Sunday, November 1, 2015

The 2015 HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES? Book Signing at the Hawthorne Historical Society

Thought I'd post a few Hawthorne Historical Society book signing pics taken my good friend Bryan Frank and his protege, my daughter, Sophia.

The poster was created by my outstanding marketing man Mike Bender

Surfer, comic, rocket scientist, singer Keith Boyd belted out Beach Boys tunes like nobody's business.

The folks at the Hawthorne Historical Society said more than 125 people came out for a most excellent afternoon of nostalgia.

Most of the folks on hand grew up in or around Hawthorne. 

Here I am with Frances 97 year-old Frances Stiglich. I was happy to support her campaign for a spot on the city council. She is one of the most inspirational people I've had the pleasure to meet. She came to Hawthorne in 1943 to work as a riveter for Northrop Aircraft. The old Northrop factory is now occupied Space X.  Frances is trying to convince Elon Musk to send her into space for her 100th birthday.

I went to Saint Joseph's Catholic School with these beautiful people.

As for these characters, we did stand up comedy together in the 80s. We used to be pretty funny. Sometimes.


It was a work day for my beautiful wife and daughters.

 I used to run get into all kinds of trouble with these fellas.
With members of the Hawthorne Historical Society.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Submitted for your approval, the opening chapter of the time travel book I've been playing with for the past ten years.
A working chapter from PRESCOTT TIME TRAVEL

“JT Star"
by William Snyder
© 2005 William Snyder

                  “Mr. Johnson?”
            JT Star shifted from one foot to the other before his coach-counselor, looking like he was about to explode out of faded jeans and snow-white t-shirt. His coach, a powerfully built fifty-one year old black man who had once been a fullback for the Detroit Lions, sat reading the front page of the Arizona Republic. The rest of the boys were impressed by Johnson’s professional sports career, but not JT. JT liked Mr. Johnson just the same, despite the fact that he has black. His father had taught him that blacks couldn’t be trusted, that they were dangerous, lazy and stupid. JT understood that Mr. Johnson was more trustworthy, more hardworking, and intelligent than any of the full grown white men he’d known in Western Kentucky.
                    “Just a minute, son, let me finish this column.”
             “I finished my chores, Mr. Johnson.”
              Alvin Johnson looked up from behind the newspaper.
             “How’s that work, son? I woke you boys up five, maybe ten minutes ago.”
             “Cause I got up an hour ago.”
             “Couldn’t sleep again, JT?” 
             “You took your meds last night, right?”
             “Yes, sir,” the boy lied.
             “You’re a good kid.”
             “Can I …”

