Sunday, February 22, 2015

Week in Review 2/22/15

This week just flew by. Of course, a holiday on Monday does absolutely nothing for winnowing down the To Do list; meetings, events and out of town guests don't help either. This whole weekend will be devoted toward work if I have any hope of starting Monday with anything less than the entire to do list from last week.

Monday's blog post on whether reviewing books would hurt a writer's chance to connect with an agent brought up something I had not considered previously:   MB Owen wrote

"Do you review as a Reader (taste) or a Writer? (technique)."

I think that's an interesting distinction. I like to think of myself as a reader first, everything else second, but when I don't like a book, it's often for some bad technique like plot holes or raging black stallions being suddenly rideable by naked titian-haired virgins (thank Julie Weathers for that hilarity.)

The books not to my taste are often the books I don't read at all (books on child abuse etc.) I'm trying to think of a book that I've read recently that just didn't appeal to me at all on a taste level and I'm drawing a blank.

A Valez asked a good question in the comments column: "Would any of this apply to simply rating a book (through the Goodreads star system)? I don't write reviews, but I almost always rate them. Would an agent really care if I had one-stared one of their client's books?"

Oh hell YES I'd care! And the problem is that simply rating with stars doesn't even explain the reason. I would just assume you are dunderhead with no taste of any kind. (Yes, I can be a little over the top on these matters.)

Ardenwolf made a good point: "Imagine being a literary agent. You look someone up, and you find tons and tons of nasty, scathing reviews that blast the author and the author's work." If I do see your Goodreads profile and there are a lot of nasty, scathing reviews even if not of my clients, I'm going to think twice about working with you. That kind of mind-set is not one I find attractive.

But let's all remember that I do not actively search out reviews on Goodreads or elsewhere if you're querying me. I do not set the Private Detective Shark on your trail to make sure you are properly respectful of all I hold dear. Mostly I just hope you write something so fabulous that I can't wait to start talking about it to other people.

And Terri Lynn Coop pretty much summed up how to write good book reviews: use an alias and talk about the book.

On Tuesday the topic turned to querying a previously published novel without full disclosure. I pretty much had a heart attack about that idea. Lots of Capital Letters Were Involved.

What was really interesting was that most of the ensuing comments were hilariously, joyously and COMPLETELY off topic. In other words, the best kind.

First, it seems as though there's a start time for comments since Colin was tapping his toe, waiting for Susan who apparently has been watching Downton Abbey until the wee hours.

DLM mentioned we need a new label for questions like this. I rather like her suggestion: Query Shenanigans. She also confessed she is an "unrepentant fan of a certain trash TV program even I can't name because it's that shameful. :)"  Which of course makes me intensely insanely curious what it could be?

And of course, as Terri Lynn Coop pointed out Julie Weathers wins the internet for her summing up the blog topic:

It's kind of like saying you'll volunteer to be the virgin sacrifice to save the village even though you did it with Eddie Finklebottom once. It wasn't very good, so that really doesn't count, does it?

Which was followed by Donnaeverhart asking: "all I want to know at this point is, does Eddie Finklebottom know Felix Buttonweezer?" and that made me laugh so loud I think I scared the pigeons on the window sill.

DLM told us "I've been clicking the profiles of all the users I don't know as well, and saving those who have blogs" which reminded me to tell you that having contact info for your commenting name is really important. On occasion, I remove comments made by regular posters. I WILL email to let you know why if I have your email address. A lot of you are contest winners, so I have emails from you, but if I don't, I click on your profile. You should be reachable for lots of reasons, just add this one to your list.

Between the weather, the cats, and the nuts (both human and food) Tuesday's was a comment string for the ages.

On Wednesday I used an email to talk about speculative fiction and why I don't represent it. And that pretty much sent everyone into an apoplexy when I said "just ignore category, send everything." It was really rather fun to see you guys work yourselves up into a lather.

DLM err... DENA** made me laugh so hard with her courtroom drama, that in fact, I'm still laughing on Friday night as I write this recap.

Colin's courtroom drama had a couple lines that I think I need to tattoo somewhere. This is one of them:

DENA: How do you explain, Ms. Shark-for-brains, the sudden spike the number of queries submitted to you over the last month?

