Not everything that can be counted counts…

…and not everything that counts can be counted. Albert Einstein said so, and I’m inclined to believe anything he says.
Sad to say that i started writing this blog over a month ago! So let’s all pretend it’s still the end of July and still raining every day or else the beginning won’t make sense! :o)
I hope the sun is shining wherever you are. We’re lining up the animals two by two here. If I ever see that giant yellow ball of hydrogen and helium in the sky again, I may not recognize it.
So here are some random things I thought I’d share:
That musical of Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life? It apparently didn’t work out this year. I heard some of the music from it and it was very cool. Hopefully it will happen next year. Fingers crossed. But the planetarium show based on Every Soul a Star was really great. Below is a picture from the event. The folks in the photo below were all really helpful as I was writing the book—Nancy Tuttle is an accomplished eclipse chaser, Gordon Powers runs the observatory in Ogdensburg, NJ where I spent many a summer’s night learning about the stars, and the planetarium director, John Scala, who not only put this whole show together–based on the book–but checked all my astronomy facts in my first draft. He’s wearing a yellow t-shirt that says, “Moon Shadow Campground, Ask Us Anything,” just like the characters in the book. He surprised me with my own shirt. So sweet!

If you’re interested in mixing books and cookies (and who isn’t?) check out It’s a one stop shop for book clubs who want to add new (and tasty!) dimensions to their meetings. They made super cool (and delicious) crescent-moon shaped cookies for their discussion of Every Soul a Star. Book reviews and decorations and recipes included!
This has been a year full of AMAZING school visit experiences. I’ve really been touched and humbled by the effort and thoughtfulness that the staff and students put into their preparations. The visits kicked off in early September at Blake Middle School in Medfield, MA, where the whole school had been “Fink-ified!” Over the summer all the students read Jeremy Fink & the M.O.L., and then when school started, each class had “Fink-related” activities—even gym class! The librarian in charge of the visit, Mr. H., recently sent me a really cool gift after he read Every soul a Star—a stuffed animal ladybug that shines the constellations on your ceiling! Love it!
The schools in Bardstown, Kentucky truly outdid themselves. Here are some pictures of the special things they did for an evening Community Event. They had used Jeremy Fink as their “Community Read” book, and I had the pleasure of meeting people of all ages who had read the book. They set up all these cool booths based on events from the story–hula hoop contests, mutant candy collections, and keys everywhere! I never thought I’d see any of my book titles spelled out in cupcakes, or my name in candy bar wrappers, but lo and behold! They also gave me these super cool gift baskets with products from their town (Bourbon-flavored fudge anyone?), earrings in the shape of keys, and more candy than three Halloweens put together! I wanted to take these people home with me! That candy really sustained me on the 13 hour drive home. I’m probably the only person I know who would drive from New Jersey to Kentucky to avoid flying. At least no one I know would agree to accompany me. They lost out on a lot of free candy!

Pitman Middle School in NJ decorated their school so completely, that I was just flabbergasted. The pictures don’t do it justice, but the walls and each door was transformed with artwork reflecting scenes in all my books. The kids did these amazing projects that would have taken me months to complete. They also pulled out their favorite lines from the books and made a huge display of them. Some of them I didn’t even remember writing! Bowls of candy were placed on each lunch table and one mom even made up Hershey Bar wrappers with pictures of the books on them. Truly a special group.

I did my first webcam visit with some schools in Florida, which was very fun and it forced me to clean my house since the kids would see it behind me! The webcam was part of a Read Aloud they were doing with Jeremy Fink, where each day a teacher or guest reader would read a section of the book to the whole school. They also did this amazing scavenger hunt for playing cards that the whole school got involved in. Check out the website they set up for that, along with the other creative activities they did:
I love going back to a school I’ve already been to—it’s just such a comfy feeling. This spring I had my second visit to Park Middle School in Scotch Plains, NJ. They made these amazing biographical posters based on the lives of the characters from my different books. They cut out magazine pictures, glued real keys, wrote poems and even made me a notebook full of their thoughts on the books. They stuck these little envelopes inside the notebook and filled them with small pieces of colored paper. Each piece had a famous quote on it that they liked, and a few of those quotes are now going to end up being in The Candymaker’s Son. Ironically, it was my first visit to their school a few years ago which gave me the names of many of the candies used in that book. I hope they ask me back again soon, since otherwise I may not be able to finish writing it. (Note to my editor Alvina—Just kidding! I’ll still finish it. :o)

I’m looking forward to another upcoming year full of school visits. I’ll be putting some more mileage on my car, and unfortunately, racking up some frequent flyer miles. (Can I drive to Chicago? Iowa? Florida? Sigh. Probably not.) Hey, here’s a tip for those of you who like the window seat when you fly, but don’t like it when the sun is in your face. On an east to west flight you want to sit on the right side. On a west to east flight, you want to sit on the left. On a north/south flight, the sun will be on the left only in the morning, so you will want to sit on the right. At other times of the day it won’t matter. This tip comes courtesy of Bob Berman’s Strange Universe. Thanks, Bob!
Let’s see…what’s happening book-wise. Still finishing up The Candymaker’s Son, which, as I figured, has changed a lot from the excerpt I wrote in a previous blog. Even the main character’s name has changed. Coming out this fall is the paperback version of Every Soul a Star, then Finally will be published next March. It takes place in the same town as 11 Birthdays, and the characters from that book make a few appearances here. The book is about a girl who turns 12 and can finally do all the things her parents have been promising. Needless to say, things don’t always turn out like she’d planned. Below is a sneak peek of the fun and colorful cover.

Thank you so much to all of you who have written and emailed me over the last few years—I wish I could write back to everyone, but please know that I do read everything you send and it means a lot to me. In each blog I’ll answer a few of the questions that I get most often, so if you don’t see yours answered below (or in the FAQ section on my website, under the Resources Tab or the About Me tab), then keep checking back. For tips on writing (a lot of you love to write, which is GREAT), see the FAQ’s—there is also a lot of biographical info on there for people doing author reports. You should be able to find out all my deep dark secrets. (ok, so maybe they’re not too deep or dark, or even secrets, but you get the point!)
Here are two I get asked a lot:
1. Q: Will there be a sequel to Jeremy Fink, Every Soul a Star, or the two Twice Upon a Time Books?
A: I’m still working on an idea for a sequel to both Jeremy Fink and Every Soul a Star. Right now I’m thinking the JF sequel would be called Lizzy Muldoun and the Wonder Machine. And the sequel to Every Soul a Star would be called, And the Stars fell like Rain. I have to put official proposals together and then it’s in my publisher’s hands. Stay tuned. As for the Twice Upon a Time books, it doesn’t look like it’s in the cards. If that changes, you’ll hear it here first!
2. Q. Will there be a movie made out of Jeremy Fink or A Mango-Shaped Space?
A: The option for Mango ran out, so it’s up for grabs again. Jeremy Fink is in negotiation, and hopefully it’ll happen. For those aspiring actors among you who have kindly volunteered to play the main characters, I wish I could help you out. If anything happens, I’ll let you know when the casting call will be held. :o)
Ok, onto more randomness:
I admit it, the Spelling Bee makes me cry. Every year I camp out in front of the TV at the end of June to watch the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee. I love these kids. I am in awe of them. I always wanted to write a book about it, but Myla Goldberg beat me to it with her brilliant BEE SEASON.
Did you ever notice how every time you spill something on your shirt–say, for instance ketchup because you were eating french fries in the car while listening to the audiobook of BREAKING DAWN and good lord the girl STILL hasn’t turned into a vampire yet! Anyway, how come every time you have this splotch on your (white!) shirt you are destined to run into everyone you know?
So my town has this great tradition of tossing candy to the crowd at the Memorial Day and July 4th parades. According to my family I crossed some sort of line when I darted in front of a four-year-old girl in pigtails to snatch a grape-flavored Blow Pop as it hit the ground. In my defense, it was at LEAST an inch closer to me than to her, and I probably saved her from choking. She should be THANKING me. I did actually learn something about myself a few minutes later though. I’d always wondered if I would, in fact, run into the middle of the road to pick up (and subsequently eat) a cherry-flavored Air Head taffy once it had been run over by a tractor (my town is pretty rural. We have tractors in our parade). The answer? Yes, yes I would. I also have to cop to a new obsession—pre-packaged Cotton Candy in a bag. Sadly, it’s even better than the REAL cotton candy from a fair. I blame my mother for this, since she started me on the habit by giving me a bag for my last birthday. Bad mommy!
My library (Sparta Public Library, recently voted #1 library in New Jersey!) rents out the Kindle and I brought it with me recently while staying overnight at a hotel before a school visit. I left my room for breakfast wishing I had a book with me, ordered The Graveyard Book while in the elevator, and started reading it as I sat down with my make-your-own waffle from the buffet. Pretty spiffy, this Kindle. Nothing can replace the feel of a real book in your hand of course, but as an alternative when the real thing isn’t around, it’s pretty nifty. (Let’s hope the Authors’ Guild doesn’t kick me out for that!)
A few months ago I had my first experience seeing a young reader out in public with one of my books (a library copy of Every Soul a Star)—at a diner in Westfield, NJ. My mother-in-law threatened to approach her if I didn’t. Unsure which was more embarrassing; I wound up doing it myself. Awkward conversation ensues:
Me (pointing to the book on her table): Er, have you started that yet?
Her (startled): Yeah, it’s really good.
Me: Cool. I, um, wrote it.
Her: Really? Wow!
Her mom (leaning over): She reads ALL the time!
Me: Well, I just wanted to say hi. I’m glad you’re enjoying it.
Her (clutching the book now): Thanks!
Her Mom: Thanks for telling us!
Me (slinking away): Um, have a great day!
Real smooth, aren’t I? ;o)
Below is a picture of me and my editor from Little, Brown, Alvina Ling, at a book party for GEEKTASTIC, an anthology that just came out that you should totally be on the lookout for. A bunch of authors I love all wrote stories with characters involved in some “geeky” pursuit. My story is about two teens trying to complete the all-night Messier Marathon, which is an astronomy thing. Guess I hadn’t gotten it out of my system with Every Soul a Star. And yes, the party was at a bowling alley! A super cool bowling alley! As you can see on the cover of the book, each of the authors was made into an “avatar”. The avatars are a cross between what we look like, and the characters in our stories. For the big library conference this summer, the avatars were turned into giant Legos. Mine is to the left of the book cover. I figure being turned into a Lego is pretty much just one small step below an action figure! ;o)
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I tried to attach another picture of me and Alvina, but it’s not coming through. We were snowshoeing at the Kindling Words conference in Vermont. Nothing like brainstorming a new book idea while trudging through four feet of snow in zero degrees. When we got back inside I was so sore I thought we’d been gone for hours, but it turned out to be only 20 minutes. I don’t think I’m meant for the wilderness. Next brainstorming session should be poolside.
If you’ve ever been curious where writers do their stuff, check out Tony Abbott’s blog, where each week he brings in a fellow author to do a virtual tour of their workspace. Here’s mine. And let’s all congratulate Tony on winning an Edgar Alan Poe Award for The Postcard. Hurrah!!
Ok, better get back to work. Wishing everyone clear skies!


  1. Liz on September 20, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Hi Wendy! I am a massive fan of yours, and completely in love with Jeremy Fink! It’s my favorite book(in front of Every Soul a Star), and I just wanted to tell you that you are an amazing person, and author, so keep doing what your doing!
    Lover of Jeremy (and Lizzy),

  2. Jasmine on November 20, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    I really love your books!!! I can’t wait for you to come out with Finally and the Candymaker’s Son. My two favorites of yours are 11 Birthdays and Every Soul a Star. Keep on writing great books!!!
    Your #1 Fan,

  3. Debra Rodeffer-Theisen on November 29, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    Dear Ms. Mass,
    While shopping today, I came across your book Heaven looks A LOT LIKE the mall. The premise was intriguing and the sparse text reminded me of Love That Dog by Sharon Creech. I bought it and after putting away the groceries, I sat down to read a bit of it. Two hours later (I am a fast reader) I emerged from your most amazing story. I am an elementary school librarian-I have been reading and championing good books for almost three decades. After checking out your website, I have a list of your other books to read and you are officially on my “championing” list. My best to you for an outstanding book.
    Debra Rodeffer-Theisen (RT)
    Librarian @ Wm Perry Elementary School
    Waynesboro, Virginia

  4. Kasey on January 11, 2010 at 12:43 am

    I love your book Jeremy Fink and the meaning of Life. It’s really great! Thanks Wendy, Jeremy and Lizzy!!!

  5. LillyJayne on January 11, 2010 at 11:37 am

    You are amazing, Wendy. When did you start writing? Did you ever consider any other career? Your books are the best literature we’ve found in the last ten years. We are so grateful to have found you. And so very thankful for every printed word. You’re an inspiration and an exciting example to young readers everywhere. Thank you for sharing your gift with the world!

  6. Jessika on March 22, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    Mrs. Mass, You are coming to my school(moorestown, nj ues), march 30th, and i will get to eat lunch with you! I’m so excited! you don’t even know! haha. i can’t wait! when, my teacher privetly, told me that she picked me, because she saw me reading all your books! I was bouncing off the walls! I absolutly love, your books! I love, how you bring different people from your books into your new ones! your books amaze me, everytime i open them. hopefully, you see this, and when i meet you, you remeber me! I can’t wait!!!!!!!!! haha.
    jessika s.

  7. Juliana on April 18, 2010 at 8:00 am

    I love your books especially Finally and Jeremy Fink and the meaning of life. Keep on writing!

  8. Paige on October 3, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    I just finished reading Finally and loved it also loved every soul a star and I cant wait to read the rest of your books and I love the life lesson in all of them ; it is also really easy to relate to the book Finally because I’m 12 and still not aloud to do some of those things. Eager to read your next book on my list and keep writing those books that I cant wait to read.

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