I belong to a great writers’ workshop, and we put on a writers’ conference every year. And this year, DFWcon melted my face off like Dave Grohl rocking during a Foo Fighters’ encore set.
Lemme give you 10 reasons why:
1. I met my agent, Sara Crowe, in person, for the first time ever!!! She’s so phenomenal in eleventy-billion ways, and hanging out with her all weekend just confirmed them all. I had so much fun gabbing and getting into shenanigans. (In-N-Out Burgers! Panel Discussions! Bull-Riding at Billy Bob’s!)
2. I met many other publishing professionals, and it turns out that PR genius Mer Barnes, and super agents Sarah LaPolla and Jennie Goloboy are just as crazy cool as you’d expect. (Psst…they aren’t bad at Texas two-stepping either.) And editor Stacey Barney? When she talks about YA, drop your fork and take notes. Her taste in good books (and dessert) is impeccable.
3. Alec Shane is at Writers’ House. He’s also a former Hollywood STUNTMAN. Dude. Fo Realz. He might not have an official action figure, but hey, google his IMDB page. Then award 1,000,001 street cred points for appearing in a flick called MAXIMUM CAGE FIGHTER. And award another 1,000,001 points for championing boy YA books. (Note to self: Write heartbreaking, edgy YA about a seventeen-year-old mixed martial arts master. Who cage fights. In Post-Apocalyptic Detroit.)
4. There’s a coffee shop in Hurst called ROOTS. They make blackberry green tea Chai lattes. That taste like warm blackberry cobbler. Don’t tell me how many calories are in a Venti. I don’t want to know.
5. Author Rosemary Clement-Moore is a perfect hotel roommate. She doesn’t snore, she doesn’t hog all the hot water, and you can totally pick her brain at 1:00 a.m.
6. Kate Cornell is the world’s best agent wrangler. She gets your agent coffee, packs a mean conference survival kit, tells perfect anecdotes, and absolutely, positively doesn’t hold it against you when you have to drive back to Abuelo’s and kidnap her because you couldn’t figure out the right exit to get to the airport.
7. DFWcon attendees are charming and sweet and 100% inspiring. When you teach a session, they don’t heckle you and they ask great questions. When they practice pitch you, they blow you away with high concept premises (Hey, Sally Hamiltinez!) and well-developed ideas. (Hello, MR. SECULAR APOCALYPSE, I’m talking to YOU.)
My friend, the inimitable, awesome A. Lee Martinez, has a book coming out March 5th! In honor of Emperor Mollusk Vs. The Sinister Brain, I’m hosting an interview (you gotta check out what he has to say about humor and universal themes, guys.) and an EPIC FOUR BOOK PRIZE PACK GIVEAWAY!
Um, did I mention that each of the books is autographed and each one has a different, original sketch with the signature?! So cool.
All you gotta do to enter is read and leave a comment/additional question. Enter by midnight, Thursday, March 1st. Coolest comment/question wins.
1. I’m always glad to get a sneak peek of your pages at DFW Writers’ Workshop. For everyone else, can you share a little bit about your latest, Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain?
It’s a story of a great supervillain (who happens to be a squid from Neptune) and what happens after he decides he’s not so happy being a bad guy anymore. He’s not exactly seeking redemption, but he’s not interested in doing the villain thing either. The only problem is that he’s basically too amazing to not be in the center of some sort of grand adventure, and since he lives in a universe where adventure is found in every corner, that means retirement isn’t easy.
Ultimately, it’s a novel in the tradition of pulp sci fi / fantasy. Emperor lives in a reality where every planet in our solar system is inhabited, where lost civilizations are a dime a dozen, and where everything he does is important. He’s Doc Savage, John Carter, or any number of larger-than-life protagonists who rule their stories through virtue of being incredible and absurd ideals. In Mollusk’s case, he’s smarter than you, and he knows it. If Lex Luthor came from Neptune and had no Superman to stand in his way, he’d be Emperor Mollusk.
So on one level, the story is about mutant dinosaurs and giant robot fights. And on the other, it’s about the struggle that we all have to deal with, about figuring out our place in this universe, learning to live with our mistakes, and hopefully, not repeating them. Except Emperor’s mistakes can blow up planets, so there’s extra pressure right from the get go.
2. It’s no secret that I’ve nicknamed you ‘Existential Loki’ because you write books with heft, heart and wit. You’ve mentioned before that humor is underrated in storytelling. Care to elaborate?
Maybe not humor specifically, but just fun in general. There’s this tendency, probably as old as time, to assume that if a story isn’t Serious Business, then it’s just silly and slight. We have always seen humor as an escape mechanism, something it often is, but we also tend to think of it as unimportant or easy. It’s absurd. I think drama is great, but it doesn’t have to equal melodrama. A story can make you smile, have weird elements, and still have some emotional heft.
To put it one way: If a story is about a protagonist’s personal growth as he becomes a better person, that’s generally considered light. If a story is about a protagonist&rsqu
I have a kid. A rough and tumble, Xbox playing, iTouch texting, nerf shooting tween boy.
And you know what? He loves books.
Year after year, they’re on his Christmas list, alongside the video games, Lego sets, and foam darts. Yes, you heard me right. A boy. Who reads. Want to know my secret? How I created such a budding bookavore?
I’m sneaky. I lurk. I watch and observe. I find out what games and movies he loves and then I fiendishly offer books which complement them. Why fight pop culture, when you can pair up interactive media and a good book like tender steak and a fine Cabernet?
This holiday, why not encourage your own XBox kids to enjoy one of the following picks?
For the tween/teen obsessed with HALO, pick up a copy of ENDER’S GAME by Orson Scott Card (an amazing classic) or Brian Yansky’s riveting new adventure, ALIEN INVASION AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES. Both are guaranteed to please kids (and adults!) into the whole rocket launching, would-be saviors of earth thing.
So your reluctant reader is more into zombies and ghosts, ala FALLOUT 3 or ALAN WAKE? No problem. Middle grade readers will enjoy Neil Gaiman’s THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, full of the supernatural adventures of a boy named Bod. Olders teens are sure to devour Jonathan Maberry’s smash PATIENT ZERO or his latest, ROT & RUIN.
**NOTE: Not that I’m biased or anything, but it should go without saying that any of
2 Comments on Xmas Book Picks for the Xbox Generation, last added: 12/1/2010