Guest Post: Misty Rayburn of The Top Shelf

Dream BIG! 
by Misty Rayburn of The Top Shelf Book Reviews
Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake – Henry David Thoreau
When I was in the third grade, I made the firm decision that I wanted to be a teacher. That never wavered in my life until I finished high school.  My interests then changed and I started getting more into computers, the internet and building websites.
I entered Capital University in 2001 with a declared major in Computer Science.  I had to take a few math courses to brush up and catch up to be ready to take Calculus and Idid.. Only to fail it in the end.  I was pretty miserable.  Computer Science wasn’t what I thought it would be at all and honestly, I wasn’t cut out for it.
By that point, I was already doing photography for local bands and was starting to get good at it.  However, I really enjoyed the lit classes I was taking as a backup plan so I re-declared my major as English and would later add on a history minor.  Why?  I was in love with medieval literature. 
I loved everything about the Middle Ages, the literature, the art, and the history.  I enjoyed it so much that I thought that maybe I wanted to be a teacher again.  My parents of course, were happy with my idea to teach medieval literature at a college level.  They didn’t want me anywhere near the nontraditional job of live event photography.
My senior year, I started to have a breakdown.  The English classes I was in were taking the fun out of reading, we were dissecting everything and nothing just seemed fun anymore.  It all felt like work.  The only part that didn’t, were the history classes.  I started challenging my professors and they weren’t too happy with it.  I started asking them the why of it all and if they realized what they were doing.  They looked at me as if I had gone mad. 
I made it through senior year and graduated in 2005.  Only after taking a couple courses at the community college over a stray credit hour that got neglected because my advisors screwed up my schedule.  That’s a long story that I might tell some other time. 
Once I graduated, I took a year off.
After that year was over, I decided that maybe I should continue on and get my masters.  I started emailing my professors to ask for letters of recommendation and the one person who knew me best emailed me back saying he couldn’t because he felt my work wasn’t good enough to be in a master’s program.  He said had I wanted to apply to a smaller college that he would have done it, but since it was OSU, he couldn’t.  For if he did and I failed, it would look bad on Capital and they’d stop taking them seriously.
Thanks for breaking my heart that day right?  I’ve forgiven him.  I feel he was still wrong, but I forgive him.  College wouldn’t have worked out anyway as my back started giving me really bad trouble not long after that and as you know, that very re-occurring back problem is what led to what I’m doing now.
So what’s the point?
The point is, I always dreamed big.  No matter what I was doing.  The desire to be a teacher lead me to my English degree later on.  My love of computers led me to computer science which led me to doing a lot of promotional flyers and even websites for bands I supported.  Doesn’t it all kinda tie into what I’m doing now? 
It’s funny how it all came together like this and while my parents are wondering what in the heck I’m doing, I feel this is the right thing for me to be doing right now.  Is it an an end or a means, I don’t know.  I’m thinking it’s a means as I’m constantly thinking of ways to make this place bigger, of more things I can do.  It might lead me to a major reviewing job or it might lead me down some other path in the industry.  I’ve already met some people that I never thought I’d talk to in a million years.  I had a conversation with Jennifer Roberson, got to review a book for Caridad Pinero.  I’ve gotten a tweets back from Scott Sigler, Jeffery Deaver and Christopher Paolini and I’m reviewing books now for three of the big six publishers.  That’s a lot of clout for a small blog that’s only a year old to have!
All I know at this point is that I’m going to keep on finding ways to do more for my readers and my authors.  I strive to achieve the best I can do and I never give less than 100 percent no matter what.  My ferocity, determination and passion have gotten me this far.  It’ll be interesting to see where I am this time next year.
Happy birthday to my blog! TTS has done some amazing things and I’m still quite shocked by all of this.  I know that my hard work has had a part to play in all of this but I have to thank my readers, the amazing authors that have let me review their work, and the authors that are waiting anxiously for me to get to their books.  You all are just wonderful! 
I’m giving away TWO print copies of C Street by Claudette Walker! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment with a valid email address.  Winners will be chosen by on Thursday December 1st at 8pm Eastern! Good luck!

Synopsis: The secret of C Street is secrecy. Solomon Rosenberg is a 20 year veteran of C Street, a government lawyer, and a bi-polar CIA assassin. He breaks the silence by recording his missions. Jacqueline is left with the evidence, as she enters the web of sex, drugs, and politics with the men of C Street. The men of the CIA, the men of C Street, are one step behind her on a mountain top, in London and even in Costa Rica. Palestine is willing to pay for the secrets, and Israel is willing to help her. Who can she trust with the evidence of espionage, murder, and more?

“I ask no forgiveness for my work on C Street. Men like me believe God is our judge, or more honestly stated, we believe we are gods.”

4 thoughts on “Guest Post: Misty Rayburn of The Top Shelf

  1. Misty, your journey to where you are now and where you are going is a great story in it's own right. Maybe one day someone will be doing a giveaway on THAT book…- Dougdougdutcher(at)gmail(dot)com

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