UnStrung!

July 26, 2012

ImageFor the longest time, people have been asking me what happened to Lev in UNWIND between the time he left CyFi, and turned up at the graveyard.  What was it that turned him into a clapper?  Since I chose not to deal with it in the book, my answer basically was “nasty stuff,” and left it to the imagination of readers.  But I became curious myself.

When Simon and Schuster asked me to write a story to bridge UNWIND and UnWHOLLY, I knew I wanted to tell Lev’s story.  But now I had to actually come up with one!  “Nasty stuff,” just didn’t cut it anymore.Image

            Since I had deadlines mounting up, I knew I didn’t have the time to write the story alone, so I asked my friend, and fellow author Michelle Knowlden to work with me on it.  We had, more than  ten years ago, collaborated on an “X-Files” novel called “DARK MATTER.”  Writing with her was a great experience, and we worked together well.  I also suspected her style and writing sensibilities would mesh well with the tone of the Unwind world.  I was right!

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Michelle Knowlden

 UNSTRUNG takes place on an Indian reservation.  In the Unwind world, the new politically-correct term for Native Americans is  “People of Chance,” or “Chancefolk.”  We were playing with the idea of Indian casinos, and how, in future years, it will have subtly shaped those cultures.   The “Rez” is far less dystopian than the outside world.  They’ve resisted unwinding, and have managed to find a balance between tradition, and the modern world.

            The trick was sending Lev on a journey that would bring him to a place that he would seriously consider becoming a “clapper.” What is it that turns a once-innocent kid into a suicide terrorist?  Michelle and I gave this a lot of thought, and came up with a story  featuring Lev and a gifted guitar-playing Native American kid.  The story is compelling, very real, and very much an UNWIND story.  I won’t give you any spoilers here, but will tell you that Lev meets some new characters who not only play a part in this story, but in UnWholly, and the third UNWIND book as well.  (And when I say “part,” in one instance I really do mean “part!”)

            We wrote the story in Google docs, both of us working in the manuscript simultaneously – it was a fantastic process to do a real-time collaboration online, from two separate places.  What began as a short story evolved into a full-fledged novella of 62 pages!

            I hope you enjoy UnStrung.  Here’s a link to buy it for Kindle,

http://www.amazon.com/UnStrung-ebook/dp/B008CF3PMU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343348703&sr=8-1&keywords=unstrung ,

and a link to buy it for Nook,

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unstrung-neal-shusterman/1111637917

and for apple http://bit.ly/QhMnds .  The cost is $1.99  And if you like it, I hope you’ll let your friends know, and post a review!

CyFi Meets Reality in Joplin

March 18, 2012

Last May, the town of Joplin, Missouri,  was hit by one of the worst tornados in US history — An EF-5 that tore through the middle of town, leaving a path of destruction a mile wide, and five miles long. I mean, there was virtually nothing left standing in the tornado zone, because is moved so slowly over the town.  Entire neighborhoods were wiped out. A middle school and high school were lost.  Hundreds of residents were killed – many who were caught off guard, because there was just a little bit of warning – but even with warning, in the path of a such a destructive force of nature, there wasn’t much more anyone could do beyond getting into their basements and cellars, and praying.

I have an odd connection to Joplin. It’s the town in Unwind that the character CyFi is trying to get to. Joplin is home for the unwound kid in his head. The town becomes the focal point for one of the most pivotal scenes for the book. I had never been there, and the reason I chose it was, like the tornado itself, pretty random.  I needed a town in that general area, so I settled on Joplin, and did as much research as I could on the town, including familiarizing myself with the high school mascot, and which sports teams were the most successful.  I had a fictional connection to Joplin, but fiction often feels very real.

When I heard about the disaster my heart went out to the people of Joplin. Usually I wait for invitations for author visits, but this time, just as school started in August, I sent out e-mails to all the school librarians in Joplin, asking if they would like an author visit, free of charge.  Within hours I had responses from several of them saying they would love me to come, so we worked it out, and I spent a day in Joplin a few weeks ago.

I was met at the airport by Cari Rerat, the public library’s teen librarian. Cari’s home had been right in the tornado’s path.

“We heard the sirens, and went down into our basement.  When we came out, our entire neighborhood was gone,” she told me.  “What was left of the neighbor’s house had been dropped on top of my car, in a very Oz-like way, and our house didn’t have a single external wall left.”

I could only stare dumbfounded, unable to imagine how it must feel to have your world literally torn away around you.

Cari, and school librarian Debbie Heim spent the following day shuttling me to four schools and the public library, for a total of six presentations.  I have to tell you, I have never been so well received, and have never felt so rewarded as I did speaking to the kids of Joplin.

The high school population was divided, and relocated to an empty mall department store, and an older vacant school building downtown.  The lost middle school was relocated to another temporary location, but otherwise it was business as usual.  Life and learning goes on.

Debbie drove me through the tornado zone. Even though much of the rubble had been removed, the sheer scope of this swath of devastation is impossible to convey. She took me past the ruins of the high school – which was still being demolished.  It was hard not to get emotional.  Out front, the broken school sign had several iron letters missing from it.  It said.  “__OP__ HIGH SCHOOL.”  Some one had painted in an H, and an E, so it read “HOPE HIGH SCHOOL.”  I still get choked up thinking about it.


I heard many stories of tragedy and survival – but there was one thread that ran through all of it – Selflessness.  The people of Joplin were not crushed by this crushing event, instead they rose up, and helped one another.  It set the entire tone of the disaster relief effort – people coming from all over the nation to do whatever they could to help. I have never seen so much courage and strength shown in the face of misfortune.

Before I left, I was given, as a souvenir, a brick from the high school.  It now occupies a place of honor on my special keepsake shelf, beside my piece of the Berlin Wall.

I found myself deeply inspired by the folks of Joplin. Visiting was an experience I will never forget.

Bedside Vigil…

November 14, 2011
       Life is constantly throwing you curve balls. Sometimes it can be serendipitous, wonderful surprises, and other times… well…
       Last Saturday I received a call as I was getting dressed to head to an awards banquet, where BRUISER was being honored. It was my father. Right away, I could hear in my father’s voice that something was wrong. I could hear the drone of an ambulance siren in the background. My mother had had a stroke. No warning. One moment she was fine, the next she was slumped, unable to speak and unable to move her left side.
       I remember pacing around my bedroom like a chicken without a head, trying to finish getting dressed, but ending up with one sock on one sock off, unable to think clearly enough to figure out what to do next. I had my daughters with me – do I take them to Las Vegas, where my parents live. Do I drive? No, it would take too long. Do I fly? How soon can I get to the airport? And how do I let them know at the Awards ceremony that I’ll be a no-show?  And how could I be worrying about such a thing when I didn’t even know if my mother was alive or dead. When you get such crushing news, it takes a while until your brain absorbs it and realizes just how crushing it is.
       Ultimately I asked my friend, Eric Elfman go to the ceremony in my place, and hopped with my son Jarrod on the next Jet Blue flight out of Long Beach to Las Vegas, and was at the hospital within a couple of hours.
       The situation was grave. The doctor’s said they were surprised she was even alive – but my mom’s a fighter. They operated to relieve the pressure in her head and to stop the internal bleeding. Then she was in a medically induced coma for three days, to let her brain start to heal. According to the doctors, the kind of stroke she had – a “wet stroke” is most dangerous during the first few hours – but if you survive the initial stroke, your prospects for recovery are much better than that for a “dry stroke” (which is the kind where the brain doesn’t bleed).
       By the fifth day she was awake and alert, but couldn’t even attempt to speak, because of the breathing tube. Each day my father and I would sit by her bedside from early morning until the evening. Each day I had come with all the writing, and rewriting I need to do, figuring I could work by her side when she was asleep, but all I could do was stare blankly at the computer, and the pages unable to do a thing. How can you focus on fiction when real life is assaulting you so brutally, just holding it together takes a massive dose of will?
       So rather than sitting here in a stupor today, I decided to write about the reality, and not the fantasy that usually gushes unchecked from my head.
       Right now I sit near the window. It’s dark. Six in the evening. The nurse enters wearing electric-blue scrubs so bright it hurts the eyes. I had a car like that once. Dodge Durango. Loved that car.

electric blue durango

electric blue scrubs

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My mom now communicates with me by gripping my hand. One grip for yes, two for no. Yesterday a doctor came in to tell us she wasn’t responsive, and her grips were random – that her mind wasn’t really working, so I said “Mom hold up two fingers.” And she did. Then I said “Mom what’s two plus two?” And she held up four fingers. I could tell she enjoyed showing the doctor he was moron. I’m actually surprised she didn’t give him one particular finger!

machine that goes "bing".

machine that goes "bing".

She plays with a cord leading to the heart monitor. The nurse says she’s just bored, and has nothing to do but play with the cord. My Mom is a busy lady, always doing something.  The boredom of lying in a bed with a tube down your throat, with nothing to do but play with a cord must be horrible.  I wish I could find a way for her to pass all this waiting time more easily.  Another nurse comes in, this one in a bright red Hawaiian shirt, and I try to figure out what’s up with the uniform code here? The new nurse is the respiratory specialist. There are more specialists here coming in and out on a regular basis than I can count. Respiratory, pulmonary, physical therapy, circulatory, neurology, lab technicians, and the guy who takes care of the machine that goes “bing.”

Looking at her in that bed, it’s hard to imagine that just a week ago she was perfectly alright, talking to me on the phone, giving me far too many details about a subject I can’t even remember. I was trying to work on the Unwind script, and I remember politely asking her to get to the point. And now we don’t even know if she’ll be able to speak after the stroke. How often do we take for granted the conversations we have with the people we love? What I would give now to hear her talk about anything for as long as she wanted to.

The care here seems to be very good, but to a layman it’s like being at the mechanic’s. “We need your consent to introduce a picc-line because the venal approaches are not as clear as the arterial blood-gas line, and she may need a new carburetor.”

Picc-line

carburator

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By now, though, my dad and I are beginning to feel like experts in, at least the specifics of treatment for stroke victims. (The medication she was on, by the way, when she was in the induced coma, was propyphol – the same stuff that killed Michael Jackson. It’s powerful and dangerous stuff if not monitored 24/7 by professionals in a structured hospital setting. Conrad Murray should rot in jail.)

I hold my Mom’s hand now. I can tell she’s glad my Dad and I are here. She’s also frustrated, as we all are, that the pulmonologist won’t take out the breathing tube yet. Today we were told she’s developed pneumonia. From the breathing tube. Yet they can’t take it out, because she has pneumonia. It’s maddening.

It’s very difficult to be patient when you can’t be sure what the next moment is going to bring. When you’re not sure if the alarm going off is just a lose connection, or cardiac arrest. When you have to unplug your hard-line phone and turn off your cell at night, because you can’t sleep due to your terror of the “middle-of-the-night call” from the hospital.

Right now every day seems to be two steps forward, one step back, but all we can do is hope and pray that those forward steps will all begin to add up to recovery – and that when Thanksgiving rolls along, we will have something to be truly thankful for.

My mom

But What About Zin the Ripper…?

October 18, 2011

I’ve had a lot of people who’ve read EVERFOUND ask me what ever happened to Zin, and why she wasn’t in the book.  The thing is, there was a problem bringing her back into the story. Now that Zin was in the living world, and had no power to see, or connect with Everlost — and with the only characters who cared about her trapped in other situations (Johnny-O on the Hindenburg, and Nick with no memory of himself), bringing Zin back would have been completely artificial, and forced.  I had Johnny-O thinking about her at one point, but made the conscious decision to delete it, because all he could do was the same thing fans were doing — wonder what happened to her, which only implied that I would bring her back — which was impossible, since the story did not bring any of our characters near Memphis, except for Jix, near the beginning, but in a city of millions of people, it would have been unrealistic for the cat that Jix was skinjacking to randomly run into her.

In a story where reality is already stretched, it is very important that the logic of the real world not be cheated.  What makes a story like the skinjacker trilogy compelling, is that you can almost believe it.  That’s because I never cheat real world logic.  The real world is still the real world, and the characters, even though they’re going through extraordinary and supernatural things, still behave, think, and feel like real people.  For all of these reasons, it was simply impossible to bring Zin back, just like it was impossible to bring Lief back after the first book.

BUT – FEAR NOT!  I can tell you exactly what happened to her… and since I’m the one who made her up, it must be right! :)

She was taken in as a foster child by the same family that had her dog.  Although she had a hard time adjusting in school, and learning to read and write, she was a wiz when it came to American History.  Every year she participates in the reenactment  of the civil war — which they actually do.  She falls in love with a boy fighting for the north, but they only get to see each other once a year during the reenactment. Finally, after ten years, of this, a truce between the north and south is declared just so they can get married.  They plan to someday buy a house that’s built right on the Mason-Dixon line.  

September 11th Tribute

September 11, 2011

I wrote this poem the week after Sept. 11th, 2001.  Everything in it is true.  My father did work in the 88th floor, but left that job a couple of years before the towers came down…

Slice of Heaven

     by Neal Shusterman

            Written after September 11, 2001

 

Always there,

Like faint gray mountains in the distance.

The only hint of skyline seen,

From the south tip of Brooklyn.

 

They grew up with me;

At ten my father took me to the Battery,

To watch them as they rose,

The marvels that defined my youth.

At 18 my father brought me again.

His office; tower two, floor 88.

Above the clouds, yet still on solid ground.

The view from his window confirmed heaven.

 

My sons had pizza on the 110th floor

When the towers had two months to live.

King Kong straddled the gap in my youth.

Spiderman caught the helicopters in theirs,

But pizza in the sky was still the same;

Greasy and overpriced

Just as I remembered.

 

On the Times Square screen,

Larger than life, but smaller than reality,

My father, now retired, saw his old office crumble,

And wondered who he knew,

But didn’t dare find out.

His old business cards are now treasures.

 

Had it been only architecture,

Had it been only office space,

The loss could be settled,

But how can you make an accounting,

When your sons still remember the face,

Of the man who served them pizza in the sky?

First Review of EVERFOUND!!!

April 4, 2011

Kirkus has given EVERFOUND  a STARRED REVIEW!  Needless to say, I’m thrilled!  Here’s the review!

 

Kirkus, 4/15/11

Shusterman ends his provocative trilogy with a rock-solid adventure that manages to examine deep questions of faith and morality.

At the end of Everwild (2009), Nick the Chocolate Ogre had dissolved into a mass of chocolate pudding, Mary Hightower was asleep in a glass coffin waiting to be reborn, Allie the Outcast was strapped to the front of a runaway train and Mikey McGill (formerly the monstrous McGill) was searching for a way to rescue her. The adventures continue, with Mexican Afterlight Jix joining the cast of characters as a furjacker, slipping into the bodies of giant cats as he spies on Mary’s army for the Mayan King. The rules of Everlost are unique, catering to the children who go there upon death and wait until they are ready to go into the light. But even those rules can be overset with the introduction of Clarence, the scar wraith, whose touch can extinguish anyone out of existence—forever. Alliances form and melt as characters decide between their own self-interest and what is right; the shifting third-person perspective gives readers glimpses into everybody’s souls.

Rich in detail, with exceptional characterization and shot through with unexpected (and very necessary) humor, this is an engrossing and thoroughly satisfying ending to a unique saga of life after death.

 

What’s new in 2011?

March 9, 2011

Okay, so I’ve been super-busy writing and speaking, so I haven’t had time to keep up my blog — but there are so many things going on that I figured I’d post a blog that gives everyone updates on everything!

EVERFOUND!

Coming out on May 2nd.  I’m going on an 11-City whirlwind booksigning tour during those first two weeks.  I’ll be in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Denver, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Houston, Austin, Miami, Orlando, and Atlanta!    I have to say, EVERFOUND is the best book of the trilogy.  I can’t wait until it comes out!

UNWIND MOVIE!

I’m writing the script right now.  Chances are looking pretty good that we’re going to be able to get it made as a movie… But it’s all going to depend on the economy, and my script.

If you’d like to keep up with what’s going on with the Unwind movie, go to the movie website at: www.unwindmovie.com


EVERLOST MOVIE!

Due to the economy, and Universal’s new mandate when it comes to the kinds of films they’re willing to make, they’ve decided NOT to make Everlost.  That doesn’t mean it won’t be made though.  It’s still a favorite project of GARY ROSS’s company, LARGER  THAN LIFE.  (Gary Ross is directing “The Hunger Games.”)  They’re working to set the movie up at another studio.  Stay tuned…

GAMES

After a long break, DECIPHER, Inc will soon be going online with an amazing new website, and all of their HOW TO HOST games will be available for download.  I just met with them in Norfolk, Virginia last week, and I’ll be creating a new HOW TO HOST A TEEN MYSTERY game for them.  More on that soon!

ANTSY FLOATS

The third ANTSY book is with the publisher, and I’m waiting on their notes for a revision.  I love this book!  Antsy’s cruise has been amazingly fun to write about!

UNWHOLLY

I’ll be getting to work on the sequel to Unwind as soon as I’m done with the script, and will be delivering the final manuscript in October.  It will be published in the Fall of 2012.

NEW PROJECTS

Currently, I have eight other books under contract, including a trilogy I’m co-writing with my friend ERIC ELFMAN, and an amazing GRAPHIC NOVEL project for Scholastic.

SHUSTERMANIA NEWSLETTER

I’m about to start a FAN NEWSLETTER, that will have material that’s not available anywhere else — including a serialized story, and contests only open to fans who sign up for the newsletter.  If you’re interested signing up for the newsletter, e-mail the newsletter staff at shustermania@gmail.com

MY DINNER WITH ANTSY

September 17, 2010

A few weeks ago, I was really, really stuck while writing ANTSY FLOATS, and I couldn’t figure out why.  I tried all my usual tricks to get past “writer’s cliff” and nothing was working, so I decided to do something different.  I decided to have a conversation with my main character.  Seriously.  I sat down and began to write to Antsy, and then switched roles, and let Antsy respond.  It was amazing!  I figured out the problem, and Antsy helped me come up with the solution.   I thought you all might like to have a glimpse into the creative process, so here it is – My entire “conversation” with Antsy!


ME: “Antsy, talk to me. I’m dyin’ here. I got no clue what to write. Usually, you’re right there talking in my ear, telling me your story. But lately, It’s been like pulling teeth getting you to talk. What gives?”

ANTSY: “What do you want from me? You put me on this crazy nutso cruise ship. Yeah, it’s cool, but I’m out of my normal element. I’m too dazzled by the thing to do anything but be distracted. It’s fun for me, but not for anyone reading.”

ME: “So the problem is that there is no problem. There’s too much vacation going on, not enough story, not enough character.”

ANTSY: “Yeah. Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go lie out in the sun.”

ME: “That’s boring. I can’t let you do that.”

ANTSY: “Try and stop me.”

ME: “Ok, so I gotta throw a whole lot of random stuff at you to keep your vacation from being a vacation.”

ANTSY: “Nope. That’ll make it episodic.”

ME: “Ok. Maybe one major thing. But I already have one major thing coming your way. Maybe I need to introduce it sooner.”

ANTSY: “Yeah, I know… but it’s not major enough to keep me from hanging at the pool– because really, a stowaway? Why would I even care?  Not my problem.”

ME: “Ok. So I’ll make it your problem, and make it your problem fast.

ANTSY:  How?

ME: “Mmm…Maybe she has something on you? You two are bound from the beginning by something, maybe something wrong that you did that can get you into trouble. Like….  I’ve got it!  You forged Howie’s passport to get him on the ship! That ties right into the theme of the story.

ANTSY: “Great.  Thanks for ruining my vacation. I hope you’re happy.”

ME: “I’m not ruining it. I’m turning into a valuable learning experience.”

ANTSY: “Yeah.  Which I need like a hole in the head.”

ME: “You do, because you need these life lessons.  I fully expect you to be mayor of New York someday, Antsy.”

ANTSY: “Why would I want so much grief?”

ME: “Ok. So part of the problem is solved. I still have to figure out how to move the story along. Right now, you’re about to board the boat. You saw, or at least you thought you saw, some guy fall from a balcony. But for some reason, the story just dies the second I get you on the ship.”

ANTSY: “Yeah, like I told you, I’m too dazzled by the experience to do anything useful. All I do is explore.”

ME: “Exploring a giant cruise ship is fun, right?”

ANTSY: “Yeah, but it doesn’t move the story forward or develop character. It becomes like that porch light brainless bugs fly around. A distraction. What you gotta do is make the porch light important, like maybe somehow you gotta turn the light off ‘cause it’s gonna set fire to the house.”

ME: “Wait a second. Distraction. The idea of distraction. Trappings — traps we fall into as human beings. We’re so dazzled by the glitter of our lives that we ignore the unpleasant things: poverty, sickness. All the things in the world we find so easy to ignore because of the porch light.”

ANTSY: “You lost me.”

ME: “Of course I did. That’s because you still need to learn the lesson. And you will by the end of the book.  Can I use the whole porch light metaphor?  I like it.

ANTSY: “Be my guest.”

ME “Ok, so the focus of exploring the ship isn’t to just describe it, it’s the point out the concept of distractions.  So what do you find? What happens during this search that makes it poignant? Ah! The answer’s right there. You’re on a search. Not just an exploration, but what are you searching for?”

ANTSY: “How should I know? The purser’s desk? The skating rink?”

ME: “No, no, no. It’s gotta be something almost legendary. Or maybe something that may not be on the ship but you want to find it, and you will find it when it climaxes, when you’re not even looking for it anymore. Think — what would be worth the effort?”

ANTSY: “The nuclear core?”

ME: “Naah, too sci-fi.”

ANTSY: “The movie theater? The bowling alley? The indoor pool, central park a pumpkin patch?”

ME: “Pumpkin patch?”

ANTSY: “I’m brainstorming here. Good ideas won’t come if you don’t let the bad ones come first.”

ME: “Why don’t we ask Howie.”

ANTSY: “Howie? What does he know?”

ME: “He’s generally absurd. I think he could come up with a perfect absurd thing to look for.”

ANTSY: “Fine. I’ll ask him… (long pause)… Howie says we should look for the laser cannons they built in to ward off modern day pirates.”

ME: “Really? I didn’t think Howie had an imagination.”

ANTSY: “Well, he doesn’t. He read it somewhere. He also says it may have to do with food or gold, he’s not sure yet. Or maybe it’s sports related. Hey, what if there’s a basketball court?”

ME: “Naah. Ships already have basketball courts. Something bigger?”

ANTSY: “Football field?”

ME: “Nah. Too hard to believe. It’s got to be borderline believable and really cool. I’d say wave pool, but the real ships already have those. So what doesn’t a ship already have  that would be hard to believe but believable enough to tweak the imagination?”

ANTSY: “Howie also says there’s a morgue where they keep all the people who croak in the previous cruise. Maybe I want to go there to see if the guy who fell off the balcony is there.”

ME: “Maybe it should tie into the themes of the story: poverty verses wealth, ignorance verses worldliness, is dishonesty and breaking the law ever justified?”

ANTSY: “Wait a second. Howie just told me something. It’s just a rumor. I don’t know if I believe it. Lemme whisper it to you.”

ME: “I’m listening…. (whisper whisper)… Yeah. Oh, that’s good!  Do you  think it’s true?”

ANTSY: “I don’t know, but I’d like to find out.  Of course it won’t be easy to find, but I’m going to go searching for it.”

ME: “Go for it!”   :)

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

July 21, 2010

The Grier School

Recently took a kinda-sorta journey into the past.   I was invited to spend a couple of weeks at a summer camp  “Grier Summer,” at The Grier School – a girl’s boarding school in Western Pennsylvania.

Before the days I was published, between the ages of 17-22, I spent my summers as a counselor at an 8-week summer camp.  A very East-coast thing to do – send your kids away all summer.  The camp was up in the Catskill Mountains, Kutsher’s Camp Anawana, on beautiful Lake Anawana  (Yes, it’s a real place).

Kutsher's Camp Anawana

I went there for five years as a camper.  I was not a very good camper.  It was a sports camp, and my coordination came late.  Doing a decent layup on the basketball court might as well have been rocket science, and so I constantly felt at the bottom of the pecking order.  I wasn’t exactly the last kid chosen for teams, but I would say I was in the bottom third.   The camp plays, and swimming was where I really made my mark.

But I digress.  As a camper the experience wasn’t stellar, but I discovered quickly that I was a great counselor.  I quickly established myself as the camp story-teller, and could command absolute silence just by my presence in a cabin.  I made up camp songs that kids actually sang.  It was really that storytelling experience that got me writing books for teens.

So this summer, after years away from it, I took the invitation, and my daughters, my girlfriend, and I made our way to thebeautiful hills of Birmingham, PA.  I did ten days of writing workshops, as well as story-telling at night.  I even hosted a few of the “How to Host a Mystery” games that I had written.    My daughters got to attend the camp, and had riding lessons every day.  I even created a treasure hunt for the whole camp.   It really connected me with my youth, and reminded me why I got started writing.  I already miss it, and look forward to next year.

The thing is – just yesterday I did a full-on no-holds-barred pitch of UNWIND to Universal, for consideration as a film.   For once, I decided not to do the pitch sitting in a chair.  I told the exec, that I was breaking from convention, and I was standing.  Once I started, I got totally into it, just like I do when I’m story-telling, and I have to say it may have been the best pitch of my career.

Sometimes we all have to connect to a place in ourselves that we may have forgotten.  You can bet I’ll be doing a whole lot more storytelling.   And now I have a brand new pitch style for the studios.

The Full Body Pitch!

Everfound Teasers…

May 27, 2010

So everyone wants to know what to expect in Everfound. Well, I only just finished the first draft so there will still be changes from my editor but I’m hoping those changes will be finessing what’s there, and not reinventing it. I hope that the story is mostly in place. I can’t tell you too much without giving you too many spoilers, so I’ll tell you a few important things.

The largest Everlost city has yet to be discovered. It will be discovered in EVERFOUND.

Mary Hightower, already a danger, becomes even more so in this concluding book.

There’s a new character who has the power to “extinguish” afterlights. That is basically worse than killing someone, because if you’re extinguished, you cease to exist entirely. At least one major character will be extinguished in Everfound.

The Hindenburg will not stay adrift forever.

There will be some interesting and unexpected relationships between characters, both new and existing.
And some characters who you really don’t like, you’re going to change your mind about… And some character’s who you hate, you’re going to hate even more.

Skinjackers do some pretty cool, and pretty scary things with their powers –including being able to skinjack more than one person at a time…

And you’re going to love how it all ends….

Look for Everfound in June 2011…


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