Monday, July 29, 2013


…I don’t know if I entirely believe in the adage that “Timing is everything,” but often it’s true.
My office is on the third floor.  It’s an incredibly nice space, with books shelves, a mini fireplace, and a fine view of the lake.
Above me, high up on the lofted ceiling that forms a spire, rests a small chandelier.  Yesterday when I went up to the office with my puppy, I noticed bits of dust and debris on the carpet, then a bunch of white stuff that looked like clumps of cocaine all over my chair.  Looking up, I saw that the chandelier had pulled out of the ceiling.  The cord is still attached, but the light fixture is several feet lower, dangling inches from where the top of my head would have been were I sitting down.
How freaky would it have been to be sitting there, typing away while the sky starts to fall?
So, yeah, timing is often key.  Timing, or luck.

…Yesterday I started a fire outside to burn a heap of tree branches and various detritus and while doing so I burned the hell out of my finger.
Just thought I’d whine a little.

…So, I’m back from the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Conference that took place here in Seattle.  I’m not sure that I got much out of it, and I won’t be going again, but the opportunity to have face time with agents and editors was worth the price.
Here’s how that part works:
It’s much like speed dating, and very stressful.
When the doors open, a hundred or more of us cram into a room where 28 agents and editors are lined up against a wall, with five inches between them.
We stand in a line, in front of whichever person we want to pitch.  When a bell rings, the person in front of the line takes a chair in front of their preferred agent, while 28 others do the same, all of us nearly shoulder-to-shoulder.
Then there’s four minutes to make your pitch, and hopefully hook your agent enough for them to ask you to send some sample pages of your manuscript.
This goes on for one and a half hours.
Did I mention that it’s very stressful? 
I had seven agents ask to see my manuscript(s), and yesterday when I got home, I shot them off.  So we’ll see.

…The other interesting part of the conference was a panel called “The First Page.”
Here, you go into a room where there are six editors lined up.  A moderator readers the first page of your book.  (I didn’t bring one, because I didn’t realize I was supposed to.)
As the moderator reads, any of the editors lifts his or her hand at the point they would stop reading.  When three hands go up, the moderator stops and the editors tell why the story didn’t work for them.
It was a bit like a literary “America’s Got Talent.”
Sometimes the editors’ comments were cruel:
“I had no idea what was going on.”
“I was bored.”
“It was very choppy.”
“I had nothing invested in it.”
“It sounded like someone talking about themselves at a cocktail party.”
“This is supposed to be a thriller, and I was anything but thrilled…”
Imagine spending a year, or years, working on a novel that is likely finished, and hearing that.
Yikes again.
Anyway, I’m home and that’s done, but I’ve got to ship out my book(s) to the agents I didn’t get to pitch, and then I need to get my ass writing.

…Here are some things I like for a Monday:

“As it has been said: Love and a cough cannot be concealed. Even a small cough. Even a small love.” Anne Sexton

"There's nothing like a crisis to define who you are." Dexter Morgan, "Dexter"

"Every story is a mystery."
"We wouldn't need fiction if reality made sense." Bob Kaye

"The work an unknown good man has done is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground green." Thomas Carlyle

"There's always something you have to give up for success.  Everything comes at a cost.  What are you willing to pay?" Serena Williams

"Life is no brief candle to me. It is sort of a splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations." George Bernard Shaw

"The ideas that have lighted my way have been kindness, beauty and truth." Albert Einstein

"I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, -- but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor." Oliver Wendell Holmes

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