Terry Brooks, The Dark Side

Okay, that title is a bait and switch. Terry Brooks doesn’t have a dark side. Well, he’s not pretty when he’s mad, but he only gets mad for good reason, and I take good care not to be one of those reasons, so I’m here to tell you, Terry Brooks is not only a scholar and a gentleman, he’s a cupcake.

We all just spent the weekend at the Surrey International Writers Conference (or the Surrey Writers International Conference, I’m a little fuzzy on the details) which was a lot of fun, not just because the conference was well-organized,–although it was, very–but because there were such good people there. Like Terry and Judine Brooks. And Don and Carol McQuinn. And Jo Beverley and Don Maass and. . .

And it occurs to me that I really should get some friends who aren’t in the publishing industry. The thing is, I have to write all the time, and then, as part of the career, I go to writers conferences, so it’s pretty much publishing 24/7. Which can be a very good thing because there are so many good people out there, like the Brookses and the McQuinns and a terrific writer named Brooke, who showed up for her fifteen-minute critique appointment and said, “I love your books. Can we just make out?’ And you know, there just aren’t enough people who ask me that. So I said yes.

Where was I? Right. Surrey. So all I do is write and all I see are writers, but then I get to see the country, too, right? Or in this case, Canada? Well, no. I love British Columbia but I didn’t get to see much of it since it was all airports, highways, and hotels, your basic conference experience. Next year Bob and I are going to fly into Seattle and see people there (more writers, but enough name-dropping already) and then drive up because it’s supposed to be two and a half hours of gorgeous scenery with a time-out to get strip-searched by Customs at the border. Bob and I are pretty sure we can make two and a half hours in a car together without killing each other, although if he shows up at the Surrey hotel next year without me, do not believe any stories about me deciding to leave the trip halfway through, I will have been shoved out along the highway, screaming. Probably on the Canadian side; he’ll wait until after the strip search, just for the entertainment value.

So it’s always writers, which is probably not healthy but is definitely fun because we talk about work and about each other—here’s a surprise, writers gossip—and the big news this year was that Bob flew in early to do a master class and somebody stole his laptop. Because he’s Bob, he’d backed up everything onto the hard drive before he left, so he didn’t lose anything except a very nice Mac G4, but to add insult to injury, they took his teaching notes, too. And I realize later, a lot of rash e-mails from me that I am now praying will not end up on the internet. No, not that kind. The kind where I sob and scream that my career is over. The kind where I rage at Bob for something he’s done that was bad but not that bad. The kind where I say indiscreet things about people who are not Terry Brooks. That kind. But I’m pretty sure he doesn’t save my e-mails. Hell, he doesn’t even read most of them, especially the long ones. I can say obscene and terrifying things to him, and as long as I put them in the second paragraph, he’ll e-mail back and say, “OK.” For a while he was saying “PK” which drove me crazy because I didn’t know what it meant until he explained that it was a typo for “OK.” I figured it was arcane Special Forces code. It was quite a letdown.

Where was I? Right, in Surrey with Terry Brooks. Terry gave a great keynote about finding time to write. He was pretty vehement about it. He also asked the room to sing Happy Birthday to Bob (it was his birthday Friday) which I had NOTHING to do with. Much. My keynote ripped off Chris Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey, but I said it was a rip-off and mentioned Chris’s name loudly, so I think that makes it okay. And Bob compared writing to jumping out of an airplane and it was damn good. The best part about all three was that we all sat at the same table so we could heckle. And in Bob’s case, whine, because there was a program when I did my keynote because the awards had been given the night before so they printed up the winners for the night I spoke, which meant there was a piece of paper that said, “Keynote: Jennifer Crusie.” Bob decided if he didn’t get a program with his name on it, he wasn’t doing his keynote the next morning. I wasn’t worried; Bob has the short term memory of a fruit fly. Sure enough, the next morning he got up there and wowed the crowd even though there was no program. My writing partner: I think I’ll keep him.

So I got to talk to a lot of great people about their books and have breakfast with ten Cherries and brainstorm more of Agnes on Sunday afternoon, and now I’m home and I have to finish Trudy and write Agnes’s first scene and collage Mare and get Charlotte organized. So basically, it’s still writing and writers, 24/7. Fortunately for me, that’s a damn good life and a damn good bunch of people.

Especially Terry Brooks, who is wonderful. No dark side at all. Really.

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26 thoughts on “Terry Brooks, The Dark Side

  1. Holy Cannolli, I get to make the first snark… erm, comment. I shall bask.

    Okay, enough basking.

    Welcome back. Having a writing partner with the short-term memory of a fruit fly is a Good Thing. It’s all about plausible deniability, baby. And hell, if you wanted somebody to ask you to make out, why didn’t you say so? I’ll even wear cherry-flavored lipgloss.

  2. After the SiWC, I tried to recreate your speech at the SiWC to my sister and best friend but somehow, it wasn’t quite the same. I blame this on:

    1) lack of Bob as counterpoint and,
    2) no podium upon which to declare myself a goddess.

  3. Do they serve drinks in Canada with little umbrellas in them in? If not, they should have. Especially since you didn’ get to sightsee!

    I think they should sell the conference tapes for comedy value as well as for the information. I would love to see you heckle Bob.

    Welcome Home!

  4. Is the whole Terry Brooks thing reverse psychology? Or am I fall for the siren song of paranoia? Because now I’m sure TB is the root of all evil, planning to take over the world….You keep saying he’s so nice and I’m thinking whatever you drank in BC is still in your system.LOL

  5. I’m so pleased to hear that you’re planning to come back to Surrey next year. Not only because you’re a great speaker, but because I can use your presence as leverage to get a writing friend to attend.

