Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Roots Run Deep

Is anyone else about Reluctant-Bloggered-out? Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely thrilled that people are now getting a chance to read this project that began over two years ago and I am so grateful for all of the people who are sharing with me their enjoyment of the book. That is not the problem.

It just seems like it has been the only thing I’ve talked about for a long, long time. This will be the 75th posting on this blog. Well over half of the posts (probably closer to 75%) have focused either mainly or solely on the book. And even though I warned everybody up front, I still feel like that guy that everyone wants to avoid at a party because all he wants to talk about is his latest business venture. Admittedly, no one has actually treated me this way. Everyone I know has been completely supportive. This is a “me” issue.

Well, we only have about two weeks left and then there is really very little left I can do either on social media or on this blog to further promote the book. I mean, yes, I will still have to do the occasional posting on my author page reminding everyone that it still exists, but for the most part, the constant active marketing will be done.

But we still have the next two weeks to finish and I’m going to admit something. I’m a little scared.

I will be leaving my safe little hometown tomorrow and driving hundreds of miles to Utah.

By Myself!

I don’t know many folks in Utah and that alone is daunting. But as I mentioned yesterday on facebook, I learned something yesterday that has me extremely nervous.

I knew going into this signing thing that the Thatcher signing and the Mesa signing would be my big ones. Arizona is where my support base is. Utah??? Not so much. But I figured I would take my place in each of the stores where I’m scheduled to appear and would do my best to be friendly and maybe attract a couple more buyers for the book than I would have had otherwise. A lonely proposition, but not too bad.

But then I learned that my first event at The King’s English Bookshop, in Salt Lake City, will not be a slip in and slip out kind of deal. They are planning on having me speak about and read from the book for roughly 30 minutes before opening the floor up for questions. That’s actually not a big deal for me. Anyone who knows me knows that speaking in front of people doesn’t bother me at all.

The scary thing for me is speaking in front of no people.

What if nobody comes? What if I am that guy who keeps getting that horrible feedback noise from the microphone as I try to engage two completely disinterested persons sitting in the audience-mainly because their feet need a break while their significant other continues shopping? The vision makes me cringe and then it makes me want to cry.

So out of sheer terror, I am reduced to begging. If you live in the SLC area or have some sort of leverage over someone who does, please consider taking an hour out of your schedule this Friday night at 7:00 p.m. and come on down to The King’s English Bookshop. I would like to guarantee that you’ll be glad you did, but I can’t do that. All I can guarantee is that I’ll be glad you did…if that’s any consolation.

But now that I have addressed my fears, I want to talk about something that has humbled me to the core recently. This morning I logged into my facebook page to find a message waiting for me from a cousin who attended my book signing in Mesa last Saturday. This is a part of what he had to say.

Your book is awesome!!! LeMoyne and I both bought a copy, mainly out of curiosity and recommendations from family who loved it. Plus I’ve learned from the Rapier clan a lot about the art of sustaining the family and we all wanted your book signing to be a success! If the book wasn’t any good I figured I could always invoice you for the cost.

Okay, so the self-serving part of me left in the line about the book being awesome. Sue me. But the part that really has me thinking this morning, and coincides with what I’ve been thinking about for a while, is the line about the Rapier clan sustaining the family. He’s right. I belong to a family that makes it a priority to sustain one another. And I’m so glad.

His message made me think of my grandmother who sacrificed so much just to get her kids to church each week and in doing so established a legacy. I thought of my grandfather who sent and supported two boys (one of which was my dad) on missions when it wasn’t even necessarily what he believed in.

It made me think of an uncle who let me live with him for a summer and completely hijack his telephone so that I could salvage a relationship with a girl who to this day still means the world to me. Over the years, I am just one of many who has been afforded that privilege.

It made me think of a filled-in calendar that hung on my grandmother’s wall for years, documenting the family that came to see her when she could no longer live at home. No one else in that care facility had a calendar. But hers was never empty.

And finally, it made me think of this last Saturday when Deseret Book in Mesa got just a hint of the power that is Rapier Nation.

But it hasn’t just been my family. My wife’s family has been equally supportive these last few weeks. My sister-in-law came down from Gilbert to specifically to attend my signing in Thatcher. She was out trying to round up people to come with her to the signing in Mesa. And Shannon’s cousins were just as much a part of the invading force last Saturday.

But as I contemplated my cousin’s comment, I realized what a blessing it is to come from a rural community. Living where I live, I am always asked, “Are you one of those Duncan Rapiers?” I am always proud to answer yes. Because, $#%* straight I’m one of those Duncan Rapiers. Those Duncan Rapiers are good people. But so are those Duncan Lunts and those Duncan Paynes and those Duncan Merrills and those Duncan Richins, Websters and MacLays…the list goes on and on.

As I welcomed person after person to my signing, I realized, I’m proud to be a Rapier, but am I also very proud to be Wildkat, a Punkin’ Roller or whatever moniker one might want to give to folks from Duncan. By virtue of where I grew up, I have an extended family who continues to support one another regardless of whether or not we share the last name.

And this extends to the community where I live now. There may be times when I shudder at the amount of Eagles gear that now fills my home, but I am proud to have my kids growing up in Thatcher. Because my associations in Thatcher, and the associations I made with Thatcher people way back during my years at EAC, are deep and abiding. We are family. I may be the goofy cousin from Duncan, but we’re family.

And ALL of my family has been amazingly supportive. Because that’s what we do.

