International Women's Day

 I was taught to honor women EVERY day, but because today is specifically set aside Internationally, I will say, THANK YOU to all the women who have participated in and enriched my life. To Andy Matott, the most wonderful woman I have ever known and have the privilege to spend my life with. To Kate Matott, who is literally one of the best mothers I've ever witnessed (and quite frankly has the two most awesome little boys on the planet) and a wonderful wife to my awesome son. To Stefani Matott a truly kind person with one of the most generous hearts I know, who brings joy to our family and is an incredible wife to my other awesome son. To Bessie Ann Beckley-Allison (my bio mom) who upon finding her, welcomed me and my family into hers and answered many of the questions I had most of my life. 

To the COUNTLESS teachers and educators I was taught by and now interact with daily, numerous authors and illustrators who have influenced my career, all the females I call friend. 

To the most important person in my formative years, my mother, Julia Matott, who was a first generation American from Europe, a professional professor, involved in countless clubs and organizations, a survivor of a brain tumor with the resolve to prove ALL of the doctors wrong and brought herself back to health by working out with "all those good looking young men" at the local gym and never giving up on her resolve to beat all of the devasting side effects of a major brain surgery. She was one of the most interesting people I've ever met, a feminist in the right way, honoring ALL people and a woman who decided at 40 that she needed a boy who needed a mom. A woman who raised me to believe marriage meant both people had the right and opportunity to seek their dreams and pursue all that their gifts and talent had to offer. My mom adopted me (well my dad did too) and raised me to believe in myself and to believe that I could do ANYTHING in this great country if I applied myself. 

AND last but not least, to my father Glenn Matott, who taught me as a boy to cherish his wife, my mother, and loved her in a way that taught me how to love my own wife. I have seen that honoring of a wonderful woman pass down through me to my sons. I love the way they honor their wives... legacy and generational blessing. 




Reaching across invisible borders


There's a lot of talk on social media these days about borders and walls and keeping people out. I'm not interested in talking about, or more like arguing about whether or not we need to secure our borders, I am interested in talking about reaching across borders, finding common ground and loving our fellow man/woman. 


There's a lot of "call to action" type of posts. Protest this and that, but simply posting something on a wall to incite conversation ISN'T ENOUGH! What I'd like to see is values and convictions put INTO ACTION. 


As someone who was adopted, I have a heart for children in need of homes. Foster care, adoption, loving children in a tangible way. 


SO, I am putting out this call to action: A young family whom I love dearly is laying it down and putting their hearts where their home is! Kyle Bowell has traveled to Haiti with me the past three years as our Engineer in charge and he is a fine man, leader of men and has created structures in Haiti that withstand hurricane force storms and more. His heart got caught in Haiti and will likely return there every year (planning a trip for September to bless a missionary making huge changes in Haiti as we speak). 


Kyle and his wonderful wife, Andrea Coté Bowell are busy raising three fine young boys and she has a heart of gold and realized her family needed to grow. To adopt. To adopt from Haiti. SO, they are right now in the process of bringing a child, a little girl, who will come into a family of love and three big brothers to show her the ropes. They are in for a LONG journey. They are in for BIG expenses and sacrifice, but at the end of their journey, a CHILD will find her forever home and family. 



Please search your heart and bless this family with any gift. You will be contributing toward something eternal. I have almost 800 friends on my Facebook page. IF 1/2 responded with a $10 gift it would be $4000 toward a child's journey to find love. Please consider it.

Go to their GOFUNDME website and please consider being a part of a wonderful story!

We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone. R.R.





How a RED DOG once taught me lessons about life, loss and LOVE?

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I recently filled out paperwork to submit regarding my worthiness to own a puppy. I told a friend about that and her reaction was interesting; "Why would you have to answer questions if you are the one buying the puppy?" she seemed perplexed.  I answered, "Well, a dog's love is agape, loyal and unquestionable. A human, not always that simple. Someone who is responsible and cares about the well being of a helpless little puppy asks questions..." I answered. "I don't mind telling them about myself and how I am a person fit to raise a pup."

Sometimes we, I tend to wax philosophical when it comes to simple things. Simple things like the love for a dog. Simply, yet so incredibly complex is this kind of love. A dog has true agape, non-judgmental love for her human. This is one of those times for me.

