Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Analogy-Girl's Random Blog -Eve

When I have writer’s block, Blogging is like a laxative…it loosens me up and gets the juices flowing.

If I were a superhero, I’d be Analogy-Girl. My super power would be that I could rattle off an analogy for anything. This power wouldn't save the planet or fight crime or anything, but it sure would come in handy when I enter the World Series of, um, Analogy-Making. Is that a reality game show yet? Well, it should be.

True story…I was once asked in an interview (clearly a test of how well I could think on my toes) to explain how a Turkish carpet salesman was similar to lime Jello. Believe it or not, I spun around a few times, grew a golden A on my chest, sprouted a flowing cape, tights and a boostier, and became Analogy-Girl…armed with a kick-ass answer!

Since this is my one and only talent in the world, I thought, what better place to showcase it than on our Blog site. God bless the internet!! Let’s test my skills, shall we? Okay, I have no witnesses, so you’ll just have to trust me. I’m taking random words out of a book right now, writing them down, and I will use them to create several analogies. Here they are:

book, snowflake, people, flower, run, write, car (let’s call it a Porsche, just to make it interesting), puppy, adolescence

Here we go. Drum roll, please…

Writing a book is like running long distance…the process is fun and finishing is extremely rewarding, but if you do it for too long, you just end up exhausted with stiff joints and pain in your back and butt.

People are like snowflakes, floating randomly through life. Some latch onto others, some become nothing at all, and some are destined to be part of something big. But they all evaporate in the end.

Books are like flowers. Most have the power to bring joy into our lives. Some lose their luster after a while, some will grow to be huge, and some, no matter how wonderful and perfect, will sit alone waiting to be picked up.

Adolescence is like a Porsche…quick, obnoxious, and loud. And if you take it too fast, it can kill you.

Life is like a puppy…it can be playful and loving, but sometimes it craps on you or bites you for no reason.

Damn, I’m good! And that only took me, like, five minutes. I can analogize about anything.

Go ahead. Challenge me! Throw some words my way…you know you want to.


Monday, August 28, 2006

Choose Your Own Free DVD

You may have read Jay’s love letter to Choose Your Own Adventure books. Lucky for us, the makers of a new Choose Your Own Adventure DVD series also read that post…and sent us a free DVD! Since we’re always looking for an excuse to squeeze in some quality Disco Mermaid time, we decided to review their first release (The Abominable Snowman) together. We went to Eve’s house (because she has the biggest TV), ordered pizza (where we each got to Choose Our Own Topping…pepperoni, black olives, and mushrooms), went to the living room (where we each got to Choose Our Own Seat…Robin and Eve on the couch, Jay on the floor), and popped in the DVD. Here's what happened on our adventures:

The main characters were narrated by William H. Macy, Frankie Muniz, Lacey Chabert, and Daryl Sabara. At several points in the movie a timer popped up and we had to select between two options to continue the story.

Uncle Rudy (already in Nepal) invites Benjamin, Crista, and Marco to join him in a Yeti search. The three children meet a Sherpa guide and hop on a plane to link up with their uncle. But the plane starts having engine trouble mid-flight…

Robin - stays in the plane, crash lands, survives an avalanche, follows yak poop to a house, leaves house, survives a snow storm and falling ice, finds Uncle Rudy, visits a temple, argues with Uncle Rudy about the dangers of too much adventure, offered the choice of a safe and lonely life or a risky adventurous life…chooses adventure, Sherpa turns into a Yeti and flies everyone Peter Pan-style to Shangri-La (elapsed time: 22 minutes)
Jay - parachutes out of the plane, chooses between two Sherpas, goes to base camp, survives cracking ice lake, follows Yeti prints, partakes in a snowball fight, runs screaming from a bear (elapsed time: 15.5 minutes)
Eve - follows Jay until the Yeti prints, follows Uncle Rudy’s prints instead, goes to a monastery, gets sick (though it looks like a bad acid trip), catches up with Uncle Rudy, becomes a member of a famous explorers society, takes a picture of two Yetis, leaves for a brand new adventure in Paris (elapsed time: 22 minutes)

PERSONALITY PROFILE (not part of the DVD, just something we figured out based on our choices):
Robin - the cautious Disco Mermaid, but easily talked into letting loose
Jay - the goal oriented (read: anal) Disco Mermaid, sometimes sacrifices the journey for the destination (leading to premature death by bear claw)
Eve - the adventurous Disco Mermaid, always winds up in Paris

Robin - I really love the idea of using DVDs for a ChooseYour Own Adventure series. There were some big stars involved, too—the guy from Fargo, the kid from Malcolm in the Middle, the cute little girl from Party of Five, and the talented one from Desperate Housewives. I think kids, probably six and over, will enjoy choosing what’s going to happen next. I wish I could’ve had longer to make my decisions—the clock ticking made me feel rushed and scared of making the wrong choices. And if there’s more than one person in the room, or if you’re a highly dysfunctional group (i.e. Robin-Jay-Eve) there may be a lot of shush-ing going on in order to follow the story line. And speaking of story line, luckily, I made all the “right” decisions and my adventure ended with me flying through the sky while holding hands with aYeti…something I’ve always wanted to do!
Jay - I thought it was great! I can see kids having just as much fun with this as with the books (it’ll probably even encourage them to read the books for further adventures…always a good thing). I liked the humor (especially the penguin butt joke), enjoyed the animation, and found myself really caught up in discovering what would happen because of my choices. Because I recently read several of the books with my niece and nephew, I wasn’t too thrown by the weird endings (the DVD doesn’t try to follow the book, and both forms of adventure often have abrupt or random story endings). I’d give these as gifts over regular DVDs because they don’t allow the viewer to be passive.
Eve - The first thing I noticed was how weird Frankie Muniz’s voice sounded. Kind of a mix of a young Joe Pesci and Kermit the Frog. Once I got over that, I found the DVD quite entertaining. But although it started out with promise, the endings all seemed a little abrupt and strange. I chose to have fun on my adventure and chose the wild paths, like “parachute out of the plane” and “go to the Buddhist temple.” I did find the Abominable Snow-guy at the end, but it was surreal and quick…I saw him through the window of a building and he was hanging out in the shrubs with a little Abominable Snow-girl. They waved and I…I mean, the characters…waved back, we took a picture of them, and then we decided to get up and go to Paris! Huh?? Again, I did have fun, and I think children will, too. The humor and duration seemed appropriate for kids 6-9, and although we were screaming about how little time we had to make our decisions, I think keeping things quick paced is a good idea for the little ones…like you’re on a real adventure and have to decide your fate fast. This would be a great activity for sleepovers or family nights in. Fighting over which path to take before the little timer thing ran out was the most fun part for us. Well, that and watching Jay get eaten by a bear within the first three minutes…that was awesome!

- a music video with clips from the movie
- “In the Shadow of the Himalayas: How People Live in Nepal” - a great 28-minute documentary about Nepal (where the movie is set) which uses students from Seattle and their sister school in Katmandu to keep it kid-friendly
- a 10-minute behind-the-scenes featurette (which Jay kept pausing whenever Lacey Chabert appeared on the screen)
- an Adventure Journal tucked into the DVD case with lots of fun facts and photos of Nepal (including info on Sherpas, animals, the language, and myths)

It’s amazing no one turned the Choose Your Own Adventure books into interactive movies until now. The makers of this DVD series will probably sell a ton of copies because of the animated movie alone. But they took the concept beyond what was necessary and made it a fun educational experience, as well.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

It's a Plutocracy -- Jay

This whole Pluto-is-no-longer-a-planet thing is a conspiracy. I bet if you check the stock portfolios for the “scientists” who made this decision, over half of them own stock in textbook publishers, scientific poster companies, and manufacturers of planetary models. Follow the money, that’s all I’m saying.

Calm down, Jay. Is that what you’re thinking? Calm down?!?!?! Don’t you realize what this means? It means I have to edit my last middle grade novel one more time if I want it to stay contemporary and not become historical fiction. One of my characters builds a model of the solar system and the ninth planet plays a big part in the climax of the story. At least, it’s a big part for such a teeny-tiny planet. But that’s what Pluto will always be to me. A planet! Oh, and a Disney dog, too...but a Disney dog named after a planet!

I can probably add a couple of lines as to why my character puts Pluto on his model, but why should I have to change my fiction to fit the facts? And what about that mnemonic sentence used to memorize the order of the planets? My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas. What’s it going to be now: My Very Emaciated Mother Joyfully Served Us Nothing?

