March 29, 2011

Great Review for What Is That Thing?

I received a really nice review for What Is That Thing? from Nicole Weaver at Ms. Weaver highly recommends my book and has this to say:

“This cute and heartwarming story should be read to all children who already have or are about to have a new addition to their family.

Further value is added by the award-winning artist K.C. Snider, who elevates the story with her top-notch illustrations.”

K.C. really did do a great job with the illustrations and I’m very fond of the text, myself. ;-) So I’m so glad this book is getting a good reception.

To read the entire review, please follow this link:

March 23, 2011

First Review for What Is That Thing?

I received my first review for What Is That Thing? from author Janet Ann Collins on her On Words blog. An excerpt of which is below:

“McNamee has done a great job of capturing what the experience of having a new sibling can be like.

Illustrator K.C. Snider provided colorful pictures that show both Jenna's imaginary adventures and the real world in a cute way.”

To read the full review, please follow this link

One criticism she had was that newborns don’t smile. But I respectfully disagreed with her and mentioned it in a comment on her blog.

My daughter smiled when she was a newborn, and there are plenty of others who will tell you that their babies started smiling right away. I’ll always remember that little toothless grin on her face when she was an infant. Even if it was gas, I’ll still take it. :-)

I even sent Ms. Collins a link to a parenting site to back me up. Because the last thing I want to happen is to give inaccurate information in my books. You can read more about this at the website below.

March 15, 2011

VBT-Marvin Wilson -Author of Between the Storm and the Rainbow

Today, in a departure from the children's book world, I am happy to be featuring Marvin Wilson, author of Between the Storm and the Rainbow. Marvin, what is this book about?

This book is based on Between the Storm and the Rainbow, the internationally popular award-winning Free Spirit blog. It is an anthology of the best of the best posts that will inspire you, stimulate your deep thoughts and emotions and also give you plenty of laughter. Read the spiritual/inspirational writings of author Marvin D Wilson and join the global community of readers who count on their daily dose of Free Spirit.

This sounds very interesting, Marvin. Please give us an excerpt from your book.

Freedom through Discipline

(August 31, 2008)

I was able to go to college on a music scholarship. My father was a poor Christian minister, and had I not been born with the gift of music, the advantage of higher education would have been denied me. Thanks to my God-given talents, I was able to go. I was a music major with a thespian minor at Central Michigan University. At age eighteen, I thought I knew everything. I had talent, intelligence, youthful bold confidence and a brash attitude, and a social/political/religious view of our world (this was the late 1960's, mind you) that was one of "I know everything." And anyone who disagreed with me (especially my parents and any authority figures in the older generation, those despicable leaders of the hypocritical oppressive "Orwellian - big brother" government of the times), were dead wrong. I was a "Free Spirit," venturing forth into a brave new world that me and my Hippie friends were forging with our new lifestyle, our drugs, sex and rock and roll religion of freedom.

In my freshman year at college, I met Professor Stephen Hobson. He was my choir director and my private lesson voice coach. He looked to me to be in his late sixties. He was (well, he seemed to me at the time) stodgy and stiff, and a strict disciplinarian. He demanded of me a level of self-discipline and rigorous diurnal practice regimen that I was completely without the ability to understand, let alone adhere to. One little flutter in-between voice registers, any tiny slippage in tonal and/or pitch control when singing my assigned lessons in his torture chambers he called a "practice room" every Wednesday, he would stop playing his piano accompaniment, look at me with this "you know as well as I that that was not good enough" expression and demand that I try it again. Over and over … until I got it perfect. Perfect according to his obnoxious elitist opinion.

I couldn't stand that man. He was asking way too much of me, and for no good reason. I did not see the need for such a tyrannical imposition of discipline on me and my life, my singing, my anything. I was writing songs about freedom and liberty, gigging at night in my rock and roll band, getting over to thunderous applause at the hands of my Hippie peers, why did I need discipline? I was a one-of-a-kind talent; my uninhibited, serendipitous, wild and natural style was destined to become the standard for future generations. Professors in decades to come would teach their students how to emulate ME!

Ah, but those of you with any substantial life experience can guess the rest of the story. I never "made it" as a big impact famous rock and roller. I eventually wound up playing for modest money in little disco bars, playing live juke-box cover tunes for young people to get drunk to and screw each other. But I had learned something along the way.

I learned that in order to become "free" with anything, any pursuit, any hobby, any career, any craft, any aspiration of great accomplishment, you had to go through the discipline first. I never made it as a big name musician, but I did learn how to play my instrument. To this day, I am free when I pick up a guitar. I can express emotions, elevate my consciousness, get all heaven-bound and glorified, and anyone around me will experience the same thing I am feeling. It's a miracle I can produce, at any time, in any place, on any guitar of reasonable quality. But it took years and years of discipline to reach that plateau. Years and years of overcoming sore fingertips and blistered split open calluses, learning the scales, studying the modes, practicing the positions, emulating the recordings artists, getting so familiar with the neck I owned it as an extensions of my hand.

Towards the end of my bar-playing nightclub career, Professor Stephen Hobson came out to see my band. I had called him, letting him know we were playing in his town that week. Even so, I was surprised to see him in the audience – remember, this is a classical musician, a prim and proper professor, a patron of the fine arts, someone who goes to operas and symphony performances. For him to go to a dance club and listen to a top forty band was rather impressive.

