David C. Hughes, Writer

“For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your JOY will be complete." –Deuteronomy 16:15

Archive for the month “September, 2015”

10 Little Hiccups is Now Available!

It’s hard to believe it’s been 18 months since I wrote my second illustrated children’s book, 10 Little Hiccups / 10 pequeños hipos, but it’s with great pleasure that I get to announce its official release by Progressive Rising Phoenix Press. On September 15th, this pre-school counting book became available for purchase. Written in both English and Spanish, 10 Little Hiccups / 10 pequeños hipos features a young lady caught up in a bout of persistent hiccups. As the fluffy green hiccups rise up from her toes and tickle her nose, she tries everything she can to get rid of them, but only when her daddy yells “Boo!” do the hiccups finally take a hike and wind up terrorizing a duck.

10 Little Hiccups / 10 pequeños hipos is beautifully illustrated by my neighbor and friend, Ken Bryson. When I first came up with the story I asked my daughter, Hannah (who was six at the time), to draw a hiccup for me because I had no idea what one looked like. She took her assignment seriously and carefully drew a prototype. Ken then used Hannah’s original drawing to develop his cast of gaseous characters. I’m still amazed he took the time to flesh out not only the girl and her dad, but ten unique hiccups with individual personalities to romp on the pages. And I LOVE the duck!

Original 10 Little Hiccups Hiccup

 

Ken Bryson, 10 Little Hiccups

I appreciate the hard work and time Ken put into this little book, especially because he had to take some time off during its development to recover from a heart attack! He’s doing great now, and looks forward to joining me at the upcoming book signings. I’d also like to personally thank Dr. David A. Bedford, Spanish professor and author of the Angela series of books, for translating the original text from English to Spanish. Not only did he revise the manuscript to match the rhyme and cadence, he also tweaked it to read more naturally for native Spanish speakers, something I could not have done on my own. And special thanks goes out to Arlene Gale, author of the award-winning book, Face Forward, Move Forward, for translating the more mundane parts of the text (copyright page, dedications, etc.). I’m honored to have such giving friends, and I hope I can repay the kindness in the future.

10 Little Hiccups / 10 pequeños hipos is available at www.barnesandnoble.com, www.amazon.com, www.progressiverisingphoenix.com, and at select stores and online retail stores. For those of you in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, both Ken and I will be at the Words & Wood Festival, a music and book signing event on Saturday, September 19th, from 4 PM to 8 PM, at Espiritu Wine Bar, 6142 Frisco Square Blvd, Frisco, Texas. Please come out and enjoy live music, drink some wine, and meet more than a dozen authors and songwriters.

And whether or not I see you at one of our future book signings, I’d love to hear from you! Please let me know how you liked (or didn’t like) the book—any and all feedback, good, bad, or ugly, helps me to improve.

10 Little Hiccups

10 Little Hiccups Cover, illustrated by Ken Bryson

Diez pequenos hipos

10 pequenos hipos Cover, illustrated by Ken Bryson

Just a little FYI on my other projects: The Dark Side of the Covers, a middle-grade reader containing twelve Twilight Zone type short stories for kids, is in final rewrite/edit. And the illustrator, Christina Evans, is hard at work developing the cover as well as the chapter artwork. I’ve enjoyed putting this book together, and I can’t wait to share it with the world. In addition to The Dark Side of the Covers, I’m also planning to send my next inspirational book, A Matter of Perspective, and a fun Twilight Zone type novel, On the Inside, to the publisher in 2016 as well. This writing life is keeping me busy, busy, busy! But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

For author/illustrator interviews contact me directly, or get in touch with my publisher, Progressive Rising Phoenix Press: contact@progressiverisingphoenix.com or http://www.progressiverisingphoenix.com. Twitter: @PRPpress. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RisingPhoenixPress.

Just for Fun (2015-09-02 Daily)

I take myself way too seriously . . . .  Even though our family’s motto is “Live. Laugh. Love,” and our catch phrase is “Have fun,” it seems lately I’ve laid aside my wardrobe of mirth and frivolity and donned a straitjacket fashioned from the chainmail of solemnity. Okay, okay, dramatic overwriting aside, it appears I’ve lost touch with my inner child. While he’s out playing in the dirt somewhere, or catching toads, or throwing rocks at sparrows, the outer adult has allowed himself to be caught up in the rigidity, busyness, and gravity of the world. But what did King David say? “Through the praise of children and infants / you have established a stronghold against your enemies, / to silence the foe and the avenger” (Psalm 8:2 NIV®). And Jesus scolded the disciples when they tried to keep the people from bringing kids to Him so He could pray over them. “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,” He said, “for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14 NIV®).

