Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Two shout-outs in one month

BookKids Recommends, by the independent bookstore BookPeople in Austin, Texas, has given Nancy her props for two different books this month.

First they climbed aboard the Impossible bandwagon here, and then they warmed my heart by including a recommendation for Double Helix (the first Werlin I ever read) here.

It's particularly nice to see Nancy's earlier books staying on the radar screen. Her stuff continues to grow in popularity, but a lot of people just coming to Impossible or The Rules of Survival haven't read all of the terrific books that she wrote in previous years. Fortunately Penguin has her entire back list now, so things like The Killer's Cousin and Locked Inside should be more readily available than they have been in the recent past.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Reaching a Reader

We bloggers, let's face it, tend to be rather fond of the sound of our own virtual voices. Sometimes we think we have a point, sometimes we've got a good quip, and sometimes we reach for le mot juste, whether or not we know French. But other times it's incumbent upon us to just shut up and link.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rules of Survival en Español

Rules of Survival será publicado en español por Ediciones Obelisco de Barcelona. Los detalles seguirán. Es bueno, incluso si mi español es malo.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tanya on Bowdlerization

Tanya Lee Stone fumes in her take on bowdlerization in New Rochelle schools. I could paraphrase for you, but in the spirit of anti-bowdlerization, I'll simply encourage you to take in her take in its entirety.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Best of 2K8

Impossible shows up on the Kirkus Review's list of the Best Young-Adult Books of 2008. You can see it in the Second Look section (because they'd previously reviewed it), on page 21 of the PDF, with the orange background.

Further up, on page 5, is a nice Penguin ad that includes Impossible and uses the cover as the background.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Audio version of Impossible

Impossible is now available as an audio book. Go to Brilliance Audio to listen to an excerpt -- it's Episode 053.

If your appetite is whetted but not satisfied, proceed to your favorite bookstore online, to iTunes, or to here to get it from Amazon.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What do you think?

Betsy Bird (she styles herself Elizabeth online, but the nickname's a bit too compelling to pass up) asks readers which YA novel she should read in the School Library Journal. You'll not be surprised to learn that Impossible is among the possibilities. There are lots of opinions, but none quite as incisive as yours, so speak your piece to Betsy.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bella Scrittura

I'm in the midst of Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. So far it's very, very good. The story, the detail, the phrasing -- Patchett seems to be good at all of it.

Nancy handed me Truth & Beauty, Patchett's memoir of her friendship with Lucy Grealy, and was tickled when I tucked into it like Mikey on a bowl of Life cereal. (I'm tricky to please; I don't get very far in most books before I find something I don't like and tune out.)

I'm now unintentionally on a bit of an Ann-and-friends spree. One book has led to another, and I've since read Grealy's Autobiography of a Face before moving on to Bel Canto. I'd already read the novels of their mutual friend Elizabeth McCracken a few years ago.

I've loved all of it. After this I'll promptly read the rest of Patchett's novels, and from there I might even try to get my hands on some of Grealy's poetry, just to see. And McCracken has another one, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, that I'll likewise look in on.

Makes me wonder if they have any other friends...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Impossible among Best Books 2008

School Library Journal says that Impossible is among the best books of 2008, and I'm inclined to believe them. The list is here; you can scroll to the bottom to see the entry.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Want some audio?

As a nice companion piece to the text interview in the previous post, you can go here and scroll down to listen to a podcast interview that Nancy recently did with the King County Library in Bellevue, Washington.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Teen reads, and Nancy writes

Nancy was recently interviewed by Teenreads.com. It's good stuff. For the record, I'd have blogged it even if I didn't get a shout-out.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The curse of happiness

Amidst the glowing praise for Impossible has been a smattering of dissenting opinions. Of course, as an unabashed admirer of Nancy, I don't much enjoy reading any of that, but I recognize that there are going to be differing tastes and perspectives, and so it's all fair enough, at least in principle.

But what annoys me is a consistent premise of the critics: that it's too convenient and unrealistic that Lucy should have the love and support that she gets from Zach. Oh, yeah? People can't be kind to each other? Love is impossible? Happy endings, too? Nobody is allowed to have things bounce their way for a change?

Hey, life is a bitch. Often. Repeatedly. In many cases, horribly. Just not always. I'm sure that a lot of Nancy's readers feel the pain of her characters, and are relieved in some way by the notion that it's not just them that must endure whatever it is that they're enduring. And by all means, they have every right to prefer books in which nobody catches a break, in which comfort is only relative, in which the protagonist has to work within a dark world for each and every little positive thing that comes their way.

But good fortune happens. That's why they call it that. And do the math, people: twenty one generations of Scarborough women are enslaved by a demonic character, followed by one (count 'em) barely wriggling out of being the twenty-second. Over 95% living through hell. Doesn't seem like an overly sunny view of the world to me.

This protagonist was lucky, no question about it, but only after starting out really, really unlucky. If you're one of those readers that identifies with Lucy, you're right to suppose that a Zach next door is unlikely. Please just understand that he's not impossible. As I read it, that was kinda the point...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nancy in San Antonio II: ALAN

After wrapping up at NCTE, Nancy slides on over to the Marriott Rivercenter, also in San Antonio, for the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) Annual Convention.

She'll be speaking in the panel program on "Fear and Loathing in Young Adult Books" at 3:55 pm on Monday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Nancy in San Antonio I: NCTE

Nancy will be at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Convention at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio this Friday and Saturday.

She'll participate in a panel presentation on Friday at 12:30 with fellow authors Matt de la Peña and Benjamin Alire Saenz on “The Realities of Facing Tough Choices" (specifically for teens).

Then she'll sign books not once, not twice, but thrice, so if you're at the conference, your chances of getting a signed copy are pretty good:
  • 2-3 pm Friday at the Penguin Young Readers booth
  • 10-11 am Saturday at the Anderson Bookshop booth
  • 2-3 pm Saturday at the Perma-Bound booth


We've returned from a very pleasant honeymoon in St. Thomas, and Nancy is rested and ready to get back to work. She's off to San Antonio next -- details to follow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Nancy news: nuptials

Back to what this blog does best: keeping readers informed about what Nancy is up to. What she's up to this weekend is marrying up your humble correspondent.

One might argue that it's a shrewd career move for her, good amanuenses bloggers being hard to find and all, but really it has more to do with love and caring and stuff. And we're both on board with the whole living-happily-ever-after concept.

I'm going to omit a fair amount of detail regarding what happens next, but I'll be back shortly with any book-related news...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

On exclusion

Nancy and I were enjoying dinner with Walter Mayes last week, and he was telling us about YALSA's William C. Morris Young Adult Debut Award. (Walter sits on the committee.) Apparently, a book that involves a collaboration between a writer and illustrator is only eligible for the award if it is the debut work of both parties -- if either the writer or the illustrator has been published, the book is ineligible.

My initial impulse was to cry foul, because I was looking at it from the perspective of the artists, and not the book itself. I thought that it was unfair to exclude e.g. a new author who had the good sense to work with an experienced illustrator, and that some promising new writers would be overlooked that way. But the award is really for the book, and it's easy to see that a book that has a seasoned pro working on it has a leg up on one that doesn't. So I can grumble that YALSA ought to make it more about the artist(s) and less about the book, but they have a case. And those promising writers will continue to be promising, and with good collaborations will be just fine, so I needn't worry, huh?

Then there was yesterday. A different (and much more pernicious) sort of exclusion was taking place. Voters in three states - California, Arizona, and Florida - decided that they needed to make a special effort to prevent gays from having the same civil rights as straights.

I could happily veer off to a diatribe about these half-assed state referenda, and how we have a representative democracy for a reason, but I'll leave that alone for now. Instead I'll try to step into the mindset of the selfish, dim-witted homophobes who voted to ban gay marriage in their states. (If you voted for one of these bans, feel free to selectively remove as many as two of those characterizations.)

Look, I get that some people wish there weren't gay marriage. I wish there weren't New York Yankees, but I'll vigorously defend their right to exist. (Well, maybe not vigorously.) Some people find the thought of gay sex distasteful, but if we carefully analyze straight sex, it's something less than dignified itself. Hormones make us do weird things, OK? Deal with it. Or just ignore it and don't worry about it. When you get up in the morning, the intimate goings-on in the house down the street the previous night will have zero effect on your life. Same for the legal status of the couple.

And there is no reason that said couple should be denied the same protections that any married couple has. If you're concerned about the sanctity of the union between a man and a woman, don't be. All you need to do is look at all of the curious customs that have existed around the institution of marriage --would you care to have Dad watching you consummate yours? -- or look at the huge number of ill-considered, abusive straight relationships that nobody has any problem sanctifying with marriage. We're exalting those why?

What this is really about is that the ridiculous referendum system allows people to react on the spur of the moment, and effectively say: "I wish other people were just like me. I vote for comfortable sameness over uncomfortable otherness."

I'm about to enter into marriage with Nancy. I don't see what should make our partnership any different from a gay couple's, except for the plumbing. If two men or two women love each other the way Nancy and I do, they damn well should be together, and have the same sorts of rights that we will.

Monday, November 3, 2008

To read or not to read

You know the answer, but the report of the same name from the NEA suggests that not everybody else does, as discussed by NEA chair Dana Gioia.

A sigh-inducing statement: "There is a general decline in reading among teenage and adult Americans. Most alarming, both reading ability and the habit of regular reading have greatly declined among college graduates."

So readers, keep reading, and writers, keep writing. Someone's gotta do it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The paradigm is in full shift

On the heels of the Authors Guild v. Google case, in which all those books are going online, the Christian Science Monitor is becoming the first national newspaper to go online-only.

No real surprise that this is happening, but it seems like a bit of a watershed event nevertheless. While we can safely predict that newspapers will continue to keep moving in this direction, the equation is a bit different with books in terms of convenience, cost, shelf-life, and aesthetics. Which doesn't mean that books aren't heading in the same direction at a different rate.

Dunno what the future holds, but it certainly isn't the status quo...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Authors Guild v. Google

I ran across a bit by James Gleick on slashdot.org about the Authors Guild v. Google case. The punchline is that Google gets to put a zillion books online, with copyright protections in place. I don't know enough about the subject to predict exactly how writers and readers will be affected, but it seems like a good thing: easier access to written content should be good for everyone. I think. I imagine that for writers, a lot depends on the implementation, and how reliably everyone who should get paid does get paid. Hard to see a down side for readers.

Daily Digression: The Critics

Reviewers are mostly kind to Nancy, so this might seem unnecessarily snarky, but I thought it was pretty good anyway. Mouse over the comic for a little bit more.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Daily Digression: Writing Lessons

Hanging around Nancy, I can't help but pick up some wisdom about writing from time to time. But I have other sources, such as this one. Mouse over the comic for a little bit more...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Heads-up III: Nancy in Bay Area

The third leg of Nancy's trip takes her to California, where she will be doing a couple of school visits before appearing at Clayton Books in Clayton, CA, on Tuesday, October 28. At 4 p.m. she'll be giving a talk, doing some reading, and holding a Q&A. For more information, call (925) 673-3325 or email Joel Harris at joelharris@aol.com.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I wonder if this ever works

Roger Sutton blogs about some unintended consequences of a Nebraska law, and in doing so lobbies for Nancy to tackle the subject. It does seem like something of a fit, but I doubt that she'll actually take him up on it. Of course, Nancy isn't the only one capable of writing scary books about parenthood. Alec Baldwin, I'm looking at you.

Heads-up II: Nancy in Seattle area on Sunday

After her D.C. visit on Saturday, Nancy will complete the rare double-Washington weekend. This Sunday, October 26 at 5:30, she will be delivering the Kim Lafferty Lecture at the Bellevue branch of the King County Public Library. Go here and scroll down for more info.

Lowdown update

I carried out an intel op last night under the pretext of a supply drop, and came away with solid evidence that the High-test Girls do, in fact, discuss writing -- I heard it with both ears. And I found a smoking laptop with what appeared to be fresh text on it, which would suggest to the credulous that they write, as well. Or at least Toni does.

It seems that the annual retreat fulfills its stated purpose, so keep an eye peeled at your local bookstore or library in the coming year or two...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Heads-up I: Nancy keynoting at MAYALIG in D.C. area on Saturday

Nancy will be delivering the keynote address at the MAYALIG Conference being held at the Arlington Central Library in Arlington, VA this Saturday, October 25. The conference kicks off at 9 a.m. Check the website for registration info and other details.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The lowdown on the High-test Girls

I had that dinner last night with the High-test Girls (as Nancy and her retreat pals are known). It was lots and lots of fun, and in addition to some leftover pasta, I came away with the following intelligence:

- I did not see any writing being done.

- I did not hear any writing being discussed.

- I found ample evidence of socializing.

So maybe I'm not in the inner sanctum yet. All I know for sure is that it's a great group of people. We'll have to wait for their next round of books to judge the rest.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Retreat! Retreat!

Several of Nancy's writer pals have begun to gather for a retreat that starts tomorrow.

It's something they've been doing for years, since the days when most of them were still cutting their teeth as writers. They pool their money and rent a place for a week, and have a fine time writing, socializing, writing, talking about writing, socializing, and writing some more. A ton of good fiction happens at these things.

Historically it's been in Maine at whatever bed & breakfast wouldn't kick them out for being too raucous, but this year they're mixing it up and holding it at an undisclosed location in a scenic part of Massachusetts. I actually get to join them for dinner one night (they disclosed to me) and catch a glimpse of the inner sanctum. Of course, my observation will affect the experiment, and I won't get a complete picture of what goes on, but it'll still be fun...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Daily Digression: Yohannes Gebregeorgis

There is a story in the School Library Journal about Yohannes Gebregeorgis, the founder of Ethiopia Reads, which many of you will recognize as Jane Kurtz's not-for-profit organization that provides books for Ethiopian children.

Yohannes has been named as one of ten candidates for 2008 CNN Hero of the Year. If you like the work that Ethiopia Reads is doing, you can vote for Yohannes at the CNN Heroes site.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Guess she meant it!

A teenager reviewing Impossible on Amazon offered a rather sincere form of praise.

"The best book I've read for a long time" is the heading, and of course that's a pretty solid endorsement. But we already know that it's good, and I confess that I've gotten a bit spoiled by this sort of encomium for Nancy's stuff, and have even come to expect it.

Words are wonderful, but the real clincher was that the reviewer read Impossible back to back to back in one day! That's three times, for those of you scoring at home. That's praise.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Barnes & Noble endcap

I stopped into the local Barnes & Noble this morning, and there they were -- three copies of Impossible on an endcap. On the plus side, it's pretty cool that her books are so prominently displayed. On the downside, the endcap was entitled "Vampire Romance", which would fit Nancy's book nicely but for the small detail that there are no vampires in Impossible. Still, Nancy seems pleased, because above her books are perched those of Stephenie Meyer, which are apparently all the rage and sell like vampire romances. And maybe some Meyer readers will become Werlin readers, which the world needs more of.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Baby steps toward fame

A co-worker just pointed out to me that Nancy shows up on the Wikipedia page for Melrose, under "Notable residents", right there along with David Souter and Keith Tkachuk. (You're supposed to know at least one of those names, though the probability of knowing either is in inverse proportion to the probability of knowing the other.)

So it seems that she's gradually becoming better known in the world at large. The crush of the paparazzi has been manageable thus far, but you never know. Who do you see me as -- Todd Palin or Kevin Federline? (Sadly, I expect everyone to recognize both of those names.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Book fund for buying Double Helix

A high school biology teacher in North Carolina is trying to raise money to buy some books to liven up her biology class. She wants to get Nancy's Double Helix, Scott Westerfeld's PEEPS, and Eva by Peter Dickinson. Apparently she'll use fiction to create context for what her students are learning. It's an interesting idea, and is almost guaranteed to be more engaging than the soul-crushing recitation of factoids that I was fed in high school biology class.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Another nice review

Here's another nice review of Impossible from BookPage. Am I overdoing these? Am I going to stop? Don't hold your breath.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Daily Digression: No Books Banned Last Night...

...only tough questions.

The controversy about Sarah Palin's inquiries into book banning seems to have died down. Nothing was brought up about it last night, which wasn't surprising, but I still haven't seen or heard anything resembling a defense of her actions. Seems like a potential leader of the free world oughta be down with the First Amendment.

Of course, if she'd been asked to explain herself, she wouldn't have answered anyway, but "Can we get back to energy?" would have made for an awkward transition.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Impossible has been named one of the top ten titles for romance fiction by Booklist, the trade mag of the American Library Association. (You can see the list, but you need to be a subscriber to get the details.)

Personally, I wouldn't have bothered with the other nine, good as they might be. But then I suppose people like to have something to do with the rest of their digits. There's a sociology poser: do non-shoe-wearing cultures in tropical lands like to have top twenty lists?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


It seems that my fan base is clamoring for subscriptions. (I know, I know, it's long overdue -- cut the newbie some slack.)

Ever sensitive to the winds of public sentiment, I've added a couple of mechanisms for subscribing down there at the bottom of the right-hand column.


