A Great Review for O.K. from Readers’ Favorite

The first professional review of O.K. is Great is in, and it makes me want to cry tears of joy.  I didn’t cry, mainly because I’m a man who has troubles showing his emotions, but I’m crying on the inside, like normal.

Readers' Favorite Five Star Review

Readers’ Favorite Five Star Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

O.K. is Great is a preteen coming of age novel written and illustrated by David Tiefenthaler. Otis Kalshwonkee’s been known by the nickname “OK” for as long as he can remember. He hates it because it seems to symbolize the fact that he’s just average in everything he does. His big brother Stu is a gifted sports animal and can do everything better than he does. His sister Ella is a talented pianist and even composes her own songs. Otis is hoping that starting seventh grade in a new school will give him a chance to shine and forget about that nickname and everything it stands for, once and for all. His mom and dad are moving the family to a house in the suburbs, and the new school is for both junior and senior high students. This means, of course, that big brother Stu will make sure everyone knows about the nickname, but Otis still isn’t giving up on his dream of being the greatest.

David Tiefenthaler’s preteen novel, O.K. is Great, is funny, inspirational and exciting all at once. Tiefenthaler’s illustrations make this story feel like a graphic novel, even if it does have more words than one normally finds in that genre, and the drawings work so incredibly well with the plot. I loved the pictures of big brother Stu, especially the one illustrating the dreaded nocturnal elbow drop. Otis and Leo’s training sessions are marvelous and the sports aspect of the story works wonderfully. Tiefenthaler also addresses the subject of bullying and cyber-bullying in a way that is supportive and positive. I had a lot of fun reading O.K. is Great. Otis is an awesome character, and I’m hoping that the author will keep us up to date on Otis’s further adventures. O.K. is Great is most highly recommended.

Shiny Five Star Readers' Favorite Seal of Approval

Shiny Five Star Readers’ Favorite Seal of Approval

Promoting O.K. is Great on my Tips4Running YouTube Channel

If you’re a casual follower of this blog, you may not know that I lead a double life.  No, I’m not Batman.  Then again, Batman and I have never been in the same room at the same time.

I’m getting off topic.  What I mean to say is that I have a YouTube channel called Tips4Running where I make videos about tips for running.  My persona on there is “Coach Tief” because I was a collegiate runner, and a track and cross country coach after I graduated from college.  I’ve got a lot of subscribers on YouTube, so I’m using that site to push my book, O.K. is Great, out into the world.  Here’s the quick video promo I made.

Happy Trails,

Coach Tief!

Stuff Mr. Tiefenthaler Says

Teaching can be a rough job at times, but two kids today surprised me in class with something they’d been working on for a long time. Apparently, all year they wrote down any strange, interesting, or funny quotes I said. They turned it into a PowerPoint and shared it with the class.

I’m an English teacher, and I tend to get carried away telling random stories. (These stories fit well with the Speaking and Listening Standards, so don’t worry you Common Core advocates. The students in my class are getting a well rounded education.) 

I now present the top ten things that I said to my 7th grade English class this year.

10. The only good thing that came out The Great Depression was the term “hobo”.

9. Star Wars: It’s a family drama with light sabers.

8. You have to try demolition derby sledding. Get four friends with four sleds and there’s only one rule. You have to switch sleds in the middle of your ride. It’s awesome.

7. Let your words mingle and dance with each other.

6. I’m going to put my GoPro camera on my Mini Van and go to the drive thru at McDonalds. Extreme!

5. A funny google image search is “fat bears”. Actually, don’t search that.

4. Any cereal that changes the color of your milk to pink is probably unhealthy, but it also is probably amazing.

3. There was a doll for boys when I was a kid. It was called My Buddy! Sing it with me. My buddy, my buddy. My buddy, my buddy. My Buddy and me!

2. I live on a rainbow, and I wear my baby blue pants because those are my happy pants. (I have light blue pants and kids were commenting on them – I had to defend myself)

1. The English language is a hot mess.

Yes, I did say all these things. Some of them I remember why I did, and other’s I’m not quite sure what I was thinking about when I said them.

*** David Tiefenthaler wrote a book, O.K. is Great, and the reviews are in!  ***

“I love this book. It is humorous, but well grounded in reality. The author seems to know and understand well the angst of adolescent boys. If you have enjoyed the wimpy kid books try this one.  It’s funny, witty, has hilarious illustrations, and tells a great story, too.”

