Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Black String is coming out in the Czech Republic.

An offer from the Czech Republic

My kid’s novel, Black String, has yet to find an American Publisher. It’s already scheduled to come out in Germany in the fall of 2017. And just today, we received an offer from the Czech Republic.

The Publisher is called Fragment. Our foreign rights people tell us they’re supposed to be quite good.

I trust them. What do I know about Czech publishers? Nula.

That’s Czech for zero. Because I know nothing about Czech publishers.

Who wants to go with me to Prague to visit some local bookstores?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The illustrator for my novel, Black String, coming out in Germany

I'm so happy to announce that my German publisher, Thienemann-Esslinger Verlag, has chosen a great illustrator for the cover of Black String, my beloved kid's novel that is so-far only coming out in Germany.

The illustrator is none other than Nina Dulleck.

The book "Brilli, das Küken", illustrated by her, was awarded the International Dyslexia Quality Award in 2010. 2011 became "Glück gesucht" in Austria to the "Bücherliebling 2011". The cover of "The Little Lady" was chosen by Librikon as one of the five most beautiful covers of the year 2010. 

Check out some of her work here. 

Or here:

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

In final contract negotiations for The Bottle Imp of Bright House

Many of my favorite emails come from my agent, the esteemed Abigail Samoun of Red Fox Literary. One of her most recent ones was one of the best. Why?

Because it was an offer.

Now she's doing her magic with the publisher and The Bottle Imp of Bright House is that much closer to seeing the light of day, getting into the hands of readers, and finding a place on my bookshelf.

I'm happy.

The basic pitch for the book is this:

The story is a modern-day retelling of a Robert Louis Stevenson short story, The Bottle Imp.

Our hero, Gabe, gets his hands on a bottle with a tiny imp inside. A djinn. The bottle grants wishes to whomever owns it. But for every good wish granted, the scales need to balance out somehow. If you wish for a million dollars, then someone else loses a million. If you wish for a job, then someone else gets fired. And if you wish to save a life, well, then things can get deadly.

The bottle comes with another price, too. If you die with the bottle in your possession, then the devil gets your soul.

The story is set in a funky old apartment building full of quirky mysterious characters--a landlady who likes to set fires, an astrologer who can't sleep nights, the studio of a famous painter whose paintings have never been seen, and a girl who wants Gabe dead.

I like this book. But I like all my books. I'm a biased parent. But I do like this one a lot. Don't tell the others.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A five star review, translated from the original German

I took a couple of years of high school German, from a bitter woman named Mrs. Harmoning. We didn't get along. It might have something to do with the Ex-Lax Marty Lange and I baked into the cookies for the cookie contest. Mrs. Harmoning was one of the judges.

I can still stumble through a bit of German conversation. I can order a beer and find a bathroom. But when it comes to reading reviews of my books that have come out in Germany, I am fully dependent on the nonsense spewed out by Google Translate.

Take the following five-star review for "Tick Tack Tot," the German version of "The Shadow of Seth." This review comes from some kind and insightful reader named R. Manthey. Keep in mind: Five stars. So I'm assuming it is positive.

In German, the closing paragraph says:

Diese Geschichte bleibt natürlich eine Geschichte. Aber sie wirkt keineswegs erfunden oder konstruiert. Ganz im Gegenteil: Seth ist ein Typ, den man sympathisch finden muss und den man gerne zum Kumpel hätte. Ein gelungenes Jugendbuch, schnörkellos, unterhaltend und ohne pädagogischen Hintergrund.

Google Translate tells me this means:

Of course, this story is a story. But it seems not invented or constructed. On the contrary, Seth is a type that must be found sympathetic and one would like to mate. A successful youth book, straightforward, entertaining and without educational background.

Read the entire review (in German!) here.