Summertime mysteries

Dear Savanna,

I’m so glad to hear that you’ve added my mystery novels to your summer reading list and that you are making good use of the library. Libraries are the best, next to museums and galleries I think. I’m also working through my summer reading list, mostly based on what friends have recommended. I like reading well-written books because I hope that reading them will help to make me a better writer.

Have a great summer and happy reading!



Book recommendations

Drawing of a child reading a novel called The Missing Dog is Spotted.

Hi Riley,

I am happy to learn that you are reading a good book now and that you’ll read mine next. I suspect you must have a big stack of books that are standing by to be read. I have a stack, too! I also keep a reading list of books I don’t own but want to sign out from my library.

In response to your request to send a list of books that I’ve written, you’ll find all of them on my website. However, I think it might be fun for me to develop a list of books by other authors for my website. I would call that list “I wish I could write a book like that” and it would include a lot of funny ones that I’ve come to love. Perhaps I will develop that list in a month or two to post.

Happy reading!


Orange rubber ball


I received this note from a reader in the mail – there wasn’t a letter, nor a signature, but I was struck by the powerful simplicity of this drawing.

I believe that the reader has drawn the orange rubber ball on the lawn of Derek’s house in Ferndale. Derek was the main character in my mystery novel called The Spotted Dog Last Seen. Sometimes I read a passage from this novel when I visit schools and the scene I often choose is a difficult memory that Derek has about playing outside with his neighbor, Dennis, when they were small.

Derek learns that the orange rubber ball he remembers is a symbol about his past as well as an important clue for a mystery that he must solve.

Well done to whomever sent me this drawing. I’m so glad that this symbol has been unforgettable to you!

Happy reading,



The Library


Hi Austin,

I agree that libraries are wonderful places for reading. I loved to spend time in my school library when I was growing up, so much so that I created Loyola Louden, a girl who works in a library, in my mystery novel, The Spotted Dog Last Seen.

I like your drawing of you holding two of my books, which you are about to sign out from the library. You’ve done a great job of the covers. Perhaps you might be an illustrator when you grow up?

I will be thinking of you next Monday, when you get to visit the library and choose new books.

Happy reading,


Old Cemetery




Dear Avery,

You must have read The Spotted Dog Last Seen from cover to cover. I can tell because of the details you’ve included in your drawing of the old cemetery in my story. You’ve put the older marble markers in the back with the fancy sculptural details and the newer simpler granite ones at the front.

One of the markers has a symbolic weeping willow. Another has a skull and crossbones. Nice! I liked the double grave marker, blank on one side. Wonderful! The marker with the lamb on top is so sensitively drawn.

Thanks also for sharing some of the books by other authors you’ve liked. I’ll be sure to check them out.

Happy reading,




Dear Taylor,

What a lovely job you’ve done illustrating such an emotionally challenging scene in Chapter 8 of The Spotted Dog Last Scene. It is almost as if you were there! You write that you are not as good a reader as others in your class; however, I think you must be one of the most imaginative. Your idea of having fairy tale characters worry about their story ending, and therefore jump into other stories is absolutely brilliant.

Book jumping. Wow!

Happy reading,