Shadow of Guilt, a novel by Samuel Jay, was named Fiction Runner-up in a Hollywood book festival for self-published authors held in West Hollywood Park on Sunday, October 3, 2004. There were over 500 entries in the contest sponsored by the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Convention.Jay’s novel has been called “a powerful reading experience” by Alan Caruba, a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Also heaping praise is USA Today bestselling author David Hagberg (Joshua’s Hammer, High Flight), who cited “an intriguing premise, tight plotting, and well-defined characters, who the reader cares about.”
The novel is based “…on the American preoccupation with success and what it can lead to when carried to extremes.” On a night when he should’ve been home for his teenaged daughter’s birthday, prominent PR man Chip Keller puts a business event and an illicit affair first, unknowingly leaving his family at the mercy of a vengeful arsonist. The outcome shatters his world and he drops out of life. He slowly begins a struggle to reclaim it, trying to rescue a woman who is also drowning in guilt, and re-connect with his children, who blame him for what happened.
Sam credits his wife, Joan, for discovering the award. His computer had a virus so he never got the email from DIY! However, the contest organizers sent a second announcement to Joan two days before the award event. Sam picked it off but only read the first page announcing winners in five categories. He shrugged it off, but later Joan read the second page and gave him the good news. “I immediately postponed two business appointments, Joan postponed a party, and we took off for the coast on Friday morning. It was a great experience. They had an authors’ dinner event on Saturday night and on Sunday, the book fair. The DIY organizers had a booth, and each author got half an hour to do a reading. However, we had to compete with Pamela Anderson, who just wrote a novel about a Hollywood bimbette, and there was a horde of paparazzi swarming around her booth. Imagine that! We still did well.”
Before Samuel came to Infinity, he had a publishing contract with a small press in California who’d been in business for 30 years. “But guess what,” said Sam. “After a year of a devilishly slow process, just as we got to the last step – corrected galleys – they went belly-up. They left me and 40 other authors high and dry.” Sam said he then investigated four POD publishers and chose Infinity “for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the personal attention you get and the =fact that they keep the promises they make.”
His book came out in May, and besides being president of a family-owned water utility and a PR consultant, “I’m on the trail with signings, talks, appearances, a media campaign, targeted direct mail, and a website, among other things.”