Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Letters, we get letters


My last blog entry generated a lot of traffic. I'm fairly stunned. Unfortunately, I don't go leaping out of trees all that often (once so far) so I fear this one will be a letdown. I am working on a post recounting my adventure when I got into a fistfight with a Kodiak bear. That didn't happen, but I figure I have to keep the excitement level up.

In the meantime, since I haven't been talking that much about books lately, here's this:

Book I'm currently reading: Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks (No verdict yet from this reviewer.)

Book I'm reading because it will probably do me some good: Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment by George Leonard (He makes a lot of good points so far.)

Book I just finished reading: Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney (More middle grade books should be like this!)

Book I tried to find at B&N the other night but failed and had to order from Amazon: Ellie MacDoodle by Ruth Barshaw. (Ruth is a pal but she's awesome and a great artist, so check out this book and see if you don't agree.)

Book I didn't finish but will probably get to later: Martyn Pig by Kevin Brooks (Kinda morose for my taste.)

Book I bought because it has a really cool title: Dead Egotistical Morons by Mark Richard Zubro (Come on! It's a great title! Who cares what the book is about!)

Book with a cover featuring the author holding a bloody sand wedge: Alice Cooper...Golf Monster (Okay, I am a huge Alice fan and have been since forever.)

Book I'm saving because I know I'm going to love it: Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

I have fun playing with Amazon's "Recommended for you" function. I'm trying hard to teach it what I like but it still comes up with some weird suggestions, like this one author who I think is The Worst Author In the Whole World. I'd say her name but I'd probably get yelled at.

Anyway, Amazon keeps recommending Rules by Cynthia Lord, which was a recent Newbery Honor Book. Every time I saw Cynthia's name it rang a bell but I couldn't figure out why. Yesterday I couldn't stand it anymore and typed her name into my email search box. Up popped three emails from Cynthia in 2001, when I first joined the Children's Writers list. I had no idea if I could write fiction and felt terribly insecure hanging out with a lot of published authors, but Cynthia's emails were full of compliments and encouragement. She had been reading my weird and often lengthy posts to CW and could not have been nicer.

So, I am happy that Cynthia has gone on to bigger and better things. You rock, Cynthia!

Speaking of winners, Linda Sue Park was a CW member when she won the Newbery medal for A Single Shard. In honor of the occasion, I composed the following:

Top Ten Perks of Winning the Newbery Medal:

10. One free trip to the salad bar at participating Red Lobsters

9. A metric ton of bookmarks delivered to your front door

8. Able to trash hotel rooms on world book tour and get away with it

7. Make an appearance in a WWF match as "The Iron Scribe," and the script guarantees at least one opportunity to smash Stone Cold Steve Austin over the head with a folding chair

6. Can force publisher to release anything you've written, even if it's a five volume set on the life of your favorite Teletubby, Tinky Winky

5. A free t-shirt from the Gap with the Gap logo crossed out and "Newbery Winner" written underneath

4. Mattel releases a Newbery winner action figure. Okay, so it just sits there and stares at a computer--do you have your own action figure? Hah!

3. That kid in grade school who teased you about being a bookworm? Snap your fingers and he ends up in a Jersey landfill

2. Not one, not two, but THREE bags of peanuts on every airline flight

1. Free use of the Batmobile for one year

Despite her life being turned upside-down by the Newbery win, Linda Sue immediately wrote me a nice note, which was cool. I heard she has her own version of a Top Ten list that she does at personal appearances, which is even cooler.

If you are a Newbery winner and would like to write me a nice email, please respond to this blog. I will consider other award-winning authors but it's really the big-time awards that count.

Today's email:

Dear Dr. Missy,

Why does it take so darned long to hear back from editors? I hate this!

Linda (not my real name)

Dear Linda,

Truth is, the editors are hiding a horrible secret: the publishing industry is suffering from a terrible zombie problem. This problem manifests itself in several ways. For example, say you send a manuscript to an editor and never hear back. The chances are good that the editor has been attacked by zombies, who have eaten her spine. The zombies have also shown a penchant for stealing mail. What they do with it is not known, but over the past two years, there have been an alarming number of zombie attacks on the mailrooms of major publishers. Not only do they relieve the mailroom workers of their spines, they carry off huge piles of manuscripts, hiding them in the New York City sewer system, where they are shredded by mutant alligators.

If you are worried about your manuscript, I urge you to call the editor. "I know about the mail-stealing zombies!" you should yell into the phone. "I know they are eating spines and feeding manuscripts to sewer alligators! Stop this whitewash of a major problem! The public deserves to know what is going on! Act now before the zombie problem spirals completely out of control!"

The editor will, of course, hang up on you. They don't want this horrible news getting out, but if enough of you call, they will realize that it's time to come clean.

Dr. Missy

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