Saturday, March 08, 2008

An Anniversary Gift

I wasn't expecting any gifts for Original Content's anniversary because a blog anniversary isn't a big deal like International Women's Day. (I just heard last night about a guy from a former Soviet bloc country who buys his wife a gift each year for International Women's Day, which just happens to be today in case anyone in our capitalist stronghold would like to start observing the event.) However, I received an e-mail Thursday afternoon from the home office informing me that Happy Kid! has been nominated for the Georgia Children's Book Award.

I like the folks in Georgia. They nominated Butch and Spike for the same award a few years back.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Halloween Story

The Butch and Spike Halloween giveaway is history. Now it is time, girls and boys, to draw around and hear the story of how real life became part of the Halloween chapter in said book.

Okay, in the Halloween chapter, Butch and Spike, who are pretty much what you'd expect from a couple of guys with names like Butch and Spike, take over straight arrow Jasper's front yard on Halloween. They are not exactly Martha Stewart when it comes to Halloween decor, anyway, but in addition, they've been running roughshod over Jasper since the first day of school. He's had enough, and he manages to pull one over on the Cootch cousins.

Where did this idea come from? Why, real life, of course. You're working too hard if you have to make things up.

What happened was, one year one of the Gauthier boys gave up trick or treating in order to...uh...provide some holiday-themed entertainment in the front yard. (We are Cootches through my grandmother Gauthier, as I may have mentioned before.) In addition to whatever else he did, he positioned himself as some kind of zombie lumberjack or chainsaw killer in a chair right next to the front door. (That's his old toy chainsaw he's holding in the picture. Isn't he adorable?) The plan was that he would sit perfectly still, pretending to be a dummy, and then while the kiddies were receiving their treats, he would suddenly move. He envisioned people screaming, running through the night, and a good time being had by all.

I missed out on most of the fun because I was out in the street trick-or-treating with another child done up as a Star Fleet officer. However, I was told that while only one trick-or-treater became upset, her mother got quite snippy about it. That was enough to satisfy the zombie lumberjack. He was pleased with his evening's work.

And his mom got an entire chapter for her second book. She was rather pleased, too.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Butch and Spike Reminder

Just a reminder that you're halfway through the period in which you can take a shot at winning a copy of A Year with Butch and Spike. Hurry. Halloween is almost here.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Halloween Giveaway

Halloween is a week from today, folks. As I announced earlier, I'll be giving away another copy of A Year with Butch and Spike in honor of the holiday because the book includes a Halloween chapter.

Send an e-mail to me ( any time between now and Wednesday, October 31 (Halloween) with the word "Halloween" in the subject line. We'll do the drawing that day.

On the 31st I'll also tell you all the story of the true life experience that ended up in Butch and Spike's Halloween chapter.


Monday, September 03, 2007

What Happened With Butch And Spike?

Remember last week's drawing for A Year With Butch And Spike? A copy has been inscribed for three brothers from Indiana and is going into the mail tomorrow.

If I don't forget, I'll do another giveaway at Halloween because Butch and Spike has a Halloween chapter. Club Earth has a Thanksgiving chapter, so I'll give away copy of that at the end of November. Then in December I'll be giving away a copy of My Life Among the Aliens because--you guessed it--that has a Christmas chapter.

So you can get freebies here for the next quarter year.

Tomorrow I'm also going to be sending out an arc for A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat. I have two more left. Contact me through my web page if you'd like one.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

You Still Have Time

School doesn't start here until tomorrow, so you have until the end of Wednesday (midnight wherever you are) to enter the Butch and Spike giveaway.

Hey, I had a book go out of print this summer, my webstats are down (Is the entire Internet located in France and thus taking the month of August off?), and that new manuscript I'm working on refuses to write itself. But the response to the Butch and Spike giveaway has been very gratifying. We won't be doing the drawing until Thursday, so you still have time to enter for a chance to win a copy of the book that made the reading lists for four state readers' choice awards.

And, remember, there's a skinnying scene.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Gift To Mark The Start Of Another School Year

In my town, school will be starting a week from today. To mark this exciting event, I will be giving away a copy of A Year With Butch And Spike because the year in the title refers to a school year.

Jasper Gordon is the perfect child and the perfect student. His reward? To spend sixth grade sitting between those delightful cousins, Butch and Spike Couture. No one ever described the Cootches as perfect.

My Grandmother Gauthier was a Couture. That makes me a Cootch.

A Year With Butch And Spike is out of print now, so you won't find it just anywhere. And I'm talking about a new, autographed copy, which are even harder to find.

Send me an e-mail any time before the end of Wednesday, August 29th with "Butch and Spike" in the subject line. We'll do a drawing on Thursday, August 30th, and the winner will receive a brand, spanking new copy of the book.

By the way, a paperback book club had an option to buy the club rights for this book and ended up passing on it because of nudity.

Admit it, you all want this book now.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Yes, Patty May Have Gone Out In A Blaze Of Glory

In Patty Campbell's last Horn Book column, The Pottymouth Paradox, she coined two new phrases that may become part of publishing lingo. I don't have the guts to repeat them here because this blog is connected to my website, and I do encourage children to come to said site so there's always the incredibly remote possibility that some ten-year-old will stumble upon this post. But those new terms really are good. And what makes them good is not that they include the f-word (Oops! Sorry kids!) but that they accurately describe what Campbell's describing.

The other interesting thing about this article is that Campbell says that school buyers are more conservative than public library buyers (and the general public in...general..) and that some publishers are trying to tone down language in order to attract those library sales. Or some books will include the language in a trade edition while cleaning up a library edition.

Though I'd heard stories in the past about one particular publisher doing that sort of thing, I wasn't aware that it was happening all that frequently with others.

But enough about that Horn Book article. How can I turn this post around and make it all about me? Let's see...I know! I can tell you my nudie story.

A publishing company that will remain nameless because I'm not stupid and I'm not going to bite the hand that may one day write me another check bought the paperback book club rights to my first book, My Life Among the Aliens. The deal included an option on my next book for Putnam, which ended up being A Year with Butch and Spike. Said company eventually decided not to exercise its option on that book because, as my editor put it, "the full-frontal nudity" in Chapter Three.

No one suggested we make any changes.

We did make changes in Butch and Spike, though, for the German edition. These changes had nothing to do with nudity or language but with cultural differences. There were portions of the book that German readers just wouldn't get. I can't remember what they were now, and I'm too lazy to go hunting through correspondence from years back, but I think we might have dropped a chapter related to Halloween.

Anyway, making changes for that reason didn't seem wrong to me. We weren't talking about people not approving but people not understanding. And, once again, to me writing is all about communication so it made sense to do it.

Intrigued about the frontal nudity in Butch and Spike? Try to find a copy of the book or be sure to enter when I run a contest for a copy of the book sometime this fall.