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AN AUTHOR'S JOURNEY

The relationship that builds between the two protagonists in Fire and Lace is an interesting journey.  The same may be said regarding how I came to write these two novels and the Tony's Town series.  

Back in 2002 I had the opportunity to  meet and spend some time with an author active in the field of character formation and providing healing words for the recently divorced.  In the context of our cross country email conversations, she encouraged me to write, stating she believed I had a talent for the written word. At our meeting, she again expressed that sentiment, encouraging me to write a book on proper moral conduct for men, young and old, in today's dating world.  Now to be honest, I  had to read much of what was available in that genre when I was younger and didn't really care to do so.  And I felt that young men today, didn't really want to read the same stuff too.  Most of what was available was merely a lecture or a sermon of the same ideas in the same tired form.  So, I put the idea out of my mind as I got in the car to drive back home.  It turned out the drive from California to Virginia was the enviroment in which A Bridge to  Nowhere was born.

      I had been on the road for about six hours when the story started to take shape in my mind.  Stopping in an office supply store outside Salt Lake City, I purchased a dictaphone to capture the ideas that by now were swirling around in the old grey matter.  By the time I turned into my driveway, four days later, the novel was almost completely composed.  It just had to be put in final form.

As I owned my own business, unrelated to the writing world, it took me a while to finally produce the novel. And, several years later, A Bridge to Nowhere was finished and manufactured.  With the book in hand, now it was time to learn the difficult lesson that new authors, not published by large publishing houses, have an uphill climb attempting to sucessfully bring a work to market.  After all, how would anyone know if an unknown can actually put two sentences together in a gratifying manner.  So, I decided to write an episodic series of "slice of life" vignettes so as to familiarize readers with my ability and style. Hence Tony's Town was born. And in composing Tony's Town, something surprising happened.

     The two main characters in the novel Fire and Lace are Tommy and Aliana.  They appeared in several of the Tony's Town episodes and a pattern started to emerge.  Simply put, they were meant for each other. Fire and Lace is Tommy and Aliana's story as they embark on a journey to establish a life together. Well, another couple years went by. I continued writing Tony's Town and Fire and Lace simultaneously until here we are today.  

Both novels are written under a pen name, "Tony Baggz."  The first, A Bridge to Nowhere, drew much of its background from personal experience. Also, many of the characters are loosely based on people I knew.  Reflecting on the finished work, I felt the possibility existed that aquaintances from the past might recognize themselves and have negative feelings about it.  So, I decided to employ a pen name for the purpose of eliminating any possibility of creating any embarassment for old friends. How that pen name came about is another story.  Maybe another time...

Fire and Lace and A Bride to Nowhere are profiled below.  I invite you to peruse the accompanying details and if you care to, order a copy for yourself.  I truly hope you enjoy the Tony's Town episodes, and look forward to your comments and thoughts.

Thanks

Robert Fick

Tres Angeli Publishing is located near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


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A Bridge to Nowhere was warded the Bronze Award for Christian Inspiration By Independent Publishing Magazine in 2007


A Bridge To Nowhere: Memories, Morals, Martinis and The Myth of The Promiscuous Man

A BRIDGE TO NOWHERE takes the teaching of moral values out of the pulpit and, for an evening, puts it on a bar stool. It’s a sinner’s side of the story. Years ago in one of America’s great cities, a bridge partially spanned the river flowing through downtown. It went three-quarters of the way across the water and then just stopped. Unfinished, it hung there for years.

The locals called it “The Bridge to Nowhere.” And at the same time that bridge stood frozen in its arrested journey, life for Joey was a continuous trek across his own bridge to nowhere. What else would you call twenty-five years squandered on the pleasures of a callow youth? The pleasures that are wine, women, and song…or in today’s parlance, sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. And today…well, when it comes to unfinished bridges, the city has finally finished theirs, and Joey has finally stopped trying to cross his.

