By Steve Robinson | November 5, 2017 - 10:29 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite

Steve RobinsonIt used to be that, for those of us who are storytellers, it required knowing an agent and/or a publisher and putting the writer’s trust and hopes in the hands of others in the publishing world and hoping that those people’s skills would translate to success in the form of publication which would lead to book tours and media interviews, and of course, a paycheck – or several! – for the effort.

But these days, many local authors have gone the self-publishing route to get their works before the public. The Bloomington Public Library held an inaugural Local Authors Fair event on Sunday, Nov. 5 allowing local authors to showcase their work. All genres from poetry to self-help to teen literature to Christian fiction to romance to horror were represented thanks to the 19 authors who took part in the 90-minute session.

G. P. Ching of Bloomington writes in a genre called teen paranormal fantasy. In the 10 books she’s written, the stories revolve around teens who receive paranormal powers which they receive from God. Ching started writing these books in 2011. In each of the books, when a traumatic event takes place in the main characters’ lives, that power is activated, allowing the teen to help deal with the issue at hand while also learning to cope with newfound strengths and challenges.

“I have a lot of male teen and young adult readers,” Ching said. She said she specializes in using male teens as protagonists because so many teen books, otherwise, are aimed at teen girls. “I felt boys were underserved,” Ching said. “They needed more to read.”

In her career path, Ching has worked at State Farm and gone to nursing school becoming a registered nurse. Her first book, “The Zookeepers,” launched her writing career, and books number 11 and 12 are being worked on now. She is what is considered an “indie publisher” because she owns the company that publishes her books. The company is called Carpe Luna Publishing.

Heyworth Musician Turned Horror Writer: Heyworth resident Pete Altieri is a musician who also writes in the horror genre. He said some older teens would likely enjoy his work. His latest book is called “Creation Of Chaos,” a collection of 15 short stories which he self-published. Altieri said for people who want to take up writing, they should read a book on writing by horror writer Stephen King called “On Writing.” He said King’s book is about how to write.

Reporter Recounts Cross Country Record Setter’s Feat: Randy Sharer, sports reporter for the Bloomington Pantagraph, has written about Craig Virgin, who as a cross country runner in his high school days at Lebanon High School in St. Clair County, set a State record for cross country running of 13 minutes 50.6 seconds for a three mile run in 1972. It’s a stat that still stands today. “A couple times every decade, there’s a superstar who comes along and Craig gets a little nervous,” the veteran reporter said about the record staying in tact. Sharer’s book is titled, “Virgin Territory: the Story of Craig Virgin, America’s Renaissance Runner.” Sharer quickly points out the renaissance label is a result of Virgin’s ability “to excel at cross country, track, and road racing.”

What with Sharer and Virgin both busy with full-time jobs, it has taken 8 ½ years and 260 hours of taped interviews for the book to be completed. There are now 2,000 paperback copies and 750 hardback copies as well as e-books available, Sharer said.

Event Done To Benefit Writers: Carol Thomas, adult services manager at Bloomington Public Library, said the desire to have this event stemmed from the library receiving calls, either from authors wanting to publicize their work or friends and relatives of writers lending an assist to spread word of a book’s publication. Conversely, Thomas said, “The library also heard from aspiring writers wanting such an event so they could get insights from authors on the writing and publishing process.

“This event has gone spectacularly well,” Thomas said. She said she had more than the 19 authors like Ching, Altieri, and Sharer who were at the event and wanted to attend and sign up. She said she hopes the library will make this an annual event which would coincide with National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo for short, held every November.

“The biggest compliment I can get is that people keep buying the books,” Ching said.

No doubt, every writer who attending this first edition of this event feels the same way.

No Papal Visit At State Volleyball: Regular readers of this column will recall at this time last year fans of Bloomington Central Catholic High School’s Volleyball team brought a cutout of Pope Francis with them to the student section at Redbird Arena to help encourage the team to victory. But there’ll be no Papal visit with the Saints not making it to State this year. But fans will still get a local team to cheer for as University High Pioneers (my alma mater) will try their luck toward a State Championship in Class 3A. Their semifinal game against Belleville’s Althoff Catholic begins at 5:30p.m. On second thought, maybe the Pope will show up this year, too.

NCHS, Normal West Football Out; EPG Still Playing: I need to offer congratulations to both Normal Community High School and Normal Community West High School for their football team’s efforts this season. Both the Ironmen and Wildcats were eliminated last weekend. NCHS lost their Illinois High School Association Class 7A second round contest at Chicago Mt. Carmel, 14-13. Normal West lost their Class 6A second round showdown to New Lenox-based Providence Catholic, 33-7. Both Ironmen head coach Wes Temples, and Wildcats head coach Darren Hess, and each player on both teams, should be proud of the effort they put in and the achievement getting that far into the playoffs represents.

In Class 2A, El Paso Gridley remains the only McLean County school still standing this far into the playoffs. The 14th seed Titans’ quarterfinal contest will pit them against second seed Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley on the road.

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