Wednesday, September 30, 2009

INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER, hot off the press!

My lovely wife, and uber-talented YA scribe, Julie Halpern, has a brand new book out today! INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER. And it's her best yet. She's got a real knack for sharp-as-a-tack teen humor and dialog. Working with kids (she's a middle school librarian by day), she ought to know. It's getting great reviews and I'm super-proud!

This pulled from a new review in The Horn Book...

"Fans of everything geek will adore Jessie’s induction into the world of nerds, one that includes the band geek lunch table, Dungeons & Dragons, and a genuinely fun-filled weekend in a field immersed in a medieval role-playing game."

NERD power!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Latest, Greatest

This has been an especially crazy couple of weeks. Just as I'm finishing up art for one book, a middle-grade novel (JUSTIN CASE by Rachel Vail--Feiwel and Friends), I'm immediately going into sketch revisions for another book, a picture book--finals due mid-December (LEAP FROG by Lauren Thompson--Simon and Schuster).

I'm also trying to do some coordinating of TROUBLE GUM promo. Right now, local indie bookshops, maybe libraries. Maybe some small school stuff. Getting up in front of groups is not my specialty. It's something I really need to do more of, get used to. Shake the anxiety once and for all. I'm about to get a crash course.

On Saturday October 17 (3pm) I'm doing my first "event" at awesome bookstore The Book Stall, in Winnetka, IL. I'm working on a bit of structure to the thing right now. Really, just a reading of TROUBLE GUM. A bit of demo drawing. A bit of "stuff I drew when I was a kid". And a bit of audience drawing participation. Simple enough, but... my nerves. Anyways, here's a sample drawing (one that'll be shown at my events). Pulled from the archives.


Next weekend, Julie and I are driving to Cleveland where we'll be attending, as guests, the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association (GLIBA) Trade Show. Promoting our new books. Julie's new YA novel, INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER, and my ol' TROUBLE GUM. We're a little stressed cause packing for the baby, in our past couple of experiences, is a major deal. This weekend, we will prep.

Speaking of baby, Romy just started crawling. Like two days ago! One night, she crawled for the very first time. The next day, it's like she was already a pro. Scooting all over the dang house. My job just got a bit harder. But we are so proud. She really likes to move.

On top of this, we just caved and bought in to a cable TV package. Mainly so we could DVR stuff and bypass commercials on shows we like. But now, there's like a bazillion more new cool shows to watch.

Where does the time go?

Monday, September 14, 2009

57th Birthday

Last weekend I had another birthday. Most birthdays just come and go, but this one really was the best birthday I've ever had.

(Why am I doing that with my finger?)

Friday, Julie totally blew me away by giving me the best b-day gift and surprise I've ever gotten. Saturday we had a nice dinner out with the fam. And Sunday, Julie, Romy and I trekked down to Chicago's beautiful Hyde Park neighborhood to partake in our first ever (but their 23rd annual) 57th Street Children's Book Fair. The whole shebang is organized every year by Hyde Park's very own 57th Street Books bookshop. President Obama's favorite bookstore (Hyde Park is the President's original pre-White-House home and stomping grounds).

I was signing copies of TROUBLE GUM in the early afternoon, right when the fair kicked off. When we got there, I was told that I would be giving away (not selling) my books to families that came to the table. Giving away. Because the Fair's head coordinator Angela Sherrill (of both 57th Street Books and 57th Street Children's Book Fair) had received a grant for the Fair which allowed them to purchase 25 copies of my books--as well as the other signing authors' books! I could just share the TROUBLE GUM love with fair attendees (limit one per family). Wow.

This was a great time. Children's books (and children) all over the place. Friendly faces, perfect weather. And our first visit to indie bookshop 57th Street Books. It's a sweet basement level store with a neat windy layout and LOTS of good books. A great kids section! We loved the store.

Hyde Park is a great place. Lots of amazing homes and architecture, great shops and restaurants. Lots of diversity in its residents--a cool and intellectual community. University of Chicago's right there. And lots of great big trees. Just good vibes all around.

