Today, May 18, 2020, is the tenth anniversary of Belly Up’s publication.

Ten years ago today, I became a published author. Belly Up was released by Simon & Schuster.  If you go back to my very first blog post (which was also published about ten years ago) you will see that it was a very momentous week fo me.  On May 14, I had watched my friend, astronaut Garrett Reisman, blast off into space, and then my family spent the next few days having fun in Florida.  Somewhere around may 18, Garrett took this incredible photo of my first copy of Belly Up (which was an Advanced Reader Copy) on the space shuttle.

At the time that Belly Up was published, I thought that maybe, this might be the only book I would ever write. But thanks to the support of some of the finest people I have ever worked with, such as my agent Jennifer Joel, my publisher, Justin Chanda, editors like Courtney Bongiolatti (who really left publishing to become an FBI agent), Kristin Ostby Hoyle, Liz Kossnar and Krista Vitola, and my cover artist Lucy Cummins (who may have created the finest cover ever for this book), I have now published twenty books and am scheduled for another six over the next two and a half years.  (Plus, there might be some exciting new projects to mention in a few months.)

My career in publishing has been an incredible journey. When I started, I had no idea that I would get to engage with my young readers so often via school visits and blog post comments, or that my own children would eventually get involved in the editing process, or that I would be participating at book festivals and meeting fellows authors. As it happens, many of those authors have become some of my closest friends.  Authors like James Ponti, Sarah Mlynowski, Christina Soontornvat, Karina Yan Glaser, Max Brallier, Gordon Korman, Ally Carter and many, many, many more.

So thank you to everyone who has supported my career, bought one of my books, come to a reading of mine, sat in on a panel, written me fan mail, given me a positive review, or simply enjoyed the book. Thanks to all the hard-working bookstore employees and librarians out there who have recommended my books to young readers.

And of course, thanks to all of you, my readers.  This wouldn’t have happened without you.


165 thoughts on “Today, May 18, 2020, is the tenth anniversary of Belly Up’s publication.

  1. I’m 603% boe. I think Erica would not be the best option and she is very turned down from relationships, but that tolerance has gotten lower later in the books. I love Zoe and think she is a fun character and would be great with Ben.

  2. As for my rankings of Spy school:
    1. Spy ski school
    2. spy school goes south
    3. spy school british invasion
    4. Spy school
    5. spy school secret service
    6. Evil spy school
    7. Spy camp

    I rated them by how much action there is and how much fun it is to read. I thought Evil spy school was weird and felt out of place in the series, and spy school secret service had pacing issues, and Spy camp was flat out boring, but still enjoyable. Spy school was good, but it didn’t really pop for me, but still good nonetheless. The top 3 has a lot of character development and has a lot of action and is a joy to read.

  3. Also, being a Boe/Zen fan I wasn’t really upset that Erica kissed Ben, It was very obvious it was a last resort and she thought she was going to die, and she probably won’t do it again anytime soon, like how Ben said at the end of the same book.

  4. On where it says upcoming releases, it says, Charlie Thorne and The Lost City. Is that the official title???

  5. Oreo –
    Emmmmm, I am still rooting for Berica. Because while Ben becomes a better spy, Erica becomes a better person. So they would work.
    Oh and note to everybody that voted SSS as the best:
    I love SSS with every fiber of my body until I die lol

  6. Hey Stu, Thanks for the kind words. Just one more question, How do you name the characters? When I write I feel like I’m reusing the names over and over again.

  7. My Spy School ranking

    1. Spy Ski School
    2. Spy School Secret Service
    3. Evil Spy School
    4. Spy Camp
    5. Spy School Goes South
    6. Spy School British Invasion
    7. Spy School

    Ski Spy School really expanded on the characters and had a big boost on the action, which are both the things that make Spy School one of all time favorite book series (and trust me, I’ve read a lot of book series.) Also, I thought the relationship with Leo Chang and his daughter (I’m drawing a blank on her name) was exciting and realistic, I love skiing, and it was nice to see Ben finally better at something then Erica. Overall, perfect book.

    And Secret Service, like SSS, was extreamly thrilling. It had an interesting plot with Ben and how he acts when he’s alone making his own decisions. There was one of the best and most surprising twists at the end that I never could of guessed, and I love it when it’s just Ben and his friends making there own decisions and fighting for there lives, this time against the people they thought they could trust.

