Boogie Shoes

Evelyn had her first tap recital over the weekend, and I have to say, I was pretty impressed! They go before I get home, so I had only seen a practice once when they first started learning the routine (and Jesse wasn’t even there that day!)

Not too shabby for only 6 months of lessons!

(Apologies for stupidly taking a picture in the middle of the video!)

Seriously Wicked: conversation with a reader

I recently interviewed Evelyn about “Seriously Wicked” by my friend Tina Connolly. Spoilers below!

S: Alright, who was your favorite character in the book, and why?

E: Um, my favorite character in the book was probably the witch, because I like her, like, passion. Even though Cam kept rejecting her spells and stuff, she just kept on trying, and I think that’s… I mean, she stuck with it.

S: Do you, so, do you think the witch was a wicked witch?

E: I think she was a wicked witch in its own sense, like, she was wicked totally because she wanted to take over the town and be in charge and everything, and she was going to do it in wicked ways. You could also think of her in other wicked ways, like she kills animals for her spells. But, like…she also is like a nice mom and she takes care of her kid. And it’s probably very hard for her since her husband died, so.

S: What was the funniest part of the book?

E: The funniest part of the book is when – it’s also my favorite part of the book – is when Sparkle figures out that… She’s like, what is going on? How do you guys know that I’m a witch and like everything is coming back to her and stuff. It’s the funniest part because she’s just so confused and she doesn’t know what’s going on because she did a forgetting spell on herself.

S: Do you think if you were like Cam in this book, do you think you would like having a witch for a mom or not like having a witch for a mom?

E: Well if I was Cam I would have the same personality as Cam, so then–

S: (laughing) Okay, well let’s say you were in a situation like Cam but you were yourself, would you like that your mom was a witch, because, you know, maybe you could learn some spells and stuff, or would you not like it, because she might be evil?

E: Not like it, because, um, I don’t know. (laughing) I just think that the witch’s plans were pretty crazy.

S: So who has crazier plans, Cam’s mom or your mom?

E: Probably Cam’s mom, because she wants to take over the town, but mommy, she… (laughing) Yeah, pretty much Cam’s mom.

S: Do you think this is a good book for someone your age, and why or why not?

E: I think I would recommend maybe a few years older even though I liked it, because… I don’t know, I feel like people would understand it a little bit more, because like… I don’t know, it’s about like boys and love and stuff. I mean, no offense, but…

S: So were there any parts you didn’t understand? Or to take it a different way, is there anything you would want to ask the author if you could?

E: I would ask Tina Connolly where she got her inspiration from because most authors combine people they know, and I think that Cam’s personality – and all the people in the book in fact! – have very different, interesting personalities, and I want to know where she got her inspiration from.

S: Do you think maybe her mom was a witch?

E: Very unlikely. But maybe she was like me and Oliver when we made potions in the bathroom?

Free Fiction by me: “Ten Things Sunil and I Forgot to Prepare for, When Preparing for the Apocalypse”

Good news everybody! My story “Ten Things Sunil and I Forgot to Prepare for, When Preparing for the Apocalypse” had previously appeared in Intergalactic Medicine Show, but you could only read it if you paid for a subscription.


For a limited time only, the issue, including my story, is free to read online! If you missed this one the first time around, don’t miss it. Act now, supplies are limited*

* Must be a legal resident of a participating country. Must be in possession of eyes and the ability to read. Shane Halbach is not liable for any injuries caused by the awesomeness of this story. Ask your doctor if reading awesome free fiction is right for you.

Explosive Learning

Closing in on two years old is one of the best ages for a baby. Everything he does is just amazing. He’s speaking more, understanding more, and can actually recall things from previous days. Every time he does, it just blows my mind all over again.┬áHe’s using 3 word sentences now. He’s learning new words and concepts every single day.

How is this tiny thing, who was completely unable to do anything whatsoever just a few short months ago, able to express thoughts and opinions?

In fact, lately he has started making deals. The other day we were trying to convince him to go to the farmer’s market, and he didn’t want to leave. Evelyn said, “Alex, if you go to the farmer’s market, I’ll give you my [pretend] phone to play with.” Alex thought about it for a minute, and then agreed. The second we got out to the car he said, “Phone!”

I know it’s a little thing, but there’s so much wrapped up in that! He can understand what we are offering him. He is able to conceptualize the fact that he wants the phone, and he has to do something to get it. He is able to weigh two different things he wants, getting the phone or staying home, and decide which he prefers. He is then able to communicate all of that to us, and then remember his decision later when we actually get in the car.


Sara has been trying to get him to go on the potty. He has been kind of interested in it, but will only sit down for a second or two before standing up, that kind of thing. We’ve offered some rewards, like “Hey, if you go in the potty I will read you a book” or “I will do hip-hip-hooray” (which is like tossing him up in the air and catching him). Finally, Sara hit upon the correct reward: “If you put your pee pees in the potty, I will give you a spoonful of ice cream…”

He went immediately there, sat down, and squeezed some out. (And a good thing, too, since we don’t have our tried and true potty training method anymore)

The next day Sara said, “If you put your pees pees in the potty I will do hip-hip-hooray” and Alex looked at her slyly and said, “Ice cream.”

He drives a hard bargain, this one.

The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, stomach flu

Since I originally posted about the stomach flu thirteen days ago, you’d kind of think we would be over the topic, right?

As I previously mentioned, Evelyn was the next to go (well technically Oliver was, but he never actually threw up, so that one doesn’t count). That left me as the last man standing. You would think, knowing that, that I wouldn’t have been taken by surprise when I got sick, but I spent a significant portion of Wednesday afternoon rubbing my chest and going, “Man, that bagel is just not sitting well.” By the time I got to the train, I was only thinking about getting home ASAP, and by the time I got through the 30 min train delay, I was really sweating it.

After going through it myself, I only have more sympathy for the rest of the family, because it was utterly brutal. It really only lasted 24 hours or so (plus another day to recover from the dehydration), but here I am almost a week later and still not *quite* back to normal. I did lose almost 6 pounds in 24 hours, but as a weight loss plan, I can’t recommend it.

The bad news is that Alex was both the first, and last, person to have it, going on almost two weeks now. He hasn’t thrown up since Saturday, but we’re still being careful. He has gone for a few stretches before, only to unexpectedly go through another bout again after a few days. He has seemed a bit more like himself since yesterday, so maybe we’re out of the woods.

That poor, poor baby.

Hero Update

As expected, Evelyn’s “Hero Reward” showed up last night with a vengeance. Even counting the 3 times Alex threw up on Sunday night, Evelyn’s total last night alone has far surpassed everyone else combined.

However, after about the 5th time she threw up, she just started cleaning it up herself.

Hero status: maintained.

Free Fiction by me – The Wizard of 63rd Street on Podcastle

I am very pleased to announce my story, “The Wizard of 63rd Street” is now available on the audio-fiction magazine, Podcastle.


This story is intensely personal to me, and I poured a lot more of myself into this one than I usually do. This is the story I was writing so hard that I missed my train stop (at 63rd of course) and went all the way to 115th.

From the show notes:

This story is set in my neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, where gang signs and gun violence are a part of life. The people and streets in this story are, unfortunately, very vivid to me. I wish there were real life wizards who could paint a mural and make the problems go away. Barring that, I wish there were easy solutions that could unravel the thorny knot of generations of systematic discrimination and poverty, education and politics.

In the end, though, I went with an optimistic ending, even though it’s hard sometimes to feel optimistic. I don’t have wizard powers like Russell, but if my writing has any power at all to influence the universe, I would like to use it for the people trapped in tough circumstances who don’t have the privilege to escape like I do.