Wednesday, April 30, 2008

How I (Don't) Write -- Robin

I’m about halfway through writing my fourth novel, and I’ve noticed that the way I’m writing this one is much different than how I wrote my previous novels. Whether I mean to or not, I’ve been treating my manuscripts differently! (Bad Mommy!)

It’s similar to how my parents raised me and my brother differently. What worked for him, didn’t really work for me. And not just because of the he’s-a-boy-and-I’m-a-girl reasons. My brother was the type of guy who missed, like, one question on the SAT. I, on the other hand, couldn’t even find the building to take my SAT because the directions were so confusing and I was super late since my friends and I had to stop at McDonald’s for our hangover-relieving breakfast. Mmmm…combo #1.

(Sorry, Mom and Dad. But I still turned out okay…right!?)

Anyway, for novel No.4, I’ve been writing my first draft much more loosely. I’m moving along quickly without spending much time on description or searching for the perfect word. In fact, I often find myself writing things like (Insert: write about her feelings here) or (Insert: describe house) or, my favorite, (Insert: make this part not so stupid). As silly as it seems, this new technique is really working for me. It allows me to stop dwelling so much (which is not an attractive look for me) and just move along with the story at the pace my brain wants to move. And with this book, my brain feels like it’s in a drag race. Woo-hoo! Step on it, baby!

I was explaining this new technique to Eve the other day and she joked that, at some point, I’ll probably write (Insert: Next chapter here). Well, she was right! Yesterday, I got myself all psyched up to write a particular chapter, only to realize that another chapter needed to be written first. But I didn’t want to write that chapter so I actually typed the words (Insert: Next chapter here). So thanks, Eve. Your ridicule is now my reality!

So I decided to Google the phrase “how I write” to see how other writers handle the process of book-writing. Apparently Garrison Keillor gets up at 5 a.m., sits in an armchair, and types a chapter into his laptop. Then he prints it out, makes lots of changes in pencil, and types the final revised version straight into his computer…all before lunchtime! That made me feel ridiculous for not having wonderfully polished chapters completed before lunch, but then I came across this quote from Judy Blume: “The first draft is a skeleton…just bare bones.”

Aaaahhh. No wonder Judy Blume is still my hero.

(Insert: adorably witty ending to this post.)

- Robin

Monday, April 28, 2008

L.A. L.A. Land -- Jay

When the Mermaids first arrived at the L.A. Times Festival of Books, we were amazed at the amount of people who showed up on a scorching hot weekend purely for the love of books.

Then we went backstage to the V.I.P. room and were like giddy fans, surrounded by so many big-named authors. Mo Willems! Jon Scieszka! T.C. Boyle! Mary Higgins Clark! We ate as many cheese squares and fruit wedges as fast as we could in case anyone suddenly decided we weren't cool enough to be back there.

Then we met a bunch of L.A. writers of teen lit. in the Angeleno hotel, which gave an amazing view of the city at night. We followed that by having dinner with Robin Benway, debut author of Audrey, Wait!...which has quickly added itself as one of my favorite books. Don't wait! Go out and get it!!!

Of course, when we're in L.A., we just have to pretend like we're from The City and go out dancin'. (Sidenote: Eve's allergy pills made her so drowsy, she had to sit out most of the songs, which is why she's not in this photo...and it took about 85 photos for her to get even one where Robin and I look only partially goofy.)

Back at the Festival the next day, I got to meet Sherman Alexie, author of the National Book Award winning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. This was an especially fun first-meeting because Mr. Alexie recently wrote a blurb for the paperback edition of Thirteen Reasons Why, which you can read at the bottom of this post.

After signing books for an hour with Ms. Benway, we headed to our panel on teen literature. As the room started to fill up, I began to get insanely nervous. I expected our panel to barely sell-out a small classroom...not a whole lecture hall! This photo doesn't even show the two side-sections of seats.

Along with Ms. Benway, I was joined by Cecil Castellucci and Michele Serros. The three of them were so articulate and thoughtful, part of me wanted to just sit in the audience and watch. But it was a lot of fun...and quite an be up there with them!

- Jay

Thirteen Reasons Why is a mystery, eulogy, and ceremony. Twenty or thirty times, I snapped the book shut when a sentence, an image, or line of dialogue was too beautiful and painful. But I, afraid and curious, would always return to this amazing book. I know, in the years to come, I will often return to this book.

- Sherman Alexie

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Call -- Eve

There are two ways my agent can contact me, by email or phone. Emails are generally reserved for “Passes” on my novel (we don’t call them “rejections” anymore because it sounds harsh and implies that I’ll suffer some deep psychological scarring that will later require extensive and expensive psychotherapy). We also email back and forth if I’m headed for her neck of the woods and want to set up some face-to-face coffee-talk time, or if she wants to check in on my work-in-progress progress, or if I’m procrastinating on making progress on my work-in-progress and just want to say, “Hello.”

But phone calls, well, phone calls are a whole ‘nother story. So, imagine my surprise when the phone rang late Friday afternoon and the creepy monotone Caller ID lady voice didn’t say, “Call from…Mel-lom, Ro-bin” or “Call from…Ass-her, Jay-yuh.” (I’m not being funny. That’s how she says it.) It scared the crap out of me because not only are Jay and Robin the only two people who have ever called me at home, but it was a call from her. Her!

To avoid jinxing anything, allow me to recreate said conversation in Mad Lib format:

“Hello, Eve. It’s me, ___________.”
“Hello there!” I said, ____________.
“____________, a marvelous ___________ over at _________, ________s your ________ and wants to know if you are agreeable to ________.”
“________?? Hmm, let me think. Um, _______!”
“________ thinks that ________ is a little too ________ for the ________ and wonders if you’d consider _______ing the ________ to make _________ a little more _________ so it’s not so _________. What do you think?”
“Hmm, let me think. Um, ________!!!”
“Great, let’s _______ next week and then we’ll _______.”

I spent the weekend ________ing the ________. Jay was out of town, so I made Robin meet me at _________ so she could ________. Oh, Robin _______ed, all right. So, I’ve spent the last 48 hours ________ing and ________ing and I think I’ve finally got my problem _________ed. Now let’s just hope and pray and cross fingers and toes and ______s and ______s that _______ calls back and says, _______. Then for sure I’ll be _______ and ________ and then the three of us will ________ at ________ this weekend when we’re in _______ for the ________ where Jay will be _________ing! Of course, things in publishing don’t always happen that quickly, so it may be _______ before I hear _______ about _______. I’ll keep you posted. Unless _______ happens. Then I’ll be ________.

- Eve

Mermaid Meet-Up: The three of us will be at the L.A. Times Festival of Books this weekend, and we'd love to meet ya! A good meeting spot on Sunday would be the Penguin booth (#813) at 11a.m. where Jay will be signing copies of Thirteen Reasons Why, or at Young Hall 50 at 1p.m. where he'll be on a panel with Robin Benway, Cecil Castellucci, and Michelle Serros called Young Adult Writing: Not Just for Kids.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"Kiss My Grits" -- Jay

Growing up, "Kiss my grits" was tied with "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" as my favorite TV catchphrase. But, as a California boy, I had no idea 'grits' referred to a food that Mel's Diner might actually serve on Alice.

I spent this past weekend in Alabama and found out exactly what grits taste like. And they're mmm-mmm good! In fact, they're so good, you can eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In fact, many people do just that. But that's not why I took my first trip to the South. I went because a certain school in Alabama held the first of many Thirteen Reasons Why book clubs last December, and there just happened to be a book fair nearby last Saturday. So I hopped on a plane to say thank you in person.

Here's a photo of my first meeting with some of the HMS iREAD Club students. It was taken soon after I stopped blushing from a little joke they played on me. (Don't worry...I'll get you back!)

During my presentation, Carrie helped me read from the book. It was the first time I heard Hannah with a southern accent, which made her words sound so much cooler than they sounded in my head when I wrote them!

An hour later, I found myself sitting on a very fun panel with R.A. Nelson, Loretta Ellsworth, and Jennifer Echols.

Nope, I never outgrew my love for Clifford.

That night, I met some local teachers and MSFKALs (Media Specialists Formerly Known As Librarians) at a restaurant for my first taste o' grits. Then we went and watched the most amazing cover band I've ever seen, The Spicolis, play everything from Take On Me to Smells Like Teen Spirit. (What? No, I never noticed how cute they all were. They just seemed really nice.)

Of course, I couldn't leave without stopping by a Waffle House. Hashbrowns? Covered!

