Monday, January 22, 2018

It's in the Cards

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:   Listen to this. I know how we can make millions. And by "we," I mean all of us here.

Sometimes the universe conspires to give us good ideas, and this is one of them.

First, the other day was Jonathan's birthday.  His associate gave him a hilarious card.  Here it is:

If it's difficult to read, it's a little boy with a bike helmet and a little grocery cart, standing in some kind of wasteland.  The caption says:  He took the road less traveled.  (But he brought a helmet and a tiny shopping cart.) And that has made all the difference.

Inside it says: No one travels through life just like you.

Aww. And that is pretty funny.

I have two favorite cards.

This one: which on the front says:  For your birthday, I made you a cake.




On the inside, it says: So now you're a cake.





I laugh EVERY TIME.

One more fave.  And I have it somewhere, but on the front is a drawing of a sweet little girl, and it says : Happy Birthday to my Dear sister, who I love so very very much.

On the inside it says:  Mom made me say it.

And then way below, in tiny print it says:  (Don't laugh. She 's gonna make you say it to me, too.)

SO.  Now for the conspiracy.  Last week, in Jenn's post about jobs we wish we had,  Gerald suggested being a greeting card designer. 

And I thought--whoa. What if there were a special line of  Jungle Red cards for writers? 


Like:  With deepest sorrow on your recent revision letter.  Then you open it and it says: what?

See? Millions!  All you guys have to do is figure out what the cards would say.  What occasions? What would be celebrate? 

Hey. You all can do better.  Should we make cards? What should they say?


JENN MCKINLAY: Jungle Red Writers greeting cards. Okay, I'm in. Here's my favorite joke card for a struggling writer:

Cover (showing three shady characters going into a pub): The past, the present, and the future walked into a bar. 
Inside: It was tense.

And to answer yours, I'd go with -- Cover: With deepest sorrow on your recent revision letter.
Inside: May the memory of when you enjoyed being a writer sustain you through this difficult time.

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Oh, my God, Jenn, those are fantastic. You should definitely be working for E-Cards. 

RHYS BOWEN: Jenn, brilliant as always! I'm going to drag you to lunch when I'm stuck on my book!
My favorite recently is one I sent to John. Three old men. One says "Got the time?" The next says "Yes, let's dine," and the third "Okay, more wine."

My brain is not at its creative best today. I'm still in shock after the Edgar announcement.

How about "Hang in there." And inside "Shakespeare never had to drive carpools."

HANK: Perfect, Rhys!

HALLIE EPHRON: I haven’t got any cards, but I have two writer’s mugs that I love… One that I got at Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont, PA (Take a Mystery Writer to Bed Tonight) and one cautionary mug which someone gave me (Place do not annoy the mystery writer, she may put you in a book and kill you.) A sober warning.

HANK: We can totally make cards of those!  On the front: Take a Mystery Writer to Bed Tonight. 

And on the inside, it says: But make sure there's room.

And the picture is of a person in bed, and next to them a person writing on a laptop, and then also in the bed put a detective, and a bad guy, and a cat, and a police officer. OR! Recognizable characters, like Miss Marple and Poirot and Sherlock and Lisbeth Salander.


INGRID THOFT:  I have many favorite cards, although they're not related to writing.  One of my go-tos show's a woman with a donkey on the front.  Inside it says, "Take your ass downtown and party!  Happy Birthday!"  Appropriate?  Not really, but it always makes me laugh!
Here's an idea for a card to console the downtrodden writer:     
Cover: With deepest sorrow on your recent revision letter.
Inside: May your copious tears wash away your precious words so you can start anew.


DEBORAH CROMBIE:  I don't have a card, but I have this favorite writing cartoon that I have saved for years and keep on my desk. So appropriate for many occasions!!!

HANK: we can totally make a card out of that! On the front, that chaotic office. Without the caption.

Inside: Don't give up! First drafts are always terrible. 

(Hmm...there must be a better one.) 


LUCY BURDETTE: Yes absolutely Jenn, you have a real gift! My favorite card ever was a cartoon of Timmy, who'd fallen into a hole. "Lassie," he calls out, "Get help!" The second frame has Lassie lying on her back on a psychoanalyst's couch. Get it? It totally cracks me up.

