Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln Vampire HunterYou know the whole vampire trend is out of hand when a book called Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is a bestseller. I recently picked it up. I mean, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter—it’s right there in the title. What more do you need?

For the record, I’m not a huge fan of vampire lit. OK, I’m a big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But that has little to do with vampires and everything to do with the awesomeness that is that show. And I read the Twilight series—meh. But this ridiculous mashup of history and fantasy was too good to pass up.

At least in theory.

The concept of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is awesome. It’s reminiscent of a b-movie from a while back that was likely a decade too early—Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter. The idea of our 16th president secretly wielding an axe and taking down bloodsuckers is just too good. Unfortunately after 336 pages it starts to lose its luster.

How many times can you blame Lincoln’s dark history on vampires and have it not be completely predictable? [spoiler alert] His mother—killed by a vampire. His son—killed by a vampire. John Wilkes Booth—he’s a vampire. By the time that assassination comes along it’s all ho-hum. Perhaps 336 pages of Lincoln as vampire slayer is too much.

But it would have made an awesome comic book. Apparently Tim Burton is going to make the movie.

This is probably taking the book way too seriously, but it’s a little depressing that we have to blame some of the world’s greatest injustices—from slavery to the holocaust—on vampires. It’s understandable that we’d want to find a scapegoat like the undead rather than face the reality that regular people did these things. Escapism is a little easier than reality.

Taking it too seriously? Yeah. Though Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is deadly serious. (sorry, couldn’t resist that one)

Boobquake: Confounding Religious Insanity

Today is Boobquake. Funny story:

So an Islamic cleric and Iranian prayer leader was quoted in Iranian media as blaming earthquakes on immodest women:

“Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes.”

As if that claim wasn’t clear enough, Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi went on: “What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble? There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam’s moral codes.”

As if to prove Sedighi isn’t an extremist, the minister of welfare and social security, Sadeq Mahsooli, backed him up: “We cannot invent a system that prevents earthquakes, but God has created this system and that is to avoid sins, to pray, to seek forgiveness, pay alms and self-sacrifice.”

So sin, and specifically women showing a little skin, causes earthquakes. Curious that Iran is among the world’s most earthquake-prone areas, and not, say, Las Vegas. Or Cancun during Spring Break. Also curious that these earthquakes are the fault of woman showing skin and not the men who lust after them.

A Modest Proposal
As if that little Pat Robertson moment for Muslims wasn’t entertaining enough, student Jennifer McCreight decided to put this ‘cleveage causes earthquakes’ theory to the test with Boobquake. Her modest proposal: Encourage women to dress as immodestly as they choose on one day and see if they can trigger an earthquake (McCreight is a vocal atheist and proponent of science over religion). She even set up a Facebook event. But when the event had 14,000 attendees she realized that what started as a joke was now something more (today the event has gone out to more than 1 million people).

What’s the Point?
So why am I talking about this? Because religious people too often insert foot in mouth and say something ridiculous. Sometimes it’s just a poorly phrased statement, sometimes it’s bad timing and bad taste, and in some cases (like this one) it’s just bad theology.

Boobquake is silly and juvenile (as the founder admits) and I’m not exactly on board with the pro-slut approach (we’ll save the appropriateness question for another time). But I do love the idea of confronting stupid religious statements. Drawing attention to the oppression women often face in the Islamic world is also worthwhile. It won’t change anything in Iran, but that’s not the point. McCreight’s point is that religion is stupid (I’m paraphrasing). My point is that our own comments and actions too often give people like McCreight permission and justification to think that way.

Religion doesn’t have to be the butt of jokes (the boob of jokes?). But that’s up to us.

Plus: Boob. [insert juvenile laughter]

Life Isn’t Always a New Baseball Stadium

Let’s blog about something that’s not my book, OK? Cool. (Wait, did I just ruin it?)

So there’s this guy I follow on Twitter, Karl Pearson-Cater. I know him as bigboxcar. I don’t know him personally and I don’t remember how or why I started following him. He was probably just one of the interesting local people that folks kept referencing or retweeting and eventually I just went to the source.

Anyway, last week Karl was making dinner with the family and boiling water spilled on his 2-year-old and 5-year-old sons. Major accident. 911 called. Ambulance. Screaming children. Second degree burns. Parent’s worst nightmare. This week the 5-year-old will need a skin graft. How do you explain that to a 5-year-old? Your feet hurt so now we’re going to cut your head to make it better.

Today this post came up and all I could think was “yeah!”:

“We gave my 5-year-old the choice to shave dad’s head to look like how his hair will look after surgery. Thusly, I am bald now.”

