Friday, April 29, 2011

Those Special Moments

I’m pleased to have suspense fiction author, Steve O’Brien, as my guest today. He’s written several books, including the award winning Elijah’s Coin.

I’ve been around Thoroughbreds growing up and have had family who has worked with racehorses. My brothers will tell you these are phenomenal horses, intelligent and full of heart and fire, and highly competitive. They want to win. I love animals in general and horses in particular. I have three. When I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. A hint, don’t start reading this just before bedtime unless you don’t care about sleep. :-)  It touches the emotions and I have to tell you, I wanted to hurt these villains, oh so bad.

I finally was able to hunt Steve down, lol! I invited him to visit Over Coffee. I love his topic and with a teen myself, I had to laugh as I read his article. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.  

Special moments accompany the lives of authors. Undoubtedly, the first is holding the finished product in your hands. Heck, it could even be an ARC copy, but there is a distinct feeling of satisfaction and completion at that moment.

Another special moment is receiving that first review. Somebody read it, liked it, and wanted to tell others about it.

Other special moments could be receiving a literary award, seeing the book on Amazon and or doing book signings.

I experienced a few other unique author moments, with unexpected twists however.

Recently, I was browsing through a nearby Barnes and Noble store. My wife tells me I spend way too much time in bookstores. I can’t help it. I’m a serial browser. As I cruised past the “new fiction” section, an image caught my eye.

My book!!!!   In the new fiction section!!!

A rush of emotion overtook me. I wanted to scream out “hey, everybody! My book is here in the new fiction section!”

With great restraint I was able to avoid making a scene. But I felt compelled to pull out my i-phone and snap a picture of my book and its placement. (I did have to ask a customer to move slightly to the left, so I could get the pic. She, of course, figured I had recently escaped from an asylum for the criminally insane, and quickly moved over a section or two).

Months and months of work, edits and re-edits, nights pounding on the keyboard, my book was finally getting equal billing with mega authors like James Patterson and Jodi Picoult. I was breathless. (Okay, they will still outsell me a billion to one, but there I was).

I did not have to walk from the store, as my feet were nowhere near touching the ground.

When I got home, I was nearly bursting with excitement. I was just waiting to pounce on that stock question “anything interesting happen today?” But I couldn’t wait. I whipped out my I-phone and showed my wife. As she was viewing it our sixteen year old daughter walked into the kitchen. I handed her my phone and casually said, “do you recognize anything in this photo?”

She grabbed the phone with both hands and in an instant was awe struck. “Oh, my gosh.” I could feel my chest puffing out slightly and a smile crept across my face. “Oh, my gosh,” she gasped. So cool that she will be able to tell all her friends, I thought.

She looked at me and exclaimed, “Snooki’s book is out!”

Snooki’s book is out?

In a nanosecond, my zeppelin sized ego, came crashing down in flames. I had to point and say “No, honey, don’t you see? Two rows above (gulp) Snooki’s book, is my book?”

“Oh, yeah. Cool.” She handed back my phone and walked out of the kitchen.

Okay, maybe I deserved that. My raging sense of significance needed to be checked. No one can dampen that self absorbed emotion faster than one’s own teenager.

At least I could take comfort that she didn’t reply “whatever.”

Now, to be fair to my daughter, she has been a huge advocate of my writing. (I guess the Snooki book sighting was just too much for her to pass up). My all time favorite text message was not even sent to me. It was sent to my daughter.

Last summer we were relaxing at home and her phone buzzed. It was a text from one of her classmates.

The message read. “Dude, your dad’s book is number three on I-Books.”

Greater words were never written. (Truth be told, the book was number three in the Children and Teens category, but hey number three is still number three).

Never in my wildest dreams did I expect my favorite text message to start with the word “dude.” But it does.

So, for today’s Over Coffee blog, tell me about your special moment, either as a writer or in any occupation. Then tell me about a time your ego was cut down to size. It’s okay, we’re all friends.


Bullet Work Cover Blurb

When facing our darkest fear, one question remains.
Are we willing to bet everything?

