Monday, June 27, 2016

GREGORYAFOURNIER.COM Author Website Running

Photo: Nicole Fribourg
Spring 2016 was busy for me. I completed Terror in Ypsilanti: John Norman Collins Unmasked (TIY) and re-edited Zug Island: A Detroit Riot Novel for a revised 2nd edition commemorating fifty years since the civil unrest of July 23, 1967.

As if that was not enough, I also earned my cyberpunk badge learning to build and maintain my new author website. Starting today, I am open for business.

Terror in Ypsilanti will go to print in mid-July. Advanced copies are available at gregoryafournier.com. Expect four to six weeks for delivery until books are in the pipeline. All orders must be within the delivery reach of the United States Postal Service.

The final page count for TIY will come near 480 pages including a map commissioned for the book, several reader supplements, a photo gallery, and a subject index. I have not been told the final price point, but I have seen an Author Review Copy of the book and am pleased with the end result. I'm certain the book version won't be listed under $24.95 because of its length and quality.

I am direct marketing TIY on my website for $20 plus $4 postage and handling. An e-book Kindle edition will be available on Amazon.com in the near future as well as the paperback edition. Discounted bulk and library copies will be available soon from my publisher Wheatmark.com. They honor a one-year return policy to vendors for unsold books.


The publishing business is notoriously slow.
In January 2016 at the San Diego State University Writer's Conference, I met literary agent Chip MacGregor. After reading my manuscript, he was interested in representing my book. 

MacGregor was optimistic he could place the book with a traditional publisher but warned it would take two years to see TIY in print. Waiting two more years was unacceptable.

When he told me I would lose creative control beyond the manuscript, I decided to independently publish through Wheatmark. I did not want to see my vision for the book corrupted. By independently publishing, I made all the decisions. My researcher Ryan M. Place in Detroit and I have worked too long and hard to make compromises and cede creative control to a publishing house concerned primarily with the bottom line. 

Building an audience and keeping readers interested is not open-ended. Five years is a long time to ask readers to wait. Several key people who helped me tell this story have died and others anxiously await the book's release. I wrote the best account I could with what I had to work with. Now, it is time for the book to find its audience.

--My author website link: http://gregoryafournier.com

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Eastern Michigan University Student Queried - "Is Paul (McCartney) Dead?"

The biggest hoax in the history of Rock & Roll is surely the "Is Paul Dead?" controversy. On Sunday afternoon, October 12, 1969, Thomas Zarski, an Eastern Michigan University student, called [Uncle Russ] Gibb, a concert promoter and popular D.J. for Detroit's underground music radio station - WKNR-FM.

On the air, Zarski asked Gibb what he knew about the death of Paul McCartney. This was the first the D.J. heard of it. "Have you ever played "Revolution 9" from the The White Album backwards?" Zarski asked.

Gibb hadn't. Skeptical, he humored his call-in listener and played the song backwards. For the first time his audience heard, "Turn me on, dead man." Then WKNR's phone started ringing off the hook.

Apparently, the rumor started when Tim Harper wrote an article on September 17, 1969 in the Drake University (Iowa) newspaper. The story circulated by word of mouth through the counter culture underground for a month until Zarski caught wind of it. He called Uncle Russ asking about it. Gibb had solid connections with the local Detroit and British rock scene because he was a concert promoter at the Grande Ballroom--Detroit's rock Mecca.

University of Michigan student Fred LaBour heard the October 12th radio broadcast and published an article two days later in the October 14th edition of The Michigan Daily as a record review parody of the Beatles' latest album Abbey Road. This article was credited for giving the story legs and was the key exposure that propelled the hoax nationally and internationally.

The legend goes that Paul died in November of 1966 in a car crash. The three categories of clues were:
  1. Clues found on the album covers and liner sleeve notes,
  2. Clues found playing the records forward, and
  3. Clues found playing the records backwards.
The clues came from the albums:
  1. Yesterday and Today,
  2. Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,
  3. Magical Mystery Tour,
  4. The Beatles [the White Album], and
  5. Abbey Road.
Some people thought the Beatles masterminded the hoax because of the large number of clues. They thought there were too many for this story to be merely coincidental. 

The story peaked in America on November 7th, 1969, when Life magazine ran an interview with Paul McCartney at his farm in Scotland, debunking the myth.

For more detailed information on the myth and the clues, check out these links: 

http://turnmeondeadman.com/the-paul-is-dead-rumor/ 

http://keenerpodcast.com/?page_id=602

Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqBf6iNPVOg

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Ypsilanti, Michigan History - What's in a Name?



Dimitrios Ypsilantis
Where the Sauk Native American trail crossed the narrows at a bend of the Huron River, Gabriel Godfroy--a French-Canadian fur trader from Montreal--established his Indian trading post in 1809. Fifteen years later, Judge Augustus B. Woodward of Detroit with two local land speculators--William Harwood and John Stewart--laid-out a town on land they purchased from the original French settlers.

Judge Woodward was a Grecophile who wanted to name the town in honor of Greek war hero Demetrius Ypsilanti--a general famous for successes in his country's war for independence against the Ottoman Turks. This struck a chord with Woodward. America had waged its own war for independence against the British not so very long before.


Ypsilanti Woolen Company

His partners had a different idea with more commercial potential. They favored a name like Waterford or Waterville which highlighted the water-power feature of the Huron River to attract manufacturing business. Judge Woodward--being the major investor in the land project--had the final word. In 1824, the new town of Ypsilanti spanned both sides of the Huron River on the old Chicago Road (soon to be renamed Michigan Avenue). An area which began as a frontier trading outpost eventually became downtown Ypsilanti.

The east side of Ypsilanti developed when the Michigan Central train line began rail service in 1838, making the city an important economic hub for the area’s growing light-industry and agricultural concerns. A lovely, three-story train depot said to be the nicest depot between Detroit and Chicago was built in 1864. A two block long commercial district grew up along both sides of East Cross Street—aptly named Depot Town.

Original Ypsilanti train depot with landscaping.
The Depot Town businesses on the ground floors catered to the needs of weary travelers and light manufacturing. The upper floors were used for lodging, warehousing, or residential use. Depot Town was a destination for the Underground Railroad before and throughout the Civil War. Soldiers of the 14th and 17th Michigan Regiments left for the South from the Ypsilanti train station platform.

Depot Town Today
A fire destroyed the tower and the upper floors of the depot in May of 1910. New owners--Pennsylvania Central Railroad--decided to rebuild only the ground floor. Amtrak ended passenger service in 1982.

There may be some life in the old girl yet. Depot Town could be a stop on the proposed Ann Arbor to Detroit commuter rail line which would bring more activity into the area. Restoring the Depot Town train buildings preserves a remnant of Ypsilanti's history which could be re-purposed on the interior to increase the commercial value of the property.

I can envision a fine dining, Victorian-styled restaurant. Maybe a seafood restaurant. How about a sushi bar or an Asian noodle shop? Something that doesn't take business away from Frenchie's Sidetrack Bar & Grill or Aubrey's Pizzeria & Grill. Ypsilanti's very own Gandy Dancer or something similar would be nice.
http://visitypsinow.com/museums/