Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Winner and A Little Otter

First of all, CONGRATS to Jenni B on winning D IS FOR DRAMA! I hope you and your daughter enjoy the book!

And now this little fella is here to announce my latest short story publication:

My story, Let's Slide! is in the back-to-school edition of Stories for Children magazine. It's the tale of Otter, who wants to go sliding, but all his buddies are too busy. Guess who he finally finds to slide with him?

I'm a fan of otters, aren't you?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

D is for Drama Giveaway!

Well, friends, it's closing in on Narnia production time, and I'm up to my eyeballs in furry and fantastical critters. But not so long ago, it was audition time, and this was the hardest show to cast... so much talent, so few good female roles! That's not typical of children's theater, but when you adapt a book...

Speaking of auditions and books: I'm giving away a copy of Jo Whittemore's new release, D IS FOR DRAMA. It's one of those novels I wish I'd thought of myself. All you have to do to enter is comment on your favorite play or musical, or any theater experience you've had yourself (good, bad, or ugly.) ;)
I'll pick a random winner about Wednesday of next week!

From the author's website:
Sunny Kim is done with one-line roles at Carnegie Arts Academy, but even with an acting coach, she doesn’t snag the lead in Mary Poppins. Desperate for a solution, Sunny convinces the school to let her produce a one-woman show…which other rejected kids soon beg to join. Before long, Sunny is knee-deep in curtains and catfights as her one-woman show turns into the hit musical Wicked. Can the show come together in time for opening night? 

Doesn't this sound awesome? So tell me, ever been bitten by the theater bug?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Look Out for Flying Flapjacks!

FLIP AND THE FLAPJACK has been released! Go here to see how this exciting book ends!
(That's my husband, Bob narrating!)

Sunday, August 5, 2012


FLIP AND THE FLAPJACK is finished, and will be available soon on an iPad or iPhone near you! I will definitely let you know when it launches, but in the meanwhile, isn't the art work amazing?! Thank you, TONI PAWLOWSKY!

In other happy news, last month my story, HADDIE AND THE HOPPERS was given the Editor's Choice Award at knowonder! And I became a grandma. Yes, yes, I did. I now have this insatiable urge to brag and shove little Beau's pictures in everyone's faces. But I'll limit myself to one.

One more reason to write kids' books!

Thursday, June 28, 2012


It's a 106 blistering degrees in my neck of Kansas today. Is it hot where you are? Cool off with a little underground adventure and stop by knowonder! for an exciting read. Nothing like an underground birthday party, especially when you're afraid of the dark . . . and BATS!

Isn't "spelunking" just the best word? Ever been spelunking? What scares you? How hot is it in your neighborhood? Speaking of that, prayers for all of you in Colorado. I have a couple of writing friends that live in that area. Extra prayers for them!

Please be sure to rate (use the stars at the bottom of the story) and check out the other great reads!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Steampunk . . . Fairytale?

Hop on over to knowonder! and read and rate my story, WARTY'S WISH! It's a steam punk nod to the Princess and the Frog and Wind in the Willows. I had a lot of fun writing it, and I hope you enjoy reading it!

Tell me: do you have any unfulfilled wishes? I want to visit the UK, take up Irish step dancing again, and learn to play the piano better. My biggest longing is to take art lessons again. What about you?

Saturday, June 2, 2012


I'm on newborn schedule, therefore, I'm a day late announcing the winners (yes, winners!) of the JACOB WONDERBAR giveaway. Mirka and Ruth, please email me your addresses (mlbrown90 at att dot net) and I will send you a copy of Nathan's book! Thanks for entering!

AND... my story, HADDIE AND THE HOPPERS is up on the brand new shiny version of knowonder! today. Check out the new site and download the app! If you would, please read, rate and vote for my story. There's a monthly $ prize for the winner!

Thank you and happy weekend!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I've had an amazingly busy couple of months and have been sitting on some happy news which I'm now at liberty to share.

First of all, my picture book, FLIP AND THE FLAPJACK, is being published by FLYING BOOKS APPS for iPad! Artist extraordinaire, Toni Pawlowsky, is bringing this Western retelling of the runaway pancake folktale to life. I AM SO THRILLED! I'll be sure to let you know when it launches!

AND... sweet little Sophia was added to our family! We are both well, with the usual inversion of days and nights.

To celebrate, I'm giving away Nathan Bransford's newest middle-grade novel, JACOB WONDERBAR FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSE. I learned a lot from Nathan's blog, and he's one funny guy. Thanks, Nathan!

Just say hello, tell me what you're reading or give me a great parenting tidbit (hey, I need all the help I can get!) in the comments below and you're entered! I'll announce a winner June 1st.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Ah, the Madness!

This is one of my favorite times of year. I'm not a big sports fan in general, but I do love the NCAA tourney. I've been known to stay up late into the night, watching teams that I've never heard of before because I've followed their stories from the beginning. And that's the key for me; I love an underdog with a good story to go with them (unless of course they're playing KU, then all bets are off!) Can you believe the upsets in this tournement already? I'm loving it!

And that's what's so fun about writing sports stories. I love the fast action, and using wonderful words like "spanked" and "flushed." What are your favorite sports books and writers? I REALLY love fellow Kansan, Lisa Harkrader's, AIRBALL, MY LIFE IN BRIEFS, and anything by Rich Wallace is bound to be good. So what bracket bustin' books do you recommend?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


It's WORLD READ ALOUD DAY! Something wonderful just happened to me, (which I'm not at liberty to disclose . . . yet ;) but it is definitely related to reading aloud. Stay tuned!

In the meanwhile, I'd like to dedicate this day to my wonderful parents, who read to me from the time I was born (and probably before) and never tired of "one more time." I'm also sending a shout out to all of you read aloud parents and teachers. Thank you, Mrs. Clarke, for reading Harriet the Spy to our fifth grade class. If you would like the book back, email me your address (I borrowed it over the summer...)

So who read to you and who are you reading to???

Happy reading!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


The random number generator (my 11 yo son ;) picked the #3 as the lucky winner of BEANBOY and AIRBALL! Leslie, that's you! Email your mailing address at mlbrown90 @ att dot net and I'll get them off to you!

Congratulations! Thanks for playing, friends. Hope you have a super-powered week. I'm a day late posting due to the flu. Blech.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Actually, he's the one who keeps me sane. But if you ever wonder where I get some of my zany ideas, well... you're lookin' at him!
You can read all about my man-muse (can men be muses?) on a guest blog I did for author Kai Strand.

And if you haven't entered to win signed copies of BEANBOY and AIRBALL, there's still time!

Now tell me who inspires and fires your writing!

Monday, February 13, 2012


This weekend I met author/illustrator Lisa Harkrader at a Kansas SCBWI event. Her book, THE ADVENTURES OF BEANBOY, is released tomorrow. To help celebrate the brilliancy of Kansas authors (she illustrated it, too, and the art is hilarious!) and to show my appreciation to you, my blog readers, I'm GIVING AWAY signed copies of THE ADVENTURES OF BEANBOY and Lisa's AIRBALL: MY LIFE IN BRIEFS.

Read all about the inspiration behind Lisa's latest book here.

How do you win? Simply tell me what super hero you'd like to be (one you make up or one that's "real") in the comments. I'll announce the winner next Monday.

Me? I'd like to be OctoMom (not THAT one!), so I could multi-task easier. How about you??

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


They ate the crops, the wool off the sheep, and if you stood still long enough, the clothes off your back. The grasshopper plague that swept through Kansas in 1874 left many settlers destitute and forced them to move back east. My story based on this terrible time, HADDIE AND THE HOPPERS, has been published to the classroom history website, I'm very fond of this story. In 2008 it was the Kansas Voices Adult Fiction winner (titled CHRISTMAS CROP). This is a great site for anyone who loves historical stories!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Educators, writers, and parents, perk up your ears! I became a guest author for BoomWriter this week. BoomWriter is a website where a guest author starts a story (Chapter 1), the kids write their own Chapter 2 (they even work with an editor), and then the online community vote to see whose chapter wins. When an entire book is complete, the kids can purchase their own soft cover copy.

BoomWriter is in 600 schools already. Check out the website for more info!

Oh, my first story start is, I'M NOT A REAL ZOMBIE (BUT I PLAY ONE ON TV).

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Check out my latest story on knowonder! BASIL AND THE BREAD is a retelling of a middle-eastern folktale. Don't read it on an empty stomach!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cultivating the Imagination

Ah! Those brilliant Bronte girls! Last night I watched an extensive documentary on the family, and was amazed at the level the Brontes lived inside their imaginations. The early loss of their mother and two older sisters seemed to drive them into imaginary worlds as a way to escape the pain of reality. Did you realize when they decided to write novels as a means of income, that they sat down and wrote AGNES GREY, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, and JANE EYRE in a period of two months!? Which proves how alive these characters and settings already were to the sisters. They wrote themselves. 

My agent, Bree Ogden, has a great post on inspiration and WUTHERING HEIGHTS. Read it here.

When I was a little girl, I was an absolute introvert. But I didn't need anyone to interact with outside of my mind. My parents had read to me early and much, and I had a whole landscape of characters I morphed into. Generally, I was a cat (my mother indulged me by pinning "tails" to my pants) going so far as to hiss and claw on all fours whenever we had company. My other favorite personas were mice (more tails) and bunnies (even more tails.) I recall spending one entire day as a fly, crawling backwards (I'd read they did that) and looking upside down at the ceiling, as if I were stuck to it. When I was bored at school, I would imagine my teachers and fellow classmates as their alter-ego animal selves, sometimes sticking to a certain species and sometimes creating a veritable mental zoo. Of course, as a teenager, my ultimate dream was to appear in CATS on Broadway.

I slept with my feet on my pillow, a la Pippi, became a spy with Harriet, and attempted, and very nearly ate, a fried worm. My mother even helped me fry it. She's the best. :)

As a freshman, I won an anonymous story contest by writing about a woman who hid her husband's head in a hatbox and kept it in her coat closet. That's all I remember of the tale, except that it was funny, and how I blushed when my classmates voted for it! 

I would love to tap into the imagination of my young self again. As I listen to the worlds my kids create as they play, I try to summons that younger me. I still love to pretend, only these days I call it writing and acting. Too much imagination can get you into scrapes, (as Anne Shirley will tell you) especially when you can no longer separate the two worlds (ask Branwell and Charolette Bronte.) But what a dull place this world would be without those of us who never really grow up. 

Lately writing has been such a refuge. I don't think I'll be able to churn out a decent novel in two months, but I've been surprised by my creative output. As a staff writer for a magazine, I have to submit several stories a month. I've been snatching at every idea that flits by, and quit being so careful. It's freeing. 

So, how do you release/tap into your imagination, especially when reality bites?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year, New Stories!

Check out my story THE BEAN CURD BEAUTY on knowonder! I'm a staff writer for them now, so more stories to come! Leave a comment if you like the story! And HAPPY NEW YEAR to you!

Knowonder! Stories | knowonder!