Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Face-Lift 617

Guess the Plot

Always Music

1. The magic box left by the dwarf in gratitude for a night of revelry plays the same annoying tune whenever you open it. Little does Donald know, that tune is the key to Wizard Langebert's cupboard, which must be opened before snow falls, or Princess Lovely will perish.

2. When violence breaks out on the streets, Sarah seeks refuge in a music store--and in the arms of its hunky owner, Jack. When Jack claims to be the son of Apollo, the Greek god of music, will Sarah swoon? Or has she heard that song before?

3. Pixies move into the space under the porch of a family of Kentucky hillbillies and enchant the surly son so he starts singing all the time. He hates it until his uncle gives him a guitar, and soon everyone calls him The Bard. For the first time he thinks he might have a future outside prison.

4. Nothing much happens. Gus Nickelby can't figure the meaning of life or get laid, and the damn radio won't turn off.

5. A rare form of synaesthesia is sweeping the country, causing teenagers to hear colors as music. Is it a blessing? A curse? Or a nefarious plot for world domination by a disgruntled high school band teacher?

6. Some people hear voices — but newly elected President, Floyd D.P. Ratzenkugel, hears the Bee Gees. Night and day. Day and night. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. When terrorists nuke Arizona, pray to God the military don't call during "Jive Talkin'".

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor:

What if you were fated to fall in love with a Greek god? [Are we talking Aphrodite or Hephaestus?]

What if he was fated to lose everyone who fell for him? [Next week's writing exercise, for those who want to get a head start: Using a randomly chosen fake plot from this blog, write an entire query letter in which every sentence is a question.]

Sarah Parrish isn’t one for fantasies—the result of an overbearing mother and a sheltered upbringing. But when she’s the only one who can see a swordsman slaying people on the streets of Baltimore, Sarah wonders if she’s fallen into one. [One what? Oh, fantasy. That was 35 words ago, and not even in this sentence. Rearranging: Sarah Parrish isn’t one for fantasies—the result of an overbearing mother and a sheltered upbringing—but she wonders if she’s fallen into one when she sees . . . ] [Actually, you might want to dump the overbearing mother and sheltered upbringing. Let's get to the good stuff.] Fearing for her life and her sanity, she seeks refuge in a local music store—and finds it in the owner’s arms. [A business owner embracing a stranger who just entered his store is about as likely as sword fighting on Baltimore's streets.]

Jack is everything Sarah’s mother ever warned her about—and everything she didn’t. [That's true of everybody in the world.] He has a frightening past, a razor-sharp tongue, and enough rage to make Sarah wonder if her mother’s been right all along: men are not to be trusted. [Anyone who works in retail is going to have fits of rage, but what does that have to do with whether men can be trusted?] [Also, if you just met a guy and already you've witnessed him exploding with rage a few times, what are you hanging around for?] But Jack isn’t an ordinary man at all. He’s a god of music, with enough talent to send Sarah into the kind of fantasies only Apollo himself could inspire—or… Apollo’s son.

Jack abandoned his birthright years ago, when the gods sent a swordsman to kill his human wife. He’s lived in bitter exile among humans ever since, hiding from his fate, waiting for the opportunity to take revenge. [Revenge on all the gods?] Seeking refuge in him might be the biggest mistake of Sarah’s life. [She still needs refuge?] When the swordsman strikes closer to home, [He killed Jack's wife; how much closer to home can you get?] and her mother and best friend disappear, Sarah starts to think the gods are conspiring against them all. [Maybe the Greek gods wouldn't have lost their clout if they weren't still using swords to settle their differences.]

She's right.

ALWAYS MUSIC is an urban fantasy, complete at 120,000 words. The first few pages have been pasted below. I would be delighted to send you a partial or full manuscript at your request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



I assume Apollo didn't name his son Jack, so my question is, why didn't Jack choose a more god-like name? For instance, Springsteen.

I don't see how the opportunity for revenge is going to pop up while Jack is working in a music store. And what kind of revenge can a god of music take on gods of more macho stuff, like war and Greco-Roman wrestling?

You're the kind of person who "isn't one for fantasies." The guy you're attracted to claims to be a Greek god. And you buy it?

Is there a swordsman slaying people on the streets of Baltimore? Why can't anyone except Sarah see him? Can they see his victims?

What is the birthright Jack abandoned? His homeland? His powers? Does he know he's fated to lose everyone who falls for him? Does that mean through death?

Can you clear up a few of these issues or prevent them from coming up?

Cartoon 353

Caption: anon.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Evil Editor Does His Part to Stimulate the Economy!

That's right. Thanks to EE, the paper, shipping, ink and book printing industries will live a bit longer. That's because EE has put out another volume of his favorite stuff from the blog. Now when you want to relive the laughs, you won't have to search the archives, which have grown to over 3200 posts.

As with volume 1, you get lots of q & a's, guaranteed to finally make you a pro, and lots of EE's comments from the Face-Lifts. There are also cartoons & other items. Click on "Evil Editor's Store" in the sidebar.

New Beginning 622

“They say dying is like this: You see everything in color for a moment, billowing vivid red and orange and black, but you can’t hear anything. Then all you see is light, and you drift away on a wind that isn’t there. Nobody misses you, notices you going, because they’re dying, too. And it only takes the tiniest bit of a second.

“That’s what it’s like when the bomb goes off.

“But it won’t be like that for me. For me, there’s a place in the mountains, up high where it’s always cool and often snowy. There’s a camp there, full of people living among the tall, green trees in those beautiful mountains.

“It’s a beautiful place to die, but you don’t die very quickly unless they shoot you. If they don’t shoot you, it’ll be starvation or overwork or disease or beatings or all of them together. It takes you weeks, maybe months, to die in that camp.

“That’s what happens if you fail—you take a vacation in the mountains. Nobody who goes there for vacation ever returns.

“So give me back to them, just like you agreed. But if you have any mercy, kill me first.”

"Oh for god's sake, Kevin," I snapped. "A weekend with your grandparents won't kill you!" I threw open his bedroom curtains; he screamed and flung his arms up against the sunlight. "Now pack your suitcase and get out there and be nice to them. The Playstation will still be here when you get back."

Opening: Rachel.....Continuation: Sarah from Hawthorne

Cartoon 352

Caption: Anon

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rejection Slip 12

Dear Moronica,

What the hell?

Seriously. What the hell, my dear little shithook, Moronica? It’s gotten to the point that, when I walk through the door, I’m already wondering if I’m gonna be stuck - in the end - with you.

Sometimes, after a long trip wrangling my cart up and down the narrow-assed aisles, by the time I get to checkout I’m too pooped to ponder which line you’ll be mishandling. I just line up behind some other sore sod, reading the dumbass magazine headlines lined up all around me in the racks like I’m too stupid to realize they’re placed there precisely because we’re stuck there having to read them precisely because you’re too goddamn slow to keep the line moving, and I Zen out.

BUT, and it’s a big but, not unlike your own -except in the spelling – what? – yeah, your butt has two T’s – TWO – yeah – that’s right – yeah- mine has two T’s, too...

Jesus, where was I? Oh, yeah…

When I run in after work to grab three or four things, and I head for the ridiculously named ‘quickie lane’ and I turn the corner and see you in it, I know ahead of time, I’m prime time fucked.

Here’s a news flash. I don’t care how you’ve shaved up your pubic hair, or if you like to spray lilac spray, as you say, ‘down there’, as you’re telling the other rude chick standing there purportedly to bag my purchase, ‘my man don’t like body smells down there’.

I reject you, Moronica. I reject you good and proper. Now shut up and actually DO something, quietly, so I can get the hell outta here. Until next week.


Rejection Slip 11


I am in receipt of my latest paycheck, and regret to inform you that it does not meet our current needs. I simply didn't fall in love with it. In this crowded field, a submission must stand out, must have commercial potential, and this one simply was not sufficiently compelling.

As there was no enclosed SASE, I'll recycle the manuscript.

--Evil Editor

Rejection Slip 10

Dear Mrs. Editor,

Thank you for submitting your application and completed questionnaire for our advertised supervisory position at Happy Faces Daycare. As you know, Happy Faces Daycare strives to insure the best preschool experience possible, and we screen all of our applicants thoroughly.

Your resume shows that only one of your sixteen children survived infancy, and County records claim that your one surviving son, little Evil, was removed from your care twelve times, and spent an appreciable amount of his childhood being raised (if the record is to be believed) by feral cats. This does little to convince us that you are competent to supervise children.