    I don’t get why Evil Spy School has so many people putting it last. I absolutely loved this book. It really expanded on what we knew about SPIDER and introduced us to some great and well developed characters. Like Nefarious was the shy kid who basically just gave up on life and shut himself off from everyone else. As for Murray and Ashley, I’m debating which one is my favorite character in the series. Murray is hilarious and whenever theirs a scene with him, I know I’m going to smile. Ashley was so unique and I couldn’t help myself hoping Ben would stay with SPYDER in some scenes because of her.

    The best part in Spy Camp was seeing Erica and Alexdander’s relationship. It was realistic, funny, and sometimes sad. You could really picture yourself in both of there shoes, while Ben didn’t know where to put himself. I also loved Woodchuck.

    Spy School Goes South had a lot of Murray. And I already mentioned how much I love his character. But with him in nearly every scene, it had me constantly grinning at how unpredictable and funny he is. I also loved how Mike and Zoe snuck along, bringing there own charm to the somewhat bland story. And I loved the action at the water park.

    Spy School was the start of it all, but I also thought that it was defenetly the least interesting out of all of them. The mystery was great, and the characters where awesome (as usual) but it was a bit slow at times and only took place in one location. But it also had many great things to it, like the action, and the pricible was hilarious.

    Spy School British Invasion is only my least favorite because of Erica’s mom. I’m not saying that she’s a bad character, but I just don’t like how she was always tagging along, making all of the decisions, doing a lot of the work. Alexander was along to, but I dont mind him at all, as he always brightens up the story just like Murray. Speaking of Murray, I didn’t really like him as much in this story. I don’t know why. And I thought Erica wasn’t really herself ether. I know that she’s growing as a character, but she’s defenetly more fun when she’s her usually icy self.

    That’s my ranking and reviews. Even the last few are some of my favorite books, even if I said some bad thing about them.

  8. Edit-

    I accidentally put Spy School British Invasion over Spy School. That was a mistake! The intentional ranking was Spy School, then British Invasion.

  9. Oreo-
    I’m not rooting for zen or Berica I am fine with either and just want to see it or play out in the books

  10. Also Oreo it seems like you have a lot of updating to do to the group average soy school ranking list

  11. I’d like to post a new ranking:
    7. Spy School
    6. Spy School Goes South
    5. Spy School Secret Service
    4. Spy Ski School
    3. Spy Camp
    2. Spy School British Invasion
    1. Evil Spy School
    I still don’t change my opinions on ESS, SSBI, and SS, but I was doing some thinking and realized that SSSS and SSGS started the shipping of especially Boe and there was a lot more Berica as well. I dislike the shipping thing. I think it’s stupid.
    -That one guy

  12. What I said about the shipping thing earlier isn’t a complete lie but I guess it isn’t completely true either. I mean, I really don’t care one way or another, but I guess that it isn’t that bad. I mean, I probably shouldn’t have said that it was stupid because that would be saying that speculation of any possible thing in any book series is stupid and pointless which I don’t actually think. Anyway, this post does not change my rankings of the books and I am going to stay neutral in the Boe/Berica debate.
    -That one guy

  13. Yes, I’m making a third post in this hour and it’s going to be a little different then my last two. I have decided to change my mind (again) about the whole shipping thing. I’m not going back to the whole “shipping is stupid” thing, but now I’m going to take a side. I know. At first I was saying that shipping is stupid but now I’m taking a side. Well, technically not. I’m just going to say that Boe (or Zen, whichever you prefer) is more likely. Not because Erica is always so cold and icy, but because I think Erica is going to be killed by some evil person when Stu wants to end the series. I’m not saying this will happen. I’m just speculating here. Please don’t berate me because I can’t make up my mind on the shipping thing. I’m naturally indecisive.
    -That one guy

  14. Everybody who has done a ranking-

    You have made it very hard for me to do a group list but I am going to try anyway. And I’m stepping out of the shipping thing. Like Bassy said, I just kind of want to see it unfold in the books and don’t have major opinions about where I want it to go. So here the group list is (the lower the number, the better you did).

    1. Spy Ski School (17)
    2. Evil Spy School (26)
    3. British Invasion (29)
    4. Goes South (34)
    5. Secret Service (37)
    6. Spy Camp (38)
    7. Spy School (43)

    So yeah, Spy Ski School swept the board. The numbers are all of your rankings added up. I made it so that whenever someone does a new list, it is easy to change the group one. So feel free to keep making lists!


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