Tuesday, December 19, 2006



Yup. It's that time of year. I hope all you last minute shoppers aren't stocking up on Starbuck gift cards or 3-for-a-buck candy at the supermarket checkout. If you're stuck for ideas, then there's always my favorite gift.

To all who stumble upon this blog on purpose - and any that simply wake up here slightly hung-over and wondering what the heck you did with your shoes, enjoy the season - take time to breathe - enjoy friends and family. Hey, you can even read a book or two. I know you all like that!

Lastly, here's my HOLIDAY BOOK TOON (from last year).

Thanks All for reading, sharing, laughing and correcting my spelling!


Sunday, December 03, 2006


With the season rushing toward us like (insert simile here), I took it upon myself to make a little BOOK-TOON that points confused gift-givers in the right direction... (hint: "Books Make Great Gifts!")

SEND THE LINK to anyone who thinks the only good holiday present comes with instructions written by aliens or requires more battery power than a NASA space shuttle.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


I had planned to share PART 2 of my writer's trip to Tecumseh, but real-life deadlines collided with turkey and mashed potatoes creating a mess too delicious to ignore.

Today (at long last) I send in my revision of the Disney Channel movie and hope it goes down as creamy as my wife's pumpkin pie. (Ooh. Maybe I should send a pie with the draft....?)

Anyway, later in the week I'll describe my Tecumseh writer's workshops which, considering I was working with 5th graders, was a fun and incredibly goofy experience.

Monday, November 20, 2006


I just had an amazing week.

Last Tuesday and Wednesday I had the pleasure of being the “Writer In Residence” at the Cross Timbers Elementary School in Tecumseh, Oklahoma. The wonderful school librarian, Jami Gates had asked me over a year ago to participate as part of Children’s Book Week – and of course I said, “yeeha yes!”

Arriving at the school Tuesday morning (after calling from a tiny gas station telling them I was very lost – note to authors: never trust MAPQUEST to get you there!) I was greeted by an assembly of pajama-clad kids ready to hear me read and answer questions. These 4th graders were attentive and excited – a killer combo for a visiting writer.

I was prepared to read and do workshops – but I’ve got admit, I was blown away by the POND SCUM-ification of the school. The 3rd, 4th and 5th grade doors had been decorated by the kids, hallways had homemade crows dangling in-flight, and on Wednesday (Dress Like Your Favorite Book Character Day) I met kids dressed like characters in my book (and Judy Moody, Pippi Longstocking, Dorothy, a Star Wars Stormtrooper, etc…)

Remember folks – I live in my basement office. I don’t get out much. Those of you who teach or work in libraries get the daily rush of kid-citement. Me? I was surrounded by eager minds and kids bursting with questions and an overall sense of ownership: I was THEIR AUTHOR – for 2 days anyway, and I admit they were MY STUDENTS.

Today’s post is a heart-felt thank you to the kids, teachers and staff of Cross Timbers. I had an amazing two days in your hallways, classrooms and cafeteria (love those corndogs!)

Tomorrow: I’ll tell you about the WRITING WORKSHOPS!

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Don't know how you all plan to celebrate but I'm off to Oklahoma at the invitation of a fantastic school librarian by the name of Jami Gates. I've been invited to be a "writer in residence" at the Cross Timbers Elementary School in Tecumseh for a couple of days where I'll be doing some Pond Scum reading and creative writer workshopping and I even have a local library visit thrown in too!

I've never had the pleasure of participating in Children's Book Week (certainly not as an author) but I couldn't think of a better way to be involved. In case you're stuck trying to figure out how to celebrate - here are some ideas from the Children's Book Council!

Can't wait to tell you all about the visit. The school has theme days all week; while I'm there Tuesday is Pajama Day and Wednesday is Come to School As Your Favorite Book Character Day. Big fun!!!!

Happy Children's Book Week to everyone!
Reading Rocks!

Monday, October 30, 2006


I know that's what I am and who I am and what I do. But it has become evident on this BLOG (note lack of ANY new posts lately) and on my SECOND BOOK (gasping from the darkness begging me to come back) that I have succumbed to the worst affliction a creative type can face. LIFE.