Your answers to our questionnaire were downright shocking. When asked how you would respond to a lying child, you replied: “I’d bend that f***ing rug rat over my knee and beat his boney ass with a switch.” Also, the golden rule is not: “Do unto others and don’t get caught,” as you suggested.

Coincidentally, three of your psychiatrists, and two of your medical doctors have committed suicide.

You’ve obviously failed as a parent and a human being, and it’s apparent that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Our background check shows that little Evil is now an editor who follows your insensitive footsteps by routinely ripping the hearts out of aspiring writers.

Your application has been rejected, and we strongly suggest that you never apply for any position within our company again.

Good day,

Mark Mosher
Manager, Happy Smiles Daycare Center

Rejection Slip 9

Dear Teenaged Hooligans,

Thank you for your interest in checking me out and yelling things at me from across the street. Your proposals were unique, but unfortunately at this time I’m going to have to pass. I’m quite busy these days, and I’m not convinced we’d be a good match. However, keep in mind that the market is very subjective, and no doubt there is someone else out there who would respond more positively. I can’t imagine who, but you never know.

Thanks again for thinking of me, and best of luck finding a date, you idiots.


A Twenty-Five Year Old Married Mother of Two


Rejection Slip 8

Dear IRS,

Thank you for your interest in 30% of my husband’s contract earnings last year. While there was much to be admired in your pitch, I’m afraid we’re going to have to pass. There are so many other things we would like to do with the money, and there just isn’t enough to go around. However, keep in mind that the market is very subjective, and no doubt there is someone else out there more than willing to give you a shot at their money.

Thanks again for thinking of us, and best of luck collecting taxes elsewhere.

Just Kidding Please Don't Audit Me


Rejection Slip 7

To My Prospective Date:

No go. In fact, just to make sure you don’t think that I, Rachel, am playing hard to get, I will warn you in advance that I always carry pepper spray and will not hesitate to use it. If you approach me in the presence of my father or any of my uncles, be aware that their weapons of choice require hunting licences and can be lethal. You would be neither the first nor the last to suffer the great indignity of rock salt in the posterior.

While your attraction to me is understandable, I offer you only this very sound advice: Desist. Or. Else.

Your Unavailable Dream,


Rejection Slip 6

Dear Ms. Wildesel:

We regret to inform you we will not be needing your services as a teacher at the Townham Primary School again next year. While we freely admit it was our mistake to believe your were using 'humour' when you answered the question 'What do you like most about working with small children?' with 'crushing their fragile little egos,' we do not feel legally or ethically bound to extend your employment. In addition, we would recommend that if anyone in the future is desperate enough to entrust you with another school class, it may be a good idea to check which students can swim before planning an outing to Bottomless Lake. Also, please familiarize yourself with the difference between 'dyslexia' and 'anorexia' for the good of all mankind. We appreciate your application to renew employment at our school, but unanimously agree that 'Gimme the job please because I need to pay for a new snowboard' is not a good pitch. If, after due consideration, you decide you would like to pursue employment with us, we feel it is our duty to inform you that we have land mines in the teacher's parking lot with your name on them.


Silvia Peabody, Principle and The Teachers and Staff of Townham Primary School, including the Custodial Staff
The School Board
Every Single Student except Cameron 'I Embrace the Darkness' Smith
Townham Hospital Medical Personnel (and Custodial Staff)
The Townham Ladies Auxiliary
And my dog, Fluffy, and his remaining three legs.

--Mother (Re)produces

Rejection Slip 5

Dear Senator McCain,

Thank you for your application to be President of the United States. Your application was put to a number of our voters and, after an editorial meeting, I regret to say we did not feel your promises fit our requirements at the moment. We would encourage you to send your promises to a different market, who might well find it suitable for them. A Senate position comes to my mind.

It is always difficult for an electorate to deal the limitations of space. There can only be one winner in the race for President, but we can have as many losers as we like, and there will always be many more fine candidates than there will be offices to distribute.

I want to thank you for thinking of us and look forward to future material from you.

D Jason Cooper

Rejection Slip 4

Dear Mister Colonaphan:

First, remove that rotted, polyester imitation of dead beaver from your head. It's not hip. Second, quit snapping your fingers on the main beat, the half beat or the off beat. You ain't got rythym. Third, your facial peel didn't remove the liver spots or the crateriferous pock marks. You still look like Mons Olympus.

We contacted your old workplace and coworkers. They referred to you as "butt-kissing weasel" and created a "shrine of shame" in memoriam. One item we shrank in horror from was the Capri Pants Celebration for all secretaries. Plaid is dead. Disco is dead and Capri pants should be dead unless you're a creepy pervert or serial rapist.

Your former staff told us that you sucked up to the big boss and took special assignments that no one in the Division was prepared for. They said that you took no blame for failures and let coworkers out to dry, to twist in the wind. Worst of all, you served them white chocolate with minty bits and said your wife handmade it special. That was a lie. Lady Godiva had a sale that week.

Finally, Devo was never rock and roll.

We pronounce you insufficiently groovy. We cannot hire you but we can stamp you "returned for regrooving." We are an avant-garde, cutting edge dot com. Your elevator never let the basement. Perhaps you can find a 12-step program for losers. We pity them. Please, never darken our doorstep again in this millennium.

--Dave F.

Rejection Slip 3

Dear Mr Editor

Thank you for sending me your rejection letter. I have reviewed the letter and although it shows excellent promise, I am very sorry to say that I am going to pass on it. It is tightly written and I think you did well to attempt expand upon a classic subject but it feels too rooted stylistically in the old chestnut of a form letter rejection. Although your writing is strong, this particular piece does not add anything new to the genre. I think avoiding the popular fall-back of a negative ending would improve this work tremendously. At its current length, the negativity feels a little thin. Tastes vary by market, of course, but I'm afraid it does not suit our editorial needs at this time.

Please note that this does not necessarily reflect on the quality of your work: I receive about 15 submissions for every editor's letter that I accept.

I hope that you can take some consolation in knowing that your letter made it to the final round. I appreciate your thinking of me and I would be very interested in seeing further submissions from you.

I wish you the best of luck in placing your letter!


Rejection Slip 2

Dear Conscience,

Once again your meddling has zapped my life of joy and excitement. You suck. I totally could have gotten away with it.

I wish you and your “partner” Judgment the best in your future endeavors, but from this point forward I decline your representation.


--Rick Daley

Rejection Slip 1

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your interest but regretfully I must inform you that I will not be providing you with my phone number at this time. Of course one must be aggressive in today's competitive dating market and I do appreciate the initiative you showed in approaching me, your determined refusal to take a hint, and that extra effort you put in by following me out of the cafe into the nearby bookstore. However as I mentioned – repeatedly – there is a current occupant in the position of Significant Other and therefore I am not entertaining any offers at this time, not even your kind suggestion that we "just be friends."

Nonetheless, allow me to wish you the best of luck in your future dating endeavors. Hopefully the next girl will not lose you by doubling back and sneaking out through the music department.


--Sarah from Hawthorne

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday Film Series

No one ever thinks Evil Editor's Shorts are special . . . until they get inside.


Writing Exercise

Why should writers be the only people who get rejection slips? Everyone deserves to be recognized when they suck. Write a rejection letter you'd like to send to someone (an editor, a relative, a lawyer, waiter, mechanic, etc.).

Deadline Sunday, 10:00 AM, 250 words max.

Friday, March 27, 2009

New Beginning 621 (Chapter Opening)

Dear Stupid Tina, I am running away because you’re stupid. Signed, Tony. He thought back to the disgusting events of the previous night.

“Oh, Tony. You sweet little thing, you! Give your pretty sister a kiss.” She had pinched his cheek and moved in for the kill.

“Gross! Get away from me!” Tony had thrown his hands in front of his face, blocking her advance. He’d spent a lifetime trying to stay out of her way. He wished she’d get a boyfriend. One who might appreciate fat lips and horse teeth. But now, he didn’t care. He’d never have to be kissed by a girl ever again.

Dear Stinky Tiffany, I am running away because you stink. Signed, Tony. Tiffany always left her pink socks and pink hair ribbons on the bathroom floor. Just this morning Tony had to tiptoe around her (ew!) underwear to brush his teeth. Not anymore. Tony didn’t plan on brushing his teeth for a long time.

He gathered up his favorite things and shoved them into his suitcase. Without once looking back, Tony tiptoed down the stairs, taking a big stride to miss the third one down, the one that creaked, and he grabbed his coat. He put the letters to Tina and to Tiffany on the hall table, took the keys to the BMW and left.

He should have known it would be a mistake to marry his sister's best friend.

Opening: Chris Eldin.....Continuation: anon.

Cartoon 351

Caption: Lucy in the Sky

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Face-Lift 616

Guess the Plot


1. When the Earth becomes unstable thanks to a virus released into Rawmesh, the virtual world housed in the global communications network , it's up to Jack Frost and his friends to save the day by reversing the north and south poles.

2. Loretta Lopez drives to Wyoming with a sleeping bag, a collection of old sci-fi movies, and her laptop computer. She's determined to finish her screenplay about monsters in the wilderness before winter or go bust. But that's exactly the vow made by five other people who live in her campground! And they all think her movie is crap! Even though theirs totally suck! The bitches! This means war!

3. Spaceman Jack wakes up from his 87-year nap on the Andromeda Module and quickly realizes that: 1] the ship's not zooming through space as scheduled; 2] everyone else is sleeping or dead; 3] the planet outside appears to be covered with enormous jelly ferns; and 4] they're actually carnivorous.

4. Stalking the primeval forest, Rawmesh hunts the small creatures while desperately searching for a mate. Most of his kind lie dead, but the urge to reproduce drives him onward. Can he find another T rex, or is it already too late?

5. Fairies and hobgoblins fighting for control of the local park? Janie doesn't believe Rolf's stories, until the fairies conjure up the mythic warrior Rawmesh. Now freed from decades of imprisonment, Rawmesh rampages through the neighborhood, targetting hobgoblins and pets indiscriminately. Can Janie help Rolf and the fairies put Rawmesh back where he belongs?

6. Tilly cooks for a five-star restaurant, and her specialty is braised mesh. When she discovers that her boyfriend is in the mafia, she rats him out. Her restaurant’s freezer of raw mesh doubles its contents overnight, but she’s strangely not there to cook it. And why does some of the mesh taste funny?'

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

When a coordinated attack against the world's electronic and communication systems threatens to bring civilization to a halt, a group of friends must endure bedlam and violence from all fronts. Rawmesh is an 85,000 word character-driven science fiction novel that is the first in a planned series. I specifically seek your representation as I have a strong appreciation for your work with the ______ as well as the work of several _______ authors.

A militant anti-tech group named Green Forest, successful in designing a computer virus that has torn down global communication networks, [Only computer geeks could pull this off; anti-tech people wouldn't have a clue how to do it, any more than a PETA member would know how to gut a moose.] have now created a way to decimate all electronics [All electronics? No way will the populace get behind any plan that takes away the TV remote control.] by slowly forcing the Earth's magnetic poles to reverse. [Whattaya mean "slowly"? North gradually becomes south? What is it during this gradual change, north east and then east and then southeast? Does the north pole drift down the planet until it gets to Antarctica? Actually, it would be cool if the north pole went through the Sahara Desert on its way south, and suddenly it started snowing. Does Santa Claus now live at the south pole, or does he move down north?] The reversal becomes unstable, creating uncontrollable magnetic fractures that now threaten more than just technology. When Aura and her friends Manolin and Jack Frost are told about the dangers of the fractures by a mysterious Seeker (people who live in both the real and virtual Rawmesh worlds simultaneously), [It would be nice if at least Aura's name had been mentioned earlier; it feels like you expect us to know who she is already. Also, we need to have some idea what the virtual Rawmesh world is.] they leave New York to find Aura's father as well as sanctuary. They become separated and entangled in religious and gang warfare spreading across the country. They meet old and new friends, but also come face to face with the embodiment of evil named Momus, who has re-created the Biblical Sixth Plague with the help of Aura's father. [The sixth plague is boils, right? Is everyone suffering with boils?] The group finds a way to stop the fractures by forcing the poles to reverse completely, however doing so would mean killing the Seekers who have uploaded their minds into Rawmesh. [Also, it would do nothing to get rid of the damn boils.] Despite making the ultimate sacrifice to save humanity, Aura and her friends must continue fighting to survive in a world that has gone insane. [I usually think of the ultimate sacrifice as death. What is their ultimate sacrifice? Wait, is it boils?]

Rawmesh is shaped by my degrees in anthropology and computer science, and my fascination with how our lives and societies are affected by technology. In addition, I have presented peer-reviewed papers concerning virtual realities and cyber-security at several conferences.

I have attached the first three chapters for review, and would be pleased to send you my completed manuscript. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.


(P.S. The word and title Rawmesh is a made up word, that partially came from reading Finnegan's Wake. [Did you read the original book or the English translation?] It comes from the computer networking term 'mesh', and the 'raw' reality of this virtual world)


This is the Finnegan's Wake of query letters. Take that however you like.

For starters you need to divide the long plot paragraph into three paragraphs. That way when the reader is reading, he thinks, Okay, just a couple more lines and I get a breather, instead of thinking, Christ, there's no way I can stay awake till the end of this paragraph. Think how you would have felt if Finnegan's Wake were all one paragraph. That's how I felt when I saw your second paragraph.

Why are these specific three friends filled in by the Seeker? Is there something special about Aura?

Why is Aura's father helping the embodiment of evil to give everyone boils?

I'm sure boils must be unpleasant, but if I were the embodiment of evil I'd be embarrassed if boils was the worst thing I could come up with.

What is this Momus creature? It seems like it belongs in a fantasy rather than hard science fiction.

The Seekers are actually alive in the virtual world? At the same time they're alive in the real world? Can they take their wives shopping in the virtual world while they're eating pizza and watching football in the real world? And what are they seeking?

Try getting rid of the religious and gang warfare, Momus and the boils, the old and new friends, and Rawmesh. Focus on the main character, the problem, the solution, and what's preventing the solution. That leaves us with: The Earth is in danger of crumbling thanks to a militant group's diabolical plot to reverse the Earth's magnetic poles. The Seeker comes to Aura and says only she can save the planet, by finding her father, the world's greatest scientist. She finds dad, and together they figure out how to save the day: by reversing the Earth's magnetic poles. Hmm. How about this:

An evil entity known as Momus has brought a plague of boils upon the multitudes . . .

Cartoon 350

Caption: Anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Beginning 620

On a hot, Saturday afternoon in June, Jim Benson stood in his driveway, washing his car. As he was spraying off the suds, he noticed a familiar figure walking down his street, towards her house. Towards him. He tried not to look at her, to keep his attention focused on the car, but his gaze kept straying as she came closer, her lush body bouncing and swaying with each step.

Her long, honey-blonde hair danced in the summer breeze. Sunglasses covered her eyes, but the rest of her lovely features, including her full, bow-shaped lips, were clearly visible. Her breasts almost overflowed out of her tight tube top, and her cut-off denim shorts lovingly cupped the swells of her hips and thighs.

He felt two emotions, which had become familiar to him in recent months: desire, and self-disgust. She was sixteen years old; he was forty-two.

He concentrated on his work, wanting to give the appearance of being engrossed, unaware of her approach, but she was not at all deterred. She strode up the driveway, stepping carefully around the coils of hose, and lightly brushed her lips against his cheek.

“Hi, Daddy,” she said, smiling.

“Hi, hon,” he croaked.

The hose nozzle, rigid in his fist, jerked and sputtered out a jet of urgent fluid, oozed a trickle, then hacked out damp air.

"Goddamn literary symbolism," Jim muttered, as the hose drooped limply.

Opening: Wil E Quixote.....Continuation: Batgirl

Cartoon 349

Caption: Evil Editor

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Face-Lift 615

Guess the Plot

Dreaming Dark

1. There is a town in north Ontario. Meredith, who thought she was perfectly normal, lives there, but she just discovered that she's the last member of an ancient race and she has the power to control mankind's dreams. Now some guy from a different ancient race who also can control dreams has moved to town. Will he leave her helpless, helpless helpless?

2. Ice swami Ned Frankel informs Tina the reason she always dreams of being lost in sinister dark places is because Alaska's winters are no good for her -- she needs more light. So she packs everything vital onto her dogsled and takes off for Florida -- a difficult and dangerous journey that would be impossible if not for moose meat and the love of Hank Jones, the most debonair vagabond in the Arctic.

3. Kimmy Takuto raises horses for the blind, a challenging occupation at best, but when the loan on her ranch comes due she must refinance or lose everything. Her only hope is cowboy Sam Chukchee's idea: win the Kentucky Derby on her best horse, Dreaming Dark. With Sam's help, Kimmy must face her fear of riding and transform herself into a world class jockey in two months, or return to life as a waitress.

4. Joaquin Dark could never focus in class since he kept daydreaming about his own handyman shop called "Tall, Dark and Handy." One day, a magic 2x4 pulls him into a world where doors creak and cabinets won’t close right. He soon realizes that only he can save this world!

