Sunday, September 04, 2016

Week in Review 9/4/16

Welcome to the week (ok, one day!) that was!
After a month long pet parade (and that was a lot of fun to do!) the blog resumed just in time to host a flash fiction contest! All of one day in this week, but it was a comment filled day, so there is grist for the WIR.

I should mention that I'm not sure how long I'll be able to keep up the WIR posts. This new job is taking up a lot of time (it is after all, a job!) and that time is in addition to agenting. I do love the WIR and I know y'all do too, so let's keep our fingers crossed.

nightmusic asked
How far is the new office from your apartment? 11 blocks is a long NYC walk!
I live in Brooklyn, in the parish of Most Holy Trinity, the church where Betty Smith (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn) was baptized. I take the L train into Manhattan then change to the uptown M train to 42nd Street. On nice days, I walk to the M-train stop near my apt (about ten blocks) then take the M all the way into Manhattan.

My old office was on 29th and Sixth Ave. The new office is at 40th and Sixth. It's the same commute for me, but just one additional stop. On a good day, 30 minutes.  On a normal day, closer to 45. And some days, well, here's a photo of what happens when there's a problem on the MTA.

11 north south blocks are just a bit over half a mile, so not all that much of a hike...unless you're dragging 100 pounds of books behind you of course!

And Terri Lynn Coop said
Wish I'd been there to help you with the transit-system move.
Geeze, me too!
We could have sold film rights!

Jennifer R. Donohue asked
(though it does seem like you're near the kitchen, if that's a fridge I spy?)

Yup, and it dispenses ice cubes and water, which has been a lovely luxury these last hot weeks of summer.

Susan asked, (and was echoed by John Davis [manuscript] Frain:
    Where's your glorious pen collection?

At home. Soon to be coming back to the office, but it's a slow process to get everything back in place.  I took a lot of stuff home because for some months, early in 2016, I thought I'd be working from my home in Brooklyn. (You'll notice FPLM has a new address.) I'd started taking non-essentials (posters, extra pens etc) home in my rucksack every night. Now that I'm not working from home, I have to bring it all back, and it's been a  slow process. 

When I thought I'd be working from home, I also thought I wouldn't need a full bar and had asked my boon companion in whisky swilling Brooks Sherman if he'd take some of the bottles off my hands. When it turned out I did NOT need him to do so, he had to lie down for a week with a cold compress on his brow, such was his weeping and wailing. 

CarolynnWith2Ns asked:
Okay, so here's the big question...when does the painting begin?

NEVER! For starters, I'd have to take everything out of the office, which would mean putting it someplace else, and there just isn't a lot of ELSE here to put stuff in.  Second, it would disrupt work and I'm barely up to speed as it is. Third, the building has a fleet of handsome maintenance men who view this place as their domain and they come to do things like pound in nails or paint.
If the place needs painting (like in five years) I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

In the meantime, I'm getting my daily dose of paint fumes at home because The Apartment Painting Is Not Done.

E.M.Goldsmith asked
So I was checking out New Leaf website, you know for query guidelines and well... Say someone wanted to query you, are these the guidelines? Because that subject line for that query is going to be long

Query, Her Imperial Majesty, Janet Reid, Attack Shark and Queen of the Known Universe, Dino Erotica in Haiku

I'm asking for a friend. Naturally.

Just to make it easy, you can still query me at JetReidLiterary (the gmail address) with Query: Title in the subject line.
I'm still getting used to the group query system.

Craig F asked
is there to be a moratorium on discussing NORMANS now that you are at an Agency that advocates them?

Oof. Yup, that's gonna be a sticky wicket considering how vocal I've been on the topic.
However, since I am the Director of Literary Services here, I'm actually in a position to change that.  Of course, effective management means you don't just announce "ok, agents, here's how we're doing it from now on" so it's going to be a process.  Stay tuned!

Jerrianne Hayslett asked:
(Is there a story behind the checkered flag?)
Yes! That's a victory flag from one of client Steve Ulfelder's car racing victories. He sent it to me when I said I'd love to have one to wave in my office!

Angelica R. Jackson said

Ooo, ooo, what about this fabric for curtains? It comes in several weights and in cotton, silk, etc

Zounds! I ordered a test square immediately! They print to order so it's nine biz days to wait, dang it.  Thank you!!

Dena Pawling asked:
My question for you – You have Lair written twice, both with capital letters. Did you have to backspace over the final “d” both times?

