Ockler to Berk: You Lie!

YA author Josh Berk, perhaps known best for his outrageous on-camera phone calls to medical professionals, clergymen, and others who probably can’t afford to be interrupted because they’re busy saving lives and solving the existential crises of our times1, exposed himself in front of hundreds of authors, teachers, and book industry pros on the floor of the NCTE conference this afternoon… as a fraud.

Camera man Jon Skovron, author of newly released Struts & Frets, told authorities that he had no knowledge that Berk’s calls were fraudulent or that Berk was wanted for questioning in a series of author stalkings.

As if authorities needed additional ammunition against this misguided conference attendee, Berk was later spotted stalking author David Lubar…

Berk Stalker!

…forcing vegetarian author Sarah Ockler to pose with some dude wearing a shirt advocating the slaughter of pigs…

Sarah Ockler Does NOT Love Bacon

…and instigating a match of Dirty Dozens with Twilight heartthrob Jacob Black, who made an unscheduled appearance to drum up support for the creepy shit that happens in Breaking Dawn that we won’t talk about here because it’s spoilery. Berk was later escorted from the conference by security. Witnesses reported hearing his final screams as two armed guards dragged him out to the street: “I didn’t mean to say that Edward was more swoon-worthy! I was Team Jake before there were even teams! I tore those last 100 pages out of New Moon! I love you, Jake!”

Berk Fondling Jacob Black

Josh Berk was last seen entering a public transportation tunnel with fellow YA author Jennifer Hubbard (The Secret Year, January 2010), presumably to terrorize unsuspecting Philadelphia suburbanites. It is unclear at this time whether Hubbard is an accomplice or merely another victim of Josh Berk’s author-obsessed delusions.

Berk Threatens Hubbard

Residents are advised that Berk is armed with an old model Nokia cell phone and may attempt another fraudulent on-camera call without warning.


1. YA author Josh Berk is also known for his role as helpless victim – slash – martyr in the Great Ockler-Berk April Fools Caper of 2009 in which Sarah Ockler risked book sales to pose as a militant animal rights activist; his once prominent but now defunct Jewfro; and his debut YA novel, The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin (February 2010).

Jon Skovron’s Character Debut Party

STRUTS & FRETS by Jon SkovronJon Skovron, alternately known as Jonny Skov, is one of only three men in the 2009 Debutantes. For more than a year, he’s endured the total estrogen overload with humor and grace… well, grace sounds kind of girly. I mean like a manly sort of grace. So I’m excited to share a little bit about STRUTS & FRETS, his newly released YA novel that was just selected for the Winter Children’s Indie Next List.

Fortunately for everyone involved, Skov does a much better job immersing you in the world of the book than I could! Check out his video from a recent reading at NYC’s Books of Wonder:

About STRUTS AND FRETS

More than anything, Sammy wants to play guitar in a famous indie rock band. The problem is that his front man is a jerk who can’t sing, his bassist is a burn-out who can’t remember the songs, and his drummer is just out to lunch. But Sammy needs this band because it’s the only good thing he’s got going. His father skipped out before he was born, his mother is an overworked therapist with a drinking problem, his grandfather is slowly losing his mind to Alzheimer’s, and the girl of his dreams is dating his jerk lead singer.

Now that jerk lead singer has entered them in a Battle of the Bands contest to win free studio time and guaranteed radio play. Sammy has two weeks to get them to sound like a real band, or face public humiliation in front of the entire local indie music scene.

Sammy’s 2009 Debut Party

There’s something about boys who play guitar that really gets me. As in, the “you had me at opening chords” kind of gets me. So let’s just hope that Sammy decides to play a few songs for his big debut!

The Guest List

Sammy, of course. And all of his buddies, Rick, TJ, Alex, Jen5, Laurie. I think he’d get along with Nick and Nora and their crew from the Infinite Playlist. I’m sure there are others, but he’s not really into big parties.

The Party

His band and a few other bands will play in a warehouse. There will be pizza and beer. And some of Jen5’s artwork hung up for display. No theme, really. Just good music and lots of laughs.

Seems like the boy debutantes are just not into party favors and themes! That would change if my mother was on the job, but in the mean time, pizza and beer and bands playing in a warehouse (what did I say about guitar boys? See!) sounds like a rockin’ time anyway.

The Guest of Honor: Sammy

Sammy is wearing Jeans and a t-shirt, with maybe an old button-up thrown over it. His theme song? Ooo, that’s a tough question. Maybe “Where Is My Mind” by The Pixies?

Jon’s Advice for Sammy on His Big Debut

Dude, don’t even sweat it. No pressure. Just do your thing.

Congratulations Jon and Sammy on their awesome debut! STRUTS & FRETS is available in book stores now, and also online through Indiebound and other Web retailers.


Jon Skovron is an insatiable music geek who can play eight instruments, but none of them well. He was born in Columbus, Ohio, has lived all over the US, and now resides with his wife and two sons in Washington, DC. His short stories and reviews have appeared in publications like Jim Baen’s Universe and Internet Review of Science Fiction. Struts and Frets is his first novel. Visit him online.