Saturday, March 28, 2020

so, it's not the end of the world here in NYC I PROMISE

I'm spending a goodly number of electrons responding to emails from family, friends and Reef-dwellers who are watching the news and thinking I'm about ready to swim the Styx for Hades.

Nope, Nope, Nope.
Cerberus is not howling at the window.

In fact, I'm probably one of the people with the very lowest risk right now.
I'm inside, and alone.
I only go out in the wee hours of the morning when any sane person is asleep.

I'm not planning on going out again until someone with a medical degree rather than a vote count tells me it's ok.

The people I'm worried about are the nice young men who deliver food and groceries. (Yes, they skew toward gents, although I have seen a lady grocery delivery person twice in five years.)

They need the jobs they have, and they are, even at six feet apart, much more exposed to germs than I am.

I do the only thing I can: tip heavily.

As for publishing:
I'm seeing the resumption of business. Not full tilt boogie by a long shot, but people are reading queries (I am) responding to fulls (I am) and making deals (I am.)

At this point, I'm going to relinquish Queen of the Known Universe to Jessica Faust over at BookEndsLLC who didn't miss a step. She's really led the way on "keep going all ya'll." I'm in awe of her.

I think the next big benchmark will be 4/20/20. Schools are closed here in NYC until then; they will have to decide whether to open, or continue the closure.  I think most businesses will follow the lead of the schools.

In the meantime, we're having a dance party, the plants and I!


Lennon Faris said...

That is good to know you're safe. Bookends is the only other blog I follow with consistency. Jessica Faust's solo videos (they used to be with her colleague James) are comforting to see continue.

If I ever meet Jessica or Janet in person I will probably be (star)struck mute. Sorry Janet, I know you are a real person (/shark), but it's true.

Hope everyone here is staying safe & healthy!

Kelly said...

Thanks for the update, Janet. I find your post reassuring on so many levels.

Also, I'm sorry about the Duchess of Yowl. On Monday nights at 10pm EST, there's a world-wide candle lighting to remember our pets. You can find more information about it here:

nightsmusic said...

I have little doubt you're weathering the storm well. I know it's a bit lonely now though so, chin up. *hug*

Our state will reassess things April 15th. So far, I've been fortunate since I'm in the higher risk category (lungs and heart issues.) Hubs works for GM in charge of the engine build for Corvette Racing. Of course, there is no racing, so he's working on all the computer 'paperwork' from home and driving me insane, but at least, as an international building, they had no cases when he was sent home for the duration. We're going sometime around 10 this morning to pick up our groceries. I can't tell you how grateful I am to all of those in the service industries who are continuing to work.

Thing 1's MPC (medical procedures unit) has been closed except for emergency cases so rather than take FMLA which she says, makes her feel like she'd be deserting the war, she's volunteered to be temporarily reassigned to the COVID unit on afternoons. I can't tell you how proud of and scared for her I am. But she has no underlying health issues and that's a plus.

Prayers to the reef and to you, Janet. Hoping you're all well and hanging in there.

Rosemary Simpson said...

I've been reading this blog every morning for I don't know how long, and now, since you mentioned my fantastic agent, Jessica Faust, I have to crawl out of my social media hideout and respond. You are both wonderful, beacons in the night to writers looking for encouragement, guidance, and a chatty voice reassuring them that their dreams can become reality if they believe in themelves and work, work, work. Never ever give up! You're right—this is a very tough time we're going through. Reaching out to one another as we shelter in place is as necesssary to our mental and emotional well-being as social distancing and washing our hands is to our physical health. So thank you, Janet and Jessica, for being there for me every single morning. I've counted on you many times to give me that extra boost and kick in the writerly seat of the pants—and you've never let me down. Stay well.

Shameless self-promotion. I write the Gilded Age Mystery series for Kensington Books. DEATH BRINGS A SHADOW (#4) came out at the end of November, just missing the coronavirus outbreak in the US. DEATH. DIAMONDS, AND DECEPTION (#5) is in the copyediit stage, and I'm working on #6. No title yet. And yes, Jessica had me do some substantial revisions before she sent the first book out on submission. Signing with an agent is a major step on your writing journey, but it's just permission to pause for a moment and take a deep breath before you go back to work. Good luck to everyone!

