Sunday, December 20, 2015

Week In Review 12/20/15

Welcome to the week that was.

In last week's review Megan V tried to backpeddle on her reading achievement

About the 493...I want to clarify that the count was for books not novels. I read a lot of MG books, which are significantly shorter in length than a novel (but were/are very helpful for me as I also write MG).

but we're not having any of that, no sirree bubba.  493 books, be they novels, chapbooks, or cuneiform tablets all count. And that's a LOT of reading. I thought I was doing well with about 50!

Jennifer R. Donhue had a very good question:
Wait, is Barbara Poelle Shark #2, or is she a slithery snake? Is she perhaps a slithery sea serpent? Maybe we just need to put agents in a separate part of the Internet with a splash page that says "HERE BE MONSTERS" so you can click "savvy" to sail those seas or "abandon ship" to return to safer waters.

She's my slithery competitor and a shark, and a brilliant agent.  She's not really a serpent although I have seen her unhinge her jaw to eat her body weight in cheese products (she's a Minnesota girl after all!)
And I love your idea about the splash page.

Jennifer R. Donohue and I think alike on reading flap copy:
On the topic of jacket copy....I hardly ever read it. And when I do read it, it's almost always after I've finished the book. I frequently find jacket copy to either be maddeningly inaccurate, or to give too much away

Me too! I particularly avoid reading it on books I know I'll read (like the Reacher books.) I want to start with the very freshest eyes and enjoy every reveal without knowing it's coming.  Oddly, I absolutely cannot read requested fulls in that state of mind.  I have no idea why that is.  Perhaps one of our psychology majors can enlighten us!

I think we need to add this to the list of "How do you know if you're a writer?"  John Frain told us:

I learned an interesting thing about being a writer on Friday. My son (who is okay now, so I'm safe to type) had a horrific accident on his skateboard that gave him a concussion and massive amounts of blood from a head wound. As a nurse was helping him, this thought occurred to me: I need to make a change to my manuscript where my character gets a head wound -- it bleeds much more than I showed in the pages. I was completely lost in my ms until the nurse asked me a question ... for a second time. Writer 1, Parent 0.

You know you're a writer when you stand in the ER comforting your son, and thinking "I've got to revise that scene, these headwounds really bleed a lot!"

And it says nothing good about me either that I laughed out loud when I read John's comment.

Fortunately I was not alone. Emi PdeS said:
Good lord, John Frain, "Writer 1, Parent 0" had me in tears (in the best of ways). Be honest now, because it seems you're the perfect one to ask: Say it's the other way around, and you're a doctor having a discussion with a patient's parents, when they suddenly something that fits perfectly with that plot you've been tinkering with. Would it be terribly frowned upon to ask them to hold that thought mid-diagnosis while you scribble something down in your shark-sticker-plastered notebook?

I wonder if we should have a blog pool on the outcome of this version of The Amazing Race from Amy Schaefer:

The race is on. Amy has two days make it home for Christmas before her brother, or she'll miss out on the good guest room and be stuck with creaky 100-year-old single bed on the windy side of the house. It should be easy - except she is trying to get from Papua New Guinea to Toronto. Between reluctant children continuously unpacking their bags, a husband on the verge of running off to meetings on the other side of the planet and a byzantine list of flight changes, the trip looks next-to-impossible - never mind she is fighting off pneumonia and wandering around wearing the facial aftermath of a lost fight with a closet door. Will Amy and her family make that 41 minute connection in Chicago? Or is it going to be a windy Christmas?

I for one am eager to hear how it turns out!

Speaking of high stakes, Emi PdeS picked up on my shocking lack of movie creds:
On a separate note, what I really want to know after this delightful WIR, is whether Janet ever got around to watching Miracle on 34th Street. Her claim to New Yorker status truly is in question, and the proper authorities have been notified pending her answer.

I beg the indulgence of the authorities for a continuance on this. I'm reading manuscripts this week, and there is a (thankfully dwindling) group of writers gathered under my office window, heating vats of oil and holding torches, chanting "where's my manuscript, where's my manuscript." I fear them!

On Monday we talked about the flash fiction contest and the winner John Frain

Jennifer R. Donohue said:
Also, did you know that some shops online sell spoons embossed with "cereal killer"?

On Tuesday I suggested Thing Explainer for people on your gift list that are notoriously difficult to please.