So if you are reading this and you are “family” in whatever form that word happens to take, I love you. I appreciate you. Your outpouring of support to me and my family in recent weeks has quite literally moved me to tears. Thank you for putting up with unending posts about THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER and not unfriending me out of annoyance. Thank you for taking a chance on a book that there are no guarantees you will like. And especially thank you to each of you who have shared your thoughts on the book once you’ve read it. Your positive comments are worth a hundred five star ratings on Amazon.

You are my people. Hopefully through my actions, I show that I’m yours. And we sustain each other. Because that’s what family does.

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Just a Spoonfull of Sugar Helps The Book Signing Go Down

WOW!!! What an experience this past Saturday night at the Deseret Book near the Mesa temple.

I’m going to admit something. As my wife and I and our good friends, the Baumans, loaded up the car and made the trek down to Mesa this last Saturday, my level of nervousness continued to rise with each passing mile. While it is true that I had one signing under my belt, this was going to be different.

I didn’t know anyone at Deseret Book. I had communicated with the manager a couple of times via e-mail, but that was it. Questions kept flooding my mind like, “Where are they going to put me?” or “Are they going to consider me a major hassle?”

Turns out, my fears were completely unwarranted. Store manager, Patty Tanz, and her staff were the most amazing group of people. They had me stationed directly across from the front door and right next to the cash registers so that anybody who might unsuspectingly walk in would have to deal with me in one way or another.

And furthermore, they didn’t even bat an eye when we asked if we could bring in food items. TO A BOOKSTORE!!! When it was all said and done and there were a few frosting spots on their carpet, I had to wonder if they were still okay with that decision or not.

Once we were set up and ready to go, things got underway pretty quickly. An older couple had been waiting for us to get set up so they could get their book signed and be on their way. I had never met them before, but they had gotten wind of the signing somehow and were there a half-hour early to beat the rush.

Then, the family arrived. First through the door was my cousin Donna (who will always be known throughout the family as D.D.) Within minutes, most of my Uncle Jack’s family had descended on the store and the employees began to realize just how many Rapiers there really are. I think they were a little stunned at how many people would admit to being my relation.

And so, for the next hour and a half, a continuous stream of family and friends strolled through the door. I caught up with one of my best friends from high school, a former colleague from the mission field, half of my wife’s immediate family and a majority of her cousins, a few more friends from high school and college and even one of my mother’s good friends who now lives in the Mesa area. It was a whirlwind of people I wish I could’ve spent more time with.

Mixed in with all of those who actually knew me were a few people who came along for the ride. To those individuals who don’t know me necessarily, but know people I am close to, I am truly appreciative for how much you support them that you would come and support me.

Lastly, there were those souls who just happened to want LDS book supplies in Mesa at the exact wrong time. A few of those people have now learned a tough but valuable lesson. Free cupcakes are not always free. I would estimate about five or six individuals walked over for a free cupcake and ended up walking away with a $10 cupcake and free book. Or something like that.

During that barrage of people, I met:

-A man who is convinced that he and I are going to make millions together. I don’t know what that means or how this is all supposed to go down, but he seemed to. And he bought a book, so…

-Another gentleman who read about my signing in the AZ Republic’s Gilbert section and came down based on that article. He’s convinced I’m going to eventually make it on to Letterman. And when I do, he will have my book-signed and dated for August 24, 2013. Apparently that date coincides exactly with the fiftieth anniversary of The March. If he should find this blog somehow, I do have to admit, I’m not sure which march he was referring to, but I appreciate him coming in and buying my book. And if I ever do make Letterman, I remember his name and I will totally give him a shout-out.

-A woman whose son had actually lost his wife while still having four children at home. He had just recently remarried, but she wanted to read the book and see how it coincided with his experiences. That left me completely humbled. It is one thing to write about an experience you hope never to have. I can’t imagine what it would be like to truly live it. I hope I never have to.

-Several people who just wanted a cupcake, but did a great job of pretending to have an interest in a book they never intended to purchase.

-An aspiring author who wanted to know my experience in getting published. I hope I helped.

-One of my wife’s best friends whom I have known for many years. I love her dearly and her comments to me (and expounded upon to my wife) were very humbling. It was very good to see her. I’m glad she enjoyed the book.

Finally, with about twenty minutes to go, the huge conglomeration of people who had all come to support me started to thin out. It was then that two dear friends came in and were the last two signings of the night. I hadn’t seen either one of them in years (kind of. Teresa, you know what I mean.) and it was good to just catch up. It meant a lot to me that both of them would take the time to come.

And if that wasn’t enough, as we were loading up to go, another couple of dear friends (who are married to each other) stopped by just to say hi. I found out he had been called as Stake President about a year ago. Holy Crap! It couldn’t have happened to a nicer or better guy.

At the end of the night, we sold over 35 copies of THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER. I was stunned. Add to that the number of people who brought their own copy they had purchased previously and I signed well over 50 books. It was, as I said earlier, AWESOME!!!

Now, it is off to Utah. So if you live in the SLC or St. George area, please plan on coming to see me. I’m getting a kick out of all these reunions and I would hate for them to end. The dates and times are listed below. But before we get to that, my book was reviewed over the weekend by the Deseret News in SLC. I’m sorry, but that is completely amazing. So if you have a minute, check out their review by clicking on this link.

Also, I think I’m going to try and blog the one and only book tour possibly in my life like I used to blog our family vacations back in the old days. If you liked those, check back in about two weeks. And look for pictures on social media of my TRB poster making some Flat Stanley appearances all around the southwestern United States.  Thanks again everybody. This past weekend was awesome. I will never forget it.

Meet Ryan Rapier and get a signed copy of THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER at any of the following events:

Friday, August 30th, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah

Saturday, August 31st, 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Barnes and Noble, Sugarhouse, Salt Lake City, Utah

Monday, September 2nd, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – Weller Book Works, Salt Lake City, Utah

Wednesday, September 4th, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Eborn Books, Salt Lake City, Utah

Saturday, September 7th, 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Barnes and Noble, St George, Utah

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Bad Hair Day for a Bald Guy

I’m going to admit something up front. I’m bald.

Most of the people reading this blog probably already know that, but there is no getting around it. When I was in high school, the writing was already on the wall. I had decent hair, but the hair not part of my franciscan monk ring was extremely blond and extremely thin and my hairline was much like the southern states during the 1800s-constantly threatening to recede from the union. (I know it’s secede. It’s a joke.)

But at least what I had held on until I could meet and marry a beautiful woman who would have me. Come to find out, when we started dating, her dad told her he really liked me, but did warn her that I would be bald. He wanted to make sure she was okay with that. Apparently she was.

At 25, I could fight it no longer. I was losing the follicle war on every front, so I decided then and there what the rest of my life was going to be like.

1. I would not wear any fake hair device.

2. I would not attempt to grow hair on certain portions of my head to such a length that they could be called in for reinforcements elsewhere.

3. I was done trying to cultivate what few strands remained and so I took the bold step of shaving my head completely bald. Booyah!!! Done!

Frankly, it was awesome. I discovered that I had a very nice head. I have never felt the need to feel ashamed of my head because for all intents and purposes it is very well shaped with no real growths or discolorations that need hiding. Furthermore, I have never needed to purchase hair care items in over 15 years. That’s a big savings. I have not had to spend any time in hair preparation. Major hours saved. It was truly a freeing experience for me.

But the one thing I have discovered since is that even with a perfectly bald head, I am not disqualified from having a bad hair day.

Now, to be fair, they don’t happen to me nearly as often as they do for a person who has…you know, actual hair. But they still happen. Because bad hair days are not just about hair.

They are a force of nature. The fact that your hair will not cooperate is merely a harbinger for the cruddy things that are likely to happen to you later that day. The bad hair day is an event, not just an occurance.

For me, a bad hair day is discovered when I have performed the shaving ritual and then left my home only to discover that I have missed either a few strands of hair or, even worse, a full swath. These generally occur right behind my ear. I don’t know why, they just do. Anyway, I will discover my mistake and know that I will have to deal with this embarrassing faux pas the entire day until I can get home and fix the problem. I can’t explain it, but other troubling things tend to occur on these days. Thus, why I am allowed, even as a bald man, to refer to them as my bad hair days.

Sadly, I fear I am having a bad hair day.

I got to work this morning and sat down at my desk only to place my hands behind my head and discover one single strand of hair that has to be almost a quarter of an inch long. I don’t know how it escaped. I don’t really even care. I just am horrified that it exists because I have to possibly meet a US Senator later today. Of course I do.

Adding to my bad day is the rating that just showed up for my book on Goodreads. It’s a three-star. Now, all in all, a three-star is not the worst thing that can happen. According to the rating system it is actually supposed to mean, “I like it.” But we all know better. What it really means is, “I kinda liked it…but I kinda didn’t.”

Now, I am not so thin-skinned that I can’t handle a three-star. I’ve even gotten them before on Goodreads. The thing about this three-star is who gave it. It’s coming from Jennie Hansen, author and book reviewer on Meridian Magazine, possibly the best known on-line magazine for LDS readers.

When the three-star popped up, I closed my eyes and sighed. I knew it couldn’t be good. But just in case, I went and started reading any other reviews that she had posted with three-star ratings. (My three-star did not contain a review) It was as I feared. She might say some good things about your book, but she is definitely going to point out her issues with it. And she will point them out to her entire book review readership.

CRAP!!!

Oh well. This is part of the gig when you sign up for getting a book published. Now, there is the possibility she won’t even post a review on Meridian. I mean, I’m a nobody. But I fear that the lack of a review on Goodreads is a bad sign. And frankly, there is one other thing to consider. There is that one hair that managed to escape on the back of my head. That little sucker speaks volumes. Suddenly I wish Jennie Hansen reviewed books on a tiny blog read only by her grandchildren. Because I fear I’m about to get whacked.

For those who choose to believe the other positive reviews, a big reminder that this Saturday, THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER will be having its second launch party in the metropolitan area of Mesa, AZ. I will be signing books and giving away delicious cupcakes at the Deseret Book on Mesa Drive by the temple. The whole thing gets underway at 4:00 p.m and wraps up at 6:00. We will having plenty of books on hand and would love to see all of our good friends and family that live in the area. If you already have a copy, you can still come and get it signed. So come on down.

Also, look for an article on THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER and its author this Wednesday in the Arizona Republic’s Mesa and Gilbert sections. I don’t know what it will say, but I have been told something will be there unless we get bumped. Here’s to hoping the bad hair day doesn’t extend to us getting bumped.

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Finishing With A Bang

First off, BOOK LAUNCH PARTY TOMORROW, AUGUST 17TH, AT BOOKWORMS BOOKSTORE IN THATCHER, AZ, FROM 10:00 A.M. UNTIL NOON. If you are in town, take a minute and stop by tomorrow. We won’t even force you to buy a book. We will, however, probably force you to take a cupcake because they are amazing. And my most humble thanks to Julie Bauman for leading the charge on providing these scrumptious desserts for everyone who attends. (Yes, I did just use the word ‘scrumptious’) Bring your friends, bring your family, bring your AYSO soccer team, JUST COME. Thanks!

Now today is the final day of the blog tour for THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER. It has been four weeks and there have been over 20 reviews and it all ends today. First off, I want to thank yesterday’s participants in the tour. First there was Tressa from Tressa’s Wishful Endings site. Her review, which can be found here, was very flattering. I appreciated it a little more than most because she admitted up front that she originally had very little interest in the book based on the cover and title. However, once she read it, she was so glad she did. Also, Tressa is a fellow ASU Alum and it was fun to have someone review the book who knew the areas described in its Gilbert setting. For those only interested in a recap, here is a highlight:

“I liked reading Todd’s posts, his experiences and thoughts. He was a great character. He was faced with a lot of challenges, not all of which were his own. I liked that the author let his characters make mistakes, even if I strongly disagreed with some of them… I cried, I laughed, I sighed.”

If I can get a sigh, then I feel I have done my job.

Also yesterday, MK McClintock, an author from Montana, ran an interview she did with me on her site. The full interview can be found here, along with her thoughts on the book.

My deepest thanks to both Tressa and MK.

Today, the blog tour completes its run with two final entries that are awesome. First, Tristi Pinkston, an author who also happens to be one of the founding members of LDStorymakers. If you don’t know who they are, trust me, they are a very influential group in the LDS publishing world. Tristi told me up front that she is incredibly busy and I believe it. But she still took the time to review THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER, and her full review can be found here. The highlight for me from her review was this:

“I have to say, I enjoyed this read. The characters were refreshingly honest, from Dr. Schenk mentally redecorating his office while waiting for Todd to talk to Todd spilling Kool-Aid all over the place at a singles’ dance and then bursting into tears because he realizes he can’t tell his wife about it. I felt as though the characters were real, that I could identify with them. I enjoyed the voice of narration and found it very open and conversational. I especially enjoyed going with Todd on his journey as he learned what he needed to learn and began to see possibilities and understand things about himself.

I give two thumbs up to The Reluctant Blogger and recommend it to anyone looking for a unique LDS fiction novel that easily translates to a national market as well.”

This is a very special review coming from her and I can’t say thank you to Tristi Pinkston enough.

Along the same lines, probaby my favorite review of the entire tour posted today on Les Roka’s website, Selective Echo. Les is a blogger who covers an eclectic variety of topics on his blog that deal mainly with subjects in Salt Lake City. Les is a good friend of my brother, Jerry, and agreed to provide a review. Boy did he. Les’ review is by far the most in-depth (other than maybe Eric Samuelsen’s) and delves into the psyche of the characters which is something I, as the author, truly appreciate. Les’ full review is available here. A couple of highlights include:

“Rapier’s book is certainly a promising entry in an emerging canon of Mormon literature that seeks enlightenment and mutual understanding for the benefit of Mormons and non-Mormons alike. There is a natural sincerity emanating throughout the book in the voice of Todd Landry, a good-natured and wholesomely funny man whose rock-ribbed faith is being continuously tested by trials that only seem to escalate after the death of his wife, which occurs before the book opens…

“The book moves quite quickly and can be easily finished in one day’s reading. And, Rapier has some exceptionally insightful passages and phrase turns, emphasizing just how enriching the value of personality can become in the blogging medium.

“There are many instances where Todd’s most intimate aspects of his humanness seeps through his blog posts, drawing the reader ever closer to the recognition that his experiences, regardless of being fiction, are often precisely the same as the reader’s own real events and situations.”

Again, I really enjoyed reading someone’s take on the book that goes so in-depth. If you have the time, I would really encourage you to take a moment and read the full review by clicking on the link above. (BEWARE: A couple of spoilers are contained.)

So once again, thank you Les, Tristi, Tressa, MK and everyone who contributed to the blog tour for THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER. For me, it has been a lot of fun and something I will never forget.

Now, to everyone else, it’s up to you. If the reviews that have poured in for four weeks haven’t convinced you to give the book a try, I don’t know what will. But either way, I’d still love to see you out on the book signing trail. So whether you plan on purchasing a copy or not, come see me if I am at a store near you.

Thanks again everyone, for helping me make a life-long dream come true.

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The Loss of a True Friend and the Blog Tour’s Final Week

I’m kinda bummed today. I know this is totally ridiculous, but I feel as if I lost one of my best friends last night. Of course I’m speaking of my iPod.

Being stupid, I assumed that I live in Mayberry and forgot that bad things can happen in Thatcher, AZ as well as they can anywhere. I left my truck unlocked in a church parking lot for just a few minutes. When I returned, my precious iPod had been taken. And today, I can’t quite pull out of the slump.

I miss my Chris Isaak, my Brad Paisley and the odd assortment of House of Pain, Kelly Clarkson and Matchbox Twenty. I feel desolate.

I tried turning on the radio, but in actuality, that just made it worse. Does anyone else out there realize how crappy music has gotten over the last few years. Especially Country Music!!! Once my truck filled with the dulcet tones of Jason Aldean, I nearly puked so I turned the whole thing off and drove around in silence.

I truly miss my friend.

Anyway, the blog tour has entered its last week and so a few more reviews are trickling in. Also, I got a very nice write-up in the local paper this morning. For those interested in my first published interview as an author, click here. For clarification purposes, we are expecting our fifth child, not our third. So rest assured, Logan is not joining another faith and being reborn.

As far as blog tour reviews go, yesterday, my good friend Jennifer Griffith (whose endorsement appears on the back cover of the book) was kind enough to feature THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER on her website. Her full review can found with a click right here. As usual, below is a short snippet from the review for those who like their reviews in snippet form.

“The cover says a lot. But the book is written so well, you’ll get sucked in and won’t look at the cover again until you’ve read the last page.

