Posted on June 28th, 2012 in Cool Stuff,Quenton Cohen: Professional Chef,Videos by MAC

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I got chills when I saw this. Flynn McGarry really reminds me of Quenton Cohen – his passion, his ambition, his talent. You’re never too young (or too old!) too pursue your dreams. I love that he’s taking the initiative and turning his home into a once a month pop-up restaurant. And I love that his family is obviously so supportive!


The Professionals go to Japan!

Guess what? Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink has been released in Japan! Yep, that’s right. Here’s the Japanese cover by amazing artist Mel Kishida

AS - Japan final

I haven’t received any copies of the book yet, but I’m eagerly awaiting their mysterious interiors. You see, the Japanese publisher, Media Factory, hired their own interior artist who will be rendering all the characters in a manga style. So stay tuned…

P.S. Someone made an Anna Smudge book trailer over at YouTube.

Cool music by Kevin MacLeod. (Of the Clan Macleod? I wonder if Kevin’s a Highlander fan.)



Quenton Cohen wins a Moonbeam!

Posted on October 21st, 2011 in Buzzzzzz,Highlights,Quenton Cohen: Professional Chef by MAC

I have some wonderful news to share — Quenton Cohen just won the Bronze Medal for pre-teen mystery at the 2011 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards! I am really SO grateful to win another of these awards. Any time you pour such a large amount of work into a project it’s enormously gratifying when it gets some recognition (from someone other than your mom!)



Anna Smudge gets more bling!

OK, Quenton Cohen will be out very soon, I’ve already started Book Three (Shhh, top secret!), but you can’t count little Miss Anna Smudge out just yet. Girlfriend knows how to hang in there! She just won 3 new awards from the wonderful folks at the Young Voices Foundation:


Gold Medal for Best Juvenile Fiction


Gold Medal for Best Juvenile Mystery


Gold Medal for Best Youth Fiction- NE Region




In case you don’t know, the Young Voices Foundation has two really cool awards that they give out- one for published books and the other for aspiring young writers. Check out this link for more info on submitting your writing:


Young Voices Foundation


This is a terrific opportunity to hone your creative writing skills, and if you can’t think of a good story write something biographical or nonfiction. Maybe comb through newspaper articles for ideas or write about something that’s happened to you or someone you know. Think outside the box- Franz Kafka wrote a novel about a dude turning into a cockroach, for goodness sake! ICK!


So, pick up a notebook and a pen, open a blank document on your computer, and get to work! Because I can tell you, there’s no greater feeling than the sense of accomplishment you get from creating something out of nothing.






Hey guys!

It’s been forever since I posted because I’ve been writing the next book in The Professionals series, Quenton Cohen: Professional Chef. But it’s finally finished and delivered to my publisher. YAY! As soon as they tell me, I’ll give you all the exact release date. Also, I’ll be posting the cover very soon. It’s AWESOME-O! I can’t wait to share it with everyone!

Lots of good stuff has been happening in the meantime while I’ve been writing QUENTON. The main thing is that ANNA SMUDGE has won some awards! Double YAY!

First, back in October, Anna Smudge won the Silver Medal at the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards for Best First Book.


I got a mammoth medal in the mail and have been wearing it as a necklace around my neighborhood. Let me tell ya, it’s a whole lotta bling.


Second, Anna Smudge also won the National Indie Excellence Award for Children’s Fiction!


Third, just this past week, Anna Smudge won the Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Juvenile Fiction.


Also, Anna Smudge’s cover artist, Greg Horn, and book designer, Greg Collins, were finalists in the Best Cover Design-Children’s category. You go guys!


The Ben Franklin Awards was a fun, but nerve wracking experience. It’s a huge event that they hold once a year during Book Expo America.

So, everyone gets all dressed up and meets at a fancy hotel. This year it was held at the beautiful Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. (My hometown!)



I have to admit I was just as excited about the desserts as I was about the possibility of winning an award…


I was so shocked when they called out Anna Smudge as a winner! I had to walk through the Grand Ballroom, up to a podium, and accept the award in front of all of those people.


I love Where’s Waldo, but this is more like Where’s MAC? Can you find me in this pic?…


Honestly, I was so surprised and nervous I don’t even remember what I was blabbering about up there. But everyone was super nice and congratulated me afterwards. Check out the video.

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Here are some pics of me with Terry Nathan, executive director of IBPA, and Florrie Kichler, IBPA’s president. They’re really the nicest! And they have been so unbelievably supportive!


