Friday, April 29, 2016

Haw, Haw! (Brian Katcher)


This April 1st, my wife foolishly forgot her phone in our car. Knowing that she wouldn't be able to respond to anything I posted on Facebook, I applauded her decision to teach summer school (her district does not offer summer school), even though it meant that she would miss out on the family vacation this year. She still has people asking about what she's going to teach this June.

Still, that wasn't one of my best ones. As a teacher, I'm surrounded by impressionable people who will believe anything you tell them. And I'm talking about other teachers.

One year I sent out an email saying that all copying in the district would now be done at an offsite location. Teachers would be required to get approval for all copies a week in advance to ensure that they arrived in a timely manner. The funny thing was, when people asked the principal about this, he assumed it must be true since I said so. It was like that episode of MASH, where Hawkeye and Charles start a rumor that Marilyn Monroe would be visiting the 4077th, and then realize to their horror, that everyone, including generals and other top brass, has taken them at their word.

Another year I emailed a new teacher and told her that I'd accidentally seen a memo from the superintendent, saying she was in trouble for abuse of the internet and to expect to be called onto the carpet that day. I included a link which I said contained information on how to minimize the damage (it just led to a website that said APRIL FOOLS!). Unfortunately, she was so freaked out that she never clicked the link. I felt like quite the heel.

My best prank, however, happened when I was forced to take a video inventory of everything in my building for insurance purposes (because that principal hated me). When teachers expressed concerns that much of the equipment in their rooms was their personal property, I assured them that their stuff would not be inventoried. On April 1, I sent an email stating that I had been mistaken, and that anything on the film would be considered district property. Anything they did not wish to have inventoried (including furniture) needed to be moved out of their classroom by the end of the day. 

I can now say that someone has threatened to tar and feather me. How many can make that claim?

I'm going to have a new book out next summer. No fooling.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Foolish days (Jennifer R. Hubbard)

Once when a friend brought up some internet quiz that was supposed to tell you which Jane Austen heroine you are, I opined that I didn’t need the quiz. I already knew I was Elinor Dashwood.

She agreed.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Austen oeuvre, Elinor is the most sensible of all the main characters Austen ever penned. The whole point of her book Sense and Sensibility is that Elinor needs to loosen up and let more of her feelings show, even as Elinor’s sister Marianne needs to tone down her romantic sensibility and be a little more cautious.

So, as an Elinor, I don’t tend to do many foolish things. I look before I leap, I plan ahead, and I carry around lots of items “just in case.” (You need dental floss? A calculator? An umbrella? A train schedule? I've got 'em.)

But the sensible among us can find relief in occasional foolishness.

One April day, when I was at college in Philadelphia, the temperature soared into the 80s. My friend and I had spring fever, and she suggested we drive out to one of the New Jersey beaches. I love the beach, so I was game. Dressed for the sunny 80s day we were experiencing in the city, we hopped into her tiger-striped Volkswagen Beetle and set out for the coast.

And we discovered that in April, even when it is warm inland, you will find a brisk wind whipping off the icy waters of the Atlantic. We did not have the carefree loll in the sun we had envisioned.

A year or two later, I befriended a guy at the school gym (we both played intramural volleyball). On an unusually warm spring day, he suggested we head out to the New Jersey beaches.

This time I was prepared. Elinor Dashwood does not get fooled twice. I wore my winter coat. I think he wore a short-sleeved shirt.

We may have made a sand castle just so the trip wouldn’t be a total loss, but it wasn’t long before we sought the refuge of boardwalk shops. The weather that day merely confirmed my conviction that it is a foolish thing to go to the beach in April expecting it to feel like anything other than winter.

Yet we can’t always be sensible. The ocean in winter has its own wild beauty. The memory of these beach trips provided me a good laugh afterward, and one thing is for sure: these are days I remember. They weren’t ordinary.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What's in a Name? (Courtney McKinney-Whitaker)

I will forever be accused, by my family, of playing a really mean prank on my little brother.

And I will forever deny all charges, because I didn't mean for it to be a prank.

