What It Felt Like When “Cat Person” Went Viral

11 January 2019

From The New Yorker:

In the fall of 2017, I was finishing up lunch at a Noodles & Company in Ann Arbor, Michigan, when I saw that I’d missed a call from a 212 area code. I thought, I bet my story just got into The New Yorker. This was an unusual assumption for me to make, given that, at that point, I’d had a single story accepted in a print literary magazine; the rest of my published work was available only in online genre venues, like Body Parts Magazine and Weird Fiction Review. The story I’d submitted to The New Yorker had already been rejected, politely, by every other publication I’d sent it to, but, a few weeks earlier, my agent had received an e-mail from Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker’s fiction editor, which read, in its entirety:

Hi Jenni,

I just want to apologize for holding onto this one for so long. It’s an intriguing piece and I have it circulating here now, so should be able to get back to you in the next week or two.

Sorry to keep you waiting,


If you are not in the habit of submitting short stories to literary magazines, this might not seem like such a big deal to you, but, when I learned that the fiction editor of The New Yorker knew my name, I was so thrilled that I forwarded the e-mail to my mother.

. . . .

On Monday, December 4th, my story “Cat Person” came out in the magazine and online. I posted the link on my Facebook page, at which point nearly everyone I’d ever met either liked it or sent me a message saying “congratulations,” and I responded “thank you!!!” Then a bunch of my friends took me out for drinks at a local cocktail bar and, after that, it was pretty much over.

Except that it wasn’t. Three days later, I was sitting in a coffee shop with my girlfriend, Callie, trying to write, when she looked up from her computer and said, “There’s something going on with your story.” Callie is also a writer, and she used to work in publishing, so she was much more connected to the literary Internet than I was. She seemed slightly unnerved. “It’s just Twitter,” I said, with the smug dismissiveness of a thirtysomething late millennial who had tweeted a grand total of twelve times in her life. Callie tried to explain what was happening; I failed to understand. Then I went home, fired up Twitter, and saw that I had a bunch of notifications from strangers. I was reading through them when my mom called about something unrelated. I tried to explain to her what was happening, and then she went online herself and, at some point, she said, “Oh, my God, Kristen, someone Barack Obama follows just retweeted your story.” Then she burst into tears.

In brief, “Cat Person” is a story about two characters—Margot, a twenty-year-old college student, and Robert, a man in his mid-thirties—who go on a single bad date. The story is told in the close third person, and much of it is spent describing Margot’s thought process as she realizes that she does not want to have sex with Robert but then decides, for a variety of reasons, to go through with it anyway. When the story appeared online, young women began sharing it among themselves; they said it captured something that they had also experienced: the sense that there is a point at which it is “too late” to say no to a sexual encounter. They also talked, more broadly, about the phenomenon of unwanted sex that came about not through the use of physical force but because of a poisoned cocktail of emotions and cultural expectations—embarrassment, pride, self-consciousness, and fear. What had started as a conversation among women was then taken up and folded into a much larger debate that played out, for the most part, between men and women, its flames fanned by the Internet controversy machine.

. . . .

I remember the e-mails coming and coming—first, fan letters from people who’d discovered my story and liked it, then anti-fan letters, from people who’d discovered my story and didn’t. I received many in-depth descriptions, from men, of sexual encounters they’d had, because they thought I’d “just like to know.” I got e-mails from people I hadn’t talked to in years who wondered if I’d noticed that my story had gone viral.

. . . .

I’d wanted people to be able to see themselves in the story, to identify with it in such a way that its narrative scaffolding would disappear. But, perhaps inevitably, as the story was shared again and again, moving it further and further from its original context, people began conflating me, the author, with the main character. Sometimes this was blunt (“What, The New Yorker is just publishing diary entries now?”) and other times it was subtler: the assumption was that I’d be happy to go on the radio and explain why young women in 2018 were still struggling to achieve satisfying sex lives—in other words, the assumption was that my own position and history would be identical to Margot’s. I was thirty-six years old and a few months into my first serious relationship with a woman, and now everyone wanted me to explain why twenty-year-old girls were having bad sex with men.

