Easy-reader comic book! Goldilocks, revisited.

I decided to try writing and illustrating a graphic novel based on an early reader series I wrote called Sir Pants-a-Lot and Squire Mousekins. In the first adventure, the brave knight and his loyal squire rescue Goldilocks from the three bears. And, unlike the traditional story, they encourage the naughty girl to make amends for…

Keeping it real

One of many things I have gleaned from successful writers is to make sure my fictional stories are believable. Experienced sci-fi and fantasy writers are adept at weaving a made-up world and filling it with characters and situations that a reader can believe and invest in. Legal thrillers play out according to real laws with…

BUG! Publishing News

It began last October with a semi-desire to learn how to do scratchboard while tinkering with a story idea. As usual, my brain firmly resisted this new task that sounded messy, time consuming and difficult to learn. So, after buying all the materials and watching a few tutorials, I tried creating the scratchboard effect using…

Texting While Driving: a Writer’s Tip

We all know that sticking our nose in a device to read and answer messages while we drive is akin to driving while impaired, or worse. But safe texting while driving is something I’ve done for years. A lot of writers talk of their routine of “Butt in Chair” (BIC) from something o’clock to whatever…

Don’t over-pluck your picture book

If you write picture books, you know it’s a lot easier to tell your story in more words than probably anyone wants to publish. It used to be that 1,000-1,200 words was the limit. Now, it’s more like 700. Or even shorter! But that does not mean you cut all but the first 700 words…

Can you handle the truth?

In the world of publishing we (hopefully) agonize over a project until it is perfect and present something we believe in our hearts is an incredibly awesome work of art. So it’s never any fun when our projects are rejected by an agent or publisher. In 30+ years of publishing children’s books, here’s my take…

Bats Rule!

It was a very long winter and spring working on “work for hire” writing projects along with the usual spring gardening, greenhouse and yard chores. I have eight (8!) books coming out in August, which you can find by searching my name as the author. My latest Boxcar Children Mystery was released in March, which…

Not the dummy!

I can’t remember the last time someone requested to see a full mechanical for a picture book, also called a mock-up or a book dummy. A mechanical isn’t requested much anymore for a proposed picture book since we submit most of these tentative projects via the internet. A storyboard might be appreciated if the story…

All in a Day’s Work

This week I finished a pretty horrifying but interesting proposal that was requested based on a query. Here’s how it works much of the time for nonfiction projects: you pitch an idea to a publisher that is accepting queries only. First you make sure they haven’t done anything like it and yet you feel it…

Spacing out in our space

A friend asked his artist friends to share photos of their work spaces for a presentation he was working on. When I sent him mine, his comment was, “I love ugly offices.” That’s what I have. My office is situated in a dilapidated mobile home across the road from my house. We call the old…