    Cate

  6. You have no idea how glad I am that you had a new post today. Thanks…I really needed that!

    Want to make out?

  7. I’m not gay, but heck, if you’d critique 30 pages of my manuscript, I’d makeout with you too!! Or Bob for that matter!

  8. whew! I may not make out, but i am willing to settle for soem cuddling..that may sound creepy considering that this is my first post in your forum. I have been a fan for a long time, and just recently got back rave reviews from my absentee best friend, who had decided in her four month summer vacation in kenya was giving up reading romance, and it was only intellectual stuff for her (she is currently reading the Bhagavat Gita for pure intellectual purposes); like i am sure any one of you, I merely laughed and called her a snob, and handed her a copy of Bet Me. Don’t worry, I got her back on our side.
    This post was meant more as a thank you to you Ms. Crusie for keeping me entertained until your next book gets released, and also preventing me from pulling my hair out during my crazed midterm week, (what in God’s name possessed me to go back to school to get another degree, I’ll never know…I secretly blame the water up here in Canada, it’s not right to put too much flouride into our taps). Glad you enjoyed the airports out in BC, next time try to come into Ontario. You have quite a few fans out here too, who would be willing to break into your hotel room just to worship the ground you walk on.

  9. Jenny you really have to see more of BC next time you come up, but on the bright side you came to Vancouver and it didn’t even rain here the whole weekend. You’re luckier than most. Also to whoever asked sadly we are rather lacking in umbrella enhanced drinks up here, but we do have really good beer 🙂

  10. I knew I wanted to go to Surrey, but I didn’t know it was that outrageous. First, I read an agent’s blog saying that someone, as part of their pitch, offered to show them her boobs. Now, you post that someone offered to make out with you. What’s in the water up there?

    Heh. I bet Bob is wishing he’d been on the receiving end of either/both of those offers. Maybe next year.

  11. You’ll have to keep all us Vancouver-ites posted as to when you’re coming up here. We’ll be your groupies.

    The speech was amazing. For the life of me, I can’t even begin to repeat it, but I wish WISH WISH WISH that I had it on tape so I could replay it and laugh and be inspired.

  12. Hello there. Um, you know Brooke Chapman up there? The one who said she loves your books and tried to make out with you? Well I would like the record to show that a) it was me who introduced her to your fabulous books (ithankyew) and b) even though she is an internet friend, I have seen a picture and she is totally hot, you should have gone for it.

    That is all.

  13. Dang. I woke up early on Saturday morning with no real purpose to the day, and so (as usual) I started wasting time on the ‘net, only to read that you were going to be at the Surrey conference, and that’s only like 35 minutes away from where I live and I had *totally* planned to attend this year and had even started socking a little money away to pay for it, but then August/September/October kinda blurred into each other at work, and I haven’t done much writing because my job sucks the life out of me, and then I woke up early on Saturday morning to find out that you were going to be at the conference ….

    Maybe next year I’ll manage to make it. If I write little reminders to myself starting in freaking May, and try not to let my job suck the life out of me. Oh yeah, and try to get back to my writing more seriously.

    And seriously, next year you’ve *got* to get out of Surrey and see some sights. I’m just saying. Vancouver & area is pretty nice. Not that I see much of it, with a job that sucks the life …

    — Bonz

  14. Back off, everyone, she’s mine!

    (This is Brooke, writing under the name Georgia on the blog Odious Woman.)

    Jennifer, I have told every single person I know about you. Thank you so much for your encouragement and for not, you know, fleeing or anything; that would have been so awkward.

    Eileen and I are both still very much in the bubble, amazed at your generosity, and how flat-out funny you are (we *so* should have known), and how lucky we were to have met you.

    Oh! Speaking of whom, she’s sending the MS today. Don would kill her if she didn’t.

    ELATED you are coming to Seattle. Please let me ply you and Bob with drinks and then forget to pay.

  15. Oh! And Sarah totally introduced me to your books. I cannot imagine what I did for fun before “Faking It,” which is still my all-time favorite. Davy Dempsey: DAMN. I can totally see the Robert Downey Jr. thing.

  16. Hi Jennifer, welcome back! Being a roofer and a writer, I spend quite a bit of time writing hot sex scenes in sweaty diners with lots of construction people around me. Unfortunately, unlike in romances, you don’t want to make out with these stinky males.

  17. You’re coming to Seattle? When? Can I carry your bags? Anything at all? Hey, I live down the street from a chocolate factory… can I ply you with chocolate?

  18. I would not say that the drive from Seattle to Vancouver is particularly gorgeous scenery – unless you take the ferry over to Whidbey and go over Deception Pass and up Chuckanut Drive. If you just go I-5 you are quite likely to enjoy traffic from one end of the trip to the other.

    Holly

  19. Don’t worry about only knowing writers. I’ve just realized the only people I know are writers, actors, and investment bankers. Of the three, I’ll take writers anyday.

  20. I thought there was nothing funnier than Jenny Crusie books. Then I read her blog.

    I love your books. Wanna make out?

  21. Slightly off point but I just read the blurb about “Anyone but You” which I somehow seemed to have missed the first time around and I am so excited! The first Jenny Crusie novel that I read was “Fast Women” and I loved the oh-so-real dachshund. I can’t wait to meet Fred.

  22. So glad you are back and blogging. I got nothing done while checking your site several times a day.
    The pictures are great. I can’t wait to see the one that was picked after rejecting #1.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

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