Covington man writes about quest to get on Wheel of Fortune | Features

COVINGTON — Parts of the book are just laugh-out-loud funny. There’s the story about the time the puzzle category was “Movie Title.” One of the contestants swept through the round and filled in almost all of the blanks with letters. The answer was obvious. It was “Gone With the Wind,” but the contestant kept spinning the wheel and building up his winnings. Everyone watching the TV game show was relieved when he finally announced he would like to solve the puzzle. With confidence he proclaimed, “Done With One Hand.”

Covington resident Mark Anthony Linton and his crew of “Wheel of Fortune” Twitter Toss-Up players couldn’t wait to get together online the next day and laugh about the gaffe.

“So what did y’all think about last night’s show,” Linton tweeted, to which his fellow Twitter Toss-Up friends replied with expected hilarity. The tweets from this group are legendary — so much so that part of the competition they shared was coming up with tweets so funny that a “Wheel of Fortune” spokesperson would re-tweet what they sent out.

Sharing the story of what actually happens in the real and cyber worlds of “Wheel of Fortune,” Linton has written a book that sometimes reads as funny as those tweets and as fast-paced as the TV show with which he admits he is obsessed. A “Wheel of Fortune” fan since he was just a child, his first book, “Fill in the Blank” is about the famous television game show starring Pat Sajak and Vanna White and about Linton’s life-long quest to become a contestant. He writes about the people he met who would change his life forever and how he discovered what it means to really walk by faith.

It all began with Grandma Emma Campbell. She is the reason he developed such a love for the show true fans simply call “Wheel.” They watched the show together every night, and he remembers the lessons his grandmother taught him while sitting on the edge of her bed as Vanna turned the letters.

“Before she died, I made her a promise — a promise that I would get on our favorite show,” Linton said. “I was 12 years old.”

His grandmother passed away years ago, but Linton never forgot the promise he made. She spent her life raising six children and stepping in to help raise 26 grandchildren when parents were absent or unable, he writes.

“She also, it must be said, looked amazing,” he continued. “At 81, her skin had none of the usual bags nor wrinkles. She credited cornmeal porridge for her freakish youthfulness.”

Linton, his grandmother, his mother Somica Nation and other family members emigrated from Jamaica and settled in Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C., when Linton was just 10 years old. His father, Lascelles Linton still lives on…

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