. . . .

So what was it like to have a story go viral? For a few hours, before I came to my senses and shut down my computer, I got to live the dream and the nightmare of knowing exactly what people thought when they read what I’d written, as well as what they thought about me. A torrent of unvarnished, unpolished opinion was delivered directly to my eyes and my brain.

. . . .

I want people to read my stories—of course I do. That’s why I write them. But knowing, in that immediate and unmediated way, what people thought about my writing felt . . . the word I keep reaching for, even though it seems melodramatic, is annihilating. To be faced with all those people thinking and talking about me was like standing alone, at the center of a stadium, while thousands of people screamed at me at the top of their lungs. Not for me, at me. I guess some people might find this exhilarating. I did not.

Link to the rest at The New Yorker and here’s a link to Cat Person.

Amazon will win advertising dollars away from Facebook amid privacy concerns

10 January 2019

From re/code:

Amazon could double its ad revenue among top US ad buyers in the next two years, giving it 12 percent of total ad spending in 2020. Meanwhile, Facebook’s main social network platform is expected to lose 3 percentage points of market share in that time.

That’s according to a new Cowen survey of 50 senior US advertising buyers in late December that showed Amazon is expected to gain more digital ad market share by 2020 than any other platform.

These ad buyers controlled a total of $14 billion in digital ad budgets in 2018. The investment bank weighted the data so that bigger spenders factored in accordingly.

Ad buyers are mostly pulling their growing Amazon spend from other digital platforms, the survey found.

Google and YouTube are also expected to lose a modest amount of ad revenue share through 2020. Facebook-owned Instagram is expected to see a 2 percentage point increase in that time, helping to balance out its parent company’s loss.

. . . .

Facebook is particularly vulnerable, thanks to its recent spate of privacy issues.

Of the 50 ad buyers, 18 percent said privacy concerns would lead to decreased ad spend on Facebook, more than any other platform, according to the Cowen survey.

But it’s also likely Facebook’s stagnating daily active user growth in the US and Canada— its most valuable markets — is at least as big a factor as its myriad privacy mishaps.

Link to the rest at re/code

Why brands need to make 2019 their most human year ever

9 January 2019

From Fast Company:

As we kick-start the new year, it seems that every conversation we have about the future of business centers around automation, artificial intelligence, chatbots, and the like. All of these innovations streamline our ability to connect with our coworkers, our customers, and our broader communities. However, they move us even further away from real human connection with the people who matter most.

These days, customers are more likely to interact with bots than with humans. Coworkers often work at home as part of distributed teams, and community organizations talk to their members more often on social media than in person. We can’t turn back the clock on progress but we can–and should–counteract the harmful elements of these (mostly positive) innovations with a conscious effort to be more human in every aspect of our day-to-day lives.

. . . .

“Technology has created the illusion of connection, but overuse and misuse of it has made us less productive, less engaged, and lonelier,” says Dan Schawbel, author of Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation. While technology is changing how we work, it’s also eroding our connection to coworkers.

. . . .

There’s no stopping the AI freight train. According to a study done by Narrative Science, 61% of businesses implemented AI in 2017, compared to just 38% in 2016.

But chatbots can’t win over customer loyalty. That comes from the happy by-product of the kind of human-to-human interaction where knowledgeable and empowered customer service professionals solve problems for people creatively and quickly. Not only that, but those professionals tailor solutions to individual needs. Think of companies like Zappos, Ritz-Carlton, JetBlue, and Trader Joe’s. None of them became customer-service rock stars by building bots.

. . . .

Every brand has a community–both online and off–and brands make a strategic error if they only connect with their community’s members when there’s a problem. Brands need to stay engaged and connected consistently by practicing the kind of constant generosity that creates strong emotional connections with their broader communities.

. . . .

The online pet retailer, Chewy, sends handwritten holiday cards to customers and sends sympathy gifts when a pet dies. Sure, it’s over-the-top and probably pretty expensive. But in April 2017, Chewy was acquired by PetSmart for $3.35 billion.

The point is, sending a few handwritten notes might not directly lead to an increase in valuation, but you’ll be well on your way to distributing a strong message to your community that your company is filled with living, breathing humans who care about other humans. And in this hyper-digital world that we all now live in, that’s what’s going to set your business apart in the long-term.

Link to the rest at Fast Company

PG notes that each author is also a brand. One has different expectations when considering an Agatha Christie novel than one does while viewing a J.K. Rowling book.

More than a few successful indie authors use their newsletters, blogs, etc., in ways that encourage a personal connection between themselves and their readers. PG has seen enough different communication approaches to conclude that an individual style is a plus for the author’s brand.

Brand management is an activity that a great many successful businesses take very seriously. The titles of some prominent brand management books provide insight:

Discoverability: Draft2Digital

3 January 2019

From Draft2Digital:

For sure, 2018 had a few bumps in the road. Amazon shook up the industry first by a shift to favoring paid advertising over organic search results, then with policy changes that led to decreased revenue and even canceled accounts, with effectively no recourse for affected authors.

Other interesting turns included dubious trademark claims, leading to the addition of terms like Cockygate being added to every indie author’s lexicon. Some authors attempted to trademark generic cover layouts and common words to (allegedly) protect their intellectual property. In general, it was a year filled with questionable practices on the IP front.

On a more positive front, Draft2Digital’s 2018 was a year of empowering authors in all-new and pretty exciting ways, with all new sales and distribution options, updates to existing tools, and a whole shelf full of new and exciting resources that make it that much easier to stop worrying about everything else and just write.

. . . .

We spend a lot of our time thinking of new ways to help authors take things to the next level. But for 2018, there was one challenge we were eager to take on: Discoverability.

Finding new ways to help readers discover you and your books was our priority for 2018.

. . . .

D2D Author Pages are your home away from homepage. This is a single platform online, where readers find more about you and find all of your books, all in one place. They’re beautifully crafted—we even updated them with all new features before the year was up! More on that in a minute.

These powerful pages include:

  • Your author bio, and an optional author photo
  • Links to your social media accounts
  • Customizable page elements to help promote your books to readers
  • A button that invites users to follow you, either through D2D’s New Release Notifications or by joining your mailing list, pointing them to your signup tool of choice
  • Carousels of your books and series
  • A “hero” book with optional promotional elements, so you can push a new release, first in series, free book, and more

These pages are perfect if you don’t have a website and either can’t afford one or don’t know how to create one. They’re also great as the “My Books” page of your existing site.

. . . .

D2D Book Tabs are a lot like a product page for your book, but they’re so much more! This is where your book lives and breathes online. D2D Book Tabs give your readers a beautiful and convenient place to find out everything they need to know to make the decision to buy and read your book.

Built on the back of our (very popular) Universal Book Links (UBLs), D2D Book Tabs are entirely independent of any single eBook retailer. Readers can click the Buy Now button and find your book anywhere it’s sold online.

Some key features include:

  • Your book and series titles
  • Your name as the author, with a link for readers to find more books by you
  • The cover image of your book
  • A customizable book description
  • Customizable page elements to help promote your book to readers
  • Your author photo and bio

Both your D2D Author Page and your D2D Book Tabs are designed with a smooth and enticing user experience in mind. They’re a perfect balance of form and function, encouraging readers to click through, to buy your books, and to come back for more. They’re a sleek, attractive, and easy way to promote you and your work and to increase your discoverability online.

. . . .

In 2017 we announced our partnership with Findaway Voices—a new way for you to turn your book into an audiobook and distribute it worldwide, even to Audible and Apple Books.

We saw some pretty amazing things come out of this partnership—

  • More than 4,300 authors produced audiobooks
  • More than 6,000 hours of audio was produced and distributed worldwide
  • More than 1,000 new narrators were added to Findaway’s database

. . . .

We’ve had a blast working with Findaway Voices, and based on feedback from our authors, we know you feel the same. Their recent announcement that they’re offering direct distribution to Apple Books, as well as a new 45% royalty (versus the previous 25%), is only going to make them all the more fun to work with.

