The Tapper Twins Tear Up New York!

rodkey_tappertwins_tearupnewyorkLook what’s available for preorder!

From Powell’s

McNally-Jackson

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

…and Books-A-Million!

I promise you this is the funniest book you’ll ever read about a scavenger hunt across New York City…

…that incorporates plush-toy school mascots…

7B (1)

 

…horribly mangled plush-toy school mascots…

11G

…non-mangled plush-toy school mascots in the vicinity of famous NYC landmarks like Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain…

12D

…a fistfight between Times Square cartoon characters….

16Q

…and a mass riot of 12-year-olds (photo not available due to budget constraints) all clamoring to win front-row seats at Madison Square Garden!

4G_Madison Square Garden

The Tapper Twins Tear Up New York arrives in stores September 29th…but if you want to avoid the mass riot of 8-to-12-year-olds that will likely accompany its release, you can preorder now and have it delivered to your door when it comes out! Here are those links again:

Powell’s

McNally-Jackson

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

And if you want to read a preview of the opening chapters, head over to TapperTwins.com.

See you in September!

Posted in Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Funniest Middle Grade Books, Funny Middle Grade Books, Humor Books for Kids, Less Than Completely Serious, Reluctant Readers, Tapper Twins | Leave a comment

What’s That Clinging To The Bottom Of the NYT Bestseller List?

You have to squint to see it…but it’s there. Yay!

Many, many thanks to everyone at Little Brown Young Readers, without whose heroic efforts this never would’ve happened — especially Andrea Spooner, Liz Casal, Megan Tingley, Andrew Smith, Melanie Chang, Emilie Polster, Lisa Moraleda, Russ Busse, Deirdre Jones, Victoria Stapleton, Kristin Dulaney, Allegra Green, Adrian Palacios, and anybody else I forgot…

NYT list May 10 2015 (1)

Posted in Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Funniest Middle Grade Books, Funny Middle Grade Books, Tapper Twins | Leave a comment

Hey, Chicago/San Francisco/LA: come see me!

THE TAPPER TWINS GO TO WAR (WITH EACH OTHER) is in stores now! Which is nice.

And I’m going on a short book tour! Which will also be nice…but only if people show up to the events. Sooooooo here’s the list:

CHICAGO:

GeoffRodkeyMonday, April 13 — 7:00 pm — Anderson’s Bookshop — Naperville, IL

 

Tuesday, April 14 — 4:30 pm – Niles Public Library — Niles, IL

 

SAN FRANCISCO:

BURL-Geoff-RokdeyThursday, April 16 — 4:00 pm – Burlingame Public Library — Burlingame, CA

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOS ANGELES:

Sunday, April 19 — 12:00 pm — LA Times Festival of Books — Los Angeles, CA (USC campus) – YA Stage (panel discussion w/Mac Barnett, Jory John, Mo O’Hara, and Leila Howland) 

logo-FOB

It’ll be fun! The events are free, I tell a lot of jokes, and I swear I won’t make you feel guilty if you don’t buy a book. Although if you’re going to go to all the trouble of coming out, I mean…y’know…

Hope to see you next week!

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Oh, hey, look, a starred review in Publishers Weekly

You no longer have to take my word for it that The Tapper Twins Go To War (With Each Other) is good – this very enthusiastic review in Publishers Weekly confirms itrodkey_tappertwins_pob

If you’re too lazy to click the link, here’s the money quote:

The clear winners are readers of this uproarious series opener, which is packed with both laugh-out-loud moments and heart.

(BTW, just in case you’re worried the critical acclaim might go to my head, here’s another link to that vicious Roger Ebert review of Daddy Day Care.

And while we’re on the subject of reviews…here’s a sampling of feedback from ACTUAL PARENTS of kids who’ve read advance copies of The Tapper Twins Go To War: 

TT parent reviews

Nice, right? And they’re all 100% real! No, really. All the Little Brown publicity department did was dress them up in a nice font.

Want to read the opening chapters or pre-order the book? Head over to TapperTwins.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Read a sneak preview of The Tapper Twins!

The very spiffy TapperTwins.com web site just launched, and if you click over to it, you can read the first few chapters of the book!

I could probably embed the preview and save you a click if I weren’t totally incompetent.

Here, let me try:

The Tapper Twins Go to War (With Each Other) by Geoff Rodkey

Did that work? Ohmygosh, I think that actually worked.

Wow! WordPress really IS idiot-proof.

(Even if it didn’t work, your sneak preview of The Tapper Twins Go To War (With Each Other) is just a click away. Enjoy!)

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Hi, 2015. Hi!

Hello! I’d start this post by apologizing to longtime readers of this blog for the fact that 2014 brought only two new posts, both of them blatant acts of book marketing.

But let’s be honest: this blog has no longtime readers.

Judging by my traffic stats, only two kinds of people wind up here: kids who googled “geoff rodkey author” because they’re trying to pad out a book report, and the unfortunate tourists who googled “best ride at Universal Studios” and clicked on this post in the vain hope of actually learning something useful before their trip.

(Sometimes, the tourists get angry. I know this because they leave comments. Like this guy. If you are one of these people, hello! And I’m sorry. Have fun in Orlando. Just make sure you hit the Harry Potter stuff early. It gets crowded fast.)

Anyway, it makes sense that if I only post twice a year, and then only for totally self-serving book marketing purposes, I won’t get a lot of repeat business.

But this year, I’m going to post a lot more!

That’s because The Tapper Twins Go To War (With Each Other) is coming out April 7th…followed by The Tapper Twins Tear Up New York in early fall…and at least two more Tapper Twins books in 2016.rodkey_tappertwins_pob

The good news is that most of these posts will NOT seem like totally self-serving acts of book marketing. I am going to do my best to just write things that are fun to read for their own sake.

Like, say, the Letters To My Kid At Summer Camp series.

Or The Slightly Strange Saga of My Son’s Soccer Ball.

Or even The Absolutely Best Ride At Universal Studios Orlando (hello again, tourists! Try not to let your kids pester you into buying a $36.95 wizarding wand that they will play with exactly twice before forgetting they own it. Although to be fair, they’re quality wands. We still have a Narcissa Malfoy somewhere in a desk drawer, and I think there might be a Cedric Diggory stuck between the sofa cushions in the living room.)

The bad news–and I’m telling you this up front because I respect you–is that even the posts that don’t SEEM like self-serving acts of book marketing actually ARE.

It’s just that their M.O. won’t so much be “HEY, YOU, BUY THIS BOOK!” Which I’ve realized is kind of tacky. (And, judging by the sales to date of The Chronicles of Egg trilogy, was also totally ineffective.)

Instead, it’ll be more of an “ohmygosh, it’s so much fun to read this post! Maybe this person’s books are also fun to read! Perhaps I should buy one” kind of a thing.

And you really should. Because The Tapper Twins Go To War (With Each Other) is a whoooole lot of fun. And its sequels will be, too!

And they have pictures! Tons of them. Like this one, which appears in The Tapper Twins Tear Up New York and was shot in Times Square last fall: TT2_Times_Square2

I’d explain what’s going on there, but crotch-kicking jokes are pretty much self-explanatory even out of context.

The last time I counted, The Tapper Twins Tear Up New York had about 100 photos in it. So there’s a lot more where this one came from (although at the moment, it’s the only one that involves a kick in the crotch).

Since the Tapper twins characters are mostly 12 years old and all live in NYC, I plan to write a whole bunch of posts in 2015 about either A) 12-year-olds or B) New York City.

So if you have any particular questions about either of those topics–or, really, anything at all you’d like me to address in future posts–feel free to leave a comment below. It doesn’t have to be about 12-year-olds or New York City, either. I’m happy to discuss anything.

(For example, if you came here looking for information about my screenwriting career, and are wondering why Roger Ebert’s review of Daddy Day Care was so vicious and mean-spirited, I can discuss that, too. I have theories.)

And please come back! There will be new stuff here all year long. And it’ll be much less blatant than the old stuff.

Incidentally, if you’re looking for a great blog full of stuff that’s fun to read, check out Laura Belgray’s Talking Shrimp blog. Laura’s hilarious, she posts regularly, and she’s not nearly as blatantly self-promotional as I am. (Warning: Laura’s a marketing copywriter, not a middle grade author, so some of her posts may not be appropriate for 8-to-12-year-old kids. Hey, kids: quit reading this and get back to your book reports.)

(You know what’s another great blog? Wait But Why.  Just don’t go there if you’re trying to get work done today. You could lose a week of your life on that site.)

Okay, now I’m rambling. Bye! Come back soon.

Posted in Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Film and TV, Funny Middle Grade Books, Humor Books for Kids, Less Than Completely Serious, Tapper Twins | 3 Comments

The End (and the Beginning) of The Chronicles of Egg

So, Blue Sea Burning is finally in stores (if you haven’t gotten your copy, you can rectify that now via Amazon, B&N, or your favorite indie bookseller)9780399257872_Blue_Sea_Burning…and in honor of the occasion, I have a guest post up today at John Scalzi’s Whatever blog describing how the Chronicles of Egg series came about.

If you’re a fan of the Egg books, or just Egg-curious, it’s worth a look — and if you’re unfamiliar with John Scalzi’s books, you should DEFINITELY check them out. I don’t read much sci-fi, and neither does my 13-year-old — but both of us love Scalzi’s books, which have a fantastic sense of humor that’s missing from a lot of sci-fi. My favorite is Redshirts; I really dug Fuzzy Nation, too; and if you’re into more traditional sci-fi, Old Man’s War and its sequels are also great.

But you should finish the Chronicles of Egg first. Or, if you’re just clicking over here from Scalzi’s blog, you might want to START the Chronicles of Egg, which begins with Deadweather and Sunrise (newly available in this redesigned and very spiffy cover):9780142426623_DeadwthrSnrse_CV.indd

Actually, wait…on second thought, if you’re just clicking over here from Scalzi’s blog, start with The Slightly Strange Saga of My Son’s Soccer Ball, because it is short and fun and free.

If you like that, try Letters To My Kid At Summer Camp and its sequels.

And if you like those, THEN you might want to take a flyer on the Egg books.

Posted in Best Adventure Books, Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Chronicles of Egg | 2 Comments

ATTENTION HOLIDAY SHOPPERS…

Considering a copy of Deadweather and Sunrise or New Lands as a holiday gift?

You should! Seriously. These books are AMAZING, and I’m not just saying that because I get royalties.

And if you are…why not make that gift EXTRA-SUPER-SPECIAL by having it signed and personalized to your friend/loved one/person-you-got-stuck-with-in-the-Secret-Santa-drawing?

Because for a limited time only, I will autograph and personalize as many books as you want FOR FREE!

Well, not exactly. That would be kind of a hassle (although if you’re dead set on it, and/or live within a five-block radius of my apartment, email me and maybe we can work something out).

But what I WILL do for free is send you a personalized, autographed Chronicles of Egg book plate that you can affix to the inside of your copy!

It’ll be almost exactly like my having signed the book itself, and it’ll look something like this:

IMG_0841Nice, right? Do you like the “Get hooked” catch phrase? And the little drawing of a hook? There’s no extra charge for those.

Also, for those of you unclear on the concept of “book plate,” it’s basically a fancy sticker. You can peel off the back and stick it pretty much anywhere you want. Most people choose the interior title page, but it’ll stick to anything, so if you’d rather put it on a notebook, refrigerator, the back of an unsuspecting victim, etc…have at it. I’m not going to judge you.

And again: THIS IS FREE, and I’ll send as many book plates as you have books to stick them in. Just send a mailing address and the first name of the recipient to geoff@geoffrodkey.com and I’ll hook you up.

Do it by 4pm on December 18th, and I guarantee delivery in time for Christmas!

Any later than that, and I will guarantee delivery by Martin Luther King Day. (For which the Chronicles of Egg books would also make a fine, if somewhat inexplicable, gift.)

Posted in Best Adventure Books, Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Chronicles of Egg, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Best Blog Post Comment Ever!

In the short history of this site, I’ve gotten 176 reader comments. But I’d never read one that made me laugh out loud until the following appeared, at the bottom of the “Absolutely Best Ride At Universal Studios Orlando” post.

mark says:

Thank you for wasting my time. I read all of this and went to the end just to get angry at you. Please stop writing these if you are just going to waste time.

Mark, if you’re reading this, all I can say is I’m sorry.

And if you think I’ve wasted YOUR time, imagine how much of my own time I’ve wasted writing all these posts!

I should probably get a day job or something.

Happy Holidays!

Posted in Less Than Completely Serious | 1 Comment

Brand! New! Covers!

The Chronicles of Egg books are about to get a whole lot more awesome:

EGG_HQNot that they weren’t already awesome.

And I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover.

But still. These are pretty great. Especially the new Deadweather cover.

Incidentally, if you don’t already own Deadweather and Sunrise and New Lands, YOU NEED TO BUY THEM RIGHT NOW (preferably by clicking one of the “Get the Books!” links on the right side of the page).

Because pretty soon, the first edition covers will be gone for good.

Which means they are going to be ENORMOUSLY VALUABLE COLLECTOR’S ITEMS.

(I hope.)

Posted in Best Adventure Books, Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Chronicles of Egg | 6 Comments

Things I Wrote When I Was Fifteen…

I’ve been visiting a lot of elementary and middle schools lately to talk about writing, which turns out to be the secret, practically-full-time job of most middle grade writers.

I say “secret,” because when I first got Deadweather and Sunrise published, nobody told me that the only way kids will realize your book even exists is if you show up at their school with a PowerPoint presentation.

But it is, and so I do.

One of things I talk about is how I got my start: by writing humor pieces for my high school newspaper, starting with an article I wrote as a sophomore about how I couldn’t understand why, just once, Wile E. Coyote couldn’t catch, kill, and eat the Roadrunner.

A bunch of kids have asked if they can read the article, so here it is. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it good…but to be fair, it WAS written by a 15-year-old:

Roadrunner1985 2

 

Incidentally, the front page of that same issue is below, and it’s worth a look for a couple of reasons:

PretzNewsheader1985 2

First, do you see the pretzel in the upper left corner?

That was our mascot.

Our mascot was a pretzel.

We were The Pretzels.

We had “Pretzel Pride.”

The weirdest thing about it? Nobody in my high school thought it was weird.

Second…take a look at that headline over the lead article. See anything amiss?

Apparently, we were a little short in the “Pretzel Proofreading” department.

Posted in Appearances, Best Adventure Books, Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Chronicles of Egg | 15 Comments

Deadweather and Sunrise: The Stop-Motion Lego Trailer

This is just crazy great: a trailer for Deadweather and Sunrise, made in stop motion…using Legos…in a 13-year-old’s basement.

Many, many thanks to the awesome Natalia Zeller MacLean for making this.

If your browser chokes on the plugin, try clicking here:

Deadweather and Sunrise Movie Trailer

And if that doesn’t work, feel free to leave a little sad-face emoticon in the comments section. :(

Posted in Best Adventure Books, Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Chronicles of Egg | 5 Comments

Why I Love The Germans

Two words: PROMOTIONAL SKULLS.

Dreckswetter_Schädel2

 

I think my 13-year-old put it best:

“This book is going to do really well in Germany.”

With special thanks to Katja of the Coffee and Books blog and the Eckermann Buchhandlung in Weimar, Germany.73150645

Which, incidentally, might just be the world’s cutest bookstore.

Just look at it!

It’s like a gingerbread house!

Full of skulls.

Thanks also to my German publisher, Carlsen, for sending out all the skulls.

Posted in Best Adventure Books, Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Chronicles of Egg | 4 Comments

Go see Adam Gidwitz! (Or at least read his books!)

