Help for Hurricane Harvey Victims–KidLitCares!

Children’s author, Kate Messner, is organizing a Hurricane Harvey Relief Effort with the help of hundreds of children’s literature professionals. Check in at #KidLitCares for updates and at the website. The auction items will raise money for the Red Cross. I am donating a Skype visit and a set of classroom books. If you or someone you know would be interested in any of these prizes, please pass the word along.


Watch Out! Monsters Happen Here!

Today I’m offering a glimpse of my writing space—a small office area in my bedroom. Be it ever so humble, this is where monsters are created!


My Desk

There is my usually cluttered desk. I never seem to keep it as neat as I’d like. If I do straighten things up, then I usually lose track of where I’ve put something. So it’s probably better if it stays a bit messy. Monsters like mess anyway—perhaps that’s why so many have moved in.


My Bookshelves

There are a few bookshelves. A whole room full of shelves would not be enough for I could fill them quickly. I’ve had to size-down my book collection to stay within my space. There are books on writing, reference books, files, folders, photos and such. My shelves for favorite books stands in the hallway, a few steps away. Right now Jonathan Stroud’s book, THE HOLLOW BOY, sits on my desk though. He is such a master of fantasy adventure. I’m hoping the close proximity to one of his works will bring good mojo my way.


My Poem

There is a framed copy of my poem, “Reaching for the Stars,” which was published in HIGHLIGHTS magazine some years back. I love the colorful illustration by artist Melanie Hall. And I love the poem’s ongoing words of encouragement, “Go ahead. Try it. You’ll see—stars aren’t really so far away.” That’s the sentiment I keep focusing on in my writing career. Believing that the impossible is possible when you give it your all.



My View

There is classical music playing in the background. The masterful notes soothe my soul and inspire my muse. Periodically a train passes behind me. The rumble reminds me of powerful forces at work both within and without. Sometimes the sound pulls me out of a scene I’m writing and brings me back to the here and now, but more often it simply blends into the world I’ve created. I hear too the soft whirl of wheels on the street down below as cars slow at the corner stop sign. The vehicles pause and move on—my story too slows and accelerates with each new scene, setting, and the cast of characters. Today’s view through my office window is a gloomy one, following a morning thunderstorm. A perfect view for monsters—and this monster writer.


Follow me on Twitter for more monster updates! @cynthiareeg

or Facebook at Cynthia Reeg, Author

An Evening with Author/Illustrator DAV PILKEY


How does an evening with children’s author Dav Pilkey begin? (well,after waiting in a looooong line wrapping all the way around Headquarters library…)

Waiting for Captain Underpants

Waiting for Captain Underpants

With, of course, a loud “Tra-la-laaaa!” yelled in unison by all the kids (and many of the parents) in the audience. It’s Captain Underpants’ typical call to action.

I had the fun opportunity to be part of this attentive and rambunctious crowd last night at the St. Louis County Library’s Author Event, celebrating the release of CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE SENSATIONAL SAGA OF SIR STINKS-A-LOT. (# 12 in the series)

Screen Saver for Captain Underpants

Screen Saver for Captain Underpants



Dav Pilkey, who will have 60 books to his credit with 2016’s THE ADVENTURES OF DOG MAN, has revolutionized reading for boys especially. USA Today called him the “savior of the reluctant reader.” His short, graphic chapter books with their silliness, fast pace, and bathroom humor are a perfect fit for young readers. The kid-friendly author creates his tales based on his own elementary school experiences.

The Adventures of Dog Man

The Adventures of Dog Man

As a child who suffered from ADHD and dyslexia, he understood the power of pictures to tell a story. Even though he often found himself doing hallway detention for drawing in class, he couldn’t resist making more clever comics—to the delight of his fellow students and the dismay of his teachers.

“Underwear is not funny!” said Mr. Pilkey’s second grade teacher. “Grow up!” she cautioned him. “You can’t spend the rest of your life making silly books!”

Drawing favorite characters

Drawing favorite characters

Oh, how little she knew, and how very far Mr. Pilkey has enriched young readers with the delights of his underwear crew.

Some of his other titles include:

The Ricky Ricotta Series 

Dog Breath

Paper Boy

The Adventures of Ook and Gluk

Super Diaper Baby



Nowadays, the author prefers drawing in more natural spots, like along the beach in Japan when visiting his wife’s family. But even there, he still suffers criticism—from some monkeys that is. Mr. Pilkey shared a video of himself at work sketching, while several monkeys attempted to confiscate his pens and offer vocal commentary on his work-in-progress.

Dav Pilkey Attempts to Draw Despite Monkey Antics

Dav Pilkey Attempts to Draw Despite Monkey Antics




At the end of his presentation last night, Mr. Pilkey made a point about perseverance. He showed a picture of a scowling egg and a happy potato in boiling water. “Don’t let adversities overcome you,” he said. “Rather use them to build on. In boiling water, a potato softens but an egg becomes hard.”



Many young readers in the crowd wore red capes, similar to Captain Underpants. On back of the capes was the message, “Reading is Power!” Thanks, Mr. Pilkey, for enhancing children’s literature with your comic characters and delightful illustrations and proving that strong reading muscles really do rock!

