Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hurry Up and Wait

posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy

While certain other Banditas were busy cavorting around Europe (AHEM!), Aunty came home from RWA National and had to sequester herself deep in the writing caves of the Lair in order to meet a deadline. Well, I no sooner extricated myself from the deep dark recesses than I was called to Jury Duty!

HRUMPH! I scarcely had time for a brief neck massage from Sven before I had to do my civic duty and show up at the county courthouse at the horrifyingly unholy hour of 8 a.m. Now everyone who has spent more than five minutes here in the Lair knows that there are very few things that will entice Aunty to pry her eyes open at such an early hour. Cruises, flights to exotic locations in far away time zones, and scantily clad hunks all fit into this category. Doing ones civic duty by participating in jury selection does NOT! It is not that Aunty is opposed in any way to our fine judicial system with a right to a speedy and fair trial, but PLEASE, start at a bit more civilized hour.

After arriving promptly at the county courthouse, it quickly became clear to me why very few courtroom dramas, be they books or movies, mention the jury selection process. For the most part, the whole thing is BOOORRRRING! A classic case study in "Hurry Up and Wait."

First there's the long wait in the shuffling check-in line along with the other 299 people who were told to report at the exact same time. UGH! Then it's time to wait for names to be called for the first panel. The clock drags ever so slowly while a movie is started on the overhead TV (a comedy with Robin Williams which I've already seen and did not find amusing). Eventually, three panels are called and I'm not on any of them.

Just when I started to think I'd get a lunch break without being called, a third round of names is announced and I'm in it. I walked to the elevators along with the 59 others, then waited to be let into the designated courtroom. After about fifteen endless minutes, we were allowed inside where once again, there are not enough seats, so 20 names were called to sit in what the judge refered to as "the bleachers" (the jury box and a row of seats in front of it). I wasn't one of the chosen 20.

The judge started to lecture all of us on "presumed innocence" and "burden of proof" before he decided it was time for lunch and turned us all out for an hour and a half. Blessed relief! All 60 of us arrived back promptly. The judge and his assistants and the two attorneys did not. After another interminable 20 minutes, we are called back into the courtroom and the endless questioning of individual jurors began. Everyone in the jury box got asked the same questions over and over, and everyone gave basically the same answers over and over.

Those of us not in "the bleachers" began to nod off. The judge noticed and gave us a ten minute break. When we returned, roughly half the people in "the bleachers" were let go and eleven more names called to replace them. Lucky me, I wound up in the second group. Now I had to actually appear semi-conscious. But I lucked out again, and the judge decided to send us home early and told everyone remaining (in both the audience and the bleachers) to be back at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

I did appreciate the extra hour of sleep, but was still not happy when I returned the next morning. Most of my fellow potential jurors seemed to share my opinion, especially after twenty, then thirty, then forty minutes passed while we all sat in the hallway. Finally at 9:45, the judge's assistant opened the door of the courtroom and told us we were all dismissed. Turns out the defendant 'cut a deal' with the district attorney while we all cooled our heels! ARGH!!!

All right, now that I've finished my whiny tale of woe, I'll admit that I couldn't escape the parallels of jury selection and writing.

First, you work and slave weeks and months over your baby/masterpiece until you have it in a resonably readable shape. Time to start the submission process! First you craft (with the help of your CPs and other writer-buddies) a flawlessly clever query letter, which you dutifully send off to meticulously researched agents and/or editors.

Then comes the hurry up and wait part!

With any luck at all, you will hear back from your query somewhere between six hours and six weeks. Again, with some small modicum of luck, you will receive at least one positive response, and you will then send off your partial manuscript and synopsis. This time, your wait will most likely range from six weeks to six months, maybe longer.

Now you will need a very large measure of luck and the correct star-allignment in order to receive the much coveted "request for a full." After screaming and telling all your online and in-person friends and unsuspecting family members, you hurry up and send your entire manuscript.

Weeks and months crawl by as you try not to think about your full manuscript that is under consideration... Who am I KIDDING?!?! I open my email every darn day holding my breath, and I know YOU do too! When the phone rings unexpectedly, I leap on it like that proverbial duck on a June bug.

Waiting and hoping for that magical SOMEDAY when "The Call" happens! And eventually, oh yes, that wonderful, mystical day really does arrive! But are your "hurry up and wait" days over? Aunty is sad to inform you that they most certainly are NOT.

You will still need to hurry up and wait for your revisions to be done and approved, for your copyedits to arrive, for your cover to be created. And most of all, you have to wait and Wait and WAIT for your finished book to actually be released.

This takes months, sometimes YEARS! And when you write and sell another book, you get to do it ALL OVER AGAIN!

