Sariah – 2017 to Present -Unveiled

“The editor represents the needs of the company to an author, and the author’s needs to the company, while lying to each about the good intentions of the other.”

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I was sitting in my favorite bar Square 1682 on a Monday night. I had just hung out with a friend who had to go, and I figured I’d have one more glass of wine. This attractive Dominican lady came up and asked if the seat next to me was taken.

“Only by you.” I  said.

We start chatting and she says she’s a book editor. Of course this gets my immediate attention because I’d love to turn Phicklephilly into a book and then a TV series. Sort of Sex in the City from the perspective of a gentleman.

The bulk of her industry experience was gathered as an editor at Simon & Schuster and, most recently, a senior editor at Other Press.  Her training began with internships at Penguin and Avalon Books, followed by the Vigliano Literary Agency and Kensington Books.  She’s acquired and edited literary and genre fiction, narrative nonfiction, and books in translation, many of which have become national and international bestsellers and critically acclaimed award winners.  She taught the Editorial Process course for the City College of New York’s Publishing Certificate Program and Simon & Schuster’s Publishing 101 Lecture Series. She has a B.A. and M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and is bilingual in English and Spanish.

I’m impressed and start to tell her about this blog. Her eyes light up as I tell her a few of the experiences I’ve had and she tells me she’d love to read it. I promise to send her the link and we continue to talk.

Sariah is passionate about books. You have to be if you decide on a career in publishing. She’s not doing what she’s doing for the often joked about low salaries. Her story is the same across the board: She comes to publishing with a love of reading, a love of stories and their power to change people’s minds and, through this, (hopefully) the world.  People in the industry are idealists. But her idealist heart eventually beat up against the reality that publishing is a business, and then she has to learn to live in the intersection of art and commerce. Like everything else in life, that intersection can sometimes be unpretty and other times it’s absolutely beautiful.  She spent twelve years in that place and has seen publishing take many twists and turns.

When she was an editorial assistant at Kensington, one the best bosses she’d ever had, the late Kate Duffy, Editorial Director of the Brava imprint, described, somewhat jokingly, an editor’s role as the following:  “The editor represents the needs of the company to an author, and the author’s needs to the company, while lying to each about the good intentions of the other.”  Kate told me there were two ways of going about the job. You’re either a company’s editor or a writer’s editor, and God help you if you’re a writer’s editor. Editors love their books and strive to keep the peace, but the fact that they are salaried employees is never far from their thoughts. She already knew that Sariah would be a writer’s editor.

This leads her to why she became an editor in the first place. Her parents came to New York from the Dominican Republic many years ago, and she is a born and bred New Yorker. She learned Spanish first and spoke it exclusively at home and learned English in school.  In the conclave of Washington Heights, her parents never really learned to speak English, and in many ways she became their eyes, ears, and mouths. She translated everything for them. As an editor, she is responsible for helping writers say what they really need and want to say. She helps authors translate their thoughts for the reading world and she does this by respectfully prodding and questioning, with the understanding that she is temporarily inhabiting someone else’s world. And even though she has an emotional connection to a story, she does her best to remain objective in her comments. Her job is to help refine the writer’s voice, to help the writer clearly and effectively express his or her ideas. The relationship between an editor and a writer cannot be described as purely professional. How could it be? It starts off with Sariah falling in love with a manuscript and knowing she can make it even better.  As many authors will attest, their editors often become their friends, staying in touch long after the books are finished.

After more than twelve years working for publishers, She created her own company because she’d rather work for the writer. My simple truth is that helping people say what they need to say makes me happy. So whether your goal is to be published by a company or to self-publish, she can promise she will do for you what she’s been doing for a long time–Sariah will help you tell your story.

So I’m really excited I met this lovely lady. She may help get me published! I also got a vibe that she was kind of into me. She said she was going to Underground Arts with a friend and maybe I should join them. I was tired and really didn’t feel like going at that point. Being home watching Netflix and smoking a cig sounded like a better idea to me. I felt it better if I emailed her the link to this blog and take it from there.

Who knows? Maybe this could be a serendipity step to publication.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly

Annabelle – Chapter 8 – What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin’?

“It’s not the kill. It’s the thrill of the chase.”

So I was scheduled to go over to Annabelle’s house to read her my screenplay. I remember her saying: “Bring your appetite because baby’s cooking!” This made me happy because:

  1. She’s cooking me dinner which makes this some next level shit.
  2. She referred to herself as ‘baby’ which makes me feel like she’s sort of my girl already.

I was at work and came up with the idea to bring a few things. It was August and very humid here in Philly. I stopped at the liquor store and picked up some wine and then decided to go to the florist around the corner. I picked up a bouquet of flowers. I hailed a cab and was on my way to her neighborhood in Northern Liberties. The cab ride was hot. I rarely take a cab now because of UBER and Lyft. Someday maybe even taxis will be a nostalgia service. We get to her building and I clamber out of the car with my stuff.