Just a quick reminder you can pre-order the new collection (lauded as one of the best of the coming Fall season by PW!) here

Claire Bowbrow said:
Your new office looks wonderful, but it seems to be missing a cat tree in the corner :-)
The Duchess of Yowl would not deign to visit a workplace. She might (MIGHT) wave a languorous paw at the building from her chauffer driven car as she returns to her aerie, assuming she's looking out the west side window, and not rummaging in the food hamper for snacks at the time.

Catherine Viglioni said:
Mystery eggs in the bucket--well worth the rigorous move.
ahhh…my projectiles. I used to throw things at minions back in my digs on 35th Street. When we moved to 29th Street ALL my projectiles disappeared. Mysteriously. Minions had canary eating smiles on their little faces.  

One day, after I got up here to 40th Street, I was yapping on the phone with an editor, in a pretty intense phone call, and some of my colleagues were by the refrigerator talking to each other. I couldn't reach my door to close it, so I threw something at the nearest person to get their attention.  It might have been a koala.

Sufficient unto the day, the pail of furry snowballs appeared in my office the next day with strict instructions to throw these if I needed to, not koalas.

and Joseph Snoe asked the $64,000 question
Does your new job mean you are curtailing your agent activities?
No, not at all.

One of the things I'm tasked with here is developing the adult fiction and non-fiction categories. New Leaf is a category leader in YA, mg and picture books, and intends to stay that way. Joanna Volpe is no slouch when it comes to business acumen however, and realizes that being strong in other categories is a sound business move. I am delighted to be able to offer the wealth of author support and talent here to prospective clients suited to my list. 

and DLM just made my sharkly heart warm with delight::

Elise, I want to thank you here and publicly, because YOU are responsible for my breakthrough yesterday. I read the blogs here, clicking on everyone's IDs to see what they have to say (though Google's popups of late are stopping me dead in my tracks; I'm just closing out of that, so for those of you whose profiles go straight to the Google ID, something to think about). Anyway, your blog in particular has been about your recent burst of productivity, and I have to admit rather a long period now of *not* working on my wip. It's really not a WIP if you're neither "working" nor "in progress", though ...

So I opened it. I stared it down. And something happened. I blame you. :) And am immensely grateful. You got me over the very greatest hurdle.

And THAT, ladies and gents, is what this community does.

Contest results on Monday.
Blog posts resume Tuesday.
Can't WAIT to get started!

Subheader noms:
Writing doesn't pay any bills (yet) but it certainly isn't just a hobby. --Andrea


CynthiaMc said...

I love the new subheader nom. One of my most cherished possessions is a cashmere coat I bought with the check I received for my first short story sale. That was years ago and I still wear it (on the one day a year Florida gets cold enough).

Craig F said...

Sorry to stick my foot out on your first day. I like a lot of things about New Leaf. Then there is the NORMAN sticker.

I had written them off for my first round of querying. I am very close and think I finally found a way to make it so I don't have to have people believe I know what I am talking about when I call it a thriller.

I also feel obliged to give my Queen the first right of refusal. You have a huge amount to help me.

I hope you can make a change soon. Dislike of something like the NORMAN policy can override a lot of gratitude.

Off to finish making a list of things to take. I need to head up to Wakulla County early tomorrow. That is where Hermine made landfall. We have some relatives up there and can get in touch.

nightsmusic said...

On any give morning, you still have a much better commute than I do. Imagine all those bodies in that lower picture as cars for 50 minutes every morning and over an hour every night. What I wouldn't give to ride the train...

So glad it's not any 'worse' for you! Lovely new office with a window alone is worth it, not to mention the hot maintenance men perks. ;)

Janice Grinyer said...

Om my, Congrats again, oh almighty Sharkness!

SO MUCH FUN how you are embracing "turning over a new leaf" -rogue decorating and all- It had to be hard though, bringing it in one box/backpack at a time! However your clinking bottles on the MTA would have had us following you like a little school of fish and a scary Shark pied piper..."wheres the party at? Are there sushi appetizers with little umbrellas in them?? is there a cover charge? will we die? GREAT PARTY!" (maybe I should take visiting NY off my bucket list - I think I may be a public transport liability...)

We all understand about workloads; I must admit though, I love reading your writings, whether its a WIR or a QueryShark shakedown. Since we have been following for years now, we can sympathize with your dilemma, but hopefully the leaves will settle and you can continue astounding us with your wisdom and sharcastic humor!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I am so happy you are back, Janet. Although I loved all the kitties and puppies and horses and such.

