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1. Reading under the Stars

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Yesterday I read PLEASE, LOUISE aloud with students of The Wilkes School at Grace & Saint Peters and Midtown Academy. It was an enchanting afternoon sitting under the stars of Enoch Pratt’s Night Room chanting aloud the text from PLEASE, LOUISE. After we read together, I shared a bit of my journey as a young reader and artist along with a conversation about where ideas come from and how long it takes to make a book. And of course, there were plenty of questions that followed. At the end, I did a live draw of Patrick, a second grader I believe. Unfortunately, though, most of the students didn’t think that I nailed his likeness. Tough crowd ;-). Afterward, I signed about 60 books and gave away posters and bookmarks to all of the students who attended. What a great celebration of PLEASE, LOUISE and the power of reading!

A SUPER THANK YOU goes to the amazing Deborah Taylor, Coordinator of School and Student Services, who graciously offered her support of this launch and a second super THANK YOU to Dr. Carla Hayden, who provided each child with their very own  copy of Please, Louise. Dr. Hayden believes that children should not only have books available at their neighborhood library, but that they should also have books in the home. I concur! Thanks also to Selma Levi, for all of her support and for sharing the space with us!

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Exchange of the day:
After passing out books to everyone at the beginning of the presentation, one young man just couldn’t believe his luck.
Him: “I can keep this?”
Me: “Yes, it’s yours.”
Him: “FOREVER?”
Me: “Yes, forever.”
Him: “Whoa.”

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Special shouts out to the two big kids against the wall, literary homies, Mathew Olshan, and Jonathan Bean who came to show their support!

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2. On the Glorious Last US Booksigning Tour, with digressions onto Concorde and Australia

posted by Neil
Hullo.

I've been all over the place. I went back to the midwest and spent two days with my dogs, and I helped wrap the beehives for winter.


(I discovered my zombie arm had been yarnbombed when I got home.)

Now I'm back in Cambridge MA, missing the dogs, but starting to feel more at home in this rambling high house. The at-homeness has more to do with furniture than anything else, I think.  For example, a desk-chair was just delivered. There's nothing like a comfy chair for making you want to sit and write, if you are me.

I've handed in the latest draft of the HBO AMERICAN GODS pilot, and a short film I've written for another project, and I'm writing a bunch of different things right now.

I'm also proof-reading and copy-editing a bunch of books. Today I got to read through the UK edition of Fortunately, The Milk*, profusely illustrated by Chris Riddell. I laughed a lot at Chris's rough sketches. Can't wait to see it finished. (Skottie Young's illustrating the US edition. I've only seen two pages of his work. It's just as funny in a different, more manic, way.  I love them both and am so glad that each publisher went its own way on this.) Fortunately The Milk will be published in September in the US and October in the UK. I just wrote a description of it for the US edition. I explained:


This is quite possibly the most exciting adventure ever to be written about milk since Tolstoy's epic novel War and Milk. Also it has aliens, pirates, dinosaurs and wumpires in it (but not the handsome, misunderstood kind), not to mention a Volcano God.

It contains passages like this:

“You are charged with breaking into people’s planets and redecorating them,” said a noble and imposing-looking Tyrannosaurus Rex. “And then with running away and doing it again somewhere else, over and over. You have committed crimes against the inhabitants of eighteen planets, and crimes against good taste.”
 “What we did to Rigel Four was art!” argued a globby alien.
 “Art? There are people on Rigel Four,” said an Ankylosaurus, “who have to look up, every night, at a moon with three huge plaster ducks flying across it.”


...

I love that Fortunately the Milk is two different books -- one in the US, one in the UK: it allows them to be published a month apart, which is much easier on the author.

In the old days of publishing, books in the US were published up to a year before or after the same books in the UK, but that started changing about ten years ago, and the internet changed it, as it has changed so much. People who like authors will buy their books when the books come out, and if the book is published in the US, people in the UK will simply go to Amazon (or some such website) and buy it, and if the book is published later in the US then American readers will head off to Amazon.co.uk (or similar).

When my new adult novel, THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE** is published, this summer, it will be coming out on June the 18th in the UK and the US too. This presents interesting challenges, mostly involving bi-location, and makes me miss Concorde, just a little.

No, I do not miss the sonic booms or the environmental damage, and, having been on one of the Concordes once, I do not miss the plane itself, which was small and dilapidated and chilly and old. But I miss the way one could fly to New York from London and feel like one had made a local hop and land three hours before one took off, and I miss the moment of looking out of Concorde's window and seeing the curvature of the Earth and feeling like all human problems were very small and far away.

(It was about 15 years ago. I had to get to Amsterdam to do a signing in high summer, and the UK trip I was meant to be doing was suddenly cancelled, leaving me without a flight.  When the person on Northwest airlines' phone said, "Honestly, I can't believe how many miles it will take to get you there during the blackout week. You could take Concorde for that," and I said, "Hang on, I can use airmiles to fly Concorde?" and she said, "Well, yes.")

Which is a bit of a wander off the subject, which is that it now looks like I'll do a few days in the UK before publication, then fly back to the US on publication day, and then sign like a fiend across America, then go back to the UK and sign some more and then probably come back and do a handful of Canadian signings, and then collapse.


This will be my first actual signing (as opposed to reading) tour since Anansi Boys in 2005. I’ll go places and in each place I’ll do a reading, a short Q&A, then I’ll sign books.

I think the OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE tour will be the last actual signing tour I ever do. They’re exhausting, on a level that’s hard to believe. I love meeting people, but the sixth hour of signing, for people who have been standing in a line for seven hours, is no fun for anybody. (The last proper US signing I did, it lasted over 7 hours and I signed for over 1000 people. I'd suspect a lot of the signings on this tour will be like that, or bigger.)

So I’m going to try and make this tour the glorious last US book signing tour, and then stop doing book signing tours for good.

I’ll do a bunch of American signings on the tour, including, I hope, places that I don’t normally get to, like the US South. I’ll go to the UK, and do a smaller, more manageable tour. (You can get on and off trains in the UK, to get to places.) 

And then, over the next year or so, I’m going to do my best to go to places I don’t usually get to, or to which I haven’t gone in a long time, as THE OCEAN... is published — places like Brazil and Poland, and I'll do whatever kinds of signings or events are appropriate there.

I may do events, and there may well be pre-signed books for sale there, and I might even sign books if I feel like it (I did a ninja book signing at St Mark’s Bookshop in New York a week ago, announcing it a couple of hours before I did it on Twitter. It was really fun. They may well have a few signed books left in stock, if you need holiday gifts) but once the Ocean at the End of the Lane tour is over, I do not think I will do any more book signing tours.

...

I was asked if I could go to Australia around publication time for OCEAN too, and I had to say no -- only one me, too many places to be. But I am going to be in Australia in January, and I'll be doing three events there. 

At 6 pm on January the 20th, I'll be at the Theatre Royal in Hobart, Tasmania. I'll be doing a few things including  reading an unpublished story - appropriate for all ages, although it'll probably mean more to adults. Jherek Bischoff is going to be there, making music happen while I read. Ticket details are at http://www.liveguide.com.au/Tours/774225/MONA_FOMA_Festival_2013?event_id=795603. The event is close to sold out, I believe, so get tickets now. It'll be over in time for you to see David Byrne later that evening...

On the 24th of Jan I'll be in Melbourne, at the Atheneum Theatre, doing an event for the Wheeler Centre. It's going to be centred around Ocean at the End of the Lane, and for that and for the event in Sydney, Hachette, my Australian publisher, will be giving each attendee a special preview of the book, in the shape of the first three chapters. Tickets and details at http://wheelercentre.com/calendar/event/neil-gaiman1/ 

On the 25th, I'll be in Sydney. The event will be similar to, but probably completely different from, Melbourne's, although people who come will also get the special limited Hachette novel preview. It's under the aegis of the Sydney Writers Festival, which is one of my favourite Festivals in the world. Tickets and details at http://www.cityrecitalhall.com/events/id/1440

(Last year I did an evening in Sydney and one in Melbourne. They both sold out fast, so please, get tickets if you want to go. Do not wait and be sad and send me sad messages asking if I can squeeze you in somehow.)

...

Right. I am going to go and sit in my writing chair some more now and make stuff up and write it down.



*very silly. Funny. For readers of all ages. Contains milk.

** not very silly at all. Sometimes funny but mostly personal and even scary and disturbing. Not for children, even though it's about a child. Contains a small amount of milk; was manufactured in a facility that processes nuts.










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3. The true terror of book signings

A funny piece in the London Observer looks at some of the perils of book signings (especially when no one actually wants a signature).

One example:

"How would you like it signed?" I ask, opening the page, and lifting my pen.

"Oh, just to me."

"Remind me how to spell your name, will you?"

"It's Tom!"


Read the rest of the essay here.



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4. Summer 2012 Fierce Reads Tour Recap

  

 

Fierce Reads was launched in June with a spectacular tour! Four debut authors went on the road, with special author guests joining them along the way. The Fierce Reads tour took the authors across the country to meet new fans.

The four debut author and their books were:

 

And they were joined at various stops by Marissa Meyer, Jessica Brody, Lish McBride, Ann Aguirre, and Caragh O'Brien.

Couldn't make it to any of the events? Well you're in luck! Lots of bloggers went to the events and wrote up some recaps!

June 5: Mrs. Nelson's in La Verne, CA

June 6: Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, CA

June 7: Books, Inc. in San Francisco, CA    

June 8: Kepler's in Menlo Park, CA

June 9: Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, WA

June 12: Provo City Library in Provo, UT

June 13: Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, TX

June 14: Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, IL

June 15: Schuler's Books in Lansing, MI

June 16: Barnes and Noble in Pensacola, FL

June 17: Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, NY

 

There will be a new Fierce Read Tour in the Fall, so be sure to check out the Fierce Reads Facebook Fan Page to see which authors will be coming and where/when.

And stay fierce!

 

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5. Mark Your Calendars!

I've got a couple of things cooking as far as YA author signings in Southern California.

First of all, the superlative Lisa McMann will be signing her new novel, Cryer's Cross, at Borders Glendale: Friday, February 11, 2011 at 7 pm. I'm collecting RSVPs to better help plan the event. Just in case you haven't yet picked up her previous books in the Dream Catcher series, I want to make sure they have enough there! You can fill out the form below if you think you're going to attend.


From Goodreads.com:

The community of Cryer’s Cross, Montana (population 212) is distraught when high school freshman Tiffany disappears without a trace. Already off-balance due to her OCD, 16-year-old Kendall is freaked out seeing Tiffany’s empty desk in the one-room school house, but somehow life goes on... until Kendall's boyfriend Nico also disappears, and also without a trace. 


Now the town is in a panic. Alone in her depression and with her OCD at an all-time high, Kendall notices something that connects Nico and Tiffany: they both sat at the same desk. She knows it's crazy, but Kendall finds herself drawn to the desk, dreaming of Nico and wondering if maybe she, too, will disappear...and whether that would be so bad. 


Then she begins receiving graffiti messages on the desk from someone who can only be Nico. Can he possibly be alive somewhere? Where is he? And how can Kendall help him? 


The only person who believes her is Jacian, the new guy she finds irritating...and attractive. As Kendall and Jacian grow closer, Kendall digs deeper into Nico's mysterious disappearance only to stumble upon some ugly—and deadly—local history. Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

I can't wait!

My good buddy Janelle is also using her super-fangirl powers on Cassandra Clare and Holly Black... which means Borders Glendale *might* also be hosting another super-exciting Midnight Release Party as well... so if you want to be contacted about that, check the appropriate box--you'll help us show the publishers and Borders how many people they can expect at the party. If we throw it, fans will come!

I'm also going to be starting a YA publicity networking group on Facebook in the next week or so; if you want to be emailed when that launches, please check that box, too.

If you can't see the form be

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6. Do you like my new reading glasses?

