A packed house of local students and area residents welcomed author Greg Ames as he unveiled his new book “Funeral Platter” Oct. 3 at Flour and Salt Bakery in Hamilton.

Ames is an associate professor of English at Colgate University, and the book reveal event was facilitated by C.J. Hauser, assistant professor of English at Colgate University and a fellow creative writing instructor. Hauser and Ames sat in front of the audience having a relaxed chat about his book and history, much like they might in one of their own living rooms although now joined by an overflowing crowd of interested well-wishers.

Ames recalled how he taught himself to write in able to secure space in the local Buffalo newspapers’ short story column, and presented an original bound collection of some of his earliest stories, marked up with notes from one of his most treasured mentors. He read from that nascent volume and then in contrast from “Funeral Platter” itself to give the audience a taste of his sense of humor.

“Funeral Platter” is a collection of 20 short stories written by Ames, mostly humorous and sometimes traveling to dark places. Ames explained that the hardest thing for him is to force himself to write on a deadline, and he especially enjoys when a single line can spark a flow of ideas like the smashing of a piñata.

“It’s always a challenge but it’s a worthwhile one,” Ames said. “We do it because it’s a passion.”

With the abundance of Colgate University students in the audience, he encouraged them to attend some of their own creative writing classes to help build their own outlet for the writing.

Hauser said she appreciated the chance to help Ames present his new book to the hometown crowd.

“This was really exciting … it’s always great to be able to support another author’s new work,” she said.

In these trying times, humor has become an even more important part of life, Ames says.

“Humor’s always been important … now, humor is essential,” he said. “My life would be empty without it.”

“Funeral Platter” is available locally at the Colgate Bookstore.