. . . .

For months there were rumors, and then in September the bag was opened, and cats just ran everywhere. Kobo had struck a deal with Walmart for not only eBook distribution on, but also through select physical storefronts. Not only could readers buy a Kobo device off of Walmart shelves, they could also pick up a hanging placard that allowed them to purchase an eBook right from Walmart’s registers.

Now you could get your oil changed, buy your groceries, pick up fish food, and load up your Kobo reader all from the world’s biggest retailer*.

*We’re never sure if Walmart or Amazon deserves this title, but we’re inclined to give the win to Walmart on this one.

So what does that mean for D2D authors?

Since we have such a great relationship with Kobo, as one of our top sales channels, it means that D2D authors can have their books distributed to as well! In fact, if Kobo happens to be one of your sales channels, you’re already on Walmart’s virtual shelves.

Link to the rest at Draft2Digital

Disclosure: PG drafted the first Terms of Service for D2D for the initial roll-out of their service and has paid attention to their progress as they’ve grown.

PG has always liked the people running D2D and their attitude toward authors, including their royalty rates. When Mrs. PG read the OP, she told PG that she was going to try out some of their new promotional tools. (She’s had books on D2D since the company started.)

PG was particularly interested in the announcement.

At various times in the somewhat-distant and really-distant past, PG has attended a handful of business meetings with various Walmart executives. The attitude of managers when Sam Walton was still running the place (PG did say this goes back a long time) was much more receptive to new ideas from outside the company than the attitude of the managers after Mr. Sam left Bentonville to investigate potential store sites in an entirely different realm.

To be fair, Walmart is a huge company (2.3 million employees) and PG spoke to a small subset of their management team, so his attitude toward Walmart management has been based on an entirely insufficient sampling of people, most of whom may not be there anymore.

At any rate, PG has continued to watch Walmart from afar. After many years of so-so performance and getting totally beaten by Amazon online, over the past year or so, Walmart appears to have rediscovered some of its retailing mojo.

In particular, has finally become a decent website connected to a warehouse and delivery system that’s competitive with Amazon. For the first time ever, PG purchased a few items through during the latter part of 2018 because  Walmart was offering better prices and selection on those items than Amazon did.

That’s a long way of saying that PG will be interested to see if Walmart becomes a serious destination for book purchasers.

He just did a quick scan of Walmart’s online bookstore and while it’s a long way behind Amazon (for example, ebooks and printed books are sold in two different sections of the store), at least some of Walmart’s hardcopy bestsellers were beating Amazon’s prices by a 10-20% margin.

Pros at Cons

23 December 2018

From Alma Alexander:

At a SF/Fantasy convention several years ago I was on a a panel that explored what a professional (writer, artist, editor, agent…) actually DOES at a convention, how they might approach it differently from the reader, gamer or fan attendee.

For a couple of years when I first started out, I was a prolific con-goer, up to nine a year before sanity prevailed and I cut it down to a few. Having just returned from Orycon, the only convention I’ve allowed myself for a couple of years, I was musing about cons in general, why I go, what I get out of them…what is the attraction for a professional writer?

. . . .

Con goers get issued with a program which details the panels which will be available over the course of the convention weekend. There is a limited number of useful topics for such occasions, and some of the hoarier topics have been relentlessly trotted out at every con since God Created Convention.

This is where we come in, the pros you see seated behind the tables in the hotel conference rooms, facing the serried ranks of either depressingly empty or intimidatingly full chairs set out in rows before us.

You get to this point – you’re a professional. You’ve published books or stories, you’ve been PAID for that, or you’re a professional artist, or editor in the field, or simply an expert on some topic and were collared to take part in a panel discussing same. The panel of “Pros At Cons” looked at what was expected of the folk on THIS side of the table, the pontificators – whether we were really here as revered professionals or whether we were the hired entertainment, the performing seals, planted in our seats by the program planners to keep the masses happy..

There are many reasons one becomes a writer – and at least one of them involves a fundamental personality trait: writers are notorious for being loners. It’s a solitary profession where you retire to your office and face off with your computer, and it’s you in your own world surrounded by characters and creatures of your own making.