Impossible is crossing all sorts of genre boundaries. It's ostensibly YA, of course, and as previously noted, Borders is classifying it as Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror. That's four genres right there.

We can easily call it Suspense, bringing us to five, and it's also absolutely, undeniably Romance. Nancy has an ad for it running on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and next month, one will run on Romancing the Blog.

I'm counting six distinct genres. ("Distinct" is a surprisingly ambiguous term.) Impossible does include a track & field scene, but I'm thinking that calling it Sports would be a bit of a stretch...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Another nomination

The Rules of Survival has been nominated for the 2009-2010 Nebraska Golden Sower Young Adult Award.

Do you suppose she'll be invited out if she wins? I'm hoping that she will, and that I can tag along, because Nebraska is one of those states that I haven't been to, and I'm not otherwise likely to be passing through any time soon.

But the really cool part would be if there's some sort of physical award to match the sower guy atop the statehouse.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Last September installment from The Compulsive Reader

See The Compulsive Reader for one more interview snippet, in the last shout-out for Impossible as their September Book of the Month. It also includes the trailer if you've not yet seen it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Nancy has another school visit tomorrow, this time close to home, as she heads up to Lawrence Central Catholic. Nancy has a day job, and her worlds will collide, or at least overlap, tomorrow -- her boss's daughter is a student at Central Catholic. I don't think the visit will count in her performance evaluation, though. Which is kinda too bad, because she usually goes over pretty well in these things.

And this particular school seems to like her even more than usual. The 1300 students were given a choice of any of five books to read, and (unofficially) 900 of them chose The Rules of Survival. If she could maintain that ratio and get nine of every thirteen teenagers nationwide...

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I have the luxury of not being a politician, and can flip-flop with relative impunity, so I've decided to turn comments back on to make this blog a bit more interactive and potentially more interesting.

At the same time, I've left my email address up to encourage people to contact me directly with personal questions.

It's possible that I'll flip-flop again. It might hurt me with the voters, but I can always fall back on the fact that I have more foreign policy experience than Sarah Palin.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Nancy in Shytown

Nancy is in Chicago this weekend on Leg One of her fall book tour.

She'll be doing a school visit this afternoon at Oak Park & River Forest High School, and tomorrow she'll be in Naperville for the Anderson Bookshop's Young Adult Literature Conference.

Check the website for more information. I was just on it and noticed that Cylin Busby of previous-post fame will also be there.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Daily Digression: The Year We Disappeared

Nancy handed me a good one -- The Year We Disappeared: A Father-Daughter Memoir by Cylin Busby and John Busby. It's got a bit of local interest for us, in that it takes place in Massachusetts (down on the Cape, in Falmouth). And the rather harrowing subjects - an attempted murder, with no arrest and no peace for the victim, and a culture of fear and lawlessness - would be interesting to anyone. It's not a masterwork, but it's a damn good story, and I keep flipping pages. Makes one wonder what's going on behind the scenes in one's own neighborhood.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Five stars at Teens Read Too

Impossible got a five-star review at Teens Read Too; it will also be posted on Amazon. It's amazing how much psychological weight the number of stars carries, regardless of the words that go with them.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Update to Daily Digression

No sooner was the ink dry on my monitor from the previous post than I heard an anecdote of a friend's father that had belonged to a book club for close to 50 years. Mind you, I hadn't said anything about our book club to him, it just came up in conversation. Seems my premise may be flawed.

Anyway, the story was kinda sad -- his dad's eyesight had recently started deteriorating rapidly, to the point that he couldn't read. He's been getting books on tape, which he can hear via headphones, but his hearing has likewise deteriorated to the point where he can't follow a conversation, and so can't participate in his book club.

Ouch. I'm going to be sure to appreciate our own meeting this evening.

Daily Digression: Book Club

Tonight we go to Nancy's book club, which I seemed to have de factoed my way into. It started with me sitting in one night when Nancy was hosting, and for the next month they decided to read a book that just happened to interest me, and four books later, they haven't yet thrown me out.

It's good for me because, unlike Nancy, I am an irregular reader. I've always loved to read, and will often get little sleep and little else done when I'm in the midst of a good book, but I don't suffer bad writing gladly, whether or not I'm actually qualified to judge. So I'm forever starting a book, putting it down, and leaving it there. (Note that this happened not once with anything of Nancy's. Thank god, or things might have gotten awkward in the early going.)

But back to the book club. I can't help but notice but that I am the only male in the group. And likewise, every friend I have that's in some other book club is female. What's that about? Is it really just a female thing? And what does this imply about my identity?

Just yesterday I was out birding on Cape Cod with another male birder, and at one point we were just outside of Provincetown. This other guy that we were talking to saw two men together near P'town, and leapt nimbly to the conclusion that we were gay (and hastened to graciously point out that he was "down" with it).

So maybe some clarification is in order. Herewith my guy credentials:
  • With a bit of thought, I can name you every World Series winner, and I arguably behaved indecorously during the Giants' Super Bowl victory last January.
  • I do like spiders and snakes, and I know how to handle a snapping turtle. (The literal kind. Less good with the metaphorical kind.)
  • I am good at math and driving.
  • I am capable of sexists remarks like "I am good at math and driving" even if I don't believe them.
  • No, seriously, I don't believe them. But I'm man enough to take the ass-kicking I'll receive for putting that one in there.
  • I am not woman enough to ever contemplate bearing a child, even if I were capable.
So I think we can all see that it's cool that I'm in a book club. And if I happen to enjoy an occasional bit of musical theater, that's my own damn business.

More from the Compulsive Reader

Here's another bit about Impossible from The Compulsive Reader, this time with Nancy commenting about the music.

I like this book-of-the-month thing, because it keeps those little tidbits of blog fodder coming. Way better than having to rely on my wit for content.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Books on the shelves!

I did a little recon before work this morning, and it seems that five shiny copies of Impossible each are on the shelves at both the Borders and the Barnes & Noble in Peabody.

It took me a little while to find them at the former, because Borders seems to have classified the book as Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror instead of the usual Young Adult. Now there's an interesting little development...

Book signing in Boston today

A little reminder that Nancy will be signing copies of Impossible today (Friday, September 19) at 3 p.m. in the general autographing area at the New England Bookseller's Association annual trade show, at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. For more on the NEIBA show, see here.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Nancy on publication date

Nancy thinks some thoughts on publication day in a guest blogging thing she did for Shooting Star Mag.

Impossible published today!

Today (Thursday, September 18) is the publication date for Impossible! Nancy tells me that I shouldn't put too much store in the actual date, because the stores and libraries don't necessarily adhere to it exactly, but I still think it's pretty cool. I remember when Impossible was just a wee child...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hardcover reprint of Rules

Penguin is about to reprint the hardcover version of The Rules of Survival, and it looks like this time they're going to be using the same terrific cover art that they used for the paperback version. The bowl full of glass is such a great, viscerally (eviscerally?) understandable image...it's just got to make people stop and look, and open the cover. Good call!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

But enough about Nancy

A review of the blog has poured in:

"Damn. I gotta get me a handsome hyper-literate sonnet-writing fiance to blog me up."

-- S. W., Los Angeles, CA

This is exactly the sort of constructive feedback we're looking for, so keep those cards and letters coming.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Daily Digression: Overhearing Jane Austen

This was posted yesterday on Overheard in New York. If you don't know this site, it's not really for anybody with finer sensibilities. I love it.

The schtick is that people send in amusing things that they overhear in New York (or other places), and then the OINY editors will prepend headings to go with them. The headings are the best part.

It's all brought to you by Penguin, the same people (more or less) who bring you Nancy's material. You might notice some stylistic differences, however...

Jane Austen: Bitch, Please
Little girl looking at hobo: Mommy how do you get money if you don't have any?
Trophy mom: You just get married, honey.
--18th & Broadway

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fall tour info

Here is the outline of Nancy's fall tour for Impossible. Some of the details are a bit sketchy, but I'll try to fill them in down the road...

Sept 19 -- Boston, MA
Signing books at 3 p.m. at the New England Independent Booksellers' Association annual conference.

Sept 26 -- Oak Park, IL
Oak Park & River Forest High School visit, sponsored by Magic Tree Bookstore.

Sept 27 -- Naperville, IL
Guest speaker at Anderson Bookshop's Young Adult Literature Conference.

Sept 29 -- Lawrence, MA
Visiting Central Catholic High School.

Oct 25, Washington, DC
Keynote speaker at MAYALIG.

Oct 26, Seattle, WA
Giving Kim Lafferty Memorial Lecture, sponsored by King County Public Library and Elliott Bay Book Company.

Oct 27, Seattle, WA
School visits sponsored by Elliot Bay Book Company.