I failed to enter the contest again. My WIP has me by my virtual balls and won't let go. I suspect next few months will be that way. I have never felt this absorbed by my writing before. It is surreal but it is also making me a disaster at real life and social situations.

BJ Muntain said...

Thanks for the Week/Day in review :)

Seems to me, with all those handsome maintenance men, you'll be asking them to paint every month or so. Or, you know, "I just got another award, you Handsome Maintenance Men, so I need yet another nail pounded for it." And, "Oh look! Another shark poster! Help me, Handsome Maintenance Men!"

As for your throwing projectiles... makes you wonder just *which* of the former Minions you are now working with took them... and replaced them.

I think I see a wee typo (sorry). I think you meant to say 'being strong in other categories', rather than 'is other categories'.

As for NORMAN policies... granted, they're a pain, but not submitting to agents because of them? That seems a rather arbitrary way to remove wonderful agents from your list. But, oh well. That means they might look at my submissions more favourably... Okay. No one else submit to NORMANs, and I'll just keep submitting to them until one of them says 'yes'.

EM: If absorption in your WIP is making you a disaster at social situations, you need more writer friends. :)

Celia Reaves said...

It's great to have the blog back up to full power, Janet. I for one have missed your voice for the last month -- though the pet pics were delightful, they weren't YOU.

The images of the delays on the MTA reminded me of my dad. He commuted to NYC by train from New Jersey, and said that the most frightening thing for a commuter to hear was (and at this point you have to put your hands over your mouth so it sounds muffled), "MAY WE HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE." That sound, over the loudspeaker, meant there was trouble somewhere on the line, so welcome to one of the circles of hell.

Again, welcome back and congrats on the new job.

BJ Muntain said...

As much as I love visiting NYC, I don't think I could live there. Not just because of the lack of sky (as I've noted elsewhere), but also because of the crowds. I'm not a very tall person, so for me, a crowd is an overly warm mass of chests and body odours. Just a *bit* claustrophobic there...

As a visitor, I can avoid rush hour. Or take a taxi if rush hour is unavoidable (yes, that's not the most fun, either, but at least I can breathe.)

Donnaeve said...

Thank you for this WIR - lovely and crisp as an Autumn apple.

*Not done painting the apartment??? Whaaa?*

Then again, we've been here for going on 19 years and we still have a bathroom 1/2 done, another that needs doing, and honestly? I'm about tired of the color on the walls we painted xx years ago. :)

I'm with BJ on living in NYC. I think you have to be a certain sort of person - either one who loves the crush of people, and all that comes with that, or one who can ignore the crush of people. I am neither.

Plus. Yes, blue sky. The sound of cicadas. The smell of fresh cut grass, the bloom of gardenias, and on and on.

For me and the FF contest this weekend, I decided to opt out. I'm working on...a....synopsis. Or you could call it an outline. I'm trying to figure out my antagonist. Who he is. And then I thought, Maybe he's not a he. Why not be a she? Hmmm. And then, I'm back to no, needs to be a...anyway. Y'all get it. Flip flop.

I tried to be witty on Twitter about Hermine. I was sort of laughing at a couple newsfolks who weren't sure of the pronunciation, and they finally figured out it was pronounced "Her mean." So, I thought about that, hopped on Twitter, and tweeted this out, "TS Hermine is about to arrive. Earlier, news folks were stumbling on pronunciation. It's "Her Mean," and yes, her is mean. #HermineNC."

*crickets* Oh well. Not everyone gets my humor. Not even Little Dog.

Happy Sunday +! (for those celebrating Labor Day!)

BJ Muntain said...

Hey Donna! When I'm trying to figure a character out, I'll often try to write a short story about him or her, something that will bring out their motivations and emotions. It usually helps.

Donnaeve said...

Hey BJ - good advice - I've never tried that. I usually do psychology research. And then I study character arcs and try to decide which one fits. I like your idea best!

John Davis Frain said...

While I'm thrilled to have the WIR back, I also understand the constraints of time. It always amazes me how much you squeeze into 24 hours, Janet, so it shouldn't amaze me when it becomes too much. Put me in the Disappointed But Understanding camp when the WIR inevitably ends its final season.

My laptop is in the shop. I learned that it's easier for me to put my car in the shop than my computer. (Thanks, Colin, for responding on my blog that there was a FF contest this weekend! I'd have missed it otherwise.)

EM, good for you on your progress, that's great stuff. And even better that you're dragging Diane along with you, no longer kicking and screaming! I'm about to get in line, but right now I'm writing backstory to prepare before outlining. It's an exciting time. (Only for a writer, everybody else in the world would look pitifully upon me thinking I have no life and I should just wait for my muse and write everything then.)

