Saturday, April 30, 2011

Success Story

Jayne Barnard, frequent continuation author back in the day under the name Jeb, reports that her novel When the Bow Breaks (New Beginning 566) is on the short list (3 titles) for the Unhanged Arthur, the Crime Writers of Canada/MacArthur & Co. Publishing award for Best First Unpublished Novel. No word on why it's "Bow" instead of "Bough"; guess we'll have to read the book.

Winner will be announced at the Bloody Words Canadian crime convention in Victoria, BC, June 3-5, 2011. Be there.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Face-Lift 900!!

Guess the Plot

Being Fat and Other High School Sins

1. The protagonist's name is Debbie. Please refer to title for plot, setting, and conflict.

2. Hoping to avoid looking fat in their graduation gowns, a coven of witches summon a demon who can freeze time and allow them a few extra personal training sessions before the ceremony.

3. Geeky, glasses-clad Rodger's scientific formula for becoming popular is almost finished. To get it to work, he just has to learn the difference between phat and fat.

4. Jenna has been Lauren's best friend for sixteen years, which is pretty generous of Lauren, because Lauren is popular and pretty and Jenna is a tub of lard. So why is Jenna slowly killing Lauren?

5. Ned is a teenage wanker who lives on doughnuts and cheats on tests. He sells pot to eighth graders. He sneaks beer and porn from his dad's stash. His life is a complete waste of time until his sister, Nell, who has a terminal illness, decides to enter the spring cheerleader contest. And Ned realizes he must fix the vote so she can realize her dream.

6. At Mistress Millie's School of Mayhem, breaking and entering is homework and arson is lab work. To fit in with her vixen-like classmates, Emmaline's going on a crash diet... it's either that or blow the place up.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Jenna has been Lauren’s faithful sidekick for the last sixteen years. [Was she Lauren's faithful sidekick before they could walk or talk?] Lauren's got perfect grades, perfect hair, and whoever the perfect guy is this month. With Lauren around, most people don't even know Jenna's there to ignore. It rocks. [For Lauren.]

As the fat girl at a high school six minutes from the beach, [There's nothing six minutes from the beach except cheap motels, bad restaurants, and pawn shops. The high school is fifteen minutes from the beach. In any case, we don't need to know they're near the beach if the beach doesn't come into play in the query.] Jenna’s perfectly content to blend into the shadows. She’s the quiet one. She keeps everyone’s secrets and doesn’t get hassled. Much. She’s even managed to stumble into a relationship with the most amazing guy on the planet. [Wait a minute, the fat high school chick is perfectly happy with her life? Can't you come up with a plot that's at least mildly credible?] [You've spent two paragraphs just telling us who the main characters are. What happens?]

But lately, Jenna’s realizing her talent for keeping her mouth shut is slowly killing Lauren and someone she’s not supposed to want is getting way too close. [That's it? That's the hook, the plot, the conflict? One vague sentence? Here's what we know:

Paragraph 1: Jenna is perfectly content with her life.
Paragraph 2: Jenna is still perfectly content with her life.
Paragraph 3: Something is going on involving someone.]

I grew up on the Alabama Gulf Coast [My God, are you okay?] where this story is set. My short story [redacted] will be published in [redacted anthology] in 2012.

BEING FAT AND OTHER HIGH SCHOOL SINS is a YA contemporary novel with a tone similar to Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott and Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen. [At least your title is more specific than theirs.] It is complete at 55,000 words. This is my first novel.

Thank you for your time and consideration,


Lauren is smart, beautiful and popular; what made you think teens would rather read a book about her fat friend? Hey, I'm joking.

The bad news is that the only people who'll buy the book are fat high school kids. The good news is, pretty much all high school kids are fat these days. And those who aren't spend all their time at the mall, carefully steering clear of the bookstore.

The first two paragraphs are repetitive. Condense them into one. Then expand the third paragraph into two three-sentence paragraphs with specific information about what happens. Who's getting too close to Jenna? How is Lauren being killed? What's the plan to resolve the problem? What's keeping the plan from working?

Cartoon 895

Caption: Anon.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Beginning 852

I can remember every second of that last graffiti patrol with Ellie. Maybe it’s the meds they’re feeding me or maybe I’m a little crazy right now.

It was chilly that morning and we shivered a little as we headed towards the first mailbox, me, in my punk clothes, Ellie in her old lady sweatshirt and red sneakers.

“Spray!” Ellie ordered and I pointed the bottle at the metal receptacle in front of me. We scrubbed, Ellie not talking to me. The black polish on my nails began to melt like the paint scrawls we were working on. I stumbled and heard the heel of my boot snap. Shit, my only shoes was my first thought. I had to walk like a cripple, one leg short, one long.

“Take ‘em off!” Ellie said, shaking her gray head at me. “Stupid to wear boots like that; you look like a baby hooker.”

That’s when I saw the white basketball shoe sticking up from a pile of debris at the curb. The shoe had a sock in it. And in the sock, a leg.

I grabbed Ellie’s arm and pointed. She looked, made a sound like she was choking. “It’s trouble! Nothing good ever comes from a dead body.” She grabbed my arm and pulled me through the trail of leaves. “I’ll call 911,” she said. “When we get home. Anonymous.”

And she did and now I’m lying here in this hospital bed hoping she’s still alive.

Are you intrigued by this opening? Want to find out what happens next and see how it all fits together?

You can!

1. Purchase the Evil Editor App for your iPad or iPhone. It's only $3.99 at the Apple App Store.
2. Open the app and click on "Read a Continuation."
3. Type "852" when prompted for the Opening number.
4. Select "Chosen Continuation" or "All Unchosen Continuations."

Each selection is yours for the low, low price of $1.95. Or get "Chosen" and "All Unchosen" for $2.95. Your credit card will be billed. Must be over 18. Evil Editor not responsible for spew damage to electronic devices.

Opening: Jo Barney.....Continuation: Pacatrue/EE

Cartoon 894

Caption: anon.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Face-Lift 899

Guess the Plot

Spirit of a Phoenix

1. Every 500 years a warrior is born with the spirit of the phoenix to fight the Demon-Lord Saunguniutes. The only problem is this time she was born the middle daughter of a Quaker family in rural Nebraska. Hannah is a pacifist office manager for a small IT company, what does she know of killing demons?

2. According to legend the phoenix burns itself and its nest every 500 to 1,000 years. Is it any wonder Phoenix Dorrington becomes a pyro technique expert? Hiring herself out to Rent-A-Roadie she has a ball for five years blowing fire above the seventy-five dollar seats until one night it gets real. Now she can only hope the people caught in her exuberance changed into something better than they were.

3. The elf Haleva is an outcast because she has no magic. Turns out her parents took her magic at birth. Just took it. When her mother dies, Haleva suddenly gets her magic back, like a phoenix coming back to life. Not that she was dead, but you get the idea.

4. On his fourteenth birthday, Jent discovers his soul contains the spirit of a phoenix. He then acts like a complete tool to his family and friends and gets sent to magic academy. Also flying goatfish.

5. Tame the spirit of a phoenix and your wish will be granted. Lamden desperately wants his mother to get well. When the phoenix demands a human sacrifice, Lamden kills his evil stepfather Ardok. But Ardok wasn't human, and that's just the beginning of the phoenix's game.

6. Tiffany is a cheerleader at a Phoenix, Arizona High School. As a senior, she feels it is her duty to set an example and inspire the underclassmen. She's sick of twee little pep-rallies, so she calls her great grand-dad, Albert Firebird, to help her stir things up. Hilarity ensues.

Original Version
Dear Mr. Editor,

I am seeking representation for my young adult fantasy novel, SPIRIT OF A PHOENIX, complete at 70,000 words.

Rangers are those that protect the Wilderland and keep it safe for all the races to travel and live—they are revered and admired by all. [Especially the one who works alone (unless you count his trusted sidekick, Tonto.] In Haleva’s eyes, there is no greater honor than to be counted among their ranks. Even though she is among the most privileged of Eledhrin Elves, the path to becoming a ranger isn’t an easy one. She lacks the most basic magic gifts that are present in the youngest of her race, and because of that she is an outcast in her world, and her parents refuse to let her follow her dreams.

Haleva’s world is turned upside down when she discovers the real reason she has no magic—her parents took it from her at birth. Angry and feeling alone, ["Betrayed" would be better than "alone." Being an outcast, she was probably already feeling alone.] she joins a ranger group and runs away, [not necessarily in that order] throwing herself into achieving her dream of passing the training and earning a ranger’s badge.

What gives her confidence is a newfound love, the turning of enemies into allies, and the trust displayed by her fellow rangers. What nearly destroys her is her mother’s death, [Is this the same mother who made her an outcast and wouldn't let her follow her dream?] and the irony that the death returns her magic gifts to her. [At which point she quits the rangers and becomes a crime-fighting superhero.] Like the symbol of her family, the phoenix, Haleva must change and grow in order to survive. [I guess that's okay, though I think of a phoenix as a symbol of starting anew. For change and grow, maybe you could make the family symbol Alien.]

I look forward to hearing from you, and any suggestions you may have for improvement. [Improvement of the book or the query?] Thank you for your time.

Sincerley, [Not the best last impression.]


Haven't seen the book, of course, but it sounds more like middle grade than young adult.

Did her parents take her magic because they wanted it for themselves? Or because they thought it would build character to have to get by without magic?

This is the last of the 2006 queries that Evil Editor didn't fully critique because they were originally sent to Miss Snark the Literary Agent, and why should I put any more time into them than she would have? Henceforth all queries will be current.

Cartoon 893

Caption: anon.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Face-Lift 898

Guess the Plot

Of the Dark

1. Dark Meat goes on a road tour that blows through Ogden and changes it forever when the members of the band answer a desperate call for sperm donors. The bank is replenished but ten years down the road the next generation of Ogdenians turn out to be mutant classical cellists.

2. Mike has always had a fear of the dark. A new therapy- one night spent in total darkness with a counselor- looks promising, mainly because the counselor is smoking hot. Then the woman is mysteriously murdered during the night, and Mike suddenly has a real reason to be afraid . . . Of the Dark.

3. Country lass Adastea has a tough decision: should she marry Mor-Lath, God of the Dark, and help him destroy the Gods of the Light? Or should she decline his proposal and risk never getting married? Spoiler alert. Wedding bells are gonna chime.

4. Lumia is a Spirit of the Light, representing all that is good and pure. It is her duty to protect the world of Alagera from evil, not an easy job, especially when she winds up between the sheets with Domar, a Spirit of the Dark. Can she overcome her attraction and fulfill her destiny to destroy Domar and his kind?

5. Vampires! They don't turn into bats, sparkle or have fangs, and they do have reflections, but they will drink your blood! Oh, hang on, they're just highly organized, deranged serial killers! And they're after the protagonists, who are smoking hot and scantily clad!

6. It was the worst blind date, ever. After the hurricane blew the roof off Bud's Cafe, they took off running. It was too dark to see the bridge to the mainland was gone and the water was full of vampires. WTF? Talk about a bad swim! Plus, zombie alligators and a boatload of haunted pirates in pursuit of fabled diamonds.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Country lass Adrastea has received a proposal of marriage from Mor-Lath, God of the Dark. That is not the sort of news she wishes to share with the whole village ere they condemn her as a witch. [I'd go with "lest" rather than "ere" there.] [If I'm engaged to Mor-Lath, God of the Dark, villagers condemn me as a witch at their own peril.] Those few she’s confided in­--her family and the village priestess­--advise her to turn down his proposal. [If you need to consult other people about whether to marry Mor-Lath, God of the Dark, you are beyond salvation.]

But he won’t take no for an answer and steadily increases the pressure for her to accept. Only in the end does she agree in order to save her village from destruction. [Threatening to destroy your beloved's village almost always gets an engagement off to a rocky start.]

For all his godly wisdom and millennia of life-experience, the one thing Mor-Lath does not know is how to be a good husband. Their marriage starts to fail from day one: infidelity, secrets and abandonment. [If you can't get through one day of your marriage without being unfaithful and abandoning your spouse, you, too, are beyond salvation. Although I suppose if your name is Mor-Lath, God of the Dark, that goes without saying.] [What name does she go by? Adrastea-Lath, or Adrastea, Goddess of the Dark?]

Adrastea learns from the Gods of the Light the true reason behind Mor-Lath’s desire to marry; he is only a demigod. [So he was actually Mor-Lath, Demigod of the Dark.] [Every guy has a few secrets he keeps from his wife, but failing to reveal that you're only a demigod is sure to come back to haunt you.] Only together--male and female--can they become full gods, thus making him strong enough to defeat the Light in the final battle. [But they're already married. How much more together can they get?] [I find it hard to believe one God of the Dark can defeat all the Gods of the Light just because he married a country lass.]

Armed with this knowledge and power, she is faced with a dilemma: does she side with the God of the Dark or does she choose to defeat her husband even though it could mean her own destruction? [Good or evil. That's always a dilemma.]

“Of The Dark” is a fantasy trilogy of three books, “Troth of the Dark,” “Bride of the Dark” and “House of the Dark”, each novel being 120,000 words. [Amazing coincidence.] [Based on these titles, they get married in book 2? 120,000 words of her deciding whether to marry Mor-Lath, God of the Dark, followed by 120,000 words of her being married to Mor-Lath, God of the Dark, followed by 120,000 words of fighting over who gets to keep the house?] The manuscripts are complete and ready to send to you should you wish to see more.

