A Tugboat Arrived

lone tugboat

Today’s guest post is by Louisiana writer Darrelyn Saloom. Read more of her posts here.

On a brisk, clear morning in Baton Rouge, I lay in a Hilton hotel bed and watched tiny tugboats push huge barges up the muddy Mississippi. Little did I know, hours later, a tugboat would arrive and tow Deirdre Gogarty and me toward publication.

Across the Atchafalaya Basin, I had traveled from my home in Acadiana to attend the 2011 Louisiana Book Festival and introduce a favorite author—Sonny Brewer—who had once rescued me in Fairhope, Alabama, when I’d sprained an ankle.

From my hotel bed, I had no inkling I’d later walk to the state capitol behind the man I’d come to introduce. Sure as hell didn’t know The Poet of Tolstoy Park author would pause to answer his cell phone on Fourth Street and notice me behind him.

Or fathom he would apologize for not being in touch due to his new job as editor-in-chief at MacAdam/Cage Publishing. And then ask, “Did you finish that book you were writing? Tell me about it again? Would you like me to read it?”

Stunned, I would manage to answer his questions about the memoir I’d spent the past five years writing with boxing champion, Deirdre Gogarty—make that four years writing and one year dogpaddling through agents’ rejections while trying not to sink.

Nor had I imagined Sonny would later ask if I’d like to meet David Poindexter, the founder of MacAdam/Cage, who would arrive from San Francisco for the book event and take us to dinner.

As I sipped Mint Medley tea in my hotel room that morning, none of those events entered my mind.

Yet—a tugboat arrived.

And Deirdre and I signed a publishing contract—three days before her birthday, which marked the fifth anniversary of our collaboration.

Now I’m thrilled to announce that My Call to the Ring (working title) will be published by MacAdam/Cage and in bookstores sometime in September 2012.

Authors Sonny Brewer, Tim Gautreaux, and Barb Johnson at the Louisiana Book Festival

Authors Sonny Brewer, Tim Gautreaux, and Barb Johnson at the Louisiana Book Festival

Posted in Darrelyn Saloom, Guest Post.
Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (March 2018).

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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62 Comments on "A Tugboat Arrived"

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Jillian Livingston

Ok, now I have tears in my eyes. What an incredible story. I’ll be the first to buy it off the shelf and spread the word to ALL my friends.

I can’t wait to read about your journey from here on in. You made it!

Darrelyn Saloom

Thank, Jillian. It’s been great to have you on my side through this long, hard journey.


Great news! Really enjoyed the trio’s panel at the Louisiana Book Festival & seeing you and Ro. Much success!

Darrelyn Saloom

Thanks, Angie. They were so entertaining. I could have listened to that trio tell stories all day.

PJ Kaiser

Fantastic news, Darrelyn – I’m so thrilled for you and can’t wait for the release! 😀

Darrelyn Saloom

Thanks, PJ. And I’m still off coffee. Whew!

Amber J Gardner

Awesome, awesome, awesome!! Congratulations!

I gotta get to work! I can’t be left behind.

kathryn magendie

This makes my eyes burn – in that “feel like crying tears of joy for you” kind of way — so happy for you – *smiling warmly*

Darrelyn Saloom

Oh, Kat. I’m so glad your are smiling, my friend.


Such good news! I love stories where virtue is rewarded and my heroines save the day.I want to read your book and help spread the word. It’s been great meeting you online, Darrelyn. Thanks for taking the first step right here on Jane’s site.

Darrelyn Saloom

Thank you, Shirley. I have enjoyed getting to know you, too. We met right here on Jane’s blog. The best place to share this announcement. 

Jenny Fickey

There are no words for the excitement I am feeling for you & Deirdre.

Okay, I’ll try…Congratulations! After reading all of your blog posts over the years, I just knew it would happen. And it unfolded like a beautiful story.

You and your story are an inspiration to all of us who put the pen to paper every day. Thank you for sharing.

I hope you come to Ohio on your book tour!

Darrelyn Saloom

Thanks, Jenny. It’s been quite a journey. I’d love to visit Ohio on a book tour. Even sooner perhaps when your baby is born.


Wow-o-wow-o-wow, Darrelyn, congratulations! Your tugboat story tugs at my heart and I’m so happy for you! You prove that great writing coupled with persistence, networking and attention to detail ALWAYS always pays off. I’m over the moon happy for you! You’re a star * Congrats, again!

Darrelyn Saloom

And you have been a great friend through it all. Thanks, Debra. 

Florence Fois

Darrelyn, this is a wonderful story of the labor of love becoming the treasure in hand. Much success in this and all your work 🙂

Darrelyn Saloom

Labor to treasure, I like that. Thank you Florence. 

Barbara Weibel

OK, I am going to say it. I TOLD YOU SO. Never an inkling of a doubt in my mind that it would happen. I am so excited for you I am about peeing my pants. Sheeesh, should I write that here? I don’t care – I am thrilled. I don’t do book reviews on my blog but in your case I will wrap it in the story of how we met and review the book, which I already know is fabulous from reading one teaser chapter. Much, much love to you and to Deirdre.

Darrelyn Saloom

Ha! Yep, you can say it here. And, yes, you did tell me so. Thanks for all your love and support. Whoop!

Brad Swift

Love the story. It demonstrates how we can learn important ‘life lessons’ through stories. Sure you can read a tip like “it’s important to network” but that may not really sink into the level you need to actually act upon it, while a real life story like this drives the point home.

 The lesson I gleaned from this:  It’s important to show up in life so the ‘powers that be’ can play their serendipitous magic with us.  Now, going to go check to see what writing conferences are in my area.

Darrelyn Saloom

Thank you, Brad. Glad you understood the message here. First you have to do the work and write a good book. Along the way, you need to show up, talk to people, support other writers, and always be kind. 

Good luck!

Marion Spicher

As I begin my day (west coast) with a story like yours, the pleasure trickles throughout the hours to come. Congratulations to you … and I dip my head with respect to destiny that found you ready!   What a thrill to see the pieces and events in our lives fitting together for a great outcome.

Darrelyn Saloom

Thank you, Marion. Boy was I ready. 

Susan Cushman

link not working, I’ll try again.

Susan Cushman

I LOVE IT when two of my favorite people end up collaborating like this – kudos to Sonny and you both!!! Be sure and send me an advance reader’s copy so I can be ready to help promote next fall. HUGS, Susan.

Darrelyn Saloom

Thanks, Susan. That is so kind of you. Will do.

Dave Malone

Thrilled to no end, Darrelyn. Cheers to tugboats, diligence, Sonny Brewer, David Poindexter, and vision…

Darrelyn Saloom

How could I miss with a first reader and fabulous editor like you by my side. Your suggestions are always spot on.


Sometimes we can’t see the symbolism until we look back at the event.  Must have been the right time and the right place, Darrelyn. 

I like the idea of the tugboat.  Living on the west coast of Canada, we see what the tugboats do – they give a helping push or pull to get the big boats into a difficult place. 

Kudos to you for taking on a difficult subject.  I’m sure it will be an interesting story.  My interest would be in Deirdre’s struggles, so I’ll watch for book next year.

Darrelyn Saloom

Thank you, I loved watching the adorable tubboats that morning. Hope you enjoy the book when it comes out. Deirdre had plenty of struggles to keep you turning the page. 

Dinty W. Moore

Congrats Darrelyn, and tell Deirdre I said “hey champ!”  

Darrelyn Saloom

Thanks, Dinty. I’ll call Deirdre right now. She’d love to hear it.


Thrilled by this news!!!! Congratulations!!

Darrelyn Saloom

Congratulations to you, too, Julie. I hear your story collection “Three Squares a Day with Occasional Torture” will be published by Foxhead Books and out early 2012. Can’t wait to read!


 Wow, this is so inspiring. Having followed you from the beginning, it’s so exciting to hear the fight is over, and you’ve won! We’ve never met, but I’ll be proud of the book being in stores as though it was written by an old friend!

