Sunday Notes

I finally went to take the office picture and couldn’t find my phone. Then I wandered off.

Happiness post is up at ReFab and this one has very short videos of a rescued baby fox. Go there for your moment of happiness when they release her into the wild again.

Seven thousand words of a WiP (discovery draft of the beginning) of Haunting Alice are up on website for a limited time. Don’t tell people because it’s a rough draft and only those of you who have been through the process here (so many times) will understand that it’s unfinished and just discovery stuff. I may never get back to it, but this way you get to see Alice as an adult. Okay, yes, I’m feeling guilty about that office photo.

90 thoughts on “Sunday Notes

  1. I’m a lurker, but I had to come out of lurking to tell you how very awesome that was, especially because I read Maybe This Time just last night. Thank you so much!

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  2. I love it. I am going to reread it several times while it is up. My only quibble is that Nadine sounds sharper than she did in Faking it. Of course, she is twenty years older so that could account for it.

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  3. Thank you! I really like the opening scene with Betty. And a lepidopterist–this is an unusual profession. Alice’s butterflies and Ethan’s magic–I like the combination and can see visual possibilities.

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  4. I love this. The characters just leap off the page. There already is an interesting tension between Alice and Ethan. The plot is great. Wow.

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  5. It really is terrific — snappy, snarky, alert. You can already start to see what Ethan and Alice offer each other and how they are going to be inexorably drawn to each other despite their better judgment, which (for me) is critical to answering the “do I want to keep reading to see what happens to these characters?” question. Easily one of the best (scenes from) novels I’ve read this year.

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    1. Ditto! Also the part where Nadine said, picking the sprinkles off a chocolate-iced doughnut.” Such a fun call back to Faking It when she completely freaked out Davy talking about Simon being a doughnut with sprinkles. Thank you Jenny!

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  6. Yay! Alice and Ethan and Nadine and Carter and Dennis, and even a little Bad. While I know it a draft, it’s a fun draft that shows personality, and sets up events. If I could pick a lane for you, I’d pick Haunting Alice and Finding Nadine. Cause I’d like to see what those crazy kids get up to.

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  7. Fun. I like Ethan. Thank you!

    Possibly too many characters, because I want to know about Stanley and Kimberley but then we are yanked off to the law office and it’s a new story line now.

    I want to know more of Alice.

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  8. Ditto what Holly said: You are good. So, so good. And it’s still a discovery draft, wow.

    I’m torn about reading these drafts. There’s so much to learn and see how they’ve developed, but it’s a glimpse of characters that I loved as they were, and now they’ve changed, and I want more and may never get it.

    But of course I’m going to savor every word. Thank you.

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  9. THANK YOU! What a great gift for a rainy (finally) Sunday. I so enjoy these characters, and rough drafts from you are both educational and enjoyable. Yippee!

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  10. I’m begging you–please write the rest of this book. Please, please, please, I’ll bake you cookies, please, please, please.

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    1. Yes- What Deborah said. I really would love to look forward to any new Crusie to read, but the Haunting Alice/Finding Nadine would be well a dozen doughnuts with sprinkles on top. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  11. Oh, that was fun to read! I would definitely love to read more, but I would also love to read the Nita and Nick book. Write the one you enjoy the most, as both are terrific.

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  12. Dear Jenny, Thanks a lot I loved it. I wish you could write all the drafts to conclusion.

    I know very selfish of me. Back to lurkdom.

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  13. I loved this! I love returning to all these characters! โค

    Regardless of what you choose to continue working on, I just love your writing!

    I am on to episode four of PoI. So far, I’m not feeling huge character/relationship development, but I shall continue. Interesting point, my sister caught episode two and got hooked, so I explained about the machine. Her theory, and maybe stop reading in case of… theory spoilers, I guess, but she thinks Finch is himself the Machine! And I’ve been thinking about this more, and I could, from a season one, episode four point of view, see the possibility…. Anywho, that’s my two cents, since I will be avoiding all blog posts about PoI like the plague until I catch up!

