Friday, August 20, 2010

And The Winners Are...

Wow! That was fast! Goodreads just sent me the names of the winners.

So without further ado, congratulations to:

Eric T of Provo, Anna S of Lake Mary, and Kady L of Oceanside!

I'll package up your books and send them out pronto.

Thanks again to everyone who participated. I truly appreciate your interest in Gabby and Dwight.

For those who didn't win but still really want to read the book, please consider requesting a copy from your local public or school librarian. LIbrarians are an endangered species these days and they could definitely use your support.

Mucho Thanks!

Goodreads Contest Closed

That's it! The week is over and the Goodreads contest is closed. I'm amazed and humbled that over 650 people entered for a chance to win a copy of Dwight's latest adventure, Monster Speller.

I'll let you know who won just as soon as Goodreads picks the winners and notifies me.

Stay tuned...

...And thanks to everyone who participated!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

One Day Left to Enter Contest

Heads up everyone! There's just one day left to enter the contest over at GoodReads.

Over 550 people have already signed up for their chance at a copy of
Monster Speller.


And good luck!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dwight says, "You LAAAARG Me! You Really LAAAAAARG Me!"


Wow! It's only the second day of the
Goodreads Monster Speller Giveaway and already over 200 people have entered the contest.

I'm floored. And honored.

Plus, it's a big boost to Dwight's fragile self-esteem.

There's still several days to go in the contest. Just click on the button above to enter for your chance to win a copy of
Monster Speller. Good luck!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Contest Starts Friday the 13th!

Enter to win one of three copies of Monster Speller that I'm giving away on

Contest starts this Friday and runs for one week only!

So remember to come back here between Friday the 13th and Friday the 20th! Then click on the button at the top of the page for your chance to win a copy of Dwight's latest adventure!

Winners will be chosen at random by GoodReads from the pool of entrants.

Good luck!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rules of Engagement or 3 Paths to Derelunctize the Reluctant Reader

So you want to build a library that stands a reasonable chance of tempting your Reluctant Reader. Good for you! But what if you want more than a reasonable chance? Are there any guidelines to help you do that?


Here are your rules. Reluctant Readers love books that are:

1. Funny
2. Filled with Action
3. Full of Freaky Shizzle

If you can find a book with all three, you're gold.

Okay. 1 and 2, those are pretty straight forward. But 3? What's Freaky Shizzle?

Freaky Shizzle means anything paranormal, scary, horrific, gross and/or likely to induce vomiting. This includes tales of unbelievably over-the-top child abuse. Especially includes.

Kids eat up stories where other kids are forced to endure physical and psychological trauma that would make a Green Beret break down and cry for his mommy. A mommy that, in one of these books, would arrive on the scene just in time to beat him senseless then yell at him to stop his x#@&*!@ crying.

Back when I taught middle school,
A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer (and its sequels!) passed through my class like Ebola. I had to replace that set of books four times in one year because they were being checked out and read so often the paperbacks were disintegrating.

Personally, I didn't get it. Every time I heard the title, I thought of Charles Addams and The Addams Family.

How I wish the book could have been
A Cousin Called It! THAT I would have read!

Which leads me to Rule Number 4 in your 3 Rule set.

4. These books aren't for you

They are for the Reluctant Reader. You need to turn off your inner snob and not pass judgment on these books.
Oh! I hear you say. I can't let my kids read junk!

Why not? They're reading. Isn't that the point?

And besides. Who says the books are junk? To you maybe. But these books aren't for you. They're for that Reluctant Reader. The one who started out the school year telling you he hates reading. The one who just enjoyed that "junky" book so much he's gone back into your library to see if you have any more books just like it.

You should consider that a success.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I've Had A Request!


A friend of mine just found out he'll be teaching three periods of reluctant readers this fall. Not something he was expecting. Or prepared for.

He asked me if it was possible to find a book that a non-reader will actually read. Are there any books so enjoyable a reluctant reader will buzz through it -- then consider reading a
second book?

In short, are there any books that will kick-start a Reading Nuclear Reaction in a kid who hates reading?

My short answer -- Yes!

Longer answer -- each kid is different, so the book that starts that reaction will be different for each kid. Which means filling a library (school, classroom or personal) with as many books as possible in order to reach as many kids as possible.

According to a recent report from Google, there are about 129,864,880 books in the world. That's a lot to choose from.

My friend wondered if I could narrow that down a bit. I said yes.

Then it dawned on me. This is my chance to give my blog the semblance of semi-coherency! At least temporarily.

After all, I know a lot of teachers and parents. Many of them have asked me this very question. Why not post my suggestions here?

So that's what I'll be doing. For the next couple of whiles, but especially over the next few weeks as students start back to school, I'll post titles of various graphic novels and books I recommend to reluctant readers. In fact, I'll tag these entries Reluctant Reader Recommends. That should help anyone who's interested find the entries.

Now if you're thinking
why should I listen to him? I first say, Woo-Hoo! Someone who doesn't know me is reading my blog! At last!

Then I say, OK. If you insist on a Justification Bio, here it is:

In my not-so-distant past, I taught both middle school and high school Language Arts. My specialty was working with reluctant readers. I've also written a few books for Stone Arch Books, a publisher with a reputation for hooking reluctant readers. Basically, I at least know enough about the subject that I was able to help out a panicked friend.

I hope my recommendations prove useful to you as well.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Updated My Books Page

For those with a jones for clicking, I just updated The Books page here on my site.

To check out info on my latest release or learn more about my previous books, follow the directions below...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Monster Speller Unleashed!


Attention one and all! But especially Teachers, Children's Librarians and School Librarians lucky enough to still have a job!

Copies of
Monster Speller, Book 4 in my Monster and Me series, are now sitting in my publisher's warehouse ready to ship. Schools and libraries can place orders HERE.

Click on the photo above to enjoy a preview of the book.

If you like what you see you can thank Tom Percival, the talented artist who makes Dwight lovable, huggable and slightly dangerous. Seriously. Click
HERE to see more of his work (which includes ZOMBIES!), then click HERE and send him some fan mail!

For people who aren't librarians but want to own a library-bound book that will last till our sun implodes, ask your local bookseller to order you a copy of
Monster Speller. As always, I suggest my favorite booksellers, Mark and Cindy Ziesing. You can find their website HERE.