From the New Yorker
From the New Yorker
Please see my article about Cushing’s at MedTopicWriter.com:
I had almost every symptom, and went to dozens of highly-trained doctors and health care professionals in New York -and not ONE of them realized I had Cushing’s.
Most of them had never seen anyone with the disease, so all they noticed was that I had gotten fat. They didn’t care why or how - that was my problem.
Time was going by quickly, and time was one thing I did not have. The doctor who saved my life said we had no time to lose, and if I didn’t beat the Cushing’s I’d be dead in 3 years.
Please share this article with everyone you love, just in case.
By British artist Tom Price - Cherry Forest of PVC Piping
“Andy Rooney is a fat, racist, ornery old son of a - he died? Oh… He was such a sweet old man.” @keithsmooth
THE PLURAL OF BOOK IS NOT BOOK’S!
by Maria Murnane 10/26/2011
I have a new grammar pet peeve: the use of a possessive apostrophe to denote a plural. In just the past few weeks, I’ve seen the following on signs, menus and posters around New York City:
I have no idea why this has become so popular, but it’s everywhere I go, and it drives me nuts! I even saw it in a self-published book last week, in which the narrator mentioned how she had consulted with various doctor’s. Yes, doctor’s. I was annoyed but kept reading, only to be distracted by countless other grammatical blunders throughout the book. The storyline was interesting, but it was completely overshadowed by the errors that popped up on every page. Every single page. Because of that, I will not be recommending the book to anyone, which is a lost opportunity for the author because I love to talk about books.
If you’re going to put your work out into the world, make sure the grammar is perfect. If grammar isn’t your thing, hire an editor! Actually, you should hire an editor anyway, because we all need multiple sets of eyes to help catch what ours can no longer see after staring at the computer screen for so long.
In a future blog post, I’ll go over the most common grammatical errors I see. For now, see if you notice the apostrophe overload. Maybe together we can stop the madness!
How 3,000 Copies of My Book Found Their Way from the Trash Bin to the #1 Spot on the Amazon Kindle Bestseller List
The story of how Wild Child, one of my first novels, was published is almost as wild as the story itself.
The idea for the book came to me in a dream. I started madly writing it down the next morning, and couldn’t stop. In 40 days of frenzied typing at the keyboard, I finished the entire book.
The first literary agent I sent it to was Laura Rennert, at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency in Manhattan. She loved it. Laura sent it out to three of the biggest YA publishers. They loved it, too. I was thrilled—my very first YA book, and I had already found an agent and willing publishers. My baby was about to be read by thousands, and perhaps millions, of people. It was a dream come true.
“But,” she told me on the phone, “there’s one problem with your book.”
“What’s that?” I said, my euphoria fading.
“It’s too short. Can you add another fifteen thousand words?”
Fifteen thousand more words? I was dumbfounded. I didn’t understand why I had to add 15,000 words to a book that seemed perfect as it was.
“It has to do with the cost of paper,” Laura explained, “and retail price points, and so on. It’s complicated.”
I spent the next two months struggling to make Wild Child a longer book. Nothing about the process felt right to me, but like most writers, I badly wanted to see it published. When I finally finished padding it with all the extra words, I gave the manuscript to all my friends and trusted readers to read again. “Mike,” one of them said, “congratulations! You totally ruined a really great book.”
Undeterred, I started packing up the manuscript to send to Laura. But at the last moment, I changed my mind. Why should I add 15,000 words to a book that seems perfect just as it is, just because of some rules about the cost of paper and cardboard boxes? Would an artist make a finished painting three inches bigger on all sides to make it fit into someone’s frame? To hell with the big publishers, I thought—I’ll publish Wild Child myself, in its original form.
I was living in Atlanta, Georgia, at the time. As I needed a book cover designed, I decided to hold a city-wide student art contest for the best cover illustration. After all, Wild Child was a story about young people, written for young people—why not have young people come up with the cover picture?
The winning illustration came from a 17-year-old at North Atlanta High School, a laid-back African American by the name of Seron Fuller. Everyone agreed that his amazing, magical illustration for Wild Child perfectly captured the main characters, Kyle and Brianna, and the overall feeling of the story.
I excitedly arranged for 3,000 copies of the book to be printed with Seron’s cover illustration on the front, investing my own money in the project. Then, as fate would have it, my work situation changed. Within a week of the books being delivered to my apartment, I moved across the Atlantic, to Europe, to Riga, Latvia.
Printed books are heavy. I could only afford to take two boxes of Wild Child with me—200 books, total. I shipped the rest up to Nashville, to my parents’ garage. My stepfather wasn’t too happy about keeping them for me, as they took up a lot of space, but he grudgingly agreed to do it “for a while.”
I settled in Latvia and began my job, teaching at a Latvian university. My wife, also a teacher, was working at a local high school. One day she said, “Mike, I told our English teacher that you were a young adult writer and she wanted her students to read Wild Child. Can you spare a few copies?”
Why not? I thought. They’re just sitting here in a box, collecting dust. So I gave five copies to my wife to pass along to the teacher. A few weeks later, the teacher asked for five more copies. And five more. Then an English teacher at another Latvian school became interested, and I gave out more copies. And the book began to spread.