And, I should say, I could have used Jenn's revision letter card a couple weeks ago! Though it all worked out fine in the end...

JULIA: I am completely at sea here. I consider myself a pretty witty person, but I cannot for the life of me come up with a snappy cover-and-inside joke! Maybe this is why my books average 127 thousand words. Writing short eludes me. Hank, you got anything?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:    How about on the front:   
                HAPPY BOOKDAY!
When you open it, there's a cake with many many flaming candles.  It says  Celebrating your book sale! 
 and then below that:     (Hint: You can also use the celebratory candles to burn all your dumb rejection letters.) 

Or! On the front: A Santa-looking guy with a long white beard and a red suit and hat, but with a raven on his shoulder and  the face of Edgar Allan Poe. 
 And when you open it, it says:  POE POE POE!  
Congratulations on your Edgar nomination!

See? We'll send that one to Rhys.

And for Hallie: 
On the outside, an empty playground.  And it'll say: Where are the children?
When you open it, there's a group of happy children cheering and applauding. And it says "They're congratulating you on your Mary Higgins Clark Award nomination!"
See?  (Get it? Wasn't that MHC's first thriller?)

Wait, wait. On the front: "Congratulations on breaking up with that guy. He was SUCH an apostrophe."
And on the inside: Know what I mean? WAY too possessive.

So what say you, red and readers? Can you think of any cards for our writer/reader collection?


79 comments:

  1. Oh, my goodness . . . I am chuckling at all the oh-so-perfect cards. Unfortunately, I am the one who can never think of those clever, catchy little zingers. However, in my wanderings, I've come across a few writer-lines that made me laugh:
    I'm a writer. Anything you say or do may end up in my book.
    I'm plotting against you. It's what writers do.
    Writer's Block: When your imaginary friends won't talk to you.
    And, written on a mug: I turn coffee into stories.

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    1. These are great !!We can completely use them :-)I definitely think there needs to be a writers block card… Let’s think! Wonderful!

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    2. Now I’m thinking the front should say don’t worry if you have writers block!
      Turn on the inside, it’s a neighborhood, you know, like a block? With all kinds of writers houses around it. With their names on the mailboxes maybe?
      And it could say something like “think of all the fun you’ll have at parties! “
      It’s not quite there, :-), but we will think of something…

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    3. Separated at birth? I just thought of the same writers block. Have you a copyright yet?

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  2. Hank, you never fail to amaze me! SOOO clever!!
    I can write an 80,000 word over but not a 30-word card. Was it Pascal"If I who said, "If I'd had more time, I'd have written a shorter letter."

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    1. Hallie, I haven't heard of Pascal doing that, but I've seen it attributed to Cicero and to Samuel Clemens.

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    2. I love this quote and rely on it heavily when teaching students about editing their own work!
      Wikipedia tells us the original was said by Blaise Pascal, but it has been attributed to Mark Twain, T.S. Eliot, Cicero, and others besides.

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    3. Yes, I thought Cicero too! Well, it’s the principle of the thing…

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    4. The first time I heard it it was attributed to Abe Lincoln... Or maybe he said that an essay (speech?) had to be like a woman's skirt-- long enough to cover the subject but short enough to be interesting. Now somehow that doesn't seem so funny.

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  3. Dang it. I had a really good one and now it slipped away. But you all should totally open a greeting card line!

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    1. Keep thinking! We'll be here all day... :-)

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    2. My mom always said, "If it's important, you'll remember it later." Very calming thought, that.

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  4. I nominate Jenn and Hank for the Reds greeting card line. The rest of us will be the investors and cheerleaders. And don't forget, the market can be expanded to include: MUGS! T-SHIRTS! Jenn, loved the bar joke especially.

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    1. Yes, yes, we need investors! :-) And cheerleaders, very very important.
      And I'm thinking Hallie's husband can be our artist.

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    2. that's so perfect! Love Jerry's cartoons. And I will invest and lead the cheers!

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    3. I agree with Hank and Jenn writing the cards and Hallie's husband illustrating them! I, too, would invest in that in a heartbeat!

