Sunday, June 21, 2015

Week in Review June 21

Welcome to the Week that Was for June 21.

Last week's review gave me a new word (I love new words!) from LynnRods: cruciverbalist.

kdjames picked up the thread about linking to your platform in queries:

I'd just had a conversation with a friend telling her I must be the only person in the world who writes a blog post and gets comments about it on a completely different blog (of which I'm admin, but it's a group effort). Thing is, it's a "private" blog. Well, not strictly private requiring sign-in, but way off the beaten path and not available to search engines. That's part of its charm and everyone over there values that sense of seclusion, however tenuous. I'd never give anyone a link to it just so they could assess some fucking platform. Those readers have supported and encouraged me from day one of this writing effort and I'm fiercely protective of them. Might that reluctance someday hurt my chances with an agent or publisher? I don't even care. Some things are far more important.

I agree. You're not required to list every place you participate in a discussion. Nor should you list a blog you don't want to. And no, it won't hurt your chances with an agent or publisher. Two things will do that: being an asshat, and writing crap. So far, neither of those seem likely.

Beth's story of autographed books made me laugh:

The phrase "drive-by signings" reminds me of a strange experience I had in a bookstore once. I was browsing the selection of new books. I pick up one, and noticed the author had signed the title page. I flip back to the cover to see if it was marked as an autographed copy. It was not, nor was there any indication on the display that these were autographed. I flip through a couple others, and see that they are all autographed.

I decided to alert the employees. They were as surprised as I was. The person behind the counter at the time happened to be one of the managers. He explained that the author was local. Apparently, the author had come in once and, without informing them, decided to autograph all the copies of his book. The manager shrugged and said they would mark the books accordingly.

I guess it's nice that the author was giving away free autographs, but what's the point of promotion if no one knows you're doing it?

This reminds me of a story told to me by an author who heard it from Elmore Leonard himself. Leonard was in a bookstore, collected his books from the shelf, took them to the front counter and asked the clerk if he would like to have him (Leonard) autograph them. The clerk looked nonplussed, then asked "why would I want you to deface the books like that?"

The rest of the story is lost to me now (it was years ago of course) but I laughed about that for a long time. Sadly, the only time I met Elmore Leonard in person was not the right time to ask about it.  One of those things I hope I remember to ask about if I meet him in the afterlife.

On Monday the topic turned to concealing the writer's identity when querying for very dark material
I thought it was a good idea.

Colin Smith both posited the question of why we would read very dark material: Why, indeed, with such horrors on the news, would we want to be "entertained" by those same horrors in our fiction?

and answered with what I think is exactly why I like crime fiction and read it avidly:

One of the sad truths of the real world is that justice doesn't always prevail (in this life, anyway). Wicked men get away with wicked things. There are brave men and women who spend (and expend) their lives bringing physical restraint to the darkness in our society, but they don't always succeed. As writers, we can serve our culture by not simply showing wickedness and how bad it is, but satisfying that desire for evil to be vanquished and good to prevail.

I liked what Madeline Mora-Summonte said about writing dark:

My mind goes to dark places for stories. I don't know why. I fought it for awhile, for a number of reasons, but I've learned to embrace my voice, my writing style, my imagination. I tell the stories that want to be told. If that means I have to make sure the lights are on, the doors are locked, and nothing is lurking under the bed before I write them then so be it. And if my readers have to do the same thing then I did my job. :)

I loved this from DeadSpiderEye:
Generally folk cannot draw the distinction between what you write and who you are, I've lost count of times I've denied being: a vegetarian, deranged divorcee, serial seducer, twelve year old girl, death row inmate or hamster.
(this was the runner up for the sub header this week, just FYI)

dellcartoons got this exactly right:

I can understand a reader being so disgusted by a book he specifically memorizes the author's name so he won't read anything else by her, but I'd think an agent reads too many queries a week to blacklist you because of a query you wrote over a year ago.

Subject matter won't blacklist a writer. I've gotten queries on subjects so awful I've replied instantly with "no, not for me" so as to discard the query immediately, but I don't enter the writer in my data base with "icky" as the category. There are a couple ways to get on my fecal roster: querying multiple times for the same project; scaring me; adding me to your mailing list; hostile replies to my response to your query.

The discussion veered off into spoilers when Colin Smith asked: how long after publication is a spoiler alert considered unnecessary?
The Maltese Falcon was the book that started the discussion. The Maltese Falcon was published in 1930. I think it's fair to say that you don't have to say *spoiler alert* for a book published in 1930. But, what about for The Crying Game, a film from 1992? Or The Sixth Sense from 1999? Gone Girl?

