Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Olympic Events...for the Rest of Us!

The human drama of athletic competition…the thrill of victory…the agony of the feet…face it, 99.999999999% of us will never qualify for an Olympic event, even for events that we didn’t really think could be defined as athletic competitions.  I mean really, air rifles?  Is there a Red Ryder category?  Has anyone accidentally shot someone’s eye out?
If the International Olympic Committee can sanction BB guns, they should also consider the following events that represent extraordinary accomplishments by ordinary people:
The 5000-meter Large Dog Walk
This involves leading a boisterous, untrained and completely slobbery dog weighing no less than 120 pounds through a simulated suburban neighborhood.  Participants are required to be out of shape, wear uncomfortable shoes (ingrown toenails are also a requirement), and attempt to prevent the dog from romping through flower gardens or pooping on driveways.  Cats and squirrels will be periodically released throughout the course, which the contestant must attempt to prevent the dog from chasing. 
Popcorn Speed-Eating
This is a team sport, sort of.  A couple will be seated in a simulated movie theater and given a large $7 bucket of popcorn.  One contestant (the woman) will open by taking one handful and savoring it during the opening credits of the movie, while the man must hork down the entire contents before his partner finishes her first handful and then say “oh, I thought you were done” as apologetically as possible.  Style points will be awarded for slurping an entire large soda without belching…which reminds me...
Did you know there is a World Burping Championship?
The Supermom Hurdles
In this event, the participant must attempt to wake, feed, and clothe four obstinate children between 5 and 15 and get them into a minivan and to their respective schools before the bell rings.  This event will include finding lost socks, getting gum out of hair, and convincing the youngest ones that they will definitely be in an accident if their underwear is not clean.  Also, the teenaged drama queen has been up all night texting and Facebooking and has not done her homework that’s due first period.
And what Olympics would be complete without The Synchronized Snack Toss, Face Pulling, Mud Hole Waterskiing, Belly Flops, Blob Jumping, and Rock, Paper, Scissors (which has an organized league—the USARPS)?
It’s time for us ordinary folks to start lobbying!

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Note of Warning

After watching Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones on DVD, I found myself wondering about the movie's premise--that a mysterious alien race cloned a Polynesian fullback forty zillion times and created a huge intergalactic football league.  The details are sketchy as I had O.D'd on popcorn at that point and was no longer coherent, but it got me thinking about why we haven't heard much lately from the scientific community on the matter.

The debate over cloning began in earnest during the 1980's.  Specifically, it had to do with
Magnum, P.I.  Though scientists didn't actually succeed in cloning Tom Selleck, it appears that they did succeed in cloning his moustache, which began appearing on college students, football players, and aspiring game show hosts nationwide. 

Not much has been said about cloning since Dolly the Sheep and a few rogue "clone your dead dog" services that have popped up here and there.

There's a reason you haven't heard more about it.  Cloning technology has long since fallen into the wrong hands.  Shadowy terrorist groups have already harnessed the ability to use cloning to disrupt our communications and create fear and confusion.  An army of clones has been surreptitiously deployed throughout the country.  While it's true that the terrorists have used Mortimer Snerd's DNA, this in no way diminishes the threat.  In fact, they want it that way.

Yes. Be afraid.  Be very afraid.  They've infiltrated the customer service departments at the telecom and utility companies.  The fiends have calculated that we'll all be gibbering idiots by the end of the year.  Yup, yup, yaw.


Friday, July 6, 2012

The Blunder Years

(This column of mine was originally published in 2005 by Absolutewrite.com)

