Phoenix Comicon

I’m going to be a guest at Phoenix Comicon and I INSIST that you be there and come to my panels and visit me at my booth (2524). My books will be on sale at the Mysterious Galaxy booth. I’m also bringing copies of my chapbook, Show and Tell and Other Stories, which I’ll have on hand for sale at my booth. It’s gonna be a hoot!

The con runs from Thursday, May 23 to Sunday, May 26, but please note I won’t be there Thursday until very late.

Here’s my schedule:

The Short and the Shorter of it: The Short Fiction Panel: Saturday 10:30am – 11:30am

Writing for Today’s Younger Readers: Saturday 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Historical Fiction and Dystopic Fiction:Similarities and Differences: Saturday 3:00pm – 4:00pm

Writing SF for the Younger Audience: Sunday 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Spring planting

It was a harsh winter. There were dire wolves and the glacier advanced. Men made war and forgot the bonds of kinship. And my balcony garden died.

Actually, it was a typical San Diego winter, which means there were a few days during which it was too chilly to wear shorts. But my balcony got very little direct sunlight, and that was harsh enough for my plants.

But the sun also rises, and I bought new dirt, so here’s what I’ve got going on so far.

Herbs!

Micro greens for salads and sandwiches and just, like, grabbing and swallowing!

Ruby red beans, which sprouted while I was away at Disneyland and WonderCon!

And this onion happened on the kitchen counter and it scared me so I put it in some dirt to see what’ll happen.

Maybe something will come to fruition or vegition or something.

San Diego History: “You only moved the headstones!”

You know that scene in Poltergeist when Craig T. Nelson is all “You only moved the headstones why whyyyyyyyy??!??!”

That’s pretty much what happened in the upper middle-class San Diego neighborhood of Mission Hills when they decided they needed room to build Pioneer Park. They moved the headstones but left behind the bodies. It’s a nice little park with a playground and picnic benches and whatnot, and nobody seems freaked out about it.

Most of the headstones (but, again, not the bodies) were reburied elsewhere, but a few were moved into a corner of the park as a memorial.

I learned all this from Ken Kramer’s fine show on our local PBS station, All About San Diego.

This afternoon we were at Mission Hills Nursery (I needed dirt, but not to bury anything), and when I saw that Pioneer Park was just down the block, I had to check it out. I love this kind of thing so much.

 

Last Sunday at the Orange Country Children’s Book Festival

Last Sunday I trekked up to Costa Mesa for the Orange County Children’s Book Festival, the largest free children’s book festival in the country, drawing something like 30 thousand attendees, many of whom no doubt come for the petting zoo, but also to see authors and illustrators and storytellers along with the chickens and pigs and shoe-eating goats.

I had a spot on the Teen/YA stage and got to tell a friendly crowd about my books, and then I read a bit of a work in progress. It was a fast and fun fifteen minutes, at the end of which I gave away ARCs of the Diverse Energies anthology, a couple of leftover ARCs of The Boy at the End of the World,  and a couple Scholastic edition copies of The Boy at the End of the World paperback.

After my stage bit, I hung out and chatted with readers and signed books at the Mysterious Galaxy booth. Also got to chat with EJ Altbacker, author of the  Shark Wars series (warring sharks, how can you beat that?).  I fan-boyed at him a bit, because he writes for the Green Lantern animated series, so he’s kinda got one of my dream jobs.

Here’re a few pics of the stage and from the stage, ganked from the festival’s Facebook page:

 

 

 

 

 

Posts and pests

No, I’m serious, I’m going to try to blog more. I can’t afford to get caught tagging freeway overpasses again, and motorists seem to have little interest in reading what I had for breakfast in the medium of dripping spray paint on concrete.

This has been the summer of gardening. It’s my first time gardening, and the fact that I have any living plants at all is something of a surprise to me. That said, I’ve lost the carrots, the radishes, the heirlooms, and the basil, and the strawberries. Still living are the cherry tomatoes, the serano peppers, and the salads. A few other plants are alive but have not yet produced anything I can eat. Part of the challenge is overcoming my own inexperience and incompetence. Also, it’s been uncharacteristically nasty hot for San Diego. Also, caterpillars. Also, this pest:

In writerly news, I turned in the final draft of Osteomancer book 1. There’s no official release date, but indications indicate that it ‘ll be out in late summer/early fall 2013. Right now I’m working hard on book 2.

And I have an upcoming appearance. It’s the Orange County Children’s Book Festival on September 30. I’ll be on the Teen Stage at 10:30 am. Instead of doing a commercial for my books, I think I might read from something in-progress and try to engage the audience in chitter-chatter. Maybe I’ll give something away. I still have a couple of The Boy at the End of the World arcs. After I’m done with the blither-blather, I’ll be signing at the Mysterious Galaxy booth. You should come. Wherever you are.

Oh, breakfast. Shredded wheat with bananas, strawberries, and blueberries. All the berries were bought at the store because of caterpillars and dog and stuff.

State of the garden

Things are getting a little out of hand.

The original plan was just to get a few plants to gussy up the balcony so it’d more pleasant when we’re sitting out there or I’m writing or grilling or whatever. And I wanted most of the plants to be edible, because if I’m going to spend time and money on something, I think I should get to eat it. The dog is on notice. I didn’t want to get too ambitious, because it’s only a 12×6 second-floor balcony with no planting beds and intermittent sunshine.

Here’s what I considered a reasonable little balcony garden. A pepper plant, some spinach, some beets, a couple of ferns … Completely reasonable.

Several weeks later, I’m crowding myself out with all kinds of green stuff.

The air conditioner is now a support system for herbs.

I’ve got things hanging somewhat precariously. Like this basket of what I hope will become strawberries.

And even flowers, for crying out loud. (The Superbena Lilac Blues are doing nicely, but the Red Aztecs are total B.S.)

I’ve got stuff growing in a sack. I didn’t even know that was a thing.

And in tupperware.

I have done battle with monsters.

And I am making way too many trips to the nursery, spending too much money, and getting away from my initial plan for the balcony, which was to make it a pleasant, uncluttered space. So I need to start thinking about window boxes, about going vertical, and I really need to stop going to the nursery.

But I do like growing food.

And I like being surrounded by something other than stucco and concrete. It’s fun to have a new enthusiasm, and there’s nothing quite like sticking one’s hands into a bag of dark, moist, dirt. We’ll see how this all goes. The important thing is I still have room for this:

 

Garden envy

I’m pretty proud of my little balcony garden, considering the only plant I’ve ever had success with before is bread mold.

But this is the neighborhood garden club. If I had an allotment I could grow ALL the spinach. But they’re not even taking applications. Jerks.

Scholastic Book Club edition of The Boy at the End of the World

So, I went to the big annual conference of the American Library Association last weekend, and in addition to getting to hang out with some of my favorite people in the whole wide world, and meeting wonderful people whom I had hithertobeforehandyetpriorly not met, and being around so much book squee and getting to look at awesome library return bins and vacuum-powered mechanical page-turning devices, I got this nice little bit of good news:

There’s going to be a Scholastic Book Club edition of The Boy at the End of the World, most probably in August. When I was in grade school, getting that Scholastic catalog was always like the best thing ever. I’d get whatever books they had on Bigfoot, UFO’s, and Dynamite Magazine, all sorts of random stuff. So to have a book of my own in that flier? Total bucket list stuff.

There’s also going to be a regular paperback edition in October, with a new cover that I of course will show off as soon as I am allowed. This week, I am a happy writer.