Saturday, December 20, 2014

A quick contest of sorts-Now closed

I don't have a blog post prepared for today. I spent much of yesterday reading queries and watching my minion tidy her desk before she abandoned me for two whole weeks of something she called vacation (I had to look it up. Sounds fun.)

I ended up requesting three manuscripts yesterday. As you know I keep them in a file folder, numbered and dated so I can keep track of how behind I am on my reading.  I'll talk more about why this number is what it is next week (it's been an interesting year.)  In the meantime, let's have some fun.

The first person to correctly guess the number of requested full manuscripts in 2014 (both proposals and manuscripts) wins a prize.  (That prize may be me, lying on their couch weeping at the stack of unread work...or a book.)

You can enter ONCE and there are no do-overs. Enter twice and you're disqualified.  Assume it's a whole number. Assume more than three and  fewer than 1000.

Also, (this is an add-on after 7:56am--you can choose which prize you want: me sobbing on your sofa, OR a book. And why.)


Someone has in fact guessed the right number, and the comments are topping three digits so I'm going to close them.

I haven't laughed this much on a Saturday morning in years. (Usually I'm reading your contest entries on Sunday)

Results will be posted on Monday.

Thanks for a GREAT deal of hilarity.


Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...


Kitty said...


BonnieShaljean said...


(WHAAAAAAAAT? Working instead of chatting to US? How *could* you????!!!!)

Gail said...


Ellen said...


Sarah Meral said...


mhleader said...

My guess is 103.

And if I win, I want Janet to come sob on my sofa. Kitties are welcome to come too, BTW. Maybe YOUR kitties can convince my teenage (7 month) Coco to mind her manners. OTOH...Coco is pretty cute. (Named after Coco Chanel because my Coco had one stark white whisker in her otherwise black body when I rescued her at 6 weeks old--like her namesake, she knows how to accessorize. Unfortunately, white whisker fell out about 2 months ago. I keep hoping it'll grow back. Or Wite-Out will fix it. Something...)

christine edwards said...


kevin s said...


Janet Reid said...

Oh I do like the idea that you have to choose your prize here in the comments. Either me sobbing on your sofa, or a book.

Also, no one has the right number yet.

Jed Cullan said...


And you can come sob on my sofa if you bring cakes with you.

Unknown said...


Carolynnwith2Ns said...

In the early seventies the lottery started in CT. I’d play once in a while, never won big, never considered it anything but a sometimes fun distraction of anticipation. After my daughters were born I played five numbers that were a combination of birthdays and ages. In the almost thirty years of playing my special numbers, (seldom used now), I’ve never won. So I took my numbers, added them up and am throwing them your way.
My guess – 92.
If I lose, and I will because it seems way high, I will chalk up my loss to an addition error.
May your tidy minion enjoy vacation and to you, happy holidays and New Year.

Ava Jae said...

I'll guess 121.

Also, books are my favorite.

stacy said...


I don't have a sofa for you to sob on. Would you settle for a comfortable easy chair with an ottoman?? Cat included.

Janet Reid said...

oohh! Cats on the sofa (or comfy chair) are GOOD things.

And nobody is right yet.

Anonymous said...


Come sob on my sofa. No cats, but a dog who thinks she is one.

April Brown said...


S.P. Bowers said...


I have three cats, two couches (one place very nicely in front of the projector) a beanbag and lots of Christmas goodies. Hang out here and you won't be crying long. You're welcome to come even if I don't win.

Jed Cullan said...

I can rent some kittens for the day if you swing the contest my way, Sharky-Snookums. ;-)

Martha Mayberry said...


Come sit on my sofa and sob. I'll give you mulled wine and cookies. You can put your feet up in front of the fire and listen to carols while we decorate the tree. THEN you can tackle those fulls.

Unknown said...

My greyhounds chase cats, sorry. I'd love a book though.

ProfeJMarie (Janet Rundquist) said...

After using some very scientific guesstimation:


I confess that I'd really like to have you on my couch weeping, but after some thought, I figured that might be really awkward. On the other hand, my youngest child is truly delightful and he would have you smiling in no time, and that would be fun to watch that transformation.

On the third hand, we don't know each other at all and presumably you are less awkward in that kind of situation than I am, but to be on the safe side, I might just choose the book after all.

On the first foot, though, who knows what snap decision I would come to if I actually won? You like mystery and suspense, right?

Lynn Guelzow said...

Book for me! I love books!!

My guess: 617

Beth said...


And as tempted as I am by you sobbing on my sofa, I'll take the book. I have a very small sofa, and I suspect you might not like being forced into fetal position.