QOTKU: I don't know. My charm? My people skills?

****is this akin to my dear grandpapa running down the entire roster of loinfruit names (including beloved hounddogs, now dead) before getting to the grandkids, and even then maybe mixing up which actual J I was?  Ie: a goodly roster of lovely folks.

Jenz said "So all this time, as I've been hunting for books with sci-fi elements but set in the contemporary world, Janet has been handling them and hiding them under the thriller label." Yup, guilty. Start with Patrick Lee's The Breach series and then try Jeff Somers' Avery Cates series. Patrick's new series starts with RUNNER, and Jeff's new series is WE ARE NOT GOOD PEOPLE. That should keep you reading for a nice long time. And yes, I love those books with a passion that makes that untamed black stallion look like a pony ride in the park.

And Colin's punch line "Or just query Janet. She'll take anything. ;)" reminded me of this great ad.

RE Journey asked "I did query Janet during a Chum Bucket, with a lovely rejection saying "DO query onward." (Yes the "DO" was capitalized). I have fretted over this. Is it a typo or strong encouragement that my ramblings could be something..."

Which of course is highly insulting to think that I, ME, the Queen of the Known Universe would have a typo, GADZOOKS, a typo!!! in any of my emails to writers. Heaven forfend. *swims off in a huff*

In other words, don't assume it's a typo if it's encouraging or I will come to your house and beat you over the head with Amy's nuts(which now include melons, so this is a threat of epic proportion. Or epic fantasy, you choose.)

On Friday the topic was lack of communication from an agent to a prospective client. I suggested the writer keep querying but also not just write off the prospective agent. We're all behind, all the time, and some of us have learned (the hard way) to keep people posted on that kind of thing.

Dena mentioned "According to the CA state bar, the number one complaint the public has against lawyers is “my lawyer never communicates with me.”" Years ago I heard that the number one reason patients sued their doctors for malpractice was that the doctor didn't talk to them about problems they were having with treatment/procedures or wouldn't answer their questions.

Many of you took me to task for not recognizing that the agent missing phone calls was a bad sign this early in the relationship. As Julie Weathers pointed out "some time back [Janet} mentioned this is a wooing period. When the agent has decided they want the client and are putting their best foot forward. Am I dreaming this? Anyway, if this is their best foot, what happens later when they aren't wooing?"

Julie's not dreaming, I did say that. And it should be true, but I just hate to have a writer slam a door when she doesn't have to. More than once I've gotten an exasperated email from a non-client writer who wonders if her agent is dead/fled/taking vows at the local convent, only to have the situation resolve nicely with a phone call.

Jennifer R. Donahue gets a gold star for getting "murder of crows" into a blog comment.

On Friday the blog post was on whether to sell a second book to a small publisher or wait for "something better"

Colin Smith wrote the best description of agent versus non-agent and I'm going to steal it shamelessly and hope I remember to credit him for it when I use it from now on:

From my reading (not from experience) I would liken the difference between being agented and being unagented to traversing the jungle with or without a native guide. With a native guide you're not as likely to get lost, bitten, or attacked, and the guide will also be able to point out things along the way you may not have noticed on your own. On the other hand, without a guide, you're free to take your own path, you can detour and perhaps see things the guide might not have thought you would want to see (or maybe missed), and you get all the credit for making it through. Without a guide you have to be more savvy and you probably work and worry a bit more, but you control your journey. With a guide, you feel safer in the hands of someone who knows the terrain, but you lose some sense of control.

Pros and cons. It's really about career choices, not good vs. bad.

CarolynWith2Ns (and some odd items in her basement) revealed her strategy for connecting to an agent:

Anyway, I have held out for years for an agent and unless I kidnap and hide one in my basement I'm about ready to go small-press or on my own, double ugh. So the question is what do I feed the agent in my cellar, Doritos and whiskey or kale and Icelandic glacier water?

which is a very strange question because everyone knows lettuce is the food of the Devil, and that includes kale. Since we already have glacier water here, I'm going with whisky and Doritos.

Donnaeverhart demonstrated her desire to join Colin Smith in the The Great Pit of Carkoon by just mentioning Lima beans.

