Sunday, June 28, 2015

Week in Review June 28

Welcome to the week that was.

In last week's in review Colin Smith commented on Jeff Somers' book CHUM (the book I signed Jeff for, but took nine years to sell)

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... ;)

It's a GREAT book, and a fabulous title, but that title is all mine.  When Jeff sent me the book it had some other title, and he'll be the first to tell you it was probably horrible. Jeff is singularly lacking in title skills. We laugh about it to this day in fact. Usually right after he sends me something call "Dreary Prose by a Pantsless Writer"

Christina Seine updated us on the status of the forest fires:
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.

Yes indeed.

Turns out LynnRodz is a party animal and man oh man, do I want to hit  Paris this time next year:
Yesterday was la FĂȘte de la Musique, we danced in the streets of Paris until 1 a.m.

CarolynnWith2Ns is packing her bags for Carkoon after this suggestion:
Hey sharky-one, how about a flash fiction memoir. Might be interesting and then again maybe folks would be throwing rocks at-cha.

And then Craig pointed out that the contest winner had missed one of the prompt words:
It was already a long day when I got here but I seem to have lost a mitten. Where did Hank hide it?

Colin Smith posited:
Craig: I think Janet's teaching us an important lesson about agents and publishing. You can break the rules and still succeed, because a great, well-written story will always win out. That doesn't give us license to break the rules, but it does explain why rebels are sometimes rewarded.

Which is very kind but totally wrong.
Truth is I missed it. Just didn't proof read the contest results like I've done in the past and missed it completely. 

By the time I learned of the error I'd already sent the prize off to Hank (damn me for being efficient that day! And Hank for winning an earlier contest so I already had his address!)

Well, lesson learned: Always highlight the prompt words in the finalists. 

On Tuesday we discussed the problem of using song lyrics in novels, and thus needing permissions.

JEN Garrett asked:
I gave a pre-published author one of my poems to use in her book. No compensation, no strings attached. The poem has never been published and I don't plan on using it anywhere else. The way I see it, it was a gift of intellectual property, and I don't expect anything in return. The author says she will acknowledge me as the poet, but even if she doesn't I'm not going to press the issue - it was a gift, pure and simple.

But my question is, do I need to put this in writing for the author of the book?

YES. The two of you know the circumstances of the gift but at some point, if the author gets a book deal, the publisher will expect to see written permission. Better to give it to her now: a. while you're alive; b. while you remember the terms; and/or c. before you change your mind.  All three of those things could change and leave her with some problems.

frenchsojourn asked:
You mentioned the 1920 limit for music...does the same apply for literary work.

Yes. Anything in novels published before 1920 no longer requires permissions. BE CAREFUL however if you're quoting from anything translated. If the translation occurred after 1922 (or so)  it's still protected by copyright. You could quote from the original novel in the original language without a problem but if the translation to English is what you need, make sure that is before1920 as well.

And Scott Sloan also reminded us that the edition year is also important:
Several people talked of quoting sources originating before 1922.
But the original work could be public domain, yet the actual copy of the work still be protected.
A 1980 edition of "Right Said" Freddy Buttonweezer's (Felix's not-so-great-great-great-meh? grandfather) Revolutionary War song cycle, entitled "Me and My Banjo and My Trick Knee in Alabama" would be protected, because it was that edition you borrowed from.
If you've actually got a first edition of the original material… well… sell that sucker, and retire.
In my experience, publishers have been known to change things around enough to secure a further period of protection, if the money is good.
So, Kipling's Jungle Books are public domain.
The latest Norton Anthology of that public material is protected.

Adele asked an interesting question:
I have been told that sometimes even pre-1923 works are still under copyright. There are a few famous writers who gave their works to institutions, and the institutions (usually universities) now hold the copyright. Since institutions rarely die and the law restricts the end of copyright until 50 years after the death of the copyright holder, that copyright will never end.

My problem is that I can never quite remember who these authors are. I think J.M. Barrie is one, maybe Lewis Carroll? Who else? How would you find out?

A copyright lawyer is going to be helpful here. I know that J.M. Barrie gave the rights to the performance of Peter Pan to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

That is ONLY for performance rights though (if you want to put on the stage play) If you want to reference Captain Hook and the Lost Boys, you're ok because Peter Pan was published in 1911.

brianrschwarz expanded the question:
Can I say "Felix Buttonweezer sipped his Miller Lite in the dim haze of the bar..."
And S.D. King asked:
In my WIP I use brand names like Sharpie, Milky Way bars, and reference "The Price is Right."

Am I on shaky ground?

Brand names are a different kettle of fish. It's not copyright that applies here, it's trademark law. And that makes copyright law look like a walk in the park. Generally you're ok referencing brand names as long as you're not disparaging them in a way that damages the brand.

What a lot of people don't know about trademark protection is that trademark holders must defend their mark or lose it. This is what leads to those stories about "Big Giant Evil Corporation" going after "small gentle mom and pop unicorn store" for trademark infringement. If BGEC doesn't stop other people from using their mark/name/protected property, then the trademark can be voided. Thus you can not open a restaurant in Portland Oregon called Rip City Diner without drawing the ire of the Portland Trailblazers.

Matt Adams asked:
I have another section where a lot of his [Jimmy Buffet]  song titles are used (two of my MCs are drunkenly talking about creating a religion based on his music), but I stayed away from using any specific lyrics. I've always read that titles can't be copyrighted -- so I know I'm safe if I have a character having smoke get in their eyes -- but I wonder if it's okay to list a series of song titles, even if you're giving full attribution to the songwriter. I guess it's a bridge I'll cross when (if) I get there.

You're right. Titles are not covered by copyright. You can use them and list them without a problem. 