Damn you, scientists. I was a space-geek in elementary school, too. But I learned from it. It made me stronger. And I promised never to repeat what was done to me. But you...you just can't help picking on the smallest planet in the solar system, can you!

- Jay

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A Shout Out to All the Medium Brains—Robin

I admire people who are smart and stuff. Unfortunately, the smart gene skipped over me and graced itself on the head of every other person in my family.

My brother, a brilliant lawyer, missed one question on his SAT. I think he sneezed and the scantron misread it. My father got his Brilliant Degree from Georgia Tech and has a bit of that RainMan complex in which he can tell you the date, time and weather condition of virtually every historical event ever. My mother was named the most brilliant educator in, like, the entire state. Now she’s retired and gardens. But, oh no, she’s not just a gardener. The state of Georgia has named her a “Master Gardener.”
Good grief, people.

So what’s my contribution? What is it that I do with my medium brain?
I put words together on paper with the hopes of making 12-year olds giggle.

My big-brained family is an understanding group, though. They often come over to me, pat me on my smallish head and say, “There, there. There, there.”

I also admire smart people who quote from famous literary works. My mouth drops whenever I hear someone quote Shakespeare or Thoreau or Dickinson.
Personally, I like to quote from Stouffer: “Cut a slit in the wrapper and microwave for 5 minutes on HIGH.”

My other source of quotes is one that my medium-sized brain can truly understand…cheesy movies. And with that, I give you my list of top movie quotes that I often incorporate into my every day language. (Yes, my language is stilted and trashy.)
And since this has been a week full of contests, I challenge you to guess which movies these classic lines come from. (If you guess one correctly, you get a lollipop from me…at next year’s conference! Oh, come on, it’s worth the wait!)

Some quotes are from the same movie, but they’re just that meaningful!

1. “I was born a poor, black child.” (Osceola, you should get that one!)
2. “Anywhere between the thimble and the box of matches.”
3. “And over there’s the divan, for socializing and whatnot.”
4. “What’s your victor, Vector?”
5. “We’re the Judea’s People’s Front. We’re the People’s Front of Judea!” (Don’t ask me how I use that in every day conversation.)
6. “It goes to eleven…” (Too easy, huh?)
7. “Can I borrow your panties, for like, five minutes?”
8. “Grandparents forgetting a birthday…they live for that sh*#!”
9. “You want, like, ten thousand of his babies.”
10. and finally…”Did you have brain tumor for breakfast!?”
Did anyone get any of those? “Anyone, anyone…” (See how this works!?)
If you have any to add to these ten, please educate my medium brain. (Though it actually only goes to 20.)


Monday, August 21, 2006

The dePaola Coda: A Contest

No, it’s not a typo. This is our coda to The dePaola Code. One last hurrah for the series of posts that launched our blog into a slightly higher stratum of the blogosphere. A lot of ridiculously cool things have happened to us because of The dePaola Code, so we’re offering to rub some of that coolness off on you!

As you may have read, we met Tomie dePaola at the recent SCBWI National Conference. We came prepared with a printed booklet of The dePaola Code, presented it to him, and he loved it! End of story? No. We had a few more copies on our persons and nervously asked Mr. dePaola if he would be generous enough to sign them. We told him that some copies were for us while some were for...our readers! That’s right, we’re giving away two copies of The dePaola Code autographed by The Man himself. As a bonus, they were also signed by--not one--but all three Disco Mermaids.

We know!!!

Okay, so how do you get one of these extremely rare literary masterworks? There are two ways. One, write something that makes us laugh. Or two, draw something that makes us laugh.

FOR AUTHORS: Write the funniest Disco Mermaid joke and an autographed copy of The dePaola Code is yours! “Why did the Disco Mermaid cross the road?” We don’t know…tell us! “How many Disco Mermaids does it take to screw in a light bulb?” We give up! “Three Disco Mermaids walk into a bar…” Good. Keep going! You can e-mail us as many jokes as you want. To find our address, click View My Complete Profile beneath the kissy-kissy picture near the top right corner of our blog. We’ll post some of our favorite jokes before choosing a winner. And if you really want to brown-nose us, post about this contest on your blog. Since there are three of us, if we have a tie, your post will be the tiebreaker.

