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Michael Stearns

Goddammit.

It would be worse if my wife left me. That would be worse We've been together for 28 years, and I would give my life for her. So that would be worse.

But short of my wife leaving me, the abandonment I feel most keenly, is my fucking editor quitting. Goddammit! Do you have any idea how many editors I've dealt with either directly, or at second-hand through Katherine? This is the first guy with whom I have felt completely at ease. In synch. He got me, and I got him.

And the motherfucker is quitting.

Guy just handed me a rewrite that involves me throwing out about 100 pages. And yet, when he was telling me that, he was burying the lede, as the newspaper people would say. He's quitting to become an agent. Damn.

It will not shock regular readers when I say that I have a healthy ego. A certain degree of self-regard. I'm the author or co-author of 150 books for kids. No one alive has written more book series than Katherine and I have. And we have never written a series that didn't go well beyond the initial buy. We are, jointly and severally, the reigning world experts at YA and middle reader series. B*yfriends/Girlfriends, Ocean C*ty, Summ*r, Anim*rphs, Everw*rld, Remn*nts,*** not to mention a big chunk of Sweet V*lley Twins, Girl Talk, and all of Christy -- a Christian series, for God's sake, and we're both atheists -- Little Freaking Mermaid, Aladdin, and on and on and on. Under 11 different names. Crap we can't even remember. And occasionally some stuff that was actually good.

And yet, despite the fact that no one, anywhere, knows more about this particular niche skill than I do, I trust Michael Stearns' opinion more than my own.

Not just as much as my own. More. The way I trust my doctor more than myself when it comes to diagnosing my prostate. (See, there's an analogy Stearns will appreciate that 90% of editors would find offensive or unfunny or gross. He'll laugh and know I'm fucking with him.)

I know he's got to do what he's got to do. I imagine he wants to make some money. (Editors aspire to minimum wage.) I hope he succeeds. I hope he becomes the biggest, most important agent in New York.

The motherfucker.

***As always my lame attempt to keep the Google from associating this PG-13 political site to our PG books.

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“Michael Stearns”

  1. Blogger Michael Says:

    Aw, thanks man. I really love these books. And will miss working on them.

  2. Blogger Ruth Anne Adams Says:

    Could you expand upon your involvement with "Christy", please?

    Where'd you hide the atheism in that?

  3. Blogger Michael Reynolds Says:

    Ruth Anne:

    Ah, the Christy years. Or, I guess it was a few months.

    These were YA spin-offs from the TV version of the original book. Basic story, as you may know, is Christy, the low-land do-gooder, becomes a Christian missionary to the hillbillies.

    We were hired to do the YA books. Much soul-searching. On my wife's part. I was like, "Damn, that's good money!" We were bookish -- not really broke, but recently broke, so still broke in our minds. Still running scared. A condition that persists amazingly.

    The funny part was that K is a heathen from birth, unlike me. I was actually raised Lutheran and had been confirmed and all that. And I'd made the mistake of reading the Bible cover to cover, which naturally enough, led me to atheism.

    So, anyway, I was the one who had to come up with the biblical/moral peg to hang the plot on. Just how far off-course have you gone when you're coming to me for your Bible lessons?

    But we did a good enough job that they asked us for more than the original signing. I'm pretty sure we saved some souls, which is credit I may need some day when I wake up to find myself explaining my life to an old Jewish fisherman.

  4. Blogger Michael Reynolds Says:

    "Bookish" is supposed to be "brokish." Hmmm. Freudian slip.

  5. Blogger Ruth Anne Adams Says:

    Michael: Thanks for that explanation. I guess that's the YA literature equivalent of 'no, but if you hum a few bars, I can fake it!'

    I don't think you'll be explaining your life to an old Jewish fisherman [St. Peter? He's a gatekeeper nowadays anyway. And Jesus never got old, nor was he a fisherman.] But what an example of Genius--a non-believer could write words that convert souls and the writer remains unchanged. Never a better argument for free will have I seen. And God is the Ultimate Gentleman. He will only go where He is invited.

  6. Blogger amba Says:

    Oh noooooooooooo, Michael. No. Crap.

    He'll miss working on them? He should keep on working on them on the side! Some agents are agent-editors, you know. They put their clients through revisions. Wouldn't he like to make some money that way?

    Or do you just not want to, not need to, give 15 percent to an agent?

    Sucks, man. Condolences.

  7. Blogger Michael Reynolds Says:

    Amba:
    Well, they've agreed to let him finish editing book #2. Thank God. He sent me a big rewrite, basically blew out the last 100 pages. But he was right. I'd felt it in that back-of-the-head, don't-want-to-accept-it way that there was a problem with the ending. He nailed it, came up with a good alternate solution, and that, as you know, is what a great editor does and what a lucky writer appreciates.

  8. Blogger Diane Says:

    (sigh) I miss him too.