State of the Collaboration: Two in One Manuscript

So as you may know, Bob Mayer and I are collaborating on another series. Some people ask, “How do you do that?” (Other people ask, “WHY do you do that?” but I’m ignoring them for now.) Basically we swap the manuscripts back and forth, agreeing on who has the master, the other person often writing scenes off the master that can be inserted later. Then we start the second book, so we have two books going at once, going back to the first book to retcon characters and information. It’s all very organized and we never get confused.

Yeah, okay, I lied. Here’s what happened when we were swapping Rocky Start and Very Nice Funerals back and forth:

We’re all straightened out now. I’m sure this will never happen again.

73 thoughts on “State of the Collaboration: Two in One Manuscript

  1. I was just in Audible hoping to find audio books of Liz Danger (hope, hope). When I put in “Jennifer Crusie” I found five audiobooks. The website suggested I look for “Jennifer Cruise” books. There were 15 of yours. Hmmm. Maybe that should be fixed!

    Also, yes, write the updates on the Temptation/Goodnight gang. With lots of updates on the original couples, please! Thanks!

    1. The Liz books are scheduled to be out from Brilliance in February. Just signed the contract today.

      I’ll get on the Audible thing. ARGH. Thank you.

      1. on Goodreads too, though it seems to have both. I misspelled and was shocked that there were only 45 reviews but then the details sank in
        Bet on Me
        by Jennifer Cruise

        Welcome to Temptation (Jennifer Crusie 2004) by Cruise, Jennifer
        by Jennifer Cruise
        has 33,308 ratings
        That seems worth fixing. If it’s easy, don’t let a time sink steal your day! It does have your right name in there.

        1. It’s my fault for choosing such a difficult pseudonym. It was my grandmother’s maiden name.

      2. Audiobooks! This is excellent!

        Shass! Over here!! February!!!

        (Sorry about all the exclamation points, I got a bit overexcited.)

  2. I really want a book of these. I don’t know if it makes any sense for the two of you financially to do one but I would really love it.

  3. This gave me chills because it made me remember work documents with changes input by a dozen people. Brrrrr.

  4. This is totally on the wrong day but please help me out. I need lightweight, non-stupid and non-gory tv to watch following my 7th surgery in 4 days. Eyes and mind won’t concentrate enough to read. Help me please, Argh Family.

    1. Friends is about as lightweight as you can get. All these articles on Matthew Perry are reminding me of how funny he was.
      Golden Girls, although I haven’t seen it in years.
      Leverage is wonderful; caper show about five grifters who make a team and then a family. Fast and funny. The pilot is an absolute joy.
      Early Arrow is fun; comic book show about a tortured hero and the sunny IT girl he meets around Episode Three.
      If you like SF, Doctor Who is great, especially the Eccleston/Tennant/Smith years.
      For something a little grimmer, Person of Interest is amazing.
      I’ve been sedating myself with Numb3rs, an FBI/cop show that’s very much about family and team as family.
      And I always had a good time with Grimm, a supernatural monster-of-the-week show, that’s lighter than it sounds although possibly too violent for where you are now.

      1. Putting in a little brag here. My niece is the person they modeled the female math whizz on. The male math whizz’s friend. Only my niece is even mathier.

      2. Agreed on those, though Person of Interest has a high body count. Very high. It’s almost cartoonist though, it happens so fast.
        Baby Sitters Club is surprisingly quite amusing.

        1. I think they’d lived there forever, since the two grown men were babies.

          There was an episode in the first season when the father decided to sell the house because it was his retirement, and the mathematician son bought it with his savings from doing consulting work and from awards, and since he was in his thirties and internationally known, doing a lot of work for the government with a high security clearance, I bought that he could have saved that much.

    2. I second Leverage.

      Other options, the Librarian both the movies and the series.

      I love Great British Bake Off both the amateurs and professionals. There are spin off from other countries as well, plus The Great British Sewing Bee, and The Great pottery Throw down. An American show that’s similar but more competitive is Blown Away – a glass blowing competition.

      Psych is a fun, lighthearted cozy mystery series.

      Chuck was good too. A spy / computer nerd series. Which reminds me of Big Bang Theory as another option.