I’m a published writer of moderate repute. I’ve has [had] several short stories published in Somewhat Famous SF magazine and Kinda Famous magazine and have a career in freelance nonfiction.

Thank you for your consideration; I look forward to your reply.



I get the impression you're querying for the entire trilogy. This doesn't allow you to say much about any one part of it. No one's likely to ask you to send them a 360,000-word trilogy, so query the first novel, and tell them it's book 1 of a trilogy. Then you can work in more of the book 1 plot.

This is the penultimate 5-year-old query salvaged from Netherworld to get us through lean times. Three new queries are currently awaiting fake plots.

Cartoon 892

Caption: anon.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

New Beginning 851

Transport. The white light of destruction and reincarnation, after which, nothing is the same.

Elias Carson lifted his head and spit out a mouthful of mud. He wiped mud from his face and discovered claws and fangs. New and improved, they cautioned before transport. He turned and sat in the mud. New broad shoulders, too many muscles, no beer gut, feet worthy of a wild animal and a loincloth that almost covered his manhood.

Three meters away, a hot spring bubbled and steamed. Beyond that giant ferns and twisted vines, a vast jungle filled with alien birds shrieking strange calls and crawling things with fangs. A humanoid with fur and three-fingered hands stood at the edge of the mud, waiting. Elias thought the creature's eyes enjoyed his wallow in the mud.

"Where am I?" a deeper and gravel-ridden voice came out of his mouth.

"The Pyetock province of Tau Ceti Prime. Welcome to your new home, Marshall Carson."

"What luxurious mud you have," Elias hesitated, "whoever you are."

"I am D'uhng, keeper of the Royal Excrement," the voice boomed back. "And we don't have any mud."

Opening: Dave F......Continuation: anon.

BlogEEversary Party Continues


Last day to enter BlogEEversary contests.

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Cartoon 891

Caption: Red

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Friday, April 22, 2011


I'm told a spectacular three-day party has been planned, starting tomorrow, to mark the 5th anniversary of this blog. Drop by here after 9 AM eastern for directions.

Face-Lift 897

Guess the Plot


1. After escaping from bondage at a factory in India, Anla is smuggled to America by a missionary. She returns to India with a dangerous plan to free the other children at the factory. Sadly, her plan fails, so she returns to the US and tries to fit in at her high school.

2. The ancient Moche claimed that a giant race of hairy men called Anla lived in the mountains. When a strange skull appears on the market in Lima, anthropologist Meredith Greene is called in for help. Is this really an Anla--or is there something even stranger at play?

3. Justine's life was almost ruined when her date for the prom turned out to be Anla the Terrible in disguise. By day he seems an ordinary nerd. But when the full moon rises, he turns into an investment banker and wrecks the world economy. Can her love tame this fiend and save Detroit from ruin?

4. Twenty years ago Jennifer’s mother died mysteriously. The only clue to what happened was one word she left behind, written in her own blood, “Anla”. Now Jennifer is determined to solve the mystery and find the killer before they get her too.

5. Prompted by the suicide of his morbidly obese, beloved sister, Anla, Dr. Abrahm Akmajim discovers that severe overeating is caused by a virus. He produces a vaccine in Anla's name, intending to see it made cheap and available. But; the diet industry wants to steal it and the junk food industry wants to destroy it. Either way, he's expendable.

6. Servant girl Anla sweeps floors for Quemberly’s most celebrated watchmaker. Forbidden from touching any timekeeping device because of her fairy lineage, Anla always cleans while wearing gloves. One fateful day, however, she accidentally touches a clock and time stops.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Please consider my 45,000 word young adult novel, Anla, which tells the story of a young Indian girl forced into bondage at a silk-making factory in order to pay her brother's debt.

Anla survives the unbearable conditions at the silk factory and escapes to the home of a nearby missionary. The missionary takes her in and eventually smuggles her out of India and into the United States. Soon Anla’s greatest desire is to become just like the other students at her high school.

When Anla is coerced into speaking before an international human rights committee, she is horrified to learn that their plan is simply to talk to the factory owners. [Not clear why she's horrified. What does she think the committee should do?] She comes up with a dangerous scheme to return to India and save the children still trapped in the factory where she once worked. [If she's willing to do this much, why did she have to be coerced just to speak before the committee?]

Although her plans fail, [You have room to give more info. What were her plans and why did they fail?] and she returns to her home and school bitterly disappointed, Anla ultimately finds that her courage has inspired hundreds of people to join together to fight for the children she was unable to save. [Well, now I feel like I would if I watched Erin Brockovich, and she failed to win the case against Pacific Gas and Electric, but at the end of the movie they ran a crawl saying that two years later some other people took down the company. On the other hand, Karen Silkwood died before her nuclear plant folded. On the other hand, Julia Roberts won an Oscar as Brockovich, and Meryl Streep only got nominated as Silkwood. So if you want the Oscar, I suggest Anla come up with a plan that works. People would rather read the story of whoever succeeds in saving the children than of someone who failed. This is fiction, right? So you could write a story in which Anla succeeds?] [If you insist that Anla fail, at least tell us whether the people she inspires to fight for the children succeed.]

Thank you for your time and consideration,


More information about the book would be helpful. You have seven sentences. Try to make it ten.

We're currently out of fresh queries; this is one of the three remaining five-year-old queries that never appeared on this blog, so the author probably won't see your comments. But other people might find your feedback useful.

Cartoon 890

Caption: anon.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Beginning 850

In the living room, the TV voice broke and changed as someone flicked through the channels. That meant two things: Nat was home early, and something was worrying her.

Ally leaned on the edge of the doorway.

"Police are still searching for seven men--" the TV informed her, before Nate froze the screen. The faces of two of those seven men glared back at her.

"You're only scaring yourself."

"They're showing the photos now." Nate said, and rewound the report.

"So? If they turn up at the bar, the Boys will deal with them."

"Look at him." Nate pointed to one of the two faces now on the screen.

"Simon Raboso?" The name was familiar.

"That's Sim." Nat ran her hands through her hair. "My ex, remember?"

"I remember the name."

"Short guy, dark hair--"

"Got put away for beating up his pregnant girlfriend?"

"Yeah, him."

"You're not worrying about him, surely?"

"Not about him." Nat turned off the TV. "Ally, he has friends who still come to the bar. What if he thinks he can, you know, come here for help or something?"

Ally thought for a moment. "I doubt he'd come here, Nate."

"What did you call me?"

Uh-oh. "Um, Nat...I meant Nat. Nat!"

"That's better. And he will come back, I guarantee, because I was the best he ever had, even if he did beat me up."

Ally withdrew into the kitchen. Her roommate was splitting into Nat and Nate again, like he always did when things got stressful.

It was going to be a long week.

