I have a novel to finish. Which means I can’t spend time surfing websites. Normally, this isn’t an issue as I can exert enough self control to keep the word count going. But recently, I’ve found myself addicted to one site in particular: IMDB.com. For those of you aren’t familiar with the name, IMDB stands for Internet Movie Database. The have a listing for every TV show and movie ever made. And any and all actors and actresses who appeared in each show or movie.

That would be bad enough, as I like to look up different actors and see what other movies the were featured. But now I’ve found another part of the site. Trivia. near the bottom of the listing for each movie or show, they have a trivia section. Now I can learn the inside scoop on all my favorite movies and shows. And I have a lot of them. So I’ve cut myself off. Well. Until tonight. I thought I would share some of what I’ve learned so my feverish visiting of the site would produce at least a blog post.

Tonight’s post is about “Who Almost Got The Part”. I will share the actors who were almost cast in some very iconic rolls.


!. Raiders of the Lost Ark

Most people now know Tom Selleck was first offered the roll of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark, but had to turn it down do to conflicts with Magnum P.I. Jeff Bridges turned down the roll. Steve Martin chose to do Pennies from Heaven instead of Raiders. Bill Murray dropped out due to conflicts with Saturday Night Live. Chevy Chase, Sam Neil, Nick Nolte and Jack Nicholson were also considered. To think, Indiana Jones could have been a “wild and crazy guy!”.

2. Star Wars A New Hope

Seems Harrison Ford has been the beneficiary of several iconic rolls turned down by someone else. Han Solo, one of the most iconic rolls in cinematic history, was not supposed to go to Harrison Ford. Christopher Walken, James Caan, Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro and Burt Reynolds all turned down the roll. Can you just picture Solo kicking in a door and shouting, “Here’s Hansie?” Or looking at Darth Vader and asking, “Are you talking to me?”

3. The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption is the highest rated movie on IMDB’s top 250 movies and stars Tim Robbins as Andy and Morgan Freeman as Red. Neither were the first choices for their parts. Tom Hanks, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp and Charlie Sheen all turned down the roll. .Hanks to film Forest Gump, Costner to film Water World. One of them chose wisely. One did not. Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Paul Newman and Robert Redford were all considered to play Red. Charlie Sheen and Clint Eastwood? Would the movie be the same?

4. Other Notables

Leonardo DiCaprio was offered the roll of Spider-man, which went to Tobey Maguire. Charleton Heston instead of Roy Scheider in Jaws. And for the roll of Batman which eventually went to Michael Keaton? How about this list: Alec Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, Matthew Broderick, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Michael J. Fox, Harrison Ford, Robert Downey Jr, Kevin Spacey, Arnold Schwarzenegger (yes, really), Mel Gibson, Bill Murray, Pierce Brosnan and Tom Selleck. Oh and Daniel Day-Lewis, Tom Hanks, Kevin Kline and Bruce Willis. “Yippie-ki-yay Mother-Joker”


tony ocd

Your book is out. The critics are raving. And now you are going to a huge outdoor festival to sell and sign every book you have in your stash. Times are great. But when you stride in, confident and assured, you realize you left something at home. Something that makes the rest of your day miserable. We’ve all been there, done that. I thought I would offer up my checklist for what every writer should have to enjoy a gorgeous day greeting the public and how to survive when the day is miserable.

Item #1: Books

It may sound foolish, but I’ve seen it happen and almost did it once myself. I was at a book signing setting up my booth, when a guy a couple of booths down the row, started swearing. He’d made the trip, but forgot his books. Sounds silly, no? But as I was pulling out of my driveway to head to the Grove City Wine and Art Festival, I realized my books were not packed for the trip. My wife and I switched cars at the last minute and while I’d moved the rest of the gear, the books were still sitting in the backseat of the other car. Nothing like paying for a table, driving four hours and finding out you were going to drink a whole lot more wine because you didn’t have your books. Don’t laugh. It could be you.

Item #2: Canopy

You check the weather report and there’s only a ten percent chance of rain. Then you show up and an hour after the event starts, Mother Nature lowers the boom and it pours, but you don’t have a canopy. Or just the opposite happens and it’s 100 degrees and you have no shade and at the end of the  day you look like something out of a lobster shop. Ouch. If you plan to do a lot of outdoor events, a canopy is a must. I have one that is 10 feet by 10 feet. It keeps the sun off of you (most of the day) and will keep the occasional rain showers away as well. I would also pick up several canopy weights to hold down the four legs. I’ve seen strong winds take out a whole row of tents at an author’s fair. Don’t let it be yours. Here is a listing of canopies at Home Depot.

Item #3: Table

Some events provide tables for you. But those are mainly indoor events. Outside? You are on your own. Sitting on the ground and selling books while swatting ants is never fun. I use a six foot folding table. It fits in the back of my car, along with my canopy, and goes up quickly. And comes down just as quickly for fast getaways. Once again, from Home Depot.

