Wednesday, December 11, 2013

@OBBookTours - Book Feature - Brian Francis Heffron - Colorado Mandala

With refreshing depth, distinct literary merit, and highly original poetic phrasings that spill from the pages like paint, Colorado Mandala is poet Brian Heffron’s debut work of literary fiction. It mines the complex landscape of post-Vietnam America to unearth the deep connections that bind individuals together, and also ferociously rip them asunder. Illustrative, luscious, seductive, and engaging, this rare piece of craftsmanship will stir the senses of any one who thirsts for artistic expression, or who longs for an era in our country now utterly, irretrievably gone.
In the heady, hippie backdrop of Pike’s Peak, Colorado, in the tumultuous 1970s, three souls swirl together in an explosive supernova. Michael is the flinty-eyed, volatile former Green Beret, whose tour in Vietnam has left unbridgeable chasms in his psyche and secrets that can never find light. Sarah is his fair-haired paramour, the ethereal Earth Mother widow of a fallen soldier and single mother to a ten-year-old son Stuart. Paul is a young wanderer, who is drawn in by Michael and soon bears the mantle of both minister and scourge. As they are drawn together, and torn apart, each is changed forever. And our hearts race along with them, through the rocky, raw Colorado terrain amidst the blood sport of man and beast.
Laying bare the loss and acceptance of a pioneering age, Colorado Mandala shines revelatory light on the crazy, glorious, and romantic notion that each generation conceives anew: that love can be a spiritual gift shared openly rather than coveted, or hidden, or hoarded. If you wish to go barefoot again and climb an unspoiled Colorado trail, look no further. If you long for something to wake you up in simple, clean language, a shimmering story awaits. Awaken to what you have always known: simple truths show you the way home. With his gripping and unforgettable Colorado Mandala, it is clear that Brian Heffron knows the way.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Literary Fiction
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Brian Heffron on Facebook & Twitter

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18th December – Excerpt at bit’s ‘n Bobs

@OBBookTours - What Makes A Hero? by Merry Farmer

What Makes A Hero?
by Merry Farmer
Open the pages of any given romance novel these days and what will you find?  You’ll find a strong, devilishly handsome rake with a good heart.  He might have a past, he’ll certainly have an attitude, but above all he’ll have the best intentions at heart.  At least by the end of the story.
When I set out to write Our Little Secrets, I had a very different sort of hero in mind.  Michael West is not devilishly handsome.  He’s not particularly strong either.  He’s a shopkeeper with a past.  And he wears glasses.  But one thing he is, is smart.  Maybe even a little too smart for his own good.  He’s smart enough to pull himself out of the massive hole he digs for himself where his heroine, Charlie, is concerned.
I’ve always been attracted to the smart guys.  Muscle is okay if put to good use, but if you really want to melt my chocolate, give me a smart man any day.  Smart men might not be the first to jump into the fight, but they’re definitely going to come out of it in one piece.  Brawn might be able to turn a woman’s head and sweep her off her feet, but brain will build a home for her and figure out how to get her out of scrapes.  Best of all, a smart man knows enough to accept a woman for who she is, even if who she is makes him wince from time to time.
Michael West has his hands full when he agrees to marry Charlie almost as soon as she sets foot in Cold Springs, Montana.  Contrary to all of the fabulous stories of mail-order brides and quickie frontier marriages, it was highly unusual in Montana of the 1890s for a man to marry a woman he didn’t know.  Especially when he has secrets he wants to keep.  But what makes Michael a hero is his quick wit and his ability to recognize a good thing when it stumbles into his life.
Well, almost.  Some would argue that the things Michael does in Our Little Secrets are exactly the opposite of what a hero should do.  Does he stand up for his heroine when the chips are down?  Does he rush to the defense of his friends when they are attacked?  Does he face trouble head-on or does he have a little too much scotch and make a really bad decision.  How can a man who would slip be considered a hero?
Easily.  Heroism doesn’t come from always doing the right thing any time there’s a choice to be made.  It doesn’t come from strength or force or sheer potent masculinity.  It comes from learning to listen to your heart.  It comes from letting go of pride and admitting your mistakes.  It comes from making the right choice after a string of wrong choices.  It comes from the ability to change for the better.
So is Michael West a hero?  You better believe it!
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Western Historical Romance
Rating – R
More details about the author & the book
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18th December – Author Interview at Me, You & Books

