16 thoughts on “Blog

  1. Bob

    Turf and Surf is on schedule for release by the end of April 2014. As my first novel is released I will be interested in how quickly Amazon customers will notice. The competition for readers is fierce.

  2. Pam Lord Moyers

    So excited for you, Bob, as you go down this new path! Have enjoyed your quips and writings! Keep us posted of publications and book signings!! Look forward to reading your works!

  3. Carl

    I was fortunate enough to secure an early copy of this ‘Page-turner” when I noticed the author at a book signing in Myrtle Beach.

    I cannot wait for his next one!

  4. Bob

    Had a book signing in Myrtle Beach this weekend. Some entertaining people dropped by to pick up the book. Turf and Surf will hopefully help bring back memories of summer days at the beach and fun times during the summer nights. Each person had a good story to tell regarding their adventures at the beach. I hope the book provides a fun read and sparks a fun ‘trip down your memory lane.’

  5. Bob

    It was a rainy Third Thursday in Summerville, but after the downpour eased to a drizzle, we had a good crowd show up at The Village Knittery. Got to see some old, no, I should say some long time friends. Thanks to all those who came by for a few moments. We are talking about another visit to The Knittery in the fall. Hopefully the Third Thursday will have more hospitable weather this time. Hope you are enjoying the cool summer. I know I am but a change is coming. See you soon.

  6. Bob

    Making progress for the release of my next novel, Hard Road. Working to enter it in an Amazon new novel contest to be announced in the next couple of weeks. Readers may go to the Amazon site, read the first 3000 words, and vote for the novel they like best. The novels with the most votes will be given a publishing agreement with Amazon, so I need your help on this one. I’ll let you know when the contest starts. Here is the short blurb for the story.

    “You choose suicide, but fail. The man who almost killed you commits to be your savior; but first he must overcome his own demons. It’s a Hard Road, but love may find a way.”

  7. Bob

    Readers, I need your help. I have just posted a preview of my second book, Hard Road, on Kindle Scout. Kindle has a new program for authors. You the reader can review the book cover and the first 5000 words to determine if you are interested in the book.

    If you select the NOMINATE button, it would help me achieve a higher rating with Amazon’s Kindle and potentially win a publishing contract from Kindle. If you nominate Hard Road and it’s selected for publishing by Kindle, then you will receive a free Kindle copy. You can see the summary on my Books tab or read about it on Kindle Scout. Go to this url to find the posting: Your support is appreciated.

  8. Bob Spearman

    A preview of Hard Road is now available on the Kindle Scout website. The site previews the first 5000 words, and I hope it will give you an appetite for the rest of the book. Appears the paper back will not be ready for publishing until January. In the mean time, please go to the site and select the blue button below the book and nominate it. If they award a publishing contract to Hard Road, you will get a free Kindle download. What can you lose. See this URL for the book preview:

  9. Bob

    Hard Road has been published and the first book signing will be in Summerville, SC during the town’s third Thursday celebration on February 19. The signing will be hosted at The Village Knittery on South Cedar Street right in the middle of the event. Hope to see you there.

  10. Bob Spearman

    My Trip to New York City

    My family took a trip to New York City. Not all of them, just my wife, my daughter and my grand daughter. That’s all we could afford. But I would suggest that everyone should visit this city at least once. Why you ask? You say the Big Apple is not for you? Well, maybe not, but don’t close your mind, totally. The draw to this experience is one of the persistent Siren Calls of life, like when your mom told you not to touch the stove because it’s hot, but you did it anyway. It’s sort of like that, but with expensive food and too many taxis.

    We saw what you can see everyday on popular TV shows or movies. Rockefeller Center, Times Square, Broadway, Central Park, the Stature of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial and the Manhattan skyline are all images recognized around the world. But we saw these American icons in person, not on a 55-inch, high definition TV.

    When you see it, you know it, and you’re delighted because you are right there looking at this thing you have seen on TV, in magazines, on the Internet. And then you can’t help yourself. You look at your wife and say, “Look it’s the Statue of Liberty.” And she says, “Yes, I know.” But she’s a class act, and doesn’t add, “Dah,” at the end, because like most Americans, she has seen it elsewhere, too and knows what it is and really doesn’t need you to point it out. Or she could have said, “Oh really, Wow, would you look at that.” And make you feel like a tour guide without a clue.

