Friday, May 17, 2013

the shirt off my back


So Winger has been out for a few days now. Judging by the reaction on the internet, people are really liking it.

The very cool thing is that people have been sending me pictures of Winger on bookshelves all over the country. I love seeing them.

Here's one from Minnesota:

And Oregon:

And Idaho:

There are a few more, too. I hope people keep sending them to me.

In fact, to encourage people to do just that, I am willing to do a giveaway contest. Everyone who sends me a picture of Winger on the shelf of their bookstore of choice (and let me know where it is), I'll enter into a drawing.

Here's what the winner will get:

A signed copy of the book.

AND a rugby jersey. Not just any rugby jersey, though. I'll give the winner an actual rugby jersey that was actually worn in a game by one of the kids I coach (I promise it's clean... more or less).

See, an awful lot of the stuff that happens in Winger really happened in real life. And the descriptions of the team colors and everything else about the Pine Mountain Rugby Football Club (Ryan Dean's school team) are very, very similar to the high school team I coached over the years.

I should even be able to let the winner pick the number of a character from the book.

Ryan Dean West wore number 11. Joey would be 10. Seanie is 9. The brooding and angry JP would be 15. Kevin is 4. Chas is 5. and Mike ("Bags") is 16.

Numbers are very specific to position in rugby.

OR the winner can pick a size (these are adult size jerseys), and I'll get the right size without a guarantee of the position, since usually forward numbers (1 thru 8) are bigger-sized players than backs (9 and up). You'd just have to let me know.

I'll pick a winner on June 1, 2013 -- so get out to your bookstore and take a picture.

You can notify me or upload your picture on Twitter, Facebook, or send me an email.

Monday, May 13, 2013

the big day

On Saturday, I was very fortunate to participate in the Ontario City Library's Teen Book Fest 2013. It was a great day filled with so many amazing authors, librarians, teachers, booksellers, bloggers, and lots of teens who love books.

And, thanks to Simon & Schuster and Mrs. Nelson's Books, copies of Winger were available at the event. So many people were talking about this book and scrambling to get copies of it. For the rest of the world, the big day--the book's publish date--is tomorrow, May 14.

And yesterday, which was Mother's Day, Winger was reviewed in the Sunday New York Times Book Review. This is something that's truly beyond amazing; one of those true milestones for an author. So, as tired as I was from a very long day in Ontario (which is a very long distance from my home), I took the kids down from the mountain and found the nearest available copy of the New York Times--a mere 30 miles from my house.

You know how many people get the Sunday Times? In paper, about 1.25 million, and online another million. That's a heck of a lot of love for Winger.

So let me give the opportunity for broadening that circulation:

New York Times Book Review of Winger

Also, I've neglected to mention that I'll be posting a brand-new short story soon.

I lost THE BET.

Every year for the past three years four authors get together and place bets on The Kentucky Derby. You might know those authors are Catherine Ryan Hyde, Brian Farrey, Kimberly Pauley, and myself. The author whose horse crosses the finish line before the others gets to make up a title for the second, who gets to make up a title for the third, who gets to make up a title for the fourth. So three short stories have to be written and posted by June 1.

Brian Farrey won, and my horse was second. So I have to write a short story with Brian's title. He gave me this:

Journey, Crimson, Nightmare, Name

Coming soon.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

comic/book day

May 4 is comic book day this year.

Winger also happens to be a book narrated by a kid who likes to draw comics, so he includes some comics in the middle of his story.

With that, here's your daily tease.

And just when I thought this week could not possibly get any better, some of the most awesome stuff happened on Friday.


--By the way, to quote my alter ego Ryan Dean West, these are all five-out-of-five-tiny-baby-hedgehogs on the Ryan Dean West Things I Never Want to Stop Looking at Scale.

Amazon picked Winger as one of its Best Books for May 2013.

The amazing Lauren at the amazing Changing Hands Bookstore listed Winger on her Lauren's Picks.

Yesterday, in a totally wonderful and eclectic list, Publishers Weekly picked Winger as one of its Top-Ten Best Summer Books for 2013.

But... in a most difficult-to-wrap-my-head-around development, A.J. Jacobs wrote a FULL REVIEW of Winger which will run in the May 12 edition of the New York Times Book Review Section. I read it, and it is... wow. The Review is called Uneven Field, and in it, Jacobs writes:

The most successful young adult novels always feature losers, or at least outcasts. This is because the teenage years' built-in insecurity means every high schooler feels like a loser or outcast, even the seemingly well-adjusted ones... The trick is to make the loser appealing and not just a pitiable drip. This "Winger" does.

Friday, May 3, 2013

eleven days

Here's your daily tease from Winger, coming out in just 11 days, on May 14 (but it will be available at the Ontario City Library's Teen Book Fest 2013, on May 11):

Thursday, May 2, 2013

twelve days

So, here is something I've never shown before--not even when doing personal appearances and speaking about Winger.

When people see Winger for the first time, I'm frequently asked if I did the art myself. Well, the answer is kind of yes and kind of no.

Here's the deal: I've always wanted to write a graphic novel. I do enjoy drawing. But every time I've started work on a GN, I've come to realize how utterly, impossibly  difficult it is. Besides that, I've also realized that when you draw something, you have to take words away, and I've always had a stronger attachment to words than images.

In any event, when I wrote Winger, I did do all the artwork--the comics, charts, graphs, notes, and so on.

And when I finally got around to submitting the manuscript for consideration, it received quite a bit of interest from publishers. Some of the publishers actually liked my artwork (and wanted me to do it!), even though my intent was to simply SHOW what I wanted and where I wanted it to be.

Also, I really really really wanted to work with David Gale (my editor at Simon & Schuster), who loved the book and who also very reasonably thought my artwork was terrible.

Here's an example, taken from near the midpoint of the manuscript. It's a panel I drew called The Dull Point on the Love Triangle, and it's about Ryan Dean West's confused anguish over his attraction to Megan Renshaw (the girl in this comic) and his true love for Annie:

Yes, I draw like an overly-caffeinated seven-year-old with broken thumbs.

On a Tilt-A-Whirl.

During a tornado.

Here's a side note: The Megan I drew is based on my own drawing of my 15-year-old daughter, Chiara. Chiara doesn't know this, so don't tell her. It's a horrible drawing and I think she would probably never speak to me again. The Ryan Dean (my alter ego) is... um... a bad self-portrait.

Anyway, David let me look at some sketches he'd gotten from Sam Bosma, and I knew instantly that Sam was the perfect guy to do the artwork in Winger. There's also a great story about how Sam's artwork for the book evolved over time, but I'll save that for another time (and maybe I'll be allowed to show some of Sam's initial sketches for the novel, too).

Here's Sam's version of the same panel (taken with a shaky iPhone--my apologies). Much, much better--especially at conveying emotions.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

may day

So, it is happening this month. Winger is coming out on May 14.

And just today, right up there in front, Amazon has picked Winger as one of its "Best Books of the Month" for May, 2013.


Now here's your little teaser for the day: