Look Ma, I wrote a book!

Book Cover- GRAPPLERIt’s been awhile since I blogged at ya, but I’ve been really busy and I swear that I have a good reason. In fact, I have some physical proof. Look ma: I wrote a book!

Yours truly is the author (well, co-author technically) of Grappler: Memoirs of a Masked Madman. It’s the autobiography of my good friend Lynn Denton, better known to the pro wrestling world as “The Grappler”. As I have discussed before on this blog, I was a wrestling nerd for decades, dating all the way back to the mid-80s. In 2012, a childhood dream came true (at the age of 36) when I was given the opportunity to work on a local wrestling show with Lynn- who everyone calls Lenny- and WWE Hall of Famer Roddy Piper. I became close with both men, and it was clear to me that Lenny had a story to share with the world.

See, Lenny has been in the wild world of rasslin’ for 35 years. He was a champion in a number of big promotions, and worked with every major star from the mid-70s to the early-90s. He is also one of those guys that is always telling old stories: About the time he drove Ric Flair around the Carolinas for a year. Or the time that he beat Andre the Giant in the New Orleans Superdome. I call Lenny the “Forrest Gump” of pro wrestling; he’s a humble man with a southern accent who was a witness to so many pivotal events in wrestling history. He had encounters with Andre, Flair, Piper, The Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hart, Randy Savage- even Muhammad Ali! (And yes, I realize that if you’re not a wrestling fan, those names mean nothing to you. Trust me- these people were all huge stars.)

Because I enjoy writing, and because I have so much respect for Lenny, I approached him with this bright idea: Hey Lenny, you should publish your autobiography. And I want to write it! That was about a year-and-a-half ago. I planned to have the book on sale by January 2014. You may have noticed that I’m writing this blog in August.

In short, it was not as easy as I thought it would be. We did a series of in-depth interviews and then I did some additional research (getting dates and places and some of the details that have escaped Lenny’s memory). Then came the writing. And the writing. And the writing. Man, did that take a long time. Obviously, I have a full-time job and two young daughters (who I would watch when my wife was at work). So, the bulk of my writing took place in that one hour period between the time when I got home from work and before I had to pick up my daughters from school. I’d also get some writing done Fridays and Saturdays after the girls went to bed (because I work early morning hours, that wasn’t an option during the week). Of course, to do this I had to basically give up TV, video games and lots of other time-wasters that I enjoy for a good year (although you better believe I still found time for football). It was a grind, but I got it done.

Then came all the other stuff. While Lenny and I had shopped Grappler to a few publishers that specialize in wrestling biographies, we didn’t find any takers. So, I formed my own little imprint, and we published the thing ourselves (I also took on the task of marketing and pitching the book to reviewers).

Now the book is on sale and, believe it or not, people are buying it. Grappler has gotten some really good reviews and, as of this writing, it is the top selling “wrestling” book on Amazon. While I’m proud of the book, I want to stress that it’s not for everyone. If you only know me from Good Day Oregon and have never head of Ric Flair, Andre the Giant or Junkyard Dog, then this is probably not the book for you (also, the book is not for kids- it features some salty locker room language). But, if you grew up watching the WWF, the NWA or KPTV’s legendary Portland Wrestling, then I have a feeling you will really enjoy Grappler. Essentially, it’s the story of a regular guy trying to survive for 30 years in the world’s most bizarre business. As reviewer Jim Valley stated: It is filled with great stories, anecdotes, and life lessons. I believe most anyone can empathize with The Grappler.

Anyways, that’s what I’ve been up to. For those of you who read Grappler, I hope you enjoy it, and if you do- please tell your friends! (If you don’t like it, just keep that information to yourself). For now, I’m going to enjoy the few hours of free time that I have recaptured and maybe get reacquainted with my Netflix queue. Although, some people are already pitching me ideas for another book and, for some reason, I’m actually listening to them.

Some people never learn.

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One Response to “Look Ma, I wrote a book!”

  1. Rikki Byers Says:

    Too cool Joe V.!!!! 🙂

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