A legacy of clean

Mom’s final wishes are no longer in print- and she’s thrilled

Three months before mom passed away, she got on a one-woman mission to combine her love of reading with the zeal an editor who would have made the toughest critic in Manhattan proud.

“Let’s get the words out before I go,” she abruptly announced. Words? What in the world was she talking about? “The swear words!” It took a moment, but then I realized she was pointing to a stack of my novels by her bed.

2 months beore her death, Mom’s editing spot was her bed

“Weren’t you the one who told me swearing is authentic?” I retorted, skeptical. It would be a major undertaking, and she was having trouble holding a book. “And besides, you swear yourself, as do certain people in certain situations.”

“Yes,” she admitted with a raised eyebrow. “But I’ve improved. So should you.” It was so wonderfully, annoyingly classical of mom and emblematic of her lifelong theme of continual improvement, even on her deathbed. Meeting her maker hadn’t lessened her drive one bit: it had made her more zealous!

With her time on earth limited, I agreed.

A first read

The journey itself was both painful and incredibly gratifying. Pre-deathbed, mom had a hard time completing a single book of fiction I’d written because she personalized so many characters. This in turn, meant she’d not done her job as a parent.

“If every character were me, I’d be Sybil and insane,” I’d laugh in response, not to mention she’d be Mommy Dearest! Furthermore, not every dad was my dad, nor were the boyfriend or partner emblematic of my husband of 25 years.

The good news is that with each page, chapter and book completed, her engagement increased, wondering about the why’s and how’s and the future(s) of the characters—just like a professional editor. She even changed her tune about the technology-heavy books like Global Deadline and Incarnation Series, appreciating the realities of DNA and software even if the truth behind it all scared her “to pieces,” as she liked to say.

The only book she left untouched is the Sue Kim authorized biography. Sue’s life was both amazingly wonderful and harsh, the highs of the money followed by devastating lows—just like moms. Mom knew that “the swears” were direct quotes, and thus, she maintained “They have to stay. It was their reality, not your fiction.”

A week before she passed and could no longer even lift a pen, she’d read through each book three times. Most only had a handful of “light swears.” (yes, that’s a real thing. Sort of like the PG-13 words as opposed to the R, let alone the X)! In the process, she nit-picked a ton of minor issues and errors that many better paid professionals had overlooked/not caught.

Mom’s legacy is worth that smile

Simultaneously, both Apple and Google took my bestsellers and converted the books to audio. What an amazing blessing. This is one application of artificial intelligence that is wonderful for the author and reader!

As you read or listen, thinking of mom and her final gift to us all: ‘swearless’ books.