I go into the lobby and just as I’m coming in a couple is coming out. They see a gentleman with a bouquet of flowers and decide I’m not a menace and hold the door for me. Now that I have bypassed the security system I can surprise her at her door. I pop into the elevator and I’m on my way. It’s a big old building that appears to have once been some sort of factory that’s been converted into lofts. I walk down the hallway and get to her door. My heart is beating fast, and I can’t believe this is happening. I may actually be dating this girl and we are falling for each other.

I knock on her door, I have the bag with the wine and the screenplay in the left hand and the flowers in my right hand off to the side. Annabelle opens the door, and I say: “I brought the wine and the screenplay, oh and these are for you!” and whip out the bouquet of flowers from behind the door. She’s very surprised and happy.

“These flowers are beautiful! No one’s ever given me flowers before!”

I find that hard to believe, but I suppose anything’s possible. I really don’t know much about this girl. I ask for a pair of scissors and a vase. I cut the end of the stems on an angle and put them in the vase. They look awesome. I love giving girls flowers. It’s such a classic romantic gesture.

Her apartment is sparse and looks more like a photographer’s studio than a residence. I sit in a chair while she continues to prepare dinner. She’s wearing a pair of silky looking shorts that almost appear to be like lingerie. I admire her long slender legs.

A Siamese cat pads out of her bedroom and walks toward me. I don’t remember his name but she says he doesn’t like most people. He walks right up to me and rubs his snout on me. I reach down and gently pet him. Seems friendly enough to me. Animals can sense who’s good and who’s not. Their instincts have been honed over thousands of years to sniff out the differences between the assholes and the cool people.  Annabelle tells me he is very old and she has to give him an injection everyday to keep him alive. I’ve never heard of this before. How could you give a cat a needle without him wanting to tear you apart every day? He must realize that it’s the only thing that makes him feel better. Funny thing about cats, once they reach adulthood, they pretty much look the same their whole lives. How great would that be for humans? This cat is fifteen years old. That’s ancient for a cat. He looks great. Can you imagine being seventy years old and looking like you’re in your twenties? Who wouldn’t love that? If I could still perform I could date women in their twenties until the day I die!

But I digress.

She’s cooking up something, but I can’t tell what it is yet. It looks like some sort of vegan dish. I’m sure I’m not going to like it, but I like her so it doesn’t matter. She’s says she’s never cooked for anyone before, and can’t really cook. But it smells good, and I like that she’s making the effort.

We end up sitting on her sofa and dining on a large ottoman that she has in front of it. This seems very untraditional to me, but like I said, happy to be here.

She doesn’t really have much stuff. There is a desk with a computer over in the corner of the room, there is this sofa, the ottoman, a small table off to the right, and not much else. This girl is a former actress and now a photographer. It appears she lives a very bohemian lifestyle. No TV. No stereo. Just some books on a long bookshelf. I get the feeling she has collected them but not read them, but maybe that’s just me.

The food was fine, and I appreciate her efforts. I devour it as best I can, even though it’s not really something I would ever eat or even make. But she’s beautiful to me, and I am already hooked on the drug of love.

After dinner we clean up and return to the couch. I have two copies of my screenplay and tell her that I’ll read all of the male parts and she can read all of the female parts. She agrees and we begin. Every page of a script is equal to a minute of film, so my work is 118 pages so we should be able to blow through this in about two hours.

It goes well and I was happy to revisit my story. She is fascinated by the work, and asks how I was able to conceive of something like that and organize all of my thoughts and characters. I told her it was originally a book that was 541 pages long! The book, Angel with a Broken Wing, has so much more in it that the screenplay. More characters, sex and violence. She hears this and tells me she wants to read it, but I know that’s not going to happen.  Maybe someday I can publish it as a weekly blog. People always say; ‘the book is always better than the movie.’ I would agree with that but for the exception of porn!

When we finish reading the script, I lean in for an awkward kiss. Did you ever notice when you first kiss someone romantically on the lips, it just feels weird? Not every time, but there is that period of adjusting to each other’s lip configuration and facial structure. Did you also ever notice how you instinctively tilt you head to the right? That’s a human thing, right?

I’m just happy that I’m kissing her and she’s okay with it.

So after that I see it’s getting late and I should be going. I thank her for the dinner and the time, and I hug her goodnight.

I get outside and realize it’s pretty late and the area is pretty deserted. I start walking west and sort of don’t know wear I’m going. I have a great sense of direction, but I don’t get to Northern Liberties much let alone at night and on foot. I don’t know why I didn’t call and UBER, but after walking about two block I see a taxi. I wave him down and hop in.

The driver is really nice and I’m telling him about my date, because I’m giddy with joy. It’s a good ride home, and I’m happy that things are moving forward with Annabelle. It’s been a slow ride, but it’s not the kill. It’s the thrill of the chase.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly