Friends, Family, Readers, Drinking partners... As I approach ten years away from daily journalism, and get closer to finishing my next book, I'm fina

Friends, Family, Readers, Drinking partners...

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As I approach ten years away from daily journalism, and get closer to finishing my next book, I'm finally tackling a project I've thought about for years - reaching out via newsletter to friends & family, long-lost colleagues, those who've read my books... I've never been satisfied with publicists' efforts to spread the word, so I'm trying to do more of it myself, to share updates on my latest projects and news about my earlier books. To help with all that, I've revamped my website, NealThompson.com (replacing my short-lived Pen and Pencil Club blog.) The site is now stuffed with information on my books - excerpts, photos, interviews, etc. - and will become a home for my random explorations... As you'll see, I've been interviewing other authors, and posting occasional videos of my sons skateboarding. The overall goal, of both the website and this newsletter, is to stay better connected to the many people who over the years have shown interest in my books...

Robert Ripley bio coming soon

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In 2007 I read a New York Times story about the reopening of a Ripley's 'Believe It or Not' museum in Times Square. The article had just two lines about the real Ripley, and I realized I'd heard that name my whole life and never considered the man behind the books and cartoons, the first of which he created in 1918. My curiosity simmered, then boiled, prompting me to put aside other writing projects to explore Ripley's life. Turns out he was more fascinating than I could have hoped. Though the book still has to go through some edits, and is at least a year from hitting the bookshelves (or Kindles or iPads), I hope to soon post an excerpt and more photos and updates. Already available are two videos I created using archival Ripley footage, and a gallery of photos is viewable at SmugMug .

Hurricane Season out in paperback - today!

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A paperback edition of Hurricane Season: A Coach, His Team, and Their Triumph in the Time of Katrina will be released today. For those who missed it, Hurricane Season tells the story of a small Christian school outside New Orleans and its recovery from Katrina. The school's founder, John Curtis, died just weeks before the hurricane, and his son, head football coach JT, took over. After the storm and flooding, the community rallied around JT's Patriots, who made it to the state championship. Unfortunately, the film that HBO had planned to make seems to have fallen through. HBO optioned the story but earlier this year - even after the Saints' Super Bowl victory, no less - bailed. Read more about the book here. Or watch the promotional book trailer. Meanwhile, one of the book's main characters, Joe McKnight, has become a New York Jet.

Driving with the Devil optioned for TV

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Driving with the Devil has been optioned by Alloy Entertainment, known for creating the hit TV show, Gossip Girl. When I met with Alloy's president in New York, I asked why a company known primarily for teen girl shows would be interested in a story about bootleggers. He said they're trying to reach out to a male audience, and hoping that a show about illegal whiskey and fast cars might find an appreciative audience. I hope so too, and will keep you posted. Meanwhile, the book continues to sell (4.5 starts on Amazon, where a recent reviewer said: “Dynamic in every way, this was an excellent read.”) Read more here or become a 'fan' on the book's new Facebook page. Sadly, I must also report that one of the book's main characters, Raymond Parks, died this summer at age 96. Here's his obit (and a 'Driving with the Devil' mention) in the New York Times.

MORE LINKS and UPDATES:

-A Driving with the Devil audio book is in the works for 2011, as is a re-release of Light This Candle, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Alan Shepard's history flight in May of 1961.

-If you read or enjoyed one of my books, try another - or tell a friend. Books are available in hardcover, paperback, Kindle, and audio editions at my Amazon store, or visit my new Amazon 'author's page.'

-Video interviews with authors on NealThompson.com are also available on my Vimeo page.

-Galleries of photos and videos from my books now available my new SmugMug site.

-Find or follow me at Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter (although I don't actually do much tweeting).

This newsletter and my website are works in progress. I'd love to hear from you if you have suggestions. Please forward this to friends and invite them to subscribe, but if you've received this newsletter by mistake and/or never want to see it again, click 'unsubscribe.' Finally... here's the newest family member, Mickey - apparently I needed another challenge in my writing life.

Thanks for reading...

Neal

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