Book Report

When I was writing my first book I didn't know if it would ever even be published.
Now, two years later and another book coming out in a couple weeks, writing books has lead to awesome things. BUT I never imagined that someone would do a BOOK REPORT on one of my books!!!! Below are some awesome pictures from a creative young lady with great taste.
(some *spoilers* for the first book in the text of the report)

So cool!!!!
And yes that is a Jell-o pool.

Two New Projects!!

Helloooo!

Today I'm announcing two new projects that I'm very excited about.

YOUNG AND IN LOVE is a new PODCAST that my wife Ashlea and I have started!

Here's the pitch: Pete and Ash are (relatively) young and certainly in love. Pete is an author, screenwriter, producer, and daddy. Ash is a teacher at an inclusive school and a mommy. Each episode they talk about parenting, productivity, and positivity and they also play fun games, discuss current events and pop culture. Welcome to Young And In Love!

The first episode is up RIGHT NOW. You can search Young And In Love on iTunes or find it here.

and

DREAMS & REALITY is a new BLOG SERIES that I'll be posting here on my blog.

Here's the pitch: I interview people that I know in the Reality TV realm. I'll ask them about the behind the scenes of working in "reality." Crazy stories, terrible craft services, run-ins with the talent... And also practical knowledge like how to get into television production, what is a "stringout", and what in the world could a "frankenbite" be? 

Another aspect of the blog posts will be focusing on the subject's Hollywood dreams. Why did they initially venture to Los Angeles? What side projects do they do? What are their aspirations for the reality space? I'll be able to pepper in my thoughts and experiences as well. It'll be fun!

So to my Reality TV friends and fam, email me if you would like to be interviewed for this series.

Thanks!!

How did you find the time?

My book, The Happenstances at the Yellow County Community Swim and Racquet Club the Summer Before Last, has been out for just over a month now.  It's been so cool to see pictures on social media of people with my book at the pool or at the beach, or tagging me saying "I just got your book!"  I've sold my book to a couple people in person and they've asked me to sign it, which is crazy.  I've had a couple conversations about the book with coworkers and family and podcasters and an interviewer for a web show.  It's awesome!  And it's especially cool because I really believe in the book.  I've created a lot of content and Happenstances is what I'm most proud of so far in my content creating career.

I work in television production and a question that invariably comes up is "How did you find the time to write a book?!"  Coworkers say they would like to write or make a film or this hobby or that and they're amazed that I completed a thing.  My answer to their question is always that I didn't "find the time to write a book"...

I made the time.

I got it into my head that I was going to adapt my screenplay into a young adult novel and then for the next couple of years I chipped away at it, an hour here, 30 minutes there.  Believe me, if I had looked at as a full task I would have been overwhelmed, but I looked at it as a process.

That's what I'm doing with the next book.  I'd love to set a deadline and write X amount of pages per day and all the sorts of things you read in the "how to write" books.  

But currently, with a 4 year old son, another son on the way, a 50+ hour a week job, promoting the first book, and everything else that pops up in life just being an adult human, I can't think about the next book in a traditional way.

So for me, right now, I'm happy to get a few moments a week, probably after my son is asleep, and probably while my pregnant wife is binge watching "Friends" and my pug is probably snoring somewhere on the carpet that she blends in with, to chip away at that next book.

The Sunglass Ville Saga

Let's flash back to weeks before my novel, The Happenstances at the Yellow County Community Swim and Racquet Club the Summer Before Last, was released (now available from Koehler Books, www.tinyurl.com/TheHappenstances by the way).  I was in the midst of planning my book release party.  I ordered two boxes of books to be sent straight to Maryland, I ordered whistles that perfectly complimented the color scheme of my cover as bookmarks, AND I worked with a company called Sunglass Ville to design some promotional sunglasses to give away at my book events.

The staff was helpful over the phone and the process was easy, I ordered 144 pairs of custom sunglasses and it was $135.

A week or two later I checked the tracking number to see when I could expect my sunglasses because my event in Maryland was fast approaching and FedEx's website said that they had delivered the box a couple of days before.  Ashlea (my wife) was missing a box of prescription contacts she was expecting as well and it was around Christian's (my son) birthday and my parents sent him gifts that were also MIA.

We all called our shipping services and it was apparent that someone had seen several boxes outside of our house and stolen everything.  It was sad that Christian's gifts were gone, it was inconvenient that Ash's contacts were gone, and I was mad that my sunglasses were taken.

I'll cut through some of the back and forth with Sunglass Ville because in the end they did the right thing and reprinted and re-sent a new box of custom sunglasses to me at their loss.  The sunglasses are high quality and Sunglass Ville's customer service helped me work through the problem, I applaud their business ethics and I will be buying custom sunglasses from them again in the future.  I recommend Sunglass Ville for ALL of your custom sunglasses needs.

Here is their lovely product (and mine!!)

Their site is: https://www.sunglassville.com/

I think that covers it.

A few weeks ago I got an email that was simply titled Happenstance Cover.  I was sitting at work (or standing rather, #StandingDesk), it was the middle of the day on a Wednesday, and then that email came in and rocked my world.  

The graphic designer assigned my book cover introduced herself, said that she had read the book, and loved not only the book itself, but the concept for the front cover that I pitched.  She included some sketches attached as a PDF.

I opened the attachment and the characters that I had been creating since college were there on those sketch pad pages.  It was awesome.

CUT TO: A few weeks later.

My publisher just released two potential covers to The Happenstances... and you, yes YOU, can vote on which one you enjoy the most.  Click here (or on the picture), read the synopsis and such, then VOTE via the sidebar poll.

By the way, both of these book covers have SO many hidden 'easter eggs' from the book.  I can't wait for people to read it.

Shooting the Book Trailer

Last weekend I shot a book trailer for The Happenstances at the Yellow County Community Swim and Racquet Club the Summer Before Last.  

First and foremost, big, big thank yous to Rick Bickerstaff, Jason Marsh, and Marc Femenella for helping me with this project.

I work a minimum of 10 hours a day, plus (not to sound like "The Californians" but) I live in the valley and my office is in Santa Monica so that adds a bit of a commute on either end of that.  And I ordered some awesome lifeguard shorts for the shoot that hadn't come yet (and still haven't by the way).  So Friday night came around and there were still miles to go before I slept.  I stopped at Smart & Final on my way home from work to get snack bar-esque supplies.  Then I ran by Target to get replacement red shorts to stand in for the waylaid pair.

Finally I got home and it was time to cook.  

I cooked late-ish into the night.

I was the Walter White of fried foods.

I dipped into my own supply though...

Here were just a few of the props:

The next morning I rose early and drove down to the wonderful Redondo Beach.  Rick and his family were very generous with their time, their home, and their baby who is a delight.  The location was great for what I needed to shoot.

Jason brought some badass equipment and his bad self.  

And basically the shoot was a few bros bro-ing down by the pool.  

Beautiful weather, good food, great footage shot.

And I even got in front of the camera for a little thing that I'm excited to see how it turned out...

This weekend or next Marc will be cutting a couple things together and I'll release them as my book's release date approaches.

So far so many people have helped in making this dream come true, I appreciate it.

Busy Pete is a Better Writer

As I was riding my bike last night, pondering, I had some thoughts that I clumsily told my wife when I got home.  I thought I'd try here though, to clearly state something that I think is important.

There's a way of thinking, and I don't want to call it a "common misconception" because maybe it is the truth for some, that you can/should put your family life on hold while you move up in your career.  Or someone who had a child or got married young may look back at their life and think that they could have been so much more successful if they had only not had that kid or married that person.

I admit that I've had the latter thought before at times, like where could I be if I was 'Single Pete'.  But last night I realized that I was wrong.

I got married to Ash at 23 and we had Christian when I was 25, so we weren't babies having babies, but we were relatively young for my peer group.  And I've thought in the past that if I didn't have the responsibilities of being a husband, dad, co-money-provider/ co-bill-payer, that I could have more time to write, more chances to network, more time to produce sketch comedy videos and take UCB classes and such.  Which is true, sure, but...

Having less time to devote to writing has made me a better writer.  'Single Pete' would have the luxury of being able to dawdle, write a couple pages here and there. 'Busy Pete', I'll refer to my current self as, has to be laser-focused every writing session.  Before my writing sessions were watered down lemonade, today they're frozen concentrate.  Take those babies out of the freezer, add water (or booze) and start cranking.

But besides that, the support that Ash has given me has been the single most propelling thing in my writing life.  She's read all my stuff.  She's my biggest cheerleader.  She's believed in me when I haven't.  I wouldn't be about to have Happenstances published without her.

In my life, being married young-ish and growing with Ash has been the best thing.  And Christian is a constant source of joy, and often times hilarious anecdotes.

So, thanks Ash and Christian.  

Love, Pete

The Summer Before Last... This Summer!

This summer I will have my first novel published.  I mean, it's actually a novella (I like to euphemistically call it a "quick read") but still, the fact that I just wrote that first sentence of this blog and it's true is currently blowing my mind.

You know what's not short though?  The title, The Happenstances at the Yellow County Community Swim and Racquet Club the Summer Before Last.  It's a mouthful, I know, but ever since I first started writing the story in college, that has always been the title.

A quick synopsis: The Happenstances at the Yellow County Community Swim and Racquet Club the Summer Before Last is a bittersweet, nostalgic, but comic novella about a team of misfits, including a loser who secretly lives in the guard house of the club, a struggling artist with webbed toes, a timid teen with a concave chest, and the beautiful heiress of the Comfort Inn fortune.  They have to win the impending Tri-County Relay Race and save the club from being run by a management company that only cares about money.  The management company hires an opposing relay team of ringers including a girl with a prosthetic dorsal fin and a man named Carmichael Schmelps who looks suspiciously like a certain Olympic gold medalist.

So basically it's the 'let's get the team together and win the big (fill in the blank, in this case it's a swim meet) so we can keep this place we love' story, but it's a new take on that type of story and it's also so much more than that.  

I've been writing this story in different iterations since college.  It started as a feature length screenplay, once I moved to LA I got several rounds of notes on it from my writer's group and others that I asked to read it.  The screenplay was even a finalist in the Beverly Hills Film Festival Screenplay Competition one year.  And I still ultimately see it as a movie too, and I'm hoping this book will be a step in that direction.