You all know what I mean: bills, car pools, school meetings, dog poop - the things that exist to both distract you and make sure you stay grounded in reality. In my case (and here I do mean "our", as my wife is knee-deep in this with me) - we are selling our home. Not a process for the faint at heart - and certainly not half as good a waste of time as say, playing with that darn BUBBLEWRAP thing or watching hysterical book-themed CARTOONS.

So...as I drown in realtors and painters and people visiting my house while I am "writing" I must accept that LIFE wins. I'm still trying - and making forward movement on the Disney Channel movie (slow but steady-ish). I even took a deep breath and showed my first 7 chapters of BOOK TWO to a select few, who are all now egging me on to get back to it. Which I will. As soon as LIFE stops BUGGING ME!

This too shall pass...and in its place....WORDS.

Friday, October 13, 2006


A favorite BOOK-TOON resurfaces. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I love the cover of POND SCUM. Know what? I also love the cover of VIVE LA PARIS. Side by side don't they make a cute cover couple? Do you think the people at Hyperion know something that Esme and I don't? Could it be a subliminal introduction of cross-content books? Magic-realism meets fictional memoir....

Though our main characters are world's apart - it's fun to see they relate in a half-faced kind of way! Imagine how they'd look side-by-side on the bookshelf!

And though the world already knows it - a HUGE CONGRATS to Jay Asher (one third Disco Mermaid) on his first book deal. Read about it if you haven't. He's sharing his joy - and it's inspiring to read!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


My car has really bad suspension. Tiny bumps are felt like shock waves from the trunk to the headlights and my whole family has learned new curse words to describe each and every one of them. Montreal is the pothole capital of the world - where road crews spend one half of the year not filling them in and snow plows spend the other half making the initial holes more pronounced. (Rumors of a secret civilization being discovered beneath one such hole have yet to be proved true.)

Yesterday I made a discovery. By actually inflating my four tires properly (35/psi) - my car handles these road humps with aplomb (or at least less pain). My back still aches every time I survive a pothole - but there is much less squealing from the quartet of rubber.

"Tires matter, people!" And you can quote me.

So it is with great excitement that this morning the literate and well-traveled BROOKLYN ARDEN (Cheryl Klein) has given readers a sneak peek at a talk she is preparing for next weekend's Michigan SCBWI conference, where she compares the editing process to balancing the tires on your car. Her metaphor of the four wheels (Plot wheel, Character wheel, Writing wheel and Point wheel) needing to be balanced strikes me in my shock absorbers - as I bump along the potholed path of writing.

It's a must read for all writers and those of you lucky enough to be at the SCBWI, make sure to go to her talk - and send me notes! (and a tow truck)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


When I was 12 and dealing with my father's recent marriage and my own sludgey self-image born of the nickname "Plumpso", I had a 5 week ego-boost courtesy of baseball. Not Little League - I wasn't good enough for the teams that had the real uniforms. This was Minor League, a less organized, well-meaning assembly of either bad players or younger kids who, no doubt, would graduate to the BIG LEAGUE as soon as they turned 9. But I wasn't very athletic (see nickname) and so being the oldest player on a team of younger kids was actually a really good thing. I was a great hitter and decent fielder (3rd base) for my team sponsored by Phillips 66. Sure we only got T-shirts and not full buttoned baseball jerseys, but none of that mattered to me. I was a player.

I remember one game when our pitcher didn't show up. The coach looked at me and said, "You want to pitch?" Images of trotting in from the Fenway bullpen flooded my head as I walked to the pimple of a mound at the Duffy Field park. Pitching was the pinnacle and this was my moment.

I threw pretty good ones - struck the first kid out and was feeling about as good as a kid could. But I noticed there was some talk going on behind the backstop and then I watched as my coach approached the mound with a look on his face that made my stomach churn. "Sorry," he said. "You're 12. You're not elligible to pitch."

I handed him the ball and then saw a boy grinning from the sidelines. It was the younger brother of a kid in my grade at school. He was on the opposite team and he'd squealed on me. I wanted to run over and throttle him - but instead slumped back to third base and continued to be the older, plump kid who could hit inside the park triples.

Yesterday I was on the mound again. For about two days I was included in the wonderful Jen Robinson's Top Five list for 2006. If you don't already know about it - Mother Reader is asking kid-lit folks to post their picks.

POND SCUM was in the list of elementary school books and I gotta tell you, I was strutting. But in the kindest way (I love this kidlit blog world!) it was brought to Jen's attention that Pond Scum came out in 2005 making it inelligible for a 2006 "list". Ah, the walk back to 3rd base is always a slow, painful march!

Here's the question though: for a book that comes out in October of a year to get noticed enough for that year's "accolades" - there has to be a pretty immediate awareness of said book. I am learning that Pond Scum is more like a stalk of kudzu. It is spreading and taking hold and it's a slow growth which hopefully will continue to take its weedy hold of the 3-6th grade set!

So I guess all this is to say: I struck one kid out. I was in a Top Five list. I am Kudzu.

And it's all good stuff.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

CATS (and Mice)

It's nice when your friends do things so you can gush and goo over their accomplishments. Once upon a time I worked for Disney in Orlando as Head Writer of the Mickey Mouse Club (MMC). The job was one of the best I've ever had - mostly because I worked inside a theme park (nothing beats riding Space Mountain on your birthday), or having an office that was part of the MGM studio tour where trams of tourists would pass by my window every five minutes and the writers and I loved staging elaborate gags as they went by.

But the second reason I loved the job was the people I met - Diane Fredel-Weis was a wildly funny producer-writer on the show and she and I remained in touch through our many jobs, moves, marriages, kids and now BOOKS.

Her first picture book THE CAT THAT WANTED OUT has just been published and she's having a celebration/launch at the Borders Books in Winter Park, FL a week from Saturday, Sept. 23rd, at 2:00pm. Anyone nearby should definitely drop by and say hi. I hear there will be cat cookies!

Friday, September 08, 2006


Leave it to Greg K. to pour his glass is half-full outlook into my half-empty one.

My first BOOK-TOON (below) - though it expressed my feelings about how writing is brain-numbingly hard even after selling my book - it didn't show the exhiliration of actually selling it!

Thanks for your post to the first toon Greg - the (above) new Book-Toon is dedicated to you!

Greg's question (How did it feel the day you SOLD Pond Scum?) reminds me of that very day, March 12th 2004 (I still have my fab agent's phone message - "Alan, I have some good news....") The day in question found me struggling with the feeling we all know too well. I had them...I AM WORTHLESS WHY DID I EVER THINK ANYONE WOULD BE INTERESTED IN A WORD I HAVE TO SAY BLAH BLAH BLUES.

To make matters worse - I had just spent the entire day in a meeting for a pretty lame "tween" sit-com that I had written a script for - and let me say, this was not Seinfeld for kids. Sitting for three hours listening to jokes about hamburgers falling on kids' faces drove my sense of self further into the "what am I gonna do with my life" limbo.

It being Montreal in March (and without a car) I walked frozen and depressed to take a bus to go pick up my son at a friends' house and then walk home and make a lonely supper because my wife was out of town. Calling in for phone messages at his friend's house - I picked up my agent's happy voice and wasn't able to hear anything beyond the "I have good news" part. I listened to it five times and then tried dialing her using my calling card but my trembling mind kept messing up the hundred or so digits I had to apply - so I just used this woman's phone - promising her a copy of MY BOOK for the long distance call!

Zach and I walked home - me beaming and bouyant and knowing I wasn't going to have to write another burger-script. The feeling, the one that Greg has asked about is always with me. It is on my bookshelf. It is in the library. And it is with the thousands of readers who have wandered inside POND SCUM. Though I forget about it sometimes - I shouldn't. It's a perfect feeling. And thanks Greg for giving me the moment to rediscover it today!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Monday, August 28, 2006


1) Write.
2) Don't Decide to Sell Your House.

Since disobeying Rule #2, Rule #1 became moot.

Trying to find a calm place in my head to weave stories while spackling holes and wondering about paint colors has created a whirling dervish of anxiety that makes the task of creating fiction an impossible task.

Staring at stacks of odds and ends (mostly odds) makes my inner child collapse in the corner and render me motionless at accomplishing any tasks that don't have to do with consuming food.

Why share this? Because, even in my state of inertia I am reading other blogs and noticing that people are actually finding time to write and link, while I stare out the window waiting for some Mary Poppins-like magic to get rid of all my clutter (and update my Blog).