- Jay

Wanna Chat? Join me online this Wednesday at 9pm Eastern. Thirteen Reasons Why is the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents Book Club pick for April.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Themeless in San Luis Obispo—Robin

Not much of a theme to my post this weekend. This post is more like “things that are totally unconnected and talked about in a random fashion.” There. That’s my theme!

FIRST RANDOM THING: The other night I watched “The Human Footprint” on the National Geographic Channel. Did anyone else watch that? Fascinating! The show is about everything we consume over a lifetime, like how much water we use and how many bottles of shampoo we go through. Honestly, I think I go through WAY more bottles of shampoo than they showed. And probably twice as much conditioner! Is that bad?

To illustrate the number of showers we take over a lifetime, they lined up thousands of rubber duckies (each duckie representing one shower) and created a wide path that led from the shower all the way out the house, down the road and into a nearby lake. Weird, I know. What’s even weirder, is that this demonstration did not get me to thinking about how much water I waste. Instead, I kept thinking about the poor dude who had to line up all those duckies for 30 seconds of TV time. How did he get THAT job!? Was it his first day as intern!? (Yes, these are the ridiculous things that concern me.)

SECOND RANDOM THING: One of our friends is moving to London and she sold us her didjeridoo. It’s about 4 feet long and when my husband is blowing on it and I’m in the other room…for just a moment… I get scared because I think there’s a walrus in the house. "No, silly," I say to myself, "it’s just our new aboriginal wind instrument." (Honestly, it’s super-cool!)

THIRD RANDOM THING: I’ve been doing, um, okay with being vegan. I’m able to do fine when I’m at home (thanks to the power of lentils) but going out to dinner is a nightmare! I get all tense and my heart palpitates before I even look at the menu because I know there won’t be anything on there I can eat. So I just go ahead and eat things with cheese and pretend it never happened.

FOURTH AND FINAL RANDOM THING: Pumpkins are neat. (That’s the most random thing I could think of. Sorry, but I had to keep with my theme!!!)

You guys got anything random going on?


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Inside Girl -- Eve

I’m going to jail. And I couldn’t be more excited.

I’ve always been fascinated by jails and prison culture. And I know I’m not alone. C’mon, who among us wasn’t mesmerized by Escape From Alcatraz, The Green Mile, and Midnight Express? I watch prison documentaries, the MSNBC San Quentin Lockdown specials, and bug my Public Defender sister every day for stories of her jail visits.

I read Mark Salzman’s True Notebooks a few years back and was blown away by how real and sad and funny and inspiring and haunting it was. The book is Mr. Salzman’s nonfiction masterpiece about his time teaching writing to HROs (high-risk offenders), the most brutal juveniles in the Los Angeles penal system, who are mostly charged with rape, murder, and armed robbery. At the time (1997), InsideOUT Writers was a small project, the brainchild of Sister Janet Harris, a chaplain dedicated to creating an avenue for the incarcerated to “express themselves and feel that they are listened to.” The organization has grown, now features over 30 classes a week in the three main L.A. juvenile detention facilities, and boasts a stellar lineup of teachers, including prolific authors, award winning screenwriters, producers, and professors.


There’s something so sad yet intriguing about the idea that thousands of lost souls are currently locked up in cages, shackled like animals. It’s especially shocking to think about kids shut away in these places with little food, freezing concrete rooms, and no toothbrushes or soap or other human comforts. Back in college, my roommates and I worked for the UCLA Prison Coalition, an innovative program using college students as tutors in the L.A. juvenile detention system. Fa-scin-a-ting. Amazing kids. Amazing stories. So much talent. So much heartbreak. So much misguided energy and anger. The kids I worked with at Camp Kilpatrick (Gridiron Gang was a movie about this same prison camp, starring The Rock…Hi, Dwayne!) were respectful, sweet, and funny. Most importantly, they wanted desperately to learn. Anything. Everything. How to read. How to write. How to measure the universe.

Though I gripe about still being pre-published, I realize I could have worse problems. And during this long, bumpy journey, I’ve learned a ton. I feel excited and privileged to have this opportunity to teach what I’ve learned to these kids. These forgotten kids who have very little to look forward to. I’m not delusional enough to believe that I’ll change the world, or change anything for that matter. But, if in my tenure even one kid feels excited about writing, feels listened to, or feels a sense of pride in his work, then my trip on this writing road hasn’t been for nothing.

