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

Archive for September, 2012

Overheard: “Dad, NOBODY goes to bathroom in school.” (Parenting a Middle Schooler: The Joyful Saga, pt. 2)

Sunday, September 30th, 2012 Posted in Family | 1 Comment »


I work at home, so I'm aware when Gavin and Maggie return from middle school -- I can hear them scurrying to the bathrooms. It's a sprint. The quickest gets the bathroom off the main hallway, while the slower one ...

Music Video Friday: Teenage Fanclub

Friday, September 28th, 2012 Posted in Music | No Comments »


I don't know how I landed on this song, except that it always makes me happy -- and Teenage Fanclub from Scotland is one of my all-time favorites. Here they are doing their Byrds-influenced, harmony-dripped jangle. Have a great weekend. "I ...

Cross-Eyed Maggie: Same Photo, Reenacted

Thursday, September 27th, 2012 Posted in Family | 1 Comment »


This is one of my all-time favorite photos of Maggie, here with her good friend Zoe (left). Taken some time ago in Cape Cod, I believe. These two hooligans have been hanging around with each other since Year One, and ...

A Few Snaps from a School Visit

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 Posted in Bystander, School Visits | 2 Comments »


I had a great visit to Thomas Middle School, north of Chicago, a couple of weeks back. First-class all the way, the administration, teachers, students, everybody. They even sent me a bunch of photos from the visit. Here's a few ...

Overheard: “I don’t know, ask Mom.” (Parenting a Middle Schooler: The Joyful Saga, Part 1)

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 Posted in Family | No Comments »


To be clear: I love my 8th-grade son. I'm proud of him in a thousand different ways. He's terrific; he completes me. It's just that . . . I kind of want to kill him sometimes. I mean, if it were possible ...

Why a Character Talks about Kurt Vonnegut in BEFORE YOU GO

Monday, September 24th, 2012 Posted in Before You Go, Interviews & Appreciations | No Comments »


For starters: I've always done it. Always? Yes, in fact, always. It's a tradition that started when I was six months old and referenced Go, Dog. Go! during a Skype with Granny. I continued to do it with my Jigsaw Jones ...

Snaps: Two Baseball Shots of Gavin, in Cooperstown’s “Field of Dreams” Park

Friday, September 21st, 2012 Posted in Family | No Comments »


This summer Gavin had the opportunity to play at Cooperstown's "Field of Dreams" park. His team was one of 104 teams from all over the country to participate in the weekly tournament. The boys stayed in barracks, played hard, and ...

Fan Mail #159: Featuring Free Artwork!

Thursday, September 20th, 2012 Posted in Fan Mail, Jigsaw Jones | No Comments »


Gander at this beauty from Canada . . . It came with a short, sweet note from Megan: Dear James Preller, I love your books "Jigsaw Jones," I love the mystery. My favourite part is how Jigsaw does not know who did it. ...

Pay No Attention to That Man Behind the Curtain

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 Posted in Scary Tales, the writing process | No Comments »


When I started this blog, one of my guiding concepts was to pull back the curtain . . . . . . .to show some of the inner workings of the writing process. It's not all gazing into the luminous sky, ...

PIRATE’S GUIDE Sequel, In Which Red Meets His Match

Monday, September 17th, 2012 Posted in A Pirates Guide (Series), the writing process | No Comments »


Here's a touch of art from Greg Ruth, the amazing artist behind A Pirate's Guide to First Grade and the upcoming sequel, A Pirate's Guide to Recess. I had an interesting experience writing this one, because it was the first time ...