*** Pick it up in Paperback, on your Kindle or Nook, on iTunes or at Smashwords.  ***

Embarrassing my Daughter

My cute little daughter is getting older, and it’s breaking my heart.  Before I go into too much detail, I admit, I was at fault in this situation.  That’s not the point, though.  The point is the sadness I felt.

The Flower Child, my seven year old daughter, is in Girl Scouts.  This is the first year she’s been in this organization, and we signed her up so she can be a part of a group that is all girls.  She’s played T-Ball and Soccer before on teams with boys and girls, but she needs some girl time.  Our neighborhood is teaming with masculinity.  Within a quarter mile radius, there are eight boys and no girls for her to play with, so she’s incredibly excited to go to Scouts.

I took her to a meeting last week.  There are 20 other little second grade girls in her troop. I walked with her to the classroom where she was having her last meeting.  Right when we entered the room, she skipped away from me and took a seat in the middle of a gaggle of giggling girls.  I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye, so I waded through the crowd to find her.  I snatched her out of her seat and gave her a big hug.  Then I set her back down and went on my way.

An hour and a half later, the meeting ended.  I came back to get her, and as we were driving home, I asked her how her meeting went.

She said, “Dad, you know, you embarrassed me.”

I looked back at her, completely baffled, “What?  How did I embarrass you?”

“When you hugged me!” she declared.

I bristled from her brash statement.  “But why?  I should be able to hug my daughter.”

“It’s not that.  You picked me up and were growling like a bear, in the middle of all my friends.  It’s embarrassing!”

TheFlowerChild

“Oh,” I replied.  I had never thought about the fact that I might make my daughter embarrassed. I just wanted to give her a hug, since she always does that before she goes somewhere.

This weekend, we had a discussion about what I can and can’t do. I asked if she was just uncomfortable by my actions and not just embarrassed about me being her dad.  That would be a total death blow to her father.  She said it was just my actions that bothered her.   I understand the situation now, and won’t hug her like an angry bear anymore in her circle of friends.  I will however still get a socially acceptable hug from her before she runs off to be with her friends.

What Day Would You Loop for a Year – Part Two (71/365)

If you’ve seen Groundhog’s Day, you understand the concept of a day that loops.  If you don’t, here’s the trailer to that movie.

Yesterday, I wrote about what day of my childhood I would loop over again.  Now let’s focus on the second part of my life.  I like to call this section, with Lisa Marie before children.

I met Lisa Marie in 2001 when we were both coaches for a high school cross country team.  We were engaged in 2002.  We got married in 2003.

Wedding Day

That’s a picture of our wedding day.  No, I wouldn’t loop that day over and over again.  Getting married is a little nerve wracking, with the church service, the big party, and everything.  I loved it, but once was enough.

After we were married, two years later, Lisa gave birth to our first child in 2005.  So we had about four years before someone depended on us. This part of my life was short, but it was electrifying.

The day I would loop would be on our Honeymoon.  I think it was the second day when we were in Jamaica.  We got a couples massage in the morning, and then time slowed down.  Everything was wonderful after that.  As the Jamaican’s told us, “Now you’re on Jamaican Time, Mon.”  I could loop that day for a year.  Beautiful weather, my beautiful wife, and some nice cold beverages by the beach.  That night, we ate dinner on the beach.  The tide was coming in, and we didn’t move.  We sat at our table and let the waves wash over our feet as we drank a bottle of wine.

Do you have a day with your significant other that you would loop for a year?  What day would it be?  Where were you?  I’ve noticed that both days that I’ve picked involve warm weather and water.  I think I need to make some changes in my life!

What Day Would You Loop For a Year? (70/365)

I just finished reading a fantastical book, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  This next bit is kind of a spoiler, but I think you can still enjoy the book, very much so, even if you know this part.

At one point, the characters mention that they are caught in a loop.  If you’ve seen Groundhog’s Day, you know the scenario.  You have your day, and then, when you wake up, it’s the same day again.  Everyone else you know and meet do the same things, but you have a memory of the previous day.  The day loops over and over again.

That got me to wondering, if I could loop the same day for a whole year, what day in my life would it be?

I view my life in three parts.  The first part of my life we can title, Childhood.  This includes everything that happened before I met Lisa Marie.  I was 24 years old when I met my wife.  Yes, I was still pretty much a child at age 24.  I think I’m about a juvenile now as far as maturity level goes.

