SWT 3D WHITEADVENTURE BOOK FOR KIDS

Saltwater Taffy
is an award-winning adventure book for kids available wherever books and eBooks are sold.  Endorsed by 12 Teachers of the YearSaltwater Taffy is set during the 4th of July weekend and follows
 the lives of five “tweenage” friends as they uncover a treasure map leading to the Lost Treasure of Jean Lafitte.  The discovery thrusts them from one treasure hunting adventure to the next as they try to out-wit, out-think and out-maneuver everyone from a one-legged junk yard man and an overbearing town bully, to the creepy old man living at the top of the hill.  Saltwater Taffy is an Accelerated Reader

SMILE FOR NO REASON

Children's booksSMILE FOR NO REASON

Standing in line at Starbucks this morning, I noticed a four-year-old little girl smile for no reason.  She was smiling up to a man in a suit. The little girls father, mixing cream into his coffee, turned and tried to get his daughter to follow him out. But there she stood, smiling up at the man in the suit. An unrelenting smile for no reason.

It’s not like the man in the suit looked funny or engaging her in impromptu game of peek-a-boo.  He wasn’t wearing a clown suit.  He didn’t have a funny face.  He was just a man in a suit.

Why was this little girl giving this man in the suit so much love?  The simple answer is children don’t need a reason to give or express love to someone.  They simply do it.  I know this because I am a father of two young children.

Noticing his daughter smiling up at the man in the suit, the father smiled, took his daughter’s hand and said, “Come on, baby…Daddy has to get to work.”  And off they went.  The man in the suit said, to nobody in particular, mind you, “well, that just made my day.”

Now…if that’s all it takes to make a day, why don’t we do this to each other more often?  Is it because we are so caught up in our status-updating world that we forget to remember what life is really about?  The life happening right in front of us in real time, providing moments where our day can be made by a simple smile?

Even though I had something to say about what I had just witnessed, I went back to my laptop to write because I too am on a schedule.  Each day I have race to sit down, be creative for a couple hours before scooping up my kids, dropping one off to pre-school and the other to the babysitter.

Watching the man in the suit continue to smile to himself as he waited for his coffee, I couldn’t take…I had to talk about what I had just experienced.

I walked over to the man in the suit and said, “you know…that is what it’s all about.  No matter how busy we are trying to get more, be more, close this deal, or close that deal, moments like that are what life is really about.  Those moments between others that make us smile.  Those moments that remind of what it feels like to love.”

The man in the suit smiled, shook my hand and said, “and moments like this where two strangers are talking about the importance of feeling more love in our lives.”

We owe it to ourselves, to our children, to everyone in our lives to smile for no reason.  When we smile…we feel better.  When we smile…we love easier.  When we smile…we are happier.  So, today…smile for no reason.

Boys Life Magazine

 

Boys Life DelaBarreBOYS LIFE MAGAZINE

Writing a feature for Boys Life Magazine, a publication that reaches 1.4 million boys across the country, was truly an honor. The December issue hit newsstands on November 17, 2014 and the story I wrote is entitled 700 Feet of Terror.

I think the reason I enjoyed this assignment so much is that it enabled me to continue writing stories that not only entertain young readers, but teach them about life as well.

I believe this is where I am doing by best work, which started when I wrote Saltwater Taffy. Authors who are looking to write for children and ultimately teach them how to leave behind fear, doubt and all the worry of growing up, my advice is to make sure you take them on an adventure where you can weave in your message organically.  If you don’t, they see you coming and immediately tune out.

While I am thankful for beginning my career with Dick Wolf on NBC’s Law & Order, I now know that I am at my best when I am writing for children.  Imagine the possibilities of being able to enhance the life of a child through writing narrative fiction….it’s awesome.  Or, as we like to say here at Saltwater Taffy….it’s SAWEET!

If you love adventure and have a tweenage son, pick up the December 2014 issue of Boys’ Life Magazine and take a read on 700 Feet of Terror.  I think you’re going to love it.  If you would like the chance to win an autographed copy of my award-winning adventure novel, Saltwater Taffy head over to the Bookzone page on Boys Life’s website.  Oh…and always remember, every moment is a new adventure waiting to happen.

 

VIOLENCE IN TELEVISION

MURDER

VIOLENCE IN TELEVISION

As an advocate for family entertainment, I am amazed at all the violence in television.  It makes me sick to my stomach when network executives green light projects illustrating the lowest form of humanity; murder.

