Saturday, September 8, 2012

Review Published in APA's Amphora

After a bit of a hiatus, the APA's (American Philological Association) Amphora, intended for outreach to a broader audience than the APA's membership, has published its latest issue and, to my surprise, a rather lengthy review of the Follow Your Fates series was on the front page. Click here for Amphora's page on the APA website (the issue with the review is 10.1; scroll down to download it).

The review was largely positive (and certainly not negative). The reviewer's primary concern with the series was the lack of true open-endedness to the fluid narrative because of the pre-existing narrative, i.e. the appeal of the series is diminished by the pre-knowledge of how the story ends. While this is certainly the case with adult or older readers, especially those with a background in Classics, this likely is not the case with younger readers, for whom the series is intended. These readers might have a cursory knowledge of the Trojan War and its heroes from surveys written for them but likely don't have any knowledge of the epics on which such stories are based and the specifics of the plots of these epics. She focused on the creative aspect of the books while, in writing them, I was focused on the educational aspect of the books.

Nonetheless, I was thrilled to see the review and have it out there, so thank you Amphora and Diane Arnson Svarlien. And the review was mentioned on the ECU Classics blog, which you can get to here (thanks, John).

(In the interest of full disclosure, I should add that I am on the editorial board of Amphora, but had nothing to do with editing the review or its inclusion in this issue.)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

YA Scavenger Hunt

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This tri-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, but you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online until August 5, noon PST (3 PM EST)!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are TWO contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the BLUE TEAM--but there is also a red team for a chance to win a whole different set of twenty-five signed books! Choose the team whose books you think you might like the most (though mine and Heather's are part of the Blue team).

If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage.


Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed Heather Anastasiu's favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the blue team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by August 5, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


Today, I am thrilled to be hosting Heather Anastasiu for the YA Scavenger Hunt! She grew up in Texas and now lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband and young son. She spends most days most days writing at a coffee shop or daydreaming about getting a new tattoo.

Find out more information by checking out the author website or find more about the author's book here:

Click here for Heather's website.

Click here to buy Heather's book debut book Glitch, due out on August 7; congratulations Heather on the new book!

Here is Heather's exclusive content!

[I've taken down Heather's deleted scene plus the contest rules, per the YASH guidelines, but please check out her book and website above.]

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Young Adult Scavenger Hunt Teams

Colleen Houck has posted here the two teams for the Young Adult Scavenger Hunt on her website, with all of the covers included. I'll be honest. Pretty cool to see mine included among all of those others. Here's the link to check it out. Still not exactly sure how this scavenger hunt is going to work, but everything has run well up to this point, so I'm going to trust that it will all work out. Tomorrow's the next deadline, so I'm assuming I'll know more about it then.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Follow Your Fates Part of the Young Adult Scavenger Hunt

I saw on Twitter something called the Young Adult Scavenger Hunt, so I checked it out, applied, and Follow Your Fates was accepted. I'll be honest; I'm still not exactly sure how it works. I know that I post some exclusive content (I think on another author's site) and I host another author's content, and then others (both authors and readers?) go from website to website looking for information. In any case, it seems like a great marketing tool, and I'm excited to have been accepted and to participate. So if you want to join in, here's the link to YASH. More later as I get more info about it.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Presentation at the Wayland Literacy Institute

This is a few weeks late, but I wanted to mention the presentation I gave at the Wayland Literacy Institute. This was my first Wayland Literacy Institute, and it was pretty impressive. The keynote speaker, Cris Tovani, started the day off. There were maybe 100, 150 people in the Little Theater. And she did a great job. She was honest and open about both her successes and failures, and had some interesting things to say about reading and literacy. I got to talk to her a bit at lunch (admittedly, I either interrupted or stalked her lunch until she was done), because a lot of what she said seemed related to the Follow Your Fates series: interest, interaction, etc. We had a great little talk and she seemed genuinely excited about the books.

The presentation itself went well also. I had maybe 15 or 20 people there, and they all for the most part seemed interested in the idea of interactive fiction and how it could help their teaching, from third grade all the way to eighth grade. We covered everything from using the format for adapting historical curricula to using it for teaching or covering social issues. Alayna C. even introduced a series of middle school books that use the interactive fiction format in a more extended format, i.e. each chapter ends with a choice with a more elaborate intro / lead-in. I'm not sure people were particularly interested in my books but they seemed interested in the format, which is a good thing.

So thumbs up for the Wayland Literacy Institute. Thanks for letting me participate.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Presented on the Books at the Ascanius Conference

Had the chance today to present on the books at the Ascanius Conference in Derry, NH. Ascanius is a Classics organization that focuses on elementary and middle school Latin teaching. It went well. Relatively small crowd (Matt Webb, the organizer, whom I know, said that yesterday's crowd was about double; I'm sure the fact that it was the first beautiful day in about a week didn't help), but gave me some great feedback and thoughts on where to go from here. Maybe I'll be writing a Caesar biography this summer.... And Stephanie had a great idea about using the books as an assessment for her special ed students, i.e., after studying the Odyssey, their test is to make it through the book by making the decisions that Odysseus made in the original. Loved that idea!

I've posted the PowerPoint from the presentation here.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Author's Night at Millbury B & N

As much as I'd like to say that the author's night at the Millbury (MA) Barnes & Noble was life- and bank account-changing, it was predictably not. No lines out the door. No huge royalty check or offer of representation. Nonetheless, it was a fun night and I got some good press out of it. And I met the Latin teacher from AMSA (Marlboro, MA) whose husband was there and told her about the books.

There were seven of us there, all of us different authors: one mystery writer (she was the most successful of the night), one fantasy writer, one photographer (who chronicled the Springfield-area tornado of last year), one poet, one children's book author, one memoirist, and I. We each spoke for a couple of minutes about our books, and then people were free to browse, visit, talk, etc. I've included a few pictures below from the evening (thanks, TH). 

I've linked here to newspaper articles that the night spawned, both from Wayland (MA) where I teach. The first is from the town paper, and the second is from the school paper.

Friday, February 3, 2012

FYF to be Featured at Millbury (MA) Barnes & Noble New Author Night

I know it's been a while since the last update; I'd like to say that's because I've been so busy with the unremitting success of the books. I have, of course, been busy but, needless to say, FYF news has been slow recently. Until today.

Liz (my wife) ran into a neighbor of ours who used to work at Scholastic Books, and to whom I had given the books when she was at Scholastic. She now works at the Barnes & Noble in Millbury (MA) in Community Relations, and is organizing a new authors night, and asked Liz if I would be interested in. Lori & I met today, she gave me the details, and of course I'm in.

So if you're in the Millbury, MA area (or want to be) on Friday, February 17 at 7.00 PM, come on by the B&N for the New Authors Event.

I'll update soon when I know more.