THE COOLER KING: MY FIRST PUBLISHED BOOK

The Cooler King, nice name for a debut book, isn’t it? Well about 13 years before Lee Marvin Point Blank saw the light of day, that’s exactly what it was. However, my tale of publication is not typical of most published authors.

The cover of my first book, THE COOLER KING, a young adult novel written for the ESL market.

Although, truth be told, I don’t really know what is typical. That aside, I don’t know of anyone who ever got published by virtue of being a waiter.
I used to work as a waiter in Orange County in the early 90s and like most decent waiters, I had a few regular customers. One such regular was a tall, thin, amiable middle-aged man named Mike Miller. He ran his own educational material company and came in once a week for a lunch of jambalaya and a tall ice tea. All these years later and I still remember. Geez! Anyway, He was affable and fun and we also enjoyed each other’s conversation. When he spoke of his work, which was located nearby, he bemoaned his inability to find someone who can complete a decent sentence for his regular catalog production. When I told him I used to write for a newspaper, he gave me a copy of his previous catalog to proofread. I gave the proofed copy back the next time I saw him, he perused my corrections and asked me if I’d like to join his staff as an editor. Simple as that. Talk about being at the right place at the right time! By the way, I found out much later that I was only person who saw the catalog and corrected the fact that Robert Louis Stevenson did NOT write Moby Dick (!)
Anyway, my tenure at Miller Education Materials was a fun one as I began to move up the company’s ladder, eventually becoming production manager and hiring and overseeing small office staff as the company grew to include a publishing arm, Artesian Press. Pretty heady stuff for a guy who never finished college! Through it all was Mike Miller, who allowed me to pick his brain, encouraged my writing, laughed a lot and gave me my first writing credit as an author. He asked for an idea, I gave it to him and he published it! Also resulted in an audio cassette version…remember those?

Audio cassette of THE COOLER KING

It may seem a stretch but there never would have been Lee Marvin Point Blank had there not been a Mike Miller and THE COOLER KING first. I miss them both.

The last time I saw my old boss, Mike Miller, was at a book signing I did at the Long Beach Barnes & Noble. A year later he died of a brain tumor. I sure do miss him.

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GREAT SCOUT & CATHOUSE THURSDAY UPI PROMO

More than anything else, I just love the sepia like tone of this image from the UPI Wire Service to help promote The Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday.
In doing research for Lee Marvin Point Blank I came across all kinds of oddities and here’s a personal favorite discovered in the archives of a local newspaper.

From the UPI Wire, July 4th 1976.

Since it’s kind of small and a bit blurry, here’s what it says: “SUGGESTED FOR USE WITH SCOTT’S WORLD FOR WEEKEND 7/3-4 ON LEE MARVIN
HOLLYWOOD:  Lee Marvin mournfully admits he is one of the few really rotten-to-the-core actors left in the civilized world! The ex-combat marine whose hooded eyes, shambling gait and torn-pocket mouth bode instant trouble, has made 50 movies and in almost all of them he is terminally disreputable.”
I also find it interesting that the idea was to run this little tidbit syndicated on the 4th of July…of the Bicentennial year of 1976! I really don’t know if it actually did run anywhere or not, but if it did, it begs the obvious question: Is this the best thing that newspaper syndicates can come up with for trivia or factual information on the 200th anniversary of the country’s birth????? My guess is that it probably did run somewhere, which is kind of sad, in a way. Even a “Weekend Supplement” as suggested, can do better than that. Although, in fairness, Great Scout did take place during the presidential election of 1908 in which Taft defeated Bryan. Since that would make it….132 years from 1776. Okay, it’s a stretch but what the hell, it was worth a try. Besides, it is a cool picture, don’t you think?

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MICHELE TRIOLA: MEN’S MAGAZINE CONTACT SHEETS

In researching and writing Lee Marvin Point Blank, it was mandatory that I deal with the relationship between Lee Marvin and his pariah, Michele Triola, whether I like it or not. In doing so, one comes across a pretty strange array of, shall we say artifacts? I would check Ebay regularly (among other sources) for any rare or hard to find info on Lee and came across the above entitled items for sale. Naturally intrigued, I bid on and won it, but when I questioned the buyer of its origins, he was very mysteriously evasive. In other words, I have no idea if any of the images ever saw the light of day or even who the photographer was, for that matter. The contact sheet was undated so any time frame is purely conjecture. I’m pretty sure it was before she met Lee Marvin on the set of Ship of Fools in 1964. I’d venture a guess that the pictures were taken in the very late 50s or early 60s.

“Oh hi, Lee. Yes, I was just going to call you and…Oh hold on. I have Glenn Ford on the other line….”

Please forgive the attempted humor in the first caption. I just couldn’t help myself. Readers of Lee Marvin Point Blank will of course get the reference but others probably won’t. In that case, read the book to find out.
Which reminds me of something else I’d like to point out. Several reviewers stated that I was unduly and unnecessarily cruel in my assessment of Ms. Triola and to that I say they should have done the research that I did as that is where the assessment comes from. I didn’t get a chance to interview her, although I made several attempts to do so. Readers know the comments and stories concerning Michele Triola came directly from interviews I conducted with individuals with firsthand knowledge of her and her relationship with Lee. People such as Lee’s palimony lawyer, David Kagon, stuntman Tony Epper, business manager Ed Silver, and many others all went on the record about her and I found it interesting that even though they may not have known each other, they all told similar ribald tales about her. Want to know what they were? Read the book. In the mean time, feel free to check out the contact sheets below….

Contact sheet for unknown Men’s Magazine featuring Michel Triola.

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