Some of us can shrug that off and at least put on a show of being gregarious at conventions, mingling and schmoozing and generally mixing with the crowds – and, to all intents and purposes, actually enjoy ourselves. For others, it isn’t so easy. Some folk are genuinely quiet and shy and not natural public speakers.

If you happen to run across me in a crowded party full of people I barely know, I’m likely to be the one cowering in a corner and hoping that someone might start a conversation because I sure as hell am not going to walk up to a stranger and stick out a hand and introduce myself.

However – put me on a panel where I am supposed to speak about writing, and I blossom into an articulate and eloquent speaker with active opinions which I am not at all shy about expounding on or defending. It touches my passion, and that changes everything. I am no longer just a writer, I am WRITER, hear me roar.

This is something that defines me. And I can conquer the tongue-tied shy little girl who often dominates my social interactions with strangers. When I am wrapped in that writer cloak, the things I have to say become meaningful given the writerly context in which they are uttered.

. . . .

People like me go to conventions because we have written books, and conventions are where our readers are. I have had several people come up to me in the hallways just to tell me, “I liked your books”. That, in itself, is a pearl beyond price.

We also go, and present ourselves at serried ranks of panels, because what we are really hoping to do is introduce ourselves, as writers, to a whole new slew of readers, people who may not have necessarily read us or even heard of us before but who might be motivated, given a good performance at a panel, to wander down to the Dealer’s Room and ask the booksellers if they happen to have any books with our name on them.

But also…After a while, after you’ve been to a few of these, you acquire a circle of friends who turn up at many of the same cons that you do – and it’s like a gathering of the family of the heart. And that’s part of it, too – at the end of a long day full of panels and readings and signings oh my, the pros retire to the coffee shop or the bar and congregate in giggling groups, trading war stories, tossing good news on the table to a reception of gleeful squees (any delight shared is doubled!) or laying some piece of bad news out like a tiny corpse and then having a wake for it with a glass of wine (or something stronger) in hand (any sorrow shared is, at least in theory, lightened…)

It’s companionship, camaraderie – this is my tribe, and I belong to it, and it accepts me, and it laughs at my jokes even if it’s heard them before and it has hugs and commiserations to provide in the wake of disasters, as well as perspective provided by sharing disasters of its own. It’s… coming home.

Link to the rest at Alma Alexander

PG is of two minds about conventions.

At good conventions, he’s learned a lot over the years and been exposed to people he might not have heard anywhere else. At ordinary conventions, he’s been bored stiff, left the convention hotel to check out whatever city in which the convention is located or to find somewhere that doesn’t have any convention attendees to go online.

For PG (as for many others), the key is good speakers. These are speakers who know something and know how to communicate what they know in an engaging way. Some speakers know a great deal about a particular subject, but, for one reason or another, are terrible at talking about their knowledge/opinions.

Speaking of opinions, PG thinks most (maybe all) good speakers have strong opinions about topics they’re discussing. If a speaker doesn’t care enough about a subject to have an opinion about some aspect of the subject, they’re likely to be terminally boring. In such cases, if the topic is important to you, buy the speaker’s book or look up some articles he/she has written online. You can read faster than the speaker can talk and not be bored.

If you’re a speaker, don’t be afraid to disagree with another speaker on the panel. Disagreements are more interesting than the verbal equivalent of everyone nodding their heads at whatever everyone else is saying. If you don’t personally disagree with the other speaker, you can frame disagreement as something like, “Many other people think just the opposite is true. They say you should eat all the different colors of Lifesavers instead of throwing away the ones that aren’t red.”

If you’re an introvert, conventions can be torture. PG suggests that you think about some topics you want to discuss with others ahead of time and do a bit of research. Plan some questions you would like to ask of one or two speakers on each panel ahead of time. Learn a little about the biographies of the speakers and (if the convention provides a list of attendees) some of the other attendees.