Some louse told me the ending of The Sting before I saw the movie. The movie was so good that I was STILL surprised when I saw it. And it's still a good movie even today on the tenth or twelfth viewing.

And remember what Jennifer R. Donohue said on WIR about Rebecca?
And, Rebecca is one of those books I read once, and after the last page flipped back to the first page and read again (Song of Solomon). I've read it so many times since then, maybe ten, I don't know. The mood, the characters, the's on my shortlist of Things I Recommend when people come to the library front desk and ask "What should I read?" (don't worry, I recommend new things too, and all across the genre charts, but "new" frequently means "not on the shelf, so we'll reserve it and give you something else in the meanwhile")

Knowing the ending doesn't spoil the book.

I think the test of a great book is if you know the ending, do you still get caught up in the story? The enjoyment of the book (or movie) doesn't depend on the twist at the end. To my mind that is why The Sixth Sense requires a spoiler alert all these years later whereas Rebecca does not.

I love the new name Mister Furkles coined for CarolynnWith2Ns: Carolynn of the Twin Inns.

And we all sent Christina Seine our prayers when she told us there was a forest fire out of control a few miles from her house.

On Tuesday the topic was number of points of view in a book,

DLM said something very interesting about the first person point of view in her novel:

after struggling a little bit and questioning it a lot, it made itself clear - first person it was to be. This is consistent with a character both wildly ambitious and, over time, increasingly powerful. The POV allowed me to "not see" certain aspects of the story and came with all the reliability and vanity the novel needed.

I haven't got seventeen characters going, but there are two POCs who are gaining prominence, and I can observe at different levels of perception as different scenes suit, which is a revelation. There are moments of minute attention, and then there are much wider-frame shots, as it were. I feel like a director who's been given a camera that can adjust from the deepest, detailed close-up to a sweeping panorama, photographing each beautifully. So, as closely related as the WIP is to AX, it's a different world.

brianrschwarz had an interesting take on multiple POV

The tough part is with multiple first - you NEED to have multiple STYLE. And style does not = voice. You need language in first person narration outside of dialogue that feels completely independent of other chapters. A really good example of this in the sci-fi genre is Across The Universe by Beth Revis. She manages to tell her story from two perspectives, one a 16 year old girl and the other a 18 year old boy. And I could tell you after reading 3 sentences of any random selection in that book exactly who is talking.

I'll offer up CHUM by Jeff Somers as a great example of multiple PsOV. Each part of the story is told in first person, but by a different person, and it's so skillfully told you know who is talking in the first sentence. CHUM is the book I signed Jeff for, and although it took me nine years to sell it, it's still one of the best books I've ever read.

(In case you want to know more)

I think bjmuntain said it best here:

The trick with any literary device is to make it invisible. … You want the reader to read the story as though it is a story. You want the reader immersed in the story; you don't want them noticing your techniques or devices.
LynnRodz asked:
Referring to Janet's comment, "And if they tell me it's seventeen PsOV, I can just say no to the query and save us all some time." I know, I know, she took that number out of the air, but I'm curious to know if someone told her, "My ms has 5 (or 6 or 7...) PsOv." what number would be too many for her, that she would just say no to the query.

There's no hard and fast number to cite here because I'll read just about anything if I think the writing is good. Even 36 points of view kinds of things. But the writing IN THE QUERY needs to entice me. Unpolished, un-zesty writing and three points of view is non-starter for me. CHUM had at least 10 points of view; I read it, loved it, signed it and sold it. Write as well as Jeff Somers, you're good. (Don't tell him I said this of course; gotta keep those writers on their toes!)

I loved this from Amanda Capper:
I'm improving, but this whole writing thing is not getting any easier. Kind of like learning to play golf. First couple of times if you have any natural talent you do okay. Then you start taking lessons and really suck. Eventually you get better.

I'm at the sucking part and the sucking part sucks. (this was also a candidate for the sub-header this week)
And the day is not complete without a pithy phrase from Julie.M.Weathers;
We need to be able to discern where the desire to improve stops and the whoring starts. There's a bit too much of the blind dog chasing the meat wagon going on at times.

The fire update from Christina Seine was very welcome:
Thank you everyone SO much for your kind thoughts and prayers! The fire has grown by about 2,000 acres overnight, so now it's at 8.5k and still 0% contained, but the evacuation line hasn't grown in our direction. I'm told that could change if winds pick up again, though, so we're just staying packed and ready to go at a moment's notice (or if the smoke gets too bad again). I’m worried about my poor bees – there isn’t room in our truck for 80,000 unhappy buzzers, so hopefully they can figure out where to go on their own if need be. The good news is that hotshot crews just arrived from the Lower 48 (and girls, there's a reason they call them "hotshot" crews, lol) but the bad news is that there's another fire out of control on the Kenai Peninsula a few hundred miles to the south, and it is also endangering residential areas, so now the firefighting resources are split.

Alaskans are funny people. Most of the time we are violently anti-social and fiercely independent. However, when the need arises, total strangers will risk everything to help each other. They'll give everything they have. They’ll bring four people and ten dogs into a cabin that’s built for two and somehow make it work. They’ll go into a smoke-filled house to find a cat hiding under a bed. People barely scraping by on less money than food stamps would pay are bringing food and cold drinks to firefighters. It's pretty amazing to watch. =)

and then the REALLY good news:
Thank you all SO much for the continued prayers and good wishes! I wanted to report that we were all crashed in the living room, dog tired and listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong sing "Summertime," when suddenly the wind picked up like crazy and the whole place turned dark. Before we could all sit up and say, "Whoa!" a storm rolled in and started thundering and lightning-ing, and now - in spite of a forecast that had called for ZERO precipitation this week - it is pouring down rain! THANK GOD! And now I'm off to find some kleenex, because ... my eyes are leaking. I've never been so happy to see rain in my life! =)

On Wednesday the topic was querying for a book you didn't write:

Craig asked: First, if it is a memoir wouldn't you write a proposal like a non-fiction book?

Memoir is non-fiction, but it's queried like a novel. That means the whole book needs to be written before you start querying; you need to include the first 3-5 pages in a query, not a proposal; you write the query in 1st POV and tell me what was at stake/what choices had to be made.

Most important for a memoir though is significance: what will the reader take away from this that will have utility in their own lives?

Megan V made a good point her:
On the other hand, when the author is someone who does not speak English, who lives in the USA, and who (particularly as its a memoir!) might have a brilliant story, I worry that this instant cautious rejection might perpetuate a lack of diversity in the market and prevent the dissemination of potentially historically valuable information(especially in the case of an elderly relative). This is especially true if the author's language and dialect is one that is not readily spoken by many other members of the US population. Shouldn't there be a way around this roadblock aside from telling the original author"Hey grandma learn to speak English?"

The roadblock is ONLY for general trade publishing. There are lots of other places that this author could find an audience: self publishing is of course the first thing that comes to mind. Academic presses too. As I suggested privately to the questioner, if the writer wants to just make sure her story is told, lodging papers with a historical society is often an option. Historians of the future need those kinds of original sources.

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli asked:
I have a question, how do editors deal with the translator’s copyright?

I don't know. I've never had to deal with translation on this end. All my dealings are with English source material being translated in to other languages.

However, here's the copyright page for The Devotion of Suspect X which was originally published in Japanese: 

Notice that the translation was handled by a rights professional? My guess is the copyright here in the States is registered by the publisher, but the contract for publication would spell it out.  My contracts with overseas pubishers say they will register the copyright in their country and make sure it's listed in the book.

I'm not sure how the conversation took an odd turn in to giving money to panhandlers but it did, and I like what DLM said:

Donna, I'm reminded of a sitcom from 15 years ago, "Sports Night." Robert Guillaume starred as the show's executive, and he had a scene once where he described a very similar moment, walking into his building for work, on a frigid cold winter's day. Someone responded to him, "Weren't you worried he was just going to buy a bottle of liquor?" And he replied, "I HOPE he was going to buy a bottle of liquor. It that gives him warmth and comforts him, it is worth it to me to share just a little bit of my money to give him what he needs. It's not mine to judge what he does with that money." (Roughly remembered dialog, of course.)

I've always given to panhandlers when I could (though I can admit when I was living downtown, I did consciously cultivate a habit of rarely having cash on my person), without consideration for what they might do with the money. I've given to folks I know are what some call "scammers" (ones I heard the same story from many times, though they never recognized me), given sandwiches when I was full and had half left I could share, given in parking lots and at intersections. As long as I don't endanger my security, I'll give and not judge outcomes.

Panhandlers work the subways in New York City like ATMs. For years I ignored them. One Sunday my priest gave a homily on our obligation to help those in need. Our job is not to judge them about how they came to need help, or judge them on the kind of help they need. Our job is just to help if we can. Give a panhandler a dollar if you have one to spare.

After that I started carrying singles in with my metro card. When asked, I gave.

Father Santos also said that we needed to recognize Christ in the panhandler, and even if we had no money, we should look the panhandler in the eye, and ask for God's blessing upon him.

It took me months, if not years to be able to fully implement this. Avoiding looking at panhandlers was so ingrained it took a steadfast act of will every single time to even try doing something different.

Even now, years later, I can't always do it.

But I try. Most of the time I try. Are these guys spending the money on booze? I don't know. It's not my job to ask. My job is only to reflect Christ's love in the world. As soon as I get that right, I'll start worrying about what the other guy is doing.

Here endeth the lesson.

On Thursday, the topic was whether a project is dead in the water if it doesn't receive a quick offer of representation

bjmuntain got it exactly right with this:

It's a statistical problem. When the subjects are self-reporting, you're going to get a very subjective view. People are pleased as punch to report the good stuff, while those who don't have 'good stuff' to report often just won't report. So reporting is skewed. I would think that the reporting done by agents might be more objective (they're not as emotionally involved), though I doubt the amount of time between 'query sent' and 'offer of representation' would be something an agent would worry about. They know the business. They know how long things take.

Kari Lynn Dell's real life experience is probably the best response to the questioner:
First off, her Sharkness speaks the truth about her own signing timeline. I submitted a full to her in September and didn't get an offer until late February, and that was many, many moons ago when she had fewer clients and, I assume, a smaller number of queries. It is possible that by the time she called, I had ask "Janet Who?".

And second, for the record, the mind games don't end after you sign. You will send your latest to your agent, and if you don't get back rave reviews within three days you'll assume she's been busy composing the letter in which she explains why signing you was a horrible mistake. And then after you sell--my current state of insanity--you'll submit the second book in a series then gnaw off your fingernails convinced your editor is taking weeks to get back to you because she can't figure out how to break the news that it sucks toads without causing you to jump off a tall building.

And then, of course, she drops you a line and says how she's sorry, she's so behind and has several projects coming up on deadlines and hasn't even opened the file yet.

And then the book hits the shelves and you've got millions of potential rejections. Yay!

So basically life as a writer is long stretches of self-induced crazy, bouts of rejection depression, interrupted by moments of joy that dissolve almost immediately into the next phase of self-induced crazy. Why are we doing this again?

Oh, right. Because otherwise when I talk about the voices in my head, instead of thinking it's cool people pick up their drink and sidle away.
John Frain added:
I've just started querying, and last night saw two different writers on Query Tracker who were signed after 11 months and 14 months respectively. The 14 month nudged the agent, got a "sorry for the time/thanks for nudging" response and then a couple months later got the offer. TOTALLY get where you're coming from though. Hang in there.
And I loved this from Jennifer R. Donohue:
With every single thing I submit, be it a short story or a novel, it's Schrödinger's Submission as far as I'm concerned. It is both a yes and a no and I will not know until I open the [in]box and find out at the end of the ordeal (we can dither about what the radioactive isotope is in this analogy). In my short story experience, the rejections which took the longest to arrive were typically the nice, personalized sort. Depending. Some mags just take forever, and it's still a form. Just the way it is.

It looks like Kitty wonders what it would be lie to spend summer on Carkoon:
How about a contest with prompt phrases as opposed to prompt words?

Before I could write her an open-return ticket however, my attention was riveted by this horrifying comment from DLM

Has anyone ever been put on an agency mailing list after a rejection? I received an email today advertising classes from an agency that rejected me recently - just a standard R, nothing special about it. I'm not offended, merely bemused; but it seems to me to make little more sense, really, than a rejectee putting an agent on their newsletter or blast list. I queried you once, you passed. We're kinda done here.

This is incredibly tacky. When people do this to me, I set their addresses to spam. Because writers would probably not prefer to set an agent's email to spam, it's quadruply tacky.

This is the kind of info that should be shared on AbsoluteWrite forums and QueryTracker notes.

I'm just totally and completely appalled here.

And then this from Dena Pawling just made me tear out my hair:
DLM – that sounds almost exactly like the discussion we had here a few days ago, with the agents rejecting and then advertising their editing services. It's not exactly the same, because editing is more personal than a class, but still, I agree it sounds shady.


Let me be clear: using a rejection letter as sales tool is unprofessional, and rude.

Unfortunately DLM has had to move to Carkoon after this:
Now, if JANET had a newsletter ... :) There we'd have a shark of a different color

I'm sure she'll be a welcome addition to the crowd there.

And oh look, Beth wants to go too!
I agree; if Janet had a newsletter, I would subscribe even more quickly than I'd buy her book.

Colin Smith asked
I wonder if Janet's been contacted about advertising on her blog?

Sometimes. Not a lot, but sometimes misguided people want to advertise. It's clear they've never seen the blog, let alone read a post or ten.

My faves are the ones who want to write for the blog. As IF!

Then DLM and Beth both backpedaled on their scheduled launch to Carkoon,
Perish the thought! I may be relatively new here, but I know better than to try to suggest that Janet add anything else to her schedule.

Please don't send me to Carkoon.


To which Colin Smith said: "Summertime on Carkoon: And you thought a form rejection was disappointing..." :)

Friday and Saturday are the TEXTS FROM MITTENS writing contest. Results on Monday. I can't wait to read your entries.

sub header: Never think that an agent's time is more important than yours

You'll notice that bjmuntain's name is not on the subheader even though the line is from a comment she posted on 6/17/15. I did that for a very specific reason. In the comment, she said it as though it was a query tip from me. And when you think about that phrase, when said by a writer, it has a more truculent sensibility, than when it's said by an agent. Talk about translation issues; this is a great example of trying to get the sense right by changing what's actually said.

Have a great week.


Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Thanks for the mentions, Janet!

I'm personally very neurotic about spoilers (I don't want to hear anything about anything I'm going to see, read, or play because them I'm distracted by anticipating it and it interferes with my enjoyment), but I do also agree there's something of a reasonable timeline. People know about the ending of Psycho now, as a for-instances (especially if they've been watching the show Bates Motel [which I'm behind on]), but they may not want to be spoiled regarding Girl on the Train or The Nightingale.

It's funny, this week I've been getting spammy emails from people who found my email via my writing blog and would like a job. Me too, buddy. It's for the dog blog that I get offers of products to review, and those I don't mind. I do wonder about the earnings to effort ratio for these poor spammers, and have a story stewing in my mind somewhere about that (which of course won't be "normal" in any stripe of the word).

An interesting note on form rejections from magazines: some apparently have more than one. Because I got a rejection which was identical to my previous one at that mag, with the additional sentence: "Please send us more of your work in the future". I'll take it!

(hey, did I beat two NNs or is vacation over? ^^)

Kitty said...

Summer in Carkoon? YEE-HAW! I'm honored :~)

Dena Pawling said...

I made the Shark tear out her hair [sharks have hair? Does that make them mammals?] AND scream. It's a wonder I haven't yet been exiled to Carkoon.

Love the blog header of the week, AND the runners-up.

The only spam I'm getting lately is people following me on Twitter. “I can get you 1 billion Twitter followers for $35.”

Regarding spoilers, I read a LOT of mysteries, but I'm a big fat wimp. So if the story gets too suspenseful, I will ALWAYS flip ahead to see how a specific scene works out, before I go back and read it. Otherwise I don't enjoy the books. There are a few authors who I've stopped reading their stuff, because of the stress level, or first I read the book backwards, then forwards. On a similar altho somewhat unrelated note, I've also found I get a lot out of reading some books twice. Knowing how it ends, I find it very interesting how the author sets things up.

Yesterday my youngest received her driving learner's permit. She texted a photo of it to her oldest brother [my Navy son] who replied back “EVERYBODY RUN!!” I tend to agree with him, so if you find yourself driving in SoCal area, be sure your seat belt is fastened and your life insurance premiums are up-to-date.

My poor car.........

Fire season has begun. And we are ordered by the state governor to conserve water because of the drought.

Have a great week. Be safe.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Jennifer, yup and yup sort-of.
Back to mid-day commenting tomorrow.
I hold the record though and the challenge is on boys and girls.
Great WIR.
Capt. BS thanks for your paused finger allowing legacy in place of mutiny.
Twin Inns, Mr. F is so amusing.

Donnaeve said...

A lovely WIR, and glad to catch some stuff I missed. (how could this be?)

(The one thousand foot leap into giving to panhandlers is Captain BS, a.k.a. Meerkat Scout's fault.)

Dena - the water thing in CA is scary!

Anonymous said...

Wow. I made it into the WiR three times and something I said even made it to the subheader (over two other very worthy candidates)! What a week!

Maybe I should quit now, while I'm ahead? Nah. I can't stop talking for that long, and I can't seem to drag myself away from this terrific community.

DLM said...

Aw MAYUN. I was all flattered to be all over the WIR, and then I got Carkoon'd. For a comment that was intended to be theoretical - comparing the idea of being blast-emailed by the Shark to the idea of being blast-emailed by (I'll go ahead and say their name, since they sent the email) Curtis Brown. I was not SUGGESTING a newsletter, merely commenting on the relative appeal and *value* of getting one from her.

Dena, your good fortune is remarkable indeed!

bj, you can join us soon enough ...

*Shutting up and sweltering*

Anonymous said...

Great week in review.

The panhandling situation got very bad in Odessa when I lived there. I see too many of those videos where the panhandler finishes their day and hops in a nice new car, while someone who just gave them $10 gets in their clunker and is mad about being conned.

Odessa encouraged people not to give people money, but rather to purchase coupon books. The coupons could be traded in for meals, bus rides, shelter, care packages etc and even care for their pets. By getting them to organized places and off the streets, they could actually try to find long term solutions and get the ones who really needed help the help they needed, not just a temporary hand out.

If the guy who was starving turned down the coupons for free transportation and meals, it was a safe bet he really wasn't hungry.

french sojourn said...

Is it me or does every week in review seem like a thesis. Just gobsmacked with the amount of effort that goes into every one. We are so unfinking worthy.

Thanks for the flash fiction and the WIR and the daily posts. Dang nabit, it overloads the minds of the unwashed like myself to read these posts.

Cheers Hank.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Well, since this is the last day I get to finagle myself in between every other comment or so and because my brain is melting from editing, I realized that my latest project is something that would make Janet, (the person), salivate and the smooth and slippery skinned beady-eyed agent, catch a current and swim off, after a chomp of course.
It’s about paint, wall paint, every color there is and then some. I’d send samples, those little squares of color that look like boring postage stamps, but alas it is not the shark’s thing. Too bad.
Okay, my brain took a break, back to work.
I’m sure gonna miss you guys tomorrow morning.

Anonymous said...

"So far, neither of those seem likely."
Awww. Thanks. It takes so little to make me insufferab-- er, happy.

Carolynn, you'll just have to adjust your aim. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) One of the things I like about this comment section is that it crosses several time zones and countries and doesn't operate on a standard 9-to-5 EST schedule. There's no "bad time" to stop by and catch up.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

KD, several time zones? Hell, we are around the world. Wait a minute...we ARE the world. Hmmmm, sounds like a great name for a song:)

Craig F said...

My Queen, I hope that you never tire of hearing our keyboards clack out thank yous. Thank you for the WIR and thank you for enlightening me. A memoir is a non-fiction that is not a non-fiction.

I will also thank you for the mention though I wish it was for something brilliant rather than ignorance. I once knew the weight of the sub-header crown. I shall regain that someday. It was a low week for me but maybe next week will be it.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to drag Donna Rubino in here to tell the story of the dismayed Weimaraner who matches that picture, I would imagine.

Colin Smith said...

Eegads! You people need to behave--we're running out of cave space here! I think I've found the perfect place for Diane, though--a medieval design, so I'm told. Not sure exactly what makes it "medieval" here on Carkoon. Outside toilet? Anyway, I'm sure it's lovely...

Thanks for answering my question about advertisers, Janet. As for wanting to write for your blog, isn't that what the comments are for? :)

And I thought you signed Jeff Somers for the sheer cheek of querying you a novel called CHUM! It's actually a good book too? I'll have to check that one out... ;)

Your time may not be any more precious than ours, Janet, but it is still golden, and we're blessed that you choose to spend some of it on the WiR. Thanks! :)

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Wonderful WiR,

Chum is on my list. Have to read the title that sold Somers to the Shark.

I'm happy things worked out for Christina. Carkoon is gettin crowded, at least it's raining in Alaska.

Panhandling is big here, lots of people with small children on their laps. It's hard to look them in the eyes too. I've given clothes and toys to the children or food.

There was also this very bent hunchback man who slept in a square near by. I gave him a blanket once.

Thank you (again) for answering my question.

The contest entries where fun to read. Looking forward to your picks.

Christina Seine said...

What a great WIR! And I can't wait to see the winners of the contest tomorrow - there were some great entries!

I just can't say enough how much it meant to me that you guys kept Alaska in your thoughts and prayers during our scare with the wildfire. I am very happy to report that it is now almost half contained and those awesome hotshots are just whooping its behind. Thanks be to God.

For a long time I read and lurked here on the QOTKU's blog. Like many of us, I'm super introverted, and I know I'm not the only one who took a while to dig up the courage to finally post something "out loud." But I am so glad I did. There really is something special about this particular blog and its family of readers. It's a rare and astonishing thing when strangers from all over the world can hang out together and learn from each other and come to genuinely care about one another. I’m proud to be a Carkoonian, and if there was a t-shirt that said, TEAM SHARK I’d wear it.

In other words, you guys rock. ♥

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Hmmmm, t-shirts, TEAM SHARK on the front and CHUM BUDDIES on the back. I'll have to think on that.

french sojourn said...

Carolynnwith2nns I thought the same thing,Team Shark embroidered on the front pocket, with Bruce the Shark on the back (TM'ed of course) swimming through a submerged library. (Maybe the tears of queried Authors?)

LynnRodz said...

Another great WIR and I'm mentioned twice! Thank you, Janet, for answering my question. "CHUM had at least 10 points of view; I read it, loved it, signed it and sold it." Wow, that is encouraging. I just finished ordering Jeff's book and look forward to reading it. I'm sure I'll learn a thing or two.

Yesterday was la FĂȘte de la Musique, we danced in the streets of Paris until 1 a.m. then headed home. That's why my comment is a day late.

As far as spoilers go, I too think there's a limit on when something is a spoiler. Even if I haven't read the books or seen the films, I know Voldemort and Darth Vader are the nemeses. You have to live under a rock or on a planet far away from Carkoon if you don't. That said, I don't want to know about The Girl On The Train because it's next on my reading list.

I've mentioned before, my WIP is about a homeless man and it's interesting what you say, "Avoiding looking at panhandlers was so ingrained it took a steadfast act of will every single time...." that's exactly what my protagonist talks about, people avoiding eye contact with him.

I think Julie has it right. There are so many scammers. I saw a report not that long ago on TV where these Romanian panhandlers (whole families) spend six months in France begging and earning enough money for them to live a very comfortable life in Romania. They showed, and bragged about, their beautiful homes, new cars, and the expensive furniture and carpeting they had thanks to the people of France. I'm sure many people who gave them money don't live as well.

There was an article here recently, as well, why babies, small children, in the arms of panhandlers are sleeping all the time. It's because the children are drugged so they remain listless in the adult's arms (not always the mother) while she's begging. I think The Schengen Agreement was one of the worst decisions made here in Europe, but that's another story.

Thanks again, Janet, for the WIR.

LynnRodz said...

I should've said, "I'm sure I'll learn a lot."

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Regarding quietly autographed books - maybe for some bigger name authors it's not so much about promotion as it is about giving readers a bit of thrill? How fun to pick up a novel by a favorite author and see it was signed!

Thanks for the mention, Janet!

(My Monday blog post, written and scheduled in advance, is actually a quote from the Shark herself. Funny how that worked!)

Stacy said...

Ugh. Janet, your take on panhandlers has touched on a dilemma I'm faced with every day. There are so many in my neighborhood, it's impossible to give to them all.

There's a very high concentration of addicts in my area of Chicago. You go down the main thoroughfare, there's rehab center after rehab center after rehab center. I have to walk by another one on my way to work. It's heartbreaking to see people ravaged by their addictions, aged before their time. One woman looks quite a bit like my 18-year-old niece, only she has a colostomy bag and a walker. (Up close, she looks quite a bit older.)

I would love to hand out money to these people. I would. But... every morning a different addict is at the bus stop, asking for cash--sometimes demanding it. So many of them are clearly not looking for food and make no bones about the fact that they're going to score their next high off of whatever you give them. Some already have a beer in hand. With one, I had to avoid his pot shower and beer bath when he threw a half-drunk bottle at a trash can and missed, all the while smoking a joint. (Yet one morning another guy, also smoking a joint, politely gestured for me to get on the bus before him.)

We're encouraged by the city to not give out money to panhandlers. But I think about this issue every day. Sometimes I feel judgey for withholding my loose change, but from a moral standpoint, I don't think I am. I know these people are struggling. I just think there's a difference between helping and enabling--and in my neighborhood, I think it's pretty clear I would be doing the latter.

Anonymous said...

Late to the game and probably no one will see this now, but I'll share it anyway and y'all can take ti for what you will, but this is what happened.

Years ago I was really struggling with the prison ministry. Don was fighting me. Some of the prisons were fighting me. We had no donations to speak of aside from the lessons and had 2,000 students amongst six teachers. Many of the students were very prompt in sending back the lessons so we might get mail from them every week. In each packet we sent out: a lesson; the graded lesson with stickers, notes, and colorful stamps; encouraging tracts; a magazine or book if we could; and a personal letter.

