Amusing Timewaster

Via Bookshelves of Doom, who managed to be Woodstock. I love Woodstock! But I also really wanted to be Lucy — but we all know my true nature…

Your Score: Marcie

Wishy-Washy: 50%, Mental: 71%, Physical: 31%

Marcie is Peppermint Patty’s best friend, and secretly loves Charlie Brown. She is always willing to help Patty through class and with homework, and plays on her sports teams even though she would rather be doing something else. Always address people you respect as “sir”.

Link: The Peanuts Character Test written by timberlineridge on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

S.A.M. is going to Italy — again — in March. I suppose when I’m rich and famous I’ll go to the Bologna Book Faire, too. I may have a long wait.

Tour de Blogosphere

All right: I’ve got my excuses for why I’ve been blog mum lined right up. First up, Cybils – the great “drop everything and read” days have begun in earnest! Second, just today I’ve been on a train for two hours, walking through the gorgeous town of St. Andrews for another hour, window-shopping (It’s the best way to shop right now; one avoids the caroling, which one DOES NOT WANT TO HEAR UNTIL DECEMBER), and I’ve been reading blogs for the past two hours, just trying to catch up. What is with you people that you all have something to say the minute I turn my back?! (BTW: this is a picture of Glasgow Uni; don’t have my photo-sucking-off-the-cellphone-camera gear here in St. A’s. Oh well.)

Had a good laugh over Meg Cabot er, revitalizing Little Women. She tells the story as it’s never been told, probably for good reason… I am having to admit a grudging affection for ol’ Meg. Drat.

More bizarre-ness comes in the form of the newest Gilda Joyce — I am SUCH a fan of this wacky sleuthing chick, with her bizarre couture choices, though they worry Gail at Original Content just a bit.

Have you ever heard of The YoungMinds Award? It is sponsored by the ever-amazing Phillip Pullman. YoungMinds is the UK’s leading mental health charity, providing information and help for various populations. The book that won the award this year is Still Here With Me, by Suzanne Sjöqvist, which deals with young adults expressing themselves after the loss of a parent. I love that Pullman sponsors this; the premise of the whole award is to recognize “the role that writers can provide in allowing adults to see the world through children’s eyes.” Fitting.

Poor Mitali bemoans her inability to remove her critical thinking cap when viewing Disney movies. Heck, I can’t either — I tend to get tetchy when I see sexism, racism, and other little bits of intolerance disguised as the status quo. As I’ve said in the Brown Bookshelf discussion, I think aggressive idealism is needed in this world. If we can point out that things aren’t right, using humor and charm, we can support things being different. After watching Aquafortis’ suggested film, The Miniature Earth Project, I can only appreciate that point of view even more.

Another interesting thought on ethnicity in the United States comes from Salon, who recently published a piece on the idea that race is dying. This really tied in to some of the discussions in which a group of intrepid thinkers has engaged on the topic. We’ve talked about what are the markers of “white,” and why it seems that authors who portray African American or brown or minority characters in books always seem to portray them as issue stories where their race is a factor. We’ve talked about the fact that this is often forced upon the writers, but no one has broached the subject of what it might mean to have novels filled with characters who don’t make race an issue. No one has discussed what I call “the snack schizophrenia” — Oreos, Bananas, Crackers… I will always appreciate Justina Chen Headley’s Nothing But the Truth (& A Few White Lies), because she fearlessly took on the subject of “acting white,” which is such a wearisomely common accusation.

And what does that mean? Isn’t that a good question…

Every year I snicker over this “only in the UK” news item — the Bad Sex Award. YA author Meg Rosoff on why she really doesn’t want to ever write a sex scene…

While everybody and Roger Sutton have been fussing about that Kindle thing from Amazon, the Booksellers Association and the Publishers Association have adopted a resolution to reduce their carbon imprint by 10% by 2015. There are some pretty big publishing houses in those two groups, including Penguin and HarperCollins, so it is hoped that this can actually make a difference. The question I have is how it will make a difference to writers. Will publishers and agents finally begin te discussion about electronic rights that has been so long in coming?

Finally, Cloudscome posts a great review on The Daring Book for Girls, and the authors take over at the Powell’s Blog for a few more thoughts on girlhood. I now want to learn how to make a willow whistle and read up on their section on dangerous things — which encompasses high heeled shoes, which I still haven’t really learned to navigate, and roller coasters, which I (kind of) have. Here’s to girlhood — if you’re not careful, it can fly by too fast. Kind of like childhood, which, as Kim & Jason say, is up to us, this time around.

If I can’t make a willow whistle, I’m at least going to try out the high-heels…

Secret Agent Men (And Women)

Have you been reading Cynsations’ Agent interviews? I was especially interested today after learning that one of my favorite authors, Wendy Lichtman is a client of my favorite agent. How cool is that? This should help you understand why I posted my painfully bad math-relationship poems online? Because they were dragged out of my memory by Wendy’s fantastic book, Do the Math: Secret, Lies & Algebra. My review is upcoming at Edge of the Forest soon!NOW! TODAY! It’s up now. GO!


How do I love Shrinking Violet Promotions? Let me but count the ways… You know, it IS true that most people who write are not the people who are having trouble tearing themselves away from the party to sit down and type. As Kurt Vonnegut is quoted as saying, “Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” Writers seem to hover a bit at the edge, in view of the action, but not usually right in the middle… Many of us are introverts, and being an introvert in this society really is seen as… some kind of social disease. Yet the Violets assure me that I can “promote [my] work with success” so I’m hoping that what they’ve said is true! Stay tuned as I try and delve into their secrets to surviving the spotlight! Also, stay tuned for wise words from Robin Brande, who is now schmoozing with the televisionistas. (Is there nothing this Kidlitosphere Conference organizing, backpacking, dog-walking, novel-writing dynamo cannot do?)

Via the ever-interesting Anastasia: who do you know who can review your YA book? Know of a high school newspaper?? Ypulse is the land of great ideas today!

From Bottom Shelf Books — a small donation of time will raise a dollar per person for literacy with Jumpstart‘s Read for the Record campaign. Today, just… read Ferdinand the Bull. Sign up and say you will or have. And that’s …it. Maybe you won’t be joined by ‘hundreds of thousands,’ but you can be an army of one… go here to record your read.

I have Irish friends who are mad — spitting mad (as opposed to ‘barking mad’
which they are as well) about the portrayal of the kidlit favorite, Paddington Bear on UK TV. Previously as stuck on marmalade as Pooh Bear is stuck on ‘hunny,’ Paddington Bear is now taking in the dreaded yeasty spread, Marmite. Many people have very strong feelings about media using literary characters for the sake of advertising. I must admit that though the commercial is quite funny, I’d be a bit annoyed if Winnie the Pooh was pimping chunky peanut butter or something… on the other hand, this happens all the time in the U.S., doesn’t it? I mean, is there anything Shrek or Aladdin or other Disneyfied characters haven’t been on? I mean, couldn’t you imagine (with disgust) Harriet the Spy pimping for KFC? Does it make more of a difference to the national disgust level if it’s a character from a book?

National Book Award finalist Patricia McCormick is chatting with the readergirlz — tonight! Last call to be there!

Man alive. ‘Tis the season, apparently: once school starts, it’s open season on books. I don’t know how the teachers and librarians in these towns can take it – we’re sending you courage, people! Hang in there…

Toon Thursday: Now With Added Linkage!

Yup, Toon Thursday is back after a week’s hiatus for the Under Radar Recommendations. I like having an excuse to take a break now and then. Thinking of a funny joke every week is kinda hard. (Can’t believe I used to write a humor column every day…) Anyway, today’s Toon Thursday is in honor of the fact that I spent what seemed like eons yesterday writing my query letters for my YA novel…and finally sending out proposals to two agents! Yay!

Also, in blog news, Betsy at Fuse #8 has announced her first official podcast edition of A Fuse #8 Production. She wants your feedback, so go check it out! Also, Writer’s Digest presents a pretty amusing blog by Kevin Alexander called This Writer’s Life about the tribulations of a writer just starting out. I can relate. I particularly like his mock quiz entitled Are You Ever Really Going to Finish that Novel? (Notable quote: “3. Agents like a brief selling handle summing up the book’s main plot. Which answer most closely resembles the state of your pitch? … D. My book will have several chapters and a main character who’s probably going to be a woman. Or a man. Definitely one of the two.”) Lastly, the editor of Guide to Literary Agents keeps a blog here, with periodic updates and new listings of agents. There’s a category for posts related to children’s writing, too, though it doesn’t seem as lengthy as other categories.

4 More Reasons Why… Jay Asher is very cool

I don’t have know him well enough to list all thirteen ways in which YA author Jay Asher of the threesome blogging team of DiscoMermaids fame is cool, but YA lit aficionado Natalie on the
Children’s Writers & Illustrator’s Chat board does — so check out her 13 reasons (and do a little dance that the October release date is COMING! Soon!), and listen to this:

There are four very excellent reasons the Mermaids as a team are rising stars in the YA lit blogosphere. They have done a very fine thing: they have interviewed… fifteen year olds. Four of them. To talk about who they are and what they are and what it is that they want to know and see in young adult literature.

Talking to the people for whom we write is sometimes really funny, really cool, really bewildering and always an experience. More writers for young adults need to find a way into the culture of the classroom, the library and into the world of young adults to keep in touch with why they are writing and the very real people and situations with whom they want to connect. I think this is SO COOL on myriad levels, Jay, and thanks for the heads up on this.


Tomorrow, the first of what is intended to be a continuing series ‘airs’ on the DiscoMermaids site, truck on over and check it out!

(Psst! If you look over here, you can also find someone Else – a few someone elseS – doing Very Cool Things. To save the world. And stuff. Check ’em out.)