Hope Wins now available!

I, along with many of my favorite writers (and probably yours), have contributed to this amazing anthology:

In a collection of personal stories and essays, award-winning and bestselling authors write about how hope always wins, even in the darkest of times.  Here are just a few of the people who contributed to this book: Tom Angleberger, Sarah Mlynowski, Max Brallier, Julie Buxbaum, Pablo Cartaya, J. C. Cervantes, Rex Ogle, Matt de la Peña, Adam Gidwitz, R.L. Stine, Veera Hiranandani, Hena Khan, Karina Yan Glaser, James Ponti, Soman Chainani, Pam Munoz Ryan, Christina Soontornvat and Gordon Korman.  And oh yeah, the cover art is by Vashti Harrison, and the whole book is edited by the amazing Rose Brock.

I have read all these stories, and they are all truly wonderful.  If you have ever wanted to know more about the lives of your favorite authors, this is your chance.

The book is now available everywhere books are sold. Get it now by clicking here.

Want a sneak peek of Charlie Thorne 3? Here’s how to get it!

The third book in the Charlie Thorne series, Charlie Thorne and the Curse of Cleopatra, will be available everywhere that books are sold on June 7.

But if you can’t wait that long and want a sneak peek at the book, the first chapter is printed at the end of the recently-released paperback version of Charlie Thorne and the Lost City.

So if you  want to check out Charlie #3, just find a paperback copy of Charlie #2.

To get Charlie Thorne and the Lost City, click here.

To pre-order Charlie Thorne and the Curse of Cleopatra, click here.

And if you want all three books at once… THE CHARLIE THORNE BOXED SET WILL BE AVAILABLE ON JUNE 28.  Click here to pre-order it!

Here’s the Title, Cover and plot of Once Upon A Tim Book #2

I know that the first book in the Once Upon A Tim series came out less than two weeks ago, but the time has already come to reveal the title, cover and plot of the second book!

So without further ado, here’s the cover (and the title):

And here’s the plot:

Prince Ruprecht is VERY UPSET that knights-in-training, Tim and Belinda, have thwarted his plans and ruined his chances with Princess Grace. And so, to get even, he has kidnapped the princess and trapped her in the most complicated, dangerous, complex, dastardly, biggest (okay you get the point)…and scariest maze in all the world!

Now it’s up to Tim, Belinda, Ferkle, and Rover to fend off menacing beasts (like the minotaur), conquer treacherous obstacles (like chasms filled with cave sharks), find their way through the labyrinth (which is very tricky), and rescue the princess before time runs out. Oh, and also they need to remember how to get back out again…or they’ll be trapped inside the maze forever.

Once again, there’s incredibly funny art by Stacy Curtis.  And madcap adventure.  And hilarious comedy.

Plus, it’s already available for preorder!  Just click here!

Oh, and if you missed the rave review of the first Once Upon A Tim in the New York Times, just click here to read it.

Once Upon A Tim just got a rave review from the New York Times

This should be pretty obvious from the title of this post, but Once Upon A Tim just got a rave review from the New York Times.

You can read the whole thing by clicking here, but here are some notable quotes:

“Fans of heraldic silliness like “The Princess Bride” and “Shrek” will delight in “Once Upon a Tim,” a charming take on the traditional knightly adventure.”
“The book’s fun comes from Gibbs’s deployment of deadpan humor and boisterous slapstick. Its heart lies in a clever subversion of type.”
“Writing may be magic, but so is reading.”
I should point out that Booklist also gave Tim a great review as well:
“This giddy romp through a medieval setting, complete with menacing trolls and gigantic, bloodthirsty butterflies, is the start of a promising series.”

Excited?  Ready for a good story?  Then just click here to order the book!

Also, I am happy with any good review, especially ones from readers.  So if you have enjoyed Tim (or any of my books) feel free to post a positive review on Goodreads.  Just click here.

(For tips on how to write a good review, check out this blog post.)

