Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Guest Bloggers - Joyce and Jim Lavene


What is YOUR good luck charm?

A very popular writer friend of mine, who would kill me if I mentioned her name here, confessed recently that she has a lucky habit. When she sends in a new manuscript to her editor, she includes a dried four-leaf clover somewhere in the packaging. She claims she hasn’t had a book rejected in 10 years because of it. That’s quite a feat!

While I won’t mention my friend’s name (she kills people in her books in excruciatingly painful ways), it made me think about writers and their habits.

Writing is not only a lonely occupation; it’s a very insecure one. I don’t know anyone, from NY Times bestselling authors, to those hovering on the brink of their first advance, who don’t bite their nails waiting to hear back from editors and agents. No one is EVER really sure if they’ll be able to sell their next book.

I have friends who have been published for years, only to have their agents dump them or their editors retire, leaving them to the tender mercies of people who have no idea who they are or what they write. Distributors decide not to go forward with a popular series on whims and once popular authors with major publishers are looking into writing for small presses.

It’s no wonder writers develop superstitions to protect them from these awful things happening. Some of my friends write in only one specific outfit each day (these rage from princess gowns to smoking jackets) while there are those who will only drink out of one lucky cup while they write. Writers have lucky pens (usually those used to sign contracts), insist on writing with red roses on their desks (you know who I’m talking about) or only write between the hours of 3 am and 5 am.

My husband, Jim, and I write together and have had a few lucky habits in our ten years of being published. We have a pair of engraved wine glasses that we use to toast our new contracts. We have a lucky pen we both use to sign them. When we first started writing and submitting, I used to put on bright red lipstick and give each Tyvek envelope a big kiss before it went off on its journey. Crazy? Maybe. But who’s to say it didn’t work?

Right now, we’re working on the third book in the Renaissance Faire Village Mystery series set in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Our new lucky habit is to keep our big black cat off the desk where we write.

While we were writing the last Ren Faire mystery, GHASTLY GLASS, due out this fall, our cat jumped up and knocked over a glass of water on the keyboard, shorting it out. This appeared to cause the email version of the story (months later) to get lost in cyberspace. Then we had editorial problems. All of this can probably be traced to one, unlucky incident.

Some lucky habits just make more sense than others, I suppose.

What are YOUR lucky habits?

Some websites to check out on charms and superstitions:

http://fayelbooth.blogspot.com/2007/11/on-superstition.html
http://nelldixonrw.blogspot.com/2008/08/2008-friday-fun-glass-and-superstition.html
http://www.socyberty.com/Folklore/Seven-Significant-Symbols-of-Luck-in-English-Custom.82392

And our websites:
http://www.joyceandjimlavene.com/
http://www.carolinaconspiracy.com/
http://carolinaconspiracyblog.blogspot.com/

10 comments:

  1. I am currently reading Wicked Weaves. I like the main character, even though she is my antithesis: tall and slim. I don't know why protagonists are never short and round so I can relate to them better. At any rate, I am enjoying this book and expect to read more in the series.

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  2. When can we also expect another NASCAR Book?

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  3. I like the sealed with a kiss envelopes. Even if they aren't lucky, they make the postal carrier curious.

    Terri

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  4. Now I'm dying to know who is doing what. LOL. That was just mean, teasing us like that. I still say "hare, hare" on the last night of the month as I go to bed and "rabbits, rabbits" first thing the following morning. It's a little frightening to know that I've been doing this for about 35 years now. LOL. I wonder what would be different.

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  5. I am just so curious to know where in the world they find all of those 4-leaf clovers?

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  6. To Anonymous:

    We have written many books with protags who were not tall and thin. Jessie simply came to us that way. I am not tall and thin either (sort of medium and chunky). I try not to be insecure when my characters look better than me. Glad you are enjoying Wicked Weaves anyway.

    As far as I know right now, there won't be another NASCAR mystery. Too bad because Ruby and Glad were fun to write!

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  7. Bummer on the NASCAR!

    Terri

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  8. MareF:
    If we told you, our friend would have to kill you too!

    Funny how we all seem to have those little things we do for good luck!

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  9. To Feeding the Grey Cells:

    My son walks out into the yard and finds ten or 20 whenever he wants to. I walk out there and don't find any. I don't know what that means. I don't feel unlucky.

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  10. Terri P -
    Yep. It is the way of the publishing world!

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