If I could, the day from my childhood that I would loop is one of the days spent at Rock Lake up in Canada.  For me, at least, that place was a boy’s paradise.  To help you understand Rock Lake, just imagine pristine north woods wilderness.  The four mile long lake is surrounded by towering oak, maple, and pine trees.  The only area with cottages on it is a small sandy bay.  When you get out on the lake, the wildlife is all around you.  Loons calling out, Beavers slapping their tales if you get too close, Osprey soaring overhead.

My Aunt and Uncle still own the place up there, “Campada”, and I hope to one day bring my own children up there to experience what I have.  I would choose to loop a warm summer day up on Rock Lake.  Here’s what a typical day entailed.

I’d have to be with the best of company.  My mom, dad, sister, and brother would be with me.  Also up at camp would have to be my cousins.  We all got along famously growing up.

Tim

That’s a picture of my cousin, Tim.  He wasn’t having a great day fishing when we were up there, so we made sure to document the one fish that he did catch.  My brother is behind him, fishing.

DaveBass

That’s me with a nice largemouth.  To be honest, I’m not sure if I that one is up at Rock Lake, or at the secret ponds somewhere in Wisconsin.  No, I can’t tell you were the secret ponds are!  Stop asking.

The day would start with fishing.  It’d probably just be my brother, my youngest cousin, The Admiral, so he could drive the boat, and myself.  We’d catch plenty of largemouth and smallmouth bass like normal.  After a couple hours, we’d return for breakfast.  My favorite was Aunt Susie’s Egg McMommies.  After filling my belly, it would be time to go down to the lake.  Maybe I’d catch frogs and minnows with my sister.  I could relax on the beach and chat with Mom.  Maybe the cousins and my dad would go swimming or play king of the raft.  Maybe Jeremy, Joe, or Tim would want to explore the woods or check out one of the islands on the lake.  Then it’d be time for lunch.  Of course we’d eat PB&J sandwiches and chase it with lemonade.  Perhaps it would be time to take a boat ride to a 15 foot high cliff called Indianhead, climb up it and then jump off into the water, maybe play fetch with Butch the black lab, eat a fresh fish fry for dinner, go fishing until dark, play cards at night with my dad, brother, sister, and all my cousins.  So many fun things to do.  No worries.  I’d could do over today 364 more times.

What day would you loop in your childhood.  When was everything right with the world?  Did you ever feel like you found magic right here on Earth?  I did.  I’ve found it several times, and I haven’t even got to the next two stages of my life yet.  Another day, I’ll have to tell you about the second and third parts of my life.  I call them, with Lisa Marie before kids, and with Lisa Marie after we had kids.

Carol’s Cookies on The Walking Dead #CarolsCookies (68/365)

Did you see the latest episode of The Walking Dead?  Carol scared the snot out of me!  She is in the middle of stealing some guns in the new town they are living in, and a random kid catches her in the act.  The kid says he has to tell his mother, and Carol goes dark.  She said some of the most sinister things I’ve ever heard.

Carol was all like, “So kid.  Don’t tell your mom or else.”

The kid was like, “Why not?”

That bothered Carol so she said, “Because I’ll give you some cookies.”

The kid was undeterred, and replied with, “But I tell my mom everything.”

Then things got real.  Carol got all up in this kid’s personal bubble and said, “Not this you won’t.  If you tell mom this, I’m going to do some wicked bad things to you.  You’re going to go to sleep, and then when you wake up, you’ll be tied to a tree.  You can scream all you want, but no one is going to hear you.  Actually, something is going to hear you, but it’s not going to be your mom.  Instead, it will be the zombies that hear you.  They’ll come out and tear into your flesh while you’re still alive.  How’d you like that, little buddy?  So don’t tell mom, and I’ll make you some cookies.”

I’m not a huge Twitter user, but I sent out what I thought was a hilarious tweet about the different kinds of cookies that Carol could make for that little kid.

I got zero retweets and zero favorites.  Apparantly, other people were funnier than me.  Here’s some of my favorite responses to the hashtag #CarolsCookies.

How about some nice prepackaged chocolate chip cookies.

Here’s a few more that made me laugh even though I shouldn’t.

I need to put a stop to this.


Fan Art and Fungus Story (66/365)

We got home late last night, so I had to punt for Friday’s journal.  I shared an old story time video I had instead of posting Fan Art like I normally do on Friday.

No worries.  Here’s my kids most recent works.  First up is Bob the Builder.  I absolutely love this watercolor picture.

IMG_1583

He called this work, “Three Scary Pumpkins“.  Doesn’t that one look amazing!

Next up is a picture and a story from The Flower Child.

Fungus

The characters are Ellen who has black hair, Alex who has a mohawk, and his big brother who has orange hair.  The setting is in their school.  The problem is the fungus got out of a jar.  The solution is how they solve the problem.  The called Mrs. Macadamia and her friends put the fungus back in jars.

I hope you liked the pictures and story!

Starting at Zero (64/365)

I’m in awful shape.  I think it is safe to say that I am in the worst physical condition I’ve ever been in my entire life.  Every time I see our scale in the bathroom, I slowly back away.  I don’t even want to know what my official weight is right now.  I’m sure it’s a personal record.

Now, I don’t mean like I’m in terrible shape as in I’m physically ill.  The worst off I’ve ever been as far as that is concerned is when I had to get my appendix removed.  That’s another story in itself, and it’s a classic.  I’ll have to go into detail about that later.  I mean, I have zero endurance, and no strength.  This is coming from a guy that ran college track and cross country.  Back then, I was in ridiculously good shape.  We would go for eight mile easy runs.  Yes, I said that right.  In my current state, everything is difficult after eight steps.

I’ve been waiting to get back at it because my knee is not quite right.  I hurt it playing too much basketball and soccer in the fall.  I stopped the soccer because I was just helping out at my son’s soccer practices, and the season ended.  I stopped playing basketball in January because my knee doesn’t agree with lateral movements.  I’ve also been waiting on working otu because I like running outside, and Wisconsin in the winter is harsh.  As I type right now, on March 5th, it is 12 degrees Fahrenheit.  If you convert that to Celcius, it’s like negative 42.  I might be wrong with that conversion.  Point is, it’s well below freezing, and it’s MARCH!  When will it get warm?

No more waiting.  I’m soft because I’m soft.  I should make a meme out of that quote.  My body soft.  It’s nice and squishy like a marshmallow.   My willpower is soft like a freshly baked donut.  Apparently, eating stacks of pancakes doesn’t give you muscles like a burly lumberjack.  You have to do hard work too.

Do you really need an excuse to eat blueberry pancakes?

Do you really need an excuse to eat blueberry pancakes?

No more.  I must step away from the blueberry pancakes.  I have to work out!  It’s time to HTFU.  Look that up if you don’t know what that acronym means.  It’s NSFW.

I battled with the brutal weather yesterday and squeaked out a half mile run.  Then I came inside and played Just Dance for 20 minutes with my kids.  Today will be no different.  I need to build up my beach body.  Muscle up, butter cup!  Wish me luck.

Hooray for Teachers! (63/365)

I’m extremely lucky to work with such a nice staff, and I was reminded of this today.  Because I’m getting ready to launch my book sometime in May, I’m trying to establish some contacts to help me for the big release.  I was hoping the teachers at my school could help me out a bit, so I contacted my administrators.  I asked them if I could send out an email to see if other teachers would be interested in helping me out with the book.  This is the email that I sent out to them.

Hello Fellow Teachers,

I’m going to publish my first book later this spring (probably in May).  It’s an illustrated novel.  The target reading audience is EVERYONE!  Actually, it would be best for age 10 and up. 

I’d like to get some feedback on the book before it goes to print. If you’d be willing to help me with this, email me and I’ll contact you with more information.

I was super worried I’d get no responses, and blank stares from my coworkers at our next meeting.

TeacherStare

We have to do so many things, that giving up any time at all is a major request.  However, the response was overwhelming.  I think the list of teachers who responded was around 20.  I have to get back to them with what I had in mind, but if you didn’t know already, teachers are extremely busy people.  What I am hoping they can do is be a part of the O.K. Crew.  It’s kind of like J. Crew, but it doesn’t have to do with clothing.  Nevermind.  It’s nothing like J. Crew.

I want to put together a list of 100 people.  I’m going to give these 100 people an advanced copy of the book.  In exchange, they will help promote the book.  That’s about it.  They say the best way to promote a book is word of mouth.  Well, teachers are social creatures.  They like to talk.  I should know.  I’m the founding member of teachers.  Wait.  No.  I’m just a bald guy.

Anywho, I am much more confident about getting the book out there now.  To quote The Beatles, “I get by with a little help from my friends as my guitar gently weeps.”  I think I mixed that one up too.  I’m a little off my game today.