MIDDLE GRADE FICTION: It Bled and it Led…Bhaaaaa

middle grade fiction


At the start of our middle grade fiction tour, something happened that is a testament of our society.  In a moment of ‘sureality,’ which is my new word for a surreal reality, I flew home to Las Vegas for two speaking engagements with Saltwater Taffy at Cannon Jr. High School on Tuesday.  What made this visit surreal is the full-page story about Saltwater Taffy on the front page of the R-Jeneration Section.

Having prepared for the trip for a good month or so, we gained interest from ABC News, Channel 13 as a community interest story of ‘home town boy makes good.’  While they couldn’t book us on their morning shows, they did want to come out and tape an interview for the evening news as I presented to 150 middle school children.

As a speaker, the Middle School audience can be the most intimidating audience there is.  Speaking to adults is easy, butspeaking to children is nearly impossible because of their fractured attention spans.  Yes, the ‘I don’t care’ attitude of Tweens can strike a pulse of fear in even the top speakers of our day.

For your Uncle E, however, this kind of thing is a made-to-order adventure, served up with a side of Green Apple Taffy, Ford Fiesta style.

You see Taffy Heads, I have learned to not fear ANYTHING, especially when we’re talking about children.  This is the sole (or soul, depending on how you look at it) purpose for writing Saltwater Taffy.  To tap into the minds of our children so we can change the direction of this country.  As I said before, and was quoted in the Sunday edition of the Review Journal, the problems facing our country cannot (obviously) be solved in Washington and they cannot be solved in the boardrooms either.  How we will infect, affect, and cause of positive E-fect, will be in the classrooms of our great country.


Now, what was surreal about my visit was walking the halls of a place I spent  my 7th, 8th and 9th grade years at.  These formidable years were shaped by music, passion and the struggle to fit in.  It was within these hallways I discovered (with a lot of heartache), I will NEVER CARE about what other people think of my dreams.  When you are 10, 11, 12 or 13 years old, you need to care about what YOU think of YOU.   This was the crux of my message to over 150 children in the Helen C. Cannon library.

My favorite teacher, June Boyce (now June Eschelman) came out and stayed through 2 hours of Uncle E.  Now…those of you who know me, that’s a lot of E.  I am still, at age 45, a bit of a handful.  😉

The sad report of this posting, or fitting point of this posting of the SALTWATER TAFFY BOOK TOUR, now affectionately called, PULLING TAFFY, was that ABC News Las Vegas pulled a no-show on our schedule community interest story.  Why did they pull the report?


Ripped from the headlines of perhaps one of my Law & Order episodes from days-gone-by, someone found body remains in a dumpster behind 7-11.  This classic tale ends as the afternoon wears on and the authorities discover the remains were those from a GOAT.  A Goat?  Someone killed a goat?  Probably some fanatic “ceremony” gone awry, but yeah….the news pulled our reporters so they could, again, report on MURDER, MAYHEM and THINGS THAT BLEED.  You think I’m kidding? Here’s the story.

This is your Uncle E reminding you that every moment is another adventure waiting to happen!

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