Tuesday, November 28, 2006

All Around the Table—Robin

I didn’t take a picture, but if you went left to right around my table on Thanksgiving you would have seen the following: a priest, a hairdresser, a photographer (sorry…photojournalist), a social worker, a graphic designer (two of them actually), my adorable mother and me, the children’s book writer. Oh, and there was my four-year old who blurted out during the blessing, “I’m done with my turkey. I want cake!” God bless him.

So what did we talk about during dinner? My life as a children’s book writer. Not welfare or photos or designing pages for photos or God or hair. Just me. Maybe the fact that I pouted in the corner with my arms folded and shouted, “ME! ME! I want to talk about ME!” had something to do with it. Not sure.

Events like these sometimes turn into what I like to call “a case of Rowling-itis.” Where well meaning people say such things as, “Wow, you’re going to be all famous…like that Harry Potter lady!”

“Why, yes,” I say. “Right after I dethrone the queen and then dethrone Miss Hawaii.” Hopefully she has one of those VERY stretchy bathing suits. The queen that is, not Miss Hawaii. (Oh! She went there!)

Little do these lovely people know that I’d be happy with $3.50 and a bookmarker, if they’d just sell my book! No, that’s really not true. I need enough money to buy a Nintendo Wii, or else I’ll never write again. Honest.

But then I think, “Hey! I deserve to be as successful as that Harry Potter lady! I’m tall…and blonde…and write in coffee shops! It’s time to dethrone someone!”

Okay, fine. My plan is to dethrone the night manager at the local Radio Shack and then tackle the Snow Queen during the Christmas parade. But I’m on my way!

I have a feeling the conversation around the table during Thanksgiving next year will be much different. “God bless this Nintendo Wii. Let’s eat cake!”


Monday, November 27, 2006

Freaky -- Jay

13 Reasons Why
this newspaper photo is so cool
  1. It was taken at Linnaea’s Café.
  2. On any day of the week, you can walk into Linnaea’s and find at least one Disco Mermaid diligently writing.
  3. My book party was held at Linnaea’s.
  4. Linnaea is in the photo.
  5. The other lady in the photo (Marianne - the new owner) helped me set up for the party.
  6. Perfectly framed between the ladies, inside the window, is me.
  7. If you look closely, you can see a colorful design on my t-shirt. It’s the Disco Mermaid logo (a gift from Robin and Eve).
  8. You can sort of see my laptop, upon which I am diligently revising 13 Reasons Why.
  9. This proves to my editor that I am diligently revising 13 Reasons Why.
  10. At this point, two hours in, I still look calm and focused.
  11. Four hours later, when I called it a night, I still felt relatively calm (though a little less focused).
  12. There are three scenes in 13 Reasons Why set at Linnaea’s (though in my book it’s called Monet’s).
  13. In one scene, my main male character sits at a table near the window overlooking the garden patio.

Freaky? Yes, I know!

- Jay

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Remember When...? -- Eve

I went to the local high school recently to meet with the principal. I figured because it's been about 12 years since I graduated, I need to hang with the teen crowd as much as possible while writing my first YA book (a romance set in a California beach town like mine) for research purposes. So we discussed ideas for observing/volunteering/tutoring/teaching in the classrooms. Jay, Robin and I are planning a few fun surprises for the creative writing classes...hopefully they'll find us to be inspirational and entertaining and not narcissistic and boring!

Just sitting in his office with the inspirational posters, silly coffee mugs and massive windows facing the quad brought me back to my high school days. Not that I spent any of my school days in the principal's office. (Robin did! But that's another story.) I felt like a 16-year-old again as we talked about our favorite YA books and 80's bands. As the period bell rang, and we watched 2000 kids scurrying to their next classes while laughing, tripping and smacking each other, I suddenly felt really old. They looked like 8-year-olds compared to me (and I was even wearing my cool wrap-around dress and leggings!). Then I realized that the principal, who I had assumed was much older because he's a respected man of authority, was probably my age!

A few days later Robin, Jay and I took a trip down memory lane while having coffee with Robin's adorable mother, who's visiting from Georgia. She told a hilarious story about the worst thing Robin ever did in high school (it involves a blinking T-shirt and vomit...but you don't want to hear it, do you?). Also, when her mom was the Vice Principal, Robin got busted for writing swear words in place of real words while transcribing her favorite song.

