Monday, November 29, 2010

AND the horse you rode in on!

In case you can't see the text of the letter accompanying the shredded rejection letter and envelope:

"A man of my brilliance and talent should not suffer immediate form rejection letters. So fuck you and good luck in your future endeavors. With your 'judgment' you'll need it."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holy Moly! Talk about an accolade!

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill recently posted an interview with Michele Filgate the events coordinator at RiverRun bookstore in Portsmouth NH.

The blog post is here.

Here's the part I love the most:

When asked about the "most entertaining authors ever hosted at the store" she replied:

*  When we co-hosted Stephen King at The Music Hall for Writers on a New England Stage, he played air guitar on stage. AWESOME.

*  The award for funniest authors goes to Jess Walter and Sean Ferrell. They read together at our store recently, and they were HYSTERICAL!

Holy Frigging Moly! That's Sean Ferrell! Our very own Sean Ferrell!


Saturday, November 27, 2010

At least no pat-downs were involved.

The trip to the Turkey Dinner  was crowded but uneventful. The trip back, not so much.

My boon companion in tryptophan and I hoisted ourselves on to the southbound Amtrak train and were glad to find seats quite easily. We rolled merrily through the countryside, each of us reading in our respective spots. Afternoon became twilight became evening.  Suddenly, the lights failed! I figured it was one of those momentary glitches, but no. The train rolled on but noticeably more slowly, then VERY slowly, and then ceased to roll at all.

Yes indeed, the engine failed! Much travail. Weeping and gnashing. One man, incensed beyond decorum, wielded his voice on the cell phone like a sword. I think he might actually have called for the head of the President of Amtrak for inconveniencing him so mightily (at this point we'd been stalled about seven minutes.)

Another man called a friend and in terrified tones related we were "stuck in the middle of nowhere. Lost!" We were about sixty-five yards from the Croton stop.

Much consternation ensued. We finally get a push from an emergency engine into the Croton station. I scoop up Boon Companion, engage ejector seats (of course I travel with one; you don't?) and hurl us toward the ticket booth. We purchase tickets on the next Metro North (in this direction it would be more aptly called Metro South) train. That train leaves within seconds of us arriving on the correct platform.

The Amtrak crew sneers at us for bailing out. They assure us they will be up and running soon. We don't believe a word they say of course and get on the southbound train. Merrily rolling through the countryside resumes.

We arrive in Yonkers some thirty minutes and ten stops later. What ho!  Shivering on the platform are the passengers from the Amtrak we'd been on! The train had limped in to Yonkers and now all the passengers were being transferred to the train we'd gotten on in Croton.

Boon Companion and I smugly congratulated ourselves. We had seats, we'd not waited in the cold, and we'd not been subjected to the uncertainty of knowing if we were going to get stuck again.

The best part is I think Amtrak will actually refund the ticket price! Mr. CellPhone got his ticket refunded (he announced to all and sundry) and there were customer service people who met us at the train when we arrived at Grand Central.

And you wonder why it requires a crowbar to pry me out of this city.

However, it could have been worse!

hell with Parcheeshi, *this* is my board game of choice

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Yea, I'm thankful!

I'm thankful for a lot of things.  I'm profoundly grateful I have a job I love with people I admire and respect (and who make me howl with laughter often!)  I live in a city I love and never want to leave.

I hope you love your life as much as I love mine.

Today, here's a lovely article about one of the people I'm so glad to work with: the incredible talented Suzie Townsend

Monday, November 22, 2010

Query as haiku

Look what turned up in the mailbag this morning!

Recently, I read a fascinating comment about the query letter: "...because it is short, it's like the haiku of writing. It has to convey a vivid and memorable impression with as few words as possible."

What a wonderful image! And that sparked an idea. I looked over several haiku by Bashō, the famed Japanese poet of the Edo era, and tried to imagine which author might have used which haiku for one of their query letters. Here goes!