Booklist as of 7.23.2023

Title Genre Audio eBook/print
Above Ground Suspense-Thriller Google Amazon, Apple, B & N, B & T, Bibliotheca, BorrowBox, Gardners, hoopla, Kobo, Odilo, OverDrive, Palace Mktplace, Scribd, Smashwords, Tolino, Vivlio
Global Deadline Suspense-Thriller Google, Apple Amazon, Apple, B & N, B & T, Bibliotheca, BorrowBox, Gardners, Kobo, Odilo, OverDrive, Palace Mktplace, Scribd, Smashwords, Tolino, Vivlio
Incarnation Suspense-Thriller Google, Apple Amazon, Apple, B & N, B & T, Bibliotheca, BorrowBox, Gardners, hoopla, Kobo, Odilo, OverDrive, Scribd, Smashwords, Tolino, Vivlio
Incarnation: the Cube Master Suspense-Thriller Google Amazon, Apple, B & N, B & T, Bibliotheca, BorrowBox, Gardners, hoopla, Kobo, Odilo, OverDrive, Palace Mktplace, Scribd, Smashwords, Tolino, Vivlio
A Convenient Date Romantic Suspense Google, Apple Amazon, Apple, B & N, B & T, Bibliotheca, BorrowBox, Gardners, Kobo, Odilo, OverDrive, Palace Mktplace, Scribd, Smashwords, Tolino, Vivlio
In a Moment Romantic Suspense/NDE Google Amazon, Apple, B & N, B & T, Bibliotheca, BorrowBox, Gardners, Kobo, Odilo, OverDrive, Palace Mktplace, Scribd, Smashwords, Tolino, Vivlio
Made for Me Contemporary Romance, Book 1 Danielle Grant Series Google, Apple Amazon, Apple, B & N, B & T, Bibliotheca, BorrowBox, Gardners, Kobo, Odilo, OverDrive, Palace Mktplace, Scribd, Smashwords, Tolino, Vivlio
Destined for You Contemporary Romance, Book 2 Danielle Grant Series Google, Apple Amazon, Apple, B & N, B & T, Bibliotheca, BorrowBox, Gardners, Kobo, Odilo, OverDrive, Palace Mktplace, Scribd, Smashwords, Tolino, Vivlio
Meant to Be Contemporary Romance, Book 2 Danielle Grant Series Google, Apple Amazon, Apple, B & N, B & T, Bibliotheca, BorrowBox, Gardners, Kobo, Odilo, OverDrive, Palace Mktplace, Scribd, Smashwords, Tolino, Vivlio
Chambers Historical fiction, action-adventure   Amazon, Apple, B & N, B & T, Bibliotheca, BorrowBox, Gardners, Kobo, Odilo, OverDrive, Palace Mktplace, Scribd, Smashwords, Tolino, Vivlio
Chambers: The Spirit Warrior Historical fiction, action-adventure Google Amazon, Apple, B & N, B & T, Bibliotheca, BorrowBox, Gardners, hoopla, Kobo, Odilo, OverDrive, Palace Mktplace, Scribd, Smashwords, Tolino, Vivlio
Sue Kim: the Authorized Biography Celebrities & entertainment Google Amazon, Apple, B & N, B & T, Bibliotheca, BorrowBox, Gardners, Kobo, Odilo, OverDrive, Palace Mktplace, Scribd, Smashwords, Tolino, Vivlio
The Overlooked Expert Non-fiction, success, entrepreneurship Google Amazon, Apple, B & N, B & T, Bibliotheca, BorrowBox, Gardners, Kobo, Odilo, OverDrive, Palace Mktplace, Scribd, Smashwords, Tolino, Vivlio
Author Straight Talk Non-fiction, publishing, writing   Amazon
Pricing   Audio $2.99-3.99 All eBooks .99 Print books vary

West on West by Jerry West

Recommended beach reading for Type A’s in all walks of life, not just basketball

I don’t watch basketball. I don’t care about basketball. Yet, I found myself purchasing a book with basketball as its main theme on Saturday and had completed it by Sunday before church. It is West by West, by Jerry West, a man I’d never heard of in my life (when I ask Rog what he thinks of Jerry West he says “one of the greatest hoop players of all time. The NBA logo is modeled after him.”) Indeed.

Reality is that I was getting my weekly dose of the publishing world by reading Publishers Weekly and having no handy reading material other than a past issue of PW, started through the pages, ended up in the Reviews section, and see what I instantly categorize as ‘yet another boring biography by a former athlete I’ve never heard of,’ when I read the snippet from PW. It’s beyond glowing.  I think the reviewer nearly had a personal moment when writing the review. Since I rarely read reviews from PW infused with this type of love, I go to the amazon kindle store, see the hard cover price is nearly $30, and the kindle price is about half. Sold.

The book didn’t disappoint. The writing style is raw, like the man himself apparently is in real life. The subtitle includes the word tormented for a reason, for West was a product of an unemotional, abusive home full of children his parents could barely afford or properly love. Already sensitive and withdrawn, West becomes moreso when his older brother is killed in Vietnam. Turning inward, West devotes his attention to an object: in this case, a round ball, and it becomes his life and his means out of a home he wants to leave but then can’t stand to stay away (for long). His cracked psyche manifests itself in perfectionism, a man who can’t appreciate the good because it is forever overshadowed by the bad. This hurts himself, his wife, even the women who he slept with outside his marriage, but as he himself writes, was unable to be okay with who he was.

This alone is not what makes the book interesting, nor was it the basketball stories, though the ones he includes had a nice balance of factoids mixed with interesting human sidenotes. Even the men I didn’t know about came alive in the scenes described. Good job twice over on that. It’s hard enough for professional authors to bring a person to life and West does it with aplomb.

Another reason I enjoyed West by West is because it gives light to the fragility of elite players at any level–high school, college, and the pros. Elite players, let’s call them life competitors, share unique traits. To understand and nurture an individual blessed with the talent, drive and ego (or lack thereof) is hard a hard task to accomplish. As West graduated from player to basketball executive, his understanding of the personalities in this arena served him (and the LA Lakers well).

