It's unofficial Agent Appreciation Day! (Who makes these things official, anyway?) And far be it from me to hold back on declaring my very great and heartfelt appreciation for my agent, Josh Adams of Adams Literary.

I love that Josh and his wife Tracey (who started the agency) work as a team, and have young children so they understand the challenges of raising a family and trying to write at the same time. I love that they're warm, friendly, funny, generous and caring -- I've never doubted that Josh is every bit as invested in the success of my books as I am, and that he really wants to find an editorial match that's in the best interests of me and my writing, not just make a quick sale and leave me to it.

Josh encourages me and affirms me and makes me laugh and tells me not to worry (he's uncannily good at telling when I'm fretful and trying not to show it), and he's always looking ahead and exploring future possibilities. He's great at networking and following up with editors, and fantastic at keeping in touch whenever there's the slightest bit of news.

I've heard all sorts of complaints -- legitimate ones -- from fellow authors whose agents have been indiscreet, apathetic, disorganized, difficult or even downright dishonest, but never once have I felt the need to chime in. I really couldn't wish for a better agent than the one I have, and I'm so thankful that he and Tracey saw the potential in my work and took me on as a client.

Thank you, Josh and Tracey!
Thanks to the anonymous benefactor who gave me my first virtual snowflake cookie of the day, as well as [ profile] tartanshell and [ profile] izhilzha for supplying the others. Very fitting on a day when we're getting our first real snowfall of the season here in southwestern Ontario...

I hear that there are storms a-brewing to the south, but at present the snow is drifting from the sky in a picturesque fashion, and the green is still showing through the powder, and I think I shall put on some seasonal music* and make a cup of tea. I might even do some baking -- Snickerdoodles, perhaps.

What about you? What special treats does your family make at this time of the year, and which one is your favorite and why?

* That would be actual Christmas carols with some dignity and meaning to them, not the annoying ditties that pass for inoffensive seasonal content. I really think that if I hear anyone's cover version of "Santa Baby" one more time, I will climb up the wall of my local department store and knock the loudspeakers off the ceiling.
I've been thinking lately of how nice it is to have so many loyal readers (some of whom have been here since this journal started in 2003!) who have not only stuck with me as I hopped from fandom to fandom, but even bore with me patiently as I turned into one of those Crazy Author Types who hardly ever talks about anything but writing (and worse, her own writing).

Some of you make yourself known by commenting regularly; others only chip in now and then; and some of you just quietly lurk in the background. But I just want to say to all of you -- thanks.

And speaking of readers, this week I received a very special piece of fan mail:

Dear R J Anderson

Me and my Mum are loving reading Knife together. I want to be a story teller when I'm older.

Megan as Knife
Originally uploaded by rj-anderson
I like your book much better than the books they make for children, Knife has attitude!

I dressed up as her for schools book day and told my whole class about what the story was about. I said that fairy stories didn't need to be all girlie.Mum put talc in my hair to make it white.I could send you a photo.

Thank you for writing such an interesting story that both me and my mum love

Megan Kerridge (8 1/2)
Warrington England

Well, of course I wanted to see the picture! And now, with her Mum and Dad's permission, I'm posting it here in my blog.

This really is the kind of thing that makes an author's day -- no, really, week. So thank you, Megan (and your Mum and Dad too!).
[ profile] anywherebeyond is so fab I think my brain broke. Seriously, look at what she sent me in the mail today!

Thing of Awesome )

And the timing was perfect, too. Thank you so much, S.!
Got two fantastic packages in the mail today, just in time for Christmas.

First, a lovely calendar from [ profile] avarill full of wild animal photographs, which my kids were very impressed by -- all the more so when I told them "Aunt Sylvia" took the photos herself!