Maybe there are some people who live in the same city you do and you can make chit-chat about favorite places or mutual acquaintances. If there’s a lunch or dinner, when you first sit down at the table, introduce yourself to each of the people who are within conversational distance and ask them about themselves, why they chose to come to this convention, what they’ve learned, who their favorite speakers are, etc.

The Best BookBub Ads of 2018

18 December 2018

From BookBub:

In 2018, thousands of authors and book marketers used BookBub Ads, our self-serve display ads platform, to promote books to BookBub’s millions of readers. As the end of the year approaches, we wanted to share some of the most successful BookBub Ads campaigns of 2018!

There are many ways to define a “successful” ad campaign because there are many different things you can accomplish with display ads. The following campaigns represent a diversity of genres and strategies, but each stood out to us in its own way — some had a high click-through rate, some had a low cost-per-click. Some cost thousands of dollars, others cost $100. One campaign ran for over two years, another for just a few days. But every one of them demonstrates the core elements that make for effective advertising on any platform: targeting a relevant audience with engaging creative that will capture their interest.

. . . .

Leighann Dobbs, Dead Wrong

Leighann ran a series of 13 three-day long campaigns for this book in February and March testing different single-author targets. She reached readers on all regions and retailers, and overall she had an average 4.5% CTR and over 6,000 clicks across all the campaigns. Leighann used CPM bidding, but with her narrow targeting she was able to pay an average rate of only $0.09 per click across the entire series of campaigns. A free deal and a cover that clearly communicates the book’s genre (a title pun, a sassy illustrated heroine, and a cat definitely say “cozy mystery”!) can sometimes be all it takes to get readers to click.

. . . .

Melody Grace, Meant to Be

Melody set up four ads for this campaign, using each of the above images to target fans of a single romance author on two different retailers. The campaigns have been live with daily budgets for four months and counting, and so far, over 20,000 readers have clicked on one of these ads. Both images have performed equally well with the audience she’s targeting.

Link to the rest at BookBub

Where Did the Amazon Reviewers Go?

6 December 2018

From The Book Designer:

Two years ago, it was so easy to find the top reviewers and approach them and ask for reviews. There was software that let authors and publishers find the name and email addresses of the thousands of Amazon reviewers who had already written reviews of books in a similar vein.

I had written a self-help book for women about lowering stress, so it was easy to find the bestselling books on stress reduction and find the contact information on Amazon of those who had reviewed those bestselling books.

Then, I put together a BULK email using MailChimp and emailed THOUSANDS of reviewers all in one afternoon.

It. Was. Awesome.

Then, for some reason, in March of 2018, Amazon made a decision to hide the email addresses of reviewers on their profiles. Speculation was they did this because of the new GDPR rules and regulations but no one really knows why. This completely stopped authors from being able to email potential reviewers–even if the reviewers didn’t mind being contacted with their information public on their profile.

Does this mean it’s the end of finding targeted reviewers for books? Absolutely NOT! But it is a lot harder than it used to be.

Amazon is REALLY working hard to hide the contact information of book reviewers, and GoodReads only lets you message a few readers every day before shutting you down for the day. HOW, then, can you reach the reviewers and readers who write reviews?

. . . .

Debbie [Drum] has a program called Book Review Targeter that pulls data on readers and reviewers of specific books. I LOVE the idea of using software to find readers and reviewers of books written by authors in my community. There are authors out there who have already written books that appeal to MY readers. Finding readers and getting them to consider my book is SO much easier when I start by knowing my fellow authors and reach out to THEIR readers.

With this idea firmly in place, and knowing that it is no longer “cool” to mass email folks. HOW CAN I REACH THEM?

. . . .

Amy: Debbie, is there any way in today’s world, to email readers in a way that does not “spam” them?

Debbie: The good news is YES.

When researching comparable authors to find books that have a lot of reviews online, look for bestselling books to start. When a bestselling author releases a book and they have done “everything right” – meaning

  • they have done the market research,
  • their cover is beyond professional,
  • their description is spot on and convincing,
  • and their content is killer,

then that author will probably have a lot more reviews and you will get better review response results from mass cold emails.