Opening: Xenith.....Continuation: Khazar-khum

Cartoon 889

Caption: anon.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Face-Lift 896

Guess the Plot

Dismal Key

1. The members of a garage band dream of hitting the charts. But because they play all their songs in A minor, they don't stand a chance.

2. Peopled by blood-splattered retirees, Dismal Key is the only remaining zombie habitat in the southeastern United States. And a Florida real estate developer has her eye on it.

3. Eleven year old David Connor finds a mysterious key in the attic of his new home which gives him the power to unlock the spirit world. When he uses this power to defeat the bullies at his new school, David unlocks . . . a dark and menacing power he doesn't know how to control!

4. Mckluskey Harvey is enjoying his summer in the Florida Keys--until human traffickers swoop in, kidnap his girlfriend, and turn her over to a serial killer to satisfy his cravings. Mcklusky tracks the traffickers through a mangled maze of mangroves to Dismal Key. But is he too late to save his sweetie?

5. When Babi was a twenty-something pop star, famous for her bright & frankly annoying singing style, she sneered at her critics. Now a forty-something has-been, plagued by depression and addiction problems, Babi has one last chance to save her career--singing the blues.

6. Bud and Judy put their life savings into a retirement island off the Florida coast, not realizing they'll be thrashed by every hurricane to hit the Caribbean. Suddenly Minnesota doesn't look so bad. Still, their lives aren't totally ruined -- until Bud rents half the key to a gang of drug-smuggling pirates.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor:

Sixteen-year-old Mcklusky Harvey is enjoying his summer in Florida until a group of human traffickers decides to store their next shipment of girls in The Ten Thousand Islands. [I know how he feels. I've had more than one vacation ruined by the sudden arrival of human traffickers.] [I think human traffickers would prefer to be called a ring or a gang rather than a group. Also, they'd probably come up with different words for "storing their shipment," which sounds more like what drug smugglers do. Perhaps you should temporarily infiltrate a ring of human traffickers until you pick up the lingo.] Ex-CIA agent John Becker follows the traffickers seeking retribution for his sister’s kidnapping and death. [This guy is involved professionally and personally with the human traffickers. Why did we open with some random teenager spending the summer in Florida?] Instead of cussing Yankees and working on his grandfather’s fishing boat, Mcklusky [We're back to Mcklusky? Maybe we should focus the first paragraph on Mcklusky, and bring in Becker in paragraph 2.] is tangled in a treacherous rescue mission. [Mcklusky may be a Red Sox fan, but do we really need to know, in the query, that he isn't cussing Yankees?]

When Mcklusky's girlfriend is kidnapped by the traffickers, his grandfather and Becker leave him behind to save her. [That could be interpreted to mean Gramps and Becker headed for the hills, leaving Mcklusky behind to save his girlfriend.] But Mcklusky isn't one to let others determine the fate of someone he loves. Intent on killing the traffickers, Mcklusky tracks them through the mangled maze of mangroves to Dismal Key, an inhospitable island. Once there he discovers that his girlfriend is not meant to be sold but to satisfy the cravings of a serial killer/rapist who works with the traffickers. [Whether you're a circle of knitters, a book club, a baseball team or even a human trafficking ring, it's pretty stupid to recruit a serial killer as part of your group.] [Where do these human traffickers get their shipments of girls? Why wouldn't the serial killer be satisfied with one of those girls, thus making it unnecessary to kidnap girlfriends and sisters of people with the means to seek revenge, like ex-CIA agents?

Human Trafficker 1: New shipment of Laotian girls is in.
Human Trafficker 2: Great. Now go kidnap an American girl.
Human Trafficker 1: What for?
Human Trafficker 2: To satisfy the cravings of Borgo the Disemboweler.
Human Trafficker 1: Tell me again why we keep this guy around.]

Armed with a KA-BAR knife, Mcklusky confronts the traffickers. [It's pretty stupid to confront a crew of human traffickers with a knife. Do I have to post this scene yet again:]

Once the traffickers know who Mcklusky is, his failure to kill them will cause the death of everyone he loves. [Because human traffickers have nothing better to do than research your life and travel throughout the country hunting down your loved ones.]

DISMAL KEY is a Young Adult Thriller complete at 80,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.



You have nine sentences of plot, and seven of them contain the word "traffickers." Which beats the old record on this blog by seven. Not that I'm suggesting calling them criminals once or twice. I'm suggesting always referring to them as "human traffickers" rather than just "traffickers." I figure if one use of the term "human traffickers" is amusing, seven uses would be hilarious.

A quick count reveals that I have mentioned human traffickers fifteen times in my notes and comments, thus shattering your record.

Who's in charge of hunting down kidnappers and human traffickers? Has Becker or Mcklusky informed the authorities of the kidnappings?

It seems like a sixteen-year-old kid who isn't even from Florida wouldn't have the skills to track someone to one specific island among ten thousand.

How did the maze of mangroves get mangled? And can you say "mangled mangrove maze" five times fast?

Mcklusky sounds like a last name. Are you sure his name isn't Harvey McKlusky? Not that I'm complaining. It's better than calling him Jenn.

Cartoon 888

Caption: anon.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Beginning 849

Other than his eyes, he looked no different to any other boy in this place. Just another dirty, skinny urchin plucked from the streets, and dumped on this spit of barren rock. His eyes though, they were black and almost round, but even that wasn't what made him strange. No, it was the way he looked at you, because he didn't. He looked beyond, as if seeing something none of the rest of us could see.

Maybe he did. I had never cared enough to talk to him, and I didn't wish to now.

"There must be someone else," I said to my two friends. Five hundred boys in this prison of ours, and not one was willing to join our game?

"If we can't find anyone, then we can't fight," Billy said.

Jack just scowled.

I wasn't sure who to side with. I longed to watch Jack box, but he's bigger than both me and Billy. While we were happy to be someone's second, neither of us wanted to be on the receiving end of Jack's punches. Nor did any of the other boys we knew.

"It's not worth fighting over," I said, trying to focus. "It's a game. We can't be heard talking of fighting."

Jack scowled again. "Okay. It's just a game. But maybe the most important game of our lives..."

The statement hung over us as we strove to think of a fourth to join us. A shadow flitted across us. "Denk!" I called, looking up at a tall, muscular silhouette. "Denk. You'll join our game?"

"Game?" Denk moved closer. "What game?"

We moved aside so Denk could see what was on the table. "It's called Courtroom. It's the great new game from Evil Editor. Everybody's talking about it! Each player is a famous TV lawyer..."

Opening: Xenith.....Continuation: anon.

Cartoon 887

Caption: Anon.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Face-Lift 895

Guess the Plot


1. It's a brilliant invention with a great design, animal trainer Pete Teasdale has the patent on it, and nobody is going to convince him that his chimps can't learn to use it. After all, if they're gonna wear clothes, the least they can do is get the wrinkles out.