But unlike Jury Duty, it is absolutely WORTH THE WAIT!!! Aunty guarantees it!

When was the last time you had to hurry up and wait? Are there some things (like a massage from Sven) that you don't mind waiting for? And have you ever been called to Jury Duty? Did you hate it as much as Aunty?


Helen said...

Is he coming to my place

Have Fun

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Yes he is!!! Super Congrats, Helen, and HIDE the TimTams!


Helen said...

I have lots of Tim Tams to share we are going to have fun Jayden and Hayley have just arrived for dinner.

Aunty Cindy
I am glad you have patience I would have been very annoyed waiting all that time and then having to go back the next day, lucky me I have never been called up for jury duty and I hope never too I couldn't stand all that waiting.

The longest wait I have ever had is waiting for my children to be born and then the grandchildren and they were all worth the wait and so are your books Aunty Cindy.

Have Fun

Elyssa Papa said...

OMG, I so know what you're talking about, Aunt Cindy. I so did. I was in such a waiting and holding pattern, had sooooo many rejections on past two mss, and told myself last weekend that I was never going to get "the call."

Last Wednesday, I did. :)

limecello said...

I've never been called to jury duty... but I think it'd kinda be super fun.
Or... I'd hate it. :D can't decide.

I have to hurry all the time. And wait all the time- though they don't necessarily go hand in hand.

Congrats on the GR, Helen!

:P The blog hates me - I kept refreshing and it wouldn't update :P

Lynz Pickles said...

Congrats on the GR, Helen!

Ugh, waiting. I'm one of the most impatient people I know, so it's not something I'm very good at. I'm glad I've never been called to jury duty, I'd be horrible at the waiting part.

The last time I had to hurry up and wait was when I was applying ofr disability. It's a time-consuming process, so I kept trying to get started, which involves phoning a liaison person and getting the forms you need, etc etc. The liaiason person never returned the calls, though... notice the calls plural? I'd wait for a couple of months between them before trying again. It took over a year for my calls to be returned, arrrg! Once I got all the forms I needed, I hurried to finish them and send in my application. After sending it in, I got to - you guessed it! - wait again! I had to wait for an intake worker to call and set up an appointment with me to see if my financial position rendered me eligible. Once she called, I had to wait over a month for an appointment with her. I had my appointment, and we determined that I was financially eligible, so next I had to hurry and fill in a second set of forms. Oh, and I had to hurry and get a set to my doctor, then wait for her to finish them. After gathering allllll the forms together, I sent them in and got to wait. Again.

Fortunately for me, my case was pretty clear-cut, so once they finally got around to reviewing my case, I got approved right away. But all that hurry up and wait-ing drove me nuts!

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Helen.

Hi Aunty Cindy,
I have to hurry up and wait every time I have to head to the airport for a flight. You rush to make sure you get there with at least an hour or two to spare, but then you end up waiting and waiting for your flight to board and take off.

Anna Campbell said...

Helen, one chook for you!

I'm back from RWOz which was fantastic. But I have a book due in two weeks, so I probably won't be around much until after the end of the month. Wish me luck.

Sadly, the green monster did not come home with a RBY. But the article in the local paper where I got to be on the front page did win the media award which was a lovely moment. Congratulations to Anne Gracie. Her wonderful THE CAPTIVE PRINCESS won my category and absolutely deserved to. Congratulations to the other winners too.

Hey, any Aussies around? I've got a short story in Woman's Day this week. Check it out if you can.

Ahem, sorry, Cindy, this is turning into a mini blog!

Anna Campbell said...

Cindy, what a clever twist on jury duty. It IS like writing! I remember getting my runes read years ago (don't ask!) and the guy said that I was in this life to learn patience. Clearly he must have known I was a writer. I used to be incredibly impatient and all that does is make me unhappy. I try these days to take a much more laissez-faire approach to life. Well, for like five minutes, anyway!

Helen said...


I am sure you all had a great time at the conference in my eyes Untouched is a winner but gotta say I loved Anne Gracie's book as well.

I will be buying Womans Day on my way to work tomorrow morning I wouldn't miss it.

Have Fun

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Jury duty. Been there, done that. Okay, I didn't have to sit on a jury, but I did that whole going in early, sitting in the jury pool room with 299 other people (only we didn't get a movie), and then going to a courtroom but never getting to the questioning part.

Hubby got called once and was actually seated on a jury for a murder trial. Thankfully, it was pretty cut and dried and he was out of there inside a week.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Elyssa, huge congrats on getting The Call!

Terry Odell said...