LynnRodz asked:
I like that idea of changing words around just enough to still know which song they're referring to, but will that still bring about a lawsuit?

Some of this is hard to know until it happens. And a lot depends on what the publisher's legal department says.  My guess is that if you saw this in a Carl Hiaasen novel, it's ok. Carl Hiaasen is a well known author who sells a lot of books. In other words, the rights holder to the songs is more likely to notice his misquoted lyrics and object if they wanted to. If he was a lesser known author, published by a smaller press, with a small print run, chances are nobody would notice.

Susan Bonifant had a very interesting comment on using lyrics at all in a novel:
I wanted so badly to use lyrics from the Rolling Stones "Waiting for a Friend." But when I put them on the page in context with the scene, it just looked like I was directing the reader: Okay, see these lyrics? THAT'S how my character feels RIGHT NOW.

Amanda Capper responded with:
I used two lines from a Gordon Lightfoot song in the first draft of my book because it mentioned con men but took them out when I realized I wrote the scene around the lyrics instead of the lyrics adding to the story. But there is nothing like a song to bring back memories, and put a reader smack dab in the moment.

Adib Khorram added:
One of my rough drafts uses song titles for each chapter heading—the main character is obsessed with Pink Floyd, so each chapter is named after one of their songs.

I imagine that kind of use will end up being cut sooner or later (kill your babies/darlings!) but it helped me with the writing and I certainly won't shy away from mentioning the titles of whatever Pink Floyd songs the narrator listens to in the course of the story

On Wednesday we turned to the topic of waiting time

Amanda Capper made me snort coffee out my gills with her parenthetical comment here:
Agent snagging (as opposed to agent shagging which is a whole other, not to be discussed, topic), seems to be all about patience and perseverance. Keep moving is good shark advice.

And french sojourn didn't help matters at all with this:
My great-great Grandfather, Elloidal T. Buttonweezer, wrote in his first Novel. "Marooned on Carkoon"

Tony Clavelli said:
Janet always says the best stuff is in the comments and I thought that was some kind of humility, but this stuff is really helpful. Dejection is a choice, but it's awful hard to recognize that when you're in your own dread-loop. Anyway, thanks for sharing those stories.

Humility? ME? (oh boy there went the coffee out the gills again)

and then this from Julie M. Weathers, and I just gave up on the coffee that day:
Why am I a writer?

I have auburn hair, freckles, and a writer's brain. It's just the way I was put together.

*hangs head in shame and picks up the glass jar with the brain in it*

"Yes, I hear you. I will return Mr. Poe's brain."

You guyz really crack me up.

Lizzie summed things up nicely:
The cognitive dissonance this business requires is baffling, a singular belief in your work yet an acceptance that your belief is also insignificant. We might as well be creating ephemeral sand mandalas here. Hats off to everyone who has mastered the contradictory tightrope.

And if this comment by brianrschartz doesn't grab you, well, you might already be a zombie:
I think the hardest part about being a writer isn't the writing, or the waiting, or the revising. It's the forgiving. Strangely, I think we need to forgive ourselves for more things than words we write.

We need to forgive ourselves for... let's see...

our bad attitudes.
missing our wordcounts.
getting into a rut.
hitting a wall.
envying another position.
wishing too much and writing too little.
not maintaining good habits.
losing focus.
chasing the meat wagon.
not staying true to our story.
getting caught up in research.
forgetting to live life.
putting writing above all else.
putting writing below all else.
getting stranded on Carkoon.
reading too many blogs.

I didn't think much of the idea.

Tony Clavell had a great example of diction rather than spelling to indicate regionalism:
There's a sort of obscure West Virginian writer with an amazing surname--Ann Pancake--whose dialogue is stunning. Moreso than the dropping of letters, the sound can come from word choice and grammar--creating a voice instead of forcibly reminding the reader with every verb that the best you've got is a ton of apostrophes. I just googled her for a sample sentence:

"They burned regular, about once a month, the glows of the closer fires quavering Dell and Carol's window, choking them awake on their trash smoke stink."

and mhleader reminded me of one of my favorite store names:
And if you think that's what designates a Southern speaker, well, you ain't been visiting down to the Piggly Wiggly lately, hon.

Jenny Chou had very good news on the Piggly Wiggly front:
I would like to mention that we STILL have Piggly Wiggly's here in Wisconsin. There's one 10 minutes from my house and I shop there all the time because it's right down the block from the library.

I really liked what Patricia Harvey said:
If I'm not mistaken, this subject relates to that most nebulous of concepts known as "voice." Particularly the difference between an author's voice and character's voice. The topic of voice is one I've heard agents and editors discuss at conferences without actually saying what they're looking for, except that want "fresh" ones. For writers, finding that voice can be like trying to pin down pixie dust. Along the way I've learned that getting to know one's characters more intimately can help define their voices. But author's voice, I'm less clear on.

As soon as I have an answer on author's voice I'll let you know. Right now it's like pornography: I can't define it but I know it when I see it.

Dena Pawling pointed out:
Is anyone else also distracted by the fact Janet has two bright red numbers (1) and (2) in this post but doesn't include specifically-numerated answers?

Dangnabbit!  That's one of those things that I should have caught. I revise blog posts a couple times before posting and the comments related to (1) and (2) got deleted. I forgot to go back and delete the numbers. This is what happens when I don't let the posts sit for more than a day.  Argh.

and Joseph Snoe caught another mistake:
Spiraling off topic here: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café actually takes place in Irondale, Alabama, not Georgia.

I went back and read (using the Look Inside feature on Amazon) and sure enough: Whistle Stop is ten miles from Birmingham. That will teach me not to fact check stuff! (I did that post from memory---oops)

This, combined with the miss on mitten in the contest means I probably need a vacation. Or something.

