Nathan Bransford, Author

Friday, May 29, 2009

This Week in Publishing 5/29/09

This Friday in publishing... I'm not here!

I wrote this a few days ago and set it to post automatically. I'm not in the office, and in fact I'm currently hanging out with Dick Cheney in his top secret bunker and I'm so glad to be...... that's messed up, Dick. Come on man, seriously, light a match or something.

We'll have some classics and some new posts and possibly a guest appearance running at regularly scheduled blog times early next week to tide you over. (Oh, and I'm not actually at BEA, hope everyone has a good time though.)

See you next week! Assuming I survive this. I don't think Dick likes me very much.

Unsupervised open thread! No roughhousing allowed!


Have a great weekend!


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Scott said...

Oh, damn...I think Dick done broke the forum.

Scott said...

Oh there, I am. Anyway, have a great time wherever you are!

*cough*inthenextroomwithaglass ofwine*cough*

Anna said...

have a nice holiday!

Mira said...

Unsupervised open thread?

I'm not sure I can handle such freedom.


I think I need to go lie down for a moment. So. Much. Freedom.

Ink said...

Okay, everyone, give me a hand. I have the rope, but I'm not sure I can hogtie Mira all by myself...

Rick Daley said...

Ten bucks says that if you waterboard Dick long enough he'll admit that he was behind 9/11 (even though he wasn't).

That's not roughhousing, BTW. At least not under Dick's rulebook.

Mira said...


Mira said...

Oh hi Ink.

How are you today?

Did you know the site was unsupervised?

Lunatic said...

He didn't invite you to go hunting, did he?

(I can say that, being a Republican)


Mira said...

Hi Rick,

That was a funny joke.

I dropped by the Query Slushpile the other day. What a helpful thing that is. Really. I told a friend about it too.

By the way, Rick, did you know the site was unsupervised?

I'm thinking of posting my auto-biography starting from being a wee little squiggly thing in my mother's womb.

Ink said...

Mira, Mira, Mira... have you ever heard the term 'frontier law'? Watch your step...


Mira said...

Why no, Ink, what does that mean? Please elaborate. Does that mean something will happen to me if I'm bad? Because I can be very.....

Oh wait. I can't go into that here.

Oh wait. The site is unsupervised.

Oh wait. I bet it's not THAT unsupervised.


Steve Fuller said...

Bippity, boppity, bacon!

Anonymous said...

From the wisdom of Dick Cheney:

"Except for the occasional heart attack, I never felt better." –June 4, 2003

"I had other priorities in the sixties than military service." –on his five draft deferments, April 5, 1989

"Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy." –April 30, 2001

"Go f*ck yourself." --to Sen. Patrick Leahy, during an angry exchange on the Senate floor about profiteering by Halliburton, June 25, 2004

Anonymous said...

Have a good vacation, Nathan. You deserve it.

Reesha said...

Only 14 posts. So.....what am I going to do now with all this boredom?

Oooh. I know. I got paid today.
Time to pre-order a Kindle DX and not think about how much it costs!!!!

Thanks for your helpful posts on that, Nathan. I've searched long and hard and, yeah. I'm just going to give in and get one.

ORION said...

I LOVE my kindle...Did I say I LOVE my kindle?
I think I've said that...

Anonymous said...

Please shoot him in the face?

Amber Argyle-Smith said...

Anybody wanna go doorbell ditching?


How bout we toilet paper my old basketball coach (I'm still bitter, Fergie)?

Rick Daley said...


Thanks for stopping by the Query Slushpile and for mentioning it here. You know I am a fan of shameless self-promotion, so I feel compelled to add that the URL is

(Bryan, I think I have her attention, grab a leg)

Oh, and Mira...since Nathan's gone you can probably break into his office and deposit those Guatamalan orphans.

(Grab an arm)

And Bryan, I notice a post from you the other day where you didn't sign "My best, as always" and include your name...and then Nathan responded to it and used your name! Totally cool to get that level of name recognition.

(Get ready to start tying)

Mira, since you gave the shout of for the Query Slushpile, I feel obligated to say something about the fun I've had at Come in Character, that was a great idea.

(Got her?)

Memoirs of a Bulimic Black Boy said...

It‘s 11:00am, sunny and 75 in Seattle; I just received a nice ol’ grant from the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs to create a stage play based on a short story and the stage version of Sitting in Circles with Rich White Girls: Memoirs of a Bulimic Black Boy just booked its first major university. Did I mention it’s 11:00am, sunny and 75 in Seattle. Cocktail time


Thermocline said...

It’s possible Nathan put everyone on a grand scale time out and just called it an unsupervised thread. I wonder how many of the time outs I got as a kid were due to my parents wanting a little cozy bubble of serenity than me having earned them through any miscreant behaviors.

Mira said...

Amber - I remember door-bell ditching. That was so fun! Did you ever make crank calls? Like:

Q: Is your refrigerator running?
A: Then go catch it.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

It's so sad for children that they can't do that now. Modern technology just gets in the way of so much fun.

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

Congratulations to Chad!

Other Lisa said...

Congratulations, Chad!

And...75 and sunny in Seattle?! Wow. 64 and gray in Venice Beach...

justine_hedman said...

Mira, if you don't calm down you're going to hurt yourself. (Or someone else) You know Nathan's probably laughing at you right now right? No, really, I laughed my but off- your so cute.

I'd also like to add that in most case *hogtying* is considered roughhouseing. So watch yourselves.

But really, have fun whatever your doing Nathan, come back with a fun killer blog. (but don't let it be about Dick Cheney PLEASE!)


Mira said...

Rick, that's a fantastic idea. Nathan would be so surprised and delighted to come back to work and find a bunch of guatemalan orphans in his office. It would be an experience he'll never forget. Oh! Should I tape a query on them? That might be an extra nice touch.

I'm glad you like CIC - I have fun there, too. Candy is today's character of the month. It's fun.

I'm going to host a writer's duel there in a couple of weeks with an actual prize.

But, please, please stop with the tying up. Not one, but two men are tying me up. It's torture. You do understand, Rick. Pure torture. I'm trying to be good.

And everyone knows Bryan!

Amber Argyle-Smith said...

Caller ID is such a tragic waste! But I have the answer. Call someone you know and run throught the following scenerio.
Mom: Hello
Me: You've got to come get me! I'm locked out of my car, it's about to rain, and the windows are open!
Mom: Oh my gosh, where are you?
Me: Right in front of Timely Lock and Key.
Mom: Okay, I've got my keys, I'll be right there.
*hear your mother getting into the car)*
Me: Mom, my upholstry is getting soaked, hurry!
Mom: It isn't raining, sweetie.
Me feigning innocence: It isn't?
Mom: And if your windows are down, why don't you just . . . Oh, you little sh*t!

Mira said...

Justine. If Nathan is laughing at me right now, I'm going to get really mad.

Nathan should be snoozing on a beach somewhere, drinking mai tais and getting a massage, blissfully unaware of what's happening on his blog.

He can laugh at me, and anyone else, when he gets back.

Mira said...



I never tipeed anything, but I'd be happy to help you with your basketball coach.

Anonymous said...

Dick Cheney is a major class idiot!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bransford. Enjoy your vacation, sir.

Josie Morrell said...

Question: Should you send a thank you letter after a rejection letter?

I was turned down *sigh*.

Malanie said...

hhmmm... I wonder if Nathan is sitting on a beach sipping a delicious fruiti mixed drink, right about now?

Have fun wherever you are, Nathan!

Subtle Rose said...

I wish I could take a vacation. So jealous! Do have a nice one.

Anonymous said...

I heard dick was the one who traded ojay for brunos iPod.

abc said...

Who is bringing the appletinis?

By the way, Marilyn, I'm knee deep in House of Leaves. Zampano, neverending hallways, boxed footnotes in the middle of the page. Ok. I'm doing it. Ok. Appletini!

Suzanne said...

have a great holiday...they're probably having no fun at BEA.

reader said...

Reesha, feel free to order me a Kindle DX as well. You're buying, right? Right?


anotheranon said...

Dear Nathan's Unsupervised blog--

I'm thinking of trying to write a TV drama series... should I?

I have no knowlege of how to go about doing it, but it could be fun to learn.

Anonymous said...

Nathan, whatever you do... if he asks you to go hunting with him, refuse!

Ink said...


Nathan is sharp as a tack. Plus I occasionally make jokes about the Sacramento Kings, so I'm pretty sure he has my name written down in a file marked "Targets for Biological Warfare".

And Mira is hard to tie down. Very wiggly. We're going to have to call in some back-up. Say, the 4th Artillery Regiment.

Scott said...

If one of you could make the next hour go by in about five minutes, that'd be swell.

Ink said...

Sorry, Scott, the wand is broken. Damn that Snape.

Scott said...


Mira said...

Ink. Don't take this the wrong, way but I hate you.

Apropo of nothing, I swear I work in a zoo. My staff is certifiably insane. It's interfering with my blog time.

Speaking of Marilyn, has anyone seen her? I haven't seen her for a couple of days. Marilyn, where are you?

PurpleClover said...

My laptop crashed and I lost thirty thousand words of my 48k wip.

I need people to feel sorry for me. I'm so angry.


Other Lisa said...

@ PurpleClover - oh, no...seriously? That's awful. I hate to ask obvious questions but have you taken it to a computer guy yet? Odds of recovering the data are usually pretty good.

Patrick Rodgers said...

Ok I bookmarked the Public Query Slushpile maybe if I get shot down by 5 or 50 agents I might try it. I think my query is pretty good right now but no agents have seen it yet.

Secondly you lucky SOBs 75 sounds freaking nice right now. It's cloudy outside but it's still 90 degrees and its actually a cool day.

Thirdly I hate the Canada now. Freaking Canadian Post being closed on weekends and now I have to rewrite a good part of a chapter because of it. I swear I googled Canadian post when I wrote that chapter and I freaking thought it said they were open a half day like the US post office.

And now I can delight you my pretties with more scenes from Fantasy epic novel on Ninja Pirate Warrior Warlocks. Who wants to hear more about Ninja Pirate Warrior Warlocks raise your hands please?

PurpleClover said...

My "computer guy" told me I should probably take it to Best Buy because they have a data recovery service and may be able to. I'm going to try but I'm not getting my hopes up. He thinks the hard drive is corrupted.

Patrick Rodgers said...

30,000 words dear god you would have to keep me away from knives and ledges for a little bit. That is at least 3 weeks worth of work (I usually only average 1,500 words a day when I am writing).

Patrick Rodgers said...

And clover we had the paranoia talk a couple days ago about how some of us our so paranoid to lose out work we back it up on 2 memory sticks and some even back it up online.

They mentioned moxy, if you ever get your work back you should check into that and start backing up everything daily.

Scott said...

Purple, I know how annoying advice after the fact can be, but I keep two USB jump drives open on my desktop and drag into them constantly. Never should 1k go by without a backup let along 30k.

I didn't mean that to sound admonishing, but I've been there before (roomate shut off a light switch in my room that my computer was plugged into) and my tack was to dig right back in while it was fresh. A few long hours later I got everything back.

Good luck with the recovery.

PurpleClover said...

Patrick -

You guys had the conversation roughly around the time my computer crashed. Had I "witnessed" the conversation I would have probably thought to backup right then. AGH!

I feel like there is a black cloud above my head. I plan to definitely back up online. I was using email as my backup (GMAIL) but I will look into "moxy"??

Those thirty thousand words are from mid-Feb until about three weeks ago. It takes me longer since I have to do it in between school and what not. GRRRRR. I'm so mad.

PurpleClover said...

Scott -

I know. I'm an idiot. I've never been good about remembering to back up. I had a USB jump drive and it was lost in our move. I failed to get another.

I'm more angry at myself than anything.

Other Lisa said...

@PC, maybe I'm wrong about this but fingers crossed that doc files are easier to recover than others. Plus you probably have all kinds of work files that are versions of your doc hiding in there somewhere. I bet you will get back at least a good chunk of it. Sending good thoughts your way....

Other annoying but well-meaning advice - email the thing you're working on to yourself, every time you finish a writing session.

Marilyn Peake said...

Have a great weekend, Nathan!

Unsupervised open thread? Seriously? Is this some kind of social experiment or something? Or are we on the honor system? I'm not sure we're ready for that. LOL.

PurpleClover said...

Other Lisa -

I hope you are right. The message I was getting when it tried to boot was: NTLDR Is Missing. Press any key to start.

I've read online that this could be caused by several things. I'm hoping its the least offensive one! I hope I hope I HOPE they can get back some if not all of the missing words.

Oh and that is how I back up. I email to myself (at another email address) so if one email is down it is at least in the other. I'm a non-email deleter. I have emails dated back to like 2003 in my inbox. My hubbie hates that I don't empty my inbox but who cares? Gmail lets you store everything! lol.

Rick Daley said...

You can buy 1GB flash drive at Blockbuster here in Ohio for between $10-$20. I back up onto one regularly. Plus it's convenient when I travel for work. It's a must have.

I don't think Nathan would ever resort to biological warfare. He's waaaay too nice. However, he may coerce a fellow agent to do it for him. Watch your back.

Duck and cover. Ink called up the big guns.

PurpleClover said...

I WISH I could play dumb like it never occurred to use a backup. Or a flash drive. But it was just plain stupidity on my part and relying on my 2 year old laptop that the warranty just expired two months ago (should have clued me in). BAD CLOVER!

Lesson learned (GAWD I HOPE).

Okay I'll try not to b!+ch about it anymore.

Amber Argyle-Smith said...

It's a date. We need to bring the hog tying guys though--he might have bought a dog. . .
Oh, and Nathan, could you bring Dick with his gun?

Marilyn Peake said...

abc said:
"By the way, Marilyn, I'm knee deep in House of Leaves. Zampano, neverending hallways, boxed footnotes in the middle of the page. Ok. I'm doing it."

How do you like it so far? I remember that book as a wild roller-coaster kind of a ride. The story unfolding in the footnotes parallels, in a very weird kind of way, the story unfolding on the main part of each page. And I loved the huge amount of symbolism and psychological reports throughout the book. Have fun!!

Dawn said...

Purple Clover, I wish you the best of luck in recovering most, if not all of those words. I feel for you. I've been backing up my work: first I used an external hard drive, then I switched to CDs and I think I'll eventually buy a flash drive. Convenience is the prize!

PurpleClover said...

Thanks Dawn!

Marilyn Peake said...

Scott said:
"If one of you could make the next hour go by in about five minutes, that'd be swell."

Try time travel. I believe that much less time will appear to go by for you. :)

Mira said...

Marilyn! There you are! I missed you - where have you been??

Rick and Ink, I am now officially ignoring both of you. You are bad, bad men.

P.C.!!! My heart goes out to you. That's just awful. I do agree, though, I think there's a good chance they can recover it. I am concentrating on sending golden positive light in your direction - it's golden positive light for data recovery. Crossing my fingers!

Mira said...

Amber, maybe we should skip the toilet paper and just go straight to the hog-tying. What did this guy do to you anyway?

Chuck H. said...

Hey, Nathan! Don't even think I'm going to fall for that unsupervised thread BS. I know you're there somewhere keeping an eye on things. Where are you anyway? You're not taking me up on that invite to Missoura, are you?

@PC So sorry for your loss. That's why I always have three flash drives in the watch pocket of my jeans.

Marilyn Peake said...

Mira said:
"Speaking of Marilyn, has anyone seen her? I haven't seen her for a couple of days. Marilyn, where are you?"

Hi, Mira! The summer has started in earnest for me – fun; but very, very busy. I’m going to be away from my computer a lot this summer, even stopped writing my novel for the summer because I’m going to have so many interruptions. I’ll still be popping on here when I have free time like today. Hope you and everyone on this blog have a great summer!

Mira said...

Marilyn, that's nice that you're busy (I hope it's nice - good things) but I notice when you're not around. Hope you have time to pop in!

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

I hadn't thought of backing up my work anywhere except on my two pen drives - however I can't be topped for paranoia:
I put my main notebook and one pendrive is on the bedside table when I turn in for the night (in-case-of fire - obviously)
If I leave the house one pen drive is with me and the other is locked in the study with the notebook

Wait until I actually get published {:-) I'm thinking of investing in armed guards then!

Marilyn Peake said...

PurpleClover said:
"My laptop crashed and I lost thirty thousand words of my 48k wip.

"I need people to feel sorry for me. I'm so angry."

Aaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrgh!!!!!! I do feel sorry for you, PurpleClover – very, very sorry!! I’m crossing my fingers and toes that you’ll be able to recover your writing!!

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

Thanks to all for their words of advice with the Editor for the Day tips.
The Haiku version of the book
(95,000 words)with a punctuated letter (that bears no relation to the original) went too.

Mira said...

Ink, I just realized that I may not have made my joke clear enough for you to understand why I said I hate you.

I don't hate you. Really.

I like you alot. You're a sweetie.

Kristi said...

PC - I'm so sorry. I've done really dumb things with computers though and the computer guys have always been able to get my data (once even involved smoke coming out of the tower of my desktop). I just set up an account with Mozy thanks to Jen C. and Scott - but it keeps freezing my MacBook so I need to play with it more. Happy Friday! :)

Mira said...

Rick too. You're a sweetie too.

Mira said...

In fact, EVERYONE on this site is a sweetie.

And NO, I am not into the appletinis.


Anonymous said...

I'll have an appletini

Anonymous said...

Nathan, shouldn't you be at the BEA?

Barb said...

So what sort of book would Dick be pitching to Nathan?

Jen P said...

There's a neat post over at Pub Rants on why an agent wouldn't read on from opening pages from material they pick out of the slush pile.

"After the 3 hour session, I can say without a doubt that this was the biggest issue we found in the pages that were read. The openings lacked a sense of urgency that would have propelled the story forward or would have engaged the reader immediately in the story or the characters presented.

In other words, most opening scenes had nothing at stake."

Pub RantsOh, and PS: we're giving away a signed proof of Patrick Gale's latest novel at TVFH in a competition open now. ;-)

And since we're only virtually at the bar, I'll have a G&T thanks. Cheers.

Lisa said...

Love, love, love my Kindle! Hope you love it, too! But, I still keep a backlog of paperbacks around for bathtime. ☺

P.S. I think the Mighty Bright clip-on light is a must have with a Kindle.

It’s now 81 degrees in Seattle. Happy happy joy joy!

Bane of Anubis said...

B/C this is unsupervised, can we start extolling the virtues of "On Writing?"

Ink said...


Yeah, I admit it, I'm a sweetie. The 4th Artillery Regiment, however, eats bullets for breakfast.

Lupina said...

This feels so wicked, like when the teacher leaves the room and everyone starts chewing gum and throwing spit wads! I love it!

Purple,much sympathy to you. The Geek Squad at BB has been a miracle squad for me. Good luck with that!

Interesting comment on the slush pile's most common problem. I think sometimes what sounds compelling as all getout to the writer bores the socks off the reader. How to fix that?

Nathan I hope you are reading all these letters out loud to Dick, over some nice Jager bombs and hot wings.

Mira said...

Ink, can I borrow the 4th artillary for an hour or two?

I need to send them over to Bane's house.

Mira said...

Oh, Lupina,

"I think sometimes what sounds compelling as all getout to the writer bores the socks off the reader. How to fix that?"

I'd like to address this. Obviously the real problem here is the reader. Readers need to stop getting bored by our writing. It's rude.

Here's what I recommend. Give your reader some of your writing. Every time they stop and say "I'm bored" bop them on the head.

However, every time they stop reading and say "wow, this is interesting" give them an appletini.

After awhile this system of gentle persuasion will have a profound effect. Soon they'll be saying to you "wow, this is interesting' and they won't even be reading anything!

So there you go. Instant readership! Like it came out of a bottle......or is trying to crawl in one. Either way, it's a winner.

Anonymous said...

I don't like appltinis. Girly drink. Whiskey for me.

Jil said...

I'd better get in here quickly so Mira can call me a sweetie too!

P.C.s loss scares me! In case of disaster forget the kit. just grab my dog and the thingmy with my writing on it. (note. Must transpose more often.}

Hope Nathan doesn't walk- in in the middle of our hullabaloo. Doesn't the authority figure always do that?

PurpleClover said...

Thanks you guys.

I actually ran by my "computer guy's" house and he wasn't clear (or I'm just not listening clearly - totally probable). He said he could try to get the data off my drive himself. I just had to wait until he got back from his cruise. Wah. But I'll wait because lord knows whenever I bring it to Best Buy it comes back with a whole new set of problems.

So I will have to wait a week before I learn my computer's prognosis. :(

Anyhow, thanks for feeling sorry for me everyone. :D Makes a gal feel special...even if she begged for it. ;)

PurpleClover said...

Hmm. Which profile pic. Brunette or blonde? I'm kind of in between right now on hair color and not feeling photogenic enough to take a new pic. lol

That would require a shower and Unless I do an eau de stinky sans makeup.

And no I'm not drinking. But I should be. And if I wouldn't be no stinkeen' appletinis!

Claire said...

Have a great time Nathan. I can't wait to see what this place looks like when you get back. ;)


Laurel said...

Don't worry, PC! We can't smell your profile pic.

Interesting notion for a new iPhone app...scratch and sniff. What do you think? Does it have legs?


Jen C said...

PurpleClover! Epic hugs for you! I feel your pain, as I've been there before, lost over 20K words before after my old laptop was stolen. Hopefully you'll be able to get your data back, as they say, things are often still in there, you just need to know how to get them out.

Also though, for me it was a blessing in disguise. I was working on the wrong project, and losing all that work allowed me to step away and come up with my current WIP which is so much better.

But at the time I was completely distraught. I don't think I stopped bursting into tears for like 2 weeks after! So, I feel your pain. My fingers and toes are all crossed for you!

Hmmmm, unsupervised thread. Seems quite similar to supervised thread, to be honest! hahah! I think it's kinda cool that Nathan was writing to us from the PAST though! oooooooohhhhhh......

Bane of Anubis said...

All this talk of artillery makes me think of the best quotable war movie eva - Full Metal Jacket...

"How can you kill innocent women and children?"

"Easy, ya just don't lead 'em as much."

That's a DC answer for you right there - my dad worked w/ him when he was Sec of Def - a pigheaded megalomaniac for shizzle, but not evil incarnate (no more than Pelosi :)

Jen C said...

Oh, PS, I don't drink in real life, but since this is virtual give me a shot of everything!

PurpleClover said...

OMG Jen C! I can't even imagine having my laptop stolen and knowing someone else dishonest had my manuscript. ACK!

I'm dealing. I have a smidge of hope but I know if its lost whatever comes out of it will be better. I hope. :D

jimnduncan said...

Starting up a new blog centered around those in publishing who blog, what they're doing, and creating a list of useful links to agents, editors, publishers, and industry pros. If you've got some useful links, stop by and post them up. I'd really appreciate it.

Jen C said...


I did have it password protected, so at least they didn't have access to my work. But that also means that they either just dumped the laptop or wiped the lot of it, which is awful... I have to say though that the police were really good about it, and they caught the guy who did it and he's now in jail. So there, take that junkie scum!

A few months ago I accidentally deleted one of my mailboxes in Mac Mail and I was stressing about it and did some research into whether I could get it back. Looked to me like there are a lot of options and a pretty good chance that you can get your work back, if you've got a decent computer guy.

PurpleClover said...

100. Ah. There. Much better. That 99 was really bothering me.

PurpleClover said...

101. Don't mind if I do throw in a shameless plug.

For June & July I'm hosting a Write-a-thon. Anyone needing to kick out some writing feel free to join our JuJu Survivor Biggest Writer Write-a-thon.

No losers, no rules, everyone wins. Oh and no prizes except for the feeling of accomplishment. The aim is 42k words give or take...42k. :)

Instead of finishing my manuscript I'll be using the time to catch up. Wah!

Jen C said...

I'll join you, PC! I've only got about 25-30K left to write in my current WIP, so it will be a good motivator to get me over the line.

PS I know Nathan said no roughhousing but... can we have some roughhousing anyway? Quick, someone say something controversial... Mira, I'm looking at you, girl.

PurpleClover said...

Ooh YAY Jen C! Welcome. I'll be posting the jumpoff on Monday.

Roughhousing huh?

Something controversial...There I said it.

*headlocks Mira*

Bane of Anubis said...

How's this for controversy: Go Lakers! :)

Patrick Rodgers said...

Here's something controversial, I have an idea for a novel that takes a shot at organized religions and I was going to call it God is Dead.

Bane of Anubis said...

Jim - thanks! Blogs/sites like yours facilitate the whole writing/publishing process immensely.

Bane of Anubis said...

Patrick, could you make that more active - "God Died", maybe :)

Kristi said...

PC - love the Write-a-Thon and I'm in. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you wip.

Bane - way to kick a team when they're down - my Nuggets went down in FLAMES tonight!

Patrick - isn't that a book already? :)

Patrick Rodgers said...

Or maybe There Is No God. It asks the question of are people moved by religion because they want to be moved by it. There is also going to be bloodshed where those who think they are righteous and touched by god kill those who they think can't be touched by god. And in the end they find out what they thought made them so special and what they thought was the hand of god was just simple evolution.

Patrick Rodgers said...

Crap quick search of Amazon shows there is a book God is Dead. Maybe I will go with Bane's suggestion and name the book And God Died.

Bane of Anubis said...

Patrick, aren't you in the wrong state to be rabble rousing :)? - I imagine there are already plenty of books of the same vein, but perhaps if you can make it a metaphor (as Pullman did - rather poorly, IMO - in His Dark Materials trilogy), it'll find traction.

Patrick Rodgers said...

That's why I want to write it because of the state I am in and the fact that they try and cram religion and their agenda down your throats 24/7. If you couldn't guess I am not Mormon so I am an outcast in my home state (yes I was born in Utah).

I won't make it my first book but maybe like my 5th or 6th after I have gained enough fame that they can't just throw me out of the state (how was that for optimism).

Laura Martone said...

Ack! Open, unsupervised thread?! I'm at a loss for words... I've been waiting to see if someone says something raunchy and/or rude enough to be removed by a "blog administrator" - thereby, proving that we've been a supervised classroom (to use Lupina's analogy) all along, but, alas, no one has done me proud. Not even Mira? So, perhaps Nathan really is hanging with the Cheneys tonight. Poor little guy.

As to you, Purple Clover, I'm so very sorry for your loss. Just today, I thought my computer had crashed (and I was cursing myself that I hadn't backed up everything on my jump drive as I'd planned to do following our recent technology thread), but my hubby came to the rescue. Thank goodness for him! So, for half the day anyway, I felt your pain, PC, and I'm obviously hoping that you're able to save at least the majority of your work. I'll have a mojito (if not an appletini) in your honor!

In the meantime... how many of you have seen "Drag Me to Hell" yet? I just saw it tonight, jumped in all the right places, of course, and then had to drive back home, through the dark, dripping forest, to my little cabin. Thank goodness it wasn't "Evil Dead" I saw.

Bane of Anubis said...

Patrick - more power to you - I've got some Catholic friends in Utah and they paint a similar pariah-status picture. My brother actually converted to Mormonism - seem like good people, but definitely not my cup o' tea (I am of similar secular persuasion to you)... If you're a fan of South Park at all or can tolerate it, you'll probably be amused by the Mormon episode (the shows creators were brought up LDS, I believe) -

Marilyn Peake said...

I noticed that, on this very special "unsupervised" weekend on Nathan’s blog, a few personal book-related posts have appeared, so I hope that it’s OK for me to share some really great news.

This past March, two books in which I was Editor/author were named Finalists in the 2008 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards. Today at Book Expo America, both books won Honorable Mention. The competition is tough, includes books from university presses and is judged by a panel of librarians and booksellers.

INSIDE SCOOP: ARTICLES ABOUT ACTING AND WRITING BY HOLLYWOOD INSIDERS AND PUBLISHED AUTHORS, which I had compiled and edited, and which included articles originally published in my newsletter, won Honorable Mention in the Performing Arts/Drama category.

TWISTED TAILS III: PURE FEAR, which includes my short story, "Day of the Dead", won Honorable Mention in the Fiction – Horror category.

Here’s more information about the 2008 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

Sophie said...

Hi Nathan! I know that you said this was an open thread and I'm not sure if you're replying or will reply to any of the comments, but I thought I'd try anyways.

I have a question regarding the YA genre.

Do the characters of a YA novel need to be young adults? What if most of the characters are somewhat older, say in their early twenties?

I know that you once said the difference between adult and YA fiction often depends on the pacing and HOW the themes are explored. You also gave an example and pointed out that some adult novels feature high school kids as protagonists.

Can this work the other way? Could adults be featured as the protagonists in YA novels if it reads as such?

Thank you so much in advance and if you don't have time (or patience, in case you've already disussed this and I missed it) please don't worry about it.

Mira said...

Jil, you are a total sweetie. A mega-sweetie! :-)

I saw two movies tonight. And they were both good! What are the odds?!!

Angels and demons much less bloody than the book. Thank god. That book was riveting, and I was so pissed off because it made me read all these yucky scenes.

And Up. That is wonderful. Truly wonderful.

Jim Duncan, that's a wonderful idea for a blog. Really.

Jen C. I'm so sorry that happened to you! Ugh! But in terms of a stranger reading your words - well, I'm sure it changed his life for the better. Someday, you'll get a note from him letting you know that because of you he started paying his child support, turned himself in on his 5 outstanding warrents, is now a priest, and he finally mowed his lawn.

P.C. I like your new pic. And your writing contest sounds fun. I don't know if I should do it though. It will ruin my perfect record of not writing anything. But lots of support! Btw, I had a really, really good experience at Best Buy once. They gave me free service and were extra helpful.

Marilyn, I'm always so impressed by your awards. So cool to have an award winning author as a regular here. Don't leave this summer, just don't!

Mira said...

Hi Sophie,

Since Nathan isn't here I will designate myself his representative. I'm sure he would be pleased.

He and I are very close. We're like the same person really. We're like twins. And because this thread is unsupervised, I can assure you he agrees with every word that comes out of my mouth.

Yep. Every word.

So, I will answer your question:

Write your novel, and don't worry about who will or will not identify with it, or what genre it is. Write your story.

There you go. Thank you for asking. And if anyone else has any questions for Nathan, feel free to ask me.

Person who is not Mira said...

Why yes, Mira, I do have a question.

Since you and Nathan are the same person, you probably know what Nathan likes to eat for breakfast. What is it?

Mira said...

Well, Person who is not Mira,

Wow. That is an incredible question. I'm so impressed. You clearly have great perception and insight into the really important things in life.

However, what a man likes to eat for breakfast is personal, don't you think?

Yes, I think so too, which is why I'm going to tell you.

Pizza. With Jalepeno peppers, anchovies and meatballs. Washed down with beer. That is what every person in the world who is under 30 eats for breakfast.

And what every person in the world stops eating for breakfast when they hit 35.

Okay, good question. Next.

Marilyn Peake said...

Hi, Mira,

Thank you so much for your very kind words!

Person who is not Mira said...

Thanks for answering my question Mira. That was very kind of you.

My next question is:

Could you keep this up all night?

Mira said...

Another excellent question, Person who is not Mira.

Could I keep this up all night? Why yes. I could.

Mira said...

Hi Marilyn,

Very sincerely meant! :-)

Mira said...

Marilyn, are you still around? Did you ever see Star Trek?

What did you think?

Marilyn Peake said...


I saw STAR TREK twice, and plan to see it again. Loved it!! ... which you probably already knew, since I'm planning to see it a third time. LOL. Have you seen it yet?

Mira said...

Marilyn!!! I saw it twice, too, and am going to see it again! I almost went again tonight. That's so cool that you liked it too.


Marilyn Peake said...

Want to have a good laugh? Book: The Sequel is a project that was designed to publish a book at Book Expo America ... made up completely of hilarious first lines in pretend sequels to famous books. Some of the entries are hilarious!!

I don’t know if any of the lines I submitted will make it into the book, but a number of mine are scrolling on their home page right now. Every time you refresh their web page, new lines appear.

Marilyn Peake said...


Have fun seeing STAR TREK a third time! I can't wait to see it again!

Mira said...

Marilyn, me too! That book sounds very fun - I'll check it out.

I'm sorry, I suddenly couldn't keep my eyes open and went to bed. I didn't mean leave the conversation unfinished.

Mira said...

Does everyone realize there is an unsupervised thread ALL weekend?

I need to go lie down. It's just too much.

Haste yee back ;-) said...

Pruple, hope springs eternal re: computers... I like the new pic!

Y'all are like... frisky kids on holiday!

I'd go for that, scratch-n-sniff avatars.

Haste yee back ;-)

Lupina said...

Mira, yes, dang unappreciative readers, anyway! Thanks for the advice on the reward/punishment method of getting people to read my writing. Reminds me of dog training except I don't hit my dog and I give him Liver Meaties instead of appletinis. So far he has learned 3 whole tricks that way, which he only performs if an appletini, er, Liver Meatie, is 5 inches from his face. Maybe I could teach him to read, however, and thereby always guarantee myself an enthusiastic audience. Do you think a dog would do better with a book or a Kindle?

Marilyn, congrats on your awards!I have a good friend at BEA and have been following her adventures vicariously as she meets the beautiful literati. She's a book reviewer so is rather popular there.

I feel like throwing a few spitwads, that teacher is due back any minute. Guess I'll draw a portrait of Nathan on the chalk it is, sideways :-)

Yes, I'm getting all gooey here but someone as nice to writers as Nathan personifies the smiley face. I'll also add a thanks for the always awesome blog. (Mira, since you ARE Nathan I guess it's for you, too.)

So here is how the chalkboard graffiti looks if anyone wants to copy and add to it:

Thanks, Nathan!

Tori said...

So what is everyone planning on doing this weekend? Well...besides obsess over their novels I mean? I am going to call my sister to make sure she is still alive. She has the Swine Flu and my mother is extremely worried about her. I won't complain to my husband about the party he is I wish he would like spending that much time around me. Tomorrow I shall hang out with a very good friend and tell her about how much of a jerk the guy she likes is. This is hopeless because she is bound to ignore every word I say on the subject. Then I might as well stop procrastinating and finish my damn story. But...I don't see why I should as it will be horrible anyway.

Oh, the tortures of being an aspiring writer. Will I ever learn? No, I probably won't.

Laurel said...


Are you kidding? Your husband is happily occupied elsewhere and you're complaining? That boy I married is a treasure and I adore him but honestly, time to myself is the ultimate pinnacle of ecstasy. Enjoy it. Write something without guilt for the time it takes away from family.

And I highly recommend you refrain from telling your friend what a jerk her romantic interest is. You can never win that battle...just wait for them to figure it out and be supportive. Maybe you could vent with a blog about why good people put up with lousy lovers.

As for my weekend, I have two books to read. Yay!

Word verification: fabla. A fabulous fable that communicates some moral without being preachy.

Laurel said...

As long as it's open thread, why DO good people put up with lousy lovers?

Mira? Thoughts? Comments? Perhaps a worthwhile Come in Character topic ;)

Patrick Rodgers said...

This weekend I hope to finish with my 2nd draft edit of my book so I can start writing my second novel. On Tuesday we are printing up the manuscript for the very first time, I am actually printing two one for my wife to go apeshit at with a red pen and just one to have.

Maybe that is a little sentimental but if or should I say when I sell my novel I can always look back and have that very first printed manuscript,

Bane I just like the idea of writing a novel where someone who is so religious and feels they have been touched by the hand of God finds out that everything they believed and everyone they killed for that belief was wrong. I am not going to make the person of any particular religion, like I am not going to call this guy a Mormon but I really like the idea. and I wouldn't write it with subetly or masked meaning like the Dark Materials books.

Bane of Anubis said...

Patrick, it sounds like something you're pretty passionate about, so hopefully the process will be cathartic.

I'm one of the few atheists who actually believes religion is a good thing (con: a whole lot of bad stuff's been done in the name of religion, but much of that stuff would have been done anyway under some different guise; pro: a form of control to reduce anarchy/improve happiness)...

Anonymous said...

I don't know if anyone else out there is a tad bit annoyed at big promotions behind weak plot books.
(Not that I mind it for the authors -go authors! )

Sure, I understand, this is a business of selling and promotion sells.

But it kind of bites.

It is making me really rethink promotion as suspicious.

Any comments.

Bane of Anubis said...

Anon - could you provide some examples? - Definitely resonating w/ the feeling on celebrity autobiogs, etc...,

As a corollary, I wonder how well the pubs know how to distribute marketing in today's rapidly shifting information age, or if they're still a step or two behind.

Laura Martone said...

I know I'm behind again, but I'm itching to comment...

Rick - I love the Query Slushpile, and I promise to upload my query later today. Yikes!

Orion - I have a Sony reader, and I love it! I wonder how it compares to the Kindle.

Josie - I think most agents frown on the thank-you letter following a rejection - it's just one more piece of mail to deal with - but I've done it before... 'cause my mama raised me with good manners.

anotheranon - A friend of mine has written episodes for "Supernatural" and "Mad Men" - and while she hopes to have her own drama series someday, she knows you have to work on others' first. If you're serious, I would write a spec script. If it's just for fun, then go for it!

Jen P - Thanks for the Pub Rant heads-up. Course it made me think... what happened to the good ol' days, when we could ease into a story? Guess we can blame it on the movie/Internet age - must have an explosion (metaphorically speaking) in the opening scene. Nuts!

Purple Clover - I'd like to participate in your write-a-thon. While I'm in the midst of editing my 212k behemoth, I'd like to switch gears and get my coming-of-age story off the ground!

Patrick & Bane of Anubis - As a confirmed atheist (who does not believe that organized religion is necessarily a good thing), I'm still intrigued by stories with religious themes - especially conspiracies like "The Da Vinci Code". So good luck, Patrick!

Marilyn - Congrats on your awards! By the way, I participated in Book: The Sequel, too - well, I kinda had to (Perseus is my publisher) - and I hope one of my lines gets chosen as well.

Mira - I can't wait to see "UP"! I love summertime - a season for movies and fruit! - I've already seen "Star Trek," "Terminator: Salvation," "Angels and Demons," and "Drag Me to Hell" - woohoo!

Tori - Re: weekend plans, I have to edit, edit, edit! But I, too, recommend avoiding the "talk" with your friend. I have a good friend who's married to a real jerk - but I know it would end badly for us if I said anything. Girls are weird - I should know...

Anonymous at 11:53 - Ugh. It happens in movies, too... I understand that promotion is necessary, but I wish that more energy was spent on the product first. You know what I mean?

Anonymous said...

Hi Bane,
I would, but I don't want to mention names here. It isn't very nice and I don't have anything to invest in being mean either.

It's just that recently, I've picked up a few books because of the published reviews of authors or others in the publishing industry, who I have respected.

Only to discover weak plot, poor book, etc.

It makes me wonder if who blurbs you is a form of false praise.

And then, some of these books bypass other books unfairly on the lists of bestsellers.

Bestsellers I wish I could return...

Patrick Rodgers said...

I am with the annoyance of celeb bios honestly I don't give a rats ass about hearing the life stories of most celebrities. I don't read the enquirer or any of those other magazines that populate news stands and I don't even feel the urge to glance at the headlines while waiting in the grocery line.

Make good movies, write good music and leave me the frak alone.

I do have to admit I am interested in writer bios though because heck I want to be a writer. Stephen King's On writing was an enthralling read for me (finished it last night) and even though he really doesn't give any tips on actually writing that couldn't be followed with a DUH I loved reading how he became an author.

That is what interests me not life stories of the basketball player, the rapper the weakest form of musician ever or the Hollywood whore.

Ink said...

Oh, those poor celebrities. Always taking a beating. What if they just want to write? To write! And now you crush their dreams by killing off the celebrity bio...

Patrick Rodgers said...

That's the problem ink they don't want to write they just want to make money. %99 of celeb bios aren't written by the celebrities themselves they are ghost written by someone else.

I can see if the celeb actually wrote the bio themselves and did just want to write but they don't.

PurpleClover said...

Yippee! Sounds like we'll have a good sized group on Monday for the JuJu Write-a-thon!

Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

Ink said...

I'm going to start a fund for downtrodden celebrities. Much needed support against the horrible bias they face in the big wide world. I'm going to call it Poor Folk for Rick Folk. I think it'll be big. Really.

Laurel said...

Hey, Anon!

I think it definitely happens sometimes that a marketing force gets behind a book that maybe wouldn't do so well on its own. It could be that is the strongest title the publisher feels they have in that genre so they back it. It also makes it somewhat obvious what's happened to readers since the book becomes very high profile.

Their job is to sell as many books as they can, though, so I don't really find fault in using whatever tools they have to move more product. The more money they make the more money they have to publish more books!

I think it's cool you're not mentioning anyone specific. That seems a little mean-spirited to me, as well. After all, it isn't an author's fault if someone chooses to throw some money and muscle behind his or her book. Any more than it would be if they wrote the best book of the year and had poor support and poor sell-through.

Bane of Anubis said...

Anon, Laurel, I don't think there's any issue w/ mentioning names. It's an opinion, after all.

For instance, if someone agrees (or disagrees) w/ you on several points and you state that you think "The Time Traveler's Wife" is a bit overrated, then that might help them make a decision vs. Joe Schmo Amazon reviews ...

Ultimately, it's not being mean to state your opinion (though, obviously, there are varying levels of diplomacy - e.g., I thought Book X deserved more kudos than Book Y vs. Book Y royally sucked) - anyway, that's my opinion :).

Bryan - I'm only joining if I get to represent the rich folk :)

Laurel said...

B of A,

You're right, of course. Opinions are fine but I have seen some very hateful ones here and there (not usually on this blog) that seem to be more a attack on an author than a review. And an Amazon review is just that, a review, so not only is it appropriate to say what you think you have to pin it to a specific title. No one would read it by accident.

If you're an author whose name pops up in a thread on an agent blog you could totally get taken by surprise, even if you (wisely) avoid reviews otherwise. To me, anyway, this doesn't seem the forum.

Make sense? Maybe not.

Bane of Anubis said...

It makes perfect sense, but in an open forum (particularly a literary one), I don't see the issue - again, it comes down to tact and diplomacy - and I imagine in a forum like this one more mean-spirited attacks will be shot down by the legion of Bransfordites far faster than in other arenas...

Laurel said...

B of A:

I think you're right!


Thermocline said...

I agree that opinions are fine, but intention also plays a roll – whether you post something expressly to rip on an author or just to share your humble opinion that a particular piece is weak.

Amber Argyle-Smith said...

Man, I leave to do some yard work, get some sleep, play with my kids, and the thread just goes to heck.

Laurel said...

This article is over 2 years old but I just stumbled across it and thought it was too good not to share:

Great Art Out of ContextBest quote:

"No. If you love something but choose not to do it professionally, it's not a waste. Because, you know, you still have it. You have it forever."

It's a long read but worth it!

Marilyn Peake said...


That's so cool one of your friends went to BEA this weekend. One of these years, I'm going to go. It looks like SO much fun!!!!

Bane of Anubis said...

Laurel, Thanks!

I remember my parents telling me about that (they live in DC)... I love these sort of social experiments... I'm not sure if it demonstrates our inability to recognize greatness or our susceptibility to the herd mentality (this goes both ways - i.e., everyone else is passing up this schmuck w/ the violin, so I should too VS. everyone's going to this guy's concert, so he must be great)... probably a little of both. Too many ellipses :)

Laurel said...

My sister was in DC at the time, too, and L'Enfant was a block and a half from where she lived. She missed the whole thing!

That boy I married gets embarrassed at me sometimes because I do stop for street musicians on occasion. A trumpet player in New Orleans brought me to tears once. Aforementioned spouse loves music but has that Northeastern Seaboard aversion to stopping for anything not in the plan.

At the end of the day, though, validation is a very highly prized commodity and one I wouldn't turn down...

Marilyn Peake said...


How cool that you participated in BOOK: THE SEQUEL, and that your publisher is the one publishing the book. I love visiting the website for the project because so many of the first lines are absolutely hilarious!! I always come away from there with a huge smile on my face and in a really good mood.

How many entries did you submit? For which book(s)? I got carried away, and submitted 10 entries.

Bane of Anubis said...

Laurel, it might just be an eastern seaboard thing (or perhaps an XY chromosome thing), b/c I definitely don't like veering from plans, much to the chagrin of the missus. Tell your husband that I feel his pain (j/j - sort of :)

Laurel said...

Ha! Maybe it is XY related. He is also descended from German heritage.

In Argentina they would call him "quadrado." That means "squarehead."

You know, for all the static we give Mira I have really run with this open thread...I finished book number one for the weekend. Perhaps I'll log off and start book number two ;)

Laura Martone said...

Marilyn -

Wow, 10 entries! I noticed your name scrolling by on the BOOK: THE SEQUEL website, but I had no idea that you'd submitted so many. I ended up submitting four sequels - for A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES, THE AWAKENING, THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB, and HOOPER HUMPERDINK...? NOT HIM! I don't know if any of mine were chosen (apparently, we'll be informed via email next week), but I know at least one of yours was... I spotted your sequel to THE PEARL in the excerpt at - very funny, by the way!

My hubby doesn't completely understand why I wasted so much time creating sequels and reading other people's entries, but like you, I really enjoyed participating in the project. I, too, felt inexplicably happy every time I read a new sequel - especially a funny one.

I can't wait to see the final product. Until then...


P.S. One of these years, I plan to go to BEA, too. It does sound like so much fun - and I would've loved to have seen BOOK: THE SEQUEL in production.

Patrick Rodgers said...

Didn't we roast Stephanie Meyer pretty good recently and she has huge PR (there was also some disgruntled rumblings of King and On Writing). I honestly don't see the problem in sharing our opinions on authors or books who get a huge PR push even if their work is unworthy of it.

Mira said...

Darn, I had to do other things today. Waste of a perfectly good unsupervised thread.

Ink! You're funny! I knew you were a sweetie, but I didn't know you were funny. That was funny.

Lupina, I love your art work. A masterpiece. And yes, like puppies, we must keep our readers in line. Otherwise, they get all into having their own opinions, instead of being good little readers, like they should be. That's a good reader! Who's a good reader? You are! You're a good reader.

Laura - is Drag me to hell scary? I heard it was funny, but if it's scary, no way.

Laurel, I can actually answer that one seriously. Why do people choose lovers who are bad for them? Well.....what we do is...we pick lovers who do NOT give us the same things we did NOT get in childhood, but needed. Then we try to make those lovers give it to us.

They, of course, are doing the same thing to us.

High drama ensues.

Laura Martone said...

Hey, Mira!

I'm up too late - must go to sleep - but I figure, what the heck, I'll answer your question... and then toddle off to bed.

DRAG ME TO HELL is a terrific film - it has funny, disgusting moments as in the EVIL DEAD flicks - but it's rather terrifying in other spots. I really enjoyed the experience - however, the main character does something that I found hard to forgive. When you see the flick, you'll understand.

Good night, and sweet dreams!


Mira said...

Okay Nathan.

It's past midnight, the site is quiet, and I have a couple of bones to pick with you.

I'm a bit miffed.

Yes I am.

Here is why:

a. You are on vacation. I couldn't help but notice that I am not there with you.

Enough said. I think the implications of that are obvious. I'm trust that you will correct that oversight in the future.

b. You're on vacation. And I sent you a query. I did. And I was counting on your patented 3-minute turn-around. And what do I find? You're out. You're not there. I have to wait until NEXT WEEK!!! My god, what kind of world is this where someone has to wait more than 3 minutes for a query response?

Enough said. I'm sure you feel just terrible about this, and will schedule your vacations around my query schedule in the future.

c. You're on vacation. And I sent you a query. I did. I got the 36 elephants and tied the 72 stone tablets on their back. I had the 41 parrots all chanting your name and the interpretive dancers doing their version of my query. Then there were the monkeys with the tubas and the 36 puppies (I was hoping you like puppies. By the way, I don't know if you were thinking about getting a monkey, but if you are, under no circumstances should you give him tuba. Trust me on this.)

I was abit worried about the effect this would have on Market Street, what with the neon lights, strobes and orchestra. Also, with Brittany Spears leading the parade and everything (you're a fan of hers, right?) Fortunately, though, this is San Francisco, so everyone just assumed the gay pride parade was early this year. The police immediately directed traffic, and everyone else took off their clothes. Including Brittany, of course.

So, what happened?

Please see itema A. and B. above.

Okay. Enough said.

I just needed to get that off my chest. I feel much better now.

Okay, I hope you have a nice vacation, and by the time you get back, I'm sure all the naked people who gathered in front of your office building will have gone home. I'm not sure about the monkeys, though. Like I said, really. Don't give a monkey a tuba.

Actually, given that. And the fact that I seemed to have misplaced the elephants again (not my fault. They didn't fit in the elevator, so I sent them up the stairs. I'm not sure where they went to).....I'd say we're about even.

Mira said...

Hi Laura,

Oh, I'm glad I asked you. Sounds too scary for me!

Sweet dreams to you too!

Christine H said...

Dear Nathan,
I have a question for you, if you have time to answer it when you return.
I am feeling very discouraged right now about my financial situation, and wondering if it's even worth the time and effort to finish my current manuscript, considering how few books are likely to get published in the next few years. I actually found myself wondering if I could query agents as to whether the project itself was a good one.
For example, sending a cover letter and the first few pages and/or a synopsis, with a pre-paid postcard with a box they could check with "yes" or "no." Or if they take email submissions, asking them to simply respond with "Yes" or "No" in the subject line.
But then I thought that could be really annoying and make myself seem as insecure and inexperienced as.. as I am.
What do you think?

allegory19 said...

Laurel said: That boy I married is a treasure and I adore him but honestly, time to myself is the ultimate pinnacle of ecstasy. Love the comment. I feel the exact same way. In fact my hubby is off fishing this morning and I can't wait to start writing. A Sunday morning all to myself? Seriously?! How good can it get.

Lisa said...

Christine, I can’t speak for Nathan, but I’d like to chime in on this one. A proposed project and a finished manuscript could end up being worlds apart. The original idea could be written infinite ways based on the writer’s style and voice. And, there are all the other lovely details that make a great story a great story, like timing, plot, conflict, and character development that aren't fully realized in an unfinished project. So, even though it seems like a good idea to query an agent with an idea in the spirit of time and emotional efficiency, I think you’ll need to write the story and send it off. If it’s what you really want to do, you’ll find a way to complete it. Good luck!

Mira said...

I'll chime in too. Christine, I remember Nathan posting a whole thread once about this - not pinning your financial hopes on selling a book.

Unless you are writing something that sells like hotcakes, for example, romance novels, personally, I think it's best to separate the two. Write for self-expression and find other ways to make money.

The benefit of this is you don't have to write for money - you write from your heart.

The downside is that it's terribly unfair that everyone else in the publishing industry can make a living at it, except the author.

But until that changes, we do the best we can, right?

Sorry to hear about your money stuff - I hope it works out soon. I know you're not alone right now.

Laurel said...

Hey, Christine!

I tried to email you but I couldn't click through to your profile...

I wouldn't go there. It's never a good idea to sell the future, no matter what you're selling. If someone is excited about your product you need to have it ready to deliver. Otherwise they may talk themselves out of it or develop expectations that you can't meet, even if you found an agent willing to deal with you on just a concept for a novel.

Anonymous said...

I vowed I wouldn't post without Bransfordan supervision but it's sunday a.m. and I'm feeling skitterish ...


This reminds me of how much N.B. brings to the floor/dialogue/blog. Without the Admin there to remove (um, cough, scurffle, look down at feet) sort of comments, it's not nearly half as fun.

I should know, I had one comment removed last week (and I wasn't even trying to be obnoxious.)


But my second one survived so I can't be all bad. Or, I'm only half bad? Or, or, or ...

'Come Back to the Five & Dime, Nathan Bransford, Nathan Bransford ... "

At 9:47 am. P.S.T., now screening & everyone in the original cast but Sandy Dennis showed up (she, being dead and currently understudied by lisperally sesashational Anna Ferris)

What we, bad, huffin' kitties that we are, gathered and mewing for your return is: Nathan, did you borrow a page from Cher's character and disappear to audition for the Ice Follies? Or, were you in L.A., ducking into Cedar's to deliver Dame Taylor a get well basket filled with cartons of her favorite cookies (mint milanos) and daytime activity (the entire Law & Order DVD collection)? And what do you think of the new WMA / Endeavor logo?

Christine H said...

Hey Laurel,
I wasn't looking for any kind of deal or commitment from an agent. Just an unbiased professional opinion as to whether the concept was worth developing at all, since eventually an agent will be the person to judge it. Of course my friends like it but, they're my friends. I need someone with a professional eye to say whether it's even remotely marketable or interesting. (i.e. worth my time.)
I've spent 2.5 years on it already, and it's so far from what I want it to be, that I am getting to the point where I'm seriously thinking of giving it (and perhaps writing) up altogether.

Mira said...

Chrisine, there are professional editors that you can hire to evaluate your manuscript.

I'd trust your friend's opinions though. Self-doubt is something I think it's important for writers, who are so frequently plagued by it, to ignore.

Christine H said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if it's important to personalize your query?

Do agents really care about that? Just wondering.

Patrick Rodgers said...

Christine you got to write for yourself and because you want to write if you start just worrying about the money aspect of it all the joy will be leaked from it. If you love to write and you want to write then write and let everything else be icing on the cake.

I love to write and I started writing because I had stories in me I wanted to get out and that had been nagging me for over a decade. Would I like to be rich and famous from it, hell yea but that's not why I started writing. If all you concentrate on is the money aspect then writing will just become another job, a chore a task and there will be no joy in it.

As far as self doubt goes I think all writers feel that. When I finished my manuscript I was on top of the world but as I edited it and spent more and more time on it the self doubt monsters begin to eat my soul. I really think it's good but it's so hard to not self doubt. I have let a few people read it and I got a response of engaging. That was like a white knight slaying a self doubt dragon for me. I always thought it was good but I was driving myself crazy.

Here is my advice just from a fellow writer take a sabbatical from your current project and write something else. After awhile you get so close to the project that you can no longer see the forest because of the trees. Then in 2 months or 6 months come back to the project and you will once again be able to see it with fresh eyes. Don't think about the project, don't touch it or read it for awhile.

I am taking a one month sabbatical from my manuscript and letting my wife help edit it and as of today I plan on not looking at or thinking about it for a month.

Mira said...

Yes, Christine, I think there's a reason that writers get a special term: writer's block.

Even Stephen King says in his book 'On Writing' that he writes as quickly as possible to out-run the voices of doubt.

I suffer from terrible self-doubt, and have had writer's blocks that lasted years, so I really identify.

And, now, I must go commit hari-kari for the sin of quoting Stephen King's book "On Writing." Oh God of Writers, forgive me my transgressions.

Mira said...

Oh, Christine, I'm sorry you deleted that. I found your post to be moving.

Also, it makes it look like I'm talking to myself.

I'd never do that. How embarrassing.

Laura Martone said...

Christine -

I know I'm not Nathan either... at least, I think I'm not. Maybe it's like the 5th season of Buffy, when Glory and Ben shared the same body. I hope that makes me Ben, though - Nathan can be Glory.

Anyway, I digress... Christine, I hate to hear any writer say she's going to throw in the towel - especially when it's mostly due to money. I literally just had the same conversation with my very supportive hubby, who REFUSES to let me give up my goal/dream of being a published novelist... despite the fact that we're VERY poor right now. This summer is the first that I haven't had a writing gig (I write travel guides) - and the two film fests we run are struggling due to a lack of sponsors - but as Dan (my hubby) said, if I were to give up my goal of writing novels, it would make all the previous struggles so pointless. I have a novel right now that is WAY too long (although I did manage to edit it from 212k words to 194k, so it's getting smaller...) - but I've put too much blood, sweat, tears, sleepless nights, etc., into it to give up now. And I've been working on it for nearly 9 years!

Believe me, I, too, would love to hire a professional editor - but, alas, my finances couldn't handle it. So, as Mira suggested, rely on your friends' advice - that's what I do (I have some very critical pals, which helps), and it's better than writing in a vacuum.

All my ramblings aside, listen to this, if nothing else: DO NOT GIVE UP! If writing is your passion, you will regret letting it go for the rest of your life. Just don't rely on your writing to put food on the table. Do it because your heart calls for it - and perhaps the money will follow in the future. Good luck!


Christine H said...

Thanks for the encouragement, everyone! Sorry, Mira, I was afraid I was name-dropping, which is why I deleted the post.

I don't suffer from writer's block. I suffer from the opposite! I get so consumed with the novel that everything else around me goes to h*ll. So my husband basically threatened to leave me a couple of months ago, and I quit writing until I could get the demon under control. (I don't blame him one bit for this - he was perfectly justified in being fed up.)

I have been "novel-free" for 55 days and counting. (Not including, of course, playing around at Mira's site!) It's amazing how much more I'm able to accomplish as a wife and mother when I'm not writing. So part of me is happy, and the other part, miserable.

My husband is now out of work for the forseeable future, and I'm trying to figure out if and how I should try to find a full-time job, which would mean giving up writing entirely for the duration. I currently teach part-time at a college, so my income comes in spurts, depending on whether they have any classes for me.

So I just basically dumped my whole life story here on the Internet! Nathan, please come back so I'll shut up!

What I had said in the deleted post was that I *did* have a professional editor very kindly offer to look at my first chapter a couple of months ago, and he was very encouraging. I've just been so depressed I'd forgotten about it.

Patrick, I really appreciate your comments. I started this project just for fun, but as I went along I started meeting other writers and agents and editors online, and starting to think about the whole publishing angle. And now I have to justify what I'm doing as a potential source of real income to my spouse, as opposed to a selfish hobby. So that's why I'm trying to really evaluate this. I'm not sure I have the luxury of being a part-time teacher and writer any more.

But perhaps things will change. Who knows! Anything can happen in this weird, wacky, wonderful world.

Laurel said...


What they said.

Mira said...

Laurel, I meant to tell you. I thought what you said about time away from your husband as being ecstacy was hilarious.

And so true!

I love time alone - it's delicious.

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

My other half is in Cyprus (gotta love the International Curriculum - our school, one from Budapest and one in Cyprus are in cahoots - ensuring teachers are paid to visit each other's schools - it's a hard job but someone had to do it!
I've been able to do so much guilt-free writing - editing literally.
If I needed to prove the work-life-responsibilities balance I'd draw up a timetable - work, family, work, me times.
I think the idea of time off the 'real' book to do work on other projects is sound. I invested so much in Flower's book that I had to shelve it - living her misery was seriously affecting the family - where fun in the weald Jess and Caleb was just as engaging but if I had to drop it to speak to the rest of my family I wasn't either venting or wailing.

Thoughts about the Anti-god book - choose your God carefully - Salman hasn't exactly got his life back and it has been a while now.

Aunty God, sitting on a soft, fluffy cloud with little white net curtains, peering out and tutting at us over her knitting?

Patrick Rodgers said...

Christine I think you can still put in a full time job and writing as well if needs be. Just make a schedule and let hubby and everyone else know that between say 7pm and 8pm is Christine time for her writing. Find a nice quiet place, lock the door and lose yourself in the writing for an hour every night.

Everyone everywhere deserves and hour that is theirs to do the things they love. You might have to conquer your addictive side at first that wants to go over the allotted time but you can tell that part hey you get an hour tomorrow and the day after and the day after that.

Mira said...

Unsupervised thread.

La di da di da

Unsupervised thread.


La di da di da

You know, there's only one day left of this precious un-supervised thread.

Although, like you Anon 9:59, I do miss Nathan very much, I don't want to waste this opportunity.

So I was thinking of opening up a one-day mail order business here.

Or. I was thinking I'd do a sort of Twitter journal. Like, now I'm doing laundry. Now, I'm staring out the window. Now, I'm plucking my eyebrows.

Or. I could read out loud from my favorite books. So, I can share them.

"And then Freddy, the devout wealthy Catholic, raised the bloody axe above the impoverished 13 year old Islamic girl's head. He was caucasion. She was not. This was after they had adulterous sex."

Wouldn't that be fun?

Is this site unsupervised?

But sadly, I have to leave and not do any of it.

I can only hope that one day, in a distant dream, there is another unsupervised thread I can dance the dance of freedom.

Mira said...

Oh. I will do one thing before I go.

Here is a poem on writing I like. Especially the last line.:

For the young who want to

Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed. Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting.

Work is what you have done
after the play is produced
and the audience claps.
Before that friends keep asking
when you are planning to go
out and get a job.

Genius is what they know you
had after the third volume
of remarkable poems. Earlier
they accuse you of withdrawing,
ask why you don't have a baby,
call you a bum.

The reason people want M.F.A.'s,
take workshops with fancy names
when all you can really
learn is a few techniques,
typing instructions and some-
body else's mannerisms

is that every artist lacks
a license to hang on the wall
like your optician, your vet
proving you may be a clumsy sadist
whose fillings fall into the stew
but you're certified a dentist.

The real writer is one
who really writes. Talent
is an invention like phlogiston
after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure. You have to
like it better than being loved.

Marge Piercy

Laura Martone said...

Ooh, great poem, Mira! So true!

But I just have to ask... are you on something, and can I have some, too? You just seem too perky and quirky to be real.

Thanks for the fits and giggles!


Jil said...

Writing does not have to be at the computer; It can be when you're walking the dog, sitting at Starbucks,listening to a boring lecture, teaching a class, reading the newspaper. Noticing the tilt of a stranger's head, that odd limp, the anger in a mother's eyes and the fear in her child's. Odd ways of dressing and speaking. Everything can be used to build characters or situations, so each experience becomes food for your future work. Life makes you a better writer so go out and stop dwelling on being frustrated. Use what you have.

I had a friend who divorced her husband because he got in the way of her writing. On her own, she never wrote another word.

Marilyn Peake said...

I need to catch up on reading the posts here. But, with the unsupervised free thread, I just wondered if anybody might be interested in participating in writing a round robin story in which each person adds the next part to the story, any and all genres included? Since I've been researching time travel for so long, I offer a fictional time travel episode, in case anyone wants to follow up. Here it is:

Cassiopeia blazed upon the night sky, individual points of light zigzagging and ripping through the solid patch of night sky. Stars expanded, moved farther apart from others of their kind, exploded into dust cloud webs in fingers of blue, white, gold. Other stars imploded, sucking space-time with it, stealing light and sinking it within the mysterious swirling void of the black hole.

Chrononaut Samantha Nachman calmly observed the shifting of time, stilled by the little blue pills she had taken earlier. Ocean waves crashed upon the sandy shore. Like a warm blanket, eternity fell upon her shoulders and comforted her.

Jen C said...

I went to see Star Trek on Saturday night - it was a 9pm show and we arrived at 8pm and it was already sold out! Bummer...

I was going to comment on other things in the unsupervised thread, but now I am in the comment box I can't remember what y'all were talking about... le sigh.

Christine H said...

Jil, that whole "writing isn't just when you are at the computer" is a large part of my problem. As I stand in the middle of the kitchen watching the light play on the leaves of the tree outside, thinking about the landscape my characters are currently riding through, dinner burns, the dog pees on the carpet because I forgot to take him out, and the bills on my desk are one day closer to being late.

It's the "head in the fog" syndrome that I can't seem to shake, and which makes my long-suffering husband feel like a piece of furniture.

But, to quote Mr. Darcy "I must conquer this. I will!" (Colin Firth version.)

Thanks so much, everyone, for the encouragement. I know there is a middle ground somewhere, I just have to find it. Sorry for being the DW today. (Designated Whiner)

Marilyn Peake said...

Patrick Rodgers said:
"I am taking a one month sabbatical from my manuscript and letting my wife help edit it and as of today I plan on not looking at or thinking about it for a month."

I’m taking a three-month summer sabbatical that will include both relaxation and adventurous travel. I was hesitant to take that long a break. But, wow, it’s been fantastic, very rejuvenating, and it’s only been a couple of weeks so far. I highly recommend it.

Christine H said...

Jen, the movie is great!!! Not very faithful to the original show, but excellent anyway. They basically reinvented the franchise for a new generation.

Laura, I agree. Whatever Mira is on, I want some of that!

Elain, yes I have thought at CIC that Flower would be tough to write. I'm glad you have something else to work on. I know what you mean about tough characters or situations making you irritable.

Patrick, thank you for the suggestion. For some reason, whenever I schedule an hour to write, I end up either on Blogger or Facebook. As one of my friend puts it, "It's too bad our workstation is also our playstation."

Christine H said...

P.S. I should explain that the reason I say that working full time would eliminate writing, is that not only would I have a long commute, but my professional career is so mentally demanding that I know I wouldn't have anything left over for writing. I have a young child now, too, which I didn't before, and that changes everything.

Christine H said...

Okay, enough excuses! ;o)

Laurel said...

Marilyn Peake:

The best time travel adaptation I have read in current publication was Mary Doria Russel's The Sparrow and Children of God. New concept, cool science, and interesting theological exploration. If you haven't had a chance yet I highly recommend you pick them up!

And Christine H: I do the exact same thing. The people in my head just won't shut up!

Marilyn Peake said...


Thank you so much for letting me know that you discovered one of my entries has been accepted for BOOK: THE SEQUEL! And how cool that I first found out about it on this blog. I can’t wait to find out if any more of my submissions have been accepted. It’s so cool that you submitted multiple entries! I submitted sequel first lines for:

THE PEARL by John Steinbeck

THE SCARLET LETTER by Nathaniel Hawthorne

MOBY DICK by Herman Melville

THE MAGIC TREE HOUSE Series by Mary Pope Osborne



STEPPENWOLF by Hermann Hesse

THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA by Ernest Hemingway



Marilyn Peake said...


Thanks for recommending another time travel book.

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