Byron Ely Scaletta (my son and first child) was born today at 7:58 PM. He’s already a hero to me… initially he had trouble breathing, and I was told he’d spend a day or two in special care. Within an hour the prognosis was that he could leave special care and visit his mom in an hour or two. He’s already fighting, beating the odds and surpassing expectations. Check out the “raging bull” pose in picture 1! But picture 2 shows that he’s also a dreamer, and I’ll bet his dreams will change the world.
I’ve never felt more like jumping up and down for joy and bursting into tears at the same time.
See Large-Hearted Boy’s music blog for my “book notes” on Mamba Point. The series has authors talking about music in their books. Music is a big part of Mamba Point, especially the reggae that Linus hears as he trucks around Monrovia. Thanks to Dave for the invitation to talk about it.
The final title for my third novel is: The Tanglewood Terror.
It originally had a different title, but I like the new one much better. First of all, I love Nathaniel Hawthorne—his Tanglewood is completely different from mine, but the name resonates for me. (For those familiar with the musical venue, they also got the name from Hawthorne.) Second of all, this keeps with my habit of naming books after places. Third of all, the full title sounds like a pulp-era horror story, which is a current that runs through the story. Did I say current? And did I mention that the hero of Hawthorne’s Tanglewood Tales (and his Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys, which came first) is Eustace Bright?
Well, here’s what The Tanglewood Terror is about (this is not the official jacket copy, it’s my own working description):
When the little town of Tanglewood, Maine, is beset by a giant glowing fungus, thirteen-year-old Eric Parrish figures it’s just one more thing going wrong in his life — like his parents splitting up, or having a falling-out with his football team over a pig, or his little brother being a little pill. A teen runaway named Mandy tells him the fungus could portend the town’s doom and leave it in rubble, just like a colonial village that was mysteriously destroyed over two hundred years ago. With Eric’s little brother tagging along, they set out to solve a very old puzzle and save the town.
Be prepared to be terrified (and entertained) by Tanglewood Terror in the fall of 2011.
Mamba Point is featured along with a handful of other middle-grade books by Minnesota authors in the weekend edition of The Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Linus, who narrates the book, is utterly believable, innocent and worried and easily distracted, like any 12-year-old. “It was a big deal to have a servant. … If I wanted a bologna sandwich, would I just ask the servant guy to make me one? If I did, would he know how to do it, with a little mustard between two slices of bologna and mayonnaise but not mustard on the bread and one leaf of lettuce and a slice of tomato but never the end of the tomato? Would he take the red ribbon off the edges of the bologna? Did they even have bologna in Liberia? There was a lot to think about.” There sure was. Where were we again? Oh, yeah. “Mamba Point.” Fun book.
Bonus points to Laurie Hertzel for the print edition, which has a graphic explaining what middle-grade fiction is (that vast literary canyon between chapter books and young adult.) She also features Jacqueline West’s The Shadows (which I hear is awesome), Christopher Lincoln’s Billy Bones, Stephanie Watson’s Elvis and Olive, Caroline Stevermer’s Magic Below Stairs, and my niece’s favorite writer, Lynne Jonnel. There’s a lot of talent in Minnesota’s kid lit circuit!
Believe it or not I’ll be a dad in two weeks, give or take a few days. I won’t be posting a lot in those first 19-20 years of fatherhood, but will poke my head up here and there on this here Interweb. Here are a few places I’ve showed up lately and one where I haven’t been.
- Here I am talking to fellow 2009 debut author C. Lee McKenzie on her blog, The Write Game.
- Jennifer Clark Estes reviews Mamba Point on One Mom’s World.
- Teaser! Watch my team middle-grade blog From the Mixed Up Files for a new post from me on Monday, writing about books I plan to share with my son when he’s old enough. Follow this blog if you haven’t been; there’s great posts by a variety of authors several times a week and lots of giveaways and good discussion.
- MudMambas, my off-topic blog, is temporarily on hiatus, but I’ll be posting book-related updates here and, more importantly, I’ll post baby-related updates and photos after the big event!