I believe that most authors have had a pivotal moment in their lives when it became clear there was no other choice than to be a writer.
            My moment came in seventh grade, September 1969.  Renate Allen.  She didn’t spell it “Renee,” or “RenĂ©,” it was “Renate” with a silent t.  I believe it stood for “tall.”  More correctly, it meant I was short, like most other seventh grade boys.
            I knew her from Sunday school and our mothers were good friends.  I both loved and hated Sundays—I never knew what to say or what to do with my hands—but I got to sit across the room from her and try to pretend I wasn’t gawking.
            Sixth grade had not been a problem, but over the summer something happened.  Her cooties fell off.  She became tall and beautiful, somehow bypassing the normal seventh-grade awkwardness.  Suddenly the lights came on.  Suddenly everything was crystal clear.  Suddenly I was a complete bonehead.
            I went to great lengths to make her aware of me—I figured out her whole schedule by taking alternate routes between every one of my classes until I was able to pass her in the halls five or six times per day.  If she said “hi,” I was floating on air for the whole day, filled with hope.  If she didn’t notice me, I just knew she hated my guts, and was probably telling her friends what a total dork I was.
            If she happened to be talking to a guy, I was, of course, consumed with jealous rage.  I made a voodoo doll collection representing every guy in the school who was taller than me and/or had muscles and/or a personality.
            Renate Allen filled my life with purpose.  What that purpose was, I was not sure, except that more than anything I wanted to be tall enough to kiss her.  But what could I do?  I was not a jock; I was a nerdy crew-cut third cornet player who wore white socks with green pinstriped high-water flares. 
            I decided that the pen was mightier than the mouth.  I would write her…a NOTE.  Notes could be any length, actually—some would argue that they actually were “letters” if they exceeded more than one page—but the true definition of “note” was in the way you folded it.  Girls usually folded notes into rectangles with wrap-around points that tucked into each other.  That was way too sissy—not to mention complex—for a guy.  We preferred the “triangular paper football” fold, which was less conspicuous because all of us carried paper footballs around for those tabletop matches during homeroom and lunch.  No one would have guessed that it contained the summation of my desires, except that it was about an inch and a half thicker than the ordinary football.   I mentally rehearsed my delivery—pull it from left jacket pocket, flash smug James Bond smile, slide it into her notebook as I passed.    She would read it and be swept off of her feet by my brilliant, witty prose. 
            It had to be a masterpiece—this was, after all, Renate Allen, sans cooties, the most beautiful creature in the seventh grade.  It couldn’t be ordinary, couldn’t be “hi, I like you.”  It had to have the same impact on her that her mere existence had had on me.  But it couldn’t be too mushy—it had to be cool, it had to be funny, it had to be the greatest thing she’d ever read in her life.  I made up jokes, I wrote silly poems, and I even drew cartoons.  She had to know that underneath that crew cut was a mind for which she could and should love me, and maybe she would be patient enough for my body to catch up in a few years. 
In the corner by my bed I kept a tall plastic kitchen wastebasket. By April it was overflowing with wadded-up pieces of notebook paper.  Every day I carried a new note, painstakingly scrawled in a marathon of creativity the night before, and every day I chickened out.  I’d come home disgusted, read the note I’d written, decide it was stupid, crumple it up one page at a time (I averaged about nine pages per note), throw it in the corner, and start over, racking my brain for the magic words that would make her love me.
 I chickened out one hundred sixty-three times that year.  The pile in the corner grew until my bed disappeared and Mom quarantined my room.
            Renate never received a single note from me (although I did finally get to kiss her at a spin-the-bottle party in ninth grade), but through those nightly exercises I eventually became a writer, which above all other endeavors requires the persistence of Don Quixote.   
            Twenty-something years later, I met Lesli.  Due to logistical difficulties, a large part of our courtship was conducted via the U.S. Postal Service.  Suddenly I was an infatuated seventh-grader again, curled up every night on the floor next to my bed with a spiral notebook and colored pens.  Whatever came into my head at the moment seemed like a wonderful thing to share with her, and the more ridiculous, the better.  I found myself recycling much of the drivel I had trashed in my youth.  She fell for it and married me. 
Thank you, Renate, wherever you are.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Random Silliness: My first Renaissance fair

My daughter, after scrimping and saving for a year, recently treated her best friend and me to a day at the Scarborough Renaissance fair near Waxahachie, TX.   Every weekend from April through the end of May, a pastoral stretch of woods and grasslands in this agrarian/manufacturing community an hour south of Dallas is transformed into a mecca for medieval aficionados, artisans, bagpipers and assorted minstrels, along with food, frivolity, and the biggest collection of screwballs I've seen since my one and only Star Trek convention twenty years ago.

Forget historical accuracy--you'll see representations of everything from the 13th to the 18th century as well as fantasy characters, along with some really weird stuff.

Costumes ranged from a very authentic Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn (complete with her original head) to budget-conscious home-made creations that may or may not resemble 16th-century garb.

Black T-shirts are the perfect accessory for kilts.

In fact, I was amazed at the number of burly, hairy-chested biker types I saw wearing kilts.  Apparently it's the manly thing to do at such events.  Thankfully there were no strong breezes that day.

This guy worked at a food vendor called "The King's Nuts."
After speaking with him for a few minutes I was convinced the name did not refer to the food.

Nearly all of the shopkeepers spoke with faux British accents.  You ain't heard Cockney 'til it's spoken with a Texas twang.

