Sunday, July 25, 2010

As Demanded By Amber

Ms. Amber Tidd Murphy has demanded the following information, which I am happy to supply.

What have you just read?
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.
What are you reading now?
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway.  I'm on a bit of a 20th century classic streak, it seems.
Do you have any idea what you'll read when you're done with that?
No.
What's the worst thing you were ever forced to read?
Silas Marner. BOR-ing.
What one book do you always recommend to just about anyone?
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce.
Do you read books while you eat?
Does snacking count?
While you bathe?
Yes. A sublime pleasure.
While you watch movies or TV?
No to the first, yes to the second--all the time.
While you're on the computer?
No.
When you were little did other children tease you about your reading habits?
No.
What's the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn't put it down?
Don't remember.  Snow Falling on Cedars, perhaps.  That was awfully good.
Have any books made you cry?
No.  Movies make me cry sometimes, though.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hot Amish Romance

Evidently, romance novels are the way to go, their sales rising even as the rest of publishing flounders.  Particularly hot: Amish romance.

Lord have mercy.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Bad Habits

I'm referring to my bad writing habits, though gods know I have enough of the other kind.  I am not a disciplined person.  When I worked for the VIO I was a skilled multitasker, but in my private life, not so much.  So I quit the VIO to make sure I'd write because I spent a couple decades not writing.  Was always too tired, or Seinfeld was on, or I was playing trivia on the computer, or...well, it didn't really matter.  So after quitting the VIO I actually did write.  Now I'm not because I work all day for Tom, the Online Man and...well, bad habits return.  So I must schedule myself.  I must!  Ich muBte, devo farla, turiu daryti!

So...I'm taking a poll.  I'm going to set aside 90 minutes a day.  I'm writing it on the calendar in indelible marker.  What's better, the morning or the evening?  What works best for you?

P.S. Why is BSG in the labels?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Poverty Sucks

Back when I was single and working for the Very Important Organization, I was practically awash in dough.  I once took a vacation from Lithuania to New Zealand (setting a VIO R&R distance record) and didn't think twice about the cost. Now, one spousal unit, two kids and one Great Recession later, I'm scraping for every dollar to keep the sheriff from the door while trying to preserve what's left of my life savings.  Yesterday I got a bill from the dentist for $681, and that was after insurance.  (Spousal unit has crappy Former Soviet teeth, while yours truly had put off going to the dentist for years to save money, hah.)

The last time the economy was this bad, it took World War II to snap us out of it.  But, we're already in two wars.  What's it going to take this time?

Damn you, capitalism.  You are a fickle mistress.  In the '90s you made my head swim.  Now you have cast me adrift.

Bitch.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

That Elusive 'Voice'

I've often been mystified WTF agents really mean when they talk about "voice" in a novel, especially when all they've given your book is a superficial two-page read.  But I've been re-reading The Catcher in the Rye--the last time I read it was the summer between high school and first year of college--and there's no mistaking Holden Caulfield's--J.D. Salinger's--distinctive "voice."  So I suppose I get it a little now.

More important, I'm loving reading it.  I don't remember liking it that much when I first read it.  But it's hysterically funny.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

How Does This Happen?

OK, I've complained about the declining standards of the publishing industry before...but today I'm reading a book in which the author has Winston Churchill writing to "Theodore Roosevelt" in 1945.  How can the writer, his agent, his editor, and copy editor (if any?) miss that kind of mistake?  How ignorant do you have to be not to know Franklin Roosevelt was president in WWII?  And that Teddy was dead?  Jeez.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Deal With the Nice Agent Lady

To provide some context for the preceding post, my deal with NAL is as follows: because she was undertaking to go through the entire ms. again with her red pen in hand, I would not query any new agents until I got the book back, made the revisos and sent it back for a decision.  I was free to follow up with requests for partials or fulls from any of the agents I had previously queried and had not yet heard from, or even to sign with one of them.  There were a lot of no-responders in that bunch, but the ones I did hear back from after striking my deal with NAL all said, "Fuck off," or some agentspeak variant of that.

We sort of arrived at this decision mutually.  I believe I brought it up--something along the lines of, "What are your expectations of me?"  I thought it was fair.  Still do, for that matter.  She's not just reading it but providing edits and stuff.  Understand that this all occurred after more than 100 queries and a couple of heart-breaking this-is-really-good-but-the-market-sucks-rught-now-so-sorry-but-fuck-off responses to fulls.

The other thing is, she really is nice.  And she gets, and what's more, loves my book.  Used those very words: "I love your novel."  While NAL herself is a junior agent--and part of the delay comes from her having to deal with administrative stuff plus all the queries coming in from all you fuckhead dingbats--the firm she works for is well established with at least one agent with lots of deals under her belt in the ol' mystery-suspense-thriller world.  So, I would love to be represented by her.  Plus, I did tell her to take her time the last time we communicated, when she apologized for how long it was taking.

I guess I'm really just frazzled by how long it's taking and how it seems I have no money and no time and no way to easily get enough of either.

How Long Am I Supposed to Wait?

It's been three, fourth months since the Nice Agent Lady undertook to go through my ms. with an eye to sending me suggested areas for improvement (as we would have put it at my former employer, the Very Important Organization).  In our last colloquy I told her to take her time, but still...  Since I promised not to query further while she was working on it, I'm sort of stuck in limbo.  Despite its constant flow of heartache, I sort of miss querying.  I spend so much time working for TOM (the online Man) that I'm too exhausted at day's end to even think about, much less write, my WIP.  (Thank you, poverty.)  I'm sort of thinking giving her to September and then breaking my promise (heck, this is business after all), given that summer is a tough time to query anyway.  I don't know.  Is that fair, or should I feel like a jerk for even contemplating this?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Home Alone

It's the Fourth of July and I'm home alone.  My son's in Costa Rica with a school group, my daughter deserted us to spend the day with her friend's family, the spousal unit is "out with a friend" -- bartender, drinking buddy, lesbian lover -- WTF do I know?  Plus, it's gloomy as hell here: cold, gray, wet.  A perfect Seattle day.  For November.  Plus I've spent all fucking weekend working for The Online Man (henceforward: "Tom").  Doesn't anyone out there feel sorry for me?  Anyone?  Anyone?

Bueller?