2. Just when Xu-Thann thinks he has totally subdued the unruly masses with his great sword, Monkeyiron, along comes a usurper with an even longer sword: Apeiron.

3. Chester Dalton inherits the estate of a crazy uncle. He moves in, but OMG the place is haunted. Three seances and a paranormal investigator later Chester knows the cause: that statue out back. Apeiron is a cursed Egyptian relic stolen by his great-grandfather. It must returned to its tomb before the mummy horde wrap the rest of the Daltons.

4. Emily's never had a boyfriend. Her only "crush" has been Greek philosopher Anaximander, who coined the term "apeiron," which refers to the boundless, primordial mass from which everything originates. Can her friend Cho’s no-nonsense existentialism break through Emily's passion for pre-Socratic cosmology and help her determine if the growing numbness inside her is a normal part of being a teenager?

5. In a makeshift lab deep in the Congolese jungle, a genetic experiment goes wonderfully wrong. Super-intelligent chimps, bonobos and gorillas have learned to smelt metal and forge their own weapons. Will rapacious humanity get its comeuppance from . . . Apeiron?

6. While chasing her cat across a field, a sudden gust of wind lifts fifteen-year-old Marcy into the clouds, where she lands in the sky city of Apeiron. Can she stay in the bouncy land free of teenage troubles, or is she really just dead?

7. Lost for days in the Sahara desert, delirious Joe Flynn discovers proof that a band of baboons were forging iron fish hooks and cutlery two million years ago -- until a horde of space aliens destroyed their civilization. But will he live long enough to tell the world about it? And if he does, will anybody listen?

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor:

Emily Esburn buys her prom dress at the thrift store, takes the Jonas Brothers’ name in vain and has only ever admitted a crush on one person: an ancient Greek philosopher.

When she wakes up hungover in a creepy teacher’s house, Emily is mortified. [Are you sure you don't mean terrified?] She can’t bring herself to forgive Bonnie, the sort-of best friend who left her there. Despite her efforts to avoid Mr. Dubs, Emily realizes she has more in common with her teacher than she wants to admit; it’s hard to ignore the only other person [in the world] who shares her passion for pre-Socratic cosmology. As a strange and awkward relationship develops, Mr. Dubs may turn out to be Emily’s second official crush. Emily doesn’t know what to do about this. [The first sentence of this paragraph is giving a sinister impression. She wakes up hungover in the home of her philosophy teacher. Calling him "a creepy teacher" suggests she doesn't know him. Also, I'm not certain in sentence three that Mr. Dubs and the creepy teacher are the same character. Or if her efforts to avoid Mr. Dubs refers to that morning in his house, or to later when she's in school. How can she avoid him if she's in his class?]

Confused, Emily turns to Cho Park: an intimidating, brilliant classmate who seems like she has everything figured out. Cho’s no-nonsense existentialism [For those minions unfamiliar with philosophy, the chief no-nonsense existentialists were Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. You may be more familiar with the work of the nonsense existentialists, Lewis Carroll and Dr. Suess.] and forces Emily to reconsider her own beliefs, or troubling lack there-of. Emily struggles to determine if the growing numbnesss [numbnessssss] inside her is a normal part of being a teenager or something else altogether. [Does numbness actually grow, or does it just seem that way as energy and spirit wane? And would a fictional dialogue on this topic between Socrates and Wittgenstein be publishable in today's market?] Emily wants to figure out who she is and what she stands for, but the deeper she looks inside herself, the less she finds. [The meaning of that sentence may be clear to a professional philosopher, but to me it's as vague as the Sorites Paradox.]

Written as two thirds narrative and one third quirky, aphoristic journal entries, [Are you trying to get me to reject this book?] APEIRON is a 50000 word contemporary YA novel. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy [Aha. I knew there had to be a logical explanation for why the main character in a YA novel was obsessed with pre-Socratic cosmology. So this is autobiographical?] and APEIRON is my first novel. Thank you for your consideration,

[note for EE: Apeiron is a term used by the previously mentioned Greek philosopher, Anaximander. It refers to the boundless, primordial mass from which everything originates.]


There's too much philosophy and not enough plot. I can appreciate your attempt to find a use for your degree in philosophy, and I can appreciate injecting something about which you're knowledgeable into the story, especially if Emily's philosophical knowledge comes in handy the way Flavia de Luce's knowledge of chemistry helps her solve mysteries in the Alan Bradley novels (for instance, if Mr. Dubs gets murdered and Emily solves the crime through her knowledge of Zeno's paradox of Achilles and the tortoise). But this talk of cosmology and existentialism in the query doesn't convince us that the story itself is as fascinating as . . . philosophy.

Is there a romantic angle in this book with someone Emily's age? Her first crush with someone who's alive and not a creepy teacher? Does she continually reject boys because she could never love a Neoplatonist or a Skeptic, and then she finally meets a Phenomenologist and it's true love? I ask because even if Mr. Dubs weren't creepy, he'd still be pretty creepy.

Cartoon 886

Caption: Anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Feature 30

I've noticed that many companies that make apps for the iPad/iPhone provide free updates. For instance, the Angry Birds app has been updated with additional free levels. The Angry Birds "Seasons" app has been updated with free Valentines Day and St. Patrick's Day levels. This allows Evil Editor to fill even more of the hours he used to waste reading manuscripts, playing Angry Birds.

It's only right that Evil Editor provide an occasional update to his cartoon DVD, as many excellent cartoons have appeared on the blog since the DVD was produced. So, here's a sampling of them:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

New Beginning 848

Outside, the sun was just rising over the roofs of the houses. The cobbled streets lay in shadow, their stones barely distinguishable from the grey walls. Deep-set windows and doors broke up the bare facades of the houses, but added no colour. Even the sky looked grey. It was the most delightful scene Jenn had seen in a long time.

He breathed in the chill morning air. The street reeked off horse dung and stale water. He took another breath, deeper this time. Lovely.

Downhill, Rees had said to go. The cobbled street felt strange under Jenn's feet -- firm so it provided good footing, yet irregular so he had to watch where he stepped. He shoved a hand into his coat pocket and felt the coins Rees had given him to buy lunch and shoes. Soft shoes, Rees had insisted, not boots, because boots would rub Jenn's feet raw. But he could put up with that to have boots again, and it would only be until the skin hardened.

The irregular gray cobblestone got the best of Jenn; as he fumbled with the coins, his face slammed hard onto the road. He felt the impact reverberate through his skull as the taste of blood filled his mouth and he spit out chipped teeth. The taste was ambrosia.

He didn’t rise right away and as much as it hurt he was happy the putrid, maggot-filled horse dung had saved his forehead from the stones below. He watched the maggots squirm a beautifully orchestrated dance number in the rancid dung of which he was enraptured by the bouquet.

The coins, he thought. He had heard them jingle out onto the road when he fell. He had to get them back if he wanted his boots. He saw them just a few feet away and as he reached for them the wheel of a stagecoach rolled over his fingers; they snapped and twisted like gorgeous delicious taffy in a taffy pulling machine. He screamed in pain, a scream as melodic as a trained soprano.

He used his good hand to gather the coins and tucked his broken hand into his shirt. Blood, dung, and maggots gloriously covered his face; he never felt more alive. Perhaps I should skip the boots,
he thought, and go down to the Courthouse and use the coins to pay for a name change to something more manly. I’ve always been fond of the name Stacy.

Opening: Xenith.....Continuation: Bill

Cartoon 885

Caption: Evil Editor

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Face-Lift 894

Guess the Plot

Alannian and the Sword of Azallyan

1. Alannian, an Iranian, battles Azallyan, an Albanian, for a sword made of uranium. Basically, a Mesopotamian echolalia. Plus an azalea.

2. With his sword of Azallyan, pubescent adolescent Alannian (an incarnation of Elyyian), and his shaman companion must avert armageddon.

3. Actually Alannian is short for Alannianovichinovakoff, and the Sword of Azallyan is actually the Sacred Sword of Azallvaneepsiepoopoovah, and it is best known as the weapon Alligatorman uses to annihilate aliens.

4. 17-year-old Alanian and his sister Anneallan must steal the Sword of Azallyan from the Hall of Allazynan to save the Kingdom of Allazhean from destruction at the hands of evil Emperor Annazealhan. That is, if bumbling warlock Fred doesn't ruin everything first.

5. Alannian the Aelf attempts to avert the annihilation of ancient Aelfswood by acquiring the amazing sword of Azallyan, advancing to Andromin and attempting the assassination of Aggrok, the administrative assistant of the Assailants Association.

6. Alannian was born in Tazmania and hates the rhyme of his name with his nationality. It's easier to move than to change names, but never one to think things through, he makes his new home in Romania. His treasured sword, a relic from Azallyan, is stolen, and thanks to the Internet, the catchy ditty "Alannian the Romanian lost his sword from Azallyan" catches on as the new little girls' skipping game. Alannian finally finds peace in Bouctouche Canada, which rhymes with nothing.

Original Version

Dear Evil Query guys:

Thirteen-year-old Alannian is just a prankster in his village. But when he discovers he is the next Incarnation, King Fayavor wants him dead.

For millennia, the Incarnations of the elf Elyyian have kept peace between the elves, humans and dwarves. [By doing what?] King Fayavor believed the Incarnations held the humans back from achieving true greatness, so he used ghastly magic to kill the last Incarnation. Fifty years later, war rages throughout the land and Alannian start [starts] having dreams about the elf Elyyian.

Alannian discovers he is the Incarnation. Now the king wants him dead. [He discovered he was the Incarnation, and the king decided he wanted him dead, back in paragraph 1. Why waste space saying the same thing again?] He flees his village, but royal enforcers brutally kill his uncle. With [the] closest person he had to a father dead, Alannian is more alone then he has ever been. Thankfully, an old magician hides the young boy and teaches him in the ways of the Incarnation.

With his growing powers, Alannian sets off to stop the war and the king before the races destroy each other. Servants of the king hunt Alannian and he must learn who he can trust. The lives of everyone Alannian loves are thrust into the lines of war as Fayavor pursues him. Should Alannian fail, then the war will continue and the three races will destroy each other. [Not necessarily. One of the races could destroy the other two. Preferably humans.]

ALANNIAN AND THE SWORD OF AZALLYAN is a 100,000-word young adult fantasy where the hope of a world rests on the shoulders of a boy, a prankster, a hero. My book will appeal to the fans Christopher Paolini’s INHERITANCE CYCLE. I am working on two follow up novels.

Thank you for your time and consideration,


What are the powers of the Incarnation? They must be pretty good if they allow a 13-year-old to stop a war. Yet he wasn't even aware he had any powers until recently?

Is Alannian a human boy or an elf boy, or a god? Seems like the Incarnation of an elf would be an elf. Is the mind/spirit of Elyyian in Alannian? Does Al still have a will of his own or is Ely calling the shots? If the former, why is the Incarnation called "of the elf Elyyian"?

Based on what little I know about the difference between an incarnation and a reincarnation, I would think the phrase "of the elf Elyyian" would make Al a reincarnation.

Not that it matters, but when there are three races and one is called humans, I usually expect the humans to be like us, and, say, the elves to be magical. But here the king uses ghastly magic, and there's an old magician, and Alannian has powers. How many humans have magic? Do elves?

Just have Al flee the village with royal enforcers on his tail. We don't need the uncle in the query.

If the king's magic could kill the previous Incarnation, why can't it kill Alannian? If the king needs Al to be in the same room to kill him with ghastly magic, he might as well kill him with conventional weapons.

What good does it do to kill an Incarnation if new ones have been turning up for millennia?

Why did it take fifty years for the new Incarnation to show up? Is that the standard time period?

Cartoon 884

Caption: anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Beginning 847

Mike stood staring at the hole in the fence. This was it. He could back out now, and no one would fault him for doing it.

Except Ben, of course, and Ben was the only reason Mike was here. Even though in his head, Mike knew it wasn’t too late, Ben had a way of making him feel like it was too late, that he was already in too deep. They had come to dig up a grave, and now that Mike was here, shovel in hand, he didn’t feel he could abandon Ben. This was, of course, something on which Ben had counted.

Besides, Mike was curious. They weren’t just digging up any old grave. They were digging up Ben’s father.

“You sure she’s coming?” Mike asked.

“I told you she’s coming. She’s probably already here,” Ben replied. “Come on.” He held the freshly cut metal prongs back so Mike could fit. Mike sighed and tossed his shovel into the hole, where it landed with a soft thud in the grass. Then he climbed through.

"You ever wonder," Ben asked, as he let the stiff steel prongs snap back into place between the two of them, "why we buried our dad in a lion enclosure?"

Mike had wondered. He'd meant to ask about that.

"Here she comes..." Ben said.

Mike heard a low growling in the distance, getting closer. Something loosened in the pit of his stomach.

Maybe he should have asked who Elsa was, too.

Opening: Stacy.....Continuation: anon.

Cartoon 883

Caption: Whirlochre

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Face-Lift 893

Guess the Plot

Closed Pathways

1. When the agent for country singer Lyanna Hines is found dead backstage at the Staples Center, homicide detective Zack Martinez knows two things: One, that hammer didn't bury itself in the agent's skull, and two, when his wife sees that Lyanna Hines is a juicy redhead, he's going to be in for some serious questions.

2. Thumbelina has been wandering the pathways of the Alderton Maze in search of a way out for seven hundred years, when at last she encounters the wizard-hedgeman with his magical clippers. It's spite at first sight, but they must work together to forge an exit before that wicked witch, Tiffany, returns from the hairdresser's -- or be lost forever.

3. Due to a rare disorder, Amy's neurological pathways are shutting down. She has only enough time to write down a murder confession before she's paralyzed completely. Detective Alvarez doesn't believe her story- and the real killer may strike again. Does Amy's past life hold the clues to the killer's identity?

4. Juliana thought her father was dead, but he's just shown up, demanding that she cast a magical spell that will open the pathway to his homeland. She would prefer not to, because casting the spell will annihilate the human race. Then again, what's a little collateral damage if it means getting rid of the old man for good?

5. When Emily goes for her jog at Dume Park, she discovers all but a single trail are closed for maintenance. Determined to get her cardio at any cost, she follows the unfamiliar trail, soon realizing that something hungrily stalks her from the bushes. Suddenly that legend of the Dume Park Werewolf doesn't seem so silly.

6. No one can rescue the princess because of the obstacles: monkey trees, a wicked witch's moat full of quicksand, mountainous terrain prone to avalanches, a zombie horde, and Ludlow the Shadow King. Jack, a lowly woodcutter, decides to try anyway. He has this magical ax and a trusty steed. Plus, his random companions: two fencing wenches, a juvenile delinquent, and a jolly butler.

Original Version

Dear Evil Agent,

I learned on your agency’s website that you are currently interested in urban fantasy manuscripts. I think you may enjoy my novel, Closed Pathways, complete at 80,000 words. I hope you will consider it for representation.

Small time enchanter Juliana Silva’s life goes from comfy to crazy when her mother is kidnapped through a mirror and she discovers her faery heritage is a lot stronger than she thought. Now Juliana is searching for her mom [In the mirror?] while getting used to seeing pointy ears every time she looks in the mirror. [Her mother was kidnapped by Mister Spock?] Not to mention learning how to use magical abilities she didn’t even know existed. When she finally locates her mother [In the mirror?] they have the family reunion from hell. [I had the family reunion from hell last year. The ex-in-laws and brain-dead Uncle Mort and Evilette's serial-killer boyfriend were bad enough, but then Satan crashes the party.] Juliana’s supposedly deceased father, who’s surprisingly lively for a dead guy, is actually full-blooded fae. He’s also behind the whole mess. Cyprian has been stranded on Earth since the pathways to the faery homeland, Arcadia, [It's not clear that Cyprian is Julie's father, as it would be if you'd named him when you first mentioned him.] were closed a hundred and fifty years ago. Now he wants them reopened. Juliana is the only one who can do it, but she takes off after finding out about some of the spell’s nastier side effects. Like casting it will kill her. [Why is it that a small-time enchanter has the power to do something the superwizzes can't? What makes Juliana so special?]

If she wants to live to a ripe old age Juliana has to find a way to put the brakes on her father’s plans before he finds her again. Staying alive tops her priority list, but knowing reality itself might be destroyed if Earth and Arcadia reconnect provides extra motivation. Now she and her shapeshifter bodyguard are up to their eyeballs in magical attacks, mundane gunfights, and all levels of New York society. [If her father hasn't found her yet, why is she up to her eyeballs in magical attacks?] Good thing the gorgeous guy Juliana just met is a force to be reckoned with in all three departments. But no amount of magic and money can stand against good old-fashioned treachery. Cyprian will do whatever it takes to get home. Even if it means murdering his own daughter and annihilating the human race.


It sounds like Juliana has to cast the spell that opens the pathways. Thus Cyprian should be motivated to keep her alive at all costs. I don't see how murdering her would help him get home. Nor would it annihilate the human race, as it would prevent her from casting the spell.

Why didn't Cyprian kidnap Juliana instead of Juliana's mother? How did Julie learn that casting the spell could wipe out everyone?

I don't think we need the magic mirror and the mother in the query. The setup is: Juliana Silva’s supposedly deceased father, Cyprian, who’s surprisingly lively for a dead guy, is actually full-blooded fae. He’s been stranded on Earth since the pathways to the faerie homeland, Arcadia, were closed a hundred and fifty years ago. Now he wants them reopened, a task only Juliana can manage because I, the author, have so declared.

Now we have more space to explain what Cyprian can do to force Juliana to cast a spell that will kill her and annihilate the human race (of which I assume her mother is a member, so Cyprian can hardly say, Cast the spell or I'll kill your mother). And to tell us how Juliana plans to put the brakes on her father's plan. And to hint at how hot sex with a shapeshifter is.

Cartoon 882

Caption: anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Face-Lift 892

Guess the Plot

Emerald Bearer

1. After a gigantic emerald is magically embedded in her hand, Samantha is transported to a world of peaceful centaurs and evil minotaurs. Can she use her emerald to stop the minotaurs from polluting the sacred spring, turning the centaurs into mindless animals?

2. After a gigantic emerald is magically implanted in her forehead, Lady Marigold develops superpowers. Can she now save her planet from the evil horde in that approaching space ship? Or must she make a pact with Prince Roland, the most irksome future monarch who ever attempted to charm womankind with his bulging muscularity?

3. When Al-Tortuga is tasked with carrying the sultan's emerald on the March of Redemption, he figures it'll be a cushy three week job . . . until he discovers that the emerald is the size of a mini-refrigerator.

4. When pirates hide the Great Emerald in a swamp on an uninhabited island, they make the mistake of marking the spot on a map, a map that soon falls into the hands of Loretta, Queen of the Night, who sets off to fetch it with a daring crew of nuns and orphans.

5. Dwarf Tyrannosaurs & giant crocodiles. Desert islands. Pirates bearing treasure in need of concealment. Half the British navy. Whales. The cyclone of the century. The bleeping navigator on another drinking binge. Hungry Polynesians. Volcanic eruption. These are the challenges confronting Emily when she crashes through the time warp. Also, a humongous emerald.

6. The ancient prophecy states that the Emerald Bearer shall lead the Gaaths to their Utopia. But when Joriff sees the size of the emerald, he decides he can find his own Utopia by killing the Emerald Bearer and pawning the emerald. Can anyone convince Joriff to put his people first? His wife, for instance?

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Twelve-year-old Samantha never trained to use a magic gem. She never asked to be an Emerald Bearer—she’d never even heard of one. But none of that matters [You've used your first thirty words to tell us something that doesn't matter?] when she finds a palm-sized emerald in the foothills of Arizona. When she picks it up, the huge gem embeds itself in her hand and transports her to Centaunia; a world of peaceful centaurs, evil minotaurs, and a handful of powerful humans with magic gems of their own. [If the main residents of this world are centaurs, why don't they call it Centauria instead of Centaunia? Is it because then the minotaurs would be pissed that it isn't called Minotauria, and they're too stupid to notice that Centaunia is Centauria with the flag on the "r" extended downward?] [Or did you decide to call it Centaunia because you thought it would sound stupid to call it Centauria when it's the home of centaurs, not realizing that we Earthlings refer to our planet as Earth and Venusians refer to their planet as Venus, so it's perfectly logical that Centaurs would call their planet Centauria.] [Has there ever been a science fiction book in which natives of Uranus appear, and if so, are they referred to as Uranusians? That's a mouthful; I think creatures who live on Uranus should be called Roids.] [Is it just a coincidence that all the letters in the word "Uranus" can be found in the word "centaurs"?] [I now recommend dumping "Centaunia," and setting your book not on Centauria, but on Uranus. Not only does it allow you and your characters to make numerous Uranus jokes, but if the editor says that your book stinks, you can say, Of course it stinks, idiot. It's on Uranus.]