Michele Lynn said...

If I win please send a book.
My couch is usually full of teenage girls sobbing over their less than perfect suburban lives,

Janet Reid said...

honestly you guyz just crack me up completely.

And no one is right yet.

Alyssa Carlier said...

205 (I randomly smashed the keyboard)

Uhhhh. A book. Because, one, BOOKS, and two, I don't think my sofa is designed for such shocking scenes. For one, my house is not an aquarium. For another, my fridge only has one can of sardines.

Ruthy said...

I'll guess 301. You are welcome to cry on my sofa. I like a challenge and I need someone new to bake for. These people are animals and not in a good way.

Jed Cullan said...

Okay, I've been to the pet store and ordered three kittens and a puppy. Also got a massive fish tank and a baby shark. Now, I know what you're thinking, you like cats, and don't care much for puppies. Hence why I got the baby shark and puppy sized fish tank.

Can I have another guess at the number?

Gabby Gilliam said...

127. And I choose book because it would be a long trip for you to come cry on my couch. Although, if you feel like one of those elusive things called vacations, my couch is all yours!

Angela V. Cook said...

72. You can come sob on my couch. I haven't done any querying in a while, so my couch could use a good watering.

Antonia Malchik said...

I'd go for the book only because our cats have peed on the sofa so many times that sobbing into it might be unhealthy.

Anonymous said...

*thumbs up Angela* Even if her number is wrong, she deserves books for that comment!

Unknown said...

86. And I'm going to say book because I have a 5 year old and a 2 year old--I have enough people sobbing on my couch from time to time!

Tracy Townsend said...

42. Because Douglas Adams, and nobody else went there yet.

I'm going to go with the book. I comfort poorly. If you sobbed on my couch, I would stand around, shifting from foot to foot, repeating, "There, there" until I had exhausted all its manifestations as a part of speech.

Wade White said...

43 (because Tracy just stole mine, and for exactly the same reason I was going to use it too).

Mister Furkles said...

Okay, I guess 47.

I don't believe it is 47 but I like 47 and it doesn't get the attention it deserves.

So: Forty-seven.

Anonymous said...

162 - Sobbing on couch.

Read Anything said...

48 and I pick couch as it offers more writing potential. I could write such a good story that you'd request it and add to your stack

Anonymous said...

I'm going to guess 36. And while you're welcome to sob on my couch, I doubt you'd want to deal with the hassle of traveling to the middle of nowhere, so for the sake of your sanity I'll go with a book if I'm right.

Happy reading!

Janet Johnson said...

266. And hmmm. That's a tough choice. And my couch is super comfortable (not to brag or anything). But I get a lot of sobbing from my kids and I'm not the most sympathetic at times. Perhaps I would rather not anger a shark with my lack of sympathy. That could be bad for me. I better go with Book!

Janet Reid said...

It's nine o'clock on a Saturday morning and I'm contemplating going to the office, but yet I'm just sitting here laughing out loud at these comments.

No do-overs Jed-who-is-dead-to-me.

There may have to be several prizes since some of these comments are too good not to reward.

And no one has it yet.

Anonymous said...

I tried to get scientific with my guess and then realized we're talking about requests for fulls.

So. I'll just leave it to fate and/or karma and guess 88. No clue really, but three in one day definitely skews rational thought or numbers.

You can come and squall to your heart's content on my couch. Trust me, you'd wail at the sight of it anyway. It's very comfy, but 20 years old. Little dog has decided it's his chore to end it's misery and attempts to destroy a bit more of it everyday. If you're still weeping on it on January 2nd, I'm sorry to say you'll be hauled away to wherever old sofas go.

Sheila JG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rae Chang said...

49 because it is just so pretty

bass said...

I'm gonna guess 51. It seems like a cute and oft forgotten number.

Matthew Wuertz said...

38. My new age as of three days ago.

Uh, I'll just take the book. The other option sounds kind of creepy. Not Laird Barron creepy. Just a regular kind of creepy.

Denise Beucler said...


I can take the sobbing on a couch. Soon to be spawnling number two has me pretty hormonal s a good cathartic cry actually sounds great right now.

Or a book might be easier to get to Ohio.

Sheila JG said...

Quite a range - 12 to 427. Lots of 30s and 40s. Hmmm . . .


Sobbing agent or book? I can't decide. Maybe sobbing agent? You could be a cautionary tale for my kids - see kids, this is what happens when you don't have a backup minion. (Fixed)

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

I'm going to guess 55. Because Elka the couch-snuggling Doberman is 5, and because her registered name is Elka V.

ms. b said...