West by West as a cannon for anyone person who works with, for, is married to, or is in fact, in the category of a competitive, Type A personality. The ego, drive, insecurities and challenges don’t end with the clock. That’s just the beginning. West knows that now, five kids, two marriages, umpteen decades after he started his journey. Reading about it is worth the $15.

Top 5 again…still going strong after 6 years

The story of Sue Kim continues to resonate around the world

Just wow. Behind Ray Liotta and before Taylor Swift, the authorized biography of Sue Kim is #3 today on Amazon downloads without promotion or advertising, just word of mouth. This book has hovered in the top five for nearly six years and for good reason.

Discovered by American GIs, the young singing trio are driven to perform

The recounting of the sixties darling and Korean superstar Sue Kim continues to transcend cultures and fads, her made-for-a-movie life includes a musical prodigy born to superstar parents, a father murdered by the North Koreans, her mother escaping a mountain prison, being discovered by American GI’s, and her eventual landing in the United States to find fame and love on the main stages around the country. Eventually finding love with a man New Yorker who became the longest running casino boss in the country, Sue Kim is still alive and living in Las Vegas.

June 6, 2022

You can read the reviews from around the world and see the pictures included in both the ebook and print. With exclusive access to Sue’s archived materials and interviewing over 70 people, the four years of research was worth every moment. Creating scenes from reading the descriptions of before/during/after the war was both challenging and fun, but hands down, the hardest part was the editing. And despite what a few of the reviewers have said (early versions unfortunately had a few grammatical hiccups) the true editing challenge was culling a 700-page manuscript down to a page-length readers could handle, sub-300. Now that was hard. My mother, bless her struggling eyes, cried when she compared the first version to the final, because she loved the extra stories and color. Alas, I wasn’t writing a multi-book anthology, but the highlights.

A global, constant reader favorite

Why Free?

Because the story of one-time superstar from North Korea, remembered by the Sinatra generation is not going to hit anyone’s popular list, and this story deserves to be known around the world. Given my library of books, and the draw of avid readers in over 100 countries (crazy but true) I want to entice each and every one to download the Sue Kim story. Every ebook platform, every format possible–it’s there for the taking.

A few of my favorite themes of Sue’s life are perseverance, determination and the ability to overcome through sheer will but ultimately, turning to God to truly find the peace that success can’t provide, no matter how bright the lights or big the stage. It’s going to officially be summer in a few days; download the ebook on any device (I’ve not stipulated limits so go for it!) and when you’re done, write a review, pose a question or make a comment. Sue’s life is an inspiration to all.

Summer 2022 bookbash

Get ready to download 65 books….

It’s here. The first of many promotions run by bookcave, kicking off the Summer Bookbash with 65 authors in the romantic-suspense category feature 65 books, my first women’s title, A Convenient Date included. Click here, search and load up for beachside reading.

Also, if you’re not following my Instagram, I’ll often do 24 hour deals or different promos that tie into some event where I’m participating. Videos and the funny life that is mine — IG address issarahgerdes_author.

Shout out to NEMO

My readers span over a hundred countries, with a high percentage in the Asia-Pacific region. My publisher can hypothesize all he wants, but I’ve not yet fully understood the interest but clearly grasp the response when I see the royalty reports for Japan, Malayasia, Singapore and elsewhere on a monthly basis. It’s amazing…

My Chinese friend

……Just like the dear friend of my oldest daughter, whose nickname is Nemo. He and my daughter switch between Mandarin and English, she’s teaching him all the American-girl slang, which I’m not sure is going to be super helpful unless he’s dating one. All I know is that when she’s another floor down at the end of the house laughing, she’s invariably talking to Nemo. Thus, another reason why I simply love people of all cultures and perspectives–goodness and joy exists everywhere, we just have to be open to it, then take the time to nourish and strengthen what we’ve found.

God, ratings and distribution

An author’s cheat sheet for getting the right readers through the ratings

During my last trip, the GM of the hotel where we were staying finally admitted he’d been writing a mystery romance novel and invited my thoughts. I was thrilled for him and his forthcoming book! An Egyptian by birth, the man speaks seven languages, served as an executive at the Four Seasons in both Eqypt and London, his depth of experiences superb for writing not just one novel, but a series.

Everyone has a story to tell….

His foremost concern were the topics off-limits in many highly religious parts of the world. This was the opportunity for me to talk about book ratings, a subject that was completely invisible to me until about five years ago when I found myself rejected from a variety of marketing campaigns. After digging into the issue, I discovered my submissions didn’t have a ‘book rating,’ and until this occurred, I’d be prevented from participating.