    Hey it’s exciting because you are traveling and taking in the wonders of America. Everyone who has access to media of some type has seen these things, just not in person. It’s not like it’s 1805, and you walked out of a grove of trees with your pals, Lewis and Clark, looked up and discovered the waterfall at Yellowstone. That was a special time because back then Native American Indians didn’t post natural wonders on the Internet, they didn’t take videos of their spectacles and broadcast it nationwide weeknights between six and ten Eastern Time. When you saw these wonders, you were part of a unique segment of humanity. And you could look at your wife and say, “Hey, there’s Yellowstone Falls,” and she would be impressed and say, “Wow,” as opposed to, “Yeah, I know.” With all that said, the experience in the city can be exhilarating all the same, because it’s your first time and that makes it special.

    Twittering away among the man-made wonders you may occasionally see the celebrities of New York like Donald Trump, Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Lady GaGa, the New York housewives, or the naked cowboy strutting around in Times Square. Movie stars, authors, musicians, famous chefs, and short segment experts haunt the popular nation-wide broadcast of the morning news, and you can see them, in person. The producers and publicists count on it as they play to the crowd outside the windows. They taunt you with free makeovers, CD’s and autographs. They tell you when someone is coming out so you can scream, and wave, and maybe get on TV yourself. We showed up and got a few frames on the morning show.

    So these exciting moments are the things that bring us to ‘The City’ or is it the museums, the restaurants, the Broadway shows, fireworks on the 4th of July, or New Year’s Eve on Times Square. Oh, yeah, and some people come for work, but I can’t understand the draw. Why would you pay the square foot rate to locate your business in the city? I mean if you have a choice of locations especially in our Internet world where everything is done on line. But I digress.

    Whatever force attacks people to this city, it is a powerful thing. Eight and one half million people call New York home. And that’s just the people who live there, it doesn’t count the visitors and daily commuters who emerge from subway tunnels in never-ending droves like a scene of zombies from the ‘Night of the Living Dead,’ or the surge of humanity who walk off a ferry or the steady stream of cars in grid lock that daily brave the drive with their car. Driving a car into the city on a daily basis is just nuts, and anyone who does it should undergo therapy. If the drive is not enough brutality, you have to find a place to park. Just ask George on Seinfeld how special a good parking spot can be. Parking is an expensive exercise that causes even the 1% to chafe. I saw a sign advertising the opportunity to park your car monthly for $500, and as an added bonus you get unlimited in-and-out privileges. I thought that was a bit steep until I saw a garage that charged $11.98 per hour. Why not $12? At that rate who cares about the pennies, because of course a tip is expected as well. At my house I have free parking, and as long as the battery holds up in the remote garage door opener, and one of my kids is not parked in front of my garage door, I have unlimited in-and-out privileges.

    Now I’m sure I will offend someone with this blog, because many of you love New York City. And I suppose, one could become attached for certain reasons unknown to me. But I try to understand. That’s what this blog is about, me trying to understand. So I did a little research to seek a perspective. So here is what I discovered.

    The city of New York claims approximately 8.5 million people within its 469 square miles. And again, that’s just the people who live there, not the millions that converge as commuters and visitors each day. Let’s compare that to say Virginia with 42,775 square miles where they pack in 8.3 million people, and from my travels, half of those are in the DC area. But think about it. A state with almost 100 times the land mass has the same number of people. For my neighbors, South Carolina has 4.8 million people mostly all living in harmony on 32,000 square miles. So we have half as many people on 70 times the landmass. I like it that way. Maybe that’s why when we pass each other, we say hello and smile versus a scowl and a grunt. If there were 595 million people living in the boundaries of South Carolina, I would be pissed off and honk my horn a lot too.

    One way to understand what it’s like to walk a sidewalk in New York City is to walk down King Street during a Second Sunday event that coincides with a holiday. But we can escape to a side street; all the streets seem crowded in the city.