That's why I found this elven munitions dealer so refreshing--he used a fake Russian accent instead.

I never believed in gnomes until I saw this character.  Most intriguing is the hat on top of his hat--kinda like the Harry Potter Sorting Hat playing cowboy.  Well, heck, it's Texas, ain't it?

I have no clue what Dr. Frankenstein has to do with medieval/renaissance culture--nor what he's doing with that ray gun.  But that wasn't half as weird as this:

The front view was even scarier, which, mercifully, I didn't get a picture of.  The real frightening thing is that she's pushing a baby stroller...which means they're allowed to breed!

The highlight of the day was when the sheriff and his assistant shouted for everyone to clear the road.
It was followed by the most unusual parade I've ever witnessed.

Nothing says "Renaissance" like a 200-lb middle-aged belly dancer...

...not to mention your standard authentic Renaissance muffin-top tattooed devil-troll thing.

A kid on a leash...

Followed by another kid on a leash (not a bad idea, I might add):

Parade watching always makes me hungry.  What authentic Renaissance repast would be complete without a $5 slice of ye old slippery cheese pizza? Omnomnom...

    Signs, signs, everywhere a sign...

Did I just see a Klingon?

The inebriated fellow above was apparently hired by a rival vendor to stand in front of this shop and shout bizarre things at passers-by--a sort of professional village idiot.  He's probably a congressman on weekdays.

I think this may have been a real nun...

...but I'm not so sure about this guy! 

Nothing quite like funky music performed with bagpipes and replicated medieval military drums.  They were rockin'out, believe me!

All in all, it was a fun outing--a chance for some father-daughter bonding on a beautiful spring day in Texas (we don't get many of those--it goes quickly from 65 degrees in April to 95 in May), but I have to admit I'm not as young as I used to be and I had to stop and rest!

In October the Scarborough fairgrounds will be transformed into one of the largest Halloween carnivals in the state, complete with haunted houses and likely a lot of the same kooks from the Renaissance fair.  Too bad I already have plans...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ordinary things that inexplicably creep me out...

They're out there...things that trigger a subconscious emotional response for no discernible reason.  Maybe something from my childhood or a movie I saw once...but I am really creeped out by clay chimney stoves:

Why, I can't really say...but I find them extremely creepy.

I don't ever want one of these things on my back porch.  It looks like it might eat me, or worse yet, sing weird evil songs in the middle of the night and curse my wife's vegetable garden.  A regular old barbecue grill is fine.

I'm not a horror writer like Stephen King--I have never been bothered by fears of 1958 Pontiacs coming to life and committing random acts of roadkill--although I do remember as a child having a nightmare about the water heater coming to life and chasing me over a mountain.  In spite of that I have never since been afraid of water heaters, not even when ours sprung a leak a couple of months ago and flooded my office (which is also our bedroom closet).  But don't let me near one of those clay stoves!  When they're on display in front of our local grocery store, I take the long way around to get to the door.  I don't want them to see me. 

I swear I am not crazy.  I'm willing to bet many of you have seriously silly phobias that you can't explain.  I'd love to hear about them!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Flopsy, 2002-2012

Now that we've celebrated world Bunny Day and Easter, it's only fitting to note that the bunny era has ended at our house.  Flopsy, the last of our five rabbits, passed away yesterday.  She was my youngest daughter's first pet.

We can't be sad--ten years is a ridiculously long life for a Mini-Rex rabbit (average lifespan about six years), but it closes a chapter in my daughter's childhood. 

Flopsy didn't do any fancy tricks or have any particularly fascinating personality traits--she was just an ordinary rabbit with incredibly soft fur and an overly round tummy.  Though recently thinned by age and illness, in her prime she looked more like a fuzzy basketball.  Eating seemed to be her primary purpose in life, and even in her old age she could make short work of a large carrot. 

I was my daughter's age (16) when I lost my first pet, a basset hound named Herbie.  He'd been with us since I was five, and I grieved for a long time.  Nearly forty years later I still dream about him--sometimes in my dreams he can talk, and he tells me how much he misses me.  And though his passing marked the end of my childhood, he was my inspiration, years later, for my Lunchbox books.  A part of me will always be eleven years old, tromping through the neighborhood with Herbie in search of adventure.  He was just an ordinary basset hound, but to me he was Rin-tin-tin.  He was my sentry dog when I played army; he was my rescue dog when I stepped through a snowdrift and got stuck in a muddy ditch (actually, he just kept walking and left me there to unstick myself), and he was always there to talk to.  And I wrote stories--dozens of short stories--about Herbie, in which he was a world traveler, a war hero, or a goofy foil for my brother's pet mouse, who was always the "straight man" in my stories.  In essence, Herbie helped me to become a writer--because as writers we have to apply our imaginations to ordinary things and make them extraordinary.

Flopsy was no less of an inspiration to my daughter, who also wrote stories about the noble warrior-princess of the bunny kingdom (she'd read all of the Redwall books before her tenth birthday) who vanquished evil weasels and made the world safe for all harmless woodland creatures.  And she helped my daughter become the gentle, imaginative young woman she is today--one who cares deeply for all things soft and furry (even the stupid cat) and has an affinity with nearly every animal she meets, be it a bunny, a dog, a horse, a llama, or a mouse.

Thank you Flopsy for ten years of nose-wiggling, carrot-munching, hippity-hopping entertainment.  Thank you for helping to build my daughter.  And since I'm pretty certain all bunnies, like all dogs, go to heaven, say hello to Herbie for me.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Happy Bunny Day!

According to the all-knowing Internet, today is World Bunny Day  (not to be confused with International Rabbit Day on September 25).  This is the day that bunny lovers around the world post pictures of their pets on Facebook and gush about how wonderful they are.

At the risk of having my man card revoked, I have to admit that I really like bunnies.  I like them a lot better than our stupid cat, that's for sure (but not as much as I like basset hounds).

There's something very calming about rabbits.  They're soft, sometimes cuddly (we've had a few that would scratch you to pieces if you got too friendly), quiet, and relatively clean (meaning if you don't keep them in the house, you don't have to clean up bunny beans).  We've had a few that were even affectionate and somewhat playful.

A few years ago I published a column in Byline Magazine about the perils of living with a stubborn rabbit who reminded me of my dad.  Click here to read it.

And in honor of World Bunny Day, here are some of the furry friends that have graced our home over the years:
 This is my nemesis (see above linked article) Thumper, feeling very grumpy with his new bunny leash/harness.  He seems to be saying "I feel so stupid."

 Dusty was more like a puppy than a bunny.  He loved being cuddled, would follow us around the house, and was absolutely crazy about my wife; he once leaped from my arms into hers as she passed by.
 We all loved Dusty.  As you can see, he was patient...
 and curious.
Dusty's sisters, Flopsy and Kiara.  Though our other bunnies have all gone to that great carrot patch in the sky, Flopsy (on the left) is still with us after ten years.  Considering that the average lifespan of a Mini-Rex rabbit is six or seven years, Flopsy is a bunny Methuselah.
Thumper took it upon himself to guard our Christmas tree...
...while Dusty really got into the spirit of the holiday.
This French Lop was found running loose in the park by some friends who gave her to us because they knew we were "rabbit people."  They said she was sweet and house-trained.  She was neither.  The kids named her Sweetie Pie, but we soon changed it to "Stinky Bunny."  Not only was she not litter-trained, when we put kitty litter in a box for her to use, she ate the box and left her doots wherever she pleased.  Though she was a beautiful bunny, she spent most of her life outside in the hutch.

Have a happy Bunny Day!

Friday, March 23, 2012

March Madness, alien style

In honor of March Madness, I thought I'd share info about another popular contact sport--well, popular in other parts of the galaxy, anyway.  To learn about one of the greatest matches ever, read Froonga Planet.

Excerpts from The Encyclopedia of Everything Else: Lob-lock

Lob-lock is a popular interplanetary sport with ancient origins.  It is believed to have evolved from the practice of prehistoric male Scwozzworts, who asserted their dominance by throwing large rocks and beating the gruzbunkles out of their rivals with heavy sticks.

Early lob-lock courts have been discovered in the ancient province of Snoofoo on the Scwozzwort homeworld, and archaeological evidence suggests that part of the game involved throwing one's opponent off of a high tower (after knocking him senseless) while shouting vicious insults.

Some interplanetary scholars doubt the authenticity of these findings, but lob-lock has certainly become more civilized in these modern times, and  technology has been incorporated into every facet of the game.  

Lob-lock has been called "the culmination of intergalactic civilization" and has even been used to settle territorial disputes in some sectors, eliminating the need for messy wars.  

Lob-lock involves the use of the following items:

1.  The bzzt-ball--originally believed to have just been a large round rock, the modern bzzt-ball has a series of spiny energy barbs protruding all around; it is used to deliver an immobilizing charge to one's opponent; the ball is lobbed, and the opponent is locked.  It is capable of self-propulsion and re-calibration, as well as random targeting.

2.  The whomp-sting stick: this is a long  metal rod with a heavy weight at one end and a stinging energy barb at the other, which delivers an immobilizing charge similar in strength to that of the bzzt-ball..  

3.  Thruster belts--modern lob-lock is played in zero gravity, and players must wear these devices to maneuver around the court.

4.  The goal units consist of floating platforms that remain in a fixed position at opposite ends of the court.  Each goal has an insult pad; players who have succeeded in stunning their opponents must fly to the platform, place a tentacle (or claw, or pseudopod, or whatever) on the pad and shout the most creative insult possible.  Deluxe goals are equipped with translator boxes that interpret insults during interplanetary matches.

Interplanetary Lob-lock League Rules:
The game can be played one-on-one or in teams of two; certain variances to this rule may exist on some worlds (see Hoofonoggle Rules).

Lob-lock courts:  These may vary in size, and can be anything from a large public anti-gravity arena to a cargo hold on a space ship, provided there is sufficient room to maneuver.

The game begins with an insult.  Each side will insult the other, and the goal computer will score each one.  The player or team with the winning insult begins on offense.

The offensive player will hurl the bzzt-ball at his rival in an attempt to stun him.  If he is successful, he must then violently fling the rigid opponent against the wall, and then speed to the opposing goal, touch the pad, and shout an insult before the stunned opponent recovers.  The computer will automatically rate the quality of the insult and announce a point total.

If an offensive player throws the bzzt-ball and misses, the ball will then re-calibrate and target the thrower, who must either dodge or swat it away with the heavy end of the whomp-sting stick.  He may also use the energy barb to attempt to stun his opponent.  If an offensive player is stunned by a returning bzzt-ball, the opponent may then fling him against the wall and attempt to score insult points.

There is a brief intermission halfway through the game to allow for rest, during which time gravity is re-engaged so that body fluids and/or parts can be more easily cleared from the court.

The game normally ends at the expiration of regulation time (this can vary from planet to planet--some matches have been known to last for days).  The highest point total wins, except in cases where all players become completely incapacitated--this is resolved by awarding the victory to the team or player with the least number of life-threatening injuries.

Hoofonoggle Rules:

The standard rules have been ratified by all participating worlds within the Interplanetary Lob-Lock League with one exception:  Games played on the Hoofonoggle home world have two additional rules:
1. The winners get to eat the losers.
2.  Hoofonoggles cheat.

Illustration by Kevan J. Atteberry in Froonga Planet (2008 Henry Holt and Company)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Freewriting exercises to kill writer's block

Writer's block is the scourge of writing success.  Some professionals recommend "freewriting" when this happens--just start writing random stuff until an idea pops out.

Occasionally when I find myself blocked, I play a game with my kids.  I ask for a word or phrase, and then I have two minutes to crank out as much stuff as possible from that word or phrase. Here are some of my more noble efforts--not Newbery award winners by any means, but there's potential!

Word cue: The chimps danced 
The chimps danced along the tops of the trees.  All the bananas in the world could not have made them any happier than at this moment.  Oogoo had won the challenge, and Geenah would no longer be their leader.  Now everyone would have a chance at the juiciest termites, not just the elders.

Geenah slumped on the forest floor.  How could he have lost?  And what was this rock, paper, scissors thing, anyway?

Word cue: The trumpet section fell over (this is from my youngest son, who is a band geek like me)
The trumpet section fell over during the halftime show.  At least they had fallen over backwards instead of face-first, which would have smashed their horns and driven their mouthpieces through their teeth and into their brains.  

The audience applauded, believing this was scripted, because they did it with such precision.  But no sound came from their instruments as they lay on the grass, with spit leaking onto their faces from the upturned trumpets.

Next, a hole opened in the middle of the field beneath the tuba players, and quickly closed up, leaving only the fiberglass bells of their instruments in a neat row across the fifty-yard line, resembling the ventilation tubes you might see on old navy ships.

Now the crowd began to worry.  What if only the clarinets are left?

Word cue: amok
Amok, amok, amok, amokamokamokamokamok.
Playing Godzilla was a lot more fun than he’d ever dreamed.  The people who ran screaming to avoid the crushing feet of the giant hamster likely disagreed with him.  But what did they expect?  Dr. Noongalee’s Instant Growth formula didn’t say anything on the label about also growing brains and a sense of responsibility.  Little did Mr. Fuzzball suspect, however, just how difficult the next few days would be.  In fact, he would probably live to regret making a snack out of the poor doctor.

This is a great game to get the creative gears turning--remember, there's a time limit--two minutes--and once you've typed it, move on to the next one.  The two-minute limit gives you no time to be judgmental about your work--not to mention it helps you learn to type fast!  Later you can go over them and see if you have any great story ideas in there. 

It works for me, to one degree or another--doesn't always help with the story I'm currently working on, but gives me fodder for future stories and helps me learn to be creative on demand.   I keep all of these nuggets on file, no matter how stupid they may be.   I think the giant hamster story has some potential, and I've since sketched a few chapters from this intro.  

So, my fellow writers--what do YOU do when you're blocked? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Random Silliness: Why we don't have symmetrical faces

Here's my irresistibly handsome mug, my standard publicity photo.  

One of the things that makes us beautiful and unique is the asymmetry of our faces.  Don't believe it?  Go to Symface.com and upload a headshot of yourself.  This is the only decent headshot I have, and because I'm not directly facing the camera, the program had a little trouble.  I recommend you use a straight-up headshot if possible, or it might look like this:
From the looks of the above picture, Mrs. Fields has not been feeding me enough.  Eww!
Then again, I kind of like this one:

Kinda makes me want to go to the beach and kick sand in Schwarzenegger's face.  Ahhnuld, you  vimpy little girly-man!

Go to Symface.com and have some fun with it!  There's a link to donate to the Red Cross on there, also--but verify before you click!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Froonga Planet & St. Patrick's Day

Frazz and Grunfloz return to Earth in this wild sequel to Lunchbox and the Aliens. It's a few days until Christmas, and while his parents are away at a convention, Nate and his basset hound, Lunchbox, have to assist the aliens in stopping a hostile invasion. But first they have to survive the Mill Ferron Fruitcake Festival and Great-Aunt Nelly's entry in the bake-off...

What the reviewers have said:

"Nothing says 'Christmas' like an alien-infested fruitcake that sucks the flavor out of everything it touches..." --School Library Journal

"...as silly and fun to read as the first..." --Kirkus Reviews.

We only have a few autographed hardcovers left in stock--order today!

By the way, happy St. Patrick's Day!
(Who says I can't plug a Christmas book today?)

Speaking of St. Patrick's day and spring break, many readers have asked me if I'm planning another Lunchbox book.  The answer is, well, yes and no.  Yes, I'm halfway through a new story that involves Lunchbox, Nate, the aliens, and spring break.  No, I don't know when or if it will be published--I have to finish it first!  I will, however, be including little tidbits of information in this blog about the Scwozzwort universe from time to time, in a feature called Excerpts from the Encyclopedia of Everything Else.  Readers of Lunchbox and the Aliens will recognize that title as one of the many sources of information dumped into Lunchbox's brain during his first encounter with the aliens.

I'm also working on two new books.  One involves a middle school chess club, cows, and time travel; the other is about little creatures from another dimension who travel to our world in search of marshmallows.  I hope to finish at least one of them before the year is out!  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Autographed copies of my books!

Greetings, Lunchbox fans!
One of the biggest thrills of my life was the publication of my first book, matched only by the publication of my second book.  Since its original hardcover release in 2006, Lunchbox and the Aliens has been featured in the Scholastic Book Fairs/Book Clubs, popped up in a lot of school and public libraries, and made thousands and thousands of kids snort and giggle and shoot root beer from their noses (hint: use caution when drinking root beer while reading this book--I can't be held responsible for the mess!).

A brief synopsis for the uninitiated:

Lunchbox is an ordinary basset hound until he's abducted by a pair of crazy aliens and accidentally made intelligent.  With his new knowledge, he's sent back to Earth to build a machine to make alien food (known as froonga) from one of the planet's most abundant resources: garbage.

Things get complicated when Lunchbox involves Nate, his 11-year old owner.  Not only do they end up having to deal with a crooked politician, an evil garbage man, and weird alien technology, but the fate of the world may rest on whether or not Lunchbox can ever learn to catch a Frisbee!

To buy hardcover copies (autographed by yours truly) of Lunchbox and the Aliens and its sequel, Froonga Planet, follow this link.  We only have a few hardcovers left in stock, so don't wait!
You can also purchase regular, unsigned copies at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.  Froonga Planet is also available for Nook and Kindle!

Stay tuned for more silliness!