25 things to be happy about in January

Categories: Author guest post

A guest post from Barbara Ann Kipfer, author of 14,000 things to be happy about (1990, 2007)

January is a beginning, time-wise, but it is also smack-dab in the middle of winter—a happy thing for some, not so much for others.  The “big” holidays are over, which is also a relief for some and a downer for others (bills to pay, decorations to put away, etc.).  But just like any other month or time of year, you can train yourself to notice the fun and funky details of life, the little things that say you are awake, aware, and alive.

In case you didn’t know, today is Blue Monday, a made-up date for “celebrating” the most depressing day of the year. The date was determined by an elaborate formula involving weather, debt, time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels, and the feeling of a need to take action.

To that, I say “Huh?”

We can choose to accept and appreciate the weather conditions, vow not to spend so much money when the holidays roll around again, eschew New Year’s resolutions, and find inspiration to learn and do things no matter what all the outside circumstances are.  After all, happiness is in your head, so turn it on and enjoy! With that in mind, here are 25 things to be happy about for January:

  1. replacing all the smoke detector batteries on the first of the year
  2. every horse having the same birthday, January 1
  3. the one leaf still clinging to the tree
  4. setting five goals for the year on January 1 and achieving them by the next December 31
  5. the symbols of January: carnation, snowdrop, and garnet
  6. enjoying the canned fresh fruit from the previous summer
  7. soaking in an Icelandic hot spring in January
  8. buying a bicycle in January
  9. shimmering rooftops under the January moon
  10. the slow curl of smoke from the chimney
  11. the wind-whistling days of the month
  12. eating fresh corn on the cob in January
  13. a Hawaiian luau
  14. the blinding whiteness of mid-January afternoon
  15. walking through a warm greenhouse on a dreary day
  16. Knowing January is just a rest stop on the walk toward spring
  17. a fireplace fire
  18. a January night that engraves itself on your senses
  19. skim ice, the thin layer of ice on the water surface
  20. looking left at the past year and right toward the new
  21. being a homebody
  22. plowing through thick novels
  23. shopping at the annual January sales
  24. trying new recipes for savory soups and yeasty breads
  25. celebrating Common Sense Day, January 29, by doing something nonsensical

For more things to be happy about, check out Barbara’s website: www.thingstobehappyabout.com.

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Workman goes to New York Comic Con, gets requests for giant Fandex decor

Categories: Author guest post, Authors on tour, Fun and games, Kids

A couple of weeks ago, Workman went to the New York Comic Con for the first time. I was on hand October 8 to sign and promote the DC Comics Super Heroes and Villains Fandex. It was my first time behind a table at one of these cons and it certainly was fun. In addition to signing some autographs and posing for a few photos, I got to be interviewed by the fine folks at Silver Cheese Media. Check out the interview. And, in case any of my bosses, or the legal department at DC is watching, no, I didn’t actually sell the giant Fandex cards and pocket the money. I was going to take them home to decorate my geek-tastic bachelor pad, but then I remembered I didn’t want to be single forever, so they went back to the office.

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Keeping it in the family

Categories: Behind the scenes, Fun and games

Last month saw the publication of my DC Comics Super Heroes and Villains Fandex. Like any dutiful son, I sent copies home to my mother, seeing how she’d like to finally be able to brag about something I’ve done (instead of shake her head in shame). Needless to say, she was thrilled by the Fandex and started buying up copies to give to her friends, one of whom is a fellow Workman author, Ilene Beckerman. Ms. Beckerman was so inspired by the Fandex that she decided to make my mother her very own super hero Fandex entry. What’s my mother’s heroic identity, you ask? Luscious Lorraine. That’s right, Ms. Beckerman made it sound like my mother is a stripper. And, hey, that’s all right. As clearly identified on the custom Fandex card, in addition to being a mother, friend, and principal, Luscious Lorraine is also a sex icon. Since I’d prefer not to further delve into the nature of the friendship between Ms. Beckerman and my mom, I’ll leave it at that, and present you all with this one-of-a-kind Fandex entry.

So, thank you, Ms. Beckerman, for this amusing new perspective on my mother. If DC Comics doesn’t snap up the rights to this promising new character, I’m certain the folks in our Algonquin office will want to feature her in your next book.

And, Luscious Lorraine, thank you for sharing it with me. It’s quite probable I’ll now be sharing my therapy bills with you.

Click here for a look inside the real DC Comics Super Heroes and Villains Fandex

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How well do you know the DC Comics Universe? part 2

Categories: Author guest post, Excerpts, Fun and games

How well do you know the DC Comics Universe? Test yourself with the following questions from DC Comic trivia master and author of Fandex DC Comics Super Heroes and Villians, Randall Lotowycz, plus a bonus question for the truly devout fan.

Click here for part 1

5) When Batman went on a year-long sojurn to retrace the steps that made him into Batman, he left Gotham City in the care of which villain (who was reformed at the time)?
A) Harvey Dent (Two-Face)
B) Jonathan Crane (Scarecrow)
C) Oswald Cobblepot (The Penquin)
D) Pamela Isley (Poison Ivy)

6) To help control young Clark Kent’s blossoming heat vision, his mother fashioned glasses with lenses made from what?
A) Diamonds
B) Kryptonite
C) A hard, translucent plastic
D) Kryptonian crystals

7) Wonder Woman was not born of flesh and blood, but was made out of ______ and given life?
A) Clay
B) Granite
C) Water
D) Lava

8 ) Green Arrow’s and Black Canary’s wedding was interrupted by an attack from which group of villains?
A) The Secret Society of Super-Villains
B) The Injustice League
C) The Brotherhood of Dada
D) The Secret Six

Bonus: John Henry Irons, the scientist and superhero known as Steel, was buddies with what other future hero while attending University of Michigan?
A) Will Magnus (creator of the Metal Men)
B) Jefferson Pierce (Black Lightning)
C) Guy Gardner (Green Lantern)
D) Bruce Wayne (Batman)

All characters, their distinctive likeness, and related elements are trademarks of DC Comics © 2010. All Rights Reserved.

Click here for the answers

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How well do you know the DC Comics Universe?

Categories: Author guest post, Excerpts, Fun and games

How well do you know the DC Comics Universe? Test yourself with the following questions from DC Comic trivia master and author of Fandex DC Comics Super Heroes and Villians, Randall Lotowycz, plus a bonus question for the truly devout fan.

1) Aquaman’s trusted ally and pet was an octopus named…
A) Toro
B) Topo
C) Toto
D) Otto

2) Members of the Green Lantern Corps must recharge their power rings how often?
A) Once every 24 hours
B) Once a month
C) Once a year
D) Trick question; a Green Lantern’s light never dims

3) The Justice League of America first assembled after teaming up to stop an invasion by which race of aliens?
A) The Dominators
B) The Appellaxians
C) The Daxamites
D) The Thanagarians

4) The night Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered, the family had gone to see a movie featuring which famous silver-screen icon(s)?
A) Dracula
B) Frankenstein
C) Zorro
D) The Three Stooges

Bonus: The S-shaped emblem on Superman’s chest is actually the Kryptonian word for hope. But when upside-down, it means something else entirely…
A) King
B) Apathy
C) Resurrection
D) Sorrow

All characters, their distinctive likeness, and related elements are trademarks of DC Comics © 2010. All Rights Reserved.

Click here for the answers

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