Beyond the Books

Home » Posts tagged 'Humor'

Tag Archives: Humor

Mary Elizabeth The Spotless Cow on Sale in October!

The story of “Mary Elizabeth The Spotless Cow” takes us on the journey she travels to figure out how to get the cows at a new farm to like and accept her.

While she hopes to find friendship at her new home, instead she learns what it means to be different from everyone else. (Spotless!) Mary Elizabeth uses clever ideas and a sense of humor to help her on her quest for friends at the new farm.

This inspiring tale shows how perseverance in spite of obstacles, using a sound thought process to arrive at solutions and the importance of having fun, using humor and enjoying playtime can build friendships.

When you buy this book, 50% of net proceeds go to Phoenix Children’s Hospital Child Life Program to make a difference in the lives of children with critical and life threatening illnesses.


Once upon a time……..there was a farm in Ohio with lots of Cows. They all had many spots to be proud of. One day a truck pulled into the farm. The back door opened and out came a new Cow. The other Cows were so excited to have a new friend!

But as the new Cow came out of the truck the other Cows looked on in shock!!! “Oh My! What on Earth?!”

It seems the new Cow, whose name was Mary Elizabeth, had no spots!

“Where are your spots??!!” Demanded the Cow called Anna Belle.

“I don’t have any spots. I was born spotless, you see.”

Well, Anna Belle and the other Cows were horrified.

(Not mad, you had to be very careful about mad)

Purchasing information: During the month of October, purchase Mary Elizabeth The Spotless Cow from the Sweetles website for only $12.00 (List price: $17.99). When you buy this book, 50% of net proceeds go to Phoenix Children’s Hospital Child Life Program. Visit for more information.

Sal is the author and illustrator of “A Sweetles Dream”® book series. As the Creative Director for Hartman-Barbera llc, a family media & entertainment company, he is also an animator, sculptor, painter and all around fun guy. Sal lives the phrase: “A day without laughter is a wasted day”. To that end, he uses his writing, illustrating and animation skills to create endearing characters and comedic stories.

Sal’s sense of humor and empathy for his characters explore personal and social situations in ways that makes it enjoyable for both adults and children to experience together. Born in New York City, Sal moved to North Bergen, NJ where he grew up on a steep hillside neighborhood with his four older sisters. He currently lives in sunny Arizona with his wife and artistic partner, Sheri, who he defines as his inspiration. On any given day Sal might be painting, sculpting, drawing, animating, writing or enjoying one of his favorite pastimes: cooking, television, movies and golf.

Visit Sal Barbera’s website at

Visit Sal’s other tour stops at:

October 1st

Interview at Blogcritics

October 2nd

Book spotlight at The Writer’s Life

October 3rd

Book spotlight at As the Pages Turn

October 4th

Book review at Alicia Finn Noack

October 7th

Book spotlight at Literarily Speaking

October 8th

Book spotlight at Between the Covers

October 9th

Book spotlight at The Book Rack

Book review at Classic Children’s Books

October 10th

Book review at The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection

October 11th

Guest post at Paperback Writer

Book spotlight at Review from Here

Book review at A Year of Jubilee Book Reviews

October 12th

Book spotlight at 4 the Love of Books

October 14th

Interview at Straight from the Author’s Mouth

October 15th

Book spotlight at Broken Teepee

Book spotlight at Beyond the Books

October 16th

Book review at Lynn’s Corner

Book trailer reveal at If Books Could Talk

October 17th

Guest post at The Story Behind the Book

October 18th

Interview at The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection

October 21st

Book review at My Devotional Thoughts

Book spotlight at Deco My Heart

Book spotlight at A Year of Jubilee Book Reviews

October 22nd

Book review at 4 the Love of Books

October 23rd

Guest post at Mayra’s Secret Bookcase

October 25th

Book review at Mary’s Cup of Tea

October 28th

Book review at Thoughts in Progress

October 30th

Book review at Maureen’s Musings

October 31st

Book review at Blooming with Books

Guest post at Lori’s Reading Corner

A Conversation with Humor Writer Noah Baird, author of ‘Donations to Clarity’

Noah BairdNoah Baird wanted to attend the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, but his grades weren’t good enough (who knew?). However, his grades were good enough to fly for the U.S. Navy (again, who knew?), where he spent 14 years until the government figured out surfers don’t make the best military aviators. He has also tried to be a stand-up comedian in Hawaii for Japanese tourists where the language barrier really screwed up some great jokes. On the bright side, a sailboat was named after the punchline of one of his jokes.

He has several political satire pieces published on The Spoof under the pen name orioncrew. Noah received his bachelors in Historical and Political Sciences from Chaminade University, where he graduated magna cum laude. He knows nothing about hoaxing Bigfoot. Donations to Clarity is his first novel.

You can visit his website at or his blog at

Connect with him at Facebook at

About Donations to Clarity

Donations to ClarityThe plan was simple: hoax bigfoot, then sell tours to bigfoot enthusiasts. The plan wasn’t brilliant, and neither were Harry, Earl, and Patch. The three chemical-abusing friends only wanted to avoid the 9 to 5 rat race, but their antics attract the attention of a real bigfoot. When the misogynistic Earl is mistaken for a female bigfoot by the nearsighted creature and captured; it is just the beginning of their problems.

The U.S. Government has a plan to naturalize the mythical creatures living within the U.S. borders. The problem is the plan needs to be carried out carefully. You can’t just drop little green men and Sasquatch in the middle of Walmart without warning Ma and Pa Taxpayer. The naturalization program is not ready to be set into motion, and the rogue bigfoot is bringing too much attention to itself, including a feisty investigative reporter who uncovers the truth of the government conspiracy and two bigfoot researchers. No longer able to contain the situation, government agents are tasked with eliminating the bigfoot and all witnesses.

Between bong hits and water balloon fights, Harry and Patch come up with a plan to save Earl and the lovestruck bigfoot. Where do you hide a giant, mythical creature? In an insane asylum, because who is going to listen to them?

Along the way, the three friends learn Star Wars was a government training film for children, the truth behind Elvis meeting President Nixon, and the significance of the weight of the human turd.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Noah.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

First time. I have some articles published, but this is the first book.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

I tried everything. I was at the point where I thought self-publishing was my only option. As I was researching self-publishing options, Second Wind Publishing contacted me.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

About 7 months.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

It was surreal. I didn’t do anything special. I think I called my parents and had a few drinks.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I started calling newspapers, local bookstores. The usual things.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I don’t think I’ve changed much.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

It’s a lot harder to get a book sold than I thought. It’s far more difficult to get a bookstore to host a signing than I anticipated. I really thought I was in the club.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

The interaction with the other authors. It’s great to be able to read their book, pick up the phone, and talk to them about it.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Don’t listen to the inner voice telling you that you can’t do it.

Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!

To celebrate the release of Noah’s book, Donations to Clarity, he will be attending the Pump Up Your Book Live! November Author Chat / Book Giveaway Party on Friday, November 18.  This is the perfect opportunity to ask Noah anything on a one on one basis.  Plus, he’s giving away a copy of his book to one lucky person who participates in the chat!

Click here to find out more details!




Guest Blogger Rose A. Valenta: Does Congress Fully Understand Mythical Beans?

Does Congress Fully Understand Mythical Beans?

by Rose A. Valenta, author of Sitting on Cold Porcelain

Wasteful government spending that makes no sense is often referred to as “pork barrel”  spending or just “pork” spending. It has been referred to that way since before the Civil War.

Yes, even honest Abe had some pork in his budget.

Pork spending often includes ridiculous things like “$2 million to construct an ancient Hawaiian canoe,” or “$1 million to preserve a sewer in Trenton, NJ, as an historic monument.”

Many of these ridiculous and absurd things have been suitably noted and itemized in “THE GOVERNMENT RACKET: Washington Waste from A to Z”, by Martin L. Gross.

I have to ask myself, in these modern times, why don’t they call it what it is – predator or “snake spending” that consumes the American tax payer?

Then, when they are done with that, they bring in the scavengers like “dung beetle spending.” That’s when all the tax payer’s budgets have been bitten to death by “snake spending” and the only thing left in our Capital One wallets is dung.

Now is the time to stop snake spending!

People like Glenn Beck have been pointing fingers at the Progressives. However, if they were really “progressive” they would be part of progress and the solution, not the problem.

Actually, I think the USA should seriously consider a consolidation project. Forget about building an ancient Hawaiian canoe. Sell Hawaii to Oregon for a profit.

California can be sold to Las Vegas so it won’t go belly up and become a sewer destined to go down the tubes as an historic Black Hills monument.

After all the consolidation is complete, States like Rhode Island with only four electoral votes can be easily merged into States like Massachusetts, which has 13; Vermont can go to New York; New Hampshire to Maine; and so forth, until we evolve into an economic Godzilla.

Then, we go overseas and stomp on China for pirating, bootlegging, and violating US copyright and trademark laws. We should then be able to sue and raise about $100 trillion just on what we find in Shanghai, alone. That should wipe out our national debt, yes?

