About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lex Luthor's Lair

I don't have the tech savvy of E C Myers, who did this nifty little Acknowledgment Video for his debut novel Fair Coin, recently out from Pyr SF as part of their new YA line and well worth reading -- you can meet Mr. Myers at various events in the coming days as well.

But after a busy and wonderful day of actually finally housewarming my apartment, I thought I should put a few thank you things out into the world...

The biggest thanks in many ways have to go to my clients. Charlaine Harris, Sookie Stackhouse, and the True Blood folk kind of paid for the place, but I think it's a mistake to be too narrow in viewing the JABberwocky family. Because Charlaine wouldn't be a client today if it weren't for the general belief amongst authors in general that we do a good job for all of our clients, or maybe not a client today if back fifteen years ago when Charlaine Harris wasn't Charlaine Harris yet, but Arkham House and Elizabeth Moon and Simon Green were some of the key players making it possible for me to have the money to go to Malice Domestic every year in large part because I wanted to be there for Charlaine (well, and to visit all the wonderful bookstores in the DC area that are now two thirds of them closed). And I'm kind of cautious, so even today the fact that the agency is not just Charlaine Harris but is Brandon Sanderson and Peter Brett, and Elizabeth Moon and Simon Green, and John Hemry/Jack Campbell, and many other people. The agency is a stool with many legs, not just one that would always threaten to wobble me into ruin. I can't name every single client here, but the thanks are to all of them.

And it isn't possible to do what we need to do without having people to help me do it all. Steve Mancino did that for four years. Eddie Schneider will soon surpass Steve as the longest tenured employee at JABberwocky. Jessie Cammack came looking for us, and once Eddie and I found her we weren't going to let her go. Lots of other people who've helped over the years, Joseph and Ronald and Armand and Kat and Brenna and Ethan and Mark and David, among others.

There's Adrian, the broker at Nestseekers who told me the apartment I really really wanted might actually become affordable, because for once in my life the real estate market was dipping as my income was increasing to where I could just find an intersection between the two. But then nobody wants to actually give a mortgage, but Yitz found the guy who would.

When I looked at the raw space, I had a vision of what I might do with the space, and one of the things I'm happiest about today is that the apartment, finally and arduously two and a half years after I purchased it, pretty fully realizes my vision of what it should be and would be and could be and what I wanted it to be. It really is my place, more than anyone else's.

But it doesn't happen that way without some help along the way, some little voices chirping in the ear with advice and suggestions and guidance and how-tos and where-tos. Ronald and Jennifer helped with the painting and recommended the contractor. Elizabeth Moon helped to fill in the idea for the display shelf at the end of the gallery. The guy from Horizon helped find the right shade of window treatment for the bedroom.

When my younger brother got married close to twenty years ago, I was the best man, and one of the groomsman was this tall lanky guy named Mason Rapaport. Mason, it turns out, does woodwork. Really gorgeous woodwork, which now that he's finally actually done something with his website, you can learn about here.

The killer app for this apartment was this very long, very wide, very tall entrance gallery that was going to allow me to bring a little bit of Lex Luthor into my life. The Lex Luthor of Superman: The Movie. So do I thank the director, Richard Donner? Or the production designer Jonn Barry? Or the set director Peter Howitt? Or the art direction crew? Whomever it was in whatever combination who had that gorgeous bookcase in Lex Luthor's lair, where Otis could wheel around Lex, or more pleasantly wheel around the ladder and leave Lex hanging? This entry gallery was going to enable me to have at least a little version of this bookcase complete with ladder that I could call my very own, plenty deep enough to hold three layers of mass markets, two layers of hardcovers, and still leave enough width in the entry gallery to leave room for a wheelchair with lots of space to spare. Look ma, it's my bookcase! It looks even nicer filled with books and with the lights on than it does empty posing for the photo.

Besides being a great thing for a literary agent, it stores so many books, it makes the whole business function better because we don't need to clutter the office with books, we don't need to ship extra books to a client in March because there's no room and then realize in May that we need to order more.

In any event, I knew that Mason needed to do this bookcase, and I didn't think to talk to anyone else.

If you are hanging about the northeast and want any kind of beautiful woodworking or other sorts of cabinetry (the "kitchen" section of Mason's website has a couple other pieces for my apartment) this is the guy to call.

Myke Cole refers to Peter V. Brett as his Professor X.

Myke first introduced me to the idea of getting nicer furniture when we upgraded my old apartment with some nicer stuff several years ago, we trekked out to Long Island and went furniture shopping, and my sofa and dining room set and recliner were all selected that day. And because I'm that kind of a guy, I treated Myke to a delightful picnic lunch of MREs to thank him for his time and support.

I enjoy MREs a lot more than Myke, kind of like I love to visit and mow somebody's lawn, because I do that once every two years and it's a delightful special treat.

Myke gave lots of good suggestions on the right color scheme.

He accompanied me on shopping trips to buy furniture and ceiling fans and other things to fill out the apartment.

He rented the van that moved the boxes of books from the office and then helped along with Eddie and Jessie to move and shelve those dozens of boxes of books.

If there is something hanging on a nail in the apartment, Myke banged in the nail and hung it, and he didn't almost die hanging the movie posters above the TV but it wasn't because I didn't try really really hard to get that to happen.

For the party Myke was my scullery maid and galley slave for the day, and if regulations allowed him to wear a cover indoors I'm sure he would have worn at least six different hats over the course of the day.

Even though Myke resisted my specific instructions to use the Swiffer duster instead of the Swiffer sweeper to dust the moldings, I must give him an extra special and very heartfelt thank you for all of these efforts. Which go above and beyond any rational definition of "what friends are for" or "sucking up to your agent" or any other reason or excuse or justification or whatever else you call it that one might give for somebody to do all of these things.

The brownies for the party came from the Sage General Store. Which is around the corner, and which makes some of the best brownies you can find in New York City. You can find them on the Food Network, not that everyone isn't these days. I ordered way too many brownies. However, they don't make their wonderful german chocolate brownies any more because not too many people wanted to buy those as badly as I. But since I was ordering a full tray, I was able to get some of them, and maybe the leftovers will last for a bit.

The cookies came from Nita's European Bakery in Sunnyside a few blocks from the office, which totally deserves its largely favorable notices on Yelp. I've been in Sunnyside for many years, it's only recently that I've started to habituate Nita's, as I have come to appreciate how their Italian cookies are just head and shoulders almost every other little bakery cookie that I have ever come across.

The prospect of getting yummy things from Sage or Nita's should encourage you to venture across the East River into Queens.

One of my guests said especially how much he liked the scroll that John Moore was kind enough to give, and which sat in its tube for too long before finding the right proper place to hang.

The party was nice because so many people came, childhood friend, college roomie, people from the synagogue, neighbors, clients, editors, publishers, family, from the Scrabble club. Not an abundance of people from any one place, but a wonderful mix of people from all the different parts of me all in one room for the afternoon. Thank you for stopping by!

If I ever get more tech savvy, maybe I can come up with a video that can attempt to list everyone.


Peter V. Brett said...

It was a fantastic time. I was proud to be a part of it.

You didn't mention that your hallway is the best place ever for toddlers to run.

Barbara Becker said...


I had such a nice time at your party meeting people from all the parts of your life. I am honored that you included us and so proud at what you have accomplished!