Saturday, April 23, 2011

So Close...

...torrents of rain guided my approach to David's mainstreet office. Doused within seconds of leaving the car, my shirt now clinging to my chest like a second skin, I thought, "This is Good Friday...really?"

My editor's office looms above a narrow staircase only a bookworm could appreciate. A steep incline reminiscent of its Victorian roots, alerting its upstairs occupant of an approaching guest with moans and echoing creaks, as if the weight of my shoe has rendered the ancient timbers unfathomable pain. I breathed a curse for not remaining loyal to my treadmill as promised, and continued on.

I was beckoned by David earlier in the day. A text message... "Stop by. Need to talk."

On other occasions, when having received such an invite, my evening becomes marred with the news of further delays on publication. "We should consider this..." or "We need to dwell on that for a while..." or some other form of maddening gibberish leading to another month of ruthless editing and the like. Therefore, the brooding cloud had followed me into David's office, no longer spitting upon my shoulder, but hovering like a spirit nonetheless.

I entered the office, more like a studio apartment, and studied a coagulating mess of paperwork randomly scattered about over his antique mahogany table. I'm sure at some point during its life, holiday gatherings had been shared upon its bruised top. Feasts of ham and turkey, festive drinks shared by loved ones sitting around the family heirloom. Now in its twilight years, the table hefted the weight of papers by the ream, manuscripts scribbled upon in red ink, a Mac desktop placed near the window at the far corner, and the top of David's scalp peeking out from above the monitor.

He knew I was standing there, and yet continued to type. Finishing up an important email, or what have you. I considered what was left of his silver hair dancing to the rise and fall of his shoulders, and figured that if Merlin would've been granted a computer while under Arthur's care, the scene would've no doubt looked similar.

I sat across from him, listening to his fingers pecking away, the rain pounding overhead. This was common. No gracious hello, or festive handshakes. Just a quiet entrance, not to disturb a mind rendered swollen from thought. And so I awaited my turn at the table. My reason for being there.

It took another minute or two before he noted my presence. The pecking stopped. He issued a belch under his breath. Then managed to say through a grunt, "This came for you today."

From behind his Mac, a book was tossed into the air. It hovered above the table for a moment, as if deciding whether its predetermined destination was really where it wanted to be just then, before landing with a dull thud in front of my place at the table.

I looked down, and stared at my cover. My title. My name. My story.

Memories of long hours spent hunched over my keyboard, scribing a tale worthy of being read, nipped at my conscience. Still more time battling exhaustive edit work. Years. Unending tribulations. A major re-write. Then another.

And now...

"You can touch it," David's gravely humor jerked me back from my state of shock. "It won't dissolve into dust."

I ran a forefinger over its glossy cover, breathed in the scent of fresh paper and lingering glue. That new book smell, urging its handler to turn the page and discover what lies inside.

With both hands, I opened it to a random page. Reading a paragraph, and recognizing the voice as my own.

"...I found Katie and my father sitting side by side on the sofa, dressed for church. Dad was wearing the same navy-blue polyester pants and white button down shirt that he'd worn the week prior. Katie was absently picking at a runner in her tights, which started just above her knee and disappeared under the hem of her blue floral dress..."

"I held onto the receipt in case you weren't interested," David kidded.

I looked up, realizing he'd finally stopped typing. Had in fact, rolled his chair away from the monitor, casting me a playful grin. A mental image of the troll from under the bridge danced about in my head, urging a smirk.

"Is there just one?" I asked.

"I thought I'd better hang onto a few extras," he said. "You know, in case somebody out there actually wants to read the thing. But that one's for you. And a few more you'd like."

I nodded, still a bit numb, then asked, "So is it available?"

"Not for a couple of weeks yet. We have much to think about. Reviews. Posting it online. Luring the big fish in for a nibble. It'll be ready in May as promised."

"Who's getting copies?"

David cleared his throat, a sound reminiscent of sawing timber, then, "We'll stay mostly local to start. Then, if I hear back that it doesn't suck, we'll spread our wings a bit and go from there."

"Amazon?" I asked.



"In a couple weeks, give or take."


David snorted. "You haven't a prayer."

"Okay," I said. "Spielberg then."

"Take a breath, kid. Your heads beginning to swell."

We shared a laugh. Then he stood and offered his hand. I rose to my feet and accepted.

" like it?" he asked.


"Then, congratulations."

"Thank you."

"We're close now. So very close..."


I hefted the book, cradling it under an arm.

"Gonna read it again?" he asked.

"I've read it enough. This one's for my son. I promised him the first copy."

I glanced out the window. The rain had stopped, the sun struggling to make an appearance.