Item #4: Chair

Not only do they not provide tables at most outdoor events, they don’t provide chairs. Ever tried standing for 12 hours? Not fun. And bring as comfortable a chair as possible. Only use an old folding chair if you’re trying to repent from some transgression and you need punishment. Mine? I use the Cabela Quad Chair.

Item #5: Extension Cord

So you are all set up. Canopy, table, chair and books. You’ve paid to have electricity in your booth so you can keep your iPad charged to take credit card payments, and you look around for the plug. But unfortunately, the plug in is 20 feet away and you forgot your extension cord. Five hours later your iPad dies (because it was at 35 percent when you left home) and you lose out on sales because you can’t take credit cards.  Even when they supply electric for your booth, it’s almost never right by your table. If you forget your extension cord, you’ve blown your money. I forgot mine for Oldham County Day, but the nice people next to me had an extra cable and I was good.

Item #6: Duct Tape

Don’t you hate it when you have your new poster placed on the easel at the front of your booth and then you feel it: a hint of a breeze. It catches your poster on the corner, it tips and then, whoosh!. It’s gone. You pull out scotch tape and put some on the back of the poster, then press it down. A few minutes later, whoosh! It’s gone again. If you’d brought duct tape, then you could have plastered that puppy down in such a manner that Hurricane Screw-Your-Day wouldn’t be able to screw your day. Versatile and all the people around you will love you when the wind kicks up and they stop by your booth to borrow your roll.

Item #7: Sharpies

Finally, you need to make sure you have your Sharpies. People like to buy books from you at events because you will sign them. And borrowing a Crayon from a kid in the booth next door so you can scrawl your signature is not overly professional. I take four to each event. Because I sell so many books and the ink runs out? Sometimes. But mainly because I almost always leave a cap off of one of them and they dry out. It happens.

Item #8:  Odds and Ends

There are other things you can use for your events:  Banners, posters, cards, snacks, bags for book sales, bag for garbage, water to drink. A two-wheel dolly can save your back if you have to carry books a long distance. But they won’t ruin your day if you leave them at home. Forget any of the previous items and you may wish you were back inside writing instead of outside selling.





Greg Donaldson made the challenge. This is the result.




Today at the PGA Championship, when Rory Sabbatini started up the line opposite the line we were standing in, signing things:
Matthew (young son of a friend of mine): Awwwwwwww
Rory: (Turning to look at Matthew) There’s no crying in baseball. (He keeps walking up the other line)
(Matthew hangs his head)
Rory, walking over: I will sign her’s (pointing to Matthew’s sister, Erin) but not yours because you whined. (As adults, we can tell he’s joking, but Matthew plops down, dejected)
Rory: (after repeated attempts, finally gets Matthew to stand up and signs his hat) When we don’t stop to sign things, it’s not because we don’t want to stop, but because we may not have the time. Do you understand?
(Matthew nods his head)
Rory: Have fun the rest of the day, Matthew.

How cool is that? It should be pointed out, the whine worked.

This week the PGA Championship is being held at Valhalla Country Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Right in my backyard. This week I will be out at the course everyday checking out some of the best golf on the planet along with several great friends. On Monday, I filmed two pieces of video on my iPhone. Here is video number one, the kind you expect at a golf tournament. Ernie Els and his group on the 15th tee during a practice round on Monday.

And one you wouldn’t expect. A young gal showing excellent dance moves at the Omega tent.

After a long hot day walking the golf course, seeing her showing such enthusiasm was a great way end things. Thank you!



Things got started right with the opening bell with The Hobbit: Book versus Movie panel. People do love their hobbits. The panel discussion was lively and turns out I’m the only one who liked the movie better than the books (I loved The Hobbit, but it’s a kids book and I liked the more adult themes brought out int he movie).

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I followed this up with the Comics: Then and Now panel. Both the audience and my other panel partners were incredibly knowledgeable about every aspects of comics. I did my best to hang with them and learned I have a lot to learn.

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And of course there was no shortage of Cos Players. Look for my “Anatomy of a FandomFest Book Signing” in the next day or so.


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Panels! Day two of FandomFest found me sitting on two panels: Game of Thrones, TV versus the Books, and Marvel versus DC Comic Throw Down. Both were great fun. The Game of Thrones people really knew both their books and show. The discussion was lively and we were asked great questions by the audience.

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The Marvel versus DC panel was epic. The place was packed, with it standing room only at one point. For the record, I’m a Marvel guy. The discussion ranged from favorite movies of each house (Captain America Winter Soldier and Batman Dark Knight were my picks) to the worst movies of each (Batman Forever and Howard the Duck, ouch), to what characters we would like to see in future movies. Lively debate all the way around.


And it wouldn’t be a comic con without Cos Players. And they were out in force. Greatly looking forward to tomorrow.

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