Here’s the cover — and title — of Spy School 7!

Well, this has been quite a week for exciting news.  First the movie deal for Spy School.  Then the release of the Top Secret Spy School box set.  And today Spy School hit the New York Times bestseller list again.

Plus, I still have that series info to divulge.  Sorry I haven’t done that yet.  My publisher told me I would be able to do it soon — and yet they still haven’t made their big announcement yet.  Which is as frustrating to me as it probably is to you.

But maybe this will tide you over.  I just found out from a post on my own website that my publisher has released the new cover on Amazon and Goodreads.  Which means that it’s not a secret any more and I can share it.

So, here’s the cover:

Amazing, isn’t it?  Yet another masterpiece by Lucy Cummins.

(I know a lot of you figured out this was the title a few days ago because it was leaked on Google somehow.  But I couldn’t confirm it because I still wasn’t sure that the tile and cover would work.  Now, it’s obvious that they do.)

Here’s a synopsis:

Superspy middle schooler Ben Ripley is finally going to take SPYDER down, once and for all in this latest addition to the New York Times bestselling Spy School series.

Stranded in Mexico after nearly capturing the leaders of SPYDER, thirteen-year-old Ben Ripley desperately needs to take a shower. But even more so, he and his spy school friends need to come up with a new plan to defeat their enemies, their only clue a key that opens…something.

The Mission: Go rogue from the CIA, join up with the British MI6 to locate the leader of SPYDER, the enigmatic Mr. E, and bring down the evil organization once and for all.

Only it won’t be easy. They’ll have to deal with rival evil splinter factions, devious double-crosses and learning to drive on the opposite side of the road. But they have no other choice: this is their last and final chance to crack the code on SPYDER.

 

As usual, this is all I’m going to share about the book.  Because answering any more questions about it will ruin the fun of reading it.  So please don’t ask me any questions about SS7. If you do, I will simply refer you right back to this page and ask you to read the whole thing again.

It comes out May 7, 2019.  That’s less than a year away.  less time than you normally have to wait for a Spy School book.

UPDATE:  Even though I said no questions, at least a dozen people have written to me with the exact same question, so I’m going to answer it to make this clear: THIS IS NOT THE LAST BOOK IN THE SERIES.

If Ben and his friends defeat SPYDER (and I’m not saying they will) why would that end the series?  There are lots of other potential bad guys out there.

All new Top Secret Spy School Boxed set!

OK, this is not the big announcement either.  But I have just discovered that my publisher has the first five Spy School books in a really cool boxed set.  See?

Not only do you get the first five books in the Spy School series (Spy School, Spy Camp, Evil Spy School, Spy Ski School and Spy School Secret Service) but you also get an awesome box to carry them all around in!

If you haven’t read all the books, it’s cheaper than buying them all one at a time, and if you want to introduce someone to the series, this is the perfect way.  It a great gift for birthdays, holidays, bar mitzvahs, weddings, Halloween or even Arbor Day.

Want to get it?  Just click here!

20th Century Fox acquires Spy School movie rights

So…

When I posted a little while ago that I had some big news coming, this was not the big news I was talking about.

But this is still very good news.

For all of you who have been asking about when one of my book series might be turned into a movie, the first step has taken place.

20th Century Fox, which has done the film versions of books such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Night at the Museum and Percy Jackson, has acquired the rights to make Spy School.

Here are some things to know:

  1. I am going to write the screenplay.
  2. The fact that there is a movie deal is by no means any guarantee that there will actually be a movie.
  3. If there is a movie, it could be a long time until that happens.
  4. We might not be casting for years.  So please don’t write asking if you can be in the movie.

You can learn more about the deal here.

PS that other news — about the new series — is still coming.

Information on my new series is coming soon!

Hi everyone –

This is kind of a weird blog post, because it’s basically a post telling you that there is going to be another, more important post in a few weeks.

However, lots of you have been asking if I can share any information about the new series that I’m working on, which I mentioned in a post back in February.

The answer is:  Not yet.  But soon.

Here’s what is going on: My publisher wants to make a big media announcement about the new series before I spill the beans about it.  It has been a much longer wait for this than I expected.  (When I mentioned the new series back in February, I figured the announcement would be made last spring or summer.)  It looks like that announcement will be made on the first week of October, while I am out on tour for Spy School Goes South.

So, please sit tight and be patient.  And please don’t write to me asking if I can personally give you more details before the announcement, because I can’t.

In the meantime, I can share these few tidbits with you.  But that’s it:

The new series will debut next year, probably in the fall.

I have already written several drafts of the first book.

It is also going to be middle grade, although hopefully, it will also attract older readers as well.

That’s all I have.  In the meantime, don’t forget about Spy School Goes South, which will be out in less than two weeks!

UPDATE: Obviously the announcement was not made in early October.  Or late October.  But I hope it will be made soon.  Please don’t write to ask me when it is coming, because I don’t know.

Barnes & Noble is printing an exclusive edition of Spy School Goes South

Sorry if these posts are getting redundant but… Barnes & Noble is doing yet another special edition of one of my books.  (For those of you keeping score at home, I believe this is special edition #8.)

As usual, there will be 16 pages of fun bonus material that I have written, and a bonus poster on the inside cover of the book jacket.  (Plus, the special edition cover is always extra-sparkly.)

And guess how much extra you have to pay for all this good stuff: Nothing!  It’s exactly the same price!  (Extra bonus: Sometimes the special editions ship earlier than the regular editions, so people occasionally get their copies early.  Not always.  But occasionally.)

If you want to pre-order your copy, click here.

And now, the dramatic reveal of the cover — and plot — of FunJungle 5!

Hello readers,

Since a picture generally speaks louder than words, here’s the cover, another masterpiece by Lucy Cummins.

As a few of you had noted on my blog, the title for this book somehow leaked out on Google a few months back, but I — and everyone else at Simon & Schuster — hadn’t really locked it in until recently.  There were a few other possibilities in play (including a suggestion of my own daughter) but once the cover was done, we realized this one worked.

And here’s the answer to what you’re asking next: What’s the book about?

For the first time, a book in this series is going to deal with a wild animal.  A mountain lion is on the loose around FunJungle.

As the park plans for its enormous one year anniversary celebration, operations there seem to be running smoothly for once (except for the occasional herring-related mishap in the penguin exhibit) and Teddy is finally able to give detective work a rest.  But then a local mountain lion is accused of killing a famous dog — and the dog’s owner, an inflammatory radio host — goes on a crusade to have the cat declared a nuisance so it can be hunted.  

However, there’s evidence that the lion might have been framed for murder, and now a renegade animal activist wants Teddy and Summer to help prove it — and catch the real killer.  And if that wasn’t enough, someone has poisoned FunJungle’s beloved giraffes and J.J. McCracken wants Teddy on the case.  Now, Teddy finds himself mixed up in the middle of his most bizarre, hilarious and dangerous adventure yet.

As usual, that’s all I’m going to share with you about the plot for now.  I know I’m going to get dozens of responses asking me which other characters are going to appear in the book, and things like that, but I’m not going to answer them.  Because the more you know about the book before you start reading it, the less fun it is to read it.

Besides, you only have to wait until next February for it.  (And if that seems to long, remember there will be a new Spy School out in October.)

If you’re desperate to pre-order it, you can click here.  But you might want to wait a bit, because there is always a good chance Barnes & Noble will do an exclusive edition of the book.

Yes, it’s true. Waste Of Space will be the end of the Moon Base Alpha series… for now.

A lot of readers have written to me lately, having noticed that my publisher is referring to Waste of Space as the ‘third and final book’ in the MBA series on sites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Everyone wants to know if this is really true.

Yes it is.

Here’s why:

When I wrote Space Case, the first book in this series, I really wanted to handle the realities of space travel as realistically as possible.  I think I did a decent job of that, but it created a problem for me: It turns out, the moon is a very limiting place to set a series.

Let me explain:  For my Spy School books, I can really send my characters just about anywhere on earth I want.  And while FunJungle is theoretically tied to FunJungle itself, I can create whatever locations I want inside that park — and I am free to have my characters leave FunJungle as well.  But in the MBA series, the only location fit for human habitation is the moon base itself, which I made quite small — and my characters are not really free to range very far away from it.  Plus, even if they could leave MBA (which they do on occasion) the moon is not a place with much variation.  Yes, there are some hills and craters and lava tubes, but for the most part, the moon is pretty much the same wherever you go.  This — and the fact that humans have to wear space suits — is extremely limiting when I want to develop new action sequences.

Lots of people have made suggestions to me about how to open up the series, but they really won’t work.  To address them:

Why not move the action to Moon Base Beta?

Because I have made it clear that MBB hasn’t even begun construction — and once that happens, it is supposed to take another ten years to build and that plan is probably optimistic, which means MBB won’t be up and running for another 10-15 years, at which point my lead characters will be college graduates.

Why not move the series to Mars or another planet?

Because I have made it clear that even getting to the moon is tremendously difficult (which is the truth).  Getting to other planets is going to be much more difficult, and it would be unlikely that we could have bases on them any time soon, which means that, yes, the terrain might change, but the limitations of having my humans confined to a small location are still there.

Why not move the series to the International Space Station?

Because the ISS is even smaller and more limited than MBA is.  Even by 2041, it won’t be that big — and that’s assuming that we haven’t defunded it and let it fall back to earth (which is a possibility).

So… does this mean that the series is completely dead?

Not necessarily.  I do have some ideas about how I might be able to keep it going, but for now, I would rather focus on my series that do not feel so limited.

Which brings me to my other big news.  Since MBA is ending (for now, at least), I am in the process of creating a new series.  However, my publisher has asked that I not reveal any details about it quite yet.  They will be coming, though.  I promise.  (So please don’t write asking for more details.  I will just tell you to read this post again.)

New Versions of Poached and Big Game in stores November 28th

On November 28, something very exciting is happening.  Poached and Big Game are changing their covers.  As of that day (and possibly a little bit earlier), the covers will look like this:

Amazing, right?  My incredible designer, Lucy Cummins, has done it again.

If you already have a copy of one of these books, don’t be alarmed.  Everything inside the book (except for some of the design elements) ought to stay exactly the same.

So you could be forgiven for asking, ‘Why are you changing the covers at all?’

To which I will respond with a question of my own: ‘Have you ever heard the phrase: Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover?’

Of course you have. That phrase applies to people, though.  Not books.  (It’s meant to be taken metaphorically, not literally.)  Everyone judges books by their covers:  You do it.  I do it.  Your teachers and parents and librarians do it.

While the original covers Lucy did for Poached and Big Game are excellent, we felt it would be a good idea to give the series a cohesive look.  I mean, look at the covers for the Spy School series:

No question that those books are all in the same series, right?

But that wasn’t the case with the FunJungle series.  The covers were all very different:

 

 

 

 

 

 

They don’t look like they’re in the same series.

So that’s why we’re changing them.  There was no improving upon the original Belly Up cover, of course, which is a classic, but as for the rest, they are all going to look more like Lucy’s amazing Panda-monium cover:

And that’s why we’re changing them, pure and simple.  If you already have a copy, there’s no need to get a new one.

Unless, of course, you want every possible edition of my works in your collection.  Then by all means, feel free to buy another version of each of these books.

The plot of Big Game comes true: Some awful person just really killed a rhino in a French zoo

For those of you who don’t know, the plot of my book Big Game is about someone trying to poach an endangered rhino from a zoo, possibly to steal its horn.

Well, that has now happened in real life.  Yesterday, in a French Zoo near Paris, poachers broke in, killed a four year old rhino and stole its horn.  You can read the story by clicking here.  This is the victim:

I am devastated by this news.  When I came up with the idea for Big Game, it was because I actually had a fear that something like this might happen some day.  But I really hoped it wouldn’t.

The reason this happened is because the price of rhino horn is ridiculously high.  There are still horribly misinformed people out there who believe that rhino horn has the power to cure diseases such of cancer, even though that has never been proven.  (Rhino horn is made of keratin, which is the same stuff that your fingernails are made of.)  As long as there is demand for rhino horn, no matter how dumb the reasons, people will be killing rhinos.

One species of rhino, the African northern white rhino, will go extinct in the next few years.  There only three of them left in the world.

But there is also a decent chance that all species will be extinct in the wild soon, unless extreme action is taken.

If you want to help, I suggest you visit these sites and learn what you can do:

rhinos.org

World Wildlife Fund

Save the Rhino

Thanks,

Stuart