Friday, April 29, 2011

The Camp and Education Fair

Don't miss it! tomorrow from 11-5, come on down and check out C.P. White Media's booth at the Treasure Valley Family Magazine Camp and Education Fair. This year we've partnered with local startup Verge Rock, Meridian's only school of rock.

You can stop by our shared booth and pick up signed copies of the Great Jammy Adventure of the Flying Cowboy, plus hear local artists jamming and maybe...just maybe...even pick up a tip or two from Verge Rock's guitar instructors.

On top of all that, you can help Verge Rock to win a $50,000 grant from Pepsi's Refresh Everything contest.

So come down and say hi; it promises to be a grand day out! Admission is free to the public.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rediscovered Books and the Demise of the Local Author

Here’s one thing I never wanted to write about. But as we go through life we encounter the good, the bad, and the ugly in due course; it’s all in one package.

Aaron Patterson, my publisher/partner in the industry, dropped one of my books off at Rediscovered Books in downtown Boise the other day, and it wasn’t long before I received a voicemail about how it wasn’t “a good fit” for their inventory.

And that's fine, but when I returned the call (I had been on vacation) I was given a lecture about how my book will “never be a success” because “full color books at this price point are all hardcover” and since there is nothing on the spine of the book “it will only get lost on the shelf”. I was told in short that my book is not saleable—at least at Rediscovered Books.

And that’s still okay by me. What they fail to understand though, perhaps willfully, is that the book is what it is not because of random chance and arbitrary mindlessness, but because of well-considered and informed choices. There’s no print on the spine, for instance, because it’s not practical to put any there on a 32 page perfect-bound softcover—either it will not show up properly because of manufacturing inconsistencies, or it will simply be way too small to be useful. And it’s softcover because, dear God, it’s expensive enough to print. Their ultimatum to me that I sell it at $8 in their store means that I would lose money on every single copy. The local indie author doesn't have a whole lot of options anyway, but after this experience I'm afraid my options are far fewer than I had suspected to begin with.

During my browbeating over the phone, though, I wanted, at least, to say that she didn’t need to be so rude to me. I wanted to tell her that I have poured two years of my life into the concept and the book. I would have liked her to have known that the book is not in fact a “full color” book, but I’d like to feel safe in assuming that she, in the process of rejecting it, was observant enough to notice that it says all over the cover, front and back, that it’s the OK-to-color-in-picture-book, and that, if one was to crack said cover open, one would notice that it is not printed in full color because it’s meant to be colored-in by the reader. But since she was lecturing me, and also since I understandably wanted to terminate as soon as possible a phone call that amounted to abuse, I didn’t attempt to get a word in edgewise.

What's really amazing to me is that my experience is not the exception; rather, it seems to be the rule. I've talked with authors and publishers who know, and Rediscovered Books--which bills itself as a haven for indie and local authors--has become hostile to us. Some of us are published with major houses, too, and yet, for whatever reason, none of us (or should I say, none of some of us?) are good enough for them. The question is, what now?

I can only speak for me, so sadly, Jammy Adventurists, Rediscovered Books will not be one of our retail partners. I’ll try my luck at Barnes & Noble, in the local authors section. And Hastings. And other kid-focused places like Just Kid’n Around in Meridian. And whoever else wants a piece of the action. Ironically, none of these are as hostile toward local authors as the "local indie" book shop. In fact, none of them are hostile in any way, except Rediscovered Books. Bizarre, huh?

Friday, April 22, 2011


So we have this game we call smackerwackerfantastic. It’s the most amazingly awesomeness-packed activity. I dunno, I guess some weirdos call it “tetherball,” or something totally lame like that. Anyway, it’s awesome, because the object of the game is to get the ball entirely wrapped up around the pole in YOUR direction (not your oponent’s direction) while simultaneously either missing it when you try to hit it or taking one right in the pie hole. Kids are supposed to lose their teeth anyway, right?

I decided the other day to take the boys on a walk to the local public school. There’s a playground there, and I figure if nothing else, I can somehow exact my vengeance upon the tax code by at least using the facilities mischievously (my kids go to a school where they can learn about novel stuff like Biblical ethics). Imagine my hooliganesque delight when I stepped onto the property and discovered two completely unattended smackerwackerfantastic poles calling out to us. Oh snap. It’s on.

And we had tons of fun. You know, there’s a lot to be said for making time (instead of complaining that you just don’t have enough) to do something totally analog with your kids. Leave the smartphone at home, dads. And moms. Take your face out of the social drug dispensary for 30 minutes and enjoy your kids. You’d be surprised how awesome they are. I know I was refreshed by my little warriors—you know, all they really want is to be in your life. And one way or another, they’ll get your attention.

So we played a game that we invented a few years ago (actually while on a little retreat to Hawaii). We walked to and from, stretching the legs a little. And when we got home, wanna know what we did? We played chess! Me, my seven year old and my 2 year old. The best part was hearing my oldest say, “checkmate.” At least it was until I realized he was right.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kid History

If you haven't seen the Kid History videos, you're missing out. I just have to share this, because it's so awesomely KID. Plus it's hilarious.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Coloring Contest Correction

The coloring contest that features The Great Jammy Adventures at Maui Wowi Coffee and Smoothies in Meridian doesn't start until after Easter, Jammy Adventurists. You can still head on in and enjoy great Hawaiian coffees (I recommend the Molokai), but if you want a chance to win free books, ya gotta hang on for a little longer. More updates to come!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pajamas Day and Story Time

Mark your calendars, Jammy Adventurists!

Tuesday, April 26th at 11 AM Chris will be reading/ performing the Great Jammy Adventure of the Flying Cowboy at Just Kid'n Around in Meridian. Remember to wear your jammies too...even the author will be jammied up for this one. It promises to be tons of fun, plus you can buy your very own copy of the book! As always, crayons are included.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Free Books!

Pick up your entry forms now: there are three age brackets (sorry grownups, they're all for kids) at Maui Wowi Coffee in Meridian. Click here for a map. This is a coloring contest, featuring one of the illustrations from our new book. Each age bracket's winner (i.e. best Jammy Adventurist) will receive a signed copy of The Great Jammy Adventure of the Flying Cowboy, absolutely gratis. That means "free books".

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Book Signing and Sale

Coming up on Monday, April 25th, from 8-11 AM, I will be live and in person at Total Woman Fitness in Meridian. I'll be selling signed copies of The Great Jammy Adventure of the Flying Cowboy, for all you aspiring Jammy Adventurists out there who either haven't got yours yet, or need more. Click here for a map. I hope to see you there!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Kids, Hot Chocolate, and Public Places

Sometimes ya just can't take the kids out and about, ya know? I tried to attend a little writer's meeting with Aaron Patterson at a local coffee shop, Maui Wowi, and thought, "Hey, self, just set them up with some coloring books and some hot chocolate and you'll be golden. They'll be fine."

Yeah, that didn't work out. So the meeting is proceeding without me and I'm sitting with my sugar-amped children blogging about the life of a stay-at-home dad. If nothing else, this much is positive. I get more hang-out time with my boys. Meeting attempted and aborted--it morphed into just dad and the boys hanging out and coloring our Jammy books. And that's a good thing.