Sleepy Happy Capy Cover!

Once in a great while I write a picture book that I just love.

And once in an even greater while—a much greater while—a publisher loves the story, too.

So I am absolutely delighted to reveal the cover of my next picture book, Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles!

Yay!

It is the story of a capybara whose advanced cuddling skills calms the horrible hubbub of a rainforest rumpus.

And the story is sort of true to life! Capybaras, the worlds largest (and most chill) rodent, are often willing to cuddle most anything. Don’t believe me? Here’s proof!

Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles is published by Page Street Kids, a company just about as committed to capy awareness as I am. In fact, immediately after buying the manuscript, the publisher laid out a donation to sponsor a capybara through the World Wildlife Fund. Isn’t that awesome?

Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles won’t be out until October—and, needless to say, I will have plenty more to say about the book before the release date—but, hey, if you wanna preorder it, I’m totally not gonna stop you.

So, until next time, viva la capybara!

I Resolve

Resolve and I.

When the pandemic first reared its ugly head, I made an executive decision: for 2021, I would not make New Year’s resolutions. As I saw it, coping with Covid required more than enough resolve, thank you very much. I didn’t need the added stress of resolving to do a bunch of other things just because it was January 1.

I held this same mindset as we slipped into 2022.

But then, a few days ago, I had a change of heart. This disease has taken a lot from each and every one of us and, dagnabbit, it wasn’t gonna take away my resolutions, too!  

I like making New Year’s resolutions. It gives me an opportunity to reflect on my thoughts and habits, my successes and failures, and my hopes and dreams. Resolutions are a commitment to myself to become a better person. I like myself when I make them.

I don’t feel so crazy about myself when I fail to keep them, however.

So to celebrate my return to resolving things, I’ve decided to make my resolutions public to keep myself on task for the coming year.

My Resolutions For 2022

I RESOLVE to no longer ignore people who wear their masks improperly. In fact, I resolve to make my new catchphrase, “It goes over the nose, too, jerkass!” (Isn’t “jerkass” a wonderful word? It was invented by my dearly departed and unapologetically profane grandma. So when I “jerkass” someone, I will be slowing the spread of Covid and honoring the old gal’s memory.)

I RESOLVE to iron on a regular basis—provided I am unable to cajole, trick, persuade, threaten, or beg Ellen to iron instead. In other words, I’m ironing on a regular basis as Ellen is surprisingly resilient to these tactics.

I RESOLVE to no longer offer cold cereal for dinner as if it’s a special treat. I also resolve to remember that calling this meal a “Cereal Party” does not disguise the fact that I’m too lazy to cook.

I RESOLVE to nod and smile when Alex begins to monologue about Dungeons and Dragons, and do so convincingly enough whereby he’ll assume I know what he’s talking about.    

I RESOLVE to write a middle grade novel with the title Pool Noodle, because, dangit, that’s a good title.

I RESOLVE to begin preparations for a 2024 bid for president. I’m running on the Perhaps-We-Should-Reconsider-Secession-Because-What-We-Have-Now-Sure-Isn’t-Working ticket. If elected, I’ll be flexible as to how the country could be cut in two, as long as Florida ends up in the country where I’m not. Florida knows what it did.

I RESOLVE to meet, cuddle, and befriend a capybara. A capybara, for those who don’t know (and shame on you!), is the world’s largest rodent. They look exactly like 100-pound guinea pigs, are semi-aquatic, and are famous for their innate ability to chillax. Full Disclosure: I actually had this item on my 2015 Bucket List, but failed to get it done. I can’t let it slide this year, however, for I have written a picture book about capybaras that will hit bookstores in the fall. It just seems wrong to write about a capybara without being friends with one.

Aww! Ain’t she cute?

And last but not least, I RESOLVE to come up with an effective and meaningful conclusion to this blog post. Eventually.  

Did you come up with resolutions this year? If so, let me know in the comments! And if not, tell me why not! In short, let’s chat!

Three Things On My Bucket List

Harumph!
Harumph! (Groundhoggy grumpiness courtesy of International Business Times.)

The term “Bucket List” has become so common these days that most people have forgotten that it was popularized by one of the worst films of Jack Nicholson’s career. Since I don’t believe in inadvertently promoting bad movies (that is why you’ll never hear me say “something’s gotta give”) I would like to replace “Bucket List” with a term of my own:

The-Things-I-Would-Like-To-Do-At-Some-Point-In-My-Life-But-Have-Nothing-To-Do-With-My-Family-Or-Career-So-If-I-Don’t-Get-To-Do-Them-It-Really-Won’t-Be-A-Big-Deal List

As you can see, I prefer accuracy to brevity.

For your convenience, I’ve turned this term into a simple acronym:

TTIWLTDASPIMLBHNTDWMFOCSIIDGTDTIRWBABD List

Here are three things that top my list:

Visit Punxsutawney Phil

Phyllis would be great, too!
Punxsutawney Phyllis would be great, too!

I love groundhogs. They are cute, cantankerous, and always wear a “Now, what the hell do you want?” expression on their faces. So it seems only logical that I would want to go to Pennsylvania, get up at the crack of dawn, and stand in the frigid cold to catch a glimpse of the most famous groundhog of all time.

My wife, Ellen, thinks I’m insane for wanting to do this — and she has told me in no uncertain terms that she would never, ever, ever in a hillion-jillion-zillion years accompany me on such an excursion. My son, Alex, is more open to the idea of such a trip, but I think that’s because Groundhog Day often falls on a school day.

When I tell other people about my dream of visiting Punxsutawney on the groundhoggiest day of the year, their reactions range from mild amusement to a horrified, “I don’t know-you-anymore!” style of bewilderment.

There is one exception: My mom. She not only endorses such a trip, but also insists on going with me. This is kind of surprising because Mom is whimsically challenged. (She would loudly and proudly agree with this assessment, by the way.) Yet going on a several-hundred-mile journey to see an animal that Mom can find in her own backyard… And then listening to this animal pretending to predict the weather… Well, that’s about as whimsical as it gets.

So I don’t understand Mom’s motives, but, someday soon, she will be welcome company.

Run For President

Let me clarify straightaway that I don’t want to win; I just want to run. My reasoning is simple: I like meeting people, Ellen says I look good in a tie, and a presidential campaign seems like a great way to promote non-presidential things. You know, like a book.

I could certainly do better than this scumbag
Even if I accidentally did win, I could never be a worse president than this guy.

Since I have no intention of winning, I can say whatever I want during the campaign. In fact, saying whatever I want will pretty much guarantee that I won’t win. (I am a student of history and can assert that no presidential candidate ever won an election by calling another candidate a “poopie head.” My first campaign promise: I will publicly and repeatedly call every xenophobic candidate a “poopie head.” You’re welcome. God bless America!)

I also want to run because I came up with a nifty campaign slogan:

Get a Leg Up With Allegra!

I look forward to your lack of support in 2020.

Cuddle a Capybara

Weighing in at about 100 pounds, a capybara is the world’s largest rodent. Capybaras are social, curious, friendly, and adorable. Considering my pro-rodent (prodent) beliefs, I should – scratch that – I must find an opportunity to hug this Godzilla guinea pig.

So what do you have on your Bucket List?

Write me a comment and let me know!