Here’s the reveal you’ve been waiting for: The title, plot and cover for Spy School 10.

Hi everyone –

I suppose there’s no point in me writing anything here, because you’re just going to skim over it to see the cover.  So here it is:

Here are the basics of the plot:

Ben Ripley’s longtime nemesis Murray Hill has put a price on Ben’s head and accused him of being at the center of a conspiracy on the internet. Now Ben finds himself in his greatest danger yet and is on the run from both assassins and conspiracy theorists. With only his friends to rely on, Ben must race against time, and across state lines, to track down Murray before Ben’s enemies can find him.

And now, a few other items.  Normally, I would provide a link for you to be able to pre-order the book, but those links don’t seem to be available yet.  (This is part of why I delayed posting about the book today, but I ultimately just went ahead and did it.)  As soon as i have links, I will change this post to include them.

Available everywhere on September 6, 2022.

Click here to preorder it!

Also, I know that the title for this book was leaked by Google several weeks ago, and that when many of you asked me if Project X was really the title, I told you that I couldn’t confirm that.  So now, you might be annoyed that I misled you.  But here’s the deal:

  1. We still had not absolutely guaranteed the title when that information was leaked.
  2. It is extremely frustrating and disconcerting to have a leak like that take place.  There is really no good response to it.  So I’m sorry if you feel like I lied to you but honestly, if you want to get annoyed at someone, get annoyed at Google for allowing such information to be posted — and then allowing trolls to post fake reviews of a book they haven’t even read.

I am pleased to announce I have joined the advisory council of Conservation Nation

As anyone who visits this site knows, I am a huge supporter of the conservation movement and do my best in my books (particularly the FunJungle series) to educate readers about environmental issues.

So I am pleased to announce that I have joined the advisory board of Conservation Nation. This organization has two goals:

  1. To provide grants and support to emerging and established conservationists from underrepresented groups who are doing wildlife-saving work.
  2. To engage and inspire underserved high school students to explore careers in conservation through programs that offer experiential learning, access to field professionals, and micro grants for projects close to home.

You can learn more about this great organization by clicking here.

Or you can learn how to get involved by clicking here.

I had my first meeting as part of the advisory committee on education yesterday and I could not be more impressed by the people who work for CN, the plans they have and their commitment to both the planet and to the next generation of conservationists.

Cover, title and plot reveal for Charlie Thorne #3

Here you go:

After tracking down incredible discoveries by Einstein and Darwin, Charlie Thorne is back. This time, the great ruler Cleopatra has left behind an extremely valuable and powerful treasure, its location encoded on an ancient stone tablet.

In 30 BCE, Cleopatra and her husband, Marc Antony, lost their war against Octavian for control of the Egyptian Empire. However, Cleopatra knew Octavian was really after the mysterious item that was the source of all her wealth and influence, so she hid it before committing suicide. She left a series of devious clues behind for her children to find it, but they were lost to history…until now.

In a breathless adventure that takes her across the globe, Charlie must fight for her life against ruthless enemies, match wits with Cleopatra, and solve the two-thousand-year-old mystery to prevent the most powerful treasure of the ancient world from falling into the wrong hands.

To pre-order it, click here.

Stop Posting Spoilers — and Other Tips for Writing An On-Line Review

The last time I wrote a blog post about how to write and on line reviews was nearly nine years ago.  Back then, I was really explaining to visitors to my site how to post a review on Goodreads or Amazon.

I realize that, these days, most people (or at least most people who read my books) know how to do this.  But it has come to my attention that there are several things many people do in writing their reviews that annoy other people.  So I figured I would write a new post, trying to correct some of these problems.

1. DO NOT PUT SPOILERS IN YOUR REVIEW!!!!

There is not a single person on earth who appreciates having a review spoil a surprise in a book that they want to read.  NO ONE!  And writing ‘Warning: Spoilers Ahead’ does not mitigate the damage.

It is very very easy to not put a spoiler in your review.  Simply don’t share anything from the book that you were surprised to find out.  Of course, this not only applies to writing reviews on websites, but also comments on this webpage — or any other.

And, for the record, I am not only talking to amateur reviewers here.  There are plenty of professional — or at least seasoned — reviewers who spoil things in their reviews all the time.  Don’t do it.  Or random people will hate you.

2. ROUND UP.

Just about every site only gives you five options for reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 stars.  Admittedly,  having only five options lacks nuance.  That said, it is staggering to see how many times someone will give a four star review and say, ‘I really think this should be 4.5 stars.’  If you ever feel like this, round up!  That’s just basic math, people.  And do you know what it costs you to give something 5 stars instead of 4?  NOTHING.

3. BE OPEN-MINDED

If you don’t like the subject matter that a book veers into, that doesn’t mean it deserves a one star review.   Because that isn’t really a review of the book at all; it’s your own personal issues coming through.

If you don’t believe in evolution and a book mentions it, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad book. If you are uneasy with the concept of homosexuality and a book has a gay character, that doesn’t make it a bad book.  If you feel that a book shouldn’t use a synonym for ‘buttocks’ and it does, that doesn’t make it a bad book.  (In that case, try reviewing the book for the 69,999 words in it that didn’t offend you, rather than the 1 that did.)  A bad review based on your own personal issues says more about you than it does about the book.

4. BE NICE TO OTHERS WHO WILL READ THE REVIEW

Recently, I have had issues with people purposefully posting spoilers — or even fake spoilers — simply to upset people.  That’s not cool.

That said, if you really didn’t like a book of mine, you should feel free to write a review saying that you didn’t like it.  Personally, I find well-written reviews explaining what a person’s problems with my book were to be very helpful.  (Although I certainly like reading 5-star reviews more.)

5. DON’T GIVE A BOOK A BAD REVIEW AS A JOKE

You’re probably thinking to yourself ‘Why is Stuart even writing this?  What kind of knucklehead would post a bad review as a joke?’

This one, for starters:

And that’s not the only time i have found a review like this.  I can’t believe I have to say this, but: Don’t do this!  Most people don’t read every single review a book has.  They just look at the cumulative ratings.  A once star review doesn’t get counted as a joke.  It gets counted as the worst possible review.

Also… This isn’t even remotely funny.  Would you think it was funny if a teacher gave you an F on a test and then said, “I was just joking!”  I am guessing that you would not.  So please, folks, if you’re going to make a joke on-line, don’t do it at someone else’s expense — and also, try to be funny.

Okay.  I’ve said my piece.  Thanks for reading this.

Bad news about the Spy School movie — for now

Hey everyone –

I know you have been waiting a long time for an update about the Spy School movie — and I am sure this is not what you were hoping for.  It’s certainly not what I was hoping for.

After 54 weeks of doing nothing with the movie script, Disney decided that they were not going to move forward with the Spy School movie.

Why?  I don’t really have a great answer for that.  I was told that Disney had some concerns with the story involving kids in real danger — which you’d think they would have been able to figure out was part of the plot long ago, given the title.

Sadly, this kind of thing happens a lot in Hollywood.  As I keep saying, it is very hard to get a movie made.

This does not mean the movie will never get made.  My agents can now try to set the project up at another movie studio or streaming service.  We will see what happens.

In the meantime, feel free to write angry letters to Disney or cancel your Disney + accounts in protest.

Answers to all your questions about the Spy School Movie

Hi everyone –

I have been getting a LOT of mail lately from people wanting to know if there are any updates on the Spy School Movie.  And i realize that a lot of the posts about the movie are quite old — because this process has been going on for a very long time.  So some of the questions I’m including are the same ones I answered before, but maybe this post will become a one-stop point for learning about the movie.

Can you please give me an update on what is going on with the movie?

