Thursday, December 31, 2009

A.E. Wright Middle School

I just wanted to take a moment to thank the 7th Grade Language Arts teachers at A.E. Wright Middle School, in Calabasas, California, for choosing The Paper Bag Christmas as their December reading project.  It's been wonderful to get so much positive feedback about the book, both from the teachers and the students. I'm told that their final assignment, following vacation, may include a note to me.  How nice!  Maybe some of them will even want to post their letters here....(hint, hint)...

Go Spartans!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Leia Mais…

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Winners, Winners, and more Winners

Happy Thanksgiving!  I just waddled in the door after a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with the whole Milne clan.  What a great day!  Sure, I'm ten pounds heavier, but I'll worry about that later.

As promised, today is the official end of my book contest. First, let me say THANK YOU to everyone who entered.  I didn't expect such a huge response!  Believe it or not, there were nearly 500 entries!  Yes, I said FIVE HUNDRED!!  Most of them were post-card entries, but there were also many great Thanksgiving recipes shared online.

Here are the lucky winners:

Prize # 1 goes to Jackie Wisherd, from La Mesa, California, who submitted a delicious recipe (post-card submission) for Praline Candied Yams.  It was delicious!  I'll post the full recipe soon so everyone can enjoy it.

Prize #2 goes to Lisa Helms-Guba, from Annapolis, Maryland.

Prize #3 goes to Kristy Kimball, from Calabasas, California.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this contest.  For me, it made this a Thanksgiving I will not soon forget. 

Leia Mais…

Monday, November 9, 2009

Christmas Contest...for Thanksgiving

Yes, it's been far too long since my last book contest.  But the drought is over!  I am happy to announce the easiest book contest in the entire universe (okay, that may be a stretch...but the criteria for such things is very subjective, so I'm sticking with it).  There are 3 separate prizes up for grabs:

  1. Two signed copies of the newly released PAPER BAG CHRISTMAS (with its beautiful new cover!). The perfect Christmas gift for anyone with a heart.
  2. Two signed copies of THE NINE LESSONS.  Keep them for yourself, or put them in someone's stocking.
  3. One advance reader copy (ARC) of SWEET MISFORTUNE.  You'll be the first person to get a sneak-peek at this upcoming book, which won't be available commercially until June. Wow!  
The prizes will go to three different winners.  Although you can only win once, you can boost your chances of winning by submitting lots and lots of entries.  Here's how:

a) Post a comment to this blog by November 23rd which includes a recipe for your favorite Thanksgiving side-dish or dessert (one recipe submission per person).  My wife will pick the one that sounds the yummiest as the winner, and we will prepare that dish to accompany the Milne family Thanksgiving feast.

b) Send a post-card to ME!  Any post-card will do, so long as it arrives before Thanksgiving.  One entry will be given for every post-card, and there is no limit to the number that you send. The address is 20842 SW LeBeau Rd.  Sherwood, OR  97140. I look forward to hearing from you! [Hey teachers: want to bump your odds of winning? Have your students send me a post-card too!  If they identify you as their teacher, I'll give you and them each an entry in the contest.]

c) Get your friends and family to join my email list.  After they have signed up, send me an email identifying who you strong-armed to join.  You'll receive one entry per person that you 'help' sign up.  Your friends will also receive a free entry just for joining. 

So that's it.  Simple, right?

Here's the fine-print: 
- Winners will be announced on Thanksgiving day.    
- The recipe contest winner will receive the copies of The Paper Bag Christmas (prize #1)  
- All other contest entries (including recipe submissions who didn't win prize #1) will be lumped together and drawn at random for prize #2 & #3.  
- Milne family members cannot submit recipes for prize #1 (we already know what your cooking is like...and we don't need any more of it :-)  
- No international entries will win...but feel free to submit anyway.  Your recipes and post-cards will be welcomed.

    Leia Mais…

    Sherwood Book Club

    I just wanted to say thanks to the Sherwood Book Club for having me at their monthly meeting this past Thursday to discuss The Nine Lessons.  Of all the book clubs I've been to, this one was by far the scariest for me...I think because it was in my home town.  Before showing up I had this nagging fear that the local crowd might be a little tougher on 'one of its own'.  Thankfully, just the opposite was true!  We had a great discussion, lots of terrific questions, and the club members were the nicest people in the world.  Silly me for expecting anything less.  Hopefully they enjoyed it as much as I did and they'll have me back for Sweet Misfortune next June...

    Leia Mais…

    Thursday, August 27, 2009

    Sweet Misfortune Cover

    To me, one of the best parts about writing books is getting to see what the amazing design folks come up with for cover-art. Usually, when I'm first seeing one of my covers for the first time, I just and stare at it for like 2 hours, familiarizing myself with every square millimeter. So I just finished another two-hour stare session, and I'm happy to report that I love every square millimeter of the Sweet Misfortune cover! The book is not due out until June 2010 (which, by the way, is already a 2 month pull-in from the original planned date), and yet the cover is already set. Gotta love the planning/scheduling that goes into getting a book to market! It really is an amazing process, and the Hachette team seems to have it down to a science.

    Leia Mais…

    Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    New Cover

    It's official: Hachette is "repackaging" The Paper Bag Christmas for the '09 Christmas season. I just got to see the final product today. Hope you like it as much as I do!

    Leia Mais…

    Monday, June 29, 2009

    Amazon Ranking

    Nice to see that The Nine Lessons is still it ranked #10 in the category "Fiction - Sports".

    Leia Mais…

    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    Yummy Mummy Club

    I'd like to thank Wanda, from Yummy Mummy Club, for a terrific review of The Nine Lessons. Check it out!

    Leia Mais…

    Sunday, June 7, 2009

    Just-in-time-for-Fathers-Day Contest

    Thanks again to everyone who entered my most recent contest, which ended today. Below are a handful of my favorite entries. I wish I could post all of the stories that were sent to me, but there were just too many. PLEASE don't feel bad if you don't see yours here...they were all great!!

    WINNER #1:
    I grew up with a father who was an Air Force veteran, a grandfather who was a Marine, and a grandfather who was a soldier. Discipline was part of my life at an early age. My father always stressed hard work and discipline, not through words, but rather through work ethic. I watched growing up as my father worked 12 hour days, seven days a week, yet still found time to play catch with his son. He put up lights so we could shoot baskets, or even a simple game of cards...just to spend time with me. It took til years later to realize, that not only did he make time for me, but still managed to work on the house, keep the yard nice, and do the housework and laundry while my mother was at work. What I ultimately learned, was that being a good father and husband wasn't about the "work", but rather the self sacrifice of sleep to keep a contented wife, and the realization that children are only young once. Every event that he missed, he knew he could never get back, so to him...there was no sacrifice. Only Love for his family. I could never repay my father for the lessons of life by example, and I only hope that my respect for others and hard work will pay off as well for me as it did for him. May God bless my parents for the job they have done. Thank you Mr. Milne for the wonderful books. -- Troy P Zehnder

    WINNER #2:

    The one most important thing I learned from my father is how to truly love a person. Right now my father has to take care of my mother physical and emotionally. My father has lung cancer and has just finished chemo. Now this sounds to horrible to be true. My mother is physically unable to take care of herself and is in a nursing home. She has tried to come home several times but my father is too weak to take care of her demanding needs.
    My father has always loved my mother and his five children. He worked a lot when we were kids but he always found a way to take care of each and every one of us. He always did it with a smile and never a complaint. He was never quick to judge but he always was there when we fell or failed. He wants only the best for us.
    I became an unwed mother right out of college. I felt that I had disrespected my father and let my family down. But my father taught me to have respect in myself and a plan to pursue my dreams. My son is now 19 and I never let go of anything my father taught me. I expected him to be totally upset with me when I told him the bad news. Mom was the histerical one, dad took it all in stride.
    He truly knows the meaning of the word (verb) to love someone. -- Karen Connor

