March 6, 2009

The Care and Feeding of Novelists

SO you are considering adopting a stray novelist! Well! Novelists are challenging creatures, but if you take the time to learn a little about them, they CAN make satisfying companion animals.

Your novelist is a solitary creature, and thrives best when it has its own tank aquarium with a T1 internet connection and many, many filled bookshelves. It DOES like to be taken on walks, however, to meet other novelists for frolicksome gambols, generally in venues where alcoholic beverages are served.

The novelist CAN be somewhat sexually indiscriminate, especially if young or hugely successful: Consider having yours fixed before it goes and makes MORE novelists. It helps make them tractable, and as we all know, the unhappy novelist is a biter.

All novelists are attracted to shiny objects, like agents and royalty checks, and will scamper away toward these things if let off the leash in the wrong environment, such as New York City.

You can feed your novelists safely after midnight---in fact, most novelists are nocturnal and would prefer a midnight meal to a nutritive breakfast. Almost all of ‘em like chicken wings, except the vegetarian ones, and those can safely be fed on soy-licious chickenesque wing-shaped objects.

When involved deeply in a book---or approaching deadline---your novelist may forget to do some of the things you are generally used to seeing them doing. For example, bathing. Don’t be too intimidated to get a scrubby and a bucket of sudsy water and do the job yourself---a single overripe novelist can stink up an entire house.

With only exception, you should never ask your novelist this question:
The exception, is of course, is if you know beforehand and for a fact that your novelist HAS finished the book. Asking prematurely can result in a blood bath and your novelist may be have to be put down.

But when that long awaited and glorious day comes----as it has for ME, Oh my Best Beloveds---the day when your novelist types the scintillating words THE END at the foot of a completed work--- then, then, then, oh MAGNIFICENT THEN is when you may---no SHOULD! ask that question, over and over, to give your novelist every possible chance to mine the rich pleasures of leaping about the yard at two in the afternoon, still encased in its food crusted pajamas, its limp and greasy hair flapping behind it , its mushroom-pallid skin going into shock from the unaccustomed exposure to the sunlight, as it screams


Posted by joshilyn at March 6, 2009 12:11 PM

Hey, Joshilyn Have you finished the book yet? Yay!!!!! So happy for you, but still so long before any of us normal unnovelist people can read it.

Posted by: Catherine at March 6, 2009 12:19 PM

Hey, Joss! Have you finished the book YET?

Posted by: Tuli at March 6, 2009 12:37 PM

A VENTI ANYTHING and step on it!!!
with Extra whip cream.

have you finished the book yet?

-- lori p

Posted by: Lori Parker at March 6, 2009 12:41 PM

Who is Virginia? Why does she care if you have finished The Book? Is she your editor or your agent? I don't understand. Maybe you need to clarify. A writer should always write clearly enough so that her readers can follow the story. Sheesh, do I have to do everything around here?

(pssss! congrats!)

Posted by: kmkat at March 6, 2009 12:51 PM

I want to hear the clever title! Are there saints? Are scarves?

Posted by: Debora Silkotch at March 6, 2009 12:57 PM

So, how bout that book, have you finished it yet?

Congrats and enjoy your yard leaping.

Posted by: Dani at March 6, 2009 1:12 PM

Hey Joss ... are you done writing the book yet??

ps: I think you should head to Mir's for a piece of the John Doe cake ... I mean, if you're done with the book of course! :)

Posted by: Mit at March 6, 2009 1:13 PM

Joshilyn, have you finished the book yet? YAY!! and Congrats. We are all impatiently awaiting the opportunity to read it for ourselves. Enjoy the day!

Posted by: Janie at March 6, 2009 1:20 PM

*awkwardly puts arms down after clamping hand over mouth*

Squeals of delight in the library...


Dearest Scott she has worked her ever so slim rear off and needs a night away from the kids...

So does the Starbucks guy get his liver back yet???

Posted by: Linda J at March 6, 2009 1:58 PM


Posted by: inkgrrl at March 6, 2009 2:01 PM

Yay! Now take the pretty pretty tulip of a novelist into the bathroom and let her have a shower :-)

Posted by: Beth R at March 6, 2009 2:20 PM

Hey Joss have you finished the book?!

Congrats! :D :D

Posted by: Heather at March 6, 2009 2:32 PM

In the immortal words of Naughty by Nature, " HIP HOP HOORAY!!!!!!!!"

Posted by: Jill W. at March 6, 2009 2:38 PM

Wellll, doggies! That is excellent news! I am doing the 360 degree happy dance for ya! And now, the wait begins...

Posted by: Carmen at March 6, 2009 3:31 PM

My warmest, most heartfelt congratulations to you, you wonderful novelist you.

(by the way those last few lines sounded a little Steven Kingish)

Posted by: parrotzmom at March 6, 2009 3:52 PM


Hey, Joss! Have you finished the book?

Posted by: Katrina Stonoff at March 6, 2009 4:12 PM

Hooray, hooray! It is a time for parades and balloons and drum majorettes and fire trucks and marching bands. And at the end of the fantastic parade, Joss perching prettily on the folded-down roof of a convertible, waving to all of us, her fans, as bits of ticker tape fall.

Well, only if the book is finished, of course. So is it, Joss? Is the book finished?

Posted by: Erin at March 6, 2009 4:37 PM

Great news! Congrats!

Posted by: Lisa at March 6, 2009 5:35 PM

You know. . .my fingernails are breaking from all of the tapping I've been doing waiting for you to finish your next novel? So? Is if finished????

Posted by: Roxanne at March 6, 2009 6:39 PM

Yay! Now, if only we could arrange a way for it to be in my bookstore TOMORROW.

Posted by: TrudyJ at March 6, 2009 7:22 PM

Sooooooooooo.......finished that book yet?

Seriously, congrats!

Posted by: jessica at March 6, 2009 8:02 PM

As the teenager in the house would say: "WOOT!"
Yay You!

Oh, by the way, how's the book going? When will it be done? Is it done yet?

OK -- Tell all. What's the title?

Does it have a whale? *nudgenudge* It does, doesn't it??

Hearty Congratulations!

Posted by: JulieB at March 6, 2009 8:09 PM


I cannot wait to read the book, now that I know that it is finished because you have told me so and not because I asked since I like my liver where it is, thanks.

Posted by: erinanne at March 6, 2009 10:14 PM

Hey, Joshilyn...

I've been sitting here all day working away on my memoir and I couldn't help but wonder what you were doing. How's it going with your book? Have you finished it yet? ;-)

I think THE END are two of the most satisfying words in the English language - at least when written together. Congrats!

Posted by: Charmi at March 6, 2009 10:36 PM

So, um ... is the book done? IT IS?! CONGRATULATIONS! (happy dance requires new shoes, doesn't it?)

So, what's it called?

Posted by: Patti at March 6, 2009 11:18 PM

Have ya finished the book yet???

Congrats & can't wait to read it!

Posted by: Kimberly at March 6, 2009 11:21 PM

I can't believe you made me ask that question!!! Congratulations!

Posted by: Lia at March 6, 2009 11:36 PM

IS iT DOne yet? Really now we have to wait how long for it to actually hit the shelves?

I will selfishly admit I enjoy the posts you make here when you're frantically writing because they tend to be hilarious.

Thank you for this blog. Its such a gem.

Posted by: sp8cemunky at March 7, 2009 6:54 AM

Izzit done yet? Huh? How 'bout now?

This post made me LOL, too funny. Congratulations! I AM dying to know if your settled-on title even vaguely resembles any of the ones prevously discussed, however. ;-)

Posted by: Brigitte at March 7, 2009 7:07 AM

Of course you finished it. And of course it will be fabulous and of course now you deserve a very tall chocolatey alcoholic concoction.
Don't worry about the title. It will find itself. They always do, don't they?

and when it finds it's way to my bookstore, I will shove copies of it into everyone's hands and say, "read. it is good."
which sounds kinda biblical and saintly.

Posted by: linda sands at March 7, 2009 11:44 AM

Just checkin' in to see if you've finished the book yet????
Title, please?

Posted by: Jody at March 7, 2009 5:51 PM

Hey, Joss... Howzzat book comin'?


I didn't even think, bofore, about it being Texas:

Saints in the Blubells

Posted by: Purrmah at March 7, 2009 6:56 PM

I am going to call the poor disemboweled barista and inform him that he may NOW ask you if it's done yet.

Congrats! Looking forward to it...

Posted by: babelbabe at March 7, 2009 8:03 PM

Ah, I'm late to the party, and I missed the news that went before, so I must ask--Did you finish the book yet?

Posted by: Jen at March 7, 2009 10:35 PM



Posted by: nik at March 8, 2009 1:23 AM

CONGRATULATIONS!!! A new pair of shoes and a chocolate martini or 3 sound like an excellent way to celebrate to me--now if only I could cattle prod myself into finishing my query letter...

Posted by: Elena at March 8, 2009 9:03 AM

From the five gazillion congratulations you have already received, I'm not the only one looking forward to seeing your characters on the printed page again. So when's the launch party at MMH happening...or even the prelaunch party? I'll bring those "death by sugar and chocolate" cookies you posted the recipe for oh-so-many blog entries ago. Sam and Daisy Mae can scarf them up if you're in a sharing mood..

Posted by: Bridget at March 8, 2009 1:07 PM

From the five gazillion congratulations you have already received, I'm not the only one looking forward to seeing your characters on the printed page again. So when's the launch party at MMH happening...or even the prelaunch party? I'll bring those "death by sugar and chocolate" cookies you posted the recipe for oh-so-many blog entries ago. Sam and Daisy Mae can scarf them up if you're in a sharing mood..

Posted by: Bridget at March 8, 2009 1:07 PM


Posted by: Lisa Milton at March 8, 2009 5:08 PM

Woohoo! That's wonderful news! Congratulations!

Posted by: Holly at March 8, 2009 6:20 PM

Word on the street (okay in your post a few inches above) is that YOU FINISHED. Is it TRUSE??


Yay Joshilyn. Can't wait to consume it!

Posted by: bowdawg at March 8, 2009 10:27 PM

"TRUSE"? ... I meant TRUE. Know any good editors?
: )

Posted by: bowdawg at March 8, 2009 10:30 PM

Is it done yet?

So happy for you! And so sad for that poor schmuck who didn't follow directions.

Please go bathe - I can smell you from here - and then CELEBRATE!!!

Posted by: Jen at March 9, 2009 6:36 AM


So does this mean you've started a NEW one yet?!?!


Congrats, Joss!!!!

Posted by: Jess at March 9, 2009 9:53 AM

Woohoo!! Congrats!

Can I ask a small favor? Could your next book tour pretty please travel north of the Mason Dixon line and/or west of the Mississippi? It's not fair that the South gets to hog you all to itself. ;)

Posted by: Tammy at March 9, 2009 10:31 AM

Hey, Joshilyn, I've been meaning to ask you. Have you finished your book yet? Have you? Have you? Because I'm really wondering if you've finished it! Have you? Tell me, tell me!

Posted by: Aimee at March 9, 2009 11:35 AM

Congrats!! YAY!!

(Saints in Longhorns...only idea I had that hadn't already been said)

Posted by: DebR at March 9, 2009 3:13 PM

Yay you! Congrats on finishing, and kudos for writing such an amazingly funny (and scarily true) post about the care and feeding of novelists before getting to the most important thing. Shows true restraint that.

Hope you had a lovely shower / bubble-bath and are still celebrating with Scott and the kids - and hope the celebrating goes on for days - you've earned it!

Posted by: Rompompom at March 9, 2009 3:30 PM

Congrats! :)

Posted by: KlintD at March 9, 2009 9:50 PM

Congrats!!! I am so relieved and happy for you. I hope you have a few days free to relax and revel in the done-ness of the book.

Posted by: Lindsey at March 9, 2009 11:16 PM

Congrats I am thrilled for you and equally thrilled for us readers! very much looking forward to seeing it on the shelves in the local bookstore.


Posted by: Christine at March 10, 2009 11:20 AM

Congrats! Just the news I needed to push me to get back to my work-in-progress... working on Chapter 10 of 16 chapters. Loooonnnggg way to go. Been distracted by writing essays--such a quick fix. Hey: what's the title?

Posted by: Susan Cushman at March 12, 2009 11:33 AM