But I'm going to make you wait because I want to tell you about stuff first.
It's paperback release day for REALITY BOY here in the US and that makes me very happy. It's been nearly a year since the original release date for the book and Gerald's plight seems to resonate with readers. I know this because I get letters. Serious letters. I claim I'm a Vulcan but serious letters sometimes make me cry. There are so many people in the world struggling with their pasts. With abuse. With neglect. With unfairness. Sometimes I wish we could all stop and think about things like this because we'd make better world partners if we did. If we stopped to understand before we stopped to judge, the world would be so much nicer.
To those of you who have written to me to thank me for showing you, through Gerald, that you can change your life no matter what's happened to you, let me thank YOU. Not just for your letters, but for reminding me that change is possible in my own life.
Change takes guts. Change is hard. Change is slow. Change is important. Change is possible.
Last weekend I was at the NAIBA annual conference. NAIBA is a regional organization for independent booksellers. I'm pretty sure you know how I feel about independent booksellers. If you don't, let me say: independent booksellers were the first people to get behind my work and if it wasn't for their support, I'm not sure I'd still be publishing books. So when one of my books makes you write me a letter, technically it's a chain. You thank me, I thank you for reading and then I thank independent booksellers because without their support, I'd still be writing books that no one gets to read.
And that's what I did this weekend at NAIBA. I thanked independent booksellers for allowing me to keep my job as a lady who wants to tell the truth. I shared short excerpts of a few fan letters so they understand what they help me do. Since REALITY BOY is out today, now might be a good time to say: if you have an independent book store near you, go check it out. You will get to know the staff and they will help you find books you like to read. It's a personal environment. They will talk to you. It might take a bit more effort than clicking a button (if one is available) on a website, but that effort will support so many new writers of books that you might like as much as you like my books.
Contests are fun. First I want to thank all of you who entered ESPECIALLY the teachers who used this prompt in their classrooms and ESPECIALLY the students who took on this challenge. That takes guts and I admire those guts. You and I (and my squirrel judges) know there can only be two winners in this contest. But because of your entries, we've increased the winner number to three. That's how great your entries were.
I know Honorable Mentions are a bummer to some because nobody gets a prize for an honorable mention. But I'm tossing two out anyway because my squirrel judges argued for hours over this. Also, if an honorable mention was from a classroom prompt, the HM's teacher gets the classroom box of books. So, that's a plus.
Bill McCloud, I love fortune cookies and I agree wholeheartedly about the quality of fortunes these days.
“Legs give you propulsion, but heart gives you drive.” You know, I can remember when what you found inside a fortune cookie was a real honest to God fortune. Now it’s always some lame proverb, or obvious statement, or feel-good comment. A real honest to goodness fortune. That’s what I want. I want to know what lies ahead of me, around the corner, and over the hill. You can have your cookie back. False advertisement. Wait! Go ahead and give me one more. Well, good grief! “Enlightenment is disappointment to the ego.”ryter222 dking, you get points for cannibalism and for using the word ego so well at the end of the piece. Our judges appreciate when the required words aren't shoehorned in.
“Legs or thighs? Come on. Make up your mind.”“Geez! Don’t rush me, Johnson. It’s not as easy as it looks.”“You wanna live or die? Choice is yours.”“But---she was our stewardess!” “Well, yeah, but now she’s your only ticket off this island alive! Make a choice, damn it!”“Leg! All right! I’ll take the leg! Reminds me more of a pig roast that way.”“Whatever---I deserve the thigh. I’m bigger than you.”We were hoping it wouldn't come to this, but the gravity of our situation grew heavier and heavier like Johnson’s ego.
Again, honorable mentions, I'm sorry I can't send you a prize, but know that your work was entirely appreciated. As were your tweets and Facebook posts.
Mollie, your "Thoughts of a Spider" was a real hit with the judges. Squirrels have four legs and get no respect either. They told me to tell you that. (Ms. Bentley, you get a box of books for the classroom!)
Thoughts of a SpiderLegs are extremely important. So how am I made fun of for having so many? Shouldn’t it be the cream of the crop for having eight? Humans think they’re hot stuff, but they only have two. Psh.Not sure who wrote this one, but it was hilarious and my squirrels love a good laugh. (Ms. Goncalves wins a box of A.S. King books for her classroom...and the winner gets a brand new paperback of REALITY BOY for cracking us up...which is entirely appropriate considering the material in this entry.)
I get screams. I get newspapers, books, even flyswatters! The disrespect is entirely degrading.
Sometimes I do feel all big and bad, you know because humans are so afraid of me. But then I get the underside of another ratty old sneaker aimed at crushing my body and instead I feel the shame of my bruised ego.-Mollie
Legs start shaking under the desk. Sweat drips down the center of my back. No, this can't be happening now; I took my medicine this morning. The teacher said I can’t leave the room during the test or I will fail. Lower abdomen seizes into a vice-grip cramp. Focus, focus, mind over body, right? Stomach churning and I don’t think I’m going to make it. Alright, I just have to raise my hand and go, abandon the test and my grade. Pzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Just another fart-bruise on my freshman ego.Darden Avila, you got the judges with this one. The line "Mental catwalk wars with myself" really hit a target.
Legs that go on for eternities. A smile that’s both billboard and bedroom appropriate. Hair as impossible as fairytales. Clothes as shiny as your ambitions.
I used to look at you and your glow-in-the-dark universe and I wish you knew how many times I wished I had your life.
But I’ve forgiven you---and me, too. It isn’t your fault that you’re choking on corsets while I’ve nothing but skinny smiles, ribboned grimaces and mental catwalk wars with myself. Or that we live in a world where people remember you for your big boobs and me for my big ego.
Thank you all again for the great stories! Let's do this again sometime!
And thank you teachers for being teachers. Most important job in the world. Hands down.
Winners: I will need your mailing info (unless you did this project for school...read on.) Teachers, I will need your mailing info too, and I'll include the winners' books inside your box of books in a separate envelope. Send mailing info to asking (at) as-king (dot) com.
ONE LAST THING
On Glory O'Biren launch day, 10/14, there will be a twitter chat at 4pm eastern/1pm pacific time. Here's the info for that. It would be so great if you could join us! You can ask me anything!