And stay home. Your manuscript needs you!

Rosemary Simpson

Brigid said...

We continue fighting wizards here. (Enchanted Forest Chronicles reference, where wizards = nasty things that melt away temporarily with soapy water with lemon.)

Husband's a nurse, so I'm cleaning extra. Gives me something to do. Alcohol on the doorknobs, airing our pillows, roasting our sheets per these vintage guidelines. I eat raw garlic like a babushka. I'm planning to let the toddler loose with soap and lemon today, maybe for dusting/washing everything else.

And I don't look ahead. I work towards the things I can work towards, which is plenty, and I leave the rest alone. Whatever the future holds, we will cross that bridge whether we like it or not.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

So glad you're well, Janet. And to be in community with the other Reefers here. I'm struggling with getting a work/life rhythm in balance, whatever balance means in these pandemic days. I go for walks and pet my kitties when I've failed at new-to-me technology for work. In the mornings, I enjoy my cup of tea and a now fave music video (Norwegian Cantus' Dona Nobis Pacem) to start my day. Thank goodness for blogs, for the humor memes and outdoor photos on facebook, and for spring coming our way.

Sharyn Ekbergh said...

So glad to see Janet's post first thing in the morning with coffee and Ramona. I was very sorry to hear about the Duchess. I hope my Ramona makes 21 (or turns out to be immortal, always a possibility).

My mother once told me she dreamed she died and woke up in her bed to see every animal she'd loved coming to meet her. It would have been quite a crowd.

If that is death it will be just fine. (though Mom was also happy to meet Brad Pitt).

This is such a world wide shock it feels like we're in a science fiction movie. Very quiet here, I hear a crow calling, no cars. Everything in town is closed though the library expansion project is still underway. My sister on Cape Cod says there is no toilet paper. I may have to send her some. I also have tuna fish and Fancy Feast.

CynthiaMc said...

Glad you're thriving, Janet.

I got to meet Jessica Faust at a long ago writer's conference in Orlando. I liked her a lot.

Here in Orlando, we're okay for now. We have relatively few cases and our surrounding counties are being careful. I have no desire to leave the house until I'm back at work on Monday. The only thing that worries me is the planeloads of tourists coming in every few minutes. Not that we don't love y'all (we do) but now is not the time to come calling.

My heart is breaking right now for my former castmates at Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld who don't know when the parks will reopen (if ever) and are really starting to struggle. Fringe Festival was canceled and our theatre stages are dark. My actor friends are worried, but creative.

Grateful for a beautiful morning at The Castle (what we call home). Having coffee in my garden with the squirrels, birds, butterflies, and tailless lizards (thanks to Smokey's fascination with reptiles). Still feels normal at home and I'm grateful.

Hugs, love, and prayers for all of you.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

I do love Jessica, really I do but to me, you Janet will always be QOTKU.
I come here before FB and checking my bank balance. You are my companion during toast crumb breakfasts

After reading yesterday’s comments I want to say something to those of you struggling with all that’s going on.
Do your best to set your fear aside. Do what you can to keep safe and above all lean on the fact that not all of us will get it.
Recently I experienced the one year anniversary of my own serious health event. Having faced the realization that there is indeed an end to all this I learned something.
This moment, this very moment while my fingers tap away and your eyes follow the symbols which translate what is going on in my mind, these are precious moments meant to savor. A cool breeze on a hot day, a warm one when the temperature dips. Sugar on your tongue, a wink from an old man or better from a young one. When an itch stops and when your tummy is full. A please, a thank you, a stay safe and bless you. This place right now with all of us and the real QOTKU reading your fear, says this too shall pass. The day will come when we step outside and embrace the embraceable. I am as sure of that as I am that today’s rain will be followed by sunshine.

Megan V said...

Janet--it's good to see you are well and hunkered down.

Like Dena the type of law I practice has rendered me essential, which means I'm out and about in the world but doing what I can to win the social distancing trophy for the year. Things have been stressful but manageable and frankly, your blog and the BookEnds videos are a big help. The pups are too (and I'm extra grateful to have them nowadays). Of course, if Faust is now the QOTKU that means I have to clear out the brandy and the like and replace it with more wine.

