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The virtual launch for Bear Bottom is May 12 at 7pm est / 4pm pst

 

Want to be one of the first people in the universe with a signed copy of Bear Bottom?

I’m about to release my fourth book of the pandemic, and since the past three have all just been me talking to the camera, I’m going to shake things up a bit.  This time, the launch will still have to be virtual (sadly) but I will be joined by a friend.

Sarah Mlynowski, the very talented and funny author of over 40 books, will be chatting with me about writing, FunJungle and, of course, bears.  As luck would have it, Sarah has just published her own vaguely bear-themed book, Good As Gold, the fifteenth book in the hilarious Whatever After series.  (In this one, Abby and Jonah have messed up the story of Goldilocks.)

The event will be on Zoom at 7pm eastern time / 4pm pacific time on Wednesday, May 12.

So tune in — and order your signed copies of both of our books.

Just click here to get one!

(The same link will take you to the page with details for the event.)

If you missed any of my virtual events, you can still watch them here.

The pandemic has forced authors (and everyone else, I suppose) to find new ways to reach audiences.  So here are some of the virtual interviews and panels that I have done over the past few months.

One of my favorite festivals, the North Texas Teen Book Festival, was forced to go virtual this year (as was every other festival).  But that allowed us to do a great home version of the fan favorite, Middle Grade Madness.  Now, you can tune in to see me compete against fellow writers Max Brallier, Soman Chainani, Gordon Korman, Sarah Mlynowski, James Ponti and Christina Soontornvat.  Stay tuned to the end to see the lengths I am willing to go to in order to win.

Click here to watch it.

At the same festival, I also did this great panel on mystery writing with the amazing Ally carter, Lilliam Rivera, Collen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue.

Click here to watch it.

I have done a couple interviews with my good friend, James Ponti, over the past year.  This might be the most ridiculous one.  It was sponsored by Wild Rumpus Books in Minneapolis.  If you have ever wanted to know where to hide in the White House if attacked by a horde of dobermans, this will answer your questions.

Click here to watch it.

I actually recorded an interview with Sarah Enni’s amazing podcast, First Draft, shortly before the pandemic.  It is a very in depth interview about writing.

Click here to listen to it.

This summer, I was the Barnes & Noble summer reading hero.  One of the events was a virtual conversation with my good friend and fellow author, James Ponti, where we discussed how we write, where our ideas come from, our advice for young writers, how we structure our mysteries — and how sometimes, we have separately come up with the exact same ideas.

Just click here to see it.

Also with James Ponti — and Beth McMullen — and the International Spy Museum — I did a virtual writer’s workshop this summer.  This one is fun because you get to learn about some of the more bizarre things from the museum’s collection  — like the dead rat dead drop — and then see how we utilize them in a spy mystery set at one of the most popular locations on earth.

Click here to watch it.

Here is a virtual presentation that I did for Follett Books, which gives some background into where I get the ideas for my series.

Click here to watch it.

A few years back, I did an interview with the Fairfax School System’s own TV network.

Click here to watch it.

If you watch all that, then you probably will end up knowing more about me than I know about myself.

Tyrannosaurus Wrecks is now in paperback — with a preview of Bear Bottom

In all the excitement over the launch of Charlie Thorne and the Lost City, I haven’t done much promotion for my other book release yesterday:  Tyrannosaurus Wrecks, the sixth book in the FunJungle series, came out in paperback.

And if it wasn’t enough to have a new paperback FJ book, this one has a sneak preview of Bear Bottom, book seven in the series.  You can read the first chapter: The Selfie of Doom.

Or, you can just wait until May 11 for the hardcover release of Bear Bottom, and then read the whole thing at once.  Your call.

 

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.

The Exclusive Edition of Bear Bottom is now available for preorder from Barnes & Noble

Hi folks!  As you can tell from my very clever post heading, the exclusive edition of Bear Bottom is now available for pre-order from Barnes & Noble.

Like all other exclusive editions, this one has 16 pages of bonus content written by me, plus a special cover with a poster on the inside of the book jacket.  And yet, despite all this extra stuff… it’s the exact same cost as the regular book.

Plus, on occasion, the exclusive editions ship a little earlier than the regular ones.  (Although I can’t guarantee that will happen.)

Click here to pre-order it!

 

 

Spy School 9 cover and title reveal

Hey readers.  I know many of you have been very eager for this post.  Ever since Spy School Revolution came out, people have been asking me when I was going to reveal the plot, title and cover for SS9.

Well, here’s the cover — yet another masterful job by Lucy Cummins:

 

And here is the synopsis:

Thanks to the evidence Ben uncovered in his investigation of the Croatoan, the CIA has tracked his nemesis, Murray Hill, to Central America, where they believe he is boarding the world’s biggest cruise ship, The Emperor of the Seas, on its maiden voyage around the world.

The CIA and MI6 want to find out what Murray is plotting, but to do that, they need to send in the person who knows Murray Hill the best: Ben Ripley. Only Ben can’t be sent in alone. So he’ll be posing as part of a family, with Alexander and Catherine Hale as his parents, Erica as his sister, and his best friend Mike as his brother.

At first, it sounds exciting to have a mission on the most glamorous ocean liner on earth, but as usual, nothing goes according to plan. There is action, danger, and plenty of surprises as Ben and his team quickly find themselves in hot water.

And finally, here is the release date (although, before you get too excited, let me say that I’m still not 100% sure that this is confirmed): August 31, 2021.

Click here to pre-order it!

THAT IS ALL THE INFORMATION I AM GOING TO GIVE BOUT THIS BOOK.  BECAUSE THE MORE YOU KNOW, THE LESS FUN IT WILL BE TO READ THE BOOK WHEN IT COMES OUT.  SO PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT ASK ME TO ANSWER ANYTHING ELSE ABOUT THE BOOK.  I WILL JUST TELL YOU TO RE-READ THIS POST.

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.

And now… the title, cover and plot of FunJungle 7!

Hey readers!  Perhaps you recall my post from earlier this year, when I announced that due to the extra time I had to write (and not travel) thanks to COVID-19, I was able to get FunJungle 7 out earlier than expected.  In fact, it will be out next May!

Well, it is my great pleasure to reveal the title — and yet another great cover by Lucy Cummins:

In the seventh novel in New York Times bestselling Stuart Gibbs’s FunJungle series, Teddy Fitzroy returns as FunJungle’s resident sleuth to solve the disappearances of endangered bison and an irreplaceable necklace.

Teddy Fitzroy, his family, and some other FunJungle employees have been invited to visit a bison ranch just outside Yellowstone National Park that FunJungle’s owner, J.J. McCracken, is considering purchasing. But as usual, trouble isn’t far behind.

The ranch’s endangered bison have been mysteriously disappearing. Then a massive local grizzly bear named Sasquatch breaks into the house, causing chaos. In the aftermath, Kandace McCracken discovers that her exceptionally expensive sapphire necklace has vanished.

Was it stolen? Or did Sasquatch eat it? (And if so, can it be recovered?) And what’s been happening to the bison?

With over a dozen suspects, it’s up to Teddy to detangle this hairy situation, before his family or friends—or any more expensive objects—become dinner.

You can click here to preorder it.

Here’s Why I Can’t Answer Certain Questions You Have About My Books

Hi everyone –

I have been deluged with questions since Spy School Revolution came out, and while I have been doing my best to answer them, I have noticed that there are categories of questions that come up again and again.  So rather than answering them repeatedly, I figured I’d try to address them in a blog post.

Category One:  Questions about what is going to happen in future books

This is the type of question I get asked the most and there’s a simple reason why I feel it would be better not to answer them: Because it will ruin future surprises in the books for you — and this ruin some of the fun of reading those books.

You hate spoilers, right?  Well, asking me to tell you who Ben Ripley will end up with — or whether or not a character you like is going to reappear in a future book — or really anything about the future of any series — is asking me to spoil something for you.  I know you want to find out what’s in store, but I promise you, the less you know about what’s coming, the more fun the read will be.

Category Two: Questions about things that didn’t get answered in the books

If I didn’t share a piece of information with you in the book, that wasn’t an oversight.  It’s because I didn’t want to share that piece of information.  Often, this is because I’m saving it to reveal in another book.

For example, I know there are some questions left at the end of SSR.  But if I had wanted to answer those questions, I would have.  I promise, they will eventually be answered — although I think most of you could probably make very educated guesses about what happened.

Category Three: Questions about obscure things

And author can’t possibly tell you every single thing that happened to every single character over the course of their lives.  Honestly, we can’t possibly even imagine all those things.  We have to leave many things out of the story.  So if you’re writing to ask what happened to a character after the Moon Base Alpha series ended — or what a character likes for breakfast — or whether someone likes cats or dogs better — the answer is honestly: I don’t know.  Whatever you imagine the answer to be is good enough for me.

Category Four: Questions about what my characters look like

I get a lot of requests to specifically describe characters which is because I didn’t specifically describe many of them in my books.  That’s because, frankly, I don’t think extremely specific character descriptions are very helpful.  My own experience is that, no matter how specifically a character is described, I probably imagine them the way I want to anyhow.  So I’m pretty sure that you do the same.  Therefore, whatever you imagine a character to look like is what they look like.

Now, this doesn’t really work for graphic novels or movies.  You will very obviously see the characters in the graphic novels, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that is the only way they can look.  It’s just one version.  The chances are very slim that any character will look exactly as you imagined them in the graphic novel — or the movie.  There is nothing i or anyone else can do about this.  That’s just the way things are.  Try not to be disappointed.

And finally, this is probably the question I get asked more than any other, even though it is answered elsewhere on this site:

Category Five: Questions about how many books will be in each series

I can’t answer a question I don’t know the answer to.  And right now, I do not know how long each series will go.  Sorry.