Coffee heat rising


Or is that grey? Oh, well: Yank or Brit, it’s unmistakably a gray, muggy day. The fringe of the supposed hurricane drifted in during the night. Though the air was so thick water seemed to be condensing out like steam, the dogs and I took off for the 5:00 a.m. one-miler, human hoping to get back before real rain began to fall.

And this is where it gets Arizona crazy…

So we’re trotting along and there’s the neighbor wife, ambling around the front yard looking puzzled.

“I can’t figure out where this water is coming from!” says she, pointing to a damp spot on the concrete…directly under the eaves.

This is pleasing, because it means someone else woke up at 4:30 or 5 feeling dazed, muzzy, and befogged. 🙂

After a second she looks up and says, “Oh! The roof?”

I say, “It’s falling from the eaves.”

She says, “Omigod! It’s rain!

And we both realize it’s been so long since we’ve seen actual rain we can barely recognize it!


Whatever the stuff is, I do wish it wouldn’t pester us today. I’ve got to drive from effing pillar to effing post this morning. And if you think homeowners here are puzzled by water falling out of the sky, wait’ll you see what an Arizona driver does in the rain!

It is going to be horrible.

So at 9 a.m. it’s off to the library to pick up a book that came in from Interlibrary Loan. Then down to AJ’s to pick up not one but two types of dog food, the beasts having consumed the kibble I use as doggy treats and to supplement the home-made stuff. The makings for real food of the doggy variety are only to be had at Costco, and the present budgetary constraints mean I’m out of Costco until the first of the month. Later in the day, it’s pick up friends and meet their kids at their fave restaurant for pre-Father’s Day. One of said kids is Connie the Long-Haul Truck Driver, who hits town today (assuming the weather doesn’t hold her up) and then will have to turn around and head back to some garden spot in North Dakota. Or some such.

What I really want to do with today is work on the Overprescription book. Yesterday I got about 3/4 of the way through chapter 1 — maybe more, actually: just a few more topics to address, just a ton more research sources to dig up. If I would sit still and work on the thing, I could get this chapter done today and chapter 2 done by the end of next week. The Introduction is now done and a credible TofC in place.

The copy is not that difficult to write, because the skeleton of each chapter — well, of most of them — is already sketched out in a series of blog posts. True, a blog post a book chapter does not make. But it makes a damn good running head start.

Once chapter 2 is built, I’ll be ready to send out the proposal. Well, o’course I’ll have to write the cover letter/proposal, but that should be pretty easy. I can do that while Tina is working on the intro and sample chapters to go in the package.

Tina, bidness partner at The Copyeditor’s Desk, has agreed to regularize the citations, a chore I happen to hate. She happens to be in China just now. So that gives me a week or 10 days to get all three sample parts of the book — Introduction, Chapter 1, Chapter 2 — in a clean enough draft for her to attack the documentation. Then go over it again with a finer comb, and it’s off to the first publisher!

Yes. Mercifully, you still don’t really need an agent to peddle a book to an academic press. It helps, but unlike the commercial publishing landscape, it’s not de rigueur. So…what you do is compile a list of the presses you imagine will be interested in your topic. At the head of my list is a Canadian university press, because Canada is a great deal more aware of the overmedication issue than the US. Then for each press you find the acquisitions editor for books in your specific subject area; get the person’s name and address. Rack up about a dozen of these, and start sending out your package.

If you have good manners, you send it to just one editor at a time.

However… a) no one has ever accused me of having good manners (not since about the second grade, anyway); and b) I do not have enough years left in my life to wait for …one…editor…at…a…time… to get around to rejecting me.

In the past, I’ve sent out a half-dozen at once. That was in the Day of the Snail, mail-wise. When a rejection would come in, I’d just take the package out of the SASE and drop it into a new envelope for the next editor on the list, which would have no fewer than a dozen candidates. So at any given time, at least six proposals would be in circulation.

In the past, too, the first, second, or third editor would bite. Others wouldn’t even respond, or would send an offer a day late and many dollars short. So it wasn’t really that a half-dozen offers were gonna come in from the first mailing.

We shall see how this works in the Age of E-mail. I surely do hope it goes faster…but don’t hold out much hope.

I probably will shop the proposal around to about a dozen houses. If no one picks it up, I’ll self-publish the thing. But really…the subject is too important for the Trash Heap That Is Amazon. It really needs to go out through a real publisher with a real marketing operation and enough clout to get real reviewers to look at it.

But here in the Brave New World, a lot of things need to happen, don’t they? 😉