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

@OBBookTours - A Day in This Writer’s Life by Patti Larsen

A Day in This Writer’s Life
by Patti Larsen
I often have people ask what my normal working day looks like. And I snort. The word “normal” feels like it belongs to someone else.
I like to sleep in until at least 8am or even 9am, depending on how late I worked the night before. I used to be able to sleep later, when I was working at other jobs full time, but now the voices prod me to get out of bed and get to their stories and, because I love what I do so much, I’m happy to do so.
Breakfast is a cup of hot tea as I jump into social media to see what I’ve missed while wasting time sleeping. A quick tally of my sales numbers from the day before—with a huge THANK YOU to the Universe for allowing me to write for a living—and I’m off and running.
Mondays are begun with at least two hours of chin wagging with my amazing editor, Annetta Ribken. I try to schedule meetings with my cover designer, Valerie Bellamy, the same day if I can.
Those done—with a great deal of giggling and only a little work involved—it’s time to hop a ride to another place.
Sometimes to Wilding Springs, where my main character of Family Magic lives with her wacky family. My husband laughs when he asks me how my day was and I tell him I had to spend some time in the Ukraine or Harvard or an Austrian castle full of vampires.
No airplane required.
If it’s a writing day, I schedule hourly bouts with short breaks in between to check the almighty Facebook and update my readers on my progress before diving in again. I like to schedule five or six chapters per day and usually hit the mark.
I’m forced into the odd caterlude by one or more of my five massive cats, mixed with a quick lunch, more tea and a chat or two with friends on Skype or Google Hangout.
Or, at times through the week, I trot off to schools to talk to kids about what I do and how fun it is to be a writer. Meet with emerging authors looking for advice on where to go from where they are. Or have a lovely lunch with a good friend just to get me out of the house.
The days are just packed.
If it’s winter, dinner is cooked for me, thank goodness, by my very patient Boo. The rest of the year, I usually eat alone, my golf-course manager husband gone until after dark. If there’s something interesting on Netflix, it might catch my attention. But I usually unwind with a hot bath and a book on Kindle for at least an hour before tumbling into bed, ready for the next day’s adventures in far-flung places.
Don’t I have the best life? 
About Patti Larsen: You’re not looking for my polished bio, huh? You sure you want more? The real dirty, down deep, nitty gritty? Fair enough. Here goes: I’m a card-carrying nerd. It’s taken years to admit it. I’m also a hermit in a writing basement who prefers solitude to people (cats always welcome). I’m a writing fiend who hears the voices of teenagers and blushes at the S-E-X parts. I don’t sleep very well. Ever. My mind is too busy. I am a feline loving married woman who could easily end up a crazy cat lady if my husband would let me. I am a paradigm shifter, a believer in self and my own personal power. I see everything in black and white until the gray is explained to me. I am a fiercely loyal friend, a confidant and a Tarot card reader and intuitive. I am a proud roller derby girl, a total dweeb and can’t dance to save my soul. I am terrified of heights and challenge that fear every chance I get. Oh, and I’m the Creator. The Queen of my own Destiny. I love that.
Find her all over the Internet:
sign up for new release notices
and find Family Magic
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – YA Urban Fantasy
Rating – PG
More details about the author & the book
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10th December – Author Interview & Book Feature at Dreaming Pages