I would say first test out in a small segment to see if mass emailing will work for you. If it doesn’t, don’t give up. There are certainly other ways to get the reviews you need to sell more books.

Amy: So what other options do we have? That’s the next question.

Debbie: Social Media is also a great place to find reviewers. When looking for book reviewers, and influencers that can share and promote a book, I like to start with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest.

All of these amazing platforms have direct messaging and commenting components to them.

What’s so great about this? A lot of these social media platforms are listed on an Amazon reviewer’s bio page.

. . . .

Amy: What is the best way to connect with readers in this new world?

Debbie: There are only four rules to follow when it comes to contacting reviewers.

Here they are:

#1 – Be Brief

This is the most important that’s why it’s FIRST. Don’t write paragraph after paragraph after paragraph. This is a HUGE mistake. In a couple of sentences you can explain what your book is about, why you are contacting them, what they will get out of it (more about this in #3) and what to do next.

People will tune you out if you go on and on.

Link to the rest at The Book Designer

Balkan Echo

4 December 2018

When Mrs. PG spends a lot of extra time at her computer, PG wonders.

  • Has Mrs. PG found a pen pal? (or whatever an email version of a pen pal is called when no actual pen is involved)
  • Has PG done something that has sent Mrs. PG to a distant divorce lawyer who needs a lot of information?
    • Dirty socks on the floor?
    • Forgot to floss?
    • Was there an anniversary last week?
    • Neglected to feed the dog? (Wait, we don’t have a dog.)
  • Has Mrs. PG become addicted to Super Smash Bros?
  • New book?

PG is happy (and thankful) to announce that Mrs. PG has just released Balkan Echo, a romantic suspense novel.

What is Balkan Echo about?

PG is a parser by nature.


According to The Encyclopedia Britannica:

Balkans, also called Balkan Peninsula, easternmost of Europe’s three great southern peninsulas. There is not universal agreement on the region’s components.

. . . .

Some define the region in cultural and historical terms and others geographically, though there are even different interpretations among historians and geographers.

. . . .

Moreover, for some observers, the term “Balkans” is freighted with negative connotations associated with the region’s history of ethnic divisiveness and political upheaval.

Moving forward, PG searched for wise sayings about Balkans.

~ I love the combination of the words ‘spies’ and ‘Balkans.’ It’s like meat and potatoes.  – Alan Furst

~ There a lot of occasions when Albanians cause trouble, but then we are also very nice people. People sometimes forget that there are good people from the Balkans as well.  – Granit Xhaka

~ I will always fight for peace. But, unfortunately, it is war that drives us forward. It is war that makes the major turns. It makes Wall Street function; it makes all the bastards in the Balkans function. – Emir Kusturica

~ My father, a Russian translator, wanted to distinguish me by calling me Misha, the Russian diminutive of his name, Michael. My name and work as a writer specialising in the Balkans has created a myth that I have Slavic connections, but actually I am British.  – Misha Glenny

So there you have it! Everybody understands about Balkan!

(PG has to admit that he loves the name, Granit Xhaka, but he digresses.)


PG was inclined to be a bit more peremptory about Echo, but since it is half of the title of Mrs. PG’s book, he will not give it short shrift or even medium shrift.

When PG was young, Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy were old (maybe dead), but PG was struck when he heard a duet they sang together on one of the three channels then available on television. It sounded to him as if they were trying to mimic echos as they called back and forth to each other.

Now, of course, in PG’s mind, these were echos topped with more than a little artistic license, because no one would expect an echo of Jeannette would sound like Nelson and vice versa.

As a grown sophisticate, PG would never mistake a call and response musical structure for an echo and besides, Mrs. PG didn’t write “Balkan Call and Response,” so he will splash some additional artistic license on Indian Love Song in order to explicate the second word in the title of her book – Echo.



There you are. PG hopes you now have a clear mental image about the topic and attractions of Mrs. PG’s book, Balkan Echo — Jeanette MacDonald & Nelson Eddy with Kalashnikovs.

Both of the PG’s would be pleased if you would consider buying a copy of Mrs. PG’s latest creation.


« Previous PageNext Page »