The Indubitable Dweeb
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July 23, 2013

The Riverman, a Novel

It’s been almost two years in the making, but I can finally reveal more about my latest book, The Riverman. It won’t officially bust out into the world until March 2014, but a few advance reader copies have escaped their cage and if you find one, hogtie it and read it, then shout your opinions about it from the mountaintops (or from a blog or social media platform of your choice).

For the rest of you, here’s a teaser:

“To sell a book, you need a description on the back. So here’s mine: My name is Fiona Loomis. I was born on August 11, 1977. I am recording this message on the morning of October 13, 1989. Today I am thirteen years old. Not a day older. Not a day younger.”

Fiona Loomis is Alice, back from Wonderland. She is Lucy, returned from Narnia. She is Coraline, home from the Other World. She is the girl we read about in storybooks, but here’s the difference: She is real.

Twelve-year-old Alistair Cleary is her neighbor in a town where everyone knows each other. One afternoon, Fiona shows up at Alistair’s doorstep with a strange proposition. She wants him to write her biography. What begins as an odd vanity project gradually turns into a frightening glimpse into a clearly troubled mind. For Fiona tells Alistair a secret. In her basement there’s a gateway and it leads to the magical world of Aquavania, the place where stories are born. In Aquavania, there’s a creature called the Riverman and he’s stealing the souls of children. Fiona’s soul could be next.

Alistair has a choice. He can believe her, or he can believe something else…something even more terrifying.

And here’s a blurb from the inimitable, incredible, award-hoarding author of Dead End in Norvelt, Hole in My Life and the Joey Pigza series:

“Every culture has a magical river story. Some rivers promise the pleasures of eternal youth, while others promise the paradise of eternal salvation. The Riverman promises a more exhilarating alternative. Dive into this book and you may never resurface.”Jack Gantos

And here are the cold hard facts:

The Riverman was edited by Joy Peskin. It is represented by Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. It will be published on March 18, 2014 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers, a division of Macmillan. Without these dedicated and talented people, it would not be the book that it is. In fact, it would not be a book at all.

Finally, here’s the cover, designed by Beth Clark and illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova:

riverman cover

June 15, 2013

School Visit: Learning Community Charter School of Jersey City, NJ

DWEEB

Do you see that picture? Seriously, folks, do you understand the ridiculously awesome thing you’re looking at there? Click on it for closer inspection. That, my friends, is the blood, sweat and tears of three classes of 5th Graders at LCCS in Jersey City, NJ. These kids were kind enough to not only read DWEEB, but also create some amazing artwork based on the book. You are looking at movie posters! Cereal boxes! Comic strips! Character profiles! And hamburgers of all shapes, sizes and dimensions! Amazing? You better believe it.

I had the distinct honor of visiting these young readers and artists last Thursday. They welcomed me into their school with kindness, questions and pizza. A special thank you goes out to the teachers and staff who invited me, especially Ms. Litman, a friend from the days of yore. LCCS is a wonderful school with kids so smart and audacious that they are demanding a sequel to DWEEB (Random House, are you listening?) and a 150-million-dollar movie based on the book…starring them:

LCCS kids

P.S. One of these kids was wearing a Keith Richards T-shirt. He should probably be cast in the role of Elijah.

May 25, 2013

Hoboken Public Library Book Festival: Saturday, June 8

HobokenBookFestival

For years, I’d been hoping that my hometown of Hoboken would hold a book festival. Of course, I could have organized one myself. But such things require gumption, which is usually in short supply after a day of writing and chasing freelance projects. Luckily, the Hoboken Public Library has bucketloads of gumption, and they probably also have some sort of mind-reading technology, because they’ve taken my idea and run with it. They’re holding their inaugural book festival to kick off the summer and I will be there reading, signing and selling The Only Ones and DWEEB. Here are the details:

  • When: Saturday, June 8, 11am-5pm (my readings: 11:15am-1:00pm; signing and selling: 1pm-3pm)
  • Where: Church Square Park in Hoboken
  • Who: Me! and these other wonderful local authors.
  • How: By hook or by crook

I hope to see you all there!

May 10, 2013

Tachair Bookshoppe Reading: Sunday, May 19

TachairBookshoppe

For years, Jersey City, a place with a population of nearly 250,000, didn’t have an independent bookstore. Tachair Bookshoppe filled the void last year and is already a fixture in the downtown community, a place where you can go to read, drink coffee, catch a musical performance, and see paintings from local artists. Tachair is Gaelic for a meeting place and I hope you will meet me there for some readings from DWEEB, The Only Ones, and (possibly), The Riverman.

  • When: Sunday, May 19 at 5:30 PM
  • Where: Tachair Bookshoppe at 260 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ
  • How: Drive or take the PATH train to Grove Street and walk northwest on Newark Avenue until you reach 2nd Street
  • Why: Because it will be fun!

This world needs more places like Tachair. Like them on Facebook for even more information. And please come out and support them…and me!

 

May 4, 2013

A 36-Year-Old Judges Books By Their Covers

After reading A 2-Year-Old Judges Books By Their Covers, I decided to ask a 36-year-old (i.e. myself) to go through the same exercise. Hilarious…and adorable.

1. The Corrections

“It’s about the clash between Eisenhower-era ideals of domesticity/economic stability and the uncertainties and advances of a detached, tech-based world at the turn of a new millenium. I bet there’s a sub-plot with Lithuanian gangsters.”

TheCorrections

2. The Great Gatsby

“This book looks like the sort of thing you have to read in AP English and everyone claims to love it, but then everyone seems perfectly willing to let Baz Luhrmann turn it into some loud, razzle-dazzle, jump-cutty tripe.”

TheGreatGatsby

3. Atonement

“It’s about a little girl who lives in a pretty house with beautiful gardens where she plays and plays and plays. And she lies. A lot.”

Atonement

4. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

“I bet kids will really like this book and will probably want to read more stories by this author so long as someone doesn’t ruin all the fun by telling them that the lion is basically Jesus.”

LionWitchWardrobe

5. To Kill a Mockingbird

“This looks like something Truman Capote might have written.”

ToKillaMockingbird

6. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

“I’m gonna agree with the 2-year-old on this one. It’s probably about lion feet that stomp things. Because the only other implication is just…ugh, so grody.”

GodMargaret