Tag Archives: entertaining

Where the Heck is Heck?

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Heck-o, readers on the other side of the magic screen. Long time no…well, no nothing. And if I’m anything, it’s a no-nothing. I have been getting emails lately…that fact in and of itself is less than earth-shattering. Many of you probably receive emails. But the ones I have been receiving have been questioning where, when and/or if the next Heck book will be published. Short answer? Heck-if-I-know.

Here’s the skinny: About a year and a half or so (I forget, exactly, as the wound has since scabbed over), I was told that Random House would no longer be publishing my Circles of Heck series: even though I had already submitted the eighth installment, Sadia: The Eighth Circle of Heck. The company had recently merged with Penguin, becoming something of a Random Penguin. And while it was still a House, it was sadly no longer my home. I knew that the merger had streamlined the company, with editors sharing offices and having to cut whatever titles weren’t make the cut, editing-time-to-profit-wise. Meaning, my editor was spending more time than was deemed worth it on my books so I (and many authors) were let loose and reintroduced to the wilds of the non-published.

This sucked. And, since I had two titles to go in my series, no other publishing house (according to my agent) would want to publish and promote another publisher’s series. The only glimmer of hope is that MGM have the option to make the first Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go book into a movie. They have had this right for nearly five years; with the project on its second director and…I don’t know: third or fourth screenwriter.

If the movie happens, this would—ideally—renew interest in the series so that I could properly finish it (or as properly as I can do anything). The option has been extended until the end of the year, so hopefully there will be some movement in this area. There are a lot of talented people involved, so I would love to see this project kicked into production! If the movie doesn’t happen…I don’t know. I could self-publish, but I would want the books to be as high-quality as possible and not look, I don’t know…shabby in comparison to what came before. I’m not even sure if there is a market to make it worth the trouble, as the last book in the series Wise Acres: The Seventh Circle of Heck—while being my favorite of the series—only sold about 2,000 copies.  And, the weird thing is, that book is literally printed on money, so each copy is worth at least $10,000. Be sure to buy a carton today! In any case, I’m open to ideas! As I said before, Sadia is finished and I can’t stand to work on something and not have it see the light of day, or the dark of eternal night.

So that, in a nut-job, is what the haps.

I hope you all are well and swell and not swelling in a well.

“Beast” Wishes,

Dale E. Basye

FAN ART FRIDAY!!

Check out these gorgeous portraits of Milton and Marlo from Nancy Ho AKA AniXancy!

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Guest Blog and Amazon Gift Card Contest 2/13!

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Join book blog Bitten By Books on Thursday 2/13 with me (author Dale Basye) for a guest blog, chat and contest.This event post goes up at 12:00pm Central and runs into the evening. For those visiting from outside of the US, here is the time conversion link. Bitten By Books is in the Chicago time zone: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/

I will be talking about my newest book Wise Acres: The Seventh Circle of Heck.

“In the seventh installment of Heck, Dale E. Basye sends Milton and Marlo Fauster to Wise Acres, the circle reserved for kids who sass back. In Wise Acres, the cleverest, snarkiest, put-downiest kids debate and trade insults in Spite Club. But the new vice principal, Lewis Carroll, has some curious plans to raise the profile—and the stakes—of the competition. Now a full-fledged War of the Words will be broadcast through the afterlife. The winner will get the heck out of Heck and go straight to heaven. And the loser? Well, the loser goes down . . . all the way down to the real h-e-double-hockey-sticks. And Milton and Marlo are on opposite teams. Can they find a way out of Lewis Carroll’s mad-as-a-hatter scheme? Or is one Fauster about to pay a permanent visit to the Big Guy Downstairs?”

CONTEST INFO: Open to readers worldwide!
First Prize: $20.00 Amazon Gift Card
RSVP below and get 25 entries to the prize portion of the contest when you show up on the day of the event. If you don’t show up and mention your RSVP your points won’t be entered into the contest. Be SURE to TWEET and FACEBOOK this link: http://bittenbybooks.com/?p=72741 so your friends can RSVP too.

A Review of Wise Acres From December’s Booklist

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“Author Basye himself dies (of writer’s cramp) and so joins teen protagonists Marlo and Milton Fauster as they discover that mad Vice Principal Lewis Carroll has concocted a scheme to rewrite all of creation using a Tower of Babble. Meanwhile, the Fausters find themselves on rival teams in a reality-game-style War of the Words in the circle of Heck where mouthy kids go and face a string of challenges from a deep sar-chasm to encounters with ravening Where, Who, What, When, and Why Wolves. The series continues to pun-ish readers relentlessly in its seventh episode. Readers will anticipate the eighth circle of Heck.”

Wise Acres: The Seventh Circle of Heck is an Amazon Best Book of the Month!

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…available December 24th!

Trick and Treat WINNERS!

The Contest: Send a photo of you dressed as a Heck character for Halloween.

The Prize: A signed Circles of Heck book!

First Place: Elijah from New Jersey! Elijah is dressed as Milton Fauster from Snivel: The Fifth Circle of Heck. Not only did Elijah submit his entry mere moments from the contest announcement, but he has the most dismal expression on his face I’ve ever seen (that is, apart from this morning when I was shaving).image

 

Second Place: Spencer from Oakland. Spencer is dressed as Milton Fauster from Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go. Nice ferret in the backpack!

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Third Place: Jocelyn from Atlanta. While not a costume, per se, Jocelyn created the Gates of Heck using pipe cleaners and, for Marlo Fauster, an embellished Bratz doll. All in all, a creeptastic Heckoween display.

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Nice job, Hecklers! Your booty is in the mail. Books too!

Heck Contest Winner: Timothy Spaw!

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Remember that contest I posted a while back, asking Hecklers™ to post a video of them reading a chapter from one of my Circles of Heck books? Well…that didn’t work out so well. I got a few close calls (like Lucy Guzzardo’s awesome Heck video game!) but not a lot of actual Heck-related readings. I did, however, get a batch of CREEPTASTIC SONGS from Heckler™ Timothy Spaw from Syracuse, New Jersey! I’ve included them for all to enjoy this spooktacular season! Timothy is ten years old and loves music (apparently really disturbing music) and I thought, in honor of Halloween (AKA Satan’s Birthday), I would award him with the EXTRA SPECIAL PRIZE of a FULL-SET of SIGNED (or “Singed” if you’re dyslexic) HECK BOOKS! CONGRATULATIONS TIMOTHY AND SORRY I’M WRITING THIS IN ALL-CAPS! I’M NOT REALLY YELLING, IT’S JUST THAT I SPILLED FRESCA ON THE KEYBOARD!

Busy Week in Heck

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This past week, I had two wonderful appearances, firstly as part of the Bards and Brews reading series, and then leading the monthly Young Willamette Writers workshop!

1) Bards and Brews

I was late. Yes, late for my own reading. I do have an excellent excuse, however: I am always late. It’s something hardwired into my DNA. I can’t prove that, exactly, because I was late for my doctor’s appointment, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Luckily, I was to read with four other wonderful authors—Ripley Patton (GHOST HAND), Maggie Faire (CHAMELEON: THE AWAKENING), Mary Jane Nordgren (QUIET COURAGE), and Cat Winters (IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS)—so I was covered. This reading, at Primrose & Tumbleweeds in Hillsboro, Oregon, was different than my usual readings for three reasons. 1) It was at night. Usually, as a children’s author, your readings fall somewhere between nap time and dinner. 2) The audience was adults. Luckily, most of the jokes didn’t fly under their heads. 3) There was wine. Wine and signing books, I have found, is not a winning combination. So I sang, told a few jokes—or at least made several statement intended at producing mirth—and dragged two rather unwilling yet game audience members up to the podium to help me read the first chapter of Heck. I like doing this as this makes less work for me. And, in a few hundred blinks of an eye, my portion of the reading was over and I got to enjoy listening to other less socially awkward authors read their work! I even bought a book and had it signed. By the actual author, no less! After the event was over, I listened to music way to loud in the car since I never drive, which is great fun, not only because it’s a blast to scream while hurtling in a metal box along a freeway, but then—when my wife uses the car first thing in the morning—the radio immediately comes on, blaring, and scares the figurative crap out of her!

2) Young Willamette Writers Workshop

Next, it was off to Portland’s Old Church—which is an indeed a church that is very old—to give a workshop for a group of budding writers focused on building compelling characters with original voices, which is really hard, since—if you aren’t careful—all of your characters can begin to sound like you using a funny voices. One way of preventing this is to work in coffee shops so that, if you start using the funny voices, you will be publicly embarrassed by a hipster barista, which is pretty much the worse thing that can happen to a writer. I warmed up the crowd of a dozen young scribes with a song. The only problem was, when the Young Willamette Writers group holds their monthly meeting, there is a bigger meeting for the adults next door where they have a speaker read and what not. And, this being a church (an old one), my beautiful voice and exquisite guitar playing really carried, as if held aloft by angels, and filled the building with song. It was like at Thanksgiving dinner, where the adults are prattling away at the big table, and then suddenly the kids’ table erupts with laughter, and gets glared at. So doors were closed, and I continued, unashamed.