Of course, the cop show has been around forever, but the networks aren’t hiding their appetites for destruction with their recent unveiling of two shows in particular:

HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER

STALKER

I understand the media ideal of ‘IF IT BLEEDS, IT LEADS,’ but does that mean we have to fill the stage with murder and call it entertainment? How can anyone in their right mind tune into a show called HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER and then recognize their natural impulse for love and compassion?  Why would anyone want to spend an hour of their time with a stalker?  I’m not saying we all need to sit around and watch Bambi (which ironically starts out with Mom getting killed), I’m just saying things are getting WAY out of hand.

Have we fallen into such an abyss of carelessness that we view these offerings of murder as entertainment?  The question I have is why would we want to arm someone with enough tools so they can get away with murder in the first place?  Why would we showcase the ugliness of stalking another human being and then package it up and call it entertainment? What I don’t understand is the viewing public gets sideways and will boycott a program if nudity makes an appearance, but we have no problem with the gratuitous violence of murder?  It’s everywhere now.

Dateline and 20/20 used to be investigative reporting, but now they are simply murder reenactment scenarios. Countless television dramas will put guns into the hands of children and we’re okay with it because it’s ‘just a TV show’, but if the nipple were to make an appearance, we’ll flood the FCC with calls of obscenity?  Wardrobe ‘malfunctions’ are orchestrated because it creates controversy, but shouldn’t the controversy be reserved for the packaging of murder and labeling it entertainment?  To me, that’s obscene. I for one would rather have people run around naked because of some television show than arming the misdirected with a show called HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER or teach the inner workings of being a Stalker.  We can do better, can’t we?

CAN FAMILY FILMS CHANGE THE LIVES OF OUR CHILDREN?

Saltwater TaffyThe question remains: can family films change the lives of our children?  We believe the answer is YES.

As young children, our lives are filled with many amazing dreams of tomorrow.  We believe we can accomplish anything and that nothing is out of reach.  Because of our age, we aren’t yet worried about what other people think of us and we have the organic ability to listen to our heart’s desire.  Then something happens…we begin to grow up.

Faced with the peer pressure and the overwhelming drive of fitting in, we withdraw from our dreams and develop the dysfunctional habit of playing small.  As a result, we shy away from anything that might make us appear vulnerable to our peers.

Over time, our self-worth is suddenly based on how many friends we have on Facebook, what label of clothing we wear, or how popular we are at school.  Saddled with this dysfunctional habit of playing small, we begin to change our character and in the blink of an eye, we lose sight of our dreams.

If a dysfunctional mental habit like this has the ability to derail a child’s future potential, is it possible for us to alter their direction by enhancing their entertainment experience with positive family films?

In 2013, only 23 family films entered the marketplace against 320 Contemporary Fiction titles.  Capturing an impressive 16% market share and $1.7B in revenues, family films continue to be the most profitable film ventures in Hollywood…year after year.  Based on these overwhelming numbers, we are currently in a fund raise to make Saltwater Taffy into a feature film for the entire family.

We have raised $1.5M against our budget of $5M, but we need your help.  We need to get in front of individuals who not only have the money to invest in family films, but in front of individuals who want to make a difference in the lives of our children.

BOOKMARKS FOR KIDS

Saltwater TaffySaltwater Taffy

BOOKMARKS FOR KIDS

Our Bookmarks For Kids program continues to expand the reach of the award-winning children’s book, Saltwater Taffy.  This Accelerated Reader title is a race-to-the-finish adventure story for TWEENS, but then again, it’s an adventure story for the entire family! The story begins when five “tween-age” kids discover a map belonging to the great New Orleans pirate, Jean Lafitte. The discovery thrusts them from one treasure-hunting adventure to the next.  Endorsed by 12 Teachers of the Year, an Accelerated Reader title as well as a children’s book club favorite, Saltwater Taffy is unlike any other children’s book on the market. If you would like to receive a complementary package filled with the latest Saltwater Taffy bookmark seen here, please leave your comment below and be sure to leave us your mailing address so we know where to send the SAWEET package or marks.  Because of the popularity of the program, we need to ask that you handle postage fee.  $5 for 500 bookmarks is a SAWEETheart of a deal!!!!