Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cutest PB Character Ever

Check out Woolbur !

Isn't he great?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Jay Asher, Author Extraordinaire!

Just five days after meeting fellow kid lit writer and Internet buddy Sam Riddleburger, last night I had the pleasure of meeting fellow kid lit writer and Internet buddy Jay Asher!

Sam, Jay and I are all represented by the same awesome literary agency. The only real difference between us is that both of them actually write and publish books, while I ... well, let's just say my work-in-progress is coming along slowly but surely.

Jay probably doesn't realize it, but he's played a major role in this blog. He left my first ever comment, singlehandedly caused the blog to receive a not-entirely-family-friendly rating and was my 5,000th visitor.

Jay is also a huge icon for me and the entire kid lit community because in January 2006, not long before he received The Offer for his now best-selling teen book, 13 Reasons Why, Jay wrote a dejected post on a kid lit message board in which he said: "Right now, I feel like throwing my hands up and walking away. ... part of me wants to at least say, 'For the next year, I'm not putting myself through this anymore. It's time to see what else I'm interested in.' ... I ... am ... just ... so ... frustrated!" These are sentiments most writers can identify with all too well, and knowing that someone who has met with such success once felt that way himself has been a great encouragement to me and many others.

So anyway, you can imagine how excited I was to hear that Jay was holding a book reading and signing at the Border's in Fairfax. He brought up one lucky volunteer from the audience to read the part of Hannah. (If you aren't familiar with 13 Reasons Why, you can check out my review of it here.)

After reading from the book, telling his inspirational publishing story and sharing some of the very moving emails he has received from teens affected by the book, Jay kindly signed my "Ask me about 13 Reasons Why" t-shirt, which I won in a contest on his old blog. Jay said he'd never signed a shirt before, so it's a one-of-a-kind! I could probably get a nice price for it on e-Bay, eh? Sorry ... not gonna happen.

OK, enough fan grrrl talk. Jay was as nice as could be and his book is fantastic ... so check it out!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sam Riddleburger, Live and in the Flesh!

It's always cool to meet email buddies in person.

Today, after a longtime Internet friendship with kid lit author Sam Riddleburger, I had a chance to experience him live and in person at his book reading and signing at Bull Run Regional Library in Manassas.

I say "experience" because a morning with Sam is truly an experience. He and his "Stonewall Hinkleman and the Battle of Bull Run" co-author Michael Hemphill kept a room chock-full of kids (mostly boys, no less) rapt for about an hour and a half.

If ever someone decides to open a Kid Lit Improv, Sam and Michael will make their fortune.

Great stuff ... check it out:

Who says boys aren't into books? These kids were all over that Stonewall Hinkleman action!

They had juggling ...

and dramatic readings ...

and a flag making contest.

And that wasn't all! Sam and Michael held some other cool contests, including:
  • A Bugle Blowing Contest - The winner burped mid-blow. Of course Sam couldn't resist rewarding this gross and hilarious move. (Sam's first published kid's book is about a poop fountain. Need I say more?)
  • A Hard Tack Eating Contest - Eight brave kids agreed to try this Civil War soldiers' staple. The consensus seemed to be that it tasted like dog food and/or dog biscuits. Disturbing. (OK, yes, I tried dog food when I was a kid, too. Once.)
  • A Civil War Quiz - The winner not only answered all five of the regular quiz questions correctly but also managed to answer the bonus question ("Who is buried in Grant's tomb?") doubly correctly by writing "Grant and his wife." Hah! I did not know that.
And while the kids were creating flags and burping into bugles ...

their parents were lining up to buy the book!

Afterward, Sam and Michael signed books and bookmarks.

Check out the little cutie in the soldier's uniform!

Overall, a great way to recognize the anniversary of the Battle of Bull Run and introduce kids to a fun book. I'll end this post the way I ended my review of Stonewall Hinkleman: Well done, lads. Well done!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ah, Teen Love!

One of the women in my critique group has a debut teen romance novel coming out in about six weeks. Because "When Mike Kissed Emma" pre-dates our group, I never saw a word of that particular manuscript. However, I'm looking forward to reading it, especially after watching this.

If Chris did half as good a job on the novel as she did on her self-made book trailer, it should be a great summer read!