What is a book rating?

It’s akin to the movie rating system in the EU or America. Several sites offer ratings, which require the submission of manuscript, but also the authors self-identified ratings in major categories. Once submitted, an audit team comprised of readers and editors validate the author-submitted ratings.

What’s rated?

Four-five general sections depending on the site/service: language (curse words), sexuality (same sex), sex (all kinds) graphic (gore). In each of these sections, a scale exists that one must select. At the end, the composite of the above places the book in a category that assigns a rating. If, upon editorial review, what the author has submitted proves incorrect, the rating of the author drops, so the honor system is tightly controlled and multiple offenses result in the author being rejected outright. In other words, one must be accurate.

Why bother?

Because an author (or publisher) wants the broadest distribution for the book. Years ago, major big box stores such as WalMart had different criteria (standards?!) than they do today. That said, Christian bookstores—which have maintained their revenue through the ebook trends—adhere to the rating system. If your book curses God or contains gore, it wouldn’t have been carried without a rating, but if your book is within the required parameters, it should be carried, and that requires a rating.

In terms of your time and effort, about 15 minutes of cut, pasting and uploading. If you have a library (say 5-7 books) it may take an hour or so. Get going by signing up and submitting a book. This guides you through the entire process. If you have a manuscript in .doc form, but don’t yet have (or know how) to convert it to an epub, mobi or other format, go the fastest route and sign up/use Draft to Digital (2 sections down)–it’s what I did years ago and saved me hours of pain!! Once in the D2D system, you can create all these formats for free, safe and then upload to MBC, Google Play or anywhere else requiring these formats. Plus, you have just created a massive distribution for your books!

What’s the “God” part?

Depending on the culture, the mention of deity, be it Heavenly Father, Allah, God, can be used reverently or as a curse. The former mentions are acceptable and not considered offensive, while “oh-my-G-D, or any other derivative) is the equivalent of the F-word. For instance, ratings will go 1-5 curse words, no “F-words” or no use of a deity. The next rating up will be 6-10 curse words, 1-5 F words, 1-5 G words etc and so on. You get the picture. If you want the broadest distribution for a mainstream work of fiction (think John Grisham) you’ll be judicious with language. On the other hand, if your work is graphic, the so too will be the language.

Once your book is rated, then the wide world of marketing programs and distribution is at your fingertips.

Which one to use?

My favorite is MyBookCave, both for ratings and then it has a distribution side. Promotions of all types, self-directed or opt-in for group promotions happen frequently in all types of genres, both free and paid. Specifically, for the reader, books can be free or paid, and for the author, some group promos are also free while others cost nominal amounts, such as $25.  


Unlike the major distributors, amazon, B & N, Kobu etc., MyBookCave requires epub and/or MOBI, along with PDF. For the broadest reach, have all three. This site can be run in conjunction with the Amazon, as well as other aggregators, such as Draft to Digital which I previously mentioned. Since I didn’t mention it before, D2D, is free to authors/publishers, and will allow you to reach 99% of the global ebook distributors in a single shot. Setting local prices is a single dashboard—the easiest and most effective ebook distribution site out there.

Google Play book catalog


Both MBC and D2D offer real-time reporting, just as Amazon or the others. For the publisher or author, it’s all at your fingertips, from uploading, sales, promotions and reporting. Go for it!

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich

Isn’t that a great title for a book? I took a flyer on the purchase, glancing through the imagery and immediately liking whimsical pictures. Well, that and the sub-title “and other stores you’re sure to like, because they’re all about monsters and some of them are also about food.” What foodie can’t appreciate that?

Now readers of this blog know I never write reviews of other books but this defies my logic. Why bother, think I? So many already exist that my humble opinion isn’t going to sway a person’s purchasing choices. Furthermore, aside from the errant reporter who recently provided me his own book after an interview was over, I’m not solicited for a review or opinion. Frankenstien Makes a Sandwich is so good, I’m taking the time to tell all my readers– buy it. Buy it now. It’s awesomely funny.

