Sunday, April 12, 2015

Week in Review April 12, 2015

It was lovely to come back on Monday and get back to work. Our topic was sex scenes in non-romance novels.

I am resisting giving any of you further encouragement on some of those double entendres. (But oh man, was I laughing)
I really liked what Craig said 
"There is nothing wrong with sex but I'd rather have it then read about it. The best sex in a book happens between chapters. The lead up to it and the after is more important than the actual act."

And didn't you all want to know the rest of the story after Mia Siegert's comment:
When working on my MFA thesis, one of my advisors famously gave me the following advice: "Needs more gay sex.

MB Owen brings up an interesting problem with the new info glut via Twitter:
 While I think writing what you want is the absolute's hard not to consider what Agents want because they are so dogmatic about it--or what they DON'T. One visit to #MSWL will do it.
In the old days when you were thumbing through the various indexes of agent listing, it was all very general. SF: yes or no. Romance: yes or no.
Now it's the Baskin Robbins menu and writers are left wondering if Cherry Delight has enough vanilla to be romance, or if all that delight makes it erotica.  And then agents kick them for not knowing, by posting those snide little tweets that assume what they want is so damn clear.  
 Speaking of desserts, did you see the cake AJ Blythe whipped up to celebrate the Writer's Digest news?
a woodland creatures cake! CHOMP! You taste so good!

And speaking of that award, let me just say that we ALL share this one. This blog would be nothing without you readers, question contributors, and commenters.  Huzzah for us ALL.

On Tuesday, the topic turned to deadlines and agent's missing them.

The first comment was from brianrschwarz and it's clear this man needs an ocular adjustment to remove those rose colored spectacles:
 Janet? In a towering rage? I don't believe it. Couldn't happen. She's like a teddy bear! 
You really DO NOT want to know what rage looks like here. The few who have survived it are generally unable to offer survival tips.

S.D.King bravely offered up this excellent point:
Writers treat agents like a cross between the stern headmaster and George Clooney. (Can I speak up? Will I get yelled at? Will he/she think I am stupid and cut off all communication?)

The author HIRES the agent in theory, but really the agent picks the author.

The agent is paid by the author and like all businesses, should seek to please the customer (I wonder if agents sit around thinking that a misplaced email will cause all communication to be shut off.)

When asked about my progress in finding representation, I tell people I am in the process of hiring an agent. NOT that I am wringing my hands, waiting to be picked last for dodge ball, wondering if I will ever find an agent so good they have the right to ignore me.

Janet, hope this doesn't sound like a slap to agents, since authors enable this as much as some agents allow it. I hope to someday hire an agent with whom I can have at least as respectful a relationship as I have with my plumber (a great guy whom I also hire to do work for me).

Other than the word "hire" I agree with this. Writers do not hire agents; agents are not employees.  Writers are not customers. This is not a retail, open to the public, business.  I don't spend any time at all thinking "how can I make a writer's experience here better?" Zero. I spend a LOT of time thinking "how can I do my job better."  
The difference is that we are risk takers together. Your risk is that I can sell your book; my risk is that your book is able to be sold. There's probably a more elegant way to describe this. (One weakness of the Week in Review is there is not a lot of time for revision.) 

I should have just kept reading the comment column instead of replying because brianrschwarz said it perfectly here:

I see what you're saying and I think there's some valid points in there... but I do think a differentiation needs to be made between the local plumber and the agent.

Although most of my knowledge of plumbing stems from Super Mario Brothers, I do know when I call my plumber, I have a list of 500 possible plumbers who would all be happy to take me on as a client as long as I pay them money. This is not the same for an agent. To ignore this fact is to not really take in the whole picture.

Yes, basic economics would deem that the agent is paid for the service they provide, but this is not a service that is open to the public (and for that matter, what an agent actually 'provides' is not an equal service among all agents. Some are better than others.). This is a service revolving around a partnership between two parties, a partnership predicated on a mutual interest where you are the product (and you're not the only product out there).

