching position. I was simply acting as the rubber band around the personalities until someone with the right credentials could be located. It’s the same position that I ended up filling for the whole year in 2020-2021. I could have stayed a while longer this year, but needed to be step to the side before the ninety bundles of joy became to attached to me.

As it is, a number of them were looking at me with pleading eyes yesterday. Without putting myself on a very shaky pedestal, most of the munchkins enjoyed my classes. We learned about the importance of commas (The difference a comma can make between the meaning of “Let’s eat, Grandpa!” and “Let’s eat Grandpa!”), creative and imaginative writing, kindness in words and actions, and learning how to support opinions with reasons for those opinions.

But more than learning, my classes included rolls of Smarties, a back wall of Far Side cartoons that were arranged to spell the word “Smile”, conversation, bad puns, a daily Wolfe Wisdom saying and Trivia Question, and Beanie Babies used to indicate the student was going to the restroom.

I enjoyed it…and am glad I’m done! This morning I occupied my Starbucks stool again, last one of the right facing out toward Pikes Peak, and savored my Pike Place medium brew. Tomorrow I’ll probably get a call asking me to fill a vacancy for a day.

My teaching team threw me a “Kinda Going Not Far Away Party”, complete with balloons, chocolate cake, and card. One of the students gave me Chips Ahoy cookies, and several asked me why I’m leaving with a tone in their voice that conveyed my physical demise was about to begin.

So today, once again, I’m attacking the writing of the final book (Book 4) in my RED HOT novel series, creating the further adventures of middle-schooler Ethan Thomas and his flaming redheaded friend, Randy “Red Hot” Bowman. The previous three and a half weeks have provided me with new fodder for the fiction.

To that Ethan Thomas would probably say, “Jiminy Cricket!”

Being Filmed

August 11, 2021

Yesterday I experienced something that I hadn’t been a part of for a while: I was filmed, not for anything associated with Hollywood…yet! It was a videographer who taped me making comments about my RED HOT novels. He would ask me questions and then start recording my responses.

It’s one way that I’ve taken on a more proactive approach to telling people about my books. Promoting novels is a difficult task that often leads to the grinding of the author’s teeth and not shaving for three days. My videographer, Gary, did a great job in drawing out my ideas and perspectives, and answering a number of “Why” questions: Why did you write these books, why did you create your main characters in these ways, why would someone want to read the books? He filmed and interviewed for two hours and we both felt good about what had occurred.

Another person, Jordan, who I’ve known for a number of years, is getting my social media presence going. Even though I’ve written a blog for a number of years, I consider myself a social media illiterate. I flunked Instagram, sat in the back of the Twitter class hoping to go unnoticed, and my Facebook understanding can be seen in comments I make, such as “What’s this little thing right here that looks like nine dots on a Domino?” Jordan has figured out that there is not a question too elementary that I can’t ask. I’m like that first-grader again reading about Jane, Dick, Sally, Puff, and Spot. “Look, Puff! Look, Spot! Look, Puff and Spot!”

Years ago, when I was still pastoring First Baptist Church in Mason, Michigan (now known as Mason Community Church), our Sunday morning worship service was recorded and shown that next week on the local public access station. I didn’t really think about it at the time. During this time I was also on the Mason School Board and our monthly meetings were also recorded and broadcast. In each of those situations I was on screen, but there were others with me. Yesterday, it was me and me alone..except for people walking by behind us on the sidewalk.

There’s something about watching yourself on film. The way you pronounce words, the breaks, and pauses in your speech, your mannerisms…the blanket gets thrown off all of those things and you see yourself like a packet of raw sugar, unfiltered and revealed.

Of course, if I didn’t think the novels were readworthy I wouldn’t have done it. Friends of mine who I’ll just refer to as E&D, have continued to tell me that the books are great reads that people need to discover. They’ve said it so many times I’ve actually become a believer. They have done editing of the manuscripts for me, read through each book more than once to help correct errors but also question me on flow and plot twists. In other words, they’ve been very upfront about things that need correcting and “What were you thinking that day, Bill!!! Had you eaten something that didn’t agree with you?” So, if they’ve challenged me in some ways, their words of encouragement have taken root a well.

Yesterday, Gary said I had a good camera presence. I appreciate that. I’m not sure what it means, but I appreciate it. Did my grey hair not stand out because of the angle of the sun, or did I look more hip rather than “grandpa-y”? I’m sure no one was confusing me with Daniel Silva or John Sandford. For that matter, also Mr. Rogers and Captain Kangaroo (Showing my age there!).

We’ll see what happens!

