Archive for July, 2011

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Big Words Radio Turning Point

July 26, 2011

The fourth year for Big Words Radio could be the final one.

 

Downloads have been dropping steadily for the last two months.  I like to stay productive, but I don’t see a discernable benefit to putting so many man hours into punching up a prospectus, booking guests and slaving over the production, sound editing, intro and outro music and everything else involved with each show if the audience isn’t there.  This time last year the show was on a roll while it was nearing extinction on Mypodcast.com.  Roll the calendar forward by twelve months and we’re moving in the wrong direction.  I’m not quite sure what’s happening or where my crowd went where the radio show is concerned.  The books are selling better than they ever have.  Site hits here & everywhere else have been blowing up.  The new Twitterverse following is growing exponentially.  Big Words Radio is dying a slow death & it doesn’t make sense.  Like some hosts I could pretend that the show is better than ever, but I deal in facts and abide by honesty.

Here’s what’s going to happen: If I don’t see a marked increase in free subscriptions on iTunes or a spike in downloads on Mevio.com by the end of this summer, the show is over.  It’s that simple.  I’m not going to keep investing what little free time I have into trying to make people laugh with over the top outrageous comedy if you’re not down with the cause.  In for a penny, in for a pound.  Now’s the time to show me if you’re listening because if you’re not, I’m not doing it anymore.  I’ll pick up my toys and go home.

Maybe the podcasting boom has burst.  Maybe all of you are busy this summer (very probable).  Maybe my readers only have so much time that they’re willing to devote to waxing my ego.  I get that.  In case you haven’t noticed though, I deal in absolutes.  If the show isn’t growing, then it’s time to close the door.

My career as a writer is turning a very sharp corner this year in an incredibly positive way that I never imagined it would & it’s all happening this year at a lightning pace.  As a podcaster, not so much.  Half of my life is most likely over, so I’d like to make good use of the next half.  Please let me know how to invest my time wisely.

Some radio hosts and some writers can create without one person reading or listening.  I’m not that kind of person anymore.  I’ve got too many plates in the air to play by those rules.

If you want the show to go on, hop onto iTunes & subscribe to Big Words Radio in the podcast section under the ‘Comedy’ listing.  Download your ass off.  There are almost 92 hours of material that’s pretty damned funny.  It’s been a good run, but it might be time to hang up my hat and say farewell.

If you don’t have an iPod, surf on over to:

http://www.bigwords.mevio.com

Download 5 episodes.  Download 92 episodes.  Tell a friend.  Listen in your car.  Please spread the word.  It’s been real and it’s been fun, but this could be the tail end of it.

 

It’s up to you.

Tom Waters

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Eulogy For Renie (Waters) Ormsby

July 19, 2011

At the heart of things we’re all selfish in how we deal with the death of someone we love and it seems like the people we really love always pass near a major holiday.  This has more to do with the fact that we have more major and minor holidays than not, but there’s something to that that bears further inspection.  Out of everyone in my family, I’ve always forgotten my father’s birthday.  You may think that makes me a bad son (and you could be right), but he’s been known to go into hiding and (in some cases) to skip town when we’ve ganged up and decided to celebrate it, so it’s no wonder I forget it like clockwork every year.  Thanks to Renie, I’ll never forget it again.  The sweet and wonderful people of the world who we’re kind enough or lucky enough to have with us for the short time that we spin around together on this planet almost always leave us on a day that matters for a very important reason: they’re worth remembering.

My aunt left this earthly plane on Monday, July 18th on my father’s birthday.  I suppose that’s a superstitious way of demonstrating just how close the Waters’ family is to each other.  Renie was a devoted, loving wife to Gene Ormsby, a mother who would do anything for her two kids Brad & Brenda, a caring sister to what most would consider to be a large number of brothers and sisters, a daughter who grew up to be the spitting image of her mother in appearance and by her deeds and she was a damned good aunt to boot.  She touched a great many lives and her positivity and her persistent smile will continue to live on in all of us who knew her.

