The Return of the Independent Book Store

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Okay, I'm going to date myself here. Remember when there were bookstores all over the place? And there were no chain bookstores? These were bustling, popular hangouts in big cities and small towns. Owned by people who loved books, and could personally recommend something to you. Sure, they had best sellers, but they could also put their hands on something rare or unique you were looking for. And yes, you knew the lady who owned the place, and chances were, she also knew you by name. These great little bookstores have all but vanished, right? Well, I've got some good news for you. One just made its appearance in my backyard on Main Street in Grapevine, Texas. It's call "For Your Perusal," and it's owned by Janelle Foster and Greg Kowalski. If you love books, you'll love this place. Main Street in Grapevine is a real gem. It's a vibrant homage to small-town America, with original 19th-century brick buildings filled with shops and restaurants of every kind. Main Street is a real throwback to small-town commerce, and very popular with locals and tourists alike. For Your Perusal is in one of those wonderful old buildings. When you walk in, you get a real sense of authentic charm, and either Janelle or Greg will greet you and talk books both new and old. So if you're in the area, stop in at For Your Perusal at 411 Main Street. And welcome back the independent book store!

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Launch Party A Big Success

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Thanks to everyone who came to the official Fort St. Jesus Bait & Tackle launch party. And a special thanks to Jim and Audrey Shanks who hosted the December gathering at their home. They had the place decked out in full bayou theme, from hurricane lamps and Spanish moss to a 2 x 3-foot poster of the book cover. Of course, what authentic Cajun party would be complete without a giant pot of gumbo as well as another pot of red beans and rice --  all washed down with a tub full of cold Abita Amber Bock -- Cam, Troy, Carla and the gang's favorite Louisiana beer. The weather was nice enough for the party to move outside to poolside, where a blazing pinion-wood fire kept the chill off. Also, a special thanks to my sisters Roz, Suzie and Lou for making the trek up from Baton Rouge along with brother-in-law Manuel, who made the gumbo the talk of the party. There were frequent instances of guests going back for their second (and third!) bowl. And yes, that's a book-cover cake. Who knew? It was fun signing a lot of books and talking plot points with everyone. Anyone staying late enough was treated to my wife Debra's world famous Fort St. Jesus Bait & Tackle Jello shots. They also went pretty fast. Anyway, it was a great time to not only launch the book but to kick off the holiday season. Thanks again!

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One Reader At A Time

Well, it's been a couple of weeks since the official launch of the book, and I wanted to thank everyone who's bought either the e-book or the print book. I especially appreciate the emails and words of encouragement. Writing a story and letting other people read it can be a very scary thing. It's all pretend, something that comes from who-knows-where. And it always reveals something about yourself. And yes, you get looks from people that say, "Holy crap, what's going on inside that head of yours?" Anyway, one observation. I've spent a career creating advertising campaigns that launched all kinds of products and services. Each one with kazillion-dollar budgets to get the word out. But launching a book is so different. Of course, there's no kazillion-dollar ad budget. It's building an audience one reader at a time by word of mouth. It's the friend who asks, "Have you read anything good lately?" Or the guy sitting next to you on the plane who asks about the book you're reading.  Or a Facebook post. Leaving a review on Amazon. Or a tweet. It's starting with a few loyal fans  (that would be YOU) and building an audience. So again, thanks for a great launch, spread the good word, and look for some new stories soon.

Let's Launch This Baby!

Okay, the final version is up on all the e-book sites, and the print version is on Amazon. Time to get the word out and sell some books. Up till now, I've done a "soft launch" on all the sites, just to see how things looked. But now it's time for the real deal. By the time you read this, many of you "Super Fans" would have received my e-mail blast. And for those of you who live close to Casa Tridico, you'll be getting an invite to the official launch party on December 8th. Gumbo and cold Abita Beer will be available in large quantities. Thanks again to everyone who helped me get this baby out there. Enjoy the book!

Update On FSJ Distribution

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Fort St. Jesus Bait & Tackle has been approved for Smashword's Premium Catalog, which simply means it's been sent to Apple's iBookstore, Barnes and Noble's Nook Store, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, Baker & Taylor and whole bunch of other e-bookstores around the world. We're already on Amazon's Kindle Store, and soon you'll be able to order the print book. The book proof came in the other day, and I'm giving it the once-over for any pesky typos I've missed and other formatting problems, inside and out. The book looks great and I've posted a quick shot of it. As much as I love e-books, there's still nothing like holding a traditional book in your hand, especially if it's got your name on it!

FSJ Print Cover Complete!

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Okay, good news today. Final cover art was sent in for production of the printed version of Fort St. Jesus Bait & Tackle. I’ll get to take a look at a sample book soon for final approval, and then it will be available for everyone who likes the feel of paper in your hands. Many thanks again to designer Chad Vander Lugt for getting this complete. He really captured the feel of the fictional Fort St. Jesus Bait & Tackle Store. He’ll also design the t-shirt that will be available for fans to win pretty soon. I’m thinking about asking people to email me pictures of them reading the book in really cool places. I’ll randomly pick a winner each week from those and send them a shirt. Stay tuned on that. In the meantime, catch the e-book on Amazon, and very soon on iBooks, Barnes and Noble.com, Sony and many more.

Welcome to Fort St. Jesus Bait & Tackle

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"Thanks for joining me here at the official site. Fort St. Jesus Bait and Tackle was inspired by a story I used to tell my kids as we drove through Louisiana on the way to grandma's house. Mostly to shut them up, scare the hell out of them, and generally discourage them from wanting to stop for chicken nuggets. Unlike me, my children aren't from Louisiana, so they have no memories of the swamp and what lives back up in there. Probably just as well. Make no mistake though, Fort St. Jesus Bait and Tackle is no children's book. There's some colorful language and basic hanky spanky goin' on. If you've already read the book, thanks for that. If you haven't, you can find it today on Amazon as an e-book. In case you haven't noticed, lots of people are pulling out Kindles and other devices on which to read their books. Depending on the survey you're looking at, over a third of book readers have read an e-book this year. I was  a traditional book guy myself, but the last 20 books I've read have all been e-books. The convenience, better pricing and incredible choices are just too much to ignore. But if you still like ink on paper, don't despair. In a few weeks, Fort St. Jesus Bait and Tackle will be available to order from Amazon as wellAnd if you like to get your e-book from Barnes and Noble.com, or Apple iBooks, Sony and others, the book will be available on their platforms in the next week or so. You can find those links on my site when they go live. Of course, you can always email me with words of encouragement and love, and ask me things like, "When's the movie coming out?" And keep checking back here. I'll be running some fun promotions for fans that might get you written into my next book. Seriously. And I'm thinking about some official Fort St. Jesus Bait & Tackle t-shirts, too. You'll definitely want to be the first on your block to sport one of those. Okay, that's enough BS. Go buy the book and let me know what you think."