I was quite serious.

When I was four, I said to my two-year-old brother, "We just call you Brandon. Your real name is Tony."

I still remember his sobs, his little red face, the tears. "My name's BANDON. It's BANDON!"

"No," I said. "It's Tony."

Beliefs of my mother, to this day, aside, I really wasn't trying to be mean.

Tony was the name of my best friend at preschool.

Tony was a great guy who never once hit me over the head with a block because he liked me (ahem, Chris) or told me the police were coming to arrest me but it was okay because he would protect me by blowing up the world with gunpowder (ahem, Michael). (Also, ahem, patriarchy much, preschool boys?)

So I really thought that Tony would be a great name for my little brother, I thought he would be delighted to have it, and I maintain that it is not my fault he thought otherwise.

On a related note, my parents also still think that Brandon was upset by my attempts to teach him to read using environmental print. He was thrilled when I pointed out that Raisin Bran included part of his name. He smiled as much as he cried about the Tony thing when told him the cereal included part of his name.

"Part of mine name?" he said, wonderingly.

It all got wrapped up in the Tony story, so they think he was upset.

But he wasn't.

I guess that memory is mine alone.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Don't fear playing the fool -- Jen Doktorski

Everybody plays the fool sometime, right?

That was a Grammy-nominated song in the 70s and a top ten hit in the 90s. I could build an entire life philosophy by quoting lyrics. Trust me.

The foolish things we do might be embarrassing at the time, but often make for some pretty entertaining stories. It’s been more than two decades since I fell off a horse the size of a Shetland pony during an overnight camping trip with my college friends, and yet every time we get together, the story still makes us laugh.

I didn’t plan to play the fool that day, but it turned out being a good thing.
But what about the times when we intentionally play the fool? When we don’t let our fear of being laughed at hold us back from some bold move?

That’s when great things happen.

Last week my daughter performed her first ever solo, a modern dance to Florence and the Machine’s “Drumming Song.” It was Friday night and hers was the first dance of the entire three-day competition. She took center stage when they called her number, while I watched from my spot in the second row. (The first row was reserved for the judges or I would have been there.)
The music began and two measures in, the unthinkable happened. It stopped. So did my heart. I leaned forward and clutched the back of the seat in front of me, prepared to hurdle the front row, jump on stage, and perform some impromptu bongos if that’s what it took to fill the silence.

My daughter had a better idea. She kept dancing. Filling the silence with beautiful movements and facial expressions. Keeping perfect time to the song in her head. Strangers in the crowd began clapping and cheering her on as I sat there with tears in my eyes, so proud of her grace and strength under pressure.
In that moment when the music stopped, she wasn’t afraid to play the fool and I loved her for it. As my friend said afterwards, “She didn’t need music, she was the song.”

They gave her a special award “The Show Must Go On” award and she placed third overall despite the music glitch. But that’s not what mattered. Something magical happened during those three soundless minutes on stage—she faced her fear and turned it into something beautiful. She told me when it was all over that she realized that because the audience couldn’t hear the song, she had to work harder to convey its meaning. When did she get so smart?
My daughter inspires me every day in ways both big and small. She pushes me to be better. I’m sure most parents feel this way about their kids. But since her solo I’ve been thinking about how her dance relates to writing. How many times have I held back what I’m willing to put on the page because I’m afraid it’s foolish or readers will think I’m a fool? How many times have I let my fear stand between a good story and a great one?

A few days after my daughter’s dance competition I spotted this quote on Twitter. Despite the fact that he uses the pronoun “he,” I think it’s a good one for my bulletin board.
The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always. —Arthur Miller

Hmph. Arthur Miller is almost as wise as my daughter.
(Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine.)

Sunday, April 24, 2016


The going theory is (and has been for some time) that book trailers are dead. Completely. But the thing is, theories are broad strokes. True for a bunch, but not necessarily for everyone. One thing I've learned in the past few years is that promotion is (or should be) every bit as unique as the book being advertised. Just as everyone has a slightly different path to publication, we all also have unique paths to getting our books noticed. And if you listen too hard to the going theory, you just might count out a promotion avenue that could work incredibly well for you.

The trailer I put together for my MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, literally has thousands of views, and is being used by both theaters and librarians to introduce the book to young readers. So of course I had to put one together for my next YA, SPARK, as well.

Here's another thing about not listening too hard to going theories: It means you gravitate toward promotional efforts that are just plain fun. And I had a blast putting this together:

Friday, April 22, 2016

A puppy named Foolish (By Patty Blount)

About twelve years ago, I had surgery and my mom brought me a bag of books to read while I recovered. One of those books was Nora Roberts’ Sea Swept, the first in the Chesapeake Bay series starring the Quinn family.

The story and indeed, the entire saga, focuses on how Seth, a little boy rescued from a life of abuse by the late Ray Quinn, is absorbed into the Quinn family, first by Cameron Quinn, and in subsequent books, by his two brothers, Ethan and Phillip.

It was my first Nora novel and of course, I was hooked, though not for the hot hero, Cameron. And it wasn’t for the luscious scenery of fictional Saint Christopher. No, for me, it was because of a puppy named Foolish.

When I learned foolish things would be our theme this month, this puppy was the first topic I thought of. At first, I was a bit outraged that anyone would name a dog “Foolish,” but as I came to love Nora’s books, I discovered this is a bit of a theme for her. By Book 4 in this series, the Quinns have a dog named Witless and in another Nora series, The Sign of the Seven trilogy, hero Caleb names his dog “Lump.” These names are not insulting and not cruel, as I’d first thought. Dogs are important characters in these books. For Seth, Foolish was a savior in more ways than one. And for Caleb, Lump is a brother. A blood brother.

I don’t have dogs of my own, but almost all members of my family do. When I was writing NOTHING LEFT TO BURN, Tucker, a border collie who belongs to my sister-in-law, kept nosing into my lap to see what I was typing.  I finally looked him right in the eye and told him I was writing him into the story. I’ll be damned if he didn’t understand exactly what I said and just stretched out on the floor at my feet, happy with this decision.  Tucker is hero Reece Logan’s only friend for much of the book and even though I don’t own a dog of my own, I thoroughly enjoyed writing him as the sort of pal a boy should have.

I did this again in another project that was never published. It’s called THE SKY WAS SCARLET. In this story, hero Riley Carter begins to experience strange visions – a big problem since he does not believe in paranormal stuff. A friend drags him to a psychic named Matt. Matt is the real deal, but Riley doesn’t believe a word. So Matt tells him the story of the time he first discovered he was different. It was after his dog died. Matt was a little boy at the time and so consumed by grief, his parents immediately bought him a new puppy. But it felt wrong -- maybe even disloyal – to love another dog so Matt did his best to ignore the pup. One night, his beloved dog appeared before his eyes and spoke to him, telling him the puppy already loved him and wanted desperately to be buddies. So Matt named the puppy Buddy, and he helped Matt develop and control his special abilities by becoming something of a touchstone.

I love writing pets into stories, especially when they reveal character traits in my heroes. There’s nothing foolish about that!

Monday, April 18, 2016

The $1 gift that was a big hit, with an 11-year-old boy (Alissa Grosso)

Last year for my nephew's eleventh birthday I bought him an assortment of age appropriate games and toys. I think there was a couple of games, some remote control gizmo toy, a book and some candy. I also decided to round things out with one of those joke shop gag toys that I spent a whole dollar on, a package of fake dog poop.

I'll let you guess which of these items turned out to be the biggest hit.

My sister posted on Facebook about the hours of fun my nephew was having with his fake dog poop, and a Thank You note I received from my nephew confirmed this. The short missive had two very enthusiastic sentences devoted to the fake poop, the other gifts having to make do with  being crammed together in a single short sentence.

The gift was a huge hit at home, at school and while hanging out with friends. Well, it was a big hit with my nephew, I'm not sure if his family, teacher and friends were quite as amused as he was. And unlike some gifts that are discarded soon after they are opened, the fake poop was still being used months later as reported by my mother when she had the pleasure of finding it strategically placed on the bathroom during a visit to my sister's house.