Nothing in the cry
of cicadas suggests they
are about to die

(James Patterson)

Wrapping dumplings in
bamboo leaves, with one finger
she tidies her hair

(Margaret Atwood)

A weathered skeleton
in windy fields of memory,
piercing like a knife

(The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold)

I would like to use
that scarecrow's tattered clothes
in this midnight frost 

(To be used by Neil Gaiman if he ever decides to re-imagine The Wizard of Oz)


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The visual definiton of amazing

Parkour with bicyles.

The video runs 7:24.

You'll want to watch it more than once.

You're welcome!

Chair Dancing! Yes, it happens in the lair

Periodically there is chair dancing in The Lair.

Mer-Bear, and even The Sharkliest Agent of All have been known to trip the light fantastic.

Do you chair dance?

There's a blog post here asking for your favorite nostalgia song

Well, who could resist that! Not us!

Here's ours
  oh wait, that's not very nostalgic is it?

How about this one.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Baked Goodies

I'm at CrimeBake this weekend, one of my favorite conferences.  It's well run, the writers are deliciously tasty (chum!) and I like the hotel bar (a lot!)

My usual plan at CrimeBake is to hang out in the bar and see what brave writers swim into view.  Yesterday was no exception.

Writer: I'd like to talk to you about my novel.

Me: Dive in, I'm glad to hear about it.

Writer then regales me for three  minutes about a novel that could be written by anybody, and is clearly based on his professional experience as a successful executive in an industry that many of us might consider less than enthralling.

some segue chitchat then:

Me: I can't help but notice your wristwatch.  Is it for sailing?

Writer:  No, it's about... then proceeds for three minutes on a topic that IS enthralling, full of tension, intrigue and historical anecdotes.

Me: So, why aren't you writing about that?

Writer: umm...

If there's an object lesson here, it's this:  Writers hear "write what you know" and a lot of people who are starting to write take that to heart and write novels that are thinly disguised renditions of their workplace and the people they'd like to murder there.

I'd like to offer up this alternative: write what you're passionate about.  It's your passion that I'm interested in.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pitching/talking to/meeting me at CrimeBake?

Bring your pages!

I'm one of the agents that likes to see pages**. If your pitch sounds good  let's get to the next step without dillydallying around.

Often, very simple, very fixable problems are obvious in the first ten pages.  Take advantage of your time with the shark to get gnawed.

Be ready!

**actual printed pages. No USB thumb drives, no discs, nothing but actual paper.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Pericles Commission reviews

*The Pericles Commission
Gary Corby, Minotaur, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-59902-7

Those who like their historicals with a touch of humor will welcome Australian author Corby's promising debut, set in fifth-century B.C.E. Greece. When the arrow-pierced body of Ephialtes, the main force behind democratic reform in Athens, literally falls at the feet of Nicolaos, a sculptor's son expected to follow in his father's footsteps, fate hands Nicolaos another career. Ephialtes's politician friend, Pericles, who appears on the scene moments after the murder, is impressed enough by Nicolaos's preliminary conclusions to hire him to solve the crime. Members of the Areopagus, the city's ruling council, had the most to lose from Ephialtes's policies, but the neophyte detective finds that not even his exalted employer is above suspicion. The bodies pile up as the investigation continues, leading to a dramatic climax in which Nicolaos's survival hinges on his cracking the mystery. Corby displays a real gift for pacing and plotting. (Oct.)

In or out of the narrative

Marc Ambinder trades in blogging for The Atlantic to join the National Journal's White House team.  His final blog post had an interesting insight on the difference between reporting and blogging:

Really good print journalism is ego-free.  By that I do not mean that the writer has no skin in the game, or that the writer lacks a perspective, or even that the writer does not write from a perspective.  
What I mean is that the writer is able to let the story and the reporting process, to the highest possible extent, unfold without a reporter's insecurities or parochial concerns intervening. Blogging is an ego-intensive process. Even in straight news stories, the format always requires you to put yourself into narrative. You are expected to not only have a point of view and reveal it, but be confident that it is the correct point of view..

Read the entire blog post here

Monday, November 08, 2010

So, whatcha doing on Tuesday?













New York, NY

New York City Marathon Sunday!

