Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Greetings, Earthlings

Greetings, to all my fellow earthlings!

We have successfully completed yet another journey around the sun.

Our own planet has rotated so we saw the sun rise and set three hundred and sixty five times.

In other words, we made it through another year. Hooray!

Weeks, hours, minutes, and seconds are all human inventions, but years, seasons, months, and days have been there since the world began and will continue to exist as long as our planet and solar system do.

But, compared to the size of the universe, everything we experience is so tiny we can't comprehend it.

However, we are all important to each other and things that humans do on one side of the planet can make a difference to other humans thousands of miles away.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if in 2015 we can all live at peace and help one another?

I'm wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

When Mommy Goes A-Marching

I've never before seen a book like this, and it's much needed.

When Mommy Goes A-Marching is about a little kid whose mother is deployed overseas. As the Author's Note at the end explains, the boy's mother was a college student in the National Guard when she was deployed overseas and had to drop out of college and leave her son with his grandparents.

The young boy in the photos is a family member of the author. 

This picture book is for young children and shows how the child is able to cope and connect with his mother as much as possible through things like Skype.

Most of the book is in rhyme, which is well done and not forced at all.  

There are probably a lot of children in similar situations and this book will help them understand and adjust to having their mothers gone away. Probably kids with fathers in the military will also be helped by this positive story.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Like millions of other people I'll be celebrating the Christian holiday of Christmas by attending church tonight and seeing family members tomorrow. I've already been to quite a few Christmas parties this year.

Nobody knows exactly when Jesus Christ was born. Experts say it's not likely to have been at this time of the year since Caesar Augustus probably ordered people to return to their hometowns to be taxed at the end of the harvest season when they had their profits for the year. The Roman Empire included areas in Europe where travel would have been impossible in late December because of the weather.  Of course Augustus, living in the Mediterranean climate might not have been aware of that.

Anyway I've read that people in the early church celebrated the coming of Christ at that time because everyone else in the area was celebrating the Winter Solstice and worshiping their own gods. Since it was illegal to be a Christian it would have been suspicious for anyone not to be celebrating.  If they didn't show signs of celebrating, Christians would have been more likely to get arrested and/or killed.

Of course there are lots of religions that have holidays when Winter begins and the days start to become longer. And in America all of them are free to celebrate or not.

Even though we don't all agree about our religious beliefs we certainly don't think people whose beliefs differ from ours should be arrested and killed. Of course if, like some ancient peoples, any groups sacrificed humans those would certainly be persecuted, but we don't have that kind of religions here.

While it might be cool to time travel back and actually see the things told about in the Bible happen, I'm glad I live now.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Merry Christmas

This will be a very short post. I just want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas or happy whatever holiday you celebrate.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

You've Got Mail

I still haven't finished sending all my Christmas cards, but I've already gotten quite a few. I'm referring to the old fashioned kind sent by snail mail, but I'll probably plenty of get e-cards, too.

The cards have made me think about the history of mail. In the 1500s when the first settlers came to America many of them probably never heard from friends they'd left behind in Europe again. If they did write letters to people from their past the mail would have been be carried by ship, then taken to the people's addresses. Some probably never arrived. By the time those people wrote back and the mail was transported to this continent and someone brought it to the person it was intended for, months would have passed.

Later mail was carried between American towns by horseback or in wagons. Benjamin Franklin became the first Postmaster General in 1775. Sending mail through the postal service was very expensive back then, so few people could afford to do it, If people knew someone who was traveling they'd often ask them to carry a letter to someone.

The telegraph was invented and wires were laid across the Atlantic to Europe in the mid 1800s and the Pony Express allowed people to communicate at distances in the West after 1860.

In the 1880s mail service became more efficient and the first Christmas cards were sent then.

Back in the 1940s when I was a kid we could mail cards and letters to family and friends on the other side of America and expect them to be delivered  in about a week.

Now when we send e-cards the delivery takes a few seconds, but I still prefer the old fashioned kind of Christmas cards.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Times and Numbers

Any child born today has a very special birthday.

During the last two decades people have commented about lots of interesting dates. Remember how a lot of people thought the year 2000 would be the end of the world?

And then there were lots of coincidental (well, they weren't really coincidences since they couldn't be avoided) number patterns on certain dates like 12/12/12  and 1/4/14.

But today, 12/13/14, is the last time for nearly a century that a date will have three consecutive numbers.

Unlike some people, I don't think there's any magical power to dates that form number patterns, but they are interesting.

And nobody is likely to forget the birthday of any kids born today.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Emma McKenna’s Ice Cream Dilemma

I am so impressed that Terry Cook is able to both write and illustrate her books! Very few people have both those talents.

While the story contains lots of rhymes, it isn't laid out like a poem, sometimes the meter changes, and the word usage is amazing.

Emma McKenna's Ice Cream Dilemma has a simple plot; When her uncle takes her to the ice cream shop Emma has to select one of many kinds of ice cream to order. But that's harder than it sounds because there are so many choices.

Kids will love the unbelievable number of ice cream flavors Emma must choose between. The choices include everything from Chocolate Kiss to Ogre Eyeballs. How can she decide?

At the end of the book the author has included some interesting historical facts about ice cream and a recipe with instructions for kids to make their own ice cream.

And when kids finish this book they'll probably be hungry for some of that.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Why I Blog

I started blogging in the Spring of 2009 Because my first book was under contract and I'd heard blogging was supposed to help publicize books. That book was Secret Service Saint about Nicholas, who discovered the joy of doing secret good deeds and eventually became known as Santa Claus.

To my surprise, another book was actually published before that one. It was The Peril of the Sinister Scientist and the publisher moved it ahead of the scheduled publication date so I'd be able to participate in a group signing with some of their other authors. That book is based on the idea, what would Jesus do in Middle School?

I had two more books published by that house, Guardian Angel Publishing and my most recent book, A Shadow of Fear, has been published by Mantle Rock Publishing.

I don't know if blogging has actually helped with the sales of any of my books, but I keep doing it  every Wednesday and Saturday because I enjoy it.

At first I wondered if I'd be able to think of things to blog about twice a week for a few months. And how could I come up with enough ideas for a whole year?

Well, it's been over five years and the ideas are still coming. The topics of words, books, and kids provide plenty of material. And I plan to keep on blogging as long as I can.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


People talk about the weather a lot. Some places in the USA have been having severe storms while California, where I live, has been having a serious drought.

Now it's pouring, and we're all grateful for that.

But if the rains continue, as they do in a normal year, soon we'll be complaining about them.

And then in the Summer we'll complain about the heat.

It seems like no matter what kind of weather is happening, people tend to complain about it.

And then there's all the conversation about climate change. Some people think it's something that occurs naturally every few thousand years while others say it's caused by pollution. Personally, I think both are probably influencing the changes.

But then there's my own theory. Climate change is really caused by the skateboarders. They jump up and down so much they're tipping the planet! ;-)