Sunday, May 10, 2015

Week in Review 5/10/2015


I'm not sure where this week went. Getting back to a regular schedule after several weeks of events, travel, and a reading retreat has been harder than I thought. WELCOME but harder. Next up is BEA but that's in town (so no travel involved)  and actually does feel a bit more like work than closing down the bar at Malice does!

In the week in review for last week, there was a lot of discussion of fan fiction and copyright.
Megan V had very useful information to add:
Generally, Fan Fiction (particularly fan fiction that is for sale!) IS a copyright violation. It falls under what's known as derivative works. A derivative work is a new work that includes aspects of a preexisting, already copyrighted work.

There are two typical exceptions:
1. Consent
2. Fair use

Fan fiction works that are not for sale might have a good case for fair use. But if fan fiction doesn't fall under these exceptions, then it's probably in violation the original author's copyright.

If you want more details- check out some great scholarly articles on the the topic. I recommend Michelle Chatelain's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Copyright Law: Fan Fiction, Derivative Works, and
the Fair Use Doctrine, 15 Tul. J. Tech. & Intell. Prop. 199, 202 (2012). (She argues that even Fan-Fiction that is sold falls under fair use -stating that fan-fic is unlikely to commandeer the market of the original)

That said, authors tend to turn a blind eye to fan fiction or even encourage it when the fan-fic author isn't trying to hoodwink the world- hence the muddling. It's just up to the author to enforce the copyright.

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli asked:
All the comments about Fan Fic and copyright infringement spurred me to wonder how agents and publishers deal with it. What is done to protect the rights? A self-pubbed author should consider this before publishing. They stand alone. But the team who sells a book and represents an author and their own investments (the publishing house), what do they do? What about audiobooks put illegally on Youtube? What happens? Does the author-agent-publisher team hire lawyers and sue, actually receive money?
There's a difference between outright theft (audio books on YouTube) and fan fic.  The publishing contract an author signs spells out what happens if any kind of lawsuit for infringement is contemplated (fan fact is infringement as is outright theft) Generally the infringement has to be something pretty major to warrant a lawsuit. The outright theft stuff is easier: the rights holder files a notice with YouTube that the material hasn't been properly cleared. It's called a Take Down Notice. This kind of theft is so common now that filing these kinds of notices is almost routine.

I must confess my jaw dropped when I first read this from Dena Pawling:
And DLM, happy bday to Gossamer! My youngest is 16 tomorrow and she wanted her ears pierced for her bday, so that's where we went yesterday.
Because I thought it was her cat getting pierced ears. Then I realized that some people have these things called "children" by which I mean not-cats.

AJ Blythe asked:
Question for Janet... I'm writing cozies so when I saw the announcement of Best First Novel (Agatha Awards) I bought it. I figure it must be a good example of where to set the bar for a debut, yes/no? In your exalted position as QOTKU would you recommend this as a strategy? Or is just reading widely in genre enough?
Very much recommend. I think you should read all the finalists (there are usually five) for Best First and Best Novel. You should also keep an eye out for the Macavity Awards which also tend to be cozier than the Edgar list.

On Monday, I posted some suggestions for how to interact with my ilk when you meet us in the wild.

S.D.King has demonstrated her desire to join the exiles on Carkoon:
    If I drank, the plan would be: hang out at writers' conferences, wearing a prominent "Janet Reid" name tag.
    Nobody knows what she looks like, and I could request fulls from everybody. Happy all around. (until Monday morning email at Fine Print.)

The Sleepy One asked:
1. If an agent read a full from an author but rejected it (versus just rejecting a query), is it okay for a writer to mention it? I might be in this exact situation at a writing conference in June. (Note: I've never queried Janet, so she's not the agent in question.) I also don't want to create an awkward situation.

2. Would the advice change if the agent's rejection on a full also said she wanted you to query her with future projects?

Here's where you all need to remember that there's a difference between how you start a conversation, and where a conversation can end up.  If the conversation flows in such a way that mentioning a previous submission fits in, well, have at it.  But STARTING the conversation here is a bad idea.
If you meet an agent, start with something that's about him/her, NOT about you.  And try not to steer the conversation toward your work.  This is easier if there are more than two people in the conversation of course.

On Tuesday we talked about calls to writers that were not offers of representation, i.e. not The Call.

brianrschwarz summed up the situation handily:
It's easy to get caught up in "the way" it happens in the internet age. First you query, then you submit pages, then you get the call, then.... ect. When really, this isn't THE way, it's A way it happens. And everybody has a slightly different way and some strange circumstances that go with it. If by some mastery of luck and fate I end up with an agent, my story would include self publishing a novel by accident when I won a contest and didn't understand what self publishing was, going to BEA without a clue or a finished book, and submitting a manuscript to an agent and later withdrawing it to submit another...