Usually I show up to my workshops with a multimedia presentation to help keep me on track and to be sure that all of the attendees can take part in the prompts and exercises. And, perhaps this being an old church, it also came equipped with old computer connectors, meaning, I couldn’t project my presentation. But, no matter: when life serves you lemons, you simply have the kids huddle around your computer to watch your Keynote presentation of lemons. There is nothing more satisfying than giving a workshop where all of the attendees really WANT to be there and get busy writing! Some great characters were created, including ghost teens and talking microwaves, and everything in between!

And, in two weeks, things get even more interesting as I fly out to St. Louis to take part in author Heather Brewer’s amazing anti-bully extravaganza, the Less Than Three conference!

How to Make a Law

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It happened again today, didn’t it? Something so unsettling and so, so… WRONG, but the offender just skipped away leaving you soaking in your own rage. Yep, another guy wearing white socks with sandals. Why, there ought to be a law against that! Well, lazy pants, stop talking and start legislating the world around you in your own, infinitely-right image! Murphy had a law, so why can’t you?

 

1. Get your law on to the ballot

Start by taking a little initiative and making one. An initiative is a proposed law placed on the ballot as the result of a petition drive among registered voters, then voted on by the electorate (i.e.: the sheep that will soon bow to your will and make the world an aesthetically better place, at least in terms of men’s casual footwear).

 

Be sure to word your initiative in such a way that it comes off like it will help other people too (“Think of the needless accidents that happen each day just because a driver’s attention is diverted by a pair of brilliant white cotton socks.”). But it’s not quite as easy as just being charming and persistent outside of a supermarket, gathering signatures like a bee gathers pollen. Each state has its own laws regarding potential laws. Arizona requires that each petition have only 15 signatures per page or else the whole jig is up. Other states require signatures from a percentage of voters in every region of your state: even the icky ones where the Starbucks are at least a mile a part. Ballot measures are notorious for being confusing, so go for it: all those episodes of Law and Order didn’t go to waste. Use a lot of Latin: Quid pro quo. Ipso facto. Habeas corpus. Pro bono (as if U2 weren’t popular enough already!).

 

2. Become a Congressman

Sometime if you want a law done right you have to know the right people: or become the right people. Your first step? Declare your candidacy. The Constitution lays down these simple requirements for any would-be member of the House of Representatives:

• You have to be at least 25 years old (easy for all too many of us, not so easy for some).

 

• You have to have been a US Citizen for at least seven years (or one year for dogs).

 

• You can’t live in the state you are elected to represent

 

 

Platform Shoes

 

Every candidate needs a platform, or better yet, a soapbox. Just make sure your soapbox is made of sturdy oak, not balsa wood.  Think of yourself as a product to be pedaled. Don’t slouch. Maintain eye contact. Try your best not to perspire. Become the person that intimidates you the most. SELL! SELL! SELL! And be sure that what you stand for makes others stand up and take notice (“The egregious pairing of sandals with socks is fundamentally un-American, and a dire threat to the moral fabric of this great nation!).

Expose Yourself

 

Media culpa? You bet! Get on the airwaves, get in the press, and do whatever you can to get your name out there (ideally, not in the police blotter). Send out press releases. Speak on radio, cable access, bowling alley openings, etc. Then there’s paid advertising where you have more control, but not without a price. Do you think all those flyers grow on trees? Well, sure, they did but…anyway, it all costs enormous amounts of cash, green stuff, dinero and sometimes even money to lube the campaign machine. You’ll need lots of it to keep your dream alive, and the socks in the shoes where they belong.

What’s next? You either win and draft a bunch of laws regulating men’s fashion for the public good until your constituents figure you out, or take matters to the next level.

