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Posted: Friday, Aug. 08, 2008

Mooresville author is quite the salesman, too

Published in: Pam Kelley

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Who's the hardest-working man in publishing? It might be Mooresville's Kenny Fields.

Last year, Fields, a retired Navy man, got his first book published by Naval Institute Press. “The Rescue of Streetcar 304” tells of his rescue after being shot down over Laos in 1968.

Planned publicity was minimal, so Fields, 67, took on marketing. Fourteen months later, he's done nearly 100 book signings at bookstores, military bases and aviation museums across the country. He's sold about 6,000 books, and after four printings, his publisher is releasing a paperback edition. Thanks to his tenacity, his book is now the National Air & Space Museum's best-seller, says the museum's Paula Timbal.

In the process, Fields says he's learned a few things. Upside: He's gotten good at interacting with the public. Downside: Selling books is harder than writing them.

Golfing with the devil

One chapter of Wille Thompson's recent comic novel “Scratch Golfer” ($21.95, Mainland Press) is titled “Lake Norman. Was there ever a duller name for a lake?” I have wondered this myself.

Thompson lives in Newton, and his story of Web Daniels, a middle-aged guy who might just sell his soul for a decent golf score, is a wacky satire set in Charlotte's northern 'burbs. Thompson riffs on suburbia, private golf clubs and subdivision names. “When you start to get up into the tonier gated or golf course communities, single names prevail with that all-important appended ‘e' (Northpointe, Viewmonte, Dingleberrye.)”

He also explains – and this is true – that Lake Norman was named for former Duke Energy President Norman Atwater Cocke. “The assumption is that Lake Cocke produced too many snickers, and Lake At Water was too redundant.”

Local poetry

The Carolinas are thick with poets. Check out “Kakalak 2008” ($15), an anthology of Carolina poets, featuring more than 100 poets and artists. Edited by Lisa Zerkle, Beth Cagle Burt and Richard Allen Taylor, it's available at some local bookstores, through www.kakalak.net and Main Street Rag Publishing,

www.mainstreetrag.com.

Got a sports story?

Novello Festival Press is searching for the best sports stories in the Carolinas. Next year, the press plans to publish a book celebrating Carolinas sports – NASCAR, college football, Olympic medal winners and more.

Deadline is Sept. 2 to submit nonfiction pieces about a person, place or event relating to sports in the Carolinas. Guidelines: 704-416-0706 or www.novellopress.org.

Pam Kelley: 704-358-5271; pkelley@charlotteobserver.com.

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