I tried googling 'how many teeth does a shark have?' because that seemed as good a way as guessing as any other. Wrong. Turns out we know so very little about sharks.

I will go with 111, because the number at least looks like shark teeth. (I suspect it's low.)

If, miraculously, I'm right - my couch is a great place to cry. And, it's a great place to read books. It's in Canada, so vacation for you! Unless, of course, you were kidding. In that case, a book will work, too.

MB Owen said...

Because you're behind...and because you don't know what a vacation is... and because I have Johnny Carson's all seeing turban, the number for 2014's proposals and queries is: 176

Definitely you're coming to my place and sob. I'll even get the fireplace going and grant a bottle of your favorite Scotch.

April said...


If I win I'll take the book, because I'm not willing to pay for your airfare all the way to Tokyo. ;)

Amy Simonson said...

138, and I offer my couch and access to all the alcohol in my house which is significant at the moment as I'm hosting Christmas dinner for 14.

Robin said...

118. You can have the sofa--and a box of Kleenex. I love books, but I can afford to buy them, or borrow them from NYPL. As for human contact--priceless--unless said human gets me into trouble and I need to hire a defense lawyer. Lawyers can get pretty pricey.

Kalli said...

Lots of people with low guesses - they must believe your sharkliness is rather hard to please!

I put a lot of thought and research into this. I estimated you must receive about 15 - 20 queries a day. Judging by chum bucket, you request maybe 1 or 2 of those. So the total number of full requests is anywhere from 365 to 548. I'm going to take off some for weekends tho, since even agents must have a weekend off once in a while. Or maybe just a Sunday afternoon.


If I win, I would like a book please. I was tempted by the idea of you sobbing on my sofa, because I've been doing exactly that ever since my beloved bunny passed away just over two weeks ago, and I figured it was someone else's turn, but I think a book might cheer me up more :-)

p.s. that was not a shameless bid for the sympathy vote. After all, this is not the X factor final

p.p.s if a shameless bid for the sympathy vote would have worked, then please disregard my previous statement

Kat Waclawik said...

53, and I'll take sobbing on the couch.

According to this ancient grimoire, Tears of Agent is the last ingredient I need for a potion to get represented, sell my book, and become wildly successful. (And you wouldn't believe the hell I crawled through to get the other ingredients. Rock dust in my eye from Toenail Clipping of Gargoyle, tinnitus from Feather of Harpy. Obtaining Smile of Cat left me with itty-bitty kitten scratches that stung for DAYS!)

Sometimes I wonder if my time would have been better spent improving my writing than questing... nah.

Becky Mushko said...

204 because it was my dorm room number for three years while I was in college, and it was my husband's house number where he grew up in New Jersey, plus those three digits were also part of my four-digit house number where I grew up (NOT in NJ).

Should I win, I'll take the book. My couch is full of cats, and they yield space to no one—not even sharks.

Anonymous said...


This is more nerve wracking than I thought it would be.

Amy Schaefer said...

Forty-six (46)

Andrea van der Wilt said...


You're very welcome to sob on my sofa. I have three gorgeous ex-street kitties for cat therapy on offer. I do live in Spain however, so you'd probably have to make some kind of vacation out of it.
Otherwise I'd love to win a book. If cat therapy fails I go for book therapy.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

303, I don't think anyone has taken that number yet?

If you want to sob on my sofa, I could borrow all or one of my sister's cats; the newest hellacious Kittens, the hide-under-your-sofa Bessie, the huge and clumsy ginger Toby, and the scrawny old king of them all, Goober.

Across the highway, there's a liquor store for some fine whisky or a schmancypantsy coffee shop, depending on your needs. And...(oops, that dreaded ellipsis slipped out) the airport is just 10 minutes away.

Sarah said...


You can come sob on my sofa, but can you bring a book? I'll make tiny red velvet cupcakes, or green Christmas tree spritz cookies.

Dena Pawling said...

Well, you said you just requested three, and I'm math-challenged, so I'll just multiple 52 weeks in a year by three per week, which equals 156. Yes, I had to use a calculator.

I choose book, because I have a teen-aged daughter, and honestly my house is already way too full of drama.

But nothing by Laird Barron. I scare easily.

Lora Williams said...

Three shall be the number of the counting, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, and neither count thou two, excepting that thou then goest on to three. Five is RIGHT OUT.

I have a himmy and a one-eyed Sheltie, and a downstairs floor that needs tiling, which (bonus) would take your mind off the unread MS!

Verna Austen said...

78? And I have 2 kitties and a comfy couch and lots of Christmas cookies...