Behind the glamorous exterior of horseracing lies the gritty reality of the backside. Within this fiercely competitive world of owners, trainers, vets, and jockeys something has gone terribly wrong. As opening day approaches, one racehorse is poisoned, another has her leg crushed by a lead pipe and a third mysteriously disappears. Shock and horror grip the racing community.

Then it all makes sense. Greed.

The extortion demands are revealed. Stables are forced to pay protection money to ensure the safety of their horses. Despite all security efforts, the brutal killings continue. For Dan Morgan it becomes personal when his precocious two-year-old filly is targeted. Dan befriends AJ Kaine, a lonely, “horse whispering” young man. AJ is a hotwalker, the lowest of jobs in the backside food chain. But AJ has a secret–perhaps a secret that can corner a killer. With AJ’s help, Dan must crack the extortion scheme or risk becoming the next victim. Excerpt


Steve O’Brien is a lawyer and fiction writer. His first novel, Elijah’s Coin was the recipient of nine literary awards including the Next Generation Indie Book Award for Best Novella and Best Young Adult Fiction by the National Best Book Awards. His second novel, Bullet Work was released March 22, 2011. O’Brien lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and two children.




~Sia McKye~ said...

Steve, welcome to Over Coffee. I'm so glad you could visit. I'm really enjoying Bullet Work.

Kat Sheridan said...

Hi Steve! Loved your story, and the book sounds wonderful. What a great experience! Still waiting for my uber-cool writing moment to happen! And I often think one of the sole reasons children exist is to keep our egos in check!

Steve O'Brien said...


Thank you. Keep writing, keep editing. Don't ever stop. The process can be the most rewarding if you love what you do.


Mason Canyon said...

Great story Steve. Nothing keeps us more grounded than kids. LOL Congratulations on your book release and wishing you continued success.

Thoughts in Progress

Steve O'Brien said...

Thanks Mason.

Love the cat photo.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Teenagers are life's reality check!

SueO said...

Hi Steve! Loved the bit "Serial Browser". Very funny.
The blurb is an intriguing story! I would devour anything horse related when I was younger. I think it's time for me to get back into it as an adult.
Although I don't have kids, my niece is in the phase your daughter is. Talk about identifying with the attitude! It could have been Kelsey my niece!
Good luck with the book. I'm going to check it out!

Ken Coffman said...

I'm ashamed to admit this, but I actually have a a vague idea of what the Snooki is. I feel dirty. Steve, it sounds like you're getting some work done and making progress. Stay after it, sir.

VA said...

Steve, with a fine name like O'Brien, I'm sure you'll understand when I tell you that that I don't have any ego crushing moments. In the finest tradition of storytelling I've merely rewritten any of the less optimal ones to reflect a more entertaining and appropriate view of the situation; I consider it historical atonement.

Children make mere mortals out of gods. The last cheeky comment I got was, "Mom, you should start a band and be lead singer."

Off to read the excerpt. Cheers, Sia.

Steve O'Brien said...

My daughter was horrified that I told this story (or I guess any story about her publicly).

She is a sweetie--just has her moments.

Steve O'Brien said...

I'm serious on the serial browser thing. I walk into a bookstore and it is like a time warp. Hours and days go by. They have to send search parties out for me.

VA said...

All right, this book sounds like it will make me cry. Not sure how I feel about that, I'll have to approach it on one of my brave days.

Steve, it lasts about six years. As much as we love our kids, they test us.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Ken, What a Snooki! Makes me think of Star Wars.

Steve, don't tell your daughter, but I haven't read Snooki. I'm sure that's a strike against me,lolol!

Teens keep us humble. But I've been known to tell mine I wish he has several just like him.

Steve O'Brien said...


I tell folks it is my job to make people cry.

Okay, hopefully I can make readers cry, laugh and think--the three elements to a full day.

Debra Salonen said...

Coming very late to the party, but I really enjoyed this blog. At least your bubble-bursting response came from family, Steve. I had a complete stranger, a clerk at the Borders store, put me firmly back on solid ground after I rushed up to him with a copy of my very first book. I put it reverently on the counter and said, "This is my book." He shrugged and said, "It will be when you pay for it." Come to think about it, he was in his late teens. LOL.
Your book looks great. Congrats on all the honors!
Sia, see you next week.
Deb Salonen