My grandma Waters loved to cook, she loved to play cards and she never tired of her family.  Renie was a spitting image of her.  You only get one family, so you can’t take them for granted and they both realized that.  No one can dispute that Renie was an excellent cook whether it was pastries, pies, fudge or anything else that required time, care and diligence.  I challenge you to find a member of the Waters tribe that won’t pace themselves when it comes to preparing a meal.  We’re all big people because we have big hearts followed by big appetites.  Before I got married (in February of 2007 and 2008) I got to go down to Frostproof and visit with Renie, Jean and the rest of the family.  Renie’s home was stacked to the rafters with pretzels, fudge, enough pies to feed the entire trailer park and a random assortment of sweets and assorted snack treats.  Renie had enough room in her life to cook, eat, spend time with her family and enjoy all three to the best of her abilities.  Her fudge was amazing and there’s probably not one person in that community that hasn’t eaten and thoroughly enjoyed one of her pies.  She cornered the market.

Let’s rewind, though.  Renie and her husband Gene married at an age most would consider too soon these days (and perhaps even then).  He showed my mother Lynn the ring before he proposed and married her while she was still in high school because he was so in love with her.  You could see that love every day that they were together.  They were crazy for each other.  There’s a pivotal difference between loving someone and being in love.  Most of us fall in love with the person we marry and continue to love them in a way that’s more secure and guarded and safe.  Staying in love with someone is next to impossible but they did it.  When you’re in love, it’s all you can think about, you want to spend every second with the object of your affections and you count the moments that you’re with them as well as the moments until you get to see them again.  Renie & Gene were in love with each other for the entire time that they were together and no one can dispute that.  They’re a prototype for the kind of blissful union that rarely occurs and an inspiration for the rest of us who are married, occasionally miserable or those of us who have settled into our regularly scheduled ruts.  They were good to each other because they meant everything to each other.  It’s that simple.

The Hormsby’s were no strangers to us growing up down at Rushford in the summer during the ’80s and ’90s.  It wasn’t a surprise to see their RV come down the road on a random afternoon unscheduled while I was out swimming, playing or finding trouble.  Gene had almost a room full of Western pulp paperbacks stuffed into the trailer along with their usual assortment of sweets and snacks.  While my cousin Brad was tough on me most of the time, we managed to meet each other in the middle and play rough somehow.  He took a shine to one of the girls across the creek one summer and they had something that resembled puppy love (another variety).  I wasn’t as lucky when my parents dumped me off for a week at Renie and Gene’s and I ran into one of the neighbor girls (I think her name was Corrine).  I was crazy about her but nothing came of it.

The rest of the week I spent with Renie and Gene (’86) was mostly paradise.  Brad was a hellion to me when I first got there but Renie straightened him out.  I managed to avoid any sort of real work on the farm (avoiding real work is a talent I’ve always had) and befriended a goat in their stables.  It was a cute little thing and his quite, simple manner offset Brad’s mischievous ways when I needed a break.  I had Cool Ranch Doritos for the first time when I was with them and never forgot that fact.  I ate as much of the bag as I could and licked the coating off of my fingers with gusto.  Weeks after staying with them I asked Renie how the goat was doing.  She informed me that they killed the goat and ate it.  City mouse, meet Country mouse.  I’m lucky in that I have half of each inside of me thanks to the Waters’ family as well as my upbringing in both Rushford and Buffalo.  We can never forget our roots, and as I get older and more sentimental I’m also giving in to my hillbilly underpinnings and reverting to the family legacy that I deserve to carry on.  I listen to country and bluegrass music and I would rather be out in an open field enjoying the soft silence and a slower pace of life than racing around in the city impatiently where grass is partitioned off and people are rude to each other frequently.

