Yes, this is filled with whisky

Yes, this is filled with whisky

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Week in Review May 31, 2015


Welcome to the week that was.

This past week pretty much all of trade publishing decamped to the Javits Center for BEA. For those of you not familiar with the term, it's Book Expo America, the industry trade show for publishers.  Back in the day, when God was querying for the Bible, it was the event where publishers introduced their spring/fall line up to bookstore buyers, librarians, book reviewers and the other folks who did retail book work.

Now in the new electronic world, there is still some of that but catalogs have gone online, the number of bookstores have shrunk, and ways to reach people has expanded.

Reed Exhibitions who put on the trade show have had to scramble mightily to figure out how to get more people to buy booth space and get more bodies to buy tickets.  They've experimented for a couple years with co-conferences like Reader.Con and Book.con and Digital Book World happening concurrently or adjoining the BEA dates. Someone buys a ticket for one, they get a discount ticket for the other.  

Having readers (ie non-trade professionals) on the show floor in the past years has been a HUGE source of annoyance for the rest of us. This year, the organizers ran Book Con on Saturday and Sunday and let the rest of us go home on Friday.  I've yet to hear from my spies about how Book Con went.  I think they're going to be too exhausted to speak for a couple days.

Reed has also amped up its outreach to the self-publishing world. Where self-pubs were once consigned to the lower floor in the farthest reaches, this year they were on the main floor, spitting distance from the main exhibitors.  

Of course, six years ago, BEA took up about twice the floor space it did this year.

And next year it's in Chicago.  That's going to be a VERY interesting year to watch. We all spent a good deal of time this year talking about whether we're going to Chicago in 2016. Consensus: nope.

Here on the blog this week was pretty fun.

During last week's review I asked what PBs were, and now feel rather stupid to learn it's shorthand for picture books. Very obvious once you hear it. And of course, it's not like I hadn't seen it before, either.  Thanks to all who reminded me kindly.

Jennifer R. Donohue asked
And with novels, the querying process is different, isn't it? You write a proposal or whatever, instead of a query letter?

You write a query for both fiction and non-fiction. The difference is when querying a novel you have to write and finish the novel first. For non-fiction, you write the proposal.  I have a blog post from a ways back about what you need to have before you query fiction and non-fiction.

One of the coolest things ever happened when Julie.M.Weathers asked Flowers McGrath
Have you ever read any books by Marsha Skrypunch? She writes a lot of stories about Ukrainian immigrants and is a wonderful writer.

And then Marsh Skrypuch joined the conversation!

    Hey Julie Weathers! Thanks for the kind comments about my books. Just wanted to clarify that my name is Skrypuch, not Skrypunch.
    Skrypuch, in Ukrainian, means violinist. It also means irritating squeaking sound.

It's always fun  to see who reads the blog!

Colin filled us in on how Mrs. Smith ended up on medical leave. We're all glad she's doing well, and of course, had to use some of Terri Lynn Coop's prompt words for Friday's flash fiction contest.

CarolynnWith2Ns prompted a deluge when she asked where the blog readers are from.  You're very close (Bushwick!) and very VERY far (Carkoon, Australia, Paradise)

Later in the week S.D.King said:
I was just thinking. . . this group is so spread out. . .so I created an interactive pin map.

I will wait for Janet to say if it is genius or creepy (I think a little of both). If she thinks it is fun, I can "share" with commenters and you can drop a pin on your location and identify your genre.

I think it's a terrific idea! I love maps, and seeing where y'all are sounds fun.  Thanks!

Turns out Amy Schaefer is off on a high seas adventure for a while.
Just a little housekeeping: Paradise is going to be untended for the next 2-3 weeks. If anyone wants to keep on eye on things here, please apply forthwith. Duties include gathering coconuts, guarding the wormhole against incursions from Carkoon, and scanning the high seas for signs of literary piracy.

I will be busy sailing from one place to another. See you all in a few weeks!

I failed to apply in time, and I have a cat-sitting job starting tonight  but next year, I'm all over this one!

For those of you wondering how Jed Cullan got dead:
Quick note for those who keep wondering why I'm Poor Dead Jed. It has to do with an unfortunate accident involving the relocation of Sharky's cake from her plate into my mouth.

In other words, he baked a cake for ME, and then ate all of it. ALL of it. Cake piracy is NOT a minor offense.

Sandra F. Cormier has one of the best reasons for being late to the blog EVER:

I got to this late because I was interacting with a pregnant groundhog who has taken residence under my porch.

If you're not following the saga of Mrs. Groundhog on Sandy's facebook page and twitter feed, well, you're missing out.

Matt Adams just cracked me up with this:
Also, 11 years ago today I met my daughter, still the highlight of my life. The slumber party with six other 11-year-old girls last night, not so much.

And doesn't LynnRodz's comment just beg for a short story:
Late to the party, but it was such a beautiful day in Paris  my husband and I sat at a sidewalk café sipping our wine and watching people pass by. We called one of my exes and he came to join us with his significant other. We then went to have dinner, so it was a nice evening.

And further on when Lynn said
When my husband was taking me to the hospital, here's what I was thinking, "Dear God, you can't let me have a heart attack and die when I haven't even begun to query."

I was reminded of the death (sorry Lynn) of a writer I'd been in communication with for a couple years about a novel he was working on. I loved the concept, but the plotting and point of view needed some work. I'd read probably three versions of the novel, the last one sent when he was getting ready for heart surgery. Of course I sent him my best wishes for a complete and quick recovery but it was not to be.  I got an email from his brother some months later as they were closing up James' affairs, telling me that he'd passed away.

I am sad to this day. Never met him, never spoke to him on the phone, but he was important to me. I think of him still, and wish there was some fitting way to honor his memory. He wanted to be a writer, was working hard at doing so, but just ran out of time.

And Flowers McGrath, who lives probably six seconds from me, just offered to help me paint:
And I know this is strange to put out there, but Janet, if you ever need help painting, I'd love to give back some good karma.

I guess I forgot to mention I haven't done the ceilings yet.

On Monday the question was how to interact with someone you admire without coming across as insincere

I mentioned earlier that I attended BEA this week. One of the great things about BEA is the serendipitous meetings one can have.

On Friday I was strolling the floor, and who did I come across leaning against a cement pillar looking just exactly as cool as he is? Yup, Michael Connelly.  I'm a devoted fan (well, who isn't!)  so I took advantage of this lovely moment to stick out my hand and say "Michael Connelly. You don't know me, I'm Janet Reid, I'm a great admirer of your writing. And your acting"

It was the "and acting" part of course that galvanized the conversation. Mr. Connelly was a cameo poker player on the TV show Castle.

We talked a bit about that, a bit about the Harry Bosch movie on Amazon, Titus Welliver who
plays the lead, and bit about his most recent novel The Burning Room. I told him I used the book
to illustrate excellence in multiple character books: each character, particularly the minor/supporting ones are distinctly drawn, and utterly memorable.

Was there gushing? Sure, some. Hard not to gush. But mostly I could mention specifics about his work that I loved.

And boy was I glad I'd binged watched Castle this winter!

kdjames nailed it with her comment on people who disparage this blog and the comment on it as "sucking up"
Wait a minute. There are people who say it's "sucking up" to comment over here? Really? Good lord, that's so funny I'm snort-laughing. Those people must not have a realistic grasp of how the whole getting-an-agent process works. "Yeah, that Janet Reid, she signs ALL the writers who comment on her blog." Seriously?

Honest to god, I comment over here IN SPITE OF the fact I know she's reading the comments. It's entirely likely I'll say something, eventually, that will convince her I'd be a horrible client. Probably I already have.

Well, no you haven't, but do keep trying! And the insincere stuff I was talking about comes in query letters, not here on this blog.  Honestly if someone made endless suck up comments here I'd probably delete them.

Colin Smith cracked me up (of course) with this:

OK, confession time. Here at FPLM-Carkoon, we do have a picture of Janet on the wall. But it's not out of any gushy devotion. We are required, according to the articles of exile, upon entering the office each morning to bow humbly before the picture of Mighty QOTKU and say three times, "I am most dreadfully sorry for--" followed by the offense(s) for which we were exiled. Failure to do this invokes article 12.1.4 which requires completion of THREE synopses while wearing Beelzebub's underpants. It's not pleasant, I can tell you.

What Colin forgot to include is the actual photo. Here it is:

When the talk turned to rhubarb, and then of course rhubarb pie, W.R. Gingell captured my thoughts perfectly:
Also, if there's pie going round, can I have a piece? And by piece, I mean half the pie.

and what has to be the craziest bit of self-delusion I've ever seen:  Julie.M.Weathers said this about herself:

Julie and anyone else for that matter here, I am Julie_Weathers on twitter if you want to connect with me, but I am pretty boring.

On Tuesday the question was whether an ISBN meant you were published

I surprised a few of you by saying no, it doesn't.

LynnRodz asked:
Now I know, no copyright, it's a no-no. Years ago, I did copyright some of my music and lyrics and poems. If I ever want to self-publish those poems/odes (see yesterday's comments) is that going to give me problems I didn't foresee?

Probably not. If you've already registered the copyright with the copyright office (and not some morally bankrupt company trying to sell you something) then you simply list © your name/year you registered copyright

Here's a picture of the copyright page from that book that Colin Smith likes:

And W.R.Gingell said:
Huh. I thought once there was an ISBN, that was it. Kaput. You're published.

Nope. You have to offer the book for sale. Or someone has to offer the book for sale. This is where it can get murky. I've seen writers find their beta reader manuscripts for sale on Amazon. That means published. You can work around that, but you have to know about it to do so.

A good agent can help you on that.

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli asked:
I have a question: Is obtaining ISBNs the authors responsibility? Or is it the publisher?

Publishers obtain the ISBN for books they publish. It's entirely possible for a book to have more than one ISBN. And VERSIONS of books have different ISBNs. One for hardcover, one of paperback, another for calendars etc. One for the version published by SweetCheeksPress in 1982. Another for the edition brought out by BigAssPublisher after the rights reverted to the author and she got really famous for marrying Justin Bieber.

ritzyplace had this cautionary tale for us:

I'm really glad the OP asked this. A couple years ago, my mom collected all my childhood poetry, typed it up, and published it on Amazon. Under my real name. I'd been hoping that, since I was fourteen when I wrote it and it seems to have sunk into obscurity, future agents won't mind... but there's a part of me that wondered whether they would look at the samples and decide I don't want to work with this lady, she's going to be way too much trouble.

That book is
horrible. Horribly written, mainly. I probably look like one of those annoying kids who thought everything they wrote was a literary masterpiece. Well, I didn't. My mom did. I tried to convince her not to publish it, but, you know, she's my mom and it made her happy. At least the book has that going for it.

This is a really interesting problem. The truth is your mom did NOT have the legal right to do this. She can't publish something she didn't write, unless you agreed to it. She can NOT say "I'm your legal guardian, I can do what I want" here.  And now, as an adult, you can ask Amazon to remove the book.

Whether you want to do this is of course not about legal rights and entirely about family harmony, but at this point, if you're really concerned, there are remedies.

It's great to have a proud mom.  It's really great to have one who'll actually listen to what you want to do with your career.

As it turned out CarolynnWith2Ns had a story that I think needs highlighting:

For all you parents out there with college on the near horizon for your children, (Colin listen up, your six will be there before you know it), DO NOT, under any circumstances, take out PRIVATE student loans for your children.
Go federal money only and DO NOT co-sign. If you don't co-sign the loans may have a higher interest rate but they can be consolidated at the end (which makes the monthly payments manageable based on the kids income) and you, as a parent, don't have to haul that ball and chain until you die.
Even some fed. loans, like 'signature loans' can't be consolidated either so check it out. And DO NOT do 'parent plus loans'.

If your kid goes to a private college or university the loans almost always offered first are private. They are evil. (Especially the ones offered by the bank Elizabeth Warren said she wanted to break into pieces. (God Bless that women).

So that's my major, clicked-to-f***-up and it has cost us our retirement.

I wasn't thrilled with any of this.

I think Brian Schwarz said why all this website stuff is a waste of time quite cogently:

…When you're in a band your primary goal is writing and selling music. You do this, of course, by recording an album and selling it. And even though plenty of bands play shows before they have a cd, mostly they're just wasting time. Because if someone loves them and wants to support them, the band has no way to let them do so.

During the first few months of my own bands existence, I would commonly get caught up in how I wanted to tour this winter or how I wanted to play with these big bands or at these colleges and my drummer would always stop me dead in my tracks with this quippy one-liner - we don't even have a band yet. Because until you have something recorded, you haven't accomplished the one thing that matters about playing music. Having something to show for it.

