Here are some things that have been going on in the swinging cocktail lounge that is my life and mind (vodka martini, very dry and very dirty).
1) Apparently there is a new show on TLC called Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. A lot of reviewers are saying this show is the equivalent of the coming of the anti-Christ.
However I have been told by people who actually saw it that it’s not that bad because this family is not fake like some of the families we see on reality TV these days (I won’t name names).
I’ll reserve judgement until I see it. Obviously I DVR’d it, but I have a lot of episodes of Misfits and Covert Affairs to catch up with before I’ll ever get to Honey Boo Boo.
2) Speaking of reviews, this reminds me . . . Salon.com is shocked — shocked, I tell you! — to learn that some authors are hiring people to post fake raves about their books on Twitter, and also to post fake 5 star reviews about them Amazon.
I don’t know why Salon.com is so shocked about this since this kind of thing (it’s called “sock puppeting”) has been going on for years and years, and not just in the publishing business. Rock stars, movie stars, politicians, you name it, have all employed this insidious practice. Every single troll on every single website you go to is probably being paid by some political organization to be there.
The practice of sock puppeting has become so common that there is even a Wiki How explaining how to hire and pay people to post fake comments in the forums of your own website.
The Salon.com article says this practice is most common with authors who are just starting out in their careers, and I can attest that there was a time at the beginning of my career way back in 2000 when I was totally tempted. The only reviews I ever got back then were on Amazon, and this one particular lunatic kept writing that my books glorified smoking.
(OMG, I still get so angry when I think of this. My dad, a smoker, died of throat cancer at age 53, when I was just 26, leaving my mom an unemployed widow with 3 kids. Obviously that scarred me for life, as it would anyone – she was only about two years older than I am now when he died! There is NO WAY I would ever write anything that glorifies smoking. I have never smoked and get an automatic migraine when people around me start smoking).
But some people can’t help being idiots. I wanted to go on Amazon and post this beneath the person’s review:
Dear Crazed Lunatic, Meg Cabot does NOT glorify smoking in The Princess Diaries. This book is about a girl who becomes a princess and doesn’t like it. SHE DOES NOT SMOKE. Her GRANDMOTHER smokes, but the heroine frowns upon it and mentions MANY TIMES that it is bad. Only an idiot such as yourself would you ever think that this book glorifies smoking. Signed, Not Meg Cabot
But nothing good ever comes from doing things like this, so I trained myself to stay off Amazon (except to buy DVDs of Will Ferrell movies).
And I was proven right to do so when, in 2004, a glitch in Amazon Canada’s software revealed the true identities of all the anonymous reviewers there, many of whom turned out to be the books’ OWN AUTHORS!
Yes, it turned out many authors had not been able to resist the impulse (as I had) and had sock puppeted themselves (or whatever the term is). (Click here to read the amusing NY Times article about the incident).
I wish I had known this was going on at the time because I would have RUSHED to Amazon Canada before they fixed the glitch in order to find out who had reviewed his/her own books and also to find out what they had said in response to their bad reviews. I can just picture it:
By Nathaniel Hawthorne: PsYchO2001, I’m so sorry you found “The Scarlett Letter” such a “crushing bore” and feel so angry that the author “crammed so much symbolism into it.” Need I remind you that it is considered a modern classic by most mature adults? Perhaps you’d be more comfortable reading an “action novel” such as Melville’s insipid fish tale, “Moby Dick.”
By Charlotte Bronte: HotMama, I understand you might have been a bit disappointed when you learned “after all those interminably long pages” that what Mr. Rochester had hidden in his attic was not “a vampire or anything else remotely cool”. But would it have hurt you to have employed a “Spoiler Alert” in your review? Now EVERYONE knows what’s in the attic at Thornfield Hall. Try using a little common courtesy next time.
By Emily Bronte: MrsRPatzz18: U r wrong. Wuthering Heights is NOT “the wurst bk eva” and I believe that Heathcliff is every bit as “hottttt” as Edward Cullen, if not more so! U, madam, r the byotch, not me!
3) Speaking of reviews, this one is legitimate: I enjoyed The Encyclopedia of Me by Karen Rivers, coming out September 1. It’s told in an encyclopedia format, which is fun and different, and is about an 8th grade girl dealing with the stresses of family, boys, and friendship. For a librarian’s thoughts on it (and librarians we KNOW can’t be bought), go here.
Speaking of libraries, the Cuyahoga Public Library gave me this (not the unicorn, the little book) as a gift after I spoke there:
When you open it up, this is what’s inside:
Yeah! You got that right! Post-its! Is that the coolest thing or what? AND IT IS MINE. I GOT IT FROM THE LIBRARY.
Go here and you can see my discussion at the library mentioned above.
4) Apparently a bunch of people went on NPR and voted for their top 100 teen books and here is what they came up with.
This list is fun though I’m confused by it. I assume they’re the top 100 books read by teens and not about teens. One problem I’ve always had is a tendency to overanalyze things too much (in case you didn’t notice). It is a problem that has been remarked upon by many, don’t worry, and I continue to be treated for it. I always flunk multiple choice tests because I think I’m being tricked and NONE of the answers are right (this is why I can’t pass the Florida State written driving exam).
But I’m happy some of my favorites made it on there, and would like to thank everyone who nominated and voted for books by me.
5) I know it’s cool to rave about the gymnastics and swimming on the Olympics (and all I have to say about Gabby Douglas “Hairgate” is, to misquote The Princess Diaries movie, “Hair? Flying through the air? I prefer to talk about flying through the air”) but to me it’s all about the equestrian events because the one thing I always wanted was a horse (but I was never enthusiastic enough about one to want to clean stables).
So just picture me on the back of this horse winning the gold for the USA (and turn off the sound if you’re an impressionable child or at work because the musical accompaniment is very naughty, but funny):
6) What are you doing for Labor Day weekend? I’m going to Decatur, GA!
The Decatur Book Festival in Decatur, GA, to be exact, on Saturday, September 1.
You’ll find me at 10AM, at the First Baptist Decatur Sanctuary Stage. Go here for more info. Book signing to follow after my presentation.
Some people are complaining that my signing is much too early in the morning, but I actually chose it because at 10AM it is unlikely to be crowded yet or 9 million degrees outside, and afterwards we can all go have martinis for lunch.
You see? I’m always thinking of you.
There will be tons of other authors there (such as but not limited to the US Poet Laureate, Shannon Hale, Tess “Rizolli and Isles” Gerritsen, Michael Connelly, and Kathy “Bones” and Kerry Reichs). Click on the link above to see more. Guarantee you won’t regret it.
Here are some of the books I’ll be promoting in Decatur (but pretty much all of my books will be available):
Size 12 and Ready to Rock
Then there’s …
Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction, the anthology to which I contributed (with lots of other great authors like Richelle Mead, Lisa McMann, Laini Taylor, Matt de la Pena, Malinda Lo, and Michael Grant). This comes out August 28, just in time for Labor Day Weekend!
And of course . . .
Finally, we had an Underworld trailer contest! All the entries were amazingly creative . . . in fact, it was extremely hard to pick a winner because each entry was so strong and creative in its own way. I had such a hard time choosing, I had to ask for help deciding. We managed to narrow it down to these five finalists:
In the end, we chose based on creativity, originality, tone (of the book, not the video . . . we loved all the videos, but we felt we had to pick one that matched the tone of the book, which is a paranormal romance, most closely), and most of all, the one that summed up the theme of the book (romantic longing) best.
We all felt it was TheMFunky who deserved the prize (an iPad) for her creativity and originality with the paper cut-outs (which looked super hard to do, especially with the growing leaves and fluttering Fury wings!), while also getting the tone (and the theme) of the book right!
Thanks and congratulations to TheMFunky (who is herself an aspiring YA writer)!
Hope everyone has a great rest of their summer, look out for bugs (and Honey Boo Boo) and I’ll see (some of) you at the Decatur Book Festival!