Other negatives? "It can be lonely. I miss going out to lunch with colleagues and all that. I feel guilty when I'm not working, because there are manuscripts just sitting there. Normally I used to take some work home, but you can only take a measured amount."

"I don't think it makes a bit of difference to the authors where I am," she adds. "Although sometimes their agents worry that I'm not going to provide the same kind of support that I would in-house. And once in a while you have an author who is proud of having a New York editor. 'Mississippi editor' doesn't sound too glamorous. On the other hand, I think it's difficult for New Yorkers to understand how the rest of the country is thinking, and I have some insights on that based on day-to-day living. I think I can add a little texture there."

The bottom line, says Kirk, is that "I'm judged as an editor by the books that come out and the money they make. And for what it's worth, I won the Mystery Writers of America's Ellery Queen Award last year for contribution to the industry."

SID HEATON
The Extreme Telecommuter

Sid Heaton freely admits that his life as a telecommuter is a control freak manager's worst nightmare. "I wake up at nine or ten, make an espresso, check my e-mail, and if nothing broke overnight, I have breakfast. Then I settle in until about 2:30, when I go to the gym for an hour and a half. Then I come back and work until seven ... although I might also decide to go fly-fishing in the afternoon and work later at night."