I remember as a boy my mother (who happened to be an English Professor) asked me why I wanted to tell stories so much, so often. I answered in an innocent way that if I could tell stories like Wilson Rawls that would make people feel like they were there, in it, a part of the story, not just reading it, even though it was a made up story, that I would really like that.

Every time I finish writing a book, I ask myself a simple question - Will this story transport my reader to the place I want him or her to go like Wilson Rawls did for me? IF not, I rewrite the parts that don't transport.

Now, the philosophical wax... This morning a friend of mine at the gym asked me (after I showed him the picture of my soon-to-be-puppy for probably the hundredth time), "Why do you want a red dog, so bad?" I realized at that point that I always refer to my dream dog, as a RED DOG. I told him, "I always have... since I was a little boy." He gave me that, "Oh, well that's just a little weird look", which frankly this NERD has gotten used to seeing over the years.

Driving home from the gym his question echoed in my mind and I began to travel back in time. A time when I was a boy with a dog I named Frisky. A red dog I loved dearly. I thought of the time he was lying in the shade beneath my spot as I was lying on my stomach in my treehouse reading Where The Red Fern Grows for the second time in a row. My heart ached when he got the hounds and my heart broke when he lost them. But he said it was all worth it. Love is always worth it, right?

I wouldn't understand that kind of heartbreak truly for a few years, when on New Years' Eve my beloved Red Beagle/Husky mix, Frisky, my absolute favorite being on earth, disappeared without a trace into the snowy night and I never saw him again. My heart broke. I wandered the fields surrounding my country neighborhood for months, searching for him, asking people in the adjoining neighborhoods if they had seen him. Begging my dad daily to take me out along the railroad tracks just one more time in his VW Van to look for him, "Just in case somehow he was simply lost and couldn't find his way home". I prayed that my red dog would come home, but he never did. My heart was so full of love for that old dog that I just couldn't imagine how I would go on without him. The innocence of a boy who simply loved with all he had and yet, that made it all even harder. I remember for months my other dog would sit at the front door looking out, as though she expected him to come home any moment. I would lie on the ground and hold her and tell her how much I missed him too. I loved her too, but my red dog was my first love. He was my first dog. 

But how crazy are we that we still fall in love, knowing at some point all things must end.

Because LOVE is WORTH IT!

I still think about Frisky, to this day with many, many fond memories, but often with a giant lump in my throat. Yes, loving him was worth it! Losing him was hard, but HE was still worth it. 


And now I am a two months from bringing my new RED DOG into our lives. I know she will teach me much. I will love her much and someday we will say goodbye. But Love will be worth it, it always is. I learned that from another red dog.


On the hopeful horizon! AKA - DO WHAT YOU LOVE FOR A LIVING!


On the hopeful horizon! AKA - DO WHAT YOU LOVE FOR A LIVING!


A dude at the gym today asked me to explain what is on the horizon for a guy who makes up stories for a living. "Do you just wake up in the morning and think... What should I make up today?" I just laughed and thought, "well, yeah, kind of..." He then spent about ten minutes telling me all the things he doesn't like about his job and his boss. Then I thought about how fortunate I am to do what I love for a living! 

So many people I meet do not enjoy what they do for a living. Many feel trapped because it is the means to an end, rather than and end in itself. 

I have been in that position before myself.

The first jobs I remember liking were both volunteer jobs I did when I was in Middle School. I worked at the Humane Society, where I got to feed, walk and play with puppies, kittens, the occasional snake and ferret awaiting their permanent homes. The other job I did as a volunteer was at a local retirement community where I fed, walked up and down hallways pretending to be out on ranches, prairies and other farm oriented memories and played cards with lonely people, most of whom had lost memory and had returned to their childhoods in many ways. I went home feeling like I had made a difference in the lives of people who just wanted to be remembered or talked to. What I learned doing both of those jobs was that when you do something to make a difference in other people's lives, it makes a difference in your own.

Later, to make money, I sold newspapers door to door. I have had my own handyman business, with a high school buddy and then tried it again with my future brother-in-law (I wasn't too handy it turned out). I spent time selling health club memberships in a small mall (talk about a job that seems to annoy everyone you come in contact with). I have sold clothing in numerous stores where the greatest benefit was a good discount on clothing. I have waited on tables, actually all four years I was in college. I have been a busboy. I have been a dishwasher. I have worked for people who were ultra demanding and couldn't understand why I wasn't totally sold out and passionate about what they found to be exhilarating work (dishwashing?). 

After college, I sold Computerized Shipping Systems, Computer Output Microfiche and Telecommunications. While managing Major Accounts for a Fortune 500 Telecommunications company I found myself always telling story after story and being told by my clients that I should do something with my stories and by my client services people to abbreviate my stories and get to the point of the meetings we were attending. All the while I was spending every evening from 8-11 writing in my little den at home and forming several novels until finally I came upon a book that needed my voice to tell the story.

WE ALL HAVE GIFTS! It is important to find how we can merge the passion for our gifting with the ability to make a living doing so if we truly want to find fulfilling work. 

My first true career was in Corporate sales and management, where I used my Business Major with emphasis in Marketing and Management. But what I hadn't used much to that point was my PhD in English literature which I acquired merely by the fact that I was raised by two English professors. As I wrote by lamplight, I wrote with the intention to change my life. To do what I had more passion to do. To tell stories - FOR A LIVING!

On January 1st 1995 I wrote a journal entry that said: "In one year, I will have written a book that will change my life. I will find a publisher who will pay me to write. I will write for a living and I will make a good living!" With that declaration, all I had to do was the hard work to make it come true. In 1996 I self published my first book and within three months of my publishing I was picked up by one of the largest publishers in the world. My words had put into motion what my future would be

This year marks my 20th year since my first book was published by Random House/Ballantine Books and I have been blessed to have made writing my second career! Twenty years is a long time in a person's life. I have been fortunate to have spent the past twenty years making a living telling and writing stories!

I am presently knee-deep writing my first true fantasy novel; a time-travel tale. I have plans for many new adventures on the near horizon! 

This week I am talking to two master creators in two areas my writing has not yet taken me: Screenplays and Comic Books! Crossed fingers! Prayers sent! Ready for new journeys and new adventures! I wrote this in my journal today - "I will have one of my books turned into a movie and the great thing is it will be the first book in my six book series. I will find new ways to express my creativity, which will take me on some amazing creative journeys and perhaps that beach house I have been dreaming about for the past decades will someday be a reality."  

I am also awaiting word from an incredible publisher to see if I might be fortunate enough to join her list of incredible talented authors and illustrators!

I'm thinking 2017/2018 are going to be real gamechangers! I hope you will write some very cool things about how YOU can use the gifts God gave you to change your life and others are influenced by your life as a result!




Moots and Jake is a compilation of two nicknames for the creative team of John Woods and Justin Matott (me). Nicknames we have carried for oh so many years and now combined to become our "brand". Since 1998 we have been a creative team and have brought out books to the world including Ol' Lady Grizelda, There's A Fly On My Toast!, Chocolate Covered Frog Legs, The Sky is Falling and Gabriel Peters and The Bait Shop Gang. 

We have several projects being formed presently and are SO excited to bring more, creative work to the world.

Over the years people have asked me the question of "Do you find and illustrator to illustrate your manuscript or let an editor do that?" There are as many possibilities for an answer to this as there are books, publishers and creative people out there. All I can tell you about the Moots and Jake team is that we get each other, creatively, spiritually, emotionally, and "friendshiply". 

We are truly a team. We both have a certain viewfinder we see the world through, but many times our view is very, very similar. Not satisfied with simply creating something funny or witty or topical, we both look for a way to find a double meaning. The search for meaning. The search for relevance, all within the pages of a "children's book."

My next post will be how this team formed. What we plan to do next and we hope you will stay tuned. We really do have some cool stuff coming! 

In the meantime, please check out our books (a library pun) or even get some from this website and since Moots and Woods now have a standing date to create, we will make sure any book you order comes with signatures, a signature doodle and our thanks.

Also, if you want to see the brilliance behind the Jake part of this team, please see John Woods website:



A dad has a write (sic) to brag...

My mom used to use this mantra with me, "Go out into the world and be a plus, never a minus... really it's just simple math."

From the standpoint of a guy who always struggled with math, this math I could understand. 

The best way I think my life has been a plus is by co-raising my two sons with their wonderful momma. 

This morning I have been sipping my favorite dark roast brew and reading my younger son Ethan's first manuscript for a book. I am so proud of not only his story, told in 'JOURNEY', but in his ability to tell his story in a compelling, interesting, well-written way (more on how this develops soon). All while listening to music my older son has recorded. What a treat to be entertained by these fine young men. 