Stephen Kozeniewski's story made us all groan with sympathy:

    I once got a call from an agent. It was 7:00 pm on a Tuesday. My wife was working late so I was alone. It was a little late to get calls, and I don't get many calls in general anyway. I squinted at the phone, not recognizing the number, but, okay, I generally answer even if it's a telemarketer, just to make sure it's not something important.

    "Hello, is this Steve?"

    I was a little bit groggy. It had been a long day.


    "Hi, this is Agent X."

    I sat bolt upright on the couch.

    "Yes, hello!"

    "Agent X with Agency Y."

    "Yes, yes, I know who you are."

    "Well, you sent me a query a little while ago."

    "Yes, I remember!"

    "Well, I just wanted to call to let you know that you forgot to put your email address on the submission form. So I couldn't e-mail you back. But we're passing."

    "Oh...okay...thanks for calling."

    "Okay, take care, Steve."

On Wednesday we talked about prioritizing agents to query based on where they've sold work previously.

I like what Elissa M said:
Maybe I'm dense, but I don't pay much attention to what publishers an agent makes her sales.

When researching an agent, I make a list of her clients' books. I go to the bookstore and see if the books are on the shelves. I examine the books and buy the ones that look interesting to me. (I can't tell you how many great reads I've found this way.) If I I like the books, that agent goes on my list of agents to query.

It's pretty simple, really. A good agent will have clients whose books are easy to find and purchase. Otherwise, what's the point?

And honest to godiva, some of these posts are just pure prose poems. Like this from Christian Seine:
Sometimes I listen to my kids talk around the dinner table making their plans for the future and think of us woodland creatures ...

Oldest son: Well when I grow up, I'm going to drive a Lamborghini.

Mom: Sure you will, honey.

Youngest son: Well when *I* grow up, I am going to have a limousine, with a driver who knows kung fu and parkour. And it will have an ice cream bar and a button you can push and Nerds (candy) come out. And a thing to rub my feet.

Mom: Ooh, I'll have to drive with you often.

Oldest daughter: Stupids, you'll be lucky to drive a beat up old car like mine.

Mom: (takes a bite of food so no one can hear her laughing)

Other daughter: Not me, because by then Mom will have sold a bunch of books and we'll be bazillionaires. And I'll get my Harley. A red one.

Mom: *chokes on food*

Youngest daughter: Mommy are you okay? Can I do the Heimlich on you? I know it, because one time on Power Puff Girls this guy was choking and ...

Youngest boy: Power Puff Girls are stupid.

Youngest girl: YOU'RE stupid.

Oldest daughter: *snaps photo of choking mom with iPhone and posts it to Instagram.*

The point being, sure I *hope* I get a Lamborghini agent, or even a cool yellow Mustang agent, or especially a Dukes of Hazard car agent. But in reality I'll be beyond thrilled with a slightly dinged-up SUV agent that could use a new radio and a good detailing, because I know they'll get me where I need to go.

The conversation then veered off in to agent who are also writers. I like what bjmuntain said:
Rather than worry about what an agent does in their off time, it's more important to find out what they do in their 'on' time. That's what the research is for. When you get 'the Call' (and you can't copyright titles or phrases :P [though I know of a trademark owner that got out of hand - ask if you want that story]) - as Janet said, that's when you find out if you can trust the agent and what the agent will do for you. You could even ask, "If you ever decide to leave agenting for any reason, what would happen to me?"

Given that I spend considerable time on this blog, and over at QueryShark, I hope no one will fail to query me cause I'm busy writing something other than rejection letters.
And I should also mention that the discipline required to write every day, to be clear about explaining things, and to have to justify or defend a position, well, all those things made me a better writer. And being a better writer, learning how to be a better writer, makes it  easier for me to figure out what does/doesn't work in novels.  And it gives me some sympathy for those of you staring at a blank page thinking "what the hell am I doing here."

And yes, most agents who write for publication have an agent to represent their interests. Often it's an agent not with the same agency.

and to wind up the day perfectly, Her Grace, the Duchess of Kneale asked:
Colin, if you're wearing your underpants on your head, where are you wearing your mismatched socks?
Like the revolution, I hope the answer will NOT be televised.

