The News from Zeus House

Last month I mentioned that I would be posting less frequently because of my writing schedule. Turns out I was right! Still, this seemed like a good time for a general update on news in the Riordan household.

The first book in the Camp Half-Blood series is with my editor now. And speaking of that, this is her last day at Disney. Jennifer Besser has been with me since The Lightning Thief. As I’ve mentioned before, she was instrumental in the success of the series, so it’s hard to see her go, but she’s going on to great things. She’ll be the v.p. and publisher at Penguin Putnam now, and I wish her all the best! I know she’s only begun to make her mark on the publishing industry. Good luck, Jen. Thanks for everything, and you’ll always have a guest room at Camp Half-Blood anytime you want to visit.

The wonderful Stephanie Lurie will now be editing the Kane Chronicles and the new Camp Half-Blood series at Disney, so I know the books are in good hands. I still remember when Stephanie took over as editorial director at Disney. My friend Neal Shusterman pulled me aside at the Bologna Book Fair and told me how lucky we were to be getting Stephanie. Neal was definitely right!

As for the Kane Chronicles, I’m getting really excited about the release. The first finished copies of The Red Pyramid arrived today, and they look great. The book will be in stores May 4. The launch event will be at Symphony Space in New York, and I understand tickets are almost sold out already, so if you’d like to join us, you might want to book soon. More events will be announced shortly. I’ll be on the road for two weeks, and can’t wait to get out and meet some of you guys. I also just found out that my friends at Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, GA are doing a ‘Camp Kane’ this summer based on my Egyptian series and their own wildly popular Camp Half-Blood. Guess what? Camp Kane is already sold out! Thanks to Diane and the gang at Little Shop for all their incredible support. I hope the kids have a great time going Egyptian this summer.

It looks like the new Camp Half-Blood series will launch in October, but when I have more details I’ll let you know. As you can imagine, I was nervous about how this new book would work after the success of Percy Jackson. Would people accept a return to that world in a slightly different form? To my surprise, everyone who’s read it so far, from my agent to my editors to my own kids, has said they like it even better. Wow – fingers crossed you agree.

Now, I’ve moved on to the second Kane Chronicles book. I’m just in the planning stages, but I have a good sense where the series is going and Carter and Sadie are in for quite a ride!

In other news, I just got my first peek at the fully colored pages for the Lightning Thief graphic novel. It’s looking very sharp. As soon as I have a definite release date for that, I’ll let you know. The Percy Jackson series continues to steam along on the New York Times bestseller list, and I have you guys to thank for that! I appreciate you reading and recommending the books to your friends. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about the Percy Jackson Ultimate Guide, too. So glad you’ve enjoyed it.

The weather in Texas is finally turning spring-like after an unusually wet and cold winter. It was sunny and warm yesterday – warm enough to heat up the pool and take a dip! Patrick had the day off for parent conferences, so we all enjoyed a midweek holiday. It’s a good day when you can go straight from your pajamas to your swimsuit then back into pajamas.

What we’re reading: Patrick recently finished reading Malice by Chris Wooding and recommends it highly. We’ve already ordered the sequel. Now he’s reading Into the Maze by James Dashner and says he likes that just as much. It must be true, as he’s staying up late each night to read, because he keeps getting to good parts. Haley has been waiting to read The Red Pyramid in final form, which he can now do as the book just arrived at our house! He’s also been doing a lot of writing, working on the third version of his manuscript. It’s been fun comparing notes with him and talking about the struggles one goes through in the writing process. I keep reminding him that even if he gets frustrated, he’s a lot farther along than I was at age fifteen. Becky has been reading the Flavia de Luce books by Alan Bradley. The second, The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag, just came out. If you like mysteries, this is most definitely a series to watch. My most recent read was also an adult mystery, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. This series has been getting a lot of attention. I’ll admit I had some trouble getting into it. I found the style a little – what’s the word, expository? A lot of telling rather than showing, pages and pages of dialogue that were simply characters reporting information that the reader needed to know. I think I would’ve cut out the first fifty pages and the last fifty pages and had a great story. Still, once I got into it, I found it very compelling, not to mention graphic and gritty, not for the faint of heart. The main characters are certainly some of the most interesting, original and fully realized I’ve ever come across in a thriller.

Next up on my calendar: I’ll be attending the Texas Library Association meeting here in San Antonio on April 15 to do a book signing. It’s always good to catch up with the librarians in my home state. If you’re attending the convention, I hope to see you. And now it’s back to writing. Have a good weekend, everyone, and spend some time with a good book!

Rick Riordan