FOR ILLUSTRATORS: Design a Disco Mermaid logo and The dePaola Code is yours! A mermaid in a Saturday Night Fever pose? Great! Three mermaids in a conga line? Terrific (we especially like the way you put a goatee on one of the mermaids)! You can e-mail the logo to us, but the same tiebreaker rule applies here. So send us a link to your post and we’ll link to your blog.

How long does it take three Disco Mermaids to make a decision? Ooh...sounds like the beginning of a great joke! But don’t worry, we’ll give you ample warning to submit any last minute jokes or to finish your logos.

Good luck…and have fun!

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Trends, They Are A-Changin' -Eve

The other day Robin asked me if I thought the “Chick-Lit” phase would ever go away.

“Of course,” I said. “Something else we never saw coming will soon take its place as the hot new thing.” Just like in fashion. Nothing lasts forever…or does it?

While flipping through the latest issue of Harper’s Bazaar the other day I read the “What’s In, What’s Out” list in horror as I realized that everything I’ve put on my body lately is on the “OUT” side. Wedge sandals? OUT. Chunky layered necklaces? OUT. Boot cut jeans? Definitely OUT. OMG, I’m a walking “Glamour Don’t.”

But there’s more. This fall’s ultimate "must have or you'll look like a total imbecile loser and everyone will laugh at you" piece is… wait for it…

Leggings! HA! That stretchy little piece of spandex that was every girl’s main wardrobe staple in the 1980’s is back! What a crack-up. I mean, no one looked good in them the first time around. Unless you weighed 92 lbs, had insanely good calf and thigh genes, and no cankles (condition where your calf and ankle are indistinguishable, they blend into one).

Someone at the L.A. conference asked me what I thought the hot new kid’s lit trend would be. After careful thought, here’s my conclusion:

Let’ s reject the trends! Chick-Lit one year, fantasy the next. Quiet books are out. Wait. Now, they’re back! Silly picture books? Sooo 2002! Funny middle grade? They don’t sell. Oh, yes. Now they do! Edgy YA? Yawn. Oh, wait. It’s selling like hotcakes again! Jeez. I can’t keep up.

Every year, we conference-goers are advised to follow the current trends. But by the time we get that trendy ms written, into the hands of the right editor, and into Barnes and Noble, that trend is long gone.

The good news is, write what you love and you can rest assured that your genre will pop up again eventually as the hot thing everyone wants. Luckily we writers only have to wait 3-4 years for our trends to recycle; fashionistas have to wait 20-25!

It’s a funny analogy to think about. I mean, will Harry Potter-esque fantasy be the leisure suit of the millennium? Will quiet picture books be like the skort…you know, designers try to push it on us every few years, but it never really sticks? Will edgy Chick-Lit be like hot pants? And in a few years, we’ll laugh and say, “OMG, I can’t believe I read that! What was I thinking?? It made my butt look so fat!”

Funny thing is that just minutes before I wrote this “reject the trends” blog, I was shopping online for…what else?

Leggings! True story.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Tag...We're It!

You’d think that with three Disco Mermaids, we’d never run out of things to say. But actually…no, wait…that's true! Even so, it was nice to get tagged by Lisa Yee with a meme (or in our case, a memememememe). Before we pass it on, here are our answers:

One book that changed your life:
Robin - Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar (the first kid’s book I read as an adult that made me realize books can JUST BE FUNNY…and be great)
Jay - There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom by Louis Sachar (inspired me to finish my novel that later won SCBWI’s Sue Alexander Award)*
Eve - Go Ask Alice by Anonymous (read it when I was 13, made me never ever want to do drugs, have sex, or run away from home)

Book you have read more than once:
Robin - The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck (read it weekly)
Jay - Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson and Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Eve - The Stupids by Harry Allard and James Marshall (I checked it out EVERY SINGLE library day in kindergarten and first grade…I know it by heart!)