Thursday, November 28, 2013

@OBBookTours - Guest Post - Kat H Clayton - The Kings of Charleston

Writing is Cheaper than Therapy
by Kat H. Clayton
Writing serves several purposes in our lives. Writing is a way for us to communicate our thoughts and ideas to others. Writing can preserve factual information and pass it on to the next generation. Usually when we think of writing, we think in terms of how writing benefits the reader and forget that it can also have a profound effect on the person who produces the writing. I think the act of typing or writing out a story of any kind has just as much or maybe even more of an effect on the writer as it does the reader.
For me, writing isn’t just a way for me to share my thoughts and stories with others. It’s a personal form of therapy that’s better than any session with a therapist could ever provide.
When I sit down and spend some time writing, no matter what mood I may start the process in, I always come out with a better attitude and a sense of relief of some tension. I think most people associate this kind of cathartic feeling with journaling or keeping a diary, but I can write fiction and get the same effect.
Several times I can remember having a particularly bad day and sitting down to write some chapters, almost having to force myself to face the computer. I almost have to drag my fingers across the key board, but after those first few sentences the words fly onto the page and my bad mood is lifted with each key stroke. I become immersed in my fictional world and my characters drama and somehow that always alleviates and drama of my own.
Even on the good days when I feel like I’m on top of the world, writing only seems to bring me higher, unless of course I get a bit of writer’s block. But even then, just focusing my brain on getting the next scene down on the page creates some sort of chemical reaction that releases those happy endorphins in my brain.
I have to admit some of my best work comes from the bad days, because I’m trying to focus so hard on making those terrible feelings go away. I try to channel my anger, hurt or disappointment into an intense scene and by doing so it helps me relate to what my characters are going through. I’m angry or aggravated right along with them and as I work to solve their problems, I solve my own (or at the very least feel better about it).
My husband has a t-shirt from one of our favorite weekend getaway destination that says, “Beer is cheaper than therapy.” I would have to say writing a couple of chapters is cheaper than therapy and way more satisfying in the end.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – YA / Mystery / Suspense
Rating – PG13 (No sex scenes, some violence)
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Kat H Clayton on Facebook & Twitter

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5th December – Author Interview at bit’s ‘n Bobs

Monday, November 25, 2013

@OBBookTours - Beware the Procrastination Demons by David Jester

Beware the Procrastination Demons
by David Jester 
I’ma huge procrastinator. I work out of an office at the back of my house and one of my first attempts at fixing my procrastination was not to put a television in the office — I didn’t have a Facebook account back then and didn’t waste much time online. I hoped that the lack of a television would force me to concentrate more on the computer, but as it turned out I just spent less time in the office and more downstairs, in front of the television.
I’m always doing it, regardless of what I’m writing or working on. Since I started typing this I’ve already paused to check my email and have a quick look at Facebook. It’s not that I have a short attention span or that I can’t be bothered, but it does feel rude. It’s the literary equivalent of stopping someone mid-conversation to make a phone call or laugh at text messages from your racist uncle. I feel I’m doing my book a disservice and when I return. I feel I should apologize.
I do have days where I get so wrapped up in my work that I ignore everything else, and those days can go on and extend into a week or so, during which I can get an amazing amount of work done, but I think I’m missing a trick. When I compare the times of clarity to the ones of sluggish laziness, I realize just how productive and prolific a writer I could be.
There is no cure. Strict deadlines do help, but it’s hard to impose deadlines when you work for yourself. I think I just have to accept it as a fact of life.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Horror
Rating – PG13
More details about the author & the book
Connect with David Jester on Twitter

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2nd December – Author Interview & Book Feature at Book Sane

