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Chris Barton writes about Chris Barton's writing ... and other, more fascinating elements of the world of children's book publishing.
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1. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What is W for?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

We’ll continue today with W. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term is represented by W? As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for that letter:

W is for ... ?

W is for … ?

You can share your guess in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

Tomorrow, we’ll start taking your guesses for the advance copy we’re giving away for X, and so on through Saturday when we get to Z. Good luck!

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2. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What is V for?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

We’ll continue today with V. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term is represented by V? As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for that letter:

V is for ... ?

V is for … ?


You can share your guess in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

Tomorrow, we’ll start taking your guesses for the advance copy we’re giving away for W, and so on through this Saturday when we get to Z. Good luck!

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3. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What is U for?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

We’ll continue today with U. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term is represented by U? As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for that letter:

U is for ... ?

U is for … ?

You can share your guess in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

Tomorrow, we’ll start taking your guesses for the advance copy we’re giving away for V, and so on through the end of this week until we get to Z. Good luck!

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4. Games & Books & Q&A: Adam Gidwitz

grimmConclusionBCI confess that I’ve never played video games with Adam Gidwitz, but on the occasions when Adam has joined my family for board games while visiting Austin, he’s shown himself to be a fun, vigorous competitor. I figured he’d be a good author to include in the Games & Books & Q&A series.

Adam is the author of the fairy tale-inspired (to put it lightly), occasionally a smidge gruesome (to employ a bit of understatement) middle-grade trilogy consisting of A Tale Dark & Grimm, In a Glass Grimmly, and The Grimm Conclusion (all published by Dutton).

His upcoming books include a retelling of The Empire Strikes Back, part of a series that will also feature previous interviewee Tom Angleberger‘s take on Return of the Jedi. Before we get into talking about video games, here’s a little more information on their Star Wars books.

But enough about Star Wars. (I’m kidding. There’s no such thing.) Let’s talk about video games.

CB: What do you remember about the first video game you ever played?

AG: Is this question just an excuse to gauge your interviewees’ age? I know it is. I find it offensive and embarrassing. What if I said the first computer game I played was Halo? You’d think I was 14. Or Dr. Babbage’s Automated Loom-Game? You’d think I was 200.

In truth, the first game I played was Mario Bros./Duck Hunt, for the original Nintendo. I remember a friend of mine, Chip Martucci (isn’t that a great name for a kid in a nostalgic memory?) had the first Nintendo of anyone I knew. It was the freshest thing on the market. I coveted it, and coveted my time playing it. I would sleep over at his house, and wake up at 5 a.m., and just lie there, starving, waiting for him to wake up and praying he would want to play Nintendo.

I had a problem.

CB: What games did you play the most when you were a kid? What did you love about them?

AG: The game I have been devoted to since it appeared was Sid Meier’s Civilization, as well as its many retreads and spin-offs. I had the original game on its seven floppy discs. When I want to update the most recent iteration (Civ V, for those counting at home) with an expansion pack, I can download it wirelessly. Despite the fact that one hundredth of the expansion pack couldn’t have fit on those floppies. How far we’ve come. All so I can conquer the world again and again and again.

CB: What role do games play in your life today?

adamgidwitzAG: Honestly, I try to limit my gameplay these days, as I have an obsessive personality ONLY in regards to games (of all types). Whenever you try to close Civ, it says, “Are you sure?” And you can choose “Exit Game” or “Just one more turn…” Oh, if only it was “one more turn.” I literally threw my Civ III and IV discs down the trash chutes at college because I was not working — only to buy them again. And again throw them down the chutes. Sadly, if I threw the wi-fi router down the trash chute, I would not be able to participate in interviews like this.

So these days, I try to channel my desire for world domination and epic battles into my fiction. Adults often bemoan those parts of my books. But kids, especially gamers, get it. If I can make a kid feel like I did playing those games, if I can transform “One more turn…” into “One more page…,” I will have done a good thing.

***

I expect to continue this series through the October publication of my book Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet. If there’s anyone in the gamer or kidlit camp that you’d love to see me feature in upcoming posts in this series, please drop me a line or tweet at me or just leave a message in the comments.

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5. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What is T for?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

We’ll continue today with T. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term is represented by T? As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for that letter:

T is for ... ?

T is for … ?

You can share your guess in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

Tomorrow, we’ll start taking your guesses for the advance copy we’re giving away for U, and so on through the end of this week until we get to Z. Good luck!

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6. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What is S for?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

We’ll continue today with S. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term is represented by S? As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for that letter:

S is for ... ?

S is for … ?

You can share your guess in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

Tomorrow, we’ll start taking your guesses for the advance copy we’re giving away for T, and so on until we get to Z. Good luck!

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7. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What is R for?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

We’ll continue today with R. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term is represented by R? As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for that letter:

R is for ... ?

R is for … ?

You can share your guess in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

Tomorrow, we’ll start taking your guesses for the advance copy we’re giving away for S, and so on until we get to Z. Good luck!

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8. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What is Q for?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

We’ll continue today with Q. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term is represented by Q? As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for that letter:

Q is for ... ?

Q is for … ?

You can share your guess in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

Tomorrow, we’ll start taking your guesses for the advance copy we’re giving away for R, and so on until we get to Z. Good luck!

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9. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What is P for?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

We’ll continue today with P. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term is represented by P? As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for that letter:

P is for ... ?

P is for … ?

You can share your guess in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

Tomorrow, we’ll start taking your guesses for the advance copy we’re giving away for Q, and so on until we get to Z. Good luck!

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10. Games & Books & Q&A: Melissa Wiley

inchrolysunnydayMy friend Melissa Wiley is the next children’s/YA author that I’m featuring in the Games & Books & Q&A series.

Melissa is the author of more than a dozen books for kids and teens, including The Prairie Thief, Inch and Roly and the Sunny Day Scare, Fox and Crow Are Not Friends, and the Martha and Charlotte Little House books. She lives in San Diego with her husband, Scott Peterson, and their six kids. Melissa has been blogging about her family’s reading life at Here in the Bonny Glen since 2005. She is @melissawiley on Twitter and @bonnyglen on Instagram.

CB: What do you remember about the first video game you ever played?

MW: First video game I played had to be Pong. I think my dad brought it home from Radio Shack, if I recall correctly. My little sisters and I were enthralled. There is a certain shade of glowing green that always brings Pong rushing back to my mind. Was it even really green? That’s how I remember it.

CB: What games did you play the most when you were a kid? What did you love about them?

MW: We got an Atari 2600 when I was around 8th or 9th grade. I. LOVED. THAT. THING. Fave game: Adventure. The way the dragons curled up when you stabbed them! I went through a whole blissful nostalgia-binge not long ago, revisiting Adventure on a desktop version. It’s amazing the wave of feelings it conjures up. That exhilaration of discovery; the happy state of tension I love in a game.

We also had Atari Pinball and my prowess at that game became a badge of honor — I rocked it. Nobody could skirt just this side of a tilt like I could. For a kid who was hopeless at sports and miserable in gym class, excelling at a video game was a confidence boost beyond measure. I was this tiny, scrawny, late-blooming kid, but at Pinball I could whip my best friend’s older brothers. I’m still proud. :)

Other friends had a ColecoVision, and I spent hours at their place playing Donkey Kong. They also had an Indiana Jones game (Atari? Coleco?) that I loooved. Those snakes, the music, the ankh. To this day I love adventure games where you have to puzzle your way through.

CB: What role do games play in your life today?

Melissa WileyMW: Pretty major, I’d have to say! I have six game-enthusiast kids, and playing together is truly one of my greatest joys. My favorite group game is Minecraft – I’m fond of sandbox games. We have our own server and I love logging in to see what new marvels they’ve built in our world. In my own world (created before we set up the server) I have a giant Tudor mansion and English garden. I’m constantly tearing down wings and renovating. :)

We play a fair amount of Wii Mario Kart and Wii Sport together (especially Scott and the kids, for the latter). I also like the ski jump game in Wii Fit.

We love World of Warcraft but unfortunately my computer is the only one in the house that can handle it, so the kids can’t do much there and it’s been a long while since we’ve logged on.

The game I loved most of all and mourn deeply is Glitch. Another sandbox game, but with art and music like none other, and a charming, deeply creative community. All my phone ringtones are from Glitch which means constant nostalgia pangs. We were so sad when it shut down! Tiny Speck released all the assets to the public, though, and a couple of teams of volunteers are working to recreate the game, so I have high hopes of feeding sloths and milking butterflies again someday.

***

I expect to continue this series through the October publication of my book Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet. If there’s anyone in the gamer or kidlit camp that you’d love to see me feature in upcoming posts in this series, please drop me a line or tweet at me or just leave a message in the comments.

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11. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What is O for?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

We’ll continue today with O. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term is represented by O? As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for that letter:

O is for ... ?

O is for … ?

You can share your guess in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

Tomorrow, we’ll start taking your guesses for the advance copy we’re giving away for P, and so on until we get to Z. Good luck!

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12. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What is N for?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

We’ll continue today with N. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term is represented by N? As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for that letter:

N is for ... ?

N is for … ?

You can share your guess in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

Tomorrow, we’ll start taking your guesses for the advance copy we’re giving away for O, and so on until we get to Z. Good luck!

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13. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What is M for?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

We’ll continue today with M. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term is represented by M? As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for that letter:

M is for ... ?

M is for … ?

You can share your guess in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

Tomorrow, we’ll start taking your guesses for the advance copy we’re giving away for N, and so on until we get to Z. Good luck!

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14. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What video game terms start with “L”?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

We’ll continue today with L. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term do you think is represented by L?

Which one would you have used?

As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for the term or concept we ended up using for that letter:

L is for ... ?

L is for … ?

You can share your guesses in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

Tomorrow, we’ll start taking your guesses for the advance copy we’re giving away for M, and so on until we get to Z. Good luck!

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15. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What video game terms start with “K”?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

We’ll continue today with K. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term do you think is represented by K?

Which one would you have used?

As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for the term or concept we ended up using for that letter:

K is for ... ?

K is for … ?

You can share your guesses in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

Tomorrow, we’ll start taking your guesses for the advance copy we’re giving away for L, and so on until we get to Z. Good luck!

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16. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What video game terms start with “J”?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

We’ll continue today with J. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term do you think is represented by J?

Which one would you have used?

As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for the term or concept we ended up using for that letter:

J is for... ?

J is for… ?

You can share your guesses in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

Tomorrow, we’ll start taking your guesses for the advance copy we’re giving away for K, and so on until we get to Z. Good luck!

0 Comments on Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What video game terms start with “J”? as of 1/1/1900
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17. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What video game terms start with “I”?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

We’ll continue today with I. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term do you think is represented by I?

Which one would you have used?

As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for the term or concept we ended up using for that letter:

I is for...

I is for… ?

You can share your guesses in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

Tomorrow, we’ll start taking your guesses for the advance copy we’re giving away for J, and so on until we get to Z. Good luck!

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18. Games & Books & Q&A: Anastasia Salter

Anastasia SalterThe next interviewee from the field of gaming in my Games & Books & Q&A series is Anastasia Salter, an assistant professor of digital media at the University of Central Florida.

Anastasia has two books forthcoming in 2014: What is Your Quest? From Adventure Games to Interactive Books (University of Iowa Press) and Flash: Building the Interactive Web (MIT Press), co-authored with John Murray. She also writes for ProfHacker, a blog on technology and pedagogy hosted by the Chronicle of Higher Education, and is currently chair of the North American Simulation and Gaming Association and a member of the THATCamp Council.

CB: What do you remember about the first video game you ever played?

AS: I got into video games for the first time with my parents, playing on our DOS personal computer. The game we started out with was Rise of the Dragon, an adventure game by Dynamix with grainy images surrounded by black frames. Now that I think about it, it was a pretty violent game for a kid — it’s set in a cyberpunk world where we played as “Blade Hunter” fighting against an evil plot to destroy everyone with a mutating water-born virus, I think. I mostly remember drinking from a water fountain every time we failed and transforming into some sort of pink reptilian monster.

