Category: On Writing
MAMA, WHY DO BABIES CRY?
Packed House Publications is excited to announce we have found a treasure. Author Amy Winfield and illustrator Katlego Kagbale is the first children book team to join our family.
“Mama, Why Do Babies Cry?” is Mrs. Winfield’s first book. In this heartwarming story a young child asks her mother why babies cry. The answers that follow are both rich and insightful.
Married to the text are the most eye-popping illustrations that will make you take notice and will remain with you for years to come. Katlego Kgabale, is the most talented illustrator I have seen in a long time. Her eye for detail is remarkable; she is truly an illustrator to watch.
When asked why she wrote this lovely children’s book, Mrs. Winfield answers in her no-non-sense style. “I wrote this book specifically as a way to assist parents, grandparents, and all caretakers in their efforts to explain why babies cry. It is my hope that the beautiful imagery of this multicultural book will not only entertain your child, but will also help them grow socially and intellectually.”
Packed House Publications is blessed to have found these very talented women. It is our hope there will be many more amazing works from this incredible duo.
Please purchase your copy of “Mama, Why Do Babies Cry,” today!
“Blown Away” Pre-Order Announcement!
I am super stoked to inform you of our newest book release, our proudest achievement, and our most precious baby of all the books…
Introducing “Blown Away”, the 3rd and final book in the ‘Life’ Series! Not only has this book been a huge labor of love for us (over a year in the making), but it is the first book of its kind to feature Fifty Words or Fewer Stories! Yep, that’s right: each one of the fifty stories in this collection are at least fifty words, or often less. This is flash fiction at its tightest, challenging form. Here’s more:
“Blown Away” rings in the 3rd and final installment of the best-selling ‘Life’ series, in its slicing examination of one of the most delightful and likewise, challenging portions of life: the unexpected. Using characters in inventive new ways (water and fire fall in love in “Fiery Dance”), examining people in surprising – and often, devastating –circumstances a soldier returns home to find an unforgiving country, (“A Soldier’s Story”), and serving up twists in every tale (a schoolchild reveals a little too much in “Show and Tell”, with hilarious results) Blown Away seeks to do just that – blow you away – all in fifty stories, fifty words or fewer. Life is run on the unexpected, and Blown Away recreates and reveals the wild ride it often gives us, and where it takes us. In the first ever, short story collection series, author Paul Worthington powerfully demonstrates the joy and despair of the unexpectedness of life, and all the beautiful colors in between. Prepare to be blown away…
It is currently available for pre-order, and will be released on February 14th, 2015. (We will release it on Valentine’s Day because we’re sure you’ll love it so much.) The stories range from heartfelt to thought-provoking, hilarious to deeply powerful, every one of them with an unseen twist. Here’s one story at this blog post, but continue reading below for an extra two stories to get a glimpse into “Blown Away.”
But, where to get it, you ask? Click any of the buttons below to go to your preferred place of purchase, and pre-order now!
After challenging ourselves to writing 300 words or fewer stories in the 2nd ‘Life’ Series book, “Dusty Remains,” we decided to go a little crazier and try out 50 words or fewer stories. We wrote and wrote, and after perhaps some 75 stories, we whittled it down to 50.
But nope. We had to give you the best of the best. Only 25 out of that fifty survived the cut, and we went writing again. Fifty word stories might sound easy, but yeah, it’s a little tricky. One of our key processes were to choose three random words, and construct a story out of that. For example, from the story “Ashes to Ashes”, we chose the words: dust, counselor, and keys, and this what was formed:
Ashes to Ashes
As the dust cloud covered the horizon, Mr. Henderson with wide eyes rushed us back into the van.
The pack of wild dogs sprung from the dust and tore into our camp counselor…just as I saw the van keys laying in the grass.
We finally got to fifty great stories (out of a pool of probably 150+), and put together “Blown Away.”
But why not give you an extra treat? We contacted one of our favorite artists, Peter Underhill, to create a series of beautiful pen illustrations to accompany fourteen key stories. Our book cover designer, Moe Pike Soe, created a slamming book cover for us, and then it was time for it to hit the presses. And now, that’s where you come in:
The Worthington Challenge
You have the option to pre-order the book now, and receive it on February 14th, 2015. But meanwhile, tell all your short story-lovin’, rabid-readin’, need-a-break-from-the-daily-hustle-and-want-a-good-short-entertaining-book friends to check out “Blown Away.” Moreover, we’ve also introduced something new – a good, fun challenge – so you can win something extra as well. If you can read one Blown Away story a day, for fifty days, and then e-mail us your experience to email@example.com, you will win a free copy of our latest, soon-to-be-released short story, “Three Sheets to the Wind.” But be aware…there’s only fifty winners. (We really like the number fifty, as you can see.) Pre-order, read, and review as soon as possible!