Age group begone. This isn’t just for my kids. As I’m reading,  my husband is piping up in the background “what’s that?” and “that’s crazy!” he continues, before busting up. Some stories mirror a contemporary story mixed with a rhyme, like Phantom of the Opera. Another makes fun of Dracula’s son that has a lame tooth. One of my favorites is “an open letter from Wolfman’s best friend,” about the saga of wolfman’s roommate who is sick and tired of cleaning up after him:

Please just know, and I’ll happily open the door.
And if I’m not home please don’t howl anymore.
‘Cause each time you do it, the neighbors complain.
And since we’re complaining, perhaps you’d explain
how you manage to leave
SO MUCH hair in the tub.
I constantly clean it. I scour, I scrub,
and I think I should mention it’s REALLY a pain.
Today I removed a big clog from the drain,
and I tell you, this hair-clog was of SUCH A SIZE,
it could go to a CAT SHOW
So…anyway, that’s all I wanted to write.
Please take out the garbage. It’s your turn tonight.

Another favorite is Godzilla Pooped on My Honda, The Phantom of the Opera Can’t Get “It’s a Small World” out of his Head and The Middlewich With-Watchers Club. In between each of the poems are the most amazing drawings of fun types of witches like the Frazzled Warthog and the Speckled Crone or the Long Beaked Harpy.

Every now and then, I come across a book that is so fun, so well written and engaging, I get depressed. “I wish I’d written that,” I say, a whistful sigh that instills in me an overpowering desire to get back to writing something a bit more meaningful. This is one of those books.

Adam Rex, you are my idol.

Staying Above Ground

romantic suspense title coming June 2020

A week ago, I learned my amazing designer had six months worth of projects cancelled due to Covid. He had created massive trade show pieces, web design, software application front ends–all shut down mid-stream. Most of the clients were unable to pay for the work he’d done, let alone pay for the aspects remaining. Now, I love this guy in a purely platonic, he’s an-incredibly-talented type of way. He’s created the covers for my last 15 books and a myriad of social media, in-store retail and odds-and-ends I’ve required. His question: Do you have any upcoming books that I can work on now. My answer: YES!!

The backstory is my stuff usually gets slotted in months in advance and let’s face it: author covers/design are pretty much at the bottom of the priority list due to the time it takes and the money. It’s simple math, and I’ve never had a problem with it. That said, the unfortunate circumstances have allowed me to skip to the front of the big-boy line.

Passing on the love

Download a free ebook and enter to win a free, signed copy of Above Ground

This novel is similar in genre to Global Deadline. A suspense genre set in Las Vegas. It goes to the editor in three weeks, which means it will be out June if I’m lucky. And since I’m thrilled to keep my designer at work on my projects, I gave him the green light to work on Chambers 3.

Want to be an advance reader? Let me know on my Facebook page, Instagram or direct. Also, you can download a free book and enter to win a signed copy as well as get alerts for new promotions when I have a title that’s included in group-author promos.

Back of Book

Far beneath the bright lights of the Vegas strip lies a thriving subtropolis, nearly 300 miles of it. It’s dark. It’s real. And it awaits those who can’t make it in one of the most competitive cities in the world.

Born to a single mother and former showgirl, Shay Wilson was determined to succeed in her hometown of Las Vegas, not on stage but in the courtroom. After paying her way through school as a bartender, Shay is hired by one of the most prestigious law firms in town, yet quickly realizes she’ll never make partner unless she finds clients of her own. With that goal in mind, she returns to her former night job to serve drinks and pitch potential clients. But with these new clients comes trouble. Shay expected to fight crime in the courtroom, not on the streets.

Discovering her new clients are linked to a national fencing ring of stolen goods puts both her personal and professional lives in jeopardy. And the two men Shay turns to for help add to the danger. One is an undercover cop tasked with exposing the organized crime, and the other is an executive intent on discovering who in his organization has betrayed him.
To survive, Shay takes refuge in the dark underworld below the city, a shelter to criminals and innocents alike. Uncertain of how to navigate this new landscape, Shay must figure out who to trust, who to fear and how she will make it out alive…

Chambers 3: The Sphinx Princess

Not quite ready to share the back of book on this one, but here’s the cover. I love it, and hope you do too.

As with all the historical-fiction/time travel Chambers series books, this third installment is based in and around the facts of a particular time in Egypt. The pharaohs built tunnels connected the pyramids to the Nile in order to escape or simply relax. Mia, pictured above, is believed to be a reincarnated Princess, who in real life died in her early 20’s. Won’t say anymore for now… looked for specials on my authorpage or other social media. Books 1 and 2 are up and available if you want to catch up now.

