Welcome

Me & Mattie trying a bit of agility training.

Me & Mattie trying a bit of agility training.

Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year, everyone! I hope you had a great summer, and that you managed to stay cool during the heat waves–with or without the help of Icees (a mainstay of my survival kit spending summers in Florida as a kid). One of the highlights of my summer was shoulder surgery—and man, if you haven’t done that, you should try it. Just kidding. You’ll be happy to know that I’m on the mend, though, and should be back on the volleyball court by December. Here are some real highlights of my summer, though:

  • Rock Super-star and former Beatle Paul McCartney visited Missoula, Montana! Awesome show, though he almost got blown up during the fireworks on “Live and Let Die.”

    One of my favorite Montana birds, a Yellow-headed Blackbird.

    One of my favorite Montana birds, a Yellow-headed Blackbird.

  • My son Braden and I surpassed 100 bird species for our Big Year of birding!
  • My butterfly garden had its best year ever, despite the deer that seem to think it’s a snack bar.
  • I wrote two, yes TWO novels. More details on those later.
  • I finished a new science book I think you’re all going to love.

 

And speaking of books…

My next release—and first science book in three years—is one that I think will please, surprise, delight, and astound you. You know how we’ve all been taught that forest fires are bad, bad, bad? Well, guess what? It turns out, they’re actually a pretty good thing as long as they aren’t burning down neighborhoods and hurting people. In fact, natural wildfires are absolutely essential for hundreds of plant and animal species. To learn more about how I wrote this book, click on the Research tab, but here’s a sneak peak at the cover…

FIRE BIRDS (Bucking Horse Books, January 2015)—a Junior Library Guild Selection.

FIRE BIRDS (Bucking Horse Books, January 2015)—a Junior Library Guild Selection.

On other book news I am proud to announce that my mystery-thriller Dog 4491 was a finalist for the Green Earth Book Award, and is on the (middle school) 2014-15 Keystone to Reading Book Award list. All of you Pennsylvania readers, I’m counting on you to vote for it!

Ad for my newest tween mystery, Dog 4491.

Ad for my newest tween mystery, Dog 4491.

I also hope, of course, that you will also read my other books, including my YA thriller Cartwheel—A Sequel to Double Eagle, which appeared last year.  It’s a great page-turner, and I promise you’ll love it.

My newest thriller, Cartwheel—A Sequel to Double Eagle.

My latest YA thriller, Cartwheel—A Sequel to Double Eagle.

As usual, this fall I’ll be visiting schools and conferences all over the country, giving talks and workshops to kids and educators. This year, my family and I will even be spending a week in Taiwan visiting students and teachers! How many birds do you think Braden and I will add to our Life List there? I’ll hope to see a bunch of you this fall and next spring to share the answer. And you teachers and librarians, if you’d like to arrange a school visit for next spring or later, this is a good time to check out my calendar and get in touch.

Have a great kick-off to the school year and keep reading!

Sneed