Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful

Say the word, love

I'm thankful for my family and my friends.

I'm thankful for everyone that took the time to read my book.

I'm thankful just to be here.

These were my thoughts walking around San Antonio last week, in between meeting dozens of brilliant and fascinating teachers, authors, and book people. How thankful I was. How very thankful.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

NCTE Schedule

I took the step to find love's great adventure

PLEASE NOTE THAT I NEGLECTED TO MENTION THAT THE SCHEDULED STUFF IS OPEN TO NCTE BADGE HOLDERS ONLY! DAGNABBIT! I will try to hang out in the lobby between 2:30-3:30 on Saturday and a couple times on Sunday if anybody wants to chat, get books signed, bring cake, etc. If you know you are coming drop me a comment with your projected time and email address and we'll figure something out.

My Official NCTE business:

Saturday:

Signing at the Hyperion booth: 11:00-12:00

Secret Stuff: 12:30-2:00

Panel "The Realities of Fantasy" 4:15-5:30

More Secret Stuff: 6:45-9:00

Sunday:

6:00-10:00 Still More Secret Stuff

And by "Secret Stuff", I mean publishers' dinners and lunches and such.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Texas is the Reason

I love the place...am I misunderstood?

Today I sang, without accompaniment, the entire song "Astronomy Domine" to my puppy, Star. She was confused. As am I. Why do we do the things that we do?

Going to Texas in just a few days. I love Texas, so much coolness comes out of Texas it isn't even funny. I'm going to meet a bunch of great people, see a friend I haven't seen in (gulp)seventeen years, hang out with the dream team from Hyperion, and hopefully sign a few books. My favorite book concerning Texas? Texas Music by Rick Koster. My favorite pulp writer from Texas? Robert E. Howard. My favorite culinary delight from Texas? Texas Toast. My favorite horror punk band from Texas? Ghoultown. My favorite Texan nickname? Tex. My favorite sports nickname from Texas? Phi Slamma Jamma. Favorite basketball player from Texas? Clyde Drexler. Favorite sport statistic from Texas? Clyde Drexler's near quadruple double, Nov. 1 1996 vs. Sacremento:25 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists, 10 steals

Oops, I'll be in San Antonio, just a stone's throw from the Alamo. They might not appreciate all that Houston love, I don't know.

I could go on and on about all the great things about Texas, but instead I'll write later about all the great things I see and experience when I'm out there.

Generation Dead got some nice ink in Publishers Weekly this week, along with a number of other great books in a sort of "state of the YA supernatural market" article. You can check it out here: The Next Dead Thing.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Discourse Breaks Down

I am hated for loving

My wife and I had a lovely time at the University of Connecticut this past weekend, participating in the UConn Children's Book Fair. The campus has changed an awful lot since we went to school there (yes, we are both alumni)but one thing hasn't changed: I love being there. I gave a short talk and then signed books and gave away every last T-shirt. The staff did a wonderful job with the event, which included a number of great authors and characters from kids books like Clifford, Strega Nona and one of the Wild Things. No zombies, though.

It was an almost perfect event. I say almost, because as I was starting to pick up and leave the signing table, an older man picked a copy of Generation Dead from the table and said, "Just what I like to see--horror stories for children." Then he picked up the book, cracked the cover,and read the first two lines of the jacket copy--"All over the country, a strange phenomenon is occurring. Some teenagers who die aren't staying dead."--said, "Great," and slammed the book shut.

I think I just have a face people want to punch.

I've written about a similar prejudgement made here, but I'm afraid my response to this particular gentleman wasn't as eloquent. I'd been speaking with a few of the volunteers, and thanking Nikki (sorry if I spelled that wrong!)for assisting me during the event and didn't really appreciate that sort of interruption, so all I said was "Well, you really don't need to read any further." The man stalked off.

The thing is, I agree with the sentiment that the man was trying to express. I do think there are materials, books, movies, video games, music, whatever--that are inappropriate for children in general. I think that Generation Dead is inappropriate for certain children of certain ages, and in fact tried to warn away one parent from purchasing the book for her 9 year old (the woman would not be dissuaded, however, and said she would read it with her child. I wouldn't let my own daughter, who is ten, read the book until very recently, and she reads more and more widely than most adults I know. I've seen the age recommendations for the book as 12 or 13 and I think, generally, those are good recommendations. That being said, I know my daughter at ten can handle the book. I also know certain 15 year olds I've met cannot.

There's a difference between something that is age inappropriate and something that is blanketly immoral, however. And I can't decide which would make me happier--someone, like this man, not reading the book and judging it immoral, or someone reading the book and judging it immoral.

I don't want anyone to read this and worry about me being thin skinned about these occurrences (and, as far as public visits go, I've had an "incident rate" of about 50%).I knew what I was getting into when I wrote a book about teenage zombies, believe me. The fact that the book (and continuing series, be warned!) examines, among other things, the "politics of inclusion" meant that I'd also catch heat from those who have and will take offense at some of the veiled societal parallels within, and that I'd have to absorb that heat with a smile on my face regardless if their reading matched my own. In the article I've linked to above, I stated part of the inspiration for the book and part of what I hoped it would accomplish. S'all good.

Of course, the man hadn't even finished walking away before a huge laundry list of "horror" stories that children of all ages should be reading sprang to mind. I'm sure even as you read this you are thinking of a few more.

I'm happy to say that I refrained from hurling any of these books (or my own, sitting so much more solidly in a neat stack at the edge of the table) in this man's wake. A list (although I think I will compile one, your suggestions are appreciated) would not have helped the situation. I think it is best to allow the man to continue to protect children in his way, and I'll try to continue the same in my own.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Shirt Off My Back

Is this love baby, or just confusion?

My wonderful publicist Jenn from Hyperion sent me some more Generation Dead shirts to give away at the UConn Children's Book Fair. I guess I'll give these to anyone with a copy of a book to be signed. Zombies, whether they have a book or not, will get a shirt. Zombie cheerleders will definitely get a shirt.

While supplies last!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We Have A New President

Love ain't for keeping

Monday, November 3, 2008

Leaving the Cave

Just for you, here's a love song

I'll be making an appearance and signing books at the Connecticut Children's Book Fair, which is held at the University of Connecticut (my alma mater!). I'll be giving a short presentation at 11:15 on Sunday, November 9th, and then signing books at 12-1 and also at 2-3. For more information go here.

I'm also fortunate enough to be going to the NCTE convention in San Antonio later this month, to participate in events on Saturday the 22nd. More to follow on that as the time draws near.