            “Feed the horses? Yeah, make sure you’re cleaned up and at the mess hall by eight.”
            “Yes sir. Thank you, Mr. Johnson.”
            A fantastic white smile flashed across the boy’s handsome face. He grabbed his worn denim coat from the hanger and bolted through the front door.
            “Take it easy boy; them busted up old horses ain’t going nowhere.”
            JT didn’t hear him. He ran hard along the dirt road, pumping his arms with everything he had, his eyes zeroed in the on the derelict stables. He breathed hard as the chatter became louder. A quarter mile out from the cottage and with no one in sight he began to sing – in his mind.
            “Born in the valleys and raised in the trees, of Western Kentucky – on wobbly knees…”
            The horses neighed and whinnied as the boy sprinted into their field of vision. After greeting each horse personally with a hug, JT made sure each horse got its equal portion of hay, oats and molasses. Although he spoke no Spanish and they spoke no English, he managed to charm the mess hall cooks out of a couple of scoops of molasses on a weekly basis.
            The boy brushed the horses and sang out loud.
            All the long, lazy mornings – in pastures of green, the sun on your withers, the wind on your mane…”
JT Starr was free. The horses had the mojo. When he was with the horses, it was as if the chatter was almost not there at all –  almost.
            JT was sixteen and people, especially women, told him he looked exactly like Brad Pitt when he was young. He was tall and his long sinewy physique appeared to be chiseled out of rock. Piercing grey-blue eyes stood out in contrast to his russet skin and disheveled dirty blond hair. He was also a diagnosed schizophrenic. And he’d been off his medication for three days now. The chatter, that’s what his grandmother called it; the chatter was louder, but at least he could stay awake, at least he was alive, not a freaking zombie. Life was a vicious and inescapable cycle. It was three or four days on the meds, until he couldn’t take the life of the living dead, and then it was three or four days with the chatter. The Arizona doctor told him the state of Kentucky wouldn’t pay for a reevaluation so he’d have to cowboy up for a couple of months. If only they’d let him stay with the horses; the horses were his secret weapons, his “chatter busters.”
            Later that day, Jack Sullivan stood in front of JT and the rest of his students.
            “So what was Chekhov trying to say about society?”
            “That we all suck.”
            It was JT’s brother, Willis. JT sunk in his desk and smiled at his brother. They’d been at the ranch for a couple of months now. This was the first time the brothers lived under the same roof since their father was arrested five years ago.
            “Do you agree with Chekhov, JT?”
            “Don’t you? You’re a teacher. You know more about history than any of us. You tell us, Mr. Sullivan. Do you think people suck?”
            “Yes – and no. I guess I could argue either way, couldn’t I? And that brings us to the assignment. Do people suck? Do you agree with Anton Chekov’s thesis from The Bet? Does mankind suck? I’m not askin’ for much, a measly three hundred words. You’ve got the rest of the period and what you don’t finish is your homework.”
            “You’re a beast, Mr. Sullivan,” one of the boys said.
            “Thank you, thank you very much,” Sully said in his best King of Rock and Roll imitation.
            The teacher walked over to his desk, thinking that teaching wasn’t so bad - today, remembering what his old friend, Steve Kirby had said back in the days when they created educational television programming at Planet School. At least a teacher can drive home at night knowing he tried to do something good. It had been almost twenty years since Sully had taken his first teaching position, a one year gig, just to make a little cabbage while he got the stand-up and screenwriting career up and running; twenty years – gone in the wink of an eye. Sully understood it was time to actualize a serious paradigm shift. It was time to accept his career, his life calling, to embrace the path that God or the world or the universe had set before him. He was a teacher. The sooner he let go of the pipe dreams, the better for his students, his family, and Jack Sullivan.
            Sully popped in an Al Green DVD and the boys wrote, all of them except JT, who sat staring at the ceiling, an anguished look on his face.
            “JT, can I talk to you?”
            “Sure, Sully.”
            They stood outside the classroom. The Queen Creek Boys Ranch was a beautiful facility. Cows grazed in the pasture. Alfalfa fields stretched out before the mysterious Superstition Mountains.
            “You’re supposed to call me Mr. Sullivan, JT.”
            “It’s short for Sullivan, right Sully?”
            JT closed his eyes tight for a couple of seconds.
            “How long’s it been since you stopped taking your meds?”
            “Three days ago. How’d you know?”
            “I’m psychotic – I mean psychic.”
            Sully smiled.
The boy forced a smile and stared eastward toward the red Superstitions.
“Sully, you think old Jacob Waltz really had a gold mine up there?”
            “I think he brought gold down from the mountain, I don’t know if he had a mine up there.”
            “So you think he got the gold from the Peralta massacre sight?”
            “Who knows? It could have been high graded from the Goldfield mines just north of the mountains. I take it you read the book I loaned you.”
            “Yeah, before I quit taking the pills.”
            “What’d you do with the pills?”
            “Flushed ‘em.”
            “The voices pretty bad?”
            “The same as always.”
            “You always had the voices?”
            “It’s not voices – really.”
            “It’s mumbling and yelling and singing. For the most part, I can’t make out the words. My granny called it the chatter. She heard the chatter too.”
            “How long have you heard the chatter?”
            “When the pigs busted up the meth lab, I tried to fight one of ‘em – with my dad’s pool cue. Things were pretty crazy. He was pretty big and I was pretty small and that big fat pig son of a bitch slammed my head into the door jam. I woke up in the hospital with a busted noggin and a whole lot of chatter goin’ on.”
            “What did the doctor say?”
            “Said it was from the meth.”
            “You were doing meth when you were, what, eleven?”
            “No, that’s what the CPS people said, that me and Willis was usin’ meth.”
            “You weren’t?”
            “Hell no, Sully.”
            “Could you do me a favor?”
            “Can you tutor me at the stables this afternoon?”
            “I wouldn’t call it tutoring. Yesterday, I graded papers and you groomed the horses.”
            “Now you’re catching on, Sully.”
            JT smiled his million-dollar smile.
            “It’s a deal. But when you go back in there, to the classroom, I want you to write down what the chatter says.”
            “It don’t make no sense, Sully.”
            “That’s okay, JT. I’m interested.”
            “You think the angels and the saints are talking to me – like Joan of Arc?”
            “You never know,” Sully said slapping the boy on the back.