Book you would want on a desert island:
Robin - The Real Life Story of Hilary Duff (kidding!…Louis Sachar will be stranded with me so I’m not worried)
Jay - The Neverending Story (the one IN the story, not the one on my bookshelf)
Eve - America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction by John Stewart (when I get bored, I can play with the Supreme Court paperdolls)

Book that made you laugh:
Robin - every book by Dave Barry (except for the mid-life crisis one, there’s NOTHING funny about that)
Jay - Dude, Where’s My Locker? by Disco Mermaid Robin**
Eve - Dude, Where's My Locker? by Disco Mermaid Robin (should be called Dude, Where's My Inhaler? 'cause I laughed so hard I developed asthma…true story!)***

Book that made you cry:
Robin - Baker’s Dozen: The AudioBiography of Hannah Baker by Disco Mermaid Jay (bawled my eyes out...to be published in 2007, right?!)****
Jay - Bushisms (any book in the series will do it)
Eve - The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller and Love Story by Erich Segal (tragic, I tell you…tragic!…I'm such a sap)

Book you wish had been written:
Robin - How to Win Friends and Influence Your Tax Man to Bend the Rules Just a Little
Jay - How to Keep Yourself from Saying Stupid Things in Front of Important People
Eve - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is Your Friend: How to Make the Most of Your OCD and Channel It into Writing a Bestseller!*****

Book you wish had never been written:
Robin - How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (because my husband read it and now I find myself doing whatever he says…Aaaagh!)
Jay - How to Satisfy a Woman Every Time by Naura Hayden (some books should never even have a chance to fall out of your backpack in middle school)
Eve - Kama Sutra(this book plus OCD equals never getting out of the house, getting anythingdone, or having a productive life whatsoever…I'm referring to another DiscoMermaid, not me)

Book you are currently reading:
Robin - Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen and page 177 of Born to Rock by Gordon Korman
Jay - Ishi: In Two Worlds by Theodora Kroeber and Christmas Remembered by Tomie dePaola
Eve - How to Satisfy a Woman Every Time (found it in Jay's backpack…riveting!)

Book you’ve been meaning to read:
Robin - How to Win Friends and Influence People (so I can get my life back!)
Jay - the entire list of Printz winner and honor books
Eve - The English Roses by Madonna (HA! Had you going there, didn't I? But for real…) The Autobiography of Colin Ferrell (What?? He hasn't written one? That's just wrong!)

Tag five people:
Debby Garfinkle
Sarah Darer Littman
Scott Cook
Alan Silberberg
Rita Crayon Huang

*we love Louis Sachar
**Robin did not pay Jay to say this
***but Robin did pay Eve (though Eve would’ve said it anyway!)
****this is why Robin didn’t have to pay Jay
*****the title of this book has been revised and spell-checked no less than 1000 times by the author

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Nothing but the Tooth -- Jay

When my wife tells people I write books for children, two things happen. One, they look at me with an “Isn’t that cute?” look in their eyes. Two, my wife grips my hand because she knows what their follow-up question will be and she doesn’t want me running away.

But you can’t run away from a dentist’s chair.

I hate pain. More specifically, I hate the thought of pain. And that fear is what kept me away from dentists for longer than I’m willing to admit. But after years of badgering, I finally gave in to my wife and made an appointment. At the bottom of the paperwork was the question “How apprehensive are you about dental visits?” and I circled “Extremely” because they didn’t offer anything beyond that. After calling me in and sitting me down, the dentist picked up a sharp metal object, aimed it at my mouth, and started small talking to put me at ease. “So, what do you do for fun?”

“I write children’s books,” I said. D’oh!

He lowered the spear into my mouth. Poke! “Do you do your own illustrations?”

I shook my head as little as possible.

The assistant chimed in. “Do you have any children?”

“Uh-uh,” I said, my mouth wide open.

“What? You write books for children but you don’t have any children?”


“You know, I wrote a children’s book once,” the dentist said. Poke!

I tried my best to smile, but with a mouth full of rubber gloves, sharp metal, and a mini-dust buster, I’m sure the smile looked about as authentic as when I normally hear those words.

“It’s a cute little story about dental equipment,” he said.

“Ow,” I said. But he must’ve thought I said, “Oh?”

“Yep. The tools could talk to each other,” he continued.


“And it rhymed.”


“And my friend illustrated it.”

Tears formed at my eyes, which they obviously expected because I’d circled “Extremely” on my paperwork.

“If you want,” he said, jabbing the metal stick back and forth against my gums, “I can give you his e-mail. Maybe he can illustrate your book.”

“My book is for teens!” I wanted to yell. “It’s about suicide. How would he feel about illustrating that!” But I just sat there and listened and tried not to make him angry.

When I got home, my wife was so proud of me for going through with the check-up. “See,” she said, “I didn’t even need to hold your hand.”