I enjoy jury duty. First, it's about the last bastion of democracy left. Next, if I had to go to trial, I'd want someone like me on the jury. And it's a wonderful way to people watch. Writing fodder.

Beth said...

The one time I had jury duty was when I was pregnant with my older daughter (15 yrs ago) The trial was interesting especially since the defendant represented himself.

Elyssa, super congrats on The Call!! Can you share the details?

EilisFlynn said...

I can't think of a reason NOT to hate jury duty, unless you really, really need a break from your day job!

PJ said...

I've mellowed considerably over the years and am much more patient about waiting than I used to be. I just make sure I always have a good romance book along for the ride. :)

I've been called for jury duty twice. The first time was when we lived in a large city and, more recently, in the small town where I now live. Totally different experiences!

The city experience was very impersonal and "by the book" with a jury pool of over 200. Everyone was impatient and I don't think there was anyone who wanted to be there, except perhaps for a few who were just glad to not have to go to work. People stared at the floor, wouldn't make eye contact and heaven forbid they should actually talk to someone. So not me! lol

When I was called here a few years ago there were about 30 people in our jury pool. Among the group were my mail carrier, a clerk from a store I frequent, a receptionist from my doctor's office, a fellow volunteer from the hospital and at least three people I knew from church. Not a single person stared at the floor and by the time we were called into the courtroom for questioning the first morning we were all chatting like we'd been friends forever. Small southern towns are wonderful!

Alas, I was not chosen for either jury. Seems bankers who are the daughters of retired lawyers and married to retired military men aren't too high on the list of desired jurors.

TerriOsburn said...

Oddly enough, I have never been called for jury duty. Though I think it would be interesting. Like PJ, I'd make sure I had a book along for the slow times and I'd like to see the process in action. Even if there's very little action. LOL!


Donna MacMeans said...

LOL - I'm right with you AC on the "early morning" at being in court at 8 AM. I read that in Victorian times, "morning" receptions were generally held between 4 and 7 PM. Is it any wonder that I love the Victorians! (grin).

I've never served on jury duty (knock on wood). I believe in the necessity, and actually believe I would enjoy participating on an actual trial, but the whole concept of waiting and waiting and waiting for nothing leaves me cold.

I think the last time I had to hurry and wait (besides the submission process) is an the airport. That entire industry is based on packing you in there early to wait for boarding, wait for a position in line, wait for takeoff, etc.

Congrats to Helen for nabbing the wiley wooster.

MsHellion said...

A brilliant post--funny, clever, but with that "moral of the story" that makes you pause at the end. Thank you, Aunty Cindy!

My life is a perpetual hurry up and wait. And nothing as interesting as jury duty. *LOL*

magolla said...

Ya know, I should have thought about the jury duty analogy--it works very well! I've been called up on JD five times for City-County and once for Federal (a month long stint that requires you to call in every Friday to see if you made the cut).
I've sat through the hideousness and learned more about rebar, 'dead' femur joints, and discrimination that I even want to think about--and that was only a portion of the cases that I had to sit on!
*sigh* It is boring.
There aren't enough outlets to plug in the laptop, or chairs, or desks. Don't even get me started about how to even TRY to get out of JD on a case. My niece works as a DA in the office and they still didn't kick me off--the attorney had to use one of her six whatever-they-are-called excusals.
I think I have another year before they can call me up again. Why is it I’ve been called six times in twenty-five years and I have friends who have NEVER been called???

Virginia said...

Congrats Helen, I think he likes it at your house, have fun with him today!

Loved the post! Yes I have had jury duty and I hate, hate, hate it.

jo robertson said...

Great post, Aunty Cindy. The parallels between writing and jury selection are so apt! You're truly at the mercy of someone else's speed or pokiness, usually the latter.

I always remind myself, however, that if there were no deals cut, the entire jury process would grind to a halt.

Yay, Helen, he's definitely coming to your house. Congrats!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Morning Everyone!

Me, Donna, and the Victorians are just crawling out to greet the day. :-P

Helen, I had to LOL when you said I had patience. I'm the world's most IMpatient person! Pregnancy was the absolute worst torture for me. Nine long months, and then I went 11 days passed my due date. ARGH!!!!

Thanx a BUNCH for saying my books are worth the wait. Amazon says they have Treasures of Venice IN STOCK NOW! YAY! AT LAST!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

You got THE CALL?!?!?!?! SUPER SUPER CONGRATS!!!! Details, woman! WE MUST HAVE THEM!!!

So excited and happy for you,

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

The blog was giving all of us fits last night. Blogger decided Romance Bandits was a SPAM blog.... ARGH!!! DO NOT get me started...