Sunday, November 24, 2013

@OBBookTours - Stories behind my books: Forex by Vadim Babenko

Stories behind my books: Forex
by Vadim Babenko
It all started when I lost money. A lot of money – enough to last a modest family for a couple of years.
This happened in a flash – I decided to double my bank account and began to play the currency market, having neither experience nor skill. In the first two transactions luck was on my side, then I laid down a big stake and was soon staring in shock and disbelief at the computer screen. The market, on a strange whim, had lurched in the opposite direction, and I was falling further and further into the red. Then everything was over; no money was left. It had simply evaporated in a matter of hours.
I didn’t tell anybody about it. On the contrary, I pretended I was doing great. Better than before – though, in reality, I was overwhelmed by a sense of catastrophe. I had something to live on – previous investments produced income – but the issue was not the money. The specter of terrible defeat closed in on me from all corners – and I could not accept defeat. So I began to look for ways to win back what had been lost in the market.
Fortunately, I didn’t start taking risks again right away – though I was very much tempted. I forced myself to observe and think, almost to meditate, as I studied price charts. Then I realized I wasn’t able to control my emotions, even on small stakes. I understood I needed a partner with a sober head and iron nerves. I set aside all my affairs, including the book I had just begun, and started making an automated trader – this concept had just become fashionable at the time. Recalling my past, the twelve years I had dedicated to AI, I set out to design an exceptionally clever computer program. It was a robot – my accomplice in fighting the market. I called him SEMMANT.
For over a year I did nothing else. I worked tirelessly, as in a fever. The robot grew smarter – I really put a great deal into him. Its artificial mind became a logically closed circuit, self-sufficient, personally complete. It even seemed to me that in its actions, its reactions to market fluctuations could be seen something human, something of mine. At a certain moment I understood I had given him all I could. He could be made no better; he resisted all changes.
Here the money I had lost came back to me – one of the stocks I had owned for a while suddenly tripled over speculative news. I felt at once that the financial markets no longer interested me. My robot remained on a computer disk, like in a dungeon, alone with a virtual account. I just couldn’t set him free to trade in real money. I probably subconsciously did not want him to experience the same fate – terrible failure, defeat, catastrophe.
I tried to tell others about him, but they laughed at me. All the same, I knew I had won a victory. I became incredibly free, casting a heavy burden from my shoulders. And I returned to the abandoned text, to the new book hidden in a desk drawer. I wrote with pleasure, many hours a day. No, this was not SEMMANT. This was a different novel: SEMMANT had yet to mature in my mind. For a year, two, three, five.
Buy Now @ Amazon & Amazon UK
Genre – Literary Fiction
Rating – NC17
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Vadim Babenko on GoodReads

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1st December – Author Interview at Zoo of Books

Saturday, November 23, 2013

@OBBookTours - Guest Post - AFN Clarke - The Orange Moon Affair

The Orange Moon Affair - by the bestselling author of CONTACT - is the first book of a compelling new thriller series, an action-packed conspiracy with a hero and heroine you hold your breath for. If you enjoy the action of Robert Ludlum, the intensity of Brad Thor and the international intrigue of Daniel Silva, then this book’s for you!
Ex-British Special Forces soldier Thomas Gunn is drawn back into his old life of international intrigue and danger following the murder of his billionaire father. The deeper he digs the more complicated the puzzle becomes until he finds himself working for MI5 uncovering a global conspiracy that puts the freedom of the western world at grave risk. His girlfriend Julie becomes his accomplice surprising him with her loyalty, strength of character and physical prowess.
While traversing the globe being shot at, shot down and losing loved ones – a haunting question tears at his soul – was his father really at the heart of this evil conspiracy? Or was he a pawn in a larger more insidious game that even he could not control?
Seeking the final answer could cost Thomas dearly, ripping from him all that he most loves and cherishes and leaving him questioning his past, his future and what kind of person he is or wants to become. The final outcome depends on him. Or does it?
As a former Captain of Britain’s elite Parachute Regiment and son of an MI6 operative the author brings his own unique and eye-opening experiences to the character and exploits of Thomas Gunn, as well as an unsettling blurring of the lines between fiction and reality when exploring the ruthless abuse of power and position for personal gain.
“… The Orange Moon Affair is timely, eye-opening, fast-paced … you will find you want to turn the next page, and the next page, and the next … the first of the Thomas Gunn series … you don’t want to miss them!”  5 Stars, Remy Benoit.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller 
Rating – PG13
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30th November – Excerpt at Aspiring Books

