Summer Update

I don’t know about you, but for me the summer is flying by! I can’t believe it’s half over. Hopefully you’ve been up to plenty of fun, whether it’s outside or inside. I’m trying to learn some new things this summer. One is outside–golf. The other is inside–piano. Both require a lot of practice, but I am seeing some improvement at both of them.

Are you trying some new adventures this summer?  Even reading a new type of book–like a mystery, or historical fiction, or SciFi, or nonfiction–can be a new adventure.

Yesterday, I visited my local library and found plenty of interesting titles to choose from there. Here are some of the middle grade books I’m going to dig into:

SAVE ME A SEAT by Sarah Weeks & Gita Varadarajan, about a new kid at school. I can relate to that, since this was my experience several times as a child.

ROSETOWN by Cynthia Rylant, about a young girl dealing with the death of her dog and her parents’ divorce. Big changes in our lives can be tough. I’m looking forward to meeting this character and seeing how she deals with her problems.

STINKBOMB AND KETCHUP-FACE AND THE BADNESS OF BADGERS by John Dougherty, a totally off-the-top fantasy which I will share with my grandson. I think he’s going to laugh-out-loud at this one.

And yes, I am writing as well this summer. I’m editing a middle grade novel as well as a nonfiction picture book. Plus, I’m writing a fun picture book that’s hopefully quite moo-velous!

One other summer adventure I had a few weeks ago was an evening at our local butterfly house with camera in hand. It was incredible to closely observe so many beautiful butterflies and try to capture them with my camera. I am only a beginner at photography but our instructor, a professional photographer, gave me some pointers. I’ll share a few of the photos here.

Keep me posted on your summer adventures and your summer reads!



Emmie Enchanted featured FROM THE GRAVE on her book review blog this week.

I am pleased to share the link to this well-read nine-year-old reviewer’s look at Book 1 of MONSTER OR DIE. It was thrilling to see that Emmie was swept up into the monsters’ world and greatly enjoyed her time there. In fact, she’s informed me that she is busy reading Book 2, INTO THE SHADOWLANDS, right now!

These are the type of reviews I truly love–from my target audience. It pleases me beyond words to know that my story has entertained this reader and encouraged her to want more with the second book.

Miss Enchanted has a wide range of books reviewed on her site, Fantastic Books & Where to Find Them. I am thrilled to see my book on the same page as such greats like Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. I hope you’ll check them out and show these and other book recommendations found on the site to middle grade readers you know. A good review from a student reviewer means so much more to a young reader since it comes from one of their own.

Here’s what Emmie had to say about FROM THE GRAVE:

Reading & WRITING

Emmie has also written a book of her own–THE MAGIC MYSTERY! This also thrills me. I love sharing writing tips with students–getting them excited not only about reading but about writing their own stories. For it is in sharing our words, our thoughts, and our ideas that we draw closer to each other. Reading and writing are the keys to success on so many levels.

Summer is almost ready to start. Check out Emmie’s list for some great books for your summer reading!




Early Reviews Sing Monster Praise

It’s hard to believe that in exactly three months from today–October 10–INTO THE SHADOWLANDS will make its debut! The Uggarland monsters will once more be on the loose and making mayhem. The second book in the MONSTER OR DIE! series continues to highlight issues of diversity and inclusion.

Check out what two middle grade authors and my editor have to say:

Wendy MacKnight 

author of It’s a Mystery, Pig Face!

A wonderful sequel! I am Team Frank all the way, and there were so many twists and turns in this plot that it would strike fear into the heart of any self-respectful monster! Kids will devour this! Scary on!


Cynthia Surrisi

author of The Maypop Kidnapping

There has never been a finer collection of monsters, ghouls, and other assorted creatures of creepiness in one volume. And never have they struggled against type with such pathos to do what they believe is the right thing in the face of condemnation. Hurrah!


Caroline Larsen

Acquisition Editor at Jolly Fish Press

This is a lovely sequel to FROM THE GRAVE and is part of a great middle grade series about “monstering,” inclusivity, fitting in, friendship, loyalty, and fighting for what you believe in. I was surprised by how touched I was by Malcolm’s transformation in this story. Read the first book, FROM THE GRAVE, this summer just in time for INTO THE SHADOWLANDS to come out at Halloween!

Summer Reading Suggestion

If you want a haunting read this summer, pick up a copy of FROM THE GRAVE. You’ll be all set to join the continuing mayhem with INTO THE SHADOWLANDS in October!

And sign up on my website to receive the latest monster updates. There will be giveaways!

Monster on!!!