      1. Kelly, you’ve got all my fav series in there. The bake off/sewing bee/ throw down is brilliant!!!
        Maybe also buffy (I onlamyreally liked seasons 1-6, 7 was a let down imo).
        Heartstopper (iy you don’t mind YA and lgbtqia+),
        Queer Eye, sex education, Derry Girls.
        Also Indian Matchmaking is somehow addictive.
        Hime for christmas (Norwegian) is lovely and NOT saccharine. Hhe Italian remake is not the same (oney sees the cultural differences clearly).

        1. The IT Crowd is my fave! It helps that I am a systems administrator and really want to use some of their quips on a daily basis!!

          1. When I ran a shop full of (mostly technology impaired) artists and they called me at home with issues, I always wanted to say, “Have you tried turning it on and off again? Are you sure it’s plugged in?”

      2. All my favourites too. Doc Martin is another British series. Also a good palette cleaner before bed.

    3. Schmigadoon, Ted Lasso, Frasier,(the old one which also have lots of fun call in cameos), Antiques Roadshow, Community, Newhart

    4. We watch one episode of something scary, gory and then I demand something less certain not to follow me into dreams.
      We’ve worked our way through all of Columbo. Implied gore only and it was interesting to see their take on “the latest technology”. Sometime you see actors that became famous, or that were at the time. Watching William Shatner as a playing the star of a TV detective show interacting with Columbo was a hoot. I found him annoying on original star trek but his style was perfect for this. tvinsider had a page of (some very) famous guest stars.
      These days we sometimes watch Murder She Wrote. Or Star Trek: Lower Decks, that has it’s moments.

      1. Thinking about “easy” video more. I thought of a reason I fall back to old stuff to relax. Speed. TV, video in general seems to get faster and faster. I love Dr Who, Leverage … I like the fast talking, that’s how I talk.
        The slower pace of older video is easier to follow. I can crochet, glancing down frequently, and still not miss anything. So I’m more relaxed at the end of an old show.
        Episode of Murder She Wrote and then sleep works. Episode of Dr Who is more likely to lead to binge watching until late at night.

        1. mmm, my examples of “modern” are _how_ old? Seems like all the newer things I’ve watched lately lean towards horror and blood. Though most of our list here is not recent. Huh.

    5. Call My Agent (but it’s in French with subtitles) and Gilmore Girls, if they haven’t been mentioned. Gilmore Girls got me through the worst if my house-buying trauma. Do hope you feel better very soon.

    6. The Ellery Queen series from the 1970s with Jim Hutton. Just one season but 26 episodes or so. Very lightweight, more humor than the books.

      If you’re into old radio, the Ellery Queen radio broadcasts (some but not all were recorded and are free online) are fun in a different way.

    7. Are you allowed to laugh? Because Fisk is very silly. If you then decide that you like Kitty Flanagan, the audio book of “488 Rules For Life” is good, because there’s no plot to remember, just each rule with her chatting about them. Imagine several hours of gentle standup.

      Honestly, it is hilarious, but I seem to have made it sound dull 🤷

    8. You can watch Frasier if you like humour about psychologists, family, radio & the most adorable dog – Eddie.

      You can watch Seinfeld if you want to binge with lots of humour but no long, intricate storylines.

      Psych – has murder without it being graphic and its pretty light.

      Shakespeare & Hathaway if you want a cozy murder mystery with unusual cases & gorgeous countryside settings. Its visually stunning & soothing.

      What we do in the shadows is about vampires living in the modern world – their crazy antics to adjust & the toll immortality takes on them.

      Modern family, The Nanny, Yes Minister & the IT crowd.

    9. I don’t know if you can access old BBC series, and like some older British humor?
      I liked the old BBC series of Yes minister/Yes prime minister (civil service/politicians humor), The Good life, and To the manor born (though rewatching that makes me cringe for how badly Penelope regularly treats her best female friend, so condescending).

      The picture films of Hayako Miyazaki are lovely.

      Old Hepburn films (both Audrey and Katherine) are fun, as are old Doris Day movies; and I love the Fred Astaire dance movies, several Gene Kelly films, and such old films laced with music, songs, dances and humor can be very relaxing.

          1. Oh, god, yes. The US version was horrible.
            Same with Life on Mars. Why they remake British TV for the US mystifies me. The original shows are so good and the remakes make no sense in our context.
            Thank god they never remade Doctor Who.

      1. Used to love the Doris Day films, but the sexism is rife, and I just couldn’t hack it anymore.

    10. Good omens and Jury Duty on Amazon prime.
      Ted Lasso on Apple plus
      Leverage is amazing. Not sure where to watch it right now the app Tubi has a lot of free movies with ads some of which are really fun.
      Praying for your rapid healing.

    11. When I was recovering from lung surgery, Bugs Bunny and company cartoons saved my life. They are funny, easily followed and only 6 minutes long. And the best ones can be watched over and over again without getting tedious,

    12. If you need an hour of Zen, Monty Don’s Gardeners World. Current season ends with next week’s show, and I refuse to countenance that decision. That cannot be allowed. Of course, there’s the Facebook page and I imagine Instagram.

      All those surgeries! You have a lot of healing sleep to do.

      1. “an hour of Zen” triggered memory. Bob Ross. He paints, slowly and peacefully and is available on youtube. I think the original idea was that you could paint along with him. This is so slow I have a hard time watching for long. But I can imagine it being excellent when you just need something to look at. The most sick I ever was I spent hours looking at the painting on my wall. Moving paint would have been fascinating.

  5. Thank you for this post! I really needed a chuckle! Glad it’s all figured out & Bob only wasted 20 minutes. 😄

    1. Yes. A very funny post. It’s bedtime for me on my side of the world when the argh ink post comes in, so I went to bed chuckling over the banter 🤣. Can’t wait for more books from Jenny and Bob.

  6. It’s six o’clock in the morning and I’m giggling. Thank you!
    Generally a grumpy time of day for me, worse since it’s “still up at”.
    Insomnia, sigh.

  7. Your silliness makes my day. That part of Bob’s where it is in red ink and tiny print is unreadable for me. Oh, the drama! Thanks for sharing, and may your death beds be decades away.

    1. The part in red ink is a screen capture of a page of the ms. with my changes in red. He was showing me an old version because that’s the one I sent him.

  8. God you people are funny! (No wonder you write such great books.) I have done a lot of collaborative writing. Nothing ever as funny as that.

  9. Opps, should have clarified that reply, are the Liz Danger books coming to audible? That was what I meant to ask

    1. I actually don’t know. Brilliance is doing them. Does Audible sell Brilliance tapes? Audible is Amazon, right?
      I am clueless about how audio works.

  10. On a much smaller scale – my ex husband was an artist – I write, amongst other things, poetry. In my mind artistically it was a match made in heaven. I would write poetry, he would illustrate chapbooks.

    In reality, we fought horribly throughout 2 chapbooks. I wasn’t happy with either of them. I don’t even know if they exist anymore. No. Big. Loss.

    Your collaboration sounds like so much more fun. And it produces great results we all enjoy!

    So keep giving each other ptsd & giving us snark filled laughs!

    And let’s hope your deathbeds are very far away. Just think, you could be centenarians putting out best sellers!

  11. P.S. I asked this in the Happiness comment thread and didn’t get a response. I’m desperate so asking again here:

    I appeal to the lovers of TENTACLE PORN here. Can you give me an example of a good novel written that readers of this type of (I say this affectionately) ‘smut’ enjoy?

    I need a good one to reference in my current wip.

    1. I can’t refer you to a novel. But I read this webcomic, see. Freefall. One of the main characters is Sam, a space alien with tentacles. He doesn’t thrive in an oxygen atmosphere, so he is nearly always in a breathing mask and environmental suit. Sex… I don’t remember any. Just innuendo and implied congress.

  12. I am so thrilled that the Liz Danger series is coming to audiobooks. I assume that brilliance offers wide distribution. I got off audible, and went to Findaway booksbecause I got wide distribution, including libraries. I kept the narrator who did my original audible versions of the books. And she produced them.
    I did look for audiobooks from the library for your books, Jen, but I don’t think I saw many.
    I will look again. Happy Halloween and may you never mix up your versions again. Talk about nightmares!

  13. I am a really big audiobook person (I was listening to Maybe This Time again, the narrator on that is Angela Dawe and she’s great). If audible doesn’t have them I’m sure I can find it somewhere, good news that the Liz Danger series is going to done.

    1. Bob picked the narrator, Cris Dukehart, I believe. I can’t remember the name of the male narrator because Bob does all of that and it takes all my attention trying to remember what doc I’m working on.

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