Category Archives: Chronicles of Egg

The Next Big Thing…

First, a word about Brian Farrey: he’s the author of the thoroughly awesome Vengekeep Prophecies, which has a lot in common with Deadweather and Sunrise

in that it’s funny, and exciting, and marketed to 10-year-olds but a good read even if you haven’t been that age since Ronald Reagan was president.

Brian recently tagged me on Twitter as one of his picks for The Next Big Thing. Does that sentence make any sense to you? No? Me, neither. Not at first. But here’s the gist of it:

The Next Big Thing is a sort of literary chain letter, passed from author to author, and designed to get us to talk about not only our next project, but the projects we’re excited about seeing from three other authors.

Authors like…

Christopher Healy, whose A Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom also has a lot in common with Deadweather and Sunrise: it’s a funny adventure, the first in a trilogy, was released in May 2012, and was named one of Amazon’s Best Middle Grade Books of 2012. A Hero’s Guide… is the story of four Princes Charming–the unnamed love interests in Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Rapunzel–who wind up getting in a whole lot of trouble involving a witch and the aforementioned princesses, one of whom is a real piece of work. It’s a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to hearing more about the second book in the series.




Tommy Greenwald, author of Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading and Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Extra Credit. Charlie Joe is a middle schooler who’s much cooler than I was at that age, and who–just like my own kids–goes to sometimes extraordinary lengths to avoid reading.I read both of these books out loud to my 10- and 7-year-old boys, and all three of us had a fantastic time with them. In fact, my kids are more excited about the next Charlie Joe Jackson book than they are about the next Chronicles of Egg book. I don’t blame Tommy for that; I blame my parenting.


Last but not least…


Amy Ignatow is the author-illustrator of The Popularity Papers series, which follows the continuing adventures of fifth graders Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang. I think these books are hilarious, although I can’t get my sons to read them for the same reason my wife couldn’t get me to read the Twilight series–they are ever so slightly gender-specific in their appeal. But if you have a daughter, and she hasn’t checked out this series yet, she will love it. I’m secretly hoping Amy’s planning to announce a brand-new series that’s more boy-centric (I think she could really make hay with gratuitous violence and fart jokes), but I’m pretty sure her Next Big Thing is a continuation of the Lydia and Julie saga, not least because it’s been a big hit.

I’m tagging all of these people for the Next Big Thing. They don’t know that yet, but they’ll find out soon enough. In the meantime, per the Next Big Thing rules, here’s the part of the post where I plug my own work:

What’s the working title for your book?

NEW LANDS isn’t just the working title in the second volume in the Chronicles of Egg series–it’s the actual title! And it comes out on May 2nd.

A short synopsis?

The action picks up where Deadweather and Sunrise left off–with Egg and Guts en route to the New Lands in search of the lost Okalu tribe, who hold the key to the mysterious treasure map that Egg can’t decipher. But the ruthless Roger Pembroke is hard on Egg’s trail, the New Lands are full of new enemies, and our heroes’ only weapons are their brains, their courage, and the two dozen Cartager swear words that Guts picks up from a foul-mouthed sailor in Chapter 1.

They’re going to need help. But who can they trust? Is Kira, the beautiful and heavily armed Okalu refugee, their ally…or their enemy? Is Pembroke’s daughter Millicent on Egg’s side…or her father’s? Why on earth is the notorious pirate Burn Healy being so NICE to them? And the biggest question of all: what shocking secret will Egg discover in the shadow of an ancient Okalu temple?

Where did the idea for this book come from?

I vaguely recall Stephen King once writing that when people ask him where his ideas come from, his standard answer is “Mars” — because the truth is that he doesn’t know where they come from. They just sort of show up.

New Lands is like that. The story grew out of what happened in Deadweather and Sunrise, except that the stakes have gotten bigger, the canvas has gotten wider (moving from a handful of islands to an entire continent), and a lot of the questions left tantalizingly hanging in book 1 will finally be answered.

Although some of those answers will only lead to bigger questions.

But all of THOSE questions will be answered, once and for all, in book 3. I promise.

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s sort of a fantasy, except that there’s nothing fantastical about the world.

It’s sort of historical, except that the history is all made up.

It’s sort of middle grade, except that I tried to write it so adults could enjoy it as much as kids.

I think “adventure-comedy” is a pretty fair description.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I started working on this trilogy because I was tired of writing movies, so that’s something I’d rather leave to other people.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It’s published by Putnam/Penguin, and represented by the very talented Josh Getzler of Hannigan Salky Getzler.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Six months. Plus six months of thinking about it before I started. Plus the six months that it took to write Deadweather and Sunrise before that. Plus the two years I spent thinking about the whole trilogy before I started writing any of them.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Someone (okay, not someone–my agent) described Deadweather as “The Princess Bride with 13-year-olds,” which I think is very accurate.

