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MadTV Goes Mac-Mad

OK, so the jokes are a bit obvious, but still: This clip from MadTV accomplishes what it sets out to with style and wit. It’s no less funny for its predictability.

Royalties

Well, I feel like a real writer now — I’ve received my first royalty statement! (And no, I won’t be reprinting it here. Sheesh!)

It’s sort of a strange feeling. For months now, friends, aquaintances, and even random strangers have been asking me, “So, how many copies have they sold?” To which I have shrugged and said, “Beats me.” Because that’s the truth. It’s not like I get phone calls from my publisher every day, shouting out, “Five copies just sold in a Barnes & Noble in Skokie! And a thirteen-year-old girl just bought a copy in Modesto!”

It’s a strange truism of this writing life, I’ve noticed, that the author is the last person to know anything. I was the last person to find out I had a two-book deal. I’m the last person to know how many copies my book has sold so far. When the time comes, I’ll be the last person to know that a movie deal has been hammered out.

I’m actually fine with all of that. It means I can focus on writing, which is the way I want it to be.

But what’s really weird is that even though I have this statement, I still don’t really know how many copies of my book have been sold!

Because first of all, this statement is up through September 30, 2006. My book’s official publication date was October 2, 2006. Which means that this statement takes into account those copies sold to stores before the book was available — there’s no way for me to know what sold after that point.

Second of all, this shows books sold to stores, not books sold by stores. So it’s possible that every copy on this statement is still sitting on a bookshelf in a store somewhere. (Probably not, but play along, OK?) Just as it’s possible that every copy on this statement sold to an eager reader. (Again, probably not, but again, play along.)

Third of all, stores can return books. For all I know, there are huge boxes of my book being shipped back to Houghton Mifflin as I type this.

So as cool as it is to have some numbers, I still can’t really answer the question, “How many copies have they sold?” At best, I can say, “Well, as of September 30 of last year, bookstores ordered X number of copies, some percentage of which have been sold to readers, another percentage of which may or may not be returned. And more copies may or may not have been reordered since and may or may not continue to be reordered in the future.”

Which, I admit, is still better than “Beats me.”

Cynthia Leitich Smith Interview

Fellow YA author Cynthia Leitich Smith does a great service to the writing community: Not only does she pen some terrific reads, but she also takes the time to interview young adult authors on her blog and help promote their books! How generous is that? Hell, I’m a slacker — you don’t see me promoting other people’s books on my site, do you?

So, reward Cynthia: Buy her books!

Oh, and she interviewed me about Fanboy and Goth GirlCheck it out.

Heroes defies TV “gravity” and stays strong

Let’s be honest — it would be pretty damn near impossible for Heroes to get better than it was last week. “Company Man” combined action, tear-jerking emotion, and plot twists galore to make what may have been the most perfect hour of television since the first season finale to Twin Peaks. Or, at the very least, since Lost‘s season 1 episode “Walkabout.”

So, the fact that Heroes managed to keep the story moving without losing momentum or feeling like a letdown from last week’s ungodly good episode (so described because clearly the production team sold their souls to the devil to produce that epi…and it was worth it) makes Heroes damn near…uh, heroic. They’ve kept the tension ramped, the emotions running high, and the interest piqued.

Good job, folks.

But, uh, April 23? Really? I really have to wait that long?

Sigh. OK. But only because I’m addicted. Otherwise, I could take this needle right out of my arm, I could…

Lost Didn’t Suck Last Night

After last week’s pathetic Jack episode (in which it took an hour for us to learn that Jack got a tattoo in Thailand and is conflicted…hmm), I had pretty much given up on Lost. I figured that if the show was that befuddled as to how to bring back viewers, then I didn’t care for it anymore.

But I watched last night because, well, because it’s still Lost, after all, and I wanted to give it another shot.

Glad I did.

I’m not going to say that “Tricia Tanaka is Dead” was a return to form or anything, but it was at least a step in the right direction. Every major character (except for Jack) got at least a moment of camera time and a line of dialogue. Multiple sub-plots advanced. Hurley’s quest to start the Dharma mini-bus was vaguely reminiscent of Season 1’s golf-course-building exercise as a device that is absurd on the face of it, but fun and moderately understandable. These are people who are trapped on a frightening island — they need to blow off some steam, otherwise they’d all be stark raving insane.

Jin, Sawyer, Charlie, and Hurley were all well in character.

My major quibble is the existence of the bus in the first place. Someone is now going to have to explain why this thing even exists on an island that is supposedly under quarantine, where the inhabitants are supposed to be in the hatches. And what was it doing out in the middle of the jungle? How did it get there and how was it turned over?

Unfortunately, one good episode does nothing to restore my faith that such questions will ever be answered. Hell, we still don’t know how Yemi’s plane got from Nigeria to the island, and given that Eko’s dead, I doubt we ever will.

Still, the focus on multiple plots, the return of character-based humor, and the fact that the flashback actually seemed to matter on a character and plot level all made the episode worthwhile.

So, you’ve earned another week from me, Lost. Don’t waste it…