On Saturday the topic was what do you need for your second book if an editor buys the first book which quickly became a discussion of pantsers versus plotters. It looks like a bunch of you are pantsers. I heard Jeff Somers give a GREAT talk on using BOTH strategies to get over plotting bumps in the road. He did it for Writers Digest about a year ago. I have no idea if they recorded it and you can access it, but if you can, DO. Jeff may sound like a drunken bum at times but he's hiding a very keen mind and writing strategy behind that liquor cabinet.

And donnaeverhart wondered how agents "query" publishers or editors: Or maybe calls them and shrieks, "you gotta read this NOW!"

Generally I don't use the word query about what I do for sending client's work to editors I use the word pitch.

I write a bunch of pitch letters just like you write a bunch of queries. I revise it, say it out loud, recite it in to my phone so I can hear it read back to me on voice mail, and then I call editors and give them a quick phone pitch. Then I send the longer pitch by email.

So far, so good.

I have indeed called favorite editors and said "read this now or die" but I have a hard time not bursting into gales of laughter when I do.

And the cat and dog pictures were fabulous. Just the thing for a snowy afternoon.

Over on my Facebook page, I posted a link from the Bloomsbury Review with a list of words that have become obscure or outdated.

I'm pretty sure you'll see one or two of those in upcoming flash fiction contests! Slugabed seems to be the one most people know. I was in fact surprised to see it listed as outdated. It's a word that I use a LOT here, particularly on cold winter mornings.

A Facebook post that generated quite a big of discussion was the writer who "personalized" her queries but then just forwarded each one to the next person on her list. I'd never seen anything like it before. It was horribly hilariously wrong. I sure hope she figures it out soon.

This week I also read the new Lyndsay Faye novel The Fatal Flame. On-sale is May 2015. I'm a drooling devoted Lyndsay Faye fan as you should be too, and this one does not disappoint in any way.

I also finished Cop Town by Karin Slaughter, nominated for Best Novel at the Edgars. This is an absolutely stunning novel. All crime writers should read this. It evokes a specific place and time better than almost anything I can remember. The plot moves right along too. My hope is that Stuart Neville wins the Edgar cause I know him and adore him, but Cop Town is fierce competition.

I also read Uncle Janice by Matt Burgess and it too is a book every crime writer should read. It was pitched as a cross between Catch-22 and The Wire, which is a terrible set of comps until you realize it's exactly right. There's almost no plot to this book but I couldn't put it down.

And for those of you reading this who have manuscripts waiting for me to read, you might wonder why I'm reading these other books and not your manuscript. That's a fair question. I need to read published books, and particularly books that are really good so I can recalibrate my eye after reading a lot of manuscripts on submission or, worse,  queries. If the only thing I read are submissions I lose perspective. It took me a LONG time to learn that let me tell you.

Same with writing this blog and posting on Facebook. Sometimes people say "how do you find the time" and/or "shouldn't you be working?" Writing this blog has taught me a lot about good writing, how to get better, how to be clear and how to revise (oh god, some of those older posts!) All of that is very useful for my "real" work with authors. Besides, the comments column is the best part of my day. As for Facebook, it's a whole lot easier to help writers build a fan base of readers on Facebook if you've actually tried to do that yourself. Knowing how hard it is to build platform is a pretty key part of my job.

And just cause it's so weird, here's my favorite news story this week.

Next week's forecast is for more cold and more snow. I'm seriously considering moving in with Amy Schaefer, coconuts or no.

Why I am not there now, I do not know.


Megan V said...

Another great week in review—thanks for posting!

About that weather forecast...I'll trade you some warm weather for a snowball? This is my first winter without a snowmageddon and I'm afraid the extra sunshine has me dazed and confused.

Anonymous said...

Man, oh man, it just doesn't get any better! I'm so addicted to the WIR. I know this has to be a LOT of work, yet, I can't say it enough. Like someone mentioned last week, it almost has that Paul Harvey "and now, you know the rest of the story," feel to it.

For me, this is why. You share how you reacted to some of the craziness. ('Cause I do know we get a little carried away and crazy.) Really, it's SO much fun to just let loose, and let the adhoc comments fly. I've actually felt guilty a few times when derailing and going off topic. Therefore, I'm glad to know we're not all being shipped out to Colin's favorite little hidey hole in Carkoon.

