Sorry, folks, I messed up – BIG TIME – and I had to trash my entire previous post! The alternative was to throw my laptop out the front door, but the wife stepped in… Thank God for VampireLover, right? I lost your comments, though. Please don’t hate me, I’m only human…
HERE IT IS… MY 2nd MEDIA INTERVIEW!
My second interview plugging the book ran August 22 on Bullet News Niagara. Enjoy!
PETER CONRADI/Bullet News
Call him the Bellman with attitude. That won’t bother him. Heck, he’s been called worse. A lot worse.
But that goes with the territory when you make your living with your hand out in the midst of stressed-out tourists in one of the busiest destinations on the planet. Yes, Robert Hookey is a bellman. A professional bellman in a high-end Niagara Falls hotel. He’s been doing it for 15 years and shakes his head with dismay when asked when he’s going to get a real job.
This is his real job, thank you very much, and he’s pretty darned good at it, too. Don’t believe him? He’s got the awards to prove it. Yes, bellmen get awards. Still don’t believe him? Then you’re fair game for his blog, his weekly column in Bullet News (What the Bellman Saw), or maybe you’ll be a chapter in his next book. First, though, he’s got to sell the first one.
The Bellman Chronicles: Shining a Light on Mankind’s Missteps from the Trenches is Hookey’s debut attempt at collecting all he has seen in more than a decade of helping tourists from their cars to the lobby and to their rooms – and back again. And he has seen plenty. And he’s perfectly willing to tell the world all about it. So be generous with your tips.
“I never really understand why people get so upset when things go wrong,” says the 42-year-old St. Catharines native and graduate of Westlane Secondary in Niagara Falls. “Things always go wrong. But you’re on vacation, so relax, take it easy – it all works out in the end.
“Most people are really nice. But that would be pretty boring reading.”
Fortunately his job is anything but boring.
“It’s the ones who are cranky and rude who stand out.”
And cheap. Don’t forget cheap.
“You’re paying a couple hundred bucks or more to stay in a full-service hotel and you want to cart your own bags to your room? Come on. That’s not how it works. This isn’t a Holiday Inn.”
Naturally some folks are well meaning enough. They’re pleasant. They’re not tight with a dollar. They just, well, do dumb things. And The Hook is usually there with pen and paper in hand.
“All of the stories are real. Absolutely. I don’t make anything up.”
It doesn’t sound like he has to.
There was the time a guest showed up with a dead deer strapped to the roof of the car, and parked it near the hotel kitchen.
“One guy brought deer antlers up to his room.”
Then there are stories about sex. There are always stories about sex. Hey, he works in a hotel.
“There was a conference and a couple was caught on a security camera in the laundry room.”
Alas, the male partner somehow found himself locked out of his room and had to brave and bare all at the front desk to ask for a new key.
Yes, life at the bell station has its curious, bizarre, frustrating and amusing moments.
“Here is my bag,” came one demand from a frazzled businessman. “Guard it with your life.”
“Is your storage room secure?”
“I’m waiting for a package. Where is it?”
Hookey spares no one in his 283 pages. Not even himself. He is complimentary to his employers, mind you. They know all about his literary antics and have let him go ahead, which surprises some. He has been accused by a few in the tourism game of biting the hand that feeds him – and them. They don’t like it much. They don’t appreciate having their customers mocked. His response?
Tough beans. Or words to that effect.
He doesn’t think he’s mean. Seriously. OK, maybe a little mean. But only to those who deserve it. Mostly he’s an avid observer and chronicler of humans at play. He can’t help if sometimes things gets a little ugly.
“It’s not portraying people in a certain way, it’s just how people behave when they are on vacation.”
Hookey, who studied journalism at Humber College but couldn’t find work in that field, said it took about five months to compile his book, which he self-published through CreateSpace, a division of Amazon. He’s pretty sure there will be a second volume. He thinks his concept would work beyond the printed page, maybe as a sitcom or a reality show. Goodness knows a lot worse ideas have made it to cable.
“I’ve thought about it, but I don’t know. They tried doing one about airports before and it didn’t really work. You’d have to find a hotel that’s going to want to have it filmed in their place. That wouldn’t be easy.”
The Bellman Chronicles is available online at Amazon, and at Pulp Comics, 4413 Queen St. in Niagara Falls. Prices are $14.99 for soft cover and $4.99 for a Kindle edition. If you wait until Sept. 10 and 11 you can download it those two days for free.
“Nothing is a great price, right? Hopefully this will get people talking about The Bellman Chronicles.”
– with files from Niagara This Week
AND NOW… SOME FREE SWAG!!!
Mark your cyber-calendars, folks…. My first free giveaway of The Bellman Chronicles runs September 10 – 11! As part of Amazon’s KDP Select program, I get a five-day window to share my work with the world for the low, low price of absolutely nothin’!
A shout-out to my newest blog buddy, Kristen Lamb and her best-selling tome, We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. Give it a try, folks. You won’t be disappointed…
And now… My first Blog Hop!
Starting 9/1 through 9/15, Romance at Random, & the participating sites below, are hosting a blog hop with FREE books! Enter your name into the Rafflecopter & you could be chosen to win:
- A Free Romance book! (10 winners in all)
- Be one of 5 winners to win a prize pack from author Elisabeth Barrett (check out her new release, BLAZE OF WINTER, below)
- Grand Prize is a $25 eGC
a Rafflecopter giveaway