Friday, November 22, 2013

@OBBookTours - Guest Post - Robin Mahle - Redwood Violet

What Inspired Me to Write My Book
by Robin Mahle
The odd thing about inspiration is that sometimes it’s present when you don’t even realize it.  I have always been a fan of suspense novels, so that’s what I enjoy writing.  It wasn’t until I was working on a draft of a novel, which incidentally, still sits unfinished on a flash drive that the idea for Redwood Violet came back to me.  I say ‘came back’ because it was always there, boxed up in my mind and labeled “For when she realizes she’s supposed to be a writer.”
When I was very young, I would say maybe eight or nine years old, I had this recurring dream of being chased by a looming shadowy figure; very frightening, really.  In fact, the book was originally titled, Shadow Man, to more accurately reflect the vision that always haunted my sleep.  I can’t recall exactly when the dreams stopped, but the unknown, faceless figure has always stayed with me.
Fortunately, in my case, this was simply the dream of a young girl with an overactive imagination and in no way relates to the events my main character, Katie had suffered in the story.
I first attempted to write a novel in my late twenties.  I had always been the creative-type; high-school theater geek, transitioned to college theater geek, and then eventually took a shot at acting professionally.  I think we can all guess how that turned out!  So, I struggled to find another creative outlet, which eventually led to a hap-hazard attempt at a semi-autobiographical book about two people brought together by fate.  (ie, the story of how I met my English husband).
It didn’t take long for me to realize I hadn’t a clue as to how to write a book.  Nor did it take me long to realize the fact that it probably wouldn’t interest as many people as I might like to believe.
So, I tucked away that ambition in pursuit of a more secure future, having a family and a career.  But, after all that had unfolded, I was still left with a void.  It was a void that could not be filled with the love of my family because it was a different kind of void.  It was a deeply personal emptiness that I struggled for years for which to find the cause.
When I took to writing again about four years ago, it was because the economy was in the toilet and so was my career.  But lo and behold, the void slowly began to fill with each ezine article I wrote, essay, short story and eventually, my novel, Redwood Violet.
So, I guess my inspiration for writing my book came from years of searching for my true passion. My imagination that has, once again, begun giving off sparks and the love and support from my amazing family inspired this novel.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Mystery  / Thriller / Suspense 
Rating – PG
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29th November – Author Interview at Books & More

Thursday, November 21, 2013

@OBBookTours – The Reason Behind the Writing – Why I Do It by August Wainwright

The Reason Behind the Writing – Why I Do It
by August Wainwright
Writing is a profession. Being an author in today’s environment of publishing means being an entrepreneur. I get it; and anybody who wants to succeed should embrace that idea too.
I’m as guilty as everyone else when it comes to obsessing over the numbers. It is an absolute must that at least three articles per week will be consumed that discuss the business of selling books on Amazon; the more specifics on numbers sold and dollars brought in, the better. Give me screenshots and graphs and, while you’re at it, throw in a venn diagram (love those things). I want bone-deep specifics about what you’re doing over there on your side of the fence. It’s the game we play.
But this new environment demands something of us, something that us author-entrepreneurs might possibly be overlooking.
As the number of ereaders skyrockets and we pump out books for the growing consumer base, what is it that we’re actually delivering to readers? A highly planned-out marketing juggernaut or a creation of passion?
We, the proverbial we, have an opportunity here. Brilliant, philosophical people have been told NO by the publishing industry for so many years now, simply because their manuscript doesn’t fit into a sell-able box. Or better yet, maybe the publishers have wanted something different and earth shattering all along, but we’re just now moving into a time where the environment is ripe for such works. *I seriously doubt that’s the case, but who knows.
Self-published and indie authors have at their fingertips the conditions that allow for any and all opinions, no matter how unbelievable or ridiculous.
Take an essay that was recently published by Stephen King. It’s called simplyGuns and discusses the role of gun control and gun ownership in our country. As of this writing, it has over 1400 reviews. King published the essay as an Amazon Single and said his goal was:
to provoke constructive debate -
I would have to assume that even a world famous, can’t-miss-author like King wouldn’t have been able to publish an essay like this just a few years ago.
And regardless of your feelings on the issue of gun control, regardless of whether you’re a Prius-driving, Berkeley-educated, California liberal or a down south country boy who thinks the best way to stop school shootings is to give underpaid and overweight teachers a .40, it matters not my friends. The single most important part is that this essay exists and is being consumed by lots of readers.
I don’t presume that any novice self-published author can write an essay or short story about a socio-political topic, publish it on Amazon and garner thousands of readers. Maybe some can – I don’t really know. After all, Stephen King is still Stephen King. But it’s the opportunity that amazes me. Nobody can tell you no anymore.
Write something that matters, format it well,create or purchase a great book cover, and do your best to spread the word. Start a conversation, or at least add to one that is already out there. What do you have to lose?
My Story:
For the last two years, I’ve been building and writing a series that will eventually be released as a trilogy. For now, it’s still in the first draft phase. I don’t even have a title yet. I’m not happy with the overall message so I’ll keep my head down and write on. But these books are a labor of love, a pursuit of truth, a struggle to understand the problems of our society, and a passionate plea to every single reader to do more, to represent more, to stand for more.
The scope is too big – quite frankly, I’m not sure I’m up for the challenge. But I’m sure as shit going to try. Every knot has someone to undo it (an awesome Arab proverb). And in the current iteration of our society, there’s knots everywhere you look.
For me, the success of these books won’t be measured on the same scale as my other works. Commercial success and profitability aren’t inherently what I’m after. It’s about saying what I believe needs to be said. And although my efforts are far from in the same league (not sure if we’re even playing the same game) as books like Fahrenheit 451, Atlas Shrugged, A Brave New World, or 1984, I have the unfathomable opportunity to write whatever the hell I want.
I’ll let the readers decide. I have to believe the general public is much more intellectual than most of today’s authors give them credit for. I believe they want to be stimulated in ways that affect them. I believe they want more than just entertainment.
The Point:
Even in this golden era of publishing for authors, I still see daily articles about the things that are “tearing us down”. If it’s not that the market is being flooded with crap, it’s that Amazon and Createspace aren’t crediting all of your sales. Come on. I like a good conspiracy as much as the next guy but give me a break.
The growth of ereader devices is drastically outpacing the growth of books in the market. Not to mention the international markets that are exploding all over the world. And you know what, if you’re worried that your 8 sales of paperbacks should actually be 9, well, then maybe you should refocus a little. Just saying.
As environments heat up and die out and new ones sprout up, you’ll undoubtedly hear that you’re too late; that the door has already closed. Readers won’t be happy until books are a nickel and can be re-sold for a penny. Amazon is going to hold your work hostage. Piracy is robbing you of all your profits.
I beg you to ignore that bullshit. Focus on your product. Research. Write. Re-Write. Forget about “author platforms” or “creating your brand”. Write because you love it. Write because your readers interact with you and tell you they can’t wait for more and you feel like what you’re doing actually matters to them. Serve them, not the machine.
Things will change. Companies will go out of business, new ones will take their place, and the marketplace will evolve. Stay up-to-date, adapt, and change with it.
Go read Kristen Lamb’s stuff, specifically the parts where she says to “Know your stuff cold, be confident, think a few steps ahead, and believe you’re special.” Prepare for what she calls The Resistance:
The Resistance is made up of two types of people. Those too chicken $#!& to follow their own dreams, or those so full of themselves they can’t bear to share the spotlight. Both types of people build themselves up by putting others down.
Again – ignore all of it. Learn to filter the lessons from the overwhelming sea of crap that will most definitely be thrown in your direction. Take the small steps and move towards your goal. If your goal is to make people laugh, then go entertain. If you want to affect change on the highest level, well, good luck to you – I’ll be the one next to you at the coffee shop, chasing down my own version of change.
Never forget why you write and who you write for. If you keep that at the forefront, the readers, and the income, will come.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Mystery / Thriller / Suspense 
Rating – PG13
More details about the author & the book
Connect with August Wainwright on Google Plus & Twitter

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28th November – Excerpt at Brainy Reads

