Tag Archive for fiction

Monster Heroes — Review

Over four stories, Hoena and Bardin introduce young monsters who “wanted to be like superheroes and save the day.” There’s Will, a shy but brave ghost; Mina, a beet-juice-drinking vampire; Linda, a kindly witch; and Brian, a quick-thinking zombie who prefers tofu to brains. The stories are essentially identical: each of the four runs into trouble with members of his or her own kind (mean ghosts try to haunt new residents in town, Mina’s parents plan to take a bite out of their dinner guests) and the friends swoop in to help, but Hoena’s playful sense of humor and Bardin’s Cartoon Network–ready illustrations keep these three-chapter stories quick moving and entertaining.
—Publishers Weekly

Monster Heroes — Review

Four good-hearted monsters repeatedly save the day by concocting clever ways to foil the schemes of their evil families and schoolmates.

Their challenges range from getting the residents of Hill House (“across from Shirley Jackson’s tomb”) to laugh rather than scream at a trio of ectoplasmic pranksters to saving the Plasma family after vampire neighbors issue an invitation to…dinner. Happily, Will, Mina, Brian, and Linda—respectively, a shy ghost, a vampire who prefers beet juice to blood, a brainy zombie, and a curse-reversing witch — rise to every challenge by putting their heads and magical powers together. Bardin adds a zany element to the well-leaded narrative with daffy cartoon illustrations… Hoena tucks sufficient tongue-in-cheek references into the narrative to keep older readers amused, should they happen upon the book.

—Kirkus Reviews

Tower of London

9781515725794Most everyone likes a scary ghost story. Now you can experience one in a choose-your-path book.

With its 1,000-year history, the Tower of London is considered to be one of the most haunted places in the world. Queen Anne Boylen was beheaded on the Tower Green, a lawn within the fortress’s walls. Hundreds of years later, visitors claim to have seen her ghostly funeral procession marching toward the Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula. Then there are rumors of a ghostly bear wandering the grounds. It is believed to have been part of the Royal Menagerie, a collection of exotic animals that kings and queens kept at the Tower.

And those are just a few of the ghosts that you will encounter in my latest release, Tower of London: A Chilling Interactive Adventure.

Thud & Blunder

Friends and family know that while I was growing up, I loved fantasy stories—still do! I read tons of stories about dragons and knights, heroes and monsters. Reading those types of books actually inspired me to start writing my own stories. So I was more than excited to team up with fellow author and friend Sean Tulien to write about the adventures of two unlikely heroes: nine-year-old knights Thud and Blunder. There are dragons, knights, ogres, wizards, and lots of silliness.

The Not-so-Helpless Princess: Thud and Blunder are hired by the king to travel to Castle Kidnap’t and rescue the princess from a band of ogres. Only, the princess is not as helpless as they are led to believe, and she’s not the one who needs saving. The ogres are deathly afraid of her. But Thud and Blunder have been hired to do a job, which they hope will lead to fame and fortune.

9781496532190The Not-so-Heroic Knight: A knight in shining armor asks Thud and Blunder to join him on a heroic quest! He is head to the Sand Witch’s lair that is filled with treasure.How can two nine-year-old knights in search of adventure turn down such a Great Opportunity? But they quickly learn that their idea of adventure is different than their not-so-heroic companion. 

Monster Heroes

Last fall was a busy, busy time for me, and so it’s looking like August and September are the months that all my hard work will come to fruition. I have many, many books being released, starting with my Monster Heroes series. These books are a mashup of two of my favorite things to write about: monsters and super heroes. Will (the ghost), Mina (the vampire), Linda (the witch), and Brian (the zombie) are friends who share a big secret. Instead of haunting people, sucking their blood, cursing them, or eating their brains, these four monster want to be like super heroes and protect people. Each of them has a special talent that they put to good use to help save day!

9781496537553The Ghost Trap: Most ghosts love to scare people. But Will is not most like ghosts. He is shy and quiet and hates attention. When he hears other ghosts talking about haunting an old house to scare kids, he knows he needs to stop them. See if Will is brave enough to stop the scary ghosts.

Veggies and Vampires: Mina is a vibrant, veggie-eating vampire who hates blood. As you can imagine, this is a problem. Mina’s parents invite humans to dinner to test Mina’s vampire skills. Find out if Mina is able to keep her secret.

9781496537546Witch’s Brew: Linda is a good witch. Sadly, most witches aren’t like Linda including her scheming sisters. They have created a new evil potion and are ready to use it on innocent pets. Can Linda and her friends stop her evil sisters?

Zombies and Meatballs: Most zombies are not very smart. However, Brian is different. He is a smart, book-loving zombie. When a zombie horde gathers, Brian knows nobody is safe. Can Brian stop the dangerous zombie horde? Better yet, can he stop them by using meatballs? Follow Brian through this crazy adventure.

