Monday, May 31, 2010

91 minutes of silence

Today is Memorial Day. Started in 1865 as Decoration Day, a day to decorate the graves of fallen Union soldiers , it has now become a national day of remembrance for all those who fell during war.

It's a irresistible platform for political blowhards of course and this year is no exception.

They like to swathe the war deaths in phrases like "noble service" and "saving freedom."

All that may be true, but doesn't make the soldier or sailor or Marine or airman any less dead.

4400 US troops have died in Iraq since 2003; 1087 in Afghanistan since 2001.

That means 10,000 grieving parents.
And grieving wives, husbands, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, sweethearts and friends.

Words may comfort, but they never remove the pain of that loss.

I am grateful we have men and women willing to serve our country, and willing to offer their lives as part of that service.

I pray we have leaders who recognize life is precious.
Perhaps instead of political speeches this year, they could simply stand silent for one second for each service member who has perished.

5487 seconds

91 minutes

And that's just this war.

Vietnam: 58,236 dead and 1740 missing

Korea: 36,516 dead and 8176 missing

World War 2: 416,800 dead

And no matter what your thoughts are about who's right and who's wrong in a war, let's all remember those numbers are only American deaths. It doesn't count our allies or the other side. It doesn't begin to count those who perished in The Holocaust or at Stalingrad. The grief and loss in war is uncountable.

Life is precious.
Let us all vow on this Memorial Day 2010 to spend it carefully.

Friday, May 28, 2010

What made BEA more fun than ever

Meredith Barnes, the Cannot Live Without Godsend, embraced the swag hunt with fervor. Truth be told, Agent Extraordinaire Suzie Townsend taught her everything she knows about swag, not I.

And yes, her shoulders were sore the next day, but it didn't stop her from coming back and finding even more wonderful books.

The tote bags are part of the office decor now. It's amazing the uses we find for them. Even the Herpet-American asssssistant is interested.

Got anything good to read in your office?
Oh yea! We do!

Sean Ferrell has fans--here's proof

Sean Ferrell signed copies of his debut novel NUMB at BEA. There were people in line for it! And not just people we knew!

BEA 2010 in 1038 words

Bill Cameron's amazing third book DAY ONE (after Lost Dog and Chasing Smoke) comes out from Tyrus Books on June 1. Tyrus' editor Alison Janssen and publisher Ben Leroy look almost as happy about this as we do!

It's the official start of Summer Reading Season!

Men's Journal has one brilliant and two other suggestions!

BEA -Why Small Publishing Will Save the World

There's an artistic revolution coming.

A whole new form of something -what we're now calling an enhanced ebook -is on the horizon.

I have no idea what it will look like. It will be more than a book because it will be more than text. It will be more than a movie because it will be more than pictures and text.

It will be more than a compilation of things that presently exist. It will be something entirely new.

It will be interactive. It will be visual. It will be electronic. It won't be tactile. Other than that, I have no idea what it will be.

But it's coming.

And I guarantee you the place we'll see it first will be small presses: self publishers, small publishers, entrepreneurs.

Here's the main reason: there's no R&D Division at any publisher I know. Not even the small ones. Publishers depend on someone to bring them content. They can add value (and do!) They can re-purpose and repackage (and they do.) What they can't do is invent.

And this form needs to be invented. And when it is, it's going to fail. A lot. And by fail, I mean not sell. Certainly not sell in any kind of volume that would earn out or turn a profit if the publisher runs a P&L.

So, even if they see this New Thing, they'll say no. And if by some miracle they say yes, they'll start saying No as soon as the first quarter numbers come in and the stock prices drop.

For editors and staff at a large publisher, the consequences for a failure, and repeated failure are pretty big. Lower profits, getting fired. When you answer to the balance sheet and stockholders, it's hard to say "this is cool, but we need a couple years to make it work." Particularly if it's something no one has ever seen before. And no one seems to want. Or need.

And if you point out that software companies did exactly this, let me point out in return that most of those companies were brand new, the stockholders worked there, and the money came from venture capitalists. None of those describe publishing. We're one of the world's OLDEST industries, not the newest.

But here's what I think is going to happen.

Some guy in his basement or attic, or tree house lair is going to come up with Whatever This New Thing is Going to Be. And he's going to publish it himself. For free. To whoever will read/use/ogle it. Then someone else will see it and say, this is very cool, and do it too.

This is where the software revolution will be the metaphor: kids writing code in their basements that turned into Myspace; FaceBook; whatever.