- Jay

Saturday, August 12, 2006

What More Can Be Said? -- Robin

Eve, Jay, Robin, and Tomie dePaola
just moments after delivering The dePaola Code
- - -
What more can be said about the SCBWI National Conference that my dear Jay and Eve haven't already covered? Oh, there's more. And it is this: It was EXPENSIVE! If you didn't get to attend the conference, here's all the money you saved:
  • Three coffees from the hotel lobby...$18.
  • One warm soda and a warm turkey sandwich (that was supposed to be cold)…$9.50 plus tax.
  • A pink drink that the bartender in the lobby made up his own name for…$12 (now multiply that by five!).
  • Four nights in the hotel, tax, parking, late night phone calls, late night room service, and any damage done to the room…still not sure about this one (Evie’s totaling up the bill from her credit card and I plan to secretly write her a check, without my husband’s knowledge, and never speak of this again).
  • Speaking at Lisa Yee’s workshop on blogging…however much 15 sheets of paper cost that we scribbled on while driving down to the conference trying to figure out what in the heck to say!
  • The look on oblivious Jay’s face when I told him that Arthur Levine stopped by the blogging workshop to check out what the Disco Mermaids had to say…aaaahhh, that’s right, say it with me…priceless.
  • The look on MY face when I saw Jay soar into the sky in his saloon girl outfit, touch his toes while doing air-splits, and land on the dance floor to get “jiggy” with a girl…disgusted.
And that’s all I have to say ’bout that.

- Robin

Friday, August 11, 2006

Absolutely, Positively, Kick A$$ -- Eve

Robin, Jay, Lisa Yee, Gregory K., and Eve
just minutes after our speaking debut as children's book writers
(okay, bloggers...whatever!)
- - -
Top 10 Highlights of the
2006 SCBWI National Conference
- - -
10. Meeting Mo Willems: Funny, humble, and handsome. And boyfriend can draw a pigeon like nobody’s business.
9. David Larochelle’s speech: Sweet, informative, and gave me great hope that perseverance conquers all.
8. Jacqueline Woodson’s keynote: Beautiful and poetic…the kind of writer we all aspire to be.
7. Hanging with Jodi Reamer: No-nonsense agent who is funny, direct, and professional. I especially like the fact that she can hang with us rowdy L.A. hooligans without being mortified by our antics. That’s my kind of chick.
6. Very entertaining Friday night dinner with Robin, Gregory K., and assorted friends. Jay ditched us for some cute chicks, so we had to leave him obnoxious crank calls on his cell. Very funny…to us!
5. Saturday night’s Jade Jubilee: Lots o’ frou-frou drinks, laughs, dancing (giving myself a stress fracture and whiplash…swear!), and hot tubbing…Ahh, good times!
4. Lisa Yee’s blog workshop: Pulled off what will undoubtedly be the most difficult task of my writing career…speaking to a roomful of strangers while nervous, exhausted, and UN-CAFFEINATED. Are you kidding me?? I can’t even brush my teeth while un-caffeinated! I rock!!
3. Shaking booty in a hot Reggae club with Robin and two dudes who we’re pretty sure were Ferris Bueller and his friend Cameron.
2. Q & A with Arthur Levine: This guy could charm a parking meter. Frickin’ hilarious. His story about the French woman at a writer’s conference following him around calling him an “Anti-intellectual, money-grubbing, American publishing pig” had me rolling. If the publishing gig doesn’t work out for him, he can seriously be a comedian (in America…not France).
1. Presenting Tomie dePaola with his own copy of The dePaola Code. In our swimsuits, we approached him at the bar…which, of course, was the best time to approach the most famous, award winning, prolific author/illustrator of modern times. After a cocktail or two he actually found us quite amusing. Now he’s our new BFF! And he’s going to create a picture book about us!! It’s about…um…mermaids who dance and blog and run around the world spreading Disco Love everywhere. Coming soon to a Barnes and Noble near you.
- Eve
- - -
This blog is not a DVD. There are no bonus features. You can not view deleted scenes or outtakes. If you could, this post would have more bonus material than any other Disco Mermaid post so far. The review board (a.k.a. Robin and Jay) saw the post before its world wide release and made some edits. If this blog actually was a DVD and included the director's cut (a.k.a. Evie's cut), it would be a blockbuster!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Saloon Girls -- Jay

at the 2006 SCBWI National Conference
Jade Jubilee
- we tied for first place in the costume contest! -
- - -
The SCBWI 2006
National Conference
Coolest Awards