5. The horrendous evil Emperor, dreaming avaricious of power, has malicious stolen the ’s off the ends of adverbs! Searching frantic for one last to save the day and thwart the horrendous evil Emperor, Ann miraculous finds the very last one on the book’s cover.

6. Nothing can escape from a black hole. Or so scientists believe until the quantum readers on board Probe XL36 send back signals from Andromeda - after being catapulted into the enormous black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Meredith is convinced she's a normal seventeen year-old, until dark, terrifying, and unbearably beautiful Eirich moves into her nothern [Never good to spell a word wrong in sentence one.] Ontario town. ["Unbearably" is a word I'd expect to see with something bad, not beauty. "Irresistibly" is more like it (though having read ahead, I note that Meredith both resists and bears him).]

The problem with Eirich's arrival is that whenever they touch - which isn't nearly as often as Meredith would like - he fills her with a strange and tempting feeling of power. [I feel we're missing a step. Plenty of people move into my town, but I don't touch them. Why are Meredith and Eirich touching?] Meredith can't even figure out why she gets these feelings, let alone explain them to anyone. [I can explain them in one word: "Hormones."] So when her best friend Ally falls hard for Eirich, Meredith decides it would be best to stay away from both of them, choosing to spend time at her sister Val's old hangout rather than admitting that something really, really strange is happening.

But something really [really] strange is happening and the new hangout makes it stranger. [Stranger than really really strange? Meaning, really really really strange?] [Is the new hangout the same place you just referred to as the old hangout?] The cottage that Meredith thought belonged to Val's friend actually belongs to Meredith, [If you want to spend time in what you believe is your sister's friend's cottage, you would ask permission of your sister's friend, who would say, "That's not my cottage." Yet Meredith goes there still believing it belongs to her sister's friend?] and it was left to her by her mother with the promise that it comes with magical protection. Meredith learns that she's so far from normal, she's supernatural: the last member of an ancient race with the power to control and create dreams. Worse, Eirich needs Meredith's powers to revive his own ancient race, [How does she learn all this stuff?] [The last members of two different ancient races are both in a town in north Ontario? Could be a coincidence, but if the last member of a third ancient race shows up . . . ] the dark counterpart to Meredith's, and he's kidnapped Ally to get to her.

So Meredith is left with a choice: does she preserve the dreams of mankind and, more importantly, rescue her best friend, or does she succumb to the beautiful Eirich and fill herself with the power she's always longed for? [Save mankind or join forces with an evil kidnapper? Can't decide; better flip a coin.] [She's always longed for great power?]

DREAMING DARK is a work of YA urban fantasy, complete at 57 000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


As Meredith has the hots for Eirich, it seems he should have no trouble getting to her, even without resorting to kidnapping her friend.

Ally has fallen for Eirich, so she's probably willing to go anywhere with him. Why kidnap her when you can just suggest going to a romantic cabin in the woods?

If Meredith made it to age seventeen without even realizing she had the power to control dreams, how is she suddenly going to figure out how to do it?

I think we should have an example of what it means to control dreams. How is this power useful? It's hard to know what the stakes are without knowing what happens if Meredith fiddles with people's dreams.

You claim she can preserve the dreams of mankind. That's a lot of dreams. Does that mean she can control the dreams of millions of people at the same time? Also, stating that rescuing her friend is more important than preserving the dreams of mankind makes it seem that preserving our dreams isn't that big a deal.

Whattaya mean, "ancient race?" Babylonians? Aliens from another galaxy?

I think you should throw out the mother and sister and cottage and just focus on Meredith and Eirich. Tell us what happens if Meredith sides with Eirich and what happens if she doesn't. Make it sound like a difficult choice.

Cartoon 348

Caption: Anon.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

New Beginning 619

On the first day of first grade…

Jeffrey found his seat in Ms. Johanson’s classroom, sat down, and scanned the walls for…the Job Chart.

“There it is,” he said, relieved. It was hanging on the closet door.

Jeffrey read the list of jobs:
1. Clean white board
2. Feed hermit crab
3. Turn lights on/off
4. Office Messenger
5. Line Leader

"Good. I can’t wait to be line leader,” he said.

“Why?” Jeffrey’s tablemate, Bobby, asked him.

“I love being first out the door. And it’s fun being at the front of the line. When do we get our jobs?”

“I have no idea,” Bobby said.

A short time later, Ms. Johanson shook a jar of thin, brown sticks. “Each stick has a name on it,” she explained. “When I call your name, you can pick your job for the week.”

The class sat silent.

Ms. Johanson reached in the jar and pulled out the first stick. “Bobby,” she said. “Which job do you want?”

Jeffrey held his breath. He hoped Bobby wouldn’t choose line leader.

Bobby said, “Feed the hermit crab.” He whispered to Jeffrey, “I want to see if he bites me.”

Ms. Johanson pulled another stick and asked, "How about you, Missy?

"Missy smirked at Jeffrey as she said, "Line Leader."

"You miserable mortal fool!" shrieked Jeffrey, unable to contain his wrath. "Soon I will crush you all as insects, cast a thousand plagues before your trembling souls, and destroy all humanity with a sweep of my forked tail. I shall wrest the very stars from the heavens and turn every shaft of sunlight into bolts of blackest doom. And when I clutch the dust of this feeble universe in my hand, spitting blood into its lifeless ashes—"

"Jeffrey?" Mrs. Johanson said.

Jeffrey took a deep breath. Then he mumbled, "I'll do the lights."

Opening: MC.....Continuation: Whirlochre

Cartoon 347

Caption: Anon.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

EE's Autobiography 8

When, while sitting among my fellow graduates half-listening to some under-educated, washed-up, B-list movie star (who had deigned to show up for the ceremony, no doubt, only upon being bribed with an honorary degree) pontificate about making our mark in the world, I attempted to read my diploma. Realizing eventually that I had not been transported to a bizarro Earth, but that the entire document was printed in Latin, I exploded. I stormed onto the stage and shoved the movie star aside and took the microphone.

"I always wondered why anyone would major in a dead language," I said. "Now I know. It's the only way you can understand the scribblings on the piece of parchment they hand you as your reward for your $150,000 investment and four years of hard work--or, in my case, six. Not that all six consisted of hard work, as I spent my sophomore and my three junior years playing Hearts in a drug-induced stupor, but unless you majored in a foreign language you have a right to expect your diploma to be written in a language that doesn't require you to call in a priest for a translation."

The audience (or at least the student portion thereof) cheered my welcome interruption of what they surely ranked among the most boring days of their academic careers (unless they were Latin majors, in which case today was likely the highlight). I turned to the guest speaker, Kevin Costner, and said, "Waterworld? Are you kidding me?"


EE's Autobiography 7

I was naked as a jaybird. I did my best thinking in those days unencumbered by clothing, or by any other thing.

I stayed in my dorm room bed most of that afternoon, hands clasped behind my head. If you’d been there to ask me what I was thinking about, I wouldn’t have known what to say at the time. Thoughts whirled in and out and around me, through the air it seemed; I was vibrating with thought, but I couldn’t quite capture one thread and run with the thought of it, taking it from a confounded beginning to its logical end.

But now, with time having passed, I can tell you what I was thinking that day.

I had a choice to make, and it was a tough one. I had to decide between sharing my genius, or to hold it close to the vest, keeping it just between the girl and me, communicating physically and emotionally, keeping to ourselves in our own close-knit world.

This wasn’t one of those ‘have your cake and eat it, too’ deals. She’d made that clear.

She’d said to me…Sparky, it’s close to the vest or nothing at all, my man.

Finally, with the afternoon withering down into darkness, I made my decision.

The world needed me, and I would be there for it when the time came; when I graduated and made my way to Gotham, storming the doors and making a name for myself. But the girl didn’t need to know about that until the semester ended.

Even so, I never forgot her and I never forgot her words to me. And even though I let her go, I kept the vest part, and I made it her favorite shade of blue.


EE's Autobiography 5

The trauma of having lost the tip of my pinkie finger, at age 3, in the automated maw of a Mecury Montery is at least partially responsible for my success as an editor today. Father was quick to blame (rightfully so, I might add) my siblings, twins Sanguine and Sangfroid, while Mother proclaimed it a tragedy with farcical elements after she had repaired the injured digit with a running stitch of dental floss and two tender kisses administered between murmured “all better now” enjoiners. The deformity (and the subsequent ignominy I endured) prepared me for the harsh criticism so abundant in my chosen field, as surely as it enhanced my ability to deliver the “ultimate screwball” pitch during my brief but stellar Little League career. But I digress. The trauma of my injury, overshadowed by the horrific (and bloody) death of the twins during a tour of a Kosher meat-processing plant later that same day, enveloped and cushioned my burgeoning ego during the protracted period of mourning sustained by my parents; indeed, the shock of my personal injury may have prevented the incursion of a complete psychotic break at such a tender age. Father eventually returned to work at the family business, a publishing house; Mother never really recovered from the loss but she did her best to prepare me for the role that, by (birth) rights, would have gone to the twins: Editor-in-Chief.


