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...