SO, today my older son launched a Kickstarter campaign to make his music available. Here is a link: via my Pinterest account, which I hope we can follow each other mutually on. 

OR please visit his Kickstarter page:

Check out that beauty, my son's wife and their cute little dude below... won't it be great for him to listen to his daddy's jammin'?




What's in a cover?

How many times have we heard "Don't judge a book by it's cover"? The metaphor for human beings or the mutt at the shelter is a good one. The analogy of not making hasty judgements simply by the appearance of a package is apt. However, we all do it. Much of it happens within the inner workings of our brains, not necessarily controlled by logic, opinion or even our desire to be open-minded. When you see a book, your brain takes in the data and whirls it around with your opinion, taste and likes vs dislikes in the time it takes to either decide not to pull that book off the shelf or to actually pull it off and see what is inside. Thus the cover is VERY important to the creators behind it.

When a book is published, there is SO much that goes on behind the scene. Obviously there is the writing. There is the illustrating. There is the designing. Let's stop right there on the designing for this piece.

A designer is someone who takes the talents of the author/illustrator and makes it look really good (or not so good). In the case of this book the designer has made both the author and the illustrator look really good (in my humble opinion). There are many decisions that go into the final bound book - things like font selection, negative space, placement of text and illustration, use of ampersand for "and" or not on a title, raster images vs vector images, Typography, grids, CMYK and RGB for color selection, DPI and PPI, bleed, kerning and altering and shaping and the list goes on and on. Look at all we take for granted when we just read a book (or as John Woods would say, "we just look at the pictures").

Then the book is ready to go to press and there are things like the psychological effect of color selection. What color will invite someone to the cover and what color will push that potential reader away? In this case multiplied by the question of what color compliments the other colors in the series? With the forethought of the next (and last) book in the series, what color will compliment the yet unchosen color of the next book?

Much of it comes down to opinion, and lordy, lordy opinions are abundant! You have an opinion when you look at the four covers and likely it is immediate. What happens when the author LOVES one of the color selections and the illustrator LOVES a different one? Well in the case of traditional publishing, not much. But in the trend of self publishing and "involved publishing" likely the designer and the illustrator's opinions will and should win out. After all, they are the dabblers in visual art, the author is just the wordsmith... right? 

Well, NOT SO FAST! IN this case, this author has spent years doing "grass roots research". Many a Farmer's Market and Junior League Holiday Mart and Arts and Craft Shows and hundreds of school visits and public engagements and... all that is to say, has talked to tens of thousands of readers. This is the author's newest "baby". Generally speaking the author's name is prominently displayed and thus the author wants the book to represent the work that went into it and the passion the author is trying to convey. However, this author is smart enough to yield to the others because if he could draw, he would... and then the illustrator's wife agrees with the author's choice, BOOM, SET, MATCH!

SO, the selection of the color of the title on the front of a book is something heavily contemplated. While most readers would simply shoulder shrug as they turned away from the cover that wasn't chosen wisely -  the author, illustrator, editor and designer all hope that the same person's hand will stretch out to select that book from the shelf surrounded by others and pull it down to review the carefully worded text on the inside jacket flap. That is will then invite the person to open it up and see the words, illustrations and design, all carefully edited. That they will decide the time spent reading this book surpasses the price tag on the same jacket flap or in the case of checking it out at the library, that the opportunity cost vs the other books that could be selected is worth it. That would indicate the time spent deliberating the color of the text on the cover was well worth it indeed.

As the author, I'd love to hear what your first response is. Which cover at the top of this post reaches out to you? Consider it is sitting next to four books below and that it will be joined by one more. You might even already have an opinion about what color the 6th and final book's title should be... please do share, after all if you made it this far in this blog, you might just want to read the next book..

gabe covers 1-4.jpg



Creating Creative Creatures

Today I got a wonderful note from an intentional mom of two beautiful children who was part of my audience at a talk I did a few weeks ago in a local MOPS group. I spoke about being an intentional parent and finding, fostering and promoting the creative urges in children.

It is important to have a world of creative people. She blogged about it and made my day! 

I saw a speaker yesterday who was talking about creativity in children. He was engaging and entertaining. He told some stories from his own life, which is always interesting to me! 

One story he told was of his six year old daughter who was in her kindergarten class and her unbridled ability to view the world as full of awe and wonder. Her teacher gave her class a little task - take that piece of paper and crayon and create something you can share with all of us. The little girls sat quickly at her desk and began to  draw. Her teacher came up behind her and asked, "What are you drawing?" The little girl said, "God." The teacher said, "But no one knows what God looks like." The little girl continued to draw and said, "They will in about one minute."

Children have so much to say and much of it is through art. Please take time to listen, to watch, to praise and to partake. They are little for such a short time.

This is the blogsite in which the mother I mentioned added my story to hers and I appreciate it SO much!



Happy Birthday to me!


Happy Birthday to me!

It's my birthday and I'm kicking it old school. These are three pictures from Birthday's past. I always had a free spirit and didn't really care what people thought of me, thus I held on to my self-esteem. My mom dressed me up as a girl for my third grade birthday, which happened to coincide with a VERY LARGE children's party on the Ship we were sailing to Europe on to live for a year. Somehow (mom told me) I concluded the whole thing was for me and my birthday and I set out to entertain the crowds. Years later on a dare from some of my friends, I dressed as a nurse for my birthday, believe it was my seventeenth and showed up for my "photo shoot". So, happy birthday to me, old man, but today, I'll be dressing in men's clothes. Do me a favor, please don't worry about what other people think if it makes you change your core character traits. I was and am an entertainer because I could take the world's criticism, as a result I have lived most of my life liking who I am. That my friends is a true birthday gift, that keeps on giving, year after year. I hope my stories and books have entertained a little corner of your world and if not... check them out! 






Miss Spell has been in the LITERAL works for four years! David Schiedt, the awesome illustrator of my GP series and Drinking Fountain Joe has spent many, many hours drawing, designing, coordinating and having fun with Miss Spell. 

We tried and tried to get a publisher to take Miss Spell on, but to no avail. So we are launching the first book in October 2014 and the Kickstarter is to keep the momentum going to bring the planned six-book series to the world!

Please come look around the Kickstarter.

PLEASE share it on your social media and consider becoming a co-producer on the series.

There are some awesome, fun rewards associated with the levels of commitment. I'd love your feedback about them and it is not too late to add some. If you have ideas you'd like to see incorporated on the Kickstarter site, please either comment here or send me an email at





In 2010 I began to write the drafts for Miss Spell. I have probably written 100 revisions and changed the story considerably over the years. David Schiedt, an awesome illustrator, who has illustrated my GP series as well as the Drinking Fountain Joe picture book finished the design and art for both the print and ebook versions this past spring. 

Miss Spell is a whimsical, fun homophonic* picture book that will entertain and be an educational tool regarding the homophones in the English language that are often quite confusing for early readers as well as ESL children.

The English language is a mystery in many ways. Why do we have three two, too, to's? Why three their, there, there's? Why is nuclear both catastrophic and the way we view those closest to us? These mysteries cannot go unattended when you have a never silent mind.

Over the years I have treasured the letters I get from children after my school visits or book signings. The ones for Kindies, first graders and second graders are often peppered with homophones. This inspired me to write a picture book (series) about homophones in a fun way that teachers could use and children would enjoy reading.

Dear Mr. Matott

Do you like being a rider?

I think riding a book would be fun.

I reed books all the thyme. (okay, I added the spice, but it represents the meaning)

I hope Miss Spell will become a beloved character because I have literally written five books about her and her magical exploits and would love to see an "Olivia" type of success. 

Please let me know what you think of the book when you see it. Also, there will be a special edition released only on my website which will be numbered 1-100 and signed by both me and David Schiedt. They won't cost more than any other retail book, but will be valuable because they are double-signed if we go all Olivia on the world!


Hear are sum examples of the way the homophones are wound into the tail. (spot the homophones in that last sentence?)

Miss Spell is mischievous by nature. She is a Princess with a magical gift. Her mother wants her to use her gifts for good and tries to inspire her. Miss Spell really tries, but it is just too irresistible when a girl asks for an aunt farm and she gets what she asks for. Then a boy asks for a new toe truck and he gets what he asks for and so on until once again as with many mischievous activities it backfires and Miss Spell learns a valuable lesson as will the reader.

Sew, please dew come join us as Miss Spell begins… COMING AUGUST 14th!



