Pavel’s be-sneakered octopus

Reader/artist Pavel comes through with another great Kid vs. Squid-based illustration. This time it’s the octopus with sneakers from Uncle Griswald’s museum. I’d imagined it smaller, but when it comes to octopi with sneakers, bigger is definitely better, and I believe Pavel made the right choice.

If you missed them, see Pavel’s squid and his crabman. Pavel, dude, you’re awesome.

Pavel’s squid

A few months back I did a signing at the Barnes and Noble in Oceanside, California and met a cool dude named Pavel and his family. Pavel, it so happened, had a reputation among his family and teachers as quite an artist, and I asked him to send me Kid vs. Squid art, should he be so inclined. And look at what his mom emailed me today! Check out the teeth on that squid, will ya? Check out those tentacles! And look at the way it’s totally mangling that kid!

Thanks to Pavel and Pavel’s mom for making my day.

Tenners 55-book Library Giveaway LAST CHANCE!

Tomorrow (Feb. 15, 2011) is the last day for librarians to enter the Tenners 55-book Library Giveaway. Check out the details here.

I may be biased, but here’s my favorite entry so far, featuring Laura Oosting, librarian assistant at Brownsburg Public Library in Brownsburg, Indiana. The page Laura’s reading probably features something gross. Odds are.

Locus Recommended Reading List & Dog

Locus is a magazine covering news of the science fiction and fantasy publishing industry, and their editors and reviewers put Kid vs. Squid on their 2010 Recommended Reading List in the Young Adult category (which, for their purposes, includes middle grade). Isn’t that nice? I think it’s nice.

In other news, our household now includes a dog, Dozer, a terrier mix who, as I write this, is about seven months old. We adopted him from the Helen Woodward Animal Center. They’re a very good shelter, and they had him neutered, vaccinated, and treated for parasites. I’m glad they took such good care of him and very glad that we now have a chance to let him COMPLETELY OVERRULE OUR LIVES.

Here’s the little dude, looking much more compliant than he actually is:

Crimes and mustaches

I’ve been doing a lot of research on heists (for a book, it’s for a book I’m writing, this is just for a fictional book novel I’m writing), and I’ve come to the conclusion that I could totally be a master criminal. And so could you.

Check out the FBI’s page about the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist. This is the biggest art heist in U.S. history. The thieves stole works whose values are estimated as high as $300 million, and they pulled it off by disguising themselves as Boston police officers and convincing the museum guards to let them in. Skim down the page a bit and you’ll see some specific references to the thieves’ clever disguises. They involve “dark, shiny mustache(s), appearing to be false.”

Fake mustaches. Can you wear a fake mustache? Then you can be a master criminal.

Most museums really can’t afford all the fancy motion sensors and laser mazes from the movies. That stuff’s expensive.

Sometimes all it takes is the same equipment and planning you would put into knocking over a gas station. Several prominent robberies have been just a couple of guys walking in with guns during visiting hours, taking some paintings, and walking out with them.

Are you willing to wave a gun around? Then you can be a master criminal.

Maybe you’re the kind of thief who only wants to go after the biggest, most famous art pieces in the world. Maybe you’d like to steal the Mona Lisa? That’s right, the Mona Freakin’ Lisa, right out of the Louvre.

You could do what Vincenzo Peruggia did. Which involved hiding in a closet, noticing the gallery guard was off having a smoke or something, taking the painting off the wall, removing it from its frame and stuffing it under his smock, and slipping out unnoticed. In fact, not only did Peruggia leave the Louvre unnoticed, but the theft went unnoticed for more than a day. People did pick up on the conspicuous empty space on the wall, but everyone figured the painting was down in the basement, getting restored. Or something.

Do you have access to a smock? Then you can be a master criminal.

I am not condoning theft, mind you. I had two bicycles stolen when I was a kid. Theft is a violation. I strongly dislike thieves. The real challenge writing this book is gaming the situation such that the thief has valid reasons for pulling off his heist, to make the audience want him to get away with it. Or more crucially, to make me believe that, in a just world, he would get away with it. That’s the heist I’m trying to pull off.

But if I fail and my book sucks and nobody wants to read anything by me ever again, look carefully at the guy in the weirdly shiny mustache with a suspicious bulge under his smock. Man’s gotta earn a living.

Tenners Library Giveaway

A note from the Tenners, a bunch of writers whose middle-grade and YA novels debuted in 2010:

To celebrate the end of our debut year, The Tenners will be holding a special giveaway just for librarians. One public or school library will be selected to receive a set of 55 books by 2010 MG and YA debut authors.

How do you enter this massive giveaway? So easy. All you have to do is capture one of our books in the wild.* Take a photo of yourself, another librarian, a patron, or even an adorable library pet posing with one of our 2010 debut novels. Send it to us at 2010debuts@gmail.com from your institutional email address. Tell us your name, your library’s name and mailing address, and who’s in the picture.

Again, only librarians are eligible for this giveaway. Not a librarian? Encourage your friendly neighborhood librarian to enter! The contest will be open until February 15th and the lucky winning library will be chosen and announced on February 16th. Until then, we’ll be periodically posting your pictures.

The Tenners would like to thank you all SO VERY MUCH for your support this year. It’s been an amazing adventure and we’re looking forward to sharing more books with you in 2011 and beyond.

Books included in the giveaway are:

The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff
All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
The Body Finder and Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting
Change of Heart by Shari Maurer
The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy
The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk
The Dark Divine and The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
The Deathday Letter by Shaun David Hutchinson
Dirty Little Secrets by Cynthia Jaynes Omololu
Eighth-Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Everlasting by Angie Frazier
Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount-White
The Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston
Freefall by Mindi Scott
The Ghost & The Goth by Stacey Kade
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
Hush, Hush and Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
Inconvenient by Margaret Gelbwasser
Iron King and Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
Kids vs. Squid by Greg van Eekhout
Leaving Gee’s Bend by Irene Latham
The Life and Opinions of Amy Finawitz by Laura Toffler-Corrie
The Line by Teri Hall
Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
Magic Under Glass by Jackie Dolamore
The Mark by Jen Nadol
Mistwood by Leah Cypess
Nice & Mean by Jessica Leader
Other by Karen Kincy
Palace Beautiful by Sarah DeFord Williams
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt
Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl
Prophecy of Days by Christy Raedeke
The Red Umbrella by Christina Gonzalez
The Reinvention of Edison Thomas by Jacqueline Houtman
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell
Sea by Heidi Kling
The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland
Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai
The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter
Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards
Tortilla Sun by Jennifer Cervantes
Wildfire Run by Dee Garretson

*No purchase necessary, so posing with a photo or artistic interpretation of a book’s cover is just fine too.

ALA

The American Library Association held their midwinter 2011 meeting in San Diego this year. San Diego just happens to be the city in which I currently reside, so it would have been pretty STUPID of me if I hadn’t gone. So, I went!

The awesome editor of my kid’s books, Margaret Miller, scored me a floor badge, which meant I got to stalk the exhibition hall without paying a red cent. Ha! Who’s stupid now?! Even though we’ve done two books together, I hadn’t yet met Margaret in person. As you can see from the photo below, she’s a very serious person and our meeting could be best described in terms of very seriousness. That’s the Bloomsbury gang sign we’re making. It’s a doggy.

Mere moments after I started touring the exhibitions (populated by publishers offering ARCs — advanced reader copies — of their upcoming books, vendors selling everything from library book return bins to elaborate book-scanning robots utilizing vacuum technology to turn pages, and librarian foot-relief products) I ran into super agent Barry Goldblatt. Barry’s not my super agent, but his agency represents several of my friends, and his love of books and writers is always infectious. I asked him which of his clients’ ARCs I should seek, but since they were in such high demand at the conference I managed to collect none of them. NONE! Who’s stupid now? (Me. I should have showed up on Saturday instead of Sunday.)

After I’d seen the entire floor, Editor Margaret and I repaired to an Irish pub for a pleasant chat. I like working with smart, personable, dedicated professionals. Have I mentioned I like working with Margaret? Then, that evening, she very kindly took me and my girlfriend out to a delicious dinner at a place with tiki torches out in front. Greg likes flames. Also present were Bloomsbury’s head of library marketing, Beth Eller, Walker editor Emily Easton, and picture book author Candace Ryan. Really great conversation about books and publishing and writers and writing and suchlike. A lot of fun.

So, that was my first ALA. I hope to go to more of them, even if they’re not conveniently located a mere fifteen minutes from my front door.

Boy at the End of the World ARCs

Got Boy at the End of the World page proofs in the mail yesterday. Frankly, I hate reading my proofs. I am not so infatuated with my own writing that I consider it fun to go over a novel that I’ve already read umpteen times.

However, the package also contained three ARCs (that’s advanced reader copy, for those not in the biz). I love getting ARCs. It’s the first time I get to hold the book in my hands as a book-like form.