New Middle Grade Fiction

Appreciated the chance to chime in on Robbie Yates latest release, The Kooky Kids' Club, and honored to have a blurb on the cover. I found the story relatable and empathetic, the story-telling spare and true. In the author's own words: Maxine is smart, quirky, and a bit of a misfit. One day, she receives … Continue reading New Middle Grade Fiction

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Always

Puzzled that I’d spend my time doing this, people will ask, ‘How long have you been writing?’ Part accusation, part sincere inquiry, it deserves consideration. The truest answer I have—and it’s not a wise guy answer—is always. I say ‘truest’ because of the stages leading up to my present output: two published novels; two mid-grade … Continue reading Always

Reader Wanted

Today I finished my fifth novel. Tomorrow, it will be a gift for my son on his eighth birthday. I await the sense of release, the great pocket of freedom that opens up when a large file is deleted. Last December a man walked into the SweetLife Cafe wearing nothing at all but his socks. … Continue reading Reader Wanted

Can He also Ride a Porcupine?

Two weeks ago (yes...) I visited my son's second grade class. I read to them from my current work in progress, a novel soon to be presented IHO Mohan's eighth birthday. Before I finished the hands were up and all the mouths were saying 'Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!' They had plans for my principal foil, a … Continue reading Can He also Ride a Porcupine?

Sex Ed: Anne Frank in Africa

Without telling us the punchlines, Dutch researchers announced this week the discovery of four dirty jokes papered over in Anne Frank’s diary. I taught the diary as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi two decades ago, curious from the start why it was on the curriculum. My students faced a lifetime of grinding poverty, endemic … Continue reading Sex Ed: Anne Frank in Africa

Take Your Child to Work Day

My favorite work day of the year. The cafeteria never seems so alive. The visitor hall buzzes with energy. At State our children take the same oath of service---to uphold the constitution---that we took when we came on board. “I stachername, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United … Continue reading Take Your Child to Work Day

Turns Ten. Turns Us In.

The kid set us up, big time. He gets a bat and balls and batting glove, bowling and pizza and chocolate cake, and this is how he repays us? All week long we put little signs around the house noting his tenth birthday. Ten of them to be exact. Or, make that 12 or 13, … Continue reading Turns Ten. Turns Us In.

Introducing: Cowboy Herold

Sharing his thoughts on a fresh draft of my novel in progress, the contract illustrator proclaims: This whole thing is, like, so hilarious! Best of all, the 4th grader can barely utter consecutive syllables without breaking into fits of hysterics as he tries to describe the characters. His cheeks stretch too wide for speech at … Continue reading Introducing: Cowboy Herold

When Researching Aliens

Best to look at the problem from the other side. Not aliens on earth---earthlings in space! By far the most memorable version of Space Oddity for me is the one recorded by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield during his long sojourn aboard the International Space Station. The lyrics are somewhat different from the original, and so … Continue reading When Researching Aliens

Writing Regimen: the Five-Two

The rhythm is familiar. Rhythm and familiarity make the work sublime. It can also be a grind but I'll get to that. I've got the bit in my mouth on my latest novel (I, Fisheye) for a little over a month now. December was the swirl of possibilities, the slow whittling or careful nurturing of … Continue reading Writing Regimen: the Five-Two