PRESS PLAY Pub Day Contest

jimmy-fallon-elmo-happy-dance-saturday-night-live

Yay, it’s Pub Day! And to celebrate the fact that Press Play is out in the world, I’ve created a fun and interactive giveaway. You have the opportunity to win a signed copy of Press Play, as well as this long-sleeve T-shirt.PP Shirt-1

From today, 10/28, through Tuesday, 11/11, you have one job––to create a video. What kind, and what to do with it are below:

*You do not have to be a Tumblr user to enter. You just need to go to the site. I promise*

  1.  Go to a bookstore. Record yourself making a big deal about finding Press Play on the shelf. Maybe you can even talk it up to other patrons. It’s your call, just make it fun for everyone.
  2. If you’ve already gone to the bookstore or to one of my signings, and, therefore, have a copy, there’s no need to go to the bookstore. Make a video in which you discuss the awesomeness of the book. It doesn’t have to be you sitting in front of the camera, talking. However you want to create the “review” is up to you.
  3. Once you’ve recorded, you’ll need to upload your video to YouTube or to Vimeo so that you have an Embed code or URL
  4. With video complete, go to my Tumblr: http://initiationsecrets.tumblr.com/
  5. See that “Submit” tab?Step 5
  6. Click Submit and you’ll see this:Step 6
  7. Now, enter a name and email. I need to be able to tell you that you’ve won 🙂Step 7
  8. Now, you’ll need to change “Text” in the upper, left corner to “Video”Step 8
  9. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready and the screen will look like this:Step 9
  10. Paste in your Embed code or URL and Submit

Sweet, right? I know. I’m looking forward to seeing all the videos, the antics, the creativity. And I’m excited to hear your reactions to my work.

Go, have fun. Enjoy Press Play.

Your Weekend Plans involve PRESS PLAY

PP B&N Poster

Hey, everybody! We’re a week out from the publication day for Press Play, which means my normally anxiety-ridden self is overflowing with neuroses. But it also means it’s time for you to get your hands on copies AND to have a chance to see the trailer on the big screen.

Yup, from 10/24 through 10/30, at  Regal Cinemas in Colonie, the trailer will play during the ad space before all PG-13 and R rated movies.

Therefore, movies like Gone Girl, The Maze Runner, Fury, The Judge, Guardians of the Galaxy, Dracula Untold, and Left Behind will all be playing my trailer as you settle in with your popcorn. Do feel free to tweet to me or post to Facebook that you’ve seen it. Go ahead and snap a picture if you’re feeling brave. 

However, I know that seeing the trailer is cool, but getting the book is better. And so if you want to be some of the first people in the Capital District to get your hands on copies, I have two events prior to publication day where you can get a copy and my signature.

On Friday, 10/24, from 4:oo until the party winds down, I’m back at McGreivey’s for my Launch party. If you’ve been before, expect the same good time. If you haven’t, expect free appetizers from 5-7, drink specials at the bar, and a packed house of people celebrating my latest creation.

If you can’t make it on the 24th, no worries, I’ve got you covered the next day. On Saturday, 10/25, I’m at Barnes and Noble in Colonie, signing from 2-4. And hey, while you’re there, you can go see a movie. Please be sure to look for the poster at the top of this post, and, again, share it on every social media platform you are on.

And if neither of these dates work, not a problem, just check the flyer below for one that does. I hope to see you at least once, and I can’t wait for your reaction to the turbulent ride that is Press Play!

Sayreville vs. PRESS PLAY: when truth is stranger than fiction

Sayreville

I wasn’t surprised by the hazing allegations in Sayreville, NJ. I was disgusted, especially as details about the hazing came out, but not surprised.  I have been involved with athletics as an athlete and as a coach, and I know, firsthand, the danger of the locker room mentality. As an educator, I have heard more stories about abusive events than I ever wanted to. This isn’t to say I have ever been around circumstances of the severity of Sayerville. But I’m not sure that severity is the key issue. The complicit nature of those in the know, is.

Trust me, in no way shape or form am I blaming victims. Those boys have been traumatized. Nor am I so foolish as to expect the perpetrators to turn themselves in. They should, but that is not how they operate. My concern is with the rest of the team, the school, and the community. I do not live in Sayreville, and I won’t speak ill of a town reeling from such a scandal, but I think the question that needs to be asked–and hopefully is being asked by investigators–is who knew, what, and when?

The thing about teens is that they talk. They tell stories. Often they can’t keep secrets. Based on the media reports out of Sayreville, the hazing that occurred is as much tradition as is the support of the team. And so it is only fair to deduce that someone knew. Or a lot of people, really. Not just the team. Not just their immediate friends. But certainly the coaches, and maybe some of the staff; possibly administration. I’m willing to bet former players knew. Yet, no one spoke out, so far as we know. That fact speaks to the power of abuse and the grip it holds. Everyone feared speaking because of the potential victimization he or she would receive. With good reason.

In Press Play, the lacrosse team is involved in brutal and systematic hazing. No one talks because they know better. No one talks because the powers that be are complicit, possibly more than. No one talks because the town’s economy depends on the team. No one talks because there is no one to talk to.

Some people have had a problem with that concept, of students not trusting adults, or adults being cast in such a negative light. I respect that. And more often than not, teens should be able to trust adults. Except for when they can’t.

That’s why I was thrilled to see a recent review by a librarian who went back and reread Press Play after the allegations is Sayreville came forth. In her words, “I had to reread Press Play this week after hearing about the hazing in Sayreville, NJ, on the news. When I first read the book, it seemed like an over-the-top version of team hazing and bullying, designed to get people talking. After watching the Sayreville superintendent’s press conference on his decision to completely cancel their football team’s entire season, I realized that there is much more reality to this than I ever wanted to believe.”

No one wants to imagine that anyone is capable of being involved on any level with something so atrocious. But people are. And it is as bad, if not worse, in reality, than any fiction I can write.

The reviewer goes on to make a powerful statement in support of Press Play: This is well-written, gripping, and I recommend this for 8th grade and up.
I really want my…graduates in high school to read this. But I also want my 8th graders to read this. There is a lot of swearing, and the bullying scenes should literally make your blood run cold. The reason I want my 8th graders to read this is that I want them to think carefully about what kind of person they want to be when they get to the high school. What do you want yourself to do when the lights go out and you hear the wolf howl signal? Will you step up and say something, and will you keep saying something until someone listens? Will you hide in the back and say nothing while you watch? Or will you be laughing and egging someone on? What kind of character does it take to do the right thing in the face of certain ostracism, and possible violence?”

These are the questions posed to Greg, the protagonist in Press Play. He, who has been bullied and victimized for as long as he can remember, has to decide to step up or stay silent. His journey into the darkness is disturbing, but so worth the read if you care to understand the impotent rage that these athletes feel, these students feel, that you will feel.

Press Play will be published two weeks from today. Read, and continue the conversation, because events like the one at Sayreville are far from behind us.

It’s almost Pub day, so thank you.

A.T. Thank you

In the next two months, I will negotiate my blog tour, participate in a Skype visit with a library in California, hold six signings, and participate in two conventions. Meanwhile, I’m wrapping up another project for submission and have already begun the next novel. Throw in Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the beginning of the Christmas season, and come the end of the year I am not going to know which end is up.

This is a very good problem to have. In the past five years I have gone from absolutely no promotion to what is a building groundswell. People know who I am and have an understanding of the type of work I write. That recognition is astounding to me. And it is due in large part to you and your word-of-mouth support.

For all the marketing and promotion that has been done, and will be done, it still boils down to an audience connecting with a story, and even better, multiple stories and their author. You have done that for me. And so as I slide into the launch of Press Play, I thank you in advance. There are a million ways you can spend your time, and you have not only given some of that to my writing, but you’ve asked friends and family and colleagues and students to do the same. What can I say but thank you?

And so I will. THANK YOU!

Keep reading, keep enjoying, keep spreading the word, online, or face-to-face. Reviews matter. Awards matter. But nothing matters more than knowing the work I do pleases people. Or upsets people. Makes them think. So thank you for appreciating that fact, that you’re not going to get an easy-to-read, full of sunshine story. But that in the end, you might sit for a moment and say, “Damn, what the hell just happened?”

Trust me, I know what’s coming and will continue to uphold my end of that agreement. I’ll write you those stories. And they will be there for you, happy to be in your hands.

Here’s to October 28th, and to the adventures we will have 🙂

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