But what Julie M. Weathers clearly needs is a smack upside the head:

"TBR pile; add Julie Weather's autobiography."

That will never happen. A collection of stupid Julie stories doesn't make a good memoir, I'm afraid, but thank you.


"stupid"?? STUPID??? I don't think so. In fact, that's pretty much the LAST word I'd use to describe Julie stories. Right after boring, pointless and lewd.
They are in fact hilarious, wonderful, and welcome. So, knock off the self-disparagement or I'm gonna come out there and butter your biscuits and call you lunch.

and I'm not alone in this:
from bjmuntain:
Have you ever read George Burns' biography of his wife called Gracie: A love story? It's a beautiful story of love and regret - and it's told in Burns' voice, with Burns' stories from the days of vaudeville up to the early days of television. I can see Julie's autobiography told in the same way.

    First, though, we need to get Julie famous. Then the world can read the gloriousness of her autobiography.

BUT it might make an entertaining as hell book. You may call them stupid stories, I call them a window into a life I'd like reading about.
You're funny babe, your stories are hysterical and have heart. I'd say that, and your writer's voice, are a good mix.

Colin Smith:
Janet: Is there precedent for an agent (e.g., you) offering representation to a writer for a book they're in denial that they need to write (e.g., Julie)? :)

And honestly this Julie Weathers comment just cracked me up so completely when I was writing this week in review that I worried my next door neighbors would hear me cackling at the crack of dawn as a I wrote it:
You know how some blogs are so focused and direct in their comments?

Yeah, we're sort of the Golden Retrievers of comment land. Poor Janet.

On Friday the topic was waiting time, this time on waiting for an editorial letter

I loved Tony Clavell's phrase here:
I know I can always shelve the book, wait 'til next book (Chicago Cubs-style publishing),

Amanda Capper said:
I have no idea what an editorial letter is.

An editorial letter can be from either an agent or an editor. It's the letter an author gets suggesting revisions to the book. They can run from one paragraph to 18 pages (or more.)  Generally if you're under contract with a publisher, the editor has read the book before offering to buy, and then writes an editorial letter suggesting revisions after the contract is signed. 

MeganV asked
Does the QOTKU have any tips(or any adjustments for point 3) for authors whose nearest booksellers are, for all intents and purposes, on Carkoon?
I'm so glad to hear Carkoon has a bookstore. If you're not going to have the advantage of local bookstores stocking your book, time to cast your net farther afield. Regional booksellers perhaps? I know the Pacific Northwest has a pretty loose definition of local.  In Portland it might be a Portland or an Oregon/SW Washington author.  In Burns Oregon, it can be someone from Idaho or Montana too.  Each region has an association of regional booksellers and they let people join. That's how you get the membership directory and reach out to the members to introduce yourself. Spam them, and you'll find your membership card revoked. Spam them and find yourself making introductions to the bookstore on Carkoon.

Stephen Kozeniewski thought he was joking when he said:
My takeaway from this post is that I should e-mail Janet personally when my next book comes out.
Anyone who regularly comments on this blog, or who reads it and has gotten value from it would be an IDIOT not to email me personally to share their good news about a published book.
The trick is that personal email. Spam me with "hey folks, sorry about this group email" and I'll never buy your book. Send me an email that says you read the blog, have gotten value from it, or you just like the community, and you bet I'll hike on over and buy it.  Why would you think otherwise? You think I don't like finding good books? Yours IS a good book, right?

Miz "b" supported my idea with her own experience:
You are totally right about the individual emails to people. When I was running my (very successful) kickstarter campaign, i got much better results sending individual emails to people. Yeah, you want to have a basic message that you can copy and paste, but each person was addressed by name and emails were sent one at a time. Definitely worth the effort.

Donnaeve asked:
I only have a question for the Shark..., is this very succinct to do list something you believe all writers should do pending publication - i.e. those with a bigger publisher?


On Saturday the discussion was about maps and illustrations in novels.

I was glad to see how many of you, like me, love maps!

Adele however made a good point about maps in books:
The St. Mary Mead map is a pretty drawing and I enjoy it for itself, but if the map is necessary to understanding the plot I think the author's in trouble. And yes, I have seen that, in mid-20th-century mysteries, where you had to keep flipping back and forth to find places on the map just to understand what's going on, and that is really tedious.

bj muntain concurred:
I like maps, but I rarely use ones found in a novel. Unless the novel gets confusing, and I have to keep going back to see where things are. I'd rather the novel be clear enough to tell what's going on without the map.

And I/we learned a new phrase thanks to DeadSpiderEye: heavily foxed

Craig mentioned:
One of my current favorite maps in the Nullschool map. It is a current animated and interactive map of the winds around the world. It is really cool.
Speaking of  animated maps, here's one that I just love: Empires

And Amy Schaefer's link to what your favorite map projection says about you is hilarious

And kdjames shared some great news about Sam Hawke:
Sam Hawke has announced via twitter that he has signed with an agent!

and yay! Amy Schaefer is back:
Completely off-topic insertion, here. I'm back from my boat delivery, and just wanted to give a friendly wave around the place. I have unshuttered FPLM Paradise, swept the stray coconuts in 2N's direction, and am ready to start writing again.

Our sail across the Coral Sea was full of excitement - strong winds, three meter waves, a mysterious leak in the aft bilge and the joy of two broken toilets. Magic all around. But the boat is safely stored on Oz now, and I'm back on my teeny tiny island where I belong.

I had to pull out my trusty world map to find out where the Coral Sea was:

Congrats to Sam! Welcome back Amy! And thanks to all of you who make this blog so fun to read.  We really are an anomaly in the blogging world: the comments are the best part!

Just to amuse myself I made a chart of the ratio of views to comments in the course of the week:

Here's the raw data:
Comments is column 1, View is column 2.
28 310
50 837
88 1533
58 459
110 571
52 468
46 281
I divided views by comments to get the ratio.

Sunday is Day One, the next Saturday (yesterday) is Day 7.

I'm not sure what any of this means, but I just like to do this kind of stuff.

My blog subheader choices this week were:
(1) "Everyone should have a zombie plan." Julie M. Weathers
(2) "Yeah, we're sort of the Golden Retrievers of comment land." Julie M. Weathers

(3) Every writer needs three plans:

1. A plan to finish your book and polish it to the best of your ability.
2. A solid marketing plan.
3. A good zombie plan. --Julie M. Weathers

(4) "You have to be your own hero" Amy Schaefer

I can't believe that it's almost the end of June, and we're half way through 2015.

See you next week. There are some really good questions coming up!


Craig F said...

Sorry to have to be the one to point out your oversight. If you wish I will blame your teaching us to be better writers.

You have told us that to be a better writer you must read. But you must read critically. That is all I was doing, I swear.

I really do think the nullschool map is cool. The coolest part of it is how well put together it is. I am totally enamored with a job well done. That is one of the reasons I like the nullschool map. It is also the reason I check this blog so often.

Thank you My Queen

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

There is an astounding amount of effort/detail in each week in review. Thank you!

Geeze, I missed 2NN's suggestion of a flash memoir contest! What a can of worms (kettle of fish? hootenanny of owls?) that would be. I'd still try it! Sometimes even if I don't enter, I've tried. There's a graveyard of abandoned prose on my hard drive, which I poke through every once in awhile to see if there's something which I can necromance.

(and hey, why isn't the collective noun for owls "hootenanny"? I feel they missed a great opportunity there.)

The first time I read "Great Ormond Street Hospital" in this post, I say "Great Omniscient Street Hospital." Headaches can do fun things to your perceptions, kids/Carkoonians.

On the topic of brand named things, a "tell" in Stephen King's voice I used to enjoy was his use of brands. Even things I didn't quite know what were on first reading, like Schlitz and Tab, added to the texture of the story, the voice of the character, the overall flavor of things. He still does it in his newest books, but to me it feels shiny and disingenuous (ipods and The Google and such), and frequently give things a tin-eared feeling which makes me sad. I still read them, but something has shifted profoundly (The Tommyknockers [which apparently Steve doesn't like very much himself?] versus Under the Dome is my sharpest point of comparison here; they're practically the same book, but I didn't care two figs about the latter's characters. The former, I've reread three times [not nearly so much as Gone With the Wind or Rebecca or Watership Down, but I think the most I've reread King?]. Granted, television network viewers apparently outvote me here... [but the TV movie for The Tommyknockers was a Traditionally Terrible™ book adaptation).

Our library system was doing a server....thing this week so I couldn't place holds. Now that it's back up, I want to see if those books by Ann Pancake the system says are on the shelf somewhere are actually there. That sample sentence intrigues me!

Lizzie said...

The dog video is hilarious.

The Sleepy One said...

I love the Koira Mestari video. My lab and the golden retriever could be BFFs, and not just because both of them like to ignore commands in Finnish (and also in English in my dog's case--he ignores commands in two languages equally well).

Unknown said...

LOVE Golden Retrievers. How can you not? Great clip.

Somehow I missed Lizzie and Brian's comments last week, about how hard writing can be, so I'm really appreciative of the time Ms. Reid spends concocting WIR. Those were excellent comments.

Which makes me think Sharky shouldn't be so hard on herself for screwing up once or twice. The time and effort just to run this blog would exhaust my mental capabilities, never mind still handling her real job. Cheers.

Just Jan said...

New laptop...$300
Writing conference...$200
Trip to Carkoon...depends on current exchange rate
Reading the WIR on Janet's blog...priceless

CynthiaMc said...

There are few places I check on a regular basis. This is one of them. Solid writing advice, cool new stuff to check out (interactive maps - hurrah!), lots of humor. Love this place.

Unknown said...

Holy cats I missed a lot this week!

Can't help but be excited for Sam. Especially after reading his new agents take on his new book. She sounds quite passionate about it! And that's what you want!

As always, I'm honored to be mentioned in the WIR. And I agree with everyone else on Julie's stories. They are a joy to read and even when I have to skim the comments to catch up, I can't help but pause to read her comment closely. It always brings me a smile!

Welcome back Amy!

french sojourn said...

Colin; As your are the resident / imperial scribe "stationed" on Carkoon, I wanted to O.K. the asterisk after my name (for the MaGuffin on the F.F. contest.).

*hangs head and walks off stage right (even), knocks said head on door jamb, stumbles and drops all semblance of swagger. *

Great WIR...cheers Hank

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

OMG, maps and now a graph, I have done-died and gone to heaven.

I am joylessly sweeping up the stray coconuts, swept my way by Amy, and am using the dregs for my new Dairy Queen Pina Colada and Lima Bean Carkoon Culinary Collection.

And Janet, this week I so feel you editing slip-ups pain.

While whittling my word-count for a column I omitted half a sentence and inadvertently left out one word I needed which defined a statement. I thought the shorter version was pretty funny. Not just thought, actually it was funny, if I had inserted the word "in".

When I reread and reread again, silently and out loud, the word "in" was there for my eyes and my ears. When the paper came out,
"in" was gone. (They didn't leave it out, I did). To think I had imagined "in" and heard "in" during my proofreading proves two things about my abilities as a writer. I actually don't know what those things are but I'm sure there's at least two of them.

