…it Happens

Though I’ve mostly enjoyed it (and managed to do pretty well for myself), writing books can be a very strange way to try and make a living. Remember how I was supposed to have two new books coming out this fall? (I’ve mentioned it here a time or two, I believe!) Hockey Hall of Fame True Stories and Engraved in History about the 1907 Stanley Cup champion Kenora Thistles. Remember those? Well, both books have now been postponed.

As Forrest Gump said while he was running across America (supposedly inspiring a somewhat ruder version on a bumper sticker), “…it Happens.”

The Kenora book was actually a tactical decision, and it’ll be just a short delay. With so many other hockey books due out this fall (as always), including new books about the Dawson City Stanley Cup challenge of 1905, and the history of pro hockey in Victoria from 1911 to 1926, publisher Rick Brignall thought it best to try and avoid this book getting lost in the crowd.

Obviously, this book is something of a niche interest, and the people in Kenora and Winnipeg and the scattering of really old-time hockey fans elsewhere who’ll (hopefully!) want to buy it will buy it whenever it comes out. So, it’s being pushed into late January of 2022, which will coincide with the 115th anniversary of Kenora’s Stanley Cup victory. But hey, if you were counting on Engraved in History as a present for the holidays, it is hoped it will be available for pre-order in November.

I’ll keep you posted.

As for True Stories … with the job shortages and interruption in the “chain of production” we keep hearing about in this not-quite-yet-post-COVID world, even though we met all of the deadlines on a very tight timeline, once the manuscript was sent to the printers, they told Firefly Books there was no way they could have it ready for November of 2021, and likely not until at least late January of 2022. Since this book was very much conceived as a gift book for your father/brother/uncle/grandpa at Christmas or Hanukkah, Firefly decided to hold it back until the fall of 2022.

It’s hardly the life-and-death issue so many other people have faced around the world for the past 18 months, so for someone who’s basically felt like he’s breezed through most of this Pandemic, it’s pretty hard to complain.

Besides, what can you do?

Even without COVID, publishing can be a strange industry. Remember, two years ago, when I wrote about J.T. Haxall kicking a 65-yard field goal back in 1882? At the time, I mentioned that I’d come across the story while working on a football book for National Geographic Kids. That book (It’s a Numbers Game! Football) was originally supposed to be published in the fall of 2020. Well, long before that — and completely unrelated to COVID — I was told that due to corporate restructuring at National Geographic, it was being bumped all the way to the spring of 2022!

So, over the past two years, this book has come back to me twice for updates from the 2019 and 2020 football seasons. Just yesterday it was returned to me one final time for my last notes and comments. (Sadly, the spring publishing date means there won’t be time for a final update after the current NFL season, which won’t end until about six weeks before this book should finally come out, but at least we’ll be able to add the record-breaking 66-yard field goal from this weekend.)

Again, what can you do?

At least I’ve been paid for the work on all three books (though I am still waiting for the final checks from Firefly) … and I do still have one new book that’s due in stores any day now. Hockey Hall of Fame Heroes: Scorers, Goalies and Defensemen is also from Firefly, and is the second edition (with updates and new players) of a book that was first published by them five years ago. If you’ve got a hockey fans around the ages of 9 to 12 years old, this would be a good one for them.

Speaking of younger hockey fans, right now I’m working on the fifth book in the Hockey Trivia For Kids series for Scholastic Canada. This one will also come out in the fall of 2022 but is due at the publisher this November 1 … a full 30 days earlier than any of the four previous books (which didn’t have to be delivered until mid December when I wrote the first one back in 2005). This time, COVID is the culprit again, with Scholastic worried about the chain-of-production delays brought about by the Pandemic.

What else can I say except, “… it Happens.”

16 thoughts on “…it Happens

  1. How frustrating! A lot of people in the arts are going through this kind of thing these days. It will be great to get back to normal, whenever and whatever that is.

  2. True Stories looks like a keeper 🙂
    I can empathize with all the production and printing issues.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. Always great for us fledgling authors to get a dose of reality that the final step brings. Though the delay in the Thistles book means my relatives in Kenora will be handing out more Husky the Muskie statues and moose droppings candy for Yuletide. Keep ’em coming (the books and reality) and thanks for your help.

  4. A female just played NCAA football as a kicker. As a stunt by Phil Esposito Manon Rheaume played in net for a few NHL games. Hailey W. Played in Europe in a men’s league. And shone. Must be more females bumping the glass ceiling in sports. Women are now coaches/managers and in front office as well as specialty coaching such as Barb Underhill with the Leafs. Maybe a book is in there?
    You have style and solid research so your books sell.
    Good luck in 2022!

  5. Dear Eric,
    Sorry for the delay, but you know the Ross famy will all be waiting! And Eric, you’re killing me here again with your incredible production rates as I still sit surrounded by boxes! Stay safe my friend.

  6. Sounds like you are a going concern! Delayed pub dates is one of the hazards of the publishing industry–always has been. Good luck with all your forthcoming books. Glad to hear from you…. xo

  7. Your situation, from my POV, presents a perfect opportunity to employ a little quote that I have been employing for around 50 years; “So it goes.”
    It should not to be misconstrued and confused with your “…it Happens.” or “…what can you do?”
    I suggest it here with the intended meaning being from the context when spoken by one ‘Billy Pilgrim’ in the Kurt Vonnegut novel “Slaughterhose-Five, or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death.” In case you are unfamiliar with the contextual meaning to which I refer here’s a nice little elucidation:


    ‘Keep on keeping on!’


  8. For the people that preordered Hockey Hall of Fame True Stories, will they get it when it’s released in late 2022 or will they get it sooner?

    1. I suppose you’ll need to check without whoever you preordered it with. (Amazon?) I know it’s not usually very easy to actually speak with a human at those places! But, at this point, I don’t think the book will even be printed until well into 2022. Amazon is currently showing it as available for September of 2022. I don’t imagine anyone will get it before that. Sorry.

      1. It’s no problem, I buy more books than I can read lol. I can’t wait to buy your other books when they come out too!

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