Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Writer's Holiday

My family and I just got back from a long-ish driving trip through the south, down to Florida and back. It wasn't really a holiday from writing -- I was actually outlining a new project throughout the trip -- but it was a great break just the same. We went to Orlando and visited the Universal theme parks, rode the rides and ate some good food, and I got a few pictures that sort of typify the things that excite the middle aged geek in me.

One of them was this ugly customer, a rather incredible propeller-driven mechanical shark at Universal Studios. They took out the Jaws ride not long ago, which was devastating to me since I grew up riding it, but this was pretty cool.

Here's a shot of that bad boy from the back so you can see his propeller.

Along the way to where the Jaws ride used to be, they had rows of old Universal one-sheets for great 70s and 80s posters, including this one, which I always will identify with Universal Studios tours in the '70s.

The coolest thing about Earthquake, besides that Universal Studios in California turned it into a ride, is that it was written by Mario Puzo, the creator of The Godfather. I love this. Turns out that, in the world of writers, Puzo was a total 70s Hollywood rock star/whore who made a ton of money writing screenplays out there, even before they backed the money truck up to his door to write the first Superman movie. Go, Mario!

Speaking of writers in Hollywood, Universal Orlando wins the big award for designing a full-scale recreation of the Garden of Allah Villas as part of their theme park. This is the real-life Hollywood location (now long gone) where one of my favorite writers of all time, F. Scott Fitzgerald, wrote screenplays for MGM and pickled himself in studio-funded gin-binges while he sent money back east to pay for his wife Zelda's care in the mental hospital where she would eventually die in a fire. Cheerful stuff, right?

And, speaking of Scott and Zelda (see how I did the segue thing there?), our last stop on the way back up north was Asheville, North Carolina, home of the incredible Grove Park Inn, where Fitzgerald stayed in the summer of 1935, writing essays and short stories while Zelda stayed at the (also now long gone) Highland Mental Hospital. This is the Inn today -- it's gorgeous.

No trip through Asheville would complete without a stop at its most famous attraction, the Biltmore Estates. Constructed in 1896 by George Vanderbilt, the estates may be most familiar to you from their appearance in the movies...including its use as Mason Verger's estate in HANNIBAL.

All in all it was a great trip. Like I said, I got some writing done along the way, and my wife and I got to watch the Oscars in our hotel room at the Biltmore Inn. Now I'm back home and getting to work on some serious writing...

Oh, and by the way, lest you think that I've neglected the self-promotion aspect of this post, Star Wars: Red Harvest comes out today in mass market paperback with new cover art. Check it out if you haven't already...

Have a good week, all.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Star Wars? Star Wars!

I've been talking a lot about my YA fiction lately, but I've also written a couple Star Wars novels, including this one, which comes out in mass market paperback this month.

I was in New York yesterday on business, meeting with old friends and new at Random House to discuss upcoming projects for next year. I can't tell you anything about it now, but in the meantime, I did manage to pick up a little souvenir from the tenth floor that I've had my eye on for some time. Here it is, in a place of honor in my office.

This is a custom-made Death Trooper helmet created by the Empire State Garrison of the 501st. They built it to use in the trailer that we made for Death Troopers a couple years ago. Very cool, and handy for scaring away trick or treaters on Halloween when the candy runs out.

In other Star Wars related news, if zombies are your thing, you should check out concept artist Kai Lim's interpretation of Death Troopers.

Now that's scary. Meanwhile, watch this space for details of what's to come.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ciao Time

Egmont UK just sent me the jacket art for their version of the AU REVOIR sequel, which they're calling CIAO FOR NOW, CRAZY EUROPEAN CHICK. I dig it a lot -- they did a great job with the first book, and this one looks even better.

What about the US version, you ask? Well...there's this --

Right now we're still tweaking the art here in the states, but that's the title, and I like this jacket design a lot.

Cool, huh? It looks like I actually wrote a trilogy, and I've actually only done two books -- so far. Stay tuned...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Anarchy in the UK

It's not due out until March, but this morning I received my first copies of the Egmont UK edition of Au Revoir -- pictured above with a well-used London tube map and a brochure from St. Paul's Cathedral, souvenirs from my research trip across the pond in 2010. My family and I spent several days in London, where I got to have lunch on a cold November day with the extremely awesome Ali Dougal, my UK editor, and some of the Egmont publicity staff. England is wonderful, and my wife makes no secret of the fact that we'd move there in a heartbeat...even if we weren't both obsessed with Downton Abbey...

Egmont UK's supercool Electric Monkey imprint did an amazing job with this book. It looks great, they've got a blurb from the LA Times review on the cover and a little teaser on the inside back cover for the sequel, which Egmont is calling Ciao for Now, Crazy European Chick (here in the States, it's Perry's European Playlist).

Anyway, I'm really excited about this -- and I hope UK readers really enjoy it too!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Office 2.0

I've recently rebuilt my basement office -- or at least rearranged it. What makes it an office? Mainly, the existence of the MacBook, which I spent last year carrying around the house, trying to find a quiet corner to write. Now I've got almost everything I need in one space, excluding my vintage 1979 Kenner Alien figure, which I still keep locked away for fear of its safety. Someday I'll have a place for that too. That, and my even more vintage cymbal-clanging monkey, which is so scary that my kids won't even let me bring it out in daylight.

Scary sucker, isn't he?

Meanwhile, I'm using my new office space to work on a screenplay, and edits for next year's middle-grade book, LENNY CYRUS, SCHOOL VIRUS. I've also got a November publication date for the AU REVOIR sequel, PERRY'S EUROPEAN PLAYLIST, and some possible jacket art that I'm dying to share with you, once we finalize plans for it.

So stay tuned, okay?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Writing as a Series of Bad Haircuts

The series of pictures you see above aren't just there to humiliate me. They're there in response to a question that I get from time to time:

"I want to be a writer. How do I start?"

The guy in the pictures is young. He's got bad '80s hair and '80s posters on the wall. This is because, yes, it's the 80s. And in two of the pictures, he's writing (including one, where he's actually writing on a typewriter.) He doesn't know it, but he's at least eight years away from getting anything published.

So, if you want to be a writer, how do you start?

First, you write. Then you keep writing. Then, when everybody else around who says that they want to write eventually gets tired of it and gives up, you keep writing. The magic formula is there is no magic formula. You find an idea that you love so much that you can't leave it alone, and you keep at it. In all likelihood, years will pass before you get anything published, but that's okay. All that time, you'll be getting better.

It also helps if you're not afraid of humiliating yourself.

And feed a few woodland animals along the way.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

At Harry's Bar in Venice

The photo was taken last fall, when my family and I were in Europe. It was a research trip for a novel that I was working on, but also just an excuse to see Italy, France, Switzerland and the UK.

But let me go back a bit...

My name is Joe Schreiber. I live in Hershey, Pennsylvania. I work at a nearby hospital as an MRI technologist, I'm a father of two young kids, and I write books. Like this one...

A couple weeks ago, Houghton Mifflin published my first YA novel, Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick. Here's the book trailer...

There's a UK edition coming out from Egmont/Electric Monkey in March.

I've got a sequel coming out next year -- the one that I was in Italy researching last year -- and hopefully I'll be able to post the cover art for that soon. Meanwhile, stay tuned for more updates about forthcoming work, books, screenplays and general nonsense.

If you're a writer, a reader, or just curious about what would compel anybody to spend hours, days, months and years of their life in total solitude, putting words on paper, maybe you should come back and hang out here sometime. Or we could be friends on Facebook. Or follow me on Twitter.