One of my favorite comments from Karl’s whole experience:

“If I could trade feet with my 5-year-old for 2 weeks, I would. Someone please research this and invent it.”

Maybe some of those scientists I know could get on that? Thanks.

Karl has reflected on how weird it is to tweet/blog about this mess (he’s usually funny quips and videos) and has apologized for it, but he finds it therapeutic. I think we all find it therapeutic. As someone else responded:

“No need to apologies. It is good people talk about things, and life isn’t always a new baseball stadium.”

Yes! Sometimes Facebook, Twitter and blogs are all funny stories, wonderful news and stadium openings, but life isn’t like that. Sometimes life sucks. Sometimes we need to commiserate. We’re not all superheroes. I think the more we can be honest in these online forums the more healthy and beneficial they can be.

Pre-Order is Now Over

The limited time pre-order for Addition by Adoption is now over. In one week we managed to sell 64 pre-order copies. That’s pretty cool for a self-published book with little support. Thank you.

I kept saying that more money from the pre-order copies would go to charity: water, and it has. This morning I donated $256 to our campaign to build a well in Ethiopia, which amounts to $4 per copy (double the normal donation amount). That’s a good start towards the $5,000 we’ll need to build a well. But we have a long way to go ($4,744 to go).

From now on $2 of each copy sold will go to charity: water, so we need to sell 2,372 copies. That sounds insane, doesn’t it? It does, but a year ago I would have told you that raising $2,605 was insane. It wasn’t.

You can help by spreading the word, buying a copy when it officially launches (May 11!) or making a donation directly to our campaign.

The book officially launches on May 11 and you’ll be able to get it on Amazon.com.

Thanks again to everyone who bought a copy and helped spread the word. I’m continually amazed and humbled at how people are responding to the book. Thanks.

I’m Not a Super Dad

The last day to pre-order Addition by Adoption is tomorrow. If you don’t order it by tomorrow, you’ll have to wait for the official launch on May 11. The book has received a lot of press in the past week—OK, “press” meaning friends and contacts blogging and tweeting about the book. But they’ve had a lot of nice things to say. It’s enough to make your head swell. So it’s time to pop that bubble: I’m not a super dad.

I’ve found that the biggest challenge of adoption and raising kids in general is just the day to day. There are day-to-day challenges and difficulties that you have to rise up and face every day. Those challenges can wear you down pretty quickly if you’re not careful.

For whatever reason I woke up on the wrong side of the bed Saturday and I had no patience. That wouldn’t be so awful, but Milo woke up on the wrong side of his crib and he’d been screaming all morning. Not a good combination.

Finding ways to deal with those kinds of frustrations is crucial. On Saturday Milo and I had to take a break from each other. My wife and I frequently have times where one of us needs to ‘run away,’ and I that’s what I needed Saturday.

It’s stuff like trying to get work done and your daughter won’t stop asking if Sesame Street is on. At first it’s cute, then it’s annoying and then it’s like poking a tiger with a stick at the zoo. The other day Lexi did that so often I told her if she asked me one more time she couldn’t watch it. So she asked if it was time for Milo to take a nap, which happens to be the same time Sesame Street is on. Sneaky. Very sneaky.

Adoption certainly has its own unique challenges and issues you need to recognize (and in some cases very serious issues), but it’s really just parenting. More complicated parenting, yeah, but it’s still parenting. And parenting is pretty complicated and hard and stressful and challenging. Did I mention I had no patience on Saturday?

That’s one thing I like about the book—it’s honest. The book includes these moments of frustration. Sometimes you need an afternoon of TV and snacks and no kids to regain some sanity (at least one review expressed relief at sharing that sentiment). Any parent who doesn’t get frustrated by their kids and need a break once and while is either lying or a saint. It’s not the kids’ fault, it’s not your fault, it’s just how life is.

Continue reading I’m Not a Super Dad

Why My Book Supports Water, Not Adoption

We’re in the midst of pre-order week for my book Addition by Adoption: Kids Causes & 140 Characters (in case you somehow missed it). A portion of the proceeds from the book will go to build a well in Ethiopia with charity: water. It’s kind of a big, crazy goal—we need to raise $5,000 to build a well. Roughly $2 of each book sold with go to charity: water, so that’s a lot of books (though $4 of every pre-order copy will go to charity: water, so you know, pre-order now!).

Water is a huge deal. I’ve talked about the numbers before and they’re pretty staggering. But for me the personal connection is more important. People all over Ethiopia lack clean water—and it kills them. The jerry cans people use to gather water could be seen everywhere in Ethiopia, from the urban capital city to the rural countryside.

So my book about adoption supports water. A little weird, right?

Adoption is not a best case scenario. Ideally, adoption wouldn’t be necessary. There are many reasons that children need to be adopted, from poverty to abuse to social stigmas. Some of those can be prevented.

It’d be better if Ethiopia’s children didn’t become orphans and didn’t need to be adopted. I talk about this in the first chapter of the book. It’s part of why Ethiopia is near and dear to our hearts. We want the children of Ethiopia—Milo’s brothers and sisters—to be able to stay with their moms and dads. Providing clean water is one way to help make that happen. Another is development and education projects, like the ones our agency runs and supports in Ethiopia.

Adoption is one solution to a problem. And while I think it’s an incredible solution, it’s not the only one and it’s not necessarily the best one longterm. So my book focuses on another way to tackle that problem, addressing the underlying poverty and trying to improve the lives of all Ethiopians.

It’s not an easy or a quick solution, but hopefully it will make a difference.

And if you’d like to help beyond just buying a book, you can make an additional donation to charity: water to help us a build a well.

Good Adoption Stories: All the Single Ladies

There’s a lot of crap about adoption out there. Everyone has their horror stories.

You may have heard the story about the 7-year-old boy adopted from Russia who was put on a plane by himself and shipped back to Moscow with a note. His adoptive parents said they were lied to about his issues and his violent behavior wasn’t what they signed up for. So after six months and apparently no attempts to get help they sent the kid back to Russia.

I don’t want to judge, but these are the stupidest people ever.


Sorry. This story makes me kind of angry. OK, kind of very angry. You don’t get to send your biological kid back. Why do adopted kids have a return policy? I realize that disruptions (that’s what they call it when an adoption doesn’t work out) happen, but in my mind there is no return policy. There is nothing my children can do that would make me cease to be their parent, cease loving them, cease fighting for them. I may need a ton of help, I may need a radical shift in my expectation of what life is going to be like, but I’m not sending a kid back. That goes for the adopted kids as well as the biological kids.

This is why I love Children’s Home Society, the agency we used to adopt Milo. They have an incredible post-placement program to help adoptive families deal with whatever issues come up. The adopted family that sent their kid back to Russia never asked their agency for help. I haven’t heard why yet, but that’s what you do in this situation. You get help.

Continue reading Good Adoption Stories: All the Single Ladies

Pre-Order Addition by Adoption

Addition by Adoption: Kids, Causes & 140 CharactersMy new book, Addition by Adoption: Kids, Causes & 140 Characters is now available for pre-order:

Buy it now!

The pre-order will last for one week, until April 20, and then it’s done. After that you’ll have to wait for the book to officially launch on May 11. Pre-order sales are going through me—I’m basically taking orders for a week, buying a whole pile of my books and then shipping them out to you.

Why pre-order? That’s a good question.

  • It’s cheaper. You can save about $1 by pre-ordering. Because shipping is included in the pre-order price it’s ultimately cheaper than the official version will be with shipping ($12.99 pre-order vs. $9.99 + $3.99 shipping from Amazon).
  • More money to charity. Twice as much money will go to charity: water. Roughly $2 of each purchased copy will go to charity: water when the book launches on May 11. But for the pre-order about $4 of each purchase will go to charity: water,
  • It’s autographed. Each pre-order copy will be signed by Lexi, my 4-year-old daughter and star of much of the book.
  • Get it early. Pre-order copies should arrive before the official launch on May 11.

Basically the pre-order is a chance to take advantage of my low author price and save you some money, give more money to charity and start to spread the word about the book.

So pre-order now! Thanks.

The Book Arrives

The Book ArrivesMy new book, Addition by Adoption: Kids, Causes & 140 Characters, arrived in the mail today. It got here just in time for the one-week pre-order that starts tomorrow.

The book looks amazing. The front and back cover are slick and cool and much better than anything I can design. You can thank Brian White of TriLion Studios for that bit of awesome design.

The interior is sweet, too. You can see a chapter introduction, some straight tweets and meet the family. You can thank Ronald Cox for the killer interior layout design. Much better than my woeful attempts in Microsoft Word.

You can get your own snazzy copy, starting with tomorrow’s pre-order. It’s a limited, one-week pre-order, so if you don’t order it in the next week, you’ll have to wait for the official launch on May 11. Plus the pre-order is cheaper, more money goes to charity and Lexi will sign it.

I’m so geeking out about this. I hope you can stand it.

Finally, we uploaded some new banner graphics today. Check ’em out and add one to your site today:
125 x 125 Some Dork