And big corporate publishers won't be able to come in and "buy up rights" because who knows what rights they're buying? And how on earth will it be sold? All of general trade publishing right now is based on the model of licensing rights and paying licensors on a royalty basis.

This new art form isn't going to work that way, and corporate publishing simply won't be able to figure out how to deal with it very quickly (they will though, just not quickly)

The first guys who are going to make this new art form available other than one to one will be the guys like Ben Leroy at Tyrus Books and Johnny Temple at Akashic Books. Guys who can move quickly cause they own the company. They're nimble. And they can be creative about how to pay people (I don't mean this as code for NOT paying.)

I have no idea what I'm talking about here. No one else does either. It's like a black hole in space. No one can see it, but you can tell it's there cause of how objects around it shift and change.

I can feel shifting in the universe here; change is coming.

In a year, maybe two, I'll read this post and laugh at how much I didn't know. But I'm really really excited to see what's coming.

And I'm really glad there are places like Tyrus Books and Akashic Books to give me great hope that brilliant creativity will flourish.

And that's another reason I love BEA: it's a chance to see the guys running these small presses and talk with them about what they're doing; what they're excited about. Even guys who are going to save the world need to chat about books once in a while!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

BEA Day 2- the rest of the day

Wednesday was the first day the trade show floor opened. I know there were people lined up at 9am to be first through the door, and first on the floor to dive into the fray; I was not one of them. I have gone through Swagopause thank you very much. The godsends of course were in the thick of it (and have the sore shoulders now to prove it.)

Once again I was astonished by "no books at BEA." In years past, right up till 2009 in fact, most publishers had stacks and stacks of books in their booths. They pressed them into your hands. On Sunday afternoon, traditionally the last day of the show, they'd beg you to take them rather than haul them home.

I never thought I'd be one of those people who moaned about the good old days of publishing, but damn I do miss the books.

I miss the books because I actually love books. The touch, the feel, the look, the smell. I don't revere them as sacred objects but I love them. And sheets of cardboard with code to access an ebook galley isn't a book. Electronic screens showing book covers are not books. They aren't tactile.

I pray print doesn't die because the death of print books is the death of reading as a tactile experience. And if print does die, I hope it's after I'm dead, cause frankly there are a couple books I want in the sharcophagus in case the line to discuss things with St. Peter is going slowly.

Speaking of death, if a meteor had hit the north end of the Javits Center at 3:30pm a significant portion of the membership of AAR would be looking for book proposals on how to survive a meteor. The panel on Enhanced E-books drew a sea of agents, all of us interested in what enhanced e-books are.

Much like the panel on apps the day before, I started out knowing nothing. I know what an ebook is; I own more than a few. What's an "enhanced ebook?" And how is it different than an app?

The answer is no one else really knows either. Publishers selling into the academic and library market have been publishing books that have more than text components for years, but they are usually encyclopedias or reference works. And libraries buy a subscription to the work, not the actual work itself.

This panel raised more questions than it answered, but it got us asking questions and gave us all a sense there's a lot more to be said on the subject. It was terrifically interesting and thanks to Jeff Kleinman for a great job as moderator. (Remember Jeff Kleinman?)

At the close of the day, I swam over to a favorite bar on Ninth Avenue with a bevy of other sharks, and drank enough Mai Tais to make me float home. Mai Tais 10; Shark 0.

I may love my job---at this point I can't remember what it is. Or who I am. Or how to read.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

BEA Day 2-the moments you live for

Today was the BEA day we'd all been looking forward to. When I say "we" I mean everyone at FinePrint, and everyone at Nancy Coffey Literary, and everyone in the Joanna Stampfel-Volpe fan club.

Today was the YA Editors Buzz panel and we'd known for some time that the very smart editors over at Little,Brown had chosen Kody Keplinger's debut novel The DUFF as the book they wanted to buzz.

Remember Kody Keplinger?

As is our strategy for panels we expect to be SRO we went early and staked out seats. Kick Ass and Take Names Agent Suzie Townsend, I'd Be Lost Without Her godsend Meredith, our new intern Zach and I were in the sixth row. Lurking behind us were (the Ever Slithery) Barbara Poelle and Holly Root accompanied by Sophie Littlefield. The row ahead of us had very very VIP personages. In other words, we were fan club not to be denied.

The panel proceeded apace. Many fine books were mentioned. Suzie and Meredith made periodic dashes to the back of the room to secure galleys.

