Up Next: My Nebula Schedule

A super quick post (that I should have published weeks ago, but deadlines, you know…) to say
how excited I am to be participating in SFWA’s Nebula Conference this weekend. My schedule is as follows:

Flash Talks
Thursday, 5/18
3:30 p.m.
Marquis A
Marvel, as I double triple my heart rate speaking in the company of Pablo Defendini, K.M. Szpara, Diane Turnshek, Shanna Swendson, Ken Chiacchia, Jessi Cole Jackson, Bishop O’Connell, Sally Wiener Grotta, and David D. Levine.

Office Hours
Friday, 5/19
11:00 a.m.
Grand Ballroom
My listed topics are “Copywriting, Freelancing, and Cats.” But someone else also listed “Cats” as a discussion topic, so be prepared for this to rapidly spiral out into a #catsofSFWA slideshow.

Panel: Work-for-Hire
Sunday, 5/21
10:00 a.m.
Marquis C
Liz Argall, Ken Chiacchia, Jody Lynn Nye and I discuss work-for-hire writing.

If you’re at the Nebula Conference this weekend, please stop by and say hello!

Out Today! The Powerpuff Girls: Superhero Crime-Fighting Games & Activities

9780399542732-1This was such a fun project! When I started working on
The Powerpuff Girls: Superhero Crime-Fighting Games & Activities, only the very earliest roughs of the reboot were available for research/reference. Animation is a world that’s always fascinated me, so it was pretty cool to see how those shows come together from a behind-the-scenes POV. Also, even without the final art, the episodes were FUNNY (“Painbow” was my favorite)–a testament to good comedy writing.

Most of the activity books I’ve worked on have been much more about coming up with puzzles and games and less about writing. (No shade on puzzle and game creation–I love that part, too.) But with the Powerpuff Girls, I was delighted that there was room for a bit of story to run throughout, packed with as many puns as punches. The art and design is gorgeous (of course), props–as always–to the art team.

A bit more from the Penguin Random House site:

The Powerpuff Girls are back, and even better than before!

Play along with Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup in this action-packed, full-color Powerpuff Girls activity book with stickers! Help Blossom read maps, color in crime-fighting scenes with Bubbles, and play silly games with Buttercup. Saving the day with the Powerpuff Girls has never been so much fun!

The Powerpuff Girls: Superhero Crime-Fighting Games & Activities is available in stores and online:
Northshire Bookstore
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
IndieBound

On Stands Now! Entertainment Weekly: The Ultimate Guide to Star Trek

8b31be10f9d4Super excited to have written two pieces and a list (I think the young people call it a “listicle”) for this special edition of Entertainment Weekly, Entertainment Weekly: The Ultimate Guide to Star Trek. My favorite of the three pieces–if I had to pick–is “Who’s Your Captain,” in which I rank captains based on who would make the best wingman (or woman), road trip buddy, life partner, etc. Any job that requires you to re-watch your favorite Star Trek episodes is a fairly wondrous thing. So I reeeeeally enjoyed researching and writing these pieces, as well as being a small part of the bigger 50th anniversary celebration.

I could write for weeks about how Star Trek was ahead of its time in so many important ways. But other deadlines loom. So instead, I’ll leave you with this quote, often attributed to  Gene Roddenberry. I couldn’t find a solid source for this one, but thought it was an appropriate sentiment for this horrific week and very in-line with Star Trek‘s remarkable legacy.

Star Trek was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms. […] If we cannot learn to actually enjoy those small differences, to take a positive delight in those small differences between our own kind, here on this planet, then we do not deserve to go out into space and meet the diversity that is almost certainly out there.”
Gene Roddenberry, (maybe)

Entertainment Weekly: The Ultimate Guide to Star Trek is available at magazine stands, in bookstores, and online.

Out Today: The Star-Spangled Banner

Happy Flag Day! In a bit of publishing synchronicity (that I’m certain was no accident), The Star-Spangled Banner is out today. It’s a Level 4 Reader in Grosset & Dunlap’s Smithsonian series. A bit about the book from their site:

The original Star-Spangled Banner that flew over Fort McHenry, Baltimore, in 1814 and inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words that would become the national anthem of the United States, is the showpiece of the Smithsonian! In this lively nonfiction book, young readers will read about the story behind the flag, the song, and how the Smithsonian cares for this most precious national treasure.

 
Researching this book was a tremendous amount of fun–I learned so much about the flag, the anthem, and the extraordinary efforts the Smithsonian Institute has made to restore and preserve the Star-Spangled Banner. Did you know that Francis Scott Key was a lawyer? Or that the Star-Spangled Banner was bigger than the house in which it was sewn?  Or that almost 200 square feet of the flag were lost to snippets cut for souvenirs? There are so many fascinating facts in the flag’s story–I hope that kids (and those reading with them) will enjoy learning about the Star-Spangled Banner as much as I did.

You can buy the The Star-Spangled Banner here:
Northshire
IndieBound
Barnes & Noble
Amazon

Out Today: Spider-Man Storybook Collection

Does whatever a spider can! Marvel’s new Spider-Man Storybook Collection is out today! I wrote four stories for this book, featuring (in addition to Spidey, natch) Ms. Marvel, Venom, Doc Ock, Green Goblin, and Electro. They’re not all in the same story, of course…but, maybe next time!

When this project came through, I’d just finished reading Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, so I was especially excited for an opportunity to write a story with Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan. (If you haven’t read the new Ms. Marvel comics yet, do so ASAP–they are smart, witty, and so much fun! Seriously, go read them now. GO!)

You can buy the Spider-Man Storybook Collection here:
Astoria Bookshop
Amazon
B&N
IndieBound

Out Today, Falcon: Fear of Flying

514bkh-5KBL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_My latest project for Marvel, Falcon: Fear of Flying, is out today. It’s a Level 2 in Marvel’s emerging reader program, “World of Reading.” In it, Falcon is forced to confront some unusual super-fears in order to help a friend out of a tough situation.

I had a lot of fun writing this story, especially since we’ve been working with leveled readers at Read Ahead. Seeing kids interacting with these books in real life really crystallized for me what an important role they play in a child’s journey toward literacy. I also think it’s great that World of Reading (and other leveled reader series) offer so many options across such a wide range of interests.

In a moderately failed experiment, I brought the first book I ever read on my own, The Marvelous Mud Washing Machine, to a Read Ahead session. I had to track it down online, as my own copy had long since been donated to my mom’s kindergarten classroom. I was surprised to find out it was also a leveled reader (though mightily of yore), from the “10 Word Reader” series. My reading buddy politely went along with it, but was ultimately less than impressed. Not surprising, considering the options today are so much better. I mean, mud puddle vs. Iron Man? No contest. (Sorry, mud washing machine! You’re still marvelous to me!)

**As I mentioned with Ant-Man: Game Over, the incredibly talented artists Rachelle Rosenberg and Ron Lim deserve a special shout-out again for their brilliant art and illustrations.**

Falcon: Fear of Flying is available at bookstores and online:
Northshire Bookstore
IndieBound
Amazon
Barnes & Noble