Thursday, June 25, 2009


Holes, Part One
As in, there are gaping holes of suck in the manuscript for The Tale of Ant and I promised a draft to my agent by Friday. Have I mentioned that my agent is a black belt? Blogging will be sparse until said gaping holes of suck are plugged with some acceptable drivel.

Holes, Part Two
As in the middle of donuts. I am eating them by the bucketful. See Part One.

Holes, Part Three
As in this week's Thursday News of the Absurd Will Someone Please Write This Book Inspirational Moment (TNoftheAWSPWTBIM).

From Yahoo News and the AP (article by Joseph Marks, AP writer):

Dead Sea Peril: Sinkholes Swallow Up the Unwary

"EIN GEDI, Israel – Eli Raz was peering into a narrow hole in the Dead Sea shore when the earth opened up and swallowed him."

For real. He got sucked into a 30-foot-deep pit from out of which it took rescuers 14 hours to dig him. Apparently, these "underground craters can open up in an instant, sucking in whatever lies above and leaving the surrounding area looking like an earthquake zone."

Here's the second craziest part (after the whole THE EARTH FREAKING ATE HIM bit): he's alive. He was conscious the whole time and even wrote his will on a postcard he had with him. So the sand doesn't just swallow you; it takes you somewhere that you can see.

And -- because what's a good story without a biblical reference? -- it's all happening on the exact land that was Sodom and Gomorrah.

So you know where these people are ending up, right? Sodom and Gomorrah. In biblical times.

There's a cheesy message book here in which Earth is eating people and sending them back to simpler times in an aggressive attempt to stop people from destroying her completely (this fits also because the sinkholes are in part a result of water over-use in the region).

You could write that one. OR, you could write me the story of the kids who find the portal and get addicted to the time travel. They keep diving into the sand and acting with wild abandon down there in partyville because it seems so unreal. Every time they get back, not much time has passed. Nothing seems different. But things are different. Insidious things. And the kids are not coming back alone.

Who will write me this book?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

You're only seven once

In which I explain why Tinkerbell has not read Harry Potter even though she is a super-genius.

As if I needed more of a reason than Percy Jackson to love Rick Riordan, he has echoed my thoughts EXACTLY on making sure kids have age-appropriate books to read, not just in terms of reading ability, but also in terms of content. Go read and come back. I'll wait.

Like Riordan, it never impresses me when parents brag about the big, fat, way too old books their super-genius first grader can read. I always wonder what their kid's been missing out on; was he too busy reading all seven books of Harry Potter to read Monkey and Me and taste playdough in preschool? Because that is just sad for him. "Wasn't he scared of, um, he who must not be named?" I ask, shivering. And when they say no, I wonder, "Why not? How much horror has this kid seen to already at 6 be immune to the scariness of an undead, shape-shifting force of pure evil who kills people's parents?!"

I remember Linda Sue Park (I think) talking somewhere about bad books, and how reading bad books takes time -- time that could have been spent reading high quality books. I guess I feel the same way about reading books before you're ready for them -- why do it when there are way too many fabulous books at your own level to ever read them all?

As my mother used to say, you only get one chance to be seven; don't go trying to be eight before your time.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy birthday, Sir

As you may know, I have a little thing for Salman Rushdie's books, by which I mean I love them with all my heart. Well, today is his birthday, and to celebrate, the Writer's Almanac has a great, brief biography, which you should read if you are a writer (which I am), and especially if you are an impatient writer (which I am) who needs to hear that it took Rushdie five years to write Midnight's Children, and most especially if you have recently gotten a stinging rejection (which I have not, knock on wood, but it's always good to hear these things anyway) and need to hear that the first editor who read the manuscript that would go on to become the Booker Prize winning masterpiece Midnight's Children, suggested this:

"The author should concentrate on short stories until he has mastered the novel form."

I think this calls for cake and an afternoon with The Enchantress of Florence, don't you?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday is saved

Earlier today, I was wondering if perhaps one kid-free hour a day is not enough time in which to finish a novel, shower, work out and blog. In my head, I was penning a bloggy apology for once again having no Thursday inspiration for you.

And then this:

TINK: How is your book going, Mama?
JACQUI: Good, thanks for asking. But I had to cut the skeleton scene we worked on. It just didn't fit, you know?
TINK: Too bad.
JACQUI: But thanks for helping anyway; it got me thinking about other ideas.
TINK: I need your help with MY book, Mama. My series, actually.
JACQUI: You're writing a series?
TINK: Yeah, it's a series of silly books. There are going to be five of them. (sounding exactly like me when I am wrestling aloud with a plot problem) I already know what's going to happen in all of them, but I need some help with good titles. Can you think of some?
JACQUI: Well, what happens in them?
TINK: In the first one, the big idea has to do with the funky bunny village. Wait! I know. The first one is called The Funky Bunny Village. And the second one is going to be Charlie McKey is Not a Funky Bunny.*

Charlie McKey is Not a Funky Bunny. I LOVE it. Is it plagiarism if you steal from family?! Who will write me this book?

* FYI, rest of the series includes: Everyone Does Not Like to Play With Charlie McKey, Wait Up Charlie McKey, and The Funky Bunny Village Rises Again.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

It's raining frogs, hallelujah...

For today's Thursday News of the Absurd Will Someone Please Write This Book Inspirational Moment (TNoftheAWSPWTBIM) I present the oddest news we've had so far.

From the Telegraph, article by Danielle Demetriou:

Sky rains tadpoles over Japan

"Residents, officials and scientists have been baffled by the apparent downpour of tadpoles in central Japan's Ishikawa Prefecture.

Clouds of dead tadpoles appear to have fallen from the sky in a series of episodes in a number of cities in the region since the start of the month."

Scientists are baffled. Apparently, amphibians are known* to rain down from the sky sometimes when strong winds suck them up and carry them inland. But there were no strong winds in the region that day.

Obviously the citizens of Ishikawa and their Pharoah have made God very, very mad.

OR, there's an alternative explanation. A children's book explanation. A rollicking picture book explanation that involves, um, hmm. Er. Tadpoles trying to escape the pond? Help! Who will write me this book?

And now, to make up for the fact that I have no actual story with which to charge you, I bring you my favorite tadpole song:

* By whom was this known?! Not me.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Three Books You Should Love

Remember when I used to blog about other people's books instead of whining about MY book all the time? No? Me neither. In any case, though, I read three FANTASTIC books this week that you must love.

1. The Spanish Bow, by Andromeda Romano-Lax

This book for grown-ups was recommended by MoonRat back in the fall (click on her site for a good summary); I bought it for my mom sight unseen on that recommendation and she loved it, so I stole it. Ms. Romano-Lax seems very cool and is the inventor of Project Fill-in-the-Gaps, which is like my 15 Classics in 15 Weeks project, but gigantic-er.

Why you must love it: It is sweeping and epic and beautiful. It rides from elation to secrecy to love to hatred to bitterness and takes you every step of the way. Plus, it delves bravely into the question of WHY we bother to create anything and whether any of it is worth it. Also, it will make you want to bust out that violin you haven't touched since third grade.

Caveat: You are going to read the first chapter and say, "Um, Jacqui? That would never happen." You are right. Keep reading anyway, okay?

2. Knucklehead, by Jon Scieszka

I know; everyone's already recommended this sort of autobiography. But I hadn't read it. If you haven't either, you should. And you should give it to your sons, especially if there are a lot of them.

Why you must love it: It is hilarious, and it's the best kind of hilarious, which is to say that it is full of "Omigod, we totally did that" moments.

Caveat: It may teach your kids new ideas...

3. You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!
by Jonah Winter, André Carrilho

Why you must love it: Because you must love Sandy Koufax, who struggled and overcame and stood up for his beliefs and retired on top. And was a good guy, it seems. The voice is perfect and the story has what I consider the perfect level of information for a picture book biography.*

Caveat: The illustrations. I like them and they're very cool, but the faces are warped and it freaked Destructo out quite a bit: "Why he YOOK yike dat? He really yook yike dat?"

* By the way, Boni has more picture book biography recs over at her blog this week, if you're interested.

PS It's Maurice Sendak's birthday, speaking of books you must love. Rumpus rumpus rumpus, as we say around here.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A multiple exclamation point moment

I am not usually a multiple exclamation point kind of blogger. BUT, guess what I got in the mail this week?


Check out the back:

July 7th, people. Start saving your pennies.