Sunday, November 17, 2013

@OBBookTours - How I Broke Out of Publishing and Learned to Write in Obscurity by Ted Olinger

How I Broke Out of Publishing and Learned to Write in Obscurity
by Ted Olinger, Author of The Woodpecker Menace: Stories from an Accidentally Unseparated Island 
I was in my cubicle, a large, gray pen lined with unsolicited manuscripts from unknown writers, when the phone rang. It was from a friend in Publicity, on the other side of the building.
“Get over here. You’ve got to see what’s on television right now.”
I crowded into the department head’s corner office with two-dozen others, all staring at a big screen TV. Germans were standing on the Berlin Wall, demanding its removal, live. Some of us wept, some of us wondered if the East Germans would fire on West Germans. At last the department head said something like, “We’ve all got plenty of books to sell now. We’ll worry about Berlin next season.” And we went back to work.
I didn’t know it then, but that was to be my last day in publishing.
I had already been laboring away at this famous New York publisher for more than two years. Editorial assistants, at least then, took the job of long hours and low wages to learn the business. I was fortunate to work for a veteran editor who was determined to mentor me whether I wanted it or not. I studied the manuscripts she bought and all of her line notes and correspondence with the authors. I read five to eight submissions a week and wrote one-page reader reports that she used to cross-examine me. I wrote respectful and even encouraging letters to writers, returning their rejected manuscripts months after they’d arrived. And this was all after working hours.
During the actual working day, I fielded phone calls from agents, authors, and other editors or publishing departments. I proofed galleys and drafted jacket and catalog copy. I carried proposals, contracts, and cover designs around the office seeking approval signatures from a dozen people. There was endless photocopying, coffee drinking, and sharpening of blue pencils.
But I wanted to be a writer. I had found this job to learn about it from the inside out, and I wasn’t writing anything under my own name. That began to gnaw at me.
My boss was sympathetic. She included me in editorial meetings and introduced me to agents and editors who were writers as well. But they were a wary lot, downplaying their own work even as they promoted the work of authors they represented or published. One confessed that the more success he had as a writer, the more skeptical his superiors became about his work as an editor. He later found himself “down-sized” to smaller and smaller publishers, until he went freelance.
My own end was less subtle.
One day I pulled yet another unsolicited manuscript off the towering shelves surrounding my cubicle. I took it home to read, as I always did. But I did not write a reader’s report for this manuscript. I handed it to my boss and said something like, “This is the kind of book I want to write.”
She frowned. She read. She bought.
The manuscript went into production the following season. She argued for an elaborate dust jacket, lobbied for publicity money, and solicited blurbs from name brand writers and reviewers. Our new author acquired an agent who rode us for a still better cover, more quotes, and more ad money, as a good agent should. The author called me directly and repeatedly with expensive last minute changes to the galleys, which I shepherded through Copyediting into print. We worked hours on the single paragraph that would promote the book in our sales catalog.
And that’s what killed it.
A voice from Sales or Marketing or Somewhere saw the ad and made its way around us to the Editor-in-Chief, who walked down the hall to our office one day saying, “We don’t think it’s gonna earn its money back after all,” and pulled the plug.
My boss took us out to a midtown bar close to the office on the company’s dime. We watched the news from Berlin on the overhead televisions. The wall was coming down. She had earlier absorbed the reactions of our unknown author and his enraged agent. The agent swore never to work with her or me again, ever.
“Doesn’t he know what we did for this guy?” I asked.
“We have to be grown-ups about this,” she answered.
After a moment, I said, “I don’t want your job.” We smiled at this, but then it began to sink in. I really didn’t want her job. We were watching history being made on TV, Europe was coming apart, war in the Persian Gulf was approaching, and we were battling our own copyeditors and sales department for nothing.
My boss remained at her post for another year before moving on to a second successful career.
But three weeks after that night, I was in Berlin writing down everything I saw.

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Genre – Fiction / Short Stories 
Rating – PG13 
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24th November – Excerpt at Farm Girl Books