Welcome

Thank you for visiting.   I sincerely appreciate your interest in my writing. I will be honored if you will take a moment or two to check out a picture book that I’ve written for children, The Monster on Top of the Bed.  It’s illustrated by fellow Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators member, Manuela Pentangelo.

The Kindle edition is available for immediate download.  These features make it special:

  1. Ice-cream parlor beautiful artwork

  2. Text magnification – so you can read every word easily, even if you are using a small smartphone

  3. Links to download performances of the book in English, Spanish and Italian

  4. Free text-to-speech so children can listen to the book while they read it.

 Printed editions of The Monster on Top of the Bed are available in book stores and on line.

Click here to peek inside the book or place an order.

 This page contains a number of videos about the book. On this page, you’ll find reviews.

The Monster on Top of the Bed is also available as an .mp3 download or on a CD.  Click here to listen to some of the tracks, or to place an order.

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The challenges of creating a Kindle book for children

Source: Review appearing on http://www.2wired2tired.com/monster-on-top-of-the-bed

I’ve just finished working with Lisa DeSpain of ebookbookconverting.com to convert The Monster on Top of the Bed, a picture book for children, to the new Kindle format that lets children read and listen to the book. It took a lot of work, but parents can now give a gift of joy that will last for months, maybe even year. Children love it because it is filled with features that they find fascinating to use when they read it on a phone or on a tablet like a Kindle or iPad.

It was a challenge creating a fixed-layout book, but finally it was converted into an electronic book that’s filled with special features like (1) text magnification, which makes it easy to read even on a small device like a Droid or iPhone; (2) Text-to-speech which reads the story to the child if they are using one of the Kindle Fire devices; (3) Links to download the story read by narrators in English, Spanish and Italian-for free; (4) The ability for several children to read the story at the same time using different devices like a Kindle, phone, iPad; or laptop-at no extra charge. (5) Discussion questions; and more.

In addition to being a great story, The Monster on Top of the Bed provides a mantra that children use to banish bedtime monsters. (“You’re welcome to stay, until I say, ‘Nay,’ then it’s time to go, and you can’t say, ‘No.’”

As Suzy (a little girl) and Karrit (a “monster” that lives under her bed) become best friends, the story children intuitively discover that the secret of creating an enduring friendship is to live out the values of The Golden Rule.

This special e-book can be read on a Kindle; an iPhone; most smartphones, including Droids; an iPad; a Microsoft Surface, and many other tablet PCs as well as a most laptops and desktop computers because you can download a free Kindle App.

Like the printed version of the book, The Monster on Top of the Bed features Italian ice-cream parlor delicious artwork by illustrator Manuela Pentangelo of Sardina, Italy.

Here are some of the challenges that needed to be addressed:

  • The words did not scale properly with the device being used. Solution: Use layers. The artwork without words is the background. Words are overlaid so they resize.
  • Fonts didn’t look good on some devices.  Solution: Code the book so that it always presents a serif font style, Times New Roman.
  • The name “Karrit” was being pronounced “Car-it” not carrot when text to speech read the book.  Solution:  Use a dictionary’s phonetic spelling in some places.
  • The book didn’t look right when read in portrait mode.  Solution: Code the book so that it automatically displays in landscape mode.

These were the big four issues. There were over a hundred little issues in converting this book to a Kindle book or a book for Apple Store.  But, it was worth it.  It’s now a work of art and I watch the smiles spread as the children read (and maybe listen to) the story.  I also watch parents glow as they watch the kids read the book and see the children’s excitement turn to joy as they grow more animated every time they read the story.

 

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Press Release: This Father’s Day Give Dad a Way to Create Joy

For Immediate Release
Contact
Alan H. Jordan, Author

e-mail:
alan @ alanhjordan.com (no spaces around @)

 

 

This Father’s Day Give Dad
a Way to Create Joy

 

If you’re searching for a unique gift for a father, you can give a gift of joy that will last for months, maybe even years—give Dad a stunning picture book- The Monster on Top of the Bed– to read with his child or children. One great book is The Monster on Top of the Bed. The concept was special enough that Jordan was awarded a grant by the Nevada Arts Council to write it.  Now, the story has been converted into an electronic book that’s filled with special features like (1) text magnification, which makes it easy to read even on a small device like a Droid or iPhone; (2) Text-to-speech which reads the story to the child if they are using one of the Kindle Fire devices; (3) Links to download the story read by narrators in English, Spanish and Italian—for free; (4) The ability for several children to read the story at the same time using different devices like a Kindle, phone, iPad; or laptop—at no extra charge. (5) Discussion questions; and more.  

