Blow Out Sale!

So today on my way home from work, I saw that one of my neighbors has already decorated for Christmas, complete with a tree and Christmas lights. So, in light of my neighbor's enthusiasm, I thought today would be a great day to announce our Blow out sale on our landscape paperbacks! Remember these are of a very limited supply and will not be printed again, so you might even call them a collectors item. We've knocked them all the way down to $15.95, so come get them while they're hot!

Softcover
17.95 19.95

11 x 8.5 softcover book. Candy canes not included :(

Quantity:
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The Gift Giver Truly Gives

We're happy to announce that we will be donating all of our profits from the 8.5 x 8.5 paper back to the Nazarene fund at Mercury One. From the very first time I heard about the atrocities that ISIS is committing in the middle east I was sickened and heartbroken for the people over there. I thought for sure the United States would put forth some kind of solid effort to help. While I don't care to go into what has and hasn't been done to thwart ISIS, the fact is: right now every day men, women, and children are being slaughtered for nothing other than their beliefs. I cannot abide the thought of this. The last few years, I have become increasingly aware of how extremely blessed I am. I have what might be considered an ordinary American life. I am happily married, I am firmly planted in the middle class, I have 2.5 (very soon to be 3.5) kids, I work 8-5, get holidays and weekends off, and life is everything I ever hoped it would be. I live in the greatest country on earth which still affords me the opportunity to pursue and achieve my dream (which is what I am currently endeavoring to do) and for the most part happiness dominates most of my family's days. I see pure innocence when I look into my boys' eyes, I can't imagine life without them. I literally cannot stand the thought of my children being harmed. I have a pretty serious case of "daddy bearitis". So when I hear about the things that are happening in Syria and Iraq, a resounding question rings  in my mind; what if that happened to me and my family? 

I have personally studied WWII quite a bit and I always wonder how nations stood by while an entire people where herded into death camps. They stood by because they rationalized and said things like "they are work camps" maybe they said, "eventually someone will do something about it". Eventually did happen, but it cost 6 million lives. We all know the story, and we say that would never happen these days. I think that is exactly what people thought back then. In the past when I'd watch WW2 documentaries or Schindler's List I'd think to myself, "I would not stand idle while people were marched to their end. I hope that I would do something.". Well it is happening NOW, and today what I ask myself is can I say in good conscience, "Some one else more able will fix it"? With all of my heart, no. I can not. When I hear about children being crucified, raped, cut in half, or in pieces, or burned, I can't help but imagine my family in that kind of situation. I will go mad before I can square myself with the scene of it. Words fail me. The absolute horror of their everyday lives makes me feel unworthy of my simple, bliss filled life. If I keep getting myself worked up like this I might lose all rationality and start making some rash decisions, so on to the good part!

There is help for those who have escaped! The good folks at Mercury One have set up the Nazarene fund which helps resettle Christian families in safer countries. Nick and I will not be taking any profits on the 8.5 x 8.5 paperback version of the book. That book is printed on demand through an Amazon service called Create Space and thus will never be back ordered and always available for order with the benefits of Amazon Prime free shipping (which the landscape versions of the book are not eligible for at the moment). The little paperback is a great option for kids to have as their own copy, to tuck in a church or travel bag, or to just help keep your hardback in mint condition. We now have an opportunity for us to put our money where our mouth is. As soon as we accrue $100 or more of royalties Create Space sends us a check. We will then send those funds directly to Mercury One. We don't have any special relationship with Mercury One or any kind of sponsorship with them. This is purely a private donation. I don't know what kind of difference we can make, but I'll sleep better knowing that we're doing something and The Gift Giver will truly give this year.

According to the website it takes about $25,000 to save a family of 4. What do you think, should we set that as a goal? Can The Gift Giver help one family reach safer shores by Christmas? Let me know and maybe we can create some kind of meter to keep everyone up to speed on how much money we've raised for the Nazarene fund. If you don't want the book or have already bought one and just want to donate directly to the fund that's totally fine, just click the link above and it will put you in the right place.

I promise this will be the heaviest post we'll do, but this is something I feel strongly about and really felt compelled to do something about. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope you contribute in some way. Godspeed #neveragainisnow. 

Big News, Reservation Promo Code and Giving!

Well, I've got a good amount of news, mostly good, some less than optimal. Overall, things are in good shape. So many of you know that we sold out of our hardbacks a few weeks ago. However, we have a large shipment of new inventory due to be arriving about the week of Thanksgiving. So there will be plenty of time to receive, gift, and enjoy The Gift Giver in time for Christmas. We had to find a new printer capable of printing larger quantities, but once more we've been fortunate to find the same press that prints The Polar Express, Where the Wild Things Are, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Worzalla Publishing Co.). All of the copies we ordered are hardbacks with dust jackets. Quality products take time to produce (apparently) and so that's the reason for such a long back order. Due to the inconvenience we are offering a promo code for any reservations. When you order, enter promo code: sweetsavings for a 10% discount on your order. 

Item number two, currently we have about 150 landscape paperbacks in stock. These items have just become rare as we will not be ordering anymore. When we found the new printer we also found lower production costs on the hardbacks. So low, in fact, that the price difference between the hardback and paperbacks is negligible. In the auto industry when a car model goes out of production, they call it a classic. So what do they call it when a book type goes out of production... a collector's item? Sounds good to me!  Now we will still have the 8.5 x 8.5 available on Amazon, for those of you who prefer the softcover. 

That leads me to item number three. We have a very big announcement to make regarding the 8.5 x 8.5 version of the book, and an opportunity to give. Nick and I have discussed a pretty big decision for us and The Gift Giver and I'm really excited to share our conclusion with all of you. I think it deserves it's own blog post though, so stay tuned for that tomorrow. As always thank you all for your support, keep sharing, keep giving, and enjoy!

Hardback
17.95 23.95

11 x 8.5 Hardback w/ dust jacket. Hot cocoa not included :(

Quantity:
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The book is officially launched! Now what?

Well, we've made it... Kind of. Three days after launch and we're coming up on the national average number of book sales that published authors and self published authors can expect to achieve. We couldn't have done it without the help of you readers, and many other contributors, so thank you from the bottom of my heart. We still have a long way to go to get to where we hope to be. As many of you might know already, we set out to help change the over-commercialized culture that now surrounds Christmas. Change may not be the right word for it. Re-direct might be closer, or even in some degrees, restore might be closer to the mark.

In the beginning I wanted to write something that my kids would connect with and love. I hoped that it would help them feel closer to the Savior at Christmas time, and because of that feeling, they would feel what I hope to feel at Christmas: joy and the love of God. When they come to know the spirit of Christmas, I won't worry about them getting wrapped up and lost in the commercialization that now surrounds the holiday, because I know the light of Christ will shine through all of that. They will learn that it's nice to receive and be served, but is so much more rewarding to give and to serve. Now my hope, our hope, is to share this story so that it can help invite those same feelings, that same spirit into as many homes as possible. If more families share wonderful holiday experiences together, the more they will give to, and serve one another. Only good things happen when we love an serve one another. I'm going to stop there before I start to sound like a pious John Lennon.

To make it easier to purchase and share The Gift Giver, we've made some changes to the website. We now have an order page, the Pre-Order page has turned into the contact us page. Which we'd love to hear from you on, and if you would like to have us do a reading at your church, school, or other event please contact us on that page. On the order page you can see some lovely product pictures that my sister in law took for us that show off the book in all of its glory. The payment option is through good old fashioned credit card processing, and there are several shipping options to choose from. The landscape hardback and paperback are both on Amazon now, although it is easiest to find them by searching my name, Jacob Haslem (apparently there are a lot of Nick Allens out there, sorry buddy), rather than the title of the book. I'm going to work on that to figure out why, so stay tuned. At any rate if you've been thinking about buying the book for your family, think no longer, head over to the Order page and break out the plastic and prepare to spread some Christmas cheer. Oh great. I've gone from pious John Lennon to the Sham-wow guy. Let's just say this, if you think you'd like it we've made it easy to get, if not please feel free to buy it for someone else. That didn't help either, sorry. I am a pretty decent sales person when I'm selling someone else's product, but I'm a terrible self-promoter, so if those of you who have read the book could help us out that would be fantastic. Please write us an honest review on Amazon or Facebook or if you are on Good reads that would be great too. All kidding aside, thank you all for your support! The Gift Giver really wouldn't be anywhere if it weren't for your help, and please forgive for my lame sense of humor. I'm usually pretty tired when I write these posts.

So, what's next for us you ask? Well, as you might have seen on the Facebook page we will be at the Great Valley Book Fest in Manteca at Bass Pro Shops Plaza on 10/10/15 from 10 am to 4 pm and we would be happy to sign a copy of our book for you, chat, or answer any questions you might have. There will also be loads of other authors there and some cool workshops about self publishing and writing, if you aspire to such things. Soon we will be featured on blogs all across the country and we'll share those with you as the posts are created so you can stay up to the minute with our progress.

That's pretty much it for now, thanks for keeping in touch with us, we love to hear from you, so hit us up in the comments or on Facebook. Thanks,

Jacob Haslem

Have you heard the news?

Hi there everyone. It's been a while since our last post, so I thought it would be a good time for a quick update. This past week we received our first printed proof from Createspace. Unfortunately some of the images came back a little too dark, and some of the beautiful detail in Elissa's illustrations was lost. The good news is, it's an easy fix and we should have a second proof with adjustments made by the end of next week. What an amazing thing it is, to physically hold your work for the first time! We truly can't wait for you guys to see it yourselves. So with that, let me cut to the chase; we officially know what our printed products will be and the price range that you can expect. 

We will be offering through our print on demand distributor, Createspace (Amazon) and 8.5" x 8.5" paperback for $17.95, an 11" x 8.5" landscape version in paperback for $18.95, and an 11" x 8.5" landscape hard back for $22.95. We will also have an ebook version available as well, but details are still forthcoming for that. Keep in mind that the book was originally formatted for landscape printing, but unfortunately there are no "on demand" printers that can provide a landscape book that big. Sadly we learned that 8.5" x 11" is not the same as 11" x 8.5", apparently in the printing world width is always the first number. So the landscape versions have to be printed through traditional off set printing, which is a lot more expensive to produce. If you're wondering what the difference is between the two, it's basically the same as watching a full screen version of a movie vs the widescreen version.

We don't have an official launch date as of yet, but you can get on a pre-order list by emailing us through the pre-order tab on the website, and then just specify what type of book you'd like.

Things are really starting to come together, and over the next few weeks we will have dates set for the book launch, the launch party, and most likely some dates for book readings. Very soon we'll be posting our first official full length book trailer with brand new content and images, some behind the scenes interviews with Nick and I, and much more. So stay tuned and check out and share our facebook page www.facebook.com/thegiftgiverstorybook.

Thanks again for all of your support! #thegiftgiver

-Jacob

Super Teaser!!!