It's similar to a producer in a record studio. Sure, I'm the artist. I pay the producer and he adds his artistic touch to make my CD better... but if I fight him on every change, I'm going to end up with a garbage CD (assuming the producer is good) and I just paid a lot of money for a guy to hit the red record button.

It's an important distinction and it changes the relationship a lot. If my plumber only offered to service my toilet after I signed an agreement to only use him for his services, and via this contract I could also earn money for referring my wonderful plumber to other people, I'd certainly not view that relationship as simply as 'money in, money out'... especially if my referrals (books) were earning me a fair amount of cash.

Partnerships are not necessary for successful businesses, but they are also not viewed as customer and company.

Susan Bonifant has a good question:

Honestly, not only would it be humane to dash off a quick "I'm sorry (excuse here)" email, I can't think of a more understanding recipient than a writer who has been trying to deal with no response at all.
The problem is that once I send an email like that, the recipient replies, and will say something like "ok, when WILL it be done" and the answer is "hell if I know right now" and that's not really something you can say.  And the other horrible possibility is someone asks "well what the hell ARE you doing if you're not getting this done" and you can't say "well, you weren't important enough to be in the top three To Do things this week" even if it's true, especially if it's true. Yes, clients know they are not the one and only, but an agent does well to remember that no one likes to feel like they are the least important person on the roster. Ever.

Dena Pawling had a good question too:
I think one thing that's not mentioned by this questioner, is whether or not there's a HARD deadline somewhere in the future. For example, if the publisher wants the completed manuscript by June 1, and the agent is then late on getting her notes to the author, does that reduce the author's time to complete the revisions before the publisher's deadline? Or is there no looming deadline? The answer to that question I think is relevant.

Generally if an author is turning in a manuscript on an editorial deadline, it's at the top of the priority list. I turn those manuscripts around overnight as often as I can. I NEVER keep them longer than a day or two unless there's some horrible problem. I can't even think of a horrible problem that would mean keeping a manuscript more than a day  right now.

The missed deadlines I've got are on projects in the developmental stage, or on getting things out on submission. Once publication is in the picture, those deadlines are a lot firmer.  Now, EDITORS missing deadlines, or getting notes back to authors late, that's something I know a lot about too. This is why you have an agent who knows when books have to be in production, and when covers have to be shown at sales meetings, and nudges the editor if the client hasn't gotten what s/he needs to make those things happen. Scratch any agent, you'll get a deadline story about editors.

And apparently there will be a Synopsis Summer Camp on Carkoon. I can't wait to see who the faculty will be.

And then, the entire conversation just went straight for the cookie and tea aisle of the market and never quite found it's way back to the topic.  And don't think I didn't notice your vegemite there AJ Blythe! We know all about vegemite here.

On Wednesday we talked about the utility of one sheets at conferences. I might have gotten a little hot under the collar because of the bad information that gets handed around to writers.

Mostly the discussion was about nerves.

Then Leone gave us this lovely story:
I've been to PitchFest (and CraftFest) twice. I agree with bjmuntain that the experience is valuable in sharpening skills and I did get requests from agents - though I realized later that I needed to work on the manuscript more. So it could be helpful for.

But the most amazing thing I saw there was author Jon Land, who spent THREE HOURS of his time meeting with a long, long line of authors who wanted advice on how to pitch. He made the offer during CraftFest and promised to stay until everyone interested had a chance to run their pitch by him. And everyone did.

Not only is Jon a successful author with plenty of other things to do, but he was in the middle of negotiating a publishing contract and several times had to interrupt the session to take a call. Yet he still stayed until everyone had pitched.

Why do I share this? Because writers are a community and the most valuable reason to go to a conference is to be part of that community. The rest is nice, but that is pure gold.

That is also why I love this blog, because it's such a vibrant part of that community. Amanda, as you can see from these posts, everyone here is pulling for you and/or praying for you and that is what it's all about.