As to the lima beans. I love those little green blobs - sorry 2N's. Yep, swimming in ham juice or butter, either way.... Yum. Yum.

But. I especially love black-eyed peas. Here's the thing, if you're going to eat them, they have to be cooked right (ham hocks), and you have to top them with a relish of tomatoes, onions, vinegar and sugar, with a side of hot buttered cornbread.

Trust me on this. Right Julie?

MB Owen said...

I did visit JR's FB page regarding that person"personalizing" a query. Gave me surprising hope.

My take away advice for the review was: "...recite it in to my phone so I can hear it read back to me on voice mail."

What a cool idea.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to say, that story link shared (the weird one) WAS bizarre. Talk about freak accident.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

And you continue to torture us mortals with the evilness of the nefarious Amy S. who has the sheer gall to live someplace warm.

Although, I will say, that if the doom-sayers ever needed proof positive of climate change, here it is:

The weather in Kansas is currently better than just about anywhere east of me. Yes, I said KANSAS.

I adore WIR. I do go through all the comments but, alas, occasionally miss a gem. Never fear, WIR is here. And it puts all the nifty writing advice into one neat lesson for the week.

And it gives us denizens a chance to get to know each other better. Thanks for running the best reef tiki bar for writers on the web.


Amanda Capper said...

That is a bizarre news story. Obviously no relation to James Bond.

I don't always read the comments but I'm going to make more of an effort, they're hilarious. According to my jeans I have to give up eating anyway, may as well use that time wisely.

LynnRodz said...

Well, Ms. Bond was definitely not Agent 007 and weird is putting it nicely. Crazy is more like it.

I was super-duper busy yesterday so I missed the opportunity of sending you a photo. Then again I don't own a dog, a cat, or a bear, but I could send you a photo of my cactus if you like.

As Donna said, it's good to know you don't mind all the nutty comments that go off-track here. I was wondering about that as well. I think the reason why I enjoy your WIR so much is I get a glimpse at what you're thinking.

Amy Schaefer said...

I missed the pet extravaganza, too, although we don't have a dog or a cat. You'd have to take your pick of either a) Zippy the bat who lives under out house, or b) one of the many geckos who live inside the house. My girls feel very proprietary towards both groups.

I also find it funny, Janet, that you think your category post amounted to: "why I don't rep spec fic", whereas all I got out of it was: "send me everything." I'll bet you a wheelbarrow full of nuts that I wasn't alone.

donna, I agree with you - beans are the best. I have such a hard time getting them here, and the ones that do arrive have usually gone off in the heat and humidity along the way. The price of living on a tropical island.

Amy Schaefer said...

That will teach me not to proofread. That should be "our house," not "out house". It isn't quite that rustic out here!

Colin Smith said...

The toe tapping thing... Susan chewed me out (in the nicest possible way) the day before for not commenting until after 10. So I get there at 8 and where is she? Hmm? ;)

I'm honored if anything I say is worthy of quoting. Feel free to use any quote of mine attributed or not, especially if it's potentially libelous, in which case I fully endorse plagiarism on your part. ;)

Julie definitely won the internet on Tuesday. Great comment.

And another great WiR. I probably say it every week, and I probably won't stop, so get used to it: Thank you Janet for taking time out of herding woodland creatures to write your blog. It's so much more than just a useful source of information. :)

Colin Smith said...

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention to anyone undecided over attending Bouchercon 2015 in Raleigh, NC in October: Karin Slaughter is listed as one of the attendees.

Oh, Oh... and that commercial spot from 1978! I can just hear it now...

POELLE: What's that Holly?

ROOT: It's a query.

POELLE: Any good?

ROOT: No. Here you have it.

POELLE: No, I don't want it. You keep it.

ROOT: But I don't like it. No-one likes it. Not even Brooks Sherman likes it.

POELLE: Well I'm not having it.

ROOT: Hey... there's Janet. Let's give it to her. She'll take ANYTHING.

POELLE & ROOT: Oh Sharkeeee...!

DLM said...

One quick note, Janet - much joy as I have taken in making you laugh a time or two, I must not steal credit from Dena on the courtroom drama. Introducing that comment you cited me. But I'm way funnier with palazzo pants than I am in a courtroom, even virtual.

I answer to many names, but should not go 'round stealing them!

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Woo, I got a gold star!

It's funny, we had a discussion at work (the library) the other day about collective nouns (murder of crows, exaltation of larks, grumble of pugs, etc). I do love knowing those names.

Also, a cross between Catch-22 and The Wire? Hold placed. Gotta love electronic systems.

Janet Reid said...

DLM/Dena. Oops.
*slinks away in shame*

Anonymous said...

Barbara Poelle is slithery and now a Shark that slinks?

*tries to attempt visual of a slinky shark. Struggles. Squints. Husband, inadvertently caught in line of squint says, "WHAT? I AM wearing pants, see?"*

Colin Smith said...

Donna: I'm thinking a plastic shark with a big spring in the middle. The perfect bath-time toy! Doesn't do stairs so well, though. :)

Julie Weathers said...


Yeppers. I think I'll prowl through the pantry and see if I have any. I could use a big pot of butter beans.

Pinto beans will do, but now I'm craving the other.

I was going to stay away today because I feel like I've been such a comment whore. Oh me of little will power.

"That's a fair question. I need to read published books, and particularly books that are really good so I can recalibrate my eye after reading a lot of manuscripts on submission or, worse, queries. If the only thing I read are submissions I lose perspective."

Yep, that's why I read other stuff while I'm writing and revising. The best cure for writer's block is to read good fiction or listen to Shelby Foote. Your Shelby Foote mileage may vary. Reading certainly clears my mind and inspires me.

As others have said, I'm so thankful Janet lets us have our head and run. I have this image of her watching the shiver swimming about in a frenzy and shaking her head, but easing away and letting us frolic.

Julie Weathers said...

Y'all need to stop picking on poor Brooks. He is in the cosmic circle of agents. This is partially due to the blue shirt, which is one of the secret signs.

Colin Smith said...

Julie: I also think I comment way too much. In the end, though, I try to make sure I'm not just running my mouth for the sake of it (as I say to my 10 year old, not everything that comes into the head needs to come out of the mouth), and know that Janet has control of the delete button if I've said too much.

Everyone feel free to ignore me if you're getting tired of seeing my name up here. :)

Julie Weathers said...


I never tire of you. I think you're safe.


Colin Smith said...

Awww, thanks Julie! Likewise. :)

Kitty said...

An excellent interview with Cheryl Strayed about writing and money.
So I sold my book for $100,000, and what I received was a check for about $21,000 a year over the course of four years, and I paid a third of that to the IRS. Don't get me wrong, the book deal helped a lot—it was like getting a grant every year for four years. But it wasn't enough to live off. So, I guess it was a humbling lesson!

Dena Pawling said...

I try not to comment much because, way back in the time when car phones were signs of affluence, I was banned from several internet sites and message groups for having a “diverse opinion.”

Now I'm an older woodland creature but only slightly wiser. I try to limit my comments, both in quantity and to on-topic. Court is so much easier in this respect, because almost everyone knows the rules, and almost everyone attempts to remain civil to everyone else [the presence of weapon-wielding sheriff deputies helps in this regard]. Half the time I have no clue what the rules are on the internet.

To find my name mentioned on this WIR not once, but twice??! That's pretty amazing to me.

I'm glad my courtroom drama made people laugh. It was fun writing it.

At the risk of going off topic -

Amanda – my jeans are telling me the same thing. :(

Amy – you win a wheelbarrow full of nuts. I had the same thought.

As an aside to courtroom drama, I once smuggled a gun into a courthouse. That scene is in my current WIP. I think I'll use it for my blog post tomorrow.

Colin Smith said...

Kitty (and Janet for that matter--she would know): Is that one third of the 21,000 that went to the IRS, or one third of the 100,000? My mathematical skills are not nearly as good as Janet's people skills, but I think the latter is a better deal than the former.