And Julie, if you don't write your stupid stories book you're stupider then stupid. If I got a shark-endorsement I would have already quit my job to write full time. So in all seriousness, let me add one more thing.

In life, and particularly in writing, there are very, Very, VERY few times opportunity knocks your noggin. Babe it is hammering you right now. DO NOT turn your back. Take it from someone who tossed a brass ring forty years ago because I was stupid and felt unworthy of accolades being thrown my way. Write the God-damned book, NOW.
Jeez Louise! Who the hell is Louise anyway?
Great WIR Janet.
This was one heck of a week.

Dena Pawling said...

Cease and desist letters to protect a trademark are common, and occasionally ridiculously funny

Name of township [which obviously can't be trademarked]

Starbucks [one company which aggressively protects its trademark]

The Other White Meat [protected to absurdity]

“LynnRodz asked:
I like that idea of changing words around just enough to still know which song they're referring to, but will that still bring about a lawsuit?”

In the US, the relevant answer is YES. Anyone can sue anyone for anything. Even if that case is a 100% loser. For me personally, I've been sued by quite a few foreclosed homeowners, because I evicted them from “their home”. Nevermind that at the time I evicted them, it was emphatically NOT “their property”. I always get myself and/or the entire case dismissed, but it's a hassle and would be at least mildly expensive if I wasn't an attorney myself.

The question you probably meant to ask was “would I lose the lawsuit?”

And let's see...... In the past few months, I've opined that Janet was incorrect, I've caused her to scream, and this week I pointed out a revision mistake which provoked a “Dangnabbit!” And [gives Colin a thumbs-up] I have NOT been exiled to Carkoon!

The thought of Janet actually wanting to buy my book when it's published is amazing.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

As Just Jan said, QOTKU's blog is priceless. If I don't read every comment I'm jonesing. It's a pleasure to connect with Janet's readers beyond this blog. Thank you, Brian, for not being miffed by my comment to you.

I wish I understood the chart but my eyes are glazing. Those numbers must have some zeros attatched to them.

Yeah Julie, I've got a dustfree spot on my bookshelves for your memoir. It might be the only dust-free zone in the place. Your self-deprecation is getting boring. wake up

This week was chockfull of great advice. Thank you again BJ for explaining the small publishers vs large publishers. Shows what a rookie I am.

Christina, I'm happy you are safe

My freinds from down under appreciated Peters projection.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

I forgot to congratulate Sam.

And Hank, you won hands down even if the Shark missed a word.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

*happy sigh*

Great WiR. Love the Golden Retriever set to Benny Hill music. Or is it Benny Hill music set to the Golden Retriever?

I remember thinking I had good world geography skills until I went to the U.K. for the first time. I stumbled while getting on a boat and literally bumped into a woman from Solomon Island. She was not appreciative of my bump, not appreciative of my curious puppy dog conversation, and definitely hostile when I expressed my ignorance of the location of Solomon Islands. Very uncomfortable. Then, later, a kindly UKer (this was before smartphones and google) explained the history with Solomon Island during WWII. Live and learn.

Interesting graph. Thursday was the high peak day--the discussion about dropping g's to indicate southern accents Strong feelings about there. But Tuesday had the most views--1533--as we discussed the use of song lyrics in novels and need for permissions.

Looking forward to the interesting questions you have lined up for this week and the comments that'll keep on coming.

Anonymous said...

Y'all are very kind to think about a memoir and I love you for it, but as they say there can be no light without the shadow. Mine are pretty dark. I think it would be depressing as hell to read. Perhaps we should settle for a collection of careless weed stories one day.

CynthiaMc said...

One of the things on my to-do list was to organize all my writing projects (all the things I was working on before my job became full time and I did 5 shows in a row. I have 2 trilogies (Civil War and dystopian), 3 children's books, 1 time travel and one that I can't decide if it's a time travel or just a straight historical, 2 mysteries. And that's just off the top of my head.

I had no idea. If you haven't made a list of your works in progress, try it. You may be surprised at how much you've done without realizing it.

Unknown said...

Angie -

Let me say very publicly that I'd have to be a moron to believe anyone in this comment train is out to get anyone! :)

It's a family around here. And loving people doesn't necessitate agreeing. :)

Knowing very little has hardly ever stopped me from speaking out, as long as I'm always ready to put my foot in my mouth (which I am). ;)

And seriously Julie... You've got a pre-order list a thousand deep for a memoir or collection of stories... So cash in already! You're a brilliant writer, and the sooner you come to terms with it -- the sooner we can all enjoy your book.

Donnaeve said...

I congratulated Sam earlier in the week via his blog and on Twitter, so not necessary here I imagined, but I'll do it anyway.

Congrats (again) Sam!

Julie doesn't need me to tell her to write her memoir along with the rest of the peanut gallery b/c ya'll have done a bang up job there. Maybe it shouldn't be a memoir though. Maybe it ought to be about life events with her spin/witticisms on how to handle tough situations.

Thank you for a great WIR, and answering my question. Short and sweet.

Megan V said...

Great WIR! There was a lot to learn this week.

Speaking of trademarks...have you seen the trademark lawsuits between Hershey and some medical marijuana companies. I mean...Keef Kats v. Kit Kats?

Those are fun cases to study. And taking a moment to enjoy a court's opinion seems like a perfect activity for this week-especially as there was some masterful writing in the recent SCOTUS opinion.

I also have a confession. Apparently, I've got an 'it's a small world' complex. I grew up in WI, not that far from a Piggly Wiggly that was maybe a 5 minute drive from the library. I used to go to that Piggly Wiggly all the time as a kid because it was right by the laundromat. So of course I thought "wow Jenny Chou might live near the place where I grew up."

Jenz said...