On Thursday we talked about using pitch sessions at conference to get help, rather than to actually pitch.  There were a lot of good comments (especially CarolynnWith2Ns who really is good when she gets her rant on.)
Julie Weathers comment made me twitch:
At Surrey, Diana (Gabaldon) saw me in the vendor's hall. I was talking to a mutual friend who had a table. She waved at me and came over to visit. We'd only been talking a few minutes, she was mostly asking about my youngest son Will who was in Iraq at the time.

I wasn't going to bother Diana, because I was sure she got hounded to death, but was happy she came over to visit. Then lo and behold someone came over and did his best, nonchalant pose author. "So tell me, Diana, what do you think of the current state of publishing?"

Julie got up and left. I'd rather she sicced Mrs Chicken on him. That kind of intrusion with a faux question, which only shows what a social nincompoop the questioner is, makes me nutso.  It brings out my VERY worst instincts and had it been me, I would have likely replied "The state of publishing? Is that near North Dakota?"
Interrupting an existing conversation is a huge no no. Not just in publishing, but anytime. Unless your hair is on fire and one of the conversationalist has the only fire extinguisher in the room tucked in her purse.  The fact that Diana and Julie were pleasant about it kinda makes me nuts too. In being pleasant and non-confrontational, all we do is encourage that kind of disrespectful disruptive behavior.  If I were a better person I might say "I'll be glad to discuss the state of publishing with you after I've finished talking to my friend Julie here." And never finish talking to Julie.

I know there's no one reading this blog who would do something like that, but you're going to see it happen at conferences, mark my words.

And it turns out that Christina Seine keeps "an stash of emergency chocolate" which I think we all need to keep in mind when we meet her in person.

And just to keep you all on your toes, CarolynnWith2Ns commented:
needed a break from editing so I'm watching Janet's favorite movie.
"You're gonna' need a bigger boat."
Love it.

But my favorite movie is NOT Jaws. I do love it of course, and the theme music precedes me into any room, much like Ruffles and Flourishes is played for Mr. President, but my favorite movie is something else. Any guesses?

And Christine Seine said
Hey, I was thinking ... all of us furry woodland minions who are going the NYC conference should get together and hang out and share scary JR stories at the bar.
which NYC conference are you all going to? Cause I'm thinking we should have a party.

And Friday and Saturday was the contest, and I was a little surprised how much I missed the comments those two days!  It was…lonely!

On Saturday night I finished Catriona McPherson's new book THE CHILD GARDEN. It pubs in September. Buy it. It knocked my shark sox rightoff.

It's FINALLY getting warmer here in NYC. Some rain, but honestly if I can walk home without freezing to death, I'll take it. Although after a winter of hiding inside, walking all the way home appears to be something I'm going to have to work back into. Oof!

See you next week!


Kitty said...

Here's the bunnies' version of "You're gonna need a bigger boat" ... in 30 seconds ;~)

Anonymous said...

How did I miss that cake? That is just plain fantastic!

Bravo AJ Blythe. If you don't do weddings, you should probably start. :)

At the very least, open your doors to furry woodland events.

kregger said...

I think your favorite movie is "Message in a Bottle." Not because of heart-string tugging syrupy tripe, but because everyone should know how Kevin Costner got it in the end. That's right...shark attack!

Lizzie said...

AJ, what a beautiful cake! Did you slice it with steel-sharpened queries?

When is Sharkcon or Sharkooncon?

MB Owen said...

Oooh, Janet Reid's favorite Movie? I'm going for the classics: Double Indemnity or Rear Window. (Can't wait to see what it is).

Donnaeve said...

The Shark's fave movie isn't JAWS???

Hm. Pondering. Pondering.


I really have no idea, but I'll go with JACK REACHER, starring Tom Cruise.

AJ - I also missed the cake and don't know how! I agree with Brian, b/c frosting a cake is one thing, but making it look like art is a whole other level.

