Guest Post by Karen Pokras Toz

Hello to all my fellow readers.

I thought it would be great to start out Thursday with a Guest Post from the author of Nate Rocks the Boat.

But first, an introduction to the book : )






With fourth grade finally winding down, 10-year-old Nathan Rockledge is looking forward to a fun and relaxing summer at home with his friends. That is, until his mom decides he has to go to overnight camp with his annoying older sister.  When his best friend Tommy decides to tag along, Nathan thinks maybe his summer won’t actually be so bad. After all, he does get to be away from his mom’s awful cooking for an entire six weeks.

Amongst Color War competitions, a flaky counselor, and a bully named “No-Neck,” Nathan turns to his trusty sketchpad, transforming himself into Nate Rocks: 10-year-old extraordinaire. His speedboat ready for action, Nate saves the day time and again from the perils of floods, snakes, ghosts, and even the most wanted criminals.

Join Nathan, Tommy, Abby, and a whole new cast of characters as Nate Rocks once again proves nothing can hold him back in this second book of the Nate Rocks series.


Book Excerpt:

“Welcome, Hawks. I’m Matt, your counselor. I’ve been coming to Camp Spring Ridge every summer since I was your age. This is a great place, and it’s my job to make sure you boys have the best summer ever.” Matt looks up at the sky as the wind rustles through the papers on his clipboard. “Now, before it starts raining, let’s see if we can get through some of the camp rules.”

“Rules? We don’t need any dumb rules! It’s summer!”

I look over toward the sound of the husky voice to see a boy who looks more like he’s Abby’s age than my age. He also appears to have arms as big as my thighs and no-neck. I’ve never seen anyone without a neck before. I’m sure it’s there somewhere. It’s just that this kid’s head is enormous. I am in the right bunk aren’t I?

Matt doesn’t seem disturbed by the outburst as he continues right along. “The rules are only there to make sure you have the most fun possible while staying safe. We wouldn’t want anyone getting hurt…or worse.”

Worse?! Tommy and I look at each other. I turn around to scan the dirt road. Dad must still be at Abby’s bunk. If I left right now and ran, I could probably get there before he and Mom leave. I’m sure Mom would take me with her to see Grandma once I explained about how dangerous it is here at camp. She’s always saying we don’t get to visit with Grandma enough. Or I could just stay at Tommy’s house. I’m certain Tommy would follow me if I took off running. But what if they were already gone? Then I would have to return to my bunk. I could already hear the other kids laughing at me as the camp director returned me to the Hawks.

“Okay,” Matt starts, holding down the paper on his clipboard. “Rule #1: Always listen to your counselor—he’s the coolest guy here.” Matt starts laughing, but quickly notices no one else joins in. He clears his throat and continues. “Rule #2: Stay with your bunk at all times unless you have specific permission to go somewhere. Rule #3: Lights out at 10:00pm. Rule #4: When it’s our turn to have kitchen duty, everyone must participate, and the most important rule—Rule #5: Stay out of the forest! Look, you guys are old enough to hear this, so I’m just going to tell it to you straight. The forest may look cool, but it’s big and dangerous. Every summer, one or two campers decide to wonder in there, and the same thing always happens. They get lost. The camp has to call in a search party with dogs and the whole bit. If you wander too far in, you might run across snakes or even coyotes and wolves. So do yourselves a favor and stay out!”

I look around the table to see everyone staring at Matt… Even No-Neck.





And now a few words from Karen Pokras Toz:


Thank you so much for inviting me to speak about inspiration today. I love hearing about where authors get their inspirations for their work. Often ideas are sparked by something close to them, such as something that is happening with a friend or at work. One thing that most authors agree on: inspiration is all around us.

For me, inspiration comes mostly from my children. I tell people all the time that Nate Rocks, the star of my Nate Rocks books, the most recent of which is Nate Rocks the Boat, is basically my three kids all rolled into one. But where do I come up with the ideas for the actual story itself?

If you have read my blog, or know me personally, you know I spend the first few weeks of June packing and labeling in preparation to send my two oldest children to overnight camp for a month. I think we just finished our sixth summer of this routine – honestly, I’ve lost count, but let’s just say I’ve labeled a lot of underwear over the past few years!!

When it came time to start thinking about the second Nate Rocks book, I had to make a decision – did I want to keep going with 4th grade theme or did I want to try something different?  I was in the process of the above-mentioned folding and labeling when I thought: Nate should go to camp too!

I began the process of compiling all of the experiences my children had shared with me about their time at summer camp, as well as my own memories from camp (although, mine were limited to day camp, not overnight camp.) Before I knew it, I had a book full of fun camp adventures – staring Nate Rocks, of course!

Thanks kids for all the great stories – keep them coming!



About the author:





Karen Pokras Toz is a writer, wife, and mom. Karen grew up in Orange, Connecticut and currently lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and three children. In June 2011, Karen published her first middle grade children’s novel for 7-12 year olds called Nate Rocks the World, followed in 2012 by the second book in the Nate Rocks series, Nate Rocks the Boat. Karen is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).








Barnes & Noble:


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One last tidbit of information.

Author Karen Pokras Toz will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the Nate Rocks the Boat Tour.

13 thoughts on “Guest Post by Karen Pokras Toz

  1. Your book sounds beyond fun, Karen!
    It’s always great to have first hand experience– brings a bit more *this is how is really is* to the table, yeah? 🙂 I bet your kids loved having their adventures in your book!


  2. Having so many grandkids in middle school makes me think about great Christmas gifts starring Nate. ;0 How many books do you have planned for this series ? Thanks for the giveaway chance.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  3. Just popping in to say HI and sorry I missed visiting with you on party day! Hope you all had a good time!

    kareninnc at gmail dot com

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