Tuesday, December 31, 2013

13 Things that made me very happy in 2013

13. Blog readers/commenters/pals
I'm profoundly grateful for the camaraderie of the comment column. From the tart spelling or grammar corrections to the hilarious witticisms about some line or another, the commenters here are the absolute exception to what's fast becoming Internet savvy: don't read the comments!

I look forward to more in 2014.

12. Center for Fiction
This year I attended several events sponsored by the Center for Fiction. In January I saw Elmore Leonard and later in the year Daniel Woodrell.  I'm devotees of both authors and the chance to hear them talk about their work, and their writing lives was amazing. 

11. New rule for Writers-the Michael Seese Be Tenacious Rule

10. Writing contests
I have enjoyed the writing contests on the blog this year a great deal.  The depth and breadth of talent in the entries gives me great hope for the incoming query pile set to resume here shortly.

Remember these winners?

Richard Stillman Prime 11:43pm
I wash the floor 262 times. I wash the spade 262 times. I wash myself 262 times. I hear him, though. I hear his blood calling out to me from the floor, and he tasks me – he tasks me, and I am God. It was the spade or the hammer but I am God and He is a gardener and I am a gardener and this isn't fiction and he is slush now and still, still: he tasks me. He is slush and he tasks me and I am God and my punishment is more than I can bear.

Lenny Liang 2:51am
I was an "untouchable" but never quite fit in. I was odd. They were even.

Besides 2, I was the smallest one, a single digit runt. They all bullied me, though none more so than 262.

He often said, "Little 5, sum my parts. I'm still twice the number you are."

His words were like a spade to the heart, a heart he plucked and discarded in the miry slush. He made self-esteem a fictional dream.

But then I learned that I was "prime" and became a celebrity.

And 262? He's languishing in Wisconsin.

He can go divide himself.

And this one?
JD Paradise 2:44pm
"This is just to say --"


"--I have drunken the protein shake."

"From the icebox? I was saving that--"

"For breakfast, I know. Forgive me. It was disgusting. Too sweet. But very cold."

(7) Michael Seese 10:04am
The bonds we forged over a lifetime of summers...

Playing pirate with swords forged from Christmas wrapping paper rolls.

Seeking asylum from our sisters in your treehouse (accessible only by a really cool, real rope ratline fashioned by your dad).

Finding a family of possums, lodgers under my front porch.

Games of stickball in the street.

Discovering what the girls in our class would look like in a few years, courtesy of my big brother’s
Playboy collection.

All of that came unraveling in one horrible second when you yelled, “Police! Put up your hands, Bobby!”

And I drew first.

9. Cards Against Humanity
I'd never heard of this card game before playing a round with some devilishly funny people.  If you haven't heard of it, here's their site.  I recommend playing with people who have a very very warped sense of humor. (yea, I'm looking at you FizzyGrl!)

8. Maddie On Things

Maddie is a coonhound with amazing balance. Meredith Barnes sent me the first picture of Maddie. We fell in love with her.  Then, joy of joys, turns out Maddie's agent is in our office suite. Sadly, Maddie did not drop by for cookies and ear scratches, but we did get to meet her when she came to New York and did an appearance at PowerHouse Arena.   If you've never seen Maddie, well, here ya go

7. The Rental Cat
This is New York. You can rent everything.  If  you need purring, or a belly rubbing or just a sardonic stare from the universe, rent a cat!

6. CHUM by Jeff Somers

To his everlasting credit, Jeff Somers did NOT say "took you long enough" when I sold CHUM to Ben Leroy at Tyrus Books.  It was a long time: 8 years. Of course, I did sell a few books in the meantime, but this was the one Jeff queried me on, the one I signed him for, and the one that is pretty close to our hearts.  It was a very happy day to see CHUM on sale.

5. Publication and launch of MAN IN THE EMPTY SUIT by Sean Ferrell (Soho Press)  We had a great time at the reading and at the party that followed.  I love this book with a passion and I'm profoundly grateful to represent Sean Ferrell. 

4. Publication of Laird Barron's THE BEAUTIFUL THING THAT AWAITS US ALL.  This one had a circuitous road to publication that left us both gasping with relief when readers were finally able to buy copies of this wonderful book. 

3. Dan Krokos was nominated for Best YA Thriller by the International Thriller Writers in 2013 for FALSE MEMORY.  And he won!  It was one of the best moments of my career!

2. New readers came in to the world in 201

Max is the grandson of Fabulous Bill Cameron. (photo updated 2015 cause I love this picture with all my heart)

Dash.  He stops traffic where ever he goes.


1. His Holiness Pope Francis

"Peace is a daily commitment. It is a homemade peace. I invite even non-believers to desire peace. (Join us) with your desire, a desire that widens the heart. Let us all unite, either with prayer or with desire, but everyone, for peace."

Here's to a happy, prosperous and peaceful new year for all!


Alec Breton said...

