Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

Tag: Ghostly Tales of Route 66

Two New Route 66 E-Book Offerings Available Now

Some time ago, I traveled most of Route 66 with my husband and wrote 3 volumes of Ghostly Tales of Route 66 for Quixote Press.

Years after the initial publication of the paperback ($9.95) and the E-book that contained all of Volumes II and III, I have begun breaking out the individual states along Route 66, because I removed the pictures when I had the book converted to an e-book, and priced it too expensively (although getting TWO $10 books for $9.95 seemed like a good idea, at the time.)

These new state-by-state e-books have many more pictures than the original e-book, and will periodically go on sale for 99 cents as they are released. Right now, only one state is up: Oklahoma. Also, I used only the Oklahoma stories that appeared in paperback in Volume II, although there are also Oklahoma stories in Volume I. That is because the Fort El Reno Ghost Tour was the centerpiece of Volume II, and that is where I got an actual “ghostly orb” picture (among many others).

I combined the states of New Mexico and Arizona, because I did not have enough stories from New Mexico. But that volume is still plenty long for that plane trip and there are many pictures. It is entitled “Ghostly Tales of Oklahoma: Route 66” and the new book is “Ghostly Tales of New Mexico & Arizona: Route 66.”

The original e-book with the ’57 Chevy fin in red will probably go back up in due time, but, for now, I’m working on the individual states, and next up will be Texas, after the New Mexico/Arizona compilation.

No press release or publicity, yet. I’m waiting until I have more states out there in e-book format.

I remember being at an authors’ gathering at the East Moline Library and I was selling a different book when a gentleman approached me and said, “And the Route 66 ones are good, too!”  The original Volume I was Chicago to Oklahoma. Volume I was Chicago to Oklahoma. Volume II was Oklahoma to Arizona. Volume III was Arizona to the coast.

Check them out in e-book format if that is your desired format. The website is www.GhostlyTalesofRoute66TheBook.com.

Halloween Has Come…and Gone

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been here, writing about anything going on in my world. That is because I was in Chicago covering the Chicago Film Festival for nearly all of October, at Bishop Hill with other authors, and am now getting ready to launch promotional things for my newest nonfiction book, “It Came From the ’70s: From The Godfather to Apocalypse Now.”

But, first, a look at the signing on October 30th, the day before Halloween, for the final “Ghostly Tales of Route 66” book in the trilogy of “Ghostly Tales of Route 66.”

Find me next on December 4th at Barnes & Noble at Northpark with my nonfcition movie book and stay tuned for news of some other local signings, with the possibility of winning movie passes if you purchase a book.

The young duckling doing the signing is granddaughter Ava, whose twin sister, Elise was off on an “enjoy and destroy” mission of Barnes & Noble at Northpark Mall in Davenport on October 30th.

Drury Designs in Glen Ellyn for Book Fair

Drury Design, Glen Ellyn, Illinois

On June 19th, the community of Glen Ellyn had its first book fair. I signed up to participate ($25) and was told (eventually) that my signing spot was the Santa Fe Cafe. I both called and sent literature to Olga Jimenez, the charming owner of the Santa Fe Cafe, a downtown eating establishment that has been written up in “Chicago magazine.

I then set about having myself put on the free “Daily Herald” calendar, saying I would be at the Santa Fe Cafe and I sent some hand-outs to Olga, asking her to post same. She did so on her front door.

Less then a week before the June 19th event, I learned that I was being moved to Drury Designs, a kitchen and bath remodel store on the outskirts of the town. I was to share time/space with a writer of romance novels. I mentioned that Olga and I had already agreed that, since she doesn’t open till 11:00 a.m., I would sign from 11 to 2, rather than 10 to 1, and I was told that I couldn’ t do this because it “wouuldn’t be uniform.”

Actually, many other writers were signing at places around town in connection with the book fair at times other than 10 to 1, including J.A. Konrath, who signed at the downtown pub at night, and John O’Donnell, who had Randy Hundley of the Chicago Cubs come in as a celebrity to help him sell his baseball book.

I also learned that the “keynote” speaker was going to be speaking at a gym, which is not near the downtown, and that tickets were being sold for the speaker. However, none of we less-well-known writers were invited to have a table at the back of this gym while the “keynote” speaker did her thing.

I protested that, having just helped run a book fair in Davenport, Iowa, not having the rank-and-file of writers near the keynote speaker (who is, let’s face it, supposed to be the one who will draw a crowd for the smaller fry) seemed somewhat unfair to those of us stuck in the boonies. And, since I had already made some small efforts to advertise my presence at the Santa Fe Restaurant, moving me at the last minute to a place much further away from the action didn’t seem wise. The response was that the committee wanted to “draw people into the downtown stores.”

I certainly have no argument with drawing people into the downtown stores and I, personally, did my part, buying $80 of dresses for the 17-month old grand daughters, but I do think it (the notice that I must move to a different location than the one I had just told the newspaper) came sort of late in the day, and the reason given (“wouldn’t be uniform”) was bogus.

The romance writer and I saw exactly one woman who was not a committee member, during our 4 hours at the Drury Design, which is a lovely award-winning store. There were 3 other people who came in during the 4 hours, but they had appointments about their kitchen or bathroom remodeling jobs. Jim Drury, the owner of the establishment, was kind enough to buy one thing from each of his 2 authors, which was very nice of him, and I, in turn, said I would post an article about this lovely shop.

I also noted that all 35 to 40 authors could have been fit inside the Drury Design, and the downstairs has a place (separate room) where the keynote speaker could have spoken, although admittedly it is not the size of a school gymnasium. I hope you enjoy the pictures of my set-up inside a kitchen display. The lonely ghost welcomes the readers who did not come to the “Ghostly Tales of Route 66.”

Printers’ Row in Chicago, June 12 and June 13

Printers’ Row for the second day (Sunday, June 13th). For the second day, intermittent rain.

My tablemate (Chris Bell) did yeoman’s work, covering for us this morning from 10 to 2. (Yesterday, we did the A.M. shift). Today, we did the afternoon shift, 2 to 6 p.m. 6 p.m.

Stil more rain forced us into Bar Louie twice during the days, which was a small sacrifice. (Great spinach dip).

The ghost books sold well and my roommate and fellow tablemate expressed the opinion that the large wooden thing that says, “Ghostly Greetings” was a good eye-catching prop. (I use it to proop one book up.) If anyone knows where you can buy a more slanted plastic book holder thing, like bookstores use for signings, let me know where to purchase one.

So, next week (June 19th, Saturday), Glen Ellyn Book Fair. I’ll be at Drury Designs (kitchen remodels) from 10 to 1 and then I’m going over to Santa Fe restaurnat at 1:00 p.m. and (hopfully) signing until 2:00 p.m. if Olga Jimenez will allow me o do so.

See you there!

Book Signing(s) in Chicago for June 12, 13, 19

FixedPicAuthor  to Sign Books in Drury Design  June 19th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. During First Glen Ellyn Book Fair

Author Connie (Corcoran) Wilson will be signing 6 of her most recent book releases within Drury Design from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 19th, as part of the first Glen Ellyn Book Fair. Nearly all of Mrs. Wilson’s books are priced at (approximately) $10, (with the exception of her 80,000 word novel.)  Three  form a trilogy of true ghost stories, including pictures taken during a 2,800 mile journey along Route 66 in November of 2008 that took the author on the Fort El Reno (Oklahoma) Ghost Tour, the last tour of the Fort’s season.

Connie will also be at Table #164 (Quadrant #2) on Saturday, June 12, from 10 to 2, and on Sunday, June 13th, from 2 to 6 p.m., at Printers Row in Chicago, downtown on Dearborn Street.

Wilson is a long-time writer (54 years) of both nonfiction and fiction, with a teaching career spanning 41 years  spent as adjunct faculty at 6 IA/IL colleges. She has published 8 books covering many genres. There’s literally “something for everyone” in her books published by 6  small independent publishers since 2002.

She began writing at age 10 for her hometown (Independence, Iowa) newspaper and continued writing in high school, college and beyond, while studying at Iowa, Berkeley, Northern Illinois University and the University of Chicago..

Connie attended the University of Iowa on a Ferner-Hearst Journalism Scholarship and graduated as an English major with a Journalism minor. She taught writing both to junior high school students and  to college students  in  writing classes at every college in the Illinois/Iowa Quad Cities. She has also interviewed many famous writers for publication, including Kurt Vonnegut,  John Irving, David Morrell, Anne Perry, William F. Nolan, Frederik Pohl and Joe Hill. Recently, she attended the Hawaii Writers’ Conference and she will be at Table 164 at Printers Row on June 12 and June 13. On May 8th she helped head up the First Annual Quad City Book Fair in Davenport, Iowa.

Wilson’s early writing was primarily for 7 newspapers, including 15 years (1970-1985) spent serving as the film and book critic for the Quad City Times (Davenport, IA) while employed full-time as a teacher at Silvis (IL) Junior High School. In 1987 Connie founded the second Sylvan Learning Center in the state of Iowa (Bettendorf, Iowa) and in 1995, she founded a Prometric Testing Center. She served as CEO of both businesses while also writing humor columns for the Moline (Illinois) Dispatch and raising 2 children with her husband of 43 years, Craig.

Today, she writes regularly for 7 blogs, including Associated Content, which named her its Content Producer of the Year for her political coverage during the 2008 presidential campaign (AC is a Top 50 blog and was recently bought by Yahoo). She also has her own blog, www.WeeklyWilson.com. You can find more information about the author at www.ConnieCWilson.com.

Today, Connie continues to  review film and television for www.GetYourGoodNews.com , an online newspaper in the Quad Cities, and she has written for www.blogforiowa.com (archived); www.speakaboutit.com (archived); www.JollyJo.com (second coming stories); and www.helium.com (archived). On March 20th of this year, Connie was named the Writer of the Year by the (Davenport, Iowa) Midwest Writing Center, receiving its David R. Collins Memorial Award.

With the sale of both her businesses in 2002, Connie (Corcoran) Wilson has turned her attention to writing longer works. She has published 6 books since 2002 and 8, total (none of them self-published).

Her most recent release is the third book (Volume III) in a trilogy of true ghost stories set along Route 66, entitled Ghostly Tales of Route 66. (www.GhostlyTalesofRoute66.com). The books are PG-rated, small and amply illustrated, beginning in Chicago with Volume I and moving along the Mother Road as far as Oklahoma. Volume II picks up in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, site of an earlier version of the route, and takes the reader to Arizona. The final volume (Vol. III) goes from Arizona to California and was just released on June 4th.

On May 27th, Connie was at  BookExpo America signing copies of her short story collection Hellfire & Damnation (www.HellfireandDamnationtheBook.com), a collection of short stories with the unifying theme of  the sins punished at each of the 9 circles of Hell in Dante’s Inferno. With an introduction by William F. Nolan, the 15-story collection has been widely praised and is nominated for the Horror Writers’ Association Bram Stoker Award this year.

In 2004, Connie collected her previously published Dispatch humor columns to produce Both Sides Now, a collection of David Sedaris-like humorous essays. In December of 2008 Lachesis Published her first collaborative novel, a romantic sci-fi thriller entitled Out of Time (www.OutofTimetheNovel.com), which was pitched to the producer of the Transformers movies in Burbank, California in June.

By August, ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) of It Came from the ‘70s: From ‘The Godfather’ to ‘Apocalypse Now’ will be released from a small Rhode Island publisher (The Merry Blacksmith). The book is a 250 page nonfiction compilation of 50 movie reviews Connie wrote for the Quad City Times between 1970 to 1979, with an illustration every 3 pages, major cast, and interactive trivia (“Who did the studio really want to play Rocky in the movie of the same name?” Answers are upside down on the page; no fair cheating.)

As she said of the book, “Each review is like a tiny time capsule; the book could never be written this way today, as the reviews were written when  movie classics like The Godfather, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Alien were new. It might mention that Sally Field was on Johnny Carson that night, talking about Alien, for instance.”

Stop by Drury Designs and get a signed copy of Connie’s books. The ghost book trilogy, if purchased as a set of 3m receives a $5 discount from the individual price of $9.95. Check the blogs above, as video trailers appear there for  Hellfire & Damnation and Out of Time.

Since 2004, Connie has also been the owner of a condo in the Central Station District of Chicago (Lakeside on the Park), keeping her in touch with her 14-month old twin granddaughters, who live with her son, Scott and his wife, Jessica, in Bridgeport.

Quad City Book Fair Programming Set for May 8th at RME

Vol.-I-GTThe first Quad City Book Fair, to be held May 8th from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. inside the River Music Experience at 2nd and Main Street in Davenport, Iowa, will offer something for everyone. Local author Sean Leary will M.C. the presentations from the stage  of Mojo’s Café.

First up at 10 a.m. will be Chicago author Lawrence Santoro. Larry is a multiple Bram Stoker nominee and frequently called upon to record other authors’ works. He will read from his new novel Just North of Nowhere immediately after Mary Ellen Chamberlin’s opening remarks to the 40 Midwestern authors assembled.

Following Larry’s presentation will be Cindy Puck, who will talk about “Teens and Money” at approximately 10:30 a.m.

Eight-year-old Anna Shammus of Riverdale Heights, who has written 8 books, will follow Cindy,  reading from her works and answering questions until 11:15.

There will be a short break for AV set-up, from approximately 11:20 to 11:30 a.m.

HD3At 11:35 a.m. local author Connie (Corcoran) Wilson, recent winner of the David R. Collins’ Writing Award at the Midwest Writing Center’s March 20th banquet, will present professionally made trailers of her most recent books, including the three-book trilogy set along Route 66 (Ghostly Tales of Route 66, Vols I through III, www.ghostlytalesofroute66.com) , the short story collection Hellfire & Damnation and her first novel Out of Time (www.outoftimethenovel.com).

At noon,  the 40 participants at this first Quad City Book Fair event, some from as far away as Oklahoma, will be welcomed by local politicians, including  Mayor Bill Gluba of Davenport and State Representative Jim Lykum.

Karen Craft will follow the dignitaries with her presentation on “Animal Communication” from 12:15 to approximately 12:30 p.m.

At 12:30, the three student winners of the Midwest Writing Center’s essay contest will read their winning 500-word essays on the topic, “My Favorite Book and Why.”

carmeA 40-minute lunch break will follow Ms. Craft’s presentation, from ten minutes of one until 1:30 p.m. (Box lunches will be available inside the RME).

At 1:30 p.m., Muscatine native and author of the graphic novel Road to Perdition Max Allan Collins will speak about writing collaborations. Mr. Collins and his wife have collaborated on several books, and Mr. Collins also was involved in the Dick Tracy comic strip narrative. Collins has been a frequent presenter at the Midwest Writing Center’s summer workshop and at other conferences throughout the nation.

Another well-known author who will be present throughout the day, signing her books at the Barnes & Noble table, is children’s book author, Jill Esbaum, author of Ste-e-e-e-eamboat A-comin’! and Stink Soup.

CovermockCartoonist Steve Lackey will give a 15-minute presentation on cartooning from 2:15 to 2:30 p.m., after which live music begins onstage at Mojo’s Cafe within the River Music Experience and continues until 4:30 p.m,  the end of the book fair day.

KUUL radio will be outside the River Music Experience, broadcasting live for three hours in the morning and awarding prizes.  Within the RME throughout the day there will be interactive activities for children and adults, alike, with prizes awarded every 15 minutes.

Stop by and meet the 40 authors present for the Quad City Book Fair, being held at the same time as the Beaux Arts Fair in downtown Davenport. When the shopping for jewelry and pottery and other crafts takes its toll, come to the River Music Experience at 2nd and Main, pull up a chair, meet the 40 Midwestern authors present and enjoy.

