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Viewing Blog: Eric Luper's Blog, Most Recent at Top
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Eric Luper is a novelist. His first book, BIG SLICK, is slated for release in Fall 2007.
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1. Signings, Past and Future

I had a fantastic time on my very first visit to Brooklyn. I signed copies of Jeremy Bender alongside one of my favorite authors, Emily Jenkins, at the Book Court in Cobble Hill. Emily has a new book out called Invisible Inkling which I am really looking forward to reading.


Cupcakes were graciously provided by HarperCollins and the kids who came out to see us (as well as many adults) enjoyed them. We both spoke to the kids for a few minutes about our new books and then answered questions. It was fun fielding questions alongside another author as attendees could see the similarities and differences between us.

Here are some really cool photos a friend of mine took when he dropped by:

Coming Up: So, if you couldn't make the signing at the Book Court or last week's signing at The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, give Troy, NY a try! I will be signing copies of all my books at Market Block Books this Friday night from 7pm until ???. It's "Troy Night Out" so leave extra time to wander around the streets of Troy and check out all the cool boutiques, restaurants and arts! Another cool surprise is that we are going to have a visit from the Bettie's Cakes truck! Don't miss it!

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2. Cool Cupcake Cadets Contest!

Hows that for alliteration? We are one day away from the release of my newest novel (my first for middle-grade readers!) and the excitement is ramping up! I wanted to kick off this week of celebrations with a quick and easy contest, so keep reading!!!

Here is the cover of Jeremy Bender vs. the Cupcake Cadets which comes out on May 3rd:

The Cool Cupcake Cadet Contest

I have designed a small number of highly embellished and signed copies of Jeremy Bender vs the Cupcake Cadets. Here is one version:

Have you ever seen a book signed so marvelously? It's cute enough to eat! If you are interested in obtaining one of these limited-edition signed and embellished copies for yourself or a loved one (or if you hate it so much you want to burn it in a funeral pyre), there are a few ways to get one.

The first is to sign up for my very occasional newsletter at www.ericluper.com. I promise to only send emails once in awhile and only for really good reasons (like big events, awards, new books, etc). I will be giving away one embellished copy of Jeremy Bender to one new subscriber. But if you're already on my mailing list, don't fret. I'll be giving another copy away to one lucky person already registered for my newsletter.

But wait, there's another way to win...

Just post the following (or something similar) on Facebook or Twitter:

Sign up for Eric Luper's occasional email newsletter at ericluper.com for a chance to win a signed copy of his newest book, Jeremy Bender vs the Cupcake Cadets (out in stores 5/3)! Check out the details at http://eluper.livejournal.com/

Retweet or sign up for @ericluper newsletter at ericluper.com for a chance to win a signed copy of Jeremy Bender vs the Cupcake Cadets!

One copy will go out to a Twitter entry and one copy will go out to a Facebook entry! Be sure to tag me in your post or message me below to alert me of the post(s). Otherwise, I won't know you've entered. Feel free to enter in as many ways as you like and feel free to enter once today (5/2) and once tomorrow (5/3) to up your chances!

Best of luck and CUPCAKES FOR EVERYONE!!!!

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3. Rebecca Black and Writing

I was going to post an entry about one of the worst songs ever to plague mankind. It's this one called FRIDAY by Rebecca Black:

This song is so fomulaic and thoughtless that it amazes me it ever sprang from the pen of someone who thought he or she was a writer of lyrics. I was in the process of thinking of a suitable comparison in the world of children's literature. Then, Jackson Pearce did my work for me. Check out this great video blog entry. Then, check out her awesome book, The Sisters Red.

Thank you, Rebecca Black for inspiring interesting dialogue in the world of children's literature, and thank you Jackson Pearce for putting a wicked awesome book out there! Oh, and thank you for doing my work for me...

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4. Celebrity Apprentice

On Sunday night, they will be airing an episode on Celebrity Apprentice where the two teams have to write and create a children's book. It seems the two 'celebrity' teams will be assisted by an editor from Marshall Cavendish and the winning team will earn money for their charity.

Whenever serious children's authors catch a whiff of a celebrity book, the rumblings begin. Questions begin to fly. "What does Celebrity X know about writing for children?" "How could Publishing Company Y think about giving a contract to that idiot?"

Now, it is true that the worst picture book ever created was by Billy Crystal and that celebrity books play an important role in the economy of children's literature, but I am not going to talk about those things. Instead, I am going to talk about raising awareness.

I believe celebrities writing books makes people aware of new literature out there. It gets them poking around the bookstore shelves rather than just grabbing the first book they recognize from their own childhood (which is rarely a good idea). I also think it inspires people to try their own hand at that kid's book idea that has been niggling at them for many years. In some cases, it gives rise to good literature, but in 99.9% of the cases it gets people to realize how hard it is to do what we do.