On Thursday the topic turned to the hybrid author (one who publishes independently, and one who publishes traditionally)

AJ Blythe asked a good question:
What issues are there with having contracts for previous books? Surely the agent only has to worry about the books that come from the first contracted to them?
Sadly, no. The contract with the FIRST publisher often governs what can happen next. There are two contract clauses that can trip up the unwary: the option clause and the competing works clause.  
The option clause gives the FIRST publisher the right to look at "the next book" and often provides a time frame for it.  That can mean the author can't publish anything until the option clause at the first publisher is satisfied. A badly drawn option clause can mean you NEVER get to publish anywhere else again.

The competing works clause says you can't publish anything that diminishes the value of the work being licensed in the contract. Depending on how that clause is worded, and the expectations of the publisher, ANY work can be seen as diminishing the value of the book. 

There's a reason I demand that my clients show me all contracts they sign and you're looking at it.  Even if I'm not the agent of record on a deal, I am my CLIENT'S agent, and my job is to watch out for obstacles in their career path.  If they want to jump over them, great. My job is simply to point out where they are.

Donnaeve said:
Maybe the agent would still want to untangle the mess if sales were stellar.
Chances of that are slim to none. If sales are stellar, a publisher has ZERO motivation to alter or amend the contract. Often too, these contracts are garbage because the publishers don't know what they're doing and resist all efforts by some whippersnapper hot shot agent to "fix" things.

Amanda Capper said:
My agent-less contract with the publisher was for only the one book. Should I mention that in the query? I'm thinking it wouldn't hurt. This publisher would have nothing to do with any further books I produce. I also retained movie rights. Ever the optimistic possum.

Unless an agent can see the contract, it's hard to say. Just mention that your book was published by X Publisher.  We know there's a contract with the deal. If an agent is interested she'll ask.  This of course means you KEEEP a copy of the contract (yes, I've had people tell me they didn't.)

On Friday, we discussed withdrawing a query, and more important, how to evaluate if you're actually ready to query.
I posted a picture of my files that showed one for withdrawn manuscripts. 

AJ Blythe asked:
The fact you keep the withdrawn mss is a little scary. Do you look at them when the resub is done? If not, why keep them?
First, I keep them so I can tally how many ms I requested/rejected/sent back for revision etc. in a given year.  Second, that file is for emails about the manuscript. If someone withdraws their ms, I keep those on file for awhile cause the writer often turns up again, and I can easily see what my comments were (if any).
I don't keep reading the ms, nor do keep it to compare to the new one.  Even if that seemed like a good idea, it's simply not possible to do that because of the time it would take.

Matt Blythe makes a good point, one I should have thought of:
But I do think there's a key point missing from Janet's list, which is that after you've completed the flowchart, you have to be willing to stop. You can make it as good as you can make it, but you'll never make it perfect, so you do have to willing to admit that. Plus, by the time you're through with all that level of editing, you're going to pretty much hate the thing. So tell yourself when you've done all you can do, you're sending it out. That's a key step, too. The willingness to face the rejections.

On Saturday, the topic was what does "send a list of submissions" mean.

Rob Ceres had a line that's going to get a mini-rant here:
I too would be sorely tempted to say none of your business, but isn’t that a bit of biting the hand that feeds you?

Let's just all remember that YOU the WRITER are the hand that FEEDS US, THE AGENTS.  YOUR work is what I sell. YOUR work is what readers buy. YOUR work earns my living.  It's easy to forget that, particularly at the query stage when so much of this is new and strange, but it's really important that you do NOT.

I agree with Rob that asking this, particularly at the query stage puts the writer in a tough position. And that SAYS SOMETHING!!!! about the agent who's asking.

*rant over*

The Sleepy One brought up a good point:
One agent asked if any publishers had seen my manuscript. She didn't request the manuscript before I said no.

That's a question I should ask cause it really does make a difference to me. If a prospective client has already sent this to editors at the major publishers, it's a less enticing project than one with a clean slate.  I always forget to ask, and in fact signed a client only to learn during the submission process that several of my first choice editors had already seen the project. (Not a good day here)

Miscellaneous items from the week:
Susan Bonifant said: 
It's not fun to be fearsome.
Oh yes it is!

bjmuntain's comment on marketing should be required reading for every writer. In fact, you should copy it, paste it to a new document, print it out, post it above your desk and memorize it. Today. Right now. In fact, there might be a test.

There's a huge difference between self-promotion and marketing.

Self-promotion: Telling.

Marketing: Showing.

Self-promotion: Buy my book!!!!!


- blog posts on similar topics
- interviews
- chats with possible readers about topics covered in your novel
- book trailers (but only if they're done so well that people will enjoy them without ever reading your book)
- finding your audience and engaging with them
- finding a need your book fills, then talking about that need
- the big marketing slogan these days is: Engage, engage, engage.

You're right. 'Buy my book spam' sucks. I like how Sam Sykes does his on Twitter. He'll be talking about something totally different, answering other people with made-up conversations, and the conversation will end with 'Buy my book' just thrown in as a sarcastic afterthought. And you won't see it coming, so it's hilarious. He does other types of marketing, of course, but I don't think I've ever seen him use 'Buy my book' seriously. Unless he includes the word 'seriously'. Which is also just funny.

The ones that say, "My book is out! Buy it!" are okay when the book first comes out, sort of as an announcement to your current followers who - you might believe - will also be excited. After the initial excitement, marketing gets more nose-to-the-grindstone, less 'Buy my book!' Or you'll drive off all the folks who have been reading all your posts and are now tired of that message.

Thanks to LynnRodz for a new word: sosie!

And brianrschwarz provided this week's phrase I'd use as my blog subheading, except I don't think Blogger will let me:
I hardly ever swear...

But fuck the odds. ;)

And honestly, the week is just not complete unless Julie Weathers cracks me up:

Even after we finished talking about the book, the conversation continued on about how he done her wrong. I excused myself, saying I had an appointment to get my wrists slashed.

For those of you having a hard time on Mother's Day because your mom is gone, or you don't have children, or both, I posted something on my Facebook page about how I'll be responding to "Happy Mother's Day" greetings. 


Jennifer R. Donohue said... everybody out with their mothers or kids or something? I'm about to cut up a couple hotdogs and take Elka to the park. She doesn't know yet, as I have not put on the Walk Shorts™ yet. She gets very excited too soon otherwise.

I just had to read the week in review, and realized I'd never commented on the "agents who are also writers" thing (I'm sure I prattled about something else).

I think agents who are also writers have guts because, as somebody else pointed out, they're also baring their fragile woodland creature selves to the sharks in the industry ;) I feel like agents who are writers have potential for a great take on what makes writers who are not agents tick, and can bring that unique take to the table in dynamic ways.

(whew, I wasn't Carkooned for the Good Fairy comment. Because I should clarify that I'm American, but Irish enough to feel fairies are rather terrifying inscrutable beings which much be appeased with things like milk and honey and whiskey lest they take your baby and turn your dog)

Christina Seine said...

Woohoo! I got an amazing mention from our blog mom! *does happy dance* Thank you Janet!! I look forward to the WIR so much!

Since today is a day for sappy sentiment, I just wanted to say thank you Janet for adopting all of us woodland creatures and taking such good care of us. You give so much of yourself on this blog, and while we know you are the fiercest shark in the literary sea, behind that double row of razor teeth lies a heart the size of an orca. May your day be filled with good scotch, Jack Reacher, and all colors of paint.

S.D.King said...

Not out with the kids. . . but I will take this Mother's Day to brag that kid #1 last week got his Phd and next week gets married to a wonderful woman. Feeling like I did a good job. I will spare you the lauds to kid 2 and 3 - equally proud.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Janet. I'm glad that bit on marketing is satisfactory - it's sort of my plan for when I get published. :) (Only an outline, though. I'm working on fleshing it out.)

And again, thank you for all your help here. Happy Mother's Day to you and to everyone - whether a mother or not. It's a day in May. I hope it's a good one for you all.

Donnaeve said...

A fine week in review it was!

Jennifer...that was me who made the comment about agent writers baring their souls to their peers in the industry.

And, your "Walking Shorts," comment had me rolling. In my house, Little Dog thinks it's time to go chase the *kitty when I walk a tad too fast towards the back door. *That's because I've had to fling my running shoe out the back door at a stray cat who was stalking birds at my bird feeder (which I have a view of from my perch at the counter)

As to Mother's Day around here..., we were supposed to host the clan and had to cancel. Hubby has been - if you can believe this - battling THE FLU all week - since last Monday. Temp of almost 105 at one point. He's been taking Tamiflu, but still has a low grade fever. Based on what I've read, he's contagious through Monday. Flu is some scary stuff.

Happy Mother's Day to all - except Ms. Janet. :)

Anonymous said...

Wonderful WIR (week in review)!

Such great stuff in the comments this week. I especially enjoyed BJ's differences between marketing and promotion. Somehow I missed this buried in the comments!

Janet's comment on writing daily really hit home for me. I recently read a wonderful article about the daily word counts of 39 famous authors and I've been reeling from it. It's easy to say something like "one day, when my job is writing, I will write 2000 words a day," but in truth this should be happening now.

The unquestionably heavy feelings of conviction I gained from this article (especially Michael Crichton's comments as he is one of my favorite authors) were very helpful. Hope it inspires a few of you as well to push yourself and your writing! :)

Susan Bonifant said...

