Introducing Gary Ilminen, Author of The Unlikely 1

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Everything about this story is so unlikely, choosing the title for the book was easy.

So many dreams we have as adolescents are unlikely to come true; we find it pretty easy to forget them after a while.  The more ambitious the dream, the more unlikely it is to last into adulthood, let alone come true.

Yet, every once in a while—maybe only once in a lifetime—that cast off dream we had as a kid gets revived by unexpected, even unlikely, circumstances.  And that is how it went in my case when a chance encounter that led to new friendships resulted in the opportunity to fulfill one of those dreams that never die.

Going to Bonneville to run a motorcycle as fast as it could go in land speed racing competition was the dream.  Just getting to Bonneville, nearly 1,500 miles from my home in Wisconsin is something of an undertaking in itself.  Hauling old motorcycles restored to running condition to compete—well, that’s a real reach.

I’m not what most folks would consider an expert mechanic.  Average at best with a hodge-podge of economy grade tools, often scavenging parts and improvising repairs, I had my doubts about even getting the two old motorcycles I worked on for competition to run, let alone run fast.

There were a lot of missteps, miscues, and mistakes along the way; some dumb, some funny, some not so much.  Coming to grips with the experience that was both fun and seriously intense at the same time was challenging.  With so many machines going flat-out and so many critically important rules to keep in mind, things can go very wrong very fast.

For example, entering and leaving the course at Bonneville is very regimented and deviating from the set procedures can cause problems.  In my first two runs at Bonneville, I blew it each time!  No harm done, but it explained why “rookies” like I was are given a big yellow sticker with an “R” on it affixed to their helmet, so track officials know who to keep an eye on.  I wondered if “R” stood for “run for your lives.”

Most motorcycle racers are in their twenties or thirties and weigh an average of 120 to 150 pounds.  I was well past the mark on both counts.  It’s safe to say that even non-motorcyclists would not mistake me for any kind of motorcycle racer; not even in bad lighting.  Despite that, this experience reminded me that age, physical ability or disability need not necessarily define me or any of us.

The book tells of meeting some remarkable people whose passion for the challenge enabled them to overcome supposed barriers of age and physical disability to not only compete but set records!  They inspired me, and they are each the embodiment of the spirit of Bonneville.

The Bonneville International Speedway is a place of legend in motorsports history. The highest speeds people have ever achieved on land—including on motorcycles—were achieved there.  Its vastness and breathtaking beauty would be reason enough to go there.  Getting there to compete and perhaps write a line in the record books is a chance to become a part of motorsports history.

The first trip there was in 2009, where a 25-year-old motorcycle took me through the timing traps at over 100 mph on only my second run on the salt!  In 2010, another trip there resulted in the first tentative national speed record, only to have the speed beaten later in the event.  In 2012, we tried again and in 2014, that most unlikely outcome took place!

A 40-year-old motorcycle—not known for speed, even when new, an even older rider with very little competition experience, in an event that seemed unlikely to happen due to severe flooding on the salt made setting a record seem very unlikely.  All that made the American Motorcyclist Association Grand National Number 1 plate awarded for setting a class speed record what could only be called “The Unlikely 1.”


Press Release: TouchPoint Press Author Wins International Honor, Again


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BIRMINGHAM, AL (November 5, 2014)—Timothy Best, author of Substitute Angel, which won a Platinum Award at the 2013 Marcom Awards for its eBook cover design, has won a second Platinum Award at the 2014 Marcom Awards. The honor was in … Continue reading

Press Release: TouchPoint Press to release The Tommy “The Duke” Morrison Story in November

The Tommy "The Duke" Morrison Story

TouchPoint Press to release The Tommy “The Duke” Morrison Story in November

Dawn Morrison Brady opens up about her life with Tommy—the good and the bad—and the legacy he left.

KOSCIUSKO, MS (October 30, 2013)—TouchPoint Press announced The Tommy “The Duke” Morrison Story, as told by Dawn Morrison Brady, Morrison’s former wife and mother of their “miracle child”, to author Charles H. “Chuck” Hood, is set to release November 4, 2013.

Hood describes the book as “a bare-knuckle love story where most of the punches were below the belt and no one was saved by the bell.” Dawn Morrison Brady details events from her first encounter with Morrison to the moment the two-time WBO heavyweight boxing champ kissed the canvas for good.

Dawn Morrison Brady took every punch Tommy Morrison had, but in the end, on September 1, 2013, “The Duke” was KO’d by AIDS, leaving Dawn with what she describes as a mix of “crazy good” and “crazy bad” memories.

Hood’s biography of Tommy Morrison is based upon personal interviews with Dawn Morrison Brady and her detailed journal entries than spanned over 13 years. Dawn’s journal reveals early life tales told to her by Tommy’s grandparents, parents, brothers and sister, and it serves as a now permanent record of the life she lived with him for those same hard-fought, abusive years—in and out of the ring.

Dawn was described as “drop-dead gorgeous” by those who knew her well and those who had only seen her from a distance, but she was equally tough. The couple’s friends were known to have said many times, “We truly feared for her life.” They knew only too well how abusive Tommy could be, whenever he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Yet she stayed with him, from the days of million-dollar paydays to the days when they had no gas or grocery money.

The Tommy “The Duke” Morrison Story reveals, in great detail, details about Tommy’s life in and out of the ring, in and out of prison, and in and out of his multiple marriages. Despite the negatives, Dawn Morrison Brady told Charles Hood, “Tommy was also a very religious man, and was most proud when he was addressed as Champ, but nothing meant as much to him as when his four boys called him Dad.

The digital edition of The Tommy “The Duke” Morrison Story will be available November 4, 2013 with the print edition to release January 2014.

About the Author
Charles Hood is a veteran of more than forty years in the advertising, marketing and public relations businesses. Hood has worked with major national and international clients including Agrico, Bass Pro Shops, Ben Pearson Archery, the Brinkman Companies, the Brunswick Corporation (Bowling; Billiards; Marine Products – Sea Ray and Bayliner; Brunswick Winter Sports Products; McGregor Golf, Zebco Reels and Rods), Cancer Centers of America, Cities Service Oil Company/CITGO, Daisy Air Rifles, DuPont Sporting Goods (Stren and Remington), Eastman Kodak Company, the National Rifle Association, Pizza Hut, Rubbermaid (Gott Division), and many other nationally and internationally known brands.

Hood is a member of the Advisory Board at the University of Tulsa’s School of Journalism and holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism from the University of Missouri with a major in advertising. He is a past recipient of the Tulsa Advertising Federation’s Silver Addy Award, recognizing him as Tulsa’s “Ad Man of the Year.” His creative writing skills have garnered him regional and national ADDY’s and first place awards from the International Film Festival, the New York Film Festival and the Chicago Film Festival.

Hood is the author of Wal-Mart’s EGOnomics–Always–The Greed Behind the Smiley Face ( and Big Rigs, Posh Digs, Fast Cars, Dark Bars ( that chronicles the inside story of the dramatic failure of the Arrow Trucking Company, previously one of America’s leading trucking companies. Hood’s novel, The Pastor’s Prey, based on real life people and events will be released by TouchPoint Press November 1, 2013 with plans to release the true story behind the novel in 2014.

Hood currently serves as a marketing and public relations consultant to several public and privately-held companies. He and his wife have four children and seven grandchildren.

Contact information:

Media Relations
Fax: 662-510-0302