Not many people can live inside his or her head for hours at a time. Not many people can turn stories over and over again in their heads (and on paper) until it's just right. Not many people can look at their own work so objectively that they can axe thirty, forty or fifty pages from it, if necessary, and start again. What we do is hard.

Anyhow, do painters get irked when celebrities try their hand at painting or do musicians flip out when a celebrity begins a band? It's all creative expression. They are just as entitled as anyone to do it, even poorly.

So let the celebrities have at it this weekend. I assure you that every one of them will come out of the experience appreciating what we do a little more. Hopefully, so will the many viewers who decide to waste an hour of his or her life watching Celebrity Apprentice.

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5. Word Choice

I am deep in the middle of a major revision of my fifth novel (no, I’m not going to tell you what it’s about... sorry). For this pass, I made the mistake of printing out this 70,000-word monster. There are so many edits and additions that keying in changes has become a monumental task.

But everything happens for a reason, doesn’t it?

In this case, it has helped me read this manuscript more closely. This morning as I was trying to decipher the scrawl I crammed between two lines of crossed-out text, I got to thinking about word choice. Why was I replacing the word ‘ran’ with the word ‘scrambled’?

With poetry, we consider the careful selection of each word paramount. We think about how the word sounds, what it does to the cadence of the sentence, how it affects the words around it. We do the same when we think about picture book text. The longer the piece, the less we talk about word choice. After all, more words means less importance per word, right?

My opinion: wrong.

I find myself toiling over word choice. Each word is just as important as the ones that precede and come after it. When I can’t find the right word, I flag it so I don’t forget to circle back at some point. Adverbs tell me I have not found the right verb. Word repetition and clichés tell me I’ve gotten lazy. Too many gerunds? Overuse of ‘that’ and ‘just’? I’m guilty of them all.

Sometimes it’s a matter of swapping out a word or phrase for a better one. Other times, I need to circle my wagons and figure out a better way to communicate something as a whole. New sentence. New paragraph. On occasion, new scene.

But that is what revision is for. It’s when I make sure every word in the book (and as I said earlier… in this case there are around 70,000 of them) is the right one and that it’s in the right spot in the sentence. And the sentence is in the right part of the paragraph and the paragraph 1) needs to be there and 2) is also in the right spot. Someone should draw me an algorithm.

For me, writing a book is a marathon. Getting out that first draft is only the first leg of the race. Revision is that long haul in the middle where you barely remember starting and the finish line seems so far away. But, just as with runner’s high, when I find that right word or phrase, there is no feeling like it.

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6. Google Books

Well, for better or worse, it's here. There has been much hoopla in the publishing world about Google and their attempts to digitize the entire compendium of human knowledge. Lawsuits, confusing emails to authors, you name it.

If you are involved in publishing and have not heard about this, it's time to pull your head out from under that rock. If you are not involved in publishing, then it's time to learn what all your book-geek friends will be talking about this week. Here is the story as relayed by the brilliance of the collective Wikipedia brain.

And here are how two of my books, Bug Boy and Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto, appear on Google Books.

Simply put, if your book is in the public domain it will appear in its entirety. If your book's copyright is still held by an entity, it will appear to whatever extent the copyright holder wishes: first chapter, cover only, first few pages, pages from beginning, middle and end, whatever.

So what does that mean to the regular person? It means that virtually every book that has a barcode on it will appear in some capacity on Google Books. So will magazines and reference materials. It will sort of be like going to the book store and being able to "flip through" books in a limited capacity. You can also read appreciable chunks or even all of some books. you also can search by keyword ro author or any other sort of Google-y thing. Kinda cool, right?

So what does this mean for authors and publishers? Good question. No one really knows the answer to this. There are people who think it is the end of publishing as we know it (sort of the way the printing press spelled disaster for the entire scribe profession). Others think that dissemination of information, in whatever means, only spells good things for the world of publishing.

I'm sort of in the middle of these two opinions, but if I had to choose I think I'm in that second camp.

I am a writer; it is my job to produce content. Whether someone reads it in a paper book or on a screen--heck, even if they spell it in smoke letters in the sky--the people in the world of publishing are going to need what I do. Believe me, if they could do it themselves they would.

It is the job of publishers to make heads or tails of all this eBook/Google/digital content thing.
It is the job of writers to write.

So get out there and do it!

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7. Cover Design

Although recipients of my "only once in a while" newsletter have already seen it, I have yet to reveal the cover of my forthcoming novel on my blog. So, here it is:

The incredible news is that illustrator extraordinaire, Brian Floca, did the illustrations. If you're not familiar with Mr. Floca, he is the author/illustrator of two Sibert Award honor books, Lightship and Moonshot. He also took the time to drop a mention of Jeremy Bender vs the Cupcake Cadets on his own blog. If you went to check that out, did you notice that he's also done an Avi book? He is the illustrator for friend and critique partner, Kate Messner's forthcoming release, Marty McGuire, too!

Oh, and here is the flap copy:

When eleven-year-old Jeremy Bender does major damage to his father’s prized boat, he figures he has one way to avoid being grounded for life: Fix it before Dad finds out. But even if Jeremy and his best friend, Slater, combined their allowances for a year, they still wouldn’t have enough money for the cost of repairs. Inspiration strikes when the boys see an ad for the Windjammer Whirl. Sponsored by the Cupcake Cadets, the model sailboat race pays $500 to the winner. There’s just one problem: You must be a Cadet—and a girl—to compete.  Confident that it will be the easiest money they’ve ever made, Jeremy convinces Slater they should dress up like girls and infiltrate the troop. But as the boys proceed to botch everything from camping to field hockey, they realize that being a Cadet is no piece of cupcake.
Can Jeremy and Slater earn their badges and win the money? Or will their Cupcake careers be over faster than you can say "vanilla frosting"?

So there you have it. Jeremy Bender vs the Cupcake Cadets hits shelves on 5/3/2011 with Balzer + Bray, a company I am so stoked to be associated with.

By the way, if you are interested in getting in on the very occasional newsletter, here is a registration form:

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8. PubIt or Shut It

A few months ago I was at a party and the person I was with introduced me to her friend. "He's a published author," she boasted. The man looked down his nose at me and said, "Anyone can get published these days, what with self publishing and all."

Now despite my badass author photos (thanks Chris Sawicki), I am not a confrontational person. I smiled and looked past the guy for the cheese and crackers. However, the woman with me whose husband owns a large printing company rose to my defense.

"This isn't some low-budget downtown small press," she said. "This is Harper Collins!"

The man raised his eyebrows, took a sip of his gin and tonic, and gave me one of those "what's-the-difference?" expressions. Then, he wandered off, presumably to regale his friends about his new horse or his new BMW or his new wife.

My friend apologized for her friend's comment, but I shrugged it off. It's not the first time I've come across the attitude that anyone can get published and I'm sure it won't be the last. For the record, I applaud anyone who is able to write an entire book: beginning, middle and end. It's a difficult task that somehow seems to get more difficult with each completed book.

And it's true. Anyone can get published. The are dozens of print-on-demand, vanity and self publishing companies out there. All it has required is a few thousand dollars, in some cases many more thousand dollars, and acceptance of the fact that you'll be hand selling the bulk of your copies or ending up with a garage filled with unsold copies.

Until now.

PubIt is a new service being offered by Barnes & Noble to convert your masterpiece to eBook version for free. According to the website, the conversion is simple and the book will be able to be read by "most eReaders and mobile devices." It also gets listed on BN.com.

Yay for you!

So, what's the catch? The catch is that they get some of the money from each sale. I also suspect that going this route will qualify your book as being already published and will close lots of doors in the world of traditional publishing.

I guess that guy at the cocktail party was correct after all. Anyone can get published nowadays. So, go ahead and do it. Publish your eBook. Let me know how that works out for you.

Now before you pounce for my snarky tone, let the record show that I believe there is a place for self pubbing. I've blogged about it before. I'm sure there is a place for PubIt as well. I'm just not sure what it is. I suppose time will tell...

But I will say that it's quite interesting to watch it all unfold!

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9. Author to Author: Mark Shulman

Okay, so this is my first interview in a great while, but I think it might be interesting for people to see an author interviewed by another author. Maybe I’ll come up with some authorly questions, or something of the sort.

So, without any more ado, I give you Mark Shulman

SCRAWL (Roaring Brook, 2010) is your first foray into young adult fiction. What made you want to write for this age group?

I suppose the easy answer is that, like most men, I’m still a teenager at heart. For me, the teen years shared the prefix terri: terrific and terrible. It was my most volatile period, ripe with incredible highs and lows. Probably more than at any other age, who I am was defined by those few years of my life. So, to finally answer your question, I realized that I have so many memories of my teenage self, and my thought processes, that I could perhaps possibly write a novel from that point of view.

SCRAWL is the story of a boy who’s in serious trouble. He’s also at the threshold between acting like a bad guy and being one. For me, being a teenager was also about trying on roles. Unfortunately, a few of mine were photographed. Tod doesn’t think he has any choice but to be defined by his hard-luck neighborhood. But choices emerge. Will he take the clues and switch paths? Could I make a difference to a teenager on a similar trajectory? Perhaps some day this book can give someone hope. It’s not the first mistake that defines us, it’s the second.

Where and how did the story originate?

I never thought I could (or would) write a novel. That’s something that real writers did, not me. One day I was at lunch with an editor I admire, Neal Porter. He looked at all my books – picture books, nonfiction books, preschool and humor books – and he asked me what I really wanted to write. I casually uttered the words “write a novel” the way my young son says “be an astronaut” and the next thing I know, Neal’s making me live up to it. “Send me something,” said Neal, and I sent him a few paragraphs I’d recently written.

Those paragraphs have their own strange history. A writer friend, Alison James, gathered a few friends together and hypnotized us into starting a story from scratch. She landed us in our own random worlds and had us start scribbling. Alack! I was suddenly in my old high school, beating up some kid and busting his glasses. Having been the punching bag myself, and not the aggressor, my fictional bully had a connoisseur’s appreciation of how best to assault someone. And he was telling the story himself.

"It’s not the first mistake that defines us, it’s the second."
--Mark Shulman

Bullying is a hot topic these days. Do you have personal experience with bullying (either on the giving or receiving end)?

Fat, noisy Jewish kid in a huge, tough inner-city school in the 1970s. Need I say more?

There are not many books that have a bully as a main character. It must be tough to do that and still maintain sympathy for the character. What were the challenges in writing Tod and how did you overcome them?

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10. ...and we have a few winners!

I am so excited to be able to announce our winners for the JEREMY BENDER VS THE CUPCAKE CADETS contest. It was the first contest I've held for this book, which means it's the first time this book is out into the world... to anyone!

There are winners from all ways of entering and I'm blowing through all my spare advance copies with this contest. That means I have no additional ones to send out (hint, hint!). Believe me, if I get my hands on a few more, I'll get them out there.

So, without further ado, here are our winners:

Kate Covintree
Jane O'Donnell

Brent Watson (who entered and didn't actually win, but I'm adding him because it's his birthday today)

Congratulations to all the winners. I'll be in touch to get your mailing address!

And if you're interested in my occasional newsletter, be sure to sign up here:

Now stay tuned for the cover reveal, which is coming soon!

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11. Contest to Win a Very Advance Reading Copy

My next novel, Jeremy Bender vs the Cupcake Cadets, doesn't hit shelves until May 2011. That seems like eons away. So imagine my surprise when I received a big box from my publisher that held a big pile of advance reading galleys! I also received news of the awesome blurbs my book will be wearing:

“Hats (and tams) off to Jeremy Bender for a belly-laugh not even the densest cupcakes could hold down!”

— Gordon Korman, bestselling author of The 39 Clues: One False Note and Pop

“This book has it all: a laugh on each page, outrageous plot, snappy dialogue, mega-wedgies, and of course, cupcakes. Perfect for boys and girls."
— Julia DeVillers, author of How My Private, Personal Journal Became a Bestseller (now the Disney Channel Original Movie Read It and Weep)

Julia DeVillers AND Gordon Korman?? I truly consider myself blessed.

So, here comes the hard part... what do I do with all of these ARCs taking up valuable real estate on my desk? I'll tell you what I'm going to do with them, I'm going to give them away! I love contests! There are several ways you can win.

How to Win:

1) Sign up for my occasional email newsletter (see below). This is the best way to enter since you'll receive the added bonus of an occasional email newsletter. Also, I'll be giving away a bunch of ARCs for people who register. By far, it'll be your best chance of winning as people can only enter once!

2) Tweet about the ARC contest using a link to this blog entry and an @ericluper so I can keep track. Something like, "Hey, go check out @ericluper 's big ARC givaway for his next novel at http://eluper.livejournal.com" You can enter this way once per day through the weekend into Monday.

3) Facebook the same thing and let me know you did that somehow!! I'll be watching. You can enter this way once per day into Monday as well.

Winners will be selected on Monday, 11/1 at 1:11 pm... just because I like the number one. I'm planning on unloading a bunch of these ARCs to the world so get entering! Good luck! Oh, and get ready for the big cover reveal too!

Here's the registration form:

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12. My New Email Newsletter

I want to thank everyone for such an awesome summer. The release of SETH BAUMGARTNER'S LOVE MANIFESTO was a roller coaster of excitement starting with BEA just weeks before launch date. I've been working with St. Anne Institute on their teen library and bouncing form signing to signing. I've also been moving and working on my next book.

I know I've been quiet on LJ of late and the fault lies entirely with me. Or is it 'lays'? I always screw that one up. Is there a copyeditor in the house?

One project I'm hoping to launch in the coming days is my email newsletter. Up until now, I've been doing postcards before the launch of any of my books. I love postcards. There is something so cool about having a book jacket on one side and a list of appearances on the other. The trouble is that my list has grown substantially. So much so that doing a postcard mailer is becoming cost prohibitive and time prohibitive (have you ever tried hand labeling a thousand postcards?). Likewise, notices on Twitter and Facebook tend to get lost in the white noise of all those other posts.

I plan to do an email occasionally, only to send out important information. Things like book launches, appearance schedules, stuff like that. If you are interested in receiving an occasional email, sign up below my new banner and I'll be sure to add you to my list. And if there is something you'd like to see included in my newsletter, be sure to leave a comment!

Thanks in advance for all the support!

And I look forward to telling you all about my 2011 release, which will be titled JEREMY BENDER VS THE CUPCAKE CADETS. What is it with me and long titles lately?

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13. Haiku Contest Winners

I know everyone has been eagerly anticipating the results of the Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto Haiku Contest. It has been a really tough process to determine our winners as the judges were split in a few different directions. However, using highly complicated mathematical formulae, a protractor, and several Slap Chops I have determined our esteemed winners.

So, without further ado... WAIT... okay, with a little ado (doo dee doo dee doo!), here are our winners and their most awesome haikus.

The randomly selected haiku winner and the winner of either a signed hardcover or CD audio book of Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto is Cassidy:

Applebee's is hell.
My dad's got a new mistress
and I am solo.

The award for the most profound haiku and the winner of 1) an iTunes gift card and 2) choice of signed hardcover, CD audiobook or Playaway version of Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto is Erin Dealey:

Applebee's break-up
She needs time. I need ketchup.
Both permanent stains...

The award for the funniest haiku and the winner of 1) an iPod Shuffle and 2) choice of signed hardcover, CD audiobook or Playaway version of Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto is Lindsay Eland!!

Applebee's, aw snap
What's up with all that crap...eh?
Manifesto to the o ...yo

I am not sure what that last one had to do with my book, but the judges have spoken!

Thank you to all of you who played! Rock on! I'll try to contact you all via my blog!

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14. St. Anne Institute Book Drive

For those of you who do not know, I've been holding a book drive for the St. Anne Institute, a not-for-profit residential and therapeutic facility for at-risk girls ages 12 to 18 located here in Albany. Last week marked the first gifting of books to the St. Anne Institute.

I was amazed and touched by the outpouring of support. I was able to collect nearly 700 books for these girls whose lives will only improve with these library additions. I don't have many photos as I was busy presenting to an auditorium filled with students, teachers and distinguished guests, but let me just say that the event was a great one.

The awesome part is that we had a huge stack of Advance Reading Copies of books to hand out. Every girl who attended left with a book of her very own.

Here are but some of the donated books:

If you are interested in making a donation to St. Anne's, contact me via my website or feel free to call the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza to order a book off the girls' wishlist!!

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15. Book Launch!

I had a great signing on Saturday afternoon with friend and author, Coleen Paratore. Coleen is just releasing her fourteenth novel, Wish I Might, another great addition to the Wedding Planner's Daughter series. I saw early versions of this book and it's really good. Coleen is one of those gifted writers who can pack a book so full of heart that it's about to burst, and if all the rabid fans she had show up is any indication, she has a monster following. Go Coleen!

As for me, I had every intention of taking all sorts of photos at this event, but I was so busy signing that my camera did not get a lot of action. Five o'clock rolled around and I was still going strong! This, I suppose, is a good problem to have.

However, as a really cool surprise, we had a celebrity visit by another author. Jennifer Roy stopped by to say hello! Jennifer is the award-wining author of an awesome books called Yellow Star. I have heard that her forthcoming novel, Mindblind, rocks too.

Thank you to all of you who made this signing a success. And if you missed the event because of unforseen circumstances, I left behind signed copies of all my books at the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza. Or just get your tail to one of my coming events:

Saturday, June 19th, 2-4pm: The Town Book Shop (Westfield, NJ)
Saturday, June 26th, 11-1:  Happy Jack's (Bolton Landing, NY)
Thursday, July 8th, 7pm: Barnes & Noble (Colonie Center, Colonie, NY)

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16. An Award and Another Winner!

To say that this week has been a whirlwind is an understatement. Not only did I launch a book, but I won an award for another!

A few weeks ago, I discovered I had been nominated for an Adirondack Literary Award by the Adirondack Center for Writing for my last novel, Bug Boy. My assumption was that it would go to someone else as it was my first time up for this award (and any award, for that matter) but I went to the ceremony anyway as it's an honor just to be considered. It was up in Blue Mountain Lake deep in the heart of the Adirondacks. That means two hours north of Albany and even an hour north of my place in Lake George!

As I said: deep in the heart...

When I got there, I discovered the Blue Mountain Lake Center was a quaint, old manor on a hill that slopes to the shore of the lake. What a cute spot. I also discovered that this center focuses on artistic events. Immediately, I wanted to move in. So awesome. It was cold and rainy so I did not get any outside photos, but inside was nice and toasty. They had a fire crackling and possibly the best oatmeal raisin cookies I've ever tasted.

Here are the books that were nominated for Best Book of Children Literature:

And here I am with two other nominees, Gary VanRipen and his son Justin, authors of the wildly popular Adirondack Kids series:

The children's literature award was the first one to be announced and to my surprise I was the recipient! Thank you so much to the judges and to the ACW for such an honor. Here I am receiving the award. Please note the awesome fireplace and how cute the podium is, which will draw your eye away from my wrinkly pants!

And for you award junkies out there, here is what it looks like:

It's handmade from wood and looks like an Adirondack chair! Awesome.

Now for our Wednesday and Thursday winners for either a signed hardcover or CD audiobook of Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto: @jemacleod and @jotreggiari ! Congratulations to both of you.

And the rest of you, there is still time to enter the contest! Just write a haiku on my blog OR tweet/blog/Facebook about the contest! Check out the specific details here. The contest runs through midnight TONIGHT!! So hurry!

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17. Today's Winner and a Really Cool Photo

Today's winner for a choice of a signed hardcover or CD Audiobook of SETH BAUMGARTNER'S LOVE MANIFESTO is @Joyce_Lansky. Congratulations, Joyce!

If you are still interested in entering the contest to win an iPod, iTunes gift cards or signed hardcovers, CD Audiobooks or Playaway versions of my book, go on over to the post and enter. Remember, you don't need to be a good poet to enter. Give it a shot. There are several categories including a RANDOM one, so get haiku-ing! Or just repost about the contest and you're entered!

Now for something I consider to be really special. When I was recently in New Orleans (wow, that is an awesome city) I stumbled into a really incredible antique shop called M.S. Rau Antiques. It was more like a museum, actually, and the woman there, Susan, gave me a tour of the place. I can't begin to describe this collection. Okay, I'm a writer. I will. They had VanGogh paintings, a camel saddle from when Napoleon invaded Africa, a ten-foot clock that took ten years to build (how did they know if they didn't have a clock?), a skeleton of a prehistoric cave bear, George Washington's shoe buckle. The list goes on. Vastly incredible stuff. If you're curious to see more, check out the website I've linked. And if you find yourself in New Orleans, hunt this place down!

Anyhow, a week or so after leaving the store, Susan sent me the following photo:

It is an image of SETH BAUMGARTNER'S LOVE MANIFESTO sitting right next to a first-edition copy of Sir Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica. If you don't know what this is, it's one of the most important books in history, and arguably THE most important book in the history of science. It's the book in which Newton describes gravitation, lays out his three laws of motion, and dispels the doubts about heliocentrism. It's really an amazing book and I'm stunned that my own book is sitting right there next to it! Thanks Susan.

Love, I suppose, is another law of the universe... one that Newton neglected to describe. That is a matter best left to Seth.

So cool.

Oh, and as a reminder: this is book release week for SETH BAUMGARTNER'S LOVE MANIFESTO so if you've been thinking of getting a copy, it's available NOW!!!!

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18. A Fun Interview and Our First Winner

I had the pleasure of fielding questions from a young interviewer a few weeks ago and was pleased to see it posted online. Thanks go out to ReadingJunky and her awesome students.

Also, super special thanks go out to all the great people who have made book launch day super special. Whether it was on Facebook, Twitter, your blog or wherever, it's been mega awesome to see the excitement whipping up. Writing is such a solitary thing so having such great online support is... supportive! You guys rock!

Now for the moment many of you have been waiting for: our first daily winner in the SETH BAUMGARTNER'S LOVE MANIFESTO contest...

Renee Combs, you have your choice of a signed hardcover or CD audiobook of Love Manifesto. I'll message you to find out what you want and where to send it!

Keep Facebooking and Twittering about the contest. I'll be drawing another name each day this week! and if you haven't submitted your haiku yet, what are you waiting for???

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19. The Hudson Children's Book Festival and a Major Announcement

I cannot say enough good stuff about the upcoming Hudson Children's Book Festival. In fact, I'm not sure if LiveJournal has a word-count limit, but I fear I might exceed it if I start writing about it. So, it's a good thing that author James Preller beat me to the punch and did my work for me. He's much better at keeping word-count down than I am. Be sure to check out his post . It rocks.

Oh, and as for the major announcement...

Harper Collins has agreed to release a limited number of hardcover copies of my forthcoming novel, SETH BAUMGARTNER'S LOVE MANIFESTO, more than a month before its official release date! I'm not sure how many they are sending, but they will be available at the book festival. Get them while they're hot!

So, here are the nitty-gritty details:

See you at the festival!!!

