Writing: My Next Work

Hey, here's an image of the cover-in-progress of my next book (The Case of the Pen Gone Missing: A Mickey Rangel Mystery), being published in the spring of 2009 by Arte Público/Piñata Books, the first of three in my chapterbook-length detective/mystery series. It's an awesome cover now, I can only imagine what it'll look like when Giovanni Mora, the artist, finishes with the coloring. Something else cool about the book, AP/PB is having it translated into Spanish; what's cooler is that they'll release it as a two-books-in-one, like Bertrand's Upsidedown and Backwards, in which you get the English version from page one to the middle of the book, and if you turn it, literally, upsidedown and backwards, you get the Spanish from pagina una to the middle, where English and Spanish meet. Cool concept.

NOTE: you'll have to trust me that the cover is awesome! I just got a reject trying to upload the thing: either a corrupt file or in an unrecognizable format.


Lubbock: Friends of the Library Book Sale: Saturday, 10.18

I so look forward to the Friends' book sales, twice yearly. This go-round was their regular book sale, which means more often than not books in really good shape for an awesome price: in the YA section, where I spent much of my time, hardbacks were .50 and paperbacks went for .25. You can't beat those prices, unless we're talking about their 2009 1/2 sale. Then you'll leave Mahon branch's basement with more books than a kid can read in a year. Anyway, here's a list of the titles I purchased, all hard back, hardly a one cracked open (which is good for me, of course, but bad for literacy):
Cart, Michael (editor): Necessary Noise: Stories About Our Families as They Really Are
Deuker, Carl: Heart of a Champion
Lynch, Chris: Slot Machine
McNamee, Graham: Acceleration
Myers, Walter Dean: The Dream Bearer
Myers, Walter Dean: Shooter
Naidoo, Beverley: Out of Bounds: Seven Stories of Conflict and Hope
O'Dell, Scott: Island of the Blue Dolphins (14th printing)
Schmidt, Gary D.: Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy
Shusterman, Neal: The Schwa Was Here
Singer, Marilyn (editor): Face Relations: 11 Stories About Seeing Beyond Color
Van Draanen, Wendelin: Flipped

In paperback:
Grimes, Nikki: Bronx Masquerade

Picture books:
Mora, Pat: A Birthday Basket for Tia (Cecily Lang, illustrator)
Suen, Anastasia: Window Music (Wade Zahares, illustrator)

That's not taking into account the other bags full that Tina brought home for the boys. Our Golden Books collection is growing. Speaking of our boys: Lukas and I are big time Rat Patrol fans. If you don't know the show, it's a WW II series that aired back in the mid-60s, and follows the exploits of four soldiers, three U.S. and one Brit, in the African desert fighting the German army. The production often is weak/poor, but man, when they were showing as reruns when I was a kid, I loved them, and now that I've got season one on DVD, Lukas loves them just as much. Anyway, why talk about this on a book sale post? Well, go figure: there's a book version as well. And I found a copy, pulled it from the shelf, showed it to Lukas, whose eyes practically popped out of their sockets, his face broke into a huge smile, and he said, "The Rat Patrol! Cool!" So guess what he and I'll be reading soon?


Lubbock: B&N Educator Night and Texas Latino Voices

Busy day today: first, early morning at the doctor's for a procedure on Tina; thank God everything turned out okay. Later, I sat with Will Terrell at Barnes & Noble for close to two hours to sign our respective books. He's a comic book guy, a pretty good one, who's done the color for, among other titles, Gargoyles by Greg Weisman. He's also the founder of the Lubbock Sketchclub, a group of folks ranging, he says, from age 7 to 77, artists the lot of them, all at different levels regarding ability, but each and every one of the 40-60 participants looking to get better at the craft. And he's got proof: the Lubbock Sketchclub Sketchbook, a short book highlighting participants' work. For more info, check out their site: www.elSketchoClubo.com. He does school visits too. Thanks to Teri, Community Relations Manager at B&N for keeping teachers in mind this way. And for the invite. Then immidiately following this signing, I headed to Mahon Library, downtown Lubbock for the Texas Latino Voices, organized by Texas Center for the Book and paid for, at least in part, by Humanities Texas. A program that brings Latino authors to different parts of Texas, TLV has been going on for several years now, and I'm happy Gail Bialas at TCB keeps inviting me to work this gig. Thanks to Humanities Texas for, year after year, funding it. Anyway, Jane Clausen, the library director set up the show, and it went really well. Thanks to all the profs from TTU's COE who showed up. You all were half the crowd, how I appreciate the symbolic pat on the back. You guys are awesome! And all the others present, man, you guys made it a very cool way to finish the evening. Now I can't wait for Saturday morning to go back to Mahon to buy books on the very cheap. Friends of the Library are holding one of their book sales, and I am ready with bags in hand. Better yet, a shopping cart. No lie: they've got those.


Tyler, TX: What a Visit!

So, finally, my entry on my visit to Tyler: man, oh, man, do those folks know how to treat a visitor. And I'm not talking about just me; city librarian, Chris Albertson, took me on a tour of the city. This was just after Ike had done its damage in that part of the Republic and so there were a few thousand folks there, surviving the best they could.

The evening I got there, I had a gig sponsored by Dallas Public Library and Humanities Texas. I'll tell you what, too: it was fun. We didn't quite know how many folks were going to show up, and so we were pleasantly surprised when around 50 people showed up. Among them Gregory and Miles Zeorlin (father and son, visual artist and super reader and all-around teen, respectively). I had a blast reading and addressing questions and comments from the audience. So fun it was that I went on and on and on, and we closed down the place.

Thanks for a great first visit to east Texas.