November 18, 2013

Chris booksigningChris Baughman is full of awesome. He’s an awesome sandwich. No…he’s an awesome banquet. Chris’ book signing at the Las Vegas B&N this past Saturday was a resounding success.

His new book OFF THE STREET: REDEMPTION (B&N link) had chills running up and down my spine because of the lengths he and his PIT unit (Pandering Investigative Team) do to rescue women who have been brutally victimized by the dirtbags who sell them to the highest bidder – even if it means jeopardizing the case against these dirtbags. With Chris, the women’s safety and well-being always come first.

Human trafficking is an incredibly ugly business, and Chris wades through the muck with grace and some of the most amazing detective skills I’ve ever seen. REDEMPTION is a gritty case that pits Chris against Mario Davis, someone from his old neighborhood, someone he looked up to as a fellow basketball player at his high school. Mario had it what it took to escape their rough Las Vegas neighborhood, but his life took a vicious U-turn, which brought him to Chris’ attention after Mario severely beat two of his stable of ten women. Chris needs to dig up the secrets and lies in order to build a case against Mario, yet do everything he can to protect the victims.

REDEMPTION is a story about coping with the brutality of the job, saving the victims, and saving a piece of Chris’ soul along the way. This book blew my doors off. Not many of us could do the job Chris does, and I give him a huge huzzah for taking on the cases that no one else can.

If that’s not enough, Chris is co-host of the new show SLAVE HUNTER on MSNBC starting December 1. See what I mean by awesome?

Behler Authors – My Heroes

October 24, 2013

It’s been a busy time. We have some wonderful books that have come out/are scheduled to come out, so there’s a lot going on in the background. Sometimes it gets so busy that I forget to take time out to think about the fabulosity of our authors, and the life-altering events that have dropped into their laps and shaped who they are today.

Here are three of our new books that take my breath away.

KeepingYourHeadloresI’ve watched loved ones go through the pain of unemployment. It’s a soul-sucking experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. And that’s why I am so grateful for this wonderful book, KEEPING YOUR HEAD AFTER LOSING YOUR JOB by renowned psychologist Robert L. Leahy, PhD. This isn’t a “How to fill out a winning resume,” but a bible for maintaining your feelings of self worth and building your confidence, which is vital to getting that next job. This book also discusses ways of living your life effectively during your time of unemployment.

A must read.

Voice front cover-hiresI had a neighbor whose little boy had a pronounced stutter, and my heart used to just break as he struggled to get words out. I always wondered if his parents got him help. I never really stopped to think about how his stutter affected him…until I read VOICE: A STUTTERER’S ODYSSEY by actor, playwright, Scott Damian. We’ve all heard stories about famous actors who stuttered, but no one ever did it with such humanity and tenderness until Scott wrote his wonderful book.

But more so, Scott’s book gives me courage to never let anyone tell me “Oh, you can’t do that.” Not only is Scott’s story fascinating, funny, heartfelt, but his book reminds me to never stop taking chances. Isn’t that a marvelous message for all of us? I cry every time I read the end. One of the truly nicest, kindest people I know.

REDEMPTION - HIGH RES - final frontHoly crap. Detective Chris Baughman is one of the most amazing, selfless people around. He puts a face on human trafficking, which is far more rampant than anyone would ever believe. It’s easy to sit back and say that would never happen to you, but Chris has stories of well-educated women getting sucked into this world. And once they’re in, oftentimes, the only way out is death, but not before suffering major beatings. Or Chris is on the case.

OFF THE STREET: REDEMPTION is Book 2 in his OFF THE STREET series, and is more gripping than ever because Chris is after someone from his past. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to see someone I admired and was compared to as a kid grow up become an animal, and it was my job to hunt them down and get him off the street. I can’t imagine saving the women who suffered horribly at this man’s hands, and helping get them off the street.

Chris remains one of my real-life heroes because he has the disposition and brilliance to out-think these animals and take them down. But one has to ask, at what cost does Chris do these hard, soul-killing things? That’s the heart and soul of REDEMPTION. And hey, Chris is the cohost of the upcoming MSNBC show, SLAVE HUNTER, airing December 1.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. My authors are all heroes – it’s why we publish the books we do. Their stories make the world a better place, and make me a better, more thoughtful person. Well, if I had a heart or soul, that is…

Be glued to your TV tonight

February 22, 2012

OFF THE STREET Detective/author to be featured on National Geographic documentary.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department detective and author Chris M Baughman is scheduled to be featured in the National Geographic documentary “Sex for Sale: American Escort,” airing at 9 p.m., Wednesday.

Check your local listing for the National Geographic Channel in your area.

Go, Chris! You totally rock.

Start your New Year off on the right foot, and finish your literary puzzle

December 26, 2011

I’m big on finishing my puzzles. They stare at me on the dining room table, calling and whispering at me to find that one piece that will complete a particular scene. After all, you can’t call something complete without all the pieces in their proper place, right?

And this is why the query that bumped into my inbox a few days ago made me feel as if the author hasn’t finished her literary puzzle. The sin?

I am in the process of researching promotion strategies.

Didja read that?


The author had the synopsis and bio down, but blew it out of the water by not having all the pieces of her literary puzzle in place. In order for editors to determine if something is publish-worthy, they need to see a puzzle. I bleat this like a goat drunk on peanut butter daiquiris…if you write nonfiction, you need to have a promo plan that outlines your platform.

Writing your book and outlining your bio is only two-thirds of your literary puzzle. The missing pieces are vital, and I know of very few commercial publishers who appreciate an author’s query that creating a friendly online presence is a foolproof method of promotion. Those who say this either already have a very strong online presence and can back up that statement, or they have zero online presence and have no idea how long that endeavor takes and how hard it is to establish and maintain.

It’s not that we’re snobs. We would give our eye teeth to publish books based solely on their literary quality and message, but sadly, this isn’t the way of the world. We’re slaves to the publicity machine, and it’s really hard to make something out of nothing. If you sit at home knitting toilet paper doilies and your book is about trying to entice readers about postpartum depression, then how can your publisher market and promote your book when your potential readers don’t know you exist and you have nothing that establishes your fabulosity?

What do you bring to the postpartum depression party other than having suffered it? I know that sounds trite, but let’s put this into perspective. I’ve had two hip replacements, but I wouldn’t write a book about it because I don’t have any identifiable credentials about hip replacements other than my own experience. And unless readers want to know the joys of hippy hopping around Trader Joe’s after forgetting my cane, then who cares? I’m not so much of an expert as I am a participant. Big whup. There needs to be more meat on a book’s bones in order to attract an audience, and publishers know this.

There is too much money wrapped up into publishing, marketing, and promoting a book, and this is why publishers need to have a complete literary puzzle. Those elements are the foundation we use to pitch, market, and promote your book. Let’s broaden the horizon a bit. Will Library Journal will get goosey bumps over your cancer book if you collect navel lint and shape them into Christmas decorations? Or might they feel more compelled to bite if you are actively involved with the major cancer groups, give seminars to cancer patients, and are considered an expert in your particular field?


While I’m on the subject of experts, I’m not talking about advanced degrees, corporate sponsors, and people who kiss your ring (though that’s not too bad). Rather, it’s something that you establish yourself. Sounds self-serving, right? But think about the people you see interviewed on the Talking Head shows. They are always introduced as an expert in their particular field…even if it’s as innocuous as reading body language. But here’s a factoid to stick in your pipe and smoke:

Media Lurves Experts.

And it makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Can you imagine the producer for Regis and Kelly saying, “Yah, let’s invite that lady who bakes radish casseroles and wrote that book about human trafficking.” No, they want someone who has the credentials to stand behind their book, an expert. Instead, they’ll invite Chris Baughman, who doesn’t bake to save his soul, but he wrote a fantastic book (Off the Street) that details how he rescues a lot of victims of human trafficking for a living. Simply put, there is no better expert than Chris.

Now, has anyone waved a magic Promo Wand over Chris’ head and deemed him An Expert? Nope. However, marketing folks are the Great Yodas at exploiting every last morsel of someone’s platform. But there’s a fine line to walk because they aren’t magicians. An expert must be able to withstand any and all questions tossed at them during an interview. So our radish casserole baker isn’t seen as a serious contender in human trafficking because she doesn’t have the broad based experience of human trafficking.

If you write nonfiction/memoir/biography, be prepared to sell yourself as An Expert. Merely saying, “I lived it,” doesn’t necessarily count. This only means that you’re an expert in your particular experience and lack a wider perspective. Interviewers will start out with your personal experience, but then move over to a larger context so as to grab viewer interest.

Passion vs. Blinders

The problem that usually gets in the way of an author completing their literary puzzle is they are so passionate about their story that they put on some fairly large blinders, which prevents them from analyzing whether they have a story at all. All of our authors are extremely passionate about their stories – as they should be – but they and their agents knew they had to sell their stories. And not just to me, but to their targeted readership. As such, they came prepared with both passion AND clarity about who they are and what makes them the best person to have written their book.

Honor yourself by stopping what you’re writing and ask yourself whether you’re wearing blinders that keep you moving in only one direction and prevent you from seeing the whole picture.

To Be or Not To Be

It may seem a silly thing to say, but books have a raison d’etre. I get a lot of people whose lives bump up an experience, and they decide to write about it. The problem is that most of the stories aren’t newsworthy.

I got cancer. Yawn.. so have a million other people.
I had a midlife crisis. Run me over with a missile launching Mack truck, who isn’t having a midlife crisis these days?
I’m going through a divorce. Shave my eyebrows and call me Shirley…you think you’re the only one?

They’re all too personal…so personal that I almost feel like a literary Peeping Tammy.

Book or magazine article?:  In addition to being too personal, many stories don’t have enough literary gas to make a book. Instead, they’d make great articles. It’s not that your story is any less valid, but that your experience simply is not a 65,000 story. Learn to appreciate the difference and ask yourself where your story fits.

The trick to putting together a fabulous literary puzzle is research. Knowing that your puzzle is a pie-sized bunch of awesome is the kind of confidence writers need when querying – and you only get that kind of confidence by knowing how your book measures up to what’s already out there.

And it’s not just your book – but it’s you, too. How do you measure up in a editor’s eye? Are you marketable? What are those marketable qualities? Are you an expert? If so, what is your particular expertise, and is it the same as everyone else’s who is your competitive equal? Is your platform exploitable enough to get those media types and book reviewers sniffing around? And most important of all – have you even addressed these issues? ‘Cos if you haven’t, then your literary puzzle is incomplete.

Writing memoirs – meeting the burden of marketability

November 7, 2011

Memoirs are a tricky thing because, well, we all have lives that many of us believe would make for interesting reading. And I’m sure there are those who would find your life an interesting read, but as publishers we have to look for the largest common denominator. That means many memoirs and biographies are rejected.

Since memoir and biography are our main focus, I thought I’d share some of the elements that may help you.

The Art of Reflection – It’s All About Me

The most common queries that cross my desk are writers who live through some event, or reach an age where they reflect on their experiences and decide it’s worth putting to cyber paper. These writers tend to have tunnel vision and fail to consider whether they have a marketable story. And why would they? Most aren’t “writers.” They are people who want to tell the world about their lives.

As such, they lack the art of reflection, which means they more than likely haven’t read any other memoirs because hey, “It’s all about me!” I say that without ridicule or judgement because memoirs tend to be trickier than other genres for the simple fact that each story is unique, right?


Since the writer hasn’t read other memoirs, he hasn’t given himself the luxury of comparison, of knowing what’s already out on store shelves. They write their cancer survivor story, blissfully unaware there are a gabajillion other cancer survival stories already jamming the marketplace – and no one is more amazed to hear there is nothing different about their story.

In their “It’s all about me,” the art of reflection failed them, and they had no idea whether they had a marketable story or not. The only way a writer can determine this is to read memoirs that cover the same kind of material. If you’re writing about cancer, a particularly overpopulated category, then you have to understand the elements that make your story different.

What’s the point? The “Who Cares?” Factor

This is a toughie because many writers don’t take a moment to ask this question. They’re invariably brand new to writing and are mired in “It’s all about me.” This is understandable because they don’t know how to think like writers selling to a marketplace. And we can thank Mr. Ego for that because he makes it tough to question our fabulosity with an objective eye.

In a word, we’re going in blind, so we may write something like this query:

I played the drums in orchestras and wrote some rousing tunes for them, learned to race cars, built and sailed a sloop, painted water colors, baked cakes, grew heirloom veggies outdoors and fruit trees indoors, built radios, ran a photo darkroom, taught myself to play the trumpet, made clothing, crocheted, learned the art of topiaries. Also a writer, I published a music textbook, two books of poetry as well as articles on home improvement, music and gardening. Oh, and I was a structural engineer, including the  patents.

There’s no focus to this query, nothing that pops out and makes me think I must have this book, or I’ll cease to live. Instead, it lacks focus. The author basically threw up his life on this page, then sat back and said,”So, how’s them apples? Cool, huh?”

Well…no. There’s no doubt this gent has enjoyed a fascinating, fruitful life, but so what? I’m not saying there aren’t memoirs whose stories focus on, “Hey, look what I did,” but those “somethings” have to be pretty pivotal. Creating penicillin, curing cancer, the life of a rodeo rider, astronaut, or celebrity food chef.

There’s a point.

Many of us are egged on by friends and family who tell us we’re so wonderful that we should write our memoirs. If we hear it enough, we may let our fingers dance along the computer keys and create what we think is a great story. Here’s a bit of advice: Friends and family are unreliable sources. We love them dearly, of course, but they are far from impartial.

So when looking at your life, honor yourself and your story by stepping outside of yourself to see whether you meet the “Who cares?” litmus test.  You can only do this by learning about writing, and learning the publishing industry. Shameless Promotion: Pick up a copy of Tackle Box…I wrote it just for you. If the gent above had done this, he may have decided that, yes, he had done a lot of interesting things, but maybe there really isn’t a story there.

“May you live in interesting times.”

We’ve all heard that, right? We think it’s something nice and positive. A blessing. In truth, its origins trace back to a curse and really means, May you experience much disorder and trouble in your life.

Gah. What a buzzkill.

However…it makes for interesting writing and some terrific memoirs. Why? Because it’s conflict, which is a vital tool in writing – be it fiction or nonfiction. If a story grabbles along all la-dee-da, where everyone is happy happy all the time, then I don’t see them living in such interesting times. It’s that disorder and trouble that make for interesting reading because we want to see how it all works out in the end.

For example, I’m currently editing a wonderful book by Ann Meyers Drysdale titled You Let Some GIRL Beat You? Annie is one of the most amazing women I’ve met in a long time because she put herself into the limelight – by no design of her own – because she simply wanted to play with the best, which turned out to be men’s basketball teams. This was during the 70s when women’s lib was rubbing up against the social mores of the time, so Annie’s exploits were played out in the media – much of it brutal. She simply wanted to play basketball with the best, and often outplayed the men. She had the nerve to shatter the iconic taunt of every childhood memory, “You gonna let some GIRL beat you??”  Well, yeah…and Annie did.

One could say that Annie lived in interesting times. She was unwittingly breaking a glass ceiling because she loves sports. All sports. And many powerful people were trying to keep her down. THAT is what makes an interesting story. Because she dared to put her head down and not let anyone tell her “no,” she became an inspiration to many who found themselves in the same boat – be it sports, life, or the workplace.

So if you’re considering your memoirs, ask yourself whether your story involves living “in interesting times.” If there’s no conflict – which is missing from the example I used above – then what is the glue that binds your story together in a fascinating fashion?

And by “time,” I don’t necessarily mean a physical time, but a metaphorical time.

  • You’re the mother of a child with a congenital heart defect (Heart Warriors)
  • You’re the wife of a man facing certain death if he doesn’t have a transplant, and the only way you can get through this is taking the tough lessons you learned from being on the Ski Patrol (The Next 15 Minutes)
  • You’re the detective who rescues victims of human trafficking, and your unique skills puts the perpetrators behind bars (Off the Street)
  • Your beloved wife has early onset Alzheimer’s and you’re traveling around the world covering breaking stories for CBS, and you grieve over how you’ll take care of her (Jan’s Story)

These are all wonderful examples of people who “live in interesting times.” They stepped outside “It’s all about me,” to reflect on the toughest question of all:  “Who cares?”


Platform, simply put, is how people know you and why they will listen to you.

Are you the detective who wrote Off the Street? Are you ski professional who wrote The Next 15 Minutes? Are you the Heart Mom who wrote about her child’s CHD? Are you the CBS journalist whose wife has Early Onset Alzheimer’s? Are you the Hall of Famer who wouldn’t let changing mores about women in sports prevent her from doing what she loved most?

These authors have platforms – meaning lots of people know them and will listen to them. They are unimpeachable. And because of their platforms, I am confident about selling lots of their books because the genre buyers are looking at those platforms as well, and order books accordingly.

So it’s not a stretch of the imagination to say that when I look at a query letter, my beady eye shoots straight for the author’s platform. After all, I’ve written about it enough. It needs to scratch several itches:

  • First of all, do they have a platform? This is one of the most common reasons I reject a book. It goes back to the fact that the author doesn’t understand the industry, and has no idea how books are sold. Instead, they live on Writer’s Island and write their book, believing that “if I write it, they will come.” Problem is, they rarely do.
  • Is the platform established? Lots of authors have a platform, but they haven’t done much to get it “out there.” I once had an author whose platform was that he was a high school principal. It fed nicely into his YA novel, and he sold huge amounts of books in his hometown. But outside his hometown, he was a blank slate. There was no question the author knew his subject matter, but he hadn’t established his platform beyond his town. This made it a tough sell in other cities. I suggested that he establish his platform by widening his scope, say, giving talks to parents about what kids are really thinking, which would have fed nicely into his book.
  • How big is the platform? Yes, size matters. I’ll use the example of Kim Kircher, author of the brilliant The Next 15 Minutes. I knew that her platform was that she is on the Ski Patrol at Crystal Mountain, an explosives control expert – meaning she tosses bombs out of her backpack or a helicopter and screams, “Bombs away!” – and had saved lives and seen a lot of sadness in her job. Unimpeachable. Yes, she has a platform, but my job as a soulless creature of the dark was to determine whether her platform would attract a large number of readers. The fact that her husband’s family owns a large number of resorts in the US and Canada, and their name is one of the most respected in the industry, convinced me that a lot of people know them and would want to read her touching, brave, gripping story.
  • Does the platform correspond to the subject matter? I call this “The Crossover Effect,” meaning that the author is known within a particular audience, but their book won’t necessarily appeal to them. I had a query where the author was well known in the home repair community, but his book was about addiction. I had to weigh his platform against the subject matter. Is his standing in the home repair community strong enough to where weekend home repair warriors would rush out to buy his book? Perhaps if it was Bob Villa. I concluded that his platform was too far a stretch to appeal to those who would be willing to listen to him. It would be a different story if he had written a book about the perfect way to plumb a door. I’d have felt that way even if his book was about how being bullied led him to home repair because I didn’t believe his core audience would find this appealing in large enough quantities to warrant publishing the book. Time will tell if I made the right choice.

The most important aspect of platform is one of timing. If your query letter runs along the lines of “I’m gonna..” meaning that once you have a contract deal THEN you’ll begin establishing your platform, then I have to tell you that you’re too late.

Establishing a platform takes time.

You don’t wake up one day and decide you’re going to become the darling of the Reiki community because no one knows who you are. And just because you THINK the Reiki community is your intended audience, it may turn out to be the exact opposite.

I found that out the hard way when I wrote Donovan’s Paradigm. It’s a no-brainer that most docs detest anything that has to do with alternative/complementary medicine. I knew that because I’d interviewed many at great length. Their opinions are what helped me shape the ever-adorable, swoon-worthy, doubting pain-in-the-ass Erik Behler (yes, the company is named after him…long story). Because of docs’ feelings, I felt they were the last community who would read my book.

As it turned out, the Reiki community, and the alternative medicine community at large, ignored my book. I couldn’t catch a cold with these guys. It turned out, they want to read nonfiction. But guess who came in to save the day…yep, the medical community. Knock me over with a feather. Because I had talked to so many docs, word spread about my book. So while my platform didn’t include being a doc, many thought I was, and wrote me to ask what kind of medicine I practiced. Feather, knock me over again, please.

So a word to the wise, it is never too early to establish your platform. True, my book is a novel, so the parameters are different – but the sentiment is the same.


Hello, James Frey and all the other inverted navels who pulled one over on the buying public. Because we have writers who play fast and loose with the truth, I’m wary about being sucked into someone’s story. I’ve had all kinds of queries that purported to be “the only witness” to crimes committed by government agencies, court cases, espionage, and family dealings.

Many of them sound so fantastical that even the beagle raises an eyebrow. The problem isn’t only believeability, but the problem with verification. If someone tells me they were a groupie for The Rolling Stones, The Dave Clark Five, and The Beatles, and their book is a “tell all,” I’m gonna need some proof…which they can’t provide because, hey man, it was the sixties, and who kept records. But I was invited to contact Paul McCartney or Charlie Watts for verification.

Right. Let me get right on that.

In closing, Memoirs are fabulous things because we enjoy reading about the cool things someone did or lived through. They’re often inspirational, amusing, educational, and thought-provoking.

If you take the time to reflect on:  why you’re writing your story, asked yourself, “Who cares?”, your story took place in “interesting times,” your story is believable, and you have an established platform, then I daresay you’ve met the burden of marketability. Now go out and be brilliant!

Chris Baughman – from the heart

November 4, 2011

For those of you who haven’t yet picked up a copy of Detective Chris Baughman’s book, Off the Street, I urge you to read this article. Not only does it highlight his poetic writing style, but the passion in his heart to put an end to human trafficking.

Human trafficking knows no economical or social boundary, and I’m grateful to Chris for assuming this burden. We all need more Chris Baughmans.


October 7, 2011

It’s been a while since I had a #gratefulfriday post, and I’m overdue. To be honest, there are days when it’s hard to remember to be grateful. The economy is in the tank without seeming end, and this makes it hard for businesses to place any faith in expansion. As much as I’d like to hire more people, I have to keep my eye on the bottom line. Hearing from our sales teams about how tough it is out there in BookSalesLand is enough to have me diving for a pitcher of the beagle’s margaritas.

And yet, today I woke up feeling grateful because there are so many more good things in my life than crappy. Our books are selling, which means readers are excited to hear what our brilliant authors have to say.

Jan’s Story has sold roughly 25,000 units, and that’s something to celebrate because his readers are learning how different Early Onset Alzheimer’s is, and how especially devastating it is because it affects people still in the prime of life.

Kim Kircher’s new release Oct.1 came off with a bang. Her lovely review really hits to the heart of her book. I love this part:

“Is there a caregiver role for you in your future? Would you like to realize that you too can get through medical crises fifteen minutes at a time? Read the book. Kircher is no superwoman—she’s just one of us, but she chose to follow her bliss out of the classroom and into the mountains and then using what the mountains taught her to help save her husband’s life. He’s one lucky husband. Death is the background character here, lurking behind the curtain. No spoilers, but this is a story that will chill and warm your heart.”

I think she’s touching a lot of hearts with her message of living a crisis fifteen minutes at a time. We can handle any kind of Bandini for fifteen minutes, right? Reading Kim’s book, or being around her always makes me want to take up bullfighting or cat wrangling.

I’m equally grateful to Detective Chris Baughman and his fabulous book Off the Street. I have to say that I have never been so impacted by someone’s presence. Chris looks like someone you’d never want to piss off. He’s tall and built like a Mack truck. But he’s a poet, a Renaissance Man, as you’ll see in his writing style. Yet, his book reveals Chris as an avenger and protector – so much so, that I still pump a fist into the air whenever I read his book. His message about human/child trafficking is frightening because it’s happening right under our noses.

The idea that hookers are “bad girls” is ancient thinking. Our daughters and sons are being swept up into this mess. He spoke before 900 parents Thursday night with this message.

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers president, Gay Culverhouse, taught me about concussion and their destructive properties. I remember how friends of mine suffered concussions in sports, and no one thought anything about it. We all kidded around about, “Hey, you really got your bells rung.” After reading Gay’s book, the very thought of my friends having their bells rung give me a case of the shudders.

Anyone with a kid in sports needs to read this book. Gay wasn’t just the prez of the Bucs, but she has her doctorate in Special Ed. The woman knows her stuff, and she showed that when she testified before Congress.

I could go on forever about all our wonderful authors because they humble me and make me grateful that I get to be involved withe their fabulous lives.

There is very little wiggle room with bookstores nowadays. They won’t speculate whether a title will sell. They want to know it’ll sell, so it’s incumbent on us publishers to provide our sales teams with solid promo plans. Bookstores are also looking to their own bottom line, which affects cash flow, inventory control, cost of returns, and traffic…meaning customers.

So what is there to be grateful about that? The fact that we know this information and can adjust our business plan to meet their criteria. And that’s why you should be grateful, too.

Rather than lament the way things are, consider the ways that you can adjust yourself to fit into that model. Knowledge is power, and success boils down to the way you choose to utilize that power. And because of that knowledge, writers have never had so many fabulous choices at their fingertips. This means that more people are channeling their inner creativity.  How marvelous!

I’m grateful to each and every one of you for daring to be something more.

Why I have the coolest job in the world

September 16, 2011

I love my authors. A lot. A whole lot. They’ve done and experienced things I can only dream about – or be grateful that I didn’t experience. As a sociology graduate from the early Jurassic Era, I get caught up in people’s stories and how they’re influenced by their experiences. I’m also a huge believer in karma – that what you put out sets a cosmic response into motion.

As such, our authors have some amazing stories to tell. Our three new releases make my heart skip a beat.

Throwaway Players: The Concussion Crisis From Pee Wee Football to the NFL
Gay Culverhouse is the former president of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She also has her doctorate from Columbia in special education, which means she has all the background for her new career of talking about the dangers of concussions.

Since Gay spent many years in football, she draws upon her experiences with football players – many who were good friends – and tells of how their many concussions deteriorated their brains to the point wherel a number of them died.

It’s a heartbreaking story, but Gay took her experiences and is now providing help to retired players, where none existed before. She’s also helping educate parents of kids playing sports because too many kids lives have been ruined from concussions as well. Gay is my hero. Read her book – you won’t be disappointed.

Off the Street

I just read a wonderful article in Las Vegas Weekly about our author, Chris Baughman, that pretty much sums up how his experiences altered his life and those who fall within his circle of light. I know, that sounds cheesy, but Chris is a ray of light for those women he saves from being beaten, or worse, taken out to the desert and killed.

Human trafficking doesn’t happen to “bad girls,” and this was something I didn’t realize. During editing, Chris told me about a veterinarian who got caught up in this ugly world. Imagine! A highly educated woman falling prey to a pimp’s lies. Of course, she had no idea he was a pimp until it was too late. That’s how slick these pimps are. And this happens just as easily to the “girl next door.”

This is a powerful book that details Chris’ hunt and destruction of a pimp making a million dollars a year…off of his women. It’s a story that had me punching the air and whooping like a moron.

