Archive for Current Events

I’m Crowdsourcing My New Year’s Resolutions

Resolutions.

 

In case you missed the headline, I’m crowdsourcing my New Year’s Resolutions for 2018. Because who knows better than you? No-bah-dee. I’m in such deep denial about my faults that I’m not going to be any help at all. I’m just staring at a blank paper here. 

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Besides, the old way of doing resolutions doesn’t work. We’ve all been there. The calendar year turns and it’s time to make our big New Year’s Resolution. Or Resolution(s) if we’re feeling particularly ambitious — or covering our bases in the event of, you know, not bothering. Often people pick one big thing, for instance, “Lose Ten Pounds,” or “Spend Less Time on Social Media.” 

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The whole concept never takes hold. By late January there’s broken resolutions scattered everywhere. Collectively, across the country, we’re unresolved.

Why?

Because there’s too much pressure on that one big resolution. The success of an entire year rises or falls on that single thing. Did you learn how to macrame? Did you read more “serious novels”? Did you give up wheat? (You never even tried, did you?) Twelve months later you look back and it’s an “epic fail” because of course you didn’t lose those last ten pounds, nobody dreamed you would, in fact you packed on six more. Oh well.

I’ve come to believe that it’s much better to spread our the burden of resolutions as if they came in a large tub of room-temperature margarine. I’m not talking about a tub of ten solutions. Or even twenty. I’m talking about a very, very large tub.

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I’m announcing my intention of having 1,000 resolutions in place and fully documented by midnight, December 31st. In fact, while typing this I thought of my first resolution:

1) Never again say or type “epic fail.” In fact:

2) Never say or type “epic” anything. That word sucks now.

See? I need only 998 more resolutions.

Oh, wait:

3) Read at least one poem a day.

4) Don’t get my hopes up. Across the board. Just. Don’t.

Now here’s where you come in. I need only 996 more resolutions.

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Oh, wait, again:

5) Don’t believe any swimmer when he or she tells me the water is “refreshing.” That person with blue lips is a liar. Don’t get fooled again!

6) Say “namaste” at least once this year and actually believe it instead of, you know, faking it. I think it has something to do with a light.

7) Enough already with the IPAs.

8) Help more with housework.

8A) Ask Lisa where she keeps the broom. 

8B) Do we own a broom?

8C) Buy Lisa a broom for her birthday.

9) Boo somebody, anybody, but not an athlete. Ideas: baristas, politicians, family members, random strangers, the plumber, etc. Really let ’em have it.

10) Write Bill McKibbon a fan letter.

11) If it doesn’t look delicious, don’t eat it. Tasting things that look horrible is not open-minded, it’s overrated. Trust my eyes.

12) Tell Paul what I really, really think about him. Truth to power!

13) Get other people to finish my lists.

Okay, I need 987 more.

Got any suggestions?

Happy-New-Year-Copy

Pulling the Plug: Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out

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Pulling the plug.

I’ll be honest, this is something I struggle with at times. The time-suck of the endless scroll, the dopamine hit we get from a like or a click. The internet experience can be like pulling on a crack pipe. It’s so easy for us to lose our way in the web of social media, lose our grounding in the natural world.

So today I share this image from the Japanese translation of Nightmareland from my Scary Tales series. I’d love to give credit to the illustrator, but I honestly can’t make head or tails of this language.

Carry on. And good luck to you, dear reader, in your efforts to unplug, echoing that idealistic 60s concept of tune in (to your deeper self, at the bottom where there is no “self”), turn on (to the natural, spiritual world), drop out (unplug from addictive, distractive social media).

McElligott & Preller Join Forces for a Super “Team Up” at The Open Door Bookstore: 12/2 @ 1:00 – 2:30

It’s two for the price of none! Matt McElligott and I are teaming up for a unique book signing at Schenectady’s Open Door Bookstore on 12/2 at 1:00 – 2:30. Come say hello and take care of that holiday shopping with signed books!

Matt is the big brain behind the ground-breaking “Mad Scientist Academy” series, which brings scientific fact to young readers in a fresh, graphic, fun-filled format. The latest title is The Space Disaster.

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“McElligott has concocted a winning formula for learning as entertainment.”Kirkus Reviews.

I’ll be there to celebrate the publication of my own space-themed Jigsaw Jones book, The Case from Outer Space, along with the return-to-print of eight “classroom classics.” In addition, I’ll be signing my hot-off-the-presses release, Better Off Undead, for slightly older readers (grades 4-8).

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“The latest early chapter book in Preller’s long-running Jigsaw Jones Mystery series has plenty of appeal for young independent readers.”Booklist.

“This uproarious middle grade call to action [Better Of Undead] has considerable kid appeal and a timely message. A strong addition to school and public library collections.” — School Library Journal.

 

 

 

This Saturday, November 4th: The Rochester Children’s Book Festival

21686057_1278870868890285_7633552085031309871_nEvery book festival has its own vibe and personality. I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to participate in the Rochester Children’s Book Festival for the past four or five years. It is cozy, warm, and enthusiastic — much like the city itself. It has an upstate feel. Whereas other book festivals may be bigger and glitzier, the RCBF tops out at under 50 authors and illustrators. It’s manageable, not overwhelming. I like it a lot, very grateful to return again this Saturday. But of course, full disclosure: I’m glad to be invited anywhere! Acutely aware there will come a time when that phone no longer rings.

I’m especially excited to be promoting two new books from 2017: Jigsaw Jones: The Case from Outer Space and Better Off Undead, my new middle-grade title that just came out three days ago — already on its second printing. Get a First Edition while they last. But in any event, stop by and say hello!

Maybe we can discuss my visiting a school in your area. I live in the Albany area, but have enjoyed traveling out that way once or twice a school year.

Details:

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Come See Me at the Morristown Festival of Books

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For the first time, I’ll be signing books and speaking at the Morristown Festival of Books. I’ve heard great things about this event. Please click here for full details.

What makes it a little unusual is that this festival features authors for adults as well as children’s books. And unlike many festivals, boasting 75 authors and illustrators, or “more than 90 authors and illustrators,” Morristown does not appear to be focused on quantity. Check the list and you’ll find an impressive array of names. From the children’s side:

I'll be featuring my new Jigsaw Jones book: THE CASE FROM OUTER SPACE, and many others.

I’ll be featuring my new Jigsaw Jones book: THE CASE FROM OUTER SPACE, and many others.

Libba Bray, Scott Westerfeld, Emmy Laybourne, Kate DiCamillo, Tracey Baptiste, Ame Dyckman, Lauren Tarshis, Wendy Mass, and more. Best of all, I believe that all of us will get an opportunity to speak.

Oh yeah, I’m invited, too. Somehow I slipped through their defenses. I’m hoping I have time to hang out and just be a fan, because I love authors, too.

Take heart, Westchester, NY, folks: Please note that the wonderful Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival will be happening the same weekend. I’ve been fortunate to be invited to that one for years — since the old Sunnyside days — but I’m not attending this year because of a mix-up. Meaning: I got mixed up. Oh well, the festival will be perfectly fine without me — and, hey, I landed on my feet with this trip to Morristown.

If you love books, it’s going to be a great weekend!