  [hom-uh-fohn, hoh-muh-]  Show IPA noun

1.   Phonetics . a word pronounced the same as another but differing in meaning, whether spelled the same way or not, as heir  and air.

2.   a written element that represents the same spoken unit as another, as ks,  a homophone of  in English.




WARNING: RANT AHEAD! After reading the article below in The New Yorker, I thought I would add my two cents from an author's perspective, or at least this author's perspective.

We need to be careful about what we ask for, because we just might get it. 

The haunting melody and lyrics to an old song by Joni Mitchell (Big Yellow Taxi) has stayed with me since the first time I heard it, I guess I'm just an old-fashioned kind of guy -'THEY PAVED PARADISE AND PUT UP A PARKING LOT...' Yes, the lyrics from a song from the seventies about PROGRESS...

Losing the old ways to progress forward isn't always bad, but when it is bad it's usually really bad..., (Don't it always seem to go... that we don't know what you've got 'til it's gone...?) but sometimes when it's gone, we miss it. 

I get it, but sometimes when you pave paradise, it's hard to go back. Think about what is happening in the music industry. Antiquated technology, the phonograph record album is coming back. I can't listen to the sterilized MP3 version of Stairway to Heaven on my iPod without longing for that one place my record used to skip a tiny bit. I listened to that album until I literally wore it out and the little dust, skips, pops and crackles is PURE NOSTALGIA to me now and a part of what that song, that album, that time means to me and its place in my history. That skip was caused when my childhood dog Frisky hit the desk looking for a cookie and forever changed the way I heard the music. No one needs to know that but me, but to me it is important.

I can remember the first true chapter book I read up in the treehouse across the road from my childhood home. Being entranced in far away forest while on a hunt with the two dogs in Where The Red Fern Grows. Memories are tied up in what we read, listen to and enjoy. Will it be so for those coming up into the electronic world.  

If you love books and bookstores like I do, PLEASE give this article below a read and think about your place in the decision making process about what will and won't be available to the next generations because of our convenience choices. As an author, I have seen, felt and feared the impact the online world has brought. 

No, I don't have my head in the sand. I do know electronic books are here to stay.

I do know it is a great thing for many, but the prospect of the printed book becoming extinct saddens me.  

I think curling up with an old fashioned paper book and a hot cup of tea or chai in my favorite chair is superior in EVERY way to the glow of electronic reading... I'm trying to envision reading an electronic picture book to my kiddies at bedtime and enjoying it as much as their chubby little fingers turning large, paper pages and delighting in being surprised again and again by what we found hiding behind the obvious in the illustrations... sure now they can manipulate the images with e books and that has its place too. I have some of my books on e media, so I am a part of that machine too.

But what i really want to rant about is is the dying retail establishment that is a part of our local community because of corporate greed.

The majority of books I buy, I buy at The Tattered Cover, NOT Barnes & Noble because the philosophy of B&N is right in line with this article about and that is that the book is simply a unit of product, not something the bookseller is passionate about like in my local bookstore. The CEO and founder of B&N was once quoted early on that if he had picked tools instead of books he would have had the same impact and effect... hmmm, what does that say about the intrinsic reason we read? A BOOK IS NOT WIDGET! A book is something a human being creates to reach other human beings with. A hammer gets a job done, but a book changes a corner of a human.

The local bookstore has access to the same data base of books and can get them in roughly as fast as amazon can ship it to us. YES, we pay a little more for them and in my opinion, we should, because it is a potential life altering tool and often is accompanied by someone who has as much passion about reading as me, so it is a service, a local service.

IF you want authors, bookstore owners and those who still believe in literature changing our world, then it is a very low cost to keep the lights on in a physical place.

Full disclosure, YES, I have bought books on the internet, but it is a tiny percentage of my overall book purchases. YES, I have read two books on my iPad, YES, it was a convenience while hiking a stair master at the gym and other multi-tasking events, BUT, I personally have likely read THOUSANDS of paper based books, so two is not a big deal...  

Our world is changing, but here is a parallel to what I am bringing: If you don't want to have three choices for dinner, those being chains that can compete because of deep corporate pockets and feed the masses over salted and over processed fast food and change their menus frquently to keep the masses coming, then eat at the mom and pop, who are actually preparing food that is good for you.  Example near me Big Box Italian restaurant or Big Bill's Pizza who have become an awesome part of the south denver community and serve the best calzone, hands down, I've ever eaten. There simply is NO comparison for quality and very little difference in cost.  

