Authors Like Us in New York City

Authors Like UsMy podcast partner, James McCann, and I have just returned from our whirlwind tour in New York City, where we did some recording for the Authors Like Us podcast.

You’ll be able to check out many of our misadventures in our upcoming episodes, including how James and I continually got turned around and lost on the streets of New York, James’s quest to find the best “street meat” in Times Square, and of course our encounters with librarians, bloggers, authors, agents, editors, and publishers at Book Expo America—the biggest book conference in North America.

Of course, it wasn’t all just work for Authors Like Us. On the last day of the show, I participated in two book signings and conducted an interview with the good folk at the Mom’s Choice Booth.

James signed copies of his new book, Flying Feet, at the Orca Book Publishers booth and my friend Adrienne Kress (whom I met a few weeks ago at a conference in Ottawa) signed at the Perseus booth (she signed over two hundred books in one hour!). You’ll get to hear all about Adrienne and her books in an upcoming Authors Like Us interview . . . so stay tuned!

Big Times in the Big Apple

Book Expo CrowdI’m in New York this week attending the Book Expo America—the biggest book conference in New York.

Our first day here we spent toodling (yes, toodling) about the city, seeing the sights and today was our first day at the show.

TCornelia Funke Tickethere’s a plethora of authors here—too many to possibly name. I did meet Cornelia Funke (after standing in a long line with my precious ticket) and received a copy of her latest book. But really the highlight was just hanging out with my podcast partner, James McCann, and meeting some of the different attenees.

This is an ENORMOUS show, so there are lots of fun things to see: great booth displays, extravagant costumes, and of course fantastic books.

Tomorrow, I’m doing two signings and an interview at the show, so it promises to be busy!

Evil Laugh.

Today was just

The Low-Down on Burdock Brown

Burdock BrownI had one of those great writing moments this week. There I was, sitting in a hotel room in Seattle, trying to stave off fatigue and coax some words out of my tired coconut so that I could finish up this really important scene in my fourth Kendra book.

It’s been a tough section to write, with lots of back story about two important characters: the fiendish Burdock Brown and Kendra’s mother, the legendary Kayla Kandlestar.

We’ve always known that Burdock hated Kayla Kandlestar, but what has never been really revealed is exactly WHY.

Well, get ready to know WHY. I bet it might surprise you—it certainly surprised ME when I realized it, sitting there in that Seattle hotel room. But I love these types of “A-ha” moments. They are the best part of writing.

Kayla Kandlestar And the best part of all, gentle readers, is that the story of what happened between Burdock and Kayla will make you hate that unibrowed Een more than you ever imagined.

And that’s a good thing . . . isn’t it?

If I moved to Een

Well, I have hardly any time to write or draw lately–it’s a bit frustrating, but I have had good reason. It feels like I’ve been everywhere in the first four months of this year: Korea, Ottawa, Seattle, and now I’ll be off to New York next week.

Of course, I love working with all the young writers and readers out there, and I have to share with you a fabulous piece of artwork that one my students prepared for me. Apparently, it’s my future life.

Given the fact that I have grown pointed ears and my future wife sports some very Kendra-like braids, I can’t help wondering if this scene takes place in the Land of Een. I can’t explain exactly why I have buckteeth (indeed, or why everyone and everything in the picture also has buckteeth), but I laughed riotously when I first saw this picture.

Beginning with a Bang

Kendra Kandlestar IV is going to be a different than the others in the series so far.

For one thing, Kendra’s going on a very different sort of adventure. I hope you’ll like it.

One thing that I’m sure you will all love is that this book begins with a real BANG. You might recall that the last time we saw Kendra and her friends, they were making their way across the skies in Ratchet’s airship. Well, hardly a chapter will pass before they suddenly find themselves attacked by a army of . . . well, I’m not going to tell you everything right now. I’ll let you guess about the army.

Needless to say, it will be all hands on deck—including Oki and Jinx. As you can see in this pencil drawing, Jinx is all ready for the good fight. She’s still carrying the sword that she managed to find on the pirate ship way back in Book III, but she’s added a few more weapons to her arsenal.

As for Oki, he’ll load the cannons. But those aren’t cannon balls, my friends. What you see there is snot shot, one of Ratchet’s latest inventions. I won’t tell you what effect snot shot has—but I’m sure your imagination will help you out in that department.

A Whiskery Elder of Een

Leemus Longbraid StatueOne of the most fun I have in chronicling Kendra’s adventures is showing the rich history and mythology of that tiny Land of Een. In particular, I’ve enjoyed telling the myths of the very first Eldest of the Elders, Leemus Longbraids. He’s now immortalized in the form of a statue in the famous Een garden known as the Rainmaker’s Rhapsody.

Well, in Kendra Kandlestar IV, readers will be introduced to some of the other Eldest of the Elders who have sat on the Een council. These include Thedo Thistledown, who was an Elder during the time when Kendra’s mother was growing up.

And, there’s also this whiskery little fellow . . . he’s very Oki-like, I suppose (though this ancient fellow is quite deaf). I can’t tell you a name for him yet (these things take time!).

Eldest of the Elders.

The Face of Agent Lurk

One of the questions I get asked all the time by my readers is about the identity of  Agent Lurk, that mysterious character who chased Kendra across the pages of The Shard from Greeve.

Well, here’s something that might surprise you. By the time I was finished writing The Shard from Greeve, I knew who Lurk was, but I didn’t know what he looked like. In fact, it wasn’t until The Shard from Greeve had been on bookstore shelves for three months that I knew what he looked like underneath that cloaked hood.

Back when I was writing that third book, I made some sketches of what I thought Lurk might look like beneath the hood (see the picture, right). I eventually decided that I just wasn’t satisfied with his appearance, but I knew it would come to me. I decided I didn’t need to let readers see him until Book 4.

Well, one day, several months ago, I was sketching away and suddenly, like magic, out of my pencil came a tiny thumbnail drawing of a face. Bingo! I instantly knew I had captured what Agent Lurk looked like. And that drawing caused me to make a major change to the plot of Book 4. I just love it when that happens . . . and I also wonder what kind of writer I would be if I couldn’t draw.

Well, I can’t wait to show YOU what Agent Lurk looks like beneath his hood—but I can’t do that yet. After all, it will ruin the surprise for you. But I don’t want to completely disappoint you. So here is what his eye looks like. Don’t complain. It’s better than nothing . . . isn’t it?