Annual Trek Home with a New Twist


My apologies for no illustration today.  My iPhone is on the blink, but I’m sure my upcoming appointment with an Apple Genius bar member will soon set things to right.

Ah, Detroit.  Home.  I can hardly believe it’s been another year since I last visited, but there you have it.  The older we get, the faster time flies.  I think sometimes I might actually be turning 90 soon.  At least then I’ll have a reasonable excuse for not remembering names and making dopey comments about how things have changed from what I remember.

This year at least, there were no adventures in lost suitcases at the airport.  Thank goodness!

And right now, I hear a soft noise coming from my sister, Sheila’s kitchen.  Her granddaughters are visiting, and breakfast yogurt is probably coming out.  The two little girls staying with us last night are as delightful as the sunshine after a long rainy season.  We’ve played on the beach, watched “Imagination Station” and Christmas videos (the children are being raised in a Jewish tradition, but exceptions for gramma’s house are always accepted), and the older of the two princesses has given me a lesson in horse riding equipment.  Now I know that a bridle is the complete set of strings that goes over a horse’s head and is not just the reign one uses to guide the friend along.

Yes, I feel home.

But here’s the exciting twist of the year.  I met some of the people from my publisher!  How thrilling for me.  My copy editor, Tracey Matthews, works in the Gale-Cengage building in Farmington Hills.  Gale-Cengage, from what I understands, owns Thorndike Press and Five Star Publishing, among other “imprints.”  To be honest, I had no idea how big Gale-Cengage is when I wrote to Tracey, telling her of my visit, and essentially inviting myself to her office.

LIke most people from Detroit, Tracey was gracious and humble about having me to the office.  I borrowed a car from my nephew, and drove over to Farmington Hills on Monday, expecting to see a small building or even an office with just a handful of people in it.

Oh my goodness!  You can imagine my surprise when I arrived at the Gale-Cengage home near Wayne State University.  Although it wasn’t as ornate as Downton Abby (yes, my sister is influencing my television viewing again–yipee!), it was about that size building.  Three floors of red brick with a central “column” of white to separate the two wings sat in solid splendor to my newbie publishing eyes.  I walked into a lobby that comfortably held a grand piano, several seating areas and one of those circular reception desks that intimidate people like me all the time. Wow!

Tracey came to fetch me, and as I suspected she would be, she was warm, friendly, and very gracious.  We went upstairs to meet the team.

“We’re only a small crew of three or four people,” said Tracey.  “Most of the Five Star team is out east.”  Still, I was able to meet Rita, Tracey’s manager, Joanne, and Chris.  The first thing Rita did was hand me a copy of my book.  Goodness, how thrilling.

Tracey walked me around to a conference room and we sat for a while together.

Now, please don’t hate me, my reading friend, but I forgot all of my questions!  Can you believe it?  Me, with a degree in journalism, and I sat around just talking about kids, and reading, and how thrilling it is to be able to work in the Gale-Cengage family under the Five Star publishing imprint.

Tracey and I checked in with Chris, who makes sure all books are visually ready for printing. She checks to ensure margins are right, fonts work, and the books they produce are the highest quality possible.  She knows which books will be printed in which format for selling to a variety of markets.  I told the ladies I’d heard that “Faith on the Rocks” was being considered for a large print edition, but I was concerned because of the use of a few naughty words in my book.

“That’s no problem,” said Chris.  “Not all of our books go to a clean read audience.”  Cool!  That means, in January, my book may come out in a large print edition.  I’m so excited.

I didn’t stay too long as the group looked very busy and I’d rather have a new book come out on time than take up everyone’s day in chatter with me.  Tracey escorted me back downstairs, past the replica of a Guttenberg press, past shelves of books from some of the other imprints, past busy people with friendly smiles.

I had no idea what a large family of publishing Five Star is part of.  I am honored.

Hoping your holiday week brings you a new admiration for all we are part of and what a wonderful role we each play within.

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6 thoughts on “Annual Trek Home with a New Twist

  1. Oh, even large print? Wow!!! I can hardly wait for my copy – Amazon informed me it will be releases sooner than first promised.
    I have a theory that the years go faster because each is a smaller percent of the whole 🙂

    • I have to agree with you on that last comment, LInda, but we can’t dwell on the speed, just the happiness of the moment. We are missing you and yours this weekend, but will look forward to seeing Graham when he comes in. Hugs to both you and Gary. xox

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