Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Pitch and Toss

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

I’ve been fired.   That is, my publisher has decided not to offer me any more contracts to write mysteries for them.  This came out of the blue, and I’m still trembling from the shock.  So what do I do?  Fortunately my agent hasn’t abandoned me and we had an hour-long talk on Thursday regarding my choices.  Knit Your Own Murder will come out as scheduled in August – that’s the third book in the three-book contract.  I want the next book to be set in the month of June, when Godwin and Rafael get married.  I had planned a book about sailor’s knot work, but it’s not exactly the same as needlework and because I’ll be approaching a new publisher (probably) I need to “stick to my last” and do needlework.  I thought about turkey work, but that would make a gangbuster Thanksgiving-themed novel, so not turkey work.  But I need something new fast, my agent wants three chapters and a synopsis asap.

One more thing:  Pitch and Toss, the game Kipling names in his famous poem, is played by a group of gamblers.  A coin or other target is placed at a distance and each player pitches a coin toward it.  The one whose coin lands nearest the target picks up all the coins and tosses them in the air.  Those that land heads up are his.  I suppose the way to lose all your money on one game of pitch and would be to make a side bet.


Christine Thresh said...

Oh, I am shocked. This is terrible. I hope you find a new publisher soon. You are my favorite author. I love Betsy and all your books. I re-read them. What can I do to help?

Linda O. Johnston said...

So sorry to hear your bad news, Monica. Unfortunately, that seems to be happening a lot now. But you're such a good writer I'm sure you'll find a new publisher soon.

Monica Ferris said...

My agent seems pretty sure we can come up with something. The strongest bet seems to lie in the area of ebooks. Her company is now publishing print-on-demand and ebooks, so there's a strong possibility right there. My royalties in ebooks are a bigger share of the selling price, but the selling price is lower. I could self-publish, I could go with a smaller publisher, I could go with my agent's publishing company. Any other suggestions?

Miss Merry said...

I was just shocked when I read your post. I consider you a very popular cozy mystery author. I was unable to comment last night, but I do feel better after reading the options that you and your agent are considering. Please keep us all updated!

Anonymous said...

WHAT???? This is insane!

Betty Hechtman said...

I am shocked, too. I do know there are lots of changes going on in our mutual publisher. You have a following and I'm sure they will follow you wherever you go.

Helen C (from UK) said...

Dear Monica,

I was extremely shocked and angry when I read your news. Let me say now that you are by far my favourite cozy mystery writer, providing a gripping plot, well-rounded characters, and a realistic and intelligent insight into both the practicalities of running a needlecraft shop, and the different needlecrafts themselves.

Do you think it would help if we - your readers - wrote to the Berkley Publishing Group making it clear how unhappy we are with this decision? If so, is there any particular person we should approach? Would you be able to let us have a specific e-mail address? Please say if there's any way we can help, and of course, PLEASE keep us posted!