Like with a local bookstore; the difference is I am purchasing from someone in my community that makes my community better. I have never been invited to do a book signing in cyberspace, but I did do the first children's book event in the Tattered Cover, Highlands Ranch, MY COMMUNITY showed up to champion me, the store and the joy of actually having interaction with the creator of the book they would read with their children at bedtimes and perhaps even someday that child will read that signed book with his or her own children, because it will mean something.

Joni Mitchell sang, "They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum..." I fear some day there will be book museums called libraries where the old fashioned paper products will be showcased.

Here is a link to the article that got my head a'spinning and got me to thinking about hoarding more paper books, in case there is soon a shortage... Do me a favor. Go to a local mom and pop bookstore sometime in the next few weeks and see why it is more than just a place to go buy something. Note how if your little reader asks a true bookseller a question about pirates, aliens and princesses his or her eyes will light up as ten books come to mind and then watch as they lead your little reader to the section where their eyes will light up and then you will see why a mouse and a click shouldn't put that out of business.

When you understand why someone like the owner of The Tattered Cover opened her doors to the public and then you read what the CEO of amazon is doing to the way we look at something as important as books, I think you just might agree with me. 


Helicopter Moms


Helicopter Moms


I have spent many lunches during my school visits talking to teachers and I often ask them to talk to me about the challenges they have with teaching. There is one thing in common that teachers deal with called the 'Helicopter mom syndrome' (my name for it). The vast majority of parents who are involved are great, but the old 80/20% principle means the 20% often create the greatest burden on a teacher. 


So, I did what I do. I wrote about it. I wrote a poem for teachers to voice what some of them would like to say, but cannot. Please remember not to kill the messenger (me)! If you don't like the poem, ask yourself why not. 






Helicopter mamas, can leave little time to me!

I spent so many years, learning, so please let me be.

I am a professional teacher, I’ve learned about your child,

I know when he needs discipline and when I should be mild.

Your copter blades are spinning, you can hover way too close.

I cannot form those things in him, that he will need the most,

If you make excuses for his actions and think he is picked on,

Why is it all the teachers say, the same thing? Wait, they all are wrong?

We love your son and daughter too. We want them to excel!

But it is always very hard when you just know so well.

I never come into your office to suggest how you should do your job,

I wouldn’t presume to know what you do, no insults would I lob.

A parent who is interested and involved is always best!

But sometimes you should not make excuses, just give that stuff a rest.

Because Timmy will explore this world and sometimes it will sting,

That’s part of learning beyond the math, reading and the last  bell's ring

If you just let me do my job, without hovering oh so low.

Or involving upper admin, when you think they have to know,

But helicopter mom, if some think you are so bad 

come to my conferences when in walks a Blackhawk dad!


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We all have bucket lists and one item high on mine is to be able to share my anti-bullying platform with more people. SO, I want to get on the ELLEN show because I can think of no one on television who champions people more! She always asks us to "be kind" which is the first step in breaking this terrible bullying epidemic that plagues so many kids who just want to feel safe in school. My chapter book series is constantly dipping in to scenes where my characters stand up to bullying, whether it is another kid at school, a teacher, a neighbor, there is always one main goal - Take off the victim cloak and put on the victor cape! My newest book in the series The Summer of Mysteries deals with a group of bullies in a way none of the other books have. The only way I can get Ellen to notice my platform is through other people's opinions about what I am doing. A Facebook page started by fans got Betty White to host SNL! There is power in the media!

So a little favor... PLEASE?

Click on the link here to read the first 3 chapters of my exciting new chapter book on your computer or kindle for free, then please leave a review about what you read at amazon.

The most creative, well-written reviews, yes that is plural will get a signed copy delivered to his or her door. Sure, it takes a few minutes of your time to let kids know about a book that just might be the one that opens a world of reading for them... but isn't that why we're here?

(Of course I want everyone to love this book, and the three proceeding it. Whether you rate the book well with FIVE STARS or not-so-great with less that five stars is of no matter to win, just be sure to blast it creatively in an interesting way. Now, you may ask - If I didn't like it, why would i want a free copy? Because there is surely someone you know that will like it and or it can be used to prop a door open with style. We look for honesty here, so parents and teachers will have a way to know if the book is right for his or her reader.)

I received a VERY poor review on my first book for adults and it was actually that review that made people go out and buy the book! Oh irony.

I appreciate EVERY one of you people who chime in and or just stumbled onto my site. THANK YOU for being here. Publishers and producers are looking at every review on amazon these days to see what the public is interested in seeing more of...

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The house that built me...

What senses send you back in time?  

While writing the fifth book in my GP series, I have been traveling back in time to write some of the summer camp and summertime experiences, cultivating decades old memories, reading Mad Magazines that have been in boxes in the basement for years and remembering the exact summer morning when I first read it in the back yard. Listening to old music gives an authenticity to the times. Sounds, smells, tastes... interesting how much can bring back visceral memory.

Then while listening to songs on Spotify, I hear Miranda Lambert's 'The house that built me...' wherein she travels to the house she grew up in and speaks to the memories the house holds.

They say "You can't go home again..." But WOW nostalgia and memory can actually feel physical.

When she sings "I'll bet you didn't know under that live oak my favorite dog is buried in the yard..." I'm done in!


My Digital Books


My Digital Books

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Is one place to go to upload or download some of my titles. More are coming. By the end of the month we hope to the first four in the GP series available. On the When I Was A Boy... I Dreamed and When I Was A Girl... I Dreamed the download includes me reading the book aloud.

The other place to get the GP books is at





The other day I was a judge in a poetry slam at a Middle School. A great experience, but the icing on the cake for me was when a seventh grade boy approached me afterwards to tell me how much he enjoyed my GP series and couldn't wait for the next book to come out. When I told him the next book was coming within the next month he started gyrating and jumping around like it was Christmas! Man Oh Man did that make my day, week and month. I cannot wait to hear from him after he has read the next book!

SO, I am TOTALLY excited to tell you about my new book coming within the next month! I think you will be too! Each chapter begins with a WANTED poster, featuring the main theme of the chapter, brilliantly rendered by my great friend and awesome illustrator David Schiedt!

Kids at the schools I visit always ask me what my favorite of all the books I have published are. I have to say THIS BOOK is my favorite for many reasons: Mystery, Summer, Buddies and THE MOST WANTED POSTERS are just a few of the reasons for me. I had as much fun writing this book as I think my readers will have reading it!

I finally wrote THE BOOK that I would have wanted to read badly as a boy!

SO. If you haven't read the first three in the series, it's time to catch up!

There is an awesome deal at my website right now - BUY 3 BOOKS - GET A 4th FOR FREE! 

Simply add a note if you want the books signed and or personalized for the reader who will receive them.

With book four coming what could be a better way to go? Not just that, but I will make sure you get a 4th book signed by myself AND David Scheidt, the illustrator!

What a way to start your readers out for the summer. The new book is titled THE SUMMER OF MYSTERY - Book 4 in the GP series.

Here is a sample chapter (click on the image to make it larger). Mr. Lattimore was a villian in book three and he will make another appearance in book four as Gabe and his gang try to unravel the mystery behind him. Many other mysteries need to be solved and they are up to the task.

Under a full moon, around a fire where s'mores are being built Mr. Patchett will divulge many answers to the mysteries you've read about in the past. Revealing the back story to many of the mysteries surrounding the neighborhood, those mysteries that comprise the majority of questions I get from the readers of books 1-3.



Some times it's just fun...

Hello my friends,

I have been so busy with book projects that I have completely ignored this blog for over a month. Did anyone notice?

I do have some FANTASTIC things cooking and hope to soon make some announcements.

Both of my sons inherited my creative nature. One makes music, art and joy. The other makes videos, is writing his first book and has been bringing joy to people all over the world over the past few years.  Some times art reflects life in a very serious way and sometimes it is simply a release and fun.

So if you are creative, imaginative and like off the hook style, I have a place for you to visit. I thought I would share an "off the hook, fun, weird and wonderful" blog showcasing art, thought and goofiness that my eldest son dabbles with. I would like to somehow work this kind of art into a book project and the artist happens to live a few miles from me.

Today's blog post:

"warren becomes impatient with ferdinand as he waits for a compliment on his new swim wear."

 Facebook post today about the blog by Jay J Matott (this author's son):

Please check out the link to the blog I have included and follow it: