From the Author’s Chair

December 21, 2005

Author Ed Mitchell’s newsletter #43

Filed under: Newsletter — admin @ 1:37 pm


From the Author’s Chair, this is newsletter #43 describing my latest up’s and down’s as I struggle from the small press arena to become a best selling fiction/thriller author. The strategy: leverage the acclaim and excellent stories of my current award-winning thrillers (Gold Lust & Gold Raid) to influence a major film company or large press to purchase the rights to my Gold Lust series. The following description of events is not polished, but it shares true emotions of being an author. Feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends:

>>Highlights: New title, Editor moved, Milestone

Sept 5 (Neutral)
Daily, I devote time to writing the third thriller, pushing myself to complete it. Simultaneously, I’m considering if I should change the title. For years, I’ve felt the title GOLD FIRE was appropriate. Maybe Allah’s Avengers would be a wiser choice.

The perfect title meets three criteria:
#1: Intrigues the book reader looking to buy to pick up the book.
#2: Conveys the type of story the reader will experience.
#3: Prevents publishers from worrying it could turn off a portion of the buying market.

The words, GOLD FIRE do not describe that the story is about a terrorist attack on the U.S. But, when combined with the cover art, this problem might disappear.

Allah’s Avengers meets the first two criteria, but the publisher might think Allah’s Avengers is politically incorrect since the title might offend Muslims.

Neither title satisfies all three criteria. When I quiz friends which one do they prefer, some like one, some like the other. But it is difficult enough to sell to a large New York press without creating an additional obstacle. So, I’m sticking with GOLD FIRE as the title.

Sept 27 (Up)
I took two days vacation from writing to hunt for gold. An author friend who lives along the Consumes River south of Sacramento invited me to look for gold in her section of the river. The first day I floated the stream in my dive suit hunting for nuggets and where to sluice. Since the air temperature was hot and the water was not too cold I did not become a popscicle. Instead, I became one with the trout in the stream. As long as I moved slowly they gawked at me as much as I gawked at them. The second day I dug dirt and gravel from an island and sluiced the material. Came up with enough yellow to impress my friend.

I left the gold for her grandchildren. May have ruined the little ones for life, infecting them gold fever and the urge to hunt for treasure right outside their grandmother’s door.

Sept 29 (Up)
Another author friend, Sue Ann Jaffarian, writes the award-winning Odelia Grey Series with a lot of humor in her mysteries. She went under contract with a publisher earlier in the year. Today she told me that her book Too Big to Kill will be released in 2006. She said the publisher used a quote of mine in the front matter of her book. It’s nice to know a medium-sized publisher likes my quotes. Heck, how about buying my thriller GOLD FIRE?

For those interested, Sue Ann’s website is found at:

Oct 6 (Up)
While attending the Ozark Creative Writers conference, I learned that editor Dan Slater (who asked me to submit GOLD FIRE along with the two earlier released thrillers) left Penguin for Amazon. That answers my concerns why he never responded to the submittal. In today’s publishing industry there is much editor-replacement and editor-movement. The big publishers keep their costs down by replacing older editors with younger staff. Since only twenty percent of the published fiction makes profit, it seems all a gamble and a guess on which books will do well. So I can understand the bean-counter mentality to replace more expensive guessers with cheaper ones.

26 Oct (Up)
The local Grange invited me back to participate as a ‘local author’ in one of their annual events. It’s always encouraging to sell and hear previous buyers order me to hurry up and finish the next book so they can buy it.

29 Oct (Down)
My agent calls. Seven months after submitting to Penguin, she received a letter from the editor who replaced Dan Slater. “Mr. Mitchell is a talented writer. However, it is a very difficult market to sell into and we will not be able to represent his work at this time.” Bite me! A courteous rejection but it still means I did not render the story well enough.

I won’t submit GOLD FIRE again until I have it fully edited. Better to wait rather than submit the manuscript to someone with even one error in the first two chapters.

03 Nov (Big Up)
Today is a milestone for me. I completed the last chapter of GOLD FIRE, my international thriller.

In August 1981, I began a journey to write three thrillers revealing the saga of a soldier from a blue-collar family living in modern-day California. Along the way the hero becomes a counter-terrorist. At that time, I considered writing the most commercial story first (the international thriller) where terrorists attack America by triggering sleeper cells inside our borders. I knew it would be the most commercial of the three stories and the better choice to land a contract with a large publishing house. But, (silly me) my heart wanted to tell the story from the beginning.

Fast forward to 11 September 2001: My first two thrillers are published and I am writing the third book (Black Camel) when the twin towers collapse. A week later, when the FBI begins warning Americans about the types of attacks I have posed in Black Camel I recognize that I have too accurately forecasted the future, too accurately analyzed how terrorists could successful kill my neighbors using munitions readily available in the U.S. Since I did not want to teach terrorists easy ways to harm Americans, I set aside that story and moved on to GOLD FIRE. Months of progress towards release of the third thriller are lost.

Today, however, is a good day. Like climbing a high mountain, I’ve reached the summit, the halfway point in my journey. Looking back I’m amazed at my author experiences:
>>The first time I saw my debut thriller on the shelf of a bookstore
>>Participating in the California sesquicentennial (150 year celebration) holding a gold nugget worth $250,000 on the steps of the state capital
>>Creating writing exercises that fourth-graders enjoy doing
>>The many book tour events where I made people laugh
>>The wonderful people I’ve met
>>Hearing readers thank me for writing my stories
>>And the luck of winning some awards.

All it took was spending thousands of hours sitting alone like a hermit, writing, rewriting, swearing, rewriting, being rejected by publishers, more swearing – but persisting and forcing myself to improve my writing skills after the rejections.

To get down this mountain I only have to listen to several picky editors and polish GOLD FIRE over and over – just a few more months until the next submittal.

10 Nov (Up)
A seller on is offering my national award-wining hardback, GOLD RUSH 2000 for $41.12. Now — there is a person with a good eye for quality. However, readers can still purchase autographed copies for the original sale price of $24.95 by contacting my publisher or myself or

Dec 7 (Neutral)
As a founding charter member of the International Thriller Writers organization I want to invite you to attend the world premier of the International Festival of Thrillers. We call it ThrillerFest. Meet your favorite best selling thriller authors at the fabulous Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona from June 29 to July 2, 2006.

ThrillerFest is designed especially for readers and writers of thriller fiction. Here’s a sample of the agenda:
>>Meet authors Douglas Preston, Brad Meltzer, R.L. Stine and John Lescroart

>>Listen to David Morrell discuss the making of his groundbreaking novel, First Blood, into the movie Rambo.

>>Attend a Readers Reception in which ITW’s THRILLER anthology will be unveiled and sold for the first time; and then attend the ITW Awards Banquet where the first annual International Thriller Awards will be presented.

To register or learn more, go to Early Bird Registration is only $195 and the Biltmore is providing a special discounted block of rooms set aside for ThrillerFest attendees. Hurry, they’re going fast!

And the adventure continues.

Please pass this newsletter to your friends and colleagues. Tell anyone wanting to receive this newsletter to just e-mail me at However, if this letter is a bother in your hectic day just reply to this e-mail with “unsubscribe” and I’ll immediately drop you from my list.
P.S. If you wish to purchase an autographed copy of any of my books, click here:

Ed Mitchell,
Charter Founding Member of the International Thriller Writers Organization and Author of:

>>Winner: National Publishers Award for BEST NEW
FICTION in the USA & Canada from a small press
>>Regional Winner: San Francisco Bay Area Independent
Publishers award for BEST MYSTERY THRILLER
>>Regional Winner: Sacramento Publisher & Authors Fiction Award for BEST ACTION BOOK.
>>Regional Winner: San Francisco Bay Area Independent

>>International Thriller to be published in 2006

>>Read Ch-1 of past and soon to be released books
& Sign up for the Author’s humorous news letter

Consultant to Emerging Authors

17595 Vierra Canyon Road, #407, Salinas CA 93907
Fax 831-663-5629
Gold Rush 2000 ISBN: 0-9668447-3-4
Gold Lust ISBN: 0-9668447-7-7
Gold Raid ISBN: 0-9668447-9-3

Copyright Dec 2005


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