Saturday, September 01, 2007

Rocketing up the Food Chain!

As of this morning, TTLB informs me that I've made the leap from Flippery Fish to Crawly Amphibian. Gosh!

The Crawly Amphibian shown here is a Sierra Nevada Newt, which seems appropriate. Given the fact that hit stats always plummet on weekends -- especially holiday weekends -- I expect to be devolving very quickly, but I thought I'd celebrate my taxonomic accomplishment while I could.

I hope you all have a splendid Labor Day!

And while I'm on the subject, happy September. I'll be forty-seven on Friday; Figaro has a birthday on the third or fourth, but neither Gary nor I can remember how old he is. Three, I think.


  1. LOL. The instant I read "newt" my mind flashed to a scene from "Practical Magic" where the two Aunts were leaning over a blender reciting, "Eye of newt, toe of frog, wool of bat, and tongue of dog. Adder's fork and blind worm's sting, Barbados Lime is just the thing. Fragias Salt, like a sailor’s stubble ...Flip the switch, and let the cauldron bubble!" That was the spell they cast for making "midnight margaritas". Oh, the lengths we'll go to put a little Shakespearian class in a movie. May you never end up as kitchen ingredients. (g)

    Happy Labor Day!

  2. Lee: Yes indeed! May none of us ever wind up as kitchen ingredients!

  3. Anonymous5:22 PM

    Pre-happy bithday to you!

    Also, I just got my copy of Shelter. I haven't started reading it yet (teaching starts on Tuesday, don't cha know,) but I did page through it, and was struck by a couple of questions, if I may.

    1) I'm assuming the Connie Willis quote is from the Connie Willis of "To Say Nothing of the Dog," et al fame. Where exactly is the quote from? (I enjoy her work very much!)

    2) My copy has a "Reading Group Guide" at the back - questions for discussion. I was curious how much influence/ input/ involvement you (or an author in general) has over those questions? And what you think of that practice? (I see the same kind of thing in other books occasionally.)

    Thanks, Kristen D.

  4. Hi, Kristen! Thanks for the pre-birthday wishes, and for buying Shelter! I hope you enjoy it!

    As for your questions:

    1. The Connie Willis quotation is from "Samaritan" (her first-published story, iirc), which is in her story collection FIRE WATCH.

    2. I was given the chance to write the reader's guide, but didn't have the time or inclination, so Tor hired a freelancer to do it. These guides are supposed to appeal to "middlebrow readers." (My editor's exact words: he claims that this category of folks buys lots and lots of books, but I still find the phrase annoying, and imagine that said readers might, too!) When the copy was turned in, my editor forwarded it to me with a note that he didn't like the questions much, and gave me a chance to edit them, but I like them better than he did -- and was short on time then, too -- so I just let them stand as is.

    So I had nothing to do with them, although I could have if I'd wanted to.

    As for what I think of the practice: if it makes the book more book-club friendly and thus sells more copies, great. If not, it's not hurting anything. In my experience, book clubs come up with their own stuff to talk about anyway, so the questions are just a springboard.

    In the long run, I'm not sure it matters much, but if the publisher wants to do it, I won't argue.

  5. Wow, what's next? Wooly Mammoth? ;-)

    By the by, I had a Marxist professor of classics who liked to talk about Wooly MamMoths and how they were always flying into lightbulbs and candle-flames... I think he'd always wanted to be a stand-up comedian instead.


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