Heavyweight Takedown

So I’ve written books on football, skateboarding, and soccer. All of which are sports that I either follow or take part in. But my newest book, Heavyweight Takedown, focuses on a sport I haven’t tackled yet. And while I can’t claim to be a wrestling fanatic, it holds a soft spot in my heart. I grew up watching “profressional” wrestling. I saw live the High Flyers defeat Jesse “the Body” Ventura and Adrian Adonis. Watched the Crusher take on Baron Von Rashke. Sure, it was fake, but it was fun to watch and mimic as I wrestled around with my cousins.

In high school, my interest switched to old Kung Fu movies. But then in grad school, I studied under Terry Davis, author of the Vision Quest, a cult-classic in the wrestling world. So when offered to write a book on wrestling, I had to take on the project, partly for it’s sentimental value and partly as homage to the professor who helped guide my writing career.

Summary: Kyle is the star of his junior high wrestling team’s A squad. Not only does he win most of his matches, but he’s also the heavyweight. So when a new kid, Kenny, shows up and challenges Kyle for the heavyweight spot (and wins it), Kyle’s confidence shrinks. Now on the B squad, Kyle is frustrated. He wants his team to do well, and Kenny is a good wrestler. But Kyle also wants to be on the A squad. Can Kyle come up with a way to help his team?

Peter Pan — retelling

PeterPan_Cover_Color02Every now and then, my editors send me teasers of the books I’ve written, whether it’s sketches of the illustrations or a mock up of the cover. I always enjoy seeing my books come to life through the art work, so it’s great to get a glimpse into how things are progressing.

Early last year, I finished up a graphic novel retelling of Peter Pan. I believe it will be released this summer. And not long ago, my editor sent me this mock up of the cover. The book is being illustrated by Fernando Cano. He illustrated my Tony Hawk—Live 2 Skate books as well, and I love his work. His style is really capturing the playful feel of my retelling.

Can’t wait to have a copy of the printed book in hand.

Jess & Jaylen — Skateboard Scare

9781631434419_p0_v2_s600Skateboard Scare, I must admit, was based off of an incident I had late last summer. I took a spill on my skateboard, and along with the typical raspberries on my knees and elbows, I sprained my wrist pretty badly. I was iffy about getting back on for months after that, and my lack of confidence actually made me a little wobbly on my board. But after another fall, in which I didn’t get hurt, I realized that accidents are just going to happen, and we can’t them hold us back from from doing what we enjoy. It’s a lesson Jess learns in Skateboard Scare.

Jess & Jaylen

IMG_1286Just received my comp. copies for the eight books in my Jess & Jaylen series. These two big-city third graders have been friends forever. They live just down the block from each other. Jess is the sporty one while Jaylen is more on the brainy side. Their love of skateboarding and hanging out at Jake’s Pizza lead to many adventures.

Brains vs Brawn: Jess and Jaylen’s friendship gets tested when they struggle to agree on summer activities they can both enjoy.

Coming Clean: Jaylen accidentally breaks his brother’s phone. He could hide what he did and let his little sister take the blame, but the guilt is eating him up.

Halloween Scream: Jaylen designs a Halloween to help him and his friends get through the scariest of all haunted houses.

Museum Mystery: On a school field trip to the museum, Jess and Jaylen try to solve the mystery of a missing camera.

School Bus Bully: A new boy moves to the neighborhood. He’s a bully and threatens to do bad things to Jaylen’s face.

Skatebaord Scare: Jess takes a spill on her skateboard, and Jaylen needs to help her get her confidence back before the skateboarding contest.

Trouble With Cheating: Jess is worried about asking Jaylen for help on her math homework, so she cheats instead. But Jaylen’s teaches her that it’s okay to ask for help.

Video Game Zombie: Jaylen gets a little too involved in the video game Jess gave him for his birthday. It’s starting to affect their friendship.




Here’s my third book in the Tony Hawk Live2Skate series. And I must admit that these books have inspired me to get back on my board. While I can’t do half of the tricks I describe in this story, the one thing I share with Lei, the main character, is that I like to use my skateboard as a fun mode of transportation. It’s often how I get back and forth to the library, to pick up research books for my latest project.9781434291424_p0_v1_s600

Summary: Lei and her crew know their skatepark is run down and nothing special, but its theirs and they are proud of it. So when a crew of older boys move in to claim the park as their own, Lei isn’t going to just step aside and let them. She challenges the boys to a skate off — trick for trick. Half of her crew is ready to give up the park, while the boy she’s crushing on tries to step in and come between her and trouble. Lei is determined to prove that she can skate and that she can take care of herself. Part of Tony Hawk’s Live2Skate series, Daring proves that work and determination can take you far.