So there. I've written something and now feel like I've made a dent somehow in my pile of things needing to be done. Inner child is happy - he can now eat more sugar!

Oh. And getting first round of Disney Channel notes later today - so am hoping the house will be clean and un-cluttered by then.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Too hurried. Too worried. Too lost in my own head.

so instead of writing I do a doodle.

maybe tomorrow....



Sunday, August 20, 2006


Hey, did you know that if you checkmark a box somewhere on the blogger set-up screen you then have to go "moderate comments" so that they actually show up?

Well I KNOW you all know that....But I just found out why all of my childhood insecurities about popularity and getting picked last came to a head in the blogosphere here...I figured my recent posts (some of which actually included writer stuff) were dull rejects on the path of urls.

So...in response to all who responded and now are posted....Thanks for your comments. I even intend to go back and respond to your responses.

Learning curve: 6
Feeling Dumb: 9

Friday, August 18, 2006


I've been tapped in the tag team event to jump into the ring and add my voice to this crawling kidlit quest. I hope I don't expose any holes in my character with my choices - but then again a flawed character is a real character!

One book that changed my life: "Slaughterhouse Five" by Kurt Vonnegut - after discovering this book in the Worcester Public Library when I was 13 I officially graduated into adult-themed books and devoured everything Vonnegut had. I remember feeling like I was "smart" and reading something no one else I knew had heard of (yet).

Book you have read more than once: "In God We Trust - All Others Pay Cash" by Gene Shephard. I loved the first person narrative of his memory-stories and laughed as he painted all the pictures that would later become the fave movie "A Christmas Story".

Book you want on a desert island: "Gilligan, Maynard and Me" by Bob Denver - perhaps there'd be some sage advice how to turn two coconut shells into an iPod...

Book that made you laugh: any of the "Adrian Mole" books by Sue Townsend (also in the category of read more than once!) - but must confess I chortle out loud at any Pinkwater book, especially "Borgle".

Book that made you cry: "This Boy's Life: A Memoir" by Tobias Wolff - an amazingly well-told story of the struggle to survive in a world of neglect and abuse. The book did me in. The film version - left me in the movie theater seat for ten minutes after the lights came up.

Book you wished had been written: "Emotional Health For Dummies"

Book you wished had never been written: "SPAMMING for Dummies"

Book you're currently reading: "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak - so slowly paced with the care and skill of someone completely in control of the story. The details get spooned out sparcely and with wonderful language and cadence!

Book you've been meaning to read: "Harry Sue" by Sue Stauffacher - ever since I saw it on the shelf I was drawn to it but just haven't picked it up...yet.

As for tagging someone new...I went to check with the people I planned to tag - and they'd already all done it...How's this: add your TAG suggestions to my COMMENTS and I'll give you the SHOUT to jump into the ring....

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Hi all (and especially to you demented Mermaids of Disco fashion) -

It is with apologies that I post without fulfilling my duties with the now infamous "TAG". Twas a busy day being in the world of TV where I had to go "pitch" stuff to people (always a mix of fun and trepidation depending on the beverages served)

I just got home. Tired and full of airplane air. So just you wait til tomorrow and I shall fulfill thine quest!

Oh. And thanks for the TAG!

hasta manana

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Today's adventure begins with the discovery that makes any author's heart go pitter-patter: a really GREAT review. POND SCUM is almost a year old so in my GOOGLE wanderings I don't expect to find many new reviews out there. But leave it to the only READIOLOGIST I know to discover my book and make me want to send cookies. Buckets of them!

I've been a fan of Esme Raji Codell since I had the pleasure of reading SING A SONG OF TUNA FISH as an ARC. The quirky hysterical voice and ability to retell such picture perfect - sometimes heartbreaking stories from her childhood made me think of Pinkwater, Annie Lamott and my own fifth grade year (a dreadful time of husky pants and really bad hair). Then when I wandered upon her PLANET ESME website with its vast resource lists for teachers and parents and its dedication to making books accessible to kids - I knew this was someone I wanted to know!

So how do you make believe you know someone who you really don't know? Read her blog!

