Good old Dino!
Grazie, everyone! Thanks for the love last week. My little chat with Don Vito garnered quite an audience (I saw youse all hiding among the green pole beans!) The Don invited me to lunch today--eggplant parmigiana--to see how my little project's going. Here's a snippet of our conversation. (O yeah, he served a mean Chianti too!)
Don Vito: "Michael, Michele, as we say in the old country. You get any of those blogtypes interested in your mafioso blog?"
Michele: "Yes, sir. I even got 14 followers."
Don Vito: "Fourteen? That's about as many guys I got 'round my house. You want me to have my boys go out and muscle you some more?"
Michele: "Actually, sir--"
Don Vito: "Enough with the sir, already. You call me godfather, capice?"
Michele: "Yes, sir, I mean godfather. Thanks for the offer of help. But, you see, we're all middle grade writers and..."
Don Vito: "Michele, Michele. You're not middle anything. You're top grade. Top grade, you hear me? Anybody else call you this middle thing, and I bust some knee caps. Okay?"
Well, as you can see, the Don doesn't yet know publishing. But he does seem to love me. I tactfully told him about some of my plans. You know, review some
middle "top" grade books, feature some middle "top" grade authors, both pubbed and unpubbed, even perhaps have a monthly book group, where we get people to read the same book and then chat about it. (The Don's comment: "You be sure to get those Kill Zone people there too. They good people.)
His last bit of advice: "Get names, Michele. But not on the telephone, understand? Easy to bug a telephone. Have them come over here, to lunch. We give 'em saltimbocca. A nice Valpolicella. Nothing but the best for your top grade friends."
He was pretty wary about e-mail--"could be bugged too,"--but I persuaded him we couldn't all fly across the country to his estate in New York. So, if you want to write for this blog, be featured on this blog, or help run a book group on this blog, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know the Godfather sent you.
As Don Vito said, as he waved me goodbye, "you good famiglia." I'd love for you to become one of our Top-grade, Middle Grade Mafiosi.