Readers of the Star Beacon are familiar with Burt Cole's column, "Burt's Eye View," his silly and often absurd observations of life, found Fridays on the Star Beacon Community Life Page. Cole's light-hearted take on everyday family situations is evidence that the mischievous boy spirit lives on in the man, regardless of the age on his driver's license. It's that fun-loving boy spirit that allows him to relate to youth (and adults) and inspired him to write his first book which will be released to book stores nationwide and online in September.
Readers of the Star Beacon are familiar with Burt Cole’s column, “Burt’s Eye View,” his silly and often absurd observations of life, found Fridays on the Star Beacon Community Life Page. Cole’s light-hearted take on everyday family situations is evidence that the mischievous boy spirit lives on in the man, regardless of the age on his driver’s license. It’s that fun-loving boy spirit that allows him to relate to youth (and adults) and inspired him to write his first book which will be released to book stores nationwide and online in September.
His book, “Bash and the Pirate Pig,” is a 220-page children’s novel published by B&H Kids, the children’s division of B&H Publishing (LifeWay Christian Resources).
Cole will return to his Ashtabula County roots for a book launch celebration 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 7 at the farm of his cousins, Ron and Marcella Maurer, 4640 N. Monroe Center Road, Kelloggsville. A second book launch party will be 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 14 at Warren Bible Methodist Church, 1709 Elm Road N.E., Warren. Both events are open to the public.
Cole will also sign books 6 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Ashtabula Public Library. The book is available for circulation at the Ashtabula and Geneva public libraries.
Reading homespun humor books over the years, Cole had a growing desire to write his own collection of humor pieces, such as the outdoor tales of Blight County, Idaho, by Patrick F. McManus; Tom Bodett’s tales from End of the Road, Alaska; or Philip Gulley’s series centered in the fictitious community of Harmony, Ind.
“One night as I was wracking my brain trying to invent a locale to begin stories, inspiration struck,” Cole said. “It was like I heard God asking me, ‘what’s wrong with northeast Ohio, where you grew up?’ God gave me the inspiration that night.”
He said fairly quickly a series of wacky adventures, inspired by those Cole had with his own cousins and siblings around farms in Conneaut and Monroe, were born.
“Bash and the Pirate Pig,” written for ages 8 to 14, is the story of a cranky city kid named Raymond “Beamer” Boxby who must spend summer vacation at his younger cousin Bash Hinglehobb’s farm. The mischievous Bash runs his boring city cousin Beamer through a series of adventures, including riding cows to the dairy stand, chasing mice and a skunk in Sunday School, a raft ride with a 300-pound hog.
Illustrations for the book were drawn by Tom Bancroft, a former Disney artist.
Cole said his book has been about four years in the making. “I think from when I first started scribbling the pieces that eventually would become the book until I started shopping the manuscript was two to three years,” Cole said.
It was another 10 months or so from the time an agent asked for a formal proposal until he received a two-book deal; another 13 months from signing the publishing deal until publication.
“I found out why it takes an average of one year from signing to book shelves,” said Cole. “The manuscript went through committees, more edits and rewrites, illustration and cover work, galley proofs and waiting, waiting, waiting while all the production work and prep time was done for the launch date that had been set a year earlier.”
In spite of all the waiting and editing, Cole said everything went incredibly quickly and smoothly.
“Basically all I can say is that God must have been in it,” he said. “A beginner should not be with a major publisher right out of the gate. I shouldn’t be where I am. But next week the book releases nationwide. Can’t be me. It’s gotta be God.”
Born in Conneaut, Cole is the son of Frank and Patti Cole of Greenville, Pa. He resides near Garrettsville with his wife, Terry. He is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the American Christian Fiction Writers. He is also song leader at Warren Bible Methodist Church.
Cole has written and edited for the Star Beacon, the Record Courier in Ravenna and the Herald and Review in Decatur, Ill. For the past 17 years he has been employed at the Tribune Chronicle in Warren where he is assistant metro editor.
He has received more than 50 writing awards and was a Pulitzer Prize nominee in 1990.
Cole’s second book, “Bash and the Chicken Coop Caper,” is due to be released in May 2014.