How do I find the perfect first line?

Dear Writer Guy, How do you know when you’ve hit on the right first line for your story? Thanks, Martha B., Seattle Dear Martha, For me, it’s a feeling.  When the first line clicks, you feel it.  It leads you into the rest of the book, it establishes the voice and character attitude right away, and most of all, it …
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Happy book birthday to Class Pets!

Today, I become the proud papa to twins, as the Class Pets series premieres with the first two books at the same time: FUZZY’S GREAT ESCAPE and FUZZY TAKES CHARGE. As a long-time pet lover, I’ve particularly enjoyed working on this series. Growing up, we always had a string of pets around the house. Several dogs. …
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Going global, sharing stories

It’s been a busy winter-into-spring. My travels have taken me from Bakersfield to Switzerland, and from Stockholm to Kentucky, sharing my stories and helping get kids excited about writing their own. Although it’s wreaked havoc with my writing schedule, I feel honored and grateful that so many schools have invited me to speak Continue reading

How do I set up story revelations?

Never say anything bad about a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. By then, he’s a mile away, you’ve got his shoes, and you can say whatever you want. Like a joke (even that one), a story doesn’t work properly without set-ups. What are set-ups? Just the crucial planting of key information in …
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Spooky stuff coming in October!

Looking for something spooky to get you in that Halloweeny mood? Appropriately enough, my third Monstertown Mystery, INVASION OF THE SCORP-LIONS, will be coming out on the eerie day itself.

Here’s an advance peek at the cover. In this tale, strange sounds and smells arise through the heating vents, and kids at school begin Continue reading

The monsters are coming!

For an author, having a new book come out is almost like having a baby. (But without all the crying and messy stuff. Usually.) I’m pleased to say I’ve got a new book being published right after the Fourth of July, and I couldn’t be prouder than a new papa.

The newest addition is a humorous horror story called The Curse of the Were-hyena, and it’s the first book in my new Monstertown Mysteries series.  Continue reading