Monday, October 21, 2019

Book update

The cover of Library Books Are Not for Eating is here: 

It has two actual holes cut out of it, like dinosaur bite marks, revealing the art on the inside page. It's very eye-catching.

This is my first book published by Doubleday, which has an illustrious history. It's over a hundred years old, and in its early days featured authors such as Somerset Maugham, Rudyard Kipling, and Joseph Conrad--more recently John Grisham. Its parent company, Penguin Random House, is the largest publisher in the world, and home of my favorite author, Dr. Seuss. So I'm happy to be affiliated with both.

It will be out in summer 2020.


  • Three Grumpy Trucks is featured in Scholastic's November Inchworm flyer.
  • We're anxiously awaiting the publication of Naughty Ninja Takes a Bath in December (Amazon First Reads) and January (official publication date).
  • We have three manuscripts in circulation with editors, I'm still cranking on YA novel Imagine, Arizona, and I hope to have at least one more picture-book manuscript done by the end of the year. I'm headed to a picture-book writer's retreat in two weeks, which should provide inspiration and/or feedback.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Note from the future

October 7, 2014

Dear Mr. Tarpley:

I am writing to you from five years in the future--2019. 

There are a few things you may want to prepare yourself for. To make it easier, I'll just give you the good news...

1. He's about to be impeached.

2. They go out of business after you leave.

3. You always said you wanted a daughter, right?

4. Happy first anniversary!


Marty McFly

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

A lot has happened in the past 30 days

And I'm not even talking about Trump.

So let's talk about a few things, some important, some not so important, but all kind of wrapping into that giant bundle of stuff called life.

First, Sam and Ethan are both at college. Sam is in her senior year at Trinity, and Ethan is in his freshman year at Centre College.

Did you see what I just did there?

Sam has been transitioning to female for the past nine months or so. As of last week she is officially Samantha, but still goes by Sam.

When she first told me about this decision, in January, I basically nodded and said, "Okay." 

I think everyone deserves the opportunity to live the life they want to live. God knows I am not the poster child for following obediently down the path of societal norms. Nor was my father. Nor was his father--who left the family farm in Arkansas at eighteen to go to college (oh, the horror). We all deserve to be who we want to be and live how we want to live. That's a pretty basic tenet for me.

I'm old enough that I never would've thought one could choose their own gender. It's the kind of idea that makes me squint and cock my head and say, "Wait, what?"

But you can. At least in blue states.

So I'm good with it. I support her.

In other news--and I'm not claiming this is more or less important than the previous item--we've spent the past three months on a kitchen renovation, which we just finished. The final layer of dust is beginning to clear. The main takeaway is don't let anyone tell you you can't have marble counter tops. They look f-ing awesome. I feel like we're living in Michelangelo's studio. Pllllttttt to the naysayers.

In book news...

Three Grumpy Trucks is going to be a November Scholastic paperback selection. 

Naughty Ninja Takes a Bath had a nice review in Kirkus and comes out on Amazon First Reads in December, followed by wide release in January. 

Library Books Are Not for Eating is slated for summer 2020.

I'm still working on my novel, Imagine, Arizona...20K words toward a 75K goal. We'll get there. 

I took a five-day break from it this past week to write a picture book manuscript, which I just finished yesterday, in order to have something in the sales pipeline. Very pleased with what I can do in five days when I try.

And...last but not least. We're a week away from our first anniversary. Man, were we a hot couple or what? Other couples didn't even want to have their picture taken after us, because they knew they couldn't compete.

Let me just say that I am blissfully happy with my bride. I love her dearly. I can't say that enough. So I'll just keep repeating it.

P.S. Only 240 more days 'til summer.