Archive for May 2010

Performance Review

While the kids were at gymnastics and George was painting the boat the other day, I came up the great idea to reclaim my desk.

This is a desk that, when we were a couple without children, used to hold court in a room encased by bright pink walls (that I painted) in the quaint 1940s house we used to own.

Since we moved to a more modern house and have had two children, that desk has served as a horizontal surface upon which to stack clean and folded laundry in Vincent’s room.

I decided to set up that old desk in the corner of our living room. I found my three-hole punch, stapler, paper weight, binder clips, reporter’s notebooks, and set them all back up in their former places.

I thought the setup was great until George returned home from the harbor. He liked the idea and agreed I needed space to pay bills and work on my writing, but he didn’t like the look of the specific desk in the space.

He offered to buy me a new desk. I did some research and chose a reasonably-priced piece of furniture called the “Manager’s Desk.” I told him once the desk was purchased, assembled, and ready for use, the “Manager” (me) would be calling him in for a performance review. Not to worry, I said. It’ll just be a review on things he’s doing well and things he needs to improve upon….lol.

Here are a couple of pics of my “old” desk. I don’t think it looks that bad!

Blogs, Pitches, and Tag Lines…

George took the kids to pick up a meal at the new BBQ place just outside our local grocery store this evening. In the fifteen minutes my family was gone, I took a headlong dive into the notes I’ve collected recently on writer’s websites, blogs, social networking, marketing, and pitching.

My little family wasn’t gone five minutes before my eyes were blurry from all the information.

I thought I’d share some of the various tips I’ve gathered and see what y’all think:

1. Who you know does matter. The more you do for them, they more they’ll do for you.

2. Be able to describe your book in 200 words. Why? Few people you work with, besides your editor, will actually read your book.

3. If you are interviewed for media, have your own questions and answers prepared in advance. The interviewer will probably not have read your book.

4. Don’t worry about social networking. If you do have a blog, you need to “blog” three days a week. Better is five days a week.

5. Make sure you know what’s going on in your own hometown when it comes to marketing your work. New Yorkers don’t know what’s going on beyond the Hudson River. (Not my quote, by the way!)

6. A 30-second verbal pitch about your book is critical.

7. Read Publisher’s Weekly on a weekly basis to find out information regarding deals, agents, editors, and people in the know.

8. The cover letter is all-important.

9. Some reviewers will not review a trade paperback.

10. The quality of your proposal, your cover letter, and your synopsis mean everything.

11. Research the person to whom you are sending these things. Polish all three things.

12. Stop the publicity for your work six months before publication. Whoever interviews you before your book/writing is published won’t you interview you again shortly after your work is published.

13. Word of mouth is the greatest marketing tool of all.

14. Independent booksellers will sell the majority of copies of your book. Check out www.indiebound.org.

15. Be able to describe your book in a one-sentence tag line not exceeding 20 words.

The above is just a fraction of the info I’ve gathered on pitching or marketing your writing or book. I could keep typing, but George is sending me a look requesting help with two little blondies who need to go to bed.

Let me know what you think!

Jen’s Favorites of the Week

Jen’s Favorites of the Week


1. The song “You Ain’t Right” by Randy Travis.

2. After missing the warranty deadline on my laptop hard drive by one week and losing $300 on a plane ticket recently, we finally got in under the wire with Infiniti to get a $800 Bose stereo system replaced under warranty. That was a lucky break, ’cause otherwise I’d had to have driven around without music for a while! :-)

3. Attending a benefit for the daughter of a former fisherman who needs a kidney transplant. Her father had been the transplant candidate until he was diagnosed with two kinds of cancer.

4. Viewing 335 photos of commercial longline fishing taken by professional East Coast photographer David Hills, who went to sea with George and the crew in Alaska last winter. Will post links to the pictures soon.

5. Seeing my latest article published in National Fisherman, along with the pictures and the nice intro in the front of the mag.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. I mean it.

A Successful & Sunny Week

It’s been a big week around here. On Wednesday evening, I returned home with the little ones to discover the June issue of National Fisherman had arrived, in which I’ve got a big story and pictures! I was thrilled, to say the least.

It’s no secret to anyone who knows us that I’ve had trouble adjusting to George’s new fishing schedule of late. It’s amazing that my own story on commercial fishing wives came out just when I was having a tough time myself.

“Girl, you need to read your own story,” said our good friend and G’s longtime crew member, Bryan.

Reading it again certainly encouraged me and I hope it did for others who read it.

Jerry Fraser, the editor of National Fisherman, also gave me a generous shout-out in the front of the magazine. Jerry happened to be out on the West Coast this week, so the kids and I got to spend an early sunny morning visiting with him and Diversified Communication’s advertising expert, Susan Chesney.

In other writing news, my contribution made it into the “Proudest Writer Mama Moments from the Past Year” celebration on The Prosperous Writer blog, maintained by Christina Katz (author of Writer Mama and Get Known Before the Book Deal).

Now, I’m cleaning the house top to bottom. I don’t just mean vacuuming and wiping down counters, either. I mean getting rid of things to the Goodwill, scrubbing walls, washing windows, wiping picture frames, and cleaning cabinets. My house is usually pretty clean…but now it is super clean. Why all the effort?

George’s longtime friend and partner, Nick (and his lovely wife, Sally) are coming to visit tomorrow. You probably know Nick from the Alaskan Leader, Shemya, and Bristol Leader companies, as well as many other fishing-related businesses and ventures. Anyway, I haven’t seen Nick or Sally in a few years, and I want to make sure everything is ship-shape.

It’s been an incredible week of writing, publishing, encouragement, friendship, and celebration.

Have a great weekend!

**Oh, update. George just told me that East Coast photographer David Hills will be arriving at our home in about 45 minutes. So glad I got a start on the house early this morning!!

Anyone else coming that I should know about!? All are welcome! :-)

National Fisherman Editor Jerry Fraser with Susan Chesney

Future Jazzercise Instructor!

Mother’s Day–Thank You.

Being the mother in a commercial fishing family is an interesting endeavor. You’re here, you’re there, you’re up, you’re down, you’re winning, you’re losing…it’s hard to keep up.

I’m going to go ahead and keep it real. Last night, I was in tears. Why? I was a bit sad, because my husband informed me he’d be fishing more IFQs than usual this year, which means he’ll be gone even longer than usual. This was on top of a similar pronouncement a few months ago.

Then I woke up this morning and I was in tears again. Why? I was surprised and happy! I had a “Happy Mother’s Day” balloon waiting for me that was bigger than my two-year old, a vase of purple tulips on our dining room table, and two cards: one from George, and one from the kids and dogs.

This morning at Sunday School, the kids made Mother’s Day cards with their handprints on them. Of course, I welled up again. And then, while watching the Cold Case finale today, I shed a few more tears.

Eva wanted to know why Mommy keeps crying.

I hugged Eva and explained that sometimes when we love people so much it makes us cry. I told her that she and her brother were my little angels and all I ever wanted, along with their daddy who always does his best, whether or not Mommy understands it all. Sometimes people are so grateful it fills them up and spills over.

Happy Mother’s Day, ALL! (Especially to my own commercial fishing mom, who is spending the next three weeks in Hawaii with my dad. Nice!)

Here are two pictures of our day, along with the poem that was inside the handprint card my babes gave to me.

Thank You

I Love You Bunches, Mom!

(A poem from the kids’ Sunday School)

I miss you when we’re not together

I’m growing up so fast.

See how big I’ve gotten

Since you saw me last?

As I grow, I’ll change a lot,

They years will fly right by.

You’ll wonder how I grew so quick

When and where and why?

So save this card in a safe place,

And take it out each year.

The memories will come back of me,

When I was small and dear.

Vacation, Here We Come

We finally made it out of town. It’s going to be a relief to get a break from the dreary rain and go someplace bright and cheerful.

We’re on the road in the big Ford truck and listening to the Best of Crystal Gayle. Vincent’s asleep in the back and Eva is asking for something to eat. I’m typing this post from the iPhone while G does the driving.

So far, so good!

We are coordinating this small trip with the Dungeness Crab Association meeting George is attending on Monday, but that’s fine by me. I’m so ready to get out of town and see something different I’d have gladly gone anywhere at all!

Love my house and my fam, but boy do we all need a little vacation. So glad we are on our way! :-)