Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Tree Hunting—Not For the Faint Of Heart

For men, Christmas tree shopping has got to be at the top of the list of life’s all-time stress producers—right up there with purchasing a new mattress, remodeling the kitchen or babysitting six-month old triplets… alone… on Black Friday.

Tree acquisition is usually irreversibly triggered by “someone” remembering the holidays. That is, once your wife decides it’s time to get the tree, any chance for escape is lost. So, it’s best to get on board early by showing your beloved that you already have a trip to the tree lot in your Planner, immediately after Thanksgiving.

Yes, you could volunteer to get a tree earlier, although that would likely be viewed as sucking up. Pushing the date out a bit might work—let’s say until the Thanksgiving left-overs are gone. But I would eat fast.

Let’s assume for a moment that you make the right timing decision. On the day of the big purchase you will be richly rewarded if you take someone with you to share the experience. Trust me, tree selection is a decision you do not want to make alone. If no other option is available, call in a marker and take another male with you to help deflect the blame when you totally screw things up. Your buying guide should be someone highly regarded by your wife—-you know, like Josh Groban, Bon Jovi or the Iron Chef.

In the event you don’t know someone rich and famous who can cook or sing, take children—preferably related to you. And remember to lavish praise on them when they make their selection. You’ll want them beaming when your wife first sees them marching through the front door, proudly toting their Charlie Brown tree.

It goes without saying, the gold standard is convincing your wife to come with you. Surely, if you put your heart into the invitation, she will willingly leave the warmth of hearth and home for a trip to the cold, poorly lit and newly sprouted urban forest—AKA Jack’s Tree Lot.

Once there, she will no doubt relish hearing your carefully studied views of height versus girth, spruce versus pine, relative trunk curvature, growth patterns, limb distribution and, of course, moisture content. By next summer you’ll both remember this as a bonding experience.

With any luck, you’ll be in and out of the lot in less than ten minutes after picking the first tree you come to. Hey! It could happen. However, as a precaution, it might be prudent to bring along a thermos and some snacks. Better yet, if you have room in your trunk, consider tossing in a stocked cooler and a portable grill—you could be there for a while.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Drop by my web site any time for updates on my children's books or just to browse around ( ).

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sea Change in Publishing?

I've heard it said, sparking controversy is a good thing---you know just to get people riled up and to gauge whether anyone is actually reading one's blog (or other writing). So, in the spirit of saying just enough to be irritating, here goes---nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I'd like to see some commentary about the sea change which appears to be underway (started a few years back) as book publishing models and book formats change to keep pace with book consumption.

Specifically, the traditional publishing model in which large inventories of printed books are (were) warehoused in anticipation of sales, must certainly have been affected by the growing interest first in e-Books and more recently in Print On Demand (POD). That shift to non-traditional formats (extent unknown) clearly has the potential to, in turn, affect the entire book publishing food chain from traditional publishing houses to printers to brick and mortar booksellers. It's no wonder traditional publishers, though resistant at first, have added e-Books and POD to their quivers just to stay competitive.

So, in the wake of this apparent evolution, bordering on revolution, in the publishing industry, what are your thoughts: pro, con or neutral? Any observers or prognosticators willing to predict the "whether"... that is, are traditional big box makers of books in a bind?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Giant Beetle Invades Boy's Bedroom At Bed Time--Sort Of....

Yep. I regret to say it's been nearly a month between entries. But here I am very happy to announce the publication and release of "There's A Beetle In My Bed!" by Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc., in St. Louis, MO. This picture book written in rhyme follows the January 2009 publication of "There's A Spider In My Sink!"---same boy, different creature....

Wonderfully illustrated by Suzi Brown, the book tells the story of a young lad, Dylan (Dyl, for short), who has once again come face-to-face with the nightly prospect of getting tucked into bed. Well, what's a creative thinker to do but devise a tall tale to delay the imminent demise of his day? And what better creature than a giant (and growing) beetle to buy him a little time by shocking dad into prolonging the bed time routine.

If this sounds somewhat like the end of the evening at your house, pick up a copy of the book and read how the bed time conundrum resolves itself. The book is available on, Barnes and Noble, Borders Books and other on-line booksellers, as well as through the Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc., web site at . E-book copies can be downloaded from the Fictionwise at ( .