I do think some aspects of jury duty are interesting, and you probably would enjoy them... the FIRST TIME! For me this was my 3rd call in 6 years. UGH!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Oh Lynz,
What a PAIN IN THE PATOOT you had to endure! Thank goodness it all had a happy ending but GEEZ! I'm sure it felt like it would never arrive...


catslady said...

Knock on wood but the last time I was called for jury duty I had two small babies and didn't have to go. I wouldn't mind going for something interesting but there is also a big transportation problem (sigh). Anyway my husband just went through two or three days and then they settled. Seems there has to be a better way. There should be a time limit on settling or something. Or a fine if they wait until the last minute.

As far as hurry up and wait I seem to do a lot of that. Too many people think their time is more valuable I guess. It's rude really.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Jane,
I agree that the airport is one of the most frustrating "hurry up and wait" spots on earth. Luckily, you do get a nice reward (a flight to someplace, usually fun) for all the waiting. ;-) I can usually tolerate it for that reason, EXCEPT when flights are delayed, of course.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Welcome home Fo!!!

I'm with Helen, "Untouched" will always be a BIG WINNER with me! But congrats to Anne G! So nice to have a Bandita Buddy win.

I blame astrology for my impatience. Saggitarius is supposed to be that way. Our motto is: God give me patience and I want it NOW!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...


Now see, I think sitting on a jury for a murder trial would be interesting! My good friend was on an attempted murder, she said it was a gang-related hit. SCARY stuff but great fodder for story material!

I've been seated on 2 previous juries and both cases should have NEVER come to court, IMHO. They were just clogging up the system! GRRR!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

All kidding aside, out judicial system may have its flaws but it is still the one *I* want if I'm ever accused of anything!

As for the people watching... the courthouse truly can NOT be beat! Just the fashion choices alone in the prospective jurors is fodder for many, many characters. ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

The defendant represented himself?!?! Well, we all know what -- was it Mark Twain? -- said about that! But that is part of the beauty of our system. People are allowed to do that. And what GREAT stuff for a future story!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Believe it or not, the guy sitting next to me in "the bleachers" said he really hoped he'd be picked because he needed the break from his day job! So there are a few of those folks out there.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

PJ, your small town jury selection actually sounds FUN!

Too bad mine was the big city version. :-( Like I said, I honestly don't mind the trial part (even if it is frivilous) so much, just the LOOOONG drawn out process to get there.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

I was NEVER called until 1998. I had just started a new job, of course, and received my very first jury summons. I was actually excited about it until I had to sit through my first round of jury selection. It was a drunk driving case and they threw me off because my ex used to do blood alcohol analysis and I knew how that process worked. They were afraid I'd know more than their expert witnesses!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

You, me and the Victorians are definitely IN SYNC!!!

Like I said, the trial itself is not so bad, but the process of selecting the jury is torturously slow. If you've never been called, BRACE YOURSELF! Once you are called, you seem to be called back on a fairly steady basis.


Cassondra said...

Helen, congrats on the chook!

Okay off to read the blog

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Thank you, Hellion! (Aunty blushes daintily at praise)

Woe is YOU, if your life is more boring than jury duty!!!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Rebar and dead femur joints?!?! OMGosh! My romantic suspense sense (kinda like spidey sense) is TINGLING! That just BEGS to be put into a book!

I can't believe they don't kick you off every time with a niece who is a DA! They usually toss out anyone who has anything to do with the judicial system and/or law enforcement.

I too have friends who have NEVER been called. I was one of those people until 1998. Now I've been called 4 times! Talk about no rest for the wicked. ;-)


Elyssa Papa said...

Thanks so much for the congrats!

I don't want to blog hog comment, but I am so excited about my news. Kimberly Witherspoon of Inkwell Management is my agent!!!

(For the past few years, I've gotten 173 rejections---# includes my first two mss and on the book that landed me my agent, so I know about rejections.)

Basically, the short version:

Email Tuesday: Are you available to talk tomorrow?

Me: Yes!

*OMG ensues, followed by it doesn't mean you'll have an agent, followed by OMG, this is it*

Phone rings on Wednesday morning. I haven't slept at all.

Agent Kimberly Witherspoon: *talks about book and how much she likes it, etc.*

Me: *stunned*

KW: *talks more*

Me, thinking: *OMG, she's actually read my book*

KW: So, you'll get an email next week...

Me, in my "genius" moment: So, does this mean you're offering representation?

KW: Yes. You're my client.


Phone conversation ends.

Me: *happy dancing*

Longer details can be found here.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...


Thanx for sharing! You know how we LURVE to celebrate in the Lair!