(I like Elliot Bay -- that's where I found Winner of the National Book Award, mentioned in a previous digression, when I was killing time between rounds of a pool tournament.)

Oct 28, Clayton, CA
School visits and bookstore appearance sponsored by Clayton Books.

Nov 21-24, San Antonio, TX
NCTE/ALAN conference.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Tweaking this thing

I'd noticed that a clear majority of the few comments I've gotten (and made) so far have been closer to personal communications than open discussions, and since I don't really intend this to be that sort of blog, I'm going to hide comments for now, and see how it goes.

At the same time, I'm displaying my email, so please feel most welcome to contact me with whatever's on your mind...

For the record, I'm a bad boy

Here's a link to Nancy's recent interview with Kit Alderdice of Publisher's Weekly. Nancy's views on the bad boy in literature carry just a hint of hypocrisy, inasmuch as her own true love is bad to the bone.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Write-up on Impossible at The Compulsive Reader

Impossible is the Book of the Month for September over at The Compulsive Reader, and it has a nice little write-up on the genealogy of the Scarborough Girls, along with one of a series of questions/answers in a telephone interview that Nancy did recently.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Daily Digression: Jincy Willett

I'm going to be doing a lot of these daily digressions, which won't necessarily be either daily or digressions. It's mostly an excuse to keep posting fresh content without distracting too much from the theme; my aim is never to digress twice in a row.

But I'm happy to digress once in a row, and today's digression is this:

One of the few authors that I've introduced Nancy to, instead of vice versa, is Jincy Willett, who just happened to mention Nancy's friend Dian Curtis Regan in her own blog thusly:

I originally got sucked in by Willett's trick of naming one of her novels Winner of the National Book Award, but damned if it wasn't deserving of the appellation. I followed up with her collection of short stories, Jenny and the Jaws of Life, which was also pretty good, and now Nancy has polished off The Writing Class, which she liked. So that's three for three, by my math -- might be worth a look.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

NEIBA book signing

Nancy will be signing copies of IMPOSSIBLE on Friday, September 19 at 3 p.m. in the general autographing area at the New England Bookseller's Association annual trade show, which is being held at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston from September 18th to the 20th. For more on the NEIBA show, see here.

Hmmm. It's just close enough, and just Friday afternoon enough, that I might wriggle out of work for this one...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Why I love this s**t

I really love it when Nancy receives awards and accolades.

Praise heaped upon a loved one is pure joy, much purer than when it's heaped on oneself. No affected modesty, no discomfort at the attention, no angst about whether you deserve it more than a respected colleague, no concerns about resentments, none of that.

Just "You're damned straight she's the best!"

Finalist for Heartland Award!

Nancy's "The Rules of Survival" has just been selected as a finalist for the 2009 Heartland Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature (see more on the Heartland here).

I love this s**t.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Blogging is hard

The title of this post is misleading -- it's gotta be really easy to blog about some things. But it has taken me hardly any time to figure out that blogging on somebody else's behalf is hard, especially when you love and care about your subject.

I'm finding myself sifting through things that I might post, and it seems that a great many potential topics might either embarrass Nancy or somebody that Nancy wouldn't wish to embarrass. If I were writing for myself, it'd be easier to judge these things, and I'd be less concerned about the consequences. If somebody's mad at me, so be it, but I'd hate to cause somebody to be mad at Nancy.

Doesn't sound very edgy, huh? That's a problem, because I'm no more interested in coughing up some bland pap than anybody else is in reading it.

Hmmm. Maybe I'll just have to be patient -- not a strength -- and wait for good topics to come to me.

Blogging is easy. Patience is hard.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Nancy's arm candy

We went to Keezer's this afternoon and I got a tux in preparation for the wedding. Gotta do her justice.

Is this literary enough yet?

Day one

Nancy is off spending time with her sister, which gave me time to whip up this little blog (don't let the title fool you).

Her sister happens to be autistic, and while she manages fairly well on her own, she needs some loving and attention just like the rest of us. Nancy makes sure that she provides that. Her responsibility and generosity are among the things that first attracted me to her.

But my Nancy-praise will quickly get cloying, so I'll try to dole it out in measured doses, despite the fact that it's kinda/sorta the organizing principle for this whole idea.

Then again, the word "idea" might be dignifying it too much. It's more like a half-formed notion. I've never blogged before, and don't exactly know where I'm going with this, but we're about to find out...