Wendy Quails cautioned:
I LOVED "What If," but I wouldn't recommend it for younger kids unless they don't get scared easily. Many, many, many of the "what if"s end up with massive death tolls - and even though my 7-year-old was eager to read the book with me, she's just not ready to wrap her head around "X million people would die of radiation poisoning" or "here's this interesting way this mushroom kills you" or "here's how the earth would get destroyed."

For older kids or anyone with a morbid sense of humor, though, it's really fascinating. And it doesn't require any real amount of physics or math knowledge to appreciate.

Michael Seese has another approach
Usually, I just give them a bottle of MY favorite wine. Then I wait for the invite...

And I loved this idea from SiSi:
Since I can no longer keep up with the books my niece has read, I'm giving her a "Book Coupon" for Christmas--she can ask for 10 books throughout the year. (I'm hoping some of these are cheap paperbacks or ones I can find used!)

To go along with the coupon, I'm giving her a list of books I recommend for her, and I'm adding both of these to the list!

And this from Dave Rudden cracked me up
Thank you for the great ideas. I normally just wrap up a big pack of toilet paper. The size gets everyone excited about the possibilities of what is inside and everyone needs toilet paper.

As did this from Karen McCoy.

    Secret Santa is great--it's the white elephants you have to watch out for.

    I ended up unwrapping something at a white elephant that no one wanted to trade. NO ONE.

    Someone had dragged this thing out of their attic and didn't bother dusting it off before wrapping it. A board game from the 1970s for "couples." Previously opened, and very used.

    And yes, I did the walk of shame and took it home with me. No one fessed up.

On Wednesday I suggested TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS by Cheryl Strayed for people on your gift list who need comfort

This book resonated with many of you, and the comments you posted, and the responses to them were lovely. I'm reminded once again that the comment section of this blog is what makes this place special.

CarolynnWith2Ns comment on the next day's blog post says it best:

Hey Reiders, I’m breaking the rules. Please let me share yesterday’s magical moment.

Ten minutes before I left for work yesterday I jumped on FB and checked out a post made by the husband of a dear friend and family member by marriage. The piece he posted was written three years ago, shortly after the Sandy Hook tragedy, and two years before the young writer’s own death. A hell of a writer, her words were very powerful. She quoted, DEAR SUGAR in part, and not having a clue who or what DEAR SUGAR was I read, remembered and was deeply moved.
Mere minutes before I had to leave, I jumped over here. My breath caught, my heart raced, there it was, DEAR SUGAR.

I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe in messages, some subtle and some in-your-face, some thump-head and kick-in-the-ass-to-get-your-attention messages. This was all of them.

On the way to work yesterday, and all day long, all I thought about was DEAR SUGAR. Last night I bought the Kindle version because I simply could not wait to read what had been presented to me as a magical moment. I am a third of the way through and it is one of the most amazing books I have read.

And the rules are there for the usual things. There's no penalty for breaking the 100-word limit on posts like this.

On Thursday we talked about one of my favorite books of the year: Vargic's Miscellany of Curious Maps.

Turns out it was one of your faves too.

On Friday we talked about craft books

This is the post that generated the most comments, although about half of them were wonderfully and hilariously completely off topic.

In a contest of one, Colin Smith gets first prize for this

The noise from the chicken house woke me instantly. When I cracked open the door, I heard the distinctive click of a rifle being cocked.

“Hold it! One more step—hen gets it.”

I felt my heart sin
king. The writing was on the wall for Belle, her eyes staring into the barrels, but unwilling to part with her precious eggs.

Suddenly, the room filled with clucks and clicks, as every bird in the house pulled a gun. Even Belle had a Glock aimed at the intruder’s forehead.

He dropped his rifle and ran for the door, tail between his legs.

Sorry, it's Friday and I couldn't resist. :)

But honestly, he'd probably have won if there were 100 entries, this is so hilarious (AND on topic, if you'll notice the bolded words)

Jerry said:
They’ve been around for a long time, but just about any of Lawrence Block’s books arrowroot reading; I think I saw on Facebook that Writing the Novel is coming out again.

and the odd thing is I knew he meant "are worth" even though it said "arrowroot" even before his next comment:

Autocorrect is getting stranger and stranger. Just about any of Lawrence Block’s books are worth reading.

Which of course made me think this could be an interesting plot point. Characters text, autocorrect skews, mayhem ensues.  Fortunately all I have to do is think it up, I'm sure I can find a writer to write it, and then we'll split the profits!

Wait, why am I on fire??

On Saturday we talked about present versus past tense.  

