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

Archive for June, 2011

Fan Mail Wednesday #120: On Reading & Rollercoasters

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 Posted in Fan Mail, Six Innings, the writing process | No Comments »


I love hearing from readers of Six Innings, maybe because it's the kind of book that I would have read as a boy that age. I feel a connection to those guys. I replied: Dear Drew, Oh my, time flies. It looks ...

My Apologies to Dolly Parton

Monday, June 27th, 2011 Posted in Happenings | 1 Comment »


Last week, when announcing an upcoming Summer Reading Event, I made a couple of quizzical comments about Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. As usual with this blog, the reaction was immediate. Very quickly, nothing happened. I waited a while longer, and nothing ...

Congratulations, Nick

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011 Posted in Family | No Comments »


The creature in my arms graduates from High School today. His name is Nicholas Neal Preller and he's my oldest son. High school graduations happen every year for a million different families. The ceremonies are ordinary, commonplace, boring, and, for me ...

Join Us for the Summer Reading Spectacular: Featuring 11 Children’s and Teen Authors, Completely Live, in Colonie, NY

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011 Posted in Current Events, Happenings | 1 Comment »


This is a warning, folks. On June 30th at 7:00 PM a rugged band of children's and YA authors will be gathering at the Barnes & Noble bookstore at Colonie Center in Colonie, NY. That's right, it's time for the Summer Reading ...

Fan Mail Wednesday #119: Play Ball!

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011 Posted in Fan Mail, Six Innings | No Comments »


Here's one from Wyatt . . . I replied: Dear Wyatt, Thanks for your letter. I'm sorry for the delay in my reply. Despite my best efforts, every year I seem to reach a point when I get hopelessly behind in my fan ...

When Keith Sings: The Ultimate Keith Richards/Rolling Stones Mix

Monday, June 20th, 2011 Posted in A Pirates Guide (Series), Music, Readings | No Comments »


I recently finished reading the Keith Richards biography, Life, which I largely enjoyed. It's not a great book, huge gaps, not particularly well organized or written, and it suffers from a classic case of the unreliable narrator (this is Keith ...

Dad’s Fertilizer & the Mortification of Us All: A Father’s Day Tribute

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011 Posted in Family, Greatest Hits | 2 Comments »


Dad was the father of seven children, a veteran of World War II who served in the Pacific. After the war, he graduated from Boston University in two and half years, because why in the world would anybody want to ...

Fan Mail Wednesday #118: Lucas from Iowa

Friday, June 10th, 2011 Posted in Fan Mail, Jigsaw Jones | No Comments »


Wait, hold on, I think I've got one . . . I replied: Lucas! Thanks for writing. I've never been to Iowa. It's exciting to get a letter all the way from there. Does it really look like this? I was impressed by your ...

Thinking That I’m Not Thinking . . . Brian Eno, Don Music, and the Nature of Ideas

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 Posted in Around the Web, Music, the writing process | 1 Comment »


I've admitted it more than once: I know my work is going well when I have ideas in the shower. That is, those times when I'm thinking that I'm not thinking. By the way, whenever I think about the creative process, ...

Come to The Eric Carle Museum, Saturday, June 4: Guest Artists, Demonstrations, Panel Discussions, Wild Fun

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 Posted in A Pirates Guide (Series), Happenings | No Comments »


Exciting events are happening this Saturday at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA, featuring presentations by Tomie dePaola, Diane deGroat,  John Gurney, Astrid Sheckels, and more. Let's hear our friend Greg Ruth, illustrator of A Pirate's Guide to First Grade, ...