Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Day #23

Eyeroll of the day;

Email to me:
I was doing some research and came across your article at  Query Questions: Business Plans for a Novel?
I read it, found it extremely helpful and think it’s a great resource - thank you!
I have another page you might want to consider adding to your page:

(link to emailer's page, which is NOT a place you want to be)

It’s the results of over 20 years of my firm creating business plans for thousands of companies.
Anyways, I just wanted to say hello and thanks for the awesome resource!

If you don't want to click the link and read the post, the closing line is what you need to get the joke:
I have no idea why an agent would ask for a business plan unless they literally did not know what one was.

Beautiful Thing of the Day:

from blog reader Sarah Bowers!

Tip of the Day
This thing is gonna end.
Not soon enough, and certainly not without some godawful fallout.
But it will end.
Will you be ready?
The time is now to work on the things that don't require an agent on your team.
Get a website.
Find good comps.
Find more comps.
Reach out to writers and make friends.
Keep a list of effective promotions that you see other people doing.

There's a lot you can do when you can't write.
And you're going to want to be ready when the world goes back to work.

Fending off angst at 3am:
The Great British Baking Show on Netflix.
Utterly soothing.
Utterly delicious.

Progress on biscuits: none.
But I made a casserole of sorts
chicken, tomatoes, pineapple, onions, and raisins. And mozzarella.
Then I added those Lipton dried fried onion things, and honestly, yum.
It looks awful on the plate, but it was pretty good.
Next time, less tomato, and maybe some curry?

Pet photo:
Saunders~not quite a pet, but pettable!
We got some chicks and put them under Saunders the Buff Orpington, who had laid a single egg and gone broody. Unperturbed by one egg becoming five chicks (who looked nothing like her) overnight, she adopted them. Apparently neither math or biology are her strong suits, just like us writers!

Here, she is making her worried face at one of her 'babies' as it contemplates hurling itself out of the nest box. --Blog reader Karl Henwood

Alive and kicking.  How are all y'all doing?


nightsmusic said...

I just love chickens! And Buff Orpingtons are such a beautiful color. I'd keep chickens, except for the below zero temps we usually (but not this past winter) get in Michigan. I'm so not a cold weather person. Reynaud's...

Chickens are highly underrated. :)

I unfortunately did click the link. Beside the fact that there is nothing in there that would constitute a plan for a novel, click at your own risk because at a certain point on the page, a voice Blares out of your speakers because you can't turn auto play off the video!

Ugh. I really hate sites that do that.

Hanging in here. I managed yesterday to get a pick up time for my groceries, Thursday at noon. We'll get in the car and make a trip out of it because I'm so tired of being in the house. We've had one decent day. Last night, we were under tornado warnings and it's still raining this morning. :(

Sharyn Ekbergh said...

Just got back from senior shopping hour. Finished my coffee, will put all of my clothing in the wash and take a shower. Things are quiet and calm at 5:30 AM in North Conway, so eerie to see everything shut down.

It's great to see the familiar faces working at the supermarket!

No TP, but Kleenex for the old folks and Gluten free oatmeal for me. Plenty of fresh produce.
We're shopping once a week at dawn. Wore a face mask for the first time, mostly to be kind to other people. We don't have a lot of known cases in our county but we are a resort so are being very cautious in case we do see a cluster breaking out.

When we get through this we'll be greeting the local familiar faces with great joy.

In contact with scattered friends in shut down mode. Finishing a beta read for a Reider.

Anxious dreams and waking to a clenched jaw but we will get through this.

Our governor shut down all hotels and airbnb's. We closed our rental weeks before and have our first cancelation. Normally by now we would be booked through October. I see the over 200 site campground across the river is accepting reservations for May 7th. I wonder how that will go. Maine wants to close their border. Everyone is worried about summer travelers.

I need a nap. I love reading everyone's comments and hope you are all safe.

Sharyn Ekbergh said...

I used to keep chickens. Called it the 40H project. Slaughtered them while drinking a bottle of brandy with friends and didn't eat chicken for ages after. Killing your own food will turn you into a vegetarian pretty fast.