The PlanetEsme Book-A-Day-Plan: The Best New Children's Books is a comprehensive guide to books of different reading levels and themes. The truth is - I'm sure her site is already bookmarked by everyone who stumbles upon me - but in case it isn't - allow her magical advice inspire you!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Finally. Done. Disney script handed in, which means I can float in the pool and tell myself what a puctual, creative and god-like writer I am.

Okay. 1) I have no pool unless you count the basin of mosquito-infested water sitting in the wooden barrel my wife "rolled" home last summer, 2) I don't really think I'm "god-like", I'm much more "false-idol" worthy, and 3) being done never means much more than a quick five-fingered pat on the ol' back before jumping back into the moving traffic of writing other stuff.

In this case I am ecstatic to get back to BOOK #2 and see what the characters have been doing while I left them in the lurch. Hopefully they are past their abandonement issues, have wonderful secets to tell me and none of them have been abducted by brain-altering aliens from the planet Schmootz (tho on second thought - could be interesting).

Of course, there's this part of me that is anxious aboutwhat I'll find when I peek back under the lid. What if my characters have packed their bags and split? What if the story no longer even reads well? What if I CAN'T WRITE A SINGLE WORD!!!! (Hey, I'm a writer - insecurities are part of the job.)

Rambling over. I feel better. Time to go before I find more ways to not start again!

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Truth is - with Disney deadlines fast approaching (tomorrow) I simply must avoid taking time to post, which means this isn't really a post. Simply a post-ette.

Shout outs to BURIED IN THE SLUSH PILE for included yours truly in her "Writers I would Like to Work With" wish list. Wow! The honor would be all mine! (mini shout-out to Gregory K. for actually alerting me to the fact - even though it was last week, which in my own defense was the week leading up to my wife's b-day, so I was wicked busy arranging for a Salsa teacher to arrive at her party as a surprise.)

That's it. I hear Mickey Mouse's voice in my head yelling at me to finish "or at least teach Mini how to Salsa."

ps: the cartoon has nothing to do with writing - I just liked it.

Monday, August 07, 2006


Monday. Again.
Book #2 is on hold as I put my nose to the grind-stone of deadlines on my Disney Channel movie. I have to turn in the rewrite by Friday and the wonderful feeling is - I see that happening (more important than "seeing" it happen, I know I will cross the finish line in time.)

Comparing the process of film and book writing is always a "grass is greener" scenario. When I'm book writing - I often long for the structure the films straightjacket me into; 3 major acts. 104(ish) pages. No scene longer than 3 or 4 pages. The writing can sometimes feel more mechanical, no less creative of course - just more like a watchmaker tinkering on a timepiece.

Of course, when writing the structured Swiss timepiece of a movie it is the book writing I dream of. Writing books (for me anyway) is the opposite: straightjacket off I am free to wander and discover things that when writing scripts I would easily overlook. I turned to books because I was tired of the constraints both TV and film put upon me. The page counts. The act breaks. The commercials!

But I am human. Which means I crave sweets and have the capacity to learn. Having both disciplines to bounce between gives me the chance to appreciate each form for the process it guides me with. Both structure and freedom are needed to get me through the twisted jungle of my brain. I find that ideas spring forth when I am terribly lost without the map - and sometimes are there when I need them because that's exactly what my map says I need right then.

That's what I'm thinking anyway. Time to get back to the straightjacket...so snug and warm it actually feels wonderful!

ps: Thanks to Cynthia Leitich Smith for a nice mention over at Cynsations where there is a great roundup of kid-lit info!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


click the pic to see it full!

Yup. The wall of exhaust fumes masking as breathable air has hit Montreal too and I'm worthless in all things brain. Doodled this in response to my inability to do much else. Going back to the one air conditioned room now - my son's, where he will attempt again, to teach me how to play Star Wars Battlefront. (the things we parents do!)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

GREAT IDEAS...just add water

It comes as no surprise that the wonders that be Hollywood feed on the edges of pop culture always in search of the next big thing, or even "the next thing that isn't really big, but might be popular enough so we can make everyone think it's big!"

In the spirit of "I can't wait for this one" - I have just learned that there is a plan afoot to make a movie of THE AMAZING LIVE SEA MONKEYS. For anyone unfamiliar, those are the little brine shrimp that come alive in water and then die peretty fast. As a kid it was always a disappointment to see that they didn't have crowns or even smiles like the drawing on the package. Ah, the life lesson of my first let-down.

