Tuscaloosa, UA speaking engagements soon

An incredible opportunity has presented itself, and I couldn’t be more excited.

On July 26-27, I will be in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for two reasons:

  1. I’ll be speaking to the Tuscaloosa Christian Writers Group at the Tuscaloosa Public Library on Tuesday, July 26 at 6:30 p.m.
  2. I’ll also be speaking about news reporting and book writing to the Reporting and Advanced Reporting classes at the University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences both days.

I have Dr. George Daniels, the assistant dean of the college, to thank for the invitation and opportunity. 

I will also be recording a studio interview about my books and work as a journalist for future use in journalism classes at UA.

How cool is that?

I’m ecstatic about this opportunity to talk about my reporting days, as well as Trussville, Alabama: A Brief History, Deep Green and the books to come.

Roll Tide.

Draft of next book completed

The first draft of my next fiction book is complete, and I’m excited to tell you a little bit about it.

It will be called “Heart of the Plate.” 

Here’s a brief synopsis:

Jeff Wright is at the pinnacle of his Major League Baseball career, earning his way into his first All-Star Game. Not long after, Jeff suffers a gruesome, career-ending injury and ventures down a path of self-destruction, and becomes addicted to painkillers. He is arrested for drug possession. 

Upon completing a short stint in a rehabilitation center, Jeff returns to his hometown of Lewis Rock, Georgia, where he discovers that the town’s largest job source, Reynolds Manufacturing, is being sold off and will leave hundreds jobless. He also attempts to rekindle a love that he lost years ago. 

What begins as mandatory community service for Jeff’s arrest — helping his alma mater’s floundering baseball team — quickly becomes his saving grace. In “Heart of the Plate,” follow along as Jeff helps his hometown through a difficult time the only way he knows how — through baseball.

Look for more on this book throughout the summer and fall. No timetable yet for a release date, but I’ll be sure to post about it when I know.

Two New Books in the Works

I figure this is as good a time as any to update the blog. 

My second book, Deep Green, came out in February. It’s been going well. We just had a book talk and signing at Huffman United Methodist Church, whose gymnasium adorns the front cover.

I’m working on two books right now. One is with a former University of Alabama football player now playing in the NFL. You’ll definitely want to stay tuned for more about that book. It is about so much more than football.

Second, I’m working on another fictional book. At this time, I’m about halfway done with the first draft. It’ll focus on a small town’s largest job source being sold off, leaving hundreds without jobs. The town’s most famous native, who played Major League Baseball, returns to his hometown after years of being away to help the only way he knows how — through baseball.

Look for more on both of these throughout the summer and fall. No timetable yet for release dates, but I’ll be sure to post about it when I know.

Deep Green Talk, Book Signing May 25

Another event for my second book, “Deep Green,” is now scheduled.

I’ll be speaking about the book on Wednesday, May 25 at 6 p.m. at Huffman United Methodist Church’s parlor and signing copies after. Books are $15 each and will be available. You can also order them here on Amazon.com. 

A dinner will begin at 5 p.m. in the church’s Fellowship Hall.

If you didn’t know already, the book’s front cover photo was shot in the gym at Huffman United Methodist Church by Ron Burkett. The church was a big inspiration for this fictional work. It’s the church I grew up in.

The church is located at 711 Gene Reed Road in Birmingham. 

So come hang out with us May 25. Eat some dinner and learn about how this book came to be.

Gary

‘Deep Green’ Book Signing

A book signing for “Deep Green” is now confirmed! 

The event will be Sunday, April 17 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Trussville Civic Center. The address is 5381 Trussville Clay Road, Trussville, AL 35173.

Books are $15 each and will be available at the signing. You can also bring your own copy. 

So come by, say hello and hang out with us. It’ll be fun!

For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/DeepGreenBook. 

Introducing Deep Green

Hello,

Welcome to my website, and my first blog post. 

Deep Green is my second book, and my first time writing fiction. I have always been drawn to the true stories, the ones that affected real people. For most of my twenties, I told those stories in newspapers.

I’m no longer a reporter, but the itch to write is one I have to scratch almost daily. It calms me down. Now that my knees can’t bear the intensity of playing basketball on pavement, I sit in a comfortable chair and write. At least I can see the basketball hoop outside.

This book is about Ray, a teenager who does not earn a spot on his junior high school basketball team. He is confused on what direction he should take. He has always played sports, but he is now at a crossroads. He takes up skateboarding, and with it come his downfalls. He lets a stereotype control his life. He stops hanging out with longtime friends. He begins socializing with a rough crowd. He shoplifts, and just when he thinks he has become invincible, he is arrested. A church basketball team intervenes at a crucial moment in Ray’s life. Will it be enough for Ray to get his life back on the right path?

I decided to write this because I thought it was a story worth telling. I think it is good for teenagers to read, a book that can humble them and teach them important values. I hope it does. I also believe it is a good book for any avid reader who enjoys a feel-good story. 

I dedicated this book to Kevin O’Kelley, who was my basketball coach for a short period of time. He is the inspiration behind this book.

The book is available for $15 on Amazon.com and $8.99 on Kindle. I hope you take the short time to read this book. I would really appreciate it.

-Gary

Words and Baskets

Jessica Lloyd

How on earth do words and baskets tie together? It’s a question I asked myself many times when I was first getting to know my husband. He would watch sports, of any kind minus soccer, for hours. I repeat, hours. But basketball, that’s always been his favorite. He’d skip dinner or outings if it meant catching a few minutes of an Alabama basketball game, which also added to my confusion. Alabama basketball has been downright awful for several years now; I’d hear him hollering from the other room at the TV in frustration. Why spend so much of your time watching a team you know will lose to the team I’d never even heard of before? And just as quickly as the game was over, Gary would be back in the office, writing. A 180 degrees from what he was doing just minutes ago … quietly scratching down ideas in his black, spiral bound notebook he’s frequently seen with or typing away on the Mac. 

It took a while for me to realize that Gary was not the one-sided guy most would guess him to be when he runs down the statistics of baseball games from thirty years ago or talks about Alabama football’s newest recruits. And he was also not the boring words guy; correcting me lovingly to this day when I say “four cent” instead of “cents.” These two things, words and baskets make up a huge part of who Gary is. From the time he could walk, he was playing a sport. It’s just what you did growing up a boy in the South. And he grew up loving it. I still hear stories about how late into the night his parents would hear the tap, tap, tap of the basketball outside on their driveway. 

But Gary also loves writing. He can put words to paper and tell a story that people want to read. I’ve seen him write stories about football players, genius kids ahead of their time, young men fighting cancer and the people behind growing businesses and towns. He’s covered more sporting events than I can count; sometimes I’d tag along…mostly for the concession stand food and the chance to see him work. 

Eventually, as he got older and more practiced in his writing he began to morph those two worlds together. Taking one passion and making it come alive with the other. He’s been talking about his new book he’s been working on for a while; long before he met me actually so it’s hard to call it new. But it’ll be new to you when it comes out. He’s put his heart, his love for basketball and sports, his love for writing and telling a story into this book. I hope you’ll check it out when it’s available and find out for yourself about words and baskets.