Good week, all!

Unknown said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the month of fuzzy friend photos, but it's great to read the WIR again. And I'm so glad someone asked about the checkered flag. When I finished Steve Ulfelder's Purgatory Chasm, I wanted to thank the person who had recommended his books, but couldn't remember who it was. Now I know -- I read about him on your blog. Belated thanks for the recommendation!

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

What fun reading all the FF entries with the name of our sanctuary in the stories. Looking forward to hearing who takes home the prezzie. Janet, I'm honored and humbled and deeply appreciative. Thank you for doing this. Regarding the WIR: We all love them, but would certainly understand your need to ease up on your workload. I don't know how you do all you do.

Lisa Bodenheim! Thank you for the lovely poem.

Susan said...

Hooray! I'm pleasantly surprised to see the WIR back, and I love hearing stories about the inner workings of your job (and the new digs). As much as I loved the Dog Days of Janet's Blog (and I really, really did--nothing makes me happier than dogs and books), I'm happy the blog is transitioning back to writing, even if I don't always have a lot to add to the conversations.

I took a break from writing this summer so I could concentrate on the upcoming release of my new book, but the WIP I have from last year's NaNo has been swimming around in my brain as of late. Breaks are good sometimes--they make the desire stronger, and that ultimately lends itself to the story, figuring out where to put all those moving pieces. I told myself I'd get back to it in October, but we'll see how long that lasts--just my luck, I'll sit down to write and my muses will fly off to Bora Bora for cocktails.

Then again, I think I'd like to join them.

Andrea said...

I had forgotten what NORMANs were... but my memory is refreshed!
New Leaf is certainly on my future query list. I'm keeping my fingers crossed the Shark will have chomped up all the NORMANs by the time I'm ready to query. Which won't be any time soon, by the way. I made a folder on my computer titled "Version 5" and I nearly cried. I tried to shelve the WIP but it jumped on me and threatened to strangle me if I gave up on it. So it looks like it's got enough life left in it for another revision. This better be my masterpiece.

Thanks for the subheader nom! I'm deeply honoured. And for the WIR, it's very much appreciated. Have a good week, everyone!

Scott G said...

If there's no WIR then there's really no reason to get up on Sunday. If I don't get out of bed on Sunday I wouldn't get my household tasks done for the work week, and if I don't complete my household tasks I'll just be thinking about them at work, so I might as well not even have a job. If I don't have a job then it doesn't make much sense to have a house, so I might as well sell it and move to New York City where I would stand on the corner of 40th Street and 6th Ave and play jazz and hope people throw money into my briefcase (which I won't need cuz I won't have a job). Thing is, I don't know how to play any kind of musical instrument, but if I had to, I'd play the saxophone, which would sound like a cow with indigestion. So, Janet, unless you want to hear the sounds of a cow with indigestion outside your office window all day, I'd keep doing the WIR.

"Aha," I hear you say. "I will just close my window." - which I'm betting you don't want to do cuz you really like you're new office window.

Kae Ridwyn said...

Yay! The return of the WIR... colour me surprised and happy and amused by the 'throwing of koalas' bit. They're heavy blighters though, so I can imagine the shock on your colleagues' faces when one hit them out of the blue! Even just hurtling past and taking out the refrigerator would have been cause for significant alarm... :)
I'm glad everything's going well at the new digs!

AJ Blythe said...

It might have only been a day but your WiR is as fabulous as ever, Miss Janet. While I love reading the WiR as the start to my working week, I completely understand why it may need to be parked - I'm still not sure how you've managed to do it for this long. One day you'll have to tell us the story of how you got hold of Hermione's Time Turner!

Colin Smith said...

Just think, that's a DAY in review... imagine how long the WEEK in review could be!!

How long have you been doing the WiR, Janet? Not quite 2 years? We survived without the WiR for a good few years before. And you've had to skip the WiR for work before now. Heck, there wasn't a WiR the whole of August, and look--we're still here! So if you have to cut down to a couple of WiRs a month, sad as it would be, I'm sure we'd rather that than you burning out, or losing clients.

It'll be interesting to see how the de-NORMANing project goes. All the best with that. ;)

Lovely to have you back, Janet!

John: You're very welcome. :)

Beth Carpenter said...

Love the subheader nom. The furry friend break was a lot of fun, but now that it's September it's nice to be back to regularly scheduled bits of wisdom, like starting school but without #2 pencils and new crayons.

