Oh, Hai!


Blaming myself.
Blaming myself.

The last time I wrote, I announced I was taking a summer vacation from the blog.

It is now February.

I blame the delay on global warming.

Oh, that’s not true. I blame myself.

My schedule has been considerably busier than usual. And during the rare moments when I found time to write a post, I decided against doing so because I knew I was still too busy to write regular posts. I didn’t want to be one of those bloggers who posts once every few months to acknowledge he’s still breathing. Instead, I opted to be a blogger who doesn’t blog at all.

But that has changed. I am back to posting weekly. I am a new man.

So, how’ve you been? Ellen and Alex are fine, thanks for asking.

My pet shrimp, Fosse, is still alive. His behavior, however, has become a little disturbing. For one thing, he has taken to nibbling the legs off of his starfish roommates whenever I’m late with his dinner. He also nibbles the legs off of his starfish roommates whenever I am on time with his dinner. Or whenever I’m early with his dinner. Frankly, he doesn’t care when dinner arrives; Fosse’s eating starfish legs.

Fosse’s dinner, by the way, is ground up frozen shrimp. They aren’t the same breed of shrimp, but I think that technically makes him a cannibal.

Last fall, Fosse laid eggs; a few weeks later, they hatched­—even though Fosse is the only shrimp in the tank. (So either Fosse impregnated him/herself or he/she sneaks out of his tank each evening looking for a little hot, shrimpy action.) When the eggs hatched, Fosse ate all of his children. That definitely makes him a cannibal.

Long story short, it may be time for Fosse to get some counseling.


My life has changed almost as much as Fosse’s diet. For one thing, after a particularly active freelance writing-filled autumn, I was offered a job at New Jersey City University—a school I previously never knew existed. My job, in part, is to inform people that New Jersey City University exists.

So now you know. Tell your friends!

But the cool news is this tidbit in Publisher’s Marketplace:

Children’s: Picture Book
Mike Allegra’s EVERYBODY’S FAVORITE BOOK, pitched as The Monster at the End of This Book meets Wreck-It Ralph when a cheeky narrator introduces an assortment of genre characters, each one more determined than the last to hijack the story, illustrated by Claire Almon, to Rhoda Belleza at Imprint, for publication in fall 2018, by Natalie Lakosil at Bradford Literary Agency for the author.


Imprint is an imprint of Macmillan. Natalie and Rhoda are national treasures, and the rough illustrations from Claire Almon never fail to make me fall into fits of wheezy giggles. Trust me on this: this is gonna be a good book.

I have also been doing some additional work for Imprint that I can’t yet talk about. I can say, however, that this Imprint project has consumed my every waking moment when I am not with my family, proving NJCU’s existence, or reacting to Fosse’s crimes against humanity.

Long story short, I’m really sorry. Please get back into the habit of visiting me again!

I promise new amusing anecdotes, a new masthead photo (eventually), a screed against Arbordale Publishing (They know what they did!), a revival of my long-dormant H.A.C.K.S. organization (Remember that?), the inauguration of a new writing award, and whatever other things I can readily pull out of my keister. It’ll be fun!

In the meantime, please take advantage of the comments section to answer the following question in any way you see fit:

What happens next?

See you next week!

101 Replies to “Oh, Hai!”

  1. So good to see you blogging. I was thinking about you last week. Congratulations on the new book and job! That’s exciting news. You sound busy, but happy. Look forward to your posts.

  2. I feel somewhat smarter now knowing that NJCU exists and somewhat disturbed knowing all of Fosse’s secrets. Although Wikipedia assures me that cannibalism is extremely prevalent in aquatic communities, I would still urge you to sleep with one eye open!! So happy you’re back. 🙂

  3. And the Mike Man is BACK! 😀 😀 😀 I really smiled BIG when your “email from another planet” drew me to see that familiar header (why change it?!) 😀 I have to say, I’m feeling quite sorry for those bullied starfish. Fosse does look like quite the bully! 😉 VERY excited about this book! It sounds so “you” 😀 This was a welcome post, Mike, but then you go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like “inauguration”!

    SO good to see you and I must know—do you use that amazing typewriter to write or is it just an “I’m such a cool writer” desk decoration? 😉

    1. Donna! So nice ta have you stop by!

      I do use the typewriter occasionally when the computer feels a bit too…sterile. You know what I mean? Sometimes the clackitas of the keys helps jog the creative side of my brain.

      I own two typewriters, by the way. I recently inherited a classic Underwood from my (thankfully alive and healthy) aunt and uncle. Their generous gift almost — but not quite — makes up for their Trump votes.

