Happy Fathers’ Day: A Video Tribute

Saturday, June 16, 2012

How do dads help authors become authors? Find out from Michael Chabon, Patricia Bosworth, Peter Cameron, Pat Reilly Giff, and — getting the last word — li’l ol’ me.

Authors and Moms

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mothers’ Day to all you moms — and all you who have moms, would like to be moms, or are for whatever reason mom-friendly. With thanks to 1000640http://www.openroadmedia.com/Open Road Integrated Media. Keep a close eye on slide number 7.

The Ad Campaign Not Taken

Monday, February 27, 2012

But it sure would have been fun to see …

Coming to a City Near You! March 6 Is Wheels-Up on The Dead of Night National Book Tour!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I’ll be coming to a city near you this spring (I hope)! It’s a coast-to-coast, 13-state book tour from March 6 through April 27. Whew. Plans are still in the works, but here’s the schedule so far. Keep checking back, as the list will continue to grow right up to early March. I hope I have the chance to meet you!

Meanwhile, here’s 1000640http://bit.ly/AnRnlGa sneak peek of Chapter 1 of The Dead of Night.

Jude Watson’s Amazing A King’s Ransom Releases Today

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

All props, kudos, and proud caterwaulings of joy for Jude Watson on the launch today of her exciting, high-voltage A King’s Ransom (Book 2 of the Cahills vs. Vespers series), which picks up where Book 1 left off — on an impossible, Kormaniacal cliffhanger — and propels Dan and Amy Cahill into places and situations that could only be spun out of Jude’s inventive, diabolical mind. If you’re near the Greater Katonah area, or anywhere within a 500-mile radius, you’ll want to stop by Little Joe’s Books tonight at 5:00 for the national launch of this amazing book. Details 1000640http://littlejoesbooks.com/event/a-kings-ransom-with-author-jude-watson-%e2%80%94-national-book-launch/here.

Order A King’s Ransom now via the links below:


Amazon   1000640http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-kings-ransom-jude-watson/1103871433BN    1000640http://www.booksamillion.com/p/9780545298407BAM
1000640http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780545298407?aff=squibnocketIndiebound    1000640http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/The-39-Clues-Cahills-vs-Vespers-Book-Two-A-Kings-Ransom/9780545298407-item.htmlIndigo (Canada)

What a Job! Feature Article on a Recent School Visit

Friday, January 28, 2011

My debut in the Two River Times! This is a really nicely written piece about a recent school visit in Fair Haven, New Jersey. (The original article is 1000640/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Two_River_Times_Knollwood_School_Fairhaven_NJ_1-25-11.pdfhere.):


Yes, You Can Be a Writer, Author Tells FH Kids

by John Burton

FAIR HAVEN – Alice Adams, a fifth grader at Knollwood School appeared pretty happy Tuesday morning. Alice, 10, was sitting in the school auditorium, holding her writing journal and a copy of one of Peter Lerangis’s Watchers series of books, and was thrilled at hearing from the author himself.

“He wrote so many books,” Alice said, appearing to be amazed at how prolific Lerangis has been in his career as a children’s book author, and noted her own hopes of being a writer one day. “I really like writing fiction and mysteries,” she confided.

“My mission is to humanize” writing, Lerangis said following his presentation to students at Knollwood, 224 Hance Road. “There’s nothing lofty about it. It’s a career that is viable and possible.”

Lerangis, 55, is a New York City-based author of more than 160 books, most aimed at young readers, including the Watchers and Spy X series, and is one of the contributors to the The 39 Clues book series. He has also written movie tie-in novelizations for The Sixth Sense and Sleepy Hollow.

Lerangis has spent 25 years as a professional writer. “I knew I wanted to be a writer since I was 7.” But growing up in Freeport, Long Island, Lerangis said writing, as a profession was pretty alien. He never knew anyone who did it. But, thankfully, “I had the encouragement of teachers,” he said. “It really came from the schools.”

Writing was a love, “But I wanted to be a performer,” which teachers also inspired in him, he added. As an undergraduate student at Harvard (where he was classmates with Bill Gates, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, and CNBC host Jim Cramer — none of whom he really knew), Lerangis majored in biochemistry, and then planned on attending law school, placing his deposit and ready to go. But the draw of the arts eventually won out, he said, pursuing theater acting, and ultimately waiting tables — badly, he admitted, about the waiting tables, that is. Work opportunities took him to doing freelance copyediting, which landed him a job with a children’s book publisher and off he went. “I just loved writing for kids,” he said, starting out as one of the contributing writers for the long-running Hardy Boys book series.

The performer side of Lerangis was on display in his presentation to the students, where he clowned around a little bit in the back and forth, as he detailed his own experiences, and told them of how he works and does what he does and what he loves to do.

Being a writer, he told them, “You get up in the morning, you have your coffee,” he explained, “and you get to stay in PJs.”

But he told of laboring all day on writing and rewriting, often times rejecting almost all he had written. And then family would ask him, “How was your day?” “I wrote three sentences. Next question?” would be his short response. But other times, he continued, he would just keep on working, sometimes throughout the night, when it was going well.

“People ask me, Where do you get your ideas?” he told the kids, answering, “Everywhere.”

“The writer’s mind asks one question: What if?” he said.

A case in point, was his fascination with empty and forsaken subway stations as he rides the New York system. What if the train stops at one of them? What If I see someone I know, but whom I thought to be missing? These are thoughts that ran through his mind that actually became the plot of one book in the Watchers series, where the young protagonist sees his long disappeared father at one of those abandoned stations.

Lerangis also told of being called by those representing then-First Lady Laura Bush, who asked him and other children’s authors to travel with her to Russia, getting to ride on Air Force One and meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin, who, Lerangis told the kids, is quite short. “It’s like he got to the seventh grade and stopped,” he said, getting a laugh from the kids.

“It’s amazing what you can learn as a writer,” he said.

Aidan Eustace, 10, another fifth grader seemed impressed, noting he likes to read fantasies. “I learned anything that can happen to you can become a story,” was the lesson he took away from Lerangis’s presentation.

Lerangis does about 40 such school visits a year, either like this one, where he meets with students, or where he travels on a promotional tour for his latest work.

Patrice Horan, the school’s librarian, said she sought out Lerangis, based upon, “the books we have in the library and I look at the books that are going out,” tracking down those popular writers.

Lerangis held two sessions with students and was then scheduled to conduct a writing workshop with about 25 selected students.


Christmas Curiosities: Top 12 Oddest, Most Baffling, Absolute Worst, Never-to-Be-Classic Holiday Music Offerings

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I like holiday music. There, I said it. And I’m not ashamed. For any of you who’ve reached a certain age — say, fifteen — the annual onslaught of the same-old same-old is enough to drive you crazy. But me, I get all gooshy inside with memories of Christmases past, the history, the sentiments, the presents, the scent of pine. And the carols. Happily, many other people are also smitten by Christmas music. And some of them have taken that smittitude to rather amazing, and sometimes appalling, extremes. Here, for the first time in one place, are my favorites. Presenting:


Peter’s Top Twelve Christmas Atrocities of All Time

Number 12:

The Messiah Organist Who Couldn’t
(Listen to the very end for the full flavor bouquet.)

Number 11:

Jingle Bells from Another Planet

Number 10:

Sugar Plum Awful.
I’m told this was done on purpose, by a punk-influenced
avant garde music group from the ’70s. Those were the days. I guess.

Number 9:

Turn Down the Lights!
(The first in a series of modest, tasteful displays):

Number 8:

O FLEE, All Ye Faithful
… as far as possible, from this, um, remarkable rendition.

Number 7:

1000640http://www.fullervoice.com/cluck/play.swfCluck of the Bells.
(Christmas + chickens + graphics. Who could ask for anything more?)

Number 6:

The second in a series of high-carbon-footprint bizarreness.
This one, somehow, is the creepiest:

Number 5:

Joy to the World:
By a singer named Wing, who apparently has a huge following
and whose vocal stylings have been featured on South Park.

Number 4:

Proof that no one has a stranglehold on nuanced interpretation
of a treasured classic. Take THIS, Wing!
Even More, Bottomless Joy.

Number 3:

Elvis … The Three KingsThe Battle Hymn of the Republic.
Think they don’t fit together? Well, think again!
(Perhaps the first light display that features a bombing of the baby Jesus):

Number 2:

O Unholy Night.
You must listen to the very end. You simply must.
Preferably with the volume turned way up.

Number 1:

Happy holidays to all!
Further words fail me:


Vote for The Viper’s Nest for 2010 Goodreads Book of the Year!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The guy on the right wants YOUR VOTE. Yes, you! The Viper’s Nest was just announced as a nominee for best Middle Grade/Children’s Book of 2010. There are only twelve contenders, all of them amazing books that you must read! If you belong to Goodreads, click on the image to the right to go to the poll and VOTE! If you’re not member of Goodreads, what are you waiting for? Here’s a perfect excuse. Tell ’em the Lunchpail Writer sent you. (And thanks.)


They Must Have Hated Me at the Library When I Was a Kid

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Why? Read my 1000600http://bit.ly/PL_BN_Bookclubsblog post on my summer reading experience, for the B&N Bookclubs! (Here’s the text, reprinted):

They must have hated me at the Freeport Memorial Library.

Each week over the summer I’d return a stack of books encrusted with salt and laced with sand.

Some kids, I’m told, treasure and respect books like rare porcelain objects. I devoured them. My family lived near the south shore of Long Island, and every sunny summer day we’d drive to a beach called Point Lookout—parents, aunts, uncles, and a gaggle of siblings and cousins I adored.

For me, three Bs defined summer: beach, basketball, and books—and the last was my favorite. Especially at sunset. By then, my little brother and sister were watching the tide destroy our sandcastle decorated with globs of sea-saturated sand, and my cousins were de-sanding a blanket we’d used as a costume in a skit. As the oldest kid, I’d been responsible for their feeding, entertainment, and safety. It was a lot of work! By day’s end, all the grateful, sleepy adults let me do what I loved most. I’d settle into a webbed chair, a breeze wafting over me and happily disappear into worlds contained within the pages of, well, you name it.

At first Dr. Seuss was my favorite beachmate, but the titles changed as I got older—from the Freddy the Pig series to 1000640http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Homer-Price/Robert-McCloskey/e/9780140309270/Homer Price to The Great Brain to Superman comics to The Call of the Wild to A Wrinkle in Time to anything by Ray Bradbury to 1984 to Fahrenheit 451. I knew I’d become an adult the summer I borrowed my dad’s unopened copy of Catch-22. I had to drag along a dictionary to help with words I didn’t know. He read it afterward on my recommendation. Sweet.

Swimming, frozen Milky Ways, and games. That’s what I remember. But also flying to Mars, defying death in the Far North, spelunking in Utah, and saving Lois Lane.

Nowadays I’ve been traveling again in the summer months, this time with Dan and Amy Cahill.

1000640http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?ISBSRC=Y&ISBN=0545060478Last summer, after months of research and planning (and a long book tour), I wrote The Viper’s Nest, the seventh book of The 39 Clues series. It was an exciting, intense experience, and I rarely left my office. One frightening day I needed to write a scene in which the Holts threaten to blow up Uncle Alastair. I wanted a very specific place—tree cover, a hill, a quiet neighborhood. I was using Google maps, going up and down the neighborhoods of Johannesburg and Pretoria, when I spotted … Boom Street! What better place for an explosion than Boom Street? Zooming down to street level, I was able to find my perfect spot.

Recently when someone asked what I’d done over the summer, I drew a blank. All I could think about was the rocky coast of Durban, South Africa, a stronghold looming over a field deep in the bush, a nighttime encounter with an abandoned mineshaft, an explosion on Boom Street. The whole time I’d been sitting in a room overlooking the back alley of buildings on West 96th Street. But that’s not what I remembered. Like the summers of my youth, it had been a time of travel and glorious adventure. When you love books, it always is.


Me, Gordon, Lisa, and Peepy in the City of Big Shoulders

Thursday, April 29, 2010

So I’m back from the IRA Convention in Chicago (no, not that IRA — the International Reading Association!), and it’s taken me a few days to recover.  Okay, it started out great.  The view from my hotel room (right) was magnificent, but it took me a while to upload, because I lost my camera cable.  I don’t usually lose things, but that first night got me pretty verklempt.  At dinner I met some famous authors, like 1000640http://www.barbarakerley.com/index.htmlBarbara Kerley, who wrote the amazing Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins, and Lisa Yee, who brought …


You don’t know Peepy?  Consider yourself lucky.  Peepy knows how to get things from people.  I wasn’t only the only one to fall under Peepy’s spell.  But I fell hard.  Can you figure out what was happening in this sequence?

No?  Well, it’s a little embarrassing, but the full story is 1000640http://lisayee.livejournal.com/134638.htmlhere.  Suffice it to say that Peepy, acting (maybe) as Lisa’s agent, managed to get all the 39 Clues secrets out of Gordon Korman and me!

Rattled, I tried to concentrate.  I even managed to do a presentation:

But I think you can see the weariness in my eyes the next day, while signing books with Gordon.  Fortunately, the two of us put our heads together (not a good idea, since neither of us has much padding up there), and decided to snap out of it.  To cut our losses.  To stick to the matter at hand.  In other words, convince every teacher that our book was the one to buy!  Occasionally that may have meant stepping on each other’s toes, but hey, you know what they say about the children’s book business.  It’s a bunny-eat-bunny world.

I think we managed to escape with our dignity intact (well, some of it).  Thank goodness Gordon and I knew of a secret back route where we could avoid the hordes of screaming educators who had discovered we’d revealed classified secrets to a stuffed yellow Peep.  Oh. Just one more thing. No matter what anyone tells you, we were not hiding you-know-who in the trunk of this mysterious black limo on the way to the airport.  It was just luggage.  Really.