File this story under the heading, “Why I Do What I Do.” Prior to the holidays I received an email from a delightful lady named Celeste in Australia. Her note read, in part:
Please give me a moment of your time, as I wish to create a special Christmas gift for a member of my family and I ask your assistance. I have married into a wonderful family here in Melbourne, Australia. In particular I have bonded with my father-in-law, Philip, by trading books. We are both avid readers. He gave me a book you wrote some time ago, The Prisoner of Reglathium, and said I would love the story. He was absolutely right: I did. When I returned the book to him, he mentioned that he was never able to find the remaining novels in the series to continue the adventure.
This year, with your help, I would like to give my father-in-law something he will cherish. Could I arrange to purchase a set of the entire Reglathium series from you, with the first copy signed by you? Please let me know if you can accommodate this request. Thank you for your time. I eagerly await your reply.
Well yeah, that reply came rather quickly:
Wow, what a cool story! It’s nice to know that I still have a couple of fans—and in Australia, no less. Let’s see: world-wide, that ups my fan base to seventeen people.
I published the five Reglathium books a few decades ago, with a lousy publisher that, thankfully, is long defunct. If you read the book you know that there were many typos—misspellings and such. It was most embarrassing. But now, in my “semi-retirement,” I’ve been rewriting and re-publishing many of my old titles—which you may be aware of if you’ve looked at my Swords & Specters website or my blog. I’ll probably be rewriting the Reglathium series in the next year or so. But, you’d like the “collector’s items,” and I do have some left, so I would be happy to send you a set.
Turns out I did not have any extra copies of the second book in the Dannus series, but I suggested to Celeste that she do an online search, which she did. She was able to find The Conquerors of Reglathium, while I sent her the rest—plus some extras for Philip. Celeste wanted to pay for the books and the shipping, so I quoted a nominal charge—especially considering that I once noticed an old title of mine going for over $600 on the internet! (I kid you not.)
The lady was most happy, as her next note shows:
Dear Mike, thank you so much! My father-in-law will be over the moon about this. I did see your new series of novels, and I would like to add one to my order, The Sword of Tyron. It would make a wonderful birthday gift for Philip (which happens to be December 25th). The original editions are fine, typos
and all. They remind him of younger days, which I think adds character to the gift.
You have helped me organize the bulk of a rather special gift, so I appreciate your time and thank you a million times over. (I’m going to be saying that a lot. You are forewarned.)
I was always kind of embarrassed by what the publisher did to my stories, but I understood where Celeste was coming from, with regard to the typos. So off the books went, and they arrived well in advance of Christmas. Was Celeste happy?
Hello again, Mike. I have great news: I have received the set of books you sent, along with #2 from the online vendor I ordered from. So Philip, the lucky dog, gets the full complement on Christmas Day.
It is a couple weeks yet, but when Christmas Day finally rolls around here I’ll see about taking a couple snapshots for you. Maybe I can catch the look on his face when he opens the box. Fingers crossed on that one, it is generally a hazardous thing when I have a camera and then attempt to use it. Oh, I am excited! I will be in touch with the results of our cooperative efforts.
And did those efforts pay off? I think so:
Christmas was spectacular! Philip was overjoyed to receive the books. When I mentioned I was able to contact
you and shared the story of obtaining the Reglathium series, he was really touched. I blew his socks off when I mentioned you wanted to write about it in your blog. I think it’s safe to say we impressed him!
Thanks again, Mike. You really made this Christmas special for all of us.
No, thank YOU, Celeste and Philip. You showed me once again “Why I Do What I Do.”