Many people talk about writing a book, but few get around to doing anything about it.
Herkimer resident Rodney Riesel, a self-employed general contractor, husband and father of three, has written and published not one, but two books and has more in the works.
Riesel will celebrate the release of his latest mystery novel, “Ocean Floors: From the Tales of Dan Coast,” Friday, June 28, starting at 6 p.m. at the Polish Community Home in Herkimer. The public is invited to stop in for refreshments, giveaways and signed copies of “Ocean Floors.” Ten percent of the profits will be donated to Herkimer’s Frank J. Basloe Library. Anyone wearing a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops will receive a free “Ocean Floors” bumper sticker.
“Ocean Floors” is set in the Florida Keys and features lottery winner Dan Coast, who has bought a beach house and become a private detective.
“Everybody says they’d like to write a book,” said Riesel. “One day I sat down and started writing.” He didn’t write a lot - just enough to get down a character name and an idea.
“I didn’t know how it was going to end,” he said. “I gave it to a couple of people to read. I never was much of a reader. They said it sounded interesting, so I just kept plugging away.”
When he finished his first book, “Sleeping Dogs Lie,” he showed it to Jim Greiner, who has published several books. “He liked it, he thought it was funny.”
Still, Riesel admitted his book might have wound up in a drawer somewhere had it not been for his sister, Connie Fitsik, who encouraged him to try to do something with his book and has handled the publicity for him.
Riesel went looking for an editor. An online search turned up an editor in South Carolina and he sent the manuscript to be edited for the basics - spelling and grammar.
Asked if his former English teachers would be surprised at his writing, he laughed and said, “I imagine every English teacher I ever had would be surprised. It was not my strong subject.”
The book came out last October, but before it came out, he was already well on his way to publishing his second book. “It’s not really a sequel,” he said. “The same characters are in it; it’s just another story. They’re mysteries that take place in the Florida Keys. They appeal to Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesney fans, to beach types, but really anybody can read it.”
He was pleased with the response to his first book. “I was nervous,” he admitted. But the response and reviews have been good and he hopes readers will enjoy the second book as well.
Page 2 of 2 - Riesel hasn’t stopped writing. He has finished his third book. “This is about a new character who’s actually a homicide detective in North Myrtle Beach,” he said. “I’ve started my fourth book, which is the third book of the series. Hopefully, I can keep going.”
He said his goal is to write about 200 words each day, although sometimes he writes some 1,200 words in a day and takes a little time off.
Riesel said he visits Myrtle Beach every year and has written his books with vacationers in mind. “When we go to Myrtle Beach, I always bring books along, but I only read five or six chapters.” He decided to write books that were shorter than the usual 350 pages. “I’d like about 40,000 words, maybe 170 to 180 pages,” he said. “A quick read, a light read.”
It worked. Some of his readers have told him his book was the perfect book to take on vacation. “They can read it a little at a time over three or four days.”
After some research, Riesel decided to go the self-publishing route for his books. Local residents can pick up a copy at Collis Hardware or at the Little Falls Co-op or purchase them through Amazon.com. “It’s available on Kindle and in paperback,” he added. Information about the books is also available on Facebook.