Karen McCoy said:
Oh my gosh, thank you! My current WIP is almost third draft finished and I was concerned about it being in present tense because I was told that it wouldn't be readable (by someone who hasn't yet read the manuscript). I think I'll go with it until I get some more tangible feedback...but seems to be working so far.

Well, I'm not sure you want to pay attention to someone telling you "this doesn't work" if they haven't actually, yanno, read the book.

It's akin to my favorite Amazon review recently (I wish I could find the screen shot of it!) that gave the book five stars and the review said "it sounds good, I'm going to buy it."

E.M. Goldsmith said
When I lay down my time and money on a book, I wish to be compelled, whisked away, shown life in some new way. I don't want to care about what your verb tense is doing.

I heartily concur.

And CynthiaMc cracked me up with this:
(If hell really is first person present tense I'm straightening up my act right now).

Dena Pawling had a reminder of the real world for us:
On an entirely unrelated note, my firm has received EIGHT Clerk's Notices of Trial, setting trials on calendar for December 24. Yes, courts are setting EVICTION TRIALS on Christmas Eve. No Sheriff department is Grinch enough to perform actual lockouts on Christmas Eve, but apparently the Grinch is now domiciled in the court system.

Which reminded me of my first year after high school, when I took a gap year and had a job. I was shocked to my shoes that they expected me to show up on the Friday after Thanksgiving AND work on Christmas Eve.  After years in school, on the school schedule, it had never dawned on me that you didn't get all those school holiday off when you entered the real world.

Let me tell you I enrolled so quickly in college I think I might have hand delivered my tuition check!

I feel bad for people getting evicted at Christmas just on general principles but I have a feeling if we heard the stories behind the eviction we might not be quite so tender hearted.

Monday we're back to questions on publishing matters. I hope all of you are having a lovely holiday filled with people you love and events you enjoy.

Subheading noms:

Lead your reader down the path and pull out the rug instead of giving them the ending they suspect.--John Frain

This really is a marvelous group of people. I marvel here a lot.--DLM

Present tense, does that mean I get ten presents?--CarolynnWith2Ns

Y'all make me so happy I'm thinking about hiring someone to help me enjoy this place. Thank you.  --Julie M. Weathers


Lisa Bodenheim said...

Omigoodness, an early WiR. Fantabulous reading.

Regarding subheader noms: ( decision making ability needs more caffeine). I'm leaning towards 2Ns humor although I like the other 3 too--the sentiment of Diane and Julie express, and the practicable advice of John. There. Decision made.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Thank you for another WIR. And thank you to the Reiders for helping me survive a week of flu, wine, and relatives arriving at my doorstep. I love my family I do, but I think I love you guys more. I would totally get 2Ns 10 presents :) Coffee and writing now before people start showing up in my kitchen and demanding sustenance.

CynthiaMc said...

Last day of the show today, Hubby's surgery is at 0 dark-thirty tomorrow morning, the tree is still not up, the presents still not bought, cards still not sent and apparently to add to the stress we will have a parade of nurses and physical therapists coming through until he's well enough to go out. I'm grateful but terrified. So pray for me y'all. He's handling this much better than I am. All we want for Christmas is for him to be out of pain - in a good way.

On the bright side, I'm off from work for a couple of weeks to take care of him, so I'm getting a lot more writing done. Not sure how coherent any of it is, but that's what rewrites ate for.

CynthiaMc said...

Are, not ate. Whoever invented autocorrect is going straight to hell in first person present tense - and I sincerely hope I am not there to greet them.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Cynthia, I concur. Autocorrect is an invention of the Dominion of Hell.

I pray your husband's surgery goes well. I am also off two weeks and doing more writing. I hope. Good intentions like adverbs do pave that road to Hell. I am thankfully still on that wonderful school schedule that Janet mentioned.

Working for a school system is fantastic for a writer in the limbo phase of his or her career. You know, that time when you are being forever burned at the stake (ehm- querying) Ah well, back to it.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

A wonderful week in review, as always.

Cynthia I hope it goes well.

I vote for John's comment as sub header. When I read it I said to myself, "Ewe, that's good." But of course Julie's shows her beautiful southern grace and Carolynn's cracks me up.

I didn't have time to comment yesterday about the 1st person present but I wondered is it possible for a book to have too much voice? It's often hard for me to get into an author's voice, especially if I love the book I just finished. I flip all over the reading spectrum. It seems some books follow trends to an extreme and it's hard for me to wrap my brain around (I hate that expression, but it fits) YA does this to me. I need to read a good old 3rd person past tense voice that is plot heavy to reset my mind. Right now I'm reading The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer and I keep asking myself why I keep reading. It feels like a giant narrated character development, the antithesis to 1st person present.