Every one of these stories are God-inspired. Without Him, they would not have been possible. And we thank you for being a part of this process with us. Your support encourages us every day, and we truly wrote these stories just for you: whether you simply love short stories, are intrigued by flash fiction, or are looking for a book that gives you a great read without taking you months to read it, “Blown Away” is for you. Pre-order at the available places below, and get ready to be blown away…
TO THY OWN SELF BE TRUE
(Photo credit: http://www.underwatersculpture.com)
Has anyone ever told you to be authentic? Have you ever asked yourself, “Am I real?”
Well, are you? Do you prefer your connections – be it a friendship, a significant other, or even a family member – to be as deep as they can be?
Or do you like living on the surface? Smiles, small talk, nothing ever too close. Friends are really acquaintances and family members are distant people who happen to live under the same roof.
But what does it mean to live on the surface?
Well, one, it’s safe. Two, it’s lifeless. And three, it lacks meaning.
Case in point: the people you know and trust…how many of the deep things about yourself have you shared with them? How much have you encouraged them to go deep with you?
Or, consider this scenario: you have this great popular friend just about everyone loves. But you, for the life of it, can’t understand why. Sure, they’re fun – sometimes. But is it really possible to be happy all the time? Always friendly, always bright, always ready to meet new people and do new things? A surface friend would ignore what they’re feeling, instead of letting some real soul searching uncover why a possible spirit of jealousy has crept in.
On the other hand, a subterraneous person will go to any depth to discover why they have let or are letting jealousy creep into their hearts. And if left to fester, they know that spirit can destroy a good friendship, and possibly a great one.
So, on our new journey to get more “deep” with ourselves, here’s an exercise that may help you become more of a subterraneous person, and consequently, a better friend, spouse, child, (even writer), who avoids the life of a surface surfer – the people who do just enough to be accepted by others.
Get a pen and pad. Go to a mirror. Without speaking, stare into your eyes for a few seconds. In your mind, ask yourself: “Self,” at your deepest level, what kind of person are you?”
Quickly, write the first three words that came to mind. Got them? Good.
So let me ask: When you were thinking about your three words, did another word that caused you some discomfort keep surfacing? Don’t ignore that word. That’s your real word. It could be a word of insecurity, negativity, positivity, something everyone’s always told you about yourself, or something else, something much deeper. You should ask yourself what led you to that word. That unanswered question is preventing you from going deep in your life. Remember, nothing thrives on the surface unless it’s deeply rooted.
When I looked into the mirror, these words came to mind: caring, nurturer, and loving. However, I kept trying to throw out one word from my mind – fear.
It’s a common word – everyone has it. But for me, I had to understand why I had it. Ultimately, it’s because I worry. I worry that I won’t be able to provide for my love ones, thereby, not being able to be the caring, nurturing, loving husband and father. Crazy, huh? But that’s how fear works.
Coming to grips with your word, and how to let go – or, if your word was positive, how to hold onto it – are amazing steps to becoming a more authentic you.
I have learned over the years that understanding what was keeping me from being the real me lead me to a deeper realization of myself. A deeper realization of yourself may help you to go deeper in your relationships, so you can navigate at greater levels in every walk of your life.
Just like in the above image, we would have never had the chance to see this breathtaking image, if someone hadn’t went down deep below the surface.
There’s another world beneath the watery surface, a beautiful world. There’s also a more beautiful you below the surface. Go deep and uncover the real you, the world is waiting.
What was your word? Feel free to share: honesty breeds connection. And thank you for sharing.
This is How You Update a Book Cover
It was time for a transformation.
Along with our general sprucing up around the ole’ Packed House Publications corner, we’ve decided to update one of our most special books with a spanking-new book cover.
Dusty Remains is an awesome collection of 300 words or less stories, but unfortunately, a year ago, with the innocence of new kids on the block, we unintentionally gave Dusty Remains a textbook-looking book cover.
Yeah, we can do better than this…
And, we came up with this.
