Win, Win (and Maybe Win Again)!

Stop #6 on the Blog Tour for The Challengers!
(posted by Jody Feldman)

Greg Fishbone has to be one of the most creative, hardest-working people I’ve ever been privileged to meet. So it’s not surprising that he’s taken on the entire galaxy with his new middle grade series. The Challengers, the first book in the Galaxy Games series launched a few days ago with a Game/Puzzle/Contest on a month-long blog tour.

The stop here is day #6 ... and Puzzle Piece #6 is below. If you’ve missed collecting the previous puzzles, go to The Galaxy Games website.

But now, for more immediate gratification, here’s your chance to win a copy of The Challengers. I might give away 2 copies, if, well, go here to read what happened to the ARC and whether or not I’ll get it back to give away.

To win a copy of Greg’s new book, choose one or more:
*Comment here, below, in the Smack Dab blog
*Leave a comment here where I’ve just reviewed the book ... sort of
*Give me shout at the contest status update on my Facebook page
*On Twitter, tweet that you want to win @jodyfeldman; please include the #tysato hashtag

For double your entry, include your favorite galactic element (yes, you can pretend if you don’t really have a favorite). I will take entries through October 15. Good luck!

Now, sit back and enjoy Greg’s entertaining interview.

In The Challengers, Book #1 in the Galaxy Games series, Tyler Sato needs to take on some space travel ... which would be a dream come true for some kids. When you were a kid, did you want to be an astronaut?

The books I read always made it seem like permanent lunar and Martian colonies were just around the corner and from there the human race would spread across the galaxy like ripples in a pond. Instead, we've gone almost 40 years without human beings going any higher than low Earth orbit, less than 300 miles up. The farthest the International Space Station gets from Earth is closer than the driving distance between Boston and Philadelphia--a trip to the ISS and back is actually less of a journey than what my family does on a typical long weekend in our car!

If I were an astronaut today, I'd be incredibly embarrassed by the state of our manned space program. I'd probably tell people I was a plumber or something else instead. On the other hand, today's robotic probes, rovers, and orbiters are doing some amazing exploration work all over the Solar System. For kids these days, growing up to be a robotic probe would be a whole lot more fun and exciting than growing up to be an astronaut!

It seems like Ty was thrust in the role of unsuspecting hero. Talk about a time when had to rise above your comfort level to tackle a situation.

I've never had to overcome longshot odds like Tyler did. I don't know whether I'd be able to step up and take on the galaxy, and I'm honestly not too keen on ever being in a position to find out. But are lots of ordinary-seeming folks throughout history who have done amazingly heroic things. I take my inspiration from them.

The book doesn’t start with Ty in a hero position; in fact, it’s just the opposite. His birthday is the biggest embarrassment ever when his mom forgets an 11 year old has outgrown the birthday clown. What were your birthday parties like? Tell us about your best and/or most embarrassing birthday moments.

My most embarrassing birthday moment wasn't at my own birthday party. It was my cousin's party at the local Burger King. There was a make-your-own-burger station, a cake, balloons, paper crowns, and all the standard decorations. Every kid in our third-grade class was there, and we were all having a great time until my aunt noticed a tiny red dot on my cheek. And then another on my arm. And then a few more in various places. And suddenly, I had a full-blown case of chicken pox. Two weeks later, every single kid at school came down with chicken pox and they all knew they'd gotten it from me.

Space toys. Did you own any? What were your favorite toys and games growing up?

I had Star Wars figures, Luke's landspeeder, and a working model of the Death Star. That's all it took for some basic storytelling: "One day, Hammerhead and Greedo drove their landspeeder to the Death Star for a meeting with Darth Vader and C3P0. Then Bo and Luke drove by in the General Lee and this is what happened next..." It sounds silly now, but it made more sense than any of the prequel movies.

In The Challengers, Ty meets M’frozzo from the planet Mrendaria. Who’s the strangest being you’ve ever met?

There's a giant redwood tree in the Public Garden in downtown Boston. I used to visit it on my lunch hour, when I worked nearby. I thought it had to be pretty depressed, so many thousands of miles from all the other giant redwood trees back in California. I imagined that it probably didn't like the snow much and must hate getting teased by all the local trees who didn't get understand all the surfer-tree lingo. I guess what I'm trying to say is, the strangest being I've ever met is probably me.

Speed round ...
If you had three eyes like M’frozzo, where would you like the extra to be located?
On a fingertip, so I could look for spare change in the couch cushions.

Clown or magician?

Cake or ice cream?
Ice cream.

Basketball, baseball, football, hockey or ... ?

E.T. or Close Encounters of the Third Kind?
Close Encounters.

Other than Earth, favorite planet?
At the moment? Kepler 16b.

And here's Puzzle Piece #6!
Have fun playing along!


  1. Sounds like a fun book. My favorite galactic element, cool spaceships.


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