On our ride home, Julie recorded a podcast of our day (she's been doing some hilarious podcasting on her blog for the last week or so). I reluctantly agreed to answer some questions into that digital voice recorder (reluctantly only cause I can't stand the sound of my own voice, and I'm perpetually afraid of having something dumb I've said be immortalized like this). I haven't listened (won't listen) to the recording, but it was a lot of fun in the making. Check this out here.

And here are some photos from the book fair and otherwise...

Here I am getting set up and ready to sign/draw. I'm putting out some of the bubble gum Feiwel and Friends made for promo opportunities. The kiddos seemed to enjoy.

People are coming at this point. For some reason, I ended up standing for the whole signing. It was kinda awkward drawing all hunched over, standing over the books, but I guess I got stuck that way. That's my table buddy on the right, Jeff Jarka (we both had the 1-2pm shift). It was his good idea to lay out the books like this. Seemed to work well, in drawing in some crowd (who might normally shy away from the likes of us). Jeff's a nice guy. He was signing copies of his new book, LOVE THAT PUPPY.

After the signing, we had a quick lunch at the park across the street with our friend Ali. Thanks to good pals Ali and Sam for showing up!

On our way out, we stopped for one last pic. They had all these cool hand-painted book-inspired wooden backdrops for kids to play in and have photos taken with. My best girls.

These last two are not my photos (I lifted them from someplace off of the internet). I wanted to show some pics of the front of the coolest 57th Street Books. Very great (and surprisingly large!) friendly neighborhood bookstore.

The cool old-school sign up close.

Thanks, 57th Street Children's Book Fair! We had a blast.

This is not me.

Ever google your own name?

Right now there is a dude in Arizona, one Matthew Cordell, who is offering motorists a drive-thru "prayer stand". This is not me.

In 1988, a series of low-budget horror movies was kicked off called MANIAC COP. The lead role, the psychopathic (undead?) maniac cop, is one Matt Cordell. This is not me. Wait. Bruce Campbell's in this?

A beloved Elvis impersonator, one Matt Cordell, tours throughout the country (and abroad?). This is not me. (Seriously, it's not. I've actually gotten fan mail for this M.C.)

I'm the other Matthew (Matt) Cordell. I wonder if the others have ever been mistaken for me?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

57th Street Children's Book Fair

On Sunday afternoon, September 13, from 1:00-2:00, I will be in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood at the 23rd annual 57th Street Children's Book Fair. I'll be signing copies of TROUBLE GUM. If you live in Chicago, or in the area, please do drop by.

I have not been to this event before, but it looks like a great deal of fun. The sort of thing that I would love. Lots of kid books, a parade, snacks, family activities, the whole deal. Take a look at the website and this year's press release for more info.

Hosted by Hyde Park's local bookshop, 57th Street Books. Thank you much for the invite!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

TROUBLE GUM contest winners

In the previous post, I had the date wrong for the contest announce. My intention was to keep it open for one week, not two. Why drag it out? So the winners are announced here and now (as opposed to Sept 16 as I reported, wrongly, before).

Without further a-doo!

GRAND PRIZE winner (1 copy of TROUBLE GUM and two packs o' gum)--April D.!

RUNNERS-UP (winners of promo packs o' gum):

Congrats to all winners, and thank you to everyone for playing along!

Winners, please email me your mailing address and I will send prizes out directly.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

TROUBLE GUM is here! You can win!

Dear readers,

TROUBLE GUM (in case I haven't made it clear--my first illustrated AND written picture book!) is officially released and out into the world. This baby's all growed up. And I'm pleased as punch, I believe that expression goes. To celebrate, I would like to open up a raffle to the good readers of this blog.

Please enter by simply submitting your name (or a pseudonym, if you wish) via the comments section of this particular blog post. On Wednesday, September 16, I will draw the names of 5 lucky winners.

FOUR Runners-up will each receive ONE package of nifty TROUBLE GUM bubble gum.

ONE GRAND PRIZE winner (the first name drawn) will receive ONE signed copy of TROUBLE GUM and TWO packages of TROUBLE GUM bubble gum.

The winners will be announced by end of day Wednesday, September 16 with a new blog post and in the comments section of this post. So please check back in!! (I will collect your names/addresses and ship prizes out directly--all on my buck.)

Good luck. Godspeed.


M.T. Cordell