Samantha becomes famous overnight as news of her arrival spreads like wildfire. [See, here's an opportunity already. You can say wildfires are particularly treacherous on Uranus because of frequent methane gas explosions.] The centaurs bow before her as if she was royalty. It doesn’t take Samantha long to figure out why.

It’s been eleven years since the last Emerald Bearer appeared in Centaunia. Since then, raiding minotaurs have been polluting the sacred springs—pollution that turns the centaurs into mindless animals. The purifying powers of Samantha’s emerald are their last hope. [It doesn't take her long to figure all of this out? I don't see how she figured any of it out.] What’s more, they’re her only hope of getting back home. But there’s something no one will tell her; what happened to the last Emerald Bearer? [That sentence isn't needed; it's interrupting the flow of the plot. If you decide to keep it anyway, change the semicolon to a colon.] With the help of three other Gem Bearers, Samantha heads deep into enemy territory in search of the polluted springs. With the dark leader of the minotaurs after her, [Dark leader? Why not just the leader? Do they also have a light leader? And why would the leader be after her? The whole point of becoming a leader is that you get to send your orcs to do the grunt work while you rest comfortably in your tower using your all-seeing eye to watch them screw up.] Samantha has no choice but to fight. That, or learn the fate of the last Emerald Bearer firsthand... [I don't see why this is an either/or choice. Perhaps the previous emerald bearer fought the minotaurs.]

A middle grade fantasy novel, EMERALD BEARER is complete at 58,000 words. This book would appeal to fans of the UNICORN CHRONICLES by Bruce Coville.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.



Have all the centaurs become mindless animals? If so, I wouldn't expect them to even realize Samantha is their savior, and bow down to her. If not, why does she have to search for the sacred springs? Can't the healthy centaurs tell her where they are? Can't they lead her there or draw her a map? If the centaurs don't even know where the springs are, how has the polluting of the springs affected them?

It's not clear what Samantha can do beyond purifying the sacred springs with her emerald. Do the centaurs expect this twelve-year-old to also lead them into battle against the minotaurs? Centaurs ought to be able to take minotaurs anyway, as shown in this graphic depiction:

Cartoon 881

Caption: Stacy

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Feature 29

Someone wrote in recently to ask why John Grisham appeared on this blog with some frequency, and I explained that Grish is my most successful author. At least from a financial standpoint:

However, I thought I'd shed a little more light on the subject by delving into the archives. This scene, from 2006, describes my first meeting with Grish:

EE was dining al fresco at the Pig 'N Whistle on Hollywood Boulevard when a limo screeched to a halt. John Grisham got out and joined EE at his table. "Sorry to interrupt," Grisham said, but I've just finished my greatest novel yet, and I want it edited by the best. You can have the million-dollar advance and the royalties; I just want, for once, to get a review that doesn't pan my writing."

EE was about to respond when a bus pulled up. The doors opened, and out stepped a cute young woman with a suitcase in her hand and stars in her eyes. She spotted EE and was drawn to him like Lara Croft to a mummy. "Hi," she said. "I'm Linda Lou Johnson, from Kansas, and I'm here to become a star."

"You're in luck," EE told her. "My friend here was just leaving. And you're just what I've been looking for to play Evil Editor's love interest in Evil Editor Meets Miss Snark. Can you handle stilettos, Linda Lou?"

"Sure. So I'd be playing this . . . Miss Snark?"

"Don't be silly. You'd be playing Angelina Jolie. You kill Miss Snark in the last scene, with an ice pick stiletto in the ear."

"I kill her? Why?" Linda Lou asked.

"You and she both want Evil Editor. But you don't want to share."

"Who's playing Evil Editor in this movie?"

"George Clooney."


"From Syriana."

Linda Lou stared blankly.

"Solaris?" EE tried. "Three Kings? ER, season 1? "

"Booker Brooks on Roseanne," Grisham told her.

"Booker Brooks?" Linda Lou screamed. "Now he wasn't bad looking."

"Then it's settled," Evil Editor said. "Now let's get up to my hotel suite. George won't be here for another week, so you'll have to rehearse with me. You don't have a problem with nude scenes, do you?"

And here are a few of the many Grisham cartoons that have appeared over the years:

And finally, here's a piece that appeared not too long ago, in which the EE/Grisham partnership nearly dissolved:

Sorry Grish, but I have to let you go.

Whattaya mean?

I mean, you'll have to find a new editor.

What?! I made you rich! I made you famous! You were a nobody until--

You've got it backwards, Grish. Have you forgotten the days when no editor would read past page 1 of your manuscripts? Have you forgotten that your first novel, A Time to Kill, edited by some broad who was biding her time till she could start her own literary agency, bombed like an unattended car in an al Qaida-infested neighborhood? How your second novel, The Firm, edited by Yours Truly, hit the bestseller list faster than James Gandolfini hits the buffet at Mama Leone's? Not to mention that the movie made Tom Cruise a household name. Why, my advice to start all your novels with the word "The" alone has made you half a billion dollars. Or hadn't you noticed that every time you write one that doesn't start with "The," it tanks?

Okay, but we're a team. We need each other. My name and the word "The" guarantee millions of books sold.

I'm thinking of giving the word "The" to one of my other authors. One who's not so full of himself.

But readers love my--

Look Grish, people read your books only because you show lawyers to be exactly like they are: evil, cruel, heartless . . . It's the same reason people read my blog: because every time they get rejected, they think--correctly--that agents and editors are the bottom feeders of the publishing industry, and the blog reinforces that belief. It's comforting to know it's not their fault, it's the fault of the bouncer who won't let them in the door.

What about me?

You'll be fine. There are a dozen titles you haven't used yet. The Attorney, The Tort, The Bailiff . . . Hell, you haven't even used The Trial.

Sure, I can slap a good title on a turd and sell five million books, but without your input I'll lose the respect of the literary world, EE.

True. Okay, tell you what, I'm tired of your agent getting fifteen percent for doing less than nothing while I work my ass off on salary. We'll cut out the middle man. From now on you get fifteen percent, and I get the rest. Deal?

Thanks EE. I won't let you down.