Lovely WIR! As always! Time to go breathe in some pollen. Have a beautiful Sunday all!

Dena Pawling said...

Thanks for answering my question. Your answer reinforces the idea that the agent and author are a TEAM. I think sometimes that idea gets lost in the twitches of the woodland creature whiskers.

MY favorite movie, not that anyone asked but I tend to NOT be the shy type, is Hopscotch. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Walter Matthau. After he passed away, I binged on his movies for a whole week. Wonderful actor.

Anonymous said...

Gah, I missed that cake! I love it.

RE the guy interrupting DG and I, I'm not really an angel When he crossed one ankle over the other, nonchalantly placed a hand on his hip and leaned on the table in his best author imitation, it scooted out from under him. I howled like a hyena.

The rest of the gnomies, our writing gaggle, finally determined he must be the son of the peroxide blonde who was so rude to Janet in that panel session. So, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

And, I will never forgive myself for skipping Janet's class. She put a LOT of work into those query critiques and it was very rude of me.

But, you're right. We shouldn't have encouraged him by allowing that rude behavior and I won't in the future. I'm getting too old and grouchy to be nice.

"which NYC conference are you all going to? Cause I'm thinking we should have a party."

You should. Not the same thing at all, but the birthday party in Denver still makes me cry to think about. Writer get togethers are awesome

KariV said...

I vote for Finding Nemo - featuring a shark that's absolutely terrifying when provoked, but helpful and heartfelt on most occasions. Where else do you see a shark going out of its way to benefit the poor souls trying to find their way through the Big Blue Unknown of the important things in life?

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Janet's favorite movie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Hahahaha, I just love that title.

Colin Smith said...

Yay! Another cool reminder of all that was said this week. And that cake. It deserves its own blog. Good job with that AJ.

Christina: Come to Bouchercon in October and bring your chocolate. :)

Janet's favorite movie? For some reason I want to say "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Perhaps its because it about the little guy against the machine, and he is relentless in pursuing his cause until he succeeds. It sounds so much like what it means to be a writer in the publishing business, and as a writer advocate, I can see how that would appeal to Janet.

Wow, a serious comment. Clearly I need a nap. :)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

KariV, way to make the rest of us look bad :)

Anonymous said...

Of course Jaws isn't Janet's favourite movie. The shark loses, doesn't it?

And I'm going to second KariV: I'm sure her favourite movie is Finding Nemo. (I'm strange: the only quote I ever quote from that movie is the seagulls: Mine! Mine! ... or maybe I'm just greedy.)

Diana is a very gracious lady. She might have said something cutting to the fellow, but if Julie were to say something outright, I think she'd fail next to Diana's graciousness. I can understand why Julie didn't take the initiative in the exchange. I'm not at all saying that Diana should have taken the initiative, either. It's very difficult to be gracious and polite when someone else is being a jackass. I commend both of these ladies... the only thing I would have done differently from Julie is I would have stuck around until the fellow realized he wasn't welcome. And maybe, in a lull in the fellow's bravado, started back talking to Diana about the previous topic. (I know. Hind sight is 20-20. But now I know what I'd do in that situation. Thanks, Julie, for the lesson!)

As for the party in NYC... I'm starting to wonder if I can afford another trip there so soon (my last one was in November). I'd love to meet you all. But I'm thinking it won't happen this year. :(

I agree that conferences are a wonderful place to network with writers. I met two lovely ladies there the same year Janet was there (one was in Janet's workshop, sitting beside me) and they are now a big part of my critique group. We'll often invite people we meet at a conference, who seems like they might be a good fit, to join our online critique group. And I get to see these ladies and so many more friends there every year - that (and the quality of the conference) is the reason I go back every year.

