THE BLog

river’s end bookstore

The day after the Teen Book Festival, I hopped in the car and drove an hour and half (ish) to Oswego, NY. (I got a tiny bit lost along the way, but no harm, no foul. Turns out my AAA directions were…lacking.)

The story of how I ended up in Oswego is sort of atypical. See, Banna Rubinow at the river’s end bookstore had read an advance copy of the novel. She liked it a lot and said so on the store’s web site. I saw the mention and asked if I could quote her on the Fanboy site. From there, we started corresponding semi-regularly. When Banna found out I was going to be in Fairport for the book festival, she asked (I was going to say “demanded,” but she was very polite!) if I could find time to come to Oswego, too.

Let me think about this… I’m in the area anyway… Do I have time to go to a store that is enthusiastic about my work? I gave the matter all five seconds it needed, then said yes!

In advance of the trip, some of the local and regional papers covered my event, which was very cool! (Authors: If the river’s end invites you to attend, go! They get advance publicity for you like you wouldn’t believe!) The Syracuse Post-Standard interviewed me and then posted the stuff that wouldn’t fit in print online. Beyond cool!

Fitting for April Fools’ Day, the gods decided to prank me — not only did I get lost, but it also rained all day. The good guys still won, though — the store had a nice crowd gathered to hear me speak. I did my “stump presentation” on the history and importance of geeks, then read a little bit from Fanboy before taking questions and signing books.

I have to say — the coolest thing about events like this is the chance to meet great people. The gang at the river’s end was just terrific. I felt like I’d walked into a five-star hotel, not a bookstore! I had a cup of hot tea in my hands almost before I finished saying hello, just the trick on a cold and rainy day.

If you’re ever in Oswego or nearby, check out this store! It’s an absolutely beautiful shop and its location is unbeatable — right on the corner of a busy intersection in downtown Oswego. Owners Bill and Mindy Reilly and their staff do a terrific job making visitors feel at home.

The staff weren’t the only cool people in attendance, though! The audience had some great questions and seemed to enjoy the talk and the reading. If my signing hand is any indication, they stuck around to buy copies of the book, too, so I hope they all enjoyed it!

If you guys in Oswego are reading this… Thanks for such a great time! I really thought that after the book festival I would be too tired to have fun in Oswego, but as soon as I walked into the store, I felt this amazing burst of energy and it was like I’d just come back from a relaxing vacation!

Pictures from the event in Oswego are in the Gallery on the Fanboy site. Click on the shot of the ladies of the river’s enddecked out in Goth regalia to get there!

 

Barry with the Goth Girls of the river's end

Teen Book Festival 2007 – Updated!

I attended the Teen Book Festival in Fairport, NY this past weekend (Saturday, March 31, to be specific).

I don’t think I can adequately explain how damn much fun I had! Really. I mean, I’ve been to events before where I felt like a rock star, but this was the first time I felt like a god! (OK, maybe a demi-god.)

Festival Goddess Stephanie Squicciarini deserves an award, a plaque, a week at a spa, and a handsome cabana boy named Paolo by her side 24/7 in honor of her heroic efforts. Her crack squad of volunteers deserves the same. (OK, they might have to share Paolo, but that’s OK.)

It was great to see ten other YA authors, so many of whom I’ve admired for a while now. I knew David Levithan and Lauren Myracle from last year’s Texas Book Festival and it was great to catch up with them. And I was so happy to meet other cool folks like Nancy Werlin and Terry Trueman! Newbery winner Linda Sue Park even stopped by Saturday night to chat with us…and to cause a near-heart attack in yours truly when she  said she’d actually READ MY BOOK! Whoa!

Cecil has pictures, including the infamous “author flower.”

My pics are on the Fanboy site — you can see ’em in the Gallery.

Too many good times to recap them all. It was great to meet Terry, who’s buds with MY bud Terry Davis. It was great to talk business and art and that strange place where the two intersect with people who have been at this longer than I have. It was even great to bore poor David to tears by talking comics ALL NIGHT LONG with Cecil.

UPDATE: The folks at the TBF have posted pictures from the event in a flickr account . Check ’em out — more will probably be added later as other attendees add their pics.

Syracuse Post-Standard Interview Pt. II

Wow! I talk a lot.

The Syracuse Post-Standard’s web site has posted even more of the interview Laura Ryan conducted with me in advance of my trip to Oswego (tomorrow!). I really didn’t realize I blathered on so much!

You can find the original interview as it appeared in print here.

The additional supplemental material lives here.

Thanks to Laura for a fun interview!

Syracuse Post-Standard Interview

In advance of my trip to upstate New York, reporter Laura Ryan interviewed me about the book and writing in general.

It was interesting to see her describe me just before the interview because I’ve always sort of wondered what the person on the other end of the interview is thinking. She says I’m “clearly tickled – and maybe even a little disarmed – by his book’s warm reception.” And she noticed that “Lyga peppers his sentences with words like “cool” and “neat” to describe his life since “Fanboy” debuted last fall. And he laughs a lot.”

I’m always nervous during interviews, but I guess I come across all right. I do tend to say “cool” and “neat” a lot, I’ve noticed, which is sort of pathetic for a writer, but sometimes those two words are the only ones to describe it. They have a certain young innocence about them, and sometimes, when I think about all that’s happened since the book came out, I feel like a kid.

You can find the interview here .

Lost: Jungle Gump

OK, unlike Robin, I didn’t think last night’s Lost sucked entirely. It was — in my opinion — somewhat entertaining to see Nikki and Paolo as the Forrest Gump(s) of the island, interacting with the cast throughout the various Season 1 and 2 dramas. Unfortunately for the producers, those flashbacks also served to remind me just how ungodly good this show was when it first came on the air. Don’t get me wrong — in the past few weeks, we’ve turned something of a corner (I hope), but still… Season 1 was magic, people. And last night drove that home. (God, remember when the castaways seemed terrified at every moment? Remember when survival was paramount?)

In all, the episode was a well-structured little character mystery, though I do wonder why a TV producer would have eight million bucks in diamonds lying around his house. Couldn’t the producers have had something else as the MacGuffin? Maybe blackmail-worthy photos of a celebrity or something? That would be more realistic, I think.

Good:

  • the explanation for Paolo’s trip to the Pearl’s lavatory (I hearby revoke my previous nickname for him: Sir Shits-A-Lot)
  • the final, chilling shovel of dirt tossed on Nikki’s eyes just as she opened them.. (brrr)
  • Sawyer reverting to type (sneaking away for the diamonds, natch)
  • Sun decking Sawyer
  • Hurley dissing Desmond’s super-power
  • Hurley describing Exposé as “like Baywatch, only better”
  • seeing old friends like Arzt, Boone, and Shannon again

Bad:

  • the writers having enough contempt for the intelligence of the audience that they felt it necessary to have Nikki explain what “Medusa” means
  • Nikki suddenly hearing the approach of the male medusa spiders and looking around — um, what?
  • those spiders showing up way too fast
  • Arzt totally telegraphing the whole spider thing in the first place — clumsy

Now, the very best part of the episode was the twist that the poison only paralyzes, doesn’t kill. And, of course, the mounting horror of being buried alive. I admit I’m conflicted on this point: Are Nikki and Paolo really dead? At first I thought they would just rise up out of the sand, but then I saw that freakin’ huge mound of sand Sawyer et al piled on top of them. I don’t know — I think it would be tough to come up from that!

But then again, let’s not forget what Locke told Paolo earlier: Things don’t stay buried on this island. The tide’s coming in. If Nikki and Paolo can stay alive until high tide, they might just be rescued by Nature itself.

Is it evil of me that I don’t really want them to be?