And you know what? He was impressed with our performance. I went and sat at the table with him and his wife after the second set and he was beaming. He had wonderful accolades to bestow upon me and my ensemble, complimenting the vocals, the arrangements, our use of dynamics, our overall command of our instruments. And it was then that I told him what I had wanted to say for several years. I told him that I finally understood what discipline meant, what its value was. I knew, I told him, that undertaking the arduous discipline of any given art or craft was the necessary and ONLY way to get free within that art or craft. I told him that I finally appreciated what he had been trying to get through to my thick headstrong skull all those years ago. I knew I had been a special student to him, he had a great amount of belief in my talent, and I also knew I had been a disappointment to him, because he never “got through to me” when I was under his tutelage. I apologized to him for that shortcoming and assured him that his teaching had stuck with me all these years and had now been realized in my life and practice.

The now retired Professor Stephen Hobson's eighty-year-old eyes filled up. He said, and I quote, "Then my life, my career, has been worth it!"

We hugged. Long and sincere. That was the last time I ever saw him. He died a couple years later. I will never forget Professor Stephen Hobson and what he taught me about applying discipline to my life in order to get beyond boundaries and break free.

It applies to relationships and marriage, to any career, to any sport, to any hobby, to any life pursuit whatsoever. If you want to eventually be free, you must initially go through the discipline. It may sound like an oxymoron, "Freedom through Discipline," it did to me as a young Hippie, but it makes perfect sense to me now.

God bless and keep you, Professor Stephen Hobson. Your legacy, your teaching, lives on.



“I stumbled upon Marvin’s blog clearly by accident and found his words to be like verbal magnets pulling me into this world he inhabits. It is a terrain full of wisdom, humor, homespun philosophy, good common sense, a poetic sensibility and uncommon spirituality. Reading this man’s work makes it easy to become a confirmed ‘Marvaholic!’”

-L.M. Ross, poet, and author of Manhood and The Moanin’ After

“Marvin Wilson’s award-winning Free Spirit blog not only surprises and shocks you; it tells it like it is, with a generous dollop of love.”

-Jean Henry Mead, author of A Village Shattered and Escape

“I can count on one of three things from my daily visit to Free Spirit … a smile, a feeling of spiritual growth or something to make me think deeply. Many days, they are all rolled into one.”

-Joyce A. Anthony, author of Storm

“It’s an adventure reading what Marvin Wilson writes on Free Spirit since you never know what to expect from him, other than something that will delight, amuse, enrich or inspire!”

-Connie Arnold, poet, and author of Beautiful Moments of Joy and Peace and Abiding Hope and Love

You can find Marvin’s book at the following stores:

Direct from publisher:

On Amazon:

You an also follow Marvin’s Free Spirit blog url at:

Thanks for stopping by Marvin and for giving us a chance to get to know you and your book.

March 14, 2011

Fun Interview at The Eyeball In My Garden Blog

Hi All,
I did a fun interview at the Eyeball in My Garden blog. An Eyeball In My Garden is a poetry collection put together by 14 terrifyingly talented poets.  I have two poems included in this collection titled, Our Neighborhood and The Gargoyle.  So if you would ever like to know what I would do if I encountered a Winking Wot, please stop by and say hello.


March 10, 2011

Being Featured on Karen Cioffi's Blog-Writing for Children and More

Hi All,

I'm be featured on Karen Cioffi's Blog, Writing For Children and More.  I'll be talking about the story behind my picture book, If I Could Be Anything.  If you get a chance, please stop by and say hello.

March 7, 2011

What Is That Thing? has been released.

"It’s an alien from outer space! … It’s a strange and smelly creature! … It’s a mysterious, roaring animal! … It’s my baby sister?!"

Jenna uses her imagination to understand this new person in her life. When she finally sees things as they are, will Jenna like what she sees?

It is with great pleasure that I announce the release of my latest picture book with Guardian Angel Publishing. It is titled, What Is That Thing? This book deals with the arrival of a new baby. Jenna uses her imagination to try and figure out this new little person in her life, and to understand the changing family dynamics involved in having a new addition to the family. K.C. Snider did a terrific job with the illustrations.

This book is available as a print, book, ebook and book on CD from Guardian Angel Publishing at

and as a print book at at

I’ll be adding be adding new links for this book as they become available. This is so new, Amazon doesn’t have a picture for it yet. This book was a lot of fun to write. I hope people have just as much fun reading it.

March 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

Today is Theodor Geisel’s birthday. However, for those who don't already know, he is better known as Dr. Seuss. I loved reading Dr. Seuss as a child. The Cat in the Hat was one of the first books I remember reading. I loved all the entertaining characters he came up with, The Star Bellied Sneetches, The Lorax, Thing1 and Thing 2, not to mention that he was the first one to draw a Nerd and coin the phrase.

As an adult and especially as a children’s book writer, I admire his tenacity. His first children’s book, And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street, was rejected 27 times before it was published. I was quite a bit luckier with my first acceptance. The Soggy Town of Hilltop was the first of my books to receive a contract. It was only rejected 18 times by my records before it finally found a home with Guardian Angel Publishing. It is written in rhyme and I’ve been told that this book shows some Seussian influences. That may have contributed to my story’s success. I do have other work that’s coming close to exceeding Mr. Geisel’s record.

I also admire the fact that he continued to work at his day job in advertising while pursuing his writing career.  He didn’t discard writing and illustrating in favor of what was paying more money at the time. We are all better off for it.

I hold down a day job and struggle to find a way to keep writing despite the demands on my time. I lament how difficult this business is to begin with, and how the economy is just making it worse. But still I keep plugging away, without knowing if anything I do will ever bear fruit. When I look at the cold, hard facts with a rational eye, I’ve come to the conclusion that I must have rocks in my head.

Fortunately, I save rationality and cold, hard facts for my day job. I’m a writer and always have been. It’s what I do and it’s part of who I am. Luckily for me, giants have gone before me doing exactly what I am doing. It helps strengthen my resolve.

So, Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss.  May your books continue to delight and entertain children and adults alike, and may the struggles you faced continue to inspire writers everywhere.