Second, a ginormous box from [ profile] cesario, which was full of FANTABULOUS BOOTY including at least three kinds of homemade fudge (NOM NOM NOM), a copy of Writing Down the Bones, a canister of fancy tea (Ginger Peach, YUM), her old CD player (since she overheard me lamenting that mine had died) and -- AND AND AND --

Cut so I don't EXPLODE all over your Friends Page with the sheer unadulterated squee of it -- oh, and because there are pics, too )

Seriously, I am overwhelmed. Thank you SO much, both of you!
Wow! I am overwhelmed by the responses to my previous post. My LJ friends certainly are suckers for punishment generous souls!

What I've done is made a short list of the folks whose input I think would be most helpful at this particular point, and I'm going to post the first three chapters of Indigo to a private filter and let them have at it. However, if you did not end up on the list this time around, you are by no means out of the running -- there will still be opportunity for you to volunteer again when I've got more chapters (or even the whole book) done, if you'd like.

Thanks so much to all of you who offered to help me out, and even more thanks in advance to my new crack beta-reading team!


May. 16th, 2007 12:28 pm
rj_anderson: (Books - Writing)
I've been overwhelmed by all the congratulations, well-wishes, and general enthusiasm expressed in the comments to my last post. Thanks so much, all of you.

And as if that weren't enough to fill my cup of gratitude to the brim, my longtime net.friend and sometime beta reader/technical consultant, the talented and witty astrophysicist Doug McNeil, has just made me cry. Thank you, Doug. You are a gentleman and a scholar, and if I should get any of the SF-nal stuff in Touching Indigo embarrassingly wrong, it will not be your fault.

Speaking of SF, I am reading [ profile] johncwright's Orphans of Chaos and it is making my brain come out the top of my head. I haven't even finished the first book and I want the second one already -- many thanks to [ profile] carbonelle for the rec.
Thanks to all of you who've been following my struggle to meet my writing goals, and have left so many thoughtful and encouraging comments. I really appreciate your support! Especially since I know many of you signed on for the fic, or the meta, or the reviews, or the essays on literature/theology/philosophy, or any number of other things I haven't been doing much of lately. *blows kisses*
March Break is turning out to be a remarkably unproductive week for me writing-wise, but I've got quite a bit of household and family stuff done. Last night we painted the walls of our dining room a rather fetching new shade )

Look closely. Can you see something -- or someone -- hidden in the picture? Here she is close up )

And finally, here she is again, in her proper place of honor on my bookshelf )

Thank you so much, [ profile] cesario!

P.S. Yes, I know that bookshelf is scary. Nevertheless, only two of the volumes it contains are not mine. Guess which?
She made a Knife doll.

And she is just perfect. I am flabbergasted by her brilliance. Go and see!

Downs and Ups

Jan. 16th, 2007 10:25 pm
rj_anderson: (Saffron Cake)
I had a bit of a creative discouragement today, but as though to make up for it, I received two lovely packages.

One was a gorgeous calendar by [ profile] avarill with pictures of her Nunavut trip -- thank you so much, [ profile] avarill!

The other was a lavish basket of fruit, cheese, chocolates, nuts and other goodies, which my husband received as a perk for speaking to a professional organization. I must say, this is quite the nicest one he's come home with yet.

*munches chocolate to fend off creative Dementors*

*did not get her 750 words written today, however, so is good thing I am not actually signed up to [ profile] novel_in_90 yet*
Thank you all so much for contributing questions to my interview pile! As soon as I stop barfing (yes, really -- there's a nasty stomach bug going through our house, and I seem to be its latest victim) I will start compiling and answering.

Lying on your back with nothing to do but think for hours on end is a good way to brainstorm, but it also shows you all kinds of logistical flaws in your plot that you hadn't noticed before. I am trying to regard this as an interesting mental challenge, instead of a cue to lie down in the ashes and scrape myself with a potsherd.

