Coffee heat rising

Boob Book: The Newest Bu$ine$$ Plan

Today I need to begin work on cornering a $20,000 business grant, which would nicely support and (more important!) market the Boob Book.

The three big projects now at hand:

  • Write and rehearse a script for the application video (the application is a video)
  • Interview three women to grab sound bites for said video
  • Recast the existing table of contents and chapter outline to reflect the new approach conceived for the book

The grant is for small businesses in Arizona and Colorado; the main prize is 20 grand, which of course would make any small bidness owner ecstatic, and the runner-up prize is $3,500…a figure that would be extremely helpful in itself.

Luckily, Plain & Simple Press is an imprint of The Copyeditor’s Desk, which is an incorporated business and has been so since 2000 and ought-10. The pitch I’m going to present is that the book will set the business on course to full-blown success and allow me to hire ever so many underlings.

The new approach I’m going to take to the book — which will be pretty easy with the material already in hand — is to present it as a guide for women who have received a breast cancer diagnosis to the many (one might say “endless”) decisions you have to make along the way.

Every chapter can readily be set up in terms of decisions: At this point you have to decide…A or B. At the next point, you’ll need to decide…C or D or E. And so on. Each woman’s decisions need to be informed by fact and by her own preferences and circumstances. And her decisions may be illuminated by other women’s experience.  Each chapter can present a decision, summarize the facts and advice that we know today, and point readers to sources where they can get more in-depth information.

One of my former students was an audio major. He’s taken a course in videography and he has some equipment. So I’ve already roped him in to helping out with this project. And I’ve already made contact with three breast cancer “survivors” who are willing to speak in front of a camera.

As usual, I’m not holding my breath until the money rolls in. But…as a practical matter, the proposal does have a chance of succeeding. P&S Press, as a subentity of The Copyeditor’s Desk, Inc., is a verifiable business. And this new approach I’ve come up with will create a genuinely useful work for women who are blindsided (as we all are, unless we have enough cancer-ridden relatives to clue us to a genetic problem) by a diagnosis of breast cancer, DCIS, or LCIS.

We shall see!

work work work work work work work work work wor…

Awake at 3:00 a.m. Couldn’t get back to sleep so dragged the laptop into the bedroom (yeah: bad! but the surgical incisions feel a lot better when I recline to work).

Packaged a proposal for the Boob Book, intended for an agent who looks promising and so, I hope, will consider working with me. Started merging the various documents and realized…helle’s belles! No chapter outline!

Dayum. So had to drop everything and write that. Hope it doesn’t look too careless or off-the-cuff. Finally got the whole mound together, attached it to a cover e-mail, and hit “send.”

By then it was light out. Dogs insisted on getting off the bed and racing around and being fed.

Dogs off, dogs fed, back door open for them to go out and the mosquitoes to come in. Back to the bed-desk.

Started grading papers. Only a few remain to be read, but one of my best students is running late. I’d given her some leeway…but of course worry that she may not get the thing in on time. She’ll pass the course anyway, even if she turns in nothing. But…she’s an A+ student and I would like not to send her away with a C. Or worse.

Two very well written papers arrived. That was cheering. One reasonably well written paper came in from a student who couldn’t write hir way out of a paper bag if hir life depended on it: i.e., said paper was written reasonably well by someone s/he hired. Another couple of papers: painful to read. Make that agonizing.

In-house for The Copyeditor’s Desk: a lengthy introduction for a book under contract and two reviews for our journal client. Tina had already read and formatted the reviews, so all I had to do was read behind her. The introduction…we’d read it before, but she found new stuff; I found new stuff; it got some tidying. AND damned Wyrd has decided to default to Roman numerals for the end-notes.

This is a known issue for Wyrd 2007, 2008, and 2010 for Mac…and apparently — far as I could tell from a relatively quick Web search — one that effing Microsoft has elected to ignore. And it is a gigantic PITA.

Naturally Wyrd crashed (AGAIN) just as I was wrapping up the intro…try to fix ONE character in the effing end-notes and you take the whole goddamn program down.

Little was lost; files I’ve been working on for the past several days (which were open because I don’t want to have to track them down in the intricacies of my file architecture) recovered themselves, and only one edit in the introduction disappeared.

I should be happy that only my time was wasted, hm?

Worked a little on formatting and writing “Our Story So Far” blurbs for the Fire-Rider series.

A prospective writer for Camptown Races Press inquired about our contract.

Ahem. Contract?

So as soon as I shoveled the paying work off the virtual desk, I had to come up with one of those. It actually looks pretty good, IMHO. Fortunately one chapter of my book The Essential Feature covered publishing contracts and was vetted by an intellectual property lawyer.

Now I have about 20 minutes before I’ve got to traipse the car to Costco AGAIN to get the car’s tires changed and be sheared to the tune of $400. I figure it’ll take an hour or two for them to do that, so I’ll take the laptop over there and write p0rn while sitting in their air-conditioned shop.

One never knows these days, does one? Just think of it. That little old lady sitting next to you in the tire shop or the dentist’s office, tapping away on her dainty laptop, just may be writing kink… 😀


Woo Hoo! Boob Book Stage 1: About DONE!

P1030481Wow! I just finished studying and annotating 800 pages (yes, that’s eight hundred) of printed-out research material for the Boob Book! Wa-hooooo!

About 80 percent of it consists of abstracts or full texts of medical and genetic research studies; most of the rest is resource material published by various nonprofits. 😀 You’ll love this one:

Elmore, Joann G., Gary M. Longton, Patricia A. Carney, Berta M. Geller, Tracy Onega, Anna N. A. Tosteson, Heidi D. Nelson, Margaret S. Pepe, Kimberly H. Allison, Stuart J. Schnitt, Frances P. O’Malley, and Donald L. Weaver. “Diagnostic Concordance among Pathologists Interpreting Breast Biopsy Specimens.” Journal of the American Medical Association 313, vol. 11 (March 17, 2015): 1122-1132. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.1405.

Hurry right out and buy it!

Now the next stage before I can begin the actual writing is to take that stack of index cards and sort them according to the topics in the book’s outline. That’ll take a few days, but it shouldn’t be too difficult.

With an introduction in draft, all that’s left to do by way of building a prospectus to send to publishers and agents will be to write one solid chapter — any chapter — and one of the appendices, trick out the rough outline as a full-blown chapter outline, and distill that into the form of a proposed table of contents. And, of course, write the proposal itself, in the form of a cover letter.

In theory, I could get that done in two or three weeks…if I just didn’t have so goddamn much to have to do.

Tomorrow is gone — so is tonight, for that matter. Choir practice tonight; then out to Scottsdale at 7 a.m. tomorrow; from there grab some grocery items on the way back into town and then right back out the door to a mid-day birthday shebang kindly hosted by dear friends. That will blow the afternoon. The evening is already claimed by the Arizona Book Publishing Association, which is rising from the grave for a kind of alumni jamboree that I’ve pledged to attend.

Meanwhile, student papers are pouring in. The 235s had query letters due Monday and they have a substantial article due on Friday, and the same day the 102s will dump a mountain of 2500-word papers on us. Since those two 102 sections are full of good little doobies, several of them have already posted their papers. It would be good to start reading those, given that plowing through 100,000 words of student drivel is no small endeavor.

Honest to God. Whose idea WAS it to assign a 2500-word research paper to cohorts of students who have never written a sourced paper in their young lives?

Anyway, grades are not due until Friday morning. Most of the waking moments between 10 p.m. tomorrow and 11:30 a.m. Friday  the 15th will be absorbed by reading that stuff.

And that means it’ll be 10 days before I can get back to doing my own thing. Even then, the time will not be my own: I have to build a summer course as soon as the spring sections end, and while I’m at it, I should build the fall sections, too.

So. In reality, make it three, maybe four weeks before I get any real work done on the Boob Book project.

Is there any question why I never get anything done?


Kicking Off the Boob Book

Last night I finally started the introduction to the Boob Book — the proposed magnum opus on navigating the world of DCIS and breast cancer. Between grading papers and trying to overcome inertia, I’m getting a slow start on this project.

Today I went over to the FedEx office and picked up the photocopies of all the research materials I’ve gathered since the Late Great Adventure began, some nine or ten months ago:

P1030429Two fat binders, chuckablock full!

No, I haven’t counted the pages, and I’m not gonna. Some things, you just don’t want to know. But I’d estimate several hundred. It’s nowhere close to the mound that writing the dissertation required me to plow through. On the other hand, most of that wasn’t technical stuff — unless you consider deciphering late 16th-century handwriting to be technical.

Thanks to the Internet, so far nary a word has had to be ordered through InterLibrary Loan. LOL! When I wrote the dissertation, I estimated that before I went to England, I’d had to order about 3/4 of my print resources through I.L.L.

At any rate, I have a rough outline for the introduction and seven chapters, some of which may end up being more than one chapter. I doubt if the thing will come to ten chapters, but it could end up being eight or ten.

Finding time to write this magnum opus is going to be the trick.

I did learn that the college has assigned me only one comp section next fall (they must have gotten wind of Adjunctorium and Slave Labor), so that means that if the magazine-writing course makes that semester, I’ll have just two sections to hassle with. So that will free up a little extra time.

Meanwhile, it looks a lot like this spring’s maga-writing course won’t make — only 8 people are enrolled, and the District requires 12 to let a course fly. So I may be relieved of a great deal of work and a small amount of income this semester, as I certainly will be next semester.

Fortunately, my 2014 earnings were so paltry that I got a large tax return — I owed nothing on the federal gouge and $33 to the state. Effectively, the federal government returned all the funds that had been withheld from my various piddling sources of income. This is more than the net on one section, and come to think of it, almost as much as net from two sections. Unfortunately, I had intended to set the money aside to defray the cost of the next vehicle, which I’m going to have to buy soon. Obviously that’s not going to happen. But beggars can’t be choosers. Or drivers, apparently…

I’m hoping this will free up a number of hours each week to work on the Boob Book. I’d like to have an introduction and at least once chapter in hand by mid-summer, so I can send out a prospectus to whomever I can importune, and with any luck at all to have the thing done by the end of 2015 or, at the very latest, by this time next year.

Meanwhile, in theory the diet book and the novel are about ready to turn into Kindle books. I’ve been too distracted to track down a PoD publisher but should do that soon, too.

Ah, the life of an author…

😉 😆 😉

I expect I’ll post updates and meditations on the process at Writers Plain & Simple, since I’d like to keep the site’s thousand or so subscribers entertained. Will let you know, over here, whenever anything of passing interest goes up — or just watch the feed in Funny’s right-hand sidebar.

Meanwhile, speaking of the which, I’d better go over there and show a sign of life.