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Oh, The Horrors! Oh, The Hero!

February 21st, 2016

Don’t be scared. Don’t turn away, feet running, arms flailing, voice screaming in terror. Though I am about to type, and you’re about to see a word that strikes terror into the hearts and minds of some writers and readers alike, you can get through this. So brace yourself. Here it comes. (math)

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Sometimes You Just Need to Thank the World

February 20th, 2016

I really don’t need to say it, but I will anyway:

It takes so much more than words on paper (or a screen) to create a book …

which is why so many authors insist on an acknowledgment page.

Too many people skip that section, but if you’re reading this, chances are, in this new book, there’s an implied thanks to you. And there’s also a bit of explanation why Gollywhopper 2 came out more than 6 years after the original.

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I Was Billy. Billy Was Me.

February 19th, 2016

“It was the first day of second grade and Billy Miller was worried. He was worried that he wouldn’t be smart enough for school this year.”

The Year of Billy Miller (Greenwillow/HarperCollins) sucked me in with that opening paragraph. Why? I totally related to it. Mine were not the same worries as Billy’s, but my worries weighed just as heavily on me. Like the first day of kindergarten. How would my mom know when to pick me up? Or in first grade. Would my friends remember me when I returned to class after a week at home with the chicken pox? Or what if I said my old lines instead of the new ones I was given for the 4th grade play?

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The Fireworks Test

February 16th, 2016

(In celebration of turning Gollywhopper 3 in to my editor yesterday, and in hopes that book will pass this test, I bring you a reprint of the July 2012 post I did for the Smack Dab blog. Wishing you fireworks in your reading and writing.)

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

I always wanted the fireworks to last longer when I was a kid. It didn’t matter that it was hot or that I was sticky and stinky from bug spray or that I ended up half off the blanket and half on the ticklish grass. I wanted more.

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Da-BOMB (Sorry, I Couldn’t Resist)

February 14th, 2016

You know those history teachers who are basically storytellers in disguise? The ones who transport you to ancient Mayan civilizations or into the heart of Gettysburg? The ones who mesmerize you with the deviousness of political intrigue and the adventure of covered wagons? I never had one of those. For me, history became a series of date memorization and compare/contrast papers.

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The Next Big Thing and My Next Book

February 13th, 2016

Just as I was finishing up a very fast first draft of #3 (see question 2 below), the wonderful Jenny Meyerhoff tagged me to be included in the Next Big Thing, a blog campaign started somewhere by someone in Australia. And that last phrase, I just realized, sounds like the old Telephone Game where the details of the message get lost or totally muddled. The fact does remain that I’ve been asked to answer the following questions about my next book and in doing so, it’s my responsibility to tag a few more willing souls.

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