Rapier has an uncanny ability to take the reader from laughter to wrenching emotion in a matter of paragraphs. The whole page-turning journey is a wonderful roller coaster ride with characters the reader is invested in from page one—all the way to the highly satisfying ending.”

Thank you, Jen. Your contribution to the final product of this book and your friendship are now and forever appreciated.

Today’s blog tour review comes from Sheila Staley at www.whynotbecauseisaidso.blogspot.com. Sheila has a huge following on her blog and is an occassional contributor at www.ldswomensbookreview.com. I really appreciate her taking the time to read and review THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER. So what did she have to say? Her full review can be found by following this link. But for the short version, she said,

“Every once in awhile a book comes along that you only need to say, ‘I loved this book!’ and the review would be done. THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER is one of those books.

“You would think with such a sad premise that this story would not be a good read…just the opposite. The author combines the sadness and the grief with huge amounts of humor…

“I love the witty writing and the incredible growth that Todd makes in a years time. I think you will like the ending as much as I did. This is a must(clean)read for all adults, male and female.”

I don’t even know what to say. Thank you, Sheila. Those are very kind things to say.

And with those two entries, we are down to the blog tour’s final two days. There are two reviews scheduled for tomorrow and two on Friday and then it is all over. The blog tour that is. Then everything else begins.

One more reminder. If you are in the Gila Valley, come see us this Saturday at Bookworms from 10 until noon. I am not lying about how good the cupcakes will be. The book? Well, you’ll have to judge that for yourself.

 

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THE Week and Why Am I Thinking About Hillary Clinton?

So this is it. THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER officially releases tomorrow (although everyone who pre-ordered it has it already) and the blog tour wraps up its final week on Friday. Then, on Saturday, the real fun begins. The first book launch/signing party takes place at 10:00 a.m. at Bookworms Bookstore. I will be featured in the local paper here in Safford on Wednesday promoting the book and the event, and then I will be on local radio that Saturday morning doing the same. Another interesting tidbit is that I was contacted by the guy who produces The Arizona Republic’s smaller paper that focuses on the Gilbert area. I will apprarently be featured in that next Saturday as well unless I get bumped.

As far as the blog tour goes, there are seven blogs scheduled for this week and the first one today is a site run by Andrea Frisby. I contacted Andrea a few months back about getting on her schedule and she was kind enough to agree. Then about six weeks or so ago, she let me know that life had happened and she wasn’t sure she would be able to read THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER in time. As I have also had life happen to me, I assured her that begging off was no problem. We went ahead and sent her a copy of the book and said if and when she could get to it, we would welcome whatever involvement in the blog tour she could provide.

So I can’t tell you how pleased and surprised I was to learn a week or so ago that she had been able to finish THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER, and not only that, but had her fellow reviewer on the site, Tarah, read it as well. Both of their reviews can be found by following this link. As I have done previous, if you are not a link follower, here are some excerpts from both reviews:

“I didn’t really know what to expect from THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER, but whatever expectations I had were totally exceeded! This book made me laugh out loud one minute and cry the next. I loved the characters, and couldn’t help but become emotionally connected to Todd.

I really loved how debut novelist Ryan Rapier approached this story. It could have been a really depressing book, but the humor he included was wonderful! Who knew reading about a trip to
Walmart could be so entertaining? I highly recommend it, and look forward to reading more by Ryan Rapier.” – Andrea

“I was surprised at how emotional this book was. I wasn’t expecting that at all. I think I was expecting LDS fluff. Don’t get me wrong, I like LDS fluff, it’s typically pretty funny, but the topics covered in The Reluctant Blogger were serious and…real. I wasn’t expecting things to be “real”. I loved it.

THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER was well written, thought provoking, and enjoyable. Grab a box of tissues, and start reading.” – Tarah

Again, I want to thank both Andrea and Tarah for their very kind comments and for being a part of the blog tour under less than ideal circumstances for them. Thank you both so much.

In other news, I want to share one other thought because it has been bugging the heck out of me for about a week.

Overall, I try to stay grounded and not allow my politics to get too radical one way or the other. So when I see things like the announcement last week that Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committe, was going to boycott NBC and CNN when it comes to Republican Primary Presidential debates because of their decision to air a mini-series on Hillary Clinton that will be positive in its portrayal, it makes me laugh. His argument is that she is the front-runner for the Democrats in 2016 and news networks should not be showing what basically amounts to propoganda for a specific party candidate leading into a presidential election.

REALLY???

I think this argument by Mr. Priebus is utterly ridiculous. The fact that Fox News, MSNBC and 80% of the commentators on CNN are actively bias one way or the other is commonly accepted and propoganda spews forth nightly on all news networks. This is just silly politics on his part.

However, I will concede that one question is extremely valid when it comes to the making of this mini-series. WHY?

Why is Hillary Clinton so famous/loved/respected/pumped up as the greatest thing to happen to women since the invention of Spanx. Or maybe before the invention of Spanx. I’m not sure. Anyway…

I mean, what has she really done that is so pioneering and worthy of the accolades she gets. I will grant you, she was First Lady. But 42 other women have held that distinction and not gotten their own mini-series. I mean even Michelle Obama, the first African-American First Lady doesn’t get the props that Mrs. Clinton gets.

Which leads me to the next area that could be considered special. She was Secretary of State. But she wasn’t the first female to hold that office. In fact, she was the third. And the one who held the office before her was the first African-American woman to ascend to that high of an office within the United States government. And what did she get for her achievements? Well, the bag was certainly mixed. (She was the object of multiple racially charged political cartoons that portrayed her as everything from George W.’s house slave to a yes man-primate, and many within the black community pounded on her for being an “Uncle Tom”. However, she was awarded the office of provost at Stanford when her term ended and she was named as one of the first female members at Augusta National golf club.) But she didn’t get a laudatory mini-series.

Well, Mrs. Clinton also served as a senator from New York. That’s all well and good, but again, many women have served in the Senate before her. And the downside here is that she specifically moved to a state she had never lived in before just for the purpose of runnning for the senate. We have one of those kind of senators here in John McCain. And his carpetbagging past was generally held against him as one of his more negative qualities. That is until he started opening his mouth. Then it became one of his more middle-of-the-road negative qualities. Anyway, Mrs. Clinton’s service as a senator was neither compelling nor all that historical.

Lastly, we hear about her pioneering in the world of feminism because of her involvement in her husband’s administration. Okay… What about the number of women she kneecapped when they came forward with allegations about her husband’s penchant for infidelity? That doesn’t seem very woman-empowering to me.

Anyway, I don’t really care if they make a mini-series about her or not. I doubt it will have much impact on the 2016 presidential election either way. But for two decades, I have often been amazed that this woman is regarded so highly. To me, she doesn’t seem much more than the Courtney Stodden of politics. She is famous because of who she married and has been one of the most remarkable opportunists of our time. Not necessarily the things you enshrine someone in history for.

But that’s just my opinion.

 

 

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The Calm Weekend Before The Storm

This post is about book stuff…so if you are kinda over that, I get it. But at least you’ve been warned.

Somebody asked me if I had any plans this weekend. Before I answered, I thought about it and realized that…no, I don’t. And that’s a good thing. Because I have a lot of plans for each of the next 5 weekends after this. I could really use a good weekend to hang with my kids, mow my lawn, rest and breathe deeply.

As a last hurrah before the craziness starts, my wife and I took a road trip to Tucson this last Wednesday evening and had our last real get away as a couple before the book and the baby make it impossible. We hit town with enough time to eat at Red Lobster before heading over to see Chris Isaak in concert. If you don’t know who Chris Isaak is, look him upon iTunes or You Tube. (Although don’t watch his music videos unless they are live performances. Just trust me on this.) He is absolutely phenominal. He and his band know how to work a crowd and they are amazing musicians. We had an absolute blast.

Anyway, next week, the book officially comes out Tuesday (although it seems to be everywhere already), school starts Wednesday, (And I have to dress up as a prospector again one last time for the stake trek recap. At least I hope it’s the last time.) and then the first book event hits Saturday morning. I will be plugging the book on live local radio here in the Gila Valley Saturday morning at 7:30 on Voice of the Valley and then hopefully hanging with a bunch of friends between 10 and 12 at Bookworms Bookstore. Don’t forget, we’ll have amazing cupcakes.

Then the following week, I get to spend time with all my fam and friends in the Mesa/Gilbert area at the Deseret Book by the temple between 4 and 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 24th. Again, please just come to say hi even if you aren’t all that keen on buying a book.

Once that’s over, then it really gets crazy. I leave my poor wife, who will be 8 months pregnant at the time, on Wednesday the 28th to travel to Utah. While there, I will sign at The King’s English Bookshop in SLC on Friday, August 30th, at 7:00 p.m., Sugarhouse Barnes and Noble on Saturday, August 31 from noon until 3:00, and then Weller Book Works at Trolley Square in SLC on Monday, September 2nd, starting at 7:00 p.m. If you live in Utah, please come and see me. Again, buying a book is not a pre-requisite. Just having someone I know that I could say hi to would be nice as that many events has the potential to be a lot of time spent in bookstores by myself with not a lot going on.

Sept. 3, I get the day off and hopefully will be able to catch up with a friend or two, but that night, I have an engagement. My brother and Kirt are busy that night and Oscar needs someone to watch him, so I will be hanging with my nephew all evening. Pretty cool. And also a good reminder of what will be coming my way again very soon.

September 4th will be my last signing in SLC as I spend the lunch period from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. signing at Eborn Books in downtown SLC. Following that signing, I will be taking part in a podcast hosted by author Nick Galieti. The podcast is called The Good Word and is a weekly show where Nick interviews LDS authors about their work. That is really all I know at this point, but it sounds interesting.

September 5th will be a travel day as I say goodbye to my brother and his family in Salt Lake and travel south to Las Vegas. The point of this trip is that on Friday, some very good friends are taking pity on me being all alone on my WORLD BOOK TOUR (that consists of two states) and so they are driving up to meet me in Vegas on Thursday night so that we can…

Golf on Friday the 6th.

That’s right, our little foursome will be golfing on the 6th and making our way to St. George, Utah. Because that is where the book tour ends. On Saturday, September 7th, my final scheduled signing is at the St. George Barnes and Noble from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

So after almost 10 full days, I will arrive back home on Sunday, September 8th…four days before my wife and I will head over to the hospital and welcome our newest, and hopefully (please, I beg of you) last child into the world.

So yeah, I got nothing going this weekend.

In other news, the third week of the blog tour finished today. I mentioned on Wednesday the three tour stops that made up the first half of the week. The final posts were first from Lisa at www.lisaisabookworm.blogspot.com on Thursday and then from Aimee at www.gettingyourreadonaimeebrown.blogspot.com . Their reviews can be found at their sites but if you are short of time and wondering about the highlights, Lisa said:

“I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  Ryan Rapier has written a witty and intelligent book about a man’s struggle after the loss of his wife…I am very grateful that I gave the book a try, it was worth my time.”