A BRIDGE TO NOWHERE is Joey’s story. It’s a journey through his life, a tale he tells his twin nephews in his favorite nightclub high above the city…a virtual second home, complete with a marvelous view, a great band, a fabulous dance floor, and killer carrot cake. It’s a story that ricochets from the sober observations of the present to the sometimes zany, sometimes sad, adventures of Joey’s past. In sharing his story, he hopes that his experience, and his regrets, might help keep his two favorite nephews off the on ramp to their own bridge to nowhere.

A BRIDGE TO NOWHERE is written for young men. Its theme is character formation, and its focus is how and why wise choices are critical to forming strong, healthy relationships with women. However, it is also written for parents, particularly moms, and, especially, single moms. Simply put, it is a collection of the talks about life and love that dad should have with his son as the boy grows to manhood. Talks mom may need to have with junior … if dad is absent. Written from a Judeo-Christian perspective, it is simple, real, and has the grace to leave the judgmental attitude and the oppressive harangue in the parking lot for the evening.

So, come on in for a few hours. There’s no cover charge, the dress code is relaxed, the food’s great, the music’s terrific, and the company … outstanding … who knows, you might even recognize a person or two, yourself …

NOTE: A Bridge to Nowhere is currently out of print.  A limited number of copies are still available.  If interest warrants, ABTN will be reissued and written with minor additions in content and more in line with the dialogue style of Fire and Lace. 

A Bridge To Nowhere

Fire and Lace: Life's Sacred Journey

Fire and Lace is the story of a journey, the journey of two young people into the heart and soul of the other. Told against the backdrop of a neighborhood on the Southside of a great American city; it unfolds in the taverns and restaurants, on the ball fields and city parks, in the firehouse and the churches and synagogues … a neighborhood, maybe, much like yours. A tale told to the smell of fresh brewed coffee and cinnamon rolls, and the sounds of a “hoodlum singer” loved by a tavern owner named “Baldy.”

Along the way you’ll meet Tommy – a firefighter and a skilled EMT, a future top notch surgeon, and a soft touch for any seven year old having trouble hitting a fast ball. 

                                                                          and

Aliana – by day, dean of the third grade at Southside elementary, by night, master of the “hot corner” wielding a gold glove and a mean bat.

And you'll meet the denizens of the neighborhood. Clergymen with nicknames like “Riff,” “Sheckles,” “Rail Bird,” and “Walk Off.” And ordinary guys with names like “Crazy Pat,” “Ace,” Bobby “Pretzels,” Vinnie “Bullets,” “Uncle Joey,” “Mike the Russian,” Nick “the human tarantula,” "Ranger"– a Dalmatian you’d swear is human, and Andy, a young man who talks to God … and gets answers.

Along the way you’ll learn:

• Why being turned down for a date may open the door to winning a heart

• The world’s most broken law

• The missing word in today’s wedding vows

• How a monkey can ruin a promising romance

• Who entered a haunted house and left with a job application

• Why Jesus Christ was not a nice guy – and why Christian men shouldn’t be either

• What lady hunting guides wear in the Yukon at ten below zero

• Where and when scantily clad single Catholic women wash and wax their expensive foreign sports cars

And so much more …

So, I invite you to pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee, put a couple cinnamon rolls or bagels on the coffee table to savor, curl up in your favorite chair and join Tommy and Aliana on their journey.  And if you like, put some “Old Blue  Eyes” on in the background ...  just to set the mood.

I promise you an interesting trip.

NOTE TO TEACHERS: Fire and Lace is designed for young audiences and has been received by secondary school educators as a valuable classroom text.  Additionally, the novel may have substantial merit  for those mentors helping young couples preparing for marriage.  For this purpose, a teacher's/mentor's study guide is offered for your use. 

 To access the guide.

Click Here

ADDITIONAL NOTE 

Several people involved in the world of theater have observed that many of the episodes of Tony's Town would make excellent one act plays.  As our way of  saying thanks to those secondary schools that employ Fire and Lace in the classroom, we offer several episodes of Tony's Town as a stage play  on a "no royalty" basis for your use in staging student theatrical presentations. Contact us for further information. 

Orders for Educational Institutions email me at orders@tresangeli.com

Fire and Lace: Life's Sacred Journey
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