Then, the moment arrived. Cindy Eagan, Editorial Director of Little, Brown's Poppy imprint rose to talk about The Duff.

She gave an eloquent and enticing presentation.

At the close of her talk she said "When JD Salinger died, I, like many of you I'm sure, re-read The Catcher in the Rye. I was struck again by how that wry, angry voice seemed to be that of an entire generation.

"When I read The Duff, I had that same reaction: an angry yet so funny voice that seems to speak for an entire generation."

Dear Reader, I wept.

For Kody, yes. To have your debut novel compared to Catcher in the Rye is beyond words.

But honestly, my tears were for Joanna Stampfel Volpe, Kody's amazing and talented agent.

Joanna used to be my intern, and I remember her early days well. She was funny, and smart, and I knew instantly she was someone I wanted to work with.

She demonstrated a keen eye for good books (Gary Corby has her to thank for fishing him out of the queries) immediately.

Soon she was a valued member of our FinePrint team. When she moved up and on to be an agent in her own right at Nancy Coffey Literary, we teased her about abandoning us (although she remained here in Suite 500) but we cheered her advancing career.

She was soon signing clients and making deals. Auctions. Big ass deals. And all the while, her delightful charm never wavered. Not through the tough moments and keen disappointments that are the woof and warp of daily literary life, particularly in a year when it seemed publishing was going to the dogs.

Joanna enlivens our suite in a way that is irreplaceable.

So, when Cindy Eagan said what she did about Kody's book, I wept. My heart was bursting with joy, and pride, and delight.

I can count on one fin the number of times I've wept at BEA: one.

These are the moments you live for. The moments when you realize that a book can arrive in the slush ; be spotted by a talented agent; bought by a prescient editor; supported by an enthusiastic and eloquent publisher; and then be in the hands of readers who may very well find The Duff is a book that changed their lives.

This is the best job in the world.
I'm surrounded by colleagues of extraordinary talent and grace.

Today I remembered why I love my job.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

First day at BEA 2010

BEA is both a revival meeting and trade show for the publishing industry. We come from all corners of the country, the globe really, and talk to each other about the terrible dire straits publishing is in, how it was so much better way back when, and how we really can't see ourselves doing anything else. Honest, it's kinda fun in a Eeyore kind of way.

Today was the first real day even though the actual show doesn't open till tomorrow. Today was the chance for seminars and panels, the chance to remember where the Javits Center is and that water costs $3.00 a bottle so bring some from the corner bodega tomorrow.

The first presentation I attended was "Bringing Your Authors to the Social Media Party...and Getting Them to Stay." Frankly I'm not sure if the presenters didn't know what the title was or didn't have a clue how to actually do what the title said. It was worse than useless as a panel because it made social media sound corporate, difficult and not much fun. None of those are true.

It was all I could do not to leap up, grab the mic and say "ok, who here understands that Twitter is simply about making friends?" and then talk about how to make friends. Because honestly that really IS what Twitter is about. The reason that's important: marketing studies tell us (and have for YEARS) that word of mouth is the most effective form of book publicity.

Let me say that again: Word of mouth is the most effective form of book publicity.

How do you get people to talk about your book?
You meet them and befriend them.

How do you do that?
(And a myriad of other ways.)

It's not rocket science. And it's fun.

I think what annoyed me most about the panel is that it was clear they weren't even familiar with what authors in trade publishing need to do, or the barriers they face. The panelists described themselves as publishers, but their company is a software company, and what they publish looked and sounded like books for established customers.

This is apples and oranges with trade publishing.

Unfortunately I was trapped on the inside row, and it was too early in the morning to levitate out of my seat and leapfrog over the assembled multitude, so I just suffered. As did most of the people around me when the session (finally!) ended and we rolled our eyes at each other.

I was mollified by the arrival of the Amazing Suzie Townsend and the Essential to My Survival Meredith Barnes accompanied by the Greatly Missed Godsend Jujubeantea, and having them whisk me off to coffee and (lots of) complaining.

I decided to risk another panel, and chose "I'll Never Pay Over $9.99 For E-Books!" and Similar Lies" presented by Michael Norris of SIMBA. The contrast with the earlier session was marked. For starters, he was knowledgeable about general trade publishing. And he was funny. And he had clear, well planned out slides with interesting information. Much of what he said was info I already had, but I defiantly felt like it helped to hear it again, and it gave me some interesting things to think about in terms of information I'd really like to have.

No mollification required after this seminar at all.

And that was a good thing because we had to haul ass down to the next panel cause we figured it would be standing room only: "Mobile Apps: A Publisher Roadmap for Creation and Use"

Indeed it was SRO by the time the panel started but we were carefully ensconced in Row 2 right in front so we could see the slides and the camera work.

I knew nothing about mobile apps. Zilch, nada, zip. Right down to answering the question "What is an app" with "I dunno."

A lot of what the panelists said went straight over my head. Some of it stuck though and it was tremendously exciting to see the kinds of amazing things that can be done with content. Thrilling in fact.

I've got a lot to learn about apps, and that's one of the things that's high on my list for this BEA. I may not know a lot by the end but I will be able to tell you what it is.

Suzie and Meredith reminded me the panel we wanted to attend next was in the same room as the App panel, but there would be an intervening panel before "ours" started.

We didn't have a clue what that next panel would be. We really didn't care; we just wanted to keep our seats.

And this is why I will always go to BEA, and I love BEA. Serendipity.

The panel was "7 X 20 X 21"

From that title, I had no clue what it was about. It wasn't on my list of "must see." I'll NEVER make that mistake again. This panel was extraordinary.

The title refers to 7 minutes, for 20 slides, with 21 seconds per slide.
Each person on the panel gave a 7x20x21 presentation.

Did I mention extraordinary?

Ryan Chapman, Online Marketing Manager at Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Ami Greko, Director of Business Development at Adaptive Blue moderated. They were amazing. And they picked amazing people:

(1) Jennifer Egan, Author of The Keep and A Visit from the Goon Squad (June 2010);

Jennifer Egan gave a riveting talk on her use of PowerPoint in her new novel. Believe it. I leaned over to Meredith and said "order that book right now!"

I've been a devoted admirer of Jennifer Egan for many years. This presentation was like watching Mikhail Baryshnikov dance. Yes, you've seen ballet, but when you see Mikhail Baryshnikov dance you know you're seeing a master of the art.

Jennifer Egan was riveting.

(2)Justin Taylor, and Eva Talmadge, co-editors of The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide (October 2010)

I never knew I'd be interested in a book about tattoos, but I was pulled in to the concept of this book from the very first slide. It has pictures of tattoos of words, text, authors, etc, and text about why people chose to be tattooed with these images.

At one point a slide of a man's back, covered in words, flashed on the screen. There was a collective gasp from the audience. I'd never actually heard an audience at BEA gasp like that before.

Their presentation was beautiful and riveting.

(3)Jacob Lewis, CEO of

This website isn't live yet. When it is (July 2010), go there. It's a place for teen writers to connect with each other and with professional writers.

Jacob Lewis mentioned he'd written a letter to Philip Roth after he read Portnoy's Complaint, telling Mr. Roth how the book moved him. The letter was not answered. Years later Jacob Lewis worked at The New Yorker, and met Mr. Roth, but never mentioned the unanswered letter, although he remembered it then, as he does now.

He closed his 7x20x21 by saying FigmentFiction was a place where no letter would go unanswered.

Have I mentioned riveting, and beautiful and deeply touching?

(4)Ed Nawotka, Editor-in-Chief of
Ed Nawotka is brilliant. His presentation was why he thought literature should be taught backwards, an idea both revolutionary, and basic common sense. I think he's right.

Here's the idea: instead of starting kids on reading the classics, where you have to give them the vocabulary, the history, and a lot of help understanding the text, start them reading modern novels. Novels that have language they know and use. Ideas and stories they understand. Then, show them what earlier writers influenced the writers of those books and read those books and work your way BACK into literary history. Don't read Chaucer during your first term in English, read it your last.

Instead of driving high school juniors crazy with Hamlet, let them read Larry McMurtry, or Michael Chabon, or (forgive me for blatant self promotion) Sean Ferrell or Evan Mandery.

Have I mentioned stunningly obvious, brilliant, riveting and touching?

There were others, but these are the ones that made me quiver. These are the things I'm going to be talking about with a great deal of excitement.

That and ROOM by Emma Donoghue which was buzzed by Judy Clain, Executive Editor, Little, Brown & Co. and I would have trampled people to get my mitts on but fortunately Meredith ducked out five minutes early and saved me from Really Rude Reaching and Pushing.

BEA is amazing.

I love it and hate it.

I'm really glad to be attending.

BRAINS on sale today!

Jay Franco reveals he was not forced to eat brains while reading BRAINS thus revealing that I am falling down on the job as Arc Receipt Rules enforcement, cause that was my one big requirement for anyone wanting an early copy.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

How much fun did I have at PennWriters?

A. So much fun I am not holding a grudge about my best material not getting laughs?

B. So much fun I agreed to go to PITTSBURGH to next year's conference?

C. So much fun I brought La Octopussy to the costume party?

D. All of the above?
E. None of the above?

In all seriousness, I've not seen a more prepared, polished, and ready-to-pitch group of writers at any of the conference I've been to in years. They were friendly, polite, not pushy, and after a while, they even laughed at my jokes. (next year, groucho glasses!)

I think a membership in PennWriters, and attending the annual conference is probably one of the smartest things you can do if you're a writer in Pennsylvania.

You're welcome!

It's always nice to hear all this ranting is actually beneficial.

Thanks Joelle, you totally rock.

RESTORING HARMONY, Joelle's debut novel pubbed on May 13.
My copy was instantly nabbed by that den of thieves I work with
so I have to bribe them with cupcakes to get it back.

Can live with them, can't function without them.

Best Opening Line in a Query Today

Dear Ms. Reid,

Although, I’m a little terrified of swimming with sharks, I’ve decided to face my fears. Next up bats and yellow gummy bears.

You thought I was kidding??

(this is the lobby of Suzie's apartment building AFTER I discovered her crime!)

There once was a book thief named Suzie,
and the crime she pulled off was a doozie,
The arc she purloined,
was not hers but moin,
And I'll have my revenge come this Tuesday.

You are shark bait MissTownsend!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Contest HIJACKED!!!

Imagine my horror when reading the blog comments to find this:

You’re surprised at all the blood.

Your heart stops. Your hands sweat. Your skin goes cold. You realize.

It’s gone.

Your 6000 followers are going to be pissed because that troublesome godsend/minion/friend in the 212 is a saboteur. She’s hijacked YOU and your contest.

And what do I find there?

The pure unadulterated evility of the formerly living Suzie Townsend.
(Thank goodness BRAINS goes on sale Tuesday so she will know how to be a good zombie.)

This is WAR!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A writing challenge for YOU!

Some weeks back I urged you to steal a book.
Now you've got the chance to do it!

I have purloined an ARC of YOU by Charles Benoit from the not-ever-vigilant-and-boy-is-she-going-to-be-sorry-when-she-has-to-explain-the-inventory-shortage-to-her-flinty-eyed-boss Molly O'Neill.

Rather than keep the ARC (and evidence of the crime) I hid it.

Your challenge? 100 words that says where I hid it and how you'd get your mitts on it.

100 words or fewer.

Answers/entries must be posted to the comment column of this post.

You may lie, cheat, steal and bribe to get info.

You may collaborate and collude.

You may work in groups or alone.

Points are awarded for originality and correct use of second person POV.

Prize (and here's the best part): the winner gets the ARC of YOU.
I don't need to tell you these are in VERY short supply and guarded by
ferocious creatures such as asssssistants!

YOU will be crazy not to enter.
And if you don't win, you still have the chance to actually buy it. (My order is already in.)

Deadline: Sunday May 23. High noon. (Eastern time zone naturally)

Don't dawdle. The contest starts NOW.

First twitter hint: Yes, it is in the 212.

Second twitter hint: while never MY godsend, she is a godsend, pure evil and has been a minion, and a friend. contest hijacker!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Jeff Somers finds himself in good company

The good folks at Melville House are sponsoring a very entertaining award for book trailers. Naturally I was very pleased they recognized the genius that is Jeff Somers. Also, others, less genius, but quite entertaining.

A Common Pornography by Kevin Sampsell

The Electric Church in One Minute by Jeff Somers

Extraordinary Renditions by Andrew Ervin

I Am in the Air Right Now
by Kathryn Regina

I Lego New York by Chistoph Niemann

Thursday, May 13, 2010

DIE TWICE in Chicago!

and then you can DIE TWICE in New York!
Monday May 17
Mysterious Bookshop
58 Warren Street

Sunday, May 09, 2010

ok, this IS weird

I realize I have stuffed animals in my office, but I'm forced to say (after reading this) that they were never actually REAL animals.

And I really don't want to know how one of The Fabulosity of Clients found this info. No, some things are better left unreported!

Feeling brave?

I'm proud to be one of the many many agents, editors, and authors that have responded to the call for auction items at Do the Write Thing for Nashville organized by Victoria Schwab, Myra McEntire, and Amanda Morgan.