I know I can't speak for the universe but I can speak for the rest of us on Planet Janet. Whatever you think the WIR means to us Janet Reid, it means much, much more.

Thank you for what you put into that every week.

Steve, I know I'm late with this response to your agent story, but *groan* just the same. Wow.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, SD!

And Donnaeve: I hope your hubby feels better soon (and that no one else catches it).

Jennifer: Dogs are wonderful when they're excited, but when they get excited too early, it gets hard to get ready to actually go. My little girl dog will run circles in front of my feet - 2 ft in diameter circles, at not-quite-the-speed-of-sound, right where I'm trying to put my foot down. I love that the Walking Shorts (TM) are Elka's clue. :)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Did a little yardwork, sat under a tree in the shade with old-dog and mini-dog. Came in for lunch, sat and read WIR, with a leftover chicken leg from last nights, mom’s day celebration. (Kids with in-law moms today).
The WIR, an intellectual reminiscence, with information, laughs and a lot of hot air. Love it.

And about all you mothers out there.
You don’t have to give birth to be a mother, don’t have to adopt, don’t even have to be female. If you step outside of yourself and love, guide and believe in the self-worth of someone else, you are a mother. If your kids have four legs, fins or wings you are a mother. And if your children are gone, you are still a mom, always a mom, a special mom, the kind who wears longing and loss as a badge until the day you are reunited.

Happy mom’s day to all.

And Janet, as one of your scurrying creatures who looks up to you, Hallmark-hell and overly commercial be damned, it’s your day too. Sometimes the best moms have fins that break the surface to warn the rest, don’t mess with my pups.

Anonymous said...

Brian: It was near the end of a comment stream. I think the next post was up by the time I added that comment. Most people had moved to new pastures. :)

Great article you linked to. As Crichton said, rewriting is an important part of writing. And it's hard to put a number of words to a rewrite.

Flowers McGrath said...

This will be my fourth attempt to leave a rational comment here, mainly re your fb post about Mother's Day. As always, first and foremost, great week in review! Thank you.
Jezebel had a sort of good acknowledgment to all those people who had to courageously break up with their mothers. I can say, I am still trying to reconcile reality based upon what it means when you have a mother who is just the antithesis of everything associated with what the world says mother's are supposed to be. It is never more painful and ironic to me then on mother's day. Especially, as I have sacrificed everything in the effort not to raise my sons in any way like I was. But I am always blindsided and since I didn't raise my sons conventionally they have no idea what to do for me on this day. I can say, "mom" is the most loaded word in my lexicon. I never feel more lumped in with the bad egg layer and an equally cracked and rotten egg then when I have to be grateful for my mother or am required to be properly honored by my sons then on this Hallmark holiday. I know how well I have done and how much they love me every other day except today and of course on the many marketed days leading up to it. Ugg. It's just they worst. To all the great moms, non moms who give to everyone, to all those who weren't mothered well, etc etc, I wish us all, even my own mom, Grace, today and always, to be the best people we can be to each other!

Anonymous said...

Happy Mother's Day where appropriate. My son took his ex and myself out to steak dinner yesterday for Mother's Day, whereupon grandson turned on two-year-old charm and held out his arms and smiled at every waitress who went by. They all had to stop and visit with him, of course, prompting the comment from Will, "Hmmm, I'm going to have to take Gavin out to lunch more often. He makes a pretty good wing man."

This led to a discussion about proper uses of two-year-olds, which apparently doesn't include being a wing man for daddy. Who knew?

"And I should also mention that the discipline required to write every day, to be clear about explaining things, and to have to justify or defend a position, well, all those things made me a better writer."

When I went to work for the magazine, the first thing the editor told me was we don't have time to wait on the muse. Sit your butt in the chair and write. Given we often had over twenty stories each and had to get results, pull research, statistics, do interviews and write stories on races that ran over the weekend and have them in by noon Tuesday, no one could wait on anything, let alone inspiration. I started out when we had to wait until Monday to pull all stats and research as none of the data bases were available online.

I figured out pretty quickly muses are curious creatures. If you just sit down and write, they show up to see what's happening.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

I've now performed the magic trick where my 3 dimensional Doberman is currently a Flat Dog on the Couch.

The Walking Shorts™ are a pair of grey camo cargo shorts I purloined from my fiancé, as women's clothing tends not to have pockets sufficient for dog walking supplies when you're 1. a nut and/or 2. a dog blogger (camera, a small squeaky toy, the bags, folding pocket knife, phone, clicker, house key, long leash for at the park, bag o' sufficiently valued treats). I supplement with a "treat bag" which is kind of a hopped up fanny pack (it's got a french hinge in the top). But that squeaky toy,'s a tiny hedgehog, too tiny for regular use for a dog her size, but I deploy it judiciously (mostly when other dogs are barking and she can't handle it) and it's a magical counter conditioner.

As for daily word count....I try. Sometimes I get in a 2k day, sometimes more. During times I participate in NaNoWriMo and its ancillary camps, I at least get in the 1667 words (or whatever my adjusted Camp goal is). If I don't make it, I don't kick myself too hard. The luxury of being not-employed-through-writing is I can write what I want and have no outside deadlines or expectations save those I impose on myself.

Unknown said...

WIR printed and added to binder.

When I was around twelve I decided to never have children and it's a decision I've never regretted. But whatever K or QOTKU was reigning during the 80's threw some stepchildren at me, just to mess with my head. Two out of the three called me today, so feeling blessed.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

I kept reloading my browser until the WIR popped up, then it was dinner time.

I'm honoured Janet mentioned me and took the time to answer my question. Curtsy to the Queen.

Agent-writers publish some awesome books. Most that I'm aware of are non-fiction. Noah Lukeman's are excellent. Kind of blew me away.

The option clause and the competing works clausse are now copied into a file and saved. Scary stuff.

BJ, copied your marketing definitions too.

Brian, enlightening link.

It's not mother's day everywhere. Not here anyway.

Donnaeve said...

BJ - thank you for that! I feel great so far and I think his "contagious stage" ends tomorrow. Unless I'm incubating.

Either way, I'm ready to get back to normal - whatever that is around here.


Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Flowers, I have always wondered what kind of day mother’s day is to folks whose mothers are profoundly less than adequate.

A dear friend of mine flew half a nation away to be at the side of her dying mother. She said to her, “thanks mom for showing me what kind of mother I should be.”
The mother felt comforted in her final hours and wept over the sentiment. She died, not knowing that her daughter had learned by example, to not become the self-centered and abusive mother, her own had been.

To suffer at the hands of someone who should love and protect you, is to emerge knowing that their sins are not written in granite. So, for us all, let each generation be better than the last.
Flowers, from one imperfect mother to another, happy mother’s day.

Flowers McGrath said...

Aww thanks, C. Teary eyed at that, but it's a day of tears I suppose. I am trying to forgive her, but I can't even be around her. Which cuts me off from my entire family. I have no idea what I would do if she was dying or died. Deep sigh. The weird part is you love your mom no matter what they do to you. Feels like you're set from birth to need and love them. It's a royal pain in the brain, a total mind maze of dead ends and self treachery. Off to keep cleaning! Well thx.

Anonymous said...

I just want to give everyone here a big hug.

(((group hug!)))

charlogo said...

Dear Janet Reid— just read your FB post on the topic of Mother’s Day. You say that you are not a mom, but, given the evidence on this site, that claim doesn’t hold up. Every day you tell us something we don’t know. You teach and scold and threaten. You post visual aids to help us get the message and shout when we don’t have the ears to hear or the confidence to understand. (I am a little scared of you.) You sum up the life lessons every Sunday. You show up even when it’s been a long week and you have lots of irons in the fire and you probably should just sit down and rest. You never stop, even when you must think “good grief, will you people ever grow into your adult writer-selves?” You accept us like we are—tweenish, awkward, struggling, questioning. You tolerate my dream when my own mother suggests that the group insurance at my day job is more important than my writing. What I’m saying is, You Are A Fierce Nurturer. So. When someone says “Happy Mother’s Day” to you, please sigh knowingly and wipe your brow and pat yourself on the back and say Thank You because you deserve it.

Dena Pawling said...

Sorry I made your jaw drop, Janet. Yes, I meant my youngest DAUGHTER getting her ears pierced lol. I have a dog, not a cat, but the dog definitely would NOT be interested in having her ears pierced either.

My previous dog loved loved loved my #1 son. We called him Shadow because that's all he did, all day long, was follow #1 around wherever he went. #1 was a range master on a Boy Scout archery range, and when he would leave for the weekend to run the range, he would wear a specific Boy Scout shirt. Any time the dog saw that shirt, he would mope around all day, knowing #1 would be leaving for the entire weekend. We were all really sad when that dog passed away.

My MIL has passed away. I called my mother. My husband has the flu so his gift to me today is staying in bed and away from me lol. My #1 Navy son will Skype me later today. My #4 daughter made me lunch. My #3 son will make me dinner. My #2 son is age 19 but developmentally age 5. He's hugged me all day [who among you has a 19yo son who will still hug you and hold your hand in public?] and will spend quite a while today giving me my most favorite gift – brushing my hair.

Love the WiR! And happy Mother's Day to everyone. I know, for me, I am blessed.