The thing I love about Chris is his passion. He details in his book about being a kid at his best friend’s house and seeing the friend’s mother beaten severely by her ex-pimp. See, you can’t leave this life until your pimp says you can. Chris talks of his frustration about not being able to protect his friend’s mother. It’s a blinding image that stayed with me – and what fuels Chris to protect all women.

Chris is my hero. Read his book – you won’t be disappointed.

The Next 15 Minutes: Strength From the Top of the Mountain

I love to tell the story that there were three of us fighting over Kim Kircher at the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Conference, and I won. I get all goofy silly when I think of the editor at St. Martin’s looking over my schedule and pointing at Kim’s name, saying, “You’ll love her. I’d love this in my lineup.” I didn’t think anything about it until Kim walked in with five other writers. It was one of those deals where six authors sit at an editor’s table and pitch their book.

From the minute she opened her mouth, I was hooked. Not only is she gorgeous, all ten feet of her, but she’s a fantastic writer who tells a compelling story about having this amazing life with her husband running Crystal Mountain in Washington. He ran the joint while she tossed bombs out of helicopters, screaming, “Bombs away!” When she wasn’t saving injured skiers, she and her adorable husband, John, were off having adventures that exhaust me just reading about them.

Then tragedy struck when John was diagnosed with bile duct cancer. He was given a year to live if he didn’t receive a liver transplant. For Kim, whose world is about saving lives and dealing with emergencies fifteen minutes at a time, this ordeal seemed overwhelming…until she grabbed the lessons she’d learned on the mountain. The mountain had taught her that if she broke up her fears in fifteen-minute intervals, that nothing couldn’t be overcome.

It’s a fantastic theme that resonates throughout her book. Kim’s story had me reliving my own youth of shooting through narrow ski runs with my hair on fire…ahhh, good times. But what stuck with me is Kim’s theme of grabbing for strength wherever you can. There is a very cool article about Kim in Mountain Magazine, and this one thing Kim said really stuck with me. She said, “Our adventures are like dress rehearsals for real life challenges.”

True that!

We’re all faced with fear and uncertainty, but what a marvelous gift we have at being able to draw upon aspects of our lives to get us over the hump. Fifteen minutes at a time. Because Kim could draw upon her experiences, she was elevated to a position of strength and hope for John. What a beautiful love story as well as an affirmation of digging deep in our soul to find out exactly what we’re made of. Kim is my hero. Read her book – you won’t be disappointed.
So there you have it. This is just part of the reason why I have the coolest job in the world. I have the honor of dipping my brain into the lives of people who have done and seen amazing things, and share those incredible journeys with readers who will never feel the same after reading one of our books.

I know where I’m gonna be…

August 31, 2011

We are bugging out of town early Thursday morning to go here:

And yes, I’m leaving the beagle at home. Last time we took her on a road trip, we had to post bail and pay off the newspapers. I seem to remember a Dalmation was scandalized as well. Ah, good times.

So if you’re in Las Vegas, come on over and meet a wonderful man, Chris Baughman, and pick up a copy of his fabulous book, Off the Street. We’ll even let you make a crank call to the beagle.

What are you doing this Thursday? Listening to Chris Baughman, I hope

August 23, 2011

TRAFFICKED on Here Women Talk Radio this Thursday at 1:00 PM Eastern/ 10 AM Pacific –
Chris Baughman and his book Off the Street

click here to listen. Listen by phone at 646-652-2071 or 1-877-500 ZEUS (9387)

Author and Las Vegas Pandering Investigative Team ( PIT) Detective Christopher Baughman writes about the case against a pimp named Anthony Smith, vividly brought to life in Off the Street, which led to the PIT unit’s creation in 2009. Less than a year later, Baughman’s team had arrested and convicted several of the wealthiest and most violent criminals in the city, propelling the team into the national spotlight with several segments on “Dateline NBC.” The team also served as consultants for an episode of the CBS drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Baughman and the PIT team draw cooperation from city, state and federal law enforcement offices, cracking down on those who abuse women and force them to lead a life of prostitution. His painstaking investigations for the vice unit have even resulted in the arrest of his own former high school classmates.


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