Surprising fact number two, though I really haven't thought of this in years...in my days of living in L.A. and traveling the circles of kid's TV, I was once a writer on the TV show, THE AMAZING LIVE SEA MONKEYS, produced by none other than the shiny-headed Deal-No Dealer himself, Howie Mandel (not pictured - he played the kooky "Professor" on the live action show).

That's it for today's confessional. Time to get back to work!


My learning curve of the kid-lit universe continues to swoop upward thanks to GOOGLE. Yes, as already admitted, I am an obsessive author who takes the daily (hourly?) trip through various search engines in search of treasure. Am I looking for good places in Montreal to buy chocolate cake? Researching the secretive BOOK #2?

Alas, the truth is shamefully simple: I am seraching to see if there be new news of a certain Pond Scummy book. How else can I keep my finger on the ooze of my loins? I suppose I could make random phone calls to bookstores in the country and disguise my voice (as if my voice could be recognized) and ask "Do you have a book called...." I mean, not that I've actually done that! (much) But GOOGLING my book has offered me new doors and contacts and the sort of virtual relationships that actually is making this solitary job much less lonely (Greg.K, Fuse8, et al).

All that to say...by checking on my whereabouts I discovered POND SCUM was the BOOK OF THE MONTH for a kid-lit organization EVERYONE MUST KNOW ABOUT!!!

EMBRACING THE CHILD is a wonderland of resources ranging from recommended books by age-group and theme to author interviews and educational resources. Links guide you to lesson plans and activities. All great stuff to add to your files!

BUT here's the thing that should make you go there right now - Embracing The Child is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing reading resources to under-served populations.

Maybe everyone already knows about ETC. Again, my world-view is opening slowly. But if you don't already know the great work they are doing - check them out. Or better yet, DONATE!

Monday, July 31, 2006


It's Monday and the coffee is yet to infuse my brain cells with their magic, which means I am sitting in the office wondering if three shots is enough.

The weekend was spent working on Book #2 and the Disney project - so it was a back and forth, see-saw of creative energy that sometimes actually connected. On a walk yesterday with my wife I wondered aloud (for the millionth time) if, given my issues of insecurity, anxiety and childhood trauma, I really made the right choice doing this whole "writer" thing. She kindly reminded me (again) that I go through these feelings every time I am in a new project. I gave her the "you have no idea who I am" tortured look, which really means, "I love you".

Watching my son play The SIMMS I realized he was practicing to become the writer he already wants to be. In the game, you create characters and give them attributes and then let them wander around. They tell you what they "need" and if you give it to them (or help them find it) you get rewarded. In the game that means they continue to live. Of course in my case, if I succeed in making my characters happy, I get more pages. Not a bad reward!

Given I have now written two entries and spent a half hour trying to convince Blogger to upload my cartoon....I think it's time to round up the muse and turn the music up.


Thursday, July 27, 2006


Just a little thing - as I have way too much to do and have already spent all of my procrastination chits for the day!

No surprise - I am new to BLOGGING and my stumbling upon great kid-lit sites is sporadic and haphazard (thanks to all who point and click the way for me!) But today I fell into CHASING RAY, which is the blog-world of Colleen Mondor, reviewer extraordinaire. Not only did I get lost in her vast site of opinions and reviews of all kinds - I recalled the name as the same who reviewed my book in a spring issue of ECLECTICA MAGAZINE.

Nice to link you Colleen!

And for those who want to see the POND SCUM review that made me want to send flowers - (it's the third one on the page)!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


So I've got a new dilemma: instead of procrastinating on one project, I have managed to get myself into the situation of procrastinating on TWO! Now as any writer, artist or sous chef can tell you - staring at the empty bowl can create more than a fair share of anxiety. We all know that sudden fear that seems to start at the nape of the neck and spread hither and yon - the "This is another fine mess I've gotten myself into" voice. Sure there are tricks to loosen the wheels - games to be played that might yield a sentence or perchance paragraph! But it all comes down to the same thing - deadlines, dreams, ideas that are just out of reach and that desperately want to be put onto paper if only they can be tamed (or lured) to the bait.

