Posts Tagged ‘author’

Author & CSI investigator spooks up local ghost stories

Author and CSI Investigator Paul Rimmasch is currently writing a book of ghost stories.

Author and CSI Investigator Paul Rimmasch is currently writing a book of ghost stories.

With Halloween around the corner, what’s better than a good ghost story (or ten)? I’ve known author Paul Rimmasch for a couple years here in Ogden, Utah. This Saturday Spotlight features his current project: a series of ghost stories, based on his experience as a local CSI investigator. Turns out, they don’t call late nights the “witching hour” for nothing and “tales of the paranormal”  find their way into CSI fieldwork. Spooked yet?

Q. As a CSI investigator, you have the unique role of deciphering fact from fiction. How does that play into your current writing project?

My concept for the book I am writing is to not only spin a spooky yarn, but to place the story in the law enforcement context in which it was experienced. For example, when I paint the picture of the truly horrifying thing an officer saw in the Ogden City Cemetery one night, I will also explain why cops park in such secluded places in the first place. Or, why was it that when I was stuck in an elevator in a haunted hotel, the people I was stuck with were looking at me funny.

At first I was unsure of how this concept would play, but advance readers have been fairly positive, so I guess it is working. I love folklore, whether in written form or told around the campfire. When you think about it, campfire stories were the first form of literature, and even in this digital age, there is nothing quite as magical. This is my attempt to add to this wonderful genre.

Q. Do the ghost stories you’re sharing come from real-life experiences?

One might expect a career in the forensic sciences and an interest in ghost stories to be diametrically opposed. After all, one deals with verifiable evidence and the other delves into a realm where proof has proved to be more elusive.

The reality, however, is that CSI fieldwork and tales of the paranormal fit together like a hand and a glove. In this business, you spend a lot of time hanging around dead people and the places they died. And not just any dead people; we’re talking suicides and homicides. These violent acts, and the strong emotions associated with them, have traditionally been the genesis for many a haunted house. Spend enough time in these places and you feel and experience things that lead you to believe that there are things in this universe that can’t be measured scientifically.

Remember, law enforcement personnel are awake and about when honest people are home in bed. They don’t call the interval between midnight and 4:00 “the witching hours” for nothing, you know. One also finds oneself alone after dark in cemeteries, mausoleums, lonely country roads, and old abandoned buildings. Everyone has seen enough scary movies to know what happens in those places. When something happens to a cop or CSI that they can’t explain, most accept it at face value and don’t try to make it fit into a preconceived intellectual compartment.

Q. Tell us about your first published book.

My first book is entitled “The Lost Stones.” Quite a departure from what I am working on now, it is a fictional adventure story with a heavy dose of real-life archaeology mixed in. “The Lost Stones” is in the same spirit as “Raiders of the Lost Ark” or “National Treasure,” but with LDS themes. I thoroughly enjoyed doing the extensive research that went into writing the book and it is very gratifying to get feedback from readers saying they learned something new by spending time with my characters.

Q. What did the publication process look like? Did it take longer than you expected?

Compared to a lot of authors I have met since “The Lost Stones” came out, I think I had it pretty easy for a first timer. The publisher, Cedar Fort, was only the second publisher that I sent my manuscript to. As a first time author, I didn’t really know what to expect, but the time between acceptance and publication did seem to drag on forever. When you get that acceptance letter, you are about as excited as you’ve been in your whole life. You want stuff to start happening. You want to see your book in print… in your hand… yesterday. The trouble is, it takes time to get a book edited and put together. Not to mention the fact that the publishing company has a certain release schedule planned well out in advance. So all in all, you end up waiting. Needless to say, the 11 months between acceptance and release were the longest 11 months of my life.

the lost stones

Q. What led you to writing your first book?

Basically I wasn’t smart enough to know I shouldn’t try. I am by no means a strong writer, but the story for “The Lost Stones” so preoccupied my thoughts I figured the only way to get it out of my head was to write it down. Let me be a lesson to you would-be writers out there. Don’t let anyone (especially yourself) tell you that you can’t do it.

Connect with Paul Rimmasch

Check out The Lost Stones Facebook page and you can purchase his book at BarnesandNoble.com

 

Q & A with Scott McKain + win a signed copy of his new book “Create Distinction”

Last year I heard distinction expert Scott McKain give a keynote address. His vivacious and mesmerizing presentation hooked me into fandom. You see, Scott not only gives sound advice for business and life – he’s the living example of it. Besides being a best-selling author and well-known speaker, he sets himself apart by truly caring about people. I love that. You’ll soon see why I respect Scott so much: He’s as distinct as they come. And lucky you, he’s giving away a signed copy of his brand new book. Read on to see how you can win it!

Q. Congrats on your book, Create Distinscott mckainction (2013) launched this month in nationwide airport bookstores, from LAX to JFK. What’s it like seeing your own idea become a tangible reality?

Thank you! You’ve really touched upon the most gratifying — and surreal — aspects of being an author. When I’m speaking, I love the instantaneous response of the audience, yet wonder if there is any tangible impact. When I see the book on a shelf in the bookstore, or see someone reading the book on a plane, I’m thrilled because there is a sense of both accomplishment and completion. At the same time, it does seem quite extraordinary that something beginning as thoughts jotted on a legal pad in Starbucks can become a tangible product — one I’m fortunate that some people find of value.

Q. You’ve written three Amazon.com No. 1 business bestsellers – what makes the latest book stand out from your others?

This is the first time I’ve followed up on a previous book. “Create Distinction” is an expanded and updated version of my previous book, “Collapse of Distinction.” I wanted to do this for a couple of reasons; first, after the original was named to the “Top Ten Business Books of the Year” list by the Miami Herald and other major newspapers, I felt the previous publisher — and this author — didn’t quite do enough to maximize its potential in the marketplace. A “re-launch” would give the material the opportunity to find a wider audience.

However, I also wanted to validate the points of the earlier book by showing how the distinctive organizations I mentioned had performed since the original work. Any author can create a theory of how a business should approach the marketplace, or how customers should be served. The critical question I hear from corporate leaders and entrepreneurs, however, is, “Will this work in the real world?” “Create Distinction” provided me the opportunity to deliver the evidence that the answer is a resounding “yes!”

Q. In addition to being a celebrated author, you’re an energetic storyteller. I know, having experienced your powerful keynote speech in 2012. Which do you believe creates more distinction and why: writing or speaking?

The best answer is not new or original to me, however, it’s the best one: The magic is in the mix.

We all are aware of speakers with a compelling presentation style who have nothing of significance to say — they’re all style and no substance. On the other hand, there are authors who have deep content, but their presentation style doesn’t create audience engagement.

In today’s media-centric culture, it’s not about the “or” — it’s about “and.” The most distinctive content providers will be able to both write powerful stories and deliver compelling presentations. That’s a level to which I aspire.

Q. You learned a lot about pleasing customers when working at your parent’s small town grocery store as a kid. Back then, did you ever imagine yourself being an international expert on distinction?

NO! It never crossed my mind in Crothersville, Indiana that I would ever become an “international” anything! While I don’t like referring to myself as “lucky” — because that seems to imply mere random circumstance — I constantly see myself as extremely fortunate. I have been blessed with extraordinary mentors and colleagues, and have been encouraged by my family and friends to travel the “road not taken.” And, as the classic Frost poem proclaims, for me, too, it has made all the difference.

Q. Getting theoretical here, but if everyone avoided stifling sameness, would anyone be distinct?

It’s a great question. And, unfortunately, because of all the cliches we hear as kids, I don’t think we are in danger of it occurring. We are warned against standing out and attracting attention — and we have such a strong desire to “fit in” with our peers — that I believe we are predisposed to similarity.

Theoretically, yes, you’re right — if everyone was distinctive, then it would be common to do so. For some reason, that reminds me of the scene in Monty Python’s classic film, “Life of Brian,” where the throng is awaiting any words from the man they erroneously presume is holy. In his irritation to get them to stop following him, Brian shouts, “You are ALL individuals.” And, they respond in unison, “Yes! We are all individuals!”

My point is that uniformity and conformity have become so common, the sameness is — as you suggest — stifling. While it probably wouldn’t work for us ALL to become unique, my research and experience has taught me that YOUR business will profit and YOUR career will benefit if you create distinction.

create distinction

  WIN your own SIGNED COPY of “Create Distinction!”

To enter, “Like” this post and answer one of these questions in the comments:  What makes you distinct? OR Why does creating distinction matter? I’ll pick the most distinct answer as the winner! Be sure to comment soon – I’ll announce the winner Friday, April 5, 2013.

Connect with Scott McKain

See his site: createdistinction.com

Send him a tweet: @scottmckain

Check out his blog: mckainviewpoint.com