I've donated a thirty minute phone call manuscript consultation. You send the ms (electronically); I read it. We talk on the phone. You get the straight scoop. I get a chance to practice my newer, nicer shark bite.

It will be most useful to people writing in the categories I read most often (crime fiction, women's fiction, memoir, YA) but it's open to everyone who wants to bid.

The auction runs for three days. Bids are taken in the comment column.

If you're not willing to brave the Shark-infested water there are many other agents and editors offering consultations including the very very nice:

Suzie Townsend

Martha Mihalick

Holly Root

And this is JUST Day Four! More splendidness to come!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Auction item: Phone call with The Suzenator

You'd be nuts to miss this:

A 30-minute phone call with The Suzie Townsend, FPLM agent and Force To Be Reckoned With.

I myself have bid on this item because I want her to hear the Secrets of Her Success. You might want to talk about your novel.

Whatever the topic, the money you bid goes to Tennessee flood relief, a cause near our hearts.

There are several other very hot auction items that you'll want to check out at Do The Write Thing for Nashville. Twitter #dwtfn

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Add this to your google reader

This is a site by three delightful writers raising money for Nashville flood relief.

You'll want to subscribe to the blog, or follow it. Some of the upcoming auction items might be of interest. Here's a visual clue:

Meanwhile there's some good stuff up there now, and I'm lurking in the comment columns just waiting to chomp at the last minute.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

You're not wasting my time

If you send me a query, and you've revised it more than once, read it aloud, and proofed it, you're not wasting my time by sending it. No matter what.

It might not be something I want to read; how will we know unless you query?
It might be something that doesn't fit what I do really well; how will we know unless you query?

It might make me scream bloody murder and hide under the covers (Score! Query for the Win!); how will we know unless you query?

Short point to this post: You are not wasting my time by querying even if it's not right for me. I want you to query. (I want you to query WELL which is the point of all this ranting on the blog and but even bad queries are better than none.)

You are my farm team. I need a bunch of you coming up the ranks to write great novels. I mean someone has to give the slithery Barbara Poelle a run for her money.

Stealing blithely from the blog posts of others

I was merrily tripping through the interwebs this morning and came across Jennifer Jackson's (as always) useful blog. (Well, came across implies I don't have it ensconced on my google reader: you bet I do!)

Jennifer has a post up about her query stats, but is also looking at revising her submission guidelines to be more helpful. I'm always willing to steal a good idea so I've blithely lifted her final paragraph, and posted it here.

(1) What is most helpful to you in submission guidelines?
(2) What is least?
(3) What questions about queries can be addressed in guidelines without making the specifics overly complicated?

I hope to find a balance between an overwhelming amount of information (which will only slow the process down) and providing enough information.

Thanks for any insight you can provide from the writer side of the equation.

Here are the places I list submission guidelines:

On the blog: how to send electronic query for a novel,
query letter checklist;

On my website: Query Information;

If you'd like to answer in the comment column, great. If you want to send an email, also fine.
Remember, short emails are hard to write. Long emails are hard to read. As in all things, finding the correct balance takes more than one revision.

Don't let the goggles fool you

Sean Ferrell is one of the funniest guys I know. His wicked sense of humor takes many forms, most noticeably a changing array of avatar photos on twitter. You've seen one already.

But don't let the goggles fool you. Sean Ferrell is a writer of extraordinary talent. You'll be able to see that for yourself when his debut novel NUMB is published on August 3. (You could even pre-order it now and beat the rush)

You can also see for yourself in his blog post today on writing.

One of the very best parts of this job is hearing writers talk about how their novels get better. I'm fascinated by that process. I think you will be too.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

At Malice Domestic this weekend?

Just a heads up (and it's late notice, I know!) that one of the auction items at Malice Domestic is breakfast with Dana Cameron, my fabulous client, and her sharkly agent (that would be me).

In fact, you and your body guard can both come: it's breakfast for two plus the two of us, here at the Malice hotel on Sunday. Part of the deal is I'll read your pages as we swill coffee and contemplate the evil that is dawn.

And just in case you wonder if I'm actually looking forward to meeting you at some dreadful hour, let me say this: I'm reading the full manuscript of the person who won this item last year. I'm not sure who was more shocked when I read her pages at the breakfast, looked up and said "holy moly, this is GOOD!" The author made me write it down for her on a slip of paper and sign and date it. I hounded her for the full for months.

So, get your bid in. I'm REALLY hoping history repeats itself this year.