Annual Trek Home with a New Twist

My apologies for no illustration today.  My iPhone is on the blink, but I’m sure my upcoming appointment with an Apple Genius bar member will soon set things to right.

Ah, Detroit.  Home.  I can hardly believe it’s been another year since I last visited, but there you have it.  The older we get, the faster time flies.  I think sometimes I might actually be turning 90 soon.  At least then I’ll have a reasonable excuse for not remembering names and making dopey comments about how things have changed from what I remember.

This year at least, there were no adventures in lost suitcases at the airport.  Thank goodness!

And right now, I hear a soft noise coming from my sister, Sheila’s kitchen.  Her granddaughters are visiting, and breakfast yogurt is probably coming out.  The two little girls staying with us last night are as delightful as the sunshine after a long rainy season.  We’ve played on the beach, watched “Imagination Station” and Christmas videos (the children are being raised in a Jewish tradition, but exceptions for gramma’s house are always accepted), and the older of the two princesses has given me a lesson in horse riding equipment.  Now I know that a bridle is the complete set of strings that goes over a horse’s head and is not just the reign one uses to guide the friend along.

Yes, I feel home.

But here’s the exciting twist of the year.  I met some of the people from my publisher!  How thrilling for me.  My copy editor, Tracey Matthews, works in the Gale-Cengage building in Farmington Hills.  Gale-Cengage, from what I understands, owns Thorndike Press and Five Star Publishing, among other “imprints.”  To be honest, I had no idea how big Gale-Cengage is when I wrote to Tracey, telling her of my visit, and essentially inviting myself to her office.

LIke most people from Detroit, Tracey was gracious and humble about having me to the office.  I borrowed a car from my nephew, and drove over to Farmington Hills on Monday, expecting to see a small building or even an office with just a handful of people in it.

Oh my goodness!  You can imagine my surprise when I arrived at the Gale-Cengage home near Wayne State University.  Although it wasn’t as ornate as Downton Abby (yes, my sister is influencing my television viewing again–yipee!), it was about that size building.  Three floors of red brick with a central “column” of white to separate the two wings sat in solid splendor to my newbie publishing eyes.  I walked into a lobby that comfortably held a grand piano, several seating areas and one of those circular reception desks that intimidate people like me all the time. Wow!

Tracey came to fetch me, and as I suspected she would be, she was warm, friendly, and very gracious.  We went upstairs to meet the team.

“We’re only a small crew of three or four people,” said Tracey.  “Most of the Five Star team is out east.”  Still, I was able to meet Rita, Tracey’s manager, Joanne, and Chris.  The first thing Rita did was hand me a copy of my book.  Goodness, how thrilling.

Tracey walked me around to a conference room and we sat for a while together.

Now, please don’t hate me, my reading friend, but I forgot all of my questions!  Can you believe it?  Me, with a degree in journalism, and I sat around just talking about kids, and reading, and how thrilling it is to be able to work in the Gale-Cengage family under the Five Star publishing imprint.

Tracey and I checked in with Chris, who makes sure all books are visually ready for printing. She checks to ensure margins are right, fonts work, and the books they produce are the highest quality possible.  She knows which books will be printed in which format for selling to a variety of markets.  I told the ladies I’d heard that “Faith on the Rocks” was being considered for a large print edition, but I was concerned because of the use of a few naughty words in my book.

“That’s no problem,” said Chris.  “Not all of our books go to a clean read audience.”  Cool!  That means, in January, my book may come out in a large print edition.  I’m so excited.

I didn’t stay too long as the group looked very busy and I’d rather have a new book come out on time than take up everyone’s day in chatter with me.  Tracey escorted me back downstairs, past the replica of a Guttenberg press, past shelves of books from some of the other imprints, past busy people with friendly smiles.

I had no idea what a large family of publishing Five Star is part of.  I am honored.

Hoping your holiday week brings you a new admiration for all we are part of and what a wonderful role we each play within.

IT’S BOOK LAUNCH DAY!! Thank You, Thank You!

I’ve been awake since about 4:30 this morning, waiting like a kid on Christmas for the day to begin.

Faith on the Rocks Book Cover

My first novel’s launch is today!


Today is the day Daisy Arthur steps away from the publisher’s desk and onto bookshelves around the country. I’m not sure what is supposed to happen on a launch day, but I’ll take notes and let you know, should anything at all exciting occur.  Here are some bookstores that, to the best of my knowledge, have agreed to carry “Faith on the Rocks:”

  • Amazon.Com – They aren’t shipping until mid-July, but you can pre-order at this date.  Check this link to see the page online.
  • Barnes & Noble – Again, no shipping until July, but yes, you can pre-order here as well.
  • Who Else! Books – This is a small bookstore on Broadway in Denver.  I’ll be doing a book signing here on July 13th.  Owners Ron and Nina have been supporting local authors for years, and they are a delight to work with.  Stop in and see them when you get a chance.
  • Three Chimneys Natural Surroundings – Located in the heart of old town Littleton, this wonderful gift shop has books and much more to browse through.  I’d save at least a half hour in your day for a visit to this shop.  You’ll find a clean, fun-filled array of items to delight the eye and capture your interest.


So now, the question becomes not “when” but “is it worth it?”  To help you decide, here are some of the reviews I’ve received so far:

Publishers Weekly Review 4/5/13
This title publishes JUNE 2013
. . . entertaining first novel . . . Gabe, the single father of one of Daisy’s special-needs students, lends some romantic interest . . . cozy fans will look forward to seeing more of Daisy.
Kirkus Review 4/15/13
This title publishes JUNE 2013
A Colorado widow with dreams of a writing career finds that sleuthing just might be her métier. Malik’s debut mystery offers some interesting characters along with enough motives to make everyone in Littleton look suspicious.
Gumshoe Review 6/13/13
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432827137
“Daisy is a likeable if inept sleuth. Her humanity, humor, and determination will endear her to readers.”
Joan Johnston, New York Times bestselling author of Wyoming Bride:

“Malik shows great promise as a debut novelist.    Her characters are fun and quirky, and I kept chuckling right through to the end.  A great read!”  


No project great or small is the result of one person’s efforts alone.  Life wouldn’t be worth living and projects wouldn’t be successful without the generous spirit of the people in our communities.  So here is my meager effort to acknowledge people who have made “Faith on the Rocks” possible.  Thank you to all my friends, including:

  • Rocky Mountain News where the story behind the story came from
  • My GREAT family – sisters, brother, husband, children, glorious granddaughter – you give me my spirit
  • My family of friends both next door and afar who ask about my work and keep their fingers crossed for my writing success. I am humbled by the wonder of community
  • My dear Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers friends. The learning I have had in your care has been wonderful.
  • Writer’s Digest – I have subscribed to this magazine for most of the 35 years I’ve spent interested in becoming a “real” published author.
  • My SUPERB critique group from the Southwest Plaza mall.  My Thursday evenings over the past ten years have been a delightful journey not only in skill development, but in reading some great works of art.  I only wish I could have mentioned every one of the 70 or so members from this group in my book’s acknowledgement section. I can’t thank you enough for all of your help.
  • FIVE STAR PUBLISHING – Especially Deni Dietz who is a successful author, editor, and all round special person who had the faith in me to keep me going.  Thank you Tiffany Schofield for your patient and superb direction of this project from the minute Five Star acquired this manuscript to today.  Thank you to Alice Duncan and Tracey Matthews for your terrific edits, and to the great marketing and sales department who have given me a wonderful book cover, publicity, and (fingers crossed) super sales prospects.


If you are reading this, and believe in “Faith on the Rocks” I hope you will send a link of this post along to your mystery-reading friends.  New “unknown” authors have a limited budget for promotion, so the help of well-meaning friends is invaluable in their success.  Thank you for coming along with me on this journey to first publication.

I wish you every success in your making your dreams come true and happy reading always.