Like most writers facing deadlines, I spent yesterday not writing. This was probably stupid of me, but it sure was fun–especially because I got to spend the time sitting in on a presentation Adam Gidwitz gave to my kid’s sixth grade class.

Adam’s the bestselling author of A Tale Dark and Grimm and its sequels, In a Glass Grimly and The Grimm Conclusion,imgres the last of which comes out next week. They’re retellings of classic Grimm’s fairy tales that–unlike the familiar, watered-down versions–are scary, bloody, gruesome…and therefore MUCH more appealing to kids like mine.

The books are also hilarious, engaging, and just all-around fun–which is equally true of Adam’s public appearances. I have, in all sincerity, never seen a more captivated audience of kids than the one that laughed, screamed, and applauded through Adam’s retelling of the original version of Cinderella — in which there are chamber pots, knives, pecked-out eyes, and many, many more scary/funny/cool parts than I ever knew existed in that story.

Raise your hand if that sounds awesome:IMG_0735

See?

AND HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS — Adam’s heading out on a book tour, and if you live in New York City, San Francisco, Oregon, Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia, or Rhode Island, YOU CAN SEE HIM, TOO! Click here for dates and details.

And if you’re in NYC this Friday night, October 4th, definitely come by BookCourt in Brooklyn at 7pm to hear Adam retell more gruesome fairy tales.

My kids are very excited about it–which, if you know my kids, is a real accomplishment.

How much will your kids love it? THIS much! IMG_0727

Posted in Appearances, Best Adventure Books, Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Endangered Authors Tour | 1 Comment

Best Panel Discussion Ever!

Someone just sent me a photo of the awesomest panel discussion I’ve ever had the honor of participating in, along with Sonia Manzano (aka Maria from Sesame Street), Newbery Award winner (for The One and Only Ivan) Katherine Applegate, and fantastic moderator/MG author Nan Marino (Hiding Out at the Pancake Palace).

You’re going to have to take my word for it that it was awesome, because the photo makes it look like Sonia’s angry, Katherine’s nodding off, and I’m staring down a heckler just offstage:

Brooklyn Book Fest

 

I’m not exactly sure what made this particular panel (at last week’s Brooklyn Book Festival) so much awesomer than the usual.

It may have been the inspirational quality of Sonia’s story–both how she got her start as a writer on Sesame Street and what led her to create the fascinating and moving The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, set in Spanish Harlem in 1969. 

It might also have been Nan’s uncanny ability to pose questions that alternately evoked thoughtful answers and provided the perfect setup to punch lines.

Or it could have been Katherine’s willingness, within five minutes of meeting me, to make fun of my bad parenting skills in front of a large group of strangers.

In any case, it was fantastic. If you were there, thanks for coming! If you missed it, please contact your local book festival and demand that they book the four of us. Katherine’s up for it, too:

And a special thanks to outstanding Penguin publicist Marisa Russell, who not only managed to convince the Brooklyn Book Festival people that I belonged in such esteemed company, but also took the following (and much less angry/sleepy/heckled-looking) shot of the four of us post-panel: IMG_7431[1]

ETA: Click here for Nan’s take on the event, which is full of both A) applied math and B) surprises. (Nan: you were a pro! I never once got the sense that you were thinking about making a run for it. Although, now that I think of it, that would have made the whole thing EVEN MORE memorable.)

Posted in Appearances, Best Adventure Books, Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series | 2 Comments

How (Not) To Talk Like A Pirate

This Thursday, September 19th, is International Talk Like A Pirate Day — a fake but increasingly popular holiday of which I’ve been vaguely aware for a number of years, and which I used to think was totally ridiculous.

Then I wrote The Chronicles of Egg, and I suddenly realized International Talk Like A Pirate Day was absolutely brilliant!

tlapdbanner2 By “absolutely brilliant,” of course, I mean “a marketing opportunity.” There are, after all, quite a lot of pirates in the Egg books, and nearly all of them talk.

Except for Mung, who lost part of his skull to a cannonball and can only gurgle incoherently. Which is admittedly kind of disturbing, although if you’ve read Deadweather and Sunrise, I think you’ll agree Mung’s shown great fortitude in living with his disability, and on the whole maintains a very positive, even charming, demeanor.

But I digress.

The thing is, marketing middle grade kids’ books–even critically acclaimed ones that adults love as much as kids–is HARD. Even when you’re blessed with incredibly fortunate alphabetization (“Rodkey” just happens to be conveniently wedged between “Riordan” and “Rowling” on the shelves), it’s tough to get the attention of potential readers.

So when an obvious hook (there’s a pun to be had here, but I’m too lazy to develop it) like International Talk Like A Pirate Day presents itself, only a fool would overlook it.

Hence this post, which began with a flurry of research. Talk Like a Pirate Day (or TLAPD, as its founders call it) has quite an interesting history, which you can read about here, and which involves a racquetball court, somebody’s ex-wife, and humorist Dave Barry.

It turns out Dave Barry was the key to the whole thing. TLAPD started as a private joke between a couple of guys in Oregon, and it probably would’ve stayed that way forever if Dave hadn’t publicized it in his syndicated column back in 2002, at which point TLAPD’s popularity exploded.

(Actually, now I’m thinking that if I can just get Dave Barry to plug The Chronicles of Egg in his column, all my marketing problems will be solved. If you know how I can get in touch with Dave Barry, PLEASE EMAIL ME.)

Some further digging into the TLAPD site revealed a glossary of the appropriate jargon to use when Talking Like A Pirate. And this is where the trouble started.

Because none of the pirates in The Chronicles of Egg talk like pirates are supposed to.

In the course of three books (Blue Sea Burning comes out April 3rd), NOBODY SAYS “ARRRR!” Not even once.

No one ever gets called “matey,” or “lubber,” or “me hearty.”

There is not a single exclamation of “Avast!” or “Shiver me timbers!”

Worst of all, when the verb “to be” is deployed, it tends to be in grammatically correct situations–as opposed to, say, “I be thirsty fer grog!”

(There’s also no grog. But that’s a whole other story.)

So how DO the pirates in The Chronicles of Egg talk? Here’s a short excerpt from Deadweather and Sunrise, in which our 13-year-old hero, the unfortunately named Egg Masterson, first encounters the infamous pirate Burn Healy:

“By strange coincidence,” said Healy, “I’ve just come from a meeting with a very powerful man. And your name came up.”

As my chest started to thump with fear, he reached back and plucked a piece of stiff paper from his desk. He studied it with a frown.

“Do you know what this man asked me to do if I saw you?”

He slid the paper across the table to me. I didn’t have to look at it to know what it was.

“He asked me to kill you.”deadweathersmall

I didn’t know where to put my eyes — on the wanted poster with my face staring up at me, or on the pirate captain staring at me from the other side of the table.

I settled for staring at my hands. I wondered if I could ask him to shoot me instead of throwing me overboard. It’d be over faster that way.

“Don’t worry — I’m not going to.”

I looked up. There was a hint of a smile at the corners of his mouth.

“I do a volume business. Five thousand silver’s not enough to get me out of bed. Can’t say the same for most men, though. And hats off to you.” He tapped the wanted poster with his finger. “Murderer or not, that’s quite a price for a fruit picker’s boy. Why is that? Is it the company you keep? Or is it something else?”

See what I mean? Not a lot to work with there, arrr-and-matey-wise.

So I guess there’s no angle in this for me. Even so, take the time this Thursday to talk like a pirate. It’s completely ridiculous, but it’s fun.

And if it’s not too much trouble, please tell everybody you know to pick up a copy of Deadweather and Sunrise. You’ll find it in the kids’ section, right between the Riordans and the Rowlings:

imagesdeadweathersmallimgres

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Too much? I know. Sorry! Couldn’t resist.)

Posted in Best Adventure Books, Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Chronicles of Egg | 8 Comments