Tag Archives: kids

Mo, and My Take on Bullying

I’ve always been against bullies, ever since that gargantuan down the street would terrorize everyone at our bus stop in elementary school. Mo, my newest kid’s book, reflects my feelings on bullies.

On a planet quite far from us lives a civilization of monsters with superpowers. It is a sad place, very brown and dead, and looks like this:


Mo, our protagonist, is a bit smaller than his classmates and has yet to discover his power. The others pick on him in various ways until one day, his teacher gives him a magic key that helps him find his power and become a hero. And, of course, the bullies get their just desserts.

Here is an image of Mo on the cover.

Isn’t he cute? Artist Christina Paul  did an excellent job visualizing the story and all of the little creatures. I love her work.

So, if you want to check out the ebook, it’s available on Kindle and Nook so far. If you check it out, I would love to hear your thoughts on it! Make sure you check out my other ebooks as well…there are a few. Thanks for stopping by!


The Princess of the Land of Black

As some of you may know, I have delved into the world of juvenile fiction, AKA kid’s books. Right now they are in ebook format, so if you have one, I would love if you would check it out. I’m going to do a few small features on them in the upcoming days.

The Princess of the Land of Black was inspired by my new wife’s niece, who pretty much demanded I write one about a princess. I never saw myself writing about female royalty, but when I really thought about it, I came up with the character Onyx, a princess in a kingdom where they only wear shades of black. She goes on a quest to find out what else there is in the world, and discovers all of the other colors by visiting princesses and castles.

What’s it really about? Opening your mind to new things. Going outside your comfort zone and coming out on top. Living life. You name it.

The artwork is by Lyndsaye Greke, a Canadian artist, poet and jaqueline-of-all-trades, so to speak. Her work is fantastic. When we started preliminary discussions, I said I would love something that’s “Disney” plus “Tim Burton” and I think she did a great job. It’s cute, but just a bit dark as well.

It’s available on Nook, Kindle and in the iTunes store. I hope you enjoy it, and if you check it out please feel free to comment here on what you thought.

The Melancholy Robot and Art

The robot walked through the art museum trying to understand the why behind art. Lots of small dots created a pond scene. A bronze statue of a ballerina. A can of soup. It could not fathom why humans created it. They should focus on needs: food, drink, clean air and water. As it walked, it failed to notice the child sitting on the floor finger painting as his mother copied a nearby Van Gogh. The kid looked up at it and said, “Hey!” forcing the mechanical man to look down at the marble flooring. It had stepped in the kid’s red paint and tracked its footprint onto a clean sheet of paper.
“Sorry,” it said to the child. As it tried to leave, the boy tapped the robot’s shoulder and handed over the sheet with the red footprint.
“You made it. You should keep it,” the kid said.

Today’s artwork is created by the talented Richard Holt. Click on the image for his blog.

Be sure to follow the rest of The Melancholy Robot story from last week. It continues this week as well.

Ronald (A Story of Connections)

Ronald searched the jumbled shelves of the used book store. The owner told him the copy was here and even described the binding so he knew what he was looking for: off white with shiny red lettering. Shouldn’t be too hard to spot.

Ever since he met Liz he’d been infatuated with her. They spent so many hours discussing films, books, and everything else they both loved, and she’d recommended Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close the other night over tea at her place. He couldn’t get over how optimistic she was, her fun, artistic apartment, and even her quiet son who’d spent the night playing with his Transformers.

“I found it!” the owner called from behind a bookcase somewhere in the back of the store. She hobbled out and handed him the paperback that he took with care as if it were a newborn. He couldn’t wait to read this.

He paid her in cash as he always did, and she asked him how classes were since she always confused him with one of her other customers, a college professor, and reminded her that he was a chef. She smiled and apologized, fixed her small, crooked glasses and gave him change.

He walked out and continued down the alley that led to the main street where he made a left at a clump of mainstream stores, including a bookstore big enough to be considered a warehouse. He always went to Barbara’s store first for books since he liked to support independently owned stores that were quickly disappearing.

He stopped to flip through the book as he noticed some of the pages had photographs, some drawings, and even a few pages with color. He almost bumped into someone and without looking up walked around them. “Excuse me,” he said. When the person didn’t respond he turned to look at them and realized it was Liz’s son and he had a small, green handled shovel.

He’d have to bring that up to her next time they hung out. But that wouldn’t be until he’d read this book at least twice and was ready to tell her how wonderful it was.

If you enjoyed this and want to know more about the other characters, click on the Stories of Connections category on the right.

A Paradox and a Balloon

Sometimes it was difficult for me to remember Susie was twelve, especially when I noticed her scrunching her nose; this was always a sign she was deep in thought.

She looked up at the orange balloon tied to her wrist and after much deliberation pulled the loose end of the string. The newly-released balloon floated up and momentarily became stuck in a branch until a gentle breeze freed it from a leafy prison and it continued on a heavenly journey.

“What goes up must come down,” she whispered. I wasn’t sure if she was talking to me or thinking out loud.

“What hun?” I asked. I could see a hypothesis forming in her mind; I blame her scientist mother for moments like these. Well, maybe blame isn’t the right word since I adore our after-school hangouts in the park. Sometimes being a writer has its perks.

“I was just thinking about something Miss Rivers said in class today. We were doing a lab with eggs and she said that everything that goes up comes down. Do you know the saying?”

I nodded.

“Well, what about my balloon? It went up and won’t come down.” We both looked skyward at the small orange dot that was once leashed to her small wrist.

“Well, the balloon is going up now, but it won’t necessarily continue to go up, right? What happens to a balloon when you bring it home?”

She shifted her weight on the bench. “It floats for a day or two and then starts to shrivel, like a raisin. As the helium wears out it stops floating. So you’re right, the balloon will eventually come down. I guess Miss Rivers knows what she’s talking about.”

She looked at her chucks. “The statement doesn’t provide any kind of specific timeline. I thought of our eggs going up and coming down immediately after she said it, because it was directly in front of me when she made the comment. But I guess it doesn’t specify when objects come down. Maybe the saying should be ‘What goes up eventually comes down,’ hmm?” She sat staring at the balloon until she could no longer see it.

She reached out a small hand, her signal that she was ready to start the walk home. I got up and took her hand as we began the walk home. Her nose was scrunched again.

“Airplanes land, or they’d run out of fuel and crash.” I nodded to her. “What about satellites? Or other things we launch into orbit?”

I had no answer to that, and a simple “Ask your mother,” seemed inappropriate. “I’m not sure,” is all I came up with.

“It would seem I found a paradox,” she said, and I nodded. Again, I can’t believe she’s twelve. At that, the man who originally gave her the balloon appeared again.

“Did you lose your balloon? I probably didn’t tie it tight enough. Would you like another?”

Her eyes opened wide and innocent as she looked up at the bunch and chose a color.

“Red, please,” she said with a colossal smile.

*Inspired by the word Paradox shared by Ashley Smolnik

The Gorilla Habitat

“The kids would have loved these guys,” she said to her husband, drawing his attention to the two gorillas sunning in their habitat. He walked up and snapped a shot with his Ansco Color Clipper.

“So would your father!” he added.

She gave him a nasty look. “That’s not funny.”


“Comparing mother to a gorilla. It’s not funny.” She frowned but he smiled.

“I wasn’t, I just thought he’d enjoy them,” he replied with a sinister smile.

“Mother is not a gorilla.”

“Of course not, dear,” he said, pulling her toward him and holding her.

She pouted a bit and stepped out of his embrace.

“It says here,” he read to her from the placard in a lame attempt to change the subject, “Gorillas are the largest and most powerful of the manlike apes.”

“Are you going to say something about my mother’s size and power?”

“Of course not, dear. I adore your mother.” She crossed her arms and continued to look away from him and in the direction of the animals. He pulled out a list.

“So, do we continue from here to the campgrounds like your folks did? I know you want to keep with their itinerary. Says we go from here to camping near Disney World. I packed the tent…”

He walked up behind her and put his arms under hers, squeezing a bit until she giggled. He took that as a sign of forgiveness.

“Sure. First let’s stop by the souvenir shop. I want to find a post card to send the kids.”

“Deal. Lead the way, beautiful,” he said as he offered his arm.

A Birthday Alone (repost) and Her Second Year There (new)

This is something new I’m starting, a series of flashes typed onto photographs that tell a continuation of a story. This set and many others are now being sold on my Etsy.

More Fun Than a Barrel of Monkeys

“What are those?” she said, crinkling her nose as she usually would to a vegetable she discovered on her plate that she didn’t like.

“They were called Barrel of Monkeys. This was the only toy my great grandmother had at her house, so every year on New Year’s Day we would be forced to play with them because there was nothing else to do.”

She poked one as if they would bite. “They look boring.” A typical four-year-old response. “How do we play?”

“Well,” I said, picking up a red one. “You’re supposed to start with one, and try to hook another one onto his tail by the hand. See?” I demonstrated. She didn’t look amused. I picked up a yellow one by the hand, and then proceeded to a green one.

“Let me try?”

“Of course, that’s why I got them.”

She picked one up, yellow of course, that being her favorite, and she started trying. After a few failed attempts she got one and I applauded her.

“Great job!”

“Yeah, I guess.”

She tried again, and again, getting five in a chain before she dropped them.

“This is boring.”

“It is not, watch. I’ll try to get a bunch.”

I picked up one, hooked it to another, then another, then another, and kept going until I had about ten. She had picked up a copy of ReadyMade magazine and started turning pages as if she could read it, and I realized I was playing alone. I dropped the string of seven monkeys I had going and with my hand swept them all back into the barrel.

“You’re right. These are boring.”

She smiled and went back to pretending to read the magazine.

A Freak Storm

A Freak Storm was made from old films I bought at a yard sale, a G5 Macintosh and my imagination.