Anonymous said...

You know, I got to thinking about one of the best Mother's Days I ever had. We were so broke. We'd lost everything. The boys had been saving up their allowance money to buy me something for Mother's Day and asked me to take them shopping. They wanted to go to the nursery and buy me a plant.

We drove by the nursing home and I got to thinking about how many ladies must be alone on Mother's Day. I told the boys how much I loved them for thinking about me, but asked them if we could take their money and mother would chip in. We'd buy some little plants for ladies in the nursing home who had no one.

They agreed happily. Will was about 2 at the time, so he was just the right age to cuddle.

We bought as many little plants as we could and some plant wrappers and ribbon. The boys helped me wrap the plants and tie ribbons then we went to deliver them.

You would have thought we were giving these ladies fabulous gifts of gold. They wept and laughed, hugging the boys. Will went from one lap to the next, snuggling happy elderly people.

The boys asked if we could go back again and we visited many times, making the rounds until some of their favorites started dying and it was just too hard on them.

I will forever love the boys' gentle, generous little souls for loving those old people who had no one.

Flowers McGrath said...

Well, Julie, i definitely think that we are all links in a chain and what we choose to do with what we have been given is our opportunity to be heroic or just add to the status quo. Certainly, my mother's upbringing made her who she was and the person who harmed her was harmed by others, but i can't help regret, at times, that she could not find a way to break the control the past had on her that caused her to continue that legacy into my upbringing and my brothers' and sister's leaving us to two generations of extremely sick individuals. It took me a very long time to even accept it, so at this time, I can't do much more for her than I tried for the time I did. She just can't straighten up and fly right. And it's very sad but she can't have anymore bites out of me. And honestly, I am grateful because whatever she did or didn't do right somehow I didn't continue that "family tradition" so to speak. Still i have certainly made my mistakes and it's not a perfect world anyway. Anyhow, I agree. I don't believe in regrets and i seek daily the path of inner happiness...just a few days of the year are my Achilles heel. I'm going to forgive myself for it.
Blessings to everyone.

Flowers McGrath said...

Super lovely Dena! Hair brushing is so nice! Such a sweet image.😊

And another great story, Julie!

Jed Cullan said...

Seriously, READ MY BOOK.

Oh, carp-on-a-stick, I don't have a friggin book. This sucks. Read my blog instead. Or whatever. I want a book. Need to go put my pants on my head and cry now. Suckity suck suck.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

I will spare everyone the sorted details but I spent years hating someone (not my mom) and being very angry. It began to affect my marriage and even the relationship with my daughters. And then a couple of years ago, on Jennine G.s blog I think, (, I read a quote. It is attributed to many, and “hate” can be replaced by “anger” or whatever word best describes your emotion.

“Holding onto hate is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

Those words changed my life because I realized the venom I drank was killing me, not him.
I feel sorry for the person who took up so much dark space inside my head, because now karma is having a feeding frenzy on him. The pay-backs don’t make me happy, don’t make me sad. They don’t make me feel much of anything about him anymore. All I know is that I am happier now and grateful to be blessed by the most amazing family and life-circumstances.

Hey Dena, because my kids stopped brushing my hair, when they started brushing their own, I told them, when I am so old I don’t remember who you are, or who I am, or even where I am, just bring me candy kisses and brush my hair. Heaven.

Donnaeve said...

Dena, you're quite a ways from me, so I doubt our husbands caught the flu from each other, but it's still weird nonetheless. (in case you didn't read my comment)

Flowers and Julie - it's always sad to know there are those who grew up without knowing what a mother's love is all about. And I really like what 2Ns said about it, so I'll let her words convey my feelings too.

And another group hug is in order.


Ice cream! reCAPTCHA knew I needed that!

Donnaeve said...

Jed - get your pants off your head and and write the damn book. I'd read it.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Where the heck is Colin. I know it's Sunday, and mother's day and he has 6 kids but...oh I know, the poor guy probably has the flu. I here it's going around down there.

Unknown said...

Happy Mothers Day, ladies. We've already had it here in Aus, but I was sick and couldn't leave the house, so I'll have to be American and give Ma her presents today :D

Flowers McGrath said...

Jed made me laugh! Thanks Jed.

The sun is nearly set on this day! YAY! Every year it is a teeny bit better (this is year 4.) I am so grateful Janet was willing to publicly express her feelings-- against the grain about Mother's Day. And I am grateful there was this place to say how I felt and not just keep in my shell about it. If my sentiments brought anyone's joy factor down, please accept my heartfelt apologies. I do love mothers! I love children! I love all the many good things! I do.

I did notice the husband flu's similarity Donnaeve! Weird. And thanks for the group hugs. I am in! (((XO)))

Thanks for sharing both your stories too, Carolynn. I hope when I must be, that I can be present for my mom with whatever love in my heart is possible. I certainly do pray for it.

Off to watch a comedy.

Anonymous said...


No, Mother loved us in her own way and I'm thankful for that. She was a just a product of her own upbringing and it skewed the world.


Colin Smith said...

Just a quick not for those who noticed my absence today--I've been at the hospital visiting my wife. She's having surgery tomorrow. I've only just got home. But I see you clearly don't need me to carry on a conversation! :)

Another good WiR, Janet! Thanks again! :)

Colin Smith said...

Did I say a quick "not"? I meant note. But you knew that.

Underwear on head. Socks on HANDS for those that might have been thinking something else. My ears are too small for socks anyway.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Colin, you and your wife and family will be in my prayers tonight. I have connections with the big boss up in the penthouse.XO

Anonymous said...


I'm sorry to hear about your wife. I hope all goes well and will send up prayers.


LynnRodz said...

As always, great WIR. I too want to say thank you, Janet, for all the time you put into this blog and into QS. Just the time you put into doing the WIR is substantial. The appreciation we have for you is enormous. I think Christine, Carolynn, and Charlogo said it well and so did many of the others here so what more can I add that hasn't already been said? With many NDEs (Near Death Experience) people say when we cross over to the other side we're not asked, "What did you do with your life?" we're asked, "What did you do to help others with their lives?" Janet, you have no worries in that department. I'm sure you have helped more writers than you realize.

Wow, this is a heartfelt day for many and I want to wish a Happy Mother's Day to all of you celebrating. I'm not a mother (by choice) and my mom is too far away winning at the slot machines at the moment.

Question: Who wins over $200 at the penny slots?
Answer: My mom.

Yes, I'm one of the lucky ones who had wonderful parents. To those of you who didn't or you've had other hardships (Flowers, Julie, Dena, etc.,) thank you so much for sharing.

Janet, this morning I agreed with you on Facebook, this evening I've had a change of heart. I want to wish you a Happy Mother's Day because you deserve it.

Dena Pawling said...

Brushing my hair is heaven on earth. If the way to a man's heart is thru his stomach, the way to MY heart is by brushing my hair. An agent making an offer of rep will come in a VERY close second, even without the hair brushing....

#2 put on a train video [yes, we still have Thomas the Tank Engine and similar videos, but this was a video of an old steam train that my family has personal experience with]. Hubby staggered out of the bedroom and commandeered the recliner to watch it. The video ended and he's snoring now.

Yes, Donna, I saw that about your hubby. Strange, but no, I can't blame yours for getting mine sick. I hope they're both better soon. And your wife too, Colin.

Lilac said...

Colin, I have connections with the boss upstairs as well…Sending many prayers and I'll light a candle for your wife. Please keep us posted.

PS: I posted this comment twice as the first post didn’t appear after a few minutes.

Lilac said...

I wrote a more elaborate comment, trying to be funny, but it doesn't feel right to post it now. So I'll just say this:

Janet, a heartfelt thank you for everything. Your FB post on how you respond on Mother's Day is so moving and inspiring.

I am also in for the group hug and sending an especially big hug to you, Flowers! May it get MUCH BETTER for you in no time…(((XO)))

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

I have commented way too many times but I just have to say I love what CHARLOGO wrote.

Megan V said...


I hope all goes well with your wife's surgery. Take care!

Flowers McGrath said...

What a great group!
Thanks lilac!
Sending prayers to your lady too, Colin. Hope it is the very best outcome.
(((XO))) that's a keeper.

Anonymous said...

Geez. Everything I read on the internet today is making me weepy. And I have a perfectly wonderful mother who is still alive and healthy, and two perfectly lovely and loving children who both called me today from afar. :sniffle: Hate to say it, but I can't wait for Monday.

Colin, hope all goes well with the surgery and your wife is able to return home quickly.

AJ Blythe said...

Coming in late...

Janet, thank you so much for answering my questions. To echo everyone else, love the WIR and the fact you take the time to help.

1. I hadn't heard of the Macavity Awards, but have now bookmarked the page. Hopefully my bank balance will have recovered from the Agatha Awards *grin*

As an FYI follow up, the Malice Domestic grant is open only to those in the USA and Canada.

2. I can see now why 1st contract matters. To be honest, those points are exactly why I want an AA (awesome agent)

3. Ahh, your folder makes sense now. Thank you for explaining.

Colin, I have no idea on timing from here to there, so I hope your wife's surgery goes/went well and she makes a speedy recovery.