Monthly Archives: January, 2012

The Snowy Day By Ezra Jack Keats

Listening to NPR this afternoon I found out that today was the 50th anniversary of The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

This was a year before I was born and it was a really, really big deal. Really.

We sometimes take for granted where we are and how far we have come.

Here are the words from The Snowy Day site:

In this Caldecott Award-winning book, a small boy named Peter experiences the joy of a snowy day. First published in 1962, this now-classic book broke the color barrier in mainstream children’s publishing. The vivid and ageless illustrations and text, beloved by several generations of readers, have earned a place in the pantheon of great American children’s literature.

Broke the color barrier. Let that sink in.

On NPR they talked about children who started using brown crayons when they drew themselves.

For. The. First. Time.

This book allowed them to see a protagonist that looked like they did. And do.

No longer would they color themselves with pink crayon.

I’m reading “Ice” today. It’s Ice-T’s memoir.

Ice-T experienced what it was to “pass” for white when he was small.

That was before he understood that people were treating darker people differently than him.

His mom told him “Honey, people are stupid.”

Unfortunately, today we are far from perfect in our treatment of race.

Many people are still stupid.

Today is a great day to stop that. We can all start a new discipline.

No matter where we land on the continuum from angel to devil in this area, we can do this.

If. We. Choose.

What if we all started truly paying attention to how we treat people who appear outwardly different?

What if we decided to notice this as much as we possibly can every day?

If we want to make a muscle stronger, we exercise it.

Let’s exercise our intentional, our “paying attention” muscle and make it stronger.

Ezra Jack Keats has a great place for us to start.

The Snowy Day

Comment on Eye On Ashenclaw

Maybe you’ll want to join the discussion at Gary Vanucci’s Eye On Ashenclaw – Homage or Lack of Creativity? – January 24, 2012 – IF you can!

EyeOnAshenclaw.blogspot.com

I have resorted to posting a comment this way because I kept getting this response:

URL contains illegal characters

Joe Eszterhas said that you don’t want to remake a movie unless you can improve it. When something was good or especially great in the first place, this is a tall order. Usually, many of those involved are interested in the potential boatload of money from a built-in audience and don’t care or realize that their remake is not as good as the original.

Yet I really enjoyed Battlestar Galactica on SyFy and see it as a vast improvement over the original, regardless of whatever nostalgic affection we might have for the campy Lorne Greene vehicle.

The Hunger Games trilogy has been a pleasant surprise and that goes double for Alma Katsu’s The Taker, which I posted about on my AOO Authors, Offers And Others blog.

So, I guess the answer for me is – It depends on how good it is.

Maybe I’ll update Heinlein’s The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress one of these days. Or maybe there are people out there with more literary knowledge who will tell me that The Hunger Games or Alma Katsu are derivative, but I don’t realize it because I haven’t seen or read the original media. That’s what I sometimes try to explain to my son when I tell him I’m not impressed with a lot of music today. Didn’t my parents say that? 😉

Twitter Wants Me To Mention Alma Katsu

About 30 minutes ago I followed @AlmaKatsu and I was just about to send her a message when Twitter told me that “Loading seems to be taking a while”. I’ve been reading The Hunger Games trilogy, but I’ll leave that for another time.

Today is gray and threatening rain at my house in California and maybe that’s why it reminds me of the cover of “The Taker”. Last summer Alma Katsu was kind enough to sign two books for me at San Diego’s international event, Comic-Con. I have an extraordinarily long-lived character in my head so the panel on immortality looked interesting. Katsu was the most memorable person to me and not just because I waited in line later for not one, but (pleasant surprise!) two books. First, she said her characters experience immortality as punishment. Second, her background with the government in studying genocide was so serious compared to what I typically encounter there and it was in stark contrast to her sense of humor.

A couple hours after the panel I was waiting in line to get her “Alma Katsu” on a book and I was wondering how much it cost. Just before I spoke to her I asked one of her assistants(?) the price and found that it was free for those of us waiting in this line! I asked her if I could have a book for the wife of a friend of mine and she happily said yes and signed both copies of “The Taker”. She warned me that it was “dark”. I wondered if I have that kind of face that says “Middle America” or something along those lines. I thanked her and went on my merry way to the rest of Comic-Con.

Later, my wife was actually the first one to read it and confirmed that it was dark indeed. I finished it fairly quickly and found out that my friend’s 20-something daughter was a better candidate for Katsu’s tale. His wife is apparently NOT a fan of dark writing. How did I get that exactly backwards?

While I haven’t typically read dark material in the past, I loved this book. I only have one correction for Katsu which has to do with the extinct(?) card game, Faro, and it’s really a small thing in the telling of her story. I’m experienced at playing cards as I worked in casinos in the early ’90s. They actually paid me to play poker! I’ll leave that for another time, too.

A while back I connected with Katsu personally on Facebook and today I noticed that I somehow missed connecting to her “author” page on Facebook. I automatically remedied that situation and I recommend you do, too!

When I connect with her next I intend to ask her if there is a possibility of free autographed copies of her book for readers of AOO. If you’re left wondering… AOO is this blog – Authors, Offers, And Others. Would you say, “AOO like a wolf? Or Ah…Oooo? Or you might have another way of pronouncing AOO. No matter how you pronounce the name of this blog, Alma Katsu’s “The Taker” may leave you making some version of the AOO sound.

Connect on Facebook at

Ann McIndoo Is Busy Helping Writers

Ann McIndoo and I met a while back and since I love to network I asked if she does.

Nearly everyone I meet answers this question with a yes.  Not Ann.

She explained that she has so much business as an author’s coach that she doesn’t bother with networking!

You can get Ann’s “So You Want To Write” ebook ($27 value) for FREE by signing up as one of her affiliates.

Ann McIndoo’s website is SoYouWantToWrite.com

Welcome To Authors, Offers & Others – AOO!

This is not my first rodeo.  What will you see here at AOO?

[It’s pronounced awooooooo or ow-oooooooo.]

For our purposes we will let those who write be called authors, but the emphasis will be on those who have published or anticipate publishing books soon.

Offers will be a broad term as well. Hopefully there will be a proportionate share of offers from the authors themselves.

Others will include both other people and the word “other” in various forms.

I’ll start with an offer of a book I’ve read – HOW.

I signed up and a few weeks later it arrived in the mail free of all charges.

Because I have already liked the page on Facebook, I cannot see if the free offer

still stands.  If you’re even on the fence about the book I encourage you to take

advantage of the offer.

Please let me know if Dov Seidman’s offer of a free book delivered is still available.

Check out Facebook.com/HowIsTheAnswer

Please be gentle in your criticism of my blog.  I don’t think this will be my last rodeo, either.

Thanks.