"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A new book for a new year

A quick post today, folks, introducing my latest book, which is now available on Amazon:

Gorgeous, yes? The cover art was designed by the fabulous Joe Felipe of Market Me Graphics. Love. Him.

People kept asking me when I was going to publish a book of my columns, and I kept saying, gee yes, I should do that. But when I approached agents/editors/publishers, their response was lukewarm at best.

"Yes, that sounds like a great idea, but you're not famous. Come back and see us when you're Dave Barry."

Not to sound pissy, but when I'm Dave Barry, I don't need to go see them. I might need to see a specialist, however.

So I decided to try out Amazon's CreateSpace program. You write the book, send them your stuff and they publish it. You get a bunch more money per sale than if you went the traditional route, and you have more control.

Control is not always a good thing. Having never published my own book before, I had to go a few rounds with them on page count, margin size, etc. Most of these corrections were because I didn't know what I was doing. Fortunately, CreateSpace was willing to work with me on fixing things. They do charge a little money for their part of the process, and they waived certain fees with me because they understood my floundering.

Now all I have to do is let everyone in the universe know it's out there so the people who like to laugh can buy it and get a giggle or two.

I don't have any signings lined up, but if you live near me and you buy a copy, let me know and I'll come sign it for you. Hell, I'll read it to you if you like. It'll be fun. We can do lunch.

Call me.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy Holidays, ooh-ooh!

Now that my house is clean and everything's under control (she says with her fingers crossed dear god dear god let everything stay under control), let's talk about the Christmas letter. First of all, thanks for all your comments (most of you made them on Facebook). The winning photo is...

Number 2!

The horses' ears are not pointing forward, but the people are all looking up and smiling, Katy is not turning her back to the camera, Duffy is almost-sitting, and my jawline has not been completely swallowed by my wrinkles, so it's a winner.

Along with the photo, I always write a letter. It's actually how I began my writing "career". After the first letter, people kept telling me I needed to write for real. After the second letter, the arguments began in other households - "Why can't you write a good Christmas letter like the Carlines?" Now that I do write for real, the pressure escalates every year.

I think everyone needs to be confident about one thing they do well. Maybe it's playing a sport, or cooking a meal, or being good at your job. I can honestly say, without bravado, I know I 'm good at Christmas letters. I've read some really good ones and some really bad ones, and I've learned how to do it well.

The trick is to get in and out of your year in one page. If you can do it with a jaunty smile and a hope for peace on earth, good will to everyone, more's the better. If your year has been a hot mess, then do it with poignant grace, and still be hopeful for a better new year.

Here's my letter for 2010:

Wishing you all Peace on Earth, Good Will to Everyone!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Please enjoy the music while we try to reach your party.

Okay, peeps, this week I am trying to get the house both decorated AND cleaned, in anticipation of our Sunday GumboFest and Football-a-Palooza. Dale makes great gumbo, and we invite all our friends, whether they like football or not. I'm not the biggest football fan in the universe (probably 1,906,542 in Amazon rankings), so I'll be wandering through the house yakking to people, offering a bit of wine/beer/soda, and generally enjoying the company.

It's all fun but leaves me with NO time to do much else. So while I'm busy, please enjoy these Christmas videos:

1. Dean Martin singing "White Christmas" - yes, I know Bing is the definitive version, and this video clip kind of bugs me because the voice is off-sync with his lips BUT-BUT-BUT if anyone could wish for a White Christmas, it would be an Ohio transplant (Dino) AND there are horses in the video, too. You know I'm a sucker for horses.

2. Alvin and the Chipmunks - At Christmas, they used to play this song constantly at Goldblatt's Plaza, back in Decatur, Illinois, outside the window display of animated critters that were supposed to be chipmunks. Today I would probably think it's cheesy, but when I was a kiddo, I was entranced. This is the original version.

3. Lights! Music! Action! What video-ganza would be complete without a view of some over-lit house choreographed to music?


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