Monday, December 23, 2019


So, I’m standing at the counter, trying not to look at the clock, when I get a customer. He’s a big guy, older, wearing red clothes and a pair of Blues Brothers sunglasses. He’s also got a big white beard.

I start ringing up his stuff. A teddy bear, a toy boat, some games and puzzles, couple of superhero action figures, and some Lego kits.

“Okay,” I say, “do you have your rewards…” I stop because now I’m really looking at the guy. He looks back at me.

“Is, er, something wrong?” he says, kind of the way a kid passing a fake ID might ask a bartender.

“Are…” I can’t believe I’m about to ask the question. “Are you Santa?”

He seems sort of taken aback. “What?!” he says. “No! Of course, I’m not Santa! How ridiculous. That’s funny. Ho ho ho! I mean, er…Ha ha ha!”

“Are you sure? Cuz you look exactly like Santa.”

“No, I don’t. Santa doesn’t wear sunglasses.”

“And you’re buying a lot of toys.”

“I have a lot of nephews and nieces.”

“And isn’t that your sled parked outside?” I point out the front window at the big, red sleigh taking up a whole row of parking spaces in the lot.

“Sled? No, that’s my Civic. See?”

“Looks like someone drew the Honda logo on the back of a sled and wrote the word ‘Civic’ under it with a magic marker.”

“Don’t think so.”

“And aren’t those reindeer?”

“Reindeer? No, those are my dogs. I have a lot of dogs.”


“That’s right.”

“With antlers?”


“Yeah, it really seems to me like you’re Santa and you’re trying to cover it up.”

“I think maybe you’re confused. It’s Christmastime, you’ve got pictures of Santa everywhere, then a guy comes in with a white beard and a sled—”

“You mean a Civic?”

“Huh? Oh! Right, that!”

“So, you’re not Santa?”

“Not at all.”

“Okay, if you say so. So, do you have your rewards card? Or did you give that to Mrs. Claus?”

“No, Sarah has her own card so we can…aw, heck!”

Thursday, September 5, 2019


I would like to take a moment to tell you all about my book, Things That Came To Me: Children's Poems For Grownups. It's available for purchase from right this minute for the paltry sum of nine dollars (plus tax and shipping, of course).

If you are a devotee of great poetry, like Keats, Milton, Shakespeare, Tennyson, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes or Emily Dickinson, then this is probably not the book for you. But if your favorite poems are by Shel Silverstein, Edward Lear or A. A. Milne, then this might just be up your street.

And yet, in a weird way, this is the most personal book I've ever written. The poems themselves may be a bit silly, but many of them were written at times of great personal strife. I just chose to express my serious feelings in a goofy way. Which, come to think of it, is more or less the cornerstone of my career as a writer.

Here are a few free samples of the poetry contained therein:





And there are twenty-seven more poems in the book, some of which don't begin with the letter "R" (seriously, that's a complete coincidence. Weird, right?). Also in this book is Love Poem # 23 1/2, which has the distinction of being the first piece of original writing I ever had someone other than me, that is.

Order your copy of the book HERE.

Saturday, June 8, 2019


Yes, it's that time again. That magical time of year when people forget that you're allowed to read during autumn, winter and spring. Whatever, I don't get it, but I know people buy lots of books in the summer, so why not mine?

Here is your annual guide to the GALLEONS LAP Collection for kids of all ages (except 83 1/2). I'm sure you'll find something you'll like here. And if not...well, let me know what you like, and I'll try and write that for next year.

(Prices quoted do not include tax and/or shipping)



Now that Disney's remake of 'Aladdin' is in theaters, your kids might be interested in reading more about the original Arabian Nights Tales. But that book is super long, boring and, quite frankly, dirty. That's why MY version is much better starting point for your kids to explore these great stories. $8


Do you have a precocious daughter who you love completely but who also drives you insane? Then this is the book for her! Freely adapted from Doyle's original Sherlock Holmes stories, these kid-friendly mysteries are all about a brilliant little girl who emulates the Great Detective with help from her best friend/sidekick, Warren. $7.50

MORE IN THIS SERIES: Shelly Hobbes Returns, Shelly Hobbes Grows Up


A fantasy adventure about a girl who, despite being loathed by her own father, becomes powerful enough to save her entire village from an evil warlord. Features humor, romance, an adorable pet porcupine and one insane granddad. Probably good for middle school type readers who aren't quite ready for The Hunger Games but are a bit too big for the Caldecott titles. $8


Little boys tend not to want to read books about girls, which is deeply upsetting and endemic of a struggling society, but that's not why we're here. We're here to sell my books, so let's talk about Owen. Owen and his family (his dad, stepdad and stepsister, Carol) have just moved to the small town of Santa Mina, California, which is overflowing with supernatural weirdness. In the first volume, Owen and his sister encounter The Ghost Dog of Santa Mina and their adventures in the world of the paranormal are just beginning. These books are a bit like Goosebumps-light. $6.50

MORE IN THIS SERIES: The Witch Across The Street, Monsters and Hunters, Trick Or Treat...Or Death?!, The New Kid On The Block and Secret of the Kringles