The golden retriever was the smart one because he got all the extra food. Lesson: being disobedient has its rewards.

So I should email Janet when my first professionally published story shows up on next week? (SpeckLit is all 100-word stories.) That counts, right?

Sam Hawke said...

Great WIR, as always!

Thanks so much Janet and all of you for the kind words and congratulations throughout the week. In that frustrating way it has, the universe elected to balance out my agentphoria with an old bag full of stress and problems in other areas, so it was genuinely a blessing to bring me back to smiling each time someone commented. Thank you.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Julie if you think all people want are silly happy stories you have a loose horseshoe. All of us walk in and out of shadows all the time. Some of us have to scrape the mold off because sunshine seldom reaches our flanks. We are telling you we'd buy it.
Do it.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Julie, sorry to end so abruptly. My 17 month old granddaughter just came through the door and I hit send prematurely. I love your stuff and would really like an autographed copy.

Anonymous said...

I'd seen that Empires map before (really interesting!) but hadn't noticed until now that Saudi Arabia remained largely unaffected and distinct from all those various empires. Fascinating.

Julie, there's a difference between autobiography and memoir. Memoir is just a collection of memories. It's not an exhaustive accounting of your life. YOU get to decide what to include. Whether you want to reveal or ignore the dark places is entirely up to you. My first foray into self-publishing was a collection of stories (don't anyone get excited, they're blog posts-- hey, it was an experiment, they were handy) written over the course of several years. I was going through some very dark times during those years, but that's not what I wrote about. Partly because that kind of stuff just isn't entertaining, but also because I'm a very private person. All evidence to the contrary. Not to say there weren't some "deep thoughts" involved, but there was a good bit of humour as well. My daughter was the one who pointed out that I needed a unifying theme. Which turned out to be "slices of life from the empty nest years," which turned out to be be not so empty after all. So maybe you need a theme. Hell, no need to limit yourself to just one, you've got enough material for several books. You also have an eager audience, one that knows a good story when they hear it. Please reconsider telling yours. Really, you're doing it over here anyway. Might as well get organized about it.

And so ends this week's pep talk.

As you were.

LynnRodz said...

Janet, as long as I don't look in the mirror I think I'm a 19 year old kid. My friends would say I act like one too. So I expect to see you next June and we'll dance in the streets of Paris. I believe, if I'm not mistaken, we've already talked about this (not the dancing, but you coming to France) in the comments with Angie and Hank. I specifically remember mentioning a comfy sofa somewhere.

Julie, unlike everyone else here, I don't think you need to, nor should you, write your memoir. It's already written you goofy cowgirl! All you need is to take all the stories you've posted here and on your blog and put them in some type of order, revise a little, and it's done! You can call it, A Far Rider Meets a Shark Along the Way To Carkoon and Magic Happens.

Megan V, your comment made me laugh! So did the video, it's so apropos. On other agent blogs everyone is so obedient in the comment section and then we have Janet's blog and all of us are like golden retrievers.

Okay, I'm shutting up now. Another great week in review. Thanks, Janet, and get out those dancing shoes.

S.P. Bowers said...

Julie, Shadows make the light seem brighter. Sometimes sharing the shadows make them easier to bear. The choice is yours however. Each writer has to write what is burning up their soul. Focus where you need. Just know people would love it.

On a different subject I in no way resemble that golden retriever. Just don't ask my husband for verification of that totally true and correct statement.

LynnRodz said...

Kdjames, we hit publish at the same time and we were definitely on the same wavelength.

DLM said...

2Ns, my middle name is Louise and I'm finally here. I had rather an extensive nap time today after church and groceries and lunch and play-with-furbabies time ...

And I too have failed to congratulate Sam, so am grateful for an opportunity to rectify this. All the best - and KEEP US POSTED! :)

My ex husband I always said was a golden retriever. Would that disqualify me from being one, now we're divorced? :) Side note, our 22nd anniversary was Friday, and he and I talked fairly late that night (after I'd gone to bed) and were mutually happy that now so many people will share our anniversary ... and maybe do better at marriage than we did.

CynthiaMac ... wow! I have one novel finished and one WIP, and a third idea I expect to be the third. That's really it in terms of anything I expect to ever attempt to try publishing (though there are unfinished two short stories that haunt me a bit from time to time; I wish I knew what they needed in terms of plots!). Your ambition is impressive! :)

In yeah-we're-all-one-big-happy-family-here Reider news, I have been enjoying the thrill of finding my own first "real" reader for Ax. This is to say, someone not a friend nor family, someone not beta-ing, and someone I'm not querying. Angie said she was interested and she now has the MS - and it's a lovely experience knowing someone's reading my work because they wanted to. So thanks to this whole community, not even only Janet this time. And especially Angie.

Happy for Christina, but still worrying about Alaska for my own very personal reasons. Sigh. My brother, in the Pacific Northwest, just finished fire school. I'm so proud.

Have we ever heard from Julia yet?

LynnRodz said...

Dena, nope, I wanted to know if it would bring about a lawsuit, and not if I would win or lose one. I'd rather not get involved in a lawsuit, period, but thanks for the info.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great WIR, Janet. I'm honored to be mentioned - twice even!

Someone should have fed that poor Golden before the race. I know the idea was to have the dogs ignore all the distractions (I've been in obedience classes. Yes, I usually had a dog with me. Usually Little Girl Dog. Whose only distraction is: I'm free! I'm running! Watch me run in ever-increasing circles until I deign to run close enough that BJ can catch me!) I think Little Girl Dog would like this blog... What was I talking about again?

Regarding proofreading: When I worked in communications, I made sure that everything that went out had more than one set of eyes on it. Everything. Because - as 2NNs pointed out - too often when we proof our own work, we know what's supposed to be there, and our brain slips it in when we read it.