Colin, I loved your flash-comment.

I hope everyone, especially QOTKU, has a wonderful Christmas and holiday season.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Over the years this wonderful place has giving me ten presents times ten-thousand presents. You all, and the toothy one, are what keep me going, keep me at the keyboard and screen, keep me sane in a writing-world of what-ifs.

I'm almost finished with DEAR SUGAR, it is indeed an amazing book. I'm trying very hard to have it not sway me from my WIP in fiction, back to my non-fiction roots. The magical moments of it's discovery last week has me assessing all the magical moments of my life and wanting to share them. Maybe I can do both. If I do I'll have WONDER WOMAN tatooed on my ass next to AARP.

Thanks for the mention Janet and sub-header nom. This is a VERY good day.

Cindy C said...

I got home from a business trip last night and am leaving early tomorrow morning for a two-week trip to visit family for the holidays. Today I have to finish grading, do some shopping, wash some clothes, pay some bills, clean the house, and cram everything I need for two weeks+ presents into a suitcase.

But I'm sitting here sipping tea and reading the WIR.

And why not? It's got everything a great read needs. We have suspense (will Amy beat her brother home?) and mystery(who set Janet on fire?). It makes us laugh (hell is first person present tense! Colin's flash-comment! Etc.) and tugs our heartstrings (2Ns experience with Dear Sugar). There's a touch of horror (the image of Barbara Poelle unhinging get her jaw for cheese products will likely haunt my dreams tonight). There are plot twists galore as we careen from day to day and plenty of fascinating characters to keep us interested.

I gave it 5 stars before I read it. Now I give it all the stars in the sky!

CynthiaMc said...

My mom always wanted me to be a teacher. I think I should have listened. Happy writing!

Anonymous said...

So many good comments.

I cleverly hid the title SOME WRITERS DESERVE TO STARVE in the suggested craft books comments. I found it again the other day while unpacking another box of books. It's not a craft book so much as truths about publishing and one of them is how important it is to write stellar manuscripts that have been carefully revised, proofread, and polished to a diamond-like shine. It's timeless advice.

John's subheader is spot on. Barbara Rogan did a blog post about this same thing recently. Writers have a tendency to go too easy on their characters. For each success, there must be a sacrifice.

"I want to start with the very freshest eyes and enjoy every reveal without knowing it's coming.--Janet"

I have a very talented friend who has her unfinished novel with an agent now. I guess it says something that he wanted to rep her even before it was finished. Anyway, B cannot write something if she knows what's going to happen. If someone were to force her to write an outline of a book, she wouldn't be able to write that book. In her mind she's already written it. The joy of writing comes from opening each new door and seeing what's behind it for the characters.

As a reader, I want to scream, "NOOOO, don't go through that door!" Then the character does and disaster pounces. "Told you not to go through that door. I don't see any way you'll survive this."

I completely missed this comment, but I'm really glad John's boy is ok. The joys of parenting.

I can reaffirm head wounds do bleed a lot. Middle son got his head stepped on by a bull when he was twelve. The hoof slid off his head taking a good-sized flap of scalp with it. One of the cowboys took off his shirt to wrap his head while we made a made drive to town to the hospital and the pickup bed was still covered in blood when we arrived.

47 stitches later he had scalp reattached.

Oldest son got kicked in the head by a saddle bronc and ripped the scalp loose above the left ear also. 43 stitches and bucket of blood.

Head wounds bleed more because your head carries more blood vessels than other parts of your body. I asked.

I'm curious about Amy's race also. I wonder who got the good bed.

"I'm giving her a "Book Coupon" for Christmas- Emi PdeS

I used to buy boxes of cheap Christmas cards for the kids. On each one I would write IOUs. A trip to the buffalo wallow to feed the ducks. A chore Mom has to do that is normally the kid's. A movie. A book. etc. During the year they could cash them in any time they wanted.

Money was tight, so sometimes I'd have to delay a trip to the movies or the book a bit until I got a housekeeping job or more ironing, but I tried to fulfill each IOU as soon as possible.

"Autocorrect is getting stranger and stranger."--Jerry

Yup. I texted youngest son last night and told him I was going to bed. "I love you."

"Love you more."--YS

My heart melted and I texted back. "I don't think that's possible."

"Stupid autocorrect. That was supposed to be 'Love you Mom.'"

"Should have played it cool and not dashed my feelers."

"Sorry, Mom."

"Too late now. I'm devastated."

