I just got a care package in the mail -- a collection of letters, drawings, and other cool stuff that fans brought me at my signings for The Throne of Fire last month. My publisher kept track of all this so I wouldn't lose it while traveling, and now I have a chance to look back and remember all the great moments of the tour.
Above is a small sampling from the fans. First up, a beautiful 'Cup of Gratitude' from Noelle and Eric at ZPOTS studio pottery in Vermont. My dad is a potter, and some of my fondest childhood memories are making ceramic dinosaurs with his help, then attending weekend art fairs with him where we'd sell our stuff. So I'm always appreciative of ceramics. Thanks, guys!
The black and white sketch of Percy in front of the Saint Louis Arch is by Daniel H. Great work, Daniel! That must have taken you a long time.
The shout-out to the Kane Chronicles is from Kyle O., a reader/artist who waited a long time to meet me. Thanks for coming to the event!
The color drawing of Percy is by Paul R., age 10, from Missouri. Percy sure looks fierce!
Below that is a photo of me with Sophia S. at the Texas Library Association last year. Her mom brought me a copy of the photo this time around, and it was great to see them again!
The next photo is Bobby, in his excellent Poseidon costume from Halloween. Careful with that trident, Bobby. We don't need any more hurricanes!
One of my favorites: Olivia M. drew that sketch of Grover offering me a soup can. Can you believe Olivia did that while waiting in line? That's a lot of talent! And gee, thanks for the soup can, Grover.
The stable full of monsters was drawn by Katie M., who must really love animals. She even signs the 'i' in her name with a paw print for a dot. Clever!
Thank you to Kayleigh, who drew me the 'Booktastic' sign while she waited in line!
The warlike picture of Nico di Angelo is compliments of Raphael P. I definitely would not mess with Nico here. Looks like he's in a bad mood.
And finally, thanks to Mandy R. for the manga-like take on Percy, Grover and Annabeth. They look like they're ready to join the cast of one of the anime programs my sons watch!
Some of the goodies not pictured:
Mariah A. shared a wonderful letter about how Percy Jackson changed her life. She is ADHD/dyslexic, and she wanted me to know that those books turned her into a reader. I couldn't imagine a greater compliment, Mariah. Thank you, and keep reading!
Lily T. shared a note and a link to her blog about reading. Way to go, Lily! Good luck with your blog.
Sigrid (great mythology name) from Poland, Maine wanted me to know that my books are so popular in her school that the kids are nicknamed after my characters. She is Thalia. Good choice!
Adri K. gave me a thank you letter and said her 'wish came true' when I wrote The Red Pyramid and The Lost Hero. She takes issue with all the other kids in the signing line who claim to be my biggest fan. She says SHE is my biggest fan. Well, I appreciate it, but I don't want to cause any competition or fighting. As far as I'm concerned, all my fans are the greatest.
Sabah M. shared a copy of her school report, "If You Knew Me," which focuses on how much she loves the Percy Jackson series. She did great research for the report. Even I learned things about me. Well done!
Thanks to Tracey Bromley Goodwin and Holly Oberacker for sharing a copy of their book, Navigating ADHD. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but we can use more books on this subject for families looking for reassurance, information and support!
And finally, thanks to Mrs. Milsark's 6th grade reading class at Ft. Zumwalt West Middle School for the great poster. It's too big to scan, but all the kids signed it with great comments. Hope you all have a wonderful summer and keep reading!
That's just a small fraction of the stuff I received during the tour, but as you can tell, I've got the best job in the world, and the best fans. Thanks to everyone else who wrote, too. Sadly, I'm no longer able to respond personally to everyone because of the sheer volume of mail, but I do read your letters and appreciate them very much! From time to time, I update my FAQ page to answer questions I get a lot.
In other news: I'm working furiously over the course of the summer to finish up Kane Chronicles 3. No title yet -- that will be the last thing I come up with, but work is going well. The Son of Neptune is on schedule for an October 4 publication. Can't wait to share it with you!
Everything is going well here at Zeus House. It's a hot and dry Texas summer, but we're spending a lot of time in the pool (when I'm not writing, of course). Last night I was swimming at sunset, watching the Mexican free-tail bats spiral overhead catching mosquitos. Go, bats!
My recent reads:
In the Garden of Beasts, Erik Larsen: a fascinating story about the American ambassador to Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, but this book does a good job recapturing a time when everyone was desperate to believe that the Nazis actually wanted peace. The book shows how the ambassador's idealistic young daughter initially bought into Hitler's charisma, but soon realized the truth. A chilling and riveting story, In the Garden of Beasts shows how an entire nation of otherwise reasonable people can be seduced by an evil movement, and kept paralyzed by fear.
The Search for WondLa, by Tony DiTerlizzi. This book makes me wish I could draw. From the co-creator of Spiderwick Chronicles, The Search for Wondla is a fabulous cross between sci fi and fantasy. A young girl, raised in an underground bunker by a motherly robot, is suddenly forced to the surface and finds that the world is radically changed -- if it's even the planet she thought it was. The story is fascinating by itself, but the illustrations add a whole new dimension to the adventure. Highly recommended.
Satori, by Don Winslow. This is a prequel to one of the best-loved thrillers of all time, Shibumi by Trevanian. Stepping in so many years later to reincarnate the hero-assassin Nicholai Hel is a massive undertaking. I can only imagine how daunting this must have been to Don Winslow, but he does a fabulous job. The character of Nicholai is true-to-form, and the story is rich in authentic details of the 1950s Cold War. If you like thrillers and international intrigue, you can't go wrong with this one.
That's it for now. I'd better get back to writing! I hope everyone has a safe and relaxing summer, full of good books!