Friday, April 29, 2016

The Latest from Athena House: It's Been a Busy Week!

Okay, gang. Here is the latest from Athena House, Riordan headquarters in Boston:

The Hidden Oracle, Book One of The Trials of Apollo, will be released this Tuesday, May 3!

(This is for the US/Canada edition. Other editions for other countries may have different release dates. I don't get that information. If you live elsewhere, you'll have to check with your country's booksellers or publisher.)

Launch Event! I will be doing one and only one launch event for The Hidden Oracle, Tuesday, May 3 in Boston, sponsored by Harvard Books.

Last I checked there were still tickets available, so get 'em while you can! You will get a signed copy of The Hidden Oracle, plus you'll be the first in the world to hear what I've got planned for the rest of the series. I'll take questions from the audience and tell you all the juicy inside info. We always have a great time!

Haven't seen the trailers for The Trials of Apollo? They are hilarious, and there's one more coming on Monday:


Also . . .

The Hammer of Thor, Book Two of Magnus Chase & the Gods of Asgard.

I haven't forgotten about Magnus! The Hammer of Thor cover was revealed yesterday by Entertainment Weekly.  Check out the article to read my Q&A with EW and also read the first chapter of the book! The Hammer of Thor will be released October 4.

What's that? You haven't read the first book, The Sword of Summer, yet? YE GODS! You'd better get on that before October! As of this week, Sword of Summer has been on the New York Times bestseller list for an incredible 29 weeks.

And finally:

Demigods & Magicians: The collection of the Kane/Percy crossover stories is #1 on the New York Times middle grade bestseller list, its third week on the list! Haven't read them yet? Check them out!

And thanks to my readers for being the most awesome fans out there. The reason I am working so hard to write two books a year is that I get energized by your enthusiasm for the stories. You keep me going!


Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Hidden Oracle is Almost Here!

Are you excited? I am! Tuesday, May 3, the first book in The Trials of Apollo series will be released, and you will get to see how Apollo fares at Camp Half-Blood as an awkward sixteen-year-old mortal with no skills to pay the bills.


Want to get a signed copy and hear the latest news about what's coming next from me? I'll be presenting the new series and answering question on publication day -- my ONLY EVENT for the launch of The Hidden Oracle -- here in Boston, sponsored by Harvard Books.

Tickets are still available, but buy them soon if you are planning to attend. It will be a very special night, and you will be the first in the world to get the scoop on The Trials of Apollo!

Whether you can make the event or not, I hope you like The Hidden Oracle!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Recap from Bologna

It took me two weeks to recover from my whirlwind trip to Bologna, Italy, but now I finally get the chance to post some pictures and videos from my event at the Teatro Duse. It was a blast! This really was a rare event, since I don't tour internationally. I happened to be in Bologna taking an Italian course, so I agreed to do a public signing with my Italian publisher Mondadori. I am very glad I did!

Before the event, I got to meet some VIP fans who had won a chance to have a private Q&A with me.

Me with the gang.

Chatting and answering questions (or trying to) in Italian. Come si dice "I am sorry I killed your favorite characters"?

Signing books (and getting a hug) from a Italian demigod who grew up dyslexic. Such an honor to meet him!

Me backstage with the wonderful folks from Mondadori and the brilliant Italian writer Fabio Geda, who was so kind and gracious as my interviewer.

The crowd in the theater. They had to open up the top tier of the theater, filling it to total capacity of 1200 people. Unfortunately, 600 people were still waiting outside and were unable to get in, but I don't think anyone (including me) expected this kind of turnout. We had people come from as far away as Palermo.

If you want to see the crowd reaction when I first arrived on stage, check out this video. Many thanks to my agent Marietta Zacker from the Nancy Gallt Agency for taking and sharing these pictures and videos.

My interview with Fabio Geda. I was very glad to have my Italian interpreter to my left, but even happier than I didn't need to ask for her assistance very often.

Want to see the entire interview in Italian? You can watch it here.

After the event, I signed books for as many people as I could, until the police had to shut the doors because the theater needed to close. (They were very nice to everyone though.)

I got lots of gifts and hugs from fans. There were tears (I hope of happiness) and so many wonderful moments meeting my Italian readers. Truly -- it was a magic evening, and a great reminder of why I am a writer. This is what books are all about! Thanks again to my agents at Nancy Gallt and my publisher Mondadori for arranging the event, and especially to Fabio Geda for conducting the interview!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Happy Book Birthday to Shadow Magic!

I don't normally repost my reviews, but Joshua Khan's Shadow Magic comes out today and I'm pretty excited about it! I read an advance copy of this middle grade fantasy debut way back last summer, and I haven't stopped thinking about how good it is. (Hence the quote from me on the cover.)  Now, at last, it has been published so you can read it too! If you like the type of stuff that I write -- a mix of action, humor and magic -- then you should definitely check this out. Here's my full review from back in November:

Shadow Magic, by Joshua Khan. Middle grade fantasy.

Have you ever started reading a book thinking, 'Oh, well, I may not like it but I'll give it a try,' then quickly found yourself sucked into the story and thinking, 'Holy Hera, this is good!' That was my experience with Shadow Magic. It's told from the alternating perspectives of Thorn, the wayward son of an outlaw, and Lillith Shadow, the heir of one of six ancient magical kingdoms.  There should be no reason for these two to ever cross paths, but they do, and the combination is explosive.

Lillith is the heir of Gehenna, the kingdom of darkness. She wasn't supposed to become the ruler, but her family is murdered under mysterious circumstances, which leaves her next in line to the throne. Her family was once able to summon legions of the undead, speak to ghosts, and do all sorts of cool darkness magic that Nico di Angelo would approve of. Unfortunately, Gehenna's glory days are long past, and women are not allowed to practice sorcery upon pain of death, so Lillith cannot use whatever powers she might have. Gehenna is so weak, Lillith is forced to make a marriage alliance with their ancient enemies, the bright and shiny kingdom of light. (Gross!) 

Thorn, a young nobody from the north, is captured and sold into slavery to an executioner named Tyburn, who happens to work for the kingdom of Shadow. Thorn arrives in the land of darkness, and is soon plunged into a mystery with Lillith about who killed her parents. We find out that Thorn and Lillith both have unexpected powers and many secrets. We meet some fantastic characters, including a giant bat named Hades (How could I not love that?). 

This book is a wonderful page-turner for young readers. It's got all the elements of a great fantasy, rendered in a fresh, alluring, well-crafted world, with sympathetic characters and tons of mystery. I can't recommend it highly enough. Get a copy. You'll thank me for it!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Demigods and Magicians!

On April 5, you'll be able to get Demigods & Magicians, with all three Kane Chronicles/Percy Jackson stories collected in a physical book for the first time, plus a never-before-published sneak peek at The Hidden Oracle.

Just to be clear, the three crossovers are NOT new stories. They were previously released as separate ebook shorts, but many of you really wanted them bound together as a single book, so here you go.

The contents are:

The Son of Sobek, featuring Percy and Carter
The Staff of Serapis, featuring Annabeth and Sadie
The Crown of Ptolemy, featuring all four of our heroes

And, as promised, a new excerpt from The Hidden Oracle, first book in the series Trials of Apollo. The Hidden Oracle comes out May 3.

Hope you guys enjoy!

Friday, March 25, 2016

A letter you can share with your teacher!

Hey, kids! Have you been asked to watch the "Percy Jackson" movies during classroom time? If this has happened to you or someone you care about, feel free to share the letter below with your teacher, because classroom time is a terrible thing to waste!

Dear Teacher,

Hi! I am so grateful that you are teaching Greek mythology to your kids and maybe reading my books with them. I hope it goes well! If you want some lesson plan ideas I have a ton of free stuff on my website, mostly pulled from my own fifteen years as a middle school teacher.

Now a plea: Please, for the love of multiple intelligences, DON’T show those “Percy Jackson” movies (ironic quotes intentional) in your classroom for a compare-contrast lesson or, gods forbid, a “reward” at the end of your unit. No group of students deserves to be subjected to that sort of mind-numbing punishment. The movies’ educational value is exactly zero. A better use of classroom time would be . . . well, pretty much anything, including staring at the second hand of the clock for fifty minutes or having a locker clean-out day.

If you need a break and are using the movie so you can have time to grade papers, hey, I totally get that. I was a teacher for a long time! May I suggest Clash of the Titans, or the cheesy old 1960s version of Jason and the Argonauts, or heck, even the animated Hercules from Disney, as bad as it is. Those movies have plenty of things to compare and contrast with the actual Greek myths. But my heart breaks every time I hear that classroom time is being thrown away watching those vapid Percy Jackson adaptations.

Maybe the kids want to watch them on their own. Fine. Whatever. Personally, I would rather have my teeth pulled with no anesthesia, but to each his or her own. Spending class time time on those movies, though? I’ve justified a lot of things in my years as a teacher. Once I did a barbecue pit sacrifice of prayers to the Greek gods with my sixth graders. Once I taught the kids a traditional Zulu game by rolling watermelons down a hill and spearing them with broomsticks. We took fencing classes when we studied Shakespeare, reenacted the entire Epic of Gilgamesh, and, yes, we watched some pretty great movies from time to time. But I can think of zero justification for watching the adaptations of my books as part of a school curriculum. (And please, don’t call them my movies. They are in no way mine.)

Thanks for listening. I hope you have a great school year. I hope your kids get excited about reading. And I hope you’ll consider this author’s plea. The kids don’t need classroom time to learn that movies can be really, really bad. They’ll find that out on their own!

Yours truly,

Rick Riordan

Friday, March 18, 2016

An Afternoon at Disney HQ

I took a quick trip to the Disney Publishing offices in New York today and got a look at some exciting stuff.

Ever wondered what a publishing office looks like? Here is Disney's:

 Cubicles? Computers? Fluorescent lights? I know, exciting! But don't be fooled: this is where the magic happens, where books are edited, covers are created, and stories are made ready for sharing with readers.

Here's my editor Stephanie Lurie in her office, otherwise known as Riordan Books HQ. Stephanie usually does not have to poke me with that pitchfork unless I am behind on my deadlines.

I got to have lunch with the Disney team and hear about all the cool stuff planned for Trials of Apollo. I got to see all the different editions of The Hidden Oracle:

Each one is designed for a different account with a different exclusive item inside. I was just excited to see it as an actual book for the first time! These copies have now been put back in the super-secure vault for safekeeping until publication day May 3.

Here's one of the awesome special items, a bumper sticker inside the Books-a-Million edition:

And I signed about a gajillion of these posters that will be used as prizes at some events for Barnes & Noble when the new book comes out:

Also I found out that the Percy Jackson series is now available in a hardcover box set with the new John Rocco covers (from the poster design above) for the very first time!

I can't wait to share The Hidden Oracle with you on May 3. As I mentioned earlier, I won't be doing a tour for this book -- just a single hometown event in Boston on May 3 so I can concentrate on writing the next book: Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor, which will be out in October.

I hope you guys like The Trials of Apollo when it comes out!