Dena: Oh please comment more if you have more to say! One of the things I enjoy about forums like this is I don't want to offend any of the lovely, funny people here, but I want to be able to express contrary opinions if necessary (Yay lima beans! Boo Earl Grey tea). What an excellent way to develop the skill of disagreeing without being disagreeable. :)

Colin Smith said...

Oh, and Dena--I look forward to the blog post tomorrow! :)

Kitty said...

Colin, this is a more complete quote:
First of all, you don't just get a check for $100,000. You get four checks: one on signing, one on delivery—and that's not just when you finish the draft, but after the editing process, when it's going to the printer. I learned that lesson the hard way. And then you get another check on publication of the hardcover, and another check on publication of the paperback.

So, I sold Torch in 2003. I got that first $25,000. My agent took 15 percent, and then I had around $21,000. But I didn't think about taxes. And if you're a writer who has, like, no money, and then you cash a check for $25,000, you're going to be taxed fully on that.

Did you put it in an IRA or anything like that?

I needed it to pay my rent. I had accrued $50,000 in credit card debt to write that book. The same thing happened later with Wild, only I was in deeper debt. So I got that check for Torch, and it was gone the next day. I actually paid my credit card bill. Poof!

Then I did revisions, and I had a baby, and the next check didn’t come until 2005. I got my third check in February 2006, when it was published, and my final check when the paperback came out in 2007.

So I sold my book for $100,000, and what I received was a check for about $21,000 a year over the course of four years, and I paid a third of that to the IRS. Don't get me wrong, the book deal helped a lot—it was like getting a grant every year for four years. But it wasn't enough to live off. So, I guess it was a humbling lesson!

Dena Pawling said...

For my own mental and emotional health, I am fortunate that I can't comment during working hours. Courtroom deputies frown at that sort of thing :)

"Excuse me, Your Honor, I'm just finishing up this comment on QOTKU blog. It's about cross-examining lima beans."

I'm modifying the scene to meet my blog-style of posting. It's more "novelish" in the WIP. You know, complete sentences, action beats, writer-ly stuff like that.

Colin Smith said...

Wow, Kitty. Thanks for the extended quote. I've not often seen writers be that up-front about money, though I think more are coming out and talking frankly about the "hidden costs" because so many newbies are going into publishing for the wrong reason (i.e., to make money).

Dena: "Excuse me Your Honor, but could you repeat that? I think Janet will get a kick out of that line..." :)

Anonymous said...

Kitty, thanks for sharing this.

I read this same Strayed article a while back on Scratch, and it was the first time I'd heard how the advance worked. Another part of this interview - don't know where you pulled this from (Scratch or other source) but, her husband called...and I want to say she was at some huge event for WILD, and he wanted to know how they were going to pay rent. She said they laughed about how crazy it was.

Did knowing this make me rethink my new career choice after making six figures in the Corp world?

No. But, I'm also known to be hardheaded - so - there's that.

I never tire of anyone's comments. Ever.

Dena - how'd the lima beans do on the stand?

Dena Pawling said...

It's raining here! Our thirsty land is happy.

And my Navy son called for a chat. Mom is happy.

The lima beans didn't do so well under pressure. They burst under the heavy cross-examination.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for these Sunday posts. I love to hear what Janet has to say about the comments from the week before. And thanks to everyone who comments. You remind me that I'm not all alone in what seems like a black hole of the publishing universe.

Amy Schaefer said...

I live for the day I actually have to pay taxes on my earnings from writing.

Lilac Shoshani said...

Janet and you, lovely commenters, make my day, every day. Thank you.

By the way, I added my email address to my google+ contact information. So from now on, when I say, "I'm here for you," other than literally hanging here 24/7 (true story), you are more than welcome to send me an email. :-)

Plus, I don't want Janet to delete my comments.

Colin, I love NC. I was in Charlotte once: never wanted to go home.

Also, you and Dena were hilarious on Wednesday. And today. :D

And all of you are so insightful.

PS If from some reason you can't see my email address, please let me know.

Lilac Shoshani said...

I meant to write: if for some reason ...

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

For the ever-lovin’ life of me I cannot understand how anyone can love lima beans. They are pitchy little tick-like green blobs. Perfect food to pitch down the stairs to my captive in the basemen.

Love the WIR. It gets to the point like reminiscing about the Buttonweazers becomes fodder for planned parenthood.

Off topic: For those of you who expressed concern regarding my travails of the last week, the other grand-ma is going to be fine. It will be a very long road back to health but we are told she will make it.
Thank you. Your thoughts and prayers got me through.
I'll bet this all happened because she ate a lima bean.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

Thanks for the link on the article about money.

I can say that in 2014 I added a decimal place to my writing income from 2013 (which was the first year I had to do a separate Schedule C and, yes, I giggled when I typed in "writer") and if I could get my lima beans together, I could add another space to the left of the decimal place in 2015.

I'm lucky right now. My online collectibles business is thriving and I've been relentlessly cost-cutting, so I was able to spend this winter re-grouping and dealing with family issues. Four more payments and I burn my mortgage . . .

If I can't make a living with words withing two years (fiction and non-fiction combined,) I have no one to blame but that broad in the mirror.


Sam Hawke said...

Now as an Australian I feel I need to ask - what is a lima bean? Is it the same as a broad bean? If so, I am with you beanhaters, because I spent too much of my childhood having to shell those mealy little bastards with the bitter knowledge that I'd be rewarded by having to eat the proceeds.

AJ Blythe said...

Love, love, loving the WIR. Particularly after a week like this where I've only had time to skim the posts.

Colin, thanks for tormenting me with the news that Karin Slaughter is at Bouchercon. Attending Boucheron is high on my writing 'to do' list, but the airfare is a killer. I wonder how much my first born is worth :)

Carolynnwith2Ns, I guess they are a rarity in Australia. I spent forever walking the fruit and veg aisles looking for Lima Beans the other day 'cause I just got so dang curious what they were. No luck. I eventually found a bag of frozen ones. While in store I googled to find out what you do with them - found out that unless they are cooked well they are deadly (thanks to their cycanide levels). Bag went back on the shelf.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Ah ha, lima beans and cyanide levels, I knew it. Eating a lima bean is as unhealthy as downing a raw chicken mixed with un-rinsed quinoa and kale shake.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam from Australia - I don't know what a broad bean is much like you don't know a lima bean, but here in the south, we actually call "lima beans" butterbeans. And if you garden, they are absolutely DE-lish. As Rachel Ray would say. They are tiny pale green, kidney shaped beans, and they can be found in a variety of sizes, but the smaller, the better.

I can't post a hyperlink b/c of my sign in credentials, but you can copy/paste this, and you'll get the idea:

Now, what I want to know is how can ya'll eat those vegemite sandwiches?

Writer of Wrongs said...

Cyanide and lima beans. I'm seeing a new plot twist.

And all those years, Mom was really just trying to kill me. That explains ballet lessons, too.

Colin Smith said...

Sam: I believe we called them broad beans in the UK, so, if my UK vocab is holding out after 20+ years, yes, they're the same thing.

Jenz said...

Jim C. Hines does a blog post every January detailing his writing income from the previous year. Don't look just at the number from last year and think, hey, that sounds like good income. Look at how many years it took to get to that level. The year his first novel came out, he didn't make as much as Cheryl Strayed mentions in the above quotes.

(There's a couple of links at the bottom of his post to other writers talking about their income.)

DLM said...

Never heard of cyanide in limas, but yes, they are LESS offensive the smaller they are. But they're still bleh, even for a woman old enough to have come to appreciate protein and all the wonderful vitamals and nutriments real food provides us in this world.

I wonder whether The Poison Beans and Dread Tapioca figure in any good crime novels. What a dangerous feast they could make!

Sam Hawke said...

Donnaeverhart - How could you say such a thing? Vegemite is the food of kings. Or, at least the food of the hungover. Or people who just like their breakfast toast really salty. ;)

Thanks for the intel Colin. Now I can place myself squarely with the anti-lima bean crowd.

AJ Blythe said...

Sam Hawke, just realised we're both in the same town. Do you go to any of the writerly events around the place?

Sam Hawke said...

Hi AJ! Another Canberran, nice! I'm a member of the Writers Centre but I must admit I do most of my participating safely from the introvert-friendly zone of my couch. :)