    In this blog, I did not want to drag it out and discuss all the things we saw. It would be too long. So separate blogs will deal with ‘The people of Times Square,’ ‘Apartments living in the city – why’ and ‘The cost of penny candy in FAO Schwarz’. So I know you can’t wait to read those essays, or maybe you are more motivated than ever to make the trek to the Mecca called New York City. Just remember I told you, don’t touch, it’s hot.

  11. Bob Spearman

    Our Trip to New York City
    The People of Times Square

    In Times Square the masses throng, swirl, and flow in a crowded thoroughfare made familiar to non-New York baby boomers by Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve show. The show featured a lighted ball that hung high over the Square, and with a nation-wide audience counting down, it dropped and hit the bottom exactly at twelve midnight. You could set your watch by it.

    Dick’s gone but the iconic ball still sits as a signal to welcome in each New Year. Now multiple shows fight for the space, but none are rivals to Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve show. The entertainment has wilted and is so unexciting that we turn our clocks ahead, pretend ten o’clock is midnight, celebrate, and go to sleep.

    Despite my personal opinion of current TV extravaganzas, on New Year’s Eve, Times Square is still so crowded it looks dangerous. On any given day, it’s still crowded. From my place in the world, I had always assumed that in the city that never sleeps, this is the place where the people who have trouble sleeping go when they can’t sleep.

    I verified this assumption one night last week when I couldn’t sleep. I stood looking out our hotel room window. Watching the constant flow of people come and go was like counting sheep so the insomnia didn’t last long.

    We stayed in a hotel a half block away and thirty-four stories above the epicenter of Times Square. We went there early and often, but typically just passing through on our way to some other place. Construction took over one block of sidewalk and funneled the crowd into a push and shove jam path for far too long. We couldn’t wait to break out, but when we moved passed the construction, we encountered a scene that helps create the mystique of this place.

    On one side of the walkway sat eight men, with stern faces and religious messages on posters. They brought chairs and the signage and sat all day, or maybe longer, because they were planted in the same place for the two days we were in town. They might still be there. Not sure if they worked in shifts, or where they went to the bathroom, but they were constant.

    Ten feet away, standing around, doing something that was unclear to casual bystanders like myself, were three young women with patriotic red, white and blue body paint, no clothes, just really well done body paint. I looked to my wife and said, “Look, the Statue of Liberty. Can I go see it?” And because she has class, she said, “You better just stay with me, buster. Read the religious signs.” I said, “what religious signs?”

    Anyway, these two entities were engaged in some silent confrontation that drew the attention of those who passed, but we weren’t informed of the details of the feud so we took pictures with our iPhones and moved on. Well, to be clear, I took a picture for the record, but there were many other sights to see, so we moved on.

    A small crowd of women stood around a fellow with a cowboy hat. The ladies in the jovial group were laughing and joking and taking pictures. The crowd oozed on, and as we drifted by, the ladies’ circle opened up. We saw the draw; the young fella had a guitar and no pants. Working for tips. He was talking and joking around, but didn’t sound all that smart. But, hey, he was surrounded by young women, they were paying him, he was walking around in cowboy boots, a cowboy hat, and his underwear, standing in the middle of one of the busiest streets in the world with no threat of arrest. So maybe he’s smarter than he appears.

    Next we were engulfed by a herd of Disney-like characters. Notice I said ‘Disney-like’ because I’m pretty sure the Disney Corporation didn’t sanctioned them. They looked like models for a costume company with Batman, Minnie Mouse, some short red hairy characters, Wonder Woman, and this one guy that really made me wonder about the humans within the costumes. Where do these people come from? Where do they lay their heads down every night? Why are they here?

    These costumed people are standing around waiting for groups of eager virgin tourists to be poured into the square. They wait on the edge trying to be first to get you and especially your little ones to take a picture with them, just like Disney World, except these people want money from you. They make a living doing this. It’s almost like the beggars, but that’s another story for another blog.

    As you attempt to exit the crosswalk on West 42nd Street at Broadway, trying to beat the flashing orange hand and escape the anxious bumpers of trucks and yellow cabs massing at the light, these characters meet you. It’s almost dangerous as they jockey for position to be the first to greet you, grab you and pull you out of the flow to a more static spot for a family photo. They form a minor pedestrian gridlock.

    The first time you see them, it’s a smile generating surprise. Ohhh, what’s this? New York has Disney characters? How fun! The second time you encounter these photo-seeking tip-beggars you start to get it, and try to walk around Batman and the Gremlins to get to where ever it is that you need to go. The third time, the costumed pretenders become a bit irritating.

    By now you recognize the gig, you feel a bit savvier to the lay of the land, and understand that this is really not Disney World, and these street performers are working, this is their job. But I had questions, can’t help it, it is a little curiosity thing that often drives my wife crazy. So I’ll share it with you, she doesn’t want to hear it.

    I wondered if they are independent contractors, or if they work for a pimps who make sure Minnie Mouse and her friends aren’t accosted by those irritated people who have traversed the crosswalk three or more time. Do they have a union? All workers in New York have a union, right? What if they went on strike for better tips from tourists? If they went on strike, who would pose with tourists for pictures? Do they have a health plan? Do they have a retirement plan, 401K? What training does the job require? How much do the outfits costs? Do they wear these outfits in the heat of summer, the cold of winter, the rain, the snow? Do they share the outfits with replacements on the second shift? Do they ride the subway with the outfits on as they come to work? Do they have a changing room? I found I had more questions than we have time to discuss here, but my most haunting questions came when I saw that strange man I mentioned earlier.

    That question is ‘when do these characters have their ah-haa moment?’ When does a person decide, ‘I’m going to get an outfit, be a character on Times Square and earn a living from tips by having my picture taken?’ I mean in life most people make decisions regarding their futures, and the way they will earn a living. You decide you want to be a fireman, a policeman, an engineer, a doctor, a cook, a landscaper or any number of jobs that might suit you. So how do you plot a path to Times Square as a cartoon character working for tips? Would you?

    After you make this life-altering decision, you must choose an outfit, one that fits your personality, your body, a special look that will entice people to agree to pose with you for a picture. And more importantly, after taking that picture with you, they will feel compelled to pull money from their pocket and pay you for the privilege.

    There’s a lot of competition out there. Lots of little red hairy somethings. In the vicinity of West 42nd Street there were at least two Minnie Mouses, or is that Minnie Mice? There were Batman twins or is that Batmen, and of course the three previously mentioned patriotic body-painted women. So how do you pick your costumed persona?

    Is there a catalog or do you get together with your friends over a barbeque or a beer and make a few sketches? Do you try on costumes from Walmart? Do you pull a few items out of the closet, and see what looks good? What about the dudes who decide to be a silver statue or a bronze statue, which requires painting your body everyday like the women mentioned above. If you are going to be a statue, you must also develop some unique poses and movements that freak people out?

    That gig definitely takes some mirror time before you’re ready to go out in public. What is it like to go the public toilet as a silver statue? If someone else comes in, do you stand stone statue still at the urinal? Do you wash the paint off every night, or do you occasionally just leave it on, and say what the hell, it was a tough day, I’ll sleep in the silver. What would your wife say?

    Which brings me back to the man that started my mind racing with all these questions. He emerged with the crowd from a crosswalk. He strode along like anyone else walking to work. He had a bag in his hand that maybe carried his lunch, or some additional makeup, maybe some union papers, who knows, but it was his outfit that got my attention.

    He was about six foot two and weighed about two hundred ninety pounds with a substantial amount of that weight bouncing in his belly hangover. The belly hung over a blue and pink polk-a-dot thong, some blue full-body leotards, a frizzy hat, his face was painted blue, I forget what shoes he had on, or maybe I didn’t look because with an outfit like that what guy would look at the shoes. Most guys don’t care about shoes anyway.

    I remember thinking, so this man stood in front of a mirror and said, “Yes, this is it. This is how I shall make my living. This will stop them cold, we will take pictures and they will pay me tips so that I can rent an apartment and afford to live in New York City.” Really! He could have been an architect. But no, this was his choice.

    Does he wear this outfit everyday? Does he have a set with different colors? He was unique. He was not sweating like many of the hairy red competitors. Those poor souls had to pull the hats off often and were drinking bottles of water while taking breaks near public trash containers. And without the hats, well the whole experience for the little ones lost a little of it’s magic. “Mom, why is that man wearing that costume? You mean he’s really not a gremlin. Is Minnie Mouse real?”

    Then, out in the square, we saw a group of people singing. They were tourists, a traveling group harmonizing, and based on the quality of the performance had apparently done it before. They just picked a spot and started singing.

    The sides of the buildings on Times Square were huge billboards flashing ads for various products. One billboard had a camera and integrated commercials with shots of people in the square. If you stood in the right place, you could be captured in the broadcast on one of the enormous screens. Nothing gets people to watch a commercial play over and over again like the opportunity to become part of the show. We did.

    And then from a side street, a TV/movie star appeared. Debra Messing of Will and Grace fame but now working on some cop show series, walked past while talking on her cell phone. She was probably talking to her agent about some new TV series or maybe to her mom about the skin she showed in a recent love scene. She didn’t look like she wanted her photo taken, and I couldn’t get my iPhone out fast enough before she was gone. She looked like maybe she was out for a quick trip to buy an aspirin or some toilet paper. She definitely was not out to be noticed, but she was. I suppose you get that around Broadway. It makes sense, they work there, and they hate the traffic just like we do, so they get a place in the vicinity, because unlike the costumed characters, they can afford it.

    Maybe these street characters are mostly struggling actors waiting for audition calls. They hang out near Broadway just in case their number comes up. You can’t keep ‘em waiting because there’s plenty of talent standing in line for the chance; actors with more flexible schedules, actors who are new to the city and have not run out of money or hope and have not yet chosen their costumes to hawk tips. So maybe that’s where they come from, the ranks of actors seeking full employment. What other choices do they have to practice their craft; waiters, taxi drivers? There are plenty of opportunities in New York City to act in those professions, but they pick the costumes anyway. So maybe New York City just has a lot of struggling actors, maybe they have too many.

    I haven’t really given Broadway the attention it deserves. It’s not just a street, it’s home to some of the most famous plays, musicals and stage entertainment in the world. It’s the gold standard for theatre. So you’ve got that, and if Broadway is not enough, you’ve got Off-Broadway entertainment. How many musicals can one town support? More than a baker’s dozen in this case.

    People-watching in Times Square is a treat. For me, it’s the variety of people trying to ‘Make It There’ that makes the famous Square what it is. Everyday thousands or maybe millions walk through this small piece of New York City, and I wonder why. I hope they all have a home, perhaps they have families, some of them have jobs, some stand in front of mirrors and develop entertaining personas to gain attention and gather tips, some wait for audition calls.

    So if you are in Times Square and keep your eyes open, you might see a famous actor wandering around looking for toilet paper, or you might see painted ladies or an overweight dude in leotards walking amongst the masses. Maybe this absurd diversity is why people love New York City. I’m not saying I love it, but I was entertained while I was in Times Square.

  12. Bob

    For thirty days, starting June 18, Shrimpin’ Gold will be featured on a Kindle Scout contest for new unpublished books. Vote for Shrimpin’ Gold and you might win a free e-book from Kindle. Help a new author with your vote.

  13. Bob

    Shrimpin’ Gold is waiting for your nomination on Kindle Scout. Before you forget, go to this website and nominate this book.

    All you need is your user name and password for Amazon sites, and vote. If the book is selected as a winner, you will win a free e-book copy from Kindle.
    So what do you have to lose. Go to Kindle Scout now and nominate Shrimpin’ Gold

  14. Bob

    Shrimpin’ Gold is almost ready. Expect to see the final proof next week. As soon as the final is approved, the book will be available for purchase on Amazon. The Kindle version will be available two or three weeks later. August release was the goal and it looks like we’ll make it. I have plans for book signings and will announce soon.

  15. Bob

    Will be at the Mt. Pleasant Regional Library on Saturday October 29 between 12 and 2 pm to sign books and share with readers.
    Eleven local authors will be on hand for this event. You can purchased signed books and meet the authors.
    1133 Mathis Ferry Road, Mt. Pleasant, SC

    A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Charleston Friends of the Library. Refreshments will be served.

    Hope to see you there.



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