Yeah, this is a little embarrassing. We eventually figured out a crazy skull head being pierced to death with a screw bit from the heavens doesn’t exactly convey heartfelt stories like Dusty Remains has. It just looks…gothic, and pretty weird.
So, we contacted another artist, Anil Saxena, (thanks Anil!), and made this:
Looks pretty great, doesn’t it? It actually represents the whole “fragile as dust” theme in the book, and has a more eye-grabbing effect than the last tries.
So, how did we do? Leave a comment below on what you think of the new cover!
And, as a complimentary gift for our guests, here is the first story from “Dusty Remains.”
She stands there alone, by the gate, with her usual big smile. She smiles even more when he approaches. There by the gate they talk. She shyly tilts her head downward. He knows she’s reluctant, but even so he holds out his hand.
She steps around him, he cuts off her exit. Like a game she’s played so many times, she tries to dart around him; unable to do so, she shrugs her shoulders in defeat.
Once again he holds out his hand. She lets her soft hand fall into the cradle of his majestic one.
They walk away, the sun on their backs, the gate disappearing with each step.
She pauses, so does he. He looks at her, then nods his head. “It’s okay.” His gentle tone, so reassuring.
A few steps from the corner, she pauses once more. Now he wipes the tears from her eyes.
“How did you know my birthday was today?” Her faint voice is strained under the weight of her tears.
“I know everything about you, Sara. I’m a magician.” His eyes lock on hers.
“Is that how you found out I like ponies?”
“And you will keep your promise to let me ride my pony every day?”
“And my mom won’t stop you?”
“Your mom won’t stop me. I promise.”
“What’s my pony’s name?”
“Whatever you want it to be.”
“Is my pony a boy or a girl?”
“Why, it’s a girl, just like I promised you yesterday.”
“Where is she?”
“Right around this corner.”
Sara’s face lights up. She skips with delight and anticipation.
SARA! SARA! WHERE ARE YOU! SARA, SARA!
“Ma’am, we’ll find her, trust me.” Nancy’s eyes drown in tears.
A stiff wind blew through the window. Whoooooo! Out went the five candles.
Get “Dusty Remains” today, at Amazon, Google Play, or Kobo Books. Also available on iTunes.
Snaggy Tees – The Best T-Shirt Company You’ll Ever Find
Cop-A-Squat has been quiet for a while now, but I’m very excited to present our latest venture.
I present to you all:
SnaggyTees is our new t-shirt company, and we are dedicated to providing the most interesting, funniest, and most thought-provoking t-shirts to our customers nationwide.
Not only do we hope you love our t-shirts (and we’re sure you will), but we would like you to join us in our plan to become a t-shirt company that doesn’t only provide funny sayings, but makes you think. (It’d also be cool to become as big [or bigger] than the Life is Good brothers.)
Of course, there’s much more to come. We’re currently creating the best quality t-shirts, both in style and comfort.
Come on over, take a look, snag a great deal! We’re happy to welcome you into the SnaggyTees family.
Welcome to Cop-A-Squat’s First Writing Contest!
There is a need for stories with strong morals; morality has been on life support for years.
Our goal is to give the reading public a fresh dose of stories devoid of the normal fare of drugs, sex, and violence. There are other ways to tell stories. And we know there are those who share our sentiments. Storytellers come forward – write a story that will sweep the world.
1st place winner: $100.00 Amazon Gift Card
2nd place winner: $50.00 Amazon Gift Card
3rd place winner $25.00 Amazon Gift Card
Contest: Begins February 4, 2013. Ends: February 22, 2013.
Winners will be announced on February 25, 2013, by posting their stories and a link to their website.
Please Post All Story Entries Under This Post Comment Section or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
First Writing Contest!
1. We encourage you to copyright your story. It only takes about an hour and costs $35.00 to copyright several stories.
2. Your story must be 300 words or less, minus the title of course. Anything more will be disqualified and deleted.
3. Feel free to comment on others’ stories. Give constructive criticism. We are here to encourage each other.
4. No sex scenes, nor rude, crude sexual jokes.
5. Keep cursing to a minimum. Make it as PG-13 as you can.
6. And of course…
Have fun and DO YOUR BEST!
By the way, this post is 234 words!
Dean Koontz (Oddly Famous)
(Picture Source Unknown)
Imagine you’re a watching the grand finale at a fireworks show. Your face is aglow with excitement, you know you’re about to be thrilled. The wick is lit, you hold your breath…and – and –and – nothing happens. It’s a dud. You slump away in disappointment.