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20. St. Anne Institute Book Drive and a Surprise at the End

Not long ago, I was asked to sit on the advisory board of St. Anne Institute here in Albany. St. Anne's is a residential and therapeutic facility for at-risk girls ages 12 to 18 from all over New York State. It has been in operation since 1887.  Being the nosy advisory board member I am, I asked for a tour of the facility... and I wanted to start (where else?) at the library!

I was disappointed to see that not only was the library sparse in its selection, but the collection was dated. When I asked about this, I was told that due to budget cuts and increased competition for dwindling grant monies, there was no money to upgrade the library. The waiting list for the one copy of Twilight was eight girls deep! Thinking about it really upset me. These are the girls who need books the most; literacy can change their lives.

So, I reached out to a bunch of authors I know and many of them were kind enough to send along their own books or books that were taking up space on their shelves. To date, I have collected more than 350 books. Signed, unsigned. Fiction, non-fiction. Hardcover, softcover. Sci-fi, fantasy, romance, vampires, werewolves, fallen angels, boy wizards... As long as the book is in good condition and relevant to a 12 to 18 year-old girl, St. Anne's is taking it.

Here is a story about the project done by our local NBC affiliate (I was totally on TV!):

St. Anne Institute still needs your help!

If you are an editor, an agent, a publishing bigwig, a published author, an aspiring writer, or simply a concerned citizen, please consider donating whatever you can.

There are a few ways you can help:

1) If you have books on-hand and would like to ship them, please contact me via my webpage. I will forward you the mailing address and you can ship boxes by media mail.

2) If you'd rather donate books by phone, I have made arrangements with The Little Book House, an independent bookseller in Stuyvesant Plaza in Albany. You can drop by the store or call in and order a book at (518) 437-0101. They have a wishlist from the teachers, librarians and students and you can select something from the list. They've even agreed to offer a 20% discount for books slated for St. Anne's!

A Contest Too!
And now, here's what you get for reading this far... Tweet or post to Facebook about this effort or blog about it on your own blog (with a link to this blog entry) and be entered to win a hardcover copy of Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto. That's right, HARDCOVER! It's hot off the presses and still has that "new book smell." I'll probably gift out a bunch of signed ARCs as well so get cracking! Donate books and you'll be entered five times! Just post where you've publicized the book drive in the Comments section below.

And don't worry. If you've already donated books, you're already entered!

Contest runs until Monday, May 17th, 2010. Please help!

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21. St. Anne Book Drive, Part 2

I recently posted about a book drive I am holding for St. Anne Institute here in Albany.

It's been two weeks since I posted about it, and all I can say is WOW. Within days, books were flooding in from all over the US and Canada. I got books from teachers, librarians, literary agents, editors, authors, illustrators and all sorts of other concerned and wonderful citizens.

Here is but a sample of the sheer volume of books that have crossed my threshold...

Literally many hundreds of books for these at-risk girls in need. But my goal is for one thousand books, so if you have not yet donated or have donated and wish to give more, please get in touch with me via comments and I'd be happy to send along my mailing address.

People rock!

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22. Love Manifesto Haikus

So, it's kind of a long story, but I will give you the shortened version. A few weeks back, writer and blogger, Mike Jung, won a signed ARC of Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto in a contest I held. Within days, Mike went ahead and LOST this precious item on the train on the way to some conference (or something).

After holding a major contest of his own to see what he should do to repent for this transgression, I decided to show mercy. I told Mike I would send him another copy of my book on the condition he wrote a haiku about Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto.

And he wrote three:

Seth Baumgartner's tale
will make you soil your pants
from unbridled mirth

Man-tits, Russian name
hottie sister, unforeseen
pro shop bitterness

Love ...Manifesto
Maybe needs more thinking through?
Could lead to groin pain

All I can say is that if Mike didn't already have an ARC of Love Manifesto I'd send him another one. However, Mike, this is not license to go lose your current copy!!

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23. Expo-ing at Book Expo America

This year's Book Expo America (BEA) was amazing. I know industry professionals belly-ache about how "down" the industry is and how everyone is scaling back their presence at the big conventions, but there was no sign of that last week at the 2010 BEA (with the exception of a few major publishers who were absent... pfffththhthth!)

Rather than giving you a play-by-play rundown of the event, I've decided to do a photo montage. Of course, it wouldn't be my blog if I didn't add my two-cents here and there.

Here is the UFO landing in my hotel lobby.

Here are the teeny-tiny quarters I lived in, which convinced me I was actually on the UFO.

Applebee's and the golf range at Chelsea Pier. So LOVE MANIFESTO appropriate.

Mark Shulman, author of the interesting-looking forthcoming YA novel, SCRAWL.

Me and my first sighting of my forthcoming audiobook!

Author Mitali Perkins with her novel, BAMBOO PEOPLE.

Author (???) Rick Springfield signing something I didn't look at. Really Rick??

Real authors, Robin Friedman and Laura Bowers.

Me and Scott Turow. What a nice, approachable guy!

Really approachable and nice author, Courtney Sheinmel. Did I just misspell her name?

Awesomely talented author friend Wendy Mass signing her new novel, The Candymakers, with her awesomely awesome editor Alvina Ling.

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24. Audiobook Month and Playaways

I just found out that June is Audiobook Month. I had no idea there was any such thing as "Audiobook Month" but when Bruce Coville and David Lubar tell you June is the month where we celebrate audiobooks, I'm inclined to believe it.

It just so happens that next week marks the launch on my first audiobook ever. It's for Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto and I've been listening to an advance copy of it for a few days now. I will admit it's been interesting hearing an actor's interpretation of something I've written. It's great to hear the parts he's brought out the humor that until now I've only read on the page or "heard" in my head. It's also a little painful to hear the names I've always pronounced one way come out in another.

Overall, AWESOME experience though. Thank you to all the enthusiastic people at Brilliance Audio and thank you to the most talented narrator, Nick Podehl.

One aspect of audiobooks I'd like to talk about is the Playaway. A Playaway is a personal mp3 player that contains one single book on it. It's a great little piece of technology and something we need in this industry. Here is what one of these contraptions looks like:

Isn't that a nifty looking sucker? The reason the Playaway is important to our industry might not immediately be obvious...

There are plenty of people who do not have access to a computer in their home. Or they cannot afford a CD player or their own mp3 player. Access to a computer at the library might be nice for doing a research project or for checking email, but it's useless when it comes to storing your audio library. That is where the Playaway comes in. It fills an important gap in bringing literature to people, particularly young people.

Some kids are auditory learners. Some kids are dyslexic and cannot easily read a book. Some kids just love to go to sleep listening to a comforting or reassuring voice. Imagine being able to browse a shelf in your public library, choosing a Playaway, plugging in your headphones and listening to the book you've been dying to read. Simply awesome.

When I was at Book Expo America last week (stay tuned for some awesome photos and the rundown) I had a chance to chat with the people of the Playaway company and they are so enthusiastic about their mission... and quite an important mission it is. Thank you.

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25. Book Release Contest!

Okay, we are less than a day away from the release of my next novel, Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto, and I am so super excited about the release I've decided to hold a contest to celebrate. It's a mega-awesome contest, too. I've got some great prizes for you, so read on...

The Contest
The main portion of this contest involves poetry. WAIT!!! Before you click on the Next button and go to another blog entry, check the prize list. It might be incentive to stick around. Okay, are you back? Are you satisfied? Good prizes, huh?

What I want you to do is to write a Love Manifesto haiku.

See, it's a short poem at least.

You can read the first six chapters of the book online or just read the flap copy. I don't care. Just be sure your poem is amusing and has the right number of syllables (that's 5,7,5 for the un-haiku-ed) and that it has something to do with Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto. Then, post it below in the Comments section of this blog entry.

Please, with haikus, one entry per person. So, put your best words forward!

There is always a conflict over whether a winner should be chosen at random or by merit, so I've decided to create a bunch of different ways of winning. Here they are:

1) Funniest: Since there is a lot of humor in Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto, I am making the number one, highest prize for the funniest haiku.

Prize: A brand new iPod Shuffle with your choice of a signed hardcover, CD audiobook or Playaway version of Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto. Tell me that ain't worth tossing together seventeen syllables!

2) Most Profound: Some people don't like to write humor and I don't want to put off those people. So, if you write a haiku that doesn't fall into the category of humorous, you can still win.

Prize: An iTunes gift card and your choice of signed hardcover, CD audiobook or Playaway version of Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto

3) Random Entry: Do you think your haiku-ing skillz suck? I don't care. Write one anyway. You'll still have a chance to win! Seventeen syllables about my book and you're in. I'll pick it out of a hat or maybe I'll lay out all the entrants' names and let a hamster poop on the winner. Whatever.

Prize: Your choice of signed hardcover or CD audiobook  version of Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto

4) Social Networking: Get the word about this contest out there! There will be multiple awards given out on this front. You can enter once per day on Twitter (tagging your tweet with @ericluper), once per day on Facebook (tagging your post with @Eric Luper), and once each day on your blog (if you use my name I'll pick up your entry on Google Alert).

Prize: For this section, there will be a winner every day from right this minute through Friday, June 11th. Each winner will receive his or her choice of a signed hardcover or CD audiobook version of Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto.

So what are you waiting for? Get haiku-ing everyone! And check back often to find out daily winners, lots of surprises and to see some wicked awesome haiku!

*Oh, and for the record, there will be a panel of expert judges so it won't be just me pointing my magic scepter at the various winners.

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