"I'll buy you ice cream."

"Pralines and cream?"


"We're good. Night, honey."

Eviction trials on Christmas Eve. I got behind on rent two years ago and was afraid I'd be out on the streets in the dead of winter. That was the year it was so cold in OK and propane prices soared. Rent or freeze. Thankfully the landlord showed me mercy and I got the rent caught up. I used to get irked at him because he was like a Chihuahua on speed, but trust me, I have since said many prayers for him.

Great week in review. I wish I could send you all a big bag of Texas trash.

Donnaeve said...

It's cold for realz outside - to us here in NC, anyway, and I'm just back from an ear nipping run. I saw the early WIR, but wanted to wait so I could enjoy, and enjoy I did!

Thank you for taking the time, and let's hope Amy made it, CynthiaMac's hubby gets better, and that John Frain's son will not get a knock on his noggin again anytime soon.

I know folks are probably scratching their heads over Julie's Texas trash - which we call White Trash here in NC - likely elsewhere too. I love to give it out at Christmas in decorative jars. "Here, would ya'll like some White Trash?"

I also love the looks I get.

Chex won't allow such a name, of course, and therefore, they stick to being PC and call it Muddy Buddies.

Deelish, no matter what name you use.

Mister Furkles said...

Reading popular novels vs manuscripts:

When reviewing a manuscript, you are analyzing it to answer the question “Does this work?” For that, you need to know what the author is trying to achieve.

When reading a popular novel for pleasure, you are also considering “Why does this work?” For that, you need the experience of a typical reader.

Besides, sometimes professional golfers play a new golf course for fun. For work, they walk the course and analyze its layout.

nightsmusic said...

Thank you for a great WIR. It's been a long week (I'm beginning to hate the pre-Christmas busies!) and I didn't get much of a chance to stop in. So I'm sitting here drinking my coffee in front of the fireplace, reading along, with a 'two Dobe lap robe' and enjoying all the comments. I have one last pressie to buy for the only person I can never satisfy. I bought my sister-in-law a Nook Glowlite reader last year. It's still in the box. It makes me incredibly sad. So I had a great idea for her this year but alas, Amazon does not sell 50 pound bags of coal :( Which is very strange because they sell everything else.

Anonymous said...


Well, duh. Yes, I should have explained. Coffee deprivation.

Texas Trash I add the mini shredded wheat cereal, dust mine with powdered sugar, and lots of pecans are a must. It is Texas after all.

I'm making it, toffee, divinity, pralined pecans and Mother's fudges today. She's informed me after 40 years of making fudge for her she no longer likes chocolate fudge, so we'll try eggnog fudge and see if she likes that in addition to her peanut butter and penuche fudges.

Who knew it was almost Christmas? I moved the antique headboard out of the kitchen so I could cook and it cracked and fell apart. I shall be doing furniture repairs also this week it appears. Luckily it cracked in the mortise and tenon joint and it will not require drilling holes to repair.

Susan said...

It's weeks like these I'm so grateful for the WIR. Last week, I had more consecutive good health days than I've had in months, and I took as much advantage of it as possible by going out with friends and family, walking the dogs, and running my own errands. This week, my body laughed at me, told me I was an idiot for overdoing it, and threw me into the other extreme. But sleeping most of the week meant I could conserve my energy for last night's book reading.

Which was fabulous. We had a holiday book market with a dozen local authors at a nearby bookstore/cafe. I read a chapter from my first book and an excerpt from the novel I'm querying now, which ended up being a fun surprise to my friends. Their enthusiasm for the excerpt renewed my own excitement and belief in the book, and it made me think about testing out some other material at an open mic night in the future. I never in a million years would have thought I'd like being on a stage, speaking into a microphone, but this was my fourth reading/book signing, and it was a blast.

Last night made me realize how much I love being a part of our local writing community, and how much I've missed it. I saw so many author friends, met terrific new ones, and felt so invigorated. Being around such driven, creative people helps to renew your own motivation and encourages you to keep going no matter what. That's what I love so much about this community here. Especially during times when I'm stuck in bed, you all make me laugh, help me learn, and inspire me to keep working for what I love however I can. It just makes me realize that this is why I'm fighting so hard to get well--to be a part of this. Writers are the best damn people, and you're all the best of the bunch.

So, I missed basically all of last week because I decided to challenge Rip Van Winkle to a sleep-off, but I'm glad I got to get caught up here. Now I'll wander through the posts and comments until I Zzzz...

Oops. Too late.

Dena Pawling said...