Sadly, there are none.  I turned my last draft into the studio on January 31, 2020.  As of this date, that was 10 1/2 months ago.  I have not heard a things from Disney since.  Part of this is due to COVID.  Few companies have been hurt as badly by the pandemic as Disney.  But still, this is an insanely long time to wait for an answer.  I know you are frustrated that things are stalled, but trust me, no one is as frustrated by this as I am.  In addition, my agents are frustrated and angry too.  I wish I had a better update for you, but I don’t.

So does this mean the movie isn’t getting made?

I really don’t know.  I suppose there is still a chance that Disney might make it.  And if they say no, then I can take it to another studio to see if they will make it.  But for right now, all I can do is wait to see what Disney has to say.

Is the movie going to stick closely to the book?

That is my plan.  I have written three drafts of the screenplay.  So far, it stays close to the book, although since it is a movie and not a book, I have made some changes.  They’re not huge, and some might be quite funny, but they were necessary.

Will there be sequels based on the other books?

Ideally, but that depends on how the first movie does.  There is a slight chance that, if Disney loves the script, they will decide to move ahead with a sequel before the first movie comes out, but I wouldn’t count on that.

Is the movie going to be live action or animated?

Live action.

Are you going to do just one book for each movie, or combined books into one movie?

The idea is to do one book per movie.

If the movie does get made, when is the absolute earliest that the movie come out?

If the movie was given the go-ahead tomorrow, it probably couldn’t start shooting for several months, and then that would take a few months, and then it would have to be edited and scored and such so… the very earliest would probably be 18 months from now — and that’s a best case scenario.  Don’t expect anything until 2022, if not later.

Is it going to be released in theaters — or could it show up on Disney Plus?

Personally, I would love for it to be released theatrically — so that’s what we are shooting for.  But the fact is, Disney needs a lot of content for Disney Plus, so that remains an option.  (Also, if it was made for Disney Plus, there is a chance that sequels could be started earlier.)

Are the characters going to look the same as I imagine them?

Probably not.  Because I have no control over how you imagine the characters.  You may have noticed that I don’t describe the characters in much detail in my books.  I leave a lot to your imagination.  Personally, I hope that the casting director selects the best possible actors for the roles and doesn’t get hung up on looks.  (You might have noticed that I never describe the ethnicity of many characters, including Ben, so personally, I’m open to most of them being any ethnicity.)  Anyhow, the chance of an actor or actress looking exactly like the way you imagine the character is virtually nonexistent.  So don’t get upset if the actors don’t look exactly as you’d hoped.

But you’re going to release a graphic novel in 2022.  After that, won’t we know what the characters look like?

No.  You will know that Anjan, the artist of the graphic novel, thinks the characters look like.  But that doesn’t mean that is what the characters have to look like.

If the movie does film, can I be in it?  I’m really good at acting.  Maybe you could tell the casting director about me?

Honestly, I won’t have any say in casting at all.  I know that might sound wrong to you, but here’s the best explanation I can give:

Actors are hired by casting directors.  That is the casting director’s job, and they train for years to do it.  So, if I were to call a casting director and say, “Hey, you should consider this kid for the movie,” that would be like the casting director coming up to me and saying, “Hey, would you mind if I wrote a chapter of your book for you?”  The casting director has their job.  I have mine.  It is not cool for me to try to tell them how to do their job.

Thus, I have no idea if there will be an open casting call or when that would even happen.  My bet is, it is unlikely.  If there is an open casting call, I will post about it on this blog.

Could you write to me personally and let me know if there is open casting?

Er…No.  I get asked this a lot and, not to sound like a jerk, but I have a lot to do.  Emailing every one of the thousands of kids (and a lot of parents) who has asked me to contact them directly would take me weeks.  I do not have time to do that.  I have books to write.

All right.  That’s the info I have right now.  Again, I really, really wish I had more of an update.  Hopefully, I will have more news soon.

In the mean time, stay safe, have a happy holiday, and keep on reading.