Thursday, February 14, 2008

How Did I Get Here?

By James O. Born
Five years ago I was a cop who liked to write and hoped to be published some day. The dream of being published was fading after 14 years of rejection, humiliation and despair. The rest of my life was good. Real good. Two healthy kids, a job I loved, good health, Florida State Football looked to be on the rise. No worries, just one, futile, silly, unfulfilled dream. We all have them. I have other dreams that involve, in no particular order, Claudia Schiffer, Beyonce, a vat of chocolate and Tina Fey. These, by the way, are separate dreams but I could be open to combinations if the other consenting adults agreed.

Then, in 2003, I get a call from a New York agent asking me if I still wanted representation for Walking Money. Asking if I wanted representation! I played it cool. Yeah, for about three seconds. Next thing I knew I was part of the Putnam family with Neil Nyren guiding along my first few steps of publishing. Low key and direct, Neil, kept me calm, focused and writing. I’ve seen it’s an easy trap to get published then forget about writing instead getting side tracked by promotion, e-mail, conventions, parties and things that have little to do with writing a book a publisher can sell.

I cannot overstate the element of luck in virtually any published author's success. The right editor at the right house at the right time has to see the right manuscript. Talk about the stars aligning. Then to have enough growth to continue to publish you must have luck with readers trying your book, news outlets giving you coverage and reviewers deciding to publish reviews of your book. Remember there is a lot of competition out there. So luck is a huge element. I've heard authors dispute this but I'm lucky and I admit it.

The past few years have been a little bit of a blur. I have attended some conventions and loved them. I do some promotion and don’t mind it. I keep up with e-mail and go to parties but I try to remember it is all about the writing.

There have been some changes in my life. I stepped down from my management position to a field agent’s position and discovered I really missed investigations. I have had to cut back on my study of Karate to the taunts of my fellow students whom I had worked out with for more than twenty years. I don’t wind surf, scuba dive or do other ocean-centric activities like I once did. But I still have a lot of fun.

The people involved in publishing and writing are a load of fun. I travel more than I ever. I don’t sweat some of the usual financial bumps in the road the way I used to. But most of all, I get to sit down and write novels that I enjoy writing. When you get down to the main aspect of publishing a book, I feel loving what you do is the most important aspect of writing.

Now, on the exact day that my fifth novel is released, I can’t think of any other way I would’ve rather spent the last five years.

Tomorrow night I’m hosting a launch party at Murder on the Beach mystery book store in Delray Beach. Then I hit the road for the entire weekend, crossing the state to hit four more stores leading into six weeks of signings.

Maybe this is better than the Beyonce dream.

But probably not.


  1. Congratulations. And yeah, I don't know quite what there is about TIna Fey...

  2. She's smart, funny and those glasses.

    Yikes! Gotta love smart glasses.


  3. Funny women are sexy.

    Good looking funny women are incredibly sexy.

  4. Hearty congratulations on the release of the new tome!!!

    Happy Valentine's Day to all. I'm off to buy a pair of glasses. Maybe I'll get lucky...

  5. Happy V day and many, many congratulations to you on BOOK FIVE!!! WOO HOO!!!!!!! Wish we all could be in Delray tomorrow night to pour some champagne over your head, Jim.

  6. Wow! Jim! We have the same dreams!! Well, except that I don't write....

    Congrats on the new book--don't shoot 'em up till I get a couple!

    And Patty, you're smart and funny--you don't need the glasses!

    Tom, T.O.

  7. You have the best work ethic of anyone I know.

    Knock'em dead on your book tour. (Not literally). I've seen your schedule and you're covering ground in Florida than Ponce de Leon.

  8. Congratulations, Jim! Do you bottle that?

    Patty, the glasses are only to make a woman look intelligent, because funny, intelligent women are astoundingly sexy.

    You have both covered. In spades.

  9. I agree wi Jeff. Patti, you don't need glasses.

    Paul does.

    Tom, I believe many people share our dreams.

    Thanks Cornelia, should be a good time tomorrow. Suprisingly, I am not way behind on things this year. had a normal day at work and a quiet evening tonight.


  10. Congrats Jim :)

  11. Congratulations, Jim! See you in SC.

  12. Congratulations, Jim! Keep writing those books--your shelf at the library is filling, and circulation is up.

    And, on behalf of us who choose to wear glasses, thanks for the PR. I always knew you were a smart guy.

  13. Best of luck for the book tour, and here's to a great launch - wish I could be there. Looking forward to seeing you in Virginia!

  14. I've yet to meet a truly funny woman who wasn't intelligent.

  15. Huge congrats, Jim! Knock 'em dead on your tour.

    Glasses on Tina Fey? Yowza.

    Glasses on Paul? Wouldn't help.

  16. Congrats on the 5th book, Jim! Glad our paths will cross a few times on the upcoming tour!