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Harbinger Jones Hits the Stage?

Nearly two and a half years ago my agent told me that Egmont USA, a small kids book publisher based in New York City, had acquired the rights to The Scar Boys. Since that moment, one cool thing after another has happened to me:

Teen Advisory Board, Hicklebee's

First and foremost, I’ve met an incredible array of readers. From the Teen Advisory Board at Hicklebee’s in San Jose (pictured here), to the amazing students in Ana Medina Fernandez’s library at Ronald Reagan High School in Doral (Miami) Florida, and everywhere in between, I’ve been inspired, edified, and humbled.

I’ve also been embraced by the community of young adult writers. Well-established authors like Elizbeth Eulberg, Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, Andrew Smith, David Levithan, Sara Darer Littman, Ellen Hopkins, Trent Reedy, Jandy Nelson — and the list goes on and on and on — have not only made me feel welcome among their ranks, but they’ve taught me so much. As a debut author, this has astounded and heartened me, and it has made my entry into this world a heck of a lot easier. These people are just freaking amazing.

My book was the happy benefactor of a starred review in School Library Journal, a #1 Indie Next pick, and a favorable review in the Sunday New York Times. (You can see a lot of media, here.)

I even got a second book deal out of the experience with a Scar Boys sequel (tentiavely called Scar Girl) slated for publication by Egmont in late summer/early fall 2015.

I know, I know… I sound like a gushing six year old at his first baseball game, awestruck by everything around him, but how else could I possibly feel? Pretty amazing stuff, right? But I don’t think anything can be cooler than this:

"I just wanted to write you an email stating that I was still very interested into turning The Scar Boys into a theatre piece. It speaks to me on several levels as a child growing up in the 80s and being so influenced by that music scene."

Mount Tablor High School

This was part of a note from Chad Edwards, the theater arts teacher at Mount Tabor High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I met Chad at the BookMarks festival where he initially pitched the idea to me. We’ve since confirmed all the details via email. He and his students will adapt The Scar Boys and produce it for the stage, with three live performances in Februrary. I will work with the kids via Skype, and I will make sure that Kristen and I are there for opening night.

Wow. I mean, wow!

I told Chad, and I believe this strongly, an adaptation is a distinct and unique work of art. Yes, it’s dervied from source material, but my hope is that these young writers and actors will take The Scar Boys and make it their own. I’m so excited to see what they do with it.

Stay tuned for updates on the process of adapting the book and of working with the students. This is going to be fun!

Guitars Are Won and Money Is Donated

The Scar Boys “Win an Electric Guitar Contest” is a wrap. For those of you who entered but did not receive an email from me saying that you won, well, thank you for taking the time to enter, but sorry, you didn’t win. For the two of you who did receive that email from me, congrats! (More on our winners below.)

I was thrilled that dozens of you knew the mystery song was actually the tune from the classic movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Close Encounter Notes 

That tune has been stuck in my head for decades.

Two winners were chosen at random from among all the correct entries. I’m thrilled to introduce you to:

 

Ben from San Lorenzo Valley High School in Northern California.

"People always say that working hard for something makes it more dear, and it’s probably true, but so does serendipity. The electric guitar is gorgeous. As soon as I got home I took the case onto my bed, unzipped it from neck to base, and lay the guitar on my lap. Sixty years of design has made the shape of an electric guitar not only practical and comfortable, but remarkably sensual."

Ben’s guitar came from Sylvan Music in Santa Cruz, California, and he picked it up at Bookshop Santa Cruz.

 

Jessica wins a guitar.

Jessica from North Kitsap High School in Washington state picked up her guitar at Liberty Bay Books in Poulsbo, and the guitar was provided by Kennelly Keys Music in Seattle.

I’m so excited for Ben and Jessica, and am happy that The Scar Boys gave me an opportunity to help spread the gift of music a little further. (Farther? I’m a writer, I should probably know that. I also probably shouldn’t end my sentences with the word "that." But I digress.)

The contest also helped raise $400 for Library for All, a wonderful nonprofit building digital libraries in communities where people have no access to books. It’s not a huge sum of money, but every little bit helps. This is me delivering the check to Nicole, Isabel and Jessica at LFA.

Donation to Library for All

I encourage you to get involved. Visit their website to find out how.

Thanks again to everyone who entered, and congrats again Ben and Jessica!

Lightning Bolt

HicklebeesCrowd

I received the following email yesterday:

I’m Ella. You probably remember me, but I met you at Hicklebee’s and introduced you for the event.

I wanted to share with you a song by one of my favorite artists that has been my musical and emotional inspiration lately.

Also, the song’s title has something to do with The Scar Boys. 🙂

I love this email. It was short, sweet, and so thoughtful of Ella to send. (She also did a kick-butt introduction at the Hicklebee’s event, which was one of my favorite events on the book tour.) But best of all was the song, Lightning Bolt by Jake Bugg. To paraphrase one of the YouTube comments, I don’t know how I haven’t heard of this guy. (The video and lyrics are below.)

In so many ways, this is the perfect song for Harbinger Jones. I kind of wish he’d written it!

Thank you Ella!!!

Lightning Bolt, written by Iain Archer and Jake Bugg

Morning, its another pure grey morning
Dont know what the day is holding
When I get uptight
And I walk right into the path of a lightning bolt

Sirens of an ambulance comes howling
Right through the centre of town and
No one blinks an eye
And I look up to the sky in the path of a lighting bolt

Met her as the angels parted for her
But she only brought me touture
But thats what happens
When its you whos standing in the path of a ligthning bolt

Everyone I see just wants to walk with gritted teeth
But I just stand by and I wait my time
They say you gotta toe the line they want the water not the wine
But when I see the signs I jump on that lightning bolt

Chances, people tell you not to take chances
When they tell you there arent any answers
And I was starting to agree
But I awoke suddenly in the path of a lightning bolt

Fortune, people talking all about fortune
Do you make it or does it just call you.
In the blinking of an eye
Just another passerby in the path of a lightning bolt

Everyone I see just wants to walk with gritted teeth
But I just stand by and I wait my time
They say you gotta toe the line they want the water not the wine
But when I see the signs I jump on that lightning bolt

It was silent, I was lying back gazing skyward
When the moment got shattered
I remembered what she said
And then she fled in the path of a lightning

The Book Tour in Still and Moving Images

They say a picture is worth a thousand words (as an author, I might actually dispute that), so below are a selection of images and videos from the West Coast swing of The Scar Boys’ book tour. I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed living them.

You can see more videos on The Scar Boys YouTube channel, and see my photos on the Flickr photostream. If you missed the live event, it’s not too late.There are still tour dates left.

And finally, if you were at one of the events and haven’t yet entered the contest, it’s not too late!

Kate with The Scar Boys shirt
Kate of Hicklebee’s Teen Advisory Board with a homemade Scar Boys shirt. My favorite part of the whole tour.
Hicklebee's Teen Advisory Board
Select members of the Hicklebee’s Teen Advisory Board, and me sporting my new TAB shirt.


Friday Jams was the band of 9th and 10th graders that opened for me at Vroman’s in Pasadena. More poise and talent than I EVER had playing in a band.

Lincoln Hoppe
Jamming with Lincoln Hoppe, narrator of The Scar Boys’ audiobook.
Eliza Untucked
Teen Eliza Bigelow sharing her awesome new lit magazine Untucked.


A passionate, energetic performance of a Cake song by Ben at San Lorenzo Valley High School in Northern California. Awesome.

Guitar pick
Krissy getting creative with The Scar Boys schwag.
Andrea Vuleta
The extraordinary Andrea Vuleta of SCIBA.


This is one of my favorite student performances. The audio is bad because the iPhone was too far away. Listen with the volume up or with headphones to appreciate this beautiful original song.

Signing books
Signing at Towne Center Books in Pleasanton, CA.
Students at Thurgood Marshall High
Students at Thurgood Marshall High.


Beautiful original song by Emma (high school senior) at The King’s English in Salt Lake City.

Welcome to MCHS
Welcome to Mira Costa High School.
Students at MCHS
Awesome students at Mira Costa High School.


These were two of half a dozen students at Mira Costa High in Manhattan Beach that were brave enough to come on up and perform. The level of talent at this school was off the charts.

Ruby at Vroman's
The adorable Ruby at Vroman’s.
Mary Amato
The super talented Mary Amato, author of Guitar Notes, performing at our joint event in Huntington Beach
Playing guitar
Still my favorite thing to do…playing guitar.

The Scar Boys in the Media

Apparently when you write a book, other people want to write about it, want to write about you, or sometimes, want you to write something for their blog. Who knew? Here’s a round-up of some Scar Boys media:

“A wry, stylish tale.” — New York Times

Reviews Interviews Guest Posts & More
New York Times WMSE Radio (Milwaukee) Scar Boys YouTube Channel
IndieBound Connecticut Post Scar Boy Event Photos
SLJ Starred Review Kirkus Reviews Bestseller List Apperances
SLJ 2 and SLJ 3 TeenReads.com Dear Teen Me
Publishers Weekly Publishers Weekly Top Ten Road Trips
Booklist I Read Banned Books Power Song
WORD Bookstores Guys Lit Wire Cross Pollination
McJ 1 and McJ 2 Compulsive Reader On Writing
Haiku Review Mother Daughter Book Club Scar Boys Back Story
Teen Book Crew A. L. Davroe Blog Wish I’d Written
Little Book Star Kelly Vision Blog My Holidays Music
Rather Be Reading    
Books on the Night Stand    
A Librarian’s Take    
Books and Quilts    
Strung Out on Books    
Waking Brain Cells    
Deseret News    
Mabel’s Fables (Toronto)    
Pima County Public Library