Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Blurbs for Crime Travelers

Available now.


Blurbs for Crime Travelers book One: Brainwashed

Library of Congress 27 words
Thirteen-year-old Lucas Benes leads a group of anti-terrorist teenagers through the hotspots of Paris to spoil a brainwashing ceremony that could turn them all into kidnapped kids.

short blurb 53 words
While sleeping on the roof of his father’s hotel, thirteen-year-old Lucas Benes finds a baby alone and learns that the Good Company has restarted its profitable kidnapping business. Lucas leads a group of anti-terrorist teenagers through the hotspots of Paris to spoil a brainwashing ceremony that could turn them all into “Good” kids.

Back of book/blurb/Amazon/Ingram Book description 72 words
While sleeping on the roof of his father’s hotel, thirteen-year-old Lucas Benes finds a baby alone and learns that the Good Company has restarted its profitable kidnapping business. Trilingual and already on his third passport, Lucas leads a network of international teenagers through the hotspots of Paris —from the catacombs to the Eiffel tower—in an all-out effort to spoil a brainwashing ceremony that could potentially turn them all into “Good” kids.


Back of book/blurb/Amazon/Ingram Book description 135 words
Things have been off course for Lucas Benes since . . . forever.
It all started the day nuns found him as a baby floating in a Styrofoam ice chest in the sea off Tierra del Fuego. For thirteen years Lucas couldn’t figure out who was or where he was from.

Until one day he got a glimpse into his past that he couldn’t ignore.
While sleeping on the roof of his father’s hotel, Lucas finds a baby alone in a shopping cart and learns that the Good Company has restarted its profitable kidnapping business. Multilingual and already on his third passport, Lucas joins a network of international teenagers as they race through the hotspots of Paris—from the catacombs to the Eiffel tower—in an all-out effort to spoil a brainwashing ceremony that could potentially turn them all into “Good” kids.

Back of book/blurb/Amazon/ingram Book description 144 words
Lucas Benes lives in a hotel with his father and sister. But Lucas can’t seem to pass tests that will put him with his friends on Tier One at the New Resistance hotel-school. While sleeping on the hotel roof, Lucas discovers that someone has left a baby alone in the back parking lot. The almost thirteen year old decides to break a school rule and rescue the toddler. Lucas quickly learns that the Good Company, which is anything but good, has restarted its profitable kidnapping business. Lucas’s father makes the difficult decision to send his own children into the French capital to try and stop the evil Siba G├╝nerro and her Good Company. Together, Lucas and his New Resistance friends race through the hotspots of Paris in an all-out effort to thwart a brainwashing ceremony that could potentially turn them all into “Good” kids.

"No matter how bad your past is, you still don't want it erased."

Monday, June 3, 2013

Crime Travelers Pitch

Crime Travelers

“No matter how bad your past is, you still don’t want it erased.”


A realistic middle-grade action-adventure packed with secret societies, questionable friends, and intercontinental chases. And, an occasional dirty diaper.

Thirteen-year-old Lucas Benes lives in his father’s hotel where they operate an organization of anti-terrorist teens. When Lucas finds a baby in a shopping cart, they discover that the Good Company has restarted its profitable kidnapping business. Lucas then leads a network of teenagers through the hotspots of Paris in an all-out effort to thwart a secret brainwashing ceremony that could turn them all into “Good” kids.

Available at: 

Monday, May 13, 2013

In High School Forever? Oh yeah.


"Everything an adolescent does—everything an adolescent feels—is just a little bit more intense."

I recently read this article in The Week magazine about high school, and the heightened emotional senses that come with that particular period of life. Here's the article ( http://cdn.app.theweek.com/noistde/14540 

It got me thinking. This is what writing is. Or at least, good writing is a little bit more intense: everything.

I feel like there is always a connection to those high school people from that period of time, a connection to those emotions almost. You and me included. The title of the article is "In High School Forever" Yikes. Sure, I think we all wish we'd grown up somewhere, anywhere else.


But that's where we were. Then. And now you have now. What do you do with the "then" now? It's part of you. Then is what we draw from. It's a constant pool, a vat of good and bad that you can rework and replay and ultimately rewrite. 