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

They look yellow but they are actually green. I got them on tour at University Book Store in Mill Creek, WA.

Here's the rest of my CRYER'S CROSS TOUR:


Sunday, Feb 13, 2011, 3pm (with Caridad Ferrer -- When the Stars Go Blue)
BARNES & NOBLE
19401 Alderwood Mall Parkway
Lynnwood,WA

Tuesday, Feb 15, 7pm
BARNES & NOBLE
2825 West Main St.
Bozeman, MT

Wednesday, Feb 16, 6:30pm
MURDER BY THE BOOK
2342 Bissonnet St.
Houston,TX

Thursday, Feb 17, 7pm
BLUE WILLOW BOOKSHOP
14532 Memorial Dr.
Houston,TX
NOTE from the bookstore's website: This event is free and open to the public. In order to meet Lisa McMann for book personalization, you must purchase Cryer’s Cross from Blue Willow Bookshop.
A limited number of autographed copies of Lisa’s books will be available for purchase after the event. If you cannot attend the event, but would like a personalized copy of her book, please call us at (281) 497-8675.

Friday, February 18, 2011, 7pm
A Real Bookstore
113 Prairie Road, Fairview, TX 75069

Saturday, February 19, 2011, 3pm
BOOK PEOPLE BOOKSTORE
603 North Lamar Blvd
Austin,TX
*note from the bookstore: You must purchase a copy of Cryer's Cross from BookPeople in order to get any of your books signed.

Saturday, Feb 26, 2011, 3pm
The Poisoned Pen
4014 N Goldwater Blvd. Suite 101
Scottsdale, AZ 85251



Monday, March 7, 2011, 9pm Est / 8pm Central

Watch for me on OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network)! I'll be on the show Searching For... and some West Michigan fans just might be too. Hint...My search has *something* to do with Cabel from the WAKE trilogy!



Saturday, March 12, 2011
Tucson Festival of Books
Tucson, AZ

Saturday/Sunday March 19 & 20, 2011
Teen Author Festival NYC
more info to come



Monday, March 21, 2011, 7pm

Little Shop of Stories
133A East Court Square
Decatur,GA


Tuesday, March 22, 2011, 7pm

BARNES & NOBLE #1955
7660 Northpoint Parkway
Suite 200
Alpharetta,GA



March 23, 2011, 7pm
Indigo - Yorkdale Mall
3401 Dufferin St.
Toronto, ON
(416) 781-6660

Also appearing in 2011 at:

*LA Times Festival of Books Apr 30/May 1

*Phoenix Comicon May 27-29

*more info to come

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7. Zita, the Space Girl... Signing!

Whenever I get something from Ben Hatke, it is always adorable.  So I’ve received in the mail adorable bookplates, adorable family adventures, occasionally even adorable chickens.  I’ve come to conclude that Ben just naturally generates things that are adorable.  And his book that came out from First Second this month, Zita the Spacegirl, is no exception – it’s filled to the brim with adorable mice, robots, aliens, and an adorable protagonist to top it all off.

Ben’s just done his first book signing, at Politics & Prose.  Guess what?  It’s adorable too! 

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8. Habitat Spy Book Signing Saturday May 14th

My mom found these great binoculars online at a party supply. I added the cool stickers.
Great for junior naturalists! Get a pair of them when you purchase a copy of Habitat Spy (until they run out).

More Signing info:

1356 South Fort Thomas Avenue

Fort Thomas, KY 41075
Phone 859.781.0602 FAX 859.781.0728 e-mail bluemarble@fuse.net
website http://www.bluemarblebooks.com/
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=125195514223818&pending#!/event.php?eid=125195514223818

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9. Get ready for BEA 2011!!

We are getting GEARED up for BEA. Make sure to come find us at Booth 3352 for author signings and amazing giveaways. Here's a rundown of what's happening in the booth:

HOT MacKids BEA Giveaways!

Tuesday, May 24th

9:00 to 9:30 AM - Priddy Tote Bag Giveaway
With this, you will be the envy of all your book-toting friends. Priddy on teal? LOVE!