I liked them but it was very hard in our northern winters. Nothing is funnier than a flock of chickens running to see what you're offering for dinner. They loved pasta!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Two really cool things - 1 from my daughter who sent me this and turned my mood from super sad to giddy and laughing - if you have not checked this out - it will make you scream with glee especially if you are a Hamilton/ Lin Manual Miranda fan.

SGN - John Krasinski - I have to watch it again right now.

Finding it hard to write, I started learning how to use Garage Band (an audio recording software) to create an Audio book with music and everything for my current book just for fun. It helps with perfecting the full just in case. I read it out loud a lot during revision but nothing like this - ambience really helps. And it is taking my mind off the world. And helping me see what is missing, inconsistencies in dialog and such, and really helping inspire the next books.

It is going slow though as my allergies are terrible. Still having tough time breathing in the morning - Claritin takes a couple of hours to do its thing with me. Then I am terribly thirsty. It's a vicious cycle. I was hoping for rain today but looks like will have to wait until tomorrow for relief.

Stay alive out there. This will be over soon. It has to be.

Karen McCoy said...

Sing it with me: "Insomniaaaa...Insomnia!" (Any Fiddler on the Roof fans in the audience?). 4:42 here on the West Coast. I'm at least teeming with writing ideas. Elise I came across that too and I can't stop watching it. Hooray for Broadway! Hooray for musicals! And, Ben Platt (my heart!) as well as the rest of the cast of Dear Evan Hansen also did a virtual rendition of "You Will Be Found" that's definitely worth watching. Especially in these times.

Janet, the email you got is probably spam--could even be by a bot rather than a person. I've gotten a few of these related to my blog. It's like if you have a certain number of posts, these bots or whatever they are will start "commenting" or sending emails related to certain posts. Congrats?

Mister Furkles said...

I thought of rewriting my WIP as a dystopia, but didn’t know anything about dystopia. Now I know everything about dystopia and wish I didn’t.

“4. Retire to France.” What’s wrong with Polynesia?

“…any more than Jeff Somers can dance.” But, why can’t Jeff Somers dance?

KMK said...

Just between you, me, and the lamppost, I'm struggling a little. I'm well aware from earlier family health crises that the pandemic is far more important than my April 28th debut pub date. But I'm sad and scared and having a hard time putting on my smile and my stiff upper lip every morning before virtual school. Then yesterday an established author posted an offer in a professional thread to talk up new writers to her thousands of followers...and picked exactly four, none of them me, not that I really expected it because she's not in my genre. It felt like being ignored in a Twitter pitch all over again. Beware of offers to "help" from people you don't know. They may just be looking for clicks and to make themselves feel good. Hope the warning helps...and thanks for letting me vent a little!

Karl Henwood said...


For whatever it's worth, I live in Boise, Idaho and it gets down into the single digits in the dead of winter (except this past winter).

Chickens deal with it just fine, so long as they're acclimated and you get a cold adapted breed. They just grow more feathers and fluff up until they're the size of irritable basketballs. For below zero temps you'd just need a heat lamp or heating pad in the coop.

Now, that doesn't mean they like cold. Mine follow me around and whine whenever it snows or rains, like I'm supposed to do something about it.

Karen McCoy said...

KMK completely understandable that you would want to vent! If it helps, Brene Brown talked about "comparative suffering" and why we should remember to have empathy for ourselves on her podcast. Hang in there!

Colin Smith said...

KMK: I'm sure Team Reef can kick in to help get the word out. For a start, this blog is viewed by thousands. Janet might be persuaded to give your book a mention (promises of chocolate and adult beverages could do the trick). On top of that, there are hundreds of Reiders here who may be willing to use their social media platforms to lend a hand.

How can we help?

C. Dan Castro said...

The Great British Baking Show? So you didn’t take the cannoli?

Karen McCoy said...

KMK, ditto on what Colin said. If you are comfortable providing your email and/or website with contact info, I can get in touch for a blog interview if you like. I have at least a thousand Twitter followers.

nightsmusic said...

Karl, it's not so much the chickens not dealing well with the cold, we have thousands of people here who keep them. It's more me having to go out in all that cold and taking care of them ;) Our next door neighbors, who we've only talked to once and can't remember their names so we just call them The Chicken People, keep them successfully. Next door being three acres from my acreage. But I'd be the one who has to go out in the dead of winter and take care of them. I don't go out in the cold unless I absolutely have to. But I do keep tossing the idea around. *sigh* And I certainly could use the eggs...

S.P. Bowers said...

If you want cold hardy chickens try Black Australorp. Our did fabulous despite below 0 temps. They need a coop where they can be out of the weather but our 7 still laid about 5 eggs a day throughout the winter. If they get wet, the cold will cause problems. If they stay dry, they do pretty well.

KMK said...

Karen, Colin, THANK YOU so much!!! Just having other writers tell me it's okay to be upset is wonderful. And even more thanks for the offer of help!!! (I have a little problem with exclamation points.) My website is: I can't thank you enough.

mhleader said...

A friend of mine (another writer) sent me this. I wish I knew where it came from, but it's so true...

1. They know weird facts.
2. They're low maintenance because all they do is eat and write.
3. They're great for midnight chats because they don't sleep.
4. If they have to edit, they'll procrastinate by cleaning the whole house.

Yeah. We all should have a writer or two in our houses...oh, wait...that talks about US!

Theresa said...

KMK, you should check out, run by two bestselling authors, that is dedicated to publicizing books releasing during the time of coronavirus.

Got through another day yesterday and will make it through this one--especially since I have a videochat with my grandson to look forward to.

Janet, I believe you created a version of what is called hot dish in this part of the country.

Stay well.

Colin Smith said...

KMK: You're welcome! It seems like now would actually be an ideal time for online promotion with so many people at home surfing the interwebz. You may find a number of people interested in a period mystery to help take their minds off the current situation.

Also, I see you are a Kensington author. Our dear friend and celebrated multi-published author Donna Everhart is also with Kensington. They clearly have a good eye for talent. :)

Steve Forti said...

KMK - good luck with the debut! Thanks for passing along the info.

My productivity from last month has evaporated. Someone please kick me in the ass?

Otherwise, holding up over here. Though my wife is losing her mind. Extroverts can't cope, and every day being exactly the same with two young kids shut indoors is driving her bonkers. At least I have work to break up the monotony. And snacks.

Julie Weathers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tsquared said...

I'm really having a difficult time. As a therapist who works with anxiety disorders and phobias, my caseload is overflowing. Seeing 35+ clients a week, talking about the virus and how it impacts their lives, I just want to eat a box of Poptarts, have two glasses of wine, and go to sleep.
But I can't. Like everyone else I know, I'm struggling.
But I see actions of such beauty - friends making masks for friends, people clearing our their restaurant's walk-ins to give food to undocumented workers, and another friend sending a box of hair covers found online to a hospital. There is hope.
I started reading "A Tale of Two Cities," and all I could think of was Dickens' line--
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of lines, ... it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness."
And remembered the beauty of Anne Frank's diary--
"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."
Please be kind to each other.

CynthiaMc said...

Just taking a second to say Buff Orpington is a great character name. I can see him now.

Wishing everyone good health.

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

Well, Mr. Wahl and I spent an hour or so together (as reported on my FB page). And yes, I shaved my head. I'm tending a very large herd of horses in 80 degree temps, I have to move over 200 bales of hay by myself, and my hair was driving me nuts. Something had to go. I have to say, it was very liberating. And now I know where all my cowlicks are.

Important and wonderful advice to lift other authors - especially those with a debut KMK HUGS! I'm a very passionate advocate of writers. I (almost) always buy several copies when I attend a friend's event, and give the extra copies away as gifts. I'm doing one now on my FB page. If you go you can enter (and you can see my shaved head).

Be well...

Claire Bobrow said...

tsquared: I was just thinking about that Dickens line this morning. Hope you keep finding things of beauty to lift your spirits. I'm thinking of you and your clients and sending you the best.

Donuts! What kind are those, Sarah? My shipping address is available. And Chickens! Is it time to start sharing omelette recipes? Not sure whether to laugh or cry, Karl, that Saunders is named Saunders :-)

The husband and I were joking (fondly) about Madge from the old Palmolive commercials. Like everyone else these days, our hands are dry and cracked from all the hand washing. My brain is feeling a bit dry and cracked, too.

Amy Johnson said...

Thanks for checking on us, Janet. Such kindness and inspiration here on the Reef. And laughs! Elise, I loved SGN--thanks for the link. Karen, I laughed and did sing along with you. Ha!

As for how things are here, nobody in my family is ill. Probably the person in my family most affected is one of my sons. This month was supposed to include the premiere of his largest composition to date (about thirty minutes, for wind symphony)--concert had to be canceled, of course. Next month, he's scheduled to get his master's--not sure what's going on with graduation. Plans for June include ... his wedding. But we're all in good spirits with lots to be thankful for.

Stay safe and keep laughing, y'all.

Julie Weathers said...


Congratulations on your debut. What great news is that? Keep your chin up. Almost misspelled that coingratulations, but that would be all right also.

This is great news.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

KMK Hang in there. I have been constantly vascillating myself - getting into moments of despair that the book I am querying will never see the light of day and hopeful that it will be even better at the other end of this thing. You have done well - remember things will return to something like normal and your book will be out there. And I can't wait to read it. I have a shelf which is now three shelves full, devoted to blog Reider books. Just need to know your book's title, info? Can I pre-order on Amazon?

TSquared I really feel for you. I think my poor therapist is going to need her own therapy. My anxiety, which has been well under control comparatively to now for years is through the roof - or was. It is improving temporarily - I hope on the mend since yesterday. My eating disorder had flared back up on steroids with the anxiety- going from days of starvation and feelings of absolute worthlessness to days of binging and making myself sick to punish myself. It was like my early twenties all over again. Ugh, thank heavens for my therapist- she is an angel. As is my daughter - that video. Wow.

I wonder what will happen with the mental health profession - I suspect as this crisis of the virus begins to come under control, the mental health profession will have a similar problem - too many patients for too few therapists. That already seems to be happening. Being confined like this is not healthy for humans. It took me years in therapy to be able to wander outside without paralyzing social anxiety - I had achieved hosting weekly game nights, going to pubs to watch my beloved Liverpool FC with scores of people to being ordered to do exactly what my therapist said is the absolute worst thing I can do to myself. Isolating.

Janet Thank you again for this blog. It helps the isolating feel less isolated.

Does anyone else feel like this virus is turning us all into dogs now? We roam the house looking for food, take naps to pass the hours, get told no when we try to talk to strangers, and get excited about car rides and walks.

Those donuts really look yummy. Can I trade some of my oatmeal?

Colin Smith said...

For those who want to know (including Elise), KMK's book is available for pre-order. Here it is on Amazon:

A FATAL FINALE (An Ella Shane Mystery Book 1)

It's a murder-mystery set in NY at the turn of the 20th century, so if you like that kind of thing (i.e., books) you should pre-order. Now. :)

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Thank you, Colin - book is ordered. And KMK I love these kind of books. Turn of century, New York, murder and mystery - so cool. Very excited to read it.

Steve Forti said...

I'm sure it's been said elsewhere, but my kids' school just sent something out for them that said, among other things:

"You're not stuck at home, you're safe at home."

That resonated with me. Thought I'd share that sentiment. Stay safe all.

Emma said...

Well, I'm managing a few paragraphs a day at least on my next WIP. And when not mangling sentences, I'm apparently mangling my scrivener file. A few nights ago I worked on a chapter, was terribly pleased with the results, saved the file, opened it later... and saw an older version of the chapter! Panic! Rushing sound in my ears! Black spots before my eyes! Am I getting senile? Is my computer getting senile?

Turns out a few months ago I had moved the chapter into the trash because I wasn't sure I wanted that storyline, then realized I HAD to have that storyline, brought it back from an earlier version, and a few days ago, was working on the text that sat IN THE TRASH.

So, chapter was saved, my sanity restored, and I emptied the trash once and for all.

Speaking of which, it's true, writers clean when they don't write. My house hasn't been this clean since we moved in six years ago. I even moved all the beds, couches, loveseats, credenzas, and cabinets out of the way to banish the dust bunnies.

Last week we had tickets for West Side Story, this week we had tickets to see an old Irish punk band called the Undertones in NYC. Nope..

Tonight is Passover, so happy Sedering to anyone here who observes. As one of my friends said, may your matzo balls be light and fluffy.

EM allergies are kicking all of our butts as well.

Stay safe everyone.

Sherry Howard said...

I haven’t posted for a while—this is like summer for me, more cooking and cleaning. Just at the beginning of covid19 I had two adult children on crutches (broken leg and displaced kneecap). We spent lots of time exposed by necessity. I think I just tunneled in to preserve my energy.

Today I ask for Reef prayers, whatever your faith. My sister is a nurse admin in a retirement center where quite a number have gotten the virus. Pray for these sweet people to have a safe and peaceful passage to another realm. My heart breaks!

nightsmusic said...

Oh, Melanie! Did you really? You're a braver man than I, Gunga Din!

Claire, try O'Keeffee's Wroking Hand Cream. It comes in a tub and it's fabulous! They also have it in a tube that's more for repair, but my happy hands, how it works :)

Brenda said...

Putting down the phone to go make doughnuts.

Steve Forti said...

Claire - I'll echo the support for O'Keefe's. But also throw in for Gold Bond Cracked Skin Fill & Protect for if you've already got cracks. Lifesavers both of those for me.

Claire Bobrow said...

My hands feel better already just reading these suggestions! Thanks, nightsmusic and Steve!

Sherry: that is totally heartbreaking. Sending all my good thoughts their way and also to your sister. May she stay safe and well while assisting others in this awful situation.

John Davis Frain said...

I like that sentiment, Steve. You're not stuck inside; you're safe inside.

Lots of folks throughout history have had to sacrifice much more than we are doing today. When it ends, which it will, we will be stronger for it. Meantime, do the things that are comforting. If you can't write or edit, you can brainstorm or read.

We know what idle hands are...

Beth Carpenter said...


What a beautiful hen! I've love to keep chickens, but I spend time in two states and can't see flying them back and forth with us in a kennel like the dog.

The trouble with this situation is that extroverts like my 93-year-old mother are quarantined in solitary confinement in her room at assisted living, while introverts are locking themselves in their bathrooms, desperate for a moment away from bored children and chatty spouses.

The laminate that has been stacking in my living room for months is now on the kitchen floor. Yay! My hummingbird brain is finally settling down, and it's time to dive deep into the next manuscript.

Fearless Reider said...

Cynthia McC, I was thinking the same thing!

Buff Orpington is:

1) a Vegas casino dealer whose luck is about to run out.
2) a used car lot manager whose wife is hiding a terrible secret.
3) a country club golf pro who's about to pull off the heist of the century.

KMB, Congrats! I hope you'll find ways to connect with readers in these strange times.

Sherry, prayers ascending for your sister and all the residents and staff.

Fearless Reider said...

Oops, sorry KMK! Dyslexic fingers today.

Claire Bobrow said...

Lol, Fearless Reider - great character sketches for Buff Orpington! Sounds like a potential flash fiction contest to me...

Third comment and I'm out. Thanks for creating this wonderful community, Janet!
Catch you later, everyone.

Craig F said...

Yum, chocolate cake doughnuts with chocolate glaze. Gives me ideas of breaking out the bottle of Grenadine and making a pomegranate glaze/ We use that on our Black Forest Oatmeal Drop cookies.

A neighbor got some chickens and has given me a couple of eggs. Kathy hard boiled a couple and then couldn't get the shells off because eggs need to sit for a week or so for the shell to loosen.

Melanie stared at my Wahl and considered the same thing. It is going to be a shaggy-assed world when we finally get our from under our rocks.

