For those of you who don't know who I am, my real name is Mike Southern. I write a blog called Ruthless Golf and I've published several golf books (and edited a book of swashbuckler novels as well). But I've always wanted to write children's books -- I still enjoy reading them! -- and with a little encouragement from our local children's librarian I've started doing just that.
I'm writing what I like to call "first-grade novels."
- They're longer than regular easy readers -- typically between 2000 and 2500 words -- but not as long or complicated as chapter books.
- They have two or three "advanced" words in each book, but the vast majority of words are already in a first grader's vocabulary. And I try to make the books sound more adult -- no "See Spot run. Run, Spot, run!" My librarian friend checks each one to make sure the reading level is correct.
- They have chapters of 400 words or less, which is about the length of a short story for that age group.
- They have a couple of color illustrations in each chapter to help ease the transition between picture-heavy books and text-heavy books.
- And I try to mix humor and drama so the books are exciting but not overly intense.
To keep my children's books separate from my golf books and make them easier to find, I chose Mick Michaels as my pen name. When I was young, lots of my friends used to spell my name "Mick" instead of "Mike," so it just seemed natural.
The books are only available as ebooks for now because, with the color illustrations, paperbacks would be too expensive for most people. I'll be keeping an eye on the technology in case that changes. (The children's librarian says that most kids prefer to read books on the computer than in paper anyway. What a surprise, huh?)
In the meantime you'll be able to find my books at Amazon for the Kindle, at BN.com for the Nook, and at Smashwords for a variety of formats. And I'll be offering my own PDF editions here on this site. The Smashwords-generated PDF is readable but it certainly isn't that attractive to a young reader.
So welcome to Mick's Place. It's a work in progress but I hope you and your child will like it!