Whobert Turns 2, Two Ways

It’s so stinkin’ hard for me to believe that WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE turns two years old this month. The time flew by much like Whobert does: fast, and without any clue as to what the future holds. It was that mystery that led to the absolute best surprise this past week. A wonderful friend of mine asked me to sign a copy of WHOBERT for a new baby acquaintance they were about to make. When I flipped to the title page to sign, I saw on the copyright page a tiny number two. Cut to me looking like this:

If you’ve ever wondered what the little row of numbers means on a copyright page, those digits are used to tell people what printing a book is in. The lowest number in the row indicates how many times a book has gone to print. It’s a tiny, itty bitty number, but a big deal for an author or illustrator because the higher that number gets, the more copies are making it out into the world. That little two on Whobert’s copyright page means he got a second printing, and I had no idea! To see what I’m talking about, check out my Whobert Highlight on Instagram here and click to the last two videos.

WHOBERT didn’t exactly fly off the shelves, but it was really magnificent to find out that slowly but surely people are finding their way to Whobert’s wacky forest, and even two years after he hatched people still want to see him completely screw up the who-who-dunnit. You know those moments when terrible clichés are actually true? Clichés like, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint”? This is one of those moments, and I ain’t mad at it!

Thanks for all the support, everybody, and for keeping Whobert alive and well!

Happy Whobert-versary!


Teacher & Librarian Love Tuesday!

Teachers! Librarians! Tuesdays are for new books…FOR YOU!

Every Tuesday I’ll be giving a copy of WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE to a teacher or librarian as a thank you for being the super heroes of the literary world!

Here’s how it works:

Each Tuesday I will send out a Teacher & Librarian Love Tuesday (#TLLT) tweet. You can find me on Twitter here. All you gotta do is follow me on Twitter, then comment on that week’s #TLLT post by the end of the day. One random commenter will be selected and notified the following Wednesday. This will be going on until…forever! Because your awesomeness never stops!

Hooray, and thank you for all that you do in spreading the love of literacy and authors!



Whobert Turns 1!!

It’s the one year Whobert-versary! I can’t believe a whole year has already gone by since my debut picture book flew out into the world. It’s been a year full of school visits and book festivals and bookstore signings and it’s everything I imagined and more. Thank you for making this debut year so much fun! For more about Whobert’s first year, I did an in-depth  interview about the past twelve months with Jennifer Prevost in which I gabbed all about lessons learned and debut surprises and pushing forward.

While you’re here, let’s celebrate Whobert’s birthday! I’m giving away three copies of WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE, and you can enter all three! Enter here on my website, over on my Twitter page, or on my Instagram account.

To be entered to win here on the website, all you have to do is click the Follow button over on the righthand side of the page. That’s it! I’ll give a copy away to a random follower.

To be entered to win on Twitter, be sure to follow me and then retweet the tweet about the Whobert-versary giveaway.

To be entered to win on Instagram, be sure to follow me and then tag someone in the comments of the Whobert-versary post who you think might like WHOBERT.

You have one week to enter. I’ll be announcing the winners of all three giveaways on July 25, 2018 – which is the five month mark until Christmas, if anyone’s counting. Ho, ho, ho! Or I should say who, who, who!

Happy Whobert-versary, everybody!

Spreading the Love

I am so unbelievably excited to be able to sing this from the rooftops! I get to have a book out about my favorite topic of all time: LOVE! And the amazing Lori Richmond is going to illustrate! Here’s the PW announcement:

PORCUPINE CUPID is all about a plucky porcupine who fancies himself a matchmaker. I cannot wait to see this book come to life! It’s been a long time comin’. We sold this back in December 2015, and we’ve been waiting for just the right illustrator to sign on. I could not be happier that Lori joined the PORCUPINE team. We’ve been critique group partners for years, and I had no idea she was reached out to to potentially illustrate. Lori is super good at keeping a secret!

Can’t wait for a little more love to be in the world in December 2020 when PORCUPINE CUPID hits bookstores!

Whatims – March 19, 2018

Lord. And. Taylor, folks! Just got back home from seeing LOVE, SIMON, and it is the greatest coming out/gay love story I’ve ever seen! More on that later this week. It’s taking everything in me to dry my happy tears and focus on something else, but I’m going to give it a shot!

What I’m Writing: I’m heading into the last quarter of the second revision of my MG fantasy-adventure. These past few days I’ve actually been able to use a couple scenes from the first draft. Although about 80% of that first draft is getting cut, it feels good to know that some of what I wrote before can be used!

What I’m Reading: Holy smokes, y’all! I just finished Tomi Adeyemi‘s CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE this morning, and it is an absolute must-read. It is a YA African fantasy with epic battle scenes full of butt-kicking magic and forbidden romance that makes Romeo and Juliet look like they had it easy. Go. Out. And. Get. It.

What I’m Thankful For: This week I’ve got to give a big thanks to all my Picture Book II students in the online course I’m teaching through the Writing Barn. It is so easy for me to get caught up in middle grade when I’m in the midst of writing one, but these 12 writers have reminded me how exciting and enriching it is to be a picture book author as well. Thanks for reigniting that PB flame, you guys!

Whatims – February 19, 2018

Every Monday I’m going to give a rundown of what I’m writing, what I’m reading and what I’m thankful for. In short, the Whatims. Hopefully this will help out with three things: 1) Keep this fella on track to write everyday, 2) Spread the word about good books, and 3) Kick off the week with a little gratitude to avoid a Cathy case of the Mondays.

So here we go!

What I’m Writing: I’m nearing the end of a first draft of a middle grade fantasy-adventure. It’s about a love-adverse boy who finds himself stuck in a fairytale, and the only way out is to help Prince Charming find true love. I’m writing the ending this week, and I’m (Lisa Vander)pumped to get started on the revision! There will be a lot of fairytale research involved, which knowing me will include watching Disney movies and taking BuzzFeed quizzes on which Disney Princess would be my BFF.

I’m also working on a narrative nonfiction picture book about jellyfish! I’m shocked that I’m trying my hand at nonfiction. It’s always scared me, but it’s been a fun adventure. I’m nervous but excited!

What I’m Reading: Kim Tomsic’s THE 11:11 WISH! I have been on the edge of my seat waiting for this book. It’s about a girl named Megan who starts off a new year at a new school by making a wish at 11:11, resulting in all sorts of magical hijinks, both delightful and disastrous. I was lucky enough to see an early draft of this from Kim, and this book is everything I want and more! Kim, it’s catastrophically good!

I’m also reading a lot of picture book nonfiction right now to get inspiration for the jellyfish project I mentioned above. This week it’s IF SHARKS DISAPPEARED by Lily Williams, and ALABAMA SPITFIRE: THE STORY OF HARPER LEE AND TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD written by Bethany Hegedus, illustrated by Erin McGuire.

SHARKS is so well done, explaining the devastating effects the Earth could experience if sharks vanished from our world. Even though the subject seems like it could be rather doom and gloom, there is a strong feeling of hope throughout the whole book that details how an animal that might at first appear scary is actually an integral part of our environment that humans can help.

Bethany Hegedus is like my writing fairy godmother, so anytime she has a book come out, I’mma get that right away. Due to Harper Lee’s history of being reclusive, I didn’t know much about her, so I learned a ton about Lee’s life in ALABAMA SPITFIRE. I had NO IDEA she was besties with Truman Capote! Erin McGuire’s illustrations go so well with the story. I especially loved her depiction of setting. I could feel the slower pace of Alabama compared to the hustle and bustle of New York City.

I also left ALABAMA SPITFIRE feeling an even deeper drive to keep at striving to sell a novel one day, and also to buy a typewriter—preferably this fabulous pink Hermes one right here (not to say that Lee loved pink because as I learned from AS, she didn’t, but she did clack away at her typewriter!).

What I’m Thankful For: BookPeople! My local independent bookstore here in Austin, Texas. I always feel so welcome when I walk through their doors, and they are outrageously supportive of their local authors. In fact, I walked in this weekend and was pulled aside almost instantly to sign more copies of WHOBERT. It made me feel like a rockstar, which despite the long hair I’m decidedly not. Plus, Shannon the School Visit Coordinator has been a dream in getting presentations set up at local elementary schools.

To the Book People at BookPeople, I LOVE YOU! Thank you for all that you do!