Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The World's Fastest Baby Carriage

Colin Furze, a plumber and world record chaser, built the world's fastest baby stroller when he found out his girlfriend was expecting their first child. Don't worry. There is no baby in the carriage below, and he never races with his infant son, but the stroller can accelerate up to 53 miles per hour. 

I interviewed Furze for Popular Science, and you can check out the full story for details of the build and more. Whenever I interview someone like Furze, there's always way more great material than I can fit in a short piece, and that was the case once again. 

For example, Furze has become somewhat famous for his daring record attempts, which also included setting the world's largest bonfire, yet he still works as a plumber. Now, though, when he makes a local house call, he's often recognized. His reputation doesn't exactly soothe his customers, since they're worried he's going to want to do something strange with their toilet. "You'll go and look at the toilet," he says,  "and then they'll say, 'I just want you to fix it, I don't want it to go anywhere or catch fire.'" 

But a flaming, speeding toilet would be kind of cool....no?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Book Giveaway!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Dangerous Waters by Gregory Mone

Dangerous Waters

by Gregory Mone

Giveaway ends March 17, 2013.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dangerous Waters Paperback Release!

The paperback edition of Dangerous Waters: An Adventure on Titanic is out today, and while I'm not normally fond of exclamation points, I believe this event deserves one, so....! And again! The novel centers on Titanic passenger Harry Widener and his personal copy of a very rare, expensive, and unusual book. Before he sailed, Widener visited a book dealer in London named Bernard Quaritch. He bought a number of volumes, one of which was a 1598 edition of Sir Francis Bacon's Essaies. And he treated this one differently.

The New York Times reported on this story in June of 1912, several months after the sinking. In the article, Quaritch says that as Widener was leaving, he pulled the recently purchased copy of the Essaies out of his pocket and said, "If I am shipwrecked, you will know that this will be on me."

I spent months researching the life of Harry Widener, reading his letters and inspecting his books, but this story is what prompted me to write Dangerous Waters. My obsession with water, which kids are always asking me about, probably factors in as well. Oh, and I was once on a sinking ship, too. But we climbed off and onto another boat before ours went down.  

Of course, the book is fiction. Several of the main characters are entirely invented, or at least borrowed form the manifest of my own life, and not that of the ship. Here is the official plot summary, which I love:

A stowaway, a stolen book, a murderous villain: an adventure on the most famous shipwreck in history.

The great ocean liner Titanic is preparing to cross the Atlantic. Onboard is a sinister thief bent on stealing a rare book that may be the key to unlocking infinite treasure; a wealthy academic traveling home to America with his rare book collection; and Patrick Waters, a twelve-year-old Irish boy who is certain that his job as a steward on the unsinkable ship will be the adventure of a lifetime. In Dangerous Waters, disguises, capers, and danger abound as the ship makes its way toward that fateful iceberg, where Patrick will have to summon all his wits in order to survive.

Look for Dangerous Waters at your local bookstore, online, or at your school's Scholastic Book Fair!

I apologize for that last exclamation point. You must understand, though: I'm excited.