CABANA BOYS! Break out the blenders!!!

(waiting for a certain Bandita to announce some good news too)

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks, Helen! Hope you enjoy it. I like the hero!

Ely, congratulations again! It's such super news!

Nancy said...

Helen, have fun with the rooster. If you share those Tim Tams, you're going to spoil him! He'll have expectations on future visits, y'know. *g*

Nancy said...

AC, it seems to me that you are a fine one to talk of gallivanting, Ms Been to Turkey and Goes on Cruises. :-)

When was the last time I hurried up and waited? Flying home from National. As Donna says, you get there early, and then you wait. At least I had a book. But I always have a book.

Nancy said...

Elyssa, congrats on getting the call! All that waiting and enduring finally paid off, didn't it?

jo robertson said...

I'm pretty impatient about waiting too, but I know AC doesn't have that problem (snork, snork). It's one of the reasons I always have a book with me. I think most readers do.

I served jury duty only once. I like watching the process, but I was an alternate, so I had to do all the work, but couldn't be in on the jury deliberations. Bummer.

jo robertson said...

Elyssa, you slipped that BIG news by us in a small way. Give, girl, we want all the thrilling details!

jo robertson said...

Duh, should've looked at all the comments! Thrilling, Elyssa! Bone-chilling thrilling! Thanks for sharing; there's nothing better, I'm sure!

Keira Soleore said...

Helen, it's been a while, eh?

Ely, hooray, again! Every time i read your news, I get excited all over again. And Banditas, I knew! I knew! You didn't. Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah.

Jury Duty has to be one of those groan inducing, money-tossing, colossal waste of everyone's time activities. Worse, I don't believe in it. All the gossip ricocheting around the jury waiting rooms doesn't inpire confidence in the just-ness of the system either.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Sorry everyone, I had to run out and do some errands which took longer than expected. Hurry up and wait AGAIN!

Virginia, glad you enjoyed my post, fellow jury duty sufferer!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Jo-Mama,
I seem to perpetually be at the mercy of someone else's pokiness! :-P

I know, I know, patience is NOT one of my virtues,


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

I hear ya on other people thinking THEIR time is sooo important! Like all those idiots on the freeway who cut you off or tailgate or... Okay, NOT going there. :-P

I think a lot of defendants believe a jury trial is going to be no big deal, THEN they get a look at the jury members and hear what some of them have to say and REALITY CHECK! I'm pretty sure this was the case with this guy, and with another case I was on that was settled before the jury selection was finished. It sounds a lot easier than the reality turns out to be!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Cassondra!

Bye Cassondra!

Hope to see you later,

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Nancy,

You KNOW Aunty has been stuck in the writing caves lo these many months, writing book #3. I'd been NOWHERE since the trip to Turkey, until I went to DC. TOTALLY worth blowing a couple weeks of cave time!!!

But I was still jealous of Christie getting to go to Italy! :-P (Aunty pouts) And the plane trips both to and from DC were NOT fun times for me... Good thing seeing all the Banditas and BBs more than made up for it. :-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

MOI impatient?!?! I'm pretty sure if you look up the word in the dictionary, my picture is there. :-P

Of course I took a book with me. But it is difficult to read when you are being herded to a different locale every 15--20 minutes or so. Plus, they won't let you read inside the court room. :-(


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

GLOATING does not become you, Ms. Keira. Just sayin...

As for the gossip going around in the halls and various waiting rooms, I don't think that scares me half so much as the "deal" cut before things ever get to the court house!

I feel my romantic suspense sense tingling again...


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Thanx to everyone for commenting today.

And SUPER CONGRATS again to Elyssa! (and Keira you know I was just jealous because you knew first!)

Cabana boys! Fire up the blenders for one more round of frosty margaritas before we call it a night.


PJ said...

Ely, so glad you stopped in to share your big news. Congrats, again! I'm so very, very happy for you!

AC, I'm also impatient for your fellow Bandita to share her news. If it's the news I think it is, I heard about it earlier today and have sent her an email but can't wait to congratulate her here in the lair too! If it's somebody else's news then I can't wait to be surprised! :)

Pat Cochran said...

I was lucky in that for many years
I didn't have to serve because of
having young children, my own and
my grandchildren to care for. The
four or five times I had to report,
I was not EVER selected and only
once did I ever reach an actual
court room for the preliminaries.
I never was so glad as when I did
reach the cut-off age. Like our
dear Aunty, it was not that I didn't want to serve, it just was not a very productive process!

Pat Cochran

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...


I dunno what you heard, but we LURVE GOOD NEWS in any way, shape, or form!!!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

My feelings exactly!

Thanks for popping by,