Darrelyn Saloom

That is so kind of you to say. Thank you, Jack. 


Thanks for all the support from everyone! It is an exciting time for us, with so much to look forward to. Thanks for all the words of encouragement. . .

Caroline Rodriguez

Thank you so much for keeping me in the loop, D! I, too, am so proud of your achievements!  You are an inspiration to us all!  I can’t wait to have my own signed copy!!!!!!!!!

Dawn Herring

A hearty congrats to you!! Talk about synchronicity. I like the title, even if they change it to something else.
Be refreshed,

Darrelyn Saloom

Aww, thanks Dawn. Perfect timing, indeed. 


Oh my god D&D, congrats, am so excited for you!

Darrelyn Saloom

I’m excited, too. And ready to get to work on edits.

Dawn Herring

My apologies, Darrelyn, for the typo in your name. 

Darrelyn Saloom

I didn’t even notice, Dawn. Just happy to hear from you.


Congrats Darrelyn and Diedre! Great news! And I love the tentative title! So wonderful to see your hard work coming to fruition. And having been priveleged to have read more than a littlle bit of the draft, I am sure the story will be skillfully told and provide bountiful entertainment for countless readers. Already looking forward to the movie…

Darrelyn Saloom

Thanks, Greg. A movie sounds good to me. Hope to see you soon.

cynthia martin

This is so freaking EXCITING I can’t stand it! Congratulations!!! And this piece announcing your BIG NEWs is just as wonderful as the snippet of the book I’ve read. And I love MacAdam Cage. Good things are happening. 

ps-Love the photo of Barb above too : )

Darrelyn Saloom

Cynthia, To meet Barb Johnson right after we’d met on your blog was amazing. The entire weekend was magic. I think it had something to do with Pamela Cooper. Gal has some voodoo powers or something.  

Barb Johnson

Congratulations, Darrelyn! That’s a great story for a great beginning. 

George LaCas

Yay!!! About time for your much-deserved success, Darrelyn. Sounds like you put yourself in good company, too, which is all part of being a writer nowadays, in terms of real-world networking. I’ll be wishing for your continued good fortune during the upcoming edits and ultimate publication.


Congratulations my friend!  Words cannot express how happy I am for you.
This was a great story to telling us how it all came about.  It was full of excitement.   

I look forward to purchasing and reading your first book.  Of course, I want it autographed. 


This is great news!   RT


You deserve a knock out — only the best.


HI Deirdre,delighted to hear your great news, after a tough start in life you battled against all odds to become The Champ, and though you had to be tough and extremely determined to make that happen, you still retained such a lovely gentle nature. A remarkable achievement by any World Champ and I am very very proud of you   
                                         Michael Byrne.

Ken Wheaton

Damn! Congratulations. Sorry we missed each other.


[…] reading a post this morning by Darrelyn Saloom in which she revealed that she’d signed a book deal (CONGRATS!) — a result of time spent at the 2011 Louisiana Book Festival — it occurred […]


It doesn’t seem enough to say, “congratulations!” I know the sacrifices you and Dierdre have made to get to this point. *big exhale* I am overwhelmingly happy for both of you. I never doubted your success in this project.
Love You

Beau Williford

CONGRATULATIONS on a job well done! 

Jane Bretl

I am so, so happy for both of you!  I am grinning ear to ear.  Tugboat?  Your ship has come in!  I know it is the beginning of even more success.


[…] her social media participation grew, we stayed in touch as she attempted to get her book published (she now has a deal!), and I now write this post on her farm (in her writer’s studio!) in Louisiana, my first trip […]


[…] A Tugboat Arrived. A major milestone in the journey of Darrelyn Saloom in seeking a publisher for the memoir she has co-authored with Deirdre Gogarty. […]

Jackie Forbes

Great to see you have published your book – My Dad would have been delighted to read it. Sitting watching Katie Taylor fight today and thought what a shame you never got to compete. Pat McCormack always believed you would have won gold. Best of luck. Jackie