I wouldn’t like to see the 2011 Federal Budget end up as a Gōng Yáng knock-off.

Congress should take the sage advice of Will Rogers, who said “The budget is like a mythical bean bag. Congress votes mythical beans into it, then reaches in and tries to pull real ones out.”

# # #

Rose A. Valenta is a nationally syndicated humor columnist. Her irreverent columns have been published in Senior Wire, Associated Content, Courier Post Online, NPR, Newsday, USA TODAY, the WSJ Online, and many other local news and radio websites.

She is the author of Rosie’s Renegade Humor Blog. This is the blog for people who would be knowledgeable about current events and politics if only politicians and news anchors didn’t stretch the truth. “What else is there to do, but share an honest laugh?” Rose said.

Rose regularly attends the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop at the University of Dayton, is a member of the Robert Benchley Society and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC).

Rose lived in Philadelphia for over 40 years, where she honed her humor writing skills by being married to a Philadelphia Policeman and giving birth to three children. “Times have changed. Now that we have 10 grandchildren, I’m not sure how I feel about children being exposed to the evening news. Humorous things happen, like the time my grandson asked us to come outside to see his version of ‘Frosty the Inappropriate Snowman’ right after Snowmageddon.”

Rose worked for a subsidiary of McGraw-Hill, Datapro Information Services, for 12 years as a technical staff writer, and also wrote freelance articles for other computer industry publications.

She claims that her Italian heritage stunted her growth. She is English on her Father’s side and believes that in a past life, during medieval times, she was probably a trusted member of the Counsel of the Jesters.

Her latest book is Sitting on Cold Porcelain which you can find out more about at her website at

How to Sell Snow to a Polar Bear by Steff Deschenes

We have a special guest today!  Steff Deschenes, author of The Ice Cream Theory, talks about how she handled her first booksigning!

How to Sell Snow to a  Polar Bear
By Steff Deschenes

When I was twenty-two I received a call from a representative of Jack Daniels asking me if I wanted to become a “Jack Girl” – one of the official spokes models of the company – at a weeklong Spring Break for adults in Killington, Vermont.  Having no idea what Jack Daniels was, I agreed sight unseen because I needed the money, but more importantly, I needed an adventure.

That adventure has never stopped.  Four years later and I’m still an alcohol spokes model – one of the best in my region.  I’m not sure why exactly I’m such a natural at the job when I don’t really drink and I don’t really like people (that’s not true all the time).  But something happens to me when I put on my outfit – which is usually an inappropriately tight tank top and short skirt – and step onto the floor to start hustling my product.  I forget my insecurities and just become this larger than life character who, for two hours, becomes everyone in the room’s best friend.  And somehow, I easily persuade and coerce nearly everyone into drinking my (sometimes awful) alcohol product.

Maybe it’s the big blue eyes or the fast-talking, maybe it’s the impressive product knowledge, or maybe it’s the way I make people feel at ease around me.  But one thing’s for sure: I could sell snow to a polar bear.

As a direct result of being a “beer girl,” I’ve worked with several companies as their marketing specialist.  I think my years of peddling alcohol really trained my intuition and judgment.  I am excellent at reading people, reading a situation, and then responding appropriately.  I know when to back down and I know when to be relentless.  Employers have told me that somehow I manage to walk a fine line between “adorable” and “annoying” – and it really works for me.

There’s a saying in the alcohol business: When the economy is great, people drink!  When the economy is bad, people drink!  It seemed to me that wallets opened much easier for a drink at a bar with a stranger then they did for artistic endeavors from a twenty-something. Especially one who wrote a self-help book.  (Because what could I possibly know about life and the living of it at Quarter Century that I wouldn’t be more well-versed in at a Half Century?).

So, when I did my first book signing I had no idea how to promote myself to strangers.  Sure, I had plenty of experience in the marketing industry, but I couldn’t imagine that the same way I approached people about booze would be the same way I approached people about an indie self-help book.  This was a lot more personal, too.  If people hate a certain beer or think I’m ugly (remember: we’re beer models after all – mean people feel like that’s an open invitation to critique us), I really don’t lose sleep over it, because 1) the beer isn’t MY product; it’s some multi-billion dollar company’s that I’m promoting; and, 2) sometimes I am ugly!

Not knowing what to do, I threw on my standard wardrobe for my book-related appearances (a t-shirt that says “I Scream.  You Scream.  We All Scream!” with a terrified looking ice cream cone on it, jeans, and a tweed flat cap) and a ate a bowl of cake batter ice cream with hot fudge sauce in it before heading to my signing, which perfectly enough, was held at an ice cream store during their town’s art walk festival.

The first few moments sitting at the table by myself, outside on a patio overlooking the ocean in a very well-to-do area while people looked awkwardly at me, were extremely tense.  I had nothing to offer these people who were leaps and bounds ahead of me on the socio-economic ladder.

I had nothing to offer these people?, I suddenly thought angrily to myself.  I’m a twenty-something who wrote an eleven-time award winning book, and I did it completely on my own as I’m a self-published author.  I had something to offer these people – ME.

And that’s when, just like it does when I’m an alcohol spokes model, a flip switched inside me.  I jumped up from the table and began very animatedly just making conversation with passer-by’s.  People wanted to know what I was doing.  And that’s when I told them – and sold them on – me and my book.  I walked the fine line of adorable and annoying, I intrigued and bewildered people, and wouldn’t you know – I sold some books.

They say a successful book signing sells three books.

I sold fourteen in the two hours I was there!

What I learned from that night was incredibly valuable, and was something that, while I always knew, I had simply never applied to myself as a brand (which you become the moment you step up to the plate and start playing the game for real.  You are not your book.  You are a brand and your book is simply a part of that).   And that’s: when you’re knowledgeable about something, and when you’re passionate about that same something, magic happens.

And what are we more knowledgeable about then ourselves?

And what are we more passionate about then our dreams?

You can visit Steff on the web at You can also visit her at

Interview with Graham Parke on ‘No Hope for Gomez!’

Graham Parke lives in the Netherlands with his wife and son. He’s responsible for a number of technical publications and has recently patented a self-folding map. He has been described as both a humanitarian and a pathological liar. Convincing evidence to support either allegation has yet to be produced.

His latest book is No Hope for Gomez! (Outskirts Press).

You can visit his website at

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Graham. Can you start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or whether you are multi-published?

[Graham] I’ve been published under a number of different pseudonyms.

What was the name of your very first book, regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

[Graham] My first published book was actually not a work of fiction. It was a huge technical tome published my Macmillan USA. I wrote it together with a friend. It didn’t do very well, and as I was happier writing fiction, we didn’t pursue any further technical writing careers.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

[Graham] Not that many. Maybe one or two. Which is a far cry from my fiction writing. For some fiction novels I racked up over a hundred friendly and non-informative rejections. You’ve got to realize, though, that the average fiction agent needs to reject at least a hundred manuscripts a day just to keep the slush pile from tipping over and killing them. I’m always more than happy to help by writing an unintelligible query.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

[Graham] Well, by the time you receive a rejection, five more queries need to be out the door. And, as each query is obviously more brilliant than the last, carrying with it much more of that unrejectable quality that you’ve been developing, your hopes are set on those. The actual rejections, well, those were just practice queries. If you’re lucky, you get a personalized rejection. These will help you fine-tune new query letters, or even, if necessary, the novel itself.

I always keep track of responses to different query letters. Pretty soon a pattern emerges that tells you which bits of the queries pique agents’ interests and which leave them nice and frosty towards your plans for literary domination.

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

[Graham] Macmillan USA, because they were smart enough to want to publish it.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

[Graham] Getting published is a long and arduous process of sending out letters, communicating with agents and publishers, revising manuscripts and contracts. By the time it is all done, you’re just happy to take a break. There really is no one instance that suddenly makes you feel like a published author.

What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

[Graham] I did very little by the way of promotion for my first publication, which, hindsight has taught me, is an incredibly powerful way to actually rack up no sales. Promotion by the author is definitely needed. Especially these days.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up?  What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

[Graham] It really helps to create targeted queries. You can spend a month writing a killer query letter, but sending this out to ten agents won’t do you as much good as sending out a single letter, addressed to a specifically chosen agent (perhaps because he represents similar, but sufficiently different, authors already) tailored specifically to his interests and his query letter requirements. You need to create an entirely new and mostly unique letter for each agent.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

[Graham] I’m incredibly proud of the reviews I’ve been receiving for ‘No Hope for Gomez!’ Although it’s a strange little novel at best, one which I wrote purely for fun, I’ve received nothing but glowing reviews from readers and professional reviewers alike. These are young and older people, of both genders. I’m still struggling to explain this. I’d assumed No Hope would only appeal to people as weird as myself. I guess there are more of us than I realized.

You can pick up your copy of Graham’s book, No Hope for Gomez!, at Amazon for only $10.95 by clicking here!

%d bloggers like this: