Free ebook of Welcome to Scranton

Welcome to Scranton is available for free to Amazon Kindle users from Saturday, February 4 through Wednesday, February 9. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can use the Kindle App on your iPhone, Android phone, Blackberry, Windows computer or Mac. The App is available here. Hope you enjoy.

Scranton The All American City

Scranton The All American City

Welcome to Scranton Book Trailer

The trailer for Welcome to Scranton is finally done. Normally a trailer is released before or at the same time as the book. This one took almost a year. Still, I’m pleased with the result and glad I took my time.

The trailer is basically a drive to and through Scranton at high speed. My wife Elisha and I shot the original footage last October. I drove the car while she operated a video camera through the moon-roof. It’s an hour of footage reduced to three minutes, thanks to video editing. Several places mentioned in Welcome to Scranton are shown. Unfortunately, the shot of the Welcome sign on the Scranton Expressway turned out blurry. We forgot the video camera on subsequent trips to Scranton and eventually the trailer project fell of the radar. We went back recently for the sole purpose of filming a good shot of the Welcome sign. It took two passes and we actually stopped the car alongside the sign to make sure we got it.

The video was done but I still didn’t have the right song to go with it. I host a jazz show on the radio so I wanted to use a jazz song. No jazz I tried worked well with the speed of the video. Anything in jazz that does move fast enough to keep up with the video is too hardcore for a non-jazz fan to enjoy.

As I was driving home from Scranton on a Saturday night after a day visiting family, I tuned into Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion on the radio. Garrison introduced Paul Johnson and Gil Orr of  The Duo-tones. They played an incredibly fast surf guitar tune from the 1960s. It’s an amazing song that gets you moving. They followed it up with “Mr. Moto,” another great song, which Paul Johnson wrote himself as a teenager. As soon as the Duo-tones stopped playing, I wanted to hear the songs again. When I got home, I immediately fired up the computer,  went to the band’s website, and purchased “Pipeline” and “Mr. Moto.” I’ve listened to them over and over since that night.

Pipeline fit perfectly with the video and the Welcome to Scranton‘s tagline of “It’s a wild ride.”

Below is the video. Click on the full screen button in the bottom right and buckle up because it truly is a wild ride. I hope you enjoy.

Book Sales Info from Amazon

Two copies of my novella Welcome to Scranton sold in the San Francisco Bay Area last week. That might not seem like a big deal but considering my book isn’t sitting on the shelves of book stores there or anywhere, for that matter, but Scranton, I found it quite interesting. I know about the sales because Amazon allows authors to access sales information of their books via BookScan. It’s a fantastic source of information, which shows how many books you are selling in geographic areas around the country. BookScan is a service from Nielsen, the same company that provides TV ratings data. Major book stores, except for Wal-Mart, report their sales information to BookScan.

Thanks to BookScan, I was surprised to learn that copies of Welcome to Scranton have also sold at book stores in Pittsburgh, Johnston, Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, Orlando and Norfolk, Virginia. The buyers of the book must have gone to a store and ordered it, which is how they show up on the report (see image below). If you are an author and have not created an Author Central account, I encourage you to do so at

BookScan is just one of the tools available from the Author Central. Kindle sales information is provided. You can also link to a blog, see reviews of your books, and create a bio.

Welcome to Scranton Sales Map

Welcome to Scranton on TV

Welcome to Scranton made a cameo appearance on TV in one of Liz Randol’s political ads during the recent primary election campaign. Randol ran for Lackawanna County Commissioner. The ad, which shows Ms. Randol holding a copy of the novella while speaking with a group of young women, was replayed over and over every day in the first half of May. I couldn’t have asked for better publicity for Welcome to Scranton, except perhaps for the book to appear on an episode of the TV show The Office.

I have never met Ms. Randol and do not know her positions on the issues, nor did I endorse her. But I am in favor of all candidates holding my book in their TV ads, regardless of their political persuasion–Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or vegetarian.

The Scranton Times-Tribune reported that Randol won in Scranton and the Abingtons, was second in Dunmore, but came in fifth in Carbondale. County-wide, Randol came up just 403 votes short of edging out Commissioner Corey O’Brien, meaning she won’t be on the Democratic ticket in November.

It must be disappointing for Ms. Randol. But we may see her again, given her strong showing in Scranton. Perhaps she’ll run for Mayor in the future. I’m hoping she does so she can run more commercials featuring Welcome to Scranton.

Take a look at the ad below and see the cover of Welcome to Scranton 17 seconds into the video.

Kindle Best Seller

Welcome to Scranton is back as a Kindle Best Seller…in a very narrow category.

It was right behind Ann Patchett’s Truth and Beauty and ahead of Thicker Than Blood:Friendships of Womyn by Maureen Jones-Ryan.

It reached #22 in the following category:

Again, I’m amused as the novella is fiction. It’s definitely not a How-to book on anything except perhaps how not to have a relationship. But I’ll take what I can get.

Week Three Wrap Up

We only had one class in week three because of holiday. We learned about the different types of narrators–limited, limited omniscient, and omniscient.

Stan talked about how the narration changes in a story. For example, Catcher in the Rye starts with the young Holden Caulfield speaking directly to the reader. Then it changes. The author steps back and narrates a story. Then it changes again and Holden speaks directly to the reader. It was very interesting. I hadn’t noticed that before or if I did, I didn’t know it was a “narrational contrstruct.”

One thing that struck me was the idea that the narrator and the narrational character are not the same people. The narrator is separate from the character by time.

We talked about several books in class that I’d like to read…if I can find the time: House of Leaves, The Domino Men, and Finnegan’s Wake.

I updated my first draft of the Katie story over the weekend. I changed the title. The story remains much the same except that I changed it from third to first person, which fits with what I’m doing with my other stories I stripped out some cheesy lines and hopefully, didn’t add any new ones. I’ll know when I read it again a week or a month from now.

– – –


By Greg Halpin

She showed up at the café shortly before closing time. It had been a while since I saw her.

“Hey,” she said.

“Hey,” I said.

“I have to talk to you, Hank.” I hated when conversations started like that. It usually meant trouble. This one probably wasn’t going to be any different.

“I’m pregnant,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

Week Two Roundup

Wednesday’s class was really good.  It began last week at The Creative Oasis on Beaver Avenue. It’s an art studio with a gallery in the front. They sell a lot of great items–decorative bowls, mugs, vases, and such. Stan instructed us to pick an item from the gallery and write about it. First we had to write a literal description of the object. Next, we had to write metaphorical description. Then finally, we wrote a combination of the two. It was a good way to get us to write creatively, which I’m not in the habit of doing. Most of my writing is literal.

We moved on to Panera for our critique session. Each of us read an excerpt from our stories. The assignment we had was to write one scene that contains conflict and a resolution. The stories everyone read impressed me. They had real plots and characters. I appreciated the feedback I received back from everyone regarding my story. I’ll use it to improved what I have. Below is an excerpt from a work in progress, tentatively titled “Katie.” Read the rest of this entry »