I continually pull from this period of time for real writing, for the deep stuff, whether it's funny or silly deep stuff. My sense of humor was formed in high school and by the people who just so happened to be there at the same time. I don't think anyone chose to be alive at that particular time. We were just there. 

There were great times then in high school or at least they were great in the sense that they were emotionally charged, a little bit more intense. Better to feel something than nothing at all. There were plenty of cobwebs, too. the ones that reveal stuff you don't want to see again. But we all have cobwebs. High school history is not always quality material for writing or rewriting, but sometimes reflecting on the history, on the personal history, an understanding of who we are and who we are not emerges. It's the unraveling of that self that let's you find out who you are and what you should write about.

If only we could tap into it and feel it when we wanted, when we need it Yeah, if.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

My Twitter Follow-Back Policy

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Most people are on Twitter either to learn or to promote, or both.
I follow everybody back on Twitter except for three kinds of folks.
  1. People who aren’t people.
  2. The people who tell me I can get 10,000 followers like they did and then you click through to their profile and you find that they have only 189 followers. Hmmm. How’s that working out for you?
  3. Creeps. Obvious creeps. I’m a kid book writer. No creeps. I don’t follow creeps and I don’t want creeps following me. That’s creepy.
 Who to follow
As a writer of children’s books, I want to follow parents of my target market and I want them to follow me back so I can learn from them and promote my work (Foreshadowing here: I can’t promote to a nonfollower.) As a writer who is publishing and marketing his work, I want to follow teachers and librarians to learn what kids are reading and I want them to follow me back so I can promote my work (Sound familiar?)
 We all want more followers on Twitter
If you’ve gotten close to the 2000 following mark, you’ve no doubt hit the ratio wall.  For some reason, the Twitter gods decided that you could only follow 2000 people and then in order to advance, you have to maintain a super twecret ratio of followers to followings.  I think it’s like 20%. (Scratch that. Update: 20% didn't work. Try 10% ratio.)
Regardless, you have to unfollow people to move on.
Who to unfollow
If you can follow, then you can unfollow. Since you have to adhere to the mysterious x% follow ratio, you will eventually have to unfollow some folks. I’ve been using www.justunfollow.com and it’s pretty good.
I am also developing my own unfollow philosophy
I now unfollow most people who have a ridiculous ratio. The other way. By that, I mean people who have 15K followers, while they follow only 12 people. Really? Are you that great? Come on, man. We’re just people here.
I’m really not that great. Honest. I’ve written some really good action-adventure travel books for children. But I am certainly not so awesome that I just have people follow me without following back. Following back is common courtesy. And it’s Karma.
Ted Coine says it perfectly, “any time you don’t follow someone back, you’re limiting who else they can follow. That’s not nice. Be nice.”
There is really only one true way to get followers on Twitter
Good Content. Period. End of story. Post good stuff. People will follow. Help other people promote their stuff. They will follow. Twitter is not about getting more followers for the sake of getting followers; Twitter is about people helping other promote what’s important.
A funny thing happened on the way to 2000 followings
I noticed that many people I followed had enormous followings and they followed relatively few. Here's the rub. In order to surpass 2000 followings you might have to unfollow people who are not following you back. I have used justunfollow.com and I use manageflitter.com (nice guys from New Zealand). 
We all have a few exceptions
Okay, celebrities aren’t going to follow you back. Sorry. For me, my exceptions are Nathan Bransford @NathanBransford because of his literary sagacity. (vocab word!) He has no reason to follow me back. Tim Ferris @tferris is another one but, hello, the guy invented the 4-hour workweek. And, Chris Guillebeau @chrisguillebeau is not going to follow me back because he’s traveling to every country on the planet. Really. I also follow him because he’s got an awesome Cajun name (and he’s a non-conformist iconoclast.) Ted Coine should be an exception for me, too. But he follows back because he’s real.
Be real and follow people back. You might learn something, or promote something, or both.
Ted Coine inspired me to write this. Thanks Ted. Check him and his work out here. To find out more about me, please visit my new (as in WIP) site: CrimeTravelers. or here to the new book.