I regret that I didn’t spend more time with Renie as I got older but I’m grateful that we reconnected before and during my marriage.  Renie and Gene would give family the shirt off their backs if need be and they often did.  The two of them offered generously to let my wife and I stay at their timeshare in Myrtle beach for our honeymoon and we accepted.  The airplane that was leaking gas onto the tarmac at the Buffalo Airport had other plans for us, though, so we flipped a coin and wound up spending a week at Lindsay’s parents’ cottage in Silvercreek overlooking Lake Erie.  She was heartbroken that we couldn’t go, but we had the time of our lives regardless.  We settled in like an old married couple and went out to breakfast every day and napped as often as we could, resting up from all of the pressure and nonsense that goes into getting married.  Most of my family loves my wife more than me and I can’t blame them.  I’m a miserable, cranky, cantankerous curmudgeon and she’s a beautiful, cheery, down to earth girl from Elma.  Renie and Gene took a shine to her instantly and she cared a lot about them, too.  Her death yesterday hit us both pretty hard and we’re sorry that we couldn’t be there for her.  Lamentably, I have a job that thrives on good weather and we’re in the middle of a long, steamy summer that’s much deserved for those of us who aren’t snowbirds.

I loved my Aunt Renie truly and dearly.  She was an amazing woman who touched all of us and we will never forget her.  Her pain is over now and the sad, selfish fact is that we must all go on without her.  Our memories keep her beautiful soul alive in all of us and her existence gives me hope that people are genuinely capable of being nice to each other, that relatives are capable of helping to shape their nephews and that True Love isn’t just a goal, it exists and it is indeed real.  She even gave me a parting gift on the way out the door: I’ll never forget my father Butch (or as she called him, Jimmy)’s birthday.  Thank you for everything you did and all of the lives you touched and all of the incredible food you cooked and baked and most of all for your unconditional love that I inherited just by being born into this family, Renie.  You had a wonderful life and I’m grateful that I was a part of it.

 

A nephew who doesn’t know the first thing about making a real pie crust,

Tom Waters

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‘I Want To Be Oprah’

July 18, 2011

Rather by accident (and because I was glad that they were back), I wound up ‘acting’ in Paula Wachowiak’s new music video ‘I Want To Be Oprah’.  I’m not exactly gung ho on acting, but it was a non-speaking role & the work was easy.  All I had to do was be an asshole, so it wasn’t really acting at all.  You can view the completed video at:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUafzrMKZjE

 

Please click the link & comment accordingly!  Paula & Greg Sterlace did a great job along with Richard Wicka at Think Twice Radio.  I’m glad to have a film credit under my belt since I don’t have any intention of pursuing acting in the foreseeable future.  That’s one more check mark off the Bucket List.

 

Take care,

Tom Waters

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Poke The Scorpion Book Giveaway Contest

July 13, 2011

This month I’ll be giving away three random signed copies of Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick.  What do you have to do to get it?

 

1. ‘Like’ Poke The Scorpion on FB by following this link:

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/poke-the-scorpion-with-a-sharp-stick-selected-poems-2008-2011/16130225?productTrackingContext=search_results/search_shelf/center/1

 

2. Rate the book on lulu.com.

 

3. Post a link on your Twitter, FB, Google + or any other website you may have.

 

4. Leave  a comment on this post.

 

5. Drop me an email at bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com with ‘Contest’ in the subject heading.

 

Final deadline is August 1st, 2011.  Whether you live in Buffalo or beyond, I’ll hold a random drawing at the end of July.  If you’re local I’ll hand you a copy at the first scheduled reading or signing for Poke The Scorpion in August.  If you live out of state or in another country, I’ll send you a signed copy out of pocket.  I’d like to launch this book with a bang and I need your help to do it!

 

Game on,

Tom Waters

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‘Sweet Is The Smell Of Success’

July 11, 2011

After four long rewarding and exhausting months of promoting Mockery as well as Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind  in the newspapers, on the radio, on the web and in bookstores, coffee houses, bars and anywhere else that would have us, Mark McElligott and I have earned a much needed break for the rest of the summer.  Our little tour was tremendously successful despite spotty attendance, unusual time slots, double bookings (in two separate cases) and other Spinal-Tap-esque occurances.  Mockery is on track to outsell every book I’ve released so far and it’s been selling faster than any book I’ve sold so far.  My wife remarks that every book looks better and tighter than the last.

Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick will be fun to promote, but it’s going to be more of a Travelling Wilburys deal: getting together with old friends and just having a good time for the sake of it rather than running full steam ahead to make money.  I’ve decided to wait until September for any serious promotions but I may pop up in a few unusual places in August.  I was asked to be a celebrity bartender for the third week in August and I may accept.  Mark and I have already booked a convention show at the Marriott in October.  Aside from that, I’m at ease for the next month and a half.  I’ve never traditionally enjoyed promoting books in public settings but this time around was different.  Mark McElligott was a true joy to partner with and we had more laughs than I ever would have expected.  I think that carries through on the live concerts that we decided to post on Big Words Radio.

Brennan’s Bowery Bar was a smash hit last night.  We had a solid turnout and it’s the first reading I’ve ever had where the average book sale was three different copies.  We made a boatload of cash and I’m grateful for every penny we made.  Thanks are in order to Dave Shatzel, Eve Barbour, Jen O’Hare, Lynn O’Hare, Eve Barbour, Nicole Cook, Fred Peterson, Joshua Hanzlion, Jeff Collins and everyone else who turned out last night.  It was the best way to end a long and winding promotion and we’re going to head back to Brennan’s in the fall for the same deal.

As for the rest of the Mockery & Random Thoughts junket, thanks are in order, so here goes: Eve Barbour, Brian Platter, Stephanie Rhinehart, Ryan Miller, Jennifer Lysiak of Metro Source, Jolene Zanghi from Bee Group Newspapers, Brian Kahle, RD Pohl from the Buffalo News, Geoff Kelly from ArtVoice, Dee’s Firehouse, Don and Jon from Don’s Atomic Comics, Maryan’s, Nance Gardner Lang, the Lancaster Public Library, Dog Ears Bookstore in South Buffalo, Jonathan from Talking Leaves, Christy from Rust Belt Books, Tom and the rest of the gang at Finnan’s, Dave Waters, Dave Lopian, Duane Muth, Stockman’s Tavern and every single one of you who were kind enough to come out and see us.  It’s been a long strange trip and this tour of duty is finally over.

This autumn will be a whole different animal.  Mark McElligott will be joining me for some of the promotions while Dave Waters and JR Finlayson will be partnering up for others.  We’re setting our sights for larger territory and we won’t stop at any state line either.  We’re well equipped to take Buffalo by storm all over again and we’re popping out to Rochester, Alfred, Philadelphia, NYC and possibly Charlotte, NC if a few free plane tickets come our way.  This year has been an incredible turning point so far and the last ten are truly starting to pay off exponentially.

 

Thanks for being a part of it,

Tom Waters

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Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick: 30% Off Soft Launch Orders!

July 1, 2011

Here we go again…

It’s July 1st and (as promised), I’m proud to announce the heavily discounted soft launch of Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick, my third collection of angry, funny and oversexed poetry.  While I wouldn’t say that this go round is tamer than Breathing Room Volume I and II, it is softer somehow.  I wrote the bulk of the book right before and right after my wedding, so there’s a soft sense of acceptance and inner peaceto the body of work that sets it apart from the other two books.  I’m very proud of the collection for the leap forward in originality as well as the design and the format.  For those of you willing to take a chance on something different, you won’t be disappointed.  From now until August (when I plan on promoting the book in Buffalo), Scorpion will be 30% off if you buy direct on lulu.com.  Here’s your quick link:

 

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/poke-the-scorpion-with-a-sharp-stick-selected-poems-2008-2011/16130225

 

After four solid months of interviews, press releases, and appearances for Mockery, I’m ready for a break.  Mark McElligott, Dave ‘The Real Deal’ Waters and I have one more outing at Brennan’s Bowery Bar next Sunday (The Brennan’s Boxed Trifecta) on Sunday, July 10th at 6 p.m. and then I’ve got a month off before we kick back into high gear.  I’ve never felt that summer was a good time to promote because there are too many other events going on to compete with, so we’ll be resting up and waiting out the season before we get right back into it this fall.

For those of you who helped to make Mockery my fastest-selling book, thank you.  It’s on target to be my best-selling humor collection to date by year’s end.  There’s a momentum to all of this that seems to be catching up to me this year in a good way.  Hopefully most of you will make the leap of faith over to Scorpion and join me for the second half of this year.  Things are only going to get better from here on out.  There’s a lot left to accomplish.

Enjoy your 4th of July and buy my new damned book!

Tom Waters

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