Another conference story about nerves: One year, James Scott Bell was there, and I'd been chatting with him on Twitter before the conference and was pleased as punch he'd be at the conference that year. When the time came, though, I was too friggin' nervous to say 'hi'. Yes, I get famous-people jitters, too. He told me on Twitter that I had to come see him while he was signing books, so I did. I cautiously held out my hand and said, "I'm BJ." He looked up, then saw my nametag, and he grinned and enthusiastically told me how nice it was to meet me. And other times at the conference after that, he would single me out with a grin. He did a lot to help the nerves of a Very Nervous Person.

Since then, I've met other authors and you know what? Even famous published authors are human! Who knew? Anyway, most of them are very nice and I no longer get as scared to talk to them. *As* scared. Maybe a little...

LynnRodz said...

Hey, Janet, sorry for hijacking your blog, but I wanted to tell everyone who came to mine last week and left a comment that I really appreciated it and I will definitely reciprocate once I'm back in Paris. I'll also try to get to as many blogs as I can.

Don't get me started on the weather! When I left Paris it was 11°C, I landed in Dubai at midnight and it was already 26°C. When I got to Bangkok I came out of the airport to 38°C in the shade! Let me put it this way, when you're baking cookies and you open the oven door to see if they're done and that blast of hot air hits you...well I'm the cookie baking in Bangkok and Carkoon is looking like paradise!

I'm heading to Hong Kong next and hopefully the weather will be a lot cooler. Wifi has been hit and miss and typing with one finger on my phone (instead of ten) is not my cup of tea so if there are a lot of mistakes here, it's staying that way.

Donnaeve said...

Geez Globetrotter, I mean Lynn, if you type that well w/intermittent wifi and only ONE finger on a PHONE and just so you know, I sure didn't see any glaring typos = I'm doomed.

Even when I TRY not to have typos, I have typos.

John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur said...

I missed the "plumber/agent" discussion, but as someone who has had two agents and who last fall had the mother of all sewer problems, let me just say, if I had to pick one or the other, I'd take a good plumber every time. My agents have had some success with me, but my plumber made it possible for life to continue.

Donnaeve said...

Kitty, funny! Weird. But funny!

Karen McCoy said...

Thanks, Kitty, for including the 30-second Jaws by bunnies. Weird, yes, but that's what I like about them!

The bunnies
have many movies, and I love them all. Especially Titanic.

Janet's favorite? I have a few guesses, all of which are complete shots in the dark (perhaps
A Shot in the Dark
might even be one of them.

My guesses are:

Classic: Maltese Falcon or To Kill a Mockingbird

Modern: Shawshank Redemption or Fargo

Colin Smith said...

Just in: Confirmed for the Synopsis Summer Camp on Carkoon, Ms. Jorgoon Stoldwiykk, who earned her Master degree from Fifty Shades School of Editing, Flagellation, and Embalming. She will lecture on "Synopsis, or impaled through the toenail and left hanging over the Great Pit of Carkoon: you have a choice." She'll also be teaching a class on The Synopsis and Comparative Torture.

I know you're as excited as I am. :)

LynnRodz said...

Whoopie, I still have wifi tonight! I lost it 3 times earlier, Donna, and I wasn't about to rewrite everything - call it luck. I am feeling out of the loop, but it seems congratulations are due to Janet for her blog! (As if we didn't know she's the best!) And to A.J. for that beautiful cake!

LynnRodz said...

Oh yeah, Janet's favorite film, that's easy: Last Tango In Paris. (I know, n'est-ce pas?)

Now to bed, it's 3:40 a.m.

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Wonderful WiR. Thank you Golden Shark for your genrerosity.

I missed the cherry vanilla comment and I skipped Tuesday altogther. Feeling guilty. Maybe I should be impaled by my big toe. Colin, that's too graphic!

If you do have a party in NYC and I can't attend I'll cry my eyes out. I'll console myself with Glenmorangie and dark chocolate.

I'm curious to know what is Janet's fav film and also what was the first book she sold. If the movie is not Jaws it's probably not Terminator either.