            “You got that right, Sully.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

2015 Mesa Community College Reading Mojo

Susan Halberg is my favorite college teacher in the world. 

Every year she invites me out to read from my books and talk about writing with her students.

This time around I read "Dave Cruz" and "A Two-by-Four With a Whole Mess of Nails" from THE EIGHT-FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON and "A Potent Memory" from HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES?

I always enjoy the guttural reactions to the description of the excruciating pain resulting from a rusty nail penetrating a bare foot and scraping against the bone. 

Thanks to my marketing guru, Mike Bender, for snapping the pics.

Sunday, August 30, 2015



The book launch was a smashing success, the biggest ever. Some 200 reader friends, family members, colleagues, and former students showed for their signed copy of HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES? and a free Guedo's taco and an afternoon of TY LUSK style entertainment.

I'm hoping HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES propels me to fame and fortune, but I'd be happy with the bowels of the middle class...

Here I am discussing book and taco strategies with Guedo.

Susan Halberg is my favorite college professor because THE EIGHT FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON is required reading for her English 101 class. Big Halberg fan over here.

Photo bomber Bryan Frank took this gorgeous shots.

You might recognize the guy in the beard from the back cover of HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES?

This bearded character is also on the back cover. Chelsea, Nick and Gabe (previous pic) are members of SKELETAL SECRETS, a much beloved heavy metal band.

  Guedo's tacos.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015



Saturday, August 29th
3 to 5

Guedo's Cantina Grille
71 E Chandler Blvd, Chandler, Arizona 85225
(480) 899-7841

* Get a complementary Guedo's Taco with your copy of THEM APPLES.
* TV's Real Eastate Rockstar, Ty Lusk, will be on hand to keep us entertained.
* Guedo's Tacos (aka Mexican Soul Food) are the best tacos on the planet.
* HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES is a collection of stories about Bill Snyder's 29 years in the teaching biz.
We're talking' good book, good tacos, and who a whole lotta Ty Lusk fun!

Bill's Contact Info: 480-374-0189

Guedo's World Famous Taco Shop in Chandler. Guedo's Taco Shop is the recipient of the New Times award for "the Best Taco in Phoenix," and Guedo's ain't even in Phoenix. That's how good Guedo's Tacos are!

Ty Lusk, the Real Estate Rock star is Chandler's best loved entertainer, but don't get the idea that he's a ham-and-egger. Ty has opened for the Doobie Brothers, Diana Ross, and James Taylor. Even more impressive, he played my Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son Book and Haircut Book Signing at Papa Joe's Barbershop in 2012. I know, HUUUUUUGE! Ty has a the unique ability to interact with his crowd, changing up song lyrics to fit the moment and making frequent wisecracks. I gotta tell you Ty is almost as funny as me. Okay, if were using jokes that are actually funny as a frame of reference, Ty Lusk is probably funnier than I am.

All of this rigmarole involves the launch of my new book HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES?


The comedy routine got lost in the shuffle and William Snyder’s one year gig stretched into a 29-year career that included stints teaching at inner-city schools, Catholic schools, charter schools, accommodation schools, and boys reformatories, in addition to working as a satellite TV teacher and teaching at an upper-middle-class “normal” school that turned out to be anything but normal.

William Snyder’s stories are gritty, poignant, funny, and often bizarre, honestly recounting the triumphs and disasters associated with teaching poor kids, rich kids, incarcerated kids, immigrant kids, pregnant kids, autistic kids, and just about any other kinda kid you might imagine.

“Masterfully written. Hilarious. An eye opening look at education in America.”
-Richard Rios, San Joaquin Delta College, author of Songs from the Barrio

How Do You Like Them Apples? is a thoughtful examination of the human condition that drove me into outright fits of laughter.

-Eric Tozzi, award winning director of Ray Bradbury’s Kaleidoscope