Saturday, August 12, 2006


Yesterday, I spent most of my afternoon swearing at someone.

Oh, not to their face. I was here, at my computer, going cross-eyed, trying to fix the *!@*ing mess someone had sent me for the next Spinetingler. Not someone just submitting a story for consideration, but someone submitting their edits back.

Someone who clearly didn't think the submission guidelines were anything more than constructive suggestions, to take or leave at their own discretion.

I've gotten used to it. No matter how many time you say "DON'T DO X" someone will do it.

No matter how many times you say, "WE PAY THROUGH PAYPAL" someone will tell us after their story is printed that they don't have paypal and want a cheque. (Which they won't get, btw. TFB. If we had to get Spinetingler cheques done and incur banking fees on top of postage, we'd spend a lot more money on Spinetingler... and we'd rather raise the rate of pay for the writers. Not to mention occasionally give our editors something for their trouble.)

But then, after grinding my teeth and uttering oaths until I felt fairly certain whatever is left of my soul is safely beyond redemption, I'm reminded of why we do this.

Because when Miss Snark is referencing you alongside some of the best magazines out there and saying she likes you, you realize all that hard work might just help someone land a book deal.

A stepping stone on someone's journey.

I'm glad Miss Snark likes what we do. I know we've worked hard to improve the quality of Spinetingler and to put out the best material we can each issue.

Some days, it feels like a lot of work for no apparent reason. But today, I can go back to these edits with a smile.

Even if someone did indent every paragraph with the space key 5 times instead of using a bleeping tab.

New policy. If that person submits again, they have to send a voodoo doll...

Oh, and there is a fantastic interview with Pari Noskin Taichert. Be sure to check it out!

Did you see the article about same sex marriages?
Right now, I'd settle for a some sex marriage.

(Rescue Me)

Thanks Uncle Charlie

A retired corporate executive, now a widower, decided to take a vacation. He booked himself on a Caribbean cruise and proceeded to have the time of his life, that is, until the ship sank.

He found himself on an island with no other people, no supplies, nothing, only bananas and coconuts.

After about four months, he is lying on the beach one day when the most gorgeous woman he has ever seen rows up to the shore.

In disbelief, he asks, "Where did you come from? How did you get here?"

She replies, "I rowed from the other side of the island. I landed here when my cruise ship sank." > "Amazing," he notes. "You were really lucky to have a row boat wash up with you."

"Oh, this thing?" explains the woman. "I made the boat out of raw material I found on the island. The oars were whittled from gum tree branches. I wove the bottom from palm branches, and the sides and stern came from a Eucalyptus tree."

"But, where did you get the tools?"

"Oh, that was no problem," replied the woman. "On the south side of the island, a very unusual stratum of alluvial rock is exposed. I found if I fired it to a certain temperature in my kiln, it melted into ductile iron..I used that for tools and used the tools to make the hardware."

The guy is stunned.

"Let's row over to my place," she says.

After a few minutes of rowing, she docks the boat at a small wharf.

As the man looks to shore, he nearly falls off the boat. Before him is a stone walk leading to an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and white.

While the woman ties up the rowboat with an expertly woven hemp rope, the man can only stare ahead, dumb struck. As they walk into the house, she says casually, "It's not much, but I call it home. Sit down, please.

Would you like a drink?"

"No! No thank you," he blurts out, still dazed. "I can't take another drop of coconut juice."

"It's not coconut juice," winks the woman. "I have a still. How would you like a Pina Colada?"

Trying to hide his continued amazement, the man accepts, and they sit down on her couch to talk.

After they have exchanged their stories, the woman announces, "I'm going to slip into something more comfortable. Would you like to take a shower and shave? There is a razor upstairs in the bathroom cabinet."

No longer questioning anything, the man goes into the bathroom. There, in the cabinet, a razor made from a piece of tortoise bone. Two shells honed to a hollow ground edge are fastened on to its end inside a swivel mechanism.
"This woman is amazing," he muses. "What next?"

When he returns, she greets him wearing nothing but vines, strategically positioned, and smelling faintly of gardenias. She beckons for him to sit down next to her. "Tell me," she begins suggestively, slithering closer to him, "We've been out here for many months.

You've been lonely. There's something I'm sure you really feel like doing right now, something you've been longing for?" She stares into his eyes.

He can't believe what he's hearing. " You mean . . " he swallows excitedly and tears start to form in his eyes.

"Don't tell me you've built a Golf Course?"


Lisa Hunter said...

Congrats on the shout out from Miss Snark.

I know an 11-year-old who will likely be a Spinetingler fan soon. When I told him how the obituary writers at the NY Times prepared celebrity death articles years in advance, and how frustrating it must be never to see your byline, he asked, "Do the writers ever kill people so they can get their articles published faster?"

Lisa Hunter said...

P.S. Love your new author photo!

anne frasier said...

woot! that IS snarkilicious!!

Sandra Ruttan said...

Thanks Lisa! Oh, that 11-year-old sounds like a future crime writer indeed! I was so proud when my niece wrote a story last year that involved multiple deaths!

And I'm glad you like the photo!

Anne, woot indeed! Way cool! And a high compliment to the people who've submitted work to Spinetingler.

Ballpoint Wren said...

[Snort!] Good joke! I thought for sure the castaway was going to ask her if she'd built an X-box, though. My boys are normal teenagers, but I have a feeling that's what they would ask for.

But what I originaly came here for: congratulations on that Snarky Reference!

Sandra Ruttan said...

Ballpoint Wren, I am honoured to have you drop by my blog! Mindy was singing your praises just the other day!

ivan said...

I got all the equipment up on a wheelbarrow and I'm hobbling over towards Ottawa.
--Search and Rescue. LOL

Kat Campbell said...

Wow... super news! I love how Miss Snark just dropped Spinetingler in there as if EVERYONE knows everyone is reading it... but wait, maybe everyone is! Way to go Sandra!

Sandra Ruttan said...

Ivan, I hope the weather holds for you. LOL.

Kat, it was a wonderful way to reference Spinetingler, wasn't it? I was out yesterday morning and came home to a barrage of emails and phone calls telling me about Miss Snark's post - everyone was very excited. It's a huge compliment to the writers who've sent us work.

James Goodman said...

Congrats on the mention, Sandra. Oh, and I will try to follow the submission guidelines from now on. :D

I hope you're having a fantabulous weekend.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Thanks James, but it wasn't you. I wouldn't have mentioned it if it was someone I know who reads my blog!

What always kills me is the people who use a hard return at the end of every line... And yes, someone did that this issue!

Elizabeth Krecker said...

CONGRATULATIONS! A referral from Miss Snark? Priceless!

Loved the joke! In Phoenix, I've got a lot of friends who likely would have given the poor lady the same response.

Bill, the Wildcat said...

Awesome news about Miss Snark! Too cool.

By the way, hope I wasn't the writer who goofed up his edits. Would feel like a jerk, if I did!

Sandra Ruttan said...

Thanks Elizabeth! And as for the joke... one word: MEN!

Bill, it wasn't you. You didn't even send me your edits. Okay, okay... I'm teasing you, and you should know why, but seriously, if I thought the person read my blog I likely wouldn't have said anything.

Although they did make me want to commit violence for the better part of an evening. Every time I tried to remove the spaces in a block it altered the format of the whole document. It was enough to make a person cry.

Mindy Tarquini said...

Spinetingler is where all the cool kids want to hang out.

Julia Buckley said...

Okay, now I will definitely read the guidelines three times before I submit to Spinetingler. But just now I'm in an I-despise-my-writing stage, so you probably won't have to slog through my manuscript. And good job pleasing Miss Snark.

Christa M. Miller said...

Congrats Sandra (and Kevin)! It really was a classy reference, but we'd expect nothing less from Miss Snark. :) I hope it nets more readers for you!

Now I just have to figure out if I have a cozy noir lurking somewhere in my brain....

Sandra Ruttan said...

Yeah Mindy, unfortunately that attracts the wannabe's too... (Don't you have an article to write?! I want to see the pictures of Barry Eisler.)

Julia, you listen to me and not anyone else: you are a fantastic writer. So, get an egg timer, cry for four minutes, and then get back to working on that short story. If I don't see it in the send-outs to the readers next round, I'm going to have some tough questions for you at BoucherCon!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sandra, Congratulations on the Miss Snark thing, that's a pretty big deal. I also liked the joke. Men are such bastards. I hate them all. I sent the "women waiting for the perfect man" cartoon to my girlfriend. She sent it to all her girlfriends. Bloody women. Sorry, I mean bloody men.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Christa, I'm sure there must be something in there! Don't make me hunt you down!

John, thanks for the congrats. With your sense of humour, you might find a number of jokes here you enjoy! And I love men. :) Sometimes it's fun to tease them, though! There seem to be a number who lurk on this blog for some unknown reason. I'm sure it must be my insightful posts. They probably hate the jokes. :)

Anonymous said...

Sandra, I got your other message. Yeah, I'm absolutely new to blogging. I found your blog through Killer Year, which is a great place. I like what you're doing here. Your energy is amazing. And I do like your jokes, and your insightful posts, of course. :)

Sandra Ruttan said...

John, thanks very much. I think the only rule here is no spam, so one never knows what will turn up on the post tomorrow.

At this moment, neither do I, actually!

Glad you like the insightful posts. And that you tolerate the jokes!

Anonymous said...


Yay Miss Snark!

We need a new drink.


Tonic Water
Dash of Grenadine
Add one of those plastic sword with a raspberrie squewered on it

Serve very cold in a blood-red Stilletto closed-toe shoe.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Sandra. It's praise well deserved.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Good thinking E! I'm sure that would be a big hit!

Thanks Amra - and yes, the kitties have grown. The king-size bed isn't big enough anymore.

angie said...

Yep, Spinetingler is taking over the writing world. Good on ya, Sandra!

mai wen said...

Congrats on the Miss Snark shout out for sure! Great post on the book publishing industry, it continues to go down hill and gets more and more depressing. To do something to share the joy of reading is one way to keep it alive and to ensure that books will never die. If we can instill this deep love that I know I feel for reading into the younger generations hopefully will keep books from fizzling and dying in the future.

Very thoughtful and inspirational, can't wait to hear what you decide to do!

Sandra Ruttan said...

Thanks Angie and Mai Wen.

And I'll be sure to keep you updated, once I have the details worked out!