EE's Autobiography 4

I stared at them in disbelief. “I’m adopted?!”

“That’s right, Sweety,” Mom said.

“You’re not my real mom?!”

“Not biologically, no.”

“Then who is?” I asked, dreading the answer.

Mom looked at me thoughtfully before answering. “A girl in New York.”

“Just… a girl?”

“She plans to become a literary agent; she once said something garbled about snark, but I didn’t quite get it.”

I finally began to understand myself that day—the urges I had about books, the attraction and revulsion to large stacks of paper, the laser vision. That was the day I began to become an editor.

How I became Evil is another, though it just might be hereditary, too.


EE's Autobiography 3

I remember it thusly; I just left Sunday morning church service with Dad, Mum and my older bothers Biff and Buster when Doc Tiffany Nunez and her sycophantic interns climbed from their SUV like clowns at the circus. They hooted, woofed and flexed their muscle-bound physiques under spandex unitards, Old Spice and liniment filling the air like belligerent smog.

"Heigh-Ho, it's time for our weekly excursion to Uncle Felipe's."

"Ho-Hum, another day of weightlifting at Uncle Fallopian's barnyard with the pervert brothers -- muscles-for-brains and absence-of-intelligent-life." Good backtalk, I thought. Dad smacked the back of my head. After five hundred times he stopped explaining that strength training, gymnastics, and vitamins weren't perverted.

"Leave the little creep home. All he wants is to read." Biff tugged his shirt, scratched his hairy chest and brought his fists together while grimacing at me. Zits and halitosis become real.

"Now boys, we want all of you to grow up prime athletes," Tiffany chirped like a Stepford wife on happy pills. Buster just leered at her ample cleavage. Lust drooled down his leg.

"Get dem puppies bouncin' Doc. Buster wants to poke your petunia patch and Biff wants to jerkoff between your silicone-inflated boobies." Oooops I thought. Those words should have stayed unsaid and unvoiced at least on Sunday. Doc gaped. Mom gasped. Dad planted his foot directly in my butt and it hurt. He could kick a football 300 yards. I landed face-first against our car.

"For Shame! Evelyn Edward Villanelle! You're lucky to be readin' all those books and wearin' silly-assed sideburns. Now apologize and let us enjoy our Sunday getting strong or I'll shave you and take away your Masefield, Proust, Yeats'n Grisham!"

"I'm sorry!" I imagined "rejected" written large on Dad's way-to-high-I'm-balding forehead. My commonwealth for a red pen.

Dave F.

EE's Autobiography 2

Ah, I do love writing in my personal, hidden blog. Some day, when I’m ready, I will publish another book using excerpts from this blog. I know the Minions will buy it. They’ll buy anything. Especially my excuses for rejecting their queries and manuscripts.

Ha! Some day I just might tell them I’ve never read a word. Nah. It’s too much fun knowing they’ll keep sending more in with higher and higher hopes. None of them will ever make it past my rubber stamps.

Which reminds me, I saw my first Robin today. She came in person to my bogus office hoping to present her latest effort to me personally. If she only knew that isn’t me in that office. It’s my slimy brother-in-law, Millard, the one with the artificial implant. Talk about using protection. Ha! Millard’s lack of “feeling” makes him the perfect stand-in for me. Who could act angrier and with less regard for others? Just me.

All of the little animals are out this spring. Saw the squirrel, the odd little bear, the mole thing, a hedgehog, a psychotic orange cat, a fluffy cat, some kind of hyena-wolf cross, and a host of other strange little creatures.

Why do I get all the crackpots?

I’d quit this job if it weren’t so much fun. Where else am I going to find a job where I can sit with my weredingos and watch the hopes and aspirations of would-be writers dash upon the unfeeling plastic of Millard’s artificial implant? Authors will do anything to get representation. Ah! It’s better than cable.

The weredingos are looking hungry. Perhaps I need another auction wherein the “winner” gets to meet with me to go over their manuscript. Which Minion can I afford to lose? I know. I’ll let the weredingos decide.


EE's Autobiography 1

I can remember the first rejection I ever doled out as if it was yesterday. It was a defining moment in my life in general, and my future career in specific. I was not yet recognized as the literary genius I am today, but my talent was there nonetheless. All I lacked was a blog to communicate with my minions.

It was a short manuscript. Boring, non-descriptive, and un-original. In truth the entire work reeked of plagiarism, as if ninety percent of the word count was from some template. Words thought up by someone other than the young lady who turned in the piece.

It was with great relish that I formulated and dispensed my dissenting opinion. I was young, then. Newborn, actually. The work in question was my birth certificate.

Being an infant, I had not yet had the opportunity to draft my form rejection, so I was forced to use the only means then at my disposal. I spit up on it.

--Rick Daley

Success Story

Deb Hoag reports:

Ta Da! Crashin' the Real [New Beginning 559] will be making its US debut on May 11 (Mother's Day). There's also a draft website up, featuring the front and back cover art, and the back-cover text: http://www.doghornpublishing.com/crashin.htm.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday Film Series

Actresses, production assistants, best boys . . . it's amazing how many people have a hand in Evil Editor's Shorts.


Friday, March 20, 2009

New Beginning 618

Sechra stopped just below the hill-crest. She didn’t know what might wait on the other side, and she’d be foolish to meet it with her breath ragged and her heart pounding from the steep climb. She breathed deeply. The smell of ripe blackberries rose warm and sharp from the bramble thickets. Winter would be on them soon, whether or not she was here to know it. She didn’t know how long it took to find the hidden spring, or whether, having found it, you could come back.

Well, and she didn’t know if she would want to come back to her aunt Rena’s house, to the Dunlin villagers who looked with wary curiosity at the outlander’s orphan, to days filled with spinning and milking and gardening and small gossip. She had liked it little enough when she thought she had no other choice. But since she met the old woman yesterday, since she knew she had a choice, she had been aware of something wild and sweet in the world around her, something she might miss.

Sechra finished her climb, then went down the other side of the hill. She pulled aside a clump of bracken, and there was the spring! Beside it, blackberry vines half-hid the old woman's still.

"Back for more already?" The old woman had appeared seemingly from nowhere.

Sechra smiled. Yep, she thought. Winter in Dunlin will pass a lot faster with a few jugs of Old Lolly's Wild and Sweet Blackberry Homebrew on hand.

Opening: Joanna.....Continuation: Batgirl

Cartoon 346

Caption: Anon.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Face-Lift 614

Guess the Plot

Stephy's Watch

1. Stephy built her babysitting empire with ruthless efficiency. Now she faces a challenge from a new transfer student who honed her skills on her ten younger siblings. When night terrors trouble Stephy's charges, she fears Marcy has called in otherworldly allies, but still she's determined that nothing will go wrong on . . . Stephy's Watch.

2. It looked like an ordinary wristwatch, except for the cracked glass and the hands stopped forever at 6:15, the hour Stephy's beloved grandfather had been murdered. But metaphorically it was the timepiece strapped to the dynamite that symbolized Stephy's explosive VENGEANCE!!

3. When Gramma gave Jillian her late Aunt Stephy's broken watch, Jillian wasn't thrilled. When she opened the watch, though, she accidentally freed the mischievous spirit trapped inside. At least summer vacation won't be boring! Also, a leprechaun.

4. Stephy finds a pocket watch in a secret compartment of her wardrobe, along with a note signed "Stephy." It's a sure sign there's going to be some time traveling going on--but will Stephy realize it in time to prevent the unraveling of the universe?

5. Stolen by shoplifters, and pitched out the window of a speeding car to evade arrest by pursuing officers, the Strangelove experimental atomic timepiece is chewed and swallowed by a horse named Stephy who begins to glow in the dark, thus attracting the attention of a saucerful of passing space aliens who mistake her for one of the long lost masters of the universe and attempt to negotiate a truce.

6. She saw her watch do the Salvador Dali liquify trick and pour itself off the table, but why? Was it a sign that Josh was spiking the drinks again? A message from her mother, the enchantress of Pinedale, to get her ass home, pronto? Either way, it was a mistake for Stephy to stay for another round of nachos and tequila. And now she's grounded for life.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

I am seeking representation for my children's book. “Stephy's Watch” is complete at 33,000 words, and is aimed at 9-11 year-olds. [I'd make that one sentence, and no need to tell us it's a children's book if you're telling us the age range.]

