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I slid my tray on the table and sat down. "So, how was New York," I asked.
Clara smiled, "It was lovely ... we had the best time."
"Sounds like you timed it right." I took the lid off my coffee to let it cool.
"You mean because of Sandy?"
"Yeah ... you and Alex might have gotten stuck there."
She smiled again. "Hmmm, maybe that wouldn't have been so bad."
"I hear conditions were just awful." I took a bite of my breakfast sandwich.
Clara's face grew serious. "Yes ... those poor folks."
I nodded as I chewed. Finally, I said, "They took a pounding, all right."
She frowned. "Some of the stories I heard ... my heart just aches for them."
"Yeah, me too." I looked out the window at the gray fall day. After a few seconds, I said, "So, what happened with the publisher ... did you meet with him?"
Her face relaxed. "Oh, Alex's cousin, David Heath ... yes, I met him."
"It was a very nice meeting. I learned a lot." Clara was suddenly acting a little coy.
"Did he make you an offer?"
She took a sip of her coffee, set the cup down and said, "Yes ... but I turned it down."
I blinked in disbelief. "You ... you turned down his offer?"
"I told you I learned a lot ... you have to remember, in spite of the success I've had so far, I'm still a new ... and very low ranking author."
"What does that mean?"
"It means I would get very little support from the publisher ... and very little royalty from sales."
"He told you that?"
"Not exactly in those words ... but I could put two and two together ... it wasn't really that attractive of an offer ... I think I can do better with the approach I'm taking."
"As an independent?"
I shook my head slowly. "Boy, I don't know that I would have the courage to turn down an offer from a New York publisher ... but then, I'm not exactly lighting up the Internet with my book sales."
Clara reached out and patted my hand. "It'll pick up ... just keep at it."
"I'm trying ..."
"By the way, I heard you missed an opportunity to sell some books with Eb and Irv Nesbaum."
I flushed slightly. "You did?"
"Yes ... William told me about it."
"He did, eh?"
"So, when are you going to start taking text messages?"
I sighed. "You too, Clara?"