Shaky day for me. Still think it is something other than Covid. I don't have a fever, deep wracking cough, conjunctivitis, and I am not hallucinating more than usual.

Had a gastric flux yesterday, but that was probably from pressure washing the pool deck and screen enclosure over the week-end. Left me low on energy and shaken.

Michael Seese said...

Don't you worry your head, li'l lady. We'll learn you how to do business. The man's way.

MA Hudson said...

We’re doing fine, considering. Feeling grateful that my kids have a bedroom each and we have awesome neighbours we can talk to over the fence. The beaches are closed in my part of Sydney, because of all the (mostly young) people ignoring the social distancing rules. For me, it feels really odd to not be allowed on our local beach, but for lifelong surfers like my husband, it’s a major struggle.

I haven’t been able to write for weeks, which doesn’t make sense to me. I have the time, I should write. I set out to rectify this every single day, and every single day I fail. I’m not giving myself a hard time about it, I just wish I could use this time better.

Melanie - OMG, your hair looks awesome! Soooooo cool, I love it. Total rock star!!

KMB - Congrats on your book. That’s such exciting news. The only tip I have for extra publicity is filling in your blogger profile here so that Reiders can click your name and get your website and book details. The less work people have to do to find you, the more likely they’ll buy your book.

Beth - I so agree about extroverts and introverts. My mum is an extrovert and is suffering with the closure of common areas and activities in her retirement Village. Me, more of an introvert, I’m struggling to find space and time for myself.

Sherry - My thoughts are with your sister and everyone in retirement centres and residential facilities. This is a horrible time, and a devastatingly lonesome experience for so many elderly people. I can already see a decline in my mother who has dementia, I’m certain it’s because she has hardly any social interaction at the moment.

Craig - Agh, I so hope you feel better soon.

Laura Stegman said...

Hi everyone,

First of all, to KMK, keep an eye out for an email from me. I'm happy to tweet something about your book (2,000+ followers). Glad to do the same for any other debut authors coming up. You can contact me at address on my site, link to which is available in my profile.

My debut is in September, and I just handed in my edits, so it's getting more and more real! Meanwhile, I'm back to writing my sequel, and I'm about 1/3 of the way through. I had been kind of stuck, so I went back and reworked some earlier stuff. Now that I'm revisiting that, I'm seeing a path forward. Kind of a breakthrough! It feels good. I've abandoned my quest to polish everything. Instead, I'm plowing on to get the story all laid out! Wish me luck.

Nice to read everyone's comments, which I do daily whether I post or not. Sending good thoughts to everyone!

Panda in Chief said...

I do better when I get to go outside, which I did today, for several hours. I moved plants, moved rocks, walked from one end of the driveway to the other, put some plants in a bucket for a friend to pick up, moved some more plants.

If anyone is looking for soothing things in the middle of the night, may I suggest panda videos on or iPanda (you can find their channel on youtube.) If tumbling fuzzy baby pandas (on a rocking horsey!!!) don't make you take a calming breath, I don't know what does.

Some days I get more work done than others, and I guess I shouldn't beat myself up when the best I can do is move a piece of paper from one side of the desk to the other.

MA Hudson said...

Laura - Congrats! Can't wait to read your book. I write middle grade too, when I'm not in pandemic-enduced scatterbrain mode.

NLiu said...

Buff Orpington, bodybuilder and reality TV star, is about to get his comeuppance. Girlfriend (and boxing champion) Ban Tam has uncovered his cheating ... and reliance on banned substances. Feathers will fly!

I have nothing to add. The toddler just looked up at me and said, "Baba baba dooda badger!" with a great big smile on his face. Which is about the level I am functioning on at the moment too.

Building a website, going on Twitter at all, concentrating at all... Hard. Too hard right now. I'm going to concentrate on staying sane, and making sure my kids and husband stay alive.

But I will brave Twitter to promo KMK's book.

NLiu said...

Hi KMK, I want to big you up on Twitter but can't find your Twitter handle (it's not on your Blogger profile). Help?