Well, I'm late with this review. I mean the book has already been nominated for a Governor General's Award and been sold into a bazillion countries. Plus, I read it a few months ago and have finally got off my duff to offer you a review. Susin Nielsen is one of my favourite writers and this book is a great addition to her growing list of excellent titles. It's the story of Stewart, an academically brilliant but socially clueless main character, who is struggling to adapt to the death of his mother and he's experiencing the massive adjustment of moving in with his father's new girlfriend and her fourteen-year-old daughter Ashley. Written from Stewart and Ashley's point of view, the book is spot on in terms of voice. Susin is a screenwriter (along with being a novelist) and I think that natural ability to structure a script comes through with this book. There are no wrong turns. Plus the book appears deceptively simple on the outside but the deeper you dig into it the more you discover is there. Nielsen has a gift for comedy that somehow reaches into your soul and plucks your heartstrings (I copyrighted that last sentence BTW). I laughed out loud several times. And may have had to wipe away a manly tear once or twice. Don't worry, I used my work gloves to sop...err...I mean wipe the offending tear(s) away. Anyway, two thumbs and a whole bunch of molecules up for this one.
[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9RDoetuw6A[/embed] It's curious what one becomes semi-famous for...
What I don't mention on the video is that if you walk backwards on the treadmill desk you go back in time. The '80s weren't as cool as I remember them...
Well, here it is! The Canadian Adventure Prize Pack. Trains! Zombies! Zeppelins! Magicians & Masterminds! My publisher, the honourable HarperCollins Canada, has generously offered this package of books to help promote my nearly famous newsletter. In order to win the amazingly adventurous books just enter here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway But if you want to double your chances of winning then sign up for my newsletter by pressing this magic button (there's also an option on the contest form above).
My gluten-free monthly newsletter is titled Arthur Slade's Somewhat Clever Newsletter. It's jammed packed with news, writing tips, humour, and lettuce and bacon. It has everything! And there's also a prize every month (because it's fun to give away things). The prizes range from author Skype visits to books to critiques, to....it's endless. As you can tell I have a lot of fun with it.
The adventurous books are Zomboy by Richard Scrimger, Saving Houdini by Michael Redhill, Masterminds by Gordon Kormon, The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel and The Hunchback Assignments by some guy who writes things sometimes.
Have a gloriously adventurous day! Contest closes Oct. 31st, 2015.
And please feel free to use the share buttons below to let the world know about the contest.
A heavy metal fan gets retweeted by his favourite band and experiences a modicum of fame.
The detailed story:
So, I'm an unabashed heavy metal head. I know. Several people have stopped reading this already. But the rest of you, please read along--there will be no gushing about "the 1980's was the greatest metal decade ever!" Yesterday, Iron Maiden released its new album The Book of Souls and to celebrate I decided to tweet a picture of the Iron Maiden jean jacket I painted back when I was in Grade Eleven. This is my tweet:
Funny, eh? I was amazed I could still almost fit into the jacket (as long as I didn't try to do the buttons up). The official Iron Maiden twitter account kindly retweeted my nostalgic tweet. Here's a screen grab of their twitter page:
As you can see they have 1.34 million followers. That's million with an M. I was both over the moon that some tiny portion of the Iron Maiden machine had noticed me and really curious what would happen with my tweet. So here are the official stats of that tweet:
Of those 1.34 million people who follow Iron Maiden on Twitter 52,671 of them looked at the tweet (or at least it appeared briefly on their screens). But 4860 engaged directly with it. That is they clicked to see the larger photo or expanded the "details" about it. 275 of those people "favorited" the tweet. 177 clicked on my profile. And 70 retweeted my tweet. And you can see by the number of replies that it led to some conversations with fellow fans (one even said, "up the irons" in solidarity). And 5 of them began to follow me.
5 new followers? Out of a possible 1.34 million? I wasn't surprised by that. After all only a small portion (or should I say a smidgen) would be interested in a YA writer.
I think this does show the level of engagement on twitter. Only a small percentage of the Iron Maiden twitter followers looked at my tweet (I'm sure a good portion of people just tune in every once in a while so the tweet vanished on their feeds). As an author, I wasn't expecting to sell books to these people, I just wanted to have fun. And it was fun. And it only took me a few minutes to take the pic and tweet it, so no "work" time was lost.
Plus, did I mention that @ironmaiden retweeted me! If only I could tell my 1984 self that this was going to happen. His head would explode.*
*of course I'd have to explain what Twitter was first, oh and the internet and mention that Iron Maiden inconceivably put out two albums without Bruce Dickinson and...well...it's a long list.
PS. This last photo is for those who are not faint of heart:
See. It almost fits.