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For everyone who doesn’t know that a cobra escaped the Bronx Zoo, not to worry.  You can now follow him on Twitter.


Bronx Zoo\’s Cobra (BronxZoosCobra) on Twitter.

And then there’s the zookeeper:!/BronxZookeeper


This is just one of many reasons I love New York.

In honor of Banned Book Week I will be posting a few fun things about the books we all know and love despite their dangerous and subversive overtones.  After all, who among my friends would want their children reading To Kill a Mockingbird or other such smut??

But as consenting adults far beyond the reach of such pornography as Judy Blume, I encourage you to take a new look at some of these old favorites.  And assuming you’re all over 21 (or 18 in Montreal, thank you very much), please click on this fab link to play the banned book drinking game!  You know you want to check it out! Many thanks to the mature and sophisticated auteurs over at Forever Young Adult for making this happen.

the official FYA banned book drinking game.

This is truly funny, and truly French. (Though truly *not* for kids…when my books are out in the wild and YA readers are finding their way here I will have to go back and edit my posts).  But in the meantime, enjoy.

(And thanks to The Sister for sharing this with me!)

YouTube – How I got in the cupboard.

I can’t be the only one on the East Coast who has been singing this Dixie Chicks classic for the past week.  LOVE them, LOOOOVE this song.  Always glad to have a reason to play it!

Because this woman is so damn funny!  Her book Hex Hall was funny.  But her blog – well, the dame can write, I’m just saying….

Read fast at the beginning.  Then…her synopsis of the Sally Lockhart books by Philip Pullman (yes, the Dark Materials Philip Pullman – who knew?) is absolutely priceless.  Enjoy.

It is easy to doubt the quality of your writing, when you sit alone at a desk all day long.  But then, sometimes, the gods smile on you and send you this blog, SlushPile Hell, and you get a chance to feel really, really smug.  Because of course you would never send a query letter like that to an agent.  Case in point: the June 20th entry:

My 318,000 word novel may seem like it starts a little slow, but after the first 100 pages or so it really picks up steam, so I hope you will be patient and not be distracted.

Heh heh.

It is true there are a lot of scary statistics out there about how likely one is to ever get a book published.  Author Maggie Stiefvater wrote a blog post that talks about how, statistically, you are more likely to get killed by a ham sandwich than be published. (I am not entirely sure if this fact is vetted; personally I think you might want to Google if before using it in your dissertation or something).

But her point, despite what it might sound like, was rather positive. In short, she states that most people who try and write a book not only suck, but they suck bad.  They don’t do their homework on genres.  They don’t revise.  They don’t check that they are querying appropriate agents.  They just spew their suckage onto a Word doc and send it in.

She is not wrong. I know because for a while I was in charge of the slush pile at a literary agency.  It is true that sometimes we rejected really good stuff that just wasn’t the right fit.  But the vast majority of my reading pile (and it was a real live pile of paper…when I was a kid we didn’t have this “e-mail” or whatever you kids call it) fell squarely into the grouping I called WTF.  As in, WTF, why is this the third proposal this morning that has been channeled by a higher power?  Or, WTF,  do you really think telling me that 100 other agents have rejected it is going to make me more interested?  In short, most people were trying to sell…this:

No matter how you package it, Barf is still Barf

So I take heart.  Because no matter what I write, I am more likely to get published than this guy, who wrote:

I have yet to be published, but that is only because I have yet to try.
Thank you SlushPile Hell, for my moment of Schadenfreude.