So what is it about the praise of children that so effectively establishes that stronghold against the enemy? Why did Jesus say “the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these?” Children trust absolutely, yes. They laugh and romp and play, of course. But I think the real key to the kingdom is the undiminished joy of living life moment-by-moment. Joie de vivre as they say in Quebec! Or in New Orleans, Laissez les bon temps roulez! Laughter is the praise of children, and who can remain down and out when that glee pierces your heart and puts life back into proper perspective?

For years after Hannah was born I made a concerted effort to allow myself to be a kid again. I reveled in making up silly songs, loved reading kids picture books (even without Hannah being present), and looked forward to weaving brand new stories during car rides. I got down on the floor and built towns out of Lincoln Logs and skyscrapers out of Legos. We made up knock-knock jokes and corny riddles that caused Mary to snort. But over the past several months it seems my sense of fun’s been sidelined by an overdose of worldly cares, from money woes to anger about the Government’s implementation of asinine public policies to nervousness about terrorism. These petty worries have piled onto my jollity and executed an immaculate Pumphandle Powerslam. But I’m never down for the count.

While I salivated after taking delivery of my 10,000W gas powered generator, Hannah drooled over the box it came in. “Dad, can you open the box now so I can have it?” she asked. Over and over and over again. When I finally got to it, Hannah hovered around me like a fruit fly buzzing around a glass of wine.

“I may have to cut open one of the sides,” I cautioned. “The generator’s too heavy to lift out.” She whimpered a bit but watched with restrained anticipation as I popped the lid and sliced the corners of the crate.

“Wow! It’s a garage!” she exclaimed.

After I slid the 240 pound machine out of the carton and off the pallet, I carried her “garage” into the house and sicked her on it. She spent hours—no, days!—creating forts and hidey holes and various secret dwelling places with that box. Using additional material newly arrived from a furniture delivery, she built a porte cochère and tried to build a covered hallway. She even invented a lock for her door by weaving a piece of nylon rope through four holes, two on one flap, two on the other. “Try to open my door,” she called from inside her secret hideout. I grabbed the rope but the door wouldn’t open. “Now try it,” she said. I tugged the lock and the doors swung open.  She giggled in delight.

Joy, Forts

One bright cool morning I stepped onto the back porch to breathe in God’s glory and found Hannah crouched under the prickly pear, building a contraption out of cardboard and bamboo skewers. “Look at my fire pit, Dad!” she called, smiling big. “We can toast marshmallows over it when I get it done.” I told her the whole fire pit would burn up if we tried to light a fire on it, but she continued building, undeterred. Later she constructed a fort out of cholla cactus sticks, three porch chairs, and two beach towels, and spent another hour trying to coax our border collie to hang out in there with her.

Joy, Forts

Observing Hannah play opened my eyes to just how far I’d let myself drift away from joy’s center, how danged serious and depressed I’d become over the past few months. Her intensity and focus on the moment—not a millisecond before it or after it—reminded me of an experience I’d had sitting on a hard plastic bench at the mall. While Mary shopped, I parked my butt in the kids’ corral and watched Hannah, shoeless, laughing, and squealing, romp around on the squishy foam playground. Hannah and the other kids frolicked unabashed, unashamed, not caring a wit about what other people thought about them, they were just little bundles of pure joy experiencing each moment immersed in their interaction and imagination. They worshiped God by being what He created them to be—His children.

King David wrote, in Psalm 16:5-11 (NIV ®):

 

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;

    you make my lot secure.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

    surely I have a delightful inheritance.

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;

    even at night my heart instructs me.

I keep my eyes always on the Lord.

    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;

    my body also will rest secure,

because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,

    nor will you let your faithful one see decay.

You make known to me the path of life;

    you will fill me with joy in your presence,

    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

 

Eternal pleasures are derived by keeping ourselves centered in God’s holy presence and living life moment-by-moment, as children do. We give Him the glory and He rains down His gladness. We immerse ourselves in His reality and He never leaves our side. We praise Him and His sovereignty and He smacks the enemy upside the head. “This day is holy to our Lord,” said Nehemiah. “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10b NIV®). Now where’d that inner child run off to? I’ve got a rubber band, a paper wad, and a toilet paper tube. Wonder what kind of trouble we can get into this time . . . .

Joy, Angel

 

 

Copyright © 2015 by David C Hughes

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