Booktour hints

I am on a dead run today, so this will be quick. Here are the states I’ll be visiting on booktour in March!

(In chronological order)
New York

Several states have multiple signings. Details tomorrow – I promise!!!! I ‘ll give cities, stores, times, everything. I am SO EXCITED about this!!!

(TWISTED goes on sale in exactly one month. Be still my beating heart.)

I am also excited about the following photographs:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The roof cleaners are here!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic That is the Daddy Roof, forty feet up. See why I didn’t want to go up it?

Make them wear pants!

I was not going to comment on this. Really. I was shoveling away, happy as a lark, thinking about my own books and minding my own business. But people keep blogging about IT. And emailing me about IT.

You do know what I’m talking about, don’t you?


Quick background. One the first page of the most recent Newbery winner, The Higher Power of Lucky, a rather unfortunate dog is bit by a rattlesnake in a rather unfortunate place. That’s right. Fido (actually, the dog is named Roy) gets nailed in the ballsack. But the reader does not see the incident. Instead, the book’s main character, Lucky, overhears a conversation about it.

You can read an excerpt on amazon.

Lucky then ponders this strange word, scrotum, thinking it “sounded medical and secret.” (I must agree with her about that. It took me decades to figure out precisely what that word meant.)

And then the book continues.

First, a disclaimer: I have not read the book. Therefore my comments have nothing to do with the quality of it, or any of Patron’s other choices. But I do have a couple of opinions about the controversy this has stirred up. This has been argued about in the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, various listservs and probably every writer’s group in America. The book has been banned countless places. AS IF has devoted a lot of space to it. As usual, David Lubar has a wonderful comment. Teacher Monica Edinger has some good thoughts, too.

Susan Patron, herself a librarian, has written a response to her critics. So I might as well add my two cents. I can solve the problem instantly.

I call on the President to require all male dogs to wear pants or face immediate castration. Because that’s how we solve problems, right? Cover it up, chop it off, or make it go away.


OK, option #2. Thank Susan Patron for giving us the chance to talk about this. Because clearly, people have vastly different opinions about it. I think it is very, very silly to get worked up about the proper medical name of a dog’s anatomy. I also think, based on the excerpt I read, Patron used the word in context perfectly. When I was a kid, I didn’t know what it was called. I was mystified by a lot of things as a kid. That’s why I read books, to learn.

It bums me out to see the name-calling that this controversy is degenerating into. In one corner we have the radical liberals foaming with their sexuality agendas, in the other corner we have Puritanical Victorian ostriches who want to deprive children of information. Everyone is allowed an opinion, but when you start calling people names, we all lose.

The larger issue that needs to be aired out is that of “banning.” Some librarians are making the choice not to put Lucky in their collection. (Some of the quotes I read indicated it was because of the scrotum reference (should that be scrotal?), others because they didn’t think it was a great book.) Librarians face this choice every single day: lots of books to buy, very little money to buy them with.

So they makes choices. Is that banning? What do you think?

I still think we should make dogs wear pants.

Mad Woman on the roof

Happy Chinese New Year!

No fireworks or barbecue here, just the ongoing saga of the Great Snow of ’07. And the increasing weight on the rafters. We have had no luck getting qualified, insured people here to clean the roof off. (They are in short supply, for obvious reasons.)

The paper quoted Scott Steiger, a prof at SUNY Oswego, as saying a foot of snow puts .6 pounds of pressure per square inch of roof. Which means a foot of snow puts nearly 8,500 pounds of pressure on a 100-square foot roof.

We have had more than 10 feet of snow.

So yesterday was the day when I screwed my courage to the sticking-place, picked up a shovel and ascended to the roof in the bucket of the bobcat.

Like a lot of houses, ours has a couple different rooflines. Number One Son and I spent the afternoon on the roof that is closest to the ground (only one-story up), the Baby Roof, getting it more or less cleaned off. Today we have one more Baby Roof and the Momma Roof (two stories up) to take care of. The Daddy Roof, which is three stories up, we are leaving to the professionals, who claim they are arriving Tuesday. Maybe Wednesday.

We shoveled and BH ran the bobcat, clearing away the mountain of snow we dumped. He is not allowed on the roof because of the recent knee surgery. This does not please him. But if I were put in charge of the bobcat, I would probably drive it through the house, so things really are safer this way.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Me, feeling victorious over my fear of heights, which was conquered by my fear of collapsing roofs.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Boy with camera, author with shovel.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Enjoying a tall, cold (very cold) glass of water. We really worked up a sweat moving that stuff.

I will admit it wiped me out. I was asleep by 8pm, dreaming sweet dreams of victory.

It snowed last night and there is more on the way today, though it will be measured in inches, not feet. There will also be more roof cleaning today. When my back is sore and my legs tired, I’ll come in to begin preparation for the writer’s conference this weekend.

What day of the week is it?

The National Guard has arrived. Not at our house, but in our town and other places across the county to help the stranded and frozen. The Mennonites are here, too.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Yesterday was another digging out day. I hiked down to the road and reuncovered the mailbox. The new snow and drifts made it impossible for vehicles to get to the house. I canceled my eye doctor appointment for the fourth time. The receptionist just laughed. I called to set up a new frequent flier account at Southwest Air. The lady I talked to cracked up when I told her where I lived.

I bet that it’s really nice in the Bahamas. I’ve never been there. I will probably never go, because I’ve had skin cancer and a beach is at the bottom of my list of vacation spots, unless it is a beach that is attractive in the moonlight. But just say the word: Baaa-haaa-maaaz. Baaa-haaa-maaaz.

Back to yesterday.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Nearly lost the dog out on the tundra, aka the back yard. The guys with the heavy equipment to dig us out couldn’t come and couldn’t say when they would come.

(Hum “The Rocky Theme”.)

And then! And then!