My seasonal-but-wildly-off-topic comment made the WiR? Wow!

>>I feel bad for people getting evicted at Christmas just on general principles but I have a feeling if we heard the stories behind the eviction we might not be quite so tender hearted.

Boy, have I heard stories. People who have been around here a while learned my story about evicting tenants because they were hoarders and the accumulation of “stuff” in their unit actually caused a fire, endangering all the tenants in the entire complex. My firm is evicting someone right now for violation of the terms of his rental agreement because he has no electricity. Turns out, he owes the utility $10k, so they turned off his service [big surprise]. You ask why the landlord should care if he lives in the dark? Well, tenants without electricity generally run extension cords from the laundry room, which not only steals the landlord's electricity but most of the time they plug in too many appliances to the one cord, including space heaters, causing a fire hazard.

The worst time to be in eviction court is mid-to-late November, because those are the folks who will be scrambling to celebrate Christmas from a different address.

>>I beg the indulgence of the authorities for a continuance on this. I'm reading manuscripts this week, and there is a (thankfully dwindling) group of writers gathered under my office window, heating vats of oil and holding torches, chanting "where's my manuscript, where's my manuscript." I fear them!

One of my investor clients who buys foreclosed properties had an Occupy LA protest at its offices last week. Set up tents and a picket line just outside their front door. I'm almost positive it was done just to wish my client a Merry Christmas...........

>>I didn't have time to comment yesterday about the 1st person present but I wondered is it possible for a book to have too much voice? It's often hard for me to get into an author's voice, especially if I love the book I just finished.

I read a book a few years ago that I loved one of the characters so much I had to stop writing my WIP and work on another ms for several months, because that character's voice crept in to my own writing of my own character of similar age, and the voice was entirely wrong for my character. That was the first YA book I ever read and got me to start reading more YA.

>>Fortunately all I have to do is think it up, I'm sure I can find a writer to write it, and then we'll split the profits!
Wait, why am I on fire??

LOL, but maybe you can get one of your clients to write this book, in which case you really will be able to split the profits =)

On another note, I know a tenant in Los Angeles who could use you for heating this winter.............

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!

LynnRodz said...

Thanks, Janet, for another WIR. I missed more than I read this week so it's great to catch up.

IMHO, people should not be evicted on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. There are 363 other days in the year you can do it. Would it kill someone to leave people alone for those two days, regardless of the circumstances, especially when children are concerned?

Here in France it's the other extreme, you can't evict anyone from the 1st of November to the 31st of March, considered winter months here. This is just as crazy and squatters take advantage of that fact. We need Dena over here.

Like everyone else, I'm curious to know if Amy got the large comfy room or the windy one.

I spent a large part of this week starting the holidays early. Most of it was done with wine: a Food & Wine pairing class, a Gourmet Tour of food & champagne, a Cheese & Wine pairing class, etc. Hardly any writing done, how could I? I needed to walk to keep the pounds off with all that eating and drinking.

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season as well. This year went by way too fast!

Anonymous said...


The visiting nurses and physical therapists at the house will be great. I had them when I had my knee replaced. (The one I tore up again the first night I was home from the hospital.)

This is just such a stressful time to have surgery one.

Mister Furkles, that is why I enjoy the craft discussions on Books and Writers. The dissecting to see not only what works, but why it works, and how it is done are great.

That's one reason I don't get rid of books I enjoy after I've read them. If the boys in the back are on vacation when we should be writing, I can go back to a book that is written well and start reading anywhere. That's usually enough to show me how to do something I'm floundering on or at least prime the pump.

Anonymous said...


"Turns out, he owes the utility $10k, so they turned off his service [big surprise]."

--but most of the time they plug in too many appliances to the one cord, including space heaters, causing a fire hazard."

Yup. I was running a remediation experiment in the garage once to come up with a way to get rid of naptha in the soil. It can be done. You have to keep it wet, use a certain kind of cleaner and microbe, and the microbes eat the naptha.

Unfortunately, you have to keep it aerated as the microbes require oxygen. Keeping a bubbler plugged in 24/7 on an extension cord, even a heavy duty one, caused an electrical fire.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Holy smokes, 3 mentions? Okay, play it cool...
I didn't know Ms. Poelle had such a love for cheese. I'm from New Jersey, not a land known for its cheese love I don't think (though my bagel love knows few bounds), but perhaps on the basis of this middle ground, I should query her. (can you imagine that personalization? "GREAT NOVEL is complete at X words and would pair well with Pepper Jack, Sharp Cheddar, and a can of Pork Slap.) [I...uh...did not write a classy novel.I'm not sure I ever will.]

