Monday, October 17, 2016


I'm never sure if anyone ever reads the Acknowledgements section at the end of my books (or any books) but I always try to make mine serve some kind of purpose. In Neil Flambé #5 I wrote an essay about what it takes to write a book.

In MINRS I tried to lay out my love for space. And in MINRS2, as promised, I elaborated on that. So, in case you haven't flipped to that page in the book yet, here is the text (with links).

Before getting to the space-themed thanks (which I promised at the end of MINRs) I need to thank my fellow authors on #AdvenTOUR 2015 – Margaret Peterson Haddix, Kevin Sands and Lisa McMann. Launching MINRs with them was an absolute pleasure… and I’m going to steal stuff from all of them for my future books.

We still meet up, when possible, for proper meals and great conversation…. and someday we might get KS to eat vegetables.

Okay, onto some more spaced-out thanks!

It was an omission in the original book to not recognize my debt to the late Walter M. Miller Jr. – author of amazing novels such as A Canticle for Leibowitz, and numerous great short stories about the moral choices humans will have to make as we head out to space.

I can still smell the musty aroma of the copy of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles that I discovered in my parent’s bookcase when I was 10.

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye continue to inform and inspire me, just as Carl Sagan did when I was a kid.

To Christa Van Laerhoven of the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Physics who kindly read my book and answered my (many) questions about exo-planets, goldilocks zones, and much more. The Dunlap Institute at UofT is an amazing group, and their Astronomy on Tap events are a blast!

Space: 1999 was another TV show that was hugely influential when I was a knee-high stargazer. I even made a model of the Eagle Transporter (which is sort of the idea for the transport ship in this book).  Then I melted holes in it with a hot pin to look like places where debris had pierced the hull. Good times.

Some more TV gold… Lost in Space, and The Jetsons. Hmmm.. I wonder if I’d spent less time watching TV and more time writing I might have actually been published before I was 30? Or, then again, maybe not. Inspiration comes from all over the place… so be open to it.

Silent Running was a movie I must have watched a thousand times as a kid… along with The Day the Earth Stood Still, Alien (which will get some cheeky nods in MINRs3), Blade Runner….

And can everyone please thank J.J. Abrams for cleansing the palate of the Star Wars prequels… The Force Awakens isn’t perfect, but it’s a great Star Wars flick.

To everyone who liked MINRs, and invited me to their schools or libraries (in person or over technology) to talk about it, a HUGE THANKS! The dedication at the front of this book is heartfelt.

And to the many booksellers who have welcomed me and hand-sold my books, I cannot say thanks enough. Special nod to Erin Grittani at Mabel’s Fables, an early champion on the book. I’ll buy you twenty $1 bottles of wine the next time we have a party. Also a nod to Evil Genius Lee Rosevere. His ethereal music was the soundtrack to writing this book.

Thanks to Ruta Rimas for edits that make the books better. Thanks again to Dominic Harmon who designed AN AWESOME cover and Sonia Chaghatzbanian who designed the whole package.

And copyeditor Kaitlin Severini, who picked over the book with a fine-toothed pencil.

And, of course, my books are always (I hope) about more than just adventure and space travel.

There are great organizations that are working today to make sure that mining practices in the future are better for everyone.

Kairos, for example. Check them out….

And, as always, it’s my family that’s the most important part of my life… and I kill off way fewer of them in this book than I did in the first one.

And that’s it for now. Look for more spaced-out thanks in MiNRs3.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Book birthday for MINRS2!

Today's the day!
Hope you like it.
Here's my pic for Indigo's #ReadTheNorth campaign. (I usually pick other authors, but figured it would be ok to do a MINRS2 pic for today)