Thursday, March 25, 2010

Would your monkey object to a body scan?

How do I love thee, TSA? Let me count the ways.
Umm...One: Because they must deal with Service Monkeys (scroll down for monkey business).

Monday, March 22, 2010

Council Bluffs

Here's a photo of me and Teen Services maven Anna Hartman standing in front of a golden mummy. Ever see that movie "Bucket of Blood?" It's about a sculptor who finds success by murdering people and covering their bodies with a thin layer of plaster. It made a big impression on me when I was ten years old. Anyway, as I was delivering my talk in Council Bluffs a few weeks ago, the golden mummy stood silently at my back the entire time, and I kept thinking about that movie, and how the thing at my back might be a deceased librarian preserved by a shell of gold leaf. If you ever visit the teen area at the Council Bluffs Public Library, check it out!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Results Are In

I fasted for 48 hours, consulted my oracles, asked my Magic 8-Ball for guidance, and viewed the entries several times each on my imaginary 60-inch hi-def plasma monitor. How to choose, how to choose. The two front-runnners, Angel and Subhan, have submitted How to Steal a Car videos of excellent quality, especially considering that they were produced at the last possible minute and without the aid of a munitions expert. How do you make a movie without explosions? Imagine if "Hurt Locker" had no bombs! I tell you, it boggles the mind. Still, they succeeded.
The winner of first prize (a complete set of Pete Hautman YA books) is...
Congratulations, Subhan!
As for the second prize (a $50 gift certificate for the most YouTube views by 3/31/10), Subhan has a daunting lead. (Angel, you must mobilize your relatives, friends, and classmates! I'm pulling for you!)
I will need a physical mailing addresses from both of you (Angel, even if you don't win the YouTube part of the contest, I'd like to send you a couple of books.). Contact me by email, please.
Congratulations to both of you!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The HOW TO STEAL A CAR Video Contest Deadline...

...has come and gone, and we have two fabulous last-minute entries.
This video, from angel51654, features the philosophical reflections of a happy looking car thief being manipulated by a disembodied blue arm.
Nice job, angel!
The second entry, from subhantopsy, is an energetic and funny review that reminds me a little bit of John Green's video posts.
Alas, Subhan is an honest-to-a-fault fellow who gives How to Steal a Car a rating of only 7.5. Subhan, don't you know that you're supposed to suck up to the contest judge? Just kidding. I love it.
I am going to ponder these two Academy Award worthy efforts for a few days before choosing the first prize (a complete set of ten signed YA books) winner. Meanwhile, the battle for second prize continues - whichever contestant gets the most views on YouTube by the end of this month will win a $50 gift certificate to a bookstore. Good luck, guys!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Usually I know the title of a book long before I finish it, but sometimes my publisher thinks my original title sucks, and asks me to change it. This is somewhat like if you raised a kid and, the day before he is supposed to go to kindergarten, the school calls and says, "What were you thinking when you named your kid 'Irving?' We think if he were named 'Tyler' he would have a better chance of making it into the first grade." And you say to yourself, "Hmm. Irving is a sucky name, but me and Irving...well, we've kinda gotten used to it..."
Okay, so I wrote this book. It's a love story, and as I've mentioned before, it's a love story in which nothing happens - meaning there are no vampires, ghosts, deaths, guns, dragons, etc. I'm not going to reveal the rejected (sucky) title, but if you happen to have a Really Great Title laying around that you have no use for, please let me know. If I use it, I will send you either $10,000 or a free copy of the book and a mention in the acknowledgements (my choice). To get you started, here's a word cloud from the first two chapters:
(word cloud made at