August 2009

Top right - Pamela Metzger Bulik - twirler for Lincoln Highschool band

Top right - Pamela Metzger Bulik - twirler for Lincoln High School band

 Since my true crime and sports/running book Run at Destruction: A True Fatal Love Triangle  was released on August 7th, I’ve been getting daily e-mails from those that have read it. Quite often they want to share their personal connection.  One of those was Margaret, a classmate of my best running friend Pamela Metzger Bulik. Margaret had purchased the book at her local Book World in Wisconsin Rapids and afterward mailed me these yearbook photos of Pam. Like othersPam Senior Picture, Margaret said she couldn’t put my book down, even though it was difficult to read, knowing how much pain Pam had experienced. Back in high-school she’d been so joyful, full of fun – a twirler in the band. Pam’s senior class picture’s flip hairstyle was certainly the craze!
Another photo certainly caught my eye! 
Classmates: Top left - Kathy Wachter Appel , Bottom right - Pam Metzger Bulik

Classmates: Top left - Kathy Wachter Appel , Bottom right - Pam Metzger Bulik

In 1984, William (Bill)  Appel defended Pam’s husband, Bob Bulik, in his first-degree murder trial. I knew Bill was from Wisconsin Rapids, but now discovered – so was his wife, pictured with Pam!  Kathy Appel also taught with Bob’s girlfriend – the third corner of the love triangle. 
As Runner Dude said: “Oh what a tangled web we weave.” 

Publisher Weekly logoFebruary 21, 2009 seems like a long…long…. time ago! On that day I got a note from my publisher Tracy Ertl from TitleTown Publishing that our distributor, Midpoint, had chosen Run at Destruction to present to Publishers Weekly (PW) for review!  

On Adelle Waldman’s blog, she says, “Publishers Weekly, or PW, is the biggie—it plays Coke to Kirkus’ Pepsi.” I knew PW’s review could have an immense impact for publishers (especially new ones like Tracy) and sales of my book. So, we scurried to get the right information for this March 24th meeting. Afterward, we heard NOTHING. 

Tracy and me at BEA before my book signings

Tracy and me at BEA before my book signings

Next came the month of May and Book Expo America in New York City… Tracy hoped that someone from PW would stop by – but when I headed back to Green Bay on Sunday morning, again NOTHING. But… on the Pennsylvania Turnpike my cell rang. Tracy was beside herself. PW had stopped by right before the end of the show. They wanted her to fly out in June to be interviewed about her publishing company and her new titles. It was an understatement that we were both ecstatic. My shout nearly caused Jim to swerve into a nearby vehicle. 

 June arrived and Tracy flew out for her interview. For a small publishing firm this expense was great, but Tracy is a risk taker! Even though her PW interview went well she still didn’t know what her odds were on getting a review.  But, if it were to come, it would happen before my book’s release date.

August 7th arrived – Run at Destruction’s release date and NOTHING.  At the release party for my book and Mike Dauplaise’s book Torture at the Back Forty, I couldn’t bring myself to mention my disappointment to Tracy. If I was let down, I could only imagine what she was feeling.

Then… on Friday August 14th, up at our place in Door County, I got “the call.” Tracy said to sit down and listen as these words poured out over the phone:

“Runner and longtime Green Bay, Wis. resident Drews revisits the mid-1980s death of her close friend and fellow runner, popular high school teacher Pam Bulik. She chronicles the small community’s response to Pam’s death, suspicions of suicide that rang false, and the subsequent naming of Pam’s husband, Bob Bulik, as the primary suspect. Events, including Bob’s alleged affair, drag readers through the gruesome and tawdry details, some difficult to read (especially in descriptions of the victim). Like Melanie Thernstrom’s The Dead Girl, about the life and tragic death of her best friend, this title also relies on the strong bond between author and victim for emotional weight; passages about their shared moments, and Drews’s feelings of emptiness in the decades since, are remarkable.” *

“Lynda,” Tracy said, her voice full of emotion, “this is your Publishers Weekly review… they used the word ‘remarkable’!”

This whole journey has been remarkable!

*Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Authors - Mike Dauplasie and Lynda Drews at TitleTown Book Release Party

Authors - Mike Dauplasie and Lynda Drews at TitleTown Book Release Party

I was ready! A press-release was in place, my Fox11 television interview was completed and invitations had been sent.  August 7th had arrived! Tracy Ertl, my True Crime publisher from TitleTown Publishing was officially releasing  two of her new titles – my book Run at Destruction and Mike Dauplaise’s book Torture at the Back Forty!  And… what more could you ask for,  then to have our release party at TitleTown Brewing Company in Green Bay, Wisconsin – the city that was the setting for both of our books that took place in the mid-80’s.

Hundreds of people showed up as the line stretched a block long.

Sgt. Jim Taylor, me and Judy Taylor at Release Party

Sgt. Jim Taylor, me and Judy Taylor at Release Party

 Everyone patiently waited to purchase their first-edition signed copies. Among them were key principals that had played major roles in our books – now-retired Coroner Genie Williams and now-retired Sergeant James Taylor with his wife Judy.

Sgt. Taylor in Bulik home on the day of Pam's Death - April 7, 1984

Sgt. Taylor in Bulik home on the day of Pam's Death - April 7, 1984

Taylor was the lead detective on the investigation into my best running friend, Pamela Bulik’s suspcious bathtub drowning death – the subject that my book revolves around.   

Two hours later, having sold about 250 books between us, Mike and I finally rested our pens to join family and friends. 

But… by Monday I picked mine up once again. Beezie MacNeil (a character in my book) and I met for coffee inside the Green Bay B&N store. Of course I checked where my books were positioned. Previously they’d been prominently displayed at the information desk beside my poster. I was dismayed to find no books on the counter. I was told they’d sold the last one they had on Saturday and were anxiously awaiting a replenishment shipment.

I met with Shirley, their Community Relations Manager. She informed me that my book had been the #1 seller in the store last week! Pretty amazing! Temporaily, she gladly agreed to take two cases of Run at Destruction that I had stored in my van… to tide her over. Then… the two of us sat in the Cafe – chatting away as I signed my books while she adhered a green “autographed by author” sticker. 

The past several days had certainly been a great team effort!

Yesterday I arrived at the Fox11 Station, nervously pressing the building buzzer. A young woman opened the door and quickly led me down a hall. WeDW-Event-Calendar-icon waited near a lit overlead sign that said the Good Day Wisconsin Show was in progess.  As the light went off, I entered the studio. Being my second television interview in less than one week, you’d think this would be a piece of cake, but not so… I was situated in a chair by a fake fireplace, waiting and watching. To my left was a mock-up kitchen for the Living with Amy Show and to my right were the news and weather personalities, Rachel Manek and Pete Petoniak. Viewers were being informed about a herd of galloping horses that had escaped onto a highway where one horse had even attempted  to jump over a moving car, smashing its windshield. 

Rachel Manek of Fox11 Good Day Wisconsin

Rachel Manek of Fox11 Good Day Wisconsin

At the break,  Rachel joined me and whispered that the station had found actual footage of Pam’s April 7, 1984 death and the subsequent February 1985 sentening hearing.  I gulped hearing that! The camera then focused our way… We were live… You can see I was a bit nervous… Oh well, I’m only human!   

Last Friday… up at 4a.m… Nostalgic drive from Green Bay to Milwaukee (didn’t I retire from IBM so I wouldn’t need to keep this schedule?) At least now I had a GPS that informed me where to make the proper U-turn on Capital Drive, to arrive at my destination- mbvideoplayerTODAY’S WTMJ-NBC AFFILIATE . I walked in the door for my first ever TV appearance about my book Run at Destruction on the Morning Blend. After the executive producer told me she’d been reading it and couldn’t put it down, I was ushered into the wings of the set where I watched Alison de Castro, surrounded by an on-stage garden of summer plants, do an interview with a woman from Stein’s Garden and Gifts. (All the while – I worried that my pollen allergies might kick-in!) During the commercial break, I took my seat on a couch facing the cameras. (With tissue now tucked under my leg- just in case.) Alison and a friendly substitute hostess  for Molly Fay put me immediately at ease before the live action began… 

For the next 60 days you can watch me discuss my book complete with my eye rolls!

Next on the agenda were stops at three B&N in the Milwaukee area to sign books, then I was off to West Bend to drop off some at Fireside Books & Gifts(doing a signing there on 9/19) and finally I arrived in my hometown of Waukesha.

My mom, Dana, who is still lively at eighty continues to reside there. She gave me a

1970 South Campus Grads - Merry, Anne, Sandy, Kathy, and me

1970 South Campus Grads - Merry, Anne, Sandy, Kathy, and me

 tour of the rejuvenated downtown that has certainly changed since my husband, Jim Drews, and I graduated from Waukesha South in 1970! With my Run at Destruction banner flapping in the breeze outside Martha Merrell’s Bookstore– I positioned myself at a table with cases of books and pen in hand, ready to sign for two consecutive nights during the Freeman Friday Night Live event and the Saturday Night Art Crawl. It was definitely a reunion of sorts as I met old friends of my parents, parents of my friends, fellow Waukesha inhabitants that liked a home-town girl (whomever she was), runners from Badgerland Striders, and of course my old high-school classmates. (I guess some of the latter did remember the former Lynda Esselstyn according to the Spring City Chronicle!)  In addition to this classmate – four other girlfriends I hadn’t seen for 10 years, showed up and I was able to capture the moment!  Sixty books later, with a backache, and sore right hand, I met the four in a new downtown drinking establishment…  sending me back to nostolgia again – just where I started.