Monday, December 24, 2007

End Times Or, If You Prefer, Christmas Eve

This is it folks, your last day to enter to win a copy of My Life Among the Aliens. Get your entry in and then go cook and wrap furiously.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

All Kinds Of Contests

First, and most importantly, of course, you have less than a week to enter to win a copy of My Life Among the Aliens. Stop putting it off. You're making me crazy.

Next, Chronicle Books is running two contests:

The Taro Gomi Squiggles & Doodles Creativity Contest. The deadline is May 15, 2008. Remember Squiggles?

The Ivy + Bean Friendship Contest. This one's for elementary school teachers to enter to win a school visit with Ivy + Bean author Annie Barrows. The deadline is February 15, 2008. I love Ivy + Bean.

Remember, the deadline for my contest is next Monday night. Christmas Eve. You've got plenty of time for those other two contests, but for mine you've got to get moving.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Book Giveaway Reminder

You can still sign up to win a copy of My Life Among the Aliens. Remember, it has a Christmas chapter. Nothing says Christmas like aliens.

Sam Riddleburger was surprised to learn that my first book was based on my experiences as a suburban mom. So were my second and third books. Also my sixth book. To a much lesser extent my fifth book dealt with suburban mom Gail, though college Gail plays a big part in it, too. Only The Hero of Ticonderoga can be said to draw upon what my kids would describe as my very lame childhood.

I began working on My Life Among the Aliens after an editor showed some interest in what I thought was a picture book manuscript that I had sent her. She felt the humor was better suited to the middle grades and said that if I would revise the book for that age group, she would look at it again. The book went back and forth between us for a year before I received a contract for it.

As I mentioned earlier, My Life Among the Aliens was my first book. Even though I was quite ignorant of the publishing world while I was working on it, I knew enough to know that even if that book was published, that could be it for me. All the years I'd been writing, all the effort I'd made, could end with that one book. Those are the breaks. Some writers never get any further than that "first book."

During that year while I was working on My Life Among the Aliens, I decided to make it a gift to my children. It would be an ode to them. If I never got another book published, I would, at least, have done that for them. We would have something very few families have.

You can learn a great deal about my children's lives from reading My Life Among the Aliens. The food, the friends, the games, the birthday party, the neighbor's dog--it's all real. There really was a No Mom's Land between our house and the O.'s. There really was an O. family.

Okay, the Christmas chapter never happened. And no one crashed the birthday party. And the neighbor's dog never talked.

But except for that, it could be some kind of suburban memoir! Really!


Thursday, December 06, 2007

This Could Have Been You

Ah, people, any one of you could have been the reader enjoying Club Earth, but you didn't enter the drawing, did you? No, Sam Riddleburger took his shot at winning a book and now he's the one "overcome with emotion" (his words, not mine) while reading it.

You still have a chance at a copy of My Life Among the Aliens, though. The drawing isn't until Christmas Eve. We haven't had that many entries, yet, so don't hold back believing the odds are against you. We're not exactly talking about a one in a million chance here.

And, remember, somebody's got to win. Why not you?

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Let's Talk About Santa!

Well, the Club Earth Thanksgiving Giveaway is over and done with, and the winner should be receiving his book sometime next week. Now it's time to turn our attention to a book for Christmas.

My very first book, My Life Among the Aliens, includes a moving Christmas story in which Santa's sleigh is clipped by an alien spaceship on Christmas Eve. It has a mom who is ready to meltdown by the time the big day arrives and sweet young children waiting for someone--or something--to come down the chimney.

While I was working on this book, my editor was quite enthusiastic about the Christmas chapter. "Maybe the aliens could tell Will and Rob the truth about Santa! That would be funny!"

Fortunately, I was older and wiser than Kathy. I had experience dealing with the parents of young children. Parents of preschoolers, say. Parents of elementary school children, for that matter. I knew what Santa Supporting parents would do to anyone who blew the whistle on them.

Maybe the aliens could tell Will and Rob the truth about Santa? I didn't think so. I'd be hunted down like a dog. Dragged through the streets. No life insurance provider would cover me.

So you can enter to win My Life Among the Aliens feeling confident that the Christmas chapter doesn't include any harsh truths. Send me an e-mail at any time between now and the end of December 24th with the words "Christmas Book" in the subject line, and you'll have a shot at reading the book that got my so-called career off the ground.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Only One More Day

You have only one more day to try to to win a copy of Club Earth.

Both Club Earth and the earlier My Life Among the Aliens are among my suburban books, as I might have said here earlier. (You can't possibly expect me to remember everything I've said here. We're talking over 1,300 posts.) All my work draws heavily on who I am, and these books draw on Gail the suburban mother.

Thus in Club Earth you'll find a chapter about an alien arriving on earth thinking he's going to summer camp, because my kids did summer camp. An alien gets hauled along to a father/child campout that is modeled on Indian Guides, as it was called when my family took part for around six years. (The pig roast in that chapter is pretty much what I was told happened.) There's a chapter on alien traveling salespeople helping kids out with school fundraisers because my kids once took part in five fundraisers in a two-month period. The kids in Club Earth have hamsters because the Gauthier boys, being allergic to cats and dogs, had a hamster and an Egyptian spiny mouse. In fact, most of this book was written on a computer set up next to their cages.

So, one more day, folks, to have a chance at winning stories of all that domestic bliss.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Why Not A Little Healthy Competition?

You've got less than a week to enter the Club Earth Thanksgiving Giveaway but more than a month to take your shot at winning a copy of My Life Among the Aliens for Christmas.

Anyone can enter, of course, but if you teachers and librarians want to have some fun, you can encourage your students to enter to win the book for your library or classroom collections. The more kids who enter on your behalf, the better your chances of winning. Why not start a little competition with that third grade teacher down the hall who you've never really cared for?

Today I heard from an education major looking to start her personal classroom library.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Books For The Holidays

We're doing a couple more book giveaways here, this time in honor of the upcoming holidays. You can take a chance at winning my first book My Life Among the Aliens, which includes a Christmas chapter, and its sequel, Club Earth, which includes a Thanksgiving chapter. You can enter any time between now and the night before Thanksgiving for Club Earth and any time between now and Christmas Eve for My Life Among the Aliens.

These are what I call the "Will and Robby books." They're collections of short stories about two brothers whose home is visited regularly by aliens. They are two of my suburban books, set in a nameless suburban world and drawing upon my adult life as a suburban mother. (I also have Vermont books set in a named, fictional town in Vermont and drawing upon my life growing up in that state.)

The cover art, as well as the small drawings at the beginning of each of the chapters, were done by Santiago Cohen. If you watch Comedy Central, you're familiar with his work because he designed its logo. His interior artwork didn't appear in the paperback versions of my books (I don't recall what that was about), so if you have those, this giveaway could be your chance to get a "complete" edition.

These books are no longer in print, though there has been talk of rereleasing My Life Among the Aliens in paperback. In addition to its hardcover G.P. Putnam edition, it was released in paper by both PaperStar and Scholastic.

Check out the details for entering again.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bless The Italians

I received a royalty check today. Though My Life Among the Aliens has been out-of-print for a couple of years now, I received some royalties on it this quarter because of the Italian edition.

Ah, Italy. The people there have good taste in food and literature.