Category Archives: Rachelle Gardner

Honeysuckle Cottage and the Relief of Laughter

What began as an earache turned into a difficult weekend of illness. The harsh climate in NM seems to breed chronic illness in the people who live here–the severe and quick weather changes, the cold, dry winter, and the hot, wet summer all spell trouble for anybody whose immune system is not working at peak level. I’ve heard the flu season lasts for eleven months here, and, although that might be an exaggeration, there’s some truth in it.

I’ve found no better way of warding off the depression illness causes than reading P.G. Wodehouse. And because of the arguments going around the Christian speculative fiction blog circles, I decided to reread Honeysuckle Cottage. This story is one of the master’s masterworks. Mr. Wodehouse wrote hundreds of stories, most of which adhere to a formulaic comedy structure. Some, however, stand out due to the universal truth of the humor.

First of all, I advise you to head on over to Mike Duran’s blog for the many debates there on Christian fiction. Focus particularly on these recent discussions, Interview w/ Agent Rachelle Gardner and “Redeeming Love”–A Review, in which the debates revolve around what makes good Christian fiction. Inevitably, arguments between the romance readers and the serious fiction readers abound.

Now go find a copy of Honeysuckle Cottage–it will take you less than half an hour to read. This short story was originally published in The World of Mr. Mulliner, but I’m certain you can find e-versions, or discover it in a P.G. Wodehouse volume at your local library. In case you don’t want to do that, a synopsis of the story is as follows: an author of serious hard-boiled fiction inherits 5000 pounds from his aunt Leila J. Pinckney, famous author of drippy romance stories, so long as he promises to live six months out of the year at her country cottage. The cottage, however, is haunted by the numerous romance novels the aunt has written there, and our author of serious hard-boiled fiction soon finds drooping-violet-type females entering into his stories, where previously only suspense, murder, and mayhem existed.

We should all laugh at ourselves occasionally, and Wodehouse provides a way for us to do just that. Even agent Rachelle Gardner  (Mike Duran’s agent, as well as agent to numerous romance writers) would find this story amusing because it pokes fun at the literary agent in the story, who is serious enough about selling books to represent both Leila J. Pinckney, romance writer, as well as her nephew, the writer of serious fiction. When the nephew complains that his aunt’s books are tripe, the agent responds, “No author who pulls down a steady twenty thousand pounds a year writes tripe.”  Bear in mind that Wodehouse’s story was first published in 1925, when 20,000 pounds a year was an insane amount of money for an author to earn.

When my head is feeling a little more attached to the rest of my body, I’ll actually write the blog post I intended to go w/ the title Solving one of Literature’s Great Questions With the Enneagram.

p.s. Image of P.G. Wodehouse taken from the wiki article on the same.


Blogging, P90X Style!

I was a little devastated to read agent Rachelle Gardner’s article, Blogs We Don’t Like, last Friday.  I know, I know–she doesn’t speak for all agents, but I’m betting that a lot of agents feel the way she does.  Aspiring authors should have blogs that they update on a regular schedule.  They should, and I have no excuse for being a lazy aspiring author.

I’ve spent the past weekend mulling over how to make the blogging life work for me.  And then I heard Tony Horton’s voice in my head (yes, goofy Tony Horton of the P90X workout system): Anybody can do something for a minute.  Well, yeah.  He’s right.  It’s a little psychological trick you play on yourself.  You convince yourself you’re only exercising for a minute because each exercise is set up to last that long, when in reality you’re completing 50 or 60 of those exercise minutes.  How does this work for blogging, you ask?  Well, if I tell myself I can blog two days a week for a month–just for a month–then, surely, I can blog for another month and another and . . . then I will have become a regular blogger.

I never had too much trouble with the P90X workouts–and not simply because I tricked myself into finishing the daily videos.  I never had trouble because I was already a regular exercise nutcase before my husband brought them home and decided we were going to have some marital bonding through plyometrics and kickboxing.  I have been exercising five days a week for years.  Literally, I mean that.  Years.  Then another truth dawned on me–if I have found the time to exercise daily for years, why can’t I find the time to blog?  I am thoroughly BUSTED.  P90X and Tony Horton have busted me.  I have come to realize that I am a disgrace to aspiring bloggers/authors everywhere.

THE PLAN: I will blog two days a week for a month–and I might just manage not to die of utter blog exhaustion.  After I practice for a few months, I might not have to trick myself into enduring.  I will be a buff blogger by that time.  I will blog every Tue. and Thurs. evening (which in reality makes a Wednesday/Friday posting schedule.  Oops, have to change that on my sidebar!)  I will write short posts.  For example, I will cut my NM Noir chapters to 500 words, instead of 1000.

OTHER EXCITEMENT! I will not be able to start regular blogging this week because we are finally moving into our new house!  We have official occupancy status!  For those who don’t know, we have been living in a 30-year-old single wide trailer for the last eight years–suffering being fiscally responsible–in order to build a house.  Honestly, I’m not giving up before I’ve started.  At some point this week, our phone lines and internet will be cut off here and reconnected at the new house.  And it will be crazy around here.  That’s all I have to say about that.  The picture above is of our new home.  The front porch and balcony are east-facing (toward the Rio Grande river valley), and I wish I had a better shot of it to show off.  It’s so beautiful.

MORE and MORE EXCITEMENT!  I have completely revamped my authorial website to make it more professional.  I have also added in a feature which will allow for my blog posts here to scroll through my website.  If you’re following me here, you might just as well follow me over there: Jill’s (other) Writing World.