New HDA Member Produces Hockey Novels
An unsuccessful library search for a hockey picture book was an inspiration for Howard Shapiro. Now he is about to release his third book and second graphic hockey novel through Pittsburgh-based Animal Media Group, a new member of the Hockey Dealers Association.
Shapiro's "Hockey Karma" is scheduled for release on November 1st and is the sequel to "The Hockey Saint." The books follow two primary characters, legendary player Jake Jacobson and his agent and best friend Tom Leonard, during a 10-year period.
Shapiro believed hockey was an arena that was underserved from a literary standpoint. Growing up in Pittsburgh and following the Penguins helped fuel his passion for the sport.
"I've loved the game all of my life even though I was never a very good player," said Shapiro, who runs the publishing side of Animal Media. "It is one of the few games where you can learn a lot about yourself and life from it. Hard work. Being part of a team.
"The other sports I played never had the effect on me that hockey did."
Shapiro followed his illustrated "The Stereotypical Freaks" with the sequel "The Hockey Saint" in 2014. "The Hockey Saint" followed the story of the 21-year-old Jacobson's ascent and scrutiny as the world's best hockey player.
In "Hockey Karma," Jacobson is now 32 and he struggles to deal with his deteriorating play. Leonard has become his agent and is struggling with a project that could have a huge impact on people who need help in their community.
Shapiro said getting the artwork and copy together takes about a year to a year-and-a-half to finish a 140-page book. "Hockey Karma" has received advance praise from former NHL star and broadcaster Bill Clement and ESPN radio anchor Christine Lisi.
"It's a sport rich with stories," Shapiro said. "To me, it's a game and sport where you can really delve deep and get a lot of good material and good stories."
Shapiro is hoping to get his books into the retail market. He said he is leaning toward continuing his hockey stories even though he didn't necessarily envision writing "Hockey Karma."
"Over the years I have built up such a nice group of contacts," Shapiro said. "Hockey people, in general, are just nice, good people.
"It's such a vibrant group and you meet new people every year. I hope to be successful enough to start up a new series because it's been fun."
"Hockey Karma" sells for $14.95 and "The Hockey Saint" sells for $13.95. Retailers interested in getting the books in their stores can contact Howard Shapiro at firstname.lastname@example.org
or through the websiteanimalmediagroup.com