Archive for January, 2017


 

Here’s a peek at the very First Chapter from my middle-grade adventure, available later this month from Wheeler Street Press. The cover is by renowned comic book artist Mike DeCarlo. I hope you enjoy it and want to read more …

 

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1

The worst thing about getting hit in the face is that it hurts.

A lot.

Which is why when I found myself getting pummelled in the gym after sixth period by a guy everyone calls Thor, I couldn’t believe I had actually agreed to the beating. I was no superhero, so what on Earth did I think I was doing letting the biggest freshman at Bedford High use my body as a punching bag?

But let me back up a little here. My name is Will Peck, and I’m fourteen years old. I’m what people like to label a nerd. I prefer the term sentient-being-of-high-intellectual-acuity-with-low-social-popularity, but I’ll be the first to admit that geek, spaz, and nerd roll off the tongue a lot easier. Sports have never loved me, so I made a deal with all the round athletic balls of the world a long time ago that I wouldn’t bother them if they didn’t bother me. Trust me, my life would be much simpler if I was good at any kind of physical activity. Even being able to jog, or play badminton without pulling a major muscle, would place me in higher esteem with everyone in my life.

Especially my dad.

I love my dad, he’s a great guy. But he’s, well, he’s too great a guy. I mean, he’s really good-looking and has muscles on top of muscles. That and he’s got perfect teeth, and this really awesome voice that’s all deep and dramatic, like those voiceover guys in the movie trailers (“In a world!”)—you know the ones. Everyone who meets him instantly likes him and wants him to be their best friend.

I am so not like that. Not only do I like nerdy things, like computer programming, starting the astronomy club, math club, and virtual horticulture club, but I physically fit the profile. My hair is long and shaggy, and I weigh about ninety pounds completely drenched. Which I have been, by the neighborhood kids. Many times.

But I try to stay positive, keep my spirits high and realize that I’ve got my dad’s genes, so maybe someday I’ll shed this scrawny body and turn into a cool guy.

Doubtful, though. Personally, I’m big on the three “L”s: the library, the lab, and the laptop. I’m a voracious reader, mostly of stories that revolve around science, nature, and the discovery of our vast universe. Yes, I’m the one kid in high school who actually reads National Geographic from cover to cover. The photos are amazing, and the maps inside help me imagine traveling to some faraway place some day. Maybe a place where I won’t feel like such an out-of-place freak.

Overall, I guess I’m more like my mom, with her love of science and that thoughtful, quiet way about her. She’s kind of pretty, in a buttoned-down, librarian-y sort of way. I mean, I don’t really think about whether my mom looks hot or not. But my dad is always going on about how lucky he is to have met her, how gorgeous she is, and on and on. So if he thinks she’s beautiful, and he’s the perfect guy, how can it not be true?

Except, I’ve recently learned that not everything that comes out of my dad’s mouth is true. They aren’t lies, exactly. Just truths with the crusts cut off. Not the whole story, if you know what I mean.

It sucked pretty hard, finding out that my dad wasn’t exactly who I thought he was. Who I believed he was. I knew everyone had secrets, including my mom and dad. Some of those secrets—like how and when I was conceived, or the frequency of their daily trips to the bathroom—are okay staying secrets. But this was a big one. I mean, HUGE. When I found out, it was like I was the last one to know. And it hurt. A lot.

Which brings me back to the pummelling I received by the beast called Thor. It started innocently enough. But it ended with me getting a black eye. And with my parents kidnapped by international terrorists. Yeah. It was an interesting few days.

And that was just the beginning.

END OF CHAPTER ONE

 

These are the two “Variant” Covers that can also be purchased (same great book inside, but with different art on the outside) — exclusively from WSP. The 1st one is drawn by David Castro and colored by Ryan Donoghue. The 2nd one is drawn and colored by Paul Loudon. I love all 3 of the covers, it’s really hard to pick a favorite!

 

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Fun Books I Read in 2016

So, one thing you should know about me is that I have 3 boys, and they keep me super busy! When I’m not hanging out with them, I’m reading books (or writing my own!). This year I wanted to read a bunch, but didn’t get to as many as I would have liked to.

What’s great about my boys is that they love when I read books TO them – this way we all get a chance to enjoy a lot of new books, as well as some classic books (including some of the great books I read when I was their age).

Here are just a few of the books I read to them in 2016:

BEEZUS AND RAMONA and RAMONA THE PEST by Beverly Cleary – Ms. Cleary turned 100 years old (!) back in April and she still remains one of the greatest writer of books for kids out there. These are two books I remember fondly from when I was about 8 or 9. Nice to say, they’re still hilarious and a lot of fun to read. The boys loved them, too.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON by Cressida Cowell – We all saw the movie when it came out, but didn’t know there was an entire series (13 books and counting!) of books that were also drawn by the author. Hiccup and Toothless’ very first adventure was a total treat, full of hair-raising adventures and lots and lots of dragons.

DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS by Mo Willems (he never disappoints!), AGATHA by Anna Pignataro, THE GRUFFALO by Julia Donaldson with pictures by Axel Scheffler, and HOW ROCKET LEARNED TO READ by Tad Hills were a few of the standout Picture Books that the boys and I enjoyed this year.

Books We Plan to Read in 2017:

2 books we’re already halfway through and plan to finish soon:

THE BOY WHO LOST HIS FACE by Louis Sachar (one of my fave authors of all time)

THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ by L. Frank Baum – follow the yellow brick road!

I can’t wait to read more books on my own, and with my boys. If you’re interested in seeing some of the books I’ve read over the years, and the ones I’m currently reading, please check out my Goodreads page, as well as my newest book site, LibraryThing. If you’re a member of either one of them, definitely send me a Friend Request. I’d love to see what you’re reading, as well!