I understand the temptation. One of the hardest things about being an artist is learning to accept that you are perpetually and invariably miles ahead of the rest of the world. Because I had written some of those songs 4 years before they hit a record. Because a book idea starts long before the first page. And by the time the world sees this finished product, you've practically memorized it. You know everything about it. To you it's an old friend, and the rest of the world is just now saying hello.

The point is this- you don't have a band yet. Don't worry about websites or multi-interactive experiences or marketing plans or generating buzz. Worry about getting that idea down, and if it's down worry about ripping it up and fixing it, until it's a polished, shimmering, glittery thing that needs zero stretches of the imagination to realize in its full glory. Do that first. The rest can wait till you have a band.

W.R.Gingell made a comment that got me thinking:
I like the idea of interactive websites with lovely illustrations and character deets and bits and pieces of the author's writing, so that if I love the characters, I can get more.

Since no one at this point has read the book, no one "loves the characters"…yet.

This would be like building a fan site for Game Of Thrones for people who'd never read the books or seen the HBO edition. 

Even at the query stage, the agent hasn't read the book. 

And what Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said underscored this:
Brent Weeks has an excellent author website, maybe a little overboard. He posts artwork his fans create of his characters, maps to his fantasy lands.

His FANS do the artwork. In other words, there are books out there for people to read and love.

I think that's the key point here: you can't create a website about the book until the book has an audience.

Angie further asked:

On my emails I have a signature line with my website but thought it not good practice to include it when querying. Am I wrong? Should I leave it when I start querying? Usually I delete it when contacting non-art professionals.

Mostly when I'm looking at a query writer's website it's to find out if they have previous books, previous representation, or some piece of information left out of a query.  If it's all about your art, and not about your books, it's not a problem.

And I really like this insight from Ashes:

I think it's common to think of gimmicks because writers are creative people who often have other creative outlets (drawing, music composition, rug-hooking) that they think will add value. Back then I was under another misguided impression, I believed my query should showcase my creativity. I thought the concept should sell the book. After a lot more research and self-education I learned the simple truth, one Janet preaches again and again, the writing is what should sell the book. The writing is the only thing that matters.

And I think Elissa M had a good point here, even though she's disagreeing with me:

So here's where I disagree in the teensiest way from the Shark: "Every minute you spend creating art work for a book is a minute you're not reading widely in your category."

Every minute I spend creating artwork for a book (or anything else) is a minute I'm exercising the right half of my brain and giving the left half a rest. Of course, it works the other way around, too. Writing gives my drawing side a break. For me, the two endeavors work together, helping balance a sometimes unbalanced mind.

Still, I get Janet's main point: Don't waste time on peripheral things. Do the work.

I think Jenz nailed this whole thing most succinctly:

My dad told me to look at what my bosses wear to work and dress at that level. Do the same with your site--look at what the pros do and emulate it.

And note that they don't heavily promote books they don't have deals for yet.

On Thursday the talk turned to a querier who couldn't stand how a prospective agent sounded on the phone and wondered if this should be a factor in signing with her.

I said it should not.

brianrschwarz nailed it with this comment:

I've worked professionally with lots of people who annoyed me.

And Colin Smith did too:

What if all the time you're listening on the phone thinking, "Uggh that VOICE...!" she's thinking the exact same thing about you?

And Matt Adams had a very interesting point:

[A published author friend] also told me something that many might find disagreeable (and it's her saying it, not me): she said that she doesn't know many writers who like their agents. She respects her and she has a career because of her, and her agent is great at getting her books sold, and is a great person to navigate all the crap that comes with publishing. But she and her agent aren't buddies; they only talk the books, only see each other when business requires them to be together. But she gets her books sold, gets her freelance assignments. And that's the agent's job.

Now, I like my agent a lot, but I do think there is a danger of all of us in wanting agents to be more than they are -- we get desperately needed validation from them, and I think we like to like anyone who likes our books (there's some solid writing there, huh?). We expect them to be cheerleaders and editors and confidants and best friends. And I'm sure that sometimes happens. But we have to remember that their job is to find someone to publish the books we write. Anything else is gravy, and expecting anything else is unrealistic. The job itself is enough.

Helen DeWitt made a good point:
It sounded to me as though the problem was not just the voice, it was the fact that the agent talked at great length about herself, her deals, her other clients. My guess is, it's unlikely that an agent would take up an editor's time with her brilliant career - I wouldn't worry so much about whether she might come across to an editor the way she did to me. I WOULD be a little worried by someone who, on the client side, spent time talking that she could have spent listening. Selling a book is not just selling a book - a good deal is not the deal for the biggest bucks, but the deal that gives most weight to the client's priorities. If an agent thinks she will impress a client by talking about herself, rather than getting a sense of what the client cares about, that's -- something to bear in mind.

Eileen asked:
I might be reading too much into this, but it sounds to me that it's more than just the sound of the agent's voice that bothers OP. Talking "non-stop" might mean the agent is coming across as rude. When OP gets The Call, can she ask for a week or two to think it over? Then, she can contact the other agent(s) who have her query to see if there's any interest. Or, would it be bad form to ask for time to think it over after they have already talked on the phone several times?

It's certainly ok to ask for some time to consider an offer of representation. Generally a week is the outside limit. Two weeks, and the agent making the offer is having troublesome thoughts that you're shopping the offer for a better deal someplace else. (This is true with publication offers as well)

The other thing to do here is contact the agent's clients. Get a sense of what she's like to work with. Ask if The Voice Thing bothers anyone.  Be judicious here. Consider that everything you say will most likely get back to the agent in one form or another.

DeadSpiderEye conjured up an image from the past that I miss more than many of you will know:
The agent sounds pretty keen, the only one I knew would sit across a desk while chain smoking hand rolled Turkish tobacco, from a stubby ivory cigarette holder, pinched erect between her thumb and and forefinger. The only word she'd utter would be the occasional, 'Yes' with which she'd punctuate a prospect's stream of hyperbole and pronounced with a deep glottal extension of the vowel, that only a chronic smoking habit could produce. Let's call her Mr. C, she was something of a legend but her and her kind I suppose, are long gone, replaced by the ebullience borne of a rolling order of double strength espresso from the nearest coffee chain outlet.

And this from french sojourn really said it best:

I don't know if this a little TMI, but when my wife had a tubal pregnancy, I called 911 as she looked like a Kabuki theater reject with dark circles around her eyes. Paramedics arrived and couldn't find a pulse. They get her to the Cedar Sinai Emergency room and have the crash team doing all sorts of tests. I had managed to get a message to her least favorite doctor, and he arrived and saved my wife's life. He had the bedside manner of a Russian foot soldier in Berlin in the spring of 45. He said in his odd creaky voice."I've never had someone lose so much blood and survive." As I hugged him I thought he sounded like Cary Grant.

We still joke about his voice, but at least she's here to laugh with

Friday and Saturday were taken up with the flash fiction contest.

I was late to both open and close the contest…bad bad me.

Contest results will be posted on Monday.

On Saturday I was late cause I overslept. BEA just knocked the wind out of me, and I paid for it on Saturday with a lot of snoozing.

On Sunday I was so caught up in the week in review that I failed to notice the time.

In other words, I'm trying to weasel out of the blame here for being late twice.

I'm very much looking forward to a quiet first week of June. I'd hoped to take the week off for reading but that's not going to happen. Entirely too much work has stacked up.

Next weekend I'll be at the Biographers' International Organization conference in Washington DC.  I'm not sure yet how that will affect the blog but I'll let you know.


Kitty said...

I'm a BIG Castle fan and love those poker games with Connelly et al. Stephen Cannell played before he died. Notice how they keep a seat for him in that video clip.

bjmuntain said...

Lovely week in review... and I *just* missed being first vommenter.

I do have to say, Ms Shark, that I was getting a bit worried yesterday morning. I kept hitting the refresh key, and wondering if everything was okay. I was very happy to see that you were taking some morning time for yourself after a busy week. By then, I'd gone to have a bit of a nap myself, and got back in time to be... I think number 25...

Thanks again, Janet!

Flowers McGrath said...

Twas a great week on the blog! Love the review as always! And I am loving all the flash fiction entries! It would be so hard for me to choose.

And I can definitely help with the ceiling. I suppose, I should ask, do you have a pole and a ladder? 😊

Julia said...

My Weekend in Review:

Friday, my husband had a spinal procedure. Other than some hypotension (low blood pressure), it went well. He has spinal stenosis, so this is to preserve his spinal cord function. They said: "Ten weeks of severe pain. But then it'll get better. Take Advil. Off you go." Then he had an interview. Like, immediately. I drove 300 miles on Friday. And my son took a soccer ball to the face. Told waitress, "I got hit in the groin!" Loudly. This took some education.

Oh. I forgot. Dog ate chocolate, rice, baking soda, crackers... Not enough chocolate to matter, but heck of a mess. And pancake batter. And powdered sugar.

Saturday: Husband can't move. Son plays goalie in second game of weekend. Daughter complains loudly that her friend won't call her back and therefore can't sleep over. This is somehow My Fault. I edit and lament that I can't post - but do Flash Fiction. That night:

Thing 1: My roof is making noises.
Me: (thinking she means "I'm afraid of the storm) I'll be done in 15 minutes. You can sleep in here. (Living room).
Husband: What kind of noises?
Thing 1: Dripping noises.
Me: (Frown. But keep editing.)

Sunday: 8:00.
Me: (Peering blearily at clock - was up til 2 writing on phone.) Do you want to go to church?
Husband (who has been unable to move all night and his Aleve - I upgraded him - ran out at 4am): Not really.
Me: Me either. (Zzzzz...)

10:45. 3rd soccer game of weekend starts at 12.

Thing 1: You should see my room.
Me: Hang on. I'm telling Patrick (who has Asperger's) what to focus on during the game.
Thing 1: Okay.
Me: Yada yada go after the ball yada play your position yada pay attention to your coach yada.
Thing 2 (who has seen Thing 1's room): Okay, mommy.
Me: What are you focusing on?
Thing 2: Perfect recitation.

I go see Gracie's room, thinking maybe she's cleaned it or made her bed or something for once. As a surprise.


There is.

An enormous.


In my daughter's.


Me: Oh, S(very naughty word)!
Thing 2 from his room: MOMMY:
Thing 1: (to me) Yeah. (Nods and walks away.)

Then we went to soccer. Thing 2 followed instructions.

Husband sat in car in agony with seat warmer on.

So. That happened.

Julie.M.Weathers said...

Nice week in review.

I'm still embarrassed about misspelling Marsha's name. Of course, I've misspelled my own, so, why am I surprised? Regardless, she's a marvelous author, extremely talented and she was so sweet to help me when I was working on the children's books. Those are the real wonders of the literary world to me. The ones who have time for the up and coming writers.

My week in review. Will the Wonder Son had knee surgery. As soon as he recovers we are going to start our sekrit project with Gage the Wonder Dog and Logan the Wonder Kid if I don't do away with Gage for digging up my gate posts.

So jealous about QOTKU meeting Connelly. And that's precisely how you do the fan thing.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Janet: You're going to paint your ceiling? Well, I guess people do that. Do you have a plain ol' ceiling, or one of those lovely pressed tin ones? A building in town here which has had a couple of restaurants in it (it was a Greek diner for years and years, but it Thai now) has one of those ceilings, and it makes me so very happy to look at it.

Julia: a hole in her ceiling? Oh no! (in addition to all your other "oh no" situations, geeze. Have some scotch?)

I've been up since around 5:45, due to varying ride and work situations I won't get into. Wheee!

Eagerly looking forward to the contest results, as always. I love seeing what everybody comes up with, and love how everybody has a different take on the word usage in a story.

It was the last day of my writing workshop yesterday, 'til we do Camp NaNoWriMo (or at least something shaped like it) in July. I celebrated by doing yet another readthrough of a story I'm subbing to Lightspeed magazine tomorrow. Still no news on my full, but it's only been...6 weeks? 7 now. Which is nada in publishing years.

In "My Doberman is as smart as a person" news, she seems to accurately (or at least contextually) understand the phrase "Elka, do you want a piece of pizza?"

LynnRodz said...

Oh, Janet, a WIR - what a wonderful surprise! I wasn't expecting it, not with a ff contest, BEA and Bookcon this week, so this is great. I'm getting ready to have dinner, so I'll be back later to read and comment on things. (I know, I know, like everyone is holding their breath. LOL!)