So, I put this out there for anyone stuck on what to get a boy who is about 11 years or so old. Sometimes the least expensive gifts are the most popular.

That said, my nephew's twelfth birthday is fast approaching, and if anyone has any suggestions on the perfect present for a 12-year-old boy, I'm all ears. I'm afraid I'm going to have a hard time topping the fake dog poop.

When not cleaning up genuine dog poop, Alissa Grosso can be found writing young adult novels. You can find out more about them and her at

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Fool for Love

By Natasha Sinel

I’m a fool for a good love story. Any kind—friendship to love, hate to love, love at first sight, star-crossed love, even unrequited—all of them. The kind that makes my heart soar and sink throughout. And of course, I particularly love the love stories in young adult fiction—emotions are so big and raw and real.

But sometimes I want a bit more than YA can give. I want some of that consummation on the page, if you know what I mean (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). My tastes these days lean toward the college love stories (new adult).

So, if you’re a fool for novels with love and on-the-page sex between well-developed characters, here are some of my favorites: 

Sarina Bowen, The Ivy Years (5 book series but each is a standalone)

I also love the Sarina Bowen/Elle Kennedy collaborations--HIM and US (male/male)

Dahlia Adler, Radleigh University series (LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT is just so, so, so good)

Mercy Brown, LOUD IS HOW I LOVE YOU (I can't wait for the next book in the Hub City Romance Series)

Robin York, DEEPER and the sequel HARDER (I think the titles of these books are unfortunate because these are really solid books with great characters, and an amazing feminist message. I wish there were more of these.)

I'm looking forward to reading more from these authors and getting recommendations for others. Because I'm a fool for these love stories.

Natasha Sinel writes YA fiction from her home on a dirt road in Northern Westchester, NY. She drives her kids around all afternoon, but in her head, she's still in high school, and hopes that no one near her can read minds. Her first novel THE FIX (Sky Pony Press) won the 2016 IPPY Award Gold Medal for YA fiction, and was a finalist for YA fiction in the USA Best Book Awards.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The People from Zimbabwe by Jody Casella

When I was fourteen, I was possibly the worst babysitter ever. [See Exhibit A ]

So I don't know what I was thinking when I agreed to take on a nine-to-five, five-days-per-week, ALL SUMMER LONG babysitting job. The job was a favor to my aunt, a newly single parent of two little boys--my cousins David and Danny--who were eight and six.

My responsibilities included making sure the kids had breakfast, something easy like cereal or Poptarts, and lunch (sandwiches?). I was to keep the kids entertained and safe until my aunt came home from work. For this, she paid me the astronomical sum of fifty bucks per week.

I am pretty sure that my aunt envisioned me putzing around her home, playing games with the kids or running around with them outside, watching carefully as they rode their bikes or played catch in the yard. I am pretty sure she did not envision me sitting in front of the TV all day and telling the kids to shut up so I would watch General Hospital in peace.

Not surprisingly, the kids were not on board with my vision. They weren't big General Hospital fans, for example. They demanded my attention. They chattered a lot. They threw tantrums. They made giant messes in the living room. They wanted me to, um, interact with them occasionally.

By the end of Week One I was worn out by this thing called "babysitting" and regretting that I'd signed on for the job.

And then I discovered the magic of Zimbabwe.

I am not sure exactly how the game began, but I imagine that one day after cleaning up the Poptart crumbs in the kitchen, I parked myself in front of the TV to begin the day's TV-watching and the kids, hyped up on Poptart, were jumping around on the couch and yelling, and I lost it.

If you lived in Zimbabwe, I told them, you'd be in jail for jumping on the couch and yelling like that.

This stopped them cold. Zimbabwe? they said.

It's a country in Africa, I said. (I should mention here that I have no idea why the word Zimbabwe popped into my head. I knew absolutely nothing about the country except for the name, which sounded exotic and vaguely like a dictatorship to my ditzy 14 year old self.)

In Zimbabwe, I said to my little cousins, they have very strict laws and harsh punishments for those who disobey.

They were intrigued--and skeptical. That is not a real place, they said.

Oh, yes. It is, I told them. Go upstairs and get the globe from your room.

They did. And there it was. Zimbabwe. The kids were believers.

What are the laws in Zimbabwe? they wanted to know.

Well, I said, besides jumping on the couch and yelling, which will get you two years in jail, there's also a law about making any noise when someone is trying to watch General Hospital. That will get you four years.

And so it went on from there, day after day, me--during TV commercials--spinning out rules about cleaning up Poptart crumbs and picking up toys and making your own sandwiches and sitting quietly during The Price is Right. The punishments were harsh in Zimbabwe. Dungeon-like jail conditions for the most minor infractions.

Danny, the six year old, was enthralled by my stories, but David, the eight year old, peppered me endlessly with questions. Catching me out on inconsistencies and grilling me about the finer points of the Zimbabwean justice system. Did the country have courts? An extensive police force? Who was tallying up all of these law-breakings? How could all of the poor Zimbabwean people keep up with every rule? Was it written down somewhere? And anyway, he said, triumphantly, one day, WHO CARES ABOUT THE LAWS IN ZIMBABWE? WE DON'T LIVE IN ZIMBABWE!

It was over, and I knew it.  My uninterrupted watching-of-General-Hospital-time was coming to an end.

But then--

the doorbell rang. The three of us peered out the window. It was two official-looking men, dressed in suits and ties, holding clipboards. I shushed the kids and opened the door. Something something about a survey, the men said, and I did the thing you're supposed to do when you are fourteen and a girl and you are alone in a house with an eight year old and a six year old. I told them my parents were upstairs sleeping.

The men left. I closed the door.

The kids looked at me expectantly. Who was that? they said.

I lowered my voice. People, I said... from Zimbabwe. 

That night my aunt called my mother. They spoke for a few minutes and then my mother handed the phone to me.

What the hell is going on, Jody? my aunt said. My kids are afraid to go to sleep. They're telling me something about people from Zimbabwe?

Oh. That, I said. Well...

There is a moral to this story but I don't know what it is. That I had no real knowledge of the countries of the world? That I could spin a story? That I could manipulate people by my words? That I could scare the crap out of kids? That I had no business being in charge of young children?

You be the judge.

But in Zimbabwe, they'd give me three years in prison for my crimes.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tricking Myself (Cat Scully)

How I Trick Myself into Completing Projects

Cat Scully

I've gotten a lot of questions about how I balance being both a writer and an artist. I've had writers asking me how I find enough time to draw when I have to get a word count in every day and the hours as a mom and a working professional are stretched thin. I've gotten the same question from artists who draw every day, spend hours on painting, and can't find another hour in the day to sleep much less write a full novel. I've been trying to figure out a way to explain the balance, because I've also been told more than once that at some point that one of them has to give, that at some point I can only be an artist or a writer.

I finally found a way to explain how this works out and how I keep my production (and completion) level up for both.

I trick myself.

I get chronic writer's block every time I face a blank page or when I'm about halfway through a project. I get stuck and don't finish. I actually used to be pretty terrible at finishing things. I would get an idea and never get past fifty pages, never finish inking, never finish my personal projects. I hated this about myself, that I was more in love with the idea than the execution. So, years ago I tried to figure out a way to be productive always, and the key was in the balance between writing and art.

The key was I trick my own enthusiasm to work for me, not against me. When I write, I write until I get stuck and switch immediately to drawing, because it seems shiny and new. I sketch and sketch until I get burned out, then switch back to writing, which now seems shiny and new compared to drawing another line. It invariably works every time. If I trick myself into each task being new, my natural enthusiasm for projects takes over, and I finish every time.

If I get stuck in both, I read with Scrivener, Photoshop, and a blank sketchbook page open nearby. I become so excited about the book I'm reading, I can't stand to look at the blinking cursor or page any longer. I HAVE to write and draw.

