Super special holiday breakfast surprise

I decided to go to the diner for breakfast this morning and found out that on Columbus Day (Thanksgiving in Canada) everything is just a bit more ‘special.’ Maybe it’s an ‘only in New York’ phenomenon, but today two eggs, potatoes, bacon, toast, coffee and juice will run you about double, or $12.40.

Mmmm, taste the inflation. novel contest

There have been several of these sorts of contests in recent memory (Sobol, Gather) but this one appears to be a joint effort with Amazon and Penguin books and worth a look for everyone out there with a novel. Here’s the info from the contest page.

“Are you a writer longing to be discovered? Submit your manuscript for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. It’s the perfect opportunity to become the next great novelist: the winning author will receive a publishing contract from Penguin Group, including promotional support for their book on, and a media suite from Hewlett-Packard. All entrants are eligible to self-publish their novel with CreateSpace and sell it on Enter your manuscript for consideration by November 5, 2007!”


In the parallel universe where I’m a writer instead of an editor I received my editor’s comments and line-edited ms for A Darkness Forged in Fire. There’s trimming for pace, a few clarifications of plot and a couple of characters that need some fleshing out to develop their personalities. There were a couple of cuts, however, that at first I didn’t agree with. I read and reread the passages and couldn’t understand why this or that cut had been made until I pulled back and looked at the pacing. Writers, certainly this one, can get enamored with word choice and imagery and lose the plot, literally. You work so long to craft that exquisite paragraph that you lose track of what the real intent of the chapter was. Of the many golden rules that a writer should pay attention to (but not slavishly follow) pacing is near the top.

In yet another reality where I’m a runner instead of a couch potato my body surprised me yesterday with a burst of speed in the last 1/4 mile of a 4 mile run in Central Park. I was getting close to the end of the run, huffing like the little engine that barely could when I heard runners coming up behind me about to pass. Some irrational spark deep in my id/ego/super ego flared and I wasn’t about to get passed that close to the finish. It was a revelatory experience because I honestly had no idea I had that kind of energy reserve. It also showed me that I haven’t been pushing as hard as I could. When I finally got to my finish line I slowed down and pulled off to the side to bask in my little victory and smile at the runners who hadn’t caught me. That’s when I saw that they were two very cute women who, had they passed me, I could have followed for miles. Alas, in this instance I definitely outpaced myself.

Discovering New York a bit at a time

I ran the full loop yesterday in Central Park which is six miles (well, I ran most of it and walked the rest when I thought a lung or other organ was about to be expelled.) I took a detour at the northwest corner to check out the neighborhood. Central Park West (the street that parallels the west side of the park) is not the same from Columbus Circle to 110th street. I then ran a few of the paths that wind their way through the north end before getting back on the road loop. Should you ever visit Manhattan and choose to run or stroll through the park keep in mind this is a big city so exercise common sense, especially as it gets dark. In fact, I think the park technically closes at 1am.

Later in the day I went into the Whole Foods at Columbus Circle for the first time and was blown away. The sheer volume and selection from around the world is absolutely astounding! Should you visit the city and are looking for a few less obvious places to check out I’d recommend the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle (the southwest corner of Central Park.) The center has a lot of great shops including Whole Foods and Borders, and it’s also a great place to get a pedi-cab or horse carriage tour of the park as well as a free concert by enterprising musicians and dancers. You’ll also find a variety of stalls selling everything from paintings to jewelry to souvenirs. And odds are that you’re liable to walk through the shot of a film crew if you hang around long enough (and maybe get 20 bucks to leave and quit causing a disturbance so that they can finish their shot…or so I hear.)

The search for an assistant

Actually, this person will be my second assistant, so in essence an assistant for my assistant (who is now an assistant editor) to assist me. Sort of assisted living for editors. Next year I’ll be publishing 45 books which is a handful. While many will be reprints several are original hard covers with significant publicity and marketing requirements and as we’re a smaller publisher we do more of that than normal. It feels like a monumental task and in some ways it is. Finding a qualified person is hard enough, but finding a qualified person with a bright personality, solid work ethic and ability to deal with the unexpected makes it a real challenge. Oh, and all at editorial assistant wages. I lucked out when I hired my first assistant. He’s continued to thrive in the job and has been clinically diagnosed as having taken over 37% of my higher brain functions. In another couple of years I’ll be drooling in a big black box with blinking lights (one for yes, two for no) while he runs the show. In the meantime, the search goes on.

In other news Band of Sisters is going back to print again as the book continues to sell extremely well. Kirsten has been terrific in support of her book and really gone above and beyond to help make it a success. She keeps her website updated, follows up on all queries, is gracious with her time and treats all events (and the people associated with them) with respect. I hope to emulate her example next year when my book pubs…as long as I can suppress my crusty, volatile and capricious editor tendencies.