- Eve

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sideways Stories from the Laundry Room -- Robin

I have decided not to complain about laundry on the blog anymore. That’s my new rule.

But I couldn’t figure out what to blog about since I couldn’t talk about laundry, so I figured I’d complain about how hard I’ve been working lately and how tired I am and how I haven’t had a spare moment to even call my dear, sweet mother and also how much laundry I have to do. Oops. Sorry. Curse you laundry!!!

Anyway, now that spring break is over, I’ve gotten back into the swing of things and I’ve been a writing fool! First, I revised my chapter book, The Nitwits, based on suggestions made by an editor. I loved her suggestions and now I think the manuscript is in way better it just got a much-needed haircut. My agent also loved the changes, and now the story is back out in the world trying to be adopted by a loving, nurturing publishing house. I feel like a momma sending her son out to the big, bad world and yelling after him, “Write if you get work!”

Meanwhile, I’m still at home with my baby…my new middle grade novel that is starting to take shape. And honestly, I think it’s about to become my new favorite manuscript. (But don’t tell my chapter book. His feelings would be sooo hurt!)

Seriously, I just love writing goofy, fun books. I got hooked on the power of silly stories back in my very first year of teaching. It was fifth grade and I had the kids all day…every moment. And the moments after lunch were the worst. They were wiggly, unruly little monsters. I asked one of the other veteran teachers what to do with them after lunch and she handed me a book. “Just read this out loud,” she said. “They’ll love it. You won’t have any more problems.” It was a copy of Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar. That book is the quintessential funny middle grade book, in my humble opinion. And that teacher was right. The kids were riveted. They begged me to keep reading. Then some of them would come up to me later and beg to read the chapters I had just read to them. Now if that doesn’t tell you how powerful silly stories can be, then I don’t know what does.

But for some reason, I used to almost apologize for writing silly books. I felt maybe I should be writing something with more depth and a message since I was writing for children. However, in January of this year, Jon Scieszka was named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, and now I’m very proud of my obsession with writing silly books. Mr. Scieszka is the author of The Stinky Cheese Man and The Time Warp Trio (among others), and when he was interviewed about being named ambassador, he talked about the need for making books entertaining. His goal is to reach those kids who don’t like to read. “It’s time for reading to be fun again,” he said. I love that guy!

Now when I tell people that I write goofy stories, I can say that I’m just following orders from the ambassador. That’s serious stuff, man!!! Now, if I can just get the National Ambassador for Laundry to make my load of whites disappear…

- Robin

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Writers & Readers -- Jay

From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., I spent this past Saturday with two different sides of this crazy business...first with writers, then with readers.

At the Los Angeles SCBWI Writer's Day, I sat in a packed gym, listening to other authors share their tips and experiences. Cecil Castelluci, as usual, was hilarious (making me slightly nervous about speaking on a panel with her at the upcoming L.A. Times Festival of Books). I also bought a couple Gail Carson Levine books and had them autographed as being for me!

Most importantly, I discovered the theme for this summer's SCBWI national conference theme party. (Past parties are where we earned the nickname The Disco Mermaids.) Ready to hear it? Paint the Town Red. And yes, we've already started brainstorming costume ideas.

After Writer's Day, I sat in on a meeting of the Vroman's Bookstore teen galley group. The group meets monthly to discuss new and upcoming books, giving Vroman's a good idea of which books to really push. A lot of indie bookstores have teen galley groups, and I recommend that every YA writer attend at least one...for two reasons.

First, you'll get some great insight into what bugs teens about a lot of YA lit.: freshmen characters who are too cool for freshmen, the overuse of prophecies in fantasy, storylines that can easily be defined as "one of those books on divorce", present-tense narration...unless it's done really well, the overuse of sex as a plot device, and misleading covers and summaries.

And second, you'll get some good tips on which books you should read. Here are some books this group loved: Not Like I'm Jealous or Anything, My Most Excellent Year, Project 17, Life as it Comes, Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little, The White Giraffe, Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos, Fancy White Trash, and Thank You, Lucky Stars.

By the way, in the photo above, most of the group members are flashing the Awkward Turtle sign...but it's kind of difficult to describe the complex rules of its use. Just be aware that there are also signs for the Awkward Moose, the Awkward Ostrich, and a few other animals. Unfortunately, my head got chopped off in this photo. Just assume that I'm doing my own interpretation of the Awkward Turtle.

After several in the group had to leave, some stayed behind and...Wow! For about an hour, I listened to them discuss Thirteen Reasons Why in extremely fine detail. They talked about character motivation, discussed the ideas of blame, guilt, innocence, and revenge, quoted passages to prove points, and made me feel so inspired.

And then someone mentioned a rumor that the book originally had a different ending. I confirmed that rumor, and they asked me to tell them about it. I hesitated. But then, they started begging. I mean, really begging...

So did I tell them? Of course!

But when they asked what my next book is about, I told them it's a pop-up book about bunnies going through a divorce...written in the present-tense.

- Jay

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Teach Me (to write like you) -- Eve

I just finished reading Teach Me by R.A. Nelson, and I need to just say, WOW! It’s an extraordinary exploration of how obsessive love affects the teen psyche and how arrested development affects the adult psyche. The second I put the book down, I emailed R.A, thinking he was a woman, don’t know why. Maybe because he seemed so cozy inside Carolina’s head, so at ease, so…girly. Turns out, he’s a guy, like a manly-guy, who’s like a rocket scientist or something at NASA. Man, that dude seriously scored in the talent genes department. I want to be him in my next life.

What I love most about Teach Me:
  • It’s intelligent and profound without being pretentious.
  • Nailed the yearning, angsty teen girl perfectly.
  • Infuses science in a natural and compelling way.
  • Language is poetic and pretty without being flowery or contrived.
  • The suspense captured me from the first sentence and I could not put the book down or exhale until the final sentence.
  • Funny, funny, funny! Teen funny, not too grown-up funny. (Beezle-Bob. They call their boss at “The Ground-Up Cow Face Burgers” Beezle-Bob. Hilarious!)
  • Easy to read. There’s not one unnecessary word in the entire 264 pages.
  • Kid-friendly, kid-friendly, kid-friendly. The teens speak like teens, act like teens, and have real teen emotions.
  • Symbolism at every turn, but effortless, natural, not hit-you-over-the-head metaphors.
When I first heard about the book, I was concerned that a “passionate romance between student and teacher” would boil down to a yucky soft-soft-core porn blend of Lolita, Wild Things and the Mary Kay Letourneau story. Fortunately, it was neither yucky nor soft-soft-core porn-y. In fact, the relationship seemed quite tender and natural. At first. Then, of course, it turns into something else completely.

Teach Me is my new go-to book for learning how to write effectively. Talk about power-verbs and avoiding adjectives and adverbs to pump up descriptions! Geez! The man is a genius. When I wrote to him, my first question was, “How on earth did you learn to write like this?” His answer: Nothing. Nada. He never wrote back. Seems that R.A. is keeping his secret safely locked up somewhere at NASA. Probably in the same vault clutching all the mysteries of the universe, like what the alien autopsies revealed and which planets have intelligent life.

Ironically, I just got word that Jay will be speaking with my new literary crush next weekend at the Alabama Book Festival!!! Guess Jay will have to liquor the guy up with pink drinks until he spills all his writing secrets (and, of course, everything he knows about aliens, too).

- Eve

Monday, April 07, 2008

King of the Documentaries -- Robin

Jay has been bugging me lately to watch his new favorite documentary. But almost weekly Jay says, “You need to watch my new favorite documentary,” so I’m always a little hesitant to commit myself to his newest favorite documentary, knowing that next week it will be a newer favorite documentary.

But this last one was different. He mentioned it almost every day for weeks. And when that didn’t work and I still didn’t rent it, he rented it for me and forced it into my hands. The documentary is The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. It’s about a guy who tries to beat the record score in Donkey Kong.

I know…I thought the same thing. Please, Jay, find better things to do with your life.

But, oh-my-god, if it wasn’t one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen. Amazing! The reason it was so amazing wasn’t the impressive editing, which is what I think makes Michael Moore’s movies so great, but because the characters (or real people, actually) were so fascinating. They were weird, quirky, offbeat, and way over-the-top. They made the characters from Napoleon Dynamite look like characters in a wax museum! The guy who held the Donkey Kong record for years was almost too hard to believe. How could someone be that conceited? That rude? That jerky? And have a hair cut that bad!?!?

I think if the movie had been a work of fiction, no one would have felt it was authentic. The characters would’ve come off as one-dimensional and pat. Which is something to keep in mind as a writer…that even though real-life people are sometimes quirky and over-the-top, their fictional counterparts have to have much more depth to be believable.

But since it was "real", the characters were completely fascinating. So much so, that my husband watched it twice. Which means Jay’s newest favorite documentary was that good.

So everyone, please go rush out and rent The King of Kong. But do it quick, because next week, Jay may have another new favorite documentary. My guess? It’ll be about the man with the world’s longest fingernails. Or maybe those guys who gulp hot dogs?

- Robin

Friday, April 04, 2008

Back to the Beginning -- Jay

When my book first sold, I had a funny conversation with my editor. Even though I’d been trying to sell a book for years, I never really considered what I would do when it happened. How time consuming would it be to promote a book? How flexible of a schedule would I need?

“Should I quit my job?” I asked. “I mean, I love my job…but if you want me to, I’ll do it.” For making my dream come true, I would’ve done pretty much anything she asked.

My editor, who was used to dealing with nervous and excited new authors, told me to take a deep breath.

“Like this?” I asked. I wanted to breathe to her exact specifications.

I work at a library, which we both saw as a positive. And I worked Tuesday through Saturday, so I was able to pack a lot of school visits into those Mondays.

But it’s all changing now. Starting this coming week, I’ll be working Monday through Friday, which means my amount of school visits are going to have to decrease a bit. And I love school visits. When I first started doing them, I was scared out of my mind. But they quickly became my favorite aspect of being an author.

My last school visit was an awesome one, though. I returned to where it all began. I spoke to three college classes taught by Nancy Hurd. When I took her class, it was called Children's Literature Appreciation. And you’ll find Mrs. Hurd listed in the acknowledgements pages of Thirteen Reasons Why, mentioned as the reason I wrote my first book.

Fortunately, the managing editor of the school paper was there to catch it...

- Jay

BONUS COOLNESS: Thirteen Reasons Why just re-entered the NY Times Best Sellers list at #5!!!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

How Many Licks? -- Eve

Remember that old commercial that goes, “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?” And then the cute pudgy little owl takes the pop and licks it, “One, two, tha-ree…CRUNCH!” Then he goes, “Um, three…”

Kids of my generation spent a lot of time trying in vain to solve that great mystery. My buddies and I cleaned out the ice cream man and the concessions stand at our softball field every weekend to take on that challenge. Unfortunately, the world may never know how many licks it takes because, for starters, licking a sugary pop all day produces disgustingly painful tongue sores, so by the time you get to about 50 licks it feels like flesh-eating bacteria is invading your mouth. I’d spend the day licking away, then at bedtime I’d re-wrap the shiny blob in its colored waxy paper so I could pick it up again the next day. Sadly, by the time I woke up, I would usually have lost count. So I’d start all over. Tenacity.

As an adult, I still have the same persistence. As a writer, I feel like I spend an extraordinary amount of time licking the tootsie pop to get to the center. Seriously, I ask myself this daily. How many rewrites does it take to really reach the heart of my story? I also wonder how many days, months, years it takes other people to finish a YA novel. I mean, really finish, to the point where every little thing makes sense and the pieces fit together seamlessly.

One prolific writer friend told me she takes one month to write a book. One month! She spends only two or three more revising. Boom! Done. I read an interview today with a successful YA author who said she usually spends about three weeks cranking out a novel. Three weeks? On the flip side, I have another girlfriend who has spent many years revising one YA novel. And she’s still not satisfied.

What I’m wondering is why some of us have to lick the proverbial Tootsie Pop for 5 full years (me) before we really hit that center, while others sit like the pudgy little owl in the tree and just bite the damn thing and get it over with. We both get to that gushy, chocolaty core eventually. But why do I take 500 painful licks when others take only 3?

Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment. Or maybe just a glutton. Seriously, my parents should have bought stock in Tootsie Roll Industries back in the day. Those dudes still produce 20 million pops daily! I guess the younger generation is continuing the quest to discover just how many licks it really takes.

- Eve
(Who is bathing her purple tongue in liquid Lidocaine as we speak!)