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Showing posts from 2005

By Cover Alone

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I was cleaning out my bookshelves yesterday and looking at Andrews McMeel's fall catalogue when it jumped out at me: The Blue Day Book. A ubiquitous presence on the shelves of my local CVS, Target, Wal-Mart... and in the catalogue, I read about what a huge seller it is. This doesn't surprise me. I'm tempted to pick it up at least once a month, based on cover art alone. I have no idea what the writing inside is like. Maybe it's terrific, maybe it's so-so, but the cover art is irresistible. See for yourself: So that got me thinking-- maybe I've been going about this book stuff the wrong way. Maybe what I really need to do is to find some utterly alluring cover art first, then decide what book I can write to match it. (Okay, it's a stupid idea, but go with me on this.) Writers, consider this a prompt. Go off and find artwork on the web that you think would make a to-die-for cover, then tell me what book you'd write to match it.

The "My Words Matter" Pledge

Okay, I've found something important to do. Been a while. The word "retard" makes me physically ill like no other word possibly could. Today, I've begun asking for trouble. I'm showing up on message boards and blogs and asking people to take a pledge not to use the words "retard" or "retarded" as synonyms for "stupid." Yup. I know I'm going to get flamed. Yup. I know people really, really enjoy using the word "retard," and some people think it's just dandy to make fun of retarded people. But I'd be a lousy sister if I sat back and didn't say anything and didn't try to do something to make his world a little better. I think I'd rather get smacked for trying to do something right than to keep hoping someone else will fix this problem. I figure that someone had to be the first person to ask people to stop using the word "nigger," too. Hence this little pledge. Perhaps you'll sign it?

Why Do the Buttheads Get Me Down?

I don't know what's wrong with me some days. I can read 100 nice letters or reviews or whatever and one negative one, and the negative one is always the one that sticks with me. Stories of Strength has been a terrific experience, and every day I'm excited to see how much we've raised (more than $2100 so far, in just two weeks); which of our writers have been featured in newspapers, on the radio, or on TV; who's mentioned SoS on their blogs... And even with this project, there had to be a butthead. Today's butthead is over here . (No, no, not the first poster!) This blows my mind. Geoff is actually purposely advising people not to support this project because it might help Americans. And because he believes it's rooted in "Christian love." You know, I hear about how people outside the US hate Americans. I will never forget hearing about two Parisian girls watching TV in a cafe with a friend of mine on the morning of 9/11, and when they heard

Stories of Strength

Hmm. It's been a while, mostly because I've been consumed with a crazy self-imposed deadline. See, right after Hurricane Katrina struck, a bunch of writers on my message boards were feeling pretty miserable because we couldn't afford to donate much to the relief efforts. So I suggested that we write an anthology and send all the proceeds to disaster relief charities. I believe we began collecting submissions on September 1st. We released the book on November 1st. Not bad, huh? We chose to publish through Lulu.com, and they decided to donate their profits from the book, as well. In the first three days of its release, we've raised more than $1000 for disaster relief charities! As you can imagine, I'm kind of giddy. And as Barbra would say, "We've only just begun..." (Well, she'd sing it. But I'm no Barbra.) Point is, I know I specifically said I don't want to have my promotional hat on in this blog, but this is different. This one's n

But I'm Not Complaining

After my sister got into a car accident a couple of years ago where she fell asleep at the wheel and flipped her truck over a median, everyone told her how lucky she was to be alive. No kidding-- it was no small miracle that she survived this, and with no "devastating" injuries. But because of this "you're so lucky" sentiment, she felt it wasn't okay for her to ever complain about the pain in her arm where the metal plate was put in, or the fact that her toenails were ripped off, or the loss of feeling and strength in her hand. On the rare occasion that she did mention her pain, someone quickly said, "Just be thankful you're alive." Now, of course, there has to be a sense of perspective. Obviously, that's entirely true-- she IS lucky, and she IS thankful, but it frustrated her that her thankfulness was supposed to negate any of the pain she went through. That's sort of how I feel about my writing career. I can't complain.

The Power of Prayer: Natasha Lyonne

I'm still doing a lot of searching when it comes to my own spiritual beliefs. I know I believe in the power of prayer, but I'm not exactly sure why. It's not that I think God keeps count of how many people are praying for someone, and when it hits the magic number, he decides to grant the prayer-- like a genie-- but I think it's that I believe there's a spot in each of our subconscious minds that can take in those prayers and know that people are pulling for us. Anyway. Today I'm sending prayers to Natasha Lyonne. You probably know her from her roles in American Pie and The Slums of Beverly Hills. According to the NY Post, she's in the intensive care unit of Beth Israel Hospital with track marks all over her arms, receiving treatment for hepatitis C, a collapsed lung, and a heart infection. I don't follow celebrity news much, so I somehow missed her apparent downfall this year. I have no idea which rumors are just rumors and which ones are true, but

The Long Hair Activists Found Me

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Strangest thing. I wrote this little book, Hattie, Get a Haircut! , and talked about it in my recent Absolute Write Newsletter . In the book, Hattie decides that she will never, no way, not at all get a haircut. Eventually, she changes her mind and discovers she can do a good deed in the process by donating her hair to Locks of Love. Locks of Love is never actually mentioned in the text, but there's an "Ask me about LOL" sign in one of the illustrations. My editor had suggested this angle; originally, Hattie just decided to get her hair cut, period. I liked the addition of a "good deed" because anything that encourages kids to be thoughtful is a smart idea, in my opinion. Anyway. I got a couple of letters from people who are anti-LOL. They told me that the charity is no good, mostly because they don't use a lot of the hair for wigs for kids. They sell a lot of it. I knew that, but was okay with it because I know they have plenty of expenses-- they pay for

Maybe the Theme of this Blog will be Hammock Photos

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In the book Journalution by Sandy Grason, she described how she began one of her journals by drawing a picture of her legs in a hammock. I was thinking of her when I took this shot.

I've Graduated

...from neurotic author to less neurotic author. I am so proud. I recently realized that I no longer check Amazon obsessively for new reviews and rankings. I used to do it so many times a day that I'd have to pretend to myself that I was on the site for a legitimate reason. Now, I'm cool. I'm calm. I'm Less Neurotic Author.

I am Allergic to Rain

I know, it doesn't sound possible, but I am. Something swells up inside my brain right before it rains and stays that way for hours. Not usually before a downpour, but much more during those misty light rains. I get rain brain, which makes me a spaced-out idiot. I made the doctor X-ray my head, but all he found were giant cysts in my sinuses (which they had to yank out of me). I hoped the cysts were the culprit, but alas, no. Rain brain lives on.

The Kindness of Strangers

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I stumbled upon Angels for Hope today. They crochet angels, butterflies, and smiley faces and send them free of charge to anyone who needs hope. Know anyone?

Bring Me the Measuring Stick

My sister, my mother, and I have always been about the same height. Technically, I'm the shortest. My mother is a smidge taller than I am, and my sister is a bit taller than my mother. Or so it was until this week. This week, I found out my sister and I have the same weight, which is odd, because she looks thinner than I do. My mom said that's because she's taller. I said, "Not much taller. Like, barely at all." She ordered us to stand back-to-back, and that's when the bizarre discovery happened. I am taller than both of them now. This, I believe, is a mutation of some kind. Humans are not supposed to grow at age 29, right? I believe the secret is in the Pringles. Or possibly the brownies. Whole new possibilities abound. Next year, I may be a giant. I will contemplate learning how to play basketball and pout on the catwalk just in case.

Through the Hammock

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A girl could really get used to this view.