the Write Editor

DJ Mansker lives in southeast Arizona. By day, DJ puts her twenty plus years of experience in the trenches of social work to use in the protective services. By night, she is a closet novelist and wait staff to her cat Trinidad. As a member of several local and national writers organizations she continues to hone her writing skills as she works to complete her first novel.

The Overburdened Book Reviewer

–Superman had his booth. You have confession corner. A bizarre, if not insane, straight dialogue between a booth and its confessor. Could this be you?

Wait! Miss, uh ma’am. Wait! Don’t . . . step out there! Watch out for that bus! Will you puh-lease close that book and watch where you’re going? I guess I don’t need to ask how you broke your arm. And the bandages on your nose and forehead and . . .

Huh? What? Who’s there?

Here. Over here. Turn around. I’m right here, the confession booth. Just come in and sit down before you kill yourself or, worse, someone else. I won’t even ask you for the dollar fee, minimal as it is, for my time-tested advice.

What were you thinking, walking out in front of traffic like that? If you’re determined to act on some kind of death wish, please do it someplace else. I don’t have the time to clean up a mess on this corner.

Oh, yes, of course. My apologies. I didn’t mean to startle anyone. I just have so many deadlines. If I’m not doing three things at once, I’m not getting it done.

Deadline? You almost were a deadline. What are you trying to do?

I’m trying to get this book read. I’m a book reviewer. I get about ten books a week to read and report on. And they all have publishing deadlines.

Do you mean all you do all day is read books? Do you get paid for it?

Yes, I get paid a little bit. It’s not like I’m a reviewer for the New York Times. And, no, it’s not the only thing I do all day. I have a full-time job, a husband and two teenagers, and I’m working on my own book series. I owe a lot of people for helping me get to my second book contracted, and I’m not going to renege on my promises. I know how important reviews are to new writers and how truly devastating it can be to get the “shine on” after you’ve worked so hard to get it done.

Really? You can earn money reading books? I mean, I have to admire your energy and determination. You’ve got a full plate. I don’t see how you do it. When do you sleep?

Sleep? What’s that? Besides, that’s not all I do.

You’re kidding.

No, I’m not. I also design Web sites, do some editing, manage a couple of blogs and my own Web site, and participate in a few critique groups.

Whoa! Gotta a match? Just exactly how do you keep all that going effectively?

It’s not easy. My husband suggested strapping a couple of travel mugs to my ankles. At least I could mix up some smoothies for kids’ breakfast while I’m running around the house in the morning.

O my goodness! Oprah is going to have to come up with a new word. Multitasking hardly seems up to it.

It’s not just all the work I have to do. There’s all that I’m not getting done. I could write a primer on guilt.

I can see it now, My First Big Book of Guilt. There’s probably a market out there for that. I know it comes in handy in my line of work. Ooo! Wait! I could start a whole new movement: By Guilt or by God. I could go on tour, have my own cable show, syndicated newspaper columns, blog tours, interactive Web site, the works! Oh! And you could manage them for me.

And I know of a perfect new vehicle to get you off the ground. There’s this new online magazine . . . Hey! Wait a minute. What gives? Are you trying to break my other arm? I thought you were supposed to help me pare this down.

Uh, yeah, that. Well, er . . . I was just demonstrating to you how easy it is to reel you in. What I really meant to show you is how to say no, diplomatically.

I didn’t know there was a diplomatic way to say no to those you want to help.

Yes, of course there is. I hate to divulge my own secrets to success, but you’re a special case. You don’t actually say no. You redirect and refer. You get similar results for those you want to help by getting them in touch with someone else who can do the job.

Hmm. Interesting. It might be worth a try. I’ll have to check my list of resource people and see who’s up for it.

That’s the spirit. Get out there and delegate. Oh, by the way, make sure you tell me how to get in touch with you before you leave. I’ve got some plans I’d like to discuss . . . I mean I’ll want to check on your progress.

No problem, I’m in the book. Thanks so much for the ideas. I’ve got to get back to it: working, reading, writing, blogging, cooking, editing, parenting, critiquing . . .

Glad to be of assistance. Watch your step and the traffic lights. And close that book before you step out in front of a slow freight train.

Now, where was I? Ah yes. Note to self: There’s money to be made reviewing books. I’ll call her for the particulars later. Let’s see, what else? By Guilt or By God, I wonder if that’s been used for a title before? If I could get online I could look it up. Or better yet, I’ll get her to look it up. Even if you count the broken ones, she’s still got more fingers than I do.