    One important thing I learned from my father was how to listen without giving advice all the time. My Dad was a good listener. He had time for all 5 of us kids. Growing up I thought I was the most special daughter of his. But one thing I always knew, was he loved me. He always had time for me. I could sit on the porch for hours talking to my father. He did not make my decisions for me. He knew how to offer advice while letting me make my own decisions. He supported me when I moved out on my own. He suggested it because he said as long as I lived at home, I'd never get married. I would spend all my time taking care of him. I was out 3 months and married and going on 30 years so he knew what he was talking about. I miss him so much now as I face a procedure and wish I could just sit and discuss it with him. He went through enough in his lifetime, he could tell me what to expect. -- Jane Squires

    I grew up with a "unique collection" of dad's. I look back on my childhood with some fond memories of what it takes to be a dad and how each person plays an important part of our lives.
    My original dad was there in my youth and loved to hunt and fish. I believe I learned patience by our times fishing. I think my chatter was not a part of his ideal fishing scenario, but he listened to me just the same. I don't remember catching fish, but liked being a part of dad's life.

    My next dad was one who brought creativity and music into my life. We traveled and I was able to take accordian lessons for five years. ( I know you all are groaning as you read this, but I grew up watching Lawerence Welk every Saturday night) He was also a man who worked hard.

    The third time seemed to be the charm for our family. My dad was a man who had never had children of his own and took on 15,13 and a 5 year old girls. I think the greatest gift he gave us was his integrity and when he said something he meant it. I look back and maybe did not always agree with his decision, but I knew he was always true to his word. He brought our family together in a way we thought impossible and we knew he loved our mother with all of his heart.

    I look back on my life with the great things these men shared in my life with great fondness and affection, and grateful to each of them for their part in my life. It is good to look back on the way I thought about my family as different, and now see it through my adult eyes and cut them all some slack and allow them "mulligans". Just as I hope my children can do the same for me. -- Susan Ann Walters

    My dad was born in the US but as a toddler he and his older brother were sent back to Japan to be raised in the old ways by his grandparents. He returned to the States as a teenager, not speaking any English. He graduated from a high school in California and got a job in a produce store. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, life as they knew it changed forever. My dad and his family's possessions were sold for a pittance of what they were worth and then they were interned in Arkansas. While there he was drafted into the army and worked in Military Intelligence even while his family were living behind barbed wired fences. My father passed away many years ago, but he was proud to be a Japaneses American and he taught us that if you work hard, you can achieve the American Dream. The American Dream was getting a college education, having a job, owning a home and raising a family. -- Diane Paetsch

    My father was a plumber/pipe fitter and worked many hours to support our family. He is the father of nine children (three boys & six girls). You thought your family was large! We lived in the country in a small log cabin surrounded by redwoods with a creek as our backyard -- no joke. My mother stayed home to hold down the fort. To top it off, my mother did not drive.

    One important thing I learned from my father growing up is giving back to the community and those in need. My father was constantly volunteering to help others (repairing fences and broken appliances, etc), while our dishwasher sat broken. It was not necessary to fix ours since we had many hands to accomplish that task!! We would accompany him on many of these adventures.

    Occasionally on Thanksgiving, my dad would drive into town and pick up a lonesome soul and bring them back for dinner. My dad swears he brought Carlos Santana to our house in the 60's. Our home was often a refuge for homeless animals and a few stay individuals. Hey, what was one more mouth to feed anyway?

    As a retiree, my father bakes homemade sourdough bread and delivers it to people. He even feeds the dough daily. He volunteers to cook at a local soup kitchen, the Elks Lodge and at various church functions. He never asks for payment for his services only money to cover the cost of the food. My dad's passion is fishing. He purchased a boat a number of years ago and goes fishing, crabbing, etc. whenever he can. He will often give part of his catch away to friends. He is very generous with his blessings.