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  5. Hank: I'd totally buy your apostrophe/possessive card! It's a good one to have on hand...

    As for one of my own, I love a good play on words but have come up empty so far. I'll see what the back of my brain comes up with over the course of the morning as I turn my attention to grading student assignments...

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    1. OH, thank you Amanda. NO pressure, but our fledgling company could use some ideas... xoxoo

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  6. I cannot possibly come up with anything better than Jenn and Hank. Not this early in the morning.

    My favorite card is the one The Girl got me for Mother's Day one year. On the front is a drawing of a bridge. A bunch of stick people are falling from the bridge; one stick person is on the bridge. There is an arrow pointing at the falling people that is labeled "My friends, jumping off a bridge." Another arrow pointing at the person on the bridge: "Me, not doing it."


    Inside: Who says I never listen to you?

    Mary/Liz

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    1. That is SO great! Aw.
      My mother sent one to my step-dad, which he loved. As a result, she saved it, and sent the same one every year. It had a lone guy in the middle of a big stretch of farm land on the front. Inside it said: Happy Birthday to a man outstanding in his field.

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    2. I don't save every card, but I saved that one.

      "Outstanding in his field." Love it.

      Mary/Liz

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    3. The card from your daughter is so sweet! I'd have saved that, too!

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  7. My first thought was that I'd need more coffee before I could contribute to this -- and then I admitted to myself that there's not enough coffee in the world to make me creative like you are. So, I'll just be grateful for all of you and enjoy the wordplay.

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  8. This is a valid marketing scheme.

    Here's one for launch day.

    Outside: "HAPPY LAUNCH DAY"

    Inside: "May your book travel to lands far and wide.(as long as the royalty check knows where home is.)"

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  9. Outside: OPEN
    Inside: CLOSE

    The message never ends. ;-)

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  10. Outside....What’s the difference between publishers and terrorists?

    Inside... You can negotiate with terrorists. Good luck with your contract negiaotions!


    Too much???

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    1. WHOa! OUT THERE! But never too much. And we can do a kind one, too, just in case. (and they'll have one like it for writers, right?)

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  11. You guys are so creative! Good greeting cards are hard to find. There are a lot of funny ones, but usually inappropriate.

    My daughter loves the one with the chocolate Easter bunnies, one with a tail bitten off, and the other with no ears. The caption: "My butt hurts." On the next line: "What?"

    That never fails to make us laugh.

    The only writing-related idea I have is somehow equating a drafty window with a first/second/umpteenth draft, inspired by the graphic above. See? No creativity with this from me. But I'm a great cheerleader!

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    1. I just burst out laughing. The bunnies are hilarious.

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    2. Do you know the difference between boy bunnies and girl bunnies? You get more chocolate with boy bunnies. Think about it for a minute

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    3. That's always been a favorite of mine, too, Karen!

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  12. Cover: We're sorry but we did not fall in love with your work.
    Inside: But everyone of us enjoyed the sex.

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  13. Or someone can relate the idea of royalty to royalties. No idea how.

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    1. Ooh. What will Meghan Markle get for her new autobiography?
      Royalty royalties.

      But that's more a riddle than a card. Anyone, anyone?

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    2. The perfect short story contains deity, royalty, sex and mystery.

      "My God said the princess. I'm pregnant. Whodunnit?"

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  15. Can't stop thinking about writer's block.

    Or writer's blocks. Lots of little alphabet type blocks that say the parts of speech. Noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc. This needs work I know, but Hank took my good idea.

    I once wrote a book about Texas,
    Including stories of all of my exes.
    It was like the Three Bears,
    But with none of their cares,
    Just folktales of Feckless, Sexless, and Rednecklace

    And for your seasonal entertainment, I have an idea for an Easter card.

    Front: Happy Easter!
    Inside: Here's to hanging on the cross!

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  16. Hank - I think you have another calling! LOL. These are great. Especially the apostrophe one!

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    1. Aw, thank you! I can think of one more punctuation one, but it's probably not appropriate. :-)

      Oh. Is there something about : "Who would question Mark?"

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  17. Laughing! Love this! I often get beautiful cards written for readers when I receive a book as a gift.

    Great post!
    Diana

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    1. Exactly, Diana. That's why we need the writer cards. xoxo

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  18. Hank and Jenn, you are so clever!! Hank, I love your idea for my cartoon. We could so make a card from that!

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  19. This is a nugget of an idea, not fully fledged. Help!

    Cover: Congratulations on the run-on sentence with your publisher!
    Inside: There's nothing better than a multi-book contract, is there?!

    Am I brave enough to post this pathetic effort?
    Oh, sure. Why not embarrass myself online?
    Here goes...

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    1. Amanda, that is BRILLIANT. Subtle and insidery. xoxo

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  20. I am in awe of everyone's talent. Thank God I never had to make my living as a card writer - I'd by starving and homeless by now!

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    1. Oh, come on. You know you're going to wake up in the middle of the night with one. :-)

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  21. OMG! Those were hysterical. I needed that. Not writerly, but my sister and I compete to send each other the meanest birthday cards every year. Once she sent me: Cover: Queen Victoria "We are having another birthday." Inside: "We are not amused."

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    1. Perfect, Keenan! xo
      How about on the front (you can imagine the art): Queen Victoria on Deadline.
      inside: Like you, she is not amused. But--also like you--she RULES!

      Or something like that.

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  22. The best all around!
    Libby Dodd

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    1. Oh, thanks, Libby, yeah, it's Monday. Ah. Isn't it? xoxoox

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  23. This is always such a witty group, and Jen and Hank are leading the way today with their clever card ideas. I'm going to take a pass today, as my brain is tired, but I'd enjoy a group project doing this.

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    1. There's got to be a book reviewer card, dear Kathy! Lemme think...xoxo

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    2. With much sympathy for your one-star review.

      Inside: But your one star is shining bright.
      (And even better...when you hit the Times list you can send that person a told-ya-so letter.)

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  24. Hank, you are really good at this! I'd buy your "take a mystery writer to bed card" and I love the apostrophe one. LOL

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    1. Hank here: oh, thank you! II know if we all worked together, we could do Jungle Red Cards. And then all retire! xooxxooo

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  25. I LOVE these! The typewriter through the window reminded me of session with my iMac, way too close to a window. I'd have to remind myself of its price and walk away for a bit. There might be need for thank you cards from readers to hard-working writers.
    One of my favorite posters ever (especially working for an advocate of clean desks) was "If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is an empty desk the sign of?" . . . and from my teaching days, that kitten hanging from a branch, "Hang on baby, Friday's coming."

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    1. Cards from readers to writers! Brilliant! How about on the front:
      The dishes aren't done, the laundry isn't folded, I'm still in my pj's and have no idea what's for dinner.
      Then you open it and it says:
      THANK YOU! I LOVED your book!

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    2. That. Is. Great! Who wouldn't love to get that card - or send it!

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    3. Thank you! RIGHT?? We definitely have to do it. xoxoo

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  26. Cards from readers to writers! Brilliant! How about on the front:
    The dishes aren't done, the laundry isn't folded, I'm still in my pj's and have no idea what's for dinner.
    Then you open it and it says:
    THANK YOU! I LOVED your book!

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  27. I make cards using Greeting Card Factory. I usually use their sentiments but a friend's birthday is the 5th of May. I had a picture of a duckling in a sink. Inside I said "have a Happy Sinko de Mayo birthday". They got a kick out of it.

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    1. Sally! I LOVE that! That is adorable. What is greeting card factory? Off to look it up. xoo

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  28. When I was in seminary I did a study of contradictions in both the old and new testaments.

    Hallie, don't say it! ;-)

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    1. Hey, Hank! I am okay. Recovering from long bout with the flu, a string of illnesses in the family, and loss of two best friends. You'll see more of me here! xxoxox

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    2. By loss I mean they passed away.

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    3. Oh, Reine...I am so sorry. We all are. Thinking of you..xooxo

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    4. Thank you, Hank. Love you. Love you all. xoxox

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  29. Outside:Periods and commas always go inside the quotes. Inside: Period.

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