Now I think I shall stagger back to bed...
Thanks to the brilliant and talented [ profile] cesario, and no thanks to Canada Post for hanging onto the package for so long --


Now I just have to find the right place to display them. Thank you thank you thank you, [ profile] cesario!
In this case, [ profile] lizbee, who is having a birthday (or will have had, by the time she gets this, because she lives in the Antipodes where time runs counter-clockwise and people walk about upside-down). Thank you, Liz, for *mumblemumble* years of beta-reading, crackfic (and non-crack fic), long rambling AIM conversations, parcels in the mail (even though some, sadly, did not arrive), living in JKR's brain, and mutual assured fangirling. Plus just being a delightful person and a wonderful friend that I dearly hope to meet in person one day.

And now that I think of it, it is also the birthday of another splendid person and enormously talented writer, [ profile] yahtzee63. So:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, [ profile] lizbee and [ profile] yahtzee63!

A few thoughts, inspired by this meme: If there is someone on your friends list who makes your world a better place just because they exist and who you would not have met (in real life or not) without the internet, then post this same sentence in your journal.

Personally, I'd say there are a number of people on my f-list who fit that description. Some of you I've even had the privilege of meeting in RL, and finding you just as delightful in person as you are in spirit.

A male person whom I love dearly is of the firm opinion that online relationships are illusory -- that you can't really relate to someone in a meaningful way just through writing. His conviction is that without gesture and tone of voice, without a physical presence in front of you, without a common task, hobby or occupation at which you can work side by side with that person and see how they act even when they aren't using words, you have only a superficial impression of the person you're relating to, and your friendship can never progress beyond vague acquaintance.

Well, that may be true for men -- or most men, anyway -- but I don't think it's equally true for women, for whom verbal communication is primary. Men may (as this male friend of mine claims) need a hockey game or a joint work assignment in order to get to know each other, but most women I know are content to make a pot of tea and a plate of scones and just talk.

So while the Internet may indeed make a very bad deck-building project, I''d say it makes a quite decent pot of tea... and my experience of meeting online friends in RL seems to bear that out.

In the eighteen years I've been talking to people online (yes, I am a net.dinosaur), I have yet to meet someone who was significantly different in the flesh from the way they presented themselves online. That's not to cast any doubt upon the real danger of people misrepresenting themselves for personal gain and/or to take advantage of others -- I know it does happen -- but in the particular message boards, FidoNet echoes, Usenet groups, fan forums, and LiveJournal threads where I've met and befriended people over the years, there really hasn't been much call for that kind of behaviour, and I've never run afoul of it myself.*

And on the whole, I've gained far more than I've lost by making friends online. Some of you I chat with on a near-daily basis: we've laughed together, cried together, prayed together, shared story ideas and bits of writing, and offered sympathy and/or advice as needed. I've received gifts of such generosity and thoughtfulness, some of them from people I'd only just met, that I was moved to tears. Little by little, and sometimes without even realizing I was doing it, I've established a network of contacts with professional writers and editors that has really helped and encouraged me in my writing career. And some of you have done me the honour of coming to visit me and stay in my home for a few days -- an experience that I have always enjoyed and would gladly repeat with any one of you.

So to all my online friends, I raise a cup of virtual tea and say, with all sincerity: to friendship.

* Admittedly, I have met a couple of people on line who were unpleasant and even dangerous in RL, but there was plenty of warning for that in the way they spoke and conducted themselves online. My mistake wasn't in thinking those people were different than they really were, it was believing I could help them with their problems and not get hurt. I think that I've learned better now.
[ profile] sannalim, I received your delightful Christmas card/picture and message today -- thanks for the lovely thought and the kind words!

I am going to try to write something today. We'll see how far I get. I'm afraid to even mention what I'm writing lest I jinx the whole process, but I had something of an epiphany about a certain fictional character last night just as I was drifting off to sleep, and it was far too cool for me to just ignore it...

(Hint: The proposed title of the fic is "Galatea". See if you can guess the fandom and the characters just from that.)
[ profile] stmarysalice, your package arrived today, and I am truly touched and awed by your generosity. The sleeper, the teddy bear, the books, the bug apron... all of it brilliant stuff, the boys love it, thank you so much!

I never cease to be amazed by the thoughtfulness and kindness of so many of my Internet friends. Even though in many instances we've never seen each other's faces, or heard each other's voices, or even know each other's full RL names, you've shown real, caring friendship, and spoken words of encouragement, and offered prayers and well-wishes, that have helped enormously to carry me through a dark and difficult time. I thank God for all of you, and thank each of you as well, from the bottom of my heart.

For the record, things are going quite well now. We're settling into a routine with baby Paul -- or as near a routine as one can have with a fast-growing, ever-changing newborn -- and I've been able to get a lot more of that much-needed sleep. The abdominal pain hasn't come back, I'm past the panic attacks and depression, the latest bout of thrush seems to be (for the moment anyway) beaten, and I've started to take over the household chores and baby care that I couldn't manage before. It feels good to be back in the game, though I'm still wary of pushing myself too hard (and so are my parents and husband, so they're encouraging me to take it slow and easy).

Off to make supper now, or rather warm it up (hooray for deep freezers!).
I have already told [ profile] lizbee that her Totally Awesome Parcel arrived not just on the day, but within a mere two hours, of baby Paul's birth. Wombat photos will be had as soon as I a) have energy for same; b) have a baby whose lips are not purple (the sad side effects of gentian violet treatment) and c) can get my husband to return the camera. I will also repeat that the Graeme Base dragon book and Possum Magic, sent for the enjoyment of the other two boys, are brilliant and will, I'm sure, be long and well loved.

Also, [ profile] lydaclunas, I got your parcel three days ago, but what with all the hospital stuff going on, it rather got lost in the shuffle. I opened it last night and was delighted -- thank you so much! Dinotopia I read today for the first time, and it is indeed very nifty. Simon has already fallen in love with "Froggy" and stolen it from his brother temporarily (along with Liz's stuffed wombat), but I'm sure it will make its way back to its rightful owner when Paul is old enough to appreciate such things. And the olive oil was a very nifty touch, too.

In short, you guys are the bestest. Thanks so very much.

[ profile] stmarysalice, I will reply to your e-mail soon -- thanks!
[ profile] mistraltoes, thank you so very much for your sweet gift of your leftover paid LJ time! What a lovely surprise!
Since Sundays tend to be insanely busy for me, I shall do the niceties a day in advance (though for at least one person on the list, it won't come too soon after all):

First, to the inimitable [ profile] lizbee, who I am unspeakably glad to have as a friend, a beta, a co-conspirator (winged monkeys!), and a smashing good provider of fannish reading material -- at least whenever she gets around to finishing one of her seemingly inexhaustible store of epic WiPs. Anyone who hasn't read Girl Most Likely is missing one of the finest Snapefics of the last five years, and definitely the best characterization of an adult Harry I've ever read... among many other unexpected pleasures. May you have a birthday as delightful as you are, with no Daleks (unless you want them).

Second, to [ profile] yahtzee63, who has been rightly hailed as one of the best writers in any fandom, and certainly among the best in any and every fandom where she chooses to write. Who else could pull off an Alias/Bridget Jones crossover, starring Jack Bristow for heaven's sake, and make it work? It's at the point where I could swear everything her keyboard touches turns to gold. And as if that weren't disgusting enough, she has superb editorial instincts as well -- many of the most important structural changes to Knife were made at her instigation and the book is much the better for it. Thanks so much, Yahtzee. I hope you have a fabulous day.

Third, to [ profile] ase, whom I don't really know that well, but I enjoy your book reviews and other literary musings, and I hope your birthday brings you much reading pleasure.

And finally, to [ profile] sgloomi, otherwise known as ultra-quirky Doctor Who profic author Dave Stone, who hasn't friended me back yet and so probably won't see this, but cheers anyway, mate.

Phew! Popular time in June to be born, innit?


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