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Five Best-Selling Authors Who Need to Write Middle-Grade Series

Pity the poor bestselling novelist. Sure, those literary juggernauts who manage to crank out a top ten title (or more) every year are blessed with avid book-buying fanbases, but there are certain demographics they just can’t reach. I’m talking, of course, about children—reading level notwithstanding, you can’t just pawn off your paperback of The Firm to your eight-year-old.

But some savvy authors have sought to widen their reach with new series that are Just For Kids—thematically similar to their adult works, but with age-appropriate subject material and easy-to-read language. John Grisham’s got Theodore Boon: Kid Lawyer, James Patterson’s got his Middle School series, and Carl Hiaasen’s penned a few Floridian tales for younger readers.

But why stop there? These writers have talent and bankable identities, and I’ve got book proposal ideas for days. Here are five brand-name middle-grade series that need to happen.

Bobby Langdon and the Case of the Crooked Cryptex by Dan Brown
Brown’s symbologist hero has to get his start somewhere—and hey, it worked for Young Indiana Jones. Curious and inquisitive Bobby Langdon would be a latter-day Jonny Quest, having grand adventures and meddling in G-rated mysteries with the help of globetrotting pals (definitely room for some animal companions, too). Leave the creepy Catholic cults for his post-Harvard life: these cases will be so fun to solve you’ll swear the author’s first name is Encyclopedia.

Posted by Blair Thornburgh

A Conversation with Ian Doescher, Author of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars®

George Lucas and the Bard of Avon aren't the only two creative forces behind the upcoming William Shakespeare’s Star Wars®—author Ian Doescher had the genius to combine the two. We sat down with Ian to ask age-old questions about inspiration, iambic pentameter, and who shot first.

Posted by Blair Thornburgh

Five Weather Words Weirder than “Derecho”

(Image via flickr)

If there’s any upside to the crazily severe thunder- and wind storms that have been terrorizing large parts of the U.S., it’s the addition of a new word to our collective vocabulary. If you’ve been living under a hailstone, the word is derecho, derived from the Spanish for “straight.” Derechos are, according to Wikipedia, “convection-induced and take on a bow echo (backward “C”) form of squall line, forming in an area of wind divergence in the upper levels of the troposphere, within a region of low-level warm air advection and rich low-level moisture.”

Yikes. You can see why they gave this meteorological mouthful a nickname. Still, weathermen countrywide are probably relishing the rare chance to trot out a term more colorful than “partly cloudy.” And, furthermore, why stop there? We should seize this opportunity to expand our storm-related wordbank. Here are 5 new words to learn, because hey, when it rains, it pours!

Posted by Blair Thornburgh

New York Book Launch for The Resurrectionist on June 17th!

Quirk is thrilled to announce a book launch and gallery show for The Resurrectionist: The Lost Works of Dr. Spencer Black by artist and debut novelist E.B. Hudspeth in Brooklyn, NY on June 17th!
A Vanity Fair Hot Type pick, The Resurrectionist is a cross between cross between Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Gray’s Anatomy, and offers two incredible books in one. The first book is a fictional biography of Dr. Spencer Black while the second book is Black’s magnum opus: The Codex Extinct Animalia, an anatomical reference manual of mythological beasts all rendered in meticulously detailed black-and-white anatomical illustrations. The powerHouse Arena in Dumbo, Brooklyn will host an event featuring a gallery showing of Hudspeth’s artwork from the book, a discussion with the author moderated by Aaron Sagers of CNN.com and MTVGeek, followed by a book signing.
Best of all, the event is free and open to the public! It’s guaranteed to be a great time, so come on out!
Event Details:
Where: The powerHouse Arena
When: Monday, June 17 from 7-9pm
Cost: Free!
For more information: powerHouse Arena event page


Posted by Blair Thornburgh

Philadelphia! Meet Resurrectionist author/illustrator E. B. Hudspeth at Macy’s on Friday, June 7th!

Philadelphians! Want to get an inside look at the work of The Resurrectionist while eating tasty food and dancing to a live DJ? Yeah, us too. Come out to Macy’s in Center City this Friday, June 7th from 5-7 PM for a hometown party to celebrate the release of the book Publishers Weekly calls a “welcome addition to any library of dark fantasy.”

We’ll see you there! And be sure to check out Macy’s awesomely creepy window display (above).

Here’s the gory details:

The Resurrectionist Macy’s Launch Event
Friday, June 7th
5-7 PM
Macy’s Center City
1300 Market St., Phila. PA

Posted by Blair Thornburgh

Calling all Cats! Get your kitty in a Quirk Book!


Is your cat adorable and photogenic? Of course it is. Let us take its picture! Quirk is on the prowl for some feline models in the Philadelphia/New Jersey/New York area to be featured in photos for an upcoming book. We’re looking for a variety of colors, coats, and cat types, so don’t be shy!

If you’ve got a cat, and you’d like to participate in a photo shoot at your house, please send a few pictures and your location, availability, and contact info to [email protected] (subject: Cat Photos).

Posted by Blair Thornburgh