    Cheers! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. PoI was a very slow start for me, too. I hung in there because I had been told that season two would really hook me, but that the setup from one would be worthwhile. I did really enjoy seasons two and three, but haven’t seen four yet. I was watching one episode a day while exercising and burnt myself out a bit.

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      1. Ok, see, that’s good to know, because I’m starting to feel underwhelmed. I’m mostly watching because there’s such high recommendation here. But, I will at least give it season one!

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  14. This brightened a gloomy day for me. Grownup Ethan is an interesting guy. hope to read the whole story.

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  15. You want to cease writing *THIS* slice of screwball excellence?! I’m totally into the synergy of these characters. I realize plot bedevils you, but the way you write dialog all I need is heaping big servings of dialog. What? Characters have to say stuff about stuff, maybe even evolving action stuff which impacts … oh.

    Earlier this week, after reading the devilish plot and while washing dishes, thoughts came of where the plot could go from what you’d given us. While musing, I had a breakthrough: red herrings I envisioned for your plot could totally be transferred to my (stalled) mystery plot.

    Could elements from the devilish plot transfer to the HAUNTING ALICE book? Perhaps? Maybe? I mean, *squee*.

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  16. I can’t even. I already started to tear up when Dennis showed up. Alice! Ethan! Nadine (Nadine, you’re an assssss)! Dennis!

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  17. Thank you so much for posting this, even though you had to know it would unleash a storm of squee and begging (to which I add my own SQUEE and pleaseplease someday please finish this!).

    You do such a nice job of balancing humor and intensity, of making the moment fun while still driving the story forward.

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  18. For what it’s worth, I really loved Haunting Alice! Great characters, great story, great layers!

    Thank you for posting it. It made my weekend.

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  19. Thank you thank you thank you. It was so great to see Dennis again. Alice and Ethan, too, obviously, but I have a soft spot for Dennis. Definitely made me want the rest of the book, and it also made me curious about that missing scene where Carter and Nadine meet. Alice and Nadine were so much fun as kids, I really want to see what they’re up to as adults.

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  20. I know that wonderful writers have high, high standards for their work. As an Average Josephine reader, however, it’s sometimes a puzzle. Give Average Jo your funny, eccentric characters, a hint of a plot and she’s smiling. Average Jo is thrilled to hear from Alice, Ethan, Nadine, Carter, North, Isolde and Dennis again. She’s missed them. They make her happy, even in just a couple of chapters. I mean, Oingo Boingo and wrecking ball earrings….how do you not know, even before re-writes and plotting and turning points, that you’re a national treasure?

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  21. Really fun read! It was great seeing Alice, Carter, North, and Dennis, and Nadine and Ethan again.

    Thank you for sharing it! I was wishing I had something short to read before bedtime (because starting a book at midnight does not typically end well). This was perfect! Of course, now I’m wondering where the money is, what the other parapsychologist is up to, and if Kimberley knows anything useful. (and how she died. Betty didn’t know she was there, so Betty didn’t kill her. What happened?) I’m not sure there’s any book piece you can show me that I wouldn’t want to read the rest of, but I would really enjoy reading more of this one.

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  22. Guilt is destructive and probably not healthy. You’ll post a pic of the office next week. Or you won’t. I will still respect and admire you either way.
    Loved the taste of Alice and company.

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    1. Actually, I’d rather she posted another WiP next week instead of the office picture. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  23. THIS IS EXCELLENT!!!!!!!!!! As far as I’m concerned, you could keep it all as is, “draft” or no draft. Marvelous magic. Everyone’s sparky and snarky and great and I love it and please keep going with this!

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  24. Thank you all very much.

    I like the characters, too, but I haven’t worked on this in months. Not giving up on it, just not working on this one. I don’t think it’s fully in my head yet. So maybe later. It was fun to write, though.

