The April 2022 Edition

Author Womack – Just Like His PI Denton – Makes a Comeback in ‘Fade Up From Black’

By TOM WOOD / April 2, 2022

I first met Nashville author Steven Womack about a decade ago when I attended my first Killer Nashville writer’s conference. He’d been a journalist, like me, and I listened and learned to what he had to say about the writing process and publishing industry. I still am.

Author Womack with his new book and 1994 Edgar Award

-Courtesy of Steven Womack

Our paths crossed occasionally at various events and then like everybody else, kind of lost touch with many during the pandemic years. But when I heard about his new book and return to his Harry James Denton series after more than two decades, I wanted to hear how and why he returned to the Nashville private investigator.

“I never stopped thinking about that series, about that character. I was always kind of wondering what happened to Harry and wanted to bring him back. It didn’t take long to get back in kind of a (writing) groove. That was a muscle that I never let completely go lax,” Womack told me in a recent interview for Main Street Nashville.

Unlike those days in the 1990s-2000, Womack is no longer walking the path of traditional publishing. He has regained the rights to his earlier books and operates as an independent publisher with his own Spearhead Press imprint.

His new book Fade Up From Black is available on Amazon as an e-book or trade paperback and will soon be out in hardcover.

More Than $3.4B Wagered in Tennessee

Super Bowl Sunday is like a national holiday for fans. But for the nine sportsbooks that operate in Tennessee, Super Bowl Sunday is big business. How big? That’s my subject for the February 11-17 edition of the Ledger, and it’s pretty eye-opening.

Online wagering became legal on Nov. 1 in Tennessee and over the next 14 months, through December 2021, more than $3 billion has been wagered inside the state’s borders, according to the U.S. Betting Revenue Tracker of LegalSportsReport.com. You don’t have to live in Tennessee to gamble here, but all bets must be placed inside the state, which borders seven other states.

I have updated those numbers in the Feb. 18 issue of Main Street Nashville in my story on the Sports Wagering Advisory Council, which assumed regulatory duties on Jan. 1, 2020. Mary Beth Thomas, executive director of SWAC, reported that for the month of January more than $386 million was wagered in Tennessee, raising the 15-month total sports handle to more than $3.4 billion. She also reported that more than $23 million was wagered for Super Bowl LVI which the Rams won 23-20 over the Bengals.

“Clearly, Tennesseans are enjoying online sports wagering,” Thomas stated.

The gross payout for Super Bowl LVI was more than $19 million, up some $7 million from the 2021 Super Bowl.

 “Last year during the Super Bowl, we only had four sportsbooks live. For the Super Bowl alone. There were 15.5 million wagers placed. Apparently, most of those people wagered correctly and placed their faith with the Buccaneers, so they ended up pocketing $12.6 million in winnings,” says Alec Cunningham, managing editor of PlayTenn.com, one of several publications that cover the state’s new industry.

“For all of February 2021, wagers amounted to 176.3 million, which you know this past December, they’re already at 340 million. So judging by that and the forward momentum we’re seeing, it wouldn’t be unexpected to see double the wagers at this year’s Super Bowl.”

The Drive Safe Act addresses the driver shortage.

Ledger cover by Mike Hopey

The state’s ninth sportsbook — Wagr — opened for business on Jan. 20 and is part gambling, part social media, according to observer Jeff Edelstein, who writes for TNBets.com. Both Wagr and the sportsbook have Nashville offices.

“And I guess … what Wagr is hoping for – is to create more of a social atmosphere around betting,” Edelstein says. “I’m sure they’re hoping that groups will form on Facebook or something like that and basically be paying for the privilege to use the service and to match up with friends you can bet with from your office, things like that. I guess that to me would be like the main goal of the company.”

I also sport with longtime Knoxville’s Chuck Cavalaris, who serves as one of the media experts on WATE’s 90-minute “Sports Source” TV show each Sunday. He hosts a segment called “Chucky C-Note Casino” on the show and cautions folks to not bet more than they can afford to lose and just enjoy the game.

That’s good advice!

Here’s a look at some of my recent stories and things I’ve been doing:

More Than $3.4B Wagered in Tennessee

Super Bowl Sunday is like a national holiday for fans. But for the nine sportsbooks that operate in Tennessee, Super Bowl Sunday is big business. How big? That’s my subject for the February 11-17 edition of the Ledger, and it’s pretty eye-opening.

Online wagering became legal on Nov. 1 in Tennessee and over the next 14 months, through December 2021, more than $3 billion has been wagered inside the state’s borders, according to the U.S. Betting Revenue Tracker of LegalSportsReport.com. You don’t have to live in Tennessee to gamble here, but all bets must be placed inside the state, which borders seven other states.

I have updated those numbers in the Feb. 18 issue of Main Street Nashville in my story on the Sports Wagering Advisory Council, which assumed regulatory duties on Jan. 1, 2020. Mary Beth Thomas, executive director of SWAC, reported that for the month of January more than $386 million was wagered in Tennessee, raising the 15-month total sports handle to more than $3.4 billion. She also reported that more than $23 million was wagered for Super Bowl LVI which the Rams won 23-20 over the Bengals.

“Clearly, Tennesseans are enjoying online sports wagering,” Thomas stated.

The gross payout for Super Bowl LVI was more than $19 million, up some $7 million from the 2021 Super Bowl.

 “Last year during the Super Bowl, we only had four sportsbooks live. For the Super Bowl alone. There were 15.5 million wagers placed. Apparently, most of those people wagered correctly and placed their faith with the Buccaneers, so they ended up pocketing $12.6 million in winnings,” says Alec Cunningham, managing editor of PlayTenn.com, one of several publications that cover the state’s new industry.

“For all of February 2021, wagers amounted to 176.3 million, which you know this past December, they’re already at 340 million. So judging by that and the forward momentum we’re seeing, it wouldn’t be unexpected to see double the wagers at this year’s Super Bowl.”

Super Bowl betting in TN to provide super boost.

Ledger cover by Mike Hopey

The state’s ninth sportsbook — Wagr — opened for business on Jan. 20 and is part gambling, part social media, according to observer Jeff Edelstein, who writes for TNBets.com. Both Wagr and the sportsbook have Nashville offices.

“And I guess … what Wagr is hoping for – is to create more of a social atmosphere around betting,” Edelstein says. “I’m sure they’re hoping that groups will form on Facebook or something like that and basically be paying for the privilege to use the service and to match up with friends you can bet with from your office, things like that. I guess that to me would be like the main goal of the company.”

I also sport with longtime Knoxville’s Chuck Cavalaris, who serves as one of the media experts on WATE’s 90-minute “Sports Source” TV show each Sunday. He hosts a segment called “Chucky C-Note Casino” on the show and cautions folks to not bet more than they can afford to lose and just enjoy the game.

That’s good advice!

Here’s a look at some of my recent stories and things I’ve been doing.

Killer Nashville Mag: Co-Writing a Book

The February edition of Killer Nashville Magazine, a free resource for writers, has a featured interview with legendary author Dean Koontz, who explains how he comes up with villains we love to hate.

Another of the mag’s other articles is one I co-wrote with local author Michael J. Tucker on Co-Writing a Book. It’s about our experience of writing A Night on the Town e-book and subsequent feature-length screenplay we wrote.

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