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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Printed books are the best! Also.... UNICORNS!


I’ve heard the ebooks vs. printed books debate a hundred times—many of those times things get heated. I am an ardent believer that people should read what and how they want. Like to read on paper? Cool. So do I. Wanna read off a screen? Okay, do that. I like doing that too. Same goes for if you prefer your books chiseled on stone, or painted on the walls of French caves, or hand written by albino monks on the flesh of your enemies… uh… we’ll come back to that last one….

The point of this post is not to debate which side is better—because every time that debate pops up it quickly devolves into one side saying:

And the other side doing something like this:
The point of this post is, instead, to right a problem I’ve had with the debate since the first time I heard it. The arguments are entirely unoriginal.  “With a kindle, I can hold a million books in my pocket!” or “Printed books smell like unicorns!” Both are totally true, but just not original.

So, I am here to right that wrong. Today I present an entirely friendly challenge: I will give you a few original reasons why printed books are better than ebooks (bearing in mind I love ebooks too), and you try to come up with five original reasons why ebooks are better.  


NUMBER ONE: Cops! Yeah, that’s right. Questioning suspects just wouldn’t be the same without a physical book. What are you going to hit them with? A kindle? No, those leave very distinctive marks. Without physical books the entire justice system would be in ruin.

NUMBER TWO:  You can hide stuff in books

NUMBER THREE:  No books = no bookshelves. No bookshelves means people will easily find your secret door to your bat-cave.

NUMBER FOUR:  It’s much cooler to make-out in the library or bookstore aisles, than it is the electronics aisle at Walmart (or any aisle at Walmart for that matter).

NUMBER FIVE: They are the go-to resource for wizards and witches. 

NUMBER SIX: If you want to be evil, you can rip out the last two pages of a book and reduce the next reader to tears. Always fun… if you’re evil… which I’m not… and am no way endorsing you to destroy books.

 NUMBER SEVEN: They smell like unicorn! (C’mon, that’s actually pretty original!)

Thursday, March 12, 2015


I live in a city of bookstores. It seem there’s always one just around the corner or on the next block. It’s wonderful for someone like me who tends to enjoy bookstores the way others enjoy gardens. 

What’s interesting, is that I don’t pass that many major bookstore chains. The few that remain seem to sell a lot more than just books. Merchandise, toys, and food have at least as much space as the books on the shelves.

I can’t help but wonder what the landscape will look like in ten years.

Will we have bookstores?

I think we will, but I’d be surprised if many of them were major chains. If we look at the movie industry, the major players like Blockbuster and Rogers Video closed first. Up until even a year ago I remember passing by the odd independent movie store. Though I have to admit it’s been several years since I’ve even owned a DVD player, let alone rented a movie.

One thing I realize is a lack of bookstores doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of physical books. Most of the people I know who buy books, buy a lot of them online. I think that might stem from dwindling supply in stores, as well as the larger discounts the digital retailers tend to offer.

What do you think? Will independent bookstores thrive in the new climate? Will our kids, and our kid’s kids have bookstores? Or will books become things purchased online or in a few aisles at the backs of specialty shops? 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


I took this challenge hoping I'd really hit all 30 days, but clearly I've missed a couple :/ so I'm revising the challenge and calling it BLOG AS MUCH AS YOU CAN IN 30 DAYS! Okay, that's not technically too far off from what I usually do. Gonna consider this baby-steps :P

Today I wanted to give a quick peak into what I've been working on in terms of writing projects. Ready?

My MG series:
I've been working on a new series of MG adventure books. No, that doesn't mean I've abandoned my DEAN CURSE or my CAMBRIDGE FILES books. In fact, DEAN CURSE 4 (PLUNGE) is well on its way, and Book 2 in the CAMBRIDGE FILES is actually done (well, done to the pre-professional editing stage anyway). 

I don't really like to talk too much about my works in progress, but I will tell you that I've written a fair number of books in this new series and I'm really excited about it. My agent is presently pitching the concept to publishers.

So here's a simple image collage about the books to keep you interested: Now... fair warning: My artistic skills can generally be put to shame by a toddler with a crayon and access to a wall. Something I made oh so evident when I revealed the before and after for my DEAN CURSE book covers HERE

Okay, okay, get on with it, Steve! Here you go:

See what I mean about the lack of art-skills? Okay, let me try again with my YA novel. I recently turned in to my agent for some feedback. In collage form it would look a bit like this:

I also have a number of ideas in the rough stage but those are the books I have complete for now. I look forward to putting some updates together soon for these books.

Okay, what do you think? Should I give up this whole writing thing and just go in to business as a professional collage maker?

Saturday, March 7, 2015

BOYS VS. GIRLS... Battle for the books

The other day I was asked by a parent what book I’d recommend for their 9 year old son. They wanted me to give them some tips for ‘boy-books’ that they thought he’d like

My initial thought was that they were looking for books that had a little more:

And a little less:
And don't get me wrong. It didn't bother me. When faced with a choice between the latest Avengers movie or something pulled from a Nicholas Sparks book, a betting man would put money on Avengers being a more popular choice for guys. And that's fine.

Okay, back to my story and the point of this post. They asked for a boy book, I suggested a book and they shook their head saying, "They were looking for something with more action and fighting."

Cool--- I made another suggestion:

"Ah, but it has a girl on the cover. I want one geared for boys."

Wait a second... the book can't have a girl on the cover? But it's got these two kick-butt characters who are total fighters and they're out for revenge... and ... and ... nevermind.  You know your kid better than I do. Could they really have been saying that the simple fact the main character is a girl disqualifies it from being one a boy would want to read... Ahem... HUNGER GAMES!!!

I looked around the net and sure enough, I saw countless comments and message board threads and book reviews pointing out this trend of thinking boy books MUST be about boys. That's too bad, and I think we’re teaching kids a lesson we don’t mean to be teaching them when we do that..

Again, I’m not saying that boys and girls will always like the same books. Of course not. But neither will all boys like the same books as other boys, or girls as other girls. And I'm not saying that publishers can't target their marketing strategy to parents with boys, or to boys themselves. I'm just saying that we, as readers, and parents, and writers, should perhaps not paint books with the same predetermined gender color palette we seem to have for clothing.

My son’s into action adventure, Steve, what do you recommend? 
 This is one of my favs. Totally a clean read for kids under 12, and loaded with action and adventure and ... Oh, wait, even though that looks like a boy on the cover, it's actually a girl since the main character pretends to be a boy.... Darn. Luckily they have two covers. One with a character and one without!

My son loves books that involve soccer players. He’s 8 years old, any suggestions?

 Oh, darn, foiled again.

What are your thoughts?  Am I over thinking this?