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Valentines for Authors

Want to show the author in your life (or on your shelves) a little extra love this weekend? Here are a few Valentines that will make him or her swoon for you:

Love in the Stacks
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An Online Romance
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Share the Love
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Anticipating a Beautiful Future
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Speaking of which… Hook’s Revenge: The Pirate Code is currently available for preorder on Barnes & Noble and Amazon or, even better, ask for it at your local indie.


Hey Kid! with Cory Putman Oakes (DINOSAUR BOY)

hey kidDear Fifth Grade Cory,

I write to you specifically (not to fourth grade Cory or sixth grade Cory) because fifth grade was a really important year for you (us). Epic, really.

This is the year that you discover you’re not cool.

IMG_6168Now I understand why, at this stage of your life, you wouldn’t necessarily see this as a positive. And you won’t see it like that, not for quite a while.

But let’s be honest, you’ve sort of seen this coming. Right? You know yourself. Last year got a little bit confusing, what with switching schools at all. Everybody was too busy labeling you “the new girl” to notice if you were cool or not. Nobody really knew you, so you sort of drifted through the groups and the cliques and the clubs like you were in some sort of weird, middle school utopia.

But this year is a brand new year. And now that everybody knows you better, they’ve figured it out. You, my dear, are not cool.

That’s not true for everyone. In fact, something weird is going to happen this year: some of the girls you’ve been hanging out with are going to magically be declared “cool.” No one knows who, exactly, decides this. Or what the criteria is. Or how those who achieve this mysterious honor are notified about their change in status. (There was probably a handshake or a secret meeting or pamphlet that explained it – but you’re not cool enough to be privy to anything like that). But however it happens, some of your friends will go on to claim the title of “cool” and all the rights and privileges associated with it. While you, and your fellow un-chosen friends . . . won’t.

The whole thing is going to make you a little bit miserable, to be honest. And I wish I could tell you “Buck up, Cory. In high school, your fairy god mother shows up and arms you with a new wardrobe, better hair, a working familiarity with acceptable music and trendy pop culture references and BAM, you become the homecoming queen.” But that isn’t what happens. Not in high school, not in college, and not in the mysterious “real world” that you are only now beginning to picture.

I’m sorry if that sounds harsh. The good news is, you do read a lot of good books this year. (And next year, wow, I can’t begin to tell you about the awesome reading that sixth grade has in store for you – The Song of the Lioness Quartet, The Blue Sword, The Egypt Game: it’s a truly inspiring year of books for you.) And if you had been tapped as “cool,” who knows if you would have had time for any of those? Or maybe they wouldn’t have meant so much to you. Food for thought.

You’ll be glad to know that being cool becomes a lot less important later on. And believe me, it’s not because we achieve it. I mean, yes, we do eventually learn how to blow-dry our hair straight. And the nice people at Sephora teach us how to do make-up properly. And we stop wearing flannel shirts and hiking boots All. The. Dang. Time. But you still use the term “cosplay” as a verb a bit too often, you get a little bit too excited about life-size Tardis replicas, and you are too quick to quote old episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (ah yes, that’s another thing you have to look forward to), to be considered “cool.” At least in the traditional sense.


And somewhere along the way, that stopped bothering you.

Maybe it’s because everybody else seems to have stopped caring if people are cool. Or maybe we’ve just learned to live with it. Or maybe it’s because we’ve realized that we know our share of awesome, inspiring, lovable people and none of them are cool either.

The point is, we end up doing just fine. And when I think back through all the people we’ve met, the books we’ve read, the experiences we’ve had – almost none of which were remotely “cool” – I wouldn’t trade any of them. Not if our fairy mother came down right now and offered me “cool” on a platter.

So thank you, Fifth Grade Cory. You’re taking one for the team this year. (And also next year, and the year after that, and the year after that, and then some). But take comfort in the fact that somewhere, your thirty-four-year-old self is reveling in all of her grown-up, totally uncool, dorkalicious glory. And she’d like to sincerely thank the fifth grade version of herself who made it all possible.


9781492605379-PRFind Dinosaur Boy on IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, Book People, and Amazon, or ask for it in bookstores and libraries near you.

Everyone knows the dinosaur gene skips a generation.

So it isn’t a complete surprise when Sawyer sprouts spikes and a tail before the start of fifth grade. After all, his grandfather was part stegosaurus.

Despite the Principal’s Zero Tolerance Policy, Sawyer becomes a bully magnet, befriended only by Elliot aka “Gigantor” and the weird new girl. When the bullies start disappearing, Sawyer is relieved-until he discovers a secret about the principal that’s more shocking than Dino DNA. The bullies are in for a galactically horrible fate…and it’s up to Sawyer and his friends to rescue them.

Find more Hey Kid! letters here.

Cory Putman Oakes is a children’s book author from Austin, Texas. Her middle grade debut, DINOSAUR BOY, came out in February 2015 with its sequel, DINOSAUR BOY SAVES MARS, to follow in February, 2016. She is also the author of THE VEIL (a young adult novel).

Connect with Cory on, Twitter, and Facebook.

On My Mind: February 4, 2015

I have started bullet journaling. It hasn’t been long enough for me to really evaluate its effectiveness, but so far, I like it. Making lists is my jam.

Hook’s Daughter, the UK version of Hook’s Revenge, will be out in just over a month! That means I have just over a month to decide on my celebration dinner: Fish and Chips or Bangers and Mash?

Want to win a copy?

HOOK’S DAUGHTER, the UK edition of HOOK’S REVENGE, releases from @chickenhousebooks on March 5. Want to win a copy? Make an Instagram video telling why you would like to win—while speaking in a fake accent. (If you live outside the U.S., I’d love to hear your fake American accent!) Be sure to tag me on Instagram, @heidischulzbooks, so I see your video. The winner will receive a pre-order of HOOK’S DAUGHTER from the Book Depository, to be delivered after the book’s release, to any country to which the Book Depository will ship. (Check their website if you are unsure.) I will also send a signed bookplate and some HOOK’S REVENGE swag. I’ll choose a winner next Monday, February 9. Good luck! #vlogstagram #giveaway #books #mg #mglit

A video posted by Heidi Schulz (@heidischulzbooks) on

Pepper has learned the word “blanket” and comes running whenever anyone says it. If I don’t have a blanket on my lap, she attempts to climb up my pant leg. I thought you should know that.

I think this old McDonald’s toy (Lucy from Narnia) looks like me. It’s a bit unnerving, but in a delightful way. Would it be weird if I bought a bunch of them on eBay and put them all over my house? (Even if you say yes, I’ll probably still do it.)

Mystery figure. Anyone recognize? Lever in back makes her raise/lower arm that has small package. A photo posted by Tom Angleberger (@tomangleberger) on

The above image is from the Instagram account of Tom Angleberger, author of the the Origami Yoda series. It’s delightful.

What exactly is a banger? Some kind of sausage, right?


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