• AJ Vanderhorst

Casey Grimes Slow-Burning Summer Update

Updated: Jul 21


Bog Creeps struggle to stay cool in the summer.

Hi all!


Hope your summer is off to a bright, hot start. We’ve been finding creative ways to stay cool that involve watermelon-sized water balloons, slippery slide obstacle courses, and a whole lot of wet footprints winding through the house. It’s a trade-off.


Here’s what’s going on in the Casey Grimes world.


Five-star reviews have started to show up from folks I don’t know, which is pretty cool, and a sign that the book’s reach is slowly widening. People ask how sales are going, and while I won’t have a handle on the numbers for a little while, it’s not about the money at this point.


I’d rather have someone read Casey, love it, and review it while mentioning it to friends, than sell one more copy. Multiplication rather than addition. Slow and steady has always been the book’s plan…for world domination. (Obviously.) So if you want to give the Sylvan Woods universe a boost, that’s how.


A couple recent blurbs from third party sites:


"Yikes, Butcher Beasts and Bog Creeps. These monsters have their own agenda. Glad I was reading from an imaginative distance. Perfect for middle grade—not too scary but enough to keep you flipping the pages. Surprises at every turn keep the plot moving at a quick pace." – Always in the Middle
"The Mostly Invisible Boy is a gripping book from start to finish...riveting." – LitPick

Wondering where to leave your own review? Amazon and Goodreads are fabulous places to start.


In other news, I just recorded an author interview for the national homeschool group, Wild + Free. Check out a clip here if you’d like to hear us chat about my creative background, writing process, monsters, and some not-so-subtle clues about a current work-in-progress. Thanks to the creative talents of my sister-in-law Kimberly, more film Q&As are on the way.


One last media quick hitter: a post I wrote for Story Warren about Non-Absentee Parents in Kidlit.


Lockdown living has been weird for all of us in so many ways. Personally, it’s given me some wide swaths of writing time I don’t usually get, and as a result…

  1. I’m about to send my Casey Grimes #2 manuscript, TRICKERY SCHOOL, to my publisher for an October release (fingers crossed).

  2. I’m polishing a new standalone middle grade fantasy that takes place in the Casey Grimes world. This one involves a band of brothers, a sentient house, urban exploration in downtown Kansas City and a killer dragon named Dark Sky. It’s called DARK SKY’S ASHES.

  3. I’m editing a third manuscript, recently finished, that ALSO takes place in the CG universe. More about that later, but it’s a tricky, scary story that hits different notes than anything I’ve written yet.

In the weeks ahead, I’m inviting kids (any age) to send their Casey-inspired artwork to be featured in a gallery on my site. I’ve already got a growing stack of it, and I realized how cool it would’ve been for me as a kid to see my work displayed somewhere. Details here.


And with that, I’ll bring this to a close. Thanks for following the Casey saga!


May your summer involve cold drinks, open air sports, and plenty of rivers and lakes.

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"The way to love anything is to realize

that it might be lost."

G.K. Chesterton

©2020 by AJ Vanderhorst.