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  25. I can see why you don’t want to give up on this one. Fantastic! I would really like to see Ethan stop moping over unrequited love and get what he deserves (because as everyone said in Faking It, he is a really good kid). I love all these different elements — butterflies, magic, ghosts. And I love the way you’ve woven them into a great beginning.

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  26. Reading the Haunting Alice piece actually hurt a bit. Seeing the characters as adults has worked into my brain and now I’m imagining what they’d do next.

    You write people I’d like to know in real life. Some of your people are similar to people I have chosen to befriend.

    Re-reading your books is an experience of visiting old, influential, friends. Crazy For You informed so much of my approach to life. Welcome to Temptation helped me deal with recalcitrant people. Faking It and Bet Me helped me to be unapologetic about being the truest version of myself. Agnes and MTT worked on my mind, too, but in different ways as they came when I was older.

    I truly hope that somehow you are able to tell Alice’s and Nadine’s stories. I have young people who I’d love to share them with. And that, right there, is why I’m firmly in the HauntingStealing camp with what I want you to write, even tho’ I promised to back off on “write another damn book, Crusie” because Neil Gaiman taught us “GeorgeRRMartinIsNotMyBitch.”

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  27. Oh, and Happy Human Rights Day in South Africa.

    It’s a day where we commemorate the sacrifice so many made for our Freedom as it is the anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre. When people ask, “what’s the fuss about talking a bit of racism?” show them links to apartheid-era human rights injustices.

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  28. Still working my way through my read of this draft, but I had to come back and say —

    โ€œHey. You of all people, making fun of magicians?โ€
    โ€œIโ€™m a scientist,โ€ Alice said, annoyed.
    โ€œYou talk to ghosts.โ€
    โ€œYou donโ€™t believe that.โ€
    His smile grew wider and lazier, if that was possible. โ€œConvince me.”

    This was the exact moment that I stopped rooting for Alice alone as the excellent judgmental protagonist she grew up into, and started rooting for the Alice-and-Ethan combo. Thank you for putting this up, and I hope you come back to it some other day!

    That being said, weird note, but I’m pretty sure a scene noted Clea as human whipped cream in Faking It, and it’s terrifying to imagine a Clea-Nadine crossover.

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    1. I did use that phrase before, so it’ll come out if I ever get this out of draft stage.
      In early drafts, I don’t obsess over stuff like that. If I did, I’d never get past the first scene.

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  29. This was so great, thank you. I love the characters already, adult Ethan is going to be wonderful.

    I read this blog as one of my daily ‘rewards’ for focusing on work for a ‘reasonable’ period ( a changing definition), and here in New Zealand (about 17 hours ahead of Ohio) I get withdrawals on Mondays. This was The Best Monday morning tea suprise ever.

    Good luck for the office – although I’d count organising your WiP headspace as at least as important as organising physical floorspace ๐Ÿ™‚ I might be bias.

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  30. I’ve been working on The Demon’s in the Details for seven months and there’s not a page in it that’s as engaging as any random page in this thing you think isn’t good enough.

    One thing we have in common (trying to cheer myself up here) is that our early drafts are all dialogue.

    Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t just love the sound of my own voice. I love the sound of all voices. (Okay, not all. But all the ones I allow in my head.)

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    1. Never compare yourself to anybody else.
      Any time I do that, I despair.
      Then I remember that nobody else can write my stories. Nobody else can write yours.
      I really do think a lot of my problems finishing are just despair that what I’m doing is so bad. Which has to stop. Of course, it’s bad, it’s a draft. Despair after the book is published, that’s the ticket.

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      1. Jenny-
        You are my favorite writer period! I do a re-read of your stuff, and have read everything by Lani and thankfully Krissie/Anne has a huge catalog that I have started to work through. However it is not just the smart funny stories that you write that puts you on the top of my list. You are a family treasure. I was able to introduce your books to my sister, my mom, and when my daughter got old enough, her too.

        You also played a huge part in a family reconciliation. Back when Maybe This Time came out, my daughter and I were basically not speaking. My sister was not speaking to me because of the daughter situation. I went to your book appearance at Anderson’s Bookshops in Naperville. I got you to sign a copy of Bet Me for my daughter, as it was coming up on her birthday (the day before yours) and got the book to my daughter. That was the turning point for my daughter and myself. You were also kind and funny when signing my mom’s book – and for both of those things I am eternally grateful.

        So- long winded way to tell you please do not despair – you are a fabulous writer and your writing has lasting impact!

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  31. thank you thank you thank you
    Haven’t had time to read it yet, but am already thrilled.

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  32. Loved reading about Alice and Ethan! It left me wanting more. guess I’ll have to re-read all the others until you finish this one

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    1. I love Ethan. Love him.

      I do think there is something heartless and cruel about a person who keeps getting me hooked with a draft and then . . . gives me no more.

      I want more. I need more. I ache for more. (And it’s all about me, me, me.)

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        1. No. You should put up a different WiP every day of the week. Definitely. I didn’t need to do that spring cleaning anyway.

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        2. If this is a democratic decision, I vote YES for more WIPs!

          I think Sue is just expressing a delighted feeling of mild masochism. So, if you could choose one that ups the donut content by about 10 percent and include some mild bondage, we masochists wouldn’t just be delighted, we’d be quivering like jelly!

          BTW, and totally tangential, is “donut” really how we are spelling things these days? I got the new English textbooks for Japanese learners last week, and that’s how THEY are spelling it. It seems so unusual for a Japanese textbook publisher to explore the leading edge of the English language. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Mr. Donuts, now that’s OK. That’s advertising. But in a textbook?? God, I feel like a fogey.

          But it’s “doughnuts.” Or is it? I’m going to be worrying about it all day.

          This doesn’t help. http://time.com/2837756/donut-or-doughnut/

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          1. I have to admit, that one seems egregious. The whole idea of “dough” shortened to “do” hits me about as well as “u” instead of “you.”
            Of course, I am an Old. Get off of my lawn.

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          2. I don’t know why it hit me so hard. I love leet (l33t?) and clever typography as language. Emoji can really hit the spot, too.

            Maybe it’s a matter of register. “Donut” doesn’t feel like it belongs in a textbook for second language learners. Only words that have been in the dictionary for 50 years are allowed. Which is a really silly attitude, and one I’ve railed against. (One beloved textbook phrase is “treasure”. As in, “This keychain is my treasure.” It’s beloved because it sounds Japanese, and someone in 1850 used it that way in English, so it must be OK . . . sigh.)

            OK, I will work through this. Donut is in the dictionary as a variant, and it has been around for 100 years, and it’s something the kids actually see in a Japanese setting. So, it’s OK. It is really OK. I just have to wrap my head around it and enjoy the subversiveness of it. (But if Disney makes it into the next series of textbooks, I may go find a cave and learn to be a culture hermit.)

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          3. You know, if the idea is to make the English conversational, then “donut” make sense.
            I actually like the idea of “treasure;” it is old-fashioned, but it’s so lovely.

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          4. Oh sure, a different WiP every week is both fabulous and pure torture! What happens to these characters? “I gots to know.”

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          5. They all end happily ever after. They’re Crusie characters.
            Unless they’re bad guys. Bad guys pay.

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          6. In the abstract, I like “treasure” too. It reminds me of adventure! I wish I had the class time to teach kids how to use it sincerely in English. It’d be a cool option for their vocabulary. As it is, it’s default mode for “this is my pencil case, and I love it.” Although, I have to say, I’ve seen some pencil cases that really are treasures of pop art and whimsy. So, maybe the textbook makers aren’t that far off the mark.

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          7. I believe “donut” became a popular variant with the proliferation of Dunkin’ Donuts. Krispy Kreme spells it “doughnut,” so comfort level for each spelling may be regional. Even though, as a Chicagolander, I grew up in Dunkin’ Donut land, I _did_ learn to spell it doughnut. As I learned that the proper word for the thing that catches snot is a “tissue” not a Kleenex. But I was really baffled to come up with the proper word in 3rd grade.
            On a side note about treasures: I used to teach swimming lessons. I had a child of immigrants who was nervous about getting in the water. His mother tenderly cupped his cheek and said, “My dear; I would never let anything happen to you. You are my money.”
            Lost in translation, but a fond memory.

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          8. Julie, it never even crossed my mind as a child that there was another word for Kleenex. Or Q-tip. In my early teens, I was reading through a Writer’s Digest, and Kleenex had sponsored an ad saying, don’t use Kleenex unless you mean Kleenex (TM) brand tissue. “Tissue” was what made up organs! I was a bit miffed at the whole concept. But where I live now, Kleenex is not a popular brand (neither is Q-tip), so I do use tissue automatically. And cotton swab. I do think those boring terms makes my language a bit inauthentic, but . . . that’s what I use.

            (-: I still use aspirin, though. Not willow-based pain reliever or any other sort of non-brand work-around. My liver probably hates me for it, but my knees are grateful. I like the word acetominophin, but can never remember the other common, OTC pain-reliever. Acetominophin . . . mmm, my headache is lifting just a little bit because of the lovely lilt.

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          9. Micki, isn’t aspirin the generic term? I though it was. but yes, I know what you mean. (Ironically, I found out that aspirin does a much better job at clearing my headaches than acetaminophen does. I use it almost exclusively now.)
            And on that note, I love the European word for acetaminophen even more: paracetamol. ๐Ÿ™‚

            I will never give up “Q-tip.”

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          10. Julie, the story I remember is the one this guy is telling: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1995051/

            IIRC, aspirin becoming a generic term that anybody could use was one of the big reasons why Kleenex got their tissue in a twist (and Wite-out, and Q-tip, and all those other big-name household brands). It was originally Bayer Aspirin.

            (-: I like paracetamol as a word, too. But I have to look it up to spell it. Ibuprofen is OK, but for some reason, reminds me of fictional people named Buford.

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  33. Wow — Ethan was a great kid, and Ethan growing up with a reformed Dempsey as a model is a scary attractive idea.

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  34. Thank you for sharing this. I really loved it, and I have high hopes that after you finish with Nick and Nita, you’ll wind up returning to this.

    I’m curious — did you know when you were writing either Faking It or Maybe This Time that you would want to one day return to the kid characters, all grown up? And at what point did you decide to have the characters from one book be the love interests for the characters from the other? Did you keep that in mind as you were writing MTT?

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    1. No, I absolutely did not think about the kids having their own books as adults when I was writing Faking It. The one thing I knew was that Nadine would not end up with Ethan, she’s absolutely right about them being wrong for each other as anything but friends.

      But when I was finished with the rough draft of MTT, the whole thing, I looked at Alice and thought, “She would be interesting grown up.” And that’s when I set it in 1992, so that if I wanted to do an Alice as adult book, it would still be set in a time I knew. It also helped that 1992 was not a good time for cellphones, even though I had that covered by putting them so far into the wilds of Ohio that there was no cellphone coverage. I did not think about the swap between books until I got to the part in my head that said, “Ethan’s a trust fund kid so he could do anything he wanted, and he thinks Davy Dempsey is god, so he wouldn’t become a crook/conman, but he’d be fascinated in that whole skill set, so he’d be a magician.” And I started collecting books about magic and then I thought, “Huh, ghosts and magic,” and I noodled around with the idea of Ethan and Alice and that’s how I got that chunk of text I put up on Sunday. I also have a chunk from an Alice novella, but it’s not anything yet and probably never will be. I just have to write this stuff down when it shows up. Which is why my hard drive is a nightmare of fragments of people talking to each other.

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      1. At least they’re talking to each other, and not sitting off in separate corners, occasionally unstiffening the posture enough to glare across the room at each other.

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  35. Had to de-lurk to tell you how much I loved reading Alice and Ethan and Nadine and carter again. I hope this one becomes real, but if not I understand. Totally worth hearing those voices again. Thanks!

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