News, Notes & Inside Info from a Children’s Book Author

Archive for October, 2009

BYSTANDER: A Shout Out to Led Zeppelin’s “Communication Breakdown”

Thursday, October 29th, 2009 Posted in Bystander, Music, the writing process | 3 Comments »


Eric Hayes, the main character in Bystander, plays guitar. He's also missing an absent father, who occasionally sends CDs in the mail. Here's a brief excerpt from Chapter 4, the first time that subplot is explored. To set up the ...

A Bad Break: Some Photos

Thursday, October 29th, 2009 Posted in Family | 1 Comment »


It's basketball season. We've got two kids on travel teams, Gavin (5th grade), and Maggie (3rd grade). Plus, there's the rec league for Nick (11th) and Gavin. My wife, Lisa, played hoops in college -- team captain! -- and coached ...

Fan Mail Wednesday #66

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 Posted in Fan Mail, Jigsaw Jones | No Comments »


Let's get to it. I'll plunge my hand into the giant barrel I keep beside my desk . . .  let's see what we have here . . . a fish? Oops, wrong barrel. I use that one for target ...

Arrrrr: Greg Ruth’s “52 Weeks Project” Revisited

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 Posted in A Pirates Guide (Series), Around the Web | No Comments »


One of life's little pleasures is the email I receive each week from illustrator Greg Ruth, as part of his second annual "52 Weeks Project." Each weekly missive includes a brief note from Greg -- who has a writing style, ...

What Is a Book for Boys? One Suggestion: “Patrick and Ted” by Geoffrey Hayes

Monday, October 26th, 2009 Posted in Along Came Spider, Greatest Hits, Interviews & Appreciations, the writing process | 8 Comments »


I've been dwelling lately on the concept of "books for boys." It's a huge topic, one that I can't possibly address in a single blog entry. I mean, yes, we're all aware of the gender gap in reading, that many ...

Harvey Milk on “Hope”

Saturday, October 24th, 2009 Posted in Around the Web | No Comments »


I found this quite by accident. Lucky day, I guess . . . [youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbWDNM0wuAc] This is known as "The Hope Speech," but I understand Milk gave many variations of this speech for years. I believe this version comes from a speech he ...

Fan Mail Wednesday #65 (Friday Edition)

Friday, October 23rd, 2009 Posted in Along Came Spider, Fan Mail | No Comments »


I debated whether I should include this or not, as it's something of a cheat. I am friends with the writer of this letter -- we'll call her Nell, as that's her name -- so she's biased in my favor. ...

BYSTANDER: A 2009 Junior Library Guild Selection

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009 Posted in Bystander | 5 Comments »


I received a curious package in the mail today, a padded envelope from the Junior Library Guild. It included a congratulatory letter from Jeanette Rivard, stating in part: In keeping with our goal of providing extraordinary reading experiences for children, Bystander ...

Ben

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009 Posted in Family, School Visits | 4 Comments »


His name was Ben and he was waiting for me when I arrived at Blue Creek Elementary. Ben was holding my book, Six Innings, in his hands. "Could you . . . ?" a teacher asked. Yes, yes, of course. So we ducked ...

James Preller Interviews . . . Carmen Deedy, author of “14 Cows for America”

Sunday, October 18th, 2009 Posted in Interviews & Appreciations | 1 Comment »


I was happy when I came across the book, 14 Cows for America, written by a long-lost friend, author and storyteller Carmen Deedy. We've since exchanged a few emails, caught up on our lives (to the extent that's possible), and ...