It is the last day of 2013 and some of us still haven't done Spring Cleaning or built enough shelves for the books in boxes everywhere. I guess that is what 2014 is made for. Happy New Years to all..

Kitty said...

Pax vobiscum.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

A blessed, peaceful and fulfilling year for you Janet. If you can't have any of those I wish you chocolate, a full bottle of whatever and humor, lots and lots of nose snorting, milk spitting laughs. May you laugh so hard you piss your pants and toot, in public. That you guffaw until your sides hurt and black mascaraed tears run down your cheeks and stain your Walmart turtleneck in my wish for you.
To all who gather here, big who-haws to you as well. With all this cryin’, pissin’ and tootin’ it will be one hell of a year.
(And, I said that in exactly 100 words).

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks, Janet, for running this blog and for hosting the contests. I'm always learning and/or laughing about something here.

Oh, and I pretty much always read and enjoy the comments - Carolynnwth2ns above made me spit out my Dunkin Donuts iced coffee.

Happy 2014!

Brenda Buchanan said...

Lovely, lovely post, Janet. All the best to you in 2014.


SiSi said...

One of the things that made me happy in 2013 was this blog! Thank you, Janet, and all who comment. Happy New Year to all and to all a fun night.

Lance said...

Elmore Leonard spoke at SCAD here in Atlanta back in January. I was very lucky to get to see him. But it was your hundred-word contests that taught me the importance of one of his ten rules: Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. That is but one example of the many important lessons from your blog. Thank you. I wish you the very best for 2014. And to all the great commenters here, Happy New Year.

Just Jan said...

Thank you for taking the time to write this blog. I have learned a great deal, and the contests made my brain hurt (but only in a good way!).

Happy New Year!

Terri Lynn Coop said...

I join with the others thanking you for this blog, a virtual watering hole where writers and their weirdness aren't just welcomed, they're celebrated and challenged.

For your contests that demand the best we can produce. Go big when you go small, or go home. For not just picking a winner, but recognizing those flashes of brilliance and wit.

For the hard-headed advice straight from the shark's jaws.

For the friends I've met here and the books I've discovered.

For the chance to meet more of my fellow chum at conferences and gatherings:

"So, I read on Janet's blog . . ."

"You hang out at the shark tank, me too!"

"Wait, are you . . .?"


"I love your stuff!"

"Hey, let's have a drink."

Ta-dah, another connection made.

And for reinforcing what I have learned the last couple of years at conferences, ALWAYS CHECK THE BAR.

Happy New Year to my fellow chum. Here's to another great year.


Michael Seese said...

Wow. What shall I do in 2014 to top TWO mentions in Janet's year-end post?

NotaWarriorPrincess said...

I love this and I love that your number one is the Pope!! I have such Catholic envy--Francis is the best thing to happen to organized religion since Mr. Rogers. Here's to a great 2014, one with all that stuff Carolynn (nx2) said!

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Oh God, I LOVE Cards Against Humanity. It's one of those things I can convince people to do if we don't have quite the proper group for "real" gaming.

I also love Pope Francis. I hope he does many, many good works and has many, many years in which to complete them.

Such a shame Maddie hasn't come to your office. Maybe you need a petition?

BonnieShaljean said...

One of the best things about the past year for me has been finding Janet's blogs - which includes not only the wise words & humour from the good shark, but all the rest of you guys too. Lots to absorb and learn from.

Wishing everyone a joyful, prosperous New Year!

(We're sitting by an open fire with a bottle of port, eagerly awaiting the killer moment when the 4 in the Google Doodle knocks the 3 off the dance floor.) #mylifeisexciting

Colin Smith said...

Who says not to read the comments?! The comments are the second best thing on this blog--a blog for which I am very thankful. You regularly give me something to smile and/or think about. And the writing contests!!

Here's to one of the best blogs on the 'net. May 2014 be an awesome year for you, Janet, both professionally and personally. :)

nightsmusic said...

I'm just so grateful to have found this blog, your words of wisdom and the courage to even post here. (I don't swim and I'm pretty sure most here don't remember Land Shark...)

Thanks for everything!

Always read the comments. Sometimes they're the best part of the blog.

french sojourn said...

Happy New Year to all.
Thank you for your blog...with your approval I would like to sign up for another year.

Cheers to all the writers that comment on the blog...love you all and appreciate the thought that goes into all your posts.

Sherryl Clark said...

I have a constantly growing list of books to read, thanks to your recommendations.
And here in Melbourne (Australia), a couple of people are about to open a cat-patting cafe. Things are looking up!

Anonymous said...

Sheesh. That's what i get for being out of pocket a few days. You've been on a roll here on the blog.

Ditto SiSi..and frenchsojourn.

@Michael Seese - you keep us on our toes, that's what you do in 2014!!

Lenny Liang said...

I'm a bit late on this, but Happy New Year everyone! And thanks again to Janet for her wonderful blog and writing contests. Discovering them was definitely one of my 2013 highlights (along with getting engaged :). I wish everyone a creative and productive 2014!