H.A.C.K.S., On Writing

Introducing the H.A.C.K.S. Seal of Approval

H.A.C.K.S. approves.
H.A.C.K.S. approves.

Are you a member of H.A.C.K.S. yet? No?

Do you at least know what H.A.C.K.S. stands for? No?

Sheesh. I need some PR people.

H.A.C.K.S. stands for Humans Against Celebrity Kid Stories. I founded the organization last year as a way to ever-so-gently dissuade people from buying picture books written by celebrities.

The reason? Simple. Because most of these celebrity-written children’s books are – and this is backed up by years of careful study – stinky.

Want to learn more about H.A.C.K.S.? Wonderful! Click here for info.

Are you one of those devil-may-care types who join organizations without knowing anything about them? Wonderful! Click here and “like” the page.

Now let’s get to the subject of this post. Although it has been proven that most celebrity children’s books are stinky, some are not. Case in point: Charming actress and fiber-filled-yogurt pitchwoman Jamie Lee Curtis has written several excellent picture books.

You can get regular be eating yogurt? Who knew? SHE did.
You can get regular by eating yogurt? Who knew?
SHE did.

Yes, Ms. Curtis is a celebrity but she is also a writer. She deserves, I think, immunity from any H.A.C.K.S. initiatives.

So I propose The H.A.C.K.S. Seal of Approval, an honor to be presented to a celebrity whose book (or books) can proudly stand alongside books that were written by people who do this writing thing for a living.

With the H.A.C.K.S. membership’s permission, I would like to nominate Ms. Curtis as our very first Seal of Approval recipient. All in favor?

Please also consider this post to be a solicitation for future H.A.C.K.S. Seal of Approval nominees. Have a suggestion? Have you read a celebrity children’s book that impressed you? Moved you? Made you laugh?

If so, fellow H.A.C.K.S.ters, leave a comment! Together let us encourage great writing!

On Blogging

My Versatility Responsibility

A few weeks ago the bloggerific Writerlious (aka Erin) honored me with a Versatile Blogger Award – and I am delighted. (According to her blog post, my chilling exposé on the origins of Marshmallow Fluff put me over the top.) Thanks, Erin!

As the recipient of this award, I now have to perform a few simple tasks.

1. Thank the person who nominated me and link back to said blogger’s site. (Which is easy because I did that in the first paragraph. You should check out Erin’s blog, by the way; it’s a good one.)

2.  I must share seven things about myself.

3. I must nominate seven more versatile bloggers.

4. Then I must contact said bloggers and post the award by linking back to the Versatile Blogger Award site.

So! Let’s get started!

Seven Things About Me

1. My father and I were once proud members of Indian Guides. For those of you not in the know, Indian Guides (now “Adventure Guides,” I’m told) was an organization designed to introduce fathers and sons to the wonders of nature. That pretty much meant camping. It soon became very clear, however, that neither Dad nor I was cut out for surviving in the wild. (On our very first nature walk, Dad lost my compass by dropping it in a river. Seriously, who does that?) So when Dad eventually became chief of the tribe, he decided to make a few changes. Instead of camping and nature walks, we did things like tour the Drakes Cakes factory. It turned out all the other tribe members preferred this kind of forward-thinking leadership. At least that’s what I think they told me; it was hard to understand them with their mouths stuffed full with Devil Dogs.

To me, this patch will forever be associated with the creamy goodness of Ring Dings.

2. My Indian Guides name is “Red Squirrel.” You may still call me this if you wish.

3. Last Christmas, my wife bought me a banjo, which is probably the best present I have ever received in my adult life. I haven’t been able to practice nearly as much as I would like, but I do take lessons and can play an almost-competent rendition of “Boil Them Cabbage Down.”  As lousy a player as I am, I find it great fun. My banjo is always within reach of my desktop computer; so whenever my writer brain ceases to function, I grab my finger picks and start a-pluckin’. Everything looks brighter when you have a banjo!

4. I’ve discovered that when I tell someone – anyone – that I play the banjo, the very next sentence that comes out of his or her mouth will include the word “Deliverance.” I try not to let this bother me.

5. My earliest childhood memory is when I was a toddler strapped to the back of Mom’s bicycle. From this perch I watched as she ran out into the center of a busy road to rescue a box turtle from oncoming traffic. I don’t know if we lived in a particularly turtle-rich part of the state or if we just kept encountering one turtle with a disturbing death wish, but I remember Mom doing a lot of turtle rescuing over the course of my childhood. I should also point out that a turtle rescue, from my little kid perspective, was rather unnerving, as it meant that Mom had to leave me alone on the back of a bike with only a wobbly kickstand keeping me from kissing the pavement.

Waiting for the crossing signal…

6. In my early 20s I, too, rescued a turtle from the middle of a busy road. During this heroic and selfless act, it peed on me. Twice.

7. Despite the turtle pee incident (and a few other things), I’m pretty happy with the way my life has turned out so far.

Seven Versatile Blogs

All right. Enough about me. Below (in no particular order) are seven bloggers who are all that and a bag of chips. Check ’em out!

roxieh.wordpress.com: Simply a fabulous resource for writers. The charming and personable Roxie keeps followers in the loop about any and all writing opportunities.

www.juliehedlund.com/julies-blog: Much to my chagrin, I discovered Julie’s blog too late to sign up for her 12x12in12 challenge (one new picture book draft every month in 2012) but I’m already signed up for her 2013 challenge (whatever that might be) and, while I wait, I’m enjoying her frequent posts.

practicalfreespirit.com: A science fiction and YA writer whose posts are sincere, thoughtful, and heartfelt.

humblenations.com:  This guy has got a keen design eye. As a former (and failed) graphic designer, I can really appreciate his talents. You will, too.

stacysjensen.blogspot.com: I eagerly look forward to her Perfect Picture Book Fridays.

thefamilythatreadstogether.com: I fell in love with Wendy’s writing style; I also fell in love with the books she recommends.

livelikeagrownup.wordpress.com: Sometimes witty, sometimes inspiring, always a darn good read.