Tony Clavelli said...

I'll guess 32. The prospect of reading a (possibly not entirely awesome) book a day for a month and still not being finished is rather grim. And I'd want the book--my couch is here in Seoul, so it'd be quite a journey just for a sob.

Kari Lynn Dell said...

102, because that was my kid's temperature last evening and it's approximately the number of cows and horses I have to pack feed to this morning. And I should take a book because I'm quite sure you don't want to experience the sensation of tears freezing on your cheeks.

Anonymous said...

31. The couch is open.

Calorie Bombshell said...

111.5 (.5 for that one manuscript you requested, then wished you hadn't)

Shaunna said...

142. And you'll have to sob on my guest room bed to avoid my kids sitting on you. But on the plus side, I keep all my books in the guest room.

Jed Cullan said...

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the reef
A shark was heard crying, distraught with grief.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
But a thief had been, and now they were bare.

He had taken the toys, and even the cakes,
Not just the real ones, but even the fakes.
Left there to distract him, for she knew he would come,
For those chocolate cakes, and a bottle of rum.

She would catch him, if it took her all night,
And then take out her frustrations, bite after bite.
But the thief was smart, he knew there’d be traps,
He’d come prepared, and avoided the zaps.

Oh, come on, what kind of shark rigs their fake cakes up to the mains electricity?
Someone should report that.

The Shark kept on crying, the thief had escaped,
With those cakes, she had lovingly baked.
The minion had gone, and she didn’t care,
Away on her holiday, she’d escaped from the lair.

But unknown to the Shark, the minion was near,
(Outside in the bushes drinking alcoholic egg-nog to keep warm)
Let’s just say she was full of Christmas cheer.
The minion knew, the Shark’s plan would not work,
So stayed outside to catch the burke.

“Yes, you’re a burke,” the minion yelled. “A horrible, stupid, burke.”
Then fell to her knees and wretched up five hours of booze.
“You don’t steal from the Shark,” the minion shouted, between wretches.
“She’s my fweind. I loves her. You a nasty man.
I loves you. I loves everyone. Oooh, a slug.
Can someone hold my hair to keep it out the vomit?
I’m never drinking again.
Bruaaaaaagh. Oh, I feel bad. Really bad.
I need to....”

The minion passed out, she couldn’t handle her drink,
and to make matters worse, her breath, it doth stink.
The Shark, she did smile, so proud of her friend,
although covered in sick, a bonus, she’d recommend.

She glared at the thief, he deserved some pain,
she backed up a few paces, and then took aim.
A short run-up, and then a large swing,
her foot to his nuts, she did bring.

He instantly crumpled, his hands clasped his balls,
“Oh, God,” he cried, “You’ve killed my crown jewels.”
The Shark grabbed her minion, and inside she did went,
Satisfied the thief, was no longer a gent.

No more crying was heard, in the house that night,
For Santa had been, and things were just right.
There were toys and sweets, even some cakes,
All of them real, none of them fakes.

Merry Christmas to the Shark, I hope you have fun,
With all those cakes and plenty of rum.

Spare a thought for the minion, she works really hard,
She deserves a gift, or, come on, at least a card.

Jennifer D said...


Couch, so you can hang with my very sad 5 year old son who thinks he's in an freaking Annie movie because I made him help me clean the house this morning.

Britta Boudreau said...

I'll say 77 for a book as the shocks in my couch are gone and I don't think a shark would find it very comfy.

Deep River said...

I'll guess 222, because if 111 looks like shark teeth (props to ms. b), then 222 could be shark teeth all worn down from too much chomping. All the couches are presently occupado by the wreckage of musicians, but the hammock between the coconut palms out back is a fine place for sobbing and procrastination. Just shoo the pelicans out of the way. They're harmless, no matter how much they clack their beaks and mutter imprecations.

Melissa said...


S.D.King said...

I am going with 105.

And somebody's got to sleep on my couch this Christmas - it might as well be you!

LynnRodz said...

26 You can come cry on my couch, it makes out into a queen size bed and quite comfy actually. I'll even have my French chef whip up a wonderful dinner with warm crusty baguette straight from the oven. The wine will be flowing and you'll soon stop crying, because who cries in Paris???

(I know, I'm bribing you shamelessly!!!)

Roslyn Reid said...

36. (altho we all know The Answer is 42!)

Jessica Vasko said...

117! And book. My couch has ugly green and white stripes and is easy to fall off of. Also, my dog doesn't like sharks or water.

Elizabeth Lynd said...

Ummm...I'll say 43. And I'll take you weeping on my couch, because then I can force you to listen to my son talking about the online anime dealing somehow with food he wants me to know about, instead of me. But I think you'll opt for the book. Can it not be anime?

Trong Nguyen said...


Eileen said...

108. You know why. As much as I’d like to host Your Sharky-Sobbiness on my insanely comfortable couch so we can banish all worldly cares with magical frozen umbrella drinks sipped straight from unicorn horns that have been lovingly polished and carved with ancient runes (I just received a Ninja blender and am now a Certified Master of Blender Sports), I will humbly request a book. My book, in fact, smoking hot from the presses after you negotiate a resplendent contract. You will, of course, have to start representing YA and MG. Wait… what? Time to wake up? Must have fallen asleep on my couch. Anyway, my answer is 108. You know why.

Dan McFadden said...


Theology Girl said...

47. I'd say you on the couch; I've heard shark tears have magical properties.

Colin Smith said...

My guess: 128 (the average of all the guesses as of 11:58 ET).

And I think I'd rather have you sobbing on my couch. It's a win-win for everyone:

My wife will feed you her grandmother's cheesecake, which is beyond awesome.

#1 child will share makeup tips and talk to you about her favorite books.

#2 child will teach you Korean, Chinese, and Japanese, and make her incredible Lo Mein for you.

#3 child will dazzle you with his Legend of Zelda skills, and invite you to team up with him... if you dare!

#4 child will draw your portrait.

#5 child will give you hugs and wait on you hand-and-foot.

#6 child will talk to you about anything. Anything. Don't expect to say much back.

And I won't need a book, because you'll bring all those awesome manuscripts with you for us to read. :)

Brian said...

37. I pick you sobbing on my couch(it really is comfy), that way I can read you my novel and you can't escape. I can also tuck you in, prop your feet up, it'll be like Misery. That was a feel good story right?

DLM said...

I *think* nobody's guessed 76, so I'll say that and ask the trombones to re-route to follow that big parade over there.

And I have a Gossamer who would welcome you with open paws, and you would be unable to cry, snoodling him and his magical fur.

Kelsey Hutton said...

52! One for every week of the year, and because that's how many books a regular Jane like me tries to read over 365 days.

JennyC said...


Will be in FL at my parent's with lots of nieces and nephews. Mom and Dad have a comfy couch for sobbing and the girls will paint your toenails cheerful colors.

Anonymous said...


A great, educational prize would be to see the queries of some of your hottest successes. or.....a book... ;)

DLM said...

*Intrigued by catjenkins' successful queries suggestion*

Colin Smith said...

*seconds catjenkins' successful queries suggestion*

Laurie Lamb said...

Crazy guess. 741

Amanda Capper said...


but we haven't heard from you in a while so I'm thinking someone has already guessed the right number.

And you won't come to Canada in the winter, who in their right mind would?


Bill Negotiator said...

I love anything that reminds me of The Price is Right! I'll select door number 1: the prize-package of Janet crying on my couch. Believe it or not, we have an aquarium full of clown fish and an over-eating wrasse next to the couch. What an emotional viewing party this will be. As appetizing as they look, I think you'd be better off waiting to go get sushi with us. Just saying.

And my shot in the dark is 879.

Josh Johnstun said...

189. You can sob on my couch. It's warm and I have Scotch.

El El Piper said...

Assuming that you will not necessarily read the entire mss for each and every request, and calculating weekdays of the year x 2.75 full requests per day, I reach the number over seven hundred. That seems impossible, but given the super-sharkly powers I believe you possess coupled with other circumstances of work and life I will say 716.
I'm enjoying all the comments/guesses!

Anonymous said...

My best guess is 8, for no other reason that I like that number. It's neat and tidy.

Just Jan said...

104, but only if you come sob on my couch. Can't say I've hosted a shark before, but I know just what they need--salt water, Scotch, and Reacher.

NotJana said...


Because that's how many arrows I've shot today and all I want to do now is curl up on the couch with a book and read. Instead I have to be a pretend-shark (because, really, I'm a teeny tiny clownfish at best) and chomp through a PhD thesis. There might be sobbing involved. And gnawing. And the letters w, h & y written bigger and bigger on the margin. And pleading for it to be over already so I can go back to reading books for fun.

I'm already on the final warning for sobbing on my rather opinionated couch - it threatened to become lumpy and change from incredibly comfy to, well, not so comfy if I don't stop with the waterworks - so I think a book would be the safer choice.

Rami McShane said...

Based on my completely unscientific calculations, I came up with 156. But I prefer odd numbers so my official guess is 157 .