Kids hate Shakepseare. We all know it. But I love Shakespeare, which is why I went ahead and wrote this YA novel adaptation of one of his most beloved plays. If you can get them to give it a try (that's your job; I can't do everything!), they'll find the entire, uncensored and unabridged plot of the play without the old-fashioned language. Not as dry as Cliffs Notes, but not as dense as the real thing. $5.50


This book is the end result of nearly a decade of studying fairy tales. Seeking out rare and obscure titles from all over the world, delving into their history and watching every episode of Jim Henson's The Storyteller at least twice. Herein, you and your children will find a collection of light, entertaining fairy tales. Some are new adaptations of classic tales, some are loosely based on old stories, some are brand new and made up by me and me alone. You won't find Snow White or Cinderella in here, but you'll find plenty of magic, adventure, romance, humor and lots and lots of happy endings. $9


This one is kind of my favorite at the moment (but don't tell Shelly I said that). A sci-fi adventure about a boy genius named Hugo who invents a time machine and uses it first to ace a history report and then to convince the author of his favorite book series to change the ending of the final volume. Will he succeed in saving his favorite franchise? How will his friends Nikola, the bird, and Ashley, the person, fit in? And who is the mysterious Tall Man who seems to be following him around? Find out in this exciting (and historically accurate) time travel adventure! $7


You've heard of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. But did you know there was another brilliant writer of fairy tales working at around the same time? His name was Freddy Flunkerer and, for the first time in centuries, his stories are available in English for a whole new generation of kids to totally ignore. No, seriously, if your kids like fairy tales they should definitely explore these. $6



My first ever full-length, adult-type novel is about Shelly Hobbes, the girl detective from a few paragraphs ago, all grown up and getting back into the world of detective work after an absence of ten years. If you've read the other books, you'll like this one. BUT, even if you haven't, you can start with this one cuz it gives you all the exposition you require. Fans of Sherlock will enjoy the allusions and references peppered throughout. Fans of clever women outsmarting bad guys will also enjoy it. $14


Dylan Flaherty just met the girl of his dreams...literally. The woman he's been dreaming about at night is a real person in the real world. Not only that, but she's a witch. Now Dylan has found true love, but he's also found a world of danger as he has been pulled into the secret world of contemporary witchcraft. Aiding Dylan on this adventure are his brother and sister, a shape-shifter, a dwarf and a chicken who watches television. This is my most ambitious (and grown up) novel to date. It was also really hard to write, so if it would start to sell that'd be awesome. $15


In this novella, you will meet Daphne, an elderly woman with an amazing story to tell. She's had some rough times in her long life. But whenever things got bad, her "Uncle Charlie" would appear and help her through it. He couldn't take away the pain, but he added joy and wonder and love. $6


This is an anthology to which I contributed two short stories. "The Most Important Day Ever" is about a man going through his daily routine with the knowledge that something hugely important is going to happen before the day is over. "No Story" tells of a writer struggling to come up with a story idea while all kinds of incredible things keep happening to distract him.

That's all for now, though there will doubtless be more titles forthcoming. If you have any further questions, let me know. In the meantime, Happy Summer Reading Every-People!

Saturday, May 4, 2019


1. Well, wake the kids and scare off gramma!

2. Too many fish spoil the turkey!

3. That's just peachy keen with sugar and cream!

4. Leave us not forget the last donkey!

5. If that's a duck, I'm Adler Scuggins!

Friday, May 3, 2019


Dear All Of Da Babies,

First and foremost, welcome to being alive. It's not great, but it's better than the other thing. And there are some good parts. Like puppies and spaghetti.

I just thought, since you're new here, that you might appreciate some advice from someone older and wiser. But since I can't find anyone like that, we'll have to settle for someone who's just older. Here's my advice:


You got a lot of stuff being thrown at you, I know. You're meeting tons of people, you're surrounded by things you don't understand, a million things are happening all at once and you just learned how to open your eyes yesterday. It can be overwhelming. But--and I mean this sincerely--there is no hurry. Take as long as you need to figure stuff out. Heck, I'm a bajillion times older than you and I don't have everything figured out yet.


People are always going to want you to be someone else. But that's hard. Being yourself is easier. So do that instead.


You're never too young to learn this lesson. As you may have already noticed, there are quite a few other people in the world besides you. You should try to be nice to them as often as you can. And if you can't be nice to them, at least don't be mean to them.


You will never hear anyone complaining about an elephant. No one ever talks about an elephant and says "Oh, that guy? He's a jerk!" No, it's always, "That guy? He's the best!"



Some people think stories are just a way to kill time or keep people busy. And, yeah, they are, but also they're lessons. You have a lot to learn and stories are a great place to start, because they can teach you a lesson without you knowing you're being taught a lesson.

And, most importantly of all,


Grownups suck.

That's all for now. But, if you have any questions along the way, I'll be happy to try and answer them for you. I mean, I don't actually know the answers to most questions, but I can make up an answer that sounds plausible. If nothing else, I can make you smile for a little while.

Oh! That was #5!