W.R. Gingell said...

Hang on, wouldn't her favourite movie be something with George Clooney in it?

And lol at Colin's Carkoonian Synopsis Summer Camp. Should we bring our own stakes, or will there be a Impaler Specialist? ( I hear Vlad is once more available: he might like the change).

Colin Smith said...

W.R.: I've heard rumblings that a distant relative of Vlad, Dave the Assessor, is doing the lecture rounds on Carkoon. He's not in publishing, but it seems his lectures appeal to those with a fascination for inflicting pain (e.g., agents that demand a synopsis). He used to work for the I.R.S., but was fired. Too sadistic even for them. He seems to have found an eager audience here, though. :)

Sam Hawke said...

Wow, AJ, when did that cake appear? I totally missed it. Yum! Do you ice professionally? :)

Re the Diana/Julie interruption, while it would have been nice for that socially impaired idiot to get a mini lesson in manners, I can understand why Diana didn't do it. She's (understandably) curt one time, and suddenly this guy is posting online about how horrible she is, and how she made him feel like a worm for daring to say hi. She's got a well cultivated reputation for being lovely and it's almost certainly not worth it to her to mess with that, no matter how much he deserved it.

Or she's just too nice to be curt with someone at all. Either way, I sympathise (I can't tell a hairdresser I didn't like the cut even when they've done a terrible job and not listened to anything I said. Hell, I can't even return a drink or a meal at a restaurant. Crippling politeness; it's a disease).

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Kitty, hahahahahahaha, LOVE the bunnies.


Yes that was me shouting from the roof top...well, from my back deck...well, on my computer screen...well, in my head.

Sometimes I just feel so unworthy :)

Amy Schaefer said...

Oh, Carolynn, you almost gave me a heart attack. The LI in flick looks an awful lot like a U when you scroll by quickly. Whew! That was better than a cup of coffee.

Secret message: The Paradise office plans to crash the Carkoon Summer Camp to deliver a lecture. Working title: "What are you fools still doing here? How to escape to Paradise and a better writing life." Subtitle: "I'm lonely over here. Come visit."

Finally, because I am a little overwhelmed and need to share with my fellow woodland creatures, I just got into #PitchSlam as part of #TeamMonsterMash. If my chest cold hadn't already robbed me of my voice, it would certainly be gone now. If anyone wants to read my pitch/first 250, it will go up on L.L. McKinney's blog around midnight, I believe. (My title is Remembering the Future.)

John Frain said...

Gotta get my vote in before heading back to work ... Put an X next to O Brother, Where Art Thou since, although sharkless, it combines Mr. Clooney and Misters Coen.

Colin Smith said...

Amy: Lonely in Paradise? Isn't that a book, or a movie? Or maybe a song? Or just your way of trying to make us feel sorry for you? Sorry, it's not working. ;)

Anonymous said...

Re the Julie/Diana situation. Diana wouldn't have been curt because, as Sam pointed out morons like that would love the opportunity to get on social media and yammer about how high and mighty she is. Once the detractors smell blood in the water it's a gritch fest.

I can't saqy how many times people have come to the forums and yapped about how much they hate the books and what a terrible writer Diana is on her forums. If she has time she asks what they didn't like about the books and they might have an intelligent conversation. If the person is just trying to flex their sentient whatsit, she says, "Well, not all books are for all people. I hope you enjoy the next book you read."

I didn't stick around because I knew Diana had to be at another panel shortly as did most of us. Plus, there was a private party later and we could catch up uninterrupted. She said a few words to the effect of no one knows what's going to happen in publishing and it's impossible for anyone to predict, let alone a lowly author. Then she excused herself.

That being said. I was irked and it did take a lot of tongue biting for me to keep my mouth shut, which I am not goood at.

AJ Blythe said...

To clear up any confusion, I didn't decorate the cake (I have an amazingly talented friend who decorates wedding cakes etc for a living).

Although I plan to open Carkoon's first bakery (Cakecoon) it will be doomed to fail (See here - I should stick to writing!).

AJ Blythe said...

Surely Janet's fave movie would have to be "Fifty Shades of Grey" - it's about paint, right?

Flowers McGrath said...

Yay WIR! Janet's fave movie Fifty shades paint comment gets a major outloud ha.
I appreciate all the looks at my blog as well.
I have always been poking around on commenters links before the big Thursday event. Still am. I do get a little awkward and finger tied when it's time to comment. Not sure why but I do enjoy everyone here so very much.
How many thank you's to Janet? A whole lot!

Amy Schaefer said...

Colin: Lonely for fellow writers. Around here, it's me and the kids in my writing club at the local school. And although a) they are delightful and b) I am ridiculously immature, they aren't exactly a peer group for me.

Hearing about everyone getting together at conferences makes me cheer for you all, but it also gives me a slight case of the sads. Nothing beats seeing your friends IRL.

AJ Blythe, you needed to slap a beverage warning on Cakecoon. And that cake was gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

I keep coming back here to look at that darned cake and I'm on a diet. That's how masochistic I am

I adore, y'all and like Janet I missed you while the comments were down. I had to actually work. It was sad.

AJ Blythe said...

Cakecoon Special of the Day: Vegemite and Cheese Scrolls

Amy, you should pop on Down Under for conference :) Every August RWAust holds their conference and they are welcoming to everyone, regardless of what you write. I write cozies but have learnt heaps on craft and other things (psychopaths, how to kill with everyday objects, poisons... to name a few).

Anonymous said...

AJ - you can bake. That makes you a plus in any circle. Your creativity means you fit right in to any writers' group.

And, you know. Cake.

Colin Smith said...

Amy: It's true. This is a wonderful little community, but nothing beats IRL. I won't rub in too much about Bouchercon here in NC where I'll get to meet Janet and some of the gang (The Gang!), along with some published writer-types. But then they talk about NY get-togethers and I'm thinking, "Me too!" but I can't afford that. I may as well be in Paradise. :) Bouchercon NC only works for me because it's 80 miles from where I live and I have family in the area.

Anyway, I feel your pain and agree with you. Maybe QOTKU will have mercy on me and permit me leave from Carkoon to visit you. :)

Colin Smith said...

AJ: I have a jar of Marmite with a "Best Before" date somewhere in 2011 I think? That's more along the lines of Carkoon sensibilities. Personally, I like Marmite, especially on buttered toast. (For those that don't know, Vegemite is the Australian cousin of Marmite--not quite as strong, so I'm told).

And your cakes look really good, btw. :)

Dena Pawling said...

I found the following quotes on the Wikipedia article on Vegemite, if anyone's interested:

- U.S. President Barack Obama, in response to a question in March 2011 during a joint visit with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to a high school in Virginia, gave his impression of Vegemite by stating "It's horrible" and, following a description by Ms. Gillard, summarised it with "So it's like a quasi-vegetable by-product paste that you smear on your toast for breakfast – sounds good, doesn't it?"

- "Vegemite (The Black Death)" by Amanda Palmer, from the album Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under, was released 21 January 2011.

- Ian Hecox from YouTube channel Smosh tried Vegemite in his 2011 "Insane Foreign Food Test". His response after eating was that it tasted like "sour death" and that he "never wanted to see Vegemite in his face ever again".

- KIDS vs. FOOD from YouTube's REACT channel created by The Fine Brothers had ten children try Vegemite in a video uploaded on August 28, 2014. After responding to the appearance, smell, and taste of Vegemite, all conclude they would not recommend it.

Craig said...

Thank you Janet for letting me lead off your comment section. There was more I wanted to say but time was too short.

As a writer I think of sex the same way that I think of monsters. The most effective presentation is to leave it to you reader's imagination. Of course there are many shades of... um colors on both sides of that. I'll leave that to your imagination as well.

Long ago and far from where I am at the moment(a weekend in Hong Kong, the city that is truly at the edge of civilization) I turned a co-worker onto the Dresden Dolls. The usage of Amanda Palmer turned me into some kind of idol for a bunch of tattooed girls in Orlando, Mickey's second home. I am still glad I didn't take advantage. It surprised me to see a Romance writer use her name.

I am heading back to the scariest place I have ever been in a few hours. Hope to be back in a normal world in a week or two.

Anonymous said...

AJ. I'm legitimately more impressed by your cake attempts... here you set yourself up for failure and I looked at them prepared to guffaw... and instead I found myself not only hungry but impressed.

If I tried to make a cake it would look like this -


Anonymous said...


I know about the conferences. We were just discussing going to NYC. One of the gang lives there and has a lovely old, very large home. We're of a mind we should go to a conference there and bribe QOTKU with some very good scotch.


Christina Seine said...

Another awesome week in review! I love these - they make me smile all over again.

I am currently one very bleary-eyed woodland creature. Today is Pascha, the Orthodox Christian Easter. I have been awake almost since Saturday morning. It has been a joyous feast though, everyone sufficiently exhausted and well sugared up. Not only have I traded my emergency chocolate for an emergency stash of Tums, I never want to see another malted robin's egg for the rest of my natural life!

Colin, wish I could make it to Boucheron, but I am attending the Writer's Digest conference in August. I hope all of us woodland creatures can get together for a group photo with the QOTKU (which I believe would be called a "sharkie").

By the way, what an awesome group of contest entries this time! This furry little family of minions has such talented members. I don't envy Janet having to pick only one (or two).

Sam Hawke said...

Amy, congratulations on #Pitchslam! Awesome news.

AJ I love a cheesymite scroll (an absolute failsafe for my kids' lunches) but I've been looking for a good recipe for them as a yeasted bread rather than the kind of scone texture in the one I have (which is like the one you posted). They are much faster to make that way of course but don't seem to reheat so well when they're sconny, and I ideally like to make a big batch and dole them out to the kids from the freezer as needed.

As for you heathens not understanding vegemite - I put it to you that there is a psychological problem, not a taste one. You expect not to like it so you don't. I don't think there's enough genetic specificity to Australians that our taste buds could be so different. ;)

Now THIS is a cake. Vegemite cake

charles joseph said...

Great Job Calorie Bombshell, and everyone else as well. I've done two of these so far, and it's a fun challenge. I think i'm one of the scary ones though, so i'll tone it down next time.

DLM said...

I'm late to the WIR, but have been sort of not-around a lot lately (and I miss the community and our host!). Gossamer has been nestling me a lot to make up for it, but y'all are not easy to substitute for.

The Diana story reminded me of this past October, when Hugh Howey was at the James River Writers Conference. A more generous and gentlemanly guest would be difficult to imagine - though, it may be said, JRW gets a particularly wonderful lot every damned year.

I found him in the main session room at some point, and ... I do NOT suffer from shyness really, when it comes to speaking to anyone at a conference. We chatted quietly for a couple of minutes, and were interrupted by someone similarly to Julie's story.

He didn't have any apparent reaction, and I honestly felt I'd "had my turn" as it were, and thanked him for letting me pester him. I sort of thought it was in the revolving-door nature of interactions at any conference, so stepped off without a second thought.

Of course, I'm not FRIENDS with Mr. Howey and nothing we were discussing was special nor un-interruptable, so maybe this situation was different.

Now, give me a chance to meet Le Shark (if I could ever know I were going to, I'd come armed with a certain Editor Cat so she couldn't resist me ... or him anyway), I might be upset to have to step off for the next in line!

But, yeah, I never thought the guy who cut my time short was rude or doing anything wrong. I got to meet Hugh Howey, and he was lovely and nice, and I got to thank him for just that. What conferences are for, for my money. :)