The Shelf Of Friends


It’s always exciting to see someone I’ve worked with publish their book.

I was fortunate enough to be selected by Anne Marie Andrus to edit this book, and fans of the genre will enjoy it tremendously.

It was a fun read, and it was fun to edit.

Now it joins the Shelf Of Friends.

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I know, if you look from a distance you’ll say, wait, you aren’t friends with JK Rowling.

No, but that shelf started as books that were there to inspire me. Its original occupants were biographies of presidents and people like Henry Ford, Lee Iacocca, and others. Slowly, I replaced those with writers I wanted to read, read to my kid, read with my kid, or learn from.

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Then it was mostly faves: Jaws, The Other, Jurassic Park, Killer by Joey, Catch-22 – authors whose works inspired me and continued to inspire me.

Briefly, here’s what I learned from each of these:

  • Harry Potter: they’re here for my daughter, but also for this: write stories you’d like to read. Sounds like a no brainer, but it’s harder than you think. Also: a strong story forgives a lot of other sins.
  • Killer by Joey: people who kill and steal for a living are just different. Reading it in their own words, seeing their world, was eye opening in ways The Godfather was complete BS about. And this was decades before The Sopranos.
  • The Godfather was a gripping story about characters, and there’s an action scene every few chapters – and by action, I mean a gruesome murder.
  • Jaws: a lesson in how to be scary, and it changed a culture.
  • The Other: absolutely the scariest book I ever read, in a haunting way, and an amazing surprise ending. Its brilliance is to be emulated whenever possible.
  • Jurassic Park: another great book that became a great movie (probably my favorite movie ever) and a lesson on being creative and assuming the reader is smart.
  • Catch-22: I enjoy the witty, irreverent characters and theΒ  creativity of the writing. Just when you think it can’t get more outrageous, it does.
  • Killing Lincoln: a complete lesson on writing historical fiction and doing if for the mass market, as well demonstrating fast, fast, fast pace. I flew through this thing and said, I need to write shorter chapters from now on. My books have a faster pace as a result.

The guys not on the shelf are Mark Twain and Bill Cosby. Twain, because he’s on a different shelf that I see when I work. Cosby because I loved his comedy albums. Both have a rambling storytelling style I adore.

The Shelf Of Friends is really a half of a shelf, behind me; I see them when I go to sit at my computer.

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And the other half of the shelf contains these books:

Allison Maruska’s runaway bestseller The Fourth Descendant was allegedly * this close* to not seeing the light of day, and I helped that not happen.

My Young Authors Club books, as I beam with pride at helping 17 children become published authors.

A NY Times bestselling author I was a critique partner for, and who gave me some good advice. She wrote to market, had a hit, quit her day job and never looked back. Her writing – although erotica – explains why she’s successful. It’s filled with mystery and intrigue and pace and tension as well as erotica. It’s a great book, even without the sex, and she published 4+ books a year. Gotta love that pace.

And then I started putting books on there from people I helped go from “in the drawer” to published. Heather Kindt is there, with Ruby Slips and Poker Chips, and Colleen Landry with Miss Nackawic Meets Midlife

Some, I helped more; some I helped less, some I’m just friend with, a few I’m not friends with any more.

Some aren’t on the shelf anymore, because there are so many now that I’ve helped – and that’s the point. They are special because I helped at all, and because the author – the friend – chose to send it to me and say thank you inside.

Come what may, I’ll always have those, and yes, it helps on a tough day to open book after book that is signed by various authors and see their handwritten note thanking me for the input I gave to their book and to their step toward fulfilling a dream.

I don’t look at the books that way very often; I rarely need that kind of lift. But almost every day I see it as I go to sit and write at my desk and see the friends there cheering me on.

Now there’s one more.


19 thoughts on “The Shelf Of Friends

  1. I would be thrilled to have you edit my next book, however, I imagine you are not in my budget range. I’ve been reading books since I was a teen. Once Kindle came along, I stopped buying paper and hardcover books. I gave away so many books and still, my bookcase is full.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like how your favorite books evolved and I have a few of the old classics, like “Catch 22” and “The Godfather.” I’m not as much a fantasy book reader but do love Diana Peach Wallace’s Dragon series (Myths of the Mirror, too) and her Rose Shield series (“Catling’s Bane” was the first in her tetralogy). 🌹

    Liked by 2 people

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