Sunday Smatterings

Hello, chickens, Happy Sunday. How are you doing? I write to you from ALA, the conference for America's literary superheroes: librarians! I haven't been to this conference before, and I'm delighted to be here. Librarians are my people, and between panels and cocktails and talking about our favorite books, I can tell we're going to have a lot of fun together before the weekend is over.

Last week, Team JT put the final touches on LIE TO ME, and it's safely off to the printer. The next time I see those words, I'll be able to slide my fingers across them as they sit on printed pages. I can't tell you how much lighter I feel with this book officially out of my hands. The story is no longer mine—now it belongs to you, dear reader. I do hope you enjoy it.

Yesterday we shot the first episode of A WORD ON WORDS Season 3. I can't tell you who the guest was, but suffice it to say I was beyond thrilled to interview this giant in the publishing sphere. I can't wait to share this one with you later this summer!

Without further ado, here are the links you came for:


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

The Washington Post: kitten nursery saves tiny lives in a city aiming to become ‘no kill’. Talk about bringing a kitty mama to tears. Adopt, adopt, adopt.
 

The Kill Zone Blog: Empowering History? I always fall on the side of the empowered female heroine. Just sayin'.
 

Travel + Leisure: This Is the Ultimate Nanny Job Abroad — If You're Not Afraid of Ghosts. Let's  look at the trade-offs here: beautiful Scottish wilderness. Haunted house. I think I know what I'd choose...
 

theSkimm. If you don't read theSkimm, I highly suggest you begin to. Smart, to-the-point news that keeps you informed on the important things, and stuff on the lighter side, too.
 

The Guardian: Buying houses in cash and selling millions: meet self-publishing's 'hidden' authors. Because there's room for everyone at the table—even if you fashion the chair yourself.
 

Bustle: 14 Careers For Readers, Because It Is Possible to Make a Living Off Your Love of Books. Chin up, English majors. There are many opportunities to use your degree that don't end with "do you need room for cream?"
 

New York Public Library: Pencils At Dawn! 6 Writers and the Duels They Fought In. I really enjoy the New York Public Library's Twitter feed (follow them here, if you don't already). I'm always learning new, fascinating tidbits from them. This article was no exception.
 

YouTube: Game of Thrones Red Keep in Lego. Perfect for nerds of today and yesteryear (less than a month until Season 7, folks!!! Have you seen the new trailer? #WinterIsHere).


And closer to home:

5 Things I'm Into This Month (June 2017). From my zero-prep lunch to fashionable and comfy sandals, these five things are making me breathe easier.
 

Click here to read the first three chapters of LIE TO ME. Mwahahahaha. 😈


That's it from me, darlings. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, stay in the shade, put on plenty of sunscreen, and we'll talk again soon.

xo,
J.T.

What Does An Author Assistant Do? (besides wear yoga pants)

Hi, guys! Amy here.

You may have seen my name floating around here for the past couple of years. I know I seem like the Phantom of the Opera, creeping around the rafters while J.T. shines brilliantly on the stage. Maybe you’ve found yourself wondering, Who is this Amy person, and what does she even do?

That’s a fair question, dear reader. 

Simply put, I’m J.T.’s assistant/business manager/right-hand/co-publisher.

See. I told you it was simple.

Long story short, my job is to make sure J.T. has as writing much time as possible, so she can continue to flood our bookshelves with thick, fat novels. I think it’s a noble calling, don’t you?

Okay, Amy, so how do you make sure J.T. writes all the books we love to devour? What does that look like?

I could make this metaphor with yoga pants, because I love them. And I wear them all the time. But for ease of visualization, let’s stick with hats, shall we?

Honestly, my job looks like a closetful of hats. Throughout my day, I wear about three or four of them, just take one off and put another on, for whatever the day entails.

Ever owned a small business? Are you a mom? You know what I’m talking about.
 

Here are a few of my most Frequently Worn Hats:

  1. Website Builder/Maintenance/I.T. Support
    In college, I majored in English. I minored in French. Nothing really prepared me to be in web design or maintenance, but here I am, captain of J.T.’s web properties! When J.T. asked me to build web pages for Two Tales Press and The Wine Vixen, I said, “Sure!” And then I sat at my computer and got my master’s degree in Google Searching, which I still use to this day. Thank goodness for Squarespace, savior of non-techies who need websites. If I can use Squarespace, anybody can use Squarespace.

     
  2. Social Media Scheduler/Meme Maker
    J.T. and I like you people a lot. And we enjoy talking to you! A big chunk of my job is to take the cool stuff we find online and make a home for it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Pretty pictures, funny pictures, inspirational quotes, nerdy book articles, Q&As on Wednesday: we talk about our favorite things, then I put them online for you to enjoy along with us.

     
  3. Idea Bouncer Off-er/Editor/Proofreader
    This is one of the most fun parts of my job. I get to be one of J.T.’s first readers on just about everything: books, blog posts, fun little pieces she writes around book launches. When I was four years old, I used to climb into my box of books and sit there and read for hours, dreaming of my favorite characters and wondering how I could read books for a living. Four-year-old Amy? She loves this part of the job. It’s as fun as it sounds.

     
  4. Co-Publisher
    In a past life, I was an editor for a Big 5 Publisher, and I still enjoy putting books together. Thankfully, I still get to do that in my current job. While I worked in a variety of roles at said-publisher, nothing could’ve prepared me for playing all of a publisher’s roles at the same time: acquiring editor, numbers-cruncher, content editor, production coordinator, salesperson, and marketer. There are unique skills to each of a publisher’s jobs, so it’s been fun to try my hand at everything.

     
  5. Media/Events/Marketing Coordinator
    If someone wants to book J.T. for an event, their first stop is yours truly. And as the resident Rain Man when it comes to dates, I make sure all of our five calendars (yes, five) are up to date, and that we’re on track to hit our target goals and deadlines (a consummate professional, J.T. needs no help with staying on deadline—that one’s for me).

     
  6. Frequent Post Office Visitor
    Oh, if you only knew how much mail book people send. I’m serious. When I was a publicist for said-Big 5 Publisher, I had at least one huge mailing (I’m talking 100+ books at a time) a week. While (thankfully) J.T. and I don’t send that kind of volume at once, I’m still at the P.O. a couple times a week. I wish they had punch cards; I could’ve had a dozen free sandwiches by now. 

     
  7. New Gadgets Tester
    There are a few personality traits I’m glad J.T. and I share: we both keep honing the way we work, we’re never completely satisfied with our status quo, and we enjoy being early adopters. This leads to us testing a new program or gadget at least a couple times a month, something we think may help us do our work better. Most of what we try gets rejected, but every once in a while we come across a diamond in the rough that makes our lives easier. I still think the best one we ever found was Vellum. What used to take days now only takes ten (!) minutes.

     
  8. Fellow Wine Enthusiast
    I owe my burgeoning wine obsession to J.T. Before I met her, I could point to a Moscato and say, “I like that because it tastes like Kool-Aid,” but that was about the extent of my wine knowledge. My boss has opened my eyes to all kinds of varietals and vintages, and how wonderfully wine can pair with food and company.

     
  9. Cat Wrangler
    I only wore this hat one time, over Christmas 2015, when Jameson the Silver Mackerel Tabby decided to eat, what is to this day, a mystery piece of green plastic. J.T. the Mama Cat was traveling and much to Jameson’s chagrin, I had to catch her, put her into cat carrier (which she despises more than anything), and take her to the vet. She didn’t speak to me for a while, but we’re okay now.

     
  10. It’s a Secret
    Sorry, I’m sworn not to talk about this one just yet . . . but it’s pretty freaking cool.



Thus ends my tour of the hat closet. And before you say it, I know: I hit the job lottery. 

I’m going to start shedding my Phantom persona, and you may see me a bit more often around here, talking about life behind the scenes (shelves?) as an author assistant, my favorite tools, and maybe even TV (because, y’all, I love TV—I love it so much). If you’ve got something you want to ask, feel free! Leave me a comment below, and I’ll take a blog post and answer it sometime.

See you later!
Amy/The Kerr