Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Two New Coding Books

Exciting news for techie kids out there. There are two more of my books on coding concepts out in the world, published by The Child's World and part of their Simple Coding series.

All About Coding Sequences:

Book description: 

Introduces young readers to coding sequences. How are sequences like a treasure hunt? With real-world examples and labeled diagrams, learn about what a sequence is in code, what it looks like, and how it works. Additional features include a table of contents, a phonetic glossary, a reading quiz, an index, and sources for further research.

All About Coding Selections:

Book description:

Introduces young readers to coding selections. How are selections like coming to a fork in the road? With real-world examples and labeled diagrams, learn about what a selection is in code, what it looks like, and how it works. Additional features include a table of contents, a phonetic glossary, a reading quiz, an index, and sources for further research.

The other books in the series are All About Coding Loops by James Bow and All About Coding Functions by Jaclyn Jaycox. 

You can find these books here:

The Child's World: Simple Coding Book Series

And at Amazon, here: 

All About Coding Sequences

All About Coding Selections

All About Coding Functions

All About Coding Loops

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Something Old, Something New

Hi all!

More writing news for you, involving some old writing by me and some brand new writing.

First, the new stuff. I have two new books now available. In truth, they've been available for a bit, but I'm a little behind with my announcements. I've written two coding books for children ages 9-12 with Focus Readers, as part of their Coding series.

Here is a description of Coding Basics:

Explains the many ways code is used today, including key concepts such as robotics and coding careers. Easy-to-read text, informative sidebars, and helpful diagrams make this book an engaging read for avid technology fans and readers who are new to computer coding.

And here is a description of How Coding Works:

Explains the process programmers use to write code, including key concepts such as algorithms and programming languages. Easy-to-read text, informative sidebars, and helpful diagrams make this book an engaging read for avid technology fans and readers who are new to computer coding.

The other two books in the series are Video Game Coding by Janet Slingerland and The Future of Coding by Kathryn Hulick. All of these books are a great introduction to the world of coding for early middle graders.

For anyone interested in ordering them, you can go on Amazon or directly to the Focus Readers website:

From Focus Readers:

Coding Basics from Amazon:

How Coding Works from Amazon:

Video Game Coding from Amazon:

The Future of Coding from Amazon:

Now for something old, and something I stumbled upon by accident but is exciting because it hearkens back to the really early days of my published writing.

While poking around on Amazon, I happened to find the VERY FIRST short story I ever submitted and got accepted for publication. And here it is!

This was a short story that was originally published in Spider magazine in 2007. This story has a special place in my heart. First, everything about writing the story excited me. Somehow the story just clicked together for me. It actually started out as a writing class assignment for a course I was taking at the Institute of Children's Literature. It established the types of stories I wanted to write - the real and the fantastic and absurd, mixed together in the same universe. The process I went through to get this first story submitted and eventually published was grueling, but it was invaluable early in my writing career because it taught me lessons about patience, perseverance, hard work, and the importance of beta readers and having a writing support group (which at that time was the staff, faculty, and my fellow writers at ICL).

I was thrilled to stumble across this on Amazon and see it in a standalone form. It's even more exciting because if anyone is interested in it, it's only $1 on Amazon! You can order it here:

That's all the news I have for now. I'm working on a new book now, and I have two others coming out sometime this summer, so hopefully there will be more to report in the near future. Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Big News: My New Nanotechnology Book is Available!

Ready for more book news? OK, here goes. My newest children's book is ready to order now. And here it is!

This book is part of Norwood House Press's TechBytes series, and it's all about the amazing world of nanotechnology. Here's a brief description:

Nanotechnology allows scientists to work with tiny particles. This can help engineers create smaller products and let doctors check people's health. This evolving technology creates more durable buildings and is used in the suits worn by astronauts. Learn about the uses of nanotechnology and how this field can shape the future.

And here's a description of the TechBytes series:

Amazing technological breakthroughs are happening all the time. Scientists and engineers bring new ideas to life, and businesses make them real. Tech Byes: High-Tech explores some of the extraordinary devices and systems that are changing the modern world. Explore the history of these high-tech innovations, what obstacles their inventors encountered along the way, and how these technologies can become a part of society's culture. Supports STEM and NGSS standards. Each book contains fast facts, a glossary, an index, and places to go for more information.

You can find the book on the Norwood House Press website, here:

Or you can find it on Amazon:

Or order it through your favorite independent bookstore. And go VISIT your favorite independent bookstore, because, well, indie bookstores are fun to visit.

Oh, and one last thing. I've put a lot of work into my writing lately, and sometimes I wonder if the long hours I put in outside of spending time with the family and my day job (with little sleep, mind you) are worth it, but when I see things like this, I find it so surreal and it's suddenly all worth it. Who would've thought that I could get books that I wrote in my own library??

(And no, that hold placed on my book was not made by me - that would be weird anyway, lol. Someone requested it before it's even been catalogued!)

Monday, April 16, 2018

My First Book Review!

More exciting news! I have just received my FIRST EVER review of one of my books!

The School Library Journal provided a review of the Understanding the Basics series offered by The Child's World, in which my book How to Read Scratch Computer Code is included.

Here is the review, which  you can also check out here if you click on the Reviews tab:

A Review of "Understanding the Basics" in School Library Journal

These guides develop skill sets that are easily transferable to schoolwork, home life, and future jobs. In Calendars and Clocks, digital takes a backseat to analog for a truly introductory lesson about units of time using a familiar clockface with three hands. The back-to-basics focus covers a great deal of terminology, and the individual authors are consistent in offering a rigorous level of detail. Nutrition Labels, for example, not only explains what protein, calcium, fat, and carbs are, but matches photos of common food sources and how the body uses them to best advantage. Scratch Computer Code will walk junior techies through step-by-step screenshots of sprites and blocks. Color-coded vocabulary in text matches glossary colors, and readers are quizzed at the end as a self-check for understanding. VERDICT Interdisciplinary and timeless enough to ensure a long shelf life. A fine addition to early nonfiction collections.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

TWO Bits of Writing News

I'm back with more writing news.

First, my first physical book, How to Read Scratch Computer Code, is now available on the Child's World website! I'm so excited for people to have the opportunity to get it. It's a great introduction to the world of Scratch programming for young kids ages 6-9.

The book is part of The Child's World Understanding the Basics series, which includes How to Read Nutrition Labels and How to Read Clocks and Calendars.

I'm including links with info about the book, the entire series, and the publisher again in case anyone wants to order it.

How to Read Scratch Computer Code:

The Understanding the Basics series:

The Child's World:

You can also order it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or through your favorite independent bookstore. Also, feel free to mention it to your local libraries and schools so they can stock it too.

Second, I have a BRAND NEW book available at the Reading A-Z website called I Collect That, co-written with Elizabeth Jane Pustilnik. It is an early reader book for kids age 7 (level N) that talks about the concept of collections and some interesting and odd things people like to collect.

The book is also available at the H and K levels. You can find it at the Reading A-Z website, here:

While I'm shamelessly plugging things, check out my past books as well, here:

The Variety Show, an anthology of short stories for kids ages 6-7, created by members of my writing group, The Magic Story Makers. My short story, "Conjuring Up Trouble", is included inside.

At Amazon:

I'm the Small One, an early reader for kids age 7 (level P), about Sophie's frustration with being small and how she learns that being small may not be so bad after all.

The book is a multilevel reading book for younger kids as well (levels J and M).

At Reading A-Z:

There's more to come! What? you ask. Well... here's a hint... you can put my name in and see what comes up... but I'll report more on that later, when I have more info.

Thanks for following and for all your support!

Friday, February 2, 2018

My Second Children's Book - or, When Two Worlds Collide

You know the old writing adage - Write what you know? Well, I decided to do that this time, and here's the end result. My second children's book!

And here's the proud author.

And here are a few links with info about the book and the publisher.

How to Read Scratch Computer Code:

The Understanding the Basics series:

Some info about The Child's World:

When the idea for this book was presented to me, I couldn't pass it up. Here was a chance to write about something I knew a lot about - programming. Although Scratch is a language I was only familiar with and had never used before, it was very easy to learn, and my own knowledge of programming concepts guided me along the way in my research.

I suppose it was inevitable that my two careers would collide. I've been in the software business professionally since 1993, but I was using computers long before that. And writing even before that, since elementary school. When I first starting using computers, one of the things I loved to do was talk to people from around the state on BBSs (bulletin board systems, the precursors to the internet and the WWW as we know them today). Many of my early stories were posted on Drag-Net, a BBS run out of Burrillville, RI. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who has read them), only a couple of those stories survived. Unless the SysOp somehow manages to resurrect the BBS server someday. ** hint hint, John, if you're reading **

If I have one lesson to pass along about this strange journey I'm on, it's this - never give up on ANY of your passions. You never know when they might come to fruition. And they may even become intertwined someday in unique ways.

More to come, so stick around!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

I've Been Anthologized!

Time for some more writing news. I've been anthologized! (I've always wanted to be part of an anthology.) 

I belong to a children's writing group, and we've put together an anthology of children's stories that is now available from Amazon! This book is perfect for children ages 4-8 and has a variety of stories inside, showcasing the talents of our group. Read below for some additional details, and keep watching the blog for more writing news. Yes, there's more coming!
Need a GIFT IDEA for a child 4 to 8 years old?
Local Writers Group Publishes Children’s Anthology
Young readers will find mystery, mischief, and magic woven into The Variety Show, an original anthology of twenty-two stories and poems published by a group of local authors and artists who call themselves The Magic Story Makers. Illustrated with full color pictures, photographs, and cartoons, this compact collection provides opportunities for read-aloud fun as well as quiet time independent reading. Many members of The Magic Story Makers are affiliated with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the international professional organization whose standards provide the basis for the writing and artwork featured in The Variety Show.
The Variety Show (Magic Story Makers) is available for purchase at (…/…/ref=sr_1_1…) or from any of the local authors and illustrators: Pat Blackman, Margo Lemieux, and Nadine Mullins (all from Mansfield), Daryl Enos (Norton), George Kulz (Cumberland, RI), Donna Morin(Wrentham), Jennifer O’Keefe (Taunton), Charlotte Sheer (Foxboro), Nancy Tupper Ling (Walpole), and Licia Rando (Sharon).
Proceeds will be used to fund the donation of author/illustrator-autographed copies to children whose families are being supported by Hurricane Relief organizations.
PHOTO>L to R seated:Nadine Mullins, George Kulz
Standing: Charlotte Sheer, Pat Blackman, Licia Rando, Nancy Tupper-Ling