Category Archives: Joey Fly

Joey Fly Art Contest WINNERS!

Hey gang!

I’m thrilled to announce the winners of our Joey Fly Art Contest! This contest made for some really tough judging…we received hundreds of fabulous art creations and my office was literally infested with all your creepy crawly renditions of Joey, Sammy, Harry, and all their buggy ilk. The other judges (my kids) and I hemmed and hawed forever, but finally had to narrow down the winners. In the end, we had to add an additional winner to the five we planned on, just because we couldn’t decide.

Thanks a million for all your awesome entries!

So…enough of the dramatic build-up. Here, in no particular order, are the six winners to the Joey Fly Art Contest!

Christine Turner - Age 40

We loved Christine’s cool take on the main bug himself, Joey Fly.

Alex Morales - Age 10

Alex knocked our socks off with his fun and funky version of Sammy Stingtail!

Muhammed Jamsheed - 1st grade

We loved Muhammed’s fantastic in-your-face take on the classic Joey Fly. It was imaginative and awesome in all the right ways!

Diana Wegner - Age 8

Diana’s colorful rendition of Delilah and Flittany tra-la-la-ing along the coast on a sun-shiny day can be described in one word. To quote my daughter: “Joyful!”

Samantha Hanley - Age 9

Samantha was singing the blues with her moody noir take on Joey Fly, but the results delighted us completely!

Jack Turner - 2nd grade

Jack cracked us up and left us screaming for seconds with his fun and funny spin on the munchy ladybug Gloria.

Each winner will receive a signed copy of Joey Fly, Private Eye #1 for themselves, a signed copy of Joey Fly Private Eye #2 for their school library, and a custom-drawn bug caricature of themselves, done by Neil Numberman himself! Congrats!

Thanks again to everyone who entered the contest! You all did great!


Joey Fly Art Contest!

As a fun treat for the end of the school year, I’m delighted to announce the JOEY FLY ART CONTEST! I’m excited to see YOUR artwork of your favorite Joey Fly characters. And there are cool prizes for FIVE winners! So get drawing, sketching, and painting! Oh, wait…here are the rules…


1. Any character from any of the Joey Fly, Private Eye books. It can be from Book #1 or Book #2. Pick your favorite character! It might be Joey, Sammy, Delilah, Fleeago, Harry Spyderson…even a bedbug! They’re all fair game!

2. It has to be an original drawing. No tracing. No coloring sheets. No cutting a picture out from the book and putting your name on it. We’ll know…trust me.

3. It can be in any medium…pencil, watercolors, acrylic paints, marker…you name it!


Anybody! All ages are welcome, from two-years-old to a-hundred-and-two. Drawing Joey Fly characters…it’s not just for kids anymore!


Glad you asked! Five winners, judged by myself and my kids, will receive the following sweet swag:

1. A hardcover copy of Joey Fly, Private Eye #1, personalized and signed by Aaron Reynolds and illustrator Neil Numberman

2. A hardcover copy of Joey Fly, Private Eye #2 FOR YOUR SCHOOL LIBRARY (or the library of your choice), personalized and signed by Aaron Reynolds and illustrator Neil Numberman

3. A custom-created bug-caricature of yourself, drawn by Joey Fly illustrator Neil Numberman. Here’s the one he did of us (i don’t know who that little bee in the middle is…some kid who walked into the shot):


Easy. Just e-mail it to Make sure to include your full name and age in the e-mail, so we can post it if you win!

Oh, and make sure that the subject of your e-mail is: Joey Fly Contest. That’s it! Don’t send it to any other e-mail, or it won’t get judged and will probably get deleted. Which is sad on many levels.


All entries need to be received no later than Monday, May 20, 2011. Winners will be announced that week. That’s like 3 weeks away!! Shouldn’t you get drawing already?!


Nope. You can enter as many times as you like. You can be a kid, a teacher, a grownup, a moody  teenager…whatever! We take all kinds here. So go get a copy of Joey Fly, Private Eye, pick your favorite character, and GET CREATING!

Bug on the move

Welcome to Joey Fly #2 Blog Tour Central!

Our Joey Fly #2 Blog Tour will be going on all through December, so be sure to stop by all our blog visits and chime in! There will be video interviews! Reviews of the book! And LOADS of free Joey Fly downloadables and prizes and swag and give-aways and…I’ve run out of words that mean “free Joey Fly stuff”. I guess you’ll have to come by and see for yourself.

Here are the upcoming blog stops for the next couple weeks. So get off your stinger and come by!


Monday, Dec 6 – Book Nut

Tuesday, Dec 7 – Thing 1 & Thing 2

Friday, Dec 10 – The Kats Whiskers

Sunday, Dec 12 – Kidsmomo

Monday, Dec 13 – The Brain Lair

Tuesday, Dec 14 – Kids Book Buzz

Thursday, Dec 16 – Elana Johnson’s Blog

The blog tour continues

Hey peeps!

Just updating you on the blog tour that me and Joey Fly illustrator Neil Numberman have been doing. We’ve made a bunch of great stops, but many more are planned for the coming few weeks. Please stop by, leave a comment, say hey, ask a question, and be part of the conversation. Kids and teachers especially welcome!

Here’s the schedule for the rest of this week. More updates to follow.

Today (Dec 1) – Christine Fonseca’s Blog

Dec 2 – The Bookanistas

Dec 3 – A Writer’s Journey (prizes and give-aways will be given!)

Show up, would ya?

Graphic Novel Manuscript Format

Hey gang,

I was over at Tara Lazar’s blog during the tour yesterday, and a great question came up from another writer.

“How do you format a graphic novel manuscript? Is it different from a novel or picture book manuscript?”

The answer is that I actually write something that looks more like a script for a play or a screenplay. It has all the dialogue and captions assigned, but also contains “stage directions” in the form of action, description and the like. Not “illustration notes” per se, but crucial information to help the illustrator (and editor) visualize the story.

This is actually a question I hear quite a bit from other writers wondering if the graphic novel medium is something they’d like to explore. So, I thought I’d put an example here for all to see.

Below is an example from my manuscript of Joey Fly, Private Eye 2: Big Hairy Drama. This is what it looks like when I write it. If you want to compare it to the actual book, you’ll see that this short manuscript example actually makes up pages 28-31 in the finished book.

Don’t have a copy of the book to compare? I’m here to serve! Buy one HERE. 🙂

(Manuscript excerpt from Joey Fly, Private Eye 2: Big Hairy Drama)


(Joey and Sammy arrive at their office.)

Joey:  All right, side dish.  Here’s our stop.


Sammy:  Are you hungry, or is it just me?

Joey:  You just had lunch.


Sammy:  My lunch was interrupted!

Caption:  For such a little guy, the kid can pack in the junk food.  And yet, he still manages to maintain that girlish figure.


Joey:  Give me a break.  You just ate half the pepperoni in the city.


Sammy:  I have a high metabolism.  Oh look!  Gum! (Sammy picks part of a human sized wad of gum off the floor and eats it.)


(Joey is looking at Sammy, disgusted.)

Caption:  I eat poop, ok?  So, I’m not exactly what you’d call a discriminating eater.  But there are still some things that should go uneaten.  I’m just saying.


Joey:  All right, kid, let’s go.

(Joey goes into the office.)


(Sammy is still outside.)


(After a minute, Joey comes back out.)


Joey:  What are you waiting for, cracker jack?  An invitation?


Sammy:  (Sammy’s feet are stuck in the gum.) I’m stuck.


Joey:  You just had to have dessert…


(Joey tugs Sammy, but Sammy trips, pulling Joey into the gum too.)


(They tussle trying to get out, but pretty soon are hogtied together in the gum.)


Caption:  And there we were…all gummed up and nowhere to go.


Caption:  To make matters worse, that stupid stinger of his was dangling inches over our heads, like a poisonous piñata on Cinco de Mayo.

Caption:  And me without a stick.

Blog Tour Begins!

Only 19 days until the second installment of the Joey Fly, Private Eye series is released! The new book, Joey Fly, Private Eye 2: Big Hairy Drama, comes out on November 23 and has already received some fun attention, including being picked as a Junior Library Guild Selection for 2011.

To celebrate the release, the illustrator (Neil Numberman) and I will be traveling around the blogosphere on a Blog Tour throughout the months of November and December. There will be interviews, video appearances, fun give-aways, and contests with cool prizes, so subscribe to this blog now and get regular updates on the tour stops and locations. You won’t want to miss all the creepy crawly buggy fun!

First stop: Today at Tara Lazar’s blog Writing for Kids (while Raising Them). Should be a blast, so come on by! And be sure to drop your comments on her blog…every commenter has a chance to win a custom bug-caricature of themselves drawn and signed by Neil Numberman. Here’s one he did of me:

Are my antennae really that big?

Don’t miss out on the buggy mayhem!

For those of you who like to plan, here’s a complete run-down of the blog tour schedule. More will be added in coming days. And I’ll be posting regular updates here from the (virtual) road, as well as reminder announcements for each stop, so be sure to hit subscribe now to have these show up automatically in your mailbox.


Joey Fly #2 Blog Tour Schedule

Nov 4 – Tara Lazar, Writing for Kids (while Raising Them)

Nov 20 – Kathryn Packer Roberts, Literary Works in the Works

Dec 1 & 2 – Christine Fonseca, The Bookanistas

Dec 3 – Beth Coulton, A Writer’s Journey

Dec 6 – Melissa Fox, Book Nut

Dec 7 – Corey Schwartz, Thing 1 & Thing 2

Dec 12 – Karen Wang and Nancy Tsai, Kidsmomo

Dec 13 – Kathy Burnette, The Brain Lair

Dec 14 – Patrick Hoecherl, Kids Book Buzz

Dec 16 – Elana Johnson

Dec 20 – Cheryl Tasses, Reading Rumpus


See you there!



How’s a graphic novel get made? Here’s the buzz…

(Interior. Aaron Reynolds, a writer of children’s books and graphic novels, is sitting at his writing desk. He’s typing, but suddenly stops when a shadow falls over his screen. It’s a kid, about ten or eleven.)

Aaron: (looking up) Hey.

Kid: Hey. Whatcha doin’?

Aaron: Um…writing. Who are you? What are you doing in my writing room?

Kid: I’m just some random kid.

Aaron: Ah. A random kid in my writing room. Okay.

Kid: Yeah. Act like I’m not here. (pause…Aaron starts to get back to work, but is interrupted) Aren’t you an author?

Aaron: (turning back around) Ignore you, huh? That’s gonna be tricky. Yeah. I write kid’s books and graphic novels.

Kid: Graphic novels? Like comic books?

Aaron: Kinda.

Kid: Whatcha writing now?

Aaron: An article about how a graphic novel gets made, but I wanted to write it LIKE a graphic novel, so that’s what I’m doing.

Kid: But…there’s no pictures. A graphic novel has lots of pictures.

Aaron: Not at first. Not mine anyway.

Kid: What?

Aaron: Seriously. I don’t draw.

Kid: I must have the wrong house then. I thought the dude that lives here makes graphic novels.

Aaron: I do. But I don’t draw them….I write them.

(Kid pauses while he thinks about this, then…)
Kid: That’s messed up.

Aaron: No, it’s not.

Kid: You can’t make a graphic novel without being able to draw.

Aaron: Well, I do. Like my new graphic novel…it’s called Joey Fly, Private Eye…

Kid: Way to work that in there. Nice plug. Smooth.

Aaron: Yeah, thanks. Well, Joey Fly starts out like this. A script, just like this one.

Kid: Just the stuff people say?

Aaron: Mostly. I also write in what I see happening in each scene.

(Kid flops into a big cushy chair and puts his feet on Aaron’s writing desk, makes himself at home. He looks at Aaron like he’s lost his mind.)

Aaron: See? Like that. It’s called “stage directions”.

Kid: Oh cool! Like actions and stuff!

Aaron: Yeah, exactly.

Kid: Do it again.

(Kid gets up, kind of excited now. He’s putting it all together in his head, but then he notices a fresh sandwich on Aaron’s desk. Goes over, lifts the bread…he’s kinda hungry…but decides he doesn’t like tuna. Flops back down in the chair.)

Kid: Hey, that’s awesome how you made me do all that stuff! And I do hate tuna.

Aaron: It’s a script. In the graphic novel, I write the story. I come up with the characters. In Joey Fly, Private Eye, I create what happens, what characters are in it, all that stuff. Then I put it into a story…a script like this.

Kid: But it’s not a graphic novel. No pictures.

Aaron: Not yet. It will be soon. But first, I break it into panels.

Kid: Panels?

Aaron: Like this. Chunks. How I imagine it will get broken into boxes in the finished graphic novel. This helps me figure out the flow and pacing of the story, helps me cut extra junk that’s not needed, and helps the illustrator figure out how he’s gonna lay out the pictures on the page.

Kid: Cool. I notice you use lots of words like “gonna” and “whatcha” and stuff. My Language Arts teacher would go nuts on you for that.

Aaron: Yeah, well… I try to write how people really talk. I think that’s important, especially for a graphic novel. It all depends on the character. Like, Joey Fly says some gonnas, but he also uses lots of detective-y phrases…

Joey: Life in the bug city. It ain’t easy. Crime sticks to this city like a one-winged fly on a fifty-cent swatter.

Aaron: Like that. That’s his opening line in the book.

Kid: Okay, that’s pretty funny.

Aaron: Well, I try.

Kid: But it’s still not a graphic novel.

Aaron: Man, for a random kid who shows up in my writing room, you’re seriously pushy.

Kid: Do you know many eleven-year-olds? We’re all like this.

Aaron: That’s right. Not being one, I forget sometimes.

Aaron: Well, now that it’s all broken into panels, I give it to my publisher. And once she’s happy with it, she sends it off to the illustrator and he starts drawing.

Kid: You tell him what to draw?

Aaron: No.

Kid: You tell him what the characters should look like?

Aaron: No.

Kid: What do you tell him?

Aaron: Nothing. Most of the time, we never even meet.

(pause…the kid’s mouth is hanging open.)

Kid: That is seriously messed up.

Aaron: That’s how it works. Unless you are the writer and the illustrator (which I’m not…I don’t draw, remember?), that’s how it works.

Kid: So what happens then?

Aaron: The illustrator looks at it and begins to sketch out what he thinks the characters look like.

Aaron: Like, for Joey Fly, Private Eye, the illustrator is a guy named Neil Numberman.

Neil: Hey kid. What’s up? Hey Aaron.

Aaron: Hey Neil. So, Neil might decide after reading this script that you look like this:

Kid: That’s me?

Neil: Yep.

Kid: You made me a bug!

Neil: Well, we’re talking about Joey Fly, Private Eye, so I’m thinking in bugs. It’s my job to use my imagination, to come up with my ideas of what Aaron’s characters and story look like.

Kid: Cool.

Neil: And as I start drawing and figuring out what it all looks like, Aaron’s story moves away from being a script and I start creating real characters…

Neil: …and pretty soon, I take Aaron’s written words and begin to put them into the mouths of the characters I’ve created.