      1. I guess you can still get the tape for the typewriter? That is very cool 😀 I’m not sure if my old electric is up in the closet in my dad’s study. I used to love the sound of the keys 😀 (And the only thing that can give anyone a “Trump pass” is pleading insanity—and actually being found guilty! lol)

  4. I was wondering what happened to you, Mike. I was going to blame the shrimp, but it appears that other things have been consuming (get it, consuming) your time. Looking forward to a Spring of great humor before you take another summer off. Ha ha. Honestly, great to see some life on your blog 🙂

  5. Fosse overheard your comment about counseling, took offense and ran away. After all, you were the one who turned him into a cannibal…he thinks, you’re the one who needs counseling!

    The starfish are doing the happy dance and are planning a celebration…Ding, Dong, the shrimp has gone…

    To be continued…

    And kudos on the new book…and the agent! 😀

  6. Congrats on new book and job! Fine excuses. For not blogging. They do nothing, alas, to excuse Fosse, who I agree needs counseling, preferably by a very large, well-armed crab. 🙂 Welcome back!

  7. Welcome back Mike! So excited to hear of your picture book (which pictures on Claire Almon’s site belong to your book?) I will sit in anticipation of a review copy. I’d dance, but that might seem biased.

    So happy to learn you have been writerly busy and nothing horrible had happened to keep you away. Well, except for Fosse. Being an ex-therapist, I suggest you look into his background and find out what his parents were like (I’m assuming they are gone, Fosse having eaten them upon his birth). If Fosse does not show any remorse for his past grievances, he might be a, a . . . never mind. No assumptions. I have no idea how close you live to me or how Fosse gets around.

    Nice to have you back. Look forward to your Arbordale rant. 🙂

    1. Hi Sue!

      Clair Almon’s illustrations for Everybody’s Favorite Book aren’t on her website — and probably won’t be until the book nears its publication date. But belieeeeeve me, they are groovy.

      I didn’t know you were an ex-therapist! Thank you so much for volunteering to analyze Fosse. (Careful! He bites!) What days and times are you free? The sooner the better, for I’m afraid this little guy might be a socioshrimp.

      1. I worked with children, not crustaceans, but . . . that’s close enough. I have strict office hours, as you can imagine. Mike, I’m sure you know, labeling a shrimp can cause even more trauma (trauma is usually the underlying cause of these cannibalism cases with shrimps of every species. Since I’ve never heard of, let alone treated, a socioshrimp–wait, I have seen another case . . . my little brother. I’m afraid your case, uh Fosse’s case, hits too close to home.

        Let me recommend a couple of capable therapists. Lucy would be a good choice for Fosse. And only charges $0.05. Very affordable. Then there is always Dr. Phil. You could hype your new book along with getting Fosse help. I hear he reaches quite the audience. Maybe you could tag onto his wife’s new beauty products he hawks most weeks. Monsters use make-up, right? Good luck with your little cannibal.

        Glad you’re back!

      2. I think we both know that Lucy’s advice would be something along the lines of “Snap out of it! Five cents, please.”

        As for Dr. Phil…I fear he will exploit my shrimp for ratings. And, well, I’d rather keep this sensitive matter private.

  8. Welcome back, Mike! I hope you never turn your back on Fosse. I don’t trust that shrimp! Congratulations on the new gig. Look forward to hearing more about NJCU. Best of all: a new Mike Allegra book is being published. Yaaayyyyy!!! 😉 xoxoM

  9. Whoo, you’re alive! (Although I suppose I was ahead of some of the crowd in that respect, since Facebook and all…)

    Congrats on the publishing deal, and can’t wait to hear more about the rest when you can talk about it!

    And man, yeah… Fosse needs some counseling for sure. If I come across a reputable shrimp shrink, I will let you know.

      1. Yeah, I always want to go. Can’t bear to miss it, but every year it’s a struggle making the decision to spend money I don’t have *sigh* Here’s hopin’! 😀

  10. Okay, I forgive you. I wasn’t going to. I mean, going away for so long made the rest of us look bad. You know, for writing and sharing our LIVES and our SUCCESSES and FAILURES in writing and all that EVERY WEEK. Truly, we were all worried about you. And Ellen – how was Ellen coping with a shrimp/goat/rodent-loving man who STOPPED BLOGGING??!! But, ahem, like I said, all is forgiven since your mea culpa (or lack thereof) includes a college I never heard of (and I’m an original New Jersean) but better, an agent and an illustrated book and a shrimp-eating shrimp. How crusty(acean). Love and hugs, the roughwighter

    1. And I appreciate your forgiveness, Pam. I missed you! And I am heartened to hear that you missed my posts.

      For the record, however, Ellen has not missed my posts — because, you know, she’s pretty much living the stories I tell here. So she sees this blogging thing as just another reason to be behind the computer. Ah, such is the writer’s life.

      Here’s another alarming tidbit about the University neither one of us knew existed: It was founded in 1927. Yep, this mystery school has been hiding from us for 90 freaking years!

  11. Welcome back, Mike! So glad to see you again and enjoy a post that makes me laugh out loud! And CONGRATULATIONS on your book!!!!!!!!! I know it will be terrific! As for what happens next? Definitely get some counseling for that cannibal shrimp! 🙂

  12. What happens next is that you’ll probably write a post again next week. Sounds like your evil shrimp could have a book about his life. It would definitely not be a children’s story, however. Perhaps you’d like to team up with Stephen King for that one. Welcome back to the blog world. Thanks for popping by my blog for the purpose of announcing that you’re back. 😉

    1. Oh, dang. I guess writing a post IS what’s going to happen next. Hm. When does summer arrive? I need a new vacation.

      And I am always happy to pop by your blog, silly! Even for non-self-promote-y reasons!

  13. Ah ha–you did not fall into a rabbit hole of miscellaneous misdeeds or folly. Blaming it on the shrimp is typical. And I cow-tow to your ability to rustle up over 30 likes after being gone for well, let’s just say, too long. Congrats on your writerness accomplishments. Now get busy blogging. 🐮

    1. Yes, I am surprised by the response to this post. I figured I’d need a little time to rebuild the bloggy network.

      And, yes, I shall keep blogging. (But you have the edge on everyone here; you already know The Arbordale Story!)

  14. That’s a lot of good news. Congratulations! As one of those bloggers who just pokes her head out every couple of months to let everyone know I am still alive, I appreciate that you can get back to a regular schedule. I may not write consistently but I read every day. Looking forward to what’s coming next.

  15. After your son is a teenager and you live through that, you will totally understand Fosse’s wise inclinations to eat her? babies. It makes perfect sense to me.
    As for the long time away, I had figured you must have axed me from your subscription list and I just wasn’t getting notifications. I, too, have been away from my blog for a long while. Was just pondering the past couple days, some ideas for a post. Maybe the cabin fever is affecting us all that way.

    p.s. I wouldn’t put Fosse in charge of babysitting for a while.

    1. I can’t exactly blame Fosse for eating his children. Shrimp are delicious, after all. Still it feels a bit unseemly.

      And, for shame, Jude! I would never axe you from my subscription list. You’re good people!

  16. Woot, woot! All-around woot…for real. So happy you’re back. At first I was happy Fosse was still around, but now I have mixed feelings about him. Lastly, super duper happy about the book. Congrats, yo!

  17. Congrats on your book 🙂 You’re hilarious- I’m so happy I actually found your blog, and now I hear that you’re planning on posting stuff on your site? I can’t believe my luck! I don’t know what you’re talking about in relation to Fosse. I little cannibalism never hurt anyone 😛

      1. Ah, but if I did that, what advice could I possibly offer Fosse? Cannibalism requires a specific technique, you know. It begins with yoga and spirals into midnight youtube binges.

  18. You trained the monster to be a cannibal, so you can’t complain. Chewing on everything in sight is probably a sign of Mad Shrimp Disease. Watch for signs of erratic swimming, and for God’s sake don’t put it back in the sea!

  19. Well, you’re back. I guess that means I will have to postpone my taking over of H.A.C.K.S. until summer.
    SO… Fosse has taken up the hobby of cannibalism? Good for him! Best of luck! For you, that is. I wouldn’t sleep with both eyes shut. Ever.
    Congrats on the book! And for telling me about a new college that I will promptly forget about!
    Glad to have you back! (just ignore that second sentence) 😉

    1. Yeah, the H.A.C.K.S. thing has really fallen by the wayside. I am a terrible, terrible president. But that will change soon.

      In fact, within the next month or so I will be holding an election for a new H.A.C.K.S. Board of Directors. So be sure to submit your name for nomination, Erik. I foresee a bright future for you.

  20. Since I had just checked on you last week, I was glad to see you followed through on your threat promise about posting again ;-). So happy to see you back! You have been missed. I would be that person who only posts every few months just so everyone knows I am still breathing 👃 because school and life take up too much of my time at present to be able to post on a regular basis. I am super excited 💃for you and the book you have coming! I can’t wait to see it! I have several nieces and nephews I could buy it for! Welcome back Mikie dear! 😘 ❤

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