Friday, March 15, 2013

The Jersey Monkey Redux

Last week I shared with you the tale of how I had been induced to revisit my most hated work (most hated by me, that is; I'm not sure anybody else read it) by a charming book club, who liked it because it was sort of about New Jersey. After they finished talking about it I decided I liked it too. I went home, opened it up, and prepared to scan it in and present it to the world again as a cheap Kindle.

As I scanned, retyped, and evaluated, twenty-year-old memories of the book's publication came flooding back. The dull-witted copy editor who worked it over until I gave up arguing. The cover, an ugly illustration only marginally related to the contents of the book. The opening scenes, fatuous and sophomoric. I said to myself, I can shine this up. My skills have improved in twenty years, after all. Furthermore the work is now mine. Mine. The copy editor can go chase herself.

So I did it. I've been amusing myself with it all week. The first thing I did was take out the two sophomoric opening scenes. Next I yanked some characters who didn't need to be in it. Then I changed the names of two of the remaining characters, one because the book club had trouble pronouncing it and the other because I didn't like it. After that I tweaked the computer technology. Desktop computers, not terminals. Then I put back all the commas the copy editor took out, and took out all the commas she put in. Hahaaah! Punctuate this!

Then I messed with the ending a little bit. You'll be happy to know it's still a bitter little book, now even shorter, since I took out all the parts that disgusted me completely. I put together a cover that I like. (That's it at the top of the article. If you hate it, well, you have some idea of my taste.) Since the book is so short now I'm going to offer it for 99¢ on Kindle. Look for it today or tomorrow. It's really cheap, so you have nothing to lose. If you like it, drop me a review. If you hate it, go ahead and review it, but know that as bad as it is it used to be worse.

There aren't that many messes from the past that I can put right. It seemed to me that this was one of them.

Kate Gallison


  1. It's not there yet, Kate but I will click as soon as I see it appear. I was amused because a friend told me her husband thought having so many books on his Kindle would cause it to malfunction. He has 98 books on his Kindle she told me. Did I know how many I had on mine?
    Sure. 475 on the Kindle and over 3000 in the archive.I've convinced myself that if I suddenly stopped shopping at Amazon they might go under.
    Stephanie Patterson in Collingswood

  2. I'm not sure how to reply to this blog, but as I feel very loyal to Crime Writers Chronicle and have loved being a small part of it these last couple of years, I can say ... I wish you all the best as you review your past and present writing. It is very hard to evaluate one's own work... we put our very heart and soul into these pieces, and then as time passes, view them differently, more with detachment, as we do with people who mean most to us. Thelma Straw

    1. Not to worry. I have a much higher opinion of my work than I let on.

  3. Kate, I have it. When I searched on Amazon, the print version came up first. It said they have collectible copies of the original for sale!!! Did you know that you have been reworking a collectors' item? I look forward to reading it in its new iteration. Who among us has not wished to fix something that is already in print? You did it!

  4. Yes! I wouldn't have thought it possible. The things I found. That copy editor would strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. Of course, it's a tiny little novella now, 35,000 words. For anyone else who wants a cheap thrill, the link: