Today is the day that Little Heathens is available nationally. I’m not sure what to expect, but Tate Publishing is sure on the ball; I have an interview scheduled with WCIU-TV in Chicago for July 1st. I’m not sure when it will air, but I’m excited about the opportunity to share Little Heathens with a broader public. I love the book and am passionate about selling it to others. I love it because it’s a story about my family. A family full of love and laughter, adventure and wonderful times. I’ve received such inspiring feedback from those who have read it, and I feel like everyone who does read it takes something positive away from the experience.
It seems like a long time ago when I began writing the stories that would eventually become the book. I never intended to write a book; only wanting to record family history for posterity. Many were stories that my siblings and I would sit and tell in our adult days; teasing and laughing with each telling, those around us intrigued at what they were hearing. I thought the grandkids would get a kick out of reading about their grandpa and his siblings. I was between jobs a couple of years ago when I began compiling these memories from my youth, growing up in Los Angeles during my grade school years. After I had put a few stories together I began sending them out to co-workers. They were ebullient in their praise and suggested that I write a book.
For a few months I kept writing stories and sending them to my siblings for their approval and input. They too seemed to enjoy the tales and often said, “How do you remember all those stories?” I kept writing, almost as if my hand was being guided by someone else. You see, there is a theme of redemption running through my family’s history and it comes out in the stories. I believe that God is behind the writing of these tales as well as other writings I am working on. Check out my blog posts to see what I mean.
After about a year and a half of hearing how I should write a book, I finally thought of contacting a publisher, just to see what a person had to do to get a book published. I contacted Tate Publishing, the first publisher that came up in my search and whose faith statement on their webpage was one that aligned closely with my faith. They told me to send them three chapters and a foreword (I didn’t have a foreword and wasn’t done with the book). I wrote the foreword and picked out my favorite chapters and sent them via e-mail. After reading testimonials of other authors I wasn’t expecting a call, good or bad, for many weeks. They contacted me within twenty-four hours; they wanted to publish my book!
A couple of months later and the manuscript was done and then six months of back and forth editing and refining the text. I’ve read Little Heathens a dozen times and I still laugh at the stories. We, especially me, were funny kids. We did a lot of funny things as kids and I’m finding that we weren’t all that unusual. Everyone who sends me feedback on the book pulls something unique out of it that relates specifically to them. That is rewarding and each time I hear their feedback it makes me smile and laugh and takes me right back to the events; allowing me to relive them once again.
I remember the feedback that I received from my oldest son Ron. Ron is a musician in Chicago; a deep thinker, writer, musician, sound engineer, producer, poet and on top of all that he’s an avid fan of Stephen King. When he read the first chapter I sent him, he had a lot of insight to share, but the one thing he said, and a major contrast with his usual reading, was, “Dad, your stories are so wholesome!” Wholesome? Maybe we need a little more wholesome in today’s society. We have plenty of other things, but not a lot of wholesome.
I have dreams of Little Heathens doing well enough that the publisher asks me for another book (they won’t have to wait long as I’m about halfway through the sequel “Always a Little Heathen”), eventually writing full-time. In this, I have little control. I can only hope that those who read it share what they’ve experienced with others. For those interested in a signed copy, contact me at email@example.com. For those who want to go the more traditional route, Little Heathens is available on Amazon and bookstore websites such as Barnes and Noble (type in Ron Bay, Jr. as an alternate search). You can also order directly from the publisher at:
There will be a video trailer accompanying the release, soon to be seen on cable television stations such as CNN and Lifetime. Here’s the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfqIkAg6TjY
If you would like to read a little bit from the book prior to making a decision, there are stories posted on my blog excerpted from the book here: