Thursday, July 15, 2010

Free Books for Everyone with Guest Blogger: Steven Verrier

The Book Boost Welcomes author Steven Verrier who is here to discuss free reading time at major bookstores!

Here's what he had to say...

I’m as guilty as anybody. Now, I’m not talking about extortion, fraud, counterfeiting, or anything of that sort. And I’m definitely not talking about robbery.

On second thought …

Well, robbery may be going too far. But you know how it is. You drive out to a giant strip-mall bookstore, walk up and down the aisles picking out everything of interest that you can fit into your arms, and then …

You stake out a table in the bookstore coffee shop or hunker down on a bookstore sofa or armchair to read everything you’ve picked off the shelves.

At least, if you’re like me you do. And every time I head out to that giant strip-mall bookstore I find there are plenty of people just like me.

They might as well put up big ‘Public Library’ signs in front of some bookstores, because some bookstores serve pretty much the same purpose libraries do. True, you can’t take a book home unless you buy it, but you don’t need to. These days you can pretty much read what you want at a giant bookstore, at your own pace. And you can do it on softer furniture than you’re likely to find at the library – and with a frappuccino in your hand to boot.

Not only that, the books are a lot newer.

So how’s a writer supposed to eke out a living in this day and age? Perhaps writers ought to get royalties on every cup of coffee sold at a bookstore. Or maybe books ought to be chained to the shelves until customers are ready to buy them. What if books were wrapped in plastic like pornographic magazines? Maybe every book ought to come with a centerfold so we can do that.

Or maybe writers can take matters into their own hands. How? I don’t want to recommend picketing the giant bookstores; after all, writers don’t want to rile their biggest allies. But what if we just stake out tables of our own in the bookstore coffee shops? If we slurp our drinks and spill our Mocha Javas on other drinkers when we get up to stretch our legs, maybe we can empty the bookstore coffee shops and encourage people to buy more of the books they want to read. If we take over the lounge areas – lie on the sofas and plush armchairs, kick off our shoes, loosen our belts – well, before you know it we writers may just have those coffee shops, armchairs, and sofas all to ourselves. And if we do, what’s to stop us from scouting the bookshelves, getting as comfortable as we possibly can, and reading our hearts out?

A Note from the Book Boost: Steven, I love this post! It is hilarious--I can just see a bunch of authors relaxing about in my local Books-A-Million! LOL Seriously, I am NOT guilty of doing this because I'd much rather escape with my purchased loot and read at home--perhaps in the bathtub! But I see these people doing this all the time and it can be troubling to see. I vote for royalties for authors on each cup of coffee sold! Now, please tell us about your book...


Life was good to fifteen-year-old Danny Roberts. He was a model student, playing violin in his high school orchestra and earning straight A’s on the fast track to university.

But then things went very wrong very fast.

The problems started when a teacher wouldn’t let Danny out of class to go to the bathroom – even though he insisted, “I’ve really got to go!”

Danny responded by defying authority for the first time in his life. That shocking act of defiance earned him a suspension, and Danny’s troubles snowballed from there.

But Danny isn’t your typical student, and he doesn’t take his lumps lying down. He fights back on his terms as he plots a course through uncharted waters.

Will Danny get the last laugh?


Though his parents had pushed him hard to make a hotel reservation in Paris before leaving the States, Danny, hardly strapped for cash but mindful of nearly every penny in his pocket and bank account, had ruled otherwise. He’d read a stack of books about traveling in Europe, and one, Europe on the Cheap, had warned him in no uncertain terms not to make any hotel reservations before starting his trip. It would be a lot easier, the book said, to find reasonable accommodations upon arrival at Charles de Gaulle International Airport, where desperate hoteliers would be dispatching workers to round up travelers to fill up unoccupied rooms. Travelers arriving at night would be able to play hardball and score rooms of any class for pennies on the dollar. But the reality awaiting Danny was that Paris was packed to the rafters, hostels were filled beyond capacity, and any hotel rooms that were still vacant were going for exorbitant prices.

Identifying himself as an American college student on summer vacation, Danny breezed straight through immigration, exchanged a hundred dollars for Euros, and then spent half an hour looking through brochures at a travelers’ aid bureau at de Gaulle and bartering in basic French with a few hotel agents who seemed intent on taking him for every Euro he had and then some. Though Danny wanted to see Paris, he decided to postpone that indulgence until later in his journey. Now, with no place to stay, and with night about to sneak up on him seven hours earlier than usual, he decided this would be as good a time as any to try out his Eurail Pass, which offered him fifteen days of unlimited travel on its intercity rail network covering much of the continent.

It took Danny, a novice at riding trains, a few hours to arrive at the Gare de Lyon, a station recommended in some of his guidebooks. As soon as he arrived there he learned he could have taken a bus from de Gaulle directly to the station and made the trip in under an hour. Determined not to rush into any other bad decisions, he decided to relax at a café he’d noticed near the station.

Not having his French footing yet, Danny looked about as disoriented as a hayseed dropped out of a plane into the middle of Manhattan. Such was all too apparent to a young blonde who sidled up to him as he headed for the café.

“Puis-je vous aider?”

“Uh, no, merci,” said Danny once his tongue was untied.

“Oh, you’re American.” Danny stopped and looked at the attractive young woman, who was about eighteen or nineteen. His disappointment that his accent had given him away as an American was mitigated greatly by the fact that a very pretty young female, dressed in tight shorts and smiling broadly, was standing barely a foot away from him.

“That’s right,” he said.

“What is your name?”

“Daniel.” He said it with a French accent, with heavy stress on the last part.

“Where are you going, Daniel?”

“I was just going to have a snack before catching a train tonight.”

“You’re leaving Paris?”

“I didn’t plan to. I’ve just arrived but couldn’t find a cheap place to stay.”

“Perfect,” she said. “My name is Julienne. You stay in my house.”

Danny, not yet wise to the world, stood there flatfooted, not sure which foot to pick up next.

“You don’t like?” said Julienne, smiling with the confidence of one who’d seen it all. “Daniel stays at Julienne’s house. Doesn’t that sound good?”

Unsure whether he was talking to a prostitute or a good Samaritan, Danny didn’t want to snuff out his prospects just yet. He’d hinted, after all, that he wasn’t a rich man – not that his worn clothes and tattered bag would have left much doubt anyway – and she still seemed interested … but in what?

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