Thursday, December 30, 2010

Trailers - NOT just for movies

Fellow Breepod (Bree Ogden client) Kate Grace and I have been busier than workshop Elves in the other side of the medium to which we normally haunt. Recently we have put together book trailers for our manuscripts that are yet to be unleashed upon the globe. Why would you make a book trailer for a book that is not slated for release yet? Good question. I will tell you why.

Creating a book trailer for your finished book shows all the potential publishers out there that the author is willing to take the extra step to help promote the book and it is a great visual to entice film and television producers to the book's potential in other mediums. In my humble opinion it is a great door opener for some and could give your ms a leg up on the thousands of other submissions. Taking the time to create promotional goodies like this are well worth your time. I think our agent, Bree, would agree.

Here is Kate Grace's trailer for Burden of the Soul

Here is my trailer for Pair of Normals: The Creeping Hills Have Eyes

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Boy Named Hook

Yay! It has finally been unleashed upon the world. The 16th issue of Crow Toes Quarterly. Why is this such awesome news? Well, it is always awesome when a new issue of CTQ comes out, but this issue is a little more special to me this time around. My short story A BOY NAMED HOOK appears in the magazine with face-melting uber cool artwork by Benat Olea Irureta. It is so fantastic and better than I could have dreamed of. Thank you, Benat!

To get an issue – please go to the following link –

Below is a teaser of the artwork. To see the rest – get the magazine. It will be worth it.

Artwork by Benat Olea Irureta

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What MILO means to me

When Alan Silberberg told me that I was "on the list" to receive a copy of MILO upon its release I was over the moon, and quite frankly felt like the coolest kid in school. When I received it in the mail I instantly dove in but stopped around the second chapter. Not because it was written poorly or the story was bad, in fact it is the exact opposite. I stopped because I knew where the book was going to take me and I wasn't ready for that journey yet. Why?

A couple weeks before MILO hit my doorstop one of my best friends in the world, Tommy, was diagnosed with lung cancer. To make the matters worse, he lives a 14hr plane ride away in Switzerland. Never have we felt so helpless to be there for a friend.

I felt extremely bad that I was not reading Alan's book that I was so thoughtfully put on a list to receive. For Alan to consider putting me, little ole me on the list made me speechless. I stared at the book and felt more guilty as each passing day went by. But I knew the book dealt with great loss and the dreaded C word. In a nut shell I was scared to read it. I wasn't sure I was ready to read it.

During my delay in reading the book the horrible news of a co-worker's father dying in a tragic car accident spread while the very same morning news of a distant family member passing away came to us. The suffocating blanket of bad news was utterly depressing and seemed to be wrapping tighter. More news of two family pets that had to be put to rest while friends were losing their jobs followed during the rest of the week.

As the universe was rearing its ugly head I was pulling my wife and daughter closer to me than ever before. I don't have to tell you how precious life is or how much you need to appreciate all the little things each new day can bring.

When I was laid off last week from my job I had a bit more time to tackle some of those things that I had been putting off while life was happening. MILO was one of those things that I had to wrestle to the ground. I read the book. I laughed out loud and I cried my eyes out. I experienced so many emotions reading MILO that I thought I was going to explode. But it was cathartic for me. I was letting out all of this anger and depression and laughter while reading about Milo's pain and his journey to not let go of memories but to embrace them.

When Milo sat at the yard sale wrapped in the pea blanket, I lost it. It all came spilling out of me and it finally felt good to let it out. Just me and Milo releasing buckets of tears. I've read many books this year that I adore and I would recommend to so many people. Milo is absolutely hands-down one of my top books of 2010. It has definitely earned a place on my top shelf of great books. In my humble opinion it is worthy of a Newbery Medal. I could go on for days about how much I love this book. But I really want to suggest that you go and read it.

Every book strikes different chords within the reader. Milo hit all the rights ones for me. It came at the right time in my life. And I read it at the right time. I'm so honored that I got to be a part of the list. I'm so glad that I have been able to slowly get to know Alan. This past year has been an amazing journey for me and I have met some truly great people. What an outstanding writing talent Alan is. What a great gift he has given us with Milo.

I am so grateful to you Alan for writing such a wonderful book and sharing it with me and the rest of the world. I hope that everyone will discover how awesome MILO is and will be for further generations to enjoy.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Getting Rotten with Allan Woodrow

If you follow the fantastic site AuthorsNow then you catch all these wonderful authors and books that you may miss with the abundance of information that bombards us on a daily basis. One of the posts whacked me over the head and made me giddy was the introduction of Allan Woodrow and his debut middle-grade book The Rotten Adventures of Zachary Ruthless. With art by one of the Asylum's favorite artists Aaron Blecha (Zombiekins). So of course I was all over this like a hobo on a ham sandwich. I reached out to Allan in hopes of speaking to him about Zachary and his writing. He was uber cool and agreed to come haunt the halls here and hang out with us. Let's get ruthless already.

Can you tell us your background and what brought you to writing for children?

Allan Woodrow: I’ve been a writer my whole life. Even when I wasn’t writing, I was still a writer. I have the gene. But while I always planned on writing a novel, life got in the way, and so did a lack of clarity on what I wanted to write about. So I became an advertising writer, and on the side wrote random things like documentaries (aired on the Travel Channel and other places), a Chicago-based variety/comedy show, and a screenplay that I’m too embarrassed to read. Thankfully, I never sent that thing out to anyone.

Then I had kids who introduced a whole world of children’s books I didn’t know existed. And I realized that was what I wanted to write. So I did.

What made you chose to write The Rotten Adventures of Zachary Ruthless as your debut? Can you tell us about the book?

AW: When I was a kid I loved comic books: Spiderman, X-Men, etc. I used to ride my bike to this old used-book store a few miles away almost every weekend, The Curious Book Shop. They had two floors, and their entire second floor was filled with comic books. I spent a great deal of my allowance, paper route, and lawn mowing money at that place. So I’ve always been attracted to super-good and super-evil characters.

In high school I was on the staff of our literary magazine and wrote a short story about an evil villain named Fred Badguy who robbed banks with his pet worm, Spot. It was pretty silly. I ran across it and began wondering what Fred was like as a boy. And so Zachary was born.

Zachary Ruthless is the world’s most evil ten year old, and lives in a world where super villains have sort of a cult following. Interestingly, there are no super heroes in this world. Zachary wants more than anything to join the Society Of Utterly Rotten, Beastly And Loathsome Lawbreaking Scoundrels (SOURBALLS), which is the number one super villain outfit. But he’s not the only one. He has to fight a few competitors to gain the lone open seat alongside Mr. Maniacal and the rest of the SOURBALLS crew.

Along with his henchman (and best friend), Newt he must fight this evil assortment of felonious foes not only to get into SOURBALLS, but to survive. Bwa-ha-ha!

What has changed for you and your writing now that you are soon to be published author with a slate of books to follow?

AW: Ever since I was in third grade I wanted to write a book/have a book published. So this is really a culmination of a dream that I only vaguely thought would actually come true. As a result, the biggest change is my attitude toward my writing. Rather than trying to attain something that I wasn’t sure might happen, I can now approach writing as a business (and not a hobby), with some degree of confidence that I can continue to write and publish books, with an agent (shout out to Joanna Volpe!) and a support group to help. Every day I wake up pinching myself to see if I’m still dreaming, which means, unfortunately my arm is covered in pinch welt marks. So another change would be that I now have to wear mittens to bed until I get rid of this pinching habit.

I would like to know what your favorite part of writing is and what is your least favorite?

AW: I hate writing first drafts. I love rewriting them. I guess the self-marketing is also something that goes into the “least favorite” pile. I don’t generally like talking about myself. In fact, many of these answers I’m just lifting from Dav Pilkey’s biography.

Can you tell us about The Elevensies? How did you get involved?

AW: The Elevensies is a collection of YA and MG writers who first books debut in 2011. I was vaguely aware of a group being formed, and then heard from a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of someone who thinks they are my friend but I really don’t like them very much, about the group. We’ve banded together to help each other promote our books and share our insights and experiences as we all stumble along blindly.

We love illustrator/artist Aaron Blecha. Did you have much interaction with him on the creation of the art?

AW: Your love of Aaron is mutual. We share ideas and thoughts fairly consistently with each other. Recently, he recommended I watch one of the worst movies ever, although surprisingly touching, The Calamari Wrestler, about a wrestling squid (Japanese, with subtitles). Go see it, unless you have anything better to do.

The Calamari Wrestler

AW: I’ve been fortunate that Maria Gomez at HarperCollins has solicited my opinion on cover ideas, illustration ideas and rough sketches from the very beginning, and shared them with Aaron, but honestly, Aaron’s work is so perfect that I’ve mostly just sent over comments like, “wow!”, “cool!” and “neat-o.” Also, sometimes I might catch something that conflicts with the long-term story arc, so I request a tweak. Although I’m glad I quashed his idea to turn Zachary into a talking armadillo. It just didn’t feel right.

Why do you think there is such an appeal to rotten villainous kids? Who are some of your favorite villains?

AW: It’s mostly a backlash from all those years of goody-two shoe kids. What hasn’t been written about kids who are nice? A lot of actors say that playing the bad guy is more fun that playing the hero. I’d add that writing the bad guy parts are more fun that writing the good guy parts.

My favorites? Really, after Lex Luthor and The Joker, the rest of the crowd are just super villain wanna-be’s.

If you were stranded on an island with only one book what would it be? Why?

AW: The Mystery of Edwin Drood, the last book by Charles Dickens. For two reasons. First, I love Dickens. But more importantly, he died before he finished it. I’m assuming that in addition to my one book, I have a laptop and an electric outlet. I can spend my days happily writing new endings. A wireless feed would also be nice, so I can send it to my agent when I’m done.

Thank you, Allan! I can't wait to read Zachary. It sounds like it is going to be a cauldron of diabolical goodness.

I want to give a heartfelt Thank You to everyone for reading and hanging with me this year. There will be a few more posts covering book reviews and an author visit to wrap up 2010. After that the Asylum will close doors until new year before bringing a whole new level of crazy for 2011.

Oh and one last thing. January will mark the one year anniversary of the Asylum so we hope you stop by and join the unplanned festivities that I will have to start thinking about planning. No pressure.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Joy of Spooking - Sinister Scenes

You may remember the interview I did in October with the fiendishly awesome P.J. Bracegirdle. If not you can check it out here - Spooky Joy. Tonight I had the pleasure of seeing the latest cover of the third book in the Joy of Spooking trilogy. Since we love to support the inmates of the Asylum, we had to share the cover here for your eyes to rest upon. Take it in, put it on your pre-order list and enjoy. Congrats to you, Mr. Bracegirdle for delivering a wonderfully fun trilogy!