(You can order any or all of the RED HOT novels on Amazon. Type in W.D. Wolfe or Red Hot: New Life in Fleming. Available in paperback or Kindle Version.)

The Second Book

July 13, 2020

Getting a book published, using one of Jesus’s sayings, has been as easy as getting a camel through the eye of a needle. Rejection letters…er, email…have dotted my inbox. Mind you, I’m not whining- okay, maybe I am a little bit- it’s just being at that crossroads of doubt and belief. I’ve had friends who have told me, as they’ve firmed up their jaws, that my first book NEEDED to be published. It was that good. Since they’re connected to one of the Christian publishing companies (that, unfortunately, only publishes non-fiction) I’ve believed what they’re saying. On the other hand, there’s the rejection letters. IO know, I know, everyone who is looking to be published receives rejection letters, but that doesn’t make it easy to shrug them off and dance through a field of sunflowers.

So I went the Kindle Direct Publishing route. In other words, I decided on self-publishing through Amazon/Kindle. So far out of 11 reviews of my first novel, Red Hot: New Life in Fleming, the book has received 10 five-star ratings and 1 four-star. It’s been read by kids as young as 9 and adults as old as 70+. RED Hot Edit.jpg

The second book (Red Hot: New Grace in Fleming) came out last week. Once again, it’s through Amazon. Both books are “coming of age” stories centered on two main characters who become unlikely best friends. One, Randy “Red Hot” Bowman, is the new kid who has moved to Fleming, West Virginia. His hair is so red it looks like it’s on fire. But Red Hot also becomes his nickname on the basketball court because of his unbelievable talent for shooting a basketball. Ethan Thomas, two years younger than Randy, lives across the street and has to wear eyeglasses that have lens as thick as the bottom of RC Cola pop bottles. Before Randy moves to town Ethan was able to count the number of friends he had on less than one finger. He’s the favorite target of the two school bullies, and most of his teachers don’t believe he’s capable of doing anything more than mediocre.

In a fiction world of fantasy, science fiction, zombies, and dragons, the Red Hot Series tells of life in a 1990’s small town that is entertaining, realistic, but also carried important lessons about friendships, forgiveness, faith, and grace.

You can read the Amazon reviews of Red Hot: New Life in Fleming and order it in paperback ($11.99) or Kindle ($2.99). It’s also available for those who have Kindle Unlimited.

READING MY BOOK

April 20, 2020

Last Sunday night I began doing a Facebook Live reading of the novel I had come out a couple of months ago. Red Hot: New Life in Fleming is a story of an unlikely friendship between the thick-lensed, freckle-faced seventh-grader named Ethan Thomas; and his new neighbor, Randy “Red Hot” Bowman. Randy’s nickname is bestowed on him because of his bright red hair and hos basketball shooting touch. Ethan is the kid in every middle school class who doesn’t have any friends. He’s the one who gets picked last in P.E. class, and the kid who never gets invited anywhere. Randy’s father is coming to the small West Virginia town of Fleming to be the new pastor of the Baptist church. Fleming doesn’t get many new people, and now the new kid stands out because of his newness and his hair.

The two boys help each other face their giants. For Ethan, it’s the two school bullies, and for Randy, it’s the two seniors on the basketball team who are threatened by the 9th grader’s talent.

The story includes the victories and struggles for each boy and drives home the life principle that a true friend never leaves you no matter what.

If you’d like to listen to my reading of Chapters 2 and 3 on Sunday, April 26, I begin at 6:30 Mountain Time. The reading of Chapter 1 is on my Facebook page under my name “Bill Wolfe.”

RED HOT is available on Amazon in either the Kindle version or paperback connected to my author name, W. D. Wolfe.

action backboard ball basketball

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The First Novel

February 7, 2020

Exciting! Long time coming! Knock on wood! Break a leg! Mom and Dad would be proud!

There are a lot of thoughts going through my head as I look at the Amazon page with my first novel on it. The paperback version of Red Hot: New Life in Fleming became available for purchase this morning. The Kindle version went public two days ago.

After sending the manuscript to several literary agents and publishers and being turned down, I decided to give it a go on Amazon. In the changing environment of the publishing world it has become more and more difficult to have a novel get picked up. After all, publishers need to make a profit, and so many of their books don’t.

A few weeks ago I read a newspaper article about an author who put her first book on Amazon. It did well and a publisher became interested in further novels she wrote.

Who knows? It got me thinking. So…if you’re interested you can find the novel on Amazon. My author name is W.D. Wolfe.

Book Update

May 31, 2019

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                     May 31, 2019

                                         

Some (I wish a multitude!) have been wondering about the status of my first novel, Red Hot: New Life In Fleming. Let me use my space to give an update for those who are interested.

First of all, I’m getting an education about the tangled world of publishing. I’ve learned about the inner workings of “vanity presses”, the self-publishing world, and the maze of even getting heard in the traditional publishing enterprises. 

There are a multitude of writing voices that hunger to be heard. A writer can self-publish for a price if he so desires. The costs can range from $1,000 to $6,000, and the adage “You get what you pay for!” is proved correct in this area.

Traditional publishers HAVE to be sure a writing project is going to be profitable for them. Too many bad decisions will result in their doors being permanently closed. Publishers are not risk takers these days!

That takes me to step two! Having the book edited. Two dear friends of mine have partnered with me in the writing to this point. They’ve checked for punctuation, made suggestions, read the story for clarity, and offered encouragement that has kept me going. They keep telling me that THIS BOOK NEEDS TO BE PUBLISHED! There have been several occasions where, after meeting with them, I’ve gone off excited and motivated to continue writing the story. (I’m actually about a quarter of the way through Book 3, and I give them the credit for cheering me on!) Now, with their encouragement, I’m contracting with someone to do a professional edit of the manuscript. It is a person I’ve met and talked with who has extensive experience editing and publishing. 

When the editing is concluded, with the guidance of my friends and editor, we’ll figure out the next step in the journey. One of the common mistakes that authors fall into is being impatient and rushing the process. Realizing I’m not getting any younger, that has been one scenario that my friends have cautioned me about.

Writing is a joy for me. I enjoy the creating of the storyline, the twists in the plot, and the development of characters. My perspective on life comes out in my storytelling. So much of fiction is dark and depressing. Fiction does not have to be fantasy or inhabited by zombies. It can be a story that causes laughter on one page and tears a few pages after that. The two main characters in my book are very real to me. I see the image of who I was back in my middle school years in one of the characters…and who I wanted to be in the other. 

There have been other learnings along the way. Terms like “building a platform” and “what’s your hook?” keep coming up. I’m a clueless writer who is gradually getting a clue.

You see, there’s the writing…and then there’s all the other stuff! It’s kind of like a basketball game being the main event, but then there’s all the preparation and practice that happens before the game is played.

HOW MIGHT YOU HELP? Go to my blog site (WordsfromWW.com) and become a follower if you aren’t already. Publishers look to who the writer’s audience is and how large it is. They want to know if anyone is listening? AND tell others about it and ask them to become followers. 

It may be another year or longer before Red Hot gets into print. I’ll let you know if and when that happens. In the mean time I keep substitute teaching and coaching at our middle school. It gives me a constant stream of new writing material!

Coming Up With A Title

September 12, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                          September 12, 2017

                                     

I enjoy writing. It’s where I drink most of my coffee, while sitting on a stool at Starbucks at 7:30 in the morning…or at one of the lower level tables at our local library. I don’t know if it’s the caffeine that gets the words percolating or the comfortableness of the writing spot. My life is now a mixture of writing, coaching, substitute teaching, Sunday preaching, and grandpa-ing!

I recently completed the manuscript of a book I’ve been compiling for a while. Over the summer I was able to put more time into it and, finally, came to the words “THE END” about three weeks ago. A teaching friend, Marise DeKlerk, and a long-time friend, Diana Stucky, are doing editing of the manuscript for me and offering suggestions. Diana, especially, has given me some great feedback that has helped me to strengthen the characters and storyline.

The only thing is…I can’t figure out what to title the book! Titles make people take notice! I spend a lot of time at my public library looking for a new book to read. I survey the shelves that hold countless titles in numerous categories. The title draws me in…or not! I can only read one book at a time, and here I have a multitude of choices.

The book is about a boy named Randy who has moved to a new town, Fleming, West Virginia, with his family as he is about to enter his freshman year of high school. His father is a Baptist pastor coming Fleming to pastor the First Baptist Church. Randy has bright red hair that makes him stand out. He is a young man of great character and humbleness…who also happens to be a very, very good basketball player. He befriends Ethan, the seventh grader who lives across the street from him, and who is seen as being the weird kid in his class because of his thick eyeglasses and awkwardness. Randy’s basketball talent draws attention to him from around the state, but it never changes who he is…a person of character who understands that basketball is just a game, and there are more important things in life.

I could title the book simply “Randy”, or “Shots from Red”, or “New Kid”, or “New Freshman”, or “Bowman” (his last name!). I could go with location and title it “Fleming”, or “The Flame of Fleming”, do basketball specific titles like “Swish!” or “Roundball!”

None of those, however, really catch my eye! I’m stuck! I’m at a loss! How can I write a great story but be clueless about what to call it?