There are also some tonal similarities to both the Percy Jackson and Artemis Fowl books.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to write something that was as much fun as you can possibly have between two covers.

What else about the book might pique a reader’s interest?

Not to put too fine a point on it, but it’s the finest book written in English for a middle grade audience since…well, I guess that’s a tie between A Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Extra Credit, and The Popularity Papers, Vol. 4. 

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Deadweather and Sunrise: The Turkish TV Ad

Every once in a great while, you come across something of such pure undiluted awesomeness that it cannot be explained. It must first be experienced. Like that baby panda sneezing on Youtube.

Or this:


Wow! Right? I mean, just…wow.

That was, as you’ve probably deduced from the title, an ad for the Turkish edition of Deadweather and Sunrise. I’m told it’s running on the Turkish versions of the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and the Cartoon Network.

Which immediately made me wonder just how cheap ad rates are on Turkish cable.

The enthusiasm of it is really something. That announcer sounds like he’s going to burst a vein in his neck. I have no idea what he’s saying, but he makes me want to log on to Turkish Amazon and buy a copy just to see what all the excitement’s about.

I will admit that the skeletons in pirate outfits gave me pause. While there are a couple of skeletons in the book, along with quite a few pirates, there are no actual instances of skeletons wearing pirate outfits. Nor, if such skeletons existed, would they be walking upright, in possession of live parrots, or given to flexing their knees like suburban housewives at an aerobics class.

Ultimately, it was the skeletons that convinced me I needed to get this thing translated.

As luck would have it, my son’s second-grade teacher is Turkish (this is one of the many benefits of sending your kid to an international school), and she was kind enough to translate the entire ad for me. Here’s the text of the voice-over:

Come on! Admit it!

You are dying to read other people’s diaries!

Especially if that diary is full of excitement and adventure!

You will love Egg’s diaries, too!

While you are reading, your heart will jump because in these diaries are mystery, murderous pirates, dangerous enemies, and a crazy young deckhand with one arm!

Non-stop entertainment! 

The first book of The Mysterious Diaries — The Fire King’s Treasure — presented by Epsilon Publishing House, your address for entertaining books — has come out!

Kind of interesting that The Chronicles of Egg is now The Mysterious Diaries. Particularly because there are no actual diaries in the book.

But I have to admit it’s a compelling hook: I actually am dying to read other people’s diaries, especially if they’re full of excitement and adventure.

These Turkish marketing people are pretty smart.

In fact, swapping out Deadweather and Sunrise for The Fire King’s Treasure is so smart it’s a little upsetting.

Don’t get me wrong. Deadweather and Sunrise is a fine title. Evocative, slightly mysterious, got a nice sort of lilt to it… But once I got the translation back, I ran it by my 12-year-old.

“So it turns out that, in Turkish, they’re calling it The Fire King’s Treasure.”

“Oh, geez, Dad!”


“Why didn’t you call it that in English? That’s a much better title.”

This book is going to be huge in Turkey.

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

Texas librarians are the best

Just got back from the Tweens Read Book Festival in Houston, Texas, where I had the rare privilege of seeing six hundred kids lose their minds in the presence of kidlit superstars Heather Brewer (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod) and Rachel Renee Russell (The Dork Diaries).

It was also great meeting and/or catching up with the likes of Amy Ignatow (The Popularity Papers), Tommy Greenwald (Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading), Trent Reedy (Stealing Air), E.J. Patten (The Hunter Chronicles: Return to Exile), and Stefan Bachmann (The Peculiar).

But that’s not why I’m posting. I’m posting about the cupcake.

The cupcake that reproduced the Deadweather and Sunrise book cover in frosting:

And not just the cupcake. Oh, no. The cupcake was just the deliciously frosted, red-velvet tip of the iceberg.

There was also a glazed tile drink coaster, also hand-crafted with a reproduction of the Deadweather book cover:

And then there was the hand-knitted cup cozy.

I don’t have a picture of that one, but go ahead and conjure up a hand-knitted cup cozy in your mind’s eye.

Then make it much nicer.

Nicer still.

Even nicer than that…

Okay, now you’ve got it. It was that nice.

All of these things were gifts, hand-made by Texas librarians for no other reason than they are really, really nice people, and love books, and have amazing cupcake-making, tile-glazing, and cozy-knitting skills.

And they created these incredibly touching, personalized gifts for TWENTY-ONE DIFFERENT AUTHORS.

Thank you, Texas librarians! I am in awe of you.

The kids were pretty cool, too. But honestly, I’m not sure they realize just how good they have it librarian-wise.

Posted in Appearances, Chronicles of Egg, Texas Librarians | 3 Comments