Reading the WIR is one of my favorite weekly activities, but I do understand it must take a considerable chunk of time. I will survive. I'm looking forward to the Proud Spirit contest results. I can't imagine how you'll ever choose. I can't. I did choose a favorite pet photo though -- the one of all the dogs on the leather couch. Just thinking about it makes me smile.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you're still agenting in this new position and also that you haven't succumbed to the evils of NORMANclature. I haven't changed my mind about not querying agents who won't respond to say no. But I'm weird.

I have to admit, I've always felt a wee bit guilty reading the WIR. Especially if it's been one of those weeks when I barely have time to skim the comments. It's like Janet is killing herself with this massive undertaking each week just to enable my distraction. Or laziness. What I do really enjoy/appreciate is when a question or request for clarification (from the comments) is addressed-- maybe that's a less time-intensive alternative than a complete recap of the week?

As others have said, whatever you decide to do, we'll adapt. Except for Scott. Scott is clearly on a downward spiral that can only end in madness.

Lennon Faris said...

I've so missed this blog. The return reminds me of my favorite part in Ender's Shadow: the grown ups take Ender away, and his team is devastated. Bean and the rest of Ender's army are shipped to a new place and fitted with headsets and no one knows what's going on. The moment they hear Ender's voice over the intercom, everyone's spirits lift because they know he's back.

Maybe cheesy, but that's what this reminds me of :)

Good to have you back, Janet!

Theresa said...

What a treat the WIR was today! This is my last real summer weekend; the semester starts on Tuesday.

And the WIR appeared on the same day I appeared on C-SPAN3, talking about my latest book. Yet calling it my latest book now sounds odd since I've dived into a new book proposal and have started thinking of that as my latest book.

Have a great week, everyone.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Like everyone else I have missed your inspiring posts and the discussions they spark.

Celia puts it best, "I... have missed your voice."

The pet photos and their accompanying stories were purrfect summer reading.

Congratulations on your new position. Are you going to rename the Reef the Leef? Two "e"s for a compromise.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

I checked too early for the WiR yesterday, and then plumb forgot! Proximity to the fridge (with ice and water) can be very useful! At the library, the teeny tiny staff room is on the second floor, as are the offices (and thus, my office), so it's far more convenient for me than for the circulation staff. It's also where we keep the Keurig, for those mid-morning and mid-afternoon iced coffees.

Good question on the NORMANs, and good answer. That's certainly a diplomatic situation, not a "this is how it's gonna be".

And the pet parade was very fun indeed!

RachelErin said...

Thank you for describing your commute! (That sounds weird...I'm not a stalker, promise). We will likely be moving to NYC in two years, so I'm gathering real experiences. We are not suburb types (I'll take the country or the city, but am unhappy in between), and with 4 kids (at least for now) it feels extra complicated (space and schools and commute time and...), even for us. When we moved abroad our kids were younger, fewer, and our apartments were all furnished. (btw...anyone can fee free to bombard me with advice about family life in NYC)

I have also heaved a sigh at NL's NORMAN policy, but they were open about it, and they gave a clear cutoff date (either 30 or 60 days, I don't remember). And since most of my favorite recent books were agented by one of them (and not just the ones that got movie deals), they are first on my list, once I'm confident I have an effective query. I think a lot of YA authors feel this way, so it wouldn't surprise me if their volume of queries was even higher than your average awesome agent. Which gives me more sympathy than with secret NORMAN agents.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Yeh for the WIR!

Good luck to everyone who entered the FF contest!

The pet photos were fun. I especially liked the one of the tortoises since I have two. :)

Adding Laird Barron's book to my TBR shelf over on Goodreads - sounds great! I was blown away by how many excellent books I read this summer. Can't wait to see what the Fall will bring. :)

JulieWeathers said...

Ah, I wasn't even expecting a WIR this week and I'm a day behind. Look at me. I would miss them if they go, but I understand.

Those pictures of the crowds just give me the hives. I'm sure people who are used to them do fine and it's not as bad as Japan where they have guards on the platforms who cram more people in until the car is packed like a tin of sardines.

I can imagine the surprise at being pelted with a koala. Too funny.

DLM said...

Sensational subheader, yes!

I feel bad for missing this yesterday; I was sort of taking care of family. And here I softened the shark's very heart! A highlight for me indeed, and on top of the writing breakthrough no less.

April Mack said...

Can anyone refresh my memory on what a NORMAN policy is?

MA Hudson said...

Um, something like; NO Reply Means A No.

Not sure if that's exactly correct but it's the right sentiment.