2 States, 2 Returns, 1 Week

Tuesday and Wednesday have been awesome!


On Tuesday, I traveled back to N.I.C.E (North Intermediate Center of Education) and held a book signing for the students I had the privilege of meeting back in Feburary. I promised the kids that I would return and they were super excited to see me and I was so happy to reconnect with them as well!


As we began, the kids loved seeing the new posters of Barney & Lexi that were made after my last visit. We talked about how I really wished they had been made before our visit but that I wanted them to see both of the posters now and they thought they looked ‘very cool’!


The local paper stopped by and the incredibly kind reporter spoke with me and the kids! She was unable to stay for too long, turns out that she was not just the reporter but also the managing editor and handled almost the entire newspaper on her own. Talk about a staying busy! I love watching the children light up when they see a t.v. crew or a newspaper coming to their school. They take a great deal of pride in their schools and love to know that they are very much important too!

N.I.C.E. Return Paper Picture


In my last visit to N.I.C.E., there was a young lady named Jersey, who was in the last 4th grade class that I spoke to that week. Jersey loved the presentation so much that she watched me leave the school before returning to her class, that touched me and made a memory that I will never forget! Before I left, Jersey had asked if we could do a selfie together and because there was no more time to do one with the entire class, we could not make that happen. On this day though, this young lady got that selfie and I will be printing a picture, buying a frame and mailing it to her at the school! What a great girl she is!


Wednesday arrived and it was off to Indiana for a memorable school visit with Barney & Lexi! I returned to Riley Elementary School for the first time in 33 years. The last time I was in the halls of the school was, as a student in the early 1980’s! I walked through the doors and was blown back to yesteryear, almost making me feel as though I was that young boy walking the halls again.


Before I met the children, I went on stage, behind the closed curtain and captured the moment on video because I was about to step in the gym for the first time in 33 years and giving back to a school that gave to me! It was also special because my first teacher, Mrs. Battles was in the audience! Still teaching, she was at the beginning of her career when I was her student and now, she mentioned she was going one, or maybe two more years before retiring. Talk about coming full circle for us both! Mrs. Battles gave my creative imagination the foundation to grow into what it is today and I was proud to give something back to her.

I entered the gym and had an amazing time! The kids loved Barney & Lexi, we laughed and gave Mrs. Battles an thunderous applause for being an amazing teacher! The kids lined up afterwards and many snatched up a copy of Barney & Lexi and I enjoyed the smiles more than anything, it meant they were touched by our visit. Signing Mrs. Battles book was not only a reward but humbling to finally be able to thank someone who is part of what got me to this point as a children’s author!


Before leaving, I gave the students their school banner from Barney & Lexi. The gym went insane over it and moved the principal as the kids presented it to her. All in all simply a rewarding and memorable two days!

Cast Your Shell Column


Back home today, I picked up a copy of my weekly column and working on some emails for bookstores and touching up some issues with bookmarks. I hope you have a wonderful day and that great things happen today!

Ready To Rock This Week!

What a weekend to start off with!


It was an amazing Saturday afternoon and I very much, wanted to take Lynden, Ethan & Rylen to Terre Haute, Indiana and spend the afternoon getting caught up in The Terr Haute Children’s Museum. 3 stories of exploration, imagination and fun. What a time we had! They played in bubbles, climbed a 2 story tree house and got to see themselves on T.V. as news anchors, but the thing they loved the most was the water construction zone! This zone had a running water channel with different damns, fountains and falls. One section kept my children busy by having to put plumbing pipes together to help direct the flow of water. I think they played in this zone for over an hour! At the end of the day, we found an Italian gem, nestled within the city, Piloni’s Italian Restaurant! 100% handmade Italian pizza and pasta and highly recommended if your ever in the Terre Haute, Indiana area!


With the weekend wrapped, I used my Sunday night to research bookmarks from other authors and as 1 a.m. approached, I had a hand drawn layout of the front and pack of what I will use to begin having my own. I decided on a size, paper, colors, information placement and design. Next it will be off to the printers for fabrication and then time to have on-hand for distribution!

Now, as I prepare to change for my evening job, I have word the Mt. Carmel, Illinois newspaper will be at N.I.C.E tomorrow for my visit with the students. I am returning to sign copies of BARNEY & LEXI: LOST IN LAWRENCEVILLE and wish all of these amazing kids a great summer vacation! I am pumped to have the paper excited to attend and help make this event awesome!


I wish you a wonderful afternoon as I go to punch that clock, earn that money and chase that goal!

Sneak Peek

Riley Banner

I’m pretty pumped! My surprise for next weeks visit to Riley Elementary is almost complete. Here is a sneak peek at a proof of the progress.

N.I.C.E. Return Flyer

It has been confirmed today that I will be returning to Mt. Carmel, Illinois next week to N.I.C.E and will be holding a book signing for the kids I met back in February. I am so looking forward to seeing those great kids again! I also got approved, today, to speak with the graduating class of Red Hill High School. I will be defeating a long-standing fear and rise to the next level next month. Now, to tie up some loose ends and turn in before midnight, rare. Have a great day ahead!


Not being tied down to a 9 to 5 job has allowed me to find more success than I have ever known was possible. It also has given me the opportunity to many more memories with my children as I possibly can.

Ethan and the Dinosaur

Today, I took a break from my grind and took one of my ‘Reasons’ with his second grade class to Terre Haute, Indiana to the children’s museum and had the time of our lives! So much, in fact, that we are planning to return again and bring my other two sons, Ethan’s brothers, with us.

Me & Ethan @ TH

Days like today never fail to reinforce the reasons why I do what I do. I am in control of my life and I choose to work hard and earn the right to play hard. I am so blessed to have had this day with my son!

Easter Surprise

After the Easter egg hunt, my phone chymned in. I opened to find that the Liske Family from Kirkland, Washington sent a picture of three amazing, young readers who were gifted BARNEY & LEXI: LOST IN LAWRENCEVILLE for Easter! That is so awesome and the kids look just great, dressed for Easter. 

My thanks go out to Mr. & Mrs. Liske for gifting me with three smiling faces. This is why I love my work! 

Happy Easter everyone!

Between The Writing & The Reading

It’s late at night on a Monday or Tuesday, I’m telling sleep that it has to wait until my column for The Sumner Press is written for the week. When finished, I e-mail the text and any photos with it to the editor, Barbara Allender. She then tells sleep that it has to wait until the formatting is complete and the layout is good. When her hard work is finished, it goes here before it hits newsstands. Great little video to show how success is made!