It was good preparation for the Sierra adventure games I would play soon after, with their many arbitrary death sequences. One of the best things about the game was its bundled manual — a comic books with a guide to being a private investigator, which I kept. This was back when games came in awesome boxes with lots of great printed material, definitely a golden age for game stories.

Adventure games cemented my love of PC gaming. I played a little on early consoles around the same time, but none of them stood out like Rise of the Dragon and the many games that would follow — Maniac Mansion, King’s Quest, Monkey Island, Doom, and so many more. PC games seemed like a lens into the grown-up world, and not just because of the “adult test” (a series of questions like “Does a pair of queens beat 3 deuces?” and “Which of these drinks is non-alcoholic?”) before Leisure Suit Larry. My parents did bring home educational games, but they mostly couldn’t compare.

CB: What did you like to read when you were a kid? What did you love about it?

AS: As a resident of my own imaginary world, I pretty much lived on fantasy novels. Anything that offered me lots of books in a world I could get lost in made it on my shelf for endless re-readings. My childhood hero was Raistlin Majere from the Dragonlance novels, with his perfect sarcasm and outsider image. Magic users (fantasy’s academics, appropriately) really appealed to me, particularly the nine-lived Chrestomanci of Diana Wynne Jones’s novels, the too-proud Sparrowhawk of A Wizard of Earthsea, and the sword-wielding seers of Robin McKinley’s The Hero and the Crown.

I was completely devoted to the works of Piers Anthony, even if I didn’t quite get all the humor until later. My favorite elementary school librarian gave me a copy of Man from Mundania, which featured a story of an apparently average guy getting to cross from real-Florida to Xanth, and I loved the concept even more than Alice’s rabbit hole. It got even better a few years later, when Piers Anthony released Demons Don’t Dream, a novel about a game that allowed players to transport to Xanth — which was bundled with the computer game itself, Companions of Xanth, coming full-circle.

CB: What book that you read while growing up had the most influence on who you became as an adult?

Alanna_The_First_AdventureAS: I’m on my third copy of Tamora Pierce’s Alanna: The First Adventure, the first book of a quartet. I reread my previous copies so many times that they fell to pieces. The four novels tell the story of a girl who switches places with her twin brother in order to go into training as a knight, thus avoiding the fate of growing up to be a “lady.” The quartet should have been one novel, but this was before J.K. Rowling changed the standards for what could be marketed as a kid’s book. It deals frankly with things that never got discussed in any of my other books: having a first period, birth control, and sexual agency.

Great, complex women were in short supply in most of the media I encountered as a kid. Alanna stood out as a truly powerful character who wasn’t just a “strong woman” written for the masculine gaze. None of her story falls into the traditional happy ending traps that most fantasy women from books and games seemed destined to land. Most importantly, Tamora Pierce’s novels included greater diversity than any other fantasy novels I’d encountered, offering a fantasy world truly worth finding a rabbit hole.

***

I expect to continue this series through the October publication of my book Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet. If there’s anyone in the gamer or kidlit camp that you’d love to see me feature in upcoming posts in this series, please drop me a line or tweet at me or just leave a message in the comments.

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19. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What is D for?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

We’ll start today with D. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term is represented by D? As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for that letter:

D is for ... ?

D is for … ?

You can share your guess in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

Tomorrow, we’ll start taking your guesses for the advance copy we’re giving away for E, and so on until we get to Z. Good luck!

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20. Get your gaming guesses (and your guesser-gamers) ready…

For my upcoming book Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, it’s pretty obvious which video game terms the letters A, B, and C are for. But what about the rest of the alphabet?

In the Bartography Express newsletter sent to my subscribers this week, I announced that my publisher will be giving away advance copies of the book for correct guesses about D through Z. So, alert any gaming aficionados you know: For the next 23 days, on my blog and on Twitter, I’ll be offering clues in the form of bits of the illustrations for those letters, similar to the pieces of “A is for Attack,” “B is for Boss,” and “C is for Cheat Code” featured in Bartography Express.

I’m also giving away a copy of Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn, a funny, twisty, middle grade sci-fi thriller by Greg Leitich Smith, to one subscriber to my newsletter. If you’re not already receiving it, click the image below for a look -— if you like what you see, click “Join” in the bottom right corner, and you’ll be in the running for the giveaway at the end of this week.

20140731 Bartography Express

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21. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What is F for?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

We’ll continue today with F. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term is represented by F? As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for that letter:

F is for ...

F is for … ?

You can share your guess in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

Tomorrow, we’ll start taking your guesses for the advance copy we’re giving away for G, and so on until we get to Z. Good luck!

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22. Picture book biographies coming in 2015

Illustration by Adam Gustavson from Fab Four Friends

Illustration by Adam Gustavson
from Fab Four Friends

Inspired by Greg Leitich Smith’s annual list of books from our Austin writing community, I thought I’d start compiling the picture book biographies scheduled for publication in 2015 (including a pair of mine).

I know there are lots more picture book biographies on their way from publishers recognized by SCBWI, so if you’re interested in helping keep this list reasonably complete and up to date, please let me know in the comments which ones ought to be added. I’ll update and republish this post on a regular basis.

The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (Eerdmans), written by Chris Barton and illustrated by Don Tate

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Rafael Lopez

Earmuffs for Everyone!: How Chester Greenwood Became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books), written and illustrated by Meghan McCarthy

Elvis: The Story of the Rock and Roll King (Henry Holt), written and illustrated by Bonnie Christensen

Emmanuel’s Dream (Schwartz & Wade), written by Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls

Fab Four Friends: The Boys Who Became the Beatles (Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt), written by Susanna Reich and illustrated by Adam Gustavson

The Founding Fathers! Those Horse-Ridin’, Fiddle-Playin’, Book-Readin’, Gun-Totin’ Gentlemen Who Started America (Atheneum), written by Jonah Winter and illustrated by: Barry Blitt

The Hole Story of the Doughnut (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), written by Pat Miller

The House that Jane Built: A Story about Jane Addams (Henry Holt/Christy Ottaviano Books), written by Tanya Lee Stone and illustrated by Kathryn Brown

In Mary’s Garden (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), written and illustrated by Tina and Carson Kugler

One Plastic Bag (Millbrook), written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

Pioneers & Pirouettes: The Story of the First American Nutcracker

(Millbrook), written by Chris Barton and illustrated by Cathy Gendron

Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton (Peachtree), written and illustrated by Don Tate

Step Right Up: The Story of Beautiful Jim Key (Lee & Low), written by Donna Bowman Bratton and illustrated by Daniel Minter

Trombone Shorty (Abrams), written by Troy Andrews and illustrated by Bryan Collier

Vivien Thomas – The Man Who Saved the Blue Babies (Lee & Low), written by Gwendolyn Hooks

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23. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What is E for?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

We’ll continue today with E. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term is represented by E? As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for that letter:

E is for ... ?

E is for … ?

You can share your guess in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

Tomorrow, we’ll start taking your guesses for the advance copy we’re giving away for F, and so on until we get to Z. Good luck!

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24. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What is G for?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

We’ll continue today with G. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term is represented by G? As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for that letter:

G is for ...

G is for … ?

You can share your guess in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

Tomorrow, we’ll start taking your guesses for the advance copy we’re giving away for H, and so on until we get to Z. Good luck!

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25. Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! contest: What is H for?

Attack Boss Cheat Code - May 2014Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — written by me, with illustrations by Joey Spiotto — will be published this fall. It’s pretty obvious what letters A, B, and C are for, but what about the rest of the alphabet?

Our publisher, POW!, will be giving away one advance copy of the book for every letter between D and Z. How do you win one of those copies? Just guess correctly what one of those letters stands for.

We’ll continue today with H. In Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, what gaming term is represented by H? As a clue, here’s a bit of Joey’s art for that letter:

H is for ...

H is for … ?

You can share your guess in the comments of this post, or via email, or by tweeting at me. Then POW! and I will draw one correct guess at random and get in touch with the random-correct-guesser for mailing info.

Tomorrow, we’ll start taking your guesses for the advance copy we’re giving away for I, and so on until we get to Z. Good luck!

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