Sunday, May 20, 2018


I'm at the Biographers International Organization annual conference here in New York today.
I was there yesterday too.

Yesterday between panels I was sitting at a table diving into one of the two books I'd just bought.
I noticed a gentleman at the next table with the same book.

"Ahoy," I warbled. "We're reading the same book!" I waved the book like a semaphore.

"Indeed," he replied kindly. "I wrote it."

After I picked myself up and dusted off my mortification at not recognizing him, I skedaddled over and had him sign my copy.

Turns out Mr. Atlas had forgotten his own copy and for his talk he'd had to buy another from the on-site bookseller.


sophistikitty said...

I love everything about this line:

'"Ahoy," I warbled. "We're reading the same book!" I waved the book like a semaphore.'

I like the sound of the book too.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Only this could happen to a serendipitous shark.

Julie Weathers said...

"Ahoy," I warbled. "We're reading the same book!" I waved the book like a semaphore.

OK this made me laugh for many reasons. I can absolutely see it. How much fun. And it's funny that the author forgot his own book, but kind of awesome he had to buy a book at the conference from one of the booksellers, who I'm sure was thrilled.

Also, I am so glad you said "warbled".

I tagged some dialogue with warbled and was second-guessing myself about it. People are going to complain you can't warble dialogue. The more I thought about how this is spoken, the more I dug my heels in. Nope, it's absolutely warbled.

Jeannette Leopold said...

I love this!

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

JULIE, warbling dialogue is easy. It's simply talking while gargling. Now the trick is, being understood relates to the alcohol content of liquid being gargled both by the talker and the listener.

Claire Bobrow said...

Ahoy and semaphore are two of my favorite words. Have fun at the conference today - sounds great!

I’m waiting on a freezing street corner in San Francisco, about to “run” (read: walk) the always nutty Bay to Breakers footrace.

Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone!

french sojourn said...

Of course, if you warbled in proper English would it be H.M.S. Semaphore?

Nah, didn't think so.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend all.

BrendaLynn said...

I feel like a groupie watching from the cheap seats. Janet, you get to spend a whole weekend with booky types of folk? A whole week? A whole career? I’m so envious that my fingertips are green.
I’m new here on the reef (and rapidly becoming addicted). Looking at past posts I see that many of you have been snorkeling for awhile. May I ask how long you have been following?

John Davis Frain said...

Ah, POV...

Yesterday between panels I spied a lovely woman at a table diving into my book. I did my usual. Pretended I left my beat-up copy at home and bought a new one. Coughing loudly didn't work, but I finally got her attention when I dropped my keychain.

"Ahoy," she warbled. "We're reading the same book!" She waved my book like a drum major.

My imitation of the color guard fell flat, so I said, "Indeed, I wrote it."

She scampered over. Success! Anything to convert a fan into an advocate! When she asked me to sign "Dear Sharky," I realized to my mortification the victim of my orchestrated serendipity.

Turns out Query Shark was watching someone's table while they left for a drink. My hand shook, one eye on her teeth, as I signed her copy.

Lennon Faris said...

Ha! How cool. I'm with John's highly entertaining POV. I think that guy was prob. star-struck, too.

BrendaLynn - I dunno. Years at this point but time sorta blends together.

Happy Sunday, folks!

Megan V said...

What wonderful happenstance! Glad you had the opportunity to snag a signed copy of a good book.

BrendaLynn to answer your question...I've been commenting since about 2014? I think. It's hard to pinpoint because I've been lurking for much much longer. (I was a teen reader of this blog)

Janet Reid said...

Y'all can blame John (manuscript) Frain for this latest flash fiction brainstorm:

We'll start with an Incident (much like today's post.)
You write the Alternate point of view (not limited to any particular
person/place/thing) of the incident.

Whaddya think??

Joseph Snoe said...

The reverse, more or less, happened to me last Tuesday.
Robert Bailey, author of "The Professor" and "Between Black and White" was doing a book signing for his latest legal thriller,"The Last Trial," at a bookstore a few blocks from me.

I had met him once before and had read his first two books, so I went.

All copies of The Last Trial were sold out. The very nice Mr. Bailey took my name and address and told me he would send me an autographed copy of The last Trial, gratis.

Beth Carpenter said...

I love everything about this. The original story. John's POV reversal. And the idea of a flash. I'm smiling.