Second Annual Route 66 Festival Held at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis on October 3, 2009

Route66FestBook-075The Second Annual Route 66 Festival at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge was held on October 3 in St. Louis, and I was one of the featured speakers at the event.

My husband and I had to take “the scenic route” to St. Louis, via Route 61, in order to pick up Volume II of Ghostly Tales of Route 66, which was hot off the presses on Friday. This second volume in the trilogy documenting ghostly tales along the Mother Road has one story that revisits the Hanging Judge of Fort Smith, Arkansas, a precursor to Route 66, as outlined in the history of the road (p. 17).

carmeMany of the stories were told me during the November 15, 2008 Ghost Tour at Fort El Reno, Oklahoma. Those include “Fort El Reno, Communing with the Spirits,” which tells the story of a very weird occurrence that happened to me during the four to five-hour tour; “The Buffalo Soldier of Fort El Reno, Oklahoma”; “The Mysterious Major of Fort El Reno”; and “The Strychnine Specter of Fort El Reno, Oklahoma.”

After the Oklahoma stories, the book moves on to the Texas Panhandle, New Mexico, and ends at the Arizona border. The final book in the trilogy will pick up in Arizona and take the readers through California, documenting stories told me as I traveled the route.

outsidecarPictured here are some pictures of the 70 vintage automobiles that were parked on the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge during the Antique Auto Contest. There were vendors…including the man with the seventy-pound pumpkins! (He was selling them at 40 cents a pound.)

After trying out the AmericInn Casino nearby, we all were thankful that, although it was cooler than last year’s Festival, there was no rain. A good time was had by all.

Review: “Ghostly Tales of Route 66” (NVF Magazine)

Review: Ghostly Tales of Route 66 (Chicago to Oklahoma)

NVF Magazine, November, 2008

Collection co-authored by Connie (Corcoran) Wilson & Michael McCarty

Quixote Press, 138 pages/$9.95

When I was first sent a copy of this first volume of a planned two-volume set of ghost stories set along Route 66, I automatically pictured a massive volume of ghastly, ghostly tales of haunting and possessions, co-written with other authors. Upon receiving the book, however, I was taken aback at first, sitting there holding in my hands a book of (supposedly) real-life events that (supposedly) happened on the infamous Route 66 that used to stretch from Chicago to California. (The first Volume stops in Oklahoma, with Oklahoma to California to follow).

Although the Mother Road is no longer used, it still, after all these decades, lives on in the hearts and minds of many who once traveled it and lived to tell bout it. And, fortunately for a lot of other avid ghost story fans and me, Wilson and McCarty decided to put together a collection of fifteen of these tales for our reading enjoyment.

Although it clocks in at only 138 pages, this neat little package still packs a sweet and creepy little wallop. The tales are short but sweet, and guaranteed to elicit a shiver or two. Although I am not a big fan of ghost stories, I do so enjoy a well-written, well-constructed ghost story collection with stories like “Rachel & David,” so, to me this book was a real guilty little pleasure.

The opening tale, “Resurrection Mary,” the tale of a young beauty killed on her way to a ballroom dance, is one of the real gems of the collection along with “Rachel & David” by Wilson, containing most of the key elements essential to a good old-fashioned “campfire tale” type ghost story: the sad and very dead girl, haunting the area of her demise, a waif-like beauty dressed in flowing white, hitchhiking along Route 66, haunting the ballroom where she danced in real life, searching for rest…peace…love?

It’s all here, as the tales seem to just float on by, late into the wee hours of the night, the reader unable to put the book down…

This book brought back childhood memories and a strong sense of nostalgia as I remembered the good old days, my friends and I huddled around a campfire, telling creepy tales late into the night, though not as good as these, of course.

I sincerely believe that this book would be a welcome addition to the personal library shelves of such literary masters as Stephen King and Peter Straub.

It is most definitely a welcome edition to mine.

Rating: 4 stars. Order by calling 1-800-571-2665.

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