Book Jacket


rank  Editors Pick
word count 19614
date submitted 10.08.2010
date updated 07.11.2013
genres: Literary Fiction, Thriller, Romance...
classification: moderate

Old Number Seven

John Breeden II

When Hurricane Katrina smashes New Orleans, the hopes of the Ninth Ward fall on an old man, his dog and an antiquated steam-powered pumping station.


John Bailey is an old southern man dying of cancer. He’s never taken any risks in life, and even worked the same job for the New Orleans water department for over fifty years. When he hears about Hurricane Katrina, he suspects it might be bad, possibly overloading the intricate protections the city has built over the years.

But nobody wants to listen.

So he hatches a scheme to secretly transform Old Number Seven, a coal-fired pumping station built along the Industrial Canal in 1925, from a museum back into a fully working facility. Sitting in the middle of the city’s neglected Lower Ninth Ward, Old Number Seven could become the only protection people living there will have during the storm.

The novel is complete but only the first few chapters have been left on the site. Interested people can contact me to see more, especially agents or publishers. johnbreeden (at)

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disaster, family drama, hope, hurricane katrina, love story, man versus nature, new orleans, thriller, weather

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HarperCollins Wrote

Plot Summary
‘Old Number Seven’ tells the story of John and William Bailey and their lives in New Orleans immediately before, during and after Hurricane Katrina. John (William’s father) is dying of cancer and has had the same job at the water department (now mothballed and being turned into a museum) for fifty years. His son chose not to follow in his father’s footsteps but as John’s condition has deteriorated William has had to care for his father increasingly. When news of an incoming hurricane was announced, everybody assumed it would subside, everyone except from John. The stubborn old man decides to turn the museum back into a functioning water pump station, with the help of his son, and refuses to give up on town that he has served for the majority of his life.

Genres & Similar Authors
This fits in with disaster narrative fiction, such as that published in the wake of the Tsunami. Titles might include Wave: A Memoir of Life After the Tsunami or the film The Impossible

First Impressions
This seems meticulously researched and very atmospheric. The evocation of setting is excellent. However, the plot failed to immediately capture my interest, Obviously also, one thing that I was looking forward to from the offset was Katrina, and seeing how that event was described. It is pretty much what got me through the opening paragraphs.
Where would this sit in the market?
This would sit alongside other disaster narratives and fiction based on true-life experience.
Despite knowing of the catastrophe that was to take place at some point in the novel, I found the several opening chapters failed to grip me. The first chapter (which is chronologically roughly halfway through the book) does well to inform the reader that the pace of the novel is to pick up at some point, however there simply isn’t enough given away at this point - the build is too slow. This has the potential to be improved by a unifying of pace, so that the narrative moves faster in the first instance.
When I read the opening chapter I thought you might be writing it jumping between pre, during and post Katrina and was quite looking forward to that. I think it could be very interesting if done like that. It could break up the action and have some positive results. You could even include a narrative avenue from Rosalie’s perspective pre-Katrina which then converges with Williams’ when he saves her.
There is a very real element to everything that transpires. Although it is a work of fiction, there must have been countless brave and noble citizens just like John and William. The hope amongst the despair and the very real bravery that we often hear of in the news when tragedies such as this strike.

As a result of this, the emotional power of the novel is immense and the sacrifice shown by John’s father is a fitting tribute to all those lost heroes that died in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina attempting to help and save others.

The narrative also really brings the action to life and is easy to follow and well written. Once the novel really gets going, the story requires strong descriptions of the devastation in New Orleans and the author delivers.
This novel certainly has potential, particularly in light of the anniversary of Katrina. It needs a lot of work however, with the narrative restructure being the most important aspect of this. If the chronology moved around, you would have a stronger, more complex offering. This is well worth investing the time in for a thorough redraft, but is not something which HarperCollins UK is currently interested in. Well done on reaching the editor’s desk, and on producing a strong first draft with real power and potential.

Stark Silvercoin wrote 435 days ago

As an update to fans or editors from HarperCollins who may be considering working with Old Number Seven, it was entered into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest this year. It made it to the quarterfinals. Although it did not advance into the final round, it was reviewed by Publisher's Weekly. That review follows:

Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Publishers Weekly Review

Set just before and after Hurricane Katrina, this manuscript may remind many readers of Dave Eggar’s "Zeitoun," in which good people try to deal with the severity of a terrible natural disaster, and its effects on one’s humanity.

