July 23, 2010


I added a new link to my section on Writers Resources recently; or rather Mark did at my request (Mark is the brains behind the layout of this blog).

The link I added belongs to a writer named Jack King. His page is called “Spy Writer.”

I don’t know how I stumbled on to him but as he provided a list of small press publishers, I e-mailed the information to a friend who was working on her first novel. I didn’t study what I’d sent; I just passed it on.

After a few months, I heard from my friend. She’d finished her book and was ready to send it out but had lost the referral and asked me to I send it again. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I’d saved it. The page had an overpowering death’s head as its logo and I was put off by it.

After a little search, I managed to recover the site and while there, I decided to poke around. Despite the logo, which I dismissed as sophomoric, I was impressed, even fascinated by the author’s brutal frankness about the business of writing. To balance his pessimism, however, he’d provided a list of resources meant to help aspirants. It was extensive and must have taken him a good deal of time to compile.

I spent ten or fifteen minutes exploring his pages and came away with a different image of Jack King. Not every writer is eager to serve as a guide to others. Writing is a crowded field but a solitary effort. “Others” isn’t a word that comes readily to mind. It did to Jack King.

The next time I’m browsing through a bookstore, I’m going to buy one of his novels. I may love it or I may hate it, but it will be my way of sending him an apology. I’d written him off because of the skull at the top of his web page. I don’t know why it’s there but I do know that in spite of it, he deserves my respect.

One day, I hope to grow wise enough to stop judging a book by its cover.