Question though. If Faust is now the QOTKU--does this mean that all current Carkoonian residents receive an automatic pardon? Askin' for a Reefer (okay okay Reider).

Then again, much as I adore Ms. Faust, I must admit I don't know that it is possible for you to relinquish your title.

Brenda said...

Our social distancing situation had a foot of snow land on it this weekend. It muffles the grumbling.

So glad you are well. I watch the news, try to imagine New York, and can’t. Stay safe.

A shark in a cage? I’m so grateful that your mind is still free to roam.


Colin Smith said...

A recent Gallup poll showed that, in terms of response to the pandemic, Americans least approve of the media's handling of the crisis, and most approve of the response from the medical profession. Even Congress scored higher than the news media! So, perhaps it's not a bad idea to read widely for our information, and perhaps skew our reading more in the direction of those with medical degrees (as Janet puts it), and less toward those who have an agenda or a narrative to maintain, whichever side of the aisle that might be.

As new data comes in and models are adjusted, I hope we can all gradually start going back to some version of normal. New York City does seem to have been hit rather inordinately, though perhaps not surprisingly given the large quantity of huddled masses yearning to breathe COVID-19-free in such a relatively small area. It may take a little longer for y'all to get through this, Janet, but get through it you will--I'm sure of that. :)

The two agents I spent the most time with at Bouchercon back in 2015 (yikes--nearly 5 years ago!) were Janet and Jessica Faust. Granted, my time with Jessica was only 15 minutes, but she is definitely a top-tier agent, willing to go that extra mile to help writers succeed. Barbara Poelle was there too, but was only able to give me enough time to kiss her shoes before she vanished in a puff of unicorn dust. (Barbara is another awesome agent, too, btw.)

I'm glad to see y'all are keeping on keeping on. My prayers are with you. :)

RosannaM said...

Janet, glad to hear you are well and developing a new routine. I marvel at the thought of grocery delivery. We would still need to venture out when supplies run low. I have no idea if the stores have toilet paper yet; they have been out for weeks. We should have plenty but I rue the fact that we moved from a home that had several fig trees and grape vines. I love having a plan B.

Speaking of that house, it was located on a peninsula with one road out toward town. Six miles long with huge evergreen trees that fell with regularity, cutting power and blocking access. It was also in earthquake country. We stocked up on those little bottles of alcohol for mood stabilization but also for bartering in case of prolonged isolation. We still have them. So I'm feeling pretty good about our future!

Stay healthy and sane everyone even if sanity takes on a much broader definition. Certainly it will include dance parties. With or without the tiny bottles of booze.

Katja said...

Ooooh, reading this... I'm so glad I put both names, Janet and Jessica, into the acknowledgements of my book. Yep, I did even though neither of them represents me. But I still needed to name them because I learned SO much from both lovely ladies.

Funny thing is that Janet and Jessica are even the only people in there (except for Fiance!) whose names I have even mentioned. This is a bit of a long story and maybe too much, but I was unable to mention my proofreader after a disaster experience with him (he'd left me with TEN mistakes; some he put in himself; charged me £250 for it).
I did mention my editor (she was brilliant), but not by name for another reason (which I could explain but it's probably too off-topic).
And I did not put the name of my cover designer in either (which was a back and forth thing and turned out to be an accident, plus some other annoyance...).

Anyway, I'm super pretty pleased to have Janet and Jessica 'shining' in my book. :)

Luralee said...

Love Dan Zanes! He has the most grownup friendly kid music I’ve come across. His cd’s were my go-to baby shower gift for a while ‘cuz every parent needs kid music that almost won’t drive them completely bonkers.

I am not a gamer and I have been playing waaaay too many video games! Mostly LEGO Indiana Jones on our wii. Finally, I am keeping up with my five year old!

Barbara Etlin said...

Hugs (safe, virtual, social distancing ones), Carolynnwith2Ns. My husband and I had a similar, scary, heath-drama-filled 2019. Just when we thought we were out of the woods, this pandemic comes along and we go on red alert again.

We don't need a health scare or a pandemic to cause an epiphany where we're grateful for every day.