Watch Dad glow as he and the kids read the book. Watch the children’s excitement turn to joy as they grow more animated every time they read the story.

In addition to being a great story, The Monster on Top of the Bed provides a mantra that children use to banish bedtime monsters. (“You’re welcome to stay, until I say, ‘Nay,’ then it’s time to go, and you can’t say, ‘No.’”

As Suzy (a little girl) and Karrit (a “monster” that lives under her bed) become best friends, the story children intuitively discover that the secret of creating an enduring friendship is to live out the values of The Golden Rule.

This special e-book can be read on a Kindle; an iPhone; most smartphones, including Droids; an iPad; a Microsoft Surface, and many other tablet PCs as well as a most laptops and desktop computers because you can download a free Kindle App. 

The Kindle edition of The Monster on Top of the Bed is  being launched on Father’s Day weekend and is specially priced at $2.99 over the Father’s Day weekend at http://www.MonBed.com . (The print version is also available at $12.99)

Like the printed version of the book, The Monster on Top of the Bed features Italian ice-cream parlor delicious artwork by illustrator Manuela Pentangelo of Sardina, Italy. The story is written by Amazon Bestseller Author Alan H. Jordan. Like Alan Jordan’s other Kindle books (Zoey’s Letter to a Soul, I Am Here Dad, Are You There Mom, I Sense God) this book is designed to take full advantage of technology.

Those outside the U.S. may buy it from local Amazon sites in Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and many other countries.

If you are a value shopper, download The Monster on Top of the Bed from http://www.Kindle.com or from http://www.MonBed.com over the Father’s Day weekend and take advantage of the introductory price at $2.99 cents. (The regular price will be $4.99.)  Then, sit back and watch the smiles spread as Dad and the children read (and maybe listen to) the story.  

-30-

 

Members of the press:  You may request a free review copy of the Kindle book by writing from your business e-mail to alan @ alanhjordan.com (no spaces around @).

If your e-mail does not include a media address (e.g. yourname@newyorktimes.com)  then please list which publication(s) or websites you will be placing the story and whether you will be doing a book review or feature story.  Or, if you’ve purchased a copy, send a link to the review you’ve written and a copy of your receipt. You will be reimbursed for the cost of your purchase.

 

 

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Two resources I recommended to James Pickands, III

I recently had the pleasure of discussing the best way for a personal friend, James Pickands, III, to approach his fiction writing.

Jim got his B.A. in Mathematics, Yale University, and his Ph.D.in Mathematical Statistics, Columbia University. He is a Professor Emeritus of Statistics and Operations Research, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is an expert non-fiction author, internationally known for his work in Statistical Inference using Extreme Values.

I advised him to use two resources that I have found very helpful.  The first is http://www.LitReactor.com, a site for where authors can:

  • Critique the work of others
  • Compare and contrast his critiques of other critiques to gain additional insight into the writing process
  • Upload his fiction writing and obtain critiques from other writers
  • Read insightful articles on the craft of writing by Chuck Palahniuk, Richard Thomas, Craig Clevenger
  • Take courses.

I also recommended that he join Holly Lisle’s How to Think Sideways Writer’s Boot Camp.  Holly breaks the task of writing down into a number of modular courses which Jim can use to fine tune his fiction writing skills. Furthermore, the site also sponsors a number of forums where Jim can participate in discussions with other authors.

I felt that these two venues will be great for Jim because they will help him to avoid what I call professional loneliness, the feeling that comes from writing too much alone and not having the ability to exchange ideas with peers.

I also felt that the concept of writing and receiving critiques would be helpful to Jim because he is used to the concept of having his non-fiction articles peer reviewed by other experts prior to publication.  Critiques are to fiction what peer reviews are to statistical papers.

Perhaps you will also find these resources valuable.

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Writer’s Challenge

This is a photograph that I took in the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.

