Sunday, August 19, 2007

What Was He Thinking?

A year ago, Dr. Louann Brizendine's book The Female Brain claimed that "85% of twenty- to thirty-year-old males think about sex every fifty-two seconds."

That's 1,662 times a day.

Unbelievable.

Yet, that's about how often I think about the upcoming Septem-
ber 4th release of my book, Bad Girl.

I'm having headaches a couple of times a week. At first, I attributed them to sinus problems. But, when my stomach joined my head in rebelling, I had to admit it was nerves.

I'm a big girl. I know how to handle stress. I have long lists of things to do, and I'm keeping busy.

Still, I find myself fantasizing at least once or twice a day on ways to publicize my book. I'm doing the usual stuff--talks in the community, multiple giveaways of books, book signings. I'm thinking about asking friends to blog about the release on September 4th, and offering to do interviews for other bloggers. In other words, I'm strategizing about public relations.

But my imagination doesn't touch Bill Schneider's.

Bill is a writer, living and working in Provincetown on Cape Cod. On May 17, 2004, when gay marriage became legal in Massachusetts, Provincetown--long a haven for gay residents and visitors according to the Boston Globe--decided to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples from out of state.

The Provincetown municipal staff quickly became overwhelmed with requests for information from all over the country. The Weekly Dig quoted Bill himself: "'At the time, the town clerk was begging for help as people came into town,' said Schneider. 'I said that I can help with PR, so they kept calling me back, to help with volunteer efforts. One thing led to another, and I started working in the tourism office'."

Initially hired at $31,000 annually as assistant tourism director, Schneider was promoted in 2006 to director of the tourism office. He earns $47,000 to put a publicity spin on Provincetown and to promote tourism.

As I mentioned earlier, he's also a writer with three books he's self-published through ASJA, an imprint of iUniverse: Second Chapter (April, 2005), Sand Dollar (July, 2006) and Crossed Paths (March, 2007).

It's Schneider's efforts to promote Crossed Paths that have caused controversy and provided Bill with more publicity than he may have anticipated.

Schneider posted a notice on his website here that he had been interviewed on Oprah and that his book had been selected as one of Oprah's Book Club picks. He even posted a transcript of the segment. The transcript has since been taken down, but here's a portion (courtesy of the Cape Cod Times):

TRANSCRIPT FROM FINAL INTERVIEW SEGMENT
BILL SCHNEIDER/CROSSED PATHS

Oprah: The latest author to join my Book Club is a friend of mine who has just released his third novel, Crossed Paths, which is based on a true story about two young men who met in 1976 during America's Bicentennial. It was a time when our country was in turmoil. Disco and punk rock battled for radio airplay as our nation recovered from the Vietnam War. Coupled with the sexual revolution and divisive nature of the Watergate scandal, the rest of the world thought America was out of control.


CUT TO IMAGE OF "CROSSED PATHS" BOOK COVER

Oprah: In direct contrast to the turmoil surrounding our country, Will - a flight attendant from southern California - and Adam - a medical student from Memphis, Tennessee - met and fell in love.

RETURN TO SET

Oprah: Crossed Paths is a roller coaster journey through these two men's unique lives.

So fasten your seat belts: because you are about to meet the author of Crossed Paths, who flew in from Cape Cod, Massachusetts just to spend some time with us today. Please join me in welcoming Bill Schneider.

Oprah: Bill, I must tell you that I immediately fell in love with this book when I first read it.

Schneider: Thank you. Thanks very much.

Oprah: Crossed Paths is truly a gem of story. Tell me how you came to write this very poignant book.

Schneider: Well, Oprah, it's a story that really tugged at my heartstrings: and, ah, I felt very certain about this being a story that needed to be shared. Not only because of the incredible love these two young men discovered, but, ah, also because long before I wrote this book, I found myself wondering the same thing that I think we all ponder from time to time ... 'Why are we here? What is our purpose?' And while I contemplated those questions, I was, ah, compelled to share this passionate love story: because it reinforces the importance of chance meetings, and every so often, a romantic rendezvous is more than just a coincidence. It's something that is, ah, simply meant to be.

Oprah: Let me set the stage for our audience. The characters in your book are Will and Adam, two 25-year-old men who met at a disco in southern California. And they do something that was just not allowed during the 1970s. They fell in love. What strikes me as very ironic is how coincidental the similarities are between now and then; and how vibrantly you set the stage for that period in time.

Schneider: Yeah, it's true. The Vietnam War then; and the War in Iraq now. Gas prices are soaring now just like they were during the seventies... but we don't have gas rationing. At least not yet, anyway.

Oprah: Please don't even think about making that a reality.

Schneider: It's funny how history tends to repeat itself.


Schneider also claimed that Oprah had interviewed him for his first book Second Chapter, but that the interview never aired.

In addition, he reported on his blog that Crossed Paths was being turned into a feature film and that the producers wanted him to write the screenplay.

Boston's Weekly Dig was the first to question Schneider's claims, posting a copy of a rigged photo. Take a look at the photo with Bill's swollen head and Oprah balancing the book on one hand here. I caught the story at Friday's Mediabistro's Galleycat here.

On Thursday, The Provincetown Banner reported that Schneider had admitted to fabricating the stories about Oprah.

The Banner said, "Schneider admitted the falsehood, calling it 'an error in judgment' but wanted to publicize his story of a doomed relationship between two gay men."

On the same day, the Cape Cod Times quoted two officials from Provincetown:

"There’s not any conflict that I’m aware of with Bill’s personal web site and the town,” Provincetown Town Manager Sharon Lynn said. “His employment is not affected.”

Resident Lynne Davies, a former member of the town’s visitor services board and currently a member of the board of selectmen, has worked directly with Schneider since his hiring.

“He is a great guy,” Davies said. “I trust him. He’s a good friend. I read his books and they’re wonderful. I’ve read some of the reviews and they seem to be terrific. My understanding is that we’re just waiting for the stickers to say he’s part of the club.”


If Ms. Davies sounds as though she is two beats behind the ball on this story, there's a reason. She had a personal relationship with Schneider which the Cape Cod Times revealed yesterday: ". . . another selectman, Lynn Davies, who has defended Schneider, said she was hired to be the Webmaster for his Web site and had posted the Oprah claims without questioning them."

Ouch. Nothing like defending someone in public and then finding out you've been lied to.

The town manager is also singing a different tune. This was reported in the same article:

Yesterday, selectmen chairwoman Mary-Jo Avellar and Town Manager Sharon Lynn said the town will investigate whether Schneider misused his office.

"It doesn't look good does it?" Avellar said yesterday.

"If there is anything untoward, I'll find it out and handle it appropriately," said Lynn, the town manager.


I've always heard that any publicity is good publicity. But, if you lose your day time job as a result, that publicity had better be worth it.

What on earth was Schneider thinking????

8 comments:

Stephen Parrish said...

The claim that men think about sex once every 52 seconds is an exaggeration that, frankly, I find insulting. I can't tell you how disappointed I am that you would publish such a spurious statistic on your blog.

Once every ten seconds is more like it.

As for Bill Schneider, I read the GalleyCat article and thought, "Maya will be on top of this shortly."

"She'll penetrate the issue satisfactorily."

"The thrust of the matter will be plain for all to see."

And, if you'll forgive a moment of seriousness, you've not campaigned on behalf of your book as much as you could have, as much as other author-bloggers do.

As much, arguably, as you should.

My blog will be devoted to your book on its publication date, and I hope everyone who reads you and links to you will do the same.

Stephen Parrish said...

I almost forgot. To answer your (rhetorical) question, Schneider was doing the Walter Mitty thing.

Maya Reynolds said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maya Reynolds said...

Stephen: THANKS!

I know. You've fussed at me before for not being more aggressive about publicity, and it's a legitimate charge. My friend Cat has said it to me more than once.

Okay, I am going to try and do better starting right now.

For the first ten people who email me at: mayareynoldswriter@sbcglobal.net
with their mailing addresses and with a promise to post a blog publicizing the book on 9/4, I'll send an autographed copy.

Stephen gets the first copy.

PLEASE BE FOREWARNED. THIS IS EROTIC ROMANCE. IT IS VERY GRAPHIC. If you are easily offended, please do not ask for a copy.

I will need for you to confirm that you are over 18 before I will mail a copy.

The clock starts ticking now.

Stephen Parrish said...

PLEASE BE FOREWARNED. THIS IS EROTIC ROMANCE. IT IS VERY GRAPHIC. If you are easily offended, please do not ask for a copy.

I will need for you to confirm that you are over 18 before I will mail a copy.


There you go, teasing me again.

Your friend Cat is a good friend.

I've probably already sufficiently stated my case, but I want the floor for just one more minute. Your blog is a godsend for so many of us who can't keep up with all the news sources out there.

For so many of us who appreciate the insight and commentary you provide.

For so many of us who think your command of the language is exquisite.

Everyone within the sound of this blog (you too, Nathan) owes Maya a plug.

P.S. I'm over eighteen.

P.P.S. That "plug" comment came across okay, right?

Kim Stagliano said...

Did you see the photo of him with his head attached to a "real" guests body? I'm sure P'Town will take some grief for being peripherally involved. Stephen sent me, by the way. "Hello!"

K

Maya Reynolds said...

Stephen: Sorry to take so long to respond, but I was preoccupied with my talk in Richardson.

You make me *blush*.

Thanks for all your support. I'm truly grateful.

Still waiting for your mailing address. Email me at mayareynoldswriter@sbcglobal.net

Warm regards,

Maya

Maya Reynolds said...

Kim: Hi, and welcome!

I think that photo underscores Stephen's remark that Schneider was in Walter Mitty land. It's the kind of thing a kid does to make his/her fantasies more real.

Oh, my.

Regards,

Maya