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Nov 16 / Michael

Now batting: PLUNKED

It’s been a solid year of shamelessly flogging me second YA novel, TRAPPED, but now it’s time to officially turn the page to my first middle grade novel. For one thing, I spent the last few days proofreading the final-pass pages of PLUNKED. For another, I can now share the cover:

It is The Beautiful, no? (Yes!) It makes me want to blurt out a Batman-esque action word, like “Pow!” or “Boffo!” or, well, “PLUNK!” And it comes with amazing, mind-bogglingly generous blurbs from Gordon Korman and Tom Verducci, both of whom are much busier and better known than me, and just generally superior human beings. Definitive proof: Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated’s senior baseball writer and an analyst for MLB Network, carved out time to read my book during the stretch drive. That’s like Santa blurbing you on Christmas eve!

The full cover has carefully selected words, close-cut grass,
and some dirt—who can put a price tag on such things?

As many of you know, I used to be the baseball editor at Sports Illustrated Kids, and I am really looking forward to diving back into the field. My goal with PLUNKED was to write a book that does justice to the complexity and sophistication of young athletes now, when it’s not at all unusual to return from travel team practice and watch a live cut-in of one game in the corner of another game, all in HD, as a score ticker scrolls along the bottom of the screen. The characters are much more than standard-issue “jocks,” and the language is the kind you’d hear in a real game.

I’m not abandoning my other books, of course, but TRAPPED is a big boy now. In one sense, it has already moved out. It’s been sold in half a dozen countries so far, and while I’ll do whatever I can to help out overseas, my usefulness in Italy, for example, is highly debatable—I’m no Snooki! (And given its winters, I think Russia can take care of itself.)

So now it’s time to go to bat for PLUNKED. (Cue the changing of the Twitter picture!) Its official launch date is March 1, 2012. First pitchers and catchers will report to spring training, then my book will report to stores. What will happen then? Well, that’s why we play the game.


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  1. Michael / Nov 28 2011

    Oh, sure: 80 comments on Facebook and none on here. Is it because this site doesn’t have Angry Birds?

  2. Heather A. / Nov 30 2011

    Hey cool! A new book! Congratulations on busting into a new age group.

  3. Michael / Nov 30 2011

    Thanks, Heather! I definitely enjoy middle grade, and I really wanted to write a book that does justice to all the amazing/impressive/thoughtful/knowledgeable young athletes and fans I dealt with when I was at Sports Illustrated Kids.

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