After Stephy's dad walks out, her mum sends her to her Great Aunt's dilapidated country house.[Permanently or to visit?] At first, all Stephy wants is to go back home, but then strange things start to happen. She finds a pocket watch hidden in a secret compartment of her wardrobe with a note addressed from “Stephy”. Her bedroom is filled with old-fashioned toys that she's never seen before. Then she meets the strange boy in a sailor suit... [I'm more interested in what the note says than in this other stuff.]

She discovers that the watch is taking her back to the 1920's and that the boy is one of the children who used to live in the house in its glory days. She gets to know the family who live there, [When a being suddenly appears in your house, out of thin air, you have two choices: worship her or kill her.] and when she discovers that the boy's mother has also recently been left by her husband, she begins to question what it means to be a family, and whether her own mother had ever truly been family to her. [I would think she'd wonder these things when her father walked out and her mother dumped her off at the haunted house and told her to have a good life. What is it about the 1920s family that acts as a catalyst for her uncertainty?]

I have included the first three chapters of the manuscript, along with a synopsis and a stamped envelope for your reply. If you wish to email me, my address is _________. Thank you for your consideration.

Yours Sincerely,


What was the mother's explanation for sending Stephy away? There's a big difference between "I need a few weeks to pull myself together, and you don't want to be around me when I'm sobbing uncontrollably," and "You're responsible for my husband leaving; I can't stand the sight of you."

When someone discovers you in their house, and you claim to be from eighty years in the future, they have two choices: send you to a mental institution or kill you.

Cartoon 345

Caption: WO

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Beginning 617 (excerpt)

Manuel led them west toward two peaks that matched in height and shape. Both grew from full, round bases, and tapered to smooth peaks. Kincaid took to thinking of women and breasts, and his longing for Maria grew. Three days remained on the long trip, and then he’d be with her again.

Manuel must have seen him staring at the twin mountains. “Do you know what they are called?” he asked. “Wah-Tow-Yah, means Breasts of the World.”

Kincaid rode in silence gazing at the two mountains. He wondered about the countless men, Spanish, Mexican, and Indian who had traveled this way and longed for a woman left at home. Of men who saw the peaks and thoughts flooded their minds and feelings surged through their bodies. These men who counted the days and hurried their mounts along. Now he was one of them, returning from danger and missing his woman.

As they rode farther, Kincaid caught site of the woodland at the end of the valley. A lush, deep canopy of trees, almost black in the fading light.

Manuel leaned over. "You see that copse? They call that Yow-Zah, The Valley’s Crotch."

Kincaid shifted uncomfortably in his saddle as he thought about what awaited him back home.

In time, they emerged from the trees, past the great rock Up-Frit, The Waiting Virgin. Kincaid had barely noticed the climb, or how the temperature had fallen, but now he looked out over a vast blanket of snow, as far as his eyes could see. He glanced over at Manuel.

"They call this plain Shah-Tmai-Wadh," Manuel said. "It means--"

"I know what it means."

Manuel saw Kincaid's frustration. "We can avoid it by going through the--"

"Forget it," Kincaid told him. "It's too late now."

Opening: Wes.....Continuation: Anon.

Cartoon 344

Caption: Rick Daley/Evil Editor

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Beginning 616

Clad in her travel clothing of doeskin jerkin and breeches, Talpianna double-checked the supplies laid out on the bed, as no doubt the others planning to join the rescue party were doing elsewhere in the Inn. Packets of medicinal and magical herbs, charged powerstones, a supply of handkerchiefs, Su-Shi, two precious parcels of Elven lembas—


Talpianna glared at the mole with the perky vibrissae. “Su-Shi, this is not a party of pleasure. I don’t have time to take care of you. We will be traveling fast and facing unknown dangers.”

The mole executed a couple of inexpert katas. “Ka-bam! Shazam! Cowabunga, dude! Kiku and me are as good as an army!”

“The Salvation Army, maybe. And it’s ‘Kiku and I.’”

“That’s what I said.”

Tal picked Su-Shi up by the collar between her thumb and forefinger and deposited her outside the door.

Just as well, thought Su-Shi. I forgot my makeup kit. Wait till sister Kiku sees what I can do to the forces of evil with an eyelash curler.

Talpianna turned back to her expedition supply list. Spunky ranger-girl with healing powers, check. Taciturn experienced fighter with mysterious past, check. Callow farmboy with far-reaching destiny, check. Annoying talking animal for comic relief . . . Damn! She opened the door and grabbed Su-Shi back.

Opening: Tal.....Continuation: Batgirl

Cartoon 343

Caption: Freddie

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Face-Lift 613

Guess the Plot

Not a Fairy Princess

1. Alfland's hottest pickup bar is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you're going to get. But when the ogre Smanthas takes home a flirtatious--if somewhat... hairy--Fairy Winkle for the night, he discovers that her ball-gown hides a few things he wasn't expecting.

2. After growing up a princess in a magical kingdom, Heather learns from her royal parents that they kidnapped her from an American family long ago--and they're sending her back! How's an average teenager supposed to survive the suburbs now that she's . . . Not a Fairy Princess?

3. Svetlana the Immigrant Tooth Fairy is unhappy with her lot in life. The wages are inadequate, the hours exploitative, and the American Dream is a lie perpetuated by Fat Fairy Capitalists. Descended from Bolshevik peasant fairies, Svetlana determines to foment communist revolution under the bedbug-infested pillows of Harlem.

4. Bruno is a street thug. He cracks skulls for a living, and has taken more than one bullet for the home team. And when the Godfather comes up missing, the Capos know who to call to save him. And believe me, it's . . . Not a Fairy Princess.

5. As little girls are encouraged to dream of becoming astronauts, doctors, and bus drivers, the number of qualified fairy princesses grows smaller each year--until Charlemagne Smythe takes charge and starts outsourcing to mermaids and witches.

6. Tatiana's older sisters have all come into their own, so to speak. They are all exceedingly beautiful, amazingly graceful, and exceptionally magical. Tatiana, on the other hand, can't even turn a teacup into a turtle. And she's starting to worry she's not part of her family. What's a girl to do if it turns out she's . . . Not a Fairy Princess?

Original Version

Dear Ideal Agent,

When you've grown up in a magic kingdom, the real world is a scary place to come home to. Not a Fairy Princess is a 70,000 word YA fantasy that turns the fantasy conventions of destiny upside down and shakes change out of their pockets.

For twelve of her sixteen years, Princess Tasria's life has been governed by the Prophecy that she would destroy the Dark Queen, ruthless enemy of Evermorna. Now the Dark Queen is dead [Already? She was your most compelling character.] --at the hands of a common soldier--and Tasria's royal parents break the news that the Prophecy was a lie. [Destroy the Dark Queen? No, no, we said you would work at Dairy Queen, ruthless enemy of obese Evermornians.] She is no Chosen One, [I think we should stop capitalizing "Prophecy" and "Chosen One" once it's announced that it was all a sham.] not their daughter, and they are returning her to her real home: the quiet North American suburb they stole her from.

Reunited with her birth mother, who calls her Heather and is worried by her 'wild stories', Tasria tries to learn the ways of her strange home, where machinery takes the place of magic and of servants, and high school hierarchy calls on all the skills she acquired from court intrigues. [For instance she hires a classmate to be her servant, then orders her to put hemlock in the clique leader's Pepsi.] With painful mis-steps, she learns to live for herself and not for a kingdom's destiny. Her mother contacts Heather's estranged father, hoping to rebuild their broken family. Then, on the eve of their reunion, her father disappears, just as little Heather did thirteen years ago. Her mother believes he has deserted them, but Tasria knows the truth. Evermorna is not finished with her. And this time she doesn't need a Prophecy to tell her what needs to be done. [Personally, I'd assume Evermorna was through with me and that Mom was right. What's the clue that reveals the truth to Tasria?] [How about a hint about what needs to be done? Has she realized that Evermorna is the bad guys and the Dark Queen was good?]

Attached are (pages) of Not a Fairy Princess. I have attended (workshop) and my (short story) received an honourable mention in (year's best).

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Not bad. Whether certain questions are bothersome enough to need answers I'm not sure. Namely, If they're not done with Tasria, 1. Why'd they send her back, and 2. Why have they now taken her father instead of re-kidnapping her?

Who are the villains? If it's the Evermorna royals, what bad things have they done besides kidnapping Tasria, and why did they kidnap her in the first place?

