Very cool news today: Booklist has named PIN ACTION a “Top 10 Sports Audio Book of 2016.” As I said to Chris Lutkin on Twitter today, this news is a tribute to his talent. I can’t thank him enough for bringing my book to life. And that’s a damn fine review, y’all! In my view, as good a review as PIN ACTION has gotten anywhere:
Found a nice little surprise on my doorstep yesterday–a box-load of paperback editions of my book, PIN ACTION! Sweetness. The paperback edition is gorgeous, as I would expect of my publisher, Pegasus, which always has treated this project with care and class. Check out the blurbs that fill in the top of the bowling pin on the cover. Come on. That’s awesome.
Well, it is late. I am exhausted. My lovely two-year-old Ellianna, the greatest gift life ever has or will afford me, is sleeping with her “baby dolla” as she calls it, as well as, of course, with her special froggie puppet and her papa bear puppet as well. Because it’s just not sleep until your are watched over in the night by the mindful eyes of the fake but furry animals of this strange world. Which is all to say I am experiencing the crippling exhaustion a dad endures at the end of a day packed by work, caring for a toddler, doing the dishes, keeping this house clean and the kitties fed and my daughter bathed and tucked into “jammies” and whastever the hell else I somehow have accomplished in a single day. Which is to say I am too tired to say much else. Except I guess these couple of things: I did a bunch of podcasts from the 51st PBA Tournament of Champions last month, which you can find on Bowlers Journal’s website here and listen:
Also, I got to be a featured reader at the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading last fall. That was an amazing experience. The room for my reading was packed. And people actually stuck around to ask questions! And get books signed! It was like I was an author or something. Big thanks to the TB Times folks for having me aboard for that amazing event.
Also, guess who got to have a pizza date with the sunshine of his life the other day? Yep. This guy. One of my Facebook friends said to me one day that Ellianna is the finest poem I’ve ever produced. Well, look at those electric blue eyes and that flaming bush of blonde hair. How can I disagree?
And, as you can see, she may be tiny but girl can pound down some pizza. OK.
As usual, there is a lot to get to since my last post. It is very exciting to see so many things coming together for my book, PIN ACTION: Small-Time Gangsters, High-Stakes Gambling, and the Teenage Hustler Who became a Bowling Champion, which was released by Pegasus Books in November and is available everywhere books are sold.
I was thrilled when Booklist named PIN ACTION one of the Top 10 Sports Books of 2015 on Sept. 1. You can check out the whole story and learn not only about my book but also those of my fellow authors who made the list here: http://www.booklistonline.com/Top-10-Sports-Books-2015-Bill-Ott/pid=7691264
I also am thrilled to report that Gold Circle Films has optioned PIN ACTION for film. Gold Circle is the enterprise behind the hysterical and wildly entertaining Pitch Perfect films. When I was younger, they also were the brains behind the surprise, runaway success, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, in 2001. These are guys who have the vision to discover humor and unforgettable characters where others fail to, and I would love to see what vision they have for the rough and risible characters I write about in PIN ACTION.
Lastly, PIN ACTION got a major-league endorsement, literally, from Major League Baseball All-Star, John Burkett. Burkett is a great guy I vividly remember watching defeat the New York Yankees in the 1996 playoffs. Pro bowling always was his first love, however, and he now is embarking very successfully on a second pro career on the lanes. I’ve gotten to know him a bit and written a couple stories about him for Bowlers Journal, the magazine where I work as Editor. He is a pro bowling history buff, too, and he loved PIN ACTION. Check out this great, and very funny, video in which Burkett and his fellow pro bowlers are asked to discuss their favorite books. You don’t want to miss this:
So much has happened since my last update I hardly know where to begin.
I’ll start here: PIN ACTION scored another very positive review! This time, from the San Francisco Book Review, which calls PIN ACTION ”clearly both a loving homage to and a balanced chronicle of a curious time in sports history.” Check out the full review here:
I am just as excited to have shared in a bit of history when a personal quest that began several years ago finally came to fruition. Get that story below, in my interview with my friend and fellow bowling writer, Jason Thomas of the United States Bowling Congress. This is one of the proudest achievements of my life, and it was an emotional experience for me to see it come to this:
Also, on March 25, my alma mater, Manhattan College, was kind enough to have me over for a reading and book signing. I began with a few poems from my new collection, THE PANIC INSIDE THE STARS, which was a finalist for the New American Poetry Prize last year, then read the first chapter of PIN ACTION while my baby daughter, Ellianna, roamed the room and stole the show. Thanks to my friend Steve Harris, one of the best sources for PIN ACTION, I have some photos from this great event:
Lastly, it once again was my pleasure to be the guest on my good friend Lenny Nicholson’s legendary radio show, Phantom Radio, this month. To listen, check it out here:
I’m grateful to the folks at the Professional Bowlers Association for being kind enough to allow me the opportunity to talk briefly about my book, PIN ACTION: Small-Time Gangsters, High-Stakes Gambling, and the Teenage Hustler Who Became a Bowling Champion, on ESPN2 on Jan. 25 during their PBA Showdown telecast. Check out the clip here!