Banned Books Week

A few weeks ago, my editor at Penguin sent an email to her authors (yes, I’m one of her authors, how cool is that?!?). She forwarded some information from her marketing team and asked us (her authors) to post our feelings about banned books week. So I decided to make this video:

Apparently I need to do a better read job reading emails all the way through. Here is what the email said (now that I read past the part where I was considered one of her authors):

Banned Books Week is September 21-27 this year. Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read without censorship organized by the American Library Association. During Banned Books Week, Penguin USA, Penguin Teen, and Penguin Kids will be engaging in the conversation around anti-censorship and the freedom to read, and we would like to invite all of our PYRG authors and illustrators to take to their social channels to support this cause.

As Penguin encouraged me, I know encourage you (all three of my readers) to join the conversation and support the cause. Share reasons why you support Banned Books Week on your social channels. Participate in one or both of the official #BannedBooksWeek Twitter chats being run by ALA. These are scheduled for Monday 9/23 from 10-noon EST and Wed 9/25 from noon –2pm EST.

And be sure to use the tag #BannedBooksWeek.


What’s your favorite Banned Book? What’s your favorite Band Book?

Flog Blop

Just kidding! It’s a blog hop! (I’m a rhymer). Thanks to my crit buddy, lofter pal, and splendid author Nancy Tupper Ling for tagging me. I’m gonna answer four questions (just like Nancy answered) about my writing process. Check out Nancy’s Flog Bop entry here.

What am I currently working on?

Boring! Instead of answering this question, I’m going to tell you what I’m currently working on. Lately I’ve been working on more picture books (rhyming? of course! you wouldn’t want it any other way). As always, I’m in the contemplative stages of some things that might not rhyme or might not be picture books. Maybe I’ll start my own blog hop (oh, wait, I already did that). Oh, also, I’m working on my ability to fly underwater. It’s not going well.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Differ. Differ? Differ??? Have you ever noticed that if you say a word over and over again out loud it starts to lose all meaning? I find when this happens it’s best to use a dictionary to explain the word. According to, differ has three definitions, so I’ll go with the third one: “to dispute or quarrel” (what does it mean when it says ‘obsolete’ before the definition? presumably, there is no place I can look that up). So how does my work quarrel with others? That question makes no sense. I refuse to answer nonsensical questions! NEXT!!!

Why do I write what I write?

One of my goals is that I hope that my picture books appeal to both children and adults. Not that this would make them totally unique – there are LOADS of picture books that I enjoy – but there are enough that my many many many kids might like that I’d rather not spend my time reading. I’d like to think that children will want their parents to read my books over and over (and dare I say over) again … and the parents gladly do just that after every request.

[do you think anyone will notice that I copied this answer from the last time I participated in this blog hop? They probably will now that I typed it here inside these brackets]

How does my individual writing process work?

Oooh, the last time I answered this question it was “How does my writing process work?” I like the new word. Individual. Perhaps this picture will explain it:


Well, I hope you’ve learned a lot about my writing process and I’ve answered all of your questions satisfactorily. Satisfactorily. Satisfactorily. Thanks for visiting! And thanks for passing this along, Nancy!



NESCBWI 14 Conference Recaps

If you know me, you’ll know that I’m pretty quiet, reserved, and shy. I don’t really like talking much, especially about myself. You’ll also know I’m pretty sarcastic.

Therefore, rather than talking about my experience at last weekend’s conference (May 2-4), I thought I’d share some of my friends’ recaps. So here they are:

If I missed your blog post, feel free to share it in the comments, or just post your own thoughts on the grand spectacle that was NESCBWI 2014.

Who’s ready for next year?

Think outside your

crayon box








Happy Old Year, 2013!

Before celebrating another year since the birth of the Earth (hey, that rhymes!), I’d like to congratulate 2013 for being pretty awesome to me. Here are some highlights:

I began 2013 with a little over a year’s experience, a single handful of decent manuscripts, very few contacts, and no online presence.

I adopted a pseudonym.

I wrote. I revised. I joined a new critique group and critiqued.

I dipped my toes into the pool of social networking.

Facebook LogoInstagram LogoTwitter LogoPinterest LogoWordpress Logo Google Plus LogoGoodreads LogoMammoth Logo  Tumblr Logo
(did I forget any? Probably…)

I ate lunch with at the same table as a Newbery Honor winner.

I made real and virtual friends with skillful sarcasm.

I attended 4 book launches and purchased more signed books than I can count.

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I started another critique group and became a board member.

I queried and submitted with a success rate higher than 0.0%.

Marsal Lyon Literary Agency Logo

I abandoned the pseudonym.

I end the year in the process of waiting.

Waiting for the phone to ring

The lessons of 2013? Don’t use a pseudonym. And get out there. And my wife is always right. Even if I crossed off the last five things from my list, it would still have been a pretty awesome year.

I wish all (both) of you a 2014 as ‘happy’ as my 2013.

Happy Birthday to You

As it is the holiday and gift giving season, I’d like to step back for a second and do something different. I’d like to wish you a happy birthday. That’s right, happy birthday to the nearly 10% of this planet’s population born between Black Friday and Christmas. Whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Festivus, Hanukkah, Saturnalia, the Winter Solstice, Chanukah, Christmas, or something else, you undoubtedly get the short end of the stick when it comes to birthday presents.

My present to you is this post.

Maybe next year I’ll get you a puppy (but probably not).