Buying a Buick.

September 1, 2008

Jeff Buick is a Canadian writer who pens thrillers. We first met when I interviewed him for a travel column in the Calgary Herald. Good guy. Enthusiastic. Loves to write. Loves to talk to new writers. Drinks Starbucks (which goes along with being a good guy in my estimation).

When Jeff learned that I was also a writer of suspense thrillers, and that I’d taken back the rights to my book Brown Girls from PublishAmerica, he kindly offered to read my manuscript and offer up any tips on improving it. The exciting part was that, if he deemed it worthy, he would then pass it on to his publisher, Dorchester Publishing, with a hardy endorsement.

And so, after yet another polish/edit, during which I cut some 20,000 words from the original version put out by PublishAmerica, I e-mailed Jeff the manuscript (I was by this time living in New Zealand).

That was, oh, about six months ago.

Since then, I’ve had one phone conversation with Jeff, during which he told me how much fun he was having doing summer things with his family, including a granddaughter he absolutely adores. Understandable. He did, after all, make me no promises. By simply offering to peruse my manuscript, he was doing me a huge favour.

Jeff is a prolific writer. He frequents two coffee shops near his home in Calgary, one in the morning, the other in the afternoon. To share the wealth, as it were. He packs along his laptop, buys the largest cup of coffee on the menu, finds an empty space and writes. For hours. He told me that, rather than be distracted by the hustle and bustle and noise of a public venue (espresso machines hissing, people burbling into their cellphones), it finds the atmosphere inspiring.

That’s how he bangs off two or three books a year. That’s how he’s published the five books noted on his website ( and has at least a dozen others finished and waiting patiently in line. He has big dreams of eventually being picked up by a larger outfit than Dorchester and, if memory serves, is also currently working on a screenplay or at least a new book that lends itself perfectly to being adapted for the big screen.

As I said, Jeff Buick is a good guy. I like him. I’d like him even more if we had a more regular correspondence. But I’m stuck between a rock and a hardcover. Nudge Jeff too much about his progress with my manuscript and he might just get annoyed and tell me to waste someone else’s precious free time. Leave him alone for long stretches and Brown Girls may never budge from his personal back burner.

All I can do, then, is to work on my other books (a sequel to Brown Girls, a new one involving a high school shooting, a third involving a hijacked bus and an avalanche) and dream of the day when, like Jeff, my full-time job is writing books.

But you, Wonderful Reader, can help me achieve this goal. Buy one of Jeff’s books — any book — read it, praise it to your book-buying friends, and then write to Jeff ( and tell him how much you enjoyed his book. How much you’re looking forward to his next one.

And then, oh so casually, oh so offhandedly, also mention how much you’re looking forward to seeing him thanked in the foreword of John Wesley Ireland’s new book.

Sometimes it takes a sideways move to get ahead.

I’m thanking you here in advance.



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