From the basis of my psychology degree, I'd say the jacket copy vs. the book itself could possibly slot into the "cognitive dissonance" category, where the anticipation of an experience and the experience of itself do not end up matching up, even if you're absolutely certain you should be enjoying it. I could be wrong; I did not get the most fantastic marks in my psychology major, but it was too late to switch majors and when I realized perhaps psychology was not my thing. I would not have been able to afford a fifth year in college, nor finish a different major (English, Anthropology....) in time. Ah well.

John Frain, I recently participated in a writing workshop in November (that I wasn't running myself) and one of the short pieces we read was called "New Pants", in which the narrator tore open his cheek rollerskating down a friend's front steps and went home to have his father bring him to the emergency room. I can't remember the author at the moment, and of course my photocopy of it is in my office at work, so on Tuesday I'll be able to give the rest of that info (a quick Google has not turned it up). But it was a great short piece and you made me think of it. Certainly my own recent medical adventures are being squirreled away to mine later for fiction. Did you know some CT scans have light up faces on them to tell you when to breathe, and others do not?

Unknown said...

Much gratitude for WIR. I've been out of loop due to uncontrollable circumstances but always make sure I read on Sundays. Except it makes me sad. I obviously missed some very interesting posts.

Back on track tomorrow.

CynthiaMc said...

Julie, thank you. I'm sure the animals will be traumatized for life - the cats hate strangers and the dogs hate being excluded. The parrot hates everyone. Good times. Oh well, whatever helps Hubby get better.

Barbara Martin said...

Best post and resulting comments I've read in some time. It's true: laughter is the best medicine.

Karen McCoy said...

Yes! All the cheese! Hopefully the happy California cows agree. So glad for the mentions, and hope the Grinch eviction will be postponed.

So glad to be a part of this community. You all inspire me all the time.

Sitting in theater waiting for Star Wars to start. Probably more excited than I should be.

Unknown said...

You think that is funny, you should see the looks I get at Costco when I buy 12 things of large toilet paper and a can of BBQ beans. I buy the beans just to add to the humor.

Anonymous said...

Barbara Poelle is from Minnesota? So am I. Maybe I should send her a query when it's time for that . . . (Wisconsin is the state known for its cheese products; MN is known for its lakes, breeding grounds for its state bird: the mosquito.)

I was AWOL this past week as well and appreciate the recap. I tried to follow along but other things took much of my attention. This week will likely be more of the same. 'Tis the season.

Julie, I'm horrified by the stories of injuries to your boys, even as I'm fascinated by your storytelling.

CynthiaMc, sending good thoughts your way for a successful surgery and fast recovery for your DH. Take that To Do list and cut it in half.

Amy, hope you arrive home in time to get the good bed!

E.M., Susan, heck, all of you: take care of yourselves and be well.

Donnaeve said...

Dave, I just had this image of a mega-haul of TP. And the looks.

This sounds better than the WalMart pics.

John Frain said...

I had several spots to choose from, but here is where I laughed most at this WIR:

"Wait, why am I on fire??"

You know what I love most? Whenever I type those things where I laughed most, I get a second helping of laughter. And who doesn't enjoy a second helping during the holidays.

Julie, I cringed at the injuries you wrote about. Both because you paint such a vivid picture and because it gave me flashbacks to my own son. I'm happy to report he's doing well. I'm less happy to report he takes after his dad and doesn't seem to learn much from the experience. I get the logic too -- it sorta proves he's indestructible if that wipeout doesn't keep him down.

Finally, Dave Rudden, if I was anywhere near your neighborhood, I'd beg to go Christmas shopping with you. And probably for a cold frosty one after that.

Have a great week, everyone. You'll be happier no matter how you squeeze in some writing, so just do it.

Colin Smith said...

Another fun WiR, Janet!

YAY!! I won!!! :D Of course, these days, the only flash contest I can win on this blog is where I'm the only entrant. You guys are too good. :)

Seriously, though, thanks Janet. Your kind words are much appreciated.

kd: About Barbara Poelle... oh, hang on, let me switch to italics--this isn't for Sharkly ears... Ms. Poelle is an awesome agent, funny, savvy, and represents some top-notch talent, so yes, you should have her on your query list. Along with QOTKU, of course. :)

Sorry, short comment--yeah, small mercies... :)

Looking forward to another blog week. And Christmas. :)

Lance said...

Wow! Another great WIR. Thank you for this invaluable compilation. Great stuff. Congratulations to Julie for the sub head win. Excellent. And to Colin, for recognizing the subtle prompt words in this week's FFC and also for winning hands down. Seriously, it was fantastic.

Thank you Ms. Reid for another year of invaluable advice, provocative thought pieces, hilarious animal illustrations, absolutely, increasingly, educational flash fiction contests, and updates on your painting project. Without doubt a literary phenom!

Anonymous said...

Colin, yes I-- oh, right, stealth mode. I am well aware of Poelle's excellent reputation. But she just seems so . . . nice. I mean, have you seen her agent photo? But now, knowing she's a Minnesotan, I can tell her smile is hiding the ability to terrify clients into meeting deadlines by threatening them with jello/whipped cream/tater tot salad. A good quality in an agent, right up there with chomping, and not to be taken lightly.

Anonymous said...

John, there's a reason Minnesotans are known for being stoic. It's not necessarily due to winter. Although, the below-zero temps (and frozen flag poles) go a long way toward obliterating taste buds.

Colin Smith said...

kd: I... I met her at Bouchercon. She's the real deal. :)

Kate Larkindale said...

Another week I'm grateful for the WIR because I haven't had the time to pop in for more than a brief skim here and there. Between trying to wrap up work for the year, and various writing deadlines, plus kids wanting attention and Christmas madness, I'm not sure how I've had time to sleep. On second thoughts... I don't think I have.

So thank you for the succinct sum-up of everything I've missed through the week.

Janice Grinyer said...

Thank you so much for the WIR - Janet, I couldn't keep up with you without it- Looks like I missed a lot of wonderful things this week!

My husband was in the woods when he met a young couple from Vermont traveling across the US; not only traveling but living in their car. "There is a storm coming, would you like to stay with us at our home until it passes?" Needless to say, it has been a fun four days getting to know this couple, and the adventures they have had (worldwide adventures!) Once the sky cleared, they were on their way again, and we had one day off until the next wave of guests. So many stories, so much laughter; all good.

Wishing a lovely holiday to you also, and to the Reiders too of course! Now it's back to wrestling a hefty turkey into a brining bucket...

Kae Ridwyn said...

Thank you, Janet! These WIR are invaluable! This week has been pretty much a writing write-off for me, and I didn't have the time to follow any of your posts, either :( so THANK YOU for always providing such a comprehensive coverage!

Cynthia, here's sending the very best of best wishes your way for your husband's surgery.

And happy holidays, everyone!

DLM said...

Insufferable of me to show up late to the party and snipe about the decor - please delete this comment, Janet, if you fix this - but, in that first sentence: backpedal.

Lawrence Block said...

Autocorrect notwithstanding, I'm pleased at the thought that my books are worth reading—and pleased at the mention of Writing the Novel, which I've updated and expanded to half again its original length. After all, much has changed since its 1978 publication! It's now been reborn as WRITING THE NOVEL FROM PLOT TO PRINT TO PIXEL, available for preorder prior to its January 4 pub date.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Block. I've certainly enjoyed your books, which is why they are still hanging around in my bookcases while others are propping up table legs. Apparently there are great writer support books and then there are great other support books.

Karen McCoy said...

Oh, and that Amazon review cracked me up. It reminds me of when the entire theater applauded when the opening credits of Star Wars rolled. We hadn't even seen the movie yet!

RachelErin said...

I missed most of last week because I was visiting family, and I got all excited at the mention of craft books in the WIR.
Craft books! I've been published in those! Knitting and sewing must still be growing fast if TQOTKU has advice about craft publishing. Maybe those magazine and book patterns will end up being a Real Writing Credit.

Oh. That kind of craft.

Clearly the yarn fumes have muddled my brain - in no world does it make sense for a fiction agent to care about my ability to write in technical craft code.
Really, I'm happy. I need more books on the craft of writing. Especially audiobooks I can listen to while knitting Christmas presents.

John Frain said...

Wait a minute, Lawrence Block was just here? How did I miss him? If this is a call-in show, can I request a new Bernie Rhodenbarr! Omigosh, The Burglar Who Blogged Too Much, I can see it now.

I gotta start showing up earlier in the morning. Then again, right now it's about twelve minutes into the morning in my part of the world.

AJ Blythe said...

I've missed being here more than words can say. Not able to spend the time reading every post I'm starting here and already feel that warm glow I get from being in the shark infested Reider pool.

Thank you Janet for your Week in Reviews. I'm not going to read every post, but your weekly summaries will lessen what I've missed.