When I took the photo I thought it would be interesting to write a story based on it.

Anyone up for writing a story (1,000 words or less) based on it.

 When you finish your story, announce it on the thread at LitReactor. If we can’t get a way to upload the submissions on LitReactor, you can upload it on my contact page, here, and I’ll make it available to for all to see, or as a closed post–each writer’s choice.

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Explore My Kindle Books

I am delighted that you can take advantage of many of my books in a cost effective format.

I invite you to explore some of my Kindle books, including a book of affirmations that you can quickly open up in a Kindle app on your phone for a quick burst of information no matter where you are, and books that feature out of this world photography from the Hubble Space Telescope combined with a poem that helps to process grief.

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Aunt Renie in Reno for #storyMooc

Aunt Renie

To learn more about this assignment, please visit https://iversity.org/my/courses/the-future-of-storytelling/discussions/16353

Aunt Renie woke up and saw the mountains, but she didn’t know where she was. The glow from the city somehow reminded her of her old heart throb Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. I’m starving, and I’m cold she thought as she got up off of the ground and looked at the city.

A large black limousine pulled into the parking lot on the top of Windy Hill, in Reno, NV and three University of Reno football players got out. The largest of the three said, “Aunt Renie we got your voice mail. Thank Heaven we found you.  What are you doing up here?”

“I went to the concert at Bartley Ranch, and then I decided to go hiking.  I must have slipped and hit my head.”

“Whatever you did last night, you must have made a great impression.  The casino sent this limo over to pick you up.”

“How are you doing, Miss Renie?” the driver asked as he held the door open for her.

“Just fine, Bartholomew.”

“Are you ready to win big again tonight?”

“You bet I am. On our way, can you take me downtown so I can see the biggest little sign?”

“Certainly.”

Aunt Renie got into the limo and drove into town in luxury.  On the way, they picked up the three football player’s dates.

Everywhere the seven of them went people nodded at them. Aunt Renie parlayed her one night of winnings into $250,000, which she donated to The Food Bank and The Assistance League to feed the needy and help children who are essentially homeless to get clothing and school books.

“I’ve never been so happy to have a patron win money,” said the president of one of the casinos. “Aunt Renie really made a lot of people happy this holiday season.”

“I wonder where I will wind up next,” said Aunt Renie as the limousine took her back to the Reno International Airport where she was supposed to pick up her tickets at the United counter.

 #

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Alice in Wonderland – A Friend and a Hamster

I have recently re-read Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass for a Coursera.org course in Fantasy and Science Fiction, and when I received this e-mail from a long-time friend, John Bieniek I wrote to him for his permission to share his artistic work.

He gave me permission, so I’m reproducing his letter here, along with photos.   If you want to contact him write directly to him at  jybeen2002 @ yahoo.com.

Back of an Alice in Wonderland Chair by John BieniekHi Friends,

Front of an Alice in Wonderland Chair by John BieniekDon’t get to see a lot of you as often as I would like, life gets busy! My life is interesting as always.
Lots of time spent on self maintenance.
Since timing is important … got mine reset with a pacemaker.
I feel great and am back dancing at least once a week. Working Swango … fusion of west coast and tango dances.
Closeup of the front of an Alice in Wonderland Chair, by John BieniekMy major focus has been on converting a  Adirondack into anything I like.I was one of 50 artists invited to compete and exhibit  in a Show for  3 months, at the Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill. Since there was a fairy tale theme. I choose to create a ‘Throne for the Queen of Hearts” from Alice in Wonderland.
I put a lot more time then I should. The show ends on September 4th.
Looking for some place that might be interested in buying or showing the throne.
I have contacted the Please Touch Museum in
Philadelphia …waiting for a reply.
Happy Fall….JohnBieniek  ( jybeen2002 @ yahoo.com)
Now, you may ask, “What does this have to do with a hamster?”   John is one of my oldest friends, and when I happened to get his letter on the day that I Liz and I decided to put beloved pet hamster down. I was able to share my loss with John, and to do something for John.  I feel that Houdini, our hamster, would have approved.

Closeup of the back of an Alice in Wonderland chair by John Bieniek

Just so you understand the depths of our feelings for Houdini, here’s a copy of the e-mail that I sent to the people who knew him.

