Now that I’ve nearly recovered from a fabulous trip and the resulting post-trip exhaustion, I’m in the mood for taking care of business.
The first thing on my to-do list was to take another look at a contract that I’ve been working on. Hmmm. It’s written in a language other than English, and poorly written at that. Why is it so damn hard to work out how to specify that I don’t have any interest in dolls based on the characters in a book we plan to publish? The first draft seemed to indicate that we would get everything and the author would get nothing from the aforesaid potential dolls. The second draft gave everything to the author, apparently up to and including the right to sue us if we created promotional bookmarks for the book. Yes; I know that would be stupid, but stranger things have happened. The only good thing about the legalese used in contracts is that it gives one an excuse for saying things like ‘Act of God’ and ‘force majeure’. If I could just claim force majeure caused me to take the contract outside, set it on fire, and jump up and down on it (while cackling madly) – then I would do just that. Since I can’t (alas), I have to put it aside for clarification.
The next item on my list is responding to queries. This never fails to give me a shudder of paranoia or two – how the heck do people figure out the Worst. Possible. Time. to send me a query? Do they choose the date by holding nasty little voodoo-doll editor-maumets over a calendar, sticking pins in them till they scream? By the look of my in-box, the answer to that is an unqualified Yes!
Ah, but wait – Four queries are from the same person. Right. They’re from the nut who thinks if only he asks enough times, I will somehow conceive a desire to publish a cartoon book about reindeer and electricity. Or is it beer? Drunken reindeer? Is there a Darwin award for authors? If so, I would like to nominate this guy. And not to leave anyone out, I’d also like to submit for consideration the name of the person who queried me on a novel featuring a brain transplant between, IIRC, a small African American child and a white middle-aged woman. Right. Thank God for the Delete key – we can also use that for the one about the Jewish boy with a crush on Hitler...
What’s next? Well, we have the 19th century feminist who ventures into the Wild West to fight for the rights of the oppressed Indians. Oh, and to escape from the prejudices against women Back East. Uh huh.
We also have a ‘light-hearted epic’ featuring ‘dwarves and dessert bandits’. I wonder if the major conflict in the story has anything to do with the bandits stealing the dwarves’ pie?
And what else lurks in this delicious bag of goodies?
We have something described as both ‘grisly' and 'literary’ that seems to involve a guy who gets plastic surgery to look like Dracula. He kills people. Or writes a book. Or something. Anyhoo…
Next, we have something in French that appears to involve Christmas at the beach, or possibly skiing in the mountains.
Then, we have frustrated love, complete with marshals, mistresses, motherless children, and being punished for something or other.
We also have a captured magical boy who can’t speak the language of his kidnappers and who (the magic boy; not the kidnappers) founds Canada.
And we can’t forget this one about an elderly moonie who likes to look at naked boys. That one also has an African prince and a privileged white person. Sounds like a winner, no?
And what’s this? A Richard Lionheart vs. Saladin epic struggle? If I felt like touching that with a ten-foot pole, the query is actually pretty well-done – although the quote about the author’s brilliance may just a bit over the top. C’est la vie…
Moving right along… we have a Bonnie Prince Charlie men-in-skirts-and-the-women-who-love-them thingy that appears to include a lot of Ochs! and Ayes! and My Bonnie Lairds! Weeel … sorry. I think not, laddie.
Oh, and I mustn’t forget to mention the “how to” book that purports to teach one how to swindle others.
Or the one about the Scottish person … who is French?
Or the one about the epic battle between Islam and Christianity. I really hate to pass on this one…
Or the one about racial prejudice in 20th century America by an author who says she writes ‘humorously’.
And finally, we have an altar boy, sexually abused by a priest. Imagine that.
Doesn’t my cup just runneth over? Moonies, dessert thieves, Texas marshals, Dracula-faced authors, men in skirts, prejudice, and epic battles – my in-box has brought me an embarrassment of riches.
Where the hell did I put that contract?