In short, hundreds high school students in Latvia went crazy over Wild Child. I had soon given away half my copies to schools and libraries.
Meanwhile, my stepfather had contacted me several times, asking me when I was going to get all the damn books out of his garage. I investigated shipping them all to Latvia, but the cost was astronomical. Finally, backed into a corner, I said, “Just have them recycled, I don’t know what else to do with them.” It killed me to tell him this, but what choice did I have? None of my American friends wanted 28 huge boxes of books taking up space in their garages.
To add insult to injury, my stepfather called me back the next day. “Mike, it will cost $200 to have these books hauled off for recycling.” I had to pay to have my precious babies thrown into the trash!
I gritted my teeth and sent him the check.
More time passed. I soon had given away all 200 of the books I’d brought with me to Latvia. I sorely regretted having the others hauled away.
One day I ran into a student who had read Wild Child in his English class—he recognized me from my photo from the back cover of the book. He asked if I had any more copies. I told him, with pang in my heart, that no more copies existed.
“You’re wrong,” he said. “They’re selling copies of your book on Amazon.com.”
I blinked once. “That’s impossible,” I told him. “All the copies I had in the United States were thrown in the trash.”
He shrugged. “See for yourself.”
Certain that he was mistaken, I went home and pulled up the Amazon website. Lo and behold, there it was. Wild Child, by Mike Wells. The book wasn’t available from Amazon directly, but from a half dozen of their U.S. resellers.
Somebody had pulled all those copies out of the trash and started selling them!
Was this yet another sign that the book needs to be read? I certainly thought so.
Not long thereafter, I moved to the UK and started teaching in the University of Oxford Creative Writing Program. Last year I watched the explosion of ebooks and reading devices, such as the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, the Sony Stanza, etc.. It seems like everywhere I went, someone was reading a book on one of those gadgets, or an iPad smart phone or notebook computer.
I decided that Wild Child’s time had finally come. Publishing the story as an ebook was perfect! Ebooks don’t have any physical form—they can be as long or short as they need to be.
I converted Wild Child to ebook form for the Kindle, the Nook, the Sony, etc. and of course the iPad and all the other Apple devices. Young adult book bloggers started reviewing it and the book has received great reviews. In July of 2011 it climbed to the #3 spot on in the Young Adult/Juvenile category on the Amazon USA Kindle Books Bestseller list, and in September of 2011 hit the #1 spot in Children’s Fiction on the Amazon UK Kindle Bestseller List.
I have to say that I feel 100% better about myself now that I’m actually helping Wild Child find its way into the world.
Sometimes I think that Wild Child should have a subtitle: The Book That Wouldn’t Die.
Look at those dainty paws (not!).
Xeroxing your butt is so 1980. Here’s a website with 21 different cats on glass tables - from underneath!
Well, here it is. The Diamond Bathtub for Beyonce’s fetus. A $5,200 mini-bathtub covered with thousands of hand-applied pink Swarovski crystals. The manufacturer points out it is also perfect for your PET. If you would like a full-size version, just send them $29,900.
OK, I admit it: I don’t like Beyonce because her values are THE WORST. What kind of ego do you have to have to announce you are pregnant in front of the world at the MTV Video Music Awards - using a fake bump that in no way resembles a woman in early pregnancy? What - has no one ever had a baby before? Worse, Beyonce is the poster child for conspicuous consumption - cars, yachts, and a 2,200 square foot baby nursery in her New York palace. How big is a baby? 21 inches?
Here are the highest rollers last year - but as far as I know the rest of them don’t buy or accept diamond bathtubs:
1. Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady – $76 million
2. Beyonce and Jay-Z- $72 million
3. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie- $50 million
4. David and Victoria Beckham- $45 million
5. Robertin Pattinson and Kristen Stewart- $40 million
Update: Jay-Z’s company, Rocawear, is now selling a t-shirt that says “Occupy Wall Street” with graffiti style lettering modifying the message to read “Occupy All Streets.” A mini scandal has brewed over the shirt as it’s become clear that Rocawear has no plans to give any of the proceeds to the occupiers themselves.
Actually the average worker makes WAY less than 1% of the CEO. You got a problem with that?
RT @LisaBirnbach: As I read & watch news of Cain, et al, it seems that these candidates are stand-ins for a real election someday.
“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends, and spirit – and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends, and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”
Brian Dyson (b. 1935) CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises
Please see my article about losing, and regaining, work/life balance at FreelanceWritingDreams.com
RT @pourmecoffee: Election night means Romney will have to stay up late and change all his positions to match what won.
“Hormonal” birth control, including The Pill, does not prevent conception. It prevents the fertilized egg from implanting and becoming a fetus. If life begins at conception, all forms of hormonal birth control, including The Pill, will become illegal.
Can anything be more stupid?
Things went so well with baby #19, Josie, that they decided to procreate again. Michele is due in April. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS WOMAN?
If Michele dies as a result of this pregnancy, she leaves 19 motherless children. Is it really worth another “quiver” for you, creepy Jim-Bob?
See also my earlier post, “Is the Duggar Family Really Harmless?”