Dirty Laundry

Some Early Christmas/Hanukkah Presents

Growing up, my family celebrated both Christmas and Hanukkah. And honestly, when the two holidays overlapped it could seem a little schizophrenic lighting the menorah and reciting the Hanukkah prayer with the sparkling lights of the Christmas tree in the background. But when you factor in the twelve days of Christmas and the eight nights of Hanukkah, well, you’re talking about a pretty nice haul of presents there. So, as a kid, you never heard me complaining.

These days it’s the coziness of family and the traditions that I love the most, though, honestly, I won’t turn my nose up at the presents, either.

Which brings me to a few very nice early gifts I’ve received in the form of rave reviews for BEAT THE BAND.

And since I was always taught to share, I’ll do that right now by posting some links for you to enjoy:

Teenreadstoo

Guys Lit Wire

Whatchamacllit Reviews

Book Page

Teen Reads

San Francisco Book Review

And now, for all you patient people out there, a few gifts for you. Some pics from my recent trip along the Rhine River (with many more to come)

For all those castle lovers out there.
image

Photography lesson #376: Try not to photograph landmarks straight on. Instead, use them as if they were an afterthought.
image

Just in case you missed out on autumn.
image

Just in case you simply can’t see enough pictures of castles.
image

Me with a castle for a hat (see rule #376)
image

The reason I threw away my point and shoot and bought a DSLR.
image

Photography lesson #892: Place something large and ivy-ish in the foreground whenever possible to give a sense of depth.
image

And one more, because I heard you were good this year.
image

London Calling

So, some really cool news on the writing front. It seems that Templar Publishing has picked up the UK rights to my first two books (SWIM THE FLY and BEAT THE BAND). Not only that, but next May they are flying me over to do two weeks of touring at schools and book festivals. So, I will surely have more fabulous photos of England to share with you in the not so distant future.

On top of this I recently received School Library Journal’s review of BEAT THE BAND in which they call it a “very funny sequel to SWIM THE FLY” that is both “gut-wrenching and touching.” And who doesn’t love a little “very funny” with a side of “gut-wrenching and touching”?

And now onto the real meat of things. It’s December. In case you didn’t notice. And why is December one of the twelve greatest months of the year? Could it be all those festive lights on everybody’s house? Or the holiday music playing in every store? Could it possibly be the anticipation of tearing into all that wrapping paper? Or eating inhuman amounts of turkey, and cookies, and candy?

I suppose that’s all part of it. But the real icing on the cake is all of the amazing hockey that gets played in December. Not only do you get the copious amounts of regular NHL games, but up here in Canada you get extensive coverage of the World Junior Championships where you are treated to the sight of tomorrow’s stars today. And to top it all off, there’s the build up to the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. Who doesn’t love December?!!!

I should have some great photographs for you soon as I’ve just returned from a river cruise along the Rhine. My wife and I took my mom as a special treat (she’s never been to Europe before) and I took around a thousand shots (don’t you just love digital cameras?). Just need to wade through the detritus to get you the real gems. Be patient. I know you will be.