Aimee had this to say:

“I’m not sure what I expected when I started reading this book but I can honestly say this book wasn’t what I was expecting.  I was mostly pleasantly surprised.  🙂

I really felt for Todd and his struggles.  They seemed real and identifiable.  I enjoyed the journey of his healing process.  This was a long book- over 400 pages- and by the end it started to feel really long.  But I still enjoyed it from beginning to end.  It was interesting and engaging.  It had a bit of every kind of struggle in it so everyone who reads it will be able to identify at some point or another.”

Aimee is not the first to mention her surprise at the length of the book. It is over 400 pages. But as I have mentioned before, had I not done a ton of editing, it very easily could have reached 500. Imagine how long it would have felt then.

I would like to thank Aimee and Lisa for their time and their kind words. Both gave the book 4 stars out of 5 on Goodreads and Amazon. I truly appreciate it.

To anyone who has received their book and had a chance to read it, please take a moment to go and give it a rating on Amazon. It will help others to know what to expect and the extra numbers of people reviewing or rating it would be a big help to me.  So in advance of everyone doing that, Thanks. I appreciate it.

 

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Trying To Survive as a Christian White Man in a PC World

I’m Anti-Semitic.

I had no idea I was until it was so helpfully pointed out to me this morning, but apparently, I am a raving anti-Semite.

My crime? My hateful act that so brutally attacks the Jewish faith? I used the words “utter humiliation” and “Jewish” in the same sentence.

To give everyone a little bit of context, what happened is that a press release regarding my book was sent out to media sources all over Arizona this morning. Almost immediately, two responses came back. One, I had misspelled Cronkite, as in Walter Cronkite. Now apparently this did not make me anti-semitic, it just made me aware that I am stupid-which admittedly, I already knew. I don’t have any excuses, I actually know how to spell the name correctly, I just didn’t. So there.

But the second response pointed out that the sentence, “Now, to his utter humiliation, Todd is seeing Dr. Melvin Schenk, a Jewish psychiatrist who requires his patient to blog regularly as a way to escape crippling depression and an aversion to therapy..” must be a joke. If not, the respondent then questioned whether the anti-Semitic remark had been placed there on purpose.

What??? The previous paragraph to the one containing this sentence had just laid out quite clearly that Todd is an LDS (Mormon) man. The point being made was that he was now seeing a psychiatrist not of his faith. As far as the words utter humiliation, the fact that Todd has an aversion to therapy is pointed out IN THE SAME SENTENCE!!!

The respondent goes on further to “help” me-and by extension, my publicist-by giving us a professional tip. He says, “Pro tip: There is no reason, ever, to mention a person’s religion/ethnicity in a news release unless the news release is about the person’s religion/ethnicity.”

Thank you, so much. Now, a question of my own. Can you explain to me why it is unprofessional to mention a person’s ethnicity or religion in a news release, but yet it was somehow perfectly acceptable for media people everywhere to practically trip over themselves to get the word “Mormon” in front of or behind the title, Presidential Candidate, Mitt Romney? Does that make every news person who felt the need to bring up his religion at every opportunity anti-Mormon, unprofessional, or both? I think it’s a fair question.

But see, I’m sure the argument would be made that talking about Romney’s Mormon faith was totally acceptable because he was a presidential candidate after all. It also didn’t hurt that those in the media with a liberal bias could use the word “Mormon” over and over again to pick at the scab of an entire section of the Republican base that absolutely despises the LDS religion. But of course, they are all professional, so I am sure they never thought of that.

Finally, I get so disgusted with the “PC” crowd. No matter how hard you try, you will never do enough to please them. I have done my best to keep up with the ever changing vernacular that is ascribed to each and every ethnic and racial sub-group within our country. I try very hard to be sensitive to the feelings of everyone. But it doesn’t matter. To some, changing the goalposts on a daily basis and then crying foul when someone doesn’t meet their newly minted criteria is the only thing that brings them joy in life. So to that individual who is so professional and so enlightened, I say this:

The character of Dr. Schenk in my book is not Mormon, he’s Jewish. In the context of the story, that’s an important point. The character of Todd does not want to be in a psychiatrist’s office regardless of whether the doctor is Mormon, Jewish, Southern Baptist, Shinto or Ancient Nordic Naturalist. It doesn’t mean he, or the author, looks down on any of those religions or belief systems.

So get over your damn self!

And I will now no longer waste another thought on that moron.

In other news, the blog tour continues and after an informative posting on Monday, two reviews have followed since. Yesterday, it was author JoAnn Arnold and today it is upcoming author June McCrary Jacobs. Both reviews can be found by clicking on the author’s name. For those interested, June is holding a giveaway contest for an electronic copy of THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER. All you have to do to enter is “like” her facebook page or leave a comment on her blog under the review post for my book.

My thanks to all three authors who have highlighted THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER this week and a big thank you in advance to the two book reviewers scheduled for tomorrow and Friday.

Finally, according to Amazon, there are only four copies left in stock. If you haven’t ordered it and are not in a place where I will be coming for a signing, now is as good a chance as any to order a copy and force Amazon to restock.

Thanks everybody.

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Did He Really Just Compare Himself to Lincoln?

For those who are concerned, the blog tour picked up again today, but today’s stop was at author Diony George’s website and she didn’t provide a review, she simply highlighted the book and posted all of the endorsements for it. If you have been reading this website for any length of time, there is a good chance you have already read them so…visit if you like, but there probably won’t be anything you haven’t already read before.

Meanwhile, this week is an anxious one for me. To set up what I’m talking about, I’m going to spend a few minutes talking about the latest book I just read. At the suggestion of someone I admire a great deal, I downloaded TEAM OF RIVALS by Doris Kearns Goodwin to my iPad. I enjoy an occasional biography and this one sounded exceptionally interesting.

And my gosh was it!

It was incredibly good. The book details the lives and careers of the four men who sought the Republican nomination for president in 1860. Those men were: Abraham Lincoln, Salmon Chase, Franklin Bates and William Seward. What was fascinating about this group of men is that they were intense rivals who all had spent years cultivating a run for the presidency. Each of them felt it was their duty, ordained of God, to achieve that high office. So you can imagine the disappointment among those whose efforts came up short.

But what is truly amazing is that Abraham Lincoln, following his election, turned to this group of men-who all believed him to be inferior to them-and invited each of them to be in his cabinet. He did this because he knew he would need the best of the best surrounding him in a time of extreme crisis for the country and knew that the nation had little time for petty rivalries. More than anything, the book illustrates what an incredibly non-ego driven man Lincoln was. For anyone looking for an absolutely incredible read, I highly suggest TEAM OF RIVALS, by Doris Kearns Goodwin. (After you have read THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER of course.)

But one of the things I found interesting was the description of President Lincoln when it came to his habit of stationing himself at the telegraph office whenever he was awaiting news. Whether it was reports from the latest battles or election results from political contests that would have a major impact on his governance, he generally couldn’t abide doing other things while waiting. He would take himself over to the telegraph office and sit for hours. He had a very close and personal relationship with the young men who ran the telegraphs because he spent so much time with them. This is a man I can relate to.

Now I totally get what a stretch this is to make the following comparison. I am not the leader of a great nation at war. I am not in the same stratosphere as the great emancipator. Please understand that I understand this.

But if the events of my life were taking place back in 1864, I would be just like President Lincoln, and here’s why:

For months now, I have been talking, plugging, describing, and in general, driving everyone nuts about my upcoming book. Even I have admitted that I am getting a little sick of how much I’ve been talking about it. But up until this week, it has all been just that…Talk!

Today, that all changes.

Last Friday, e-mails went out to all those who pre-ordered THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER on Amazon, letting everyone know that the books had been received in their warehouses a bit early. So, copies ordered up to that point would be shipped out last Friday and could be in people’s hands as early as today. (I have since learned that some made it even earlier, arriving on Saturday.)

So now, the talk is all over and the rubber starts to hit the road. I won’t be telling these people about the book anymore, they will be reading it for themselves. That’s highly intimidating and not just a little bit scary.

Now I still have a lot of talking to do. All of the book signings remain in the future and there is still some selling on my part to be done. But the reality is, my influence is about to fade. The fate of this book is just about out of my hands.

And so I have begun to sit by the 2013 version of a telegraph office. I check the Goodreads site multiple times a day in case another rating or review has been posted. Now that Amazon has shipped them out, they have opened up the book for reviews on their page and some are starting to post them there as well and so I visit this site multiple times a day also. All because I want to know…whatever there is to know as soon as possible. Having that knowledge right now or next week isn’t going to change it, but I don’t care. I’m obsessed.

It’s sad to admit, but I’m obsessed over the one 2 star rating I’ve received so far. I know there will be others, but it is the only one so far and so I wonder, “What didn’t the reader like?” He didn’t leave a review so I will never know. Now the fact that he’s in his twenties, non-LDS and living in India probably should tell me everything I need to know, but…still.

Anyway, it has been hard to focus today. My wife is at the baby doctor getting the latest check-up and my other baby (my book in case you didn’t make the connection) is falling into the hands of dozens of people I know.

And there is no way to know what they think. There is no way to gauge their reaction…unless they put it on Amazon. So I sit by my little version of a telegraph machine and I wait. I know it paints a pretty pathetic picture and that I should try and put it out of my head. But I can’t. And I’m not even going to try.

To all those who pre-ordered THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER and are receiving it today or tomorrow, thanks again. I really appreciate it. I hope you enjoy it at least a little. I’d prefer a lot, but I will take what I can get. For those who didn’t and are possibly interested in a copy, ordering from Amazon will probably have it in your hands by the end of the week. Otherwise, come and see me at one of the signings scheduled over the next month and we will get you a copy then. (Those who already have copies are invited to the signings as well. The stores will allow me to sign those copies too) But again, for those who have one or who are planning on getting one, I just want to say how much I appreciate you and your support. It means the world to me.

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The Blog Tour Finishes Another Week

To close out a very positive week for THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER on the blogs, I share with you two links to reviews that came out yesterday and today.

The first is from Cathy Jeppsen at her site, My Book A Day. Her review from yesterday of THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER can be found by clicking here. But if you are pressed for time, a short snippet from her review is as follows:

“I really enjoyed this book. I thought that the premise was interesting. The characters were well written and likable. There were certain times during the story that I wanted to hit Todd because he makes some seriously stupid mistakes, a sure sign that he and his story felt real to me.”

Then today, Brooke Berry took time out of her schedule to read and review THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER. Her review can be found by clicking here. But again, if you are among the time deficient, here is a little bit of what she said:

I loved The Reluctant Blogger. The true conflict in the story was as realistic as it was heartbreaking.  It felt very refreshing to have a modern and real story line.  I don’t want to ruin too much of the book itself, but I think it should definitley be on everyone’s to read list.  Love lost, love found, parenting, friendship, and acceptance are all topics I found myself pondering during and after reading The Reluctant Blogger.  I give it 5/5 stars.

So thank you so much Brooke and Cathy. I appreciate your time and your thoughts. We will pick up the book blog next week and folks…IT IS LESS THAN TWO WEEKS AWAY!!! Hope to see you all at one of the signings coming that are all listed on The Events Page.

Have a good weekend.

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