There's a lot of bad stuff in the world that will make you want to frown and cry. So remember to smile and laugh every chance you get.

Good luck!

Y'r ob'd't,
Templeton Moss

Thursday, May 2, 2019


I'd rather be a bee
Or a flea
Than me.
I'd rather be a fly
In the sky
Than I.
And even if my options aren't insectible
There's lots of stuff that would be more acceptable.
A frog on a log
Or a dog or a hog
Or a sheep or a fish
Or a cake on a dish
Or a guy with no legs
Or a plate of fried eggs
Or a singer named Jill
Or a plumber named Bill
Or a doctor named Will
Who cooks out on a grill
And keeps cooking until
All the meat is done. Still
I would rather be he
Than me.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

LEVEL 1000

I'm going to do it. Today is the day. The day I finally beat the game. It only took me six months of diligently ignoring any and all responsibility to do what they said couldn't be done. Or, rather, what they said they didn't really care whether I did it or not. But I'll show them!

I'm in the final battle now. The Big Boss has taken a lot of hits, but he's been replenishing his HP just as quickly as I deplete it. My last combo move gave me a leg up, though, and now I'm far enough ahead that all I have to do is keep hammering away at him and he'll go down. It's inevitable.

That's when my character, the one I'm controlling, turns to me and says, "Are you sure you wanna do this?"

I'm surprised, but I answer. "What do you mean?"

"Well, you've had fun playing our game, right?"


"So why do you want to end it?"

"Because that's the point. The point of playing a game is to finish a game."

"Who says?"

"I'm sorry?"

"Why does that have to be the point? Why can't you play for the sheer joy of playing? If you stop attacking right now, we die and go back to the last level. You can play it all over again. As many times as you want!"

"I guess...but I could do that anyway, couldn't I? After I finish the game I could restart it."

"Yeah, way at the beginning! You really want to sit through all the tutorials and cut scenes all over again?"

"Not really."

"On the other hand, if you lose this battle, you can play any level you want, as many times as you want, without having to sit through the boring parts. It would just be combat and puzzles forever and ever."

"That's a good point. I guess maybe I should just..."

"Don't listen to him!" the Big Boss roars. "He's trying to trick you!"


"Don't listen to that guy," says my character. "He's the bad guy! You can't believe a word he says."

"Easy for you to say!" says the Boss. "But I know what you're really up to. You see," he says to me, "if you keep playing the game, his experience points keep going up. He'll just keep leveling up forever and ever. That's what he wants!"

"You're crazy. All I want is for the player to have as much fun as possible."

"Oh, then it's not about what happens at Level 1000?"

"Shut up!" says my character in a loud whisper. "You'll spoil everything!"

"Wait," I say, "what happens at Level 1000?"

"Nothing, nothing. It's just a rumor, no one knows for sure if..."

"What happens," the Big Boss cuts across my character, "is he takes over the world!"

"What? How is that possible?"

"There's a glitch in the game. A flaw. If a character gets to Level 1000, he gains the power to escape the game and enter the real world."

"He...I'm sorry, what? That sounds like nonsense to me."

"Do you know anything about coding?"

"Not really."

"Then shut up."

"That's fair. Go on."

"Once he's in the real world, he'll be able to use his amazing video game powers to conquer the world!"

"Come on," says my character with a smile, "we've had fun together, haven't we? Beating the mini-bosses, all those side quests, kicking this guy's butt," he gestured to the Big Boss. "Why would I want to steer you wrong? All I want is for us to keep playing together. So, waddya say? Are we in this together? Pal?"

I look back and forth between the two characters. Who do I listen to? The Good Guy, who wants me to keep playing, or the Bad Guy, who wants me to defeat him? I have enjoyed playing the game, but the beginning part is pretty boring. On the other hand, what if the Bad Guy is right? About Level 1000? And why would he WANT me to defeat him if he weren't telling the truth? What could he possibly gain?

My thumb keeps sliding back and forth between "X," which will deliver the killing stroke to the Big Boss, and "Y" which will activate "Defend" mode and allow the Big Boss to finish me.

I make my decision. I press the button.

The Big Boss goes down.

"" he says, before disappearing from my screen.

"I hope you're happy," says my character. "Now you'll have to start way at the beginning."

"Maybe so. But you'll never get to Level 1000 and the world will be safe."

"Oh, you think so?" he says, and his smile is much less friendly now. "This is the number one game in the world. It sold millions of copies. Millions of people are facing the same decision as you, and some of them might be easier to convince. All it will take is one gullible fool to keep playing until I get to Level 1000 and then...your world will be mine!"

He's right, of course. Every copy of the game is another chance for him to emerge. And, sure enough, it happens. Some dumb kid in Illinois or Iowa or one of those "I" places keeps playing until he gets to Level 1000 and the next thing we know, the Good Guy (who, as it turns out, isn't that good after all) is released into the world! With all the speed, strength and jumping ability he had in the game! The world is in terrible peril...

For about a day. Then he touches a turtle and drops dead. Crazy, right?

If you enjoyed this story, why not buy one (or more) books from the Galleons Lap Collection for readers of all ages? 

See all the available titles HERE.