I didn't know how we could keep going and it was really weighing on me. I needed a small break and sent up a prayer, "Please Lord, just three days away from the worry." The fair was going on. We went. Will spun the wheel at a local radio station booth and won a chance for a trip to the CMA awards, tours, meals, hotels room, all expenses paid for three days. He couldn't take it because he was under age so I took the spin. I wrote Psalm 5:12 on the ticket and put it in the hopper. I won the trip and went with my oldest son because Will was too young.

I figured Brandon could use a break too because we had almost lost him in a bullriding accident some weeks before. It came so close I stood there watching the light go out of his eyes as they tried to stabilize him for surgery.

I still owe Will a trip.

I sprained my ankle a few days before the trip, but I wasn't giving up, I was going even though the walking tours were miserable.

Brandon crapped out on a lot of the events and explored the local bars instead. That's where he met the record producer and got the invite to all the private parties.

One of the events was to a place that was featuring a new band and they had a nice big dance floor. The band was all right, but I certainly wasn't dancing. So, about an hour in, I decided to walk several blocks back to the hotel as the bus wouldn't be back for hours.

About four blocks from the hotel a van stops at a cross street. I hadn't seen any traffic for a while. It was late and these streets were pretty deserted and not in the best area. A guy yells at me asking directions somewhere. I say, "I'm not from around here, sorry."

Then a second one slides the side van door open and is crouched there like he's ready to jump out. I figure this isn't going to end well for Julie Weathers and send up a prayer for protection.

The guy is trying to get me to come closer and I tell him I have to go as I keep backing away. It's only a matter of time before they either drive closer or the guy grabs me and drags me in the van.

Just then an older black man comes up behind me and asks if I have any money.


"Do you have any money?"

Great, I'm either going to get hauled off in a van or mugged. The guys in the van speed off.

I answer honestly, "I really don't have much money." As an afterthought, I ask. "Have you been saved?"

His face lights up. "Oh, yes, ma'am. I got saved in prison. What are you doing out on these streets this late at night? It's not safe."

"I'm trying to get back to the ABC Hotel."

"I know where it's at. I'll take you."

I tried to refuse him, but he walked me right up to the door. I gave him some money and prayed for him. He disappeared into the darkness.

The next morning, I figured my ankle would be swollen so badly I wouldn't be able to walk. I got up to take a shower. No pain. None.

I have no idea what happened with the ankle, but I learned guardian angels come in all kinds, even panhandlers.

Unknown said...

Ok, Julie, you win. One Weimaraner story. (I hope it shows okay. There was major overlapping of the text box when I entered the text.)

It's been a family tradition for some years that we accompany my husband on his Father's Day shooting weekends. When I say we I mean our Weims and me. Both Tessa and Dash have always been oblivious to gunfire, as good hunting dogs should be.

In between shooting events, we stroll down vendors row, where anything that can remotely be marketed as relevant to the shooting crowd is for sale. I walk Tessa. Steve walks his boy, Dash. They're always good as gold.

And so it was that we approached a big box truck with a lift gate, the kind you see delivering fridges and other large appliances. The truck, with rear doors flung wide, lift gate up to form an extension of the truck's floor, and a flight of wood steps beside the gate, is stocked with purty shotguns for sale that the shooters can climb the stairs to see.

Outside the lift gate, at the truck's rear, there’s a rickety table—y’know, the kind you store all folded up and only drag out for backyard parties?—only this one’s full of $3,000-$6,000 high-end gun stocks—exotic woods, beautiful graining, burls—about 20 of them all lined up and glowing in the sunlight.

And that's when my dear husband decides he’s got to go into the truck to see the guns. He hands me Dash’s leash and heads up the stairs. Dash takes one look at dad up in the really cool truck and decides he HAS to be with him, and the most direct route?

You guessed it.

He bounds onto the table to propel himself up on to the lift gate. The table goes flying. The gun stocks go flying. Dash goes flying.

By the time I corral him, and the onlookers stop laughing, and the vendor gathers up the beautiful stocks and assays the damage to them, we owe him $600--not that $600 would buy the two that Dash damaged, no, that money is just to repair the scuffed finishes.

Happy Father's Day, dear.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful stories - Julie and Julie's friend! Thanks so much for sharing.

That poor Weimie... :)

LynnRodz said...

Great story, Unkwn, I can just picture Dash flying through the air with his ears flapping. Lol.

Julie, with my travels around the world, I can tell you stories where angels appeared out of nowhere at just the right moment. And yes they do come in all shapes, sizes, and occupations. Another great story.

Thank you, ladies.

Unknown said...

Thanks, BJ. Dash was confused but loved the attention. Tess, however, was mortified. She stood off to the side, her back to us, and ignored Dash as if to say she didn't know him.