Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Bigfoot fun!

When I was a kid, my parents really wanted me to be a girly-girl instead of a tomboy. So they bought me lots of dolls. And lots of dolls collected dust in the floor of my closet. My kids like me the way I am. : ) Witness this year's fantastic present -- my great big "Garden Yeti." I'd admired him on the Design Toscano website for years -- him and the terrific dragons and dinosaurs. So I was REALLY excited.
Thanks Kerry, Vanessa and Adrian. I LOVE my new "baby." I'll find the perfect place for him as soon as he's taller than the snow drifts.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

X-mas for Rick

What do you give the illustrator that has everything? How about a realistic fake thing? Because we're researching a book about aliens and UFOs, I opted for an alien skull replica from Think Geek. I LOVE Think Geek. He loved the present. My cat posed with it just before I packed it up.

Man, I love being weird. : )

Thursday, December 25, 2008

GHOST MEDICINE author Andrew Smith

My friend Andy Smith taught me to write. We were both on the high school newspaper and while Mrs. Shiffman taught us the bare bones of journalism and layout, he opened up the heart to me. Today on his blog, Andy wrote about me. It meant the world to me, so I thought I'd share a piece of it -- and a link -- with you here.

"I'd like to say how grateful I am to have a friend like Kelly Milner Halls, whom I've known since we were kids. Kelly was really the one who made me start writing again, after so many years of drifting around from situation to situation and place to place. "

Thanks, my oldest friend. Here's to a brilliant new year.

Daniel Handler (Snicket)

Bev on the Children's Writer listserv posted the link to a fun new article about Daniel Handler -- better known as Lemony Snicket. His new holiday book, A Lump of Coal, explores the darker side of the season and the article explores his reasoning behind the "sugary sweet" departure. Great read.

I sat at the same table with Daniel, his editor, Crutcher and a bunch of other super smart people at IRA in Toronto a couple of years ago and he was delightful. We all debated the value of celebrity books with high advances VS the need to find and fiscally support NEW children's writers. Great discussion, so I never miss reading about Daniel (or Chris).

Oh, btw -- HAPPY HOLIDAYS! We've got almost four feet of snow today, Christmas. 'Tis the season, I guess. : )

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pug HATES snow!

We had a snow storm this week. It cost me a school visit. Rats. It also made me house bound for several days, because three feet of snow slows a 1999 Saturn Coupe to a screeching, high centered halt. Today, the plows FINALLY came, so I got my book contract mailed, bought some groceries and filled the nearly worthless Saturn's gas tank. Now...more snow is on the way. All that said, may I just share one discovery?PUG hates snow. Note the wilted, once curly tail.
kelly (who is cold, but okay)

I told you so!

See how neat Jay Stephens is? He sent this super cool SECRET SATURDAYS Christmas greeting. I feel yule tidy as can be. : ) Thanks, Jay!


Friday, December 19, 2008

Alice Pope passed it on

So I was wandering around Alice Pope's (my editor at CWIM for the past ten years -- has it really been that long?) blog tonight and found this FANTASTIC event scheduled in the New England States on Valentine's Day 2009. Authors volunteer to spend quality time with kids at indie bookstores in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. Man, it makes me wish I lived in New England. In fact, I'm checking my calendar. CRYPTIDS was on the Maine State Reading Award list last year. Maybe I could be wicked cool for a day? If you live back east, think about sharing a little time. I'm gonna see about doing it out here.

VAMPYRE: My favorite book for 2008!

Don't let this photo of the cover deceive you. This book LOOKS as cool as it sounds -- like an overstuffed leather journal worn by time and turmoil. But it's what's inside that makes this my favorite book of 2008. Sturdy book mechanics and creative energy will REALLY appeal to strong and reluctant readers alike. This amazing book about vampires -- fact and fiction -- is a must for any vampire lover or library shelf.

HarperCollins says: This lavish, highly interactive, and deliciously spooky book features everything you never wanted to know about vampyres! Take a look inside (if you dare) and discover creepy evidence of true gothic horror—foldout maps, booklets of vampyre myths and lore, Dr. Van Helsing's private letters, pull-tab revelations, heat-sensitive images and much more!

It's not cheap, but it's worth every penny. The perfect gift book for your favorite vampire fan.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Jay Stephens is so cool.

I just stole this image from Jay Stephen's blog, Monsterama, but it's so cool, maybe he'll forgive me. THE SECRET SATURDAYS is an awesome new cartoon show on the Cartoon Network you have GOT to check out. For more about it, check out this website:

Read Kiddo Read!

James Patterson -- YES, that James Patterson -- has started a great new blog/website/entity to try and counter the thought that boys don't like to read called In their own words:

Boys Don't Like To Read!

We Disagree! Foster a love of reading for life among those reluctant guys, with gems such as: How I Became a Pirate, From Head to Toe: The Amazing Human Body and How It Works, or The Adventures of Captain Underpants: An Epic Novel. Click here to find out the best read for the boy in your life.

Oh yeah! That's what I'm talking about!


It's pretty simple, really. For 15 years, I've written "weird" nonfiction for kids and I wanted to share my work -- and things like it -- in one central place. A blog seemed like a pretty good option.

Don't expect long, boring blogs about the magic of literature. Don't expect "long" at all. My goal is to make this a fun fast place to come to for ideas when you want to please the reluctant readers in your world.

Parents, librarians, kids, writers -- really everybody is welcome. Just don't be surprised if a post makes you gasp or groan now and then. Weird stuff can be like that. But if it makes you think or secretly grin, I will be happy. Thinking and smiling -- like weird reading -- can be fun!