Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Chronicles of Egg blog tour!

So, this is exciting: Deadweather and Sunrise comes out in paperback on Tuesday, and to mark the occasion, I’m going on a blog tour!

How special is this? Special enough to have its own logo!

Egg - Horizontaltourbutton

Those of you who are new to the world of middle-grade book marketing may be asking yourselves what a “blog tour” is. Turns out it’s exactly like Led Zeppelin’s 1977 tour of America, only without the, um…or the, y’know…and definitely none of the, uh…

Okay, it’s got nothing in common with Zeppelin in ’77. Or even Bieber in ’12. The truth is, I’m not even leaving my desk to go on this tour, although I might play Physical Graffiti while I type. Not sure yet.

What the blog tour REALLY is…is an eleven-day virtual tour of eleven different middle grade and YA book blogs — all of them run by thoroughly awesome bloggers to whom I am very grateful for the hospitality. (In this respect, the blog tour actually IS kind of like a fledgling punk band’s van tour, because I will be effectively sleeping on these fine bloggers’ virtual couches for the duration.)

Each day, I’ll visit a new site, write a guest post, and give away a signed copy of the Deadweather paperback. The posts will cover all manner of topics relating to Deadweather and the rest of the Chronicles of Egg series: character spotlights, origin stories, writing insights, and even a sneak peek at book 2, New Lands, which arrives in stores on May 2nd.

Here’s the full schedule, which I’ll update every time a new post appears. In the meantime, check out the sites! They’re awesome:

Tuesday, March 5th: Green Bean Teen Queen “Meet Egg Masterson”

also Tuesday: special bonus author Q&A at Bibliognome!

Wednesday, March 6th: Wanted Readers — “A Tale of Two Islands”

Thursday, March 7th: The Write Path — “Percy: The World’s Worst Tutor”Egg - verticaltourbutton

Friday, March 8th: I Read Banned Books — “The Story Behind Deadweather and Sunrise”

Monday, March 11th: A Thousand Wrongs — “Meet Millicent”

Tuesday, March 12th: Geo Librarian — “Action Sequences: Like Jokes, Only With More Blood”

Wednesday, March 13th: Chaos Is a Friend of Mine — “Meet Guts”

Thursday, March 14th: Buried in Books “Q&A With the Author”

Friday, March 15th: Book Sake — “Meet Roger Pembroke”

Monday, March 18th: Shannon Messenger — “Not Funny At All: The Real History of the Pirates of the Caribbean”

Tuesday, March 19th: There’s A Book — “An Excerpt From New Lands (Book 2 of the Chronicles of Egg)”

Some of these are real keepers, by the way. See you next week! Virtually, I mean.

Posted in Best Adventure Books, Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Chronicles of Egg | 10 Comments

Deadweather and Sunrise: a great read at any age

Now that there’s a critical mass of Deadweather and Sunrise fan testimonials on Youtube (and by “critical mass,” I mean two), I thought I’d collect them in this handy anthology.

Taken together, they’re strong evidence that while the Chronicles of Egg books are being marketed as middle grade, there’s no such thing as too young or too old to enjoy the series. Augie and Bruno loved Deadweather even though, at six and seven, they were young enough to have it read aloud to them.

And the older teenage girl who goes by the Youtube handle TheOtakuSakura15 is adamant that Deadweather is “both a kids’ book and a teen book,” and a thoroughly satisfying read even if your tastes are more YA than middle grade (“the romance is…ohmygosh, it’s PERFECTLY balanced…”).

I’ve also lost count of the number of adults who told me they bought the book for their kids, only to wind up reading it themselves and loving it. None of them have posted a Youtube video (yet), but most had a similar reaction to that of the stay-at-home mom in New Jersey who wrote, “It’s a wonder I cooked any meals or did any laundry once I started reading the book. It is just so much fun! I found myself sneaking time to read it any chance I could, staying up late to finish a chapter, and then another…”

Nice, right? It’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon — Deadweather and Sunrise comes out in paperback on Tuesday, and its sequel, New Lands, arrives May 2nd.

No matter how old you are, you’ll like them. I promise.

Posted in Best Adventure Books, Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Chronicles of Egg | 1 Comment

Don Rhymer, Screenwriter and Friend (1961-2012)

Don Rhymer would have been 52 years old today. He was a very good screenwriter, and an even better human being.tn-vsl-1201-don-rhymer-obit-001

I was only lucky enough to know Don for the last five years of his life, but over that period, he was a source of decades’ worth of both camaraderie and wise counsel, both about screenwriting and life in general. He was like the older brother I never had, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that knowing him made me a better person (if only slightly, because I am hard to teach).

Mostly, he led by example. Don was one of the most good-natured people I’ve ever known — but it wasn’t the cloying, marshmallow-edged type of good-naturedness that makes you suspect the person exhibiting it has either never read a newspaper or is in a state of active denial about reality.

Don’s good-naturedness was deeper and more fully lived than that — the sort that knows perfectly well just how unfair and stupid life can be, but has decided the best way to get through it isn’t to weep at the injustice, or rail against it, or stew in your own bitterness (personally, I’m good at all three, while excelling at the third), but to laugh at it.

Don’s ability to do this held true whether the source was Hollywood development executives or something actually serious, like cancer. When Don got sick a few years ago, he didn’t whine, or moan, or get depressed and withdraw from the world. Instead, he started a blog and made fun of it.Screen Shot 2013-02-23 at 12.48.37 PM

Let’s Radiate Don began as a series of comic updates about his treatment and, over time, turned into something deeper and more poignant. Since he died last fall, his wonderful wife and kids have continued to update it, making the site into a kind of living memorial and serving as a powerful reminder that even stories that don’t end well can be a source of comfort and inspiration.

If you check it out, I’d recommend reading backwards by first going to the bottom of the page and clicking “older posts” repeatedly, until it loads all of the archives dating back to July 17, 2010, where the initial obituary notice for Don’s lost taste buds appears. Or at least go as far back as “All Clear…and yet a little Fuzzy” on November 19, 2010, which is a real keeper.

Don wrote more than his share of successful films, including Rio, Happy Feet, and Big Momma’s House. The Oscar telecast is tomorrow night, and in spite of his long and impressive career, when it comes time to roll the tribute to prominent members of the film industry who’ve passed away this past year, it’s likely Don will be overlooked by the Academy one last time.

Now, my instinct — which, unfortunately, Don wasn’t around long enough to fully beat out of me — would be to treat this as an opportunity for some bitter screed about Hollywood’s lack of respect for screenwriters in general, and comedy writers in particular.

But that wasn’t Don’s way, and it’s not his family’s way, either — and thank goodness for that, because it led his son Andrew to create the following tribute to Don’s films. Even if you didn’t know Don, it’s a fun way to spend two minutes.

And if you DID know him, you may have the same reaction I did, which is to wonder how on earth you could get a lump in your throat watching clips of Martin Lawrence in drag.

Rest in peace, buddy.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why I Love The British

So, this is exciting: Deadweather and Sunrise was just shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in the U.K.

I am, as you can imagine, honored, flattered, and beyond certain that when it comes time to pick an actual winner, I’m going to get curb-stomped in the 5-to-12-year-old category. Probably by R.J. Palacio and Wonder, because everybody loves that book, and it’s hard to see how its deeply humane message of empathy and kindness could lose out to a story in which even the good kids aren’t above bashing each other in the head with cannonballs.imgres

(Although I do think there’s a great deal of incisive social commentary buried in the pages of Deadweather and Sunrise, not to mention some rather piquant observations on the human condition as it pertains to 13-year-olds, so if you’re a Waterstones voter and you happen to be reading this, please don’t let my opinion prejudice you. Also: does Wonder REALLY need more publicity? I think not.)

But the absolutely coolest part of this news was the headline that England’s fourth-largest newspaper (yes, I googled that) chose to announce the shortlist:

“BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD WRITER SHORTLISTED FOR WATERSTONES CHILDREN’S BOOK PRIZE 2013”

It would seem a curious editorial choice to elevate to headline status a minor, two-decade-old credit from just one of eighteen different writers on the shortlist.

Unless, of course, your sense of humor is keen enough–so keen, in fact, as to be positively British–that you not only notice the absurd juxtaposition of Beavis and Butt-head and a putative literary honor, but are willing to make that minor absurdity the main point of your story.

I think this might go a long way toward explaining why the British liked Deadweather and Sunrise enough to put it on the shortlist to begin with.

Posted in Best Adventure Books, Best Middle Grade Books, Best Middle Grade Series, Chronicles of Egg, Uncategorized | 7 Comments