It's always a thrill to see the athletes who are not only doing the marathon, they're doing it from a wheelchair. I missed the shot of the woman who used a hand driven chair, and whose feet were encased in...yup...ruby red slippers!

The first batch of gazelles are the professional women. They pass in seconds. You see them coming...

then they're right there..

then gone!

I always wonder about the couple of stragglers who follow the professional packs. They must know they're behind. Are they plotting feverishly to catch up or are they having a bad race? We onlookers cheer madly of course!

The first sign the professional men are coming is the truck with the timing sign. Notice it's under an hour. I'm standing at mile post 11. These guys are running 5 minute miles...and have been doing so for nearly an hour. And they're not even half way through the course. Holy MOLY!

NYPD motorcycles clear the onlookers from the street before the pros come by. They really don't mess around. If you're in the street, you're told "step back" in no uncertain terms!

And they're past us faster than I can snap a shot!

This is the start of a sea of people that will fill the street for two HOURS! I made the mistake of leaving my bike on the OTHER side of the street so I not only had to cross once, to get it, I had to cross back again to ride home. Boy, I learned my lesson!

This musician brought out her keyboard and gave the runners some musical oomph to help them keep the pace!

And the one shot I missed, darn it all, was our very own FPLM deputy godsend McKenzie who ran, and finished!, the marathon. This may be what she'll look like today in the office:

For an amazing look at the start of the race, click here.
(thanks Rejectionist!)

Saturday, November 06, 2010


Joelle Anthony, of whom I am a devoted fan, writes about Kennedy Foster's ALL ROADS LEAD ME BACK TO YOU on her blog today.

I laughed when Joelle wrote that she liked the title.  It's the 7,000th one we talked about.  It had three covers too and I loved each one of them.  The final one you see is amazing, isn't it?

I love this book a lot. You might too.

Honest to garmamond, how can you do this?

In the query mail today:

Janet, Do you handle, are you interested in, my (redacted)* Cozy Mystery series?

* With recipes. Thanks for the helpful information. (author's first name)

When I get "a query"**  like this I just want to shoot something:

**I can't even think of calling this a query. It doesn't come close to meeting the minimum standards for a real query.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

So, whadda ya wondering?

Kathleen Ortiz, about whom much has been said here recently, is looking for input on a presentation she's preparing for a writing conference. Hop on over and help her out.

Who the heck made THIS list?

best sidekicks in FlavorWire.
Oh please.

As IF!

They missed some of the best. (Joe Pike, sidekick to Elvis Cole for starters; Dox, sidekick to John Rain, too.)

Who do you think they missed?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

One of those days, part three

On twitter today, I saw this:

Reagan Arthur reaganart Lately this has come to mind & so I post it now in case 1 of you somehow missed it: How to Put on a Sports Bra. 

So I clicked. And read it aloud to the assembly.

And everyone in the Reef literally laughed so hard we cried. 

Thanks Reagan!

It's been one of those days, part two

It's been one of those days that you can't actually blog about but involves a lot of whining, moaning, and shrieking.

To cheer me up, our deputy godsend Mackenzie sent me this picture of cute baby animals. Upon receipt I immediately realized this was a picture of the ReefDwellers today.

Your job:
In the comments column, tell me which animal is which reef dweller, left to right.

Your choices: Mackenzie; The Suzie Townsend; Godsend Mer-Bear; The Shark Herself.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Consider this Draft Zero

Some very good advice on writing during National Novel Writing Month by Chuck Wendig (represented by Stacia Decker who has a very keen eye for talent)

It's 38degrees...I'm going to Georgia!

Sometimes it doesn't take a crowbar to pry me out of New York; it only requires the promise of warm weather!

Yes, it's 38degrees today and it's not going to be much warmer this week.  It's fitting that the announcement of Murder Goes South is up today: I'm heading south to the Peach State in January!

Tickets for the event go on sale today.  You might want to come and hang out with me!

Writing a novel for National Novel Writing month?

This post from Toni McGee Causey back in 2008 might help.