Joseph Snoe said...

I wish Janet Reid somehow had worked in "Atlas shrugged" in her main entry.

P.S. - I saw Alison Krauss and Willie Nelson in concert last night (fantastic). At one point I thought, "Songwriters should give up. Willie Nelson has already written the best lines."

Donnaeve said...

Joe Snow "Songwriters should give up. Willie Nelson has already written the best lines."

Oh, IDK 'bout that.

"Flesh and blood, it didn't matter,
when the poison seeped into my soul."


"I'd rather jump in yonder river, than let the bitter claim my soul."

But. I could be biased. :>)

Only shark I know who can warble. I agree with Julie. When writing, one can "speak" anyway a writer wishes. One can also trill, chirp, cheep, chatter, peep, although I'd probably stop at "twitter" or "tweet" since that means a whole other thing nowadays.

Donnaeve said...

Ha, oops...

Joe Snoe My head, my head.

Lennon Faris said...

OOooh, yes! I love that idea for a flash fiction contest!

Craig F said...

Yes, give us something where we can do a villain's point of view. At least an unreliable witness or narrator.

I am in the midst of writing a section where two people who have worked together for a couple of years realize how close they have grown. That is the hardest part for me. Fights, terrorists and such seem easy in comparison.

Joseph Snoe: check out John Prine, Guy Clark or John Hartford if you think Willie cornered the lyrics market. He doesn't even write most of his work.

Claire Bobrow said...

A POV flash fiction contest sounds great! (I had a lot of fun reading yesterday's Lipp-Libs round 2 entries.)

As for legendary lyricists, how about Carole King, Stevie Wonder, and Johnny Mercer?

John Davis Frain said...

I am always happy to take credit where blame is due.

That sounds like a whole mess of fun. I can hear villains cackling already to get their due! Or victims? Or ... or ... or...

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

Mr. Manuscript... "credit where blame is due"... HA!!!

A POV flash fiction contest? Oh, my.

AJ Blythe said...

Hah, John, you crack me up.

Janet, sounds like fun. I've missed the last two contests as they've happened while I slept, but I've had a lot of laughs reading the entries.

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

Also... I may have already mentioned this a time or two, but I've always been drawn to biographies, memoirs, nonfiction - even as a child. They occupy the most real estate on my bookshelves. Real life.

As soon as I recover from my most recent book buying binge, I'll look into purchasing The Shadow in the Garden.

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

Mama Mel,

Me too! The biographies I love are those of Old Hollywood- James Stewart, Louise Brooks, Marion Davies, Joan Crawford and World War II personalities - Winston Churchill, William Stephenson, the Baker Street Irregulars (Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming)

I love looking at the black and white pictures in the middle.

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

Sweet Cecilia Luna Giraffe Girl... An out of the box recommendation: "Obsessive Genius" by Barbara Goldsmith. I couldn't put it down.

Craig F said...

Just so y'all don't think of me as a misogynist for only listing male songwriters, I propose Laura Nyro. Her songs are possibly the better known part of her legacy.

Claire Bobrow said...

Craig: I second your Laura Nyro nomination.

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

Mama Mia Mel,

"Obsessive Genius" by Barbara Goldsmith. Got it!

Giraffe Girl LOL. Yep, that's me.

As to lyrics, just the other day I realized Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven was deep, man.

Joseph Snoe said...

Craig -Guy Clark is my favorite singer-songwriter. Has carried me for 25 years or more.John Prine is up there too as are folks like Townes Van Zandt, Lyle Lovett and Billy Joe Shaver (Toss in Dory Previn too). For newer guys, Jason Isbell is remarkable.

But Willie can capture so much in one line.

Donnaeve Those lines are too long and too subtle for poor boys from northeast Houston.

Gypmar said...

Joseph Snoe,

Alison Krauss and Willie Nelson is a dream line-up! Both of their voices move me so much. I got to take a really great interactive online writing class in which Alison's banjo player, Ron Block, was a fellow student, and he is full of interesting insights and stories!

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Kate Higgins said...

I've been swimming the reef as a woodland creature near the boundaries of Carkoon and avoiding kale for 6 or 7 years.
After you've been here awhile you will understand.

I've learn a lot about humility, humanity, sharks, querying, publishing, talented competition...oh, and writing.

Kate Higgins said...

POV reversal's got my vote