Michael Heaton celebrates his new book, compares himself to Hemingway

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Plain Dealer scribe Michael Heaton didn’t take as long as he thought to whittle thousands of stories he’d written in 25 years to the 40 tales he chose for his book, Truth and Justice for Fun and Profit: Collected Reporting. He simply thought of one of his fave wordsmiths. “You write all these stories every year, and you know when you have a Hemingway,” says Heaton, a.k.a. the Minister of Culture. “It wasn’t as difficult as you’d think.” To launch the 298-page read, Heaton – whose sister is Patricia the TV star -- schmoozed with about 100 media types over beer and wine on Tuesday night at Crop in the Warehouse District. Luminaries included WMJI radio jock John Lanigan, Plain Dealer columnist Phillip Morris, and Gray & Co. owner David Gray, who published the book. Screenwriter Joe Esterhasz (“Basic Instinct,” “Telling Lies in America”) also turned out, presumably because he wrote the book’s forward. “Michael Heaton is one whiz-bang lollapalooza of a talented writer,” says Esterhasz. “He is always fun to read, but this book is a celebration of the human spirit. It sings and zings!” The zingers range from stories about a Flat Iron barmaid with big hair to the 2006 death of longtime sportscaster Casey Coleman to the differences between living on Cleveland’s east and west sides. “On the East Side, people play polo. On the West Side, they play pool,” Heaton wrote in May of 1993. “The East Side is pricy nouvelle cuisine. The West Side is Ponderosa All-You-Can-Eat $9.95.” Read for yourself in this sample chapter. “There are stories of adventure, and there are stories of laughter,” says Heaton. “There’s war and art and sports. These are stories that will grab people.” -- Cris Glaser

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