Stay safe and savour the moment, everyone.

Janet, so glad you're hanging in there. And if I don't say it enough, thank you for your wisdom and sanity in a world that's turned upside down.

Beth Carpenter said...

Glad you're hanging in there, Janet and all the other reefers. You're all in my prayers.

John Davis Frain said...

Catching up (what's new) from yesterday...

Virtual high five to Emma. Super news! Love to hear those stories. Your reality gives us all hope. Keep us posted right on through pub date.

Shout out to kdjames who contributes so much to this blog and so often (especially if you're a late-nighter like myself). It's only right that you get to borrow from the blog on occasion, in the form of laughter and wisdom. Hang in there, kd, you know how precious life can be. Stay positive for the folks around you. They'll appreciate you for it, and everyone will feel better from it.

Keep writing, y'all. We have work to accomplish and dreams to conquer.

Adele said...

I knew that if the posts were still coming, you were still kicking, Janet. I can go out if I want - our public health officials want us to go outside and enjoy the fresh air, just as long as we stay more than two large dogs-length away from one another. Grocery stores and drug stores are mostly still open, but with restricted access (no more than 25 customers allowed in my local supermarket).

But what I wanted to say is - for your own mental health - stop watching or reading news articles that focus on the bad. It is all right if you just stop. It doesn't mean you don't care; it just means you are doing your best to stay mentally healthy, as well as physically.

Bonnie Shaljean said...

So glad to hear this - yes, I've been worrying about you. Thank God we have books/reading/writing to keep us all from going mad. And my daily dose of The Shark.

Yesterday my husband had to go into hospital for a minor local operation (long scheduled, but they called him in sooner because they were trying to "clear the decks"). The worst hasn't hit here (Ireland) yet.

I had to go too, because he wasn't going to be able to drive home. The call was for 7:30 a.m. We arrived promptly, I waited in the car, he went inside.

They had some kind of emergency (don't like to think what) and he didn't get out of there until 4:30 in the afternoon. So I spent the day sitting in the car park, watching the lorries haul in truckbed-loads of oxygen tanks & canisters, etc. Stuff gets real, fast.

My sanity-saver was Barbara Poelle's Funny You Should Ask. I read the whole thing in a sitting and loved every word. (Especially the wonderfully snarky answer her friend Janet Reid gave her in the MOMA.)

Looked at the cover, of people in a restaurant socialising around a restaurant table. It already seems like another world.

The Noise In Space said...

Glad to hear you're soldiering on!

Is anyone else doing the SCBWI critique that came with the now-on-hold convention? I had thought the whole thing would be cancelled, so had put my manuscript on pause to deal with everything else at the moment. Nope! Critique is still on! Had to spend all my non-work time yesterday desperately polishing it up to send out at the very last second. And once I double-checked the bio of the editor I had picked back in January when I bought the ticket, I realized she's almost completely wrong for the manuscript I ended up using. *facepalm* Oh well, maybe the comments will be useful anyway.

For those of you who are also participating, who did you pick? What did you submit?

KDJames said...

Janet, I'm glad to hear you're self-sequestered and only venturing forth during the time of vampires and night terrors. And certain writers. I may never forgive you for that video and the resultant ear-worm. GAH!

And good grief, you guys. Thank you, everyone, for the lovely supportive comments. It means a lot. I was having a weak/tough/whatever moment last night and so OF COURSE put it out in public here. *sigh* I'm sorry to have caused concern. I really am faring better than my comment made it seem. It was no doubt prompted by my son-in-law returning to work at the hospital today, after a rare 2-week break. And the news that more than 50 doctors in Italy have died.

I'm trying to take hope from the fact that our governor here in NC is taking this very seriously and has made difficult decisions early on to slow the spread. I'm also trying to stay off the internet and focus on my own little physical space, where the only current emergency is the freshly gifted pile of cat yak on the living room carpet.

As long as I'm throwing quotes around, this one is perhaps more uplifting -- or at least steadying -- in these times. I've always loved it.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

We all are going to be so freakin' strong and confident by the time this is over.

John Davis Frain said...

Bonnie Shaljean, help me out here.

I understand that lorries are trucks on your side of the pond. But then, why do you say truckbed-loads instead of saying lorryloads? Lorrie-loads?

Don't worry, even if you clear this up, I have plenty of other things to be confused about, so feel no pressure! But thanks if you find the time.

Bonnie Shaljean said...

John, that is a very, very good question (a partial answer to which is: "D'oh!" - see below).

I'm American born/raised/educated, but lived in England for years, then moved to Ireland where I've been based for more years. So I mainly use British English - as the Irish also do, though they add a huge amount of their own colourful colloquialisms to the mix. Don't get me started!

But I still merrily mix up my terminology, and that post was written at some speed (dinner was waiting) (therefore delete the second, redundant, "restaurant" from the last line while we're at it - wish we could edit these messages). I have finally managed to get metric weights & measures hammered into my brain, but resolutely cling to Fahrenheit, hence temperatures in Celsius (centigrade) still sound absurd to me. And as far as commas go (Americans like more of them) and pronouns (Americans like fewer - at least the editors I've written for), fergeddit. Anyway, to try to answer your question -

Lorry/Lorries (usual singular & plural spellings), lorryloads (normally without the hyphen) are all perfectly correct. If it's one of those big multi-wheel jobs where the cab detaches from the rest, it's an "articulated lorry".

But when writing, I couldn't recall the actual name for the vehicle I was referring to, and my English-born husband was nowhere to be found (though he can't go far cuz - or "cos" as the British usually abbreviate it - we're under lockdown). So I came up with "truckbed" which either is, or is not, an American term, but I knew everybody would get it. Michael finally reappeared from his Batcave and has reminded me that the phrase I was looking for is "flatbed van". I KNEW it was something with a bed in it. And, I see now, that my sentence wasn't even clear. D'oh!

What I meant to convey was that I watched lorries (non-articulated) AND flatbed vans hauling in emergency supplies. I could see what was in the latter - the oxygen tanks & canisters - all lined up like soldiers heading to war. And yes, I did think: how many of the people using those are going to make it? Overtaxing the medical services by a spike in patient numbers is a real worry on this side of the pond too. The news from Spain and Italy truly makes me weep. So do the horrible battlefield-triage decisions their medical workers are forced to make.

I'm sorry this post has got so dark (yes: "has got" - they don't say "gotten" over here). But it's never far from the surface, is it?
So your own last line earlier is a real comfort, and I'm going to nick (steal) it:

"Keep writing, y'all. We have work to accomplish and dreams to conquer."

Hold that thought.

AJ Blythe said...

Where I live we were told yesterday it looks like we will be living like this for the next 6 to 9 months. As we're going into winter, hunkering down in our place won't be as hard as it will for those of you with awesome weather beckoning out the window.

Glad to hear you're doing well, Janet. Also lovely to hear how the rest of the Reef are fairing. Stay safe, everyone.

Craig F said...

Cool, I met Dan at something that may never happen again, a WMNF Tropical Heatwave. Six stages in four buildings and six bands lined up for each stage.

Dan was with the Del Fuegos at the time and was hanging by a stage watching the Reverend Horton Heat. Damn those things were fun.

Thank you AJ for bring truthful and living in a country that can lay it on the line. The world has changed and we are going to have to adjust to a new equilibrium. It is going to take some time to get to the reset button and even more time before it rolls somewhat smoothly again.

The U.S. response looks like it was taken from the Mythbuster's Contamination Episode.

Stay sane and dance like nobody's watching.

Miles O'Neal said...

Video or it didn't happen, oh Queen!

And Dan reminds me somewhat of Pat MacDonald of Timbuk3 fame.

(I'm not a robot, and I approve this post.)

Claire Bobrow said...

I'm very happy to hear you're doing okay in the midst of the madness, Janet. A dance party with the houseplants sounds like an excellent plan (as long as Feed Me, Seymour isn't in the Spotify queue!).

We're hunkered down here in San Francisco, glued to Zoom meetings, making lots of bread, and weaving like drunken sailors while out on the dog walking circuit. The entire neighborhood seems to be on the same internal clock with respect to outdoor excursions.

I'm thinking of everyone here at the Reef. Wherever you are in the world, I hope you and your families stay safe and well.

Julie Weathers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.