All’s Fair in Love, War…and Publishing!

There’s been a lot of bitching and moaning online about authors only giving reviews to their friends. Unprofessional? You might be surprised!

We as authors have far less time to read than we would like. Of every dozen books I’d like to read, I will actually get to read two or three–if I’m lucky. Whenever possible, I buy novels via Audible so I can enjoy a good book while doing other things–taking a walk, shopping, making dinner, doing laundry, having lunch…but be careful what you’re listening to while eating. I’ve had more than one choking incident when listening to one of Janet Evanovich’s books while having lunch, I’ve laughed so hard. And then there are the funny looks I get when doing it in a restaurant….

But I’m getting off topic here. The practice of endorsing books by friends–or as special favors–is quite common, even in conventional publishing. Especially in conventional publishing. Where did you think those blurbs on the front cover, back cover and inside front of the book came from?

Take a look at the cover of my novel Solitaire and you’ll see endorsements from two bestselling authors, Sandra Brown and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. That’s no coincidence. I’ve known both of them for many years. Sandra and I had the same agent. On the cover of Dance of the Gods, there’s an endorsement by another bestselling author, Judith Gould. I don’t know them personally (Judith Gould is actually two men, Nick Bienes and Rhea Gallaher), but at that time, we had the same agent, Maria Carvainis, who asked them to read and endorse the book. 

I had wanted, more than anything, an endorsement from Sidney Sheldon, so Maria approached his editor–who explained that he didn’t have the time to read every book he had been asked to endorse, so he only endorsed books by personal friends. This is a common practice, not meant to offend anyone. It’s just necessary.

We may not all have the demands on our time that Sidney Sheldon, Stephen King, Dan Brown or Janet Evanovich have had, but in order to write our own novels, we do find it necessary to restrict the number of books we review or endorse. I’ve done many endorsements myself, mostly for friends. For example, I reviewed Wall Street Wives by Ande-Ellen Winkler as a favor to my publisher, and Midnight in Marrakesh by Meryl Sawyer as a favor to my former editor, Damaris Rowland. I didn’t know Meryl until then, but got to know her well afterward–it’s because of Meryl that I later became “Mom” to my potbellied pig, Iggy–named for the potbellied pig in Meryl’s novel!

So…I confess. I do review and endorse mostly books by friends. Am I more likely to review an author who’s reviewed at least one of my books? Yes! Would I love to be able to do more? I would. I would love to write glowing reviews for every one of Janet Evanovich’s books…but then, I don’t think not having reviews from me is hurting her sales in any way. 

Come to think of it, I might be the one who would benefit from that! If you’ll excuse me….


Chasing the Wind ~ a review by Lena Winfrey Seder

In Chasing the Wind, Norma Beishir and Collin Beishir chase the reader with a hurricane of adventure. They introduce us to two main characters: Lynne (an archaeologist with a modern Christian view) and Connor (aka Andrew a geneticist who is low in faith), and they appear on the surface to be as different as night and day. We get to follow their exciting adventure across the world as we are introduced to some interesting minor characters. We watch as Lynne and Connor grow together as if they had known each other all of their lives. We drop into their destiny and travel with them.

Beishir is a master storyteller who controls suspense and employs all the great ingredients that cook up this political, religious suspense thriller. Beishir leads us through a maze of plots and subplots that lead us to surprising discoveries. Beishir has an amazing ability to elaborately describe psychological motivations of the characters while painting their passion and drawing out their ambitions. Heroes are true heroes (like Connor who transforms before our eyes) that have human flaws while villains are super-villains (like the assassin Caine and Dante with his cult-like global cartel); we are allowed a peek at their abusive childhoods that is a key to their motivations and what makes them tick. We get to taste their evil and insanity.

Beishir entranced me from the beginning and hypnotized me until the end. The quick pace and intense mood of the novel with colorful and humorous dialogue made the story hard to put down. We find ourselves cheering for Lynne and Connor as they face some formidable obstacles. We are left pondering so many engaging issues as well as realizing this novel could really reflect so much of reality, especially in today’s modern world of genetics and technology. Beishir raises ethical issues that we are still struggling with in the real world.

The reader is in for a riveting, enlightening, fascinating and amazing journey through the pages of Chasing the Wind.


Lena Winfrey Seder is the author of  The Metamorphosis of a Muslim~Autobiography of My Conversion  (IIPH 2011)

Graveyard of the Psyche

If you’ve ever seen the British sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf, you may be familiar with the episode titled Terrorform. If you’re not familiar with it, you can watch it by using the link. It’s pretty weird.

Red Dwarf – Series V – Episode 3: Terrorform – Kryten and Rimmer crash land on a “psi-moon”, an artificial planetoid which terraforms itself to match the inner psyche and subconscious of anyone who lands on it. Kryten is cut in half in the crash, and Rimmer finds himself alone and taken prisoner by manifestations of his own inner demons. Lister, Cat and Holly arrive to rescue them, but find themselves trapped in an environment shaped by Rimmer’s bizarre, self-loathing mind. 

In one scene,  Lister, Cat and Kryten find themselves in a graveyard that represents the lost aspects of Rimmer’s personality. Charm is a particularly tiny grave. That says a lot about Rimmer’s lack of same. Hope is an open grave. The others must find him and free him of his self-loathing before that grave is filled and the hideous monster that represents Rimmer’s self-hatred destroys them all.

I wonder…what would each of our psyche’s graveyards look like?

Mine would have a large tombstone for Pride: “Lived a Long and Bothersome Life. Lost 2008.”

There would also be grave markers for Selfishness…Deceptiveness…Secrets…Irresponsibility. I was hoping to have laid Stubbornness and Temper to rest by now, but they seem to be thriving.

What have you laid to rest? What would you like to see in your own psyche’s graveyard?