DLM said...

Oh my, Julia! Here's hoping your WEEK will be more relaxing than this weekend has been. Be well, and your husband (and ceilings) too ...

I worried, when I knew I had to pull back on reading daily, that I'd sort of lose track of and fall out of the community here. Thank Maud for Janet's generous time in giving us The Week that Was. And thank you, Janet.

Jennifer, my dogs have both known that one too. I have always just given them crust (and, from my pizza place, even that is a sacrifice! their crust is as good as their 'za!), but it's still people-treat and people-love. (When my Sweet Siddy La was on her last day with me, I stayed home to work, and kept her beside me on a big ottoman/her bed. I ordered pizza and gave her the crust. She just lay her head on it. It was heartbreaking. "Oh, my beloved pizza crust. How I would love to eat you. But I cannot." Awww.)

Okay now I've got myself crying. Sweet La was seriously the best dog in the history of ever. It's a blessed magic that Penelope is seriously the best dog in the history of ever. The magic of dogs.

*Nuzzling furbabies right and left - literally*

ritzyplace said...

I probably shoulda mentioned that I'm not actually an adult yet, so it might be a while before I can do anything about it (both legally and in a way that won't hurt her feelings.) She's been really supportive in her own way, so I don't want her thinking I was only protesting to spite her. That would be the last straw.

Looking at the comments -- I hope all of the family members who are in the hospital or who've had to be there recently are all fine. Sending well wishes your way. :)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

And I thought all you had to do to be famous was write a really good book. Now Janet says I have marry Justin Bieber.

Jeez-Louise Janet, I'm old enough to be Bieber's great-grandfather's Pretty Woman. Julia Roberts I never was.

Great WIR, thanks for the mentions and especially for the revisited student loan rant. Beware.

Wanna' buy my house, it's still for sale.

Oh, take a nap babe, I am.

Julia said...

Yes. Here's the thing.
We moved out of the last place because of mold ringing the ceilings of the outside walls. Informed Landlady --> Landlady informs us she's putting house on market and accelerating terms of lease --> Moved out. We were there five months.

We've been here three months.

We've been in VT eight months.

Because of med school, residency and illness - we've moved eight times. My daughter's in sixth grade and in her fifth school.

I'm a pretty "roll with it, it'll work out" sort of person - when it comes to myself. But not when it comes to my kids. We very nearly promised the kids that this would be the last move. The landlord has the place on the market, and the assessors are coming in tomorrow. The huge gaping hole is growing, eating the plaster and insulation like a deranged living mouth.

I was ecstatic last night that I get to go to a MWA (Mystery Writers of America) conf in November.

This morning... I can't even edit.

bjmuntain said...

Okay. Since everyone else is talking about their weeks in review and their dogs (and since I can't seem to shut up these days - perhaps ever):

Last night, I finally bit the bullet and bought my travel tickets to Seattle for the Cascade Writers Workshop in July. Now I just need to find a place to kennel my Little Girl Dog.

People ask me why I don't get my family to look after her. Biggest reason: I don't trust them.

She's a bolter. It takes a lot of speed and remembering to grab her before she runs out the door. And with the number of people going in and out at my parents' and sister's places, she would definitely get away and run out into the street.

And I worry about her basic care. You see, back when Koko was alive, I left him at my parents' place for ONE HOUR. He had kidney disease, so I was keeping an eye on what he ate. I get back to my parents' place: "Oh, we've been giving him cheese puffs." I was horrified. He didn't get sick on them, but he could have, and he couldn't afford to get sick at that time. He did live past any estimate of lifespan the vets had ever given him, even with a pituitary tumour that caused Cushing's disease that caused kidney disease. I still miss him. DLM's post drew a tear from me, remembering Koko's last day.

I'm going to go cuddle Little Girl Dog now.

Julie.M.Weathers said...


Hopefully, you can find a forever home soon. It's stressful shuffling kids in school and moving is a pain in the neck.

I woke up the other night again dreaming about raindrops falling on my head. Probably because they were. I'm going to have to figure out a way to rearrange the bedroom to try and save my bed if not the ceiling since I can't afford to replace the roof right now. And I note a lovely ombre effect going on in the bathroom.


Donnaeve said...

Wonderful WIR, as always, and it was a bit unexpected with all that went on!

My WIR since everyone's sort a kind a doing that.

Email STILL NOT WORKING RIGHT but wonderful new devices ARE.

Julia - sorry about your roof! That must be a mess.

Little Dog understands CHICKEN! The girls understood TREAT!


Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Wonderful Week in Review.

I'm honoured to be mentioned, 3x. Wow.

Conferences and fairs are burn out. I've done art salons, it's great build up and big crash. I always gain weight, don't know why. Eyes cross on the second day, voice gone by the end. Feeling for you, Janet. The non-industry professionals are the kicker. No idea how that affects BEA or writer conferences. It sounds like REED is looking for ways to save themesleves considering the change in publishing.

I thought about the Thursday post and imagined that the writer probably won't like the voice of everyone who eventually buys her book.

I must say that Friday when you offered us the flash fic challenge, I was relieved to not have to read every comment. Because I am compelled. Wondering also what is weekly word count here, including all the vomments. It would be fun to know, at least once.

Also I thought how much reading your writing, dear Shark, has helped me improve mine. Osmosis. No, yes.

Janet, I'd volonteer to help paint your ceiling but I'd probably just cheerlead, sit on the floor with a drink and point out the spots you missed. I hate DYI.

Feeling for you Colin, your family, and Julia for your crises week. Also Carolynn, education should be 'free'. There are some benefits for living in a country with a socialist system. Taxes is not one of them and we don't have the writer's conferences that you have over there. How I dream to go.

Julie M. It's always embarassing to mispell someone's name; worse when you call them Dave when their name is Doug. I did that, one of my biggest clients ever. I've also mispelled my own name.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Since a few are mentioning their personal WIR's, which I have done on occasion, I think I'll share what was uppermost in my mind and heart this week.
Our beloved old dog Harley passed away. I think I cried more for him than for some of the people I know who have died. He is legend in our family and he is the opening of my second novel. I will eventually write about him on my blog but I can't just yet.
And you know what's odd. He's my next newspaper column. Now I have to write a tag line about his passing. Maybe I will, maybe I won't. Not sure yet.
Love and peace to all. Woof! That's was Harley would have said.

Flowers McGrath said...

hahaha, i just imagined a whole bunch of wonderful blog commenters sitting on the floor at Janet's (drinking) and pointing at missed spots. I do take direction well, generally. The last time I home painted, very recently, I did all my furniture white, even some rugs and some chairs (came out utterly brill,) but I had flecks of paint on me for at least a week after. A nice dress and some painty arms and legs, is always cause to double take on the subway.

I hate-love to say it, but besides getting a tennis racket and getting out for the past two mornings to play against the wall at the hand-ball courts... and playing lefty for the first time as much as right (I've got some weird skills lately) my life has been eerily peaceful and lovely with nothing to report or review. May the shoe float forever! (Spit, Knock, Toss, Cross M'self Twice.)

Flowers McGrath said...

carolynn, so so sorry.

Julie.M.Weathers said...


I am so sorry. That is always tough. I said I'd never get another dog again after I put my last Aussie down and I surely did not intend to. It's just too hard when you lose them.

My thoughts are with you.


bjmuntain said...

I'm so sorry, Carolynn. Losing a companion like that, no matter how old, no matter how ill, is always a devastating loss.


Because that's all I can ever think to do on those occasions when words just don't cut it.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Oh Carolynn, that's just devastating, I'm so sorry

Elka sends her love (I do too) said...

"It's entirely likely I'll say something, eventually, that will convince her I'd be a horrible client. Probably I already have."

"Well, no you haven't, but do keep trying!"

Um.... Okay? That's not a goal, exactly, but I figure it's just a matter of time. :-)

I'm so sorry to hear about everyone's woes and troubles and grief this past week. Can we have a virtual group hug? I'm sending good wishes to all for a much better and happier week/month/year ahead.

Dena Pawling said...

Love Janet's photo of herself.

And now I understand why the PB notation tripped her up. At the bottom of the copyright page she posted for the Gary Corby book, it shows that Death ex Machina has an ISBN as a PB, which presumably does NOT mean picture book =)

My boss and I spent most of the week trying to convince one of our clients [investor who purchases foreclosure properties] to sell a house back to the family of the prior owner, an elderly lady who is basically going to die there. No, my client would not discount the asking price, but yes, he did agree to sell it back in an all-cash offer.

Carolynn, so sorry about Harley. I loved my previous dog so much I gave him a reasonably conspicuous part in my manuscript that's currently out on query. We were devastated when we lost him. We have another dog now but I feel somewhat sad for her, because altho she's a great dog, she had a tough act to follow and I don't think any of us feels the same way about her as we felt about Shadow.

My Navy son told me last Friday where his next deployment is. Mommy is NOT happy. But even before my son wanted to join the Navy, I've always had a great respect for those in our military. Just like police and firefighters, who run TOWARD the danger while everyone else does the smart thing and runs away.

And now I will take one of Janet's comments somewhat out of context:

“I am sad to this day. Never met him, never spoke to him on the phone, but he was important to me. I think of him still, and wish there was some fitting way to honor his memory.”

The fact that you still remember him does him great honor, and also tells me a lot about you.

Last Monday was Memorial Day. We honor their memory. They are not forgotten.

Craig said...

Thank you, Janet for the WIR. There is no need for you to feel sorry. It is hard enough to deal with the aftereffects of dealing with the madding crowd. To lament the end of an era too makes it a remarkable feat to put together this WIR.

I am sorry when anyone of the commenters on this blog have a problem. It worse when there are two with a third recovering. I wish you all the best.

Thanks again my Queen for all the effort you put out for us and our edification.

Julie.M.Weathers said...


I'm so sorry. I know how hard it is. I swore I'd never have another dog after I put my last Aussie down and truly had no intentions of getting one. I wouldn't have if I hadn't gotten this Aussie from the shelter for my son, but it's kind of hard to work bulls with a deaf dog. So, Gage the Wonder Dog is mine.

My last Aussie's name was Badger. This one should be named that since he just dug up two fence posts and my gate is collapsing. Mama is not happy.

I'm learning sign language so we can discuss this.

DLM said...

bjmuntain, one of Penny's best friends in the neighborhood is the SWEETEST baby named Coco or Koko. Aww!!!

Honestly, I get a little pissed at people feeding inappropriate "treats" to animals. My dad actually said to me before he died, to keep Sidney healthy, and I did for nine years, nine months. Penelope's only three, but I care for her the same way. The only people food she's allowed is bread or meat. NOTHING processed. Ever. She's grown from a wiggling 35-pound puppy to a massive hunk of muscle and trembler ears, and she does seem healthy.

2Ns, I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. And your family's. He was legend! Awww.

Julie M. W., I got Penelope just three months or so after Siddy died. Gossamer I had within two weeks; I could not take coming home to a house with no heartbeats in it. It took a little longer for Pen, but I adopted her almost to the minute ten years after Sid first came to live with me. She's been - kind of perfect. It is hard to lose them. But, for me, it's so much harder to be without pet companionship at all.

Flowers, from personal experince - moisturize with a heavy-duty cream before and after painting, and it comes off so much more easily. Unless you're painting with oil, in which case ... yep, painty arms!

kdjames, count me in on that virtual hug.

Not having to choose anything, just checking the reCAPTCHA box. Less stressful!

Julia said...

It's 6:00.
It's raining.
The hole is growing.
Nobody has come to fix the hole.
The apartment is roughly shoebox sized.

Metaphor: Me. Holding kids. Base of steep cliff covered in mud. Staring up. It's raining.

I'm having a panic attack. Not a metaphor.

Lizzie said...

Janet, maybe the writer who passed away could be memorialized with a scholarship in his name to a writing workshop? It's very sad when you think of all the people who are so close to reaching their goals and don't live to see it happen.

Colin Smith said...

Late to the party today--FirstBorn had a 'cello recital this afternoon, which went well. That's half a Weekend-in-Review from me!

Of course, nothing can top Janet's wonderful summation of the week. Thanks again, Mighty QOTKU! *Bows humbly* *mumbles something about being sorry for suggesting a separate blog for contests...*

In case you were wondering how I will recognize Janet at Bouchercon, well now you know. It's a truly stunning picture. :)

Janet--your thoughts on BEA were very interesting. This is not a repercussion of the digital age I would have expected. While people can indeed browse a catalog online, it seems to me (as a non-industry pro) that there's still a lot to be said for picking up a book, shaking hands with a publisher, and having eye-to-eye contact with a bookseller. As an opportunity for industry professionals to get out from behind their desks and be among those who share their passion, I would have thought events like these would survive. Maybe the pendulum has yet to swing back that far. One day, soon, perhaps.

And while we're on the topic of DEATH EX MACHINA :) , I've nearly finished it, and it is EVERYTHING I hoped for. Gary didn't disappoint. Another wonderful historical mystery. Seriously people, read Gary's books. Especially if you write historical fiction. Sure, you may not write mystery, but the way he mixes historical detail and facts into his plots is truly admirable. Way to go, Mr. Corby!! :) [BTW, if you've ever wondered how the ancient Greeks re-set broken limbs, this is the book to read!]

I'm sorry to hear about traumas among the Shark Tank family this week/weekend. Julie H., I hope your hubby's doing better, and you get some satisfactory resolution to your hole-in-the-ceiling. And all the stories of dearly departed canine friends made me feel bad for the flash story I entered yesterday. No offense intended, I trust you understand. :(

Here's to a wonderful week for everyone, especially those whose weekend has been a bit short of stellar!

Colin Smith said...

PS: I'd love to see Janet use that picture as her bio pic on the FPLM website... :)

[NOTE TO NEWCOMERS: That's how you earn yourself an extended stay on Carkoon...]

Flowers McGrath said...

Oooo good idea DLM! So smart. I get so Gung Ho, i forget there is a me after the job is done. Maybe I should douse the ends of my hair in oil or something too. I doubt this is recommending me much for the job. Yikes.

I do hope everyone receives a double helping of good luck right this exact minute. cool that you know who you want to be as a young almost-adult so clearly and are hanging out on the shark blog. You sound ahead of the game. And I think taking such kind care not to hurt your mom's feelings is very admirable! Good luck!

Angie, i was checking out your paintings again today (so lovely) and watched a video of you painting from 2013. Wondi song at the end and I liked hearing your gum too. I dig sounds that volunteer themselves into recordings.

And what's with the tricky captchas. Not cool- man. One food to a plate. Sheesh.

Julie.M.Weathers said...


I just couldn't do it. I love Gage, but that was purely God working. I would not in this lifetime have gone looking for another one.

Plotting about a horse if things get settled, but after going through watching a horse I loved so much with a twisted gut. Praying the vet would hurry and save him, then praying the vet would hurry to kill him, I don't know.

Anyway, too depressing. There has to be something better to think about.

I am very sorry for Carolynn, it's tough for anyone to lose part of the fur family.

Julia said...

Carolynn - <3 So sorry.

AJ Blythe said...

Finally finished residential so will be able to read the posts each day again - but for now am grateful I get to catch-up via WiR (bowing to the Shark Queen)

2Ns - I'm sorry to hear about your gorgeous fur-person. Sending cyber (((hugs)))

My WiR: I've had a rather momentous week. I know everyone always says if you want to write you make the time, but being worker bee in 2 jobs, full time study, wife and mother have meant my days start at 6am and finish at 4am, 7-days a week (no, I have no life!). I've been running that schedule for 3 years now and last week I realised if I want to reach my dream things had to change. So with the blessing of my wonderful family I quit both my jobs.

I've not quit work, just income. My job for the next 6 months (after that we'll see if the belt can stretch anymore) is writer.

Oh my gosh, you have no idea how wonderfully wonderful it is to say that =)

DLM said...

Julie M. W., of course I would never apply my emotional needs to anyone else. When you live without other human beings, there's little question the need for pets is probably greater, if you're likely to need them in the first place. Pen keeps me from being a Crazy Cat Lady, but it's so much deeper. :)

I can't live truly, profoundly alone.

Flowers: bandana? :)

Julia said...


Carolynnwith2Ns said...

(((((Here's one giant group hug for people, animals and pizza.))))
I will never be able to eat pizza again with thinking of Siddy La.

Thank you all for your kinds words. We are an amazing community here.
Isn't it amazing how close we are to the animals in our lives. They do so much for us.
Well, I'm convinced, I will tell Harley's story. I'll let you know when I post it. Thanks again, Queens Gang. Considering what you all have been through too, I'd say there are better weeks a-comin'.

DLM said...

2Ns, she would have loved to come to your pizza parties.

Flowers McGrath said...

DLM- Yes. Right? Of course. Braids are just perfectly designed to dip into fresh wet paint. In fact, I should just paint with my braids.

My fluffer-nutter is by my side through thick and thin. His little tummy is teddy bear material. And he weighs maybe 4 pounds after breakfast. But he barks like he's got a rabid doberman trying to jump through his throat from another dimension. Little cutie is what they call on the pom websites-- talkative. I wasn't paying enough attention to what that might mean when I read about the breed. I thought he'd be, you know, scooby-doing with me or something. He does do something like that too, actually. Oh well, he's mine now, and i am his. We're stuck with each other.

I read somewhere, feelings last in their intensity for only 20 minutes and then they change. I don't know if that is true, but especially in loss, or those kinds of pains that feel too much to bear, I try to imagine after 20 minutes or less even sometimes, another feeling will be on the wing, more often than not lighter and easier to bear.

Flowers McGrath said...

Woot to AJ Blythe-- and how in goodnesses name did you survive so long on so little sleep? I am amazed!

Julia said...

And now, for something completely different.

Sort of.

Bloom County

(For those of you who want addy:

AJ Blythe said...

Thanks, Julia.

Flowers - you just keep going because you have to, exhaustion just becomes normal (but looking forward to lots more sleep now!). Just realised you have a pom! Love poms. My parents are the proud owners of 2 six-month old poms (it took them 5 years to get more after their last pom died because he was such an amazing boy - blind from birth he had "the Force"). They've just been for a 3 week visit. My 9 year old schnoodle misses them terribly now they've gone, although he is doing an awful lot of sleeping, lol.

Julie.M.Weathers said...


I understand. I think it's usually best to get another pet. I've just turned into a curmudgeon. The plants look at me on Sunday and say, "Aren't you going to water me?"

I grudgingly agree because they're yelling at me. Then it gets back to peace and quiet for another week in the Weathers household.


LynnRodz said...

Janet, how sad for James that he didn't have the time to finish what he started, but it says a lot about you that you're still touched by his memory.