Dena: When you said: "The thought of Janet actually wanting to buy my book when it's published is amazing."


Angie: You're welcome for the publishers info. You're not a rookie. You're not expected to know everything - and you'll never know if you don't ask, right? I'm sure there were plenty of people watching to see if your question got answered, so they would know the answer, too. Me, I've been studying the publishing business for a very long time. I have knowledge that I can't remember learning. But I do try to research to verify my memories. Usually.

Julie: What Janet said. A slap alongside the head. (Gently, of course - don't want to lose any of those memories!) Nothing says you can't start compiling the memories that come out in your posts on the blog. Maybe that's your title:

Jess Waitin: A life in comments

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

BJ: I too wondered why that dog wasn't fed at some point prior to the competition (due to my dog blog circles, I'd seen it before ^^) And running in big circles seems to be the funnest for dogs, doesn't it?

The proudest I've ever been of Elka was when we were at the park and she was on a long leash (so, 25 feet away from me). I saw her pick something up. I said "drop it", she did, and I whistled her recall and let her shove her face in the treat bag, 'cause really, that was pretty amazing. Then I went to see what she'd picked up. It was a turkey sandwich. My dog had an entire turkey sandwich in her mouth and dropped it when I said so.

Amy Schaefer said...

It is good to be back. I haven't got a lot to say today, but it has been very relaxing to sit down with a coffee, sift through the posts I missed (so many contests!) and let the comments wash over me. Ahh. It's like peeking in on a family party, but without the danger of getting stuck in conversation with your weird cousin who only wants to gas on about her passion for crocheting cat doilies. Nobody wants to hear about that. Everyone is waiting to hear about how my writing is going!

Re: Lisa's comment about the Solomon Islands, you can see them on Janet's map (east of Papua New Guinea, northwest of Vanuatu). They are reportedly beautiful, so we had planned to sail there. Then I started hearing about how big and fierce the saltwater crocodiles are in that area (complete with accounts of Foolish People Trying to Swim and Being Eaten). While the world at large may be terrified of sharks, I save my big fear for the salties. So I think we'll have to give the Solomons a miss.

Colin Smith said...

So what does that chart say? When there are more comments, more people view? Or maybe we all view more often to look for replies to our comments? Either way, it's a pretty chart! :)

And now that people have said they would buy Julie's memoir that she hasn't written yet, does that count as platform? ;)

And Janet, I wasn't wrong. You only thought you made a mistake, but really you were teaching us an important lesson. Subconsciously. It's a skill that comes with being QOTKU: Even when you're wrong, you're actually right. :)

And of course Carkoon has a bookstore! Where d'you think we get our kale and lima bean recipes from? A lot of the fiction is of the dino erotica and vampire/zombie/unicorn nature... and strange mixes of the above. That's why here at Fuzzy Print (FPLM-Carkoon), we try to attract the talentless and literacy-challenged. That's the only way we can compete. All you clever, talented writers wouldn't stand a chance...

Amy Schaefer said...

Hmm, Colin. Looking over the current-occupant rolls of Carkoon, I'd say you're having some trouble attracting the talentless. But keep working at it.

Also, I hope you aren't suggesting that dino-erotica/vampire/zombie/unicorn/icky-recipe books somehow constitute a lesser genre. Because my forthcoming work about a drunken triceratops detective fighting the zombie apocalyse side-by-side with a lusty unicorn and a wacky vegetarian vampire sidekick is, in my humble opinion, the greatest novel ever written. (Be sure to look for it in the Mystery-Erotica-Fantasy-Thriller-Humor-Cookbook section of your local bookstore.)

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the dog was fed before the show, they know what the obstacles are. Some dogs are just greedy. You notice he grabbed the toys also. He just needs a LOT more training. Like these dogs. I would have put Vicks on his nose though. We always did that with our dogs at shows because there was invariably a bitch in heat. It's much easier to keep their attention when they can't smell them.

Colin Smith said...

Amy: That's why all Janet's exiles to Carkoon work for Fuzzy Print--they don't write for us. They're too good for that! In fact, Karlooom Flatuplazz, the great Carkoonian novelist, has just submitted the latest in his Charlotte Bronto series: Jean Hair. Something to do with the dinosaur heroine meeting a French yeti. Anyway, I think LynnRodz will find it in her inbox in the morning, as I'm sure it will need her editing skills. Karlooom does like his adjectives... :)

Anonymous said...


Two epic fantasies finished.
Three epic fantasies partially finished.
One historical romance about a famous cattle baron and his wife. partial
One Civil War historical paranormal about a confederate spy and her CSA Col fiance. (current work)
One Gibson Girl historical mystery. partial
One movie script mystery set in a nursing home for old spies. complete
Mystery featuring my over-sexed senior ladies. complete.
Suspense rodeo background partially rewritten
Several children's books. complete
Partial collection of recipes with corresponding silly stories for cookbook.

Anonymous said...

I love the WiR! I've been out all week with setting up bookcovers, Netgalley, and sending off ARCs; all after a HUGE job of editing. So it's nice to be able to come here and catch the short & sweet version of the week.

I heard about Sam Hawke's good news on the Twitterverse: Ain't it summink!? It's always nice to see talent succeeding.

And Julie- you got me beat. I've only got 3x Fantasy/Fairytale novels (complete & self-pubbed); 1x Scifi Time-Travel novella (complete & self-pubbed); 1x Fairytale/Fantasy (partial, current); and 1x Time-Travel novel (partial, current). Oh yeah- and one Ghostly Kindle Short.

I feel like I've been wasting my life :D

Anonymous said...


You have to keep in mind part of these are in notebooks I may or may not be able to find and this is the culmination of many years of scribbling. It's really not that impressive. Quite a bit was done to take my mind off pain, so who knows if it's worth reading. Still, the kernels are there for me to revisit someday. The fantasies certainly and the Gibson Girl as well as the Civil War piece that has me by the throat.

Bouncing genres is not a good thing I'm told. We'll see what the future holds.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Yes, Sam. Congrats! Hope the other problem and stress areas melt away.

Amy, that's what made me think of that story...when I saw the map. Didn't know about the salties! More things to learn. Good to have you back.

And I definitely feel lazy in the writing department. I started a few novels in high school, first chapters. They're gone now. I've since learned to quit throwing creative writing away. Otherwise, back then, I stuck to free verse poetry. At least I could finish those. And played around with differing words and sentence structures as much as I wanted.

Megan V said...

Julie Weathers—All I can say is that I agree with everyone else. You might want to start writing. :)

LynnRodz—Will you be dancing in the moonlight?

Amy- great to see you back!

CynthiaMc said...

Julie, DLM, and WR - mine is a culmination of many years or writing while the kids were at ballet, soccer practice, Scouts. Every time we moved (Hubby and I were both in the Air Force) I'd start a new project because I had either packed the current one or it got lost with the luggage. Japan was great for writing - it rained a lot and we only had one English language channel. Forgot to add my YA vampire novel (a NanoWriMo project) and I am really kicking myself over that one because it wasn't long after that when Twilight etc. came out. And the screenplay (which actually did pretty well - finals of one contest and semi-final in another).

My goal this year is to get my writing act together again, finish every blasted one of these layabouts, and turn them loose into the world.

I was encouraged that I had an entire bookshelf of things in progress to start with and horrified that I haven't done anything with them up to now. I've spent so long in corporate world I forgot I was a writer.

Anonymous said...


This is your year. You realize you have them now. It's just time to put the wheels in motion. Thank you and your husband for your service. My son's CO told us the best thing we could do to preserve our sanity while our loved ones were deployed was to disconnect cable and stop watching msm. They wouldn't tell us anything good our people were doing and would only focus on the sensational.

I did. It's amazing how much more I get done without television. So, I can imagine you did get a lot done in Japan.

Anonymous said...

To Janet,

What a great week in review. I am always amazed at the work you put in on this blog. It's appreciated more than you know.

To the commenters, y'all are wonderful. It's a pretty wonderful family.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

I'm actually glad I missed the copyright-trademark discussion. Still twitching after 7 years in court.

Just one tidbit. Just because a work is pre-1920, copyright may not apply, but plagiarism still does. Make sure to attribute any quotes or passages you lift.

I have a 7-word long song lyric buried in dialogue in my book. No one has been able to find it yet.

If you use a song snippet as a chapter opening, attribute it in a little bibliography just to be cool and on the safe side. This came straight from a top drawer IP lawyer friend of mine.

While I worked in Emergency Management, I got to say that I was in charge of the county's zombie response and mitigation plan. Twas the proudest year of my life.

Hank is a TWO-time winner? Damn, I'd better start being nicer to him.

After this fabulous legal week, I look forward to next week in the shark tank.


Anonymous said...

Just to let everyone know, Julie H posted a couple posts on Facebook in the last hour.

Looking forward to seeing her back here.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Diane, I am enjoying the Ax and the Vase. I woke up wanting to delve in where I left off last night but have to wait until later.

Cynthia MC, inventoring is a great idea. I'm going to do that.

Anonymous said...

Julie- if you're ever looking for beta readers for the Gibson Girl mystery COUNT ME IN! I love a good Gibson Girl mystery :D

And I second the vote of thanks to Janet: the WiR is long and lovingly written, and I'm constantly surprised by the level of care and consideration that Janet puts into this blog and the woodland creatures hereabouts.

Anonymous said...


Well, if I ever find that box with the notebooks it's written in and get it transcribed to a computer, I'll keep that in mind. Thank you.

I forgot to add this summer's project to the list: a children's book featuring Logan the Wonder Kid teaching Gage the Wonder Dog obedience with hand signals since Gage is deaf.

Anonymous said...


No, thank YOU :D

AJ Blythe said...

One of those weeks so am ever-so-grateful yet again for the WiR. Could only skim the comments, but:

- totally agree that you need to write the book, Julie.
- DLM, have been wondering about Julia as well and hoping she's okay
- Colin, glad to hear there's a bookstore on Carkoon. Do you think there's room for the Carkoonian classic "Hunger Games: the Best of Carkoon Cuisine"?

LynnRodz said...

Darn it, Colin, what do I find in my inbox this morning? The new ms by Karlooom (an editing nightmare) on the day when I was going to try the new recipe for Breadfruit Pie. It seems AJBlythe's latest cookbook, Hunger Games: the Best of Carkoon Cuisine has one of the best. The only problem is you need a pinch of salties and I'm not about to tackle a crocodile any time soon. I don't care how good that recipe is, I'll just skip that part.

Megan V, love the video. I have danced to that song many times and, yes, those are some of my moves. Lol.

S.D.King said...

I am going to pretend that if Hank's missing prompt word had been detected, I would have made it into the finalists.

Pretending is fun.

CynthiaMc said...

Julie - thank you. Your son's CO is right. Thank him for his service - it was pretty quiet on our watch. It's a lot harder now.

I hope it is my year - I asked our financial guy when I could retire and his response was something along the lines of hell freezing over. Something snapped in me when I heard that. I want a beach house, dang it!

Angie - inventory is a wonderful thing. I thought I had a couple of projects at most. I was shocked. You may find you have a lot more to work with than you thought. Good luck and keep us posted.