Coolest Coincidence - ran into the Hyperion editor I recently submitted my YA manuscript to; he just happened to be in the middle of reading my manuscript and, luckily, I think I made a good impression
Coolest Brain Pickin’ Opportunity - got to speak with Debby Garfinkle and Tammi Sauer; both authors are represented by the agent who recently offered me representation…and I’m taking her up on that offer
Coolest Video - Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s hilarious/touching/inspiring conclusion to what was already an awesome speech; he received a well-deserved standing ovation
Coolest Dance Proposal - when no one was stepping into the dance circle, Sarah Darer Littman asked me to take the leap with her…and I do mean “leap”...we were up on a stage and jumped down into the circle before gettin' jiggy (and the girl can dance!); if there’s ever a companion to Fuse #8’s Hot Men of Children’s Literature, Sarah’s definitely got the credentials to be the first Hot Woman of Children’s Lit.
Absolutely, Positively the Coolest - not only is his Sid Fleishcman Humor Award winning book hilarious, but David LaRochelle is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met
deCoolest - Tomie dePaola; he loves The dePaola Code…we love him
Coolest Caldecott Winner - D.D., which stands for David Diaz (or as he calls himself, “Double D-licious”)
Coolest Caldecott Honor Winner - Mo Willems; in less than a minute, over 600 people learned how to draw his pigeon perfectly (I’ve already written and illustrated Don’t Let the Pigeon Operate Heavy Machinery While Under the Influence of Alcohol and Don’t Let the Pigeon Sit on the Statue)
Coolest Blogger - we have a tie: Lisa Yee and Gregory K; I’m still amazed Lisa asked us to speak in her workshop (it will forever be a highlight in my children’s lit. career); if Greg wasn’t so dang cool and deserving, I might be jealous of him and his blog-produced two-book deal (okay, I’m still a teensy bit jealous)
Coolest Disco Mermaid - also a tie: Robin and Eve; you convinced me not to freak out before making my drag queen debut at the Jade Jubilee; you convinced me not to freak out before my speaking debut in Lisa’s workshop; I absolutely, positively love you both
- Jay

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Disco Saloon Mermaids

No, we're not changing the name of our blog. But we'd have to if we altered our name to match our costumes each time we won the SCBWI costume contest!

This year, we weren't the only winners. Based on audience applause they chose three Grand Prize winners, which was wonderful because there were so many amazing costumes. And so many people went over the top to stand out as the crowd pleasers. That, of course, equals a ton of fun for everyone...costumed or not.

We'll post our pic soon, but we're getting ready to speak at Lisa Yee's blog workshop right now. Let's just say that it took people a long time (and only after getting a good close-up of the hair on his chinny-chin-chin) to realize Jay was actually a man...and not a woman with fabulous legs!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The dePaola Code Mother Load

Today is a Red Letter date in the history of the Disco Mermaids


We just delivered our dePaola Code booklets to the man himself: Tomie dePaola. And he absolutely LOVED it. He hugged us. He kissed our cheeks! He told us he felt honored by all the work we put into it. And...HOLY CRAP!!!...he's going to put it up on his very own website!

Okay, we gotta go puke now...

Friday, August 04, 2006

So Far at SCBWI

When we arrived at the hotel the night before the conference, nobody was there. Usually it’s swarming with children’s book writers and illustrators and agents and editors. Then, all at once, they came swarming in. The faculty meeting had just ended and “Look! There’s David Diaz. Hi, David! Oh my, is that Mo Willems? And here she comes now, our new BFF, Lisa Yee! Oh, and Debby Garfinkle…our other BFF!”

The most surreal (and most fun) part was meeting our blog readers face to face. Unless people leave comments or e-mail us, it’s impossible to know who’s reading our li’l speck o’ dust in the blogosphere. But wow! The scariest part was being asked, non-stop, what we were going to dress as for the Jade Jubilee. It’s almost like people expect us to overdo it every year.

Oh yeah. That’s probably cuz we do…

Okay, we know what you all want to know. Have we talked to Tomie dePaola and does he know about The dePaola Code? No, we haven’t talked to him. Yes, we plan to talk to him...we just can't agree on who should approach him.

Maybe another game of Blog or Dare is in order.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

On My Way to L.A. -- Jay

Tomorrow...it begins. The 35th Annual SCBWI National Conference. Why do I go there, year after year? For the writing tips? Sure. The networking? Absolutely. But mostly...the inspiration. Being around creative people is such a boost to my own creativity. Watching friends slowly peel off into the Published category makes me work that much harder.

And yet, year after year, my wife hands me a written message as I’m on my way out the door that is all the inspiration I need. Usually it’s a card that I keep in my bag and carry with me throughout the conference. This year her note read, in part: Have fun being you & doing what you love. This journey has truly been amazing to watch & it’s just getting started!!

With all the ups and downs this process has brought, all the times I thought publication was just around the corner only to have nothing come of it, it’s nice to know she finds the process amazing to watch. It’s frustrating to me, but an amazing journey to her. And that helps.

(To Eve and Robin, sorry about all the sappiness dripping from your computer screen.)

So what’s been the coolest addition to my amazing journey? Remember that fortune cookie from my last post? It said I should watch for a new relationship to develop within the month. Well, with just 24 minutes to spare till the end of last month, an agent sent me an e-mail saying she was interested in representing my YA. We scheduled a phonecall for when I get back from the conference. And if it all works out, I’m going back to that Chinese restaurant and I’m crackin’ some more cookies.

- Jay

Oops...before I leave, I can’t forget my fishnet stockings.
Don’t worry, we’ll show you the pictures!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Dating...Again --Eve

I once compared finding the right critique group to finding a boyfriend. Well, I’m back in the dating scene, but this time I’m serious. That’s right, I’m looking for a husband. I’ve finished my Great American Teen Novel, and I’m searching for an editor to “raise” my offspring with me. It’s much more difficult than one would think. I mean, I can’t settle down with just any editor because my baby needs a daddy. I need someone intelligent, open-minded and dedicated…someone who will love this baby like I do.

But it’s not like editors are hanging out in bars and dance clubs, kickin’ it against the wall just waiting for me to walk by, catch their eyes, flip my hair, and give ‘em that look that says, “Let’s go hit the dance floor and get our freak on.” This dating scene is a little trickier. Instead of trolling the usual singles haunts or the grocery store, we writers have to get a tad more creative. Thanks to the internet, we can find information on websites. We can scour interviews, speeches and web logs gathering bits of information to determine which editors are “husband” material.

But if they’re not chillin’ in dance clubs waiting for us to buy them drinks, shake our booties while singing The Pussycat Dolls’ “Don’t You Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me?” and slip our manuscripts into their pockets at the end of the night, then how will they ever notice US?

I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet an editor in person this past weekend (without having to buy drinks or shake any booty). Cheryl Klein is a wonderfully creative and witty editor at Arthur A. Levine Books. We Disco Mermaids follow her blog religiously, as it is a fantastic peek into an editor’s perspective. And, as an added bonus, the girl is wickedly funny! She gave a presentation in L.A. about the Harry Potter books and dodged five million questions about what’s in Book 7 like Wonder Woman dodging bullets with her cuff bracelets. I was excited to get the 411 on everything “Harry Potter” --way more than any human ever needed to know-- so I could forever kick ass on HP trivia contests with my nephew and sister.

After the speech, I hung out with the brilliant Lisa Yee and the magnificent Gregory K. discussing Lisa’s upcoming SCBWI Conference “Why Bother To Blog?” workshop (where we’ll be special guests!!). They introduced me to Cheryl Klein, who is just as charming and amusing in person as she is on her blog site.

She shook my hand and said, “Oh, Eve. I know you. You’re a Disco Mermaid with Jay and Robin!”

Holy Crap! A dream editor and potential co-parent of my offspring actually knew my name. Now, just like in dating, I realize that an editor knowing my name does not a relationship make. But it’s a step. And I know that my writing must speak for itself.

But at least now I’m a tiny bit past the “Look at me! Look at me!” phase of courting where I have to wear a saucy little outfit and flip my hair and all the rest. Yes, when I submit a manuscript to Cheryl, I’ll still hover in the Slushy Pile like everyone else. But when I emerge from it, maybe she’ll remember me a little and I won’t be just some random chick doing the running-man on the dance floor!