And I love Florrie’s suit!


One of the most important things I’ve learned with Anna Smudge is that putting out a book is such a team effort. So many people work hard on it after I’m done writing it. It’s this collaboration that I’m most looking forward to with Quenton Cohen.

My Mom took this last picture! Thanks Mom & Dad!




Five whatevers for Anna Smudge!

Posted on July 4th, 2008 in Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink,Book Reviews,Buzzzzzz by MAC



I love that people think outside of the box when rating books they’ve read. Nick Chance (aka the kid reviewer), rates stuff using what looks to be chocolate frosted donuts. Mmm. I live right near Dunkin Donuts, and I love that smell of freshly fried dough when they cook at 6am. I’m hungry just thinking about it. Enchanting reviews rates books using enchantments. And Jazma Online uses stars. All three of these places have given Anna five donuts, five enchantments, five stars, five whatever you want to call them! Check out what they had to say.


The Kid Reviewer gives Anna 5 donuts


Enchanting Reviews gives Anna 5 enchantments


Jazma gives Anna 5 stars




Scott, Jane, and Little ol’ Me on WABC-TV!

Attention Parents: Try sitting on your kid in order to make them read in the summertime!

Jane MAC Scott WABC-TV

Aside from having to wake up at 7:30am, something I haven’t had to do since the early nineties, going on WABC was a really fun time. I met Jane O’Connor, Scott Westerfeld, and his wife, Justine Larbalestier, who’s also a very talented YA writer, in the WABC Green Room. The room, of course, wasn’t even remotely green, but it had some comfy sofas and we sat around chatting about the toils of publishing and the summer reading tips we would be mentioning.

Eventually we were called into the studio where the filming was taking place live. No time for rehearsal though. We all turned to one another, quickly doing the mandatory spinach-in-the-teeth check. Then the crew scrambled to mic me during the ten second countdown…and we were LIVE! Check it out.

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From what I’ve been hearing, getting kids to read during the summertime is even more of a challenge than usual. When the sun is shining and the weather is gorgeous, reading in the darkened bowels of your bedroom is the last thing you want to do (unless, of course, you’re a ten-year old version of me, and your folks are trying to drag you outside to participate in some team sports) So, when preparing for the WABC spot there was a lot of brainstorming on some fun and creative ways to make reading more of an event to look forward to and less of a dreaded chore. Take a look at the tips below, and please feel free to write in and suggest your own summer tips. Or if you’re a kid, drop a line and say which tip seems like fun or which tip sounds totally lame!!

For Readers ages 3-8

Let’s get dramatic! Turn the book into playtime by having your child act out some of the pictures on the pages. Gather their friends together for a group reading of their favorite books, assign characters to each kid, and dress up in costumes. Once you’ve got a polished performance down, name your new acting troupe after a random Macbeth character and bring the play to off-off-off-off Broadway 🙂

Build a Book Castle- Yes, it’s sort of like Legos, but with books. Everyone in the family gets to add a book they’ve just finished to the castle until they, hopefully, have a big monstrosity nearly reaching their living room ceiling. At that point, take it down and start a new book castle from scratch.

It’s Party Time! Band together with other parents (or your reading group) and organize a party. If the kids read a certain number of pages, they get to attend. If they read more pages they get prizes or special activities at the party. Tie it in with a birthday party, a 4th of July barbecue, or an existing event.

Check out the local library- Introduce your kids to the library. Most have “story time” during the summer. Let them pick out books and sign up for their very own library card! Seriously, the library is awesome and free! And they have so many great programs.

Jane and Phil Lipoff

For Readers ages 9-12

Book Swap! Gather all of the kids in your building or neighborhood in the park. Each kid can bring a couple of their favorite reads and trade them with each other; like we used to do with baseball cards or comic books. Make it a regular meeting to look forward. Also, it’s great to recycle books by sharing them instead of throwing them out or letting them sit on your shelf forever.

Time for Slime! Have all of the kids in your household or in the neighborhood enter into a summer-long read-off. The winner has a choice. They can either get a nice prize or they get to dunk the person who has read the fewest pages in a vat of home made goo (And at the beginning of the contest, all the kids band together to decide what ingredients make up the goo- Can anyone say ketchup, melted ice cream, and stale milk! YUCK!). So, even if a contestant isn’t going to win, they can at least try to read enough pages to not come in last. The winner has the bucket of goo in one hand and the prize in the other. Everyone is chanting “Goo! Goo!” Which will they choose?

Mix & Match- Encourage your son or daughter to think more creatively, and make up their own stories using characters from the different books they’ve read. What would happen if Anna Smudge gave therapy to Shay from Uglies? What kinds of outrageous things would Fancy Nancy dress up in if she lived in the futuristic setting of So Yesterday?

Participate- After your child reads a book, go online with them and find a place to comment about it: discussion forum, the author’s blog, Facebook, LibraryThing, or help them post a review at Amazon or BN.com. This will get them thinking about what they’ve read and make reading a social function, not a solitary one.

Check out the local bookstore- Go to author signings and readings throughout the summer. Check your local bookstore for their schedule.

Sorry! But school is never really out- Check with teachers before school lets out in May/June for reading incentives when you come back in the Fall. Many schools offer summer book discounts through book fair catalogs.

Jane MAC Phil

Readers ages 12 and Up

Bribery! Ah, yes. It still works after all these years. Use things like allowance, time off from chores, TV, chat, and video game time as nice incentives.

Pit them against each other! If they are close in age, whichever sibling reads fewer pages has to do the others’ chores. Now if your kids are far apart in age, it doesn’t work out so well for the older ones because their books are longer. But hey, they should be doing most of the chores anyway. Right? Now, you may ask what to do if you only have one child. Well, you make them compete against you and then they get to do your chores! If they win, you know you’re the one who needs to read more.

Summer destination reading- Read books about or set in the destination of your summer vacation (and if you are coming to NYC read my book, Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink and Scott Westerfeld&
#8217;s So Yesterday since they’re both set there)

YA is not just for the young ones– Don’t be embarrassed. Everyone’s doing it. The line between what adults and kids are reading is beginning to fade significantly. So, read the same book as your son or daughter- For younger kids this is pretty obvious, but for middle-grade and YA there are lots of books that are just as interesting for adults. Even if you aren’t reading together or to each other, come back to talk about the book at key chapters over a meal, a car ride, a cab ride, or while shopping.

Social Networking- In case you haven’t noticed, the modes of communication have changed drastically over the last decade. So, encourage your son or daughter not just to read a book but blog about it, post their thoughts on forums, text friends about certain chapters. Join LibraryThing. It’s like MySpace for books and kids can trade comments, make recommendations, and leave reviews. Excitement is contagious, and reading can be too!

Jane Mac Scott

Why am I not looking in the same direction as Jane & Scott? Anyone have any ideas? This picture needs a funny caption.




Posted on June 6th, 2008 in Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink,Book Reviews,Buzzzzzz,Photos by MAC


Anna Smudge in KEWL magazine


KEWL magazine 

Anna got a super-fun writeup in Kewl Magazine.


That reminds me- I still haven’t seen Prince Caspian. Is it good?




Going on WABC… and I have a pimple the size of a small planet!

Posted on June 5th, 2008 in Buzzzzzz,Photos,Random Thoughts by MAC



Why is that always the case? I’ve been sitting in front of my computer, typing away, with clear skin for months. But now that I actually have to leave my apartment I get a growth on my right cheek the size of a Hummer. I hear the trick is to stick some toothpaste on it. Hopefully, it will shrink by the end of the week…


Which leads me to my television spot… if you are up on Sunday morning and you are in the New York City area, tune in to Channel 7 WABC-TV at 9:00 am. I’ll be talking about how to keep kids reading through the dog days of summer, along with Jane O’Connor, author of the wonderful Fancy Nancy picture books, and Scott Westerfeld, author of the phenomenal teen series, Uglies. I’m a big fan of Scott’s stuff. His Ugly trilogy is an engrossing commentary on society set in a cool science fiction setting full of hoverboards, bungee jackets, and mandatory plastic surgery. I love Jane’s books as well. My mom’s name is Franci, and we often call her Fancy Franci!


See ya on the tube!



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Warning: Don’t try this at home

Posted on May 26th, 2008 in Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink,Buzzzzzz,Interviews,Photos by MAC



So, Greg Collins, Anna Smudge’s book designer gave me a very valuable piece of advice, which I will most definitely pass down to my children, and encourage them to pass to theirs… Never brush your teeth and then drink a glass of orange juice. It is vile. It is disgusting. It tastes like acidic bubble bath and haunts your taste buds until you have breakfast the next morning. Well, Greg told me this and instead of listening to his advice, it got me curious. So, I went home and tried it and have deeply regretted the experience ever since. I even mentioned it in an interview I had with Richard Vasseur from Jazma Online. Check it out!


Cool interview with Jazma Online



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