    My father taught his children to help others by showing us how to volunteer with a cheerful heart. He has been a constant example to his children of giving back. There is always someone less fortunate than yourself -- you just have to open your eyes and look!! -- Therese C. Wunderlich

    My father taught me to be a giver. Not only would he remind us that it is more blessed to give than to receive he demonstrated it in his actions. I remember him always saying you can not outgive God. In a world of such selfishness I am thankful for this lesson my dad taught me. -- Scott & Beth Davey

    Hi Kevin
    I would like to share my story with you and your family. My Mom and Dad got a divorce when I was just starting my teenage years. Even though I was still in school, I had to get a job to help my Mother make ends meet. My older sister had already gotten married, but there was myself, two other sisters, and a brother. Because my Dad did not pay any child support. I have no good memories of my Dad at this time in my life.
    I did not start dating until I was eighteen. When I started looking for husband I new that I did not want a man that was like my Dad was. I wanted a husband that was going to be a man that was loyal to his family. I wanted a man that would take time to be with his wife and children. A man that would help all of us in trying to make the rightt choices in life and be there to help guide when we mad the wrong ones.
    I believe I found that person 34 years ago and I do thank my Dad for that. Because if I had not had the experince of going thru what I did when I was growing up I may not have made the right choice for the man I choose to marry. Exspecially thinking back now on all the guy that wanted to date me back then and knowing how their lives are now. I also want to Thank God for giving me the knowledge and insight to have chosen the man I am married to.
    We have been married for 34 years (6-5-1975) and we are still loving and growing together with every day. I just wish that my Mother could have had the chance to grow old with some.
    Thanks for this opportunity to tell my story or part of it anyway. -- Sheila Lytle

    My Dad has taught me many things overtime in his 84yrs of wisdom and advice. Even thou his health is failing in recent months for his
    mind is as sharp as a tack and still give me guidance everyday for let it be just a few sentences or showing me how to fix things around the
    house of taking shortcuts to a long drawing situation. See, my Dad is a pratical person who believes in the bible, hard work, confidence, loyalty, caring toward his family and friends thru-out his life and learning all the traits that he offer has build me in the same mold and
    very proud to call him, DAD. I know that the good Lord will be a calling for him that I will always cherish and behold all the memories that we shared together thru good times and bad that knowing he is always there in my heart. Love you Dad :)) your son, Gary

    One important thing I learned from father.....hmmmm?? Let me see.....I have learned many things from my father in my 28 years on this wonderful earth but the most important thing I have learned is love. Through his unending love for my mother(and me!) I have learned what true love means. They have had their ups and downs sure but he is always there for her no matter what. He loves her unconditionally. He was in the military for 25 years and was gone more often than he was home but he loved her (and she loved him!) unconditionally through it all! I was married for awhile to a man who started out like my father but in the end chose a path that didn't involve me or his child with him. This broke my heart but if not for my father (and mother!) allowing me to move back home I don't think my kids and I would be here today. I now know that if I were to remarry again I would marry someone like my daddy and I would not settle for less and if I couldn't find unconditional love from a man (like my mom has from my dad!) then I will be content to live a life as single mom with the wonderful help of my father and mother. I know that this entry more than likely will not be a winner as it isn't something truly amazing but to me love is the most important thing you can learn from someone and IF this were to be a winning entry I would love to share you book with the most important teacher in my life: my father. So, Mr. Milne, I am entering this contest not expecting to win but to share with you my most important lesson from my father: LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL. -- Molly Edwards

    Leia Mais…

    Monday, May 25, 2009

    Barnes & Noble Book Signing

    Thanks to everyone who showed up on Thursday night at the Clackamas Town Center Barnes & Noble for the book signing. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. But I had to laugh at the life-size head shot of me hanging from the balcony! Hope you all enjoyed yourself as much as I did.