Writing and Drawing

I’m in the middle of revising one of my fantasy novels. This one involves fairy tale characters, so there has to be at least one castle, right? And a giant and…yeah, lots of fun characters and settings.

When one of Rich Davis‘ drawing posts came into my mailbox last week, it reminded me how fun the illustrations will be for this story I’m working on. Too bad I’m not a super illustrator like Rich. But with his step-by-step instructions, most anyone can become an artist.

Here’s the link to his “Draw a Castle.”  I hope you’ll give this picture a try–or try one of the other drawing lessons on Rich’s site.

As you can see below, I truly do have a CASTLE in my very own backyard. And a friendly GIANT lives there. He loves to go sledding with the children who drop by. 🙂

Saying Goodbye to 2013

It’s fun to take a look at my 2013 through photos. Come along with me, if you’d like to take a peak.

The year had some big stuff–like circus elephants

and a winter wedding

Plus more fun– visits from the Easter Bunny

and puddle splashing

There were zebras …

and chocolate birthday cupcakes

There were New Mexico hummingbirds and ….

California “Hummers”–signing with Mira Reisberg at Hummingbird Literary

There were Cardinal Playoff Games

and new books...

and book signings

and my writer buddies
As you can see, it was a wonderful year. 
Lots of new adventures
And lots of writing…
Here’s wishing you and yours A Wonderful 2014!

Webster Groves Library Author Event

I hope you can join me this Friday evening at the first annual Missouri Author Expo at the Webster Groves Public Library. This event is designed for readers of all ages with authors of both adult and children’s works. Numerous authors will be doing readings from their books, as well as selling copies. What a fun way to meet some local authors and perhaps start your holiday shopping.
Here are the details:

Fri, November 8, 6pm – 9pm
Webster Groves Public Library – Adult and Teen Events
Come meet local authors! Enjoy readings from their books! Get a head start on holiday shopping! Fiction, non-fiction and children’s books! Refreshments!

Jonathan Stroud Interview

Last week, I had the opportunity to spend an evening listening to Patricia Polacco–the incredible children’s picture book author and illustrator. And this week, I was quite excited to have the opportunity for a live presentation with British children’s author, Jonathan Stroud–the creator of the Bartemaeus Sequence. I’d read the books some time ago and loved their rich storytelling, adventures, and humor. I thought it would be quite a treat to meet Mr. Stroud in person, as well as learn of his new series–LOCKWOOD & CO: The Screaming Staircase.

But alas, this author event was forced to be cancelled due to some misfortune with Mr. Stroud. It seemed rather like one of the blocked avenues in his tales when the protagonist’s best laid plans goes awry. Lucky for me, however, I stumbled upon an online interview with Mr. Stroud, via PUBLISHERS WEEKLY. In fact, they have a number of interviews with various children’s authors available for a listen.

So while the online interview couldn’t take the place of a live author sighting, it was great to hear Mr. Stroud. I enjoyed his enthusiasm for his books and characters and felt privileged that he shared some of his writing insights.

I hope to listen to more of these online interviews–hope you can too!
But I plan to keep all the lights on 🙂

Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators

I’ve been busy preparing for a presentation next month on November 6 at the Missouri SCBWI Conference.
I’m excited to have been asked to talk about “How to Get Published.” So I’m trying to condense about a semester’s worth of information into an hour and fifteen minutes. But writers are good at editing, right? 🙂

The conference should be great fun. Lin Oliver, co-founder, and Steve Mooser, executive director of SCBWI, will be joining us this year. How cool is that?

Hope to see you there!

More GAP Illustrators and Authors

Here are the last of the Guardian Angel Publishing photos taken at the Borders book signing last weekend.
Author and illustrator of GILLY THE SEASICK FISH, Susann Batson is busy autographing books as author Donna Shepherd looks on. Donna’s latest picture book, BRADYBUG, is illustrated by Kit Grady–the illustrator of two of my Pet Grammar Books, DOGGIE DAY CAMP and HAMSTER HOLIDAYS.

K.C. Snider, illustrator of a variety of books like THE MAGIC VIOLIN by Mayra Calvani, stands next to Marilee Crowe, author of DOWN BY THE SHORE. The beautiful photos in this poetic gem were created by MarySue Roberts, the illustrator for my picture book, GIFTS FROM GOD.

What a fun event, hanging out with such a creative crew.

More GAP Pictures & Rick Riordan Event

Take a look at Connie Arnold and her book, ANIMAL SOUND MIXUP. What would happen if animals made rather unexpected sounds? Check out Connie’s book to find out.

Here is Sue Berger, along with her books from Guardian Angel Publishing. She likes to talk to kids about her book, EARTHQUAKE. The book is full of cool facts about earthquakes, and Sue’s been through a few earthquakes herself. She knows all about “rock ‘n roll.”

Kim Chatell is making another RAINBOW SHEEP. The colorful little critters are made from dyed wool. Kim shapes the wool in a number of different of creations, like snails and kitties. Felting for fun!

Finally, if you’re a Rick Riordan fan, you might want to sign up for the launch of THE LOST HERO, his first book in the new series, THE HEROES OF OLYMPUS. The event happens on October 12.