I’m seated at the kitchen table, savoring a late lunch of moist chicken and tomatoes, enjoying it all the more because chicken was Houdini’s most favorite food in the world.Today, Liz and I decided to take Houdini to the vet and release him from the ravages of multiple cancers.

Houdini, when he was young. Look at his eyes!

We made the decision a day after Liz took him to the vet to get pain relief and other medications. Unfortunately, he was not enamored of taking the medicine. That’s quite understandable considering that he no longer would even eat a piece of chicken. We surmise that the digestion of chicken was just too painful for him.

We were blessed to have him as a member of our family, and there is a hole in our hearts about the size of Rhode Island, but we are absolutely convinced that if he have talked, he would have told us that he wanted to be released from the suffering he was experiencing.

About an hour and a half of before he received his assistance moving on, I took him to out of his “shoe”, which is really a snugly bedroom slipper that he loved to sleep in. He enjoyed sipping some water from a small pink milk top that Liz held up to his mouth in the shoe. He also was able to appreciate eating two long pieces of finely shredded Tillamoook sharp cheddar cheese that Liz patiently hand fed him.

After a little while, we both held him and stroked him, and he would knew that he was loved and not alone. Houdini then gave me a present. He used a tremendous amount of his energy reserved to let me know that he wanted to “hand-to-hand” with me. That’s a game that we have where he is goes from one of my hands to the other. Then, I reposition the hands and he would goes into the next one, etc. We moved from hand to hand six time. By doing his, he showed me that he could still enjoy life despite his illness. I have never seen any animal better in living in the moment than the Houdini.

I’m munching on the some of the same type of cheese that he enjoyed for a last meal. It has a pleasant tang.

Liz and I saw this day coming. On August 28th, I woke up at 4:00 and went in to play with him. (I remember when he used to wake me up at 4:00 AM with all the noise he made by rapidly running in his wheel.) Walking was now a major challenge for him. He was too weak to do that, and too off balance because of the cancerous growths on, and inside, his body even to go into his separate dining area that’s to the right of his cage.

At 4:10 AM on the 28th, I wrote this poem for him:

A Blessed Thought for Little Guy

When it’s time to slip into beyond sleep
It’s okay to let go.
The sparkle of your soul will live in ours.

Your spirit,
The joy you’ve really
Experienced and given
Added to the Universe.

Today, at 9:45 AM, about 1 hour and fifteen minutes before he slipped painlessly into his soul’s next adventure, I wrote this poem, from his point of view. Then, I read it to him.

Release Day

Release Day is okay because
Darkness is a comfort to me
I am not alone
I know that I am loved
I know that I have brought joy into the world–joy that will live long after me.
I have experienced joy and love that will travel with me.

Houdini gave me a great gift. I was just holding him, and he started to play “hand-to-hand”. I’m firmly convinced this was a show of love.

When we took him to the vet, the process was to sedate him with gas and then to inject him. His breathing was so labored, and his energy so low that he made no protest. I believe that he made his peace with Liz and I and with himself, and his submission was the equivalent of his walking into a forest, and saying, “My time has come.”

Houdini passed over peacefully, in the company of loved ones, not in his cage alone.

Here Houdini is receiving an anesthetic. He accepted this and fell asleep with us in the room, loving him. After he was asleep he received a humane injection. It was his time to go.

A word about his “cage.” He actually had four of them. We continually modified the arrangement so that his dignity was preserved as he became more infirm.

Also, in the beginning he had only one cage, and he was stressed and depressed. As we added places for him to forage and explore, he was satisfied. We had two cages hooked up in Reno, a transit cage and a cage in Tahoe that could be hooked up to his transit cage, so he is always had two connected cages. We moved his cage to different locations from time to time, to provide additional stimulus.

These connected cages made hamster Houdini happy!

Somehow, Houdini was always able to communicate his desires to us, no small thing for an animal that is not even able to whine or bark.

He was also able to communicate a sense of humor, and to show appreciation.

I feel that it is fitting that I am writing this eulogy at the kitchen table, the place where most of the life’s issues are most likely to be addressed and, today, immediately to the left of his cages.

Warmly,

Dad and Alan

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