I'm always delighted (and surprised) to be mentioned in the WIR. Thank you for answering my question about copyrights. I did register with the copyright office in Washington DC so that's a relief.

As for my exes, I've been lucky and have remained good friends with all of them.

AJ, congrats to you, more sleep and more time to write. That calls for a drink. Ritzyplace, how wonderful you're not even an adult yet and you're already focused on what you want to do. Good for you.

Carolynn, sorry for your loss. Julia, I hope your kids stay strong, it's not easy to move so many time at their age, at any age really. Julie, I hope your son Will makes a speeding recovery.

I hope I didn't miss anyone, but so sorry that many of you are going through tough times at the moment. I will definitely be sending out prayers and positive energy. I believe strongly in both.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Late to the WiR. So much wonderful and sorrowful sharing in this great community. Sorry to hear, Julia, about the hole in the ceiling. Sorry Carolynn, to hear about the loss of a beloved pet. Congrats A.J. I am envious. And yesterday, I was worried too when Janet didn't open up the flash fiction on time. Glad it was only an oversleep. You're allowed, ya know.

My WiR. I can't believe tomorrow is June. Where did spring go? I have thoroughly enjoyed it (except for the news about my huge rent increase and my parents both medicating for tic bites). Tis the season to dig my hands in the dirt, treasure the wonder of irises and cottonwood seeds, smell the lilacs and the black locusts. I want more May. June promises to be complicated.

Karen McCoy said...

Fresh off the plane, and wondering if it's too late to fill in an application for BookCon spy.

I went on Saturday, and whoa. Just whoa. It seemed like triple the people as BEA (though cutting the BEA Exhibit space in half probably enhanced this effect) and a lot of autograph lines capped early (tickets ran out). My friends and I didn't mind--we mostly just browsed a lot of booths. It was interesting to see how booksellers garnered attention from the crowds. Lots of free giveaways-- though I'm bummed I missed the ARC of KILL THE BOY BAND, which I can't wait to read.

The autograph lines had an interesting system. If people wanted a book signed, they had to get a wrist band, and before they could do that, they had to stand in a very (VERY) long line to purchase the books they wanted signed first. Not sure if they've done it that way every year or not, or whether it was effective.

Like any con, if you aren't up with the early birds, most of the worms get snapped up early. But my friends and I walked away with a fair amount of goodies anyway.

W.R. Gingell said...

Carolynn- sorry about your dog. I know what it's like to lose a loved pet.

My WiR. Well.

Monday- Choc orange mud cake
Tuesday- Apple Pie
Wednesday- Sourdough with homemade jam
Thursday- Snickerdoodles
Friday- Smoked Cheddar
Saturday- Spaghetti on Toast
Sunday- Chocolate. SO much chocolate

Huh. I think I'm sensing a theme here.

Oh, and I also (mostly) finished off the WIP that's due out August 10th.

bjmuntain said...

DLM: My sister got a lab cross as a puppy. The labX has grown up licking off plates. I could never do that to my dogs. They get darn good food - heck, when Koko was going through the lack of appetite kidney food gives, he would get three or four different high-quality foods to choose from, just to get him to eat. (Before the kidney disease, he would eat anything and everything he could.) Little Girl Dog has one high-quality food she likes, and that and one certain type of treat is all she gets. But my sister won't listen to advice from me. And she wonders why her dog is always begging...

I got Little Girl Dog while I still had Koko. Koko was getting up there in age, and LGD was a foster dog who stayed. So when Koko left, I still had LGD. My mother got mad when she found out I got another dog. My mother has strange ideas about pets. My close friends were all happy I got a dog before Koko passed. I've been meaning to add another dog to the family, as LGD is quite social, but the right time and the right dog haven't come along yet.

Julia, I hope someone will come along and fix your ceiling quickly.

AJ: Congratulations on your new endeavour! You're going to do great!

Flowers: about feelings - that is such a healthy way to think about them. It's hard to handle the worst of them, but they are temporary. Thank you.

Julia! (Again, catching up): I love Bloom County! That one is a classic. Thank you!

Adding to the group hug: (((hugs for all)))

AJ Blythe said...

WR - what is a snickerdoodle? is it anything like a snickers? if so i want one! and your wir sounds yummy =)

W.R. Gingell said...

AJ- Snickerdoodles are American biscuits (cookies) with lotsa sugar and cinnamon. VERY good with a cuppa :D

And yes, it was. Very yummy.

french sojourn said...

Incredible W.I.R. ,the work the hostess with the mostess puts in is staggering.

Carolynn sorry to hear about Harley passing.

Julie W.M. I also lost an Aussie...absolutely gut wrenching. I know Donnaeve lost a couple real cuties. It's bittersweet the effect those little souls have on all our lives. (Cats and Dogs) But I feel we're all better for it.

A quick hello to all the regulars.

Cheers Hank

E.Maree said...

So sorry to hear about the writer you knew who passed away, Janet. I'm really feeling a reminder of my own mortality right now....

Carolynn, so sorry to hear about Harley.

My WIR: Finished the 4th redraft of my current WIP. Absolutely massive rewrite, I redid 40k words out of 90k. It's so much bettter for it, but man, I am looking forward to taking it easy this June and drafting something new.

Love the pinboard idea! Looking forward to chiming in there.

Sam Hawke said...

Sorry to hear it's been a rough week for so many. Especially to you Carolynn. There's no words, really. I can still get choked up thinking of either of the two dogs I've had and lost, and it's been more than 10 years since the last. I had a dog scare myself this week, when one of my beloved, idiotic mutts got a small cut infected on his face and suddenly had his usual loose neck skin full like a disgusting balloon of pus. Took him to the vet and found he had to go under to have it drained, and while he was there got a big growth on his leg taken off. No biggie, really, but he's had a lot of health problems and he's not a pup anymore, and things can always go wrong.

Didn't realise how I must have subconsciously been projecting my nerves until I got the call to pick him up and he was fine. My four year old son called my other dog over and said, with the gravest possible tone, "Now, listen, [brown dog]. I have something very important to tell you. [Gold dog] went out for a while on a walk. But he wasn't killed by ANYTHING. So he's coming home and you don't have to worry."

AJ, congrats on the decision. That's super exciting!

stacy said...

Sorry for your loss, Carolynn.

REALLY bummed no one in the publishing industry wants to come to Chicago. :(