    Leia Mais…

    Tuesday, May 19, 2009

    Barrack & Kevin: Together at last

    I got a call from my wife this morning informing me that there was an ad in the Oregonian newspaper for The Nine Lessons (I'm speaking at Barnes & Noble this week). Seventy-five cents later, when I finally got my hands on a copy of the paper, I found that I shared page 5 with none other than Barrack Hussein Obama, "leader" of the "free" world. Good stuff. I'm sure I'll never see my face in print again anywhere near his.

    Note to The President: Give me a call...I've got a signed copy of the book waiting for you!

    Leia Mais…

    Monday, May 11, 2009

    Me and Elisabeth Hasselbeck

    I think maybe there's something going on with me and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Okay, not between her and I, per se, but there seems to be an attraction between our books. :-) First, I went to our local bookstore this past week and found my new book right next to hers on the new release shelf! [see picture in previous blog post] Now today, I was checking out my publisher's homepage, and both books were on the "Most Viewed Books" list, just one spot separating them.

    Merely coincidence? Or is this fate telling me that I should go on a G-free diet before Elisabeth invites me for an interview on The View?

    Hmm. Only time will tell. :-)

    Note to Elisabeth: Good luck with your book.
    Note to producers of The View: Sure, I'd love to come on your show and discuss the literary similarities between dieting and reading my novels. (what???)

    Leia Mais…

    Wednesday, May 6, 2009

    Book Released TODAY!

    Pictures I took today at Borders of The Nine Lessons on the a snapshot of the Romantic Times review.

    Leia Mais…

    Monday, May 4, 2009

    The Nine Lessons: Video Review on Amazon

    Click the title of this blog to see Jason Wright's very flattering review of The Nine Lessons. And while you're on Amazon, be sure to check out Jason's books as well...they won't disappoint!

    Leia Mais…

    Thursday, April 23, 2009

    The Blog is Dead, Long Live the Blog

    For me, blogging has turned out to be very much like personal journal writing: it comes in waves, and is seldom very good. But I enjoy it, so I keep coming back to it. The recent lapse in blogging has been due to a very intense writing schedule. In addition to my regular day-job, I've been putting in 40+ hours each week on writing. It's a good-news-bad-news sort of thing. The good news is that I got another contract with Hachette for 2 more books (woo hoo!). The bad news is that the schedule is killing me. (yeah, I know: quit whining, Kevin, you're doing what you love!). Fortunately, my deadline for the next manuscript is in June, so it (either the manuscript or me) will all be over soon.

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks. The Nine Lessons hits bookstores soon, and it'll be fun to see how it does. Granted, it's the sort of fun that gives me heartburn, anxiety, and indigestion, but fun nonetheless.

    Leia Mais…

    Thursday, February 12, 2009

    Nine Lessons Review

    Okay, here it is...the first review I've found of The Nine Lessons: Click Here

    Leia Mais…

    Wednesday, February 11, 2009

    Robin Hood

    I know I've been a terrible blogger lately, but I just HAD to post this today, simply because it was so cool to witness. Last night my new brother-in-law, Andrew, came over, and he brought a very cool toy with him: A 60 lb Compound Bow. I'm not exactly a marksman, but I was a Boy Scout long enough to love shooting bows, so we went out to the barn and set up a target. Believe it or not, on his very first round of arrows, Andrew shot one arrow into another arrow, and IT STUCK! We couldn't believe it. I pulled out my cell-phone camera to document the occasion. I thought splitting arrows was just the stuff of Hollywood movies, but apparently not. You can't tell from the picture, but the second arrow drove the first arrow about a foot deeper into the hay bale.

    Leia Mais…

    Saturday, January 3, 2009

    Who Song & Larry's

    Who Song & Larry's is perhaps the coolest restaurant name around. But even cooler than the restaurant are the amazing people I met there yesterday. I was invited to speak to the employees of KidSpace (a really great pre-school in Vancouver, WA) for their annual holiday party. What a wonderful time! Many thanks to Kathy from KidSpace for bringing me in. I hope to see those pictures soon!

    Leia Mais…