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!)



The Professionals goes global!

Hey guys, just got an email with some fun visual treats — The Professionals is being released in Denmark and Taiwan and these are some of the new covers.

AS Tellerup Cover

As you can see, the publishers decided to go with Greg Horn’s amazing covers (which I think is a no-brainer).



And I really love how colorful the designs are for the Taiwan covers. But I was especially curious as to what those floating sentences were alongside Anna and Quenton. So I asked, and apparently these are the 2 translations:

Anna Smudge cover- “The New Yorkers say, as long as Anna Smudge is around, we’ll be able to sleep tight!”

Quenton Cohen cover- “The culinary art is staircase to my dream, and the world is beneath my feet!”

How cool is that?!


Quenton Cohen: Professional Chef is here!

Posted on October 15th, 2010 in Highlights,Quenton Cohen: Professional Chef by MAC

I know many of you have been waiting a while for this. So I am thrilled to announce that Quenton Cohen: Professional Chef, Book Two of The Professionals is finally here!

QC front cover nobleed

There’s lots of danger, chases, explosions… but most of all delicious cuisine. I told my family and friends I was just doing “research” for the book since the main character is a chef, but really it was just an excuse to go to as many incredible restaurants as possible.

Here are the deets on the plot:

The dangerous criminal mastermind Mr. Who is still at large.

And thousands of convicts are escaping from prisons all over the country.

But all Quenton Cohen cares about is opening his own restaurant and appearing on his favorite TV show, Chef of Steel —even if that means turning his back on his best friend, Anna Smudge, and putting his trust in a sketchy investor named Hummus.

When a visiting African president is caught in a string of deadly accidents, Quenton realizes that something stinks… and it may just be in his kitchen!

Can Quenton unearth the conspiracy before MR. WHO leaves a scar on his life forever?

Now at a bookstore near you! Or get it online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.



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!




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.



Confessions of a Comic Book Geek

Posted on April 25th, 2008 in Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink,Art,Highlights by MAC

So, yeah, I collect comic books. Lots of them. My apartment is filled to the brim with boxes of graphic novels, and pretty much looks like the inside of Forbidden Planet… with a bed. I guess you could call me a comic nerd. I know the names of really obscure characters like Beppo (the monkey from Superman’s home planet Krypton) and the The Merk (the alien that gave Nexus his powers). And yes, I realize that to most folks it probably sounds as if I’m speaking Lithuanian right now. I stumbled into comics my first year in college, and from then on out I was hooked.


When I found out that there were going to be illustrations in my book, Anna Smudge, I adamantly wanted to get artists from the comic book industry. So, I wrote up a bunch of nutty character descriptions along with a brief book synopsis and sent them to Glenn Fabry, a two-time Eisner award winning comic artist in the UK, who I’ve been a big fan of for years and years. Then I held my breath and crossed my fingers & toes. Luckily, Glenn took a fancy to the material and signed on!


Check out a few of the original character descriptions I sent to Glenn alongside his final art for the book:


Note to Glenn: These portraits will be placed at the section breaks throughout the book. They are in-your-face shots of every antagonist/villain that Anna comes up against. So, each one needs to be hard core, threatening, and popping right off the page!




Donny “the Meatball” Fratelli:

Donny “the Meatball” is a notorious hitman who just escaped from prison. He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer. In fact he’s more like a spoon.


So, in an attempt to disguise himself, he bleached his hair blonde. Now he’s a humongous giant of a man, with a violent, out of control temper, and white-blonde hair. In terms of looks, think of that huge, quiet goon in the movie Fargo or your typical Sopranos buffoon.

This portrait should be scary with a twinge of comedy. Donny is lunging at the reader with a toilet bowl plunger, his teeth gritted, his eyes wild. He is very angry!! And man, is he gonna plunge you!!!




Ms. Musashi:

Have you ever had a scary dictator of a math teacher who you could have sworn was a secret government spy? Well, then you’ve probably had math with Ms. Musashi. She is Japanese and in her forties. She has dark, shiny hair cut in a severe page boy style. She wears suits of different colors and carries a matching stick, which she smacks across the chalk board like a whip. Strict, Strict, Strict! She talks in a monotone and the word “smile” is not in her vocabulary. She is severe and military-like.

This shot should be threatening. Ms. Musashi should be smacking her stick against her open palm… “What’s 5347 divided by 53?” …her eyes burn into your very soul and you know it’s either get the answer right or pee in your pants in front of the entire class.




Mrs. Summer:

Poor Mrs. Summer. She was just a fragile, sixth-grade art teacher who liked to finger paint. But after seeing Mr. Who’s face, she’s completely lost her mind. She’s gone bonkers!

In this portrait Mrs. Summer is strapped into a straight jacket; her hair is smeared with paint, mascara is running down her face, her eyes are wild, and she is screaming at the top of her lungs, desperate to tell us something. She has blonde curly hair, she is middle-aged… and she is completely crazy!




Jacob Pierce:

Jacob is your typical 11-year old bully— loud, obnoxious, and always trying to get someone in trouble. He’s got red hair and mash of freckles on his face. In this portrait, he is coming right at you, sneering, making monster-face; “poop” is smeared on his cheeks and all over his hands. And he’s trying to wipe it all over you! Eeew!




The Annoyed Police officer:

This is the guy who has a desk job and enjoys bossing people around. Think Barney Fife from Mayberry He’s tall, thin, gangly, with a large Adam’s apple. He hates kids, and most of the rest of humanity. And he probably has an ulcer from the endless towers of papers he has to file. He is dressed in a crisp police uniform and hat.


In this shot, he is pointing at the door behind the reader, furious, impatient, ordering them to leave!!




Check out the new Anna Smudge posters!

Posted on April 17th, 2008 in Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink,Appearances,Art,Events,Highlights by MAC

Yup, they’re here… bigger, badder, and way more obnoxious!!!


Donny CON poster

MrsSummer CON poster NSW CON poster


Folks who buy a copy of Anna Smudge this weekend at the New York Comic Con will get their choice of one of these posters. I will be signing books along with Glenn Fabry and Greg Horn at my publisher’s booth. So, stop by Toasted Coconut Media, Booth 1630, right across from DC Comics and say hi!




The Professionals

Posted on March 1st, 2008 in Art,Highlights,The Professionals by MAC

The Professionals


Here’s a group shot of all of The Professionals. They’re not your typical group of friends, but they all have one very important thing in common… Yup, you guessed it. They have to track down the criminal mastermind Mr. Who.


Do you know who he is?


Pencils and inks by Kevin Sharpe and MAC. Color art by Sean Ellery.




Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink

Posted on March 1st, 2008 in Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink,Highlights,The Professionals by MAC

Book One of the mystery series, The Professionals.


Anna Smudge full cover


Need some therapy? Well, then this is the mystery for you. And it’s a lot cheaper than paying for an actual session. Click here to learn more about Anna Smudge, to read the first chapter, and to meet the incredible comic book artists who I’ve been extremely fortunate to work with.


Click here to buy the book at



Front cover art by Greg Horn.

Back cover pencils by Glenn Fabry.

Back cover colors by Sean Ellery.

Cover design by Gregory P. Collins