What’s your Cabbage Night story?

Not only is Halloween just days away, so is CABBAGE NIGHT!

What is Cabbage Night?

The night before Halloween, the traditional night of pranks. The night of the inciting, tragic event in BOY ON HOLD. Outside of upstate New York, it may go by a different name…or it may not exist at all.

In my hometown, Cabbage Night was more popular than Halloween. One neighborhood in particular got extra special “attention.” All innocent fun, no damage done…but we sure made a lot of noise.

Boy on Hold by JD Spero

A little context from the book

Chapter 2, Marcella Trout to her son, Tyler: “The night before Halloween…I know that’s when you teenagers do all those pranks. I hope you weren’t egging people’s cars or toilet papering trees. What do you call it–the night before Halloween?”

“Cabbage Night.”

At this line, during my reading at the official launch party at Northshire Bookshop in Saratoga for BOY ON HOLD, the crowd erupted in applause.

launch party for BOY ON HOLD

BOY ON HOLD launch party at Northshire Bookshop

But what happens on Cabbage Night changes Tyler’s family forever.

Cabbage Night, 1991. The traditional night of pranks takes a disturbing turn when a violent crime rocks a small Adirondack town. Even more so when the only witness is a seven-year-old boy… 

What’s your Cabbage Night story?

I want to hear from you! It doesn’t have to be long, just a few lines or even a phrase. Like, “Knock, knock, ginger” (Unfamiliar? Google it.)

Dig into that memory bank. I’m sure we all have some repressed (or not so repressed) memories of Cabbage Night from our teen years. Not that Marcella’s description had anything to do with my experience. *mischievous smile*

Most Valuable Review

Forget Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly. NPR? New York Times? Get in line. I’ve received a review of FORTE recently that has blown my mind.

My ten-year-old son, AJ, attended my recent book launch party at Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga. The only kid under the age of twelve at the event, AJ displayed poise and maturity beyond his years. He sat right in the front row, listening carefully, his huge hazel eyes glistening with pride. After I read two chapters, I took questions from the audience.

Eager to be part of it all, AJ asked, “Are you working on another book?” — though he knew the answer.

Seeing his hand in the air, hearing his voice — it was all I could do to stay at the podium and not rush over to kiss every freckle on his sweet face.

Afterwards was the book signing.

“I want to buy Mom’s book but I don’t have any money,” AJ said to Grandmom.

Grandmom spotted him some cash and AJ brought the book to the counter to buy it himself, and proceeded to wait in line with the other customers in hopes to get his book signed.

AJ and Mom celebrate FORTE

AJ getting his book signed.

I signed it as I sign all copies: “Proud of you!” But this inscription had special meaning.

It only took him about two weeks to finish it. Yesterday, he wrote this review. My most cherished review ever. In his words…


Sami has always loved piano. She lived in New York City, but then her mother moved her to Skenesboro. At her high school, all the popular girls play volleyball, and are amazing at it. Sami, with a little magic from her coach, makes the team.

Afterwards, Sami drinks a “sports drink” to make her great at volleyball, and keeps doing it! But, success comes with a cost. Piano!

Sami has to decide who she really is. An athlete, or musician? She also finds out much more about herself, her family, and the town’s heritage.

I would definitely rate this book 6 stars, but not completely because the author is my mom. It’s because this book is VERY well written, an awesomely touching, adventurous and creative story for everyone 9 and up.

  • Anthony Spero, Age 10
AJ reads FORTE

AJ Spero reads his mom’s book before bed.

Ready, set, READ!

Today is the day. FORTE launches into cyberspace. After four years of hard work, it’s finally out in the world. Those who had preordered woke up to a fresh read on their Kindle this morning. Those die-hard traditionals can finally order a paper copy. My blog tour starts tomorrow. My book promoter is developing ads. Wheels are in motion. It’s happening.

This is a dream come true, for me. The fact that a professional publisher, Xchyler Publishing, believed in the book and invested in me is a huge validation of my writing. I feel like I should be running around the streets with a bugle, my boys behind me with cymbals — a marching band! I want to shout into a bullhorn for all the world to hear: My book is here! My book! My book! 

But that’s not happening. It’s a launch of a book, not a rocket. It’s mostly virtual. Online. Through social media, etc. I’m not even sure if our local favorite, Northshire Bookstore, has it yet (well, I kind of do — since my launch party is in just 3 short days at that venue)! I posted a picture of blue fireworks on my Facebook author page in honor of the event. I’m getting lots of likes and “congrats” messages. It’s good stuff, but it’s quiet.

It’s life as normal. I went to the dry cleaner and grocery store this morning. I haven’t even showered yet. I’m planning a double birthday party at a bowling alley for tomorrow afternoon — which also happens to be my husband’s and my 12th anniversary. While all this great life stuff is going on outside, inside my stomach is doing cartwheels. My book is here! And my nose is stuck on my phone screen, to the dismay of my family — my loving, supportive family who has LOTS of important milestones to celebrate this weekend.

Something tells me it’s okay, though. Once they read it, they’ll forgive me.