June 5, 2014

Special Kids-Special Needs

Hi All,
I just wanted to let you know that the latest edition of Guardian Angel Kids E-zine is now available.  This is the E-zine that my publisher puts out monthly.  Every month is a different topic.  This month features special kids with special needs.  It contains stories, poems, and articles for kids as well as articles for teachers and parents.  If you get a chance, stop by and check it out.  It’s well worth the visit.    The link for it is http://www.guardian-angel-kids.com/
While you’re there, you can see some of the games and activities that I designed for this E-zine as part of the creative crew there.

May 19, 2014

Why Children’s Books Matter

New York Public Library on 42nd & 5th Ave
I recently went to an exhibit at the New York Public Library on 42nd Street and 5th Avenue in New York City.  It is titled “Why Children’s Books Matter”. This exhibit walks you through the history of children’s books from early colonial times through Manga and the graphic novels of today. I really enjoyed the displays that included some of my favorites. From Alice in Wonderland to Winnie the Pooh, to Where the Wild Things Are, all the classics were represented. There were examples of children’s books from Russia and India, a history of the origin of children’s books, and a reading section where kids(or adults for that matter) could sit and read from the shelves of children’s books available. Some of the displays included props that I have never seen anywhere else.
The Original Winnie the Pooh & Friends
I think that kids will really love some of the interactive displays there.  There is a replica of the car from The Phantom Tollbooth, a life sized fireplace from Goodnight Moon, and a rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland for kids to crawl through.  Even if you don't bring any children, there is still enough on display to invoke memories from your own childhood.  The original Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal was on display along with Piglet, Eeyore and Tigger. Mary Poppin’s umbrella was alongside the original book and clips from the movie were playing on the adjacent wall.  Across from this exhibit, original drawings from the Wizard of Oz hung on the wall.

My First Introduction to Poetry
What really made me feel like a kid again was seeing a vintage copy of Mad Magazine on display. This magazine helped fuel an irreverent sense of humor which I still have to this day. It also introduced me to poetry and taught me the concept of rhyme and meter before anyone else. Before I had ever read Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in school, I read Rhyme of the Modern Skateboarder in Mad Magazine. Like any good children’s book, this exhibit doesn't preach to you. It doesn’t tell you why children’s books matter. It simply shows you the work and lets you draw your own conclusions. But I do know why children’s books matter to me. They introduced me to a vast array of ideas and different ways of thinking. They taught me about the world and about myself in ways that I could relate to.  They also influenced me in ways I would not fully understand until much later on in life. After all, who knew back then that I would wind up recommending that budding poets read vintage copies of Mad Magazine to sharpen their poetry skills?  If you get a chance, I highly recommend seeing this exhibit.

April 29, 2014

Website Woes

I recently redesigned my website from scratch.  I used a content management system (CMS) to build it.  For the uninitiated, this type of system allows you to change the data on pages fairly quickly while keeping the style of the website intact.  It’s a far cry from the first website I built using Microsoft Publisher.  The problem with that program is that it would never look the same depending on what computer and browser I was using.  Anything that looked terrific on Internet Explorer, would look terrible on Firefox and vice versa.  So I found myself forever tinkering with my website.  It was a great when my writer’s block would kick in.  I would have a legitimate excuse for not writing because I had to fix my #$@^&* website.

I used to work in a technology unit at my old day job.  I am far from being a technology expert.  But I have a basic understanding of how technology works and I’m willing to teach myself just about anything.  So with enough time and patience, I rebuilt my website.  I used a CMS called Joomla.  It’s a pretty popular system.  But Joomla was entirely different from anything I used before.   I would have to start at the beginning to learn it.  So with the help of the internet and armed with a “Dummies” book, I went to work. 

First problem I ran into:  Joomla was upgrading versions and the new version wouldn’t work with my current internet hosting.  I contacted customer service and they sold me on trying a new hosting platform they were rolling out which would support the new version of Joomla.  So I backed up my website, or so I thought, and had them convert me to this new hosting platform. 

So I find out that I didn’t quite back up my website correctly (“D’oh”-with apologies to Homer Simpson).  Also, when I switched platforms it deleted my old account.  My website and everything else stored there was gone (“Double D’oh”). 

If I had backed up my website correctly, I could have just imported it into Joomla and it would have converted it automatically (“Triple D’oh).  But anyhow, now I finally have a nice, shiny new website, with plenty of bells and whistles.  If you would like to see the results, please visit www.kevinmcnamee.com and let me know how it looks to you.

Unfortunately, now I don’t have any more excuses for not writing.  Back to work.

April 14, 2014

Going Global

I received some great news from my publisher that all of my books are going to be available for sale in China and other Asian markets.  Guardian Angel Publishing has finished negotiating with an agent to distribute English language books.  This is coupled with a mandate in China that all school children should learn English.  So I’m really excited that my books will be open to such a huge market.  Also in the works is distribution to India and other emerging markets where my books are not available.  I’ll keep you posted on any further developments.  But I couldn’t wait to spread the word.  How cool is that?