Passing the Versatile Blogger torch

It’s been quite a month, this June of 2010! Such a whirl of gaiety, glamor, and interviewing amazing people in the publishing industry. Quite a lot of activity, actually, for someone who’s secretly just a rickety 97-year-old bootlegger who once shot the shoe off a revenuer (and would do it again if she could only find her jug).

And in that spirit, may I thank first and foremost, Roz Morris, aka @dirtywhitecandy, who very kindly and with nearly boundless optimism honored me last week with the Versatile Blogger Award.

I am touched and humbled.

I must now, according to the rules, tell you seven things about myself that you may or may not need to know:

1. I’m ambidextrous.

2. I spent two years of my childhood living in a breathtakingly beautiful ruined two-hundred-year-old hacienda in rural Ecuador without either plumbing or electricity, facing the grand and awe-inspiring slopes of Chimborazo, the tallest mountain on the equator (thus the furthest point anywhere from the center of the earth). That was in 1973.

3. I spent the next nine months in a Land Rover with my entire family traveling throughout South America and Europe. There were six of us, and because we brought the car we had to take a freighter from Buenos Aires to Italy. It was crowded.

4. The Land Rover was outfitted with an entire collapsable house, built out of plywood (without power tools) and painted sky blue by my rather overwhelming-ambitious father. The first night we camped it took us about three hours to set up. Nine months later we could do it in five minutes flat. We called the car Rover and all became intensely fond of him.

5. The freighter was named the Calaseta and was a very small, very classy refurbished English passenger ship from the 1930s with glass-fronted bookshelves in the “lounge” full of writers like P.G. Wodehouse, Agatha Christie, and Dodie Smith (not her famous book). That was when I learned I wanted to be a writer. I was 12 years old.

6. I speak a mangled sort of Spanish at top speed and with great finesse. I like to think of it as Victorianish.

7. I won my first computer as a scholarship from a typewriter manufacturing company. The best part was the awards ceremony, to which I invited my best friend as my guest and at which we spent the whole time nudging each other and saying, “Get me,” and slapping handfuls of the glittery confetti stars sprinkled decoratively across the table to our chests.

That was in 1987. Apparently I had not matured much during those intervening 14 years.

So that’s seven things. And now I must, even more importantly. . .

pass the Versatile Blogger Award to 15 other bloggers

. . .whom I consider it an honor to read. I will do the best I can, but honestly I don’t have a lot of time to read blogs, so some of these people will simply be writers I think you should emulate.

So hike up your britches, folks, and get your clicking fingers ready.

First, the pros:

The Bloggess. She’s a gimme. You can’t NOT recommend her, although she’s got more followers than Jesus—excuse me—I mean, the Beatles. I laugh harder at her stuff than I do at anyone’s but my husband’s and son’s. And not just because she’s the guardian of James Garfield, either (although that certainly doesn’t hurt). I don’t even expect her to take the time to pass on the award, because with half a million viewers every month and their associated emails I happen to know she doesn’t have it. But you still need to check her out.

Words into Print. I owe Laverne Daley a huge debt of gratitude. About a year ago, before my editing business got—as they say—wheels, she & I traded guest posts, and she let me call her up and ask her a million questions about how she handles being a freelance writer. She said someone had once done the same for her, and she wanted to pass on the gift. And now I’m passing it back. Because Laverne knows all about being a professional writer, and she’s still out there passing the gift of her knowledge and long experience on to others.

The Urban Muse. I like Susan a lot, and not just because she once let me write a guest post. She’s also a professional freelance writer. She takes being a professional writer seriously. She doesn’t live on dreams of what the publishing industry owes her, she gets out there and earns what she’s worth. And then she turns around and shares what she learns with the rest of us. I like that in a gal.

Book Trends Blog. Bob Spear is blogging about the self-publishing process. He’s a long-time self-publisher—he was self-publishing when some of you were still in diapers—and he’s a vast resource of serious, researched information on the subject. Plus he interviewed me. And you’ve always gotta appreciate someone with the cojones to do THAT.

Alien Djinn Romances. Do you know what that is? Because I don’t, and I’m kind of scared to find out. Still, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, who contributes to that blog, has her own blog, and is also on Twitter, is another old hand in this fiction industry, and she writes loooooong, opinionated, heck of specific posts on everything from character development to the tax law (1979 Thor Power Tool Company vs. the IRS) that heralded the era of will o’ the wisp backlists. If you want to be a long-term publishing author, she knows stuff you ought to know. Plus she writes as long of posts as I do, and for this I am eternally grateful.

Mystery Man on Film. We lost him. What a tragic waste. The most brilliant blogger on the craft of fiction out there died only a few weeks ago, under what I like to believe were mysterious circumstances. Read his blogs anyway. What that man didn’t know about writing great stories probably isn’t out there.

Mira’s List. Mira suffered brain damage in a car accident, and instead of religion she got Gratitude. Now she’s doing her part to improve her little corner of the planet by providing artists—including writers—with information on grants, fellowships, and foundations that help them bring art into this world. Mira, I’m telling you, has my undying admiration.

So that’s the pros I follow. Next, my clients (those with blogs—almost all of those people stay out of the blogosphere, and with good reason):

Ania’s here. Ania’s a Pushcart Prize nominee, a literary writer and artist of the highest calibre, and although she doesn’t blog often it’s because she’s—guess what?—busy writing. She is one of the clients who has renewed my faith in this new generation of beautiful literature. She’s also treating her writing career as a profession rather than a get-rich-quick scheme, with the result that she’s recently acquired a terrific agent and is now represented by the most respected agency in Canada.

Actually, it turns out I think Ania’s the only one of my clients who blogs at all. Take a lesson, guys. So I’ll just add:

Chris Ryan. He doesn’t blog. He lives in Finland. I don’t know if that has anything to do with it, or if it’s simply that he spends all his free time honing his craft. But he does publish in online journals. He’s another high-calibre literary writer, another of those who have renewed my faith in modern literature, with a published book of poetry, three (count ’em, THREE) beautiful novels, and a ton of agent research under his belt before he even got serious about querying. Now some big names are interested in him—very interested. Are you all paying attention?

Michelle Davidson Argyle. Lady Glamis isn’t one of my clients, yet, but hopefully will be one day. She recently shut down her blog, The Innocent Flower, to concentrate more on her writing and family, but she’s also self-publishing a novella and blogging the process for the benefit of everyone considering such a move. Watch for it. She’s WAY more organized about it than I am.

Lucia Orth doesn’t blog, either, but she’s on Twitter. Author of the gorgeous, deep, and thought-provoking literary novel Baby Jesus Pawn Shop, she’s been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner, the PEN/Hemingway, and—wait for it—the Pulitzer Prize. Publishers Weekly gave her a starred review, and NPR raved. She’s a literary phenomenon. And with any luck at all she & I will get to have coffee, talk fiction, and catch up on each other’s lives in a few weeks in Portland, where neither of us lives.

So those are my favorite authors in the blogosphere. These next bloggers work their heinies off providing aspiring writers with lists of great posts on writing in the blogosphere every week. You heard that right, an on-going work of love (and it is work!) for all of you out there in the trenches:

It’s All About Writing. Nicole Humphrey Cook lists scores and scores of great links, and she even sorts them for you. She’s like your mom, only for writers. The woman’s insane. That’s probably what I like about her.

Adventures in Children’s Publishing. Martina & Marissa post writing prompts along the lines of, “All cockroaches step forward!” which, you know, has got to lead you somewhere. They also post a weekly roundup, and they also sort them for you. Also—obviously—insane.

In other words: you’ve got three whacked-out moms, guys. You have no more excuses.

(I would have also included Elizabeth S. Craig, but Roz got to her before I did. Thanks, Elizabeth!)

Here’s the one reviewer I know, and, yes, she IS going to review my book. Just as soon as someone does something to sort out the printing deadlock we’re in and finally gets that damn thing into print:

Alvah’s Books. Rebeca’s a professional PR rep who’s settled down to spend her life reading Spanish Civil War veteran Alvah Bessie and reviewing all kinds of books under the kind auspices of his terrific name. Two of the chapters in my book are adapted from guest posts I originally wrote for her site.

Now over here in the aspiring lunatics corner, we’ve got:

Constant Revision, aka @WritingAgain. Funny, irreverant, and sometimes totally off-the-wall, Simon’s never read Pride & Prejudice, but he knows how to protect his tenders.

And finally, a llapa just to extend the limits of your creativity:

Jeff’s Open Source Resource. He’s a geek. He’ll break your brain with his technical expertise in Linux and the open-source industry. He’s a comedian. He makes up most of my best jokes. He’s the Silicon Valley tech documentation industry’s Beagle board expert, the smartest new thing at Linux conferences around the country, AND he brings the beer. He’s cute as a bug’s ear. Father of the most adorable and hilarious Harpo enthusiast in history. And I love him. What a total babe.

Wow. I can’t believe I came up with 15 links. Plus my husband. I think I deserve some kind of reward, considering I went into this thinking I knew three.

But all I really want is to know what the hell kind of candy Roz has been eating.

13 thoughts on “Passing the Versatile Blogger torch

  1. Simon says:

    BAHAHAHAAaaa *cough* *cough* aaahahhaAHAHAHaaa!!!11!1!@!1



    The aspiring lunatics corner? I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud!

    Okay, maybe I was about this proud the time I came in 2nd in the Orange County WingBowl, but it’s been a long time since THAT imaginary triumph, so we’ll call the Aspiring Lunatics Corner award my best work to date, eh?

    Many thanks, good lady, for thinking of me and passing along the blog love. Who knew irreverence and a terminal lack of class could get one ahead in the blogosphere?


  2. Kathryn says:

    Congratulations Miss Versatile Blogger!

  3. Lady Glamis says:

    WOW! What a list! And it was fun to get to know more about you. Thanks for including me on your list.

    I blog, still, unfortunately, but not much. Got the private one and Lit Lab and Innocent Flower where it’s really more like an advertising channel. Kind of sad, haha.

    Thanks for all of those links. Most of those I don’t read, and I should be reading them.

    And I hope to be one of your clients some day! It will happen. 🙂

  4. Well, Victoria, looks like you’re still setting things on fire. I did not expect less.
    My congratulations on the Versatile Blogger Award. Couldn’t happen to a nicer person! LD

  5. Nicole says:

    Congratulations Victoria, on the Versatile Blogger award – couldn’t think of anyone who deserves it more.

    On that note, I am extremely proud to be filed under the whacked out mom heading. I’m pretty sure that the insane definition is completely and totally the most descriptive word for me. I have five kids after-all. I’m also really happy to know that someone actually notices all the hard work that goes into compiling that gargantuan list of links.

    Thank you!

  6. You deserve the award, Victoria – especially for having such entertaining formative years. Thank you for sharing them. And your links are a thorough treasure.

    Roz (munching on virtual DWC, which was one of the first products sold by London’s Fortnum and Mason food emporium when it opened in the 18th century. Darned if I can find out what it is, though…)

  7. jefro says:

    Hey, thanks! I’ll reload your revenooer rifle anytime, darlin! I love you too. I’ll deliver your prize around 5:30.

    I hope I don’t break anyone’s brain – bending is ok though. I guess if I am to earn the Versatile Blogger award I’ll have to start bending brains on things other than computer geekery.

  8. Victoria says:

    Thank you sincerely, all of you. And please be aware—as of today, you’ve all won the Versatile Blogger Award, too!

  9. Victoria says:

    And Simon, I just have to ask. . .how, in an “imaginary triumph,” did you manage to come in SECOND?

    I guess it’s time to break out that fifth up your sleeve right about now, eh?

  10. You are awesome. Thank you!

  11. Thanks so much for the mention! And congratulations to you and the folks you linked to–these are all fantastic blogs that I often reference!

  12. I saw your tweet about this but didn’t realize I was being named in an Award thing. Am I supposed to do something?

    Aliendjinnromances was founded by Rowena Cherry taking the name from one of her mass market paperback series which is set in a galactic civilization where the “aliens” have the properties and appearance of the classic djinn or genie.

    I take the name to mean we talk about romances that include Science Fiction and/or Fantasy in any wild mixture and setting. The Romance part is the important common element.

    Thank you for saying such nice things about me, and please let me know if I’m supposed to do something.

    Right now I’m working on a series of blog posts about rewriting to editorial specification under deadline.

    Jacqueline Lichtenberg for complete bio-biblio for currently available

  13. Victoria says:

    Hi Jacqueline! You don’t have to do anything. You can put the Award on your blog. You can also play the game—tell 7 things about yourself on your blog and pass the Award to 15 other bloggers—but don’t feel obligated to. It’s just for fun.

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