Then Jay chimed in with his story about getting in trouble for creating an underground newspaper (full of false slanderous gossip about everyone in school), and how he had to read it out loud and apologize to every student, teacher, and janitor mentioned in it! I read a copy of his underground newspaper yesterday and it is sick and twisted and disgusting and evil and freaking hilarious!!

I was a model student as a teen, so I had no stories to add. I think the worst thing I ever did was help the teachers unload their picket signs when they went on strike, and the principal was mad at me. Seriously! I was a freakishly boring child.

After listening to the local principal's stories about things he's had to deal with in the last ten years (shootings, drugs, etc...) and comparing them to stories of our teen years, I got a little freaked out. Were we really more innocent back then? Are teens today crazier and scarier than we were? Or maybe every generation squawks about “those disrespectful youngsters...” and really nothing's changed except our perception of how innocent we were as teens. Maybe we just forget how crazy and disrespectful we were. But on second thought, no one at my school was toting a gun or making bombs.

Remember when...the worst thing anyone did at school was write some swear words on paper or create an underground newspaper?? Ahh, those were the days! What's the worst thing you ever did in high school? C'mon...you know you want to tell us. (I need it for “research.” Thanks!)

- Eve

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Coffee Talk -- Robin

The other day I went into our hangout coffee shop, Linnaea’s, to meet with Jay and talk writing. As you may have noticed, Linnaea’s is like our own version of the bar in St. Elmo’s Fire (only with less beer and no one named Demi Moore or Rob Lowe…which is a shame, really).

Jay had been working furiously on his rewrites and his eyeballs were dashing back and forth, so I figured he needed a break. “Hey, I know! Let’s talk about MY book!” I said.

“Okay. What’s happening next in your story?” he asked with focused eyeballs. (So sweet!)

“Well, it’s going to get more exciting, and more, you know…well, it will have a climax and stuff, and then she’ll learn something, and then it will wrap up nicely and everyone will be happy.”

“Seriously, Robin. What’s going to happen next?”

I flopped my head on the small square table. “I don’t know! You caught me! Are you happy!?”

I went on and said some other things and Jay said it’s really not nice to call people names.

Once we got past the awkward silence, we were able to come up with some really great ways to finish my book. It was amazing. We talked and brainstormed literally for hours (I know because I got a parking ticket). What we came up with was nothing short of miraculous and now I know exactly what will happen next and exactly how it’s all going to wrap up! What a gift!

If there had been a fly on the wall during our conversation at Linnaea’s (or if Demi Moore had been on the wall, which would make this story a lot more exciting) here are some snippets of what that fly, or beautiful woman, would have heard:

  • No, too cliché.
  • Make sure she solves her own problem.
  • Yeah, it’s funny but that’s something you would do.
  • Again, too cliché.
  • Would you stop eating my peanut butter cookie?
  • Take out the part about the helicopter and the cliff rescue and the Channel 12 News crew, plus all the cliché parts, and you’re on to something!
  • Wow! You took a long time in the bathroom. Is everything okay?
  • No, overusing references to great literary works will not win you awards. Or readers.
  • Seriously, you should put some money in the meter.
  • Of course you can kill your main character. (Kidding. Right, Jay? You were kidding, right?)
  • Is that Demi Moore on the wall?

Just then, Eve walked in and we told her how I never put money in the meter and how my car is probably being towed as we speak and how we spent the last few hours coming up with wonderful ideas for my book.

The girl didn’t miss a beat. “Great! My turn!”

- Robin

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Carpal Tunnel Vision -- Jay

Why am I loving this so much? That’s what I keep wondering as I edit 13 Reasons Why. In the past, before I sold this book, I could take all the time in the world to tweak the elements of a work-in-progress. And I could keep on tweaking till I was satisfied, tired, or ready to work on something else. But now, there’s a deadline. There's an actual date--on the calendar!--after which I can’t tweak any more. On that day, the book has to be done.


I’m adding scenes, rotating scenes, fleshing out characters, deleting scenes, and twisting the end. All the while, in the back of my head, a voice keeps screaming, “Don’t screw it up!”

And it's fascinating. It’s a puzzle I can totally lose myself in. If I add Scene A, I have to move Scene B into the next chapter. And if I do that, that chapter’s going to start a little slower which might make it lose some momentum (not good for a suspense novel). So maybe I can twist that scene a little, shorten it up, and make it move faster. And to flesh out Character A, I can change his relationship to Character B by adding this line of dialogue which will also make the last chapter, still 83 pages away, so much more intense. Oh, and remember, “Don’t screw it up!”

Between my critique group, my agent, and the people at Penguin, maybe a dozen people have read this manuscript in its entirety. But only a handful of them know the changes I’m putting into it. And only I know how it’s coming along. Which means only I know if I’m screwing it up…which is exciting and scary at the same time.

And I’m lovin’ it!

- Jay

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Celeb Sightings! -- Eve

WARNING: While respecting artistic license in creative nonfiction is important, the following post may go too far. Eve tends to do that sometimes. So, in an attempt to avoid offending anyone or becoming "Frey-ed" for embellishing, I offer this disclaimer: This story is totally and completely TRUE up to the point where the Pretty Red-haired Gal walks up and says, "Um, hi." The rest is embellished and made up for the purpose of making fun of Eve and Jay and the fact that they are celebrities in their own minds. Read at your own risk. (The writer who approached Eve and Jay is a lovely and talented woman who was a joy to meet and chat with. She was not really starstruck, nor is she married to Colin Ferrell. Eve tends to include Colin Ferrell in all her stories for some reason.)

Last night while Jay and I clacked away at our computers at our little table by the window in Linnaea’s…our local downtown coffee haunt where we write all our books…a celebrity was spotted! Actually, two celebs. No, three. At our very own Linnaea’s!

After several silent hours of intense mind spinning and typing (Jay’s deadline for his first edits of 13 REASONS WHY is in one week!) our eerily quiet writing session was pleasantly interrupted by a pretty, young, red-haired gal who I had previously noticed cruising by a few times.

She slowly approached us and said, “Um, hi. Are you, by chance…well, are you the writer, Jay Asher?”

JAY (in a slow, deep voice several octaves lower than his usual one): Why, yes. Yes I am.

PRG (Pretty Red-Haired Gal): You’re in the Class of 2K7! I’m in the Class of 2K7!! I’ve read all about you. And your struggles, and your agent, and your auction. I’m Autumn Cornwell. I live in L.A. and I have a book coming out, too.

JAY: Of course I’ll sign an autograph. My book isn’t out yet…and I’m sure you’ll buy several copies when it comes out. But here’s a Linnaea’s napkin with my John Hancock on it. Run along now. I must continue writing. And no pictures, please.

AUTUMN (aforementioned PRG): Um, thanks. But I just wanted to introduce myself and…Oh My God! (looks at Eve) Are you…one of the MERMAIDS??

EVE (in a slow deep voice to match Jay’s): Why, yes. Yes I am. I have no book coming out yet. But would you like an autograph anyway? Or a picture? How ‘bout a picture? (Eve whips out a camera) Or my used coffee cup? Would you like to take home my used coffee cup? You can keep it!

AUTUMN: Um, K. Thanks.


AUTUMN: Well, I’ve got to be going now. We were just passing through on our way home. My husband’s waiting for me. Um…bye. (Autumn goes out to the garden area to retrieve her husband and it’s COLIN FERRELL! OMG!!! They exit.)

And it’s all true! Okay, the beginning part is true. We really did meet AUTUMN CORNWELL in the coffee shop, and she really is in the Class of 2k7. And you really should check out her website and debut book coming out in September 2007! Coolest title ever…CARPE DIEM. It’s an adventure story set in Southeast Asia involving backpacking and squat toilets! I LOVE squat toilets!!

Great meeting you, Autumn. It was so much fun chatting. We must hang out again sometime when you’re not busy with your baby or your writing or traveling or hanging out with Colin Ferrell! Carpe Diem!!

- Eve

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Music to Live By—Robin

So, I may be weird, but my life has its own personal soundtrack. Am I alone in this? I just feel there are songs that are the backdrop of our experiences in this world, and so here’s mine: the entire soundtrack to the movie GARDEN STATE.

I just love it. Every time I listen to it I feel so revived. It makes me smile and want to dance. But it also makes me yearn for things I can never have, which is a terrible feeling, but a very human one.

I’m not really sure what my life’s soundtrack was before the GARDEN STATE thing. I suppose I wandered around life singing verses from CARELESS WHISPER by George Michael. Surely, I’m not alone on that one! (“I’m never gonna dance again…guilty feet have got no rhythm.”) Oh, man. It just don’t get any better than that!