This way may seem kind of manic on the outside, as some people like to sit down and move start to finish on a project with no distractions. I'm that way about book writing. I can only work chronologically. If I get stuck in chapter twelve, there will be no chapter thirteen until I'm done with twelve. It's just how I work. But what this tricking method actually accomplished was, by the end of say four hours, I would have anywhere between 2,000 to 4,000 words and several sketches completed. I stay on task.

Tricking myself ended up being one of the best things I could have ever discovered about my process. What ways do you try to motivate yourself to get work done?

Monday, April 11, 2016

You Can Fool Some of the People . . .

by Tracy Barrett

So, you sold a book? Congratulations! The standards for kiddie books aren’t very high, are they? Imagine trying to sell that to an adult audience! But girls will read just about anything as long as there’s a cute guy on the cover, am I right?
Oh, you sold another one? Wow. They’ll publish anything these days, won’t they? When do you think they’ll start looking for quality instead of just publishing the latest hot thing?
A rejection, huh? Well, it was bound to happen. Just be glad you got those other books out there before they figured out that they wouldn’t do very well.

If you’ve never heard that mean little sabotaging voice, you’re lucky but you’re also in a distinct minority. Most of us have suffered at one time or another—some of us constantly—from Imposter Syndrome, where you’re convinced that your only talent is the ability to fool people into thinking that you’re accomplished. Sooner or later, they’ll figure you out and you’ll find yourself back at the middle-school talent show, with everyone laughing at you for thinking that you actually were good at something.

Even if you think you’ve killed that voice, it pops out of its grave at the least provocation: a bad review, a comment from a fellow author, another rejection. It doesn’t help much to recognize that the reviewer regularly pans books without reading them, the fellow author is smarting from too many rejections, the editor you submitted to isn’t accepting anything in your genre right now. No, it feels like someone has found you out.

One reason we’re so susceptible to this nastiness is that we’re sometimes guilty of doing the imposter thing, aren’t we? I know I am, and I was caught. The first paper I wrote in Mrs. Taylor’s tenth-grade English class came back with a C+ on it. C+??? I didn’t get C’s on English essays! Not even B’s! What was her problem? I flipped through it looking for red marks. Nothing. Not until the end, where she had written, “Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

And she was right. I had written the essay—I think it was about The Great Gatsby, but I can’t check because I certainly didn’t keep the evil thing—with flair and style, but hadn’t really said anything.

So I’m always waiting for another Mrs. Taylor to come along and expose the flaws in my work and show me for the poseur I secretly fear I am.

This isn’t only a bad thing, though. This fear makes me dig deeper as a writer, looking for what I really want to say, probing the sore places, coaxing out the hidden things that don’t want to expose themselves. Never again do I want to be forced to cringe in recognition at such a critique.

p.s. Timehop reminds me that exactly one year ago I mentioned this blog post by best-selling author Chuck Wendig on the same topic. Looks like this is something I think about regularly!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The One Person I Can Fool (Sydney Salter)

I'm not particularly good at fooling others. I can't keep a straight face. I burst into giggles.

The one person I can fool is me.

If… I weren't so busy… If my kids… If the aging grandmas… If only…

When… When the kids are back in school… When the kids are out of school… When I finish… When I start…

The truth is when I want to get something done, I get it done. I once wrote my 1,666 NaNoWriMo words on Thanksgiving while baking six pies, and attending a long, leisurely dinner with friends. I wrote two of my novels during the two hours a day my daughter attended preschool.

People tell me all the time that they'd write novels, too, if only… Or when...

I smile, nod, all the time thinking: if you really wanted to write a novel, you'd do it. Quit fooling yourself.

I recognize that ruse all too well.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Yankee Fool by Kimberly Sabatini

I grew up expecting stuff to happen on April 1st. My Dad came alive on that day of fools. He was a bear crawling out of his den--ready to stretch his funny bone. The one prank I remember the most, was the year I found my little brother crying into his Lucky Charms before school. My Dad had told him Reggie Jackson had been traded from the Yankees. I am certain that besides being devastated, it was the moment that turned my brother to a life of April Fools crime--Yankee related crime. Although I'm also pretty sure that nurture didn't play the only role. Genetics must have weighed in also. The combination turned him into the Yankee Fool.

