Far from Randolph County: Publishing is like writing against the wind (First published in the Winchester News-Gazette, May 2, 2024
When I go to parties, I’m the least likely guest to don a lampshade for attention.
Chances are you’ll find me by my lonesome in the host’s den, checking out the titles of shelved books.
Since I am the author of some two dozen books, if a guest with a thin-stemmed glass in hand buttonholes me in a corner, it’s to say they have an idea for a book.
Rarely, years later, do I run into one of those author wannabes to learn the hopeful has persevered and not only finished said book but signed with an agent or publisher.
An exception to the rule is retired Ball State University educator Roy Weaver, who in 2022 celebrated publication of a sports biography titled “Running Against the Grain: The Story of Philadelphia Eagle and Movie Star Timmy Brown.” Weaver co-wrote the biography with David Sullivan and Shawn Sriver.
Weaver has been a friend ever since 1985 when I taught journalism at Ball State with Roy’s wife Marilyn Weaver, a nationally acclaimed journalism professor and yearbook adviser. Roy once invited me to Cooperstown to play in a vintage baseball game for a nationally streamed educational show.

Hank Nuwer in New York Mutuals uniform at batting practice.


I believe it was 2006 that Roy invited me to lunch at an Italian restaurant in Noblesville and told me he was contemplating writing the life story of Thomas “Timmy” Brown, the greatest football player to wear Cardinal red.
Every few years, I’d join Roy and Marilyn for another lunch. By 2009, he had plunged into researching the extraordinarily intriguing life of Brown. Abandoned by his mother in Richmond, Brown went on to beat poverty, racism and an occasional self-defeating rebellious streak to become a legendary player at BSU and with the Eagles. At Ball State, longtime president John R. Emens took Brown under his wing, helping the youth when his grades dipped and he nearly ended his playing career.
Later he became a Hollywood actor, most famously playing Corpsman Judson in “*M*A*S*H*” and Dr. Oliver Harmon “Spearchucker” Jones in the TV versions of the film.
Brown died at 82 on April 4, 2020, not living long enough to help welcome Weaver’s well-researched, frank and tightly written bio.
Now, Roy Weaver is promoting his book, a necessary evil he embraces with good humor, a polished speaker voice and an engaging personality. (My unsolicited 2 cents is that Roy would make a great speaker for any Randolph County athletic or do-gooder organization looking for an entertaining lunch or banquet motivational speaker.)
A few weeks ago, Weaver and his wife visited a Detroit concert backstage with Dionne Warwick, a longtime friend of Brown and his one-time romantic interest.
Now, if any News-Gazette reader were to buttonhole me while I was trying to be unseen at a party, I’d say there is no secret to becoming an author. Plunging through the obstacle course of getting a book contract and spending years in research and more years in writing will take every bit of gumption and desire you can muster.
As Weaver would co-sign, you have to be honest enough to throw away perfectly good research material that doesn’t exactly fit what the book itself demands. You have to know what advice from well-meaning friends you should listen to and what advice you should let blow through both ears. You have to come home from a long day of work at your day job as Weaver did for years, and then have the discipline to work several hours after dinner.

Want to jumpstart a book of your own? Put down the thin stem at a party and pick up a pen at home.

Roy Weaver awards Ball State plaque to Cooperstown Hall of Fame ambassador Ozzie Smith