Tag Archives: Playing the Game

Back Cover Blurb for PLAYING IT STRAIGHT


I’d hoped to have a definite publication date by now, but all I can promise is late October. My next post will announce the publication of Playing It Straight.

In the meantime, here is close to final copy for the back cover blurb:

Sparks fly when Grant Mason becomes CEO of PlayLand, a struggling toy company. Stuck in his comfort zone, Grant spends his time on manufacturing headaches. But his boss, son of PlayLand’s founder, demands Grant broaden his management focus.

Other PlayLand executives challenge Grant’s authority, and lawsuits and consumer boycotts threaten the company with bankruptcy. Then Grant discovers an insider has stolen PlayLand products.

Can Grant rescue PlayLand from the resulting chaos and keep his job?

When Playing It Straight is published, our nation will be just days away from the Presidential Election. We will all need to escape from the news—which will be vituperative, whatever your political bent. A good time to download or purchase a fast-paced novel!

Dig in now to the first novel in my PlayLand series, Playing the Game, so you’ll be ready for Playing It Straight. Both books are a great way to put the concerns of today aside for a few hours and return to a time where our workplace hassles played out in person.

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Update on Playing the Game . . . and Its Forthcoming Sequel


In the year and a half since I last posted, I have changed the focus of my professional life. I ended my mediation career and have turned to writing. It’s been an enjoyable transition.

I have spent much of this time drafting a sequel to my first novel, Playing the Game. My new novel will be titled Playing It Straight, and it is likely to be available this fall—I hope by Halloween.

In the meantime, I have also come out with a second printing of Playing the Game, complete with a new cover. The text of this novel is almost entirely the same, with just a few corrections and updates. So no need to read it again, if you’ve already read it.

But if you haven’t read it, I encourage you to read Playing the Game now. Then you’ll be ready for Playing It Straight when it is published.

With respect to this blog, I don’t plan on posting regularly, though I hope to post from time to time. I’ve missed the opportunity to weigh in on issues of our times.

This year in particular has been full of topics that impact our personal and workplace lives—the political situation, the pandemic, the economic unheaval, the protests over racial injustice. Like most of us, I have opinions on these issues, and I may write about them on this blog. Although our nation has faced political turmoil and polarization, pandemics, economic crises, and racial protests before, this year feels unprecedented in that we face them all at the same time.

Good to be back with you! And stay safe in this time of uncertainty.

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My Last Post: Au Revoir, Perhaps Not Adieu


It amazes me that I have kept this blog for over seven years now. My first post, on Blogspot as M.A.M.A. Curmudgeon, went live in November 2011. In November 2012, I moved the blog to WordPress, under the headline “Sara Rickover, Behind the Corporate Veil.” I posted weekly for many years, and moved to twice a month in September 2017. In total, I’ve written 334 posts (including this one).

Despite the titles, this blog has always been about more than being an outspoken curmudgeon or about providing corporate insights. It has been my way to speak about leadership, management, politics, legal issues, and other business and public topics of interest to me.

I still have things to say on these topics. But I am winding down my career as a mediator and human resources consultant. Maintaining a regular social media presence on these topics is no longer as important to me, and I can no longer justify spending the time on regular posts.

So this is my last scheduled post on this blog. I will still probably be active on Facebook as Sara Rickover, Author, and on Twitter as @SaraRickover. So follow me on these sites if you’re interested in seeing the articles I curate and in what I have to say.

And who knows? I may write—in fact, I’m hoping to write—a sequel to my novel Playing the Game, so follow me on my Amazon Central page also.

My thanks to all readers who have followed this blog and commented on posts. You have made this seven-year-long effort worthwhile.

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A Novel Idea


For all of you who received new tablets, ereaders, or other devices that can handle reading apps, I recommend my novel Playing the Game to you as a true-to-life diversion.

The book revolves around a business in trouble and the people who lead it. The CEO and the Vice-President of HR and a host of other corporate officers—some well-meaning and some not—try to save their toy company from bankruptcy. Along the way, murder and mayhem result, along with a reorganization and a major product launch.

Playing the Game is not only good fun, but useful as a case study for corporate training exercises.  Click here for a list of discussion questions about the book.

Enjoy your holidays. We’ll all be back playing the game soon enough.

PTG Rickover cover

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How Realistic Do You Want Your Fiction To Be?


I don’t post much about my novel, Playing the Game, but I thought it would make a nice Labor Day diversion.

Recently I was asked whether the book is true to life. My answer: Yes and no.

Playing the Game is fiction. None of the events in the book happened—at least not the way they are depicted. The facts and faces have been changed to protect the innocent. But the plot is realistic. It deals with issues that many corporate executives face, such as managing budgets and people, planning new product lines, deciding who will succeed departing key personnel, and integrating work and family time. And, of course, dealing with the personal peccadilloes of the colleagues we encounter in the hallways every day.

But the plot is realistic. It deals with issues that many corporate executives face, such as managing budgets and people, planning new product lines, deciding who will succeed departing key personnel, and integrating work and family time. And, of course, dealing with the personal peccadilloes of the colleagues we encounter in the hallways every day.

One reader told me after reading the book, “I know these people.” This reader and I have never worked together, and we have only a few common acquaintances. In other words, the characters are like co-workers we have all known, with common foibles and insecurities.

I market Playing the Game as a thriller, but it isn’t a thriller like Dan Brown’s or Brad Thor’s novels. It is a thriller in the same way that Arthur Hailey’s books such as Hotel or Airport were thrillers. The business is going through a make-or-break time, and the question is whether it can be saved. There are criminal activities in the book, but the thrill is not from solving the crime but from the highs and lows of living through difficult circumstances.

Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park and other far-out thrillers also wrote Disclosure, which dealt with sexual harassment in the workplace in a very realistic setting. While I enjoyed Jurassic Park and his other fantasies, I was captivated by Disclosure, because “I knew those people.” I had dealt with similar situations in my job. That’s the kind of fiction I aspired to write in Playing the Game.

So, as a writer, my question to readers is:

How realistic do you like your fiction? Do you want to read books that deal with things you know, or do you want to explore worlds of fantasy to escape your daily routine?

Happy Labor Day

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MURDER U.S.A. Anthology now available! Features My Novel PLAYING THE GAME


Murder USA final cover

Kristen Elise of Murder Lab Press has edited an anthology of mysteries with U.S. settings. This anthology features excerpts from a number of writers, including my novel, Playing the Game, as well as mysteries by several other authors I know. The anthology is free on most platforms and offers readers the opportunity to explore some recent mystery novels.

Here are the particulars:

Murder, U.S.A. contains excerpts from thirty-one full-length crime fiction novels. Each novel features a location in the United States. Thus, the collection offers a “murder tour of the nation” to readers of all sub-genres of crime fiction.

Organized by U.S. location and labeled by sub-genre, the collection features excerpts of romantic suspense, cozy mystery, legal and corporate thriller, paranormal mystery, historical mystery, dystopian suspense, near-future thriller, medical mystery, traditional mystery, political procedurals, hard-boiled/noir, international thriller, and psychological suspense.

Something for everyone.

My novel, Playing the Game, is one of the books excerpted in the anthology. Playing the Game is set near the Rocky Mountains. The book is about a business in trouble and the people who lead it. The protagonist is Maura Ramirez, head of Human Resources. (Who says HR can’t be a hero?) Maura battles the egos, incompetence, and backstabbing of her fellow executives while the CEO of the company is comatose. Meanwhile, a murderer lurks among them.

Murder U.S.A. features a fine cast of authors: Patrick Balester, Stephen Brayton, Joyce Ann Brown, Craig Faustus Buck, James R. Callan, Lance Charnes, Sue Coletta, G.G. Collins, Diana Deverell, Lesley A. Diehl, Pam Eglinski, Kristen Elise, Ph.D., Elaine Faber, Sunny Frazier, M.M. Gornell, Michael Hebler, Dorothy Howell, Gay Kinman, Tracy Lawson, Sheila Lowe, Janet Elizabeth Lynn, Kathy McIntosh, Kelly Miller, Cathy Perkins, Sara Rickover, Carole Sojka, Linda Thorne, and Will Zeilinger.

The book is free on all platforms except Nook at this time, but the free Smashwords EPUB version will work on Nook ereaders.

So go ahead and download Murder U.S.A. at the following links:

Amazon (free)
Kobo (free)
iTunes (free)
Smashwords (free)
Nook (99 cents)

The anthology offers you a great way to expand your reading horizons for free. If you like any of the excerpts in the anthology and want to read that complete novel, each excerpt contains links to buy sites for that book.

Download Murder U.S.A. for free and enjoy! (Perfect spring break reading.)

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A Plug for PLAYING THE GAME


What does it mean to play the game? Winston Churchill said:

“Play the game for more than you can afford to lose . . . only then will you learn the game.”

That is the theme of my novel, Playing the Game. Which of the characters play the game to Churchill’s standard, and which do not?

I have been focused on other work in recent months and have not posted about my writing. So today I am putting in a shameless plug for Playing the Game, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both paperback and ebook formats.

Here are quotes from some of my favorite reviews of the book:

On Amazon: “This is a fascinating, fast-paced novel about the issues facing the modern corporation . . . . The characters are sharply drawn and the plot is full of interesting twists; I lost a few hours of evening sleep reading this one, as I couldn’t put it down. Highly recommended!”

On Barnes & Noble: “I loved this book from beginning to end . . . . It captures the nuance of corporate shenanigans and gives unexpected insight into the closed boardroom, a place where there really are no winners. Sara Rickover is impressive in her understanding and portrayal of the company.”

On Amazon: “Just finished Playing the Game. As an HR person, I think the book really nailed it. For those interested in an insiders view of life in human resources, it is a great read!”

On Amazon: “As other reviewers noted, this book is fast-paced, entertaining, and wonderfully written! . . . . fully fleshed out characters with psychological traits and flaws . . . . If you don’t know anything about the details of how organizations and HR operates and you don’t want to pick up a dry textbook, pick up Playing the Game . . . .”

On Goodreads: “A wonderfully written novel. Although it deals with a corporate crisis and chaos, it reads like a thriller. It kept me up nights to find out how the Playland team would manage through all the problems that surface. Rickover obviously understands the corporate world.”

PTG Rickover coverPlaying the Game would make a great gift for corporate managers and professionals you know, and would also be a fun discussion or training tool for a Human Resources or management staff.

I encourage anyone with an interest in a fast-paced story of corporate intrigue to take a look at Playing the Game. Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble provide the first few chapters for free. So check it out!

Thank you for your consideration.

 

P.S. Playing the Game will be featured in an upcoming anthology, Murder U.S.A., to be published by Murder Lab Press.

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Summer Price Reduction on Playing the Game


I’ve reduced the price of the ebook version of my novel, Playing the Game, to $2.99. Take advantage of this limited time offer and download the book from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Playing the Game was the #1 financial thriller in the Kindle store last summer. One Amazon reviewer said:

Playing the Game is a page-turner from page one. The characters are clever, scheming, even diabolical—but also real, and vividly drawn. Rickover does a masterful job of keeping all the corporate balls in the air and keeping her readers guessing about how things will turn out.

Don’t keep yourself guessing—pick up a copy to enjoy this summer.

And Happy Memorial Day!

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Recognizing and Remembering Administrative Professionals This Week


Photo from clker.com

Photo from clker.com

This week is Administrative Professionals Week, and Wednesday, April 22, 2015, is Administrative Professionals Day. This recognition of the secretaries and other administrative professional employees that support our businesses began in the 1950s as National Secretaries Week (and Day). The name of the celebration changed in 2000 to address the changing nature of clerical roles in the workplace.

I don’t know of any manager or professional person in any organization who doesn’t rely heavily on a strong administrative support staff. In my own case, they have saved me from many errors and managed my life for the better on many occasions:

  • “Where’s Attachment C? I think you gave me last week’s version.”
  • “I had to move your appointment with the VP to 10:00. But I held 9:00 open so you can get ready for the meeting.”
  • “Your son called. He missed his flight. I re-booked him tomorrow.”
  • ”Did you really mean to copy so-and-so on this letter?”

When I published my novel,  Playing the Game, I wrote:

“This novel is dedicated to administrative professionals everywhere. They are the ones who keep businesses running.”

The administrative employees in Playing the Game are all named after secretaries I knew during my corporate career. I admired them all.

Today I remember and honor two of my admins who are now deceased—Deanna and Diane. Deanna, who passed away in 2006, was given a role in Playing the Game. My next novel will have to include an admin named Diane; the Diane I knew died this last year.

Deanna was the most competent all-around secretary I ever had, and she worked hard. Not only did she organize my work day, but she kept my boss on track as well. She was the only person he trusted to put together his complicated PowerPoint presentations and strategic planning manuals.

Diane was one of the fastest and most accurate typists in the law office where I worked. I barely had a brief dictated before she had it on my desk. I could trust her to make revisions accurately. She didn’t have any legal training, but she had a good editor’s eye.

I am grateful to these two women and to all the administrative employees who have helped me over the years.

Who are the administrative professionals who impressed you the most during your career? Have you thanked them?

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A Good Gift Book: Playing the Game


If you need a gift for someone on your year-end list, don’t forget my novel, Playing the Game. The book has many five star reviews on Amazon, and was ranked the #1 financial thriller this summer in the Kindle store.

Here are a few of my favorite reviews of the book from Amazon:

  • [Playing the Game] has all the trappings of a great tale of corporate fiction, but throw murder into the mix and you have a thriller. The story was so well written, I sailed through it in just one day. A brilliant story wrapped around reality, with believable characters and a plausible plot makes this novel one of the best choices of 2014.
  • If you don’t know anything about the details of how organizations and HR operate and you don’t want to pick up a dry textbook, pick up Playing the Game because, I can assure you, I would have been bored out of my mind if this information wasn’t presented in such an entertaining way. Playing the Game epitomizes information fiction at its best!
  • Rickover’s brilliant prose had to be somewhat anecdotal because the reader is “right there” in those offices, dealing with one crisis after another. This is definitely a fertile story for a movie.
  • This is a fascinating, fast-paced novel about the issues facing the modern corporation: corporate succession, office politics, financing, unionization, and so forth. The characters are sharply drawn and the plot is full of interesting twists; I lost a few hours of evening sleep reading this one, as I couldn’t put it down. Highly recommended!

Thank you for considering Playing the Game!

P.S. Also available in paperback and epub formats on Barnes & Noble.

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