Since my own life has its soundtrack, I decided my character in my current book needed one too. Which I don’t think is a totally weird thing to do since I read somewhere that David Levithan and Rachel Cohn listened to certain types of music to get them in the mood to write NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST. It worked for them. I figured I’d do the same.

I first thought of listening to the type of music my character likes to listen to in the book, which is a combination of Bob Marley and The Sex Pistols.
I tried it. Didn’t get me in the mood. Too much of a love/hate thing. Which is what I love about my character, but it wasn’t getting me in the mood to write. (And Jay, please notice I made it all the way through that paragraph without even once mentioning the word ‘ganja.’ Oh, wait. DOH!)

Then I came across a song that speaks so much more to her experience, rather than her tastes. It’s the song MAD WORLD, by Gary Jules (it’s from the soundtrack to the movie Donnie Darko—a weird and amazing movie; it’s also a remake of an original by Tears for Fears, another band that was the backdrop of my 80’s life; and it’s also that song in the new xbox 360 commercial.) I made a document that sits on my desktop with the lyrics to that song, and when I play it I get chills and it brings me to tears…which is when I know I’m ready to write her story.

So what about everyone else? Do you have a theme song? What song would be playing during the closing credits of the movie of your life? If it’s VALLEY GIRL, that’s fine. It was mine before the whole CARELESS WHISPER phase.

Anyways, let me know what your theme song is! (Or your character’s theme song!) Just wondering. That’s what I do.

Oh, and Mom? Surely SOMETHING has come out since the soundtrack to OUT OF AFRICA!? Maybe I’m wrong…

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Acknowledgements -- Jay

The AudioCake

The Spread

The Guests

The Reading
(my mom - me - my wife)

The Stand-Up DISCOmedy Show

I wrote a good portion of 13 Reasons Why while sipping coffee at Linnaea’s Café. It’s our town’s artsy-vibe coffee shop. A few scenes in my book are even set there. So that’s where we celebrated the sale of my first book.

The turn-out was awesome. Every time a new person arrived, my arms uncontrollably flew open...I just couldn’t stop the huggin’. The librarian delegation was in full-force, as was the local children’s lit. community (including Elizabeth Spurr, Stephanie Roth, and Emily Jiang--last year’s SCBWI Sue Alexander Award Winner!). For me, a highlight was having my college Children's Lit. Appreciation teacher in attendance...the whole reason I got into this mess to begin with.

The first thing I planned to do when I stepped on stage was to eloquently announce that my first book would be dedicated to my wife. But it was hard to speak eloquently with a clenched throat and tears warping my vision (thankfully, no one called me a wussy). Then my wife, my mom, and I did a full-cast reading of the first 13 pages. My critique group, S.L.O.W. for Children (San Luis Obispo Writers for Children), presented me with an amazing set of bookends adorned with--what else--mermaids. Robin and Eve jumped on stage and had everyone busting up with their hilarious list titled 13 Reasons Why 13 Reasons Why will be an Award-Winning Bestseller. Then came even more tears (I was so dehydrated by the time this thing was over) as I thanked those in attendance that will be featured on my acknowledgements page (followed later in the evening by more tears when I realized I forgot to mention my mom, my dad, and my brother...D’oh!).

Of course, there won’t be any more First Book parties for me. But I’m sure the Disco Mermaids, as a group, will be throwing a couple more in the very near future.

- Jay

13 Reasons Why 13 Reasons Why will be an Award-Winning Bestseller

1. The voice in this book is so authentic. Probably because Jay himself was a depressed teenage girl growing up.
2. Eve and Robin have already signed on to star in the movie!
3. Jay got such a big advance, he could use all that money to buy bunches of copies to ensure that it will be on the bestseller list.
4. In the movie, Robin is going to play the role of the sweet, loving middle aged high school counselor. Eve will play the part of 17-year old Hannah!
5. In the book there is a beautiful poem written by his wife. And there’s an actual recording of the poem as a song...sung by his wife, not by Jay!
6. In the movie, the role of Clay will be played by Colin Ferrell and he and Eve will have a big make-out scene. Only they’ll have to shoot the scene again and again to get it just right.
7. Jay wrote almost the entire book at a coffee shop…at THIS coffee shop, Linnaea’s, not at a Starbucks!
8. So, in the movie when Colin Ferrell and Eve make out, the film will get stolen and end up on the internet and then later in video stores for only $49.99! (But Jay will get 15%)
9. Jay worked so hard on this book, he stayed up late many nights revising and pulling his hair out!
10. In the movie, the ending will be changed from the book’s ending and Eve will walk up in a gorgeous Armani dress (couture, of course) and Colin Ferrell will burst into the room and Eve will say, “You had me at ‘hello.’” And Colin will say, “I wish I knew how to quit you!” And then there will be a huge explosion and Robin will run in and say, “Run, Forest, run!”
11. This book had better be a bestseller, that way Jay can justify all his time spent lurking in the teen section at Barnes & Noble doing “research.”
12. When Roger Ebert reviews the movie, he’ll say: “The plot? Stunning! The emotion? Stunning! The ending? Stunning! Eve Porinchak as 17-year old Hannah? Not so stunning.
13. And the 13th reason why 13 Reasons Why will be a bestseller…It’s Awesome!! (woo-hoo!)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Party On, Dudes! --Eve

Later today we're throwing a raging fiesta for Jay...our San Luis Obispo Children's Writers group has been fantasizing for years about having a rager for the first one of us to get a book contract. And the winner is...JAY ASHER!!

The coolest part is that we're having it at Linnea's...the little coffee/pastry/garden/lunch joint that Jay, Robin and I claimed as our official writing spot when we met four years ago. It's our second home; if ever I can't locate Jay or Robin on the phone or e-mail, I check Linnea's...and that's where I find them! Like the other night...I hadn't talked to Jay in about 3 hours (usually I panic if we don't speak every hour). I ran all over downtown yelling his name, asking people if they'd seen him, and was about to call the police and check the hospital when I spotted the little "Linnea's Cafe" sign in the distance. Of course! How could I be so silly? I spotted the back of his head and the blue and green plaid button-down shirt that Robin and I had given him last summer. Were those sweat marks running down his back?

He was in front of his laptop, at his usual little table against the wall, behind resident little schizophrenic-guy who creates squiggles in a notebook 12 hours a day while talking to himself and guarding a jar of sea worms that adorns his table.

"Dude, I gotta edit," is all Jay said. He turned away from me and put his hands back on the sides of his head, resting his elbows on the table.

As I stood there with nothing to do or say, I looked around at our little writing joint. I realized how lucky we are to have our little "Sex And The City-esque" place where we always meet to write, talk, laugh, eat, read, and get away from the responsibilities of home and work. There is a strange cast of local wackos who hang out there, the freaky music always skips, the internet never works, and it's always freezing. But, we love that the coffee is great, there's ever-changing funky art on the wall, and it's not a Starbucks-like pick up joint...so nobody bugs us. We love it!

So, today, Linnea's will be closed just for us, so we can toast Jay and his mega-success, see old friends, eat cake and be merry. Then, after we clean up, Jay, Robin and I will no doubt bust out our laptops, rest our heads in our hands...and WRITE!



Thursday, November 09, 2006

Sign here…and here…and here—Robin

Thursdays are now my lucky day. This afternoon I signed with an agent! What a wild experience this has been.

You may have read in my previous post that I had FOUR agents interested in my manuscript. Basically, they were all willing to work with me, just to varying degrees. I had to go with the one with the most enthusiasm, the best ideas and the biggest love for chocolate.

And I found her! Woohoo! The wonderful (and at times horrifying) part of working with this agent was what I went through before I signed on the line. She read my middle grade book. And liked it! But she wanted more. So I sent her my chapter book. And the YA I’m currently working on. And the other middle grade book I just started. I almost sent her my grade school report card, but then I remembered that ‘C’ I got in my sixth grade grammar class. Mrs. Bullock was a very tough teacher. (But looks at me now, Mrs. Bullock!)

The best part was when she picked up the phone and called me after reading my chapter book. “I just finished reading it and it’s adorable!” my agent said. “I just had to call you!” my agent said. (I’m still shocked that I’m putting the words ‘my’ and ‘agent’ in a sentence… right next to each other! Woohoo!)

By the way, I think people who slip the phrase “my agent” into conversation are snobs. And the flipping of the hair thing doesn’t help either.

But that’s what I USED to think! Now I know they’re saying it because they’re proud of themselves for getting off the couch and writing something they’ve always wanted to write and had the guts to send it out into the world knowing people would use it for a bird cage liner or fuel for their small campfire, and yet they didn’t care because it’s their passion in life!

(And maybe these people flip their hair because it’s getting in their eyes. That’s all.)

Anyways, I could not have made this decision without the help of my adorable friends, Jay and Eve. While I pondered and grappled and contemplated, they kept refilling my glass. Thanks guys!

And so, just for today, I’m going to flip my hair and stick my nose in the air and tell everyone about MY AGENT!

Because tomorrow it’s back to story plotting, laundry, revising, cleaning up cat puke, and getting rid of the hangover that Jay and Eve forced upon me. But I’ll still have my nose in the air. (Have you ever smelled cat puke?)


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rub-a-Dub-Dub -- Jay

On the phone. At home. In the coffee shop. Wherever two or more Disco Mermaids gather, there you shall find talk of children’s books…mostly in regards to writing them or convincing editors and agents to read them. Recently, here’s how conversations have started:

“So, Jay, how’s the editing going? Did your brilliant editor have any more incredible ideas on how to make your book even better?”

“Eve, has your brilliant agent heard from any of the editors yet?”

“Robin, have you decided which agent you’re leaning towards? You know, which is the most brilliant?”

And honestly, it’s been getting kind of stressful. True, even before our run of Disco Mermaid luck all we ever talked about was writing. But lately, it’s been almost too much. Not only do we stress for ourselves, we stress for each other. In fact, Robin’s husband noticed this and told us we should get together, hang out, and not talk shop. That was followed by a three-person chorus of, “Not possible!”

Earlier this week, Robin and I went to Eve’s house to write the third installment of our Fondue Friday series. First, of course, we had to eat. So we barbequed some chicken and sat down for a nice meal where we talked about our families, our childhood dining rituals, music, and politics. But we didn’t talk about books.

Then our attention drifted through the dining room window to the beautiful rock Jacuzzi recently built into Eve’s backyard. Did I mention the waterfall yet? No, I don’t think I did. This thing has a waterfall and a wading pool and is absolutely beautiful. So we took a dip into the bubbling water and talked about things we haven’t talked about in approximately forever. Then we sat around the fire pit (also rock, beautiful, and new!) and laughed while Eve tried to keep the fire burning without getting smoke in her eyes.

“Not possible!”

Basically, we got reacquainted as friends who also happen to write children’s books. Truly a beautiful evening...spent in a hot tub with two beautiful women!*

- Jay

*Fine! Robin and Eve are making me say that Eve's husband and Robin's son were also in the Jacuzzi. Geez! No one appreciates creative nonfiction anymore.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Who's Your Daddy?? -Eve

Rumor has it that this submissions waiting game can get pretty tedious. So I’m going to mix it up a little, create my own game, and produce my own reality show!! It’s called “Who’s Your Daddy?”

My agent will round up ten editors that she deems perfect fits for my manuscript. They’ll be boated into tropical waters, where they have to dive off the boat with only the clothing on their backs and swim out to a deserted island. They’ll build a shelter out of palm leaves and sticks, subsist on coconuts and bugs, and start a fire with rocks and bark.

Every day, members of the “Editio Tribe” (Latin word for ‘publisher’ of course) will spear fish, gather fruit and search for the “Magical Manuscripts” that are hidden somewhere on the small island. Every day they’ll compete in complicated obstacle courses and assorted trivia and endurance challenges. Each challenge winner will receive a clue as to where the “Magical Manuscripts” are hidden.

Since there are only five copies of the “Magical Manuscript” hidden on the island, the five Editios who don’t find them will have their fires snuffed out and will then walk the plank.

The five remaining contestants will be whisked away, via leer jet, to a mansion in Rome, where they’ll spend the week having “dates” with me, discussing how much they love my ms, and convincing me that they love my ms for all the right reasons. I want to make sure my editor is not pretending to love my ms for the fame, money and various People and US Weekly covers that are sure to follow. I want true love, man! Those three who love me (I mean, my ms) the most will continue to the next round.

The remaining three contestants will participate in various photo shoots where they’ll be made over in hair, makeup and clothing and portray famous children’s lit characters, such as The Big Bad Wolf, Holden Caulfield, and Pippi Longstocking. The two with the best photos will continue to the next round, and the one with less-than-convincing photos will have to pack his bags and walk home. And he/she doesn’t even get to keep a copy of the “Magical Manuscript”!!

The final two will helicopter to Trump Tower, where they’ll spend the next two days competing in tasks such as writing a jacket flap summary in less than a minute, creating an eye-catching book cover in less than an hour, and outlining a marketing plan for my ms in less than a day.

The one editor who shows the most promise in all the tasks will receive the final rose at the Final Rose Ceremony! And we’ll live happily ever after. If I’m going to enter into a marriage (contract) with a spouse (editor) to co-parent this baby (manuscript), then what better way to find him/her than on a reality show?? It’s the way of the new millennium!

(**Note: No actual editors were harmed in the making of this reality show. “Who’s Your Daddy” was completely created in Eve’s mind during her procrastination time. Any similarities to actual reality shows are purely coincidental. Eve doesn’t even watch bad reality TV shows that she Tivos all week so she can view them late at night when she should be writing.)


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Shaking My Pompoms—Robin

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of pompom shaking. Jay’s first book was sold, Eve signed on with an agent, and then there’s Michigan football.

But when I’m not doing air splits for my friends or shakin’ my tail for the Wolverines, I’m trying to do my part to step out of both Jay AND Eve’s lovely shadows and make a name for myself. So what if that name happens to be Coat Tail Rider #2? It’s a name!!

A few weeks ago I reported that I had a great moment in front of a Denny’s. An agent had read the first few chapters of my manuscript and loved it. She wanted to see it. Right away! I was ecstatic!

Little did I know that I would be having that same in-front-of-Denny’s-feeling again and again in the coming days. Just this past week, I’ve had not ONE, not TWO, not THREE…but FOUR agents interested in my manuscript! Woohoo! Get those pompoms out Disco Mermaids!

It’s been a great feeling to know that other professionals in the field think my work is good. That maybe all those nights shut in my office, writing and giggling may finally pay off.

I’ve decided I only have four requirements of an agent:
1. They must love, love, love my book.
2. They must ignore all the parts they do not love, love, love about my book.
3. They must love getting chocolates as Christmas gifts.
4. They must love giving chocolates as Christmas gifts.

While I’m happy to be courting four agents, I also feel like I’m cheating on a lover…or four lovers! (Which I know nothing about, so how could I possibly even think I’d know what that feels like!) It’s just weird to be interviewing THEM to find the perfect one for me.

But the answer will become clear soon enough…and you’ll be the first to know.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

DMs are Forever -- Jay

Truthfully, I never felt a lot of peer pressure as a teen. But I kept waiting for it because every teacher from late elementary school through high school warned me it was coming. I kept waiting to hear the words What, are you chicken? or Everybody's doing it. Peer pressure was like the boogy man who never showed up.

Till now...

Eve wants the Disco Mermaids to get matching tattoos...maybe one of the art pieces found in our sidebar under Disco Designs. Every time I laugh at her suggestion, she asks if it’s because I’m not committed to the group (read: my peers). But my wife has wanted us to get matching tattoos for years. I can’t possibly say no to my wife and yes to Eve, right? Eve’s response: Why not?

Thankfully, this story has a hero. Earlier this week, an author/illustrator e-mailed the Disco Mermaids to let us know we'll have a cameo in her upcoming picture book. Melanie Hope Greenberg met us at the SCBWI National Conference two years ago when we dressed as mermaids for the after hours Beach Bash. At the time, she'd just started working on a book inspired by the Mermaid Parade at Coney Island. She saw it as a good omen that the three of us won first place in the costume contest that year. Five months later, her book sold to Putnam. The Disco Mermaids will appear atop a float on Surf Avenue. Look for it in Spring 2008!

So Eve, Robin, and I are going to be permanently bound together within the pages of a book. Books hold up a lot longer than tattoos. Books aren't painful to get (read: no blood). And should something unimaginable come between us, books are easy to hide.

Does that satisfy you, Eve?

- Jay

What's that? You wanna know how the editing of my book's coming along? This week my editor approved the revised outline and I’ve been given the go-ahead to revise the actual manuscript. And I’ve gotta say, her suggestions are going to make 13 Reasons Why ten times more powerful. No...thirteen times more powerful!