That’s exactly how I felt after reading Dean Koontz’s book, The Husband. The cover caught my attention. The excerpt on the back jacket floored me. However, despite its gripping beginning, it quickly fell apart with an unbelievable plot twist. In other words, it turned out to be just another dud.
So I tried another one, thinking, ‘you can’t judge an author by just one book.’ Sadly, after trying to read Odd Thomas, which is really a rip-off of the movie The Sixth Sense, I just gave up. And I’m not the only one – more and more readers are beginning to see that Dean Koontz is just another hack writer.
What is amazing, and odd, is that Mr. Koontz is famous. I suppose he feels many will buy his books, simply because he wrote them. And many do.
Mr. Koontz’s books are flat and dull, and are always the same monotony, just under a different title.
Our books, Life: As Fragile As Dust, Swan Song, and the Poies Series are full of stories that are of the true human experience. We don’t try to write books as a means of escape, but books that will inspire you to take a new look at yourself and others. It is our hope to start a spark that will grow into a flame, a flame that will become a roaring fire, a fire that will restore the moral fiber to a world that has fallen victim to the debased dribble of many books today.
Thankfully, we are not alone. Many authors are writing novels full of moral fiber; we are just trying to do our part to better society, one book at a time. We invite you to take a look.
In the meantime, do yourself a favor: read healthy.
STEPHEN KING: The Master Time-Waster
(Photo Source Unknown)
Stephen King is not a good author. Stephen King is a terrible author. Stephen King is long-winded, repetitive, and most of all, selfish.
When you read a book, you want to enjoy it. Savor it. Learn something new, appreciate life more.
And you know what’s so special about books? They can make you appreciate life more, without taking your life away.
When confronted with a 500, 700, and with Under the Dome, a 1088 page novel, how can you learn to experience life when you spend all of it reading someone else’s novel?
Hey. Maybe I want to spend all my time reading, you say.
What if the novel sucks?
If you read one Stephen King book, you’ve read them all. A crime, some paranormal horror story, sex, murder, drama…then a weak twist at the end that’s supposed to make you feel like you’ve read a good story.
However, I do believe Mr. King can be a talented writer. Among the trash he has offered through the years, only one pearl stands: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, a story that has not only entertained, but has revealed great insights about life and humanity. Oh, but after the popular, empty pages that carry such names as The Long Walk, The Stand, and Christine, King became an puppet for modern audiences worthless appetites for commercialized “literature.”
But King is not the only one. It’s a trend – a virus – quickly spreading throughout authors today who pump out large amounts of garbage, not taking in account the lives of 90% of their readers: hard-workers who are trying to live their own lives, who wish to enjoy good literature…not lazy words on a page. Too many pages.
People don’t have time or the desire to inflate your already overinflated ego, Mr. King.
Life: As Fragile As Dust is a much better novel than Stephen King will ever write. Tight, powerful prose that gets straight to the point, and leaves an impact more than the bubblegum fiction of most of today’s authors. Do yourself an extreme favor, and read Life: As Fragile As Dust.
Life: As Fragile As Dust
A very wise man once asked this question: “What is our life? Our life is like the morning mist – it is here a little while, then its gone.”
To what shall I compare our fragile life?
Life is like a speck of dust that alights upon a surface. It remains there, unmoved, until a draft threatens it. When a breeze comes, it holds on till the last. Finally, a gust of wind, and it is blown asunder. That is how fragile life is, like a speck of dust blown to nothingness.
Life: As Fragile As Dust, Book one of a three part series, is twelve short stories of people living on life’s edge and in a pfft, their lives change.
I value life. I understand how delicate it is. That’s why I write stories. To encourage others to take a closer look at the gift of life the Father has given us.
I invite you to get your copy. And remember: cherish those you love while life is still here.
Available on Smashwords and Amazon.
Look closely at the book cover…can you see the five faces?
You look at her. Wow, how fast she’s grown. Her yesterdays seem so long ago.
Now she’s become a young woman right before your eyes.
You love her so much-you would tear out your own heart to save her. No one on earth loves her as much or as deeply as you.
However, does she know how much you care?
Have you made every effort to make her feel loved? Or let her express her love for you?
If not, are you willing to change?
For Maggie, change may come too late.
Purchase Swan Song Here.