If your plot description shows that you've turned the fantasy conventions of destiny upside down and shaken change out of their pockets, there's no need to declare it just in case the reader is too dense to get it. Leave that for the back cover.

Is her father "her estranged father" because he left while she was still living there? Or just because they were separated by the kidnapping?

Cartoon 342

Caption: Anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Movie Character Memoir 14

What can I do for you, Mr. . . . Tidwell?

I'll tell you what you can do for me. You can SHOW ME THE MONEY!



First things first, sir. TELL ME THE STORY! Better yet, get an agent and let him tell me the story.

I got an agent. He ain't worth a damn.

Who is it?

Name's Jerry Maguire.

Never heard of him.

Looks a little like Tom Cruise? Except Jerry can act.

The story?

It's my memoir. I'm a wide receiver for--

No one reads football fiction. I'm afraid--

Look, writers got a shelf life of ten years, tops. My book contract's gotta bring me the money that'll last me and mine a long time.


This is what you gonna do for me. You listenin', EE?

What can I do for you?

It's a very personal, a very important thing. Hell, it's a family motto. Are you ready?

I'm ready.

I wanna make sure you're ready, brother. Here it is: Show me the money. SHOW! ME! THE! MONEY! Doesn't it make you feel good just to say that! Say it with me one time, EE.

Show you the money.

Oh, no, no. You can do better than that! I want you to say it with meaning, brother! Hey, I got Editorial Ass on the other line; I bet you she can say it!

Show you the money.

No! Not show you! Show me the money!

Show me the money.

Yeah! Louder!

Show me the money!

Yes, but, brother, you got to yell that shit!

Show me the money!

I need to feel you, EE!

Show me the money!

You got to yell!

Show me the money! Show me the money!

Who's your motherfucker, EE?

You're my motherfucker!

Whatcha gonna do, EE?

Show me the money!

Congratulations, you're my editor.


Movie Character Memoir 13

“Name’s Bond. James Bond. Perhaps you’ve heard of me?”

Evil Editor leaned back in his chair, hands clasped across his big belly, twiddling his thumbs.

“Of course I’ve heard of ya. Who hasn’t heard of ya? But that’s the…um…problem, ya see.”

Bond raised one dark and perfect eyebrow. “Why on earth would my popularity be a problem in your taking on my memoirs, old man?”

“First of all, Bond, James Bond, I’m not an old man. That old man stuff’s a ruse.
And second…”

Bond’s eyebrow raised again; a derisive smile flickered across his smooth and perfect lips. “Yes?”

“Second, women today don’t put up with that slap-the-chick’s-backside and do-‘em-and-leave-‘em stuff anymore. So they sure as hell aren’t gonna read about it.
And, as women are by far the largest reading demographic on the American part of the planet…”

Bond considered. “What age range of women?”

“Middle-aged women.”

“Ah. The women who were young when my first films arrived in the U.S.”

“That would be the group. Yes.”

Bond smiled broadly, pulled a flask of bourbon from an inside jacket pocket.

“Ah. Well, then. Shall we toast our future success, then, old man?”

“I’ve told you, Bond, James Bond, I’m not an old man in real life.” EE swivelled his chair, plucked two fine glasses off of his credenza, and swivelled back to Bond. “ That said, I’ll have a whiskey with ya.”

“A toast then, to my exploits, put down on paper, in my own words. With your expert help, of course.”

EE sighed. “I’ve told ya, women aren’t like they were when you spanked Honey in ’62.”

“You think not, old….old boy?”

“I think not.”

James Bond smiled, leaned over the desk a bit to make his point. “EE, I know women’s daydreams. And your demographic women? I’m in their dreams, my man. I’m in them, but they don’t tell. Understand?”

EE’s eye lit up. “Ah. Bond, James Bond, this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

--Robin S.

Movie Character Memoir 12

The small ceiling fan pulled the smoke from his Havana up, creating a cloud over Evil Editor’s head. He didn’t bother to look up from his work. He was only on his third rubber stamp of the day and he had an entire slush pile he wanted to reject before he had his evening wine. “So, you want me to represent your book?”

The raggedy little man fawned before him. “Oh, yes! Your wizardness. I mean, your worshipness. I mean, your editorness.”

“You’ve done everything wrong. Why, it isn’t even typed! What’s the matter with you? Haven’t you got any brains?”

“Well, that’s the problem. I need brains. If I could publish my book, I could buy some.”

“What for? What would you do with a brain if you had one?”

The little man began to wax dramatic. “Do? Why, I’d while away…”

“Hold it! Stop. Stop! STOP! None of that.”

“But I won't try to manage things.”

Evil Editor considered. He knew how to get rid of this bag of bovine fodder. “Maybe there is one way.”

“I’ll do it. I’m not afraid of anything. Uh, except a lighted match.”

“Ha. We’ll see about that. If you want me to represent your book you’re going to have to bring me Grisham’s WIP.”

“His WIP?”

“Yes. Bring me the WIP and I’ll grant you your request.”

“But won’t I have to – kill him?”

“Not so dumb after all, are you? Now beat it! Oh, and here’s a little present for you.”

He tossed his Havana at the raggedy man, who immediately began to panic.

“Oh, oh, oh!”

Suddenly, in rushed a strange little girl.

“Why you horrible old man!”

“Who in the hell are you? Wait! Don’t throw that water! Ahh! I’m melting. I’m melting. Oh, what a world. Why couldn't it have been wine?”


Movie Character Memoir 11

Evil Editor looked across his desk at the strange fellow seated opposite him and gave his best impression of a smile. “Where did you say you’re from, again?”

“The Degova System, it is,” came a high pitched, chirped reply.

“Evil Editor frowned. “Where is that, Europe? Somewhere near France?” Evil hated the French – always putting their objects before their verbs.

The green faced creature shook his head. “No. The Degova System, from France, is many light years away.”

“Shit,” spat Evil, “It costs plenty just to print books, but shipping them to another star system would be an astronomical cost.” He paused to chuckle at his own pun. “Astronomical – star system…get it Yogi?”

“Yoda,” replied the small creature with a polite nod. “Mistaken you are, however. The memoir book is for Earth. Fans I have in plenty here.”

“Well, that’s something,” conceded Evil, strangely disturbed by Yoda’s extraordinary ears. He knew the saying about large hands and feet, but wasn’t quite sure about large ears. “You’re a Jedi Knight, aren’t you?”

“Yes, using the Force I fight the Dark Side. A light saber I use.”

“Heh, heh, I’ve got a light saber of my own. Right here,” grinned Evil, pointing to his groin. “Listen Yoda, being a Jedi Knight is great, but it’s old hat. I just don’t think you have what it takes to sell a memoir.”

Yoda said nothing. He just stared at Evil with deep, solemn eyes. Evil found it disconcerting as hell, but stared right back at the little fuck with all the dream crushing, laser power his own eyes could muster.

Moments later, Evil sat stunned as Yoda left his office carrying a signed contract.

Yoda sighed with relief. EE's almost as evil as Darth Vadar, he thought. Almost.

--Mark Mosher

Movie Character Memoir 10

Evil Editor placed the query letter in the OUT tray and let loose a laser beam from his left eye. Poorly written, lacking focus and no weredingos; not worth incinerating with both eyes. He grabbed the next letter from the short stack on his right.

Dear Evil Editor,

I hope you will consider working outside your usual genre and agree to edit my memoir, “The Game Cricket” my 500,000 word opus . . .
Evil exhaled deeply and a little whistle escaped his pursed lips.

“What’s the matter, fella? Not your cup of tea?”

“Who, Wha –?” Evil rubbed his eyes and stared intently (not, however, with laser-beam intensity) at the small cricket in top hat and tails, clutching a valise, perched upon the edge of his IN tray. “Jiminy Cricket! What are you doing here?

“Well, son, that’s my query you’re sighing over and you did just give a little whistle. I might be just a cricket singing my way from hearth to hearth but I’ve had some exciting adventures. And as an actor, why I’ve had more roles than the Pillsbury Dough Boy! Sure everybody remembers me from Pinocchio, but I also did a lot of work on the small screen. Here, catch!” Jiminy tossed a pair of Mickey Mouse ears at the editor. “Who’s the leader of the band, eh? And besides, I’m your counselor in moments of temptation and guide along the straight and narrow path – your conscience, remember?”

“I thought we agreed to disagree on that point.”

No, siree! Once a conscience, always a conscience, as the Blue Lady says. How ’bout I sweeten the deal?” Jiminy patted the pockets of his morning coat, scratched his head, snapped his fingers and once again rummaged in the depths of his bag. “Here we go. Recite this thrice in times of need and you’ll have no trouble doing the deed! Works better than Viagra and you don’t have to worry about the four-hour- limit thingy,” Jiminy winked broadly and handed over a small square of stiff parchment.

“What can I say? When your heart is in your dreams, no request is too extreme! Now beat it, I’ve got, er, something I need to do.” Evil tapped the intercom. “Mrs. V? I need you! Now!”


Movie Character Memoir 9

Vader, huh? Not sure how you made it past Grisham, but you got two minutes.

Whoa. That voice. You carrying an oxygen tank in there? Lose the white noise and try again.

Hold it. You start the book with that Death Star business and being some bad-ass military guy then go back to your early years? Nah, readers won't relate. Did you write this thing yourself?

Thought so. That's why God invented ghostwriters and editors. The story can be cleaned up -- hell, I can turn anything into a bestseller. But you have to ante up, too. Let's talk marketing. You're gonna have to put yourself out there. Schmooze a little, make friends, kiss up.

So get a publicist. Work on those social skills. Maybe some voice lessons.

Considering memoir's rap lately, it's one thing to tell me you lost a few limbs and were crisped like a Valduvian eel on a barbie, but I'm gonna need a little proof. Platform, you know.

Oh. Shit. Not pretty, my man. Just slip that helmet back on. It's convincing, sure, but who's gonna want to sit with you at signings? Not to mention Oprah or The Early Show. TV ain't gonna love you. Maybe you could hire a pretty face, a stand-in with a little more appeal for the ladies. I think Harrison Ford is looking for a gig after that last flop of his.

Oh come on. Put that thing away. Evil Jr. played with toys that looked more real. I'm just being honest with you here.

Yeah, well, think about it. Otherwise, I'm gonna have to give this one a pass.

Huh? Listen Vader, I'm the only force around here to be reckoned with. Haven't you been told no before? Deal with it.

Revenge, my ass. I hear that from you punks all the time. Speaking of, on your way out, ask Mrs. V. to send in that Aragorn guy next.

Hey, I saw that. You want that finger hacked off, too?


Movie Character Memoir 8

"Do you think putz-boy had the smarts to create soap from liposuction fat? He wrote Joe's lily-livered, weak-bladdered imitation of gutless invertebrates. That's what. I am Joe's creativity, screaming to get out of pee-stained trousers and fear-soaked shirts."

"We aren't rehashing Eve Black an' White, are we?"

"And well we aren't. I'm not Eve's vagina. Neither am I dat pile-of-rugged-individual Galt. Holy Fucking Jesus Christ did that fucking eunuch artiste get it all wrong along with his prune-like creator Rand who bamboozled generations of pudgy, mamma's boys whose grandiose aspirations matched their fat asses and who's deeds are as spunky as Jello an' whipped cream. Wannabees in male drag. I am your man-meat talking. Hear me?" He paused as EE raised his pen to object but stopped and didn't speak.

"You goin-t say something, limpdick? Come on, I've heard the excuses before. All that PC, weak knee-ed horseshit. You get your jollies by writing rejections while I have women lining up to have my abortion. Call it shit like the shit it is. Don't call it what THEY want to hear. Spineless prick. Put some bloody frenzy on your whipped cream next time you jack the beanstalk or flip the bean, depending..."

"My minions adore and desire me." EE interrupted, flexing.

"You're tweeting like that twittified dork-wad who invented twitter, tweety-pie. You gotta create vicarious destruction, basement brawls, a soupcon of planned chaos and most definitely sport fucking for that big honker you rest those pince-nez on," he slapped his knee, yukking hard.

"Thrashing male ennui in 100,000 words?"

"Overthrow. Outmaneuver. Overwhelm. A Man's Guide To Being A Man, An Autobiography!" Tyler Durden's blue eyes twinkled, bewitching, a homoerotic come-hither, straight-arrow gaze of profligate lust that said beat-me, beat-me hard, I can take it, I'm a man.

--Dave F.

Movie Character Memoir 7

“For eight hundred pages have I written of Jedi. My own council will I keep on what should be cut.”

“If I had a nickel for every time I've heard that one… Look, Mister Yodel—”

Master Yoda.”

“Whatever. It doesn’t matter what you cut. Nobody wants to read nine hundred years’ worth of Dear Diary crap.” Evil Editor flipped to a random page in the mountainous manuscript. “For example, ‘Dagobah, day twelve thousand and six: Raining again it is. Sigh. The presence of Obi-Wan I long to feel. Promised to call he did. Found another, perhaps, has he.’ I don’t even know what that means.”

“Nuanced it is.”

“It’s gibberish.”

Yoda pursed his lips and waved his hand in EE’s direction. “Gibberish it is not.”

“Maybe… it’s not gibberish.”

Yoda repeated the gesture. “Publish it you will.”

“I… will publish it.”

“Even though like a teenage virgin in a van by the river it sucks— What the—?! Said that I did not!”

EE leaned back, steepled his fingers beneath his chin, and smiled.

Yoda’s eyes widened. “Oh.” He lowered his head and his shoulders slumped. “Underestimated your powers I did.”

In one quick movement, EE sprang upright in his chair and swept the manuscript off his desk with the back of his hand. “Happens all the time. My assistant will show you the way out—”


“Now what?”

“There is another.”

“Look pal, I don’t have time—“ But Yoda had already closed his eyes and was making weird hand gestures again. The office door swung open and in floated another stack of paper, which Yoda guided to EE’s desk.

“You’re kidding.”

“Suspense with romantic elements it has.”

The Maltese Mynock?”

“To the works of Grisham it is similar.”

“You’re pathetic. Get out of my— Hold on.. Did you say Grisham?”


Movie Character Memoir 6

Evil Editor stared at the manuscript on his desk. He could not believe this guy actually came into his office. His sanctuary. His fortress of blogitude.

“Listen, Nemo…” he began.

“My name is Neo.”

“Right. Whatever. First off, I deal with agents, not with authors…”

“I told you. The agents are a control mechanism put in place by the Matrix.”

“Shut up. Don’t cut me off anymore. The ellipses are a major distraction to the reader. As I was saying…Agents keep you from dropping crappy memoirs on my desk. Besides, I can’t even read a word of this. What language is it?” Evil Editor eyed the strange green symbols that covered each page, devoid of obvious shape or meaning.

“It’s code that comprises the Matrix.”

“Well then give me your secret decoder ring with it at least.”

“If you publish this, it will enable me to show everyone the true nature of the Matrix, and free those who want to be freed, and stave off the impending attack on the city of Zion, buried…”

“Ok, screw the ellipses. That’s enough. I don’t know what flavor crack you’ve been smoking, but I can’t take it anymore. First off, this is science fiction, not a memoir. Second, it’s in a language you made up. Listen, I run a very successful blog, so I know computer code. And even if I don’t, I don’t care because I’ll tell you I do and that’s all you need to know. Third, if you go around and start freeing people, I won’t have any minions left, and that, above all else, is completely unacceptable.”

“The Oracle said you would react this way.”

“Oh. Her. Well, of course she said that. After all, I rejected her “prophecy” manuscript last week.”

--Rick Daley

Movie Character Memoir 5

Evil Editor's office door whipped open then slammed shut so quickly, he almost missed it. He sat in his chair as he eyed the unannounced intruder suspiciously, wondering how anyone could move that swiftly. His mouth fell open in surprise when he recognized the man.


“Edward Cullen, pleased to meet you.”

Evil Editor stared at Edward for a few seconds before answering. “Nice to meet you too,” he said, though it sounded like a question. “What can I do for you?”

“I'd like to pitch my memoir. My life has been quite long, and I have some unbelievable stories that I think the world might like to know. The novel saga is over, and they could really use my memoir to help hype Twilight up again in time for the movie.”

“Why in time for the movie?”

“Well, we are hoping to get the preteen girls' attention back. The Jonas Brothers have some sort of weird monopoly on preteen girls' hero worship. Besides, the movie's going to suck, and not in the good way.”

Evil Editor broke the bad news to him kindly. “Actually, to even qualify for a memoir deal you have to be the character from a movie, technically you're from a novel. I'm afraid you aren't even eligible.”

“Oh no. Please, I'm sure there's something you can do,” he pleaded, his voice smooth like velvet. His eyes were golden honey, set in the cool, smooth marble of his face- his nose, his perfect jaw. His lips were---”

“All right,” Evil Editor held up his hand. “I get it. I'll consider your memoir, but only if you please, please leave right away.”

The door slammed shut behind Edward so quickly that a stack of papers swirled from the desk to the floor in his wake.