Lucky for me, not only am I working on the mysterious "BOOK #2" (shhh!) but I have a TV movie to write for the Disney Channel - and with it a hard and fast deadline (which seems to get closer by the day!). Staring down the pipe of just one project - I find the terror of too much wide open space and simply find myself going out for the proverbial walk. But now that my time has been impaled by (gasp) actual paying work...I miss my book writing like a best friend shipped off to an asylum. And I have to, HAVE TO LIKE MY LIFE DEPENDED ON IT get the other thing written (the tic-toc of Hook's crocodile always by my side). So do I sit and dilligently pound it out? Nay! I go out for the proverbial walk.

The thing is - my procrastination seems to diminish the more things I have on the burner - and with two competing needs in front of me, why I think I've solved a problem. Now I can work on the "one" while letting "the other" languish on the vine. And as soon as my brain wants to wander away - I can flip to the project in the wings, giving that baby the attention it craves - until of course I find a way to wander from both. Perfectly allowable and encouraged: there are always cookies in the kitchen, iced espresso waiting for more ice cubes and then the 5 minutes or so it takes me to pick the right colored straw. Because as all writers, artists (and sous chefs) will tell you - sometimes it comes down to the straw in the iced coffee!)

But alas, as the crocodile is tic-tocing again and my hooked hand aches at the reminder - it's time to turn one of my heads to the project most needing to be soothed.

As soon as I get the right straw.


As you know I just received the paperback cover for POND SCUM and raved about it a few posts ago. I gave credit to the harcover artist, Dave Roberts for his whimsical take but neglected to mention who did the new art. Hyperion has informed me the new graphical take is none other than JOHN ROCCO, he of the amazingly mystical Percy Jackson covers (and I am again giddy to have my cover done by someone else so talented and terrific). You MUST check out his website ROCCOART to get a true sense of his genius.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Okay, here's the thing. Stop whatever you're doing with the exception of reading this, of course. Head over to Big A little a for the amazingly compelling and varied Carnival of Literature #5. (I particulary am enamored with Fusenumber8's eyebrow fiasco at the Newbery/Caldecott Awards, such pathos - and good food!) The roundup of kid-lit blog entries are varied and amusing with some great reviews thrown in and "A rather hysterical piece by Mr. Pinkwater," says Alan.

For more laugh out loud blogging - it's a quick dash directly to the Disco Mermaids for their Fondue Friday #2. A must-read!


Much can be said about the road us writer-folk wander: it's bumpy and full of demons whispering for you to step off the journey and just eat one cookie...read one article online....make one quick phone call. But as we who brave such demons also know, it's a road filled with bursts of exhiliration and joy - the thrill of that sentence that just sings...the moment your character whispers something new to you that suddenly opens so many new doors!

Today's thrill comes in a different form (as my pesky characters seem to have gone to the beach without a word of new wisdom whispered!) I just got to see the COVER ART for the paperback of POND SCUM! As you can see it's wonderful (I think so anyway!). It has a real-kid feel and the kind of detail I think really jumps at you. Don't get me wrong - I loooove the hardcover. The talented-beyond-words Dave Roberts illustration captures the whimsy and wonder of my book. But this new art takes that and twists a bit into an older feel, which feels right to me.

But of course the thrills of the road are simple ones - to be in the club, or circling near it is its own reward and I can't get through a single day without pinching myself that this is the journey I am on.


Sunday, July 23, 2006


Yes, I know it's self-promotion. But apart from discovering what someone had for dinner or what they thought of last night's SCRUBS - isn't that the mesmerizing, self-important joy of BLOGGING?

So in that spirit....LOOK! LOOK! POND SCUM has been highlighted in the latest issue of MADKIDS magazine. I can officially get on with the rest of my life now that I've been connected to the magazine that first introduced the concepts of satire, parody and "fold-in" into my early life. Thanks HYPERION and thanks MADKIDS.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

POND SCUM Book Trailer

Help spread the word.

Monday, July 17, 2006


It is always a great endorsement to be included on lists of "Boys' Books" and I am thrilled to discover POND SCUM on a new list published by the Grace A. Dow Library in Midland, Michigan. It's a large list of books with lots of the usual names included; REDWALL; HOLES; TIMEWARP TRIO. Finding POND SCUM listed in the "humor" category does my heart good - it is a very funny book and to see it listed with the likes of Daniel Pinkwater's HOBOKEN CHICKEN EMERGENCY and Dave Pilkey's CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS makes me feel like the luckiest new kid on the block!

Colleen Mondor of ECLECTICA MAGAZINE has a wonderful review of POND SCUM that also endorses it as a boy-read and believe me, I appreciate the positive view of the book.

POND SCUM is a great BOY BOOK. It has gooey stuff and gross stuff and an 11 year old boy at the center of the story. BUT - it is also a wonderful GIRL BOOK - I know this from the hundreds of responses I get from girl readers who love the book and have no problem getting into the typical "boy" story. I know the research shows that it's boys who need the help finding books to hook them and that girls are much more open to reading books of all kinds. I am glad for the endorsements (keep 'em coming) - but I think sometimes it can be a diservice to label a book "BOY or "GIRL", the danger being creating even more of a segregation within the schools and that is always something I think we all have to be wary of.

POND SCUM for Boys - YES!

Thursday, July 13, 2006


With GOOGLE at my fingertips I am able to scan the virtual world for word of POND SCUM's popularity. Sure I get some great surprises (that's how I first learned the Washington Post named Pond Scum the "book of the week"). And of course I always hope to find a new review picked up by a magazine or newspaper or blogger - but what a HUGE SURPRISE to find Pond Scum inside the inflight magazine of OMAN AIR - yes, I have a fan somewhere in the mid-east and whoever you are, a big thanks to you. I hope you get frequent flyer miles for that review!

Sunday, June 25, 2006


So much time between posts can only mean one thing: I was sitting in a cabin in Maine staring at lobster boats and watching the tide taunt me with its ever-changing mind. While away I found some time to write (the second book is coming along nicely and for father's day my family made me action figures of the 4 main characters so that I am always inspired!).

By the way - I read the perfect seaside book there, THE HIGHEST TIDE by Jim Lynch, a thoroughly enjoyable coming-of-age story about a thirteen year old insomniac as much in love with the sea as he is with the older girl next door. The details of Miles O'Malley's forages into the Puget Sound marine habitat are exquisite and the emotional core of the story resonates for anyone who ever felt the pangs of summer loneliness mixed with the stirrings of adolescent growth.

I also checked email and found some lovely surprises, including kind words from kid-lit lioness Jen Robinson and the ever-moving Anne at BOOKBUDS, whose apology for not getting around to reading POND SCUM was hysterical (and no you are not Pond Scum for packing it away in moving boxes!!!)

POND SCUM continues to show up on Summer Reading lists and when I check with libraries around the US, it is usually checked out or on hold. Thanks again to you fabulous Librarians, Teachers, Parents, Bookstore folks and most of all READERS.

Spreading the word keeps the words spreading - speaking of which, back to the keyboard. My Action Figures are calling to me!

Monday, June 12, 2006


With one week to go before my son gets out of school (3 and a half days actually) - SUMMER finally seems here. Of course in Montreal the weather seems more like fall with wet cool grass and a sun that enjoys playing hide and seek. I know as soon as the peepers start making their nocturnal noise and the cicadas kick into gear- it's time to crank out the summer books and start wandering through the pages.

I'm always reminded of the summer I had to switch schools (4th grade) and got my first bona fide "reading list": 'Treasure Island' sticks out as the book that stuck me on the couch and didn't let me go. Just finished reading "Sea of Monsters" and really love what Rick Riordan is doing. Such a great twist on mythology with a real hero who seems like a kid you really could be sitting next to in class.

Let me know what SUMMER BOOKS have grabbed you. I'm always looking for a good one!

Check out my new POND SCUM SUMMER PROMO!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Silberbook-Blog is here!


“It’s about time.” That’s what my wife said when I told her I was finally going to write about what’s been going in since POND SCUM was published by Hyperion last fall.

Writing the book was hard work. I know no one will argue with that. But what happens once the dream is fulfilled and you have a dewey decimal number tattooed to your name forever - well, that my friends is a journey in and of itself.

In the next entries I plan to go back through the year and jot down the wonderful experiences I’ve had going to schools, readings, conferences and book stores. Once caught up - I can then start keeping my thoughts flowing - assuming the iced coffee is running in my veins!