"Not so bad a day afterall, eh?"

"It's finishing up well," I said.

"South of Charm"-May 2011

Thanks for reading :)


Anne Gallagher said...

Like a scene right out of a book.
Brought a tear to my eye too.

Congratulations Elliot. I'm so very proud of you. This is fantastic! Can't wait to read it.

Ask David, how local is local? North Carolina isn't so far from Georgia.

Christine Danek said...

OMG Elliot. I'm so happy for you. Congrats. What a great way to convey your meeting. This is fantastic. Can't wait to see it in my hand.

DEZMOND said...

the book's looking nice in that reader's hands :)

Judy Croome said...

What a great Easter present! The book looks FABULOUS!! And why not Oprah? AND Spielberg!!

Good luck with this exciting journey!
Judy, South Africa

Donna Hole said...

So, we have to pre-order copies if we're not local?

Wow, I'm so excited its finally going to be available. Congratulations Elliot. I know you will do well in sales :)


Jules said...

A big Congratulations Elliot! I guess the Easter bunny was good to you :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Elliot Grace said...

...the handsome fella in the picture is my son, diving into the first copy that I'd promised him.

If the planets align correctly, it will be available on Amazon in a few weeks. Kindle enthusiasts will see it shortly there after.

Here in the Buckeye State, it will be shelved in the majority of indie bookstores, with a little luck, the local B & N, and hopefully the area libraries upon request.

Considering the giving mood I'm in as of late, if you find yourself setting down roots on the moon and are interested in some reading material, I'll find a way to ship you a copy:)

Thanks guys for reading!


Josh Hoyt said...

This is so awesome. Congrats and what a great way to tell us all. I love the book floating through the air and pausing before it lands. I could feel your excitement and anticipation.

Jennifer said...

Congratulations! Can't wait to read it. I love that the first copy went to your very sweet. Good Luck with the reviews.

Bluestocking Mum said...

How brilliant. I'm touched that the first copy went to your son.

Best of luck to you!

Carolyn V said...

So excellent!!!! A big congrats Elliot!!! Yay!

I love the picture of your son reading it too. That is just so great!!! =D

Susan Kane said...

What a journey you've had! Congratulations! I look forward to seeing this book on the shelves. I'll be checking in on you to see what is next.

Jennifer Hillier said...

What a great photo! Congratulations on your book release!

rama said...

The way you narrated your fears and apprehensions was truly dramatic.
However, I knew before itself that the book has been published, now, I can't help it if I can for see things before you tell us that the happiest thing in your life has happened. I think I can't wait, and I knew that all this suspense was just a build up for the beautiful climax. Of course I did not go to the end to read it.
It is indeed the best present for this Easter, as one of your readers had aptly put.
It shows that patience, and determination is the key to success.
Enjoy the resulting bliss.

D. U. Okonkwo said...

Wow - I came across your blog through Jennifer Hillier's blog. Really liked this post - and think the last few sentences of your profile bio is super accurate.

Congrats on your book coming out!

jehelb said...

Thanks, Elliot, I feel honored to have received your gift. I have showed it off but aren't ready to let them touch it. I'd have to kill whowever puts the first fingerprint on it so Im gonna hold on to it for a few more days.. Then maybe I'll share. Thanks again!

Elliot Grace said...

...thanks everyone for your comments:)

And J, you're input during editing was very much appreciated. Enjoy the book.


The Words Crafter said...

WOOHOO!!!!!!! *Ren and Stimpy danging* Happy Happy Joy Joy Happy Happy Joy Joy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations and I'm with Anne. NC isn't far from GA. (I thought for some reason you lived in CA....?)

You gotta come this way for a book signing. Just let me know ahead of time!

Jodi MacArthur said...

Awww,,,wonderful. ;-) Looking forward to it.

Jemi Fraser said...

Covered in chills here. So very, very cool! What a thrill :) Congrats again!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I am so very happy for you, Elliot!! I will be looking out for the official release date. Here's hoping your sales go through the roof! Roland

RaShelle said...

Elliot - How very exciting. So happy for you. South of Charm... to be read! Can't wait. =D

Elliot Grace said...

...always nice to hear from my friends in the industry, supporting each other in this craft that can take so much while rewarding so little, yet still we tread onward. Because we must...

Thanks Roland and RaShelle for stopping by. I have some reading material reserved for each of you:)


GigglesandGuns said...

This is great! Thanks for sharing it all.
May you have a great future!

Thanks for visiting my little blog.


Anita said...


Jo Schaffer said...

Congrats. What a feeling!

Let me know if you are open to interviews. Would like to help spread the word on your book!

jo at writerscubed dot com

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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