Hey everybody! I hope you've all had a great Thanksgiving holiday weekend so far! We've got an exciting new teaser trailer that we released last night, thanks to the awesome help of a friend of ours, Adam Hutchings, who spent some of his holiday family time (while out of state) putting the video together for us. I hope you all like it, and that it piques your interest in the upcoming storybook! You'll find the video right on the home page of this site. We have a few more trailers that we plan on releasing over the next year in preparation for our Christmas 2015 release, and you will find that each one will be designed to cause you to think a little bit as a question is posed at the end. "Have you ever wondered why I bring you gifts?" What we as a society have established about the traditional Christmas icon, Santa Claus, is that he brings good little boys and girls gifts on Christmas Eve so that, when they wake up on Christmas morning, they have presents under their trees and in their stockings to open and enjoy. Toys, books, games, candy, etc., bring excitement and joy to young ones around the world on December 25th every year. Have you ever wondered where this all started, though? When and why did the old man in red begin his winter-time tradition? Stay tuned, and get ready, as we prepare to tell you the story of The Gift Giver, and shed some light on the history of Ol'
 Saint Nick! ;)

-Nick Allen

P.S. Comment below about your favorite Christmas memories, and/or your thoughts on the question in the video!

Eureka !! We found the "Old man"

Earlier this summer I attended a regional church meeting at which several speakers were scheduled to address us. One among them was Bro. Joe Whitmer, whom I had never met nor heard speak. I missed his introduction, because I was fiddling with my tablet while getting it set up to take notes. I believe he was the 2nd or 3rd speaker, and while I was taking notes, and appreciating the talk, his voice jumped out at me. Nick and I had been on the look out for some good voice talent, because we had planned on using book trailers to promote the book. Obviously, we would need a good Santa voice, but our Santa voice would need to be different than the typical depiction. However, we weren't entirely positive as to what we were actually looking for. I wrote to the side of my notes, for Joe's talk,- "Possible Santa voice", but at the time, it was just a thought. After the meeting, I asked the man behind me whom the mystery voice was, and I recorded next to my note- Joe Whitmer. I now know it was inspiration that led me to have such a thought. 

For the last several months, Nick and I have been operating on the idea that we had one potential candidate for the voice of the "Old man" whom neither of us knew from Adam. Recently, we realized that getting Joe would probably be a long shot in the dark. We had no connection, nor idea of if he would be interested at all, much less willing to humor us. I even began to wonder if the voice I had listened to for about 15 minutes would be a good fit. So, we tried to come up with a contingency plan. I practiced my best "old man" voice in my truck for a few days, and when Nick and I worked together, we both shared our best impersonations. however, we found that, no matter what we did, we couldn't make ourselves sound believable, and we really didn't know of anyone who we thought could sound like what we wanted, because we still weren't really sure, ourselves, what exactly we were looking for. So, with our self-imposed deadlines looming, we fired a total shot in the dark. I looked up Joe's number on the church directory, and proceeded with the cold call. It was, needless to say, a little awkward, and for Joe, completely out of left field. He asked me if it was a crank call...but as I proceeded to explain and pitch the idea, he said he would give it a shot.

So, cutting to the chase, when Joe arrived this past Friday night, clearly a little skeptical at what we were doing but willing nonetheless, we introduced ourselves, and our families, and got to work. We didn't want to take a lot of his time, as he had to drive over an hour just to get to my place. First, we planned to have him read the story out loud to us to get in the rhythm of things. A few lines in, smiles crept onto mine and Nick's faces. The spirit of the story entered the room, and in our hearts, and we knew we could not have hit more of a home run. Joe has a gritty rasp in his voice. It is formidable and experienced, yet warm and kind. It is the voice of a real person, not a magical being. It is one that operates on faith, and that is exactly what we wish to convey in our story. Ladies and gentlemen, in the next couple of days we will be launching the teaser for "The Gift Giver", and will finally hear the voice of our main character. 

In the process of putting this thing together, we have felt led in pretty much everything we have done. We have come into contact with some amazing talent that we have been so blessed to work with. From getting tips on how to even start something like this, to finding our amazing illustrator, to stumbling upon an editor, to finding Joe, to securing rights to music, commissioning original music, and generally getting things done in effective and efficient ways, we have been so blessed. I really believe this project transcends our natural abilities, and I'm so excited to see it progress.

There is a lot more going on and we'll try to get some more info on that on here soon. For now, stay tuned, and thanks for reading. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!