Want to be an advance reader for either? Let me know on my Facebook page, Instagram or direct. Remember to download a free book and enter to win a signed copy.

Suspenseful and tense…a page turner

The Cube Master…. “Gerdes has created another winner. YA as well as mature readers of techno thrillers will be rewarded.”

Always a joy (and relief) to get a good review. In case you missed it in the wave of news, bookmark this for your reading list. A tip: signing up for my newsletter at BookCave. allows you to download your book of choice. Scroll along the top and you can find authors, books, deals and offers. Incarnation is presently running under a promo which allows you to read book 1 of the series for free, and a few others. It ends at the last day of April. In the meantime, here’s the taste for book 2 in the series which is available at all the major print and the major ebook outlets, plus Amazon .

August Reading Promos live!

Two beach going books: romance and dystopian, both ebooks free

Nothing’s better than arriving home to a sparkling pool, green grass and clean sheets. On the downside, one chicken died (out of 20), another turned cannibal (we caught her eating three eggs just after they’d been laid) , one bee hive (out of four) is infested with mites.

Welcome to my crazy, sexy, author life. In the midst of burying said dead hen, laying mite strips and figuring out if Hannibella-the-hen can be reformed, I realized today kicks off two end-of-summer promotions! Both are free, and each include books from several dozen authors as well as enter-to-win gift cards.

Your next boyfriend romance

Ratings are mild to adult (mybookcave rating system is much like the movie rating….swearing, sex, etc), and it’s listed on the page. The enter to win is on the right side, so don’t miss that. My title, A Convenient Date, is listed in this promotion. In case you missed it, this title follows a woman who’s husband died of a heart attack and she’s finally getting her life together when she’s hit with a lawsuit. Her husband has been living a secret life, which threatens to bring her company down–not to mention leaving her destitute. In the middle of it all, she meets a handsome transplant from San Francisco (the book is set in Seattle). They are both single, uninterested in dating but need companions for business events. That is the start of their Convenient Dates.

The backstory to this should surprise no one. I was single For-ev-er in San Francisco. I daydreamed about a hot, intelligent and purely platonic man who I could partner up with in order to avoid sitting by horribly boring people at the multiple events one must attend while in the corporate world. This daydream including the man being dark haired (although quite honestly, I wouldn’t have been very picky), wealthy and unattached. I mean, I was dreaming, right? Why not throw it all in the mix? Of course, nothing is perfect, and so Rick Santos has an unruly son from a previous marriage…which adds a challenging twist.

Post apocalyptic Dystopian

The second free group promo includes my latest book Incarnation. I always go with the reviews and the back of book copy. This is the latest review up on Amazon. Make sure to enter to win the $25.

The genesis of this story was all the plastic surgery going around–and this was years ago. Not that I haven’t succumbed to my share of botox (which I then had to stop because my husband told me I was looking like a freak and he was going to divorce me–as subtle as always)…I then thought about a future world where the occupants would look back and say… “Can you believe, there was a time when people changed their faces on purpose?” Lots of research later, this is the book, and I must say, I love it. Fast, unique in the take on DNA and realistic. It’s also clean, and the underlying romance is one I wish I’d had. Enjoy and write a review. Me and other readers will thank you.

Save the lawsuit- use a an author release form

Out of the blue, I was contacted by a former sports star who is writing about about the travails of bad money management, for lack of a better phrase. The story is the same: elite athlete rises to fame, makes loads of dough (American slang for money, dear Russian readers, who come to this site in droves) for a period of time and then poof. It’s gone. The mysteries of why athletes go broke tend to be the same: blown on wine, women and song (well, exotic cars and way too many babies with different wives (the most famous being 9 babies by 9 woman. whoa. that’s a lot of action), but I digress).

It’s not just America. It’s everywhere. Athletic and entertainment money managers don’t do much good if they are ignored or fired or never hired in the first place. So after a career, the athlete inevitably bemoans that reality of poor money management and repossessed cars. The stats are harsh. 78 percent of NFL players go broke within a few TWO years of retirement, and 60 percent on NBA players w/in 6 yrs. But it’s not just athletes. Entertainers follow the same trent.

When I was told of the story, the athlete also indicated he’d lined up lots athletes so speak on the record, as well as coaches and those in the entourage. His own advisor recommended she have those going on record to sign an author release form, ensuring that she does not get sued by a broke athlete or money manager for a share of the profits of the book, should she be so lucky.

Thus, it was my pleasure to contact my own editor, who used this release form for many of her own projects. These are a little hard to come by (most internet searches produce nada), so if you are going to be writing a book, interviewing folks and don’t want to share a piece of the profits (even to Grandma Nila), then use this author release form. And I must give a plug to the filefactory. It’s fast and free. Two things I appreciate.

Book review: The enduring attraction of Zane Grey

About 2 weeks ago, I found myself in a dark room, sitting in a massively plush chair, a director to my left, a producer to my right, watching a big screen of a soon-to-be released movie as the two of them and a third digital technician color corrected the film. This time-consuming process is fasincating, clicking back and forth between stills to correct bad lighting. It’s set in the 1920’s and the props were old, authentic and specific to the time. In a corner of the screen, I noticed a familiar red and tan cover, and asked the director if it were a Zane Grey novel. She was impressed. She thought I was too young and frankly, her tone indicated her opinion of my level of literary sophistication. But yes, she acknowledged, it was a Zane Grey. Her attitude jolted me to the wonderful memories of the books. That night, I pulled one of my favorite’s off the shelf and began reading.

Before the era of the undead, non-fornicating human-mystical creature trend took hold, author Zane Grey pioneered the art of the build up between regular men and women. Grey wrote an anthology of westerns and 110 of his books have been adapted to films. Grey’s life was as interesting as his books, as he was a minor league baseball player, dentist and unrepentant ladies man before (and after) he decided to devote his attention to writing.

When his wife’s inheritence provided a cushion for Grey to write full time, he did, turning out dozens of western’s, starting a craze in the early 20th century. His most famous novel is Riders of the Purple Sage (1912), but I have my own favorites. I’ll share 2, and the reasons why they are timeless classics.

As a youth, my summers were spent on a relatively remote California lake. In between fishing, waterskiing and generally making noise w/my siblings, I’d sunbath, reading one of the forty Zane Grey books on my mother’s bookshelf. The books were were already faded and worn from her many read-throughs, and my Grandmother’s before her. The unique, red linen covers with their tan spines frayed, in some instances, the spine had separated.

I was not immediately captivated by the slow start–few have plotlines that jump from the first page–more like page 50, but the writing hooked me enough to keep me going. In West of the Pecos, one of my favorites, a young girl from the South goes West with her father after he loses his fortune (and his wife) in the war. Needing the help of a boy on his journey, and fearful for his daughter’s safety in the wild west, the father dresses the girl like a boy. This charade works for for a few years after her father’s death, about until the time she hits late teens, hires (and reforms) a handsome cowboy and gets herself kidnapped. (Robert Mitchum starred in the movie).

When I was thirteen, the story was all the adventure, excitement, pent-up romantic tension and fulfilling ending I could have wanted. When I finally succumbed to peer pressure and read a few of the recently popular series (Twilight, Hunger Games etc) along with my standard James Patterson and Ludlum reprises, I realized an odd thing: the Zane Grey was equally exciting, free of bad language (I may use bad language but honestly, I don’t want to read it. Swearing in general, brings me down, and on the page it somehow shouts at me which I find distracting) and as cool in its own way as anything modern.

Another simliarity is the absence of sex. The romantic build up is as much a part of the story as some of the aforementioned popular books, and let’s face it. Romantic plotlines are always more rewarding when the lead-up is long, interesting and fraught with the push and pull of ‘will they or won’t they get together.’ Zane acquired the technique of flowing dialogue and rich, well-written antagonists (bad guys and gals). Apparentlly much of the credit goes to his long-suffering wife Dolly, who traded a monogamous relationship for a huge mansion and lots of cash. But whatever. We all make choices in this life, and hers had a hugely positive effect on Grey’s writing.

Light of the Western Stars.

“She was tired of fashionable society. She was tired of polished, imperturbable men who sought only to please her. She was tired of being feted, admired, loved, followed, and importuned; tired of people; tired of houses, noise, ostentation, luxury. She was so tired of herself! &quote;

A rich girl goes west, gets a clue, falls in love, never goes back to the East. It’s awesome. The book is so old it’s also in the public domain, so it can be had for cheap on the Kindle. I could only spirit a couple of the books from the cabin, leaving the other 38 on the shelf for the next generation to read. In fact, my mother may flip when she realizes I have 2, but I couldn’t help it. Grey is a classic. If you have Austen, Tolkien or even dare I add contemporary authors to that list, you must have a few Zane Grey’s.