In Old Number Seven, the story starts with a dedication to the unsung heroes of Katrina, and it focuses smartly on two such heroes. John has put in 50 years working at Pump Station 7, now mothballed and being turned into a museum, where he is slated to be a tour guide. But he sees Katrina coming and wangles the delivery of a full load of coal; he gets his dutiful son, William, to help sandbag the building and bring supplies from home to help ride out the storm. William complies, though he knows his father is dying of cancer and kidney failure.

As it turns out, Pump Number 7 is the only pump to work during and immediately after the storm, as all the new-fangled computer-run pumps were abandoned during the evacuation. Early on during the storm, William rescues a woman from drowning -- the granddaughter of a friend of John’s -- and a convincing romance ensues.

The story pushes breathlessly forward, holding readers until the very end with a death, terrible violence, and some gut-wrenching decision-making. This is a terrific manuscript with great novelistic insight and feeling. It will have no trouble finding its audience.

Dianna Lanser wrote 650 days ago

Old Number Seven

Hi John,

I told myself I would read a couple chapters and I did -- before I had to work this morning. But all through the day I couldn’t put William and John’s story out of my mind, so I had to return… It’s obvious, you are a master storyteller -- a compelling storyteller. It’s a gift you possess to gently cause the reader to idealize the devotion of a son to his father and the passion of a dying man to his life’s purpose. From the dramatic beginning through the endearing first four chapters, the story puts a face on the American spirit. It personifies history through one humble, hard-working man and I found myself dreading what I know is to come. You have captured my imagination and you have made me proud to be an American. This is a book I will read to the end. Six stars and a promised backing.

Dianna Lanser

EMDelaney wrote 659 days ago

Each and every member of Authonomy should take the time to read this wonderfully written story. This is 'How to 101' by a very skilled, crafty author who I believe will experience success with this book.

Old Number Seven examins the New Orleans tragedy of Katrina from a completely different angle. WHile the story of John Bailey is a fictional prose, the depth by which we are allowed to see through the eyes of author John Breeden is amazing. The innosense, plot and definition of this wonderful story is absolutely over the top.

Andrew Esposito wrote 697 days ago

Old Nunber Seven is a heartfelt read. The opening scene with the carnage of the looters is harrowing. Already knowing the plot was linked to Katrina, the looting aspect was another layer of torment that I had not expected. William's love for his dying father is also very apparent. The writing is tight and teh urgency is kept in check by the chapters rolling back and forth in time around the arrival of Katrina. John, I think Old Number Seven is skillfully written and destined for ED. I've given it high stars. Best regards, Andrew Esposito / Killing Paradise

Drachma wrote 265 days ago

Congratulations! You finally made it to the Editor's Desk! I always knew that your book had great potential.

Baobab wrote 321 days ago

Dear John,

I want you to know that I will be removing my book, "Africa's Embrace" from this site because it was published on September 10, and is now available at the US' It will be available shortly on all websites in the world. I hope you and all your friends will be able to obtain a copy of my book and enjoy reading it. I hope your book is now selling well. All the Best, Mark Wentling

Daniel Escurel Occeno wrote 366 days ago

Congratulations! I do not know what it really entails [Stark Silvercoin has made the HarperCollins review for Old Number Seven public], but good luck. – Daniel Escurel Occeno

Angietee wrote 366 days ago


Christopher D. Abbott wrote 394 days ago

Where is the HC review???

Stark Silvercoin wrote 435 days ago

As an update to fans or editors from HarperCollins who may be considering working with Old Number Seven, it was entered into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest this year. It made it to the quarterfinals. Although it did not advance into the final round, it was reviewed by Publisher's Weekly. That review follows:

Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Publishers Weekly Review

Set just before and after Hurricane Katrina, this manuscript may remind many readers of Dave Eggar’s "Zeitoun," in which good people try to deal with the severity of a terrible natural disaster, and its effects on one’s humanity.

In Old Number Seven, the story starts with a dedication to the unsung heroes of Katrina, and it focuses smartly on two such heroes. John has put in 50 years working at Pump Station 7, now mothballed and being turned into a museum, where he is slated to be a tour guide. But he sees Katrina coming and wangles the delivery of a full load of coal; he gets his dutiful son, William, to help sandbag the building and bring supplies from home to help ride out the storm. William complies, though he knows his father is dying of cancer and kidney failure.

As it turns out, Pump Number 7 is the only pump to work during and immediately after the storm, as all the new-fangled computer-run pumps were abandoned during the evacuation. Early on during the storm, William rescues a woman from drowning -- the granddaughter of a friend of John’s -- and a convincing romance ensues.

The story pushes breathlessly forward, holding readers until the very end with a death, terrible violence, and some gut-wrenching decision-making. This is a terrific manuscript with great novelistic insight and feeling. It will have no trouble finding its audience.

Mrs.Warren wrote 493 days ago

Powerful...this is a story well told.

Mrs. Warren

stearn37 wrote 514 days ago

Congratulations for getting to the Editors desk.
I am sure the review will a positive one.
John Stearn
Author of Derilium

Christopher D. Abbott wrote 516 days ago

Well done, John!
I'm so pleased to see this!
All your hard work paid off!
Best wishes,

ibholdvictory wrote 516 days ago

Dear John
Congratulations. Well done!!! I know you will get there. I thank God for you and the hard work you have put into this. The book deserve recognition and it is all powerful, amazing and touching story. Good luck for the future. May God continue to pour blessing on you.


DCHedlin wrote 520 days ago

This is an interesting story. I like that the prologue's there. The reader is dropped into the midst of humans reduced to depravity. When the first chapter begins, he sees that he will be brought by degrees to those desperate conditions. It will give him the chance to reflect on the human condition. After all, that was one of the fascinating aspects of New Orleans after Katrina.

I want to ask about two things: the prologue creates a sense of immediacy, but one goes through the early chapters, covering very important things, no doubt, but in such a casual manner that the effect of the prologue fades, and key aspects of a city fallen to pieces, which might be traced through the early chapters - of infrastructure and character and class - are not easily seen. And they should be. There is the key irony of the old station. That is certain to be a mainstay of the story. There is the old man. One expects certain things from him - he has been there for too long, he is the heart of the old city - and he should make it along with the station, but the prologue says otherwise. The narrator says a lot, but critical things seem hidden. The reader is very curious about what he chooses to see and comment on. We know that he is young enough to be attending post-secondary school. But his father is old, so he must be in his late 20s? And there seems to be an unusual amount of dependence on his father that goes beyond wanting to ease the old man into the pasture. Almost as if there is something wrong, deficient in the narrator. Which has fascinating possibilities. Since it is William who looks, in the prologue, to be carrying the torch (unwillingly, unwittingly) in a city that is deranged. The plainness of the university professor, propriety, scholarship, eye on the bigger picture - but one might expect villainy there, given the right circumstances. And if Katrina doesn't deliver those circumstances, nothing will. In short, a very punchy prologue, and then a long approach that holds some real value, and some - to my point of view - questionable value. I wonder if there isn't a possibility of creating interjections - brief flashes within the succeeding chapters, telling the prologue story further while it is being approached more amiably from behind. The effect would be a quickened tempo, a heightened sense of alarm through the juxtaposition of normalcy with terror.

The second thing is with descrption. I feel that there is a great deal of potential for the character. But he slips occasionally into a generic narrative - with overly abudant description - too many adverbs, a short train of adjectives, that makes him seem too eager to please, to impress. Are we supposed to like this character? Or be suspicious of him? The old man seems solid. The university professor seems dodgy. The narrator is too important to be ambiguous. Tightening the narrative - dropping some descriptors now and then, to convey the natural, grittier, hard-eyed workings of his mind, while allowing him the sociable manners at other times - would work well with slight structural change (character and narrative) to build on the sort of anticipation you created with the prologue. Or, forget the prologue and start the story in the beginning, let the rhythm of the story develop as you choose, permit the reader to become accustomed to that, and then build the tension out of common features until it crashes 2/3 of the way through with Katrina and its bloody aftermath.

I love your use of the idea of the road to hell being paved with good intentions, and then giving it a swift twist - breaking the neck - to upset the reader's expections.

A fascinating story. Good luck at the end of the month.

Ceri Fielder wrote 523 days ago

This is the first book that I've read on here, starting it just out of curiosity but became immediately engrossed. I haven't read anything for a long time that wasn't work related as my time is short, but I will definitely be making time to read this. Excellent.

stearn37 wrote 523 days ago

I enjoyed this very much and look forward to the print version.
I have backed it and given a full six stars.
John Stearn
Author of Derilium

stearn37 wrote 523 days ago

I enjoyed this very much and look forward to the print version.
I have backed it and given a full six stars.
John Stearn
Author of Derilium

T M Robinson wrote 524 days ago

The writing is solid and the story is compelling. I feel like the prose needs to convey more grit. There are references to liquid expelling down his face - a crimson liquid; far too much blood? (way too restrained) Blood seeps in thick,crusty flows with a coppery stench. Make the reader feel the pain. How much blood is far too much? Give the reader a hint. Perhaps blood clotted his shirt and pooled on the floor as his vision blurred. Provide a strong impression.
Short, jagged sentences bring tension into the read. Run through your work and look for excessive use of was - the passive thrill killer. i.e: His right arm was trembling ; there was an acrid smell in the air. - better perhaps; His right arm trembled. An Acrid smell infused the air -
Don't make the reader a passive bystander

Baobab wrote 528 days ago


I can't tell you how happy I am to see your book holding so strongly on the the number 1 ranking. It is encouraging to see another work of literary fiction advance to the top. Your book remains firmly on my bookshelf and I hope someday that I will have the honor of seeing my book, "Africa's Embrace," on your bookshelf.

All the Best from Ouagadougou, Mark Wentling (aka Chief Baobab)

Geoff Green wrote 529 days ago

A very good read indeed. Original, well written and deserving of publication.
It has achieved, literally, what it set out to do - raise awareness of the ongoing New Orleans struggle.

Eileen Kay wrote 531 days ago

The pitch does its job well, and it's a good idea for this sort of thriller, or a thriller in a parallel universe, more like. Hurricane Katrina, and what might have happened, is a great starting place for a story, and this is a very sympathetic setting.

the pitch.
Forgive me - I'm not being jokey when I ask if you care about so-called "standard grammar"? I am not a total fusspot, personally, but I do think the jacket burb or pitch has to be in totally standard, proper grammar. If you don't agree, leave it. If you agree, then you might consider starting the second paragraph more like "Nobody would listen, so he (did such-and-such) ......." Of coure it's a matter of taste and style.

I think the style is straightforward, more like popular journalism, and as such is not really right for the category of literary fiction. It's a chatty, informal, popular style that will appeal to many people.

preface and chapter one.

I wish the feeling and style here were immediately available in the pitch. It is gutsy and raw. If that had been more part of the pitch, I'd have been hooked all the sooner.

It's pacy, your opening chapter. It's intriguing and exciting and scary, and all of that is great. I wish you luck with this.

(small quibble - his dad is dead, his dog is dead, and then he mentions "the girl", no name, as his the third priority? really? after the dog??? That neary lost me alotogether, I'm sorry.)

The fact that you hope to raise awareness as well as funds is not something I'd put in the pitch at this point. I think it would make more sense to put that thought in a dedication, for example. I am not anti-charity, far from it, but it is not the key reason I'd read or buy a book. Then again, are you planning to market the book through those channels and contacts, rather than the usual publishing route? If so, then maybe I'll take that back ....

best of luck for your fine book and your good cause, from

Eileen Kay, The Noodle Trail

BanYon wrote 531 days ago

Read a bit of this last night and found it gripping. A great story and needed to be told.

E G Barker wrote 533 days ago

This is so well written. Can see what it is number 1. Will watch out for this.

Christopher D. Abbott wrote 536 days ago

Congratulations, John!
Number 1!

Sebnem wrote 538 days ago

Old Number Seven-John Breeden II
Hi John,
I had to take a look at your Number 1 book to see what it takes to reach the ED and stay on top. After reading your wonderful Prologue, I thoroughly enjoyed what I've read so far, especially coming from an insider's view into the disaster caused by hurricane Katrina. I guess what makes your book interesting is that it reflects the details of how the locals suffered through and survived the disaster rather than what we all watched on the world news. I also believe it would make a powerful movie as it points out to the 'humanity' or the 'moral' side of the disaster. I shall read on and find out about the details. For the time being congradulations on your excellent writing style, your character development and your courage to tell us about the unspoken details. Very high stars, WL'd and with my best wishes to see it printed and on actual bookshelves one day! Sebnem-The Child of Heaven

M Morgan wrote 541 days ago


brucerodgers wrote 543 days ago


Not sure that there is much I can add to the cascade of support below but let me simply says this - this would be welcome on any bookshelf in any shop (and would actually show up a lot of its neighbours). Good plot, professional, mature writing. Just deserves to go to the editor's desk.

Have read three chapters so far (enough to warrant the above) but will read on in case there is anything more constructive to feed back.

Bruce :)

Lucy Middlemass wrote 543 days ago

Old Number Seven

I don’t know how useful my comments on such a highly ranked book are going to be but that’s no reason not to try. I haven’t read any of your other reviews and I’m going to ignore the nice number under the book. It’s my intention to be helpful rather than critical and you’ll know already that you’ve got a strong piece of work here.

Both your long pitch and short pitch mention the man is “old.” Why the repetition? Anyone reading the long would have just read the short.

“in life” seems redundant.

“even worked the same job…” I don’t understand the purpose of “even.” I don’t have enough information about John Bailey and his world yet to know why having a job for a long time tells me anything about him. Don’t lots of people work in the same place for years?

“When he hears about Hurricane Katrina…” Do you mean he hears it’s on its way? Or hears that it’s happened or is happening? It’s not clear.

“hatches a scheme” isn’t a cliché but it’s something of a standard package of words. That is, I could have guessed the end of it just from reading the beginning.

“fully working…” Do you need “fully”? Would we assume you mean only partially working otherwise? I don’t think so.


Why only “so to speak”? Were you not, in fact, inspired to write it because of this at all? That doesn’t make sense to me.

I’ve never seen “aftereffects” as one word. My spell check doesn’t like it. I’d suggest it needs hyphenating.

“completely powerless” might be, oddly, stronger without “completely.”

“third world” tends to be capitalised, I think. “And Katrina had no mercy” is very strong.

The preface makes interesting reading. I don’t entirely understand the purpose of its inclusion but it’s well-written.

Chapter One

Second sentence doesn’t need “only.” It’s “glancing” so we know it’s slight.

You have a lot of adjectives in this opening paragraph. Some of them describe things the reader already knows and they don’t add much. I’d cut “nasty”, because gashes are never nice, “hot” because pouring blood would always be hot and possibly “bright” or “crimson.” In fact, “crimson” isn’t a very everyday word, it pretty much only appears in novels. I’d say that isn’t a good thing.

You have “hard concrete” as a description, only interrupted by “unforgiving.” This is exactly the sort of redundancy I think you need to be wary of. Concrete is hard. Always.

“to glean its secrets…” I don’t think this is quite right. I think you’re using the verb “glean” if not wrongly then at least unusually.

“vice grip” is an over-used description. What else has a tight grip? As an image, a vice doesn’t bring much fresh.

“a clue that the gun had recently been fired.” Who is it a clue for? Surely William knows it’s been fired if he’s the one holding it?

“In his mind he thought…” Doesn’t need “In his mind…” because that’s where all thinking takes place. I do like the image, though, and that you have included something from William’s imagination.

“toss” seems a too gentle word for what you’re describing.

I love the way you’ve set “Footsteps” apart from the rest of the text. It gives the sense of immediacy I think you’re going for.

“He absentmindedly…” Not sure what I think about this. Possibly it’s hard to imagine someone doing this “absentmindedly.” But then, this is an extreme circumstance. Are you trying to get across the idea that he doesn’t feel strongly either way about his own survival? I don’t think it quite does that. It’s powerful though.

Chapter Two

You need either “shiny” or “highly polished”, possibly not both.

“scorching ribbon of pavement” is prettier (to me). You don’t need “concrete.”

“unforgiving day.” The car park was unforgiving in the previous chapter. Since it’s a kind of personification, I’d use it sparingly. That is, only use it once unless you’re going to change it significantly.

You use “little” way too much for me.

“William sighed..” I’d question whether someone can “sigh” words. I’d make the sighing separate from the speech. You have lovely dialogue between father and son.

“they’d put the whole thing together backwards” is as lovely as can be.

Cars don’t have floorboards. Well, I don’t think so, anyway. Um. I don’t know, it seems an unusual way to describe the bottom of a car.

I like the blows and punches extended metaphor.

You’ve used “liquid” a couple of times to avoid using words like, “blood” and “water.” There’s something slightly awkward about it. I’d prefer to see you say what you mean. Water and blood don’t need euphemisms.

“stalking insidiously…” Love the stalking, not so keen on the insidiously.

“pallid stillness…colourful warmth.” Pallid and colourful are meaningful opposites so work very well. To complete the image, I’d try to choose words also with opposite meanings for “stillness” or “warmth.”

“entire canal” doesn’t need “entire” since we know he knows every inch of it.

Love that he’d be likely to feed the canal rats. That’s a great, character-filled detail. The end of this chapter is strong and I’m really starting to feel the relationship between William and his father.

Chapter Three

“small three-car parking lot” We know it’s small. It’s only for three cars.

Punchy is an great nickname for a boxer.

“to avoid saying anything.” That’s pretty much what “biting your tongue” means. You don’t need to explain it.

“sort of looked like…” In what way did it or didn’t it? “Sort of” gets in the way of me picturing it.

You’ve described various lights as “bright”.

“steamy confines.” Yuck. What a fab description.

“quote” is the verb, not the noun. It’s in direct speech, though, and people do say it.

I think you’ve overused the expression, “at least.” I’d also be sparing with “just.” Imagine your sentence without it and question if it’s serving a purpose.

You keep within William’s point of view very well.

Okay, that’s the first three chapters. This book is lovely. William’s relationship with his ill father is particularly nice, and the idea of the old station is appealing. It’s not difficult to see why it’s doing so well.

Good luck with it.


Hugh Bennett wrote 544 days ago

Excellent. This books ticks all my boxes. Fiction and truth interwoven into a remarkable story of life and death. I liked the character portrayal and the vivid imagery of the storm really provides the heartbeat to which the story is told. The use of Chapter titles to pin point the days and hours as the storm swept through was very compelling.
Some difficult issues are not avoided and leave the reader with their own thoughts to take away.

Nightdream wrote 551 days ago

by John Breeden II

BOOK COVER: It’s something for the site.

TITLE: For a literary title it seems spot on. Love it.

PITCH: The pitch is not that bad. It does it’s job. However, nothing really draws me in except for a story about Hurricane Katrina (only a person who’s experience it would be interested in this). I do have a little curiosity of how a man, dog, and pumping station save a place, but it’s not much. Luckily, a pitch to me doesn’t mean much in book world, at least nothing like it does in the movie world. The summary is what’s important.

LONG PITCH/SUMMARY: I think the summary explains what it has to. It still doesn’t pull me in. If I read this on the back of a book, I would definitely not read it. But I am someone who doesn’t read literary stories. I just feel there is some part of this story that can make this summary and pitch better.

PREFACE: Okay, I can’t really say anything bad about this because it’s about the good people of New Orleans. But I do like it though. I think it sets the tone of the story. You telling us that murder, rape, and theft happens makes us know a little about the world we are going to be diving into before we get started. What I can’t get my mind around is if this preface is needed. You can always put it at the back of the book. I don’t think you need to say who this book is for. You writing this book already says who you are writing it for. You can do away with the last 2 paragraphs. Even the first paragraph is not needed. It just takes us toward you the writer and not the story which is most important . . . well, besides the people of New Orleans. I think anything about the author should go in the back. That’s where the readers would like to get to know the author. If they enjoyed the book, they would like to get to know you. In the beginning they don’t care much for the author. So I would start with “Computerized systems carefully . . ..” and then end with “ . . . their sacrifices forever unknown.” It would be much stronger this way.

Not sure what the “The Big Easy” is. Had to look it up. :/ I think most people would know though. I’m just out of the loop I guess.

CHAPTER 1: Like the “Wednesday . . .. plus 61 hours”. With so few words it tells so much. Very very few writers have the talent to do that. It’s like you put the reader right into the meat of it.

Maybe replace “He” with “William” on the second paragraph? There just seemed like a lot of he’s. Even though you put William in once in the first chapter, I think it’s not enough. Also, peek at times when you have “he” at the beginning of any paragraph because sometimes it makes the reader pause for just a milla second to figure out who “he” is. At the end of the second paragraph you were talking about the dog and then you use “he” in the beginning of the next paragraph. I know “he” refers to William but for a second I was unsure and you don’t want a pause to think. P.S. I’m getting very picky. These are just small things.

Okay, finished the first chapter. It seems a lot different from the time that I read it. Did you change it? I’m not a fan of this beginning. Sorry not at all. I remember loving your beginning. I thought you were one of the most professional writers on this site if not the best. That said, I really think the old beginning was way better if I remember correctly. I might be wrong so if I am, then I guess the second time around and after time has past, I see it differently. If not, I would go back to the original. It’s very important that you do it. I had someone else take a look at your first chapter and they said it didn’t work for them either. There’s a bit too much description. Sometimes it’s better just using simple words. If you want more of my thoughts on this first chapter, shoot me a message.

CHAPTER 2: Okay, here is what you had before or pretty close. This is much better writing. However, I still feel changes were made a little. Not much though. I think it’s better to start on chapter 2 than 1. From what I remember I deeply loved your writing. I really wished it was kept the same. Whether you changed it because of what people said on authonomy or if you thought it should be changed, I think it was the wrong move. You are still one of my favorite authors that I have read on this site. I can only name a handful out of the 350-400 books I read on here. You definitely have the talent to be published, which I rarely say if never. You just have to go back to your natural god given talent as a writer. Less description and more your writing flow which I mean what your writing looks like in your first draft without any edits at all. It’s when you edit where your writing changes, sometimes for the worse because you start adding things. It happened with me which I really regret. I wish you luck with the desk. So happy you finally made it. I hope the editor saw what I saw when I first read your work . . . a future professional writer. I will for sure keep you on my two accounts’ shelves until you make the desk. Also, which has nothing to do with your writing well, it does kind of, is that you seem to be a nice person; you give great positive reviews on other authonomites’ books and are always willing to help. You helped me a ton of times. I thank you for that.

Dingo Thorburn wrote 552 days ago

A wonderful story, beautifully told. Thank you.

ibholdvictory wrote 553 days ago

Hi John
Hold on, you will get there. As for me, I shall stand by you to get to the top. You have a great book to publish. No matter what. You will get to that desk by God's grace. I am praying for you and all my friends.


Danny Writer wrote 553 days ago

Read more and loved it more. I've a bit now and it's all kicking off. On my shelf.

Nick Goulding wrote 553 days ago

Gutsy beginning that hooks the reader in. Not comfortable but real and credible. John's background knowledge is faultless and used to good effect here. The style of writing is confident and smooth. It is inspirational to those who face crisis in life - it shows what determination and grit can do to resolve apparently insurmountable problems. This is not a sweetened read, it is painful in parts and does not protect the reader. Characters and descriptions are clear and convincing. The plot is very strong with all the right elements in good balance. The book is too well edited to have noticeable errors. Refreshingly clean.

I felt this to be a very cinematic book which could translate to the screen so well. Fantastic drama with a very pertinent theme. Top stars and a backing.

'Where She Lies'

Lauren Grey wrote 554 days ago

This is an amazing rich and powerfully written story. I had a professor friend who lived in New Orleans at the time Katrina hit, and your portrayal of events is astonishingly close to his first hand experiences. As I am only a humble novice in the world of fiction writing I will not attempt to review a professional's work. This belongs on the ED and to be published. Good luck.

Jaclyn Aurore wrote 554 days ago

Bah... I actually had to take breaks with this and I spaced out each chapter with a fluffier read... This is eerily written and leaves a bad taste in my mouth... murder, dead dogs, blood...

it gets less cringy as it goes on, but your opening is very powerful.
would this also be considered "Steam-punk" - I see this term a lot, but actually had to google it to find out what wold be properly coined 'steampunk' - still not entirely sure, but I think it fits...

anyway, back to the story at hand - it's written with style, and it's downright flawless...

cheers for now
Jaclyn x
It Never Happened

cocavikas wrote 555 days ago

I salute to John Bailey. I believe that there are some Johns of this kind left in the world. proof: world is still going on and humanity still surviving!!!. Hats off to the writer who come up with the idea to bring this book to the world. Highly rated and backed with pleasure. If readers don't think it as a spam, I recommend everyone on this site to read this book.


Padmavathi wrote 555 days ago

Old number 7 is an eye opener to the world. You don't have to be rich, macho or great intelligent to manage a crisis. It is just enough to have a WILL to help others during crisis. This book deserve it's rightful place on ED, stalls and in major news channels. Highly rated and on my W/L till I manage some space. One of the rarest books I found on this site.


R. Dango wrote 555 days ago

I have been wanting to read this story for a long time, and I am finally reading the opening chapters. It reads like a true story, and I imagine that it is based on several true stories. The pitch is inviting, and the cover picture promises the story which is full of dramas but not shallow. As I have begun reading the opening chapters, I am not disappointed. Just as I had expected, or even more than I had, the writing is serious but entertaining, readable and informative.
I hope to see this book in a long-seller list one day.


Frank Talaber wrote 555 days ago

Highly starred. well written, i got into the flow of the story. Felt for the old man and his son. I've only read the first three chapters, but thought I'd respond quickly as requested. My only beef would be the preface, I'd put it into a seperate chapter. I know you want to commend everyone and tell why you wrote the book but it takes away from my wanting to read the book. Especially when the opening scene is done so well, it left us on a cliffhanger and made me want to read on. Great stuff.

Frank Talaber wrote 556 days ago

I like the concept and have added your book to my watchlist and will give it a read. Hope you do the same with one of my books.

Odette67 wrote 557 days ago

Have just read chapter one, very powerful start.. Very impressed and lovely writing. I look forward reading the rest. i have put you on my book shelf Kate off the rails

GUSHARRIS wrote 559 days ago

Man, Chapter 1 got me right from the first sentance. This is my kind of book.. When I think about all the horrors that occured in New Orleans by the hands of Katrina, this is exacly how I envision it.
I can't wait to read more.

Truth One Note In wrote 559 days ago

A smooth read with a deep plot.
The disaster brought everything around in a real way to capture the reader.
John has a lot of realness to his character. What he goes through is so real and captivating.
The hurricane is so horrendous.
Easy read with a slower pace at times, but when the moment calls for it, the speeds races ahead.
The pitch is a good drawer as is the subject.
Toni [Cavern of Time]

Danny Writer wrote 559 days ago

This is my first read on the site and boy what a corker. Jealous of your style. Great set up and when it all kicks off, boy you keep the reader gripped.

Kamaneeya wrote 562 days ago

American hurricanes, tornadoes and natural disasters are so catastrophic that only American spirit could stand against. John had succeeded to bring both these aspects in his book called 'Old number 7'. I thrive to visit this old gas station once in my life, if it ever existed. The least thing I can do right now is back and rate6/6( which I did!!!)


subra_2k123 wrote 562 days ago

Old Number 7: a rare book on authonomy, with a PURPOSE. I was just one among many, who witnessed the horrendous destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. It appeared as if the Gods have a mission of creating gynormous devastation with a purpose known only to them. The writer's wish to help aid still ongoing restructure, is enough for me to buy this book(once in the market) and suggest, persuade, beg my friends to buy.


LCF Quartet wrote 563 days ago

Hi John,
I just read your pitch and the first three chapters of your book, and asked myself why I haven't checked your book earlier...This is a masterpiece with believable dialogue, superb descriptions and professional style.

6 stars and watch-listed for further comments as I read on,
Best wishes,
Lucette- Ten Deep Footprints

Nel wrote 564 days ago

I loved this story. When it started it seemed so sad and almost tragic but it ends with hope and a future and I enjoyed both bits, plus all the bits in between. Glad it is doing so well.

The raven wrote 565 days ago

Hi John,

I read a couple of chapters and I find myself already fascinated by the main characters. Will return for a further read soon. High stars.

The Raven

Author The Buena Fortuna

Baobab wrote 566 days ago


I decided to sort through the top ranked books to find one in the literary fiction genre that an adult reader would be interested in and your magnificent book stood out from among all others. I am now reading it and I am finding that you have done evertyhing right and your writing is superb. It is hard for me to believe that you have not yet landed a publisher for this brilliant piece of work. My hat off to you. Greay job. Best, Chief Baobab

Nartana wrote 566 days ago

Great book, good luck.

evermoore wrote 567 days ago

John...I'm a jumble of every emotion i own. My heart is filled with love, respect, pride and joy. Your ability to share a tragedy so beautifully, is a gift...thank you so much for sharing it. (hugs)