When my Dad had passed away--the original Yankee Fool (and ironically a Mets fan) I didn't figure the madness would stop--the genetics being what they were. But it did feel as if the April Fools shenanigans might not be focused on me. After all--I did live in a different house and my brother had been trying to get away from me for most of his life. I felt sort of safe. And I was correct...

The attention became focused on my Mom.

There was the year my brother convinced her that their season tickets to the Yanks had been stolen out of the mail box and they couldn't get a refund.

And then their was the year he told her he won tickets to opening day at the brand new stadium.  P.S. She'd been scheduled for months to baby sit for me while I was at a writing conference and she cancelled last minute to go to the game!!!! (Can't say I was bummed to watch that one go bad.)

There was also the year where my brother snuck into her house and hid part of her Cable Box/DVR on Yankees Opening Day. I'm pretty sure the customer service rep is still traumatized.

And then the best was when she was at work and my brother moved her car and she couldn't find it. And I'm convinced it still counts as a Yankee Fool attack--after all she does have a Yankees decal on the vehicle. And if you need more, she was probably going home to watch a game.

This year she barricaded herself in her home and took no calls. Some people are just paranoid.

Now, I'm sure you're all wondering how this effects me. You weren't? Well, you should. Yankee Fool Syndrome is (if you recall my earlier statement) genetic as well as learned behavior. And now I'm the owner of three Yankee Fools in Training. While my boys originally approached this Yankee Fool apprenticeship with a laser focus towards my mother, they are starting to get cocky. They are beginning to expand their focus outside of the Yankees and they are looking at me.

And I don't like it one bit.

Time to give a fool some help folks. They are talking about Saran wrapping my toilet next year and it would be a shame for one or all of my kids to have to die. So, I beg you kind readers--help me keep the Yankee Fools alive. Tell me some of your best April 1st Tom Foolery so I can be prepared. I need your best jokes as well as your best anti-fool tips, because if I can't avoid them--I need to scare the pants off of them--so they never fool with me again.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Fooling Around (Joy Preble)

Probably one of the best lessons I’ve learned in life is how to embrace my occasional—or more than occasional--foolish behavior. I make mistakes. I screw up. I sing off-key, but with enthusiasm. I trust the wrong people, press reply all now and then. I lie to the dentist about how often I floss. I get worked up about stuff I can’t control. I spend three days in various embarrassing but fun costumes when a group of us sell books at Comic Con. I buy shoes I regret. Speaking of shoes, once I wore two different but similar shoes to work. I have fallen up the stairs. I have waved at people I didn’t know. I have said things I regret. Yeah, I crush the whole foolish things some days. Aggressively foolish. That’s me, although I am also many other things—good, solid things that people can count on in good, solid ways.

My characters are pretty foolish, too, especially in love because who hasn’t been a fool for love? In the forthcoming IT WASN’T ALWAYS LIKE THIS (5/17/16, Soho Teen), Charlie does something really stupid because of his deep love for Emma, and they both pay for this mistake for many, many years. And when you both are accidentally immortal, that’s a lot of years!

Ethan in my DREAMING ANASTASIA series is a fool for a cause that isn’t what he believes it to be. So is my fictional Anastasia. And so is Anne, in thinking that she can ignore the power simmering inside her.

Leo in last year’s FINDING PARIS foolishly trusts a stranger as she runs from the terrible truth of what has been happening to her.  Her sister Paris comes up with a foolish (but sensible to her) plan to save her. Max foolishly believes he can outrun his past.

Casey in THE SWEET DEAD LIFE foolishly believes he can still get his girlfriend Lanie back even though technically he’s dead now and has returned as his sister Jenna’s often inept guardian angel.

In Shakespeare, the fool was actually quite wise—not that I call myself wise most days! Or any days! So I’ll end with a quote from King Lear because the English major in me insists: “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.”