Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
It's actually been quite beautiful -- big fluffy flakes, but the ground is not cold enough for it to stick, so travel back shouldn't be a problem. I enjoyed my time at Ensworth. I got to meet all grades from 2-8, including some informal time visiting with the third and seventh graders, who study mythology. A great group of kids! The third graders shared their original group myths, based on the hero's journey. That's a teaching idea I would definitely use if I still had my own classroom. Thanks to Dean Schneider and the rest of the staff for hosting me!
Next week, I'm off to Southern California. Hopefully it doesn't snow . . . I'll be doing a public book signing at Whale of a Tale Bookshoppe in Orange County on Monday, March 3 at 5 PM. If you're in the area, come on by. I'll be doing a reading from Battle of the Labyrinth and giving out some of the cool new black Labyrinth T-shirts.
And now, back on the plane home. Patrick's birthday is tomorrow, and I never miss that! Hey, who can say no to ice cream cake?
Thursday, February 21, 2008
This week, I've been working on a new Percy Jackson short story. This will be part of the promotional efforts in advance of the new book. More information later! I also just finished writing the introduction for an anthology about Percy Jackson which will be published this spring. "Demigods and Monsters" will feature a collection of fun, insightful, and offbeat essays that will explore all kinds of questions, such as why Dionysus was allowed to run a summer camp, and why so many monsters seem to go into retail.
And the most recent big news is about the movie version of The Lightning Thief. A tentative release date has now been posted on a variety of websites: Friday, Nov. 13, 2009. Don't buy your tickets just yet. That's a long way out, and there's always the possibility that the date will change. I have no information about casting or any of that, so don't ask, but just having a release date is an excellent sign that the project is moving forward.
This Saturday, I'll get to join a whole slew of great mystery writers at the Alkek Library, Texas State University in San Marcos, to celebrate the release of the "Lone Star Sleuths" anthology. More information is on my web calendar. The event is free and I'm told some young Percy fans will be in attendance as well, so feel free to come by if you're in the area!
Monday, February 18, 2008
Thanks to Marybeth Hamilton's seventh grade class at the University of Hawaii's Lab School in Honolulu. The class just finished reading the Lightning Thief, which I understand is on the state's Nene Award list. Several of the students sent me emails over the last week, and many of them did artwork based on the book. You can check out all their pictures here. I thought they did a great job! I especially like rasta-man Grover. LOL!
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Here are pictures of the famous 39 Clues ice sculpture which I mentioned in my Charleston blog. That's me on the left and David Levithan, Scholastic editor and senior Cahill family patriarch in charge of the 39 Clues project, on the right. The other photo shows me with the winning team of Scholastic sales and marketing folks in the clue hunt!
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
I’m writing from Charleston, South Carolina at the close of another whirlwind trip.
Coming here was a last-minute addition to my schedule. Scholastic was holding a marketing meeting at the Harbor Club, and I was invited to be a surprise guest. They arranged to fly me in on Sunday night for a Monday evening speech, and since I had nothing to do all day Monday, I looked up a local school for kids with learning differences – Trident Academy. A week before I arrived, I contacted them and asked if they’d like me to stop by. As my older son is ADHD/dyslexic, like Percy Jackson, I like to do outreach to LD schools whenever I can. Mary the librarian and the rest of the staff at Trident were wonderful hosts. I got to tour the school and do a presentation for the kids – young demigods, all. I even got to sit in on an upper school writing workshop and steal (er, I mean glean) some great creative writing prompt ideas! Special thanks to Julia, an upper school student, who made me a beautiful framed dragon picture from burnt wood and cut glass.
Afterwards, some of the staff – Mary, Lalla and Mark – took me to lunch at Magnolia’s in downtown Charleston – where I learned of a dish called shrimp and grits. Who knew? Being from Texas, I was too much of a tortilla-and-frijoles man to attempt grits, but they looked surprisingly great, and I enjoyed my flounder. After lunch, Mark, who is a professional city tour guide, gave us a personal tour of the historical peninsula. What an amazing city – so much Colonial character remains. I got to see the stately South-of-Broad-Street homes, their porches lit by gaslight twenty-four hours a day (I’m told everyone in Charleston wants to be an SOB – South of Broad). We saw the old dungeon where the pirates were kept, the Battery with its cannons and gazebo and great views of Charleston Harbor, and of course Fort Sumter, where the Civil War began. As a history buff, I ate it up. I got chills when Mark pointed out the balcony from which General Beauregard watched the shelling of the Union fort.
That evening, I was smuggled into the Charleston Harbor Resort, where the Scholastic marketing teams were busily hunting for clues around the hotel. I was the final “treasure” and got to hand the winning team $100 gift certificates. Fortunately, they did not require me to paint myself gold. We had a fun dinner on the piazza overlooking the harbor. Scholastic had even arranged for a 39 Clues ice sculpture as the centerpiece. Hmm. Never had my own ice sculpture before. Maybe I should look into a flaming “Percy Jackson” display for my next Hyperion event . . .
I was impressed by the enthusiasm for 39 Clues. Everybody at Scholastic is so excited about it, and I understand the reaction from booksellers has been equally strong. The biggest question I got asked all night: “Are you really a gamer?” Yes, it’s true. In my spare time I do play video games. (I did tell you I never grew up, right?) I’ve been a gamer since my college days when I’d play Dungeons and Dragons with my friends, way before we had computers or on-line worlds to explore. Nowadays, I play World of Warcraft and occasionally other games (though it’s not like I have a lot of time to play). My gaming background is one reason I was so interested in 39 Clues. The books stand on their own, but there’s also going to be an amazing on-line component. You can log in to the website, create a character, and become part of the Cahill family looking for the 39 Clues. I’m looking forward to seeing the game in action when the series debuts in September.
Now I’m at the Charleston Airport, getting ready to head home. Thanks to everybody who made my trip here so memorable. Definitely this is another place I’ll have to visit again!