Monday, April 28, 2014

In Case You Missed It

The Wild Rumpus launch party for THE KLAATU TERMINUS featured arugula and goat cheese sliders. If you weren't there, you may never know what such a thing tastes like. But you can still score signed copies of all three books in the Klaatu Diskos Trilogy, as well as several other titles.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

San Francisco & the Bay Area

I was born in Berkeley, and lived in nearby Orinda, California until I was five years old. I remember mostly the enormous banana slugs, getting stung by a bee, my red pedal car, our suicidal goose, and the Day It Snowed. That’s right. Snow in Orinda. Back then, the locals said it happened once every four years. I don’t know if that still holds. Anyway, my dad and I (mostly him, I’m sure) made a snowman—a small snowman. It was gone by late afternoon, but it was real.

I know—you want to know about the suicidal goose, but those who know me well know to never ask me for a childhood animal story. They never end well.

Last week, I returned to the Bay Area. Candlewick, my publisher, teamed me up with middle-grade sci-fi writer Jenn Reese for four days of schools, bookstores, and libraries. We had an exhausting, fun, and rewarding week. I was reminded again and again how smart and passionate teenagers are, and the same goes for the teachers and librarians who dedicate their working lives to helping them.

I was also reminded that middle schools are a petri dish for all manner of communicable diseases. Yeah, the coughing started 48 hours after I got home. A hazard of the trade. But I’m glad I went. Those students, they are my people. No matter how hard I try to grow up, a big part of me remains in middle school.

Our first few visits were organized by Patty Norman at Copperfield’s Books. The Petaluma store is one of the nicest bookstores I’ve ever been in. They have a huge inventory in a big, open space that somehow feels intimate and comfortable. Here’s a shot of a young man engrossed in one of Jenn Reese’s books.

Hicklebee’s, a children’s bookstore in San Jose, was equally impressive, though in a different way. This is a store you can get lost in searching for oddball souvenirs and graffiti left by visiting authors. And they had a most impressive display in front of the store.

Books, Inc., “The West’s Oldest Independent Bookseller,” helped us out with the last couple of school visits, but we didn’t have time to visit their stores.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Last Wednesday I had a great day at Montgomery Academy in Montgomery, Alabama, one of the nicest schools I've ever visited. It was eighty lovely degrees outside—to a Minnesota boy, heaven. Also, those Alabamans know a thing or two about making sausage. If I'd had time, I would have filled my suitcase with those wonderfully fatty, tasty links.

Alas, I arrived home sausageless to this. I was not happy, and neither was Gaston, our seven pound poodle.

But I did have many pleasant memories of Montgomery, not least of which were the nicely designed posters that were hanging all over the school. Here's a picture of me and the design team.

Next, a shot of me looking through a magic disko that makes my head look small.

And a selfie with librarians Brooke Wilkins and Carolyn Pyper, who made my visit both pleasant and productive. Thanks guys! As Perez Hilton would say, you are amazeballs. (I don't know why she says that, and I'm embarrassed that I even know such a stupid word, but there ya go.)

Friday, April 4, 2014


My fellow "The Walking Dead" fans understand "Terminus" to be a very bad place where the Walking Dead good guys end up at the end of season 4. That Terminus has nothing to do with The Klaatu Terminus, the final book in the Klaatu Diskos trilogy.

My Terminus is zombie free. So there.

All next week, sci-fi author Jenn Reese and I will be in the San Francisco area visiting several schools and a couple of bookstores. We are celebrating the publication of the final books in our trilogies. Jenn’s Above World trilogy is a middle-grade adventure set in the distant future where humans are genetically engineered in various and fascinating ways—think mermaid, cyborg, and centaur. The Klaatu Diskos is set in a very different distant future, where humans have become sort of cyborgy and sometimes non corporeal. 

Jenn and I will have a lot to talk about! If you are in the area, please stop by one of these fine independent bookstores. Here are our public events:

Tuesday, April 8, 4:00 p.m.
Copperfield’s Books
140 Kentucky St.
Petaluma, CA 94952

Thursday, April 10, 3:00 p.m.
1378 Lincoln Avenue
San Jose, CA 95125