Deranged Author seeks Justice

It all started with a stone. A Petoskey stone, to be precise.

For all you non-Michiganders, the Petoskey stone is the official state rock of Michigan. Michigan is one of the few states that actually has a state rock, and for those of us who have resided there at one time or another, the Petoskey stone is a continual reminder of just how special this mitten-shaped state really is.

Petoskey stones are a valuable commodity, partly because so many have been snatched up by tourists and eager entrepreneurs, and also because they are very difficult to spot. When dry, they look like any other gray rock, but throw some water on them and the mottled net of veins that wrap round the stone magically appear—truly an amazing geological experience.

It’s not as easy as you think.

My stepfather, Pete, has an eagle eye for spotting these stones. He walks his four dogs daily on the beaches near Point Betsie, where you can find the gems, and he rarely returns home without a pocketful. My mother carefully washes the rocks and then runs them through the tumbler in their garage. The end product is a consistently shiny, lovely stone.

My parents have Petoskey stones piled in large pots on their deck, gathered in water-filled glass vases on the windowsill, artfully displayed on platters on their coffee table, and heaped in a clear cookie jar in the guest bathroom. They enjoy handing out their rocks as gifts to visiting out-of-towners who are awed by the stones but don’t want to fork over the big bucks it takes to buy one (no kidding—large stones can sell for as much as $100!).

Pete and my mother, Claudia, are opposed to selling their stones, but have no problem giving them away to their friend, Bob, an entrepreneur, who is not. Bob makes Petoskey stone lamps, picture frames, and bird houses, and is working on a Petoskey stone mouse pad (don’t ask).

This, my friends, is where my story really begins.

Last summer, as I always do, I visited my mother and Pete in the quaint little town of Frankfort on Michigan’s northwest coast. I was excited not only because I got to visit my parents and their four very large special dogs, but also because Frankfort was having its yearly Art Fair/Garage Sale. This year was extraordinary because, in addition to the usual booths of Petoskey stone pictures, Petoskey stone puzzles, and Petoskey stone animals, there was going to be a real, live local author who had self-published three books.

Now, I had just finished writing my first novel (available this spring!) and I was beyond thrilled at the opportunity to rub shoulders with another writer—especially one who had been published. I left my mom and Pete in Bob’s booth and anxiously searched for the local celebrity.

I found him sitting high on a chair behind a table of neatly stacked books. I casually picked one up, pretended to leaf through it, looked up, and said, somewhat nervously, “I just finished my first one.”

“Congratulations. You read your first book.”

His sarcastic comment threw me off. Normally, I would have chuckled and made some smart-alecky reply, but his unkind tone and my nervousness did not encourage such playfulness.

“Uh, no, I meant writing it.”

“Oh.” He glanced away dispassionately.

I was flabbergasted. How could he not be overcome with curiosity? He was a writer, for Pete’s sake. Wasn’t he the least bit interested in this woman, who had, by the way, spent the last whole year writing? Writing before everyone got up. Writing on my laptop in the car while the boys took tennis or swimming lessons. Writing while the laundry sat in piles or my husband took the kids to Mickey D’s . . . again.


I wanted so badly just to converse with this man that I ignored his rudeness. Maybe we had simply gotten off to a bad start. I tightly clutched the piece of paper on which I had written out the questions I wanted to ask and started over. After the third monosyllabic reply, I finally gave up. My feelings were hurt, I was tremendously disappointed, and I had never felt so strongly that the club I wanted to join was not accepting my kind.

I set the man’s book down slowly and wished him luck. As I made my way back to Bob’s Petoskey stone booth, I contemplated arson, and bodily harm and childishly regretted that I hadn’t made some nasty comment to him, or come up with a devastating put-down, or even said something to the effect that his books looked incredibly boring and amateurish.

But the truth was, they had not. I would have bought all three if he had humored me, or even just said good luck. But he hadn’t. He had lost not only a sale, but also the respect of another human being, another writer, who just wanted to share war stories.

Drowning my sorrows . . .

It took me a couple of banana daiquiris and some old Barry Manilow songs to get over my funk, but the will to live did return. Soon I will continue this exciting saga, and next, tell of my tumultuous rise to mid-level accounting manager (it’ll have you on the edge of your seat!). Or I could just skip to the moral of this story . . . which is – don’t judge a rock by its cover.

I bet you thought I was going to say something like “have faith in yourself” or “never lose sight of your dreams” or “don’t give up”. But sometimes you just have to connect with a person, or catch a glimpse of a half-wet rock, or be in the right place at the right time. Sometimes you just have to be lucky.



18 Responses to Deranged Author seeks Justice

  • Congratulations Lise! This is so exciting! I can’t wait to follow your progress and celebrate your successes!

  • P.S. I forgot to say how great you look in a cup of coffee! :)

  • LOVE this!! Can’t wait to read more :) Congratulations, WRITER.

  • I LOVE the way you tell a story. I can see you in this store, experiencing every emotion you describe. Can’t wait for the book.
    This site is very user friendly and fun to naivigate. All your work and research will pay off I am sure. Wishing you all the best!!!

  • What a complete and thorough website!!! It covers everything
    one would need to get their book published and then some.
    It is well organized and beautiful!! Looking forward to buying your
    book!!! Let’s have some coffee together…..

  • Hi Lise-

    I finally found some time to review your website. Very impressive- I wish you and all of your business associates great success with this endeavor- anxiously waiting for the release of your book!!

    XOXO Scott

  • Lise….how interesting, I had no idea about your Grandfather. What a character! Congratulations…I wish you great success :)

  • Lise~
    Congrats!! I wish you all the best!! Thanks for the invite. I personally went from collecting Petosky Stones as a child in Traverse City and Boyne City to collecting Sand Dollars and Sea Glass on the shores of the Pacific. I could do it for hours. Cheers with a Banana Daquiri in hand! :)

  • You guys are the greatest! Thanks for all your support and tell any of your other friends that if they sign up to receive my blog they have a chance to win our $10K give-away. Of course, that’s another blatant lie, but hopefully they’ll have been won over by my humorous writing, my wit and my modesty. If they bring suit for false advertising, I can blame you and you can then plead ignorance.

    Don’t worry, I’ve done this before and the worst that I’ve ever gotten is probation. And that’s no big whoop.

  • So nice to see how intelligent and ambitious people thrive- and I thought you were just a pretty face who loved to pick fruit and vegetables and drink wine!!

  • I didn’t know you were a writer! That is great. What is the name of your book? If your book is written as well as this article, I can’t wait to read it.

  • Lise, I love your website and blog. You have a fun, interesting writing style that I enjoy. I’m looking forward to reading your book. I knew you were a fun gal, but had no idea what literary talent you had! Thanks for contacting me. I look forward to more entries.

  • Barry Manilow…and daiquiries—great comfort companions. I admire the way you are able to catch a small moment and stretch it out into a story that carries the reader visually and emotionally. Looking forward to reading more and more…and being inspired by your ability to capture these nuggets in your life with words.

    So glad you thought to add me to your blog email list!

  • Lise,

    You make me smile! If reading your words makes me smile, it will make others smile, too. That is what a writer does.

  • It looks like we have similar ideas on this subject.

  • Great post! Just wanted to let you know you have a new subscriber- me!

  • Hello, can you please post some more information on this topic? I would like to read more.

  • Hey everyone. I’m hoping to meet new friends here so drop me a note when you
    get a chance.

    I hope to make some quality posts soon but first I have to look around the forum and
    familiarize myself with everyone and the forum.

    Bye for now. lol


    Biggest Loser of All Time

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