Bits ‘n Bans ‘n Birthdays

October 3rd, 2011

Hi! Well, it’s officially fall. School has started, all of our favorite shows are back on (and some new ones have been added—check below for some completely partial reviews!), and some new books have come out (not any of mine, except the anthology I’m taking part in. Which, if you want to see me talk about LIVE—via Skype—at the United Nations, you can win tickets to! Just click here).

Fall also traditionally brings us the birthday of the most FANTASTIC PERSON IN THE WORLD (again, I am completely partial), someone with whom some of you might be familiar. . . He Who Shall Not Be Named In This Blog.

Yes! It is true! On October 5, HWSNBNITB will be half a century old (just like George Clooney, HWSNBNITB was born in 1961, obviously the best year for men).

As you can tell by this recent photo, HWSNBNITB is still filled with youth, vitality, and many other things:


(Yes, HWSNBITB still refuses to allow me to mention him or put his photo on my blog. I thought you would enjoy looking at this photo of George Clooney instead. HWSNBNITB is actually younger by six months than George, but of course a better cook and even more handsome and erudite)

So I hope you will join me in wishing HWSNBITB a happy birthday (only you can’t go to his Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Linked In, or Google + pages because he is old school and doesn’t have any of those things. You will just have to wish him happy birthday to the air).

To celebrate, we are going to do super fun things, many of which I am almost done planning (birthday plans should never be left up to me).

Fall also brings us Banned Book Week, a very important week that has passed (another example of my planning) when the American Library Association celebrates the importance of the First Amendment (the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might not be your personal cup of tea).

But as we scan the lists of the Most Banned Books in America, it’s important to remember that the vast majority of books disappearing from our library shelves are not even on these lists!

Why?

Because library patrons (and parents) have caught on that rather than going to all the trouble of asking for an official ban, it’s much easier simply to remove the offending book from the library and pay the fine.

The library rarely has the budget to replace the missing book with a new one of the same title. The book is gone, and 7 – 15 bucks later, nobody’s the wiser.

For every book challenge that’s been reported, research suggests at least as many as four to five have gone unreported, and who knows how many books have simply gotten “banished” due to material inside that a single patron found personally distasteful!**

**Thanks to Author’s Guild Board of Directors member Rachel Vail for the above data.

How can you help libraries get more money so they can replace books that have been “banished?” Contribute when you hear your local library is having a book drive (every penny counts), and enter your zip code here:

In addition to HWSNBNITB’s birthday and Banned Books Week, Fall also brings us a new book discussion at the Meg Cabot Fiction Club: By popular demand, Rosemary Clement-Moore’s excellent ghostly YA paranormal, Texas Gothic, was chosen!

Amy Goodnight’s family is far from normal. She comes from a line of witches, but tries her best to stay far outside the family business. Her summer gig? Ranch-sitting for her aunt with her wacky but beautiful sister. Only the Goodnight Ranch is even less normal than it normally is. Bodies are being discovered, a ghost is on the prowl, and everywhere she turns, the hot neighbor cowboy is in her face.

Starred reviews from both Kirkus and School Library Journal (wow, Rosemary)! I can’t wait to dig in.

We’ll be discussing Texas Gothic on the forums starting next week, so you have plenty of time to grab your copy and start reading! Be sure to stop by here!

Fall also brings another momentous occasion upon us: The new TV season!

(I do not apologize for loving Vitamin TV.)

What shows are you loving so far?

While technically it wasn’t a fall show, more like a late summer show, the one I really loved was Awkward. (period part of the title) on MTV, about a high school girl who made what I consider some poor decisions in the romance department over the summer, then had to spend the first half of her sophomore year dealing with them.

Unfortunately the season is over, but the ladies at Forever YA did some hilarious recaps here if you want to catch up! And you can still catch a few epis at MTV.com!

I think MTV is hitting it out of the park this year, because I also love Death Valley, a “reality show” (not really. It’s a scripted dramedy) in which San Fernando Valley in California has been taken over by vampires and zombies — and don’t forget werewolves! — so the police find themselves forming an Undead Task Force to keep the peace. There’s a lovely feisty female rookie cop and a film crew that follows the UTF as they make sure wives lock their werewolf husbands in at night, while teen vampires host illegal “venom” parties. It’s hilarious but also kind of gory and also totally good. I’m HOOKED.

I actually thought from the ads that the new show Suburgatory was going to be a mix of Awkward and Death Valley — a sarcastic New York teen whose dad forces her to move to the suburbs for a more “wholesome” life finds out that the suburbanites are actually possessed by Satan?

But it turns out (at least so far) that it’s not a paranormal show. That would be so funny if the new girl had to fight undead cheerleaders!

But, wait, that was the plot of The Mediator series! Ha ha, never mind.

Speaking of The New Girl, the heavily promoted new Zooey Deschanel vehicle on Fox that comes on after Glee about a quirky girl, Jess, who moves in with a bunch of guys after a break up, do we love it? You guys, we’re supposed to super super love it, OK?????

Except if Jess reminds some of us of someone we know who is JUST LIKE the character she plays, the one who brings her guitar to parties and insists we all sing along to the song she just wrote about her ex-boyfriend Joe, about whom she has 65 songs, and they’re all about Joe (ha ha, that was a Say Anything joke).

But seriously, if Jess were a real person and you had to live with her, she might seem a little less quirky and a little more annoying than anything. NOT THAT I KNOW SOMEONE LIKE HER AND SUSPECT THIS SHOW IS BASED ON HER.

But since it’s a show and not reality maybe that’s the point? And maybe that’s the point of the new show Whitney? I saw Whitney Cummings (who plays Whitney) on Hoda and Kathy Lee and she was even more hilarious in real life than she is on her show. This is how Zooey Deschanel is, too. If these two ladies just sat around drinking cocktails, talking, I would pay money to watch. I don’t think they’re really like the characters they are playing.

Uh, where was I? Oh, yeah . . .

Many of our old favorites are back (Parks and Recreation, Modern Family, The Office, Happy Endings, Parenthood, Glee) and seem better than ever after their summer break (thank goodness for the slightly older Baby Lily on Modern Family)!

And some of my favorite TV shows haven’t even premiered yet (The Walking Dead on AMC, debuting October 16, and I Used to Be Fat on MTV, debuting October 11). Although all I can say about The Big C season finale is that if the character Oliver Platt plays is dead (Oliver was born 1960, not 1961 like HWSNBNITB, which is disappointing, but I will let it slide), I am done with that show.

Oh, and I’m excited about Homeland on Showtime, starring Claire Danes and Damian Lewis. I belong to a secret fan club for Damian’s tiny mouth. All you have to do join is notice that his mouth really is very tiny and adorable. Look at it in comparison to Claire Danes! Not that there is anything wrong with Claire’s mouth, I’m just saying, Damian’s mouth is very small.

In the meantime, I have been quite busy writing because I have the sequel to Abandon, Underworld, scheduled to be out in Spring 2012, and a fourth book in the Heather Wells mystery series, scheduled to be out in Summer 2012 (it just got the title Size 12 and Ready to Rock. I actually thought of this title! So yay!)

Plus, at the end of November, I’m going to France on a book tour! More info on the stops I’ll be making there soon, but stay tuned to this website for the most up-to-date info (coming soon)!

So between all that, the TV viewing, the birthdays, the bannings, and the Tweeting and Facebooking, it is all I can do just to keep up, obviously! Here is a picture HWSNBNITB took recently of how I look when I’m doing all of the above because he felt the truth should come out. But I’m not ashamed, except maybe of my hair which I admit has looked better:

L1010601

I call that ^^^^ the command center. I don’t know why I have so many computers, I guess I use certain ones for certain things. The middle one is an Alphasmart that I purchased YEARS AGO and only use for first drafts. When TSA people see it (especially in Europe), they laugh at me, because Alphasmarts are what they use to teach children word processing. But now the world has woken up and realized Alphasmarts are the best thing since homemade fudge. I have written at least part of something like 75 published books on mine – and even parts of most of my blog entries – so who is laughing now, TSA? Also, I have dropped it in the pool several times and it’s still just fine!

For a more in-depth look at what a typical day for me (and probably most writers) is like, here’s a video that was made quite a while ago, but is still pretty much true today (minus the part about the stump grinder, although HWSNBNITB just informed me that we need to redo the laundry room because termites have eaten through the ceiling). The books and household disasters have changed (also, we ended up adopting that neighbor’s cat when the family who owned her moved away), but the rest remains the same!

Have a great one! And as always, thanks for reading!

More later.

Much love,

Meg