3. Hypnotize people into doing your bidding

 

Who needs laws when you can bend the people’s will with a few calm words and something shiny? We’re talking hypnotism. How does it work? You bypass the conscious mind —the security guard of your psyche — and plant a suggestion straight to the subconscious, Do Not Pass Go, please flap your arms and cluck like a chicken. This way, the conscious mind will assume that your “suggestions” are coming straight from command central (“Notice how hot your socks become as they enter the sandals…”), causing your subject to react to these suggestions as if they were their own. Here’s how:

Fixed-gaze induction: You know, the whole “You are getting very sleepy…” deal. Get your subject to focus on one thing so that they don’t focus on certain other things, most notably, the fact that you are trying to hypnotize them. Speak to your subject in low, lulling tones so that they…zzzzz…

Overload: Basically, the exact opposite. Get your subject to focus on everything so that they are, in fact, focusing on nothing. Think video game. Think day at the mall. Think music video. Fill your subject’s mind with firm commands until you breach their mental defenses (“No socks with sandals!”). Be persistent. Be forceful. Be…very …zzzz…

 

Relax, This Won’t Hurt a Bit:  This is rather like fixed gaze in that it focuses on relaxation. This method is like subliminal (Don’t) meditation (Wear) audio (Socks) tapes, (With) where – (Sandals) through soft, repetition and gentle imagery – the subject is induced into a tranquil…zzzzzz…

 

If your subject’s mental state is, say, less Texas and more Rhode Island, the whole process should take only a few minutes. To ensure that no sandal is again ever sullied by a sweat sock, try hypnotizing as many people as you can in one sitting. Place prominent ads promising “Free sandals and socks!” if attendees attend your free “seminar.” Next thing you know, you’ll have a gym packed with hundreds of people, twice as many feet, and thousands of toes, and you’re sure to pass some legislation that will really knock their socks off!

 

 

The Hardly Boys Mysteries: The Best-Not-Trifled-With Occurrence

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Frank and Joe Hardly clutched the grips of their padded scooters and stared in horror at the oncoming jalopy. 

“He’ll hit us!” Frank shrieked.

“Or she’ll hit us,” Joe corrected. “We mustn’t rashly assume gender.”

“Whomever is driving could very well hit us upon passing. They could succumb to a sudden stroke, be fiddling with the radio, or simply bear a grudge against two impeccably clean young men out for a brisk stroll after being told to get some fresh air by their irritable governess…”

“We’d better cautiously ascend this hillside, taking our time as to avoid injury!” Frank exclaimed, as the boys started up the mild embankment, the training wheels of their scooters grumbling over the gravel.

To their amazement, the car passed without incident. 

“Wow!” said Joe. “Let’s go back home before that crazy guy—“

“Or girl.”

“—comes back to finish the job.” 

 On their right,  an embankment of plush moss sloped gradually to an ambitious puddle. From the opposite side rose a small blackberry bush.

“Watch your step, Frank, or Dad’s papers won’t get delivered.”

Frank reached into his jacket pocket to be sure several important legal papers were still there. Relieved to find them, Frank chuckled and said, “After we help father with his latest personal injury case, he ought to set up the firm of Hardly and Sons.”

“That would be very sensible of him,” Joe replied with a respectable grin. “Isn’t he one of the most famous claims adjusters in the country? And aren’t we meticulous and content to spend our days assessing the amount of compensation that should be paid after a person has made a claim on their insurance policy too?”

Just then, the two boys heard the gentle clatter of a car approaching from their rear. 

“An ice cream truck!” Joe burst out.

“Good night!” Frank replied, clearing his throat. “I’m already getting all phlegmy.”

At once the Hardlys stopped and pulled as close to the edge as they dared.

The ice cream van ambled slowly past. 

“Whew!That was close!” Frank gasped. 

“If I ever meet that driver again,” Joe muttered, “I’ll -I’ll…have the butler deliver a strongly worded reprimand!” 

Perhaps we should entrust a proper carrier with these papers,” Frank said.

“Yes,” Joe agreed meekly. “Better safe than sorry.” 

“We can stop off at Chet’s.”

Chet Morton, who was a school chum of the Hardly boys, lived on an estate about a mile out of Cravenport. 

The two boys laughed.

“Just kidding,” Frank added. “Chet is disgusting.”

Beyond the tall bushes was a flaming, overturned wreck with wheels cast upward. 

“Egad!” gasped Frank in terror. “Do you think we should—“

“Most definitely,” Joe interrupted. “Run home as fast as we can and make a detailed report!”

The brother climbed carefully out of the culvert and rode home at a sensible speed upon their padded scooters. 

“After we phone the authorities,” Frank said, his voice quavering with fear, “perhaps we can relax with a game of Chinese checkers.”

Joe blanched.

“Perhaps something less…exotic. Like regular checkers.”

“Capital idea!”

 

 Chapter Two: A Calming Sip of Not-Too Hot Chocolate…