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

Archive for May, 2012

This Morning’s Sweet Photo

Thursday, May 31st, 2012 Posted in A Pirates Guide (Series) | No Comments »


A friend sent along this note . . . "He fell asleep reading your book. I couldn't resist a photo."

Grumpy Answers to Great Questions: Wastepaper Prose (and Other Literary Woes)

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 Posted in Around the Web, the writing process | No Comments »


I was recently invited to participate in Round 7 of "The Author Insight Series," hosted by the outstanding Wastepaper Prose blog. It was exciting to get an invitation anywhere, frankly, so I went out, bought a lightweight seersucker suit, and dithered over ...

Four Old Family Photos

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012 Posted in Family | No Comments »


Busy day yesterday, as I drove down to CitiField (300 miles round trip) with Gavin and Nick to catch the Mets. My attendance record stands now at 0-3, and each game fairly abysmal. This is the price I pay, I ...

Sneak Peak 2: My New Series of Scary Tales

Friday, May 25th, 2012 Posted in Scary Tales, the writing process | No Comments »


Last month I handed in the manuscript for the first book in a new series -- my first since Jigsaw Jones. Though Jigsaw is still around, with many titles still available, I haven't consistently written new books in that series ...

Sneak Peak #1: A Pirate’s Guide to Recess

Thursday, May 24th, 2012 Posted in A Pirates Guide (Series), Uncategorized | No Comments »


Avast, ye scallywags! Greg Ruth is currently illustrating the sequel to A Pirate's Guide to First Grade, in which we take it out to the playground and introduce fierce Captain Molly. Look for A Pirate's Guide to Recess (Macmillan) in the ...

Are Students Sick & Tired of Anti-Bullying Messages? And What About You?

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012 Posted in Bystander, School Visits, bullying | 1 Comment »


I'll admit it. Sometimes I have doubts. Not about bullying, exactly -- I know it's a serious issue, a matter of life and death -- but I fret about the effectiveness of talking about it. You could call it an occupational ...

Fan Mail Wednesday #153: Funny Line

Monday, May 21st, 2012 Posted in Fan Mail | No Comments »


A quickie today. A boy named Dominik wrote a brief whisper of a letter, and concluded with a sentence that cracked me up. My favorite scene in every book is when the case ends. I told him I often feel the same ...

Fan Mail Wednesday #152: Featuring Artwork!

Thursday, May 17th, 2012 Posted in Fan Mail, Jigsaw Jones | No Comments »


I like it when the letters include artwork. I replied: Dear Andrew, Hey, thanks for your typed letter, the terrific drawing, and a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Well played, young man! I’m glad you liked The Case of the Haunted Scarecrow. It has one of ...

Fan Mail Wednesday #151: Some Letters Are Just So Sad

Thursday, May 17th, 2012 Posted in Fan Mail | 2 Comments »


When you are an author, and if you are lucky, kids send you letters. Some are formulaic, an assignment; others go deeper and seem more genuine. And some letters chip away at your heart -- and you try to answer ...

Fan Mail Wednesday #150: Weirdness & Other Fine Qualities

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012 Posted in Fan Mail, Jigsaw Jones | No Comments »


To mix things up, I thought I'd run a "Fan Mail Wednesday" piece on an actual Wednesday. I think it's good to keep readers off-balance. So, here's a good one. I only wish I could share with you the name ...