10:00 to 10:30 AM - Lane Smith Signing
The man himself! The author of It's A Book and the upcoming Grandpa Green will be signing.

12:00 to 12:30 PM - Priddy Tote Bag Giveaway
Couldn't get up for the 9 AM giveaway? Here's a second chance!

3:00 to 3:30 PM - Ann M. Martin Signing
The woman behind The Babysitters' Club and the soon-to-be-released Ten Rules for Living with My Sister will be here and ready to sign!

3:30 to 4:00 PM - All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin Giveaway
The galley you all have been waiting for: It's got contraband, it's got gangsters . . . and it takes place in NYC in the future. I wonder if BEA would still be around then? Grab one to find out!

Wednesday, May 25th

9:30 to 10:00 AM - Priddy Tote Bag Giveaway
The perfect accessory to all those beach reads you'll be grabbing!

10:30 to 11:00 AM - Mary Pearson Signing
Authoress of The Adoration of Jenna Fox will be signing! Love Jenna Fox? Be sure to read the sequel, The Fox Inheritance.

1:30 to 2:00 PM - Priddy Tote Bag Giveaway
LAST CHANCE to grab!

2:00 to 2:30 PM - Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos Giveaway
LOL funny and the perfect summer read. What happens when Jack (the character) helps out an elderly neighbor? The answer will surprise you!

See you all there! We'll be tweeting @MacKidsBooks so follow us at #BEA2011!!

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10. Do you have a bookstore event coming up?

Do you have a bookstore event coming up? A bookstore worker explains what to do - and what not to do - to make it a success .




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11. Tips for bookstore events

Great tips from agent Jennifer Laughran about what to do at a bookstore event.




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12. MacKidsBooks at San Diego Comic Con

 

That's right folks! We're headed to Comic Con this week for the first time this year! If you happen to be there, come by Booth #1220 to say hello and to check out these great signings and panels!

Oh, and be sure to check out our graphic novel imprint, First Seconds Books, who will also be exhibiting at SDCC and see their amazing schedule as well.

THURSDAY, July 12:

12:00-1:00 PM                      In-Booth Signing: Michael Grant, EVE AND ADAM

3:00-4:00 PM                        Gennifer Albin (Crewel) on the “Hungry for Dystopia” Panel

                                                Room: 25ABC

Hungry for Dystopia— With the skyrocketing popularity of The Hunger Games, dystopian literature has been creating major waves in the media. What attracts these authors to explore the concept of a totalitarian future that possibly awaits us all? Anna North (America Pacifica) leads the discussion with panelists Neal Shusterman (Unwind trilogy), Lissa Price (Starters), Paolo Bacigalupi (The Drowned Cities), Michael Grant (BZRK), Daniel H. Wilson (Amped), Gennifer Albin (Crewel), and Marie Lu (Legend trilogy). Room 25ABC

4:30-5:30 PM                         Post-Panel Signing: Gennifer Albin, CREWEL

                     Location: Autographing Area, Table AA09 

 

FRIDAY, July 13:

10:00-11:00 AM                     In-Booth Signing: Jennifer Bosworth, STRUCK

11:30-12:30 PM                    Marissa Meyer (Cinder) on the “Remixed Fairy Tales and Superhero   Lore” Panel Room 5AB

Remixed Fairy Tales and Superhero Lore— Between this year's Mirror Mask and Snow White and the Huntsman and forthcoming retellings of Beauty and the B

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13. Meeting Donna Love

I just got back from a wonderful trip to Montana, Yellowstone, Tetons, Jackson Hole and Glacier Park. While out west, I got to meet Donna Love. She wrote the delightful text for Henry the Impatient Heron and we are now working on a cool new book project together.

Here we are at the Loon and Fish Festival to sign books. I will post more images soon!

Below, Troy and I encounter the wildlife in Glacier Park. Donna has a cool book about Glacier Park coming out soon. I will do a post when it is out!



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14. The Fine Art of Setting Up Book Signings

There’s an interesting article in today’s Wall Street Journal from Joanne Kaufman—Authors: Where Do I Sign? It talks about the delicate balancing game publishers face when setting up author signings, and it’s definitely something that we deal with on an everyday basis here at Overlook. While we recommend reading it in full, here are a few excerpts, with our thoughts.

"Which authors get to sign at which New York locations is a tricky gavotte involving publishers, chain bookstores and other venues. In fact, independent bookstores or locales like the 92nd Street Y are sometimes more appropriate perches."

As an independent publisher, we particularly like working with independent bookstores. Their specialties and dedicated staffs are always a joy, and the unique personality of each bookstore can work really well with many of our authors.

However, working with Barnes & Noble and Borders is a crucial part of our jobs. Getting to know the big locations of their stores, particularly in Manhattan, is one of the first things every publicist learns to do. Their staff works extremely hard to accommodate our preferences and needs (and will also sell books off-site at events, which means those sales will be reported to best-seller lists—huge bonus!) and it’s an efficient and friendly business model.

“It's not that certain branches confer more bragging rights than others, according to literary agent Laurence Kirschbaum. It's just that certain branches are simply better for certain types of books. "There are definitely uptown authors and subjects and downtown authors and subjects," he said. "A lot of it has to do with where a writer has most of his posse. Thus, you're not going to put the latest Tea Party author at the B&N at 82nd and Broadway," Mr. Kirschbaum continued, alluding to the store in the heart of the famously liberal Upper West Side.

This rings particularly true to us. Even a chain store will have its own personality, whether it’s in terms of size, accessories (the Lincoln Triangle B&N has a piano and excellent video equipment), or the surrounding neighborhood. An author who’s a West Village or Upper East Side resident or native will often get the best response there.

“Whatever the location, "the key thing is the network the author can call on to show up," said Mr. Kirschbaum. Indeed, Ms. Gottlieb's publisher asked about the size of her mailing list and the number of people she thought she could recruit for her event. "And they had to provide that to Borders to justify why they should have me there," said the author, who ended up with a respectable crowd of 100.”

Interesting anecdotes: that sports books often get the lunch slot at the Wall Street borders, and that it’s no coincidence celebrity books are usually at the biggest B&N, in Union Square—there’s capacity for over 1,000 people.

Anyways, whether you’re an aspiring author, a harried publicist, or a reader who enjoys meeting and greeting authors, this article delves into an important part of book marketing and publicit

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15. From iPhone App to Overlook Hardcover - David Carnoy's Journey


Last week Overlook published the hardcover edition of CNET editor David Carnoy’s debut novel KNIFE MUSIC, a book that has otherwise existed only in digital formats. Our foray into the experimental world of self-publishing has certainly raised some industry eyebrows – a derisive colleague asks, “Self publishing? Really? You encourage that?”

We do. Not only does Overlook encourage the integration of new technologies into the world of publishing, but it seems that Carnoy’s novel and its journey from mobile app to printed book has struck a chord with reviewers and press throughout the media. Below are some recent stories on KNIFE MUSIC, Carnoy’s success as a self-publisher, and the future of printed media as it collides with interventions in new digital technologies:

Recently Carnoy guest edited an article on Publishing Perspectives (read it here) and discussed self-promotion in the age of self-publishing.

Gizmodo covered Carnoy’s relationship with iPhone Apps – in 2008 the App Store rejected Knife Music for objectionable content. Now, backed by Overlook, a new app has been accepted, naughty language and all. Read the full article here.

A few days ago Carnoy was on Media Bistro’s Morning Media Menu radio show offering his opinion on eBooks, self-publishing, and landing a book deal. His full interview is here.

David penned a letter to Steve Jobs that was posted on the Huffington Post, thanking the Apple exec for rejecting Knife Music, which may or may not have led to his book deal. Read it in its entirety here.

Knife Music is now available as a free iPhone App, downloadable at the Apple store. It’s been nabbed more than 400 times in less than two weeks. There is also a teaser available on Scribd (click here!) which has received more than 6,000 reads.

New Yorkers can meet Carnoy this Thursday when he makes an appearance at the Lincoln Triangle Barnes & Noble for a reading and signing at 7:30pm. Hope to see you there!


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16. Luis H. Francia's event at National Book Store in the Philippines!

Last week, Luis H. Francia (author of A History of the Philppines: From Indios Bravos to Filipinos) attended an event in honor of his book at the Super branch of National Bookstore in the Philippines. Professors, teachers, journalists and local writers were in attendance.

Here are a few photos from the event for our readers not based in the Philippines. And here's a recent review in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Enjoy!







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17. Book signing in The Big Easy~

Next Tuesday (August 24) at 4PM, Renée Watson and I will be speaking and signing books in New Orlean’s Maple Street Book Shop! A PLACE WHERE HURRICANES HAPPEN will also be highlighted in a news segment with NBC as they talk about the fifth year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. A huge round of applause also goes to Renée and Random House for making this happen.

If you are in New Orleans that day, come on by and get your book signed! I can’t wait to visit Café du Monde again…beignets…yuuummmm~

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18. Same book, new time


I just returned from an AMAZING trip to New Orleans where I met Renée Watson and a whole host of other cool people for the first time. Unfortunately I forgot to take out my camera during most of the days there (my fork kept getting in the way). The NBC segment on A PLACE WHERE HURRICANES HAPPEN is slotted to air on NBC Nightly News, this

SATURDAY, AUGUST 29 @ 5:30PM

instead of Thursday, August 26. Please tune in and/or set your dvrs. Hopefully the time won’t change again, but I will confirm this date and time again tomorrow. I will post more on the trip and activity tomorrow. My bed is calling.

If there’s anyone from NOLA who grabbed a few pics of the events and would like to e-mail me at news at shadrastrickland dot com, my world would be rocked~

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19. Peter Quinn at NYU's Glucksman Ireland House RECAP!!

As devotees of the Winged Elephant know, Peter Quinn read from THE MAN WHO NEVER RETURNED last Thursday night at NYU's Glucksman Ireland House. We were lucky enough to have some bloggers report back from the scene.

Here's some of the post from From the Balcony, A Publisher's Blog...


In a fulsome introduction, the representative of Ireland House noted that Peter Quinn's last opus, Looking for Jimmy, about Irish America, was a huge hit with students of NYU. "The one copy is always in demand and we are endlessly copying chapters for students," she said. Opening his reading, Peter Quinn spluttered in disgust: "Just one copy. And you're breaking the law by photocopying it. My attorney is present and I saw him take notes at that." He was only kidding, I think. Here he is signing copies. Fintan Dunne, the detective Peter created, rides again in the new novel. Read it.


...and here's some from Hell's Kitchen, the blog of TheWildGeese.com.


Quinn, never at a loss for words, talked colorfully and candidly about his work, his writing process, and the judge’s disappearance, more than he actually read. Quinn suggested, perhaps seriously, that readings such as his were archaic. They certainly do provide a vehicle for engaging with an auteur and his work, and the evening provided that in spades.

The Man Who Never Returned” took shape, Quinn said, during a conversation he had a few years back with Paul Browne, deputy commissioner of public information for the NYPD and a fellow Manhattan College alum. Quinn added later that his writing was driven by character, not plot, and his characters emerge from conversations he has and those he readily imagines. This process emerges for him, in part, because, he said, “you are always writing about yourself,” even in historical novels, which, he suggested, draw on the author’s experience and personal history. He is famously in love with the historical research his books require, but said to be averse to the writing part. Novel writing is not only autobiographical, he wryly noted, “but psychotic.”


What fun! We're glad you both enjoyed the event.

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20. The drive-by signing

If you're an author and are ever lucky enough to go on tour, then you might do something called the "drive-by signing." That's when you stop by a few (or all) of the other bookstores in the area where you have a scheduled signing, come in and meet the staff, sign the stock, and make a quick (and hopefully positive) impression before you are on to the next store.

And if you're again lucky, you'll have an escort who will have called ahead to check stock to make sure you don't end up in the awkward situation of standing at the info counter to learn that they have none of your books in stock.

(And if you're smart and have the energy, you'll have found out whether the escort planned to give the stores a heads-up about your visit. And if not, you have gotten the list of all the stores and tediously called them, one by one, a week beforehand, to see if they might bump up their stock so you'll have something to sign. Warning: making these calls will more than likely do a number on your ego.)

A Milwaukee bookstore owner looks at what makes for an excellent drive-by (or stop-by) signing, from his point of view. You can read his account of a "dreamy" drive-by signing here.



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21. Books By the Banks: October 2nd


I will be at Books By the Banks signing Little Red bat on Saturday, October 2nd. There will also be many other top notch authors and illustrators like Loren Long, Will Hillenbrand, Mary Kay Carson, C.F. Payne, John Maggard, Cinda Chima and many others. I do much of my holiday shopping there!

What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon?


Books by the Banks 2009

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22. Do NOT click if you are squeamish

If you make school visits, sometimes you are asked to sign body parts. I've been asked to sign kid's hands, and other authors have gotten in trouble for signing kid's bellies. But you have to see this picture of what Danika Patrick signed to believe it.



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23. NYC Takeover

Awwwww snap! Guess who’s coming to New York next month. C’est moi! On November 4 from 5:30-7:30PM, Renée and I will be reading from our books, A PLACE WHERE HURRICANES HAPPEN, and WHAT MOMMA LEFT ME at Bank Street Book Store. I will also talk a bit about my illustration process and share sketches and inspiration from the book.

While in NY I will also get to check out the DRAWN IN BROOKLYN exhibition and be dazzled and inspired by many of my favorite illustrators and friends.

Somebody save me a seat at Enids for brunch! Fried cheese grits here I come!!!

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24. Center Valley Signing

I thought you would like to see some video of Josh and I performing our "Berk Berk Balog" Vanilla Ice impersonation.  Am I right?

Too bad.  If you wanted to see it, you should have come.

Instead, I give you this picture:



And this one.  The people at Barnes and Noble make awesome posters. I always have to take one home with me to frame because I am a dork. One of these days I may have enough to wallpaper my house:



It was a very fun signing, filled with lots of strange people, as usual.  Many of them said our Berk Berk Balog dance was the highlight of their day, and several said it was the highlight of their existence. And that is not because they were strange, it is because we were AWESOME.  And because Josh has a soft-mouth feel (more on that, later).

If you feel bad for having missed it, good. You have one more chance and then you're out of luck.  Josh and I will be performing ONE LAST TIME (well, for now), at Farley's Bookshop in New Hope on November 21 from 1-4.   Josh will also be on hand to explain the mystery of the soft-mouth feel, in case you are curious. It's guaranteed to be one of those life-changing events.

You'll be there this time, right?


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25. Ashley Bryan Honors and NBAF

Ashley Bryan @ Library Lions 2008

I’m a little slow….

After receiving an e-mail last month about speaking with Ashley Bryan at the Auburn Avenue Research Library it wasn’t until I spoke with my friend, Jan Burkins (Literacyhead.com) this morning that I realized I am being honored next year by Ashley Bryan in collaboration with the National Black Arts Festival!

Each year in collaboration with National Black Arts Festival and renowned illustrator Ashley Bryan AARL honors an illustrator for their commitment to the authentic and sensitive representations of people of African descent and Africana culture.

We would be honored to have you (Shadra Strickland) as the 2011 honoree. The event is schedule for Thursday, July 07 at 6:30 p.m. Honorees are asked to facilitate a discussion about their work and participate in a conversation with Ashley Bryan. This event would also include a book signing.

We would also like to exhibit your (Shadra Strickland’s) artwork in our small gallery during the month of July.

Yeah, don’t ask me how I missed that. They had me at “conversation with Ashely Bryan”. WOO HOO!!!!!!! What a tremendous honor!

Many thanks to Ashley Bryan, the National Black Arts Festival, the Auburn Avenue Research Library, (and Jan Burkins for making me go back and read my e-mail slowly). See you in July!

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