Monday, November 29, 2010

A Christmas Reminder

Just a reminder that I have a true story included in two special volumes of Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas books. The story is called No Christmas Presents and it took place when I was six or eight years old. What happened in our family that year is something we will never forget, proving that it's far more blessed to give than to receive.

These books are sold exclusively this season at Wal-Mart and Barnes and Noble. Look for the book on the left at Wal-Mart, and the book on the right at Barnes and Noble.

And, from our family to yours, have a Merry Christmas this year.

Max Elliot Anderson

Friday, November 26, 2010

True Survival Adventure Including Pictures

A reoccurring question I hear often concerns a variation of, “Where do you get the ideas for your mystery and adventure books for kids?” This is an area where I feel particularly blessed because my life has included more than its share of adventure.

Much of it came from how I grew up, in a family of seven children. We lived in an idyllic place called Wolf Lake, Michigan. Our house was located on the grounds of the original Youth Haven where we had no end of woods to explore, lakes to swim in, and several colorful characters who lived nearby.

It was later, through my film production experiences, that more serious adventures occurred. Like going to Vietnam to shoot a film just after getting out of the army. Or the project in Belfast, Northern Ireland, while the bombings were still frequent.

This post is about another one of those projects. In 2005, the story originally appeared in Guideposts and was called, “An Unexpected Song.” At the time, I had no idea that my father had put together a book of photographs from our ordeal. On a recent trip, to visit my mother, I found it. Some of the pictures I remember my dad shooting but not all of them. I had even shot a few of them, but completely forgot about it after all these years.

Here, in pictures, is a true adventure story.

“Living Legends” is the title of a film we were shooting. It documented what happens in a Native American family when the father becomes a Christian and leads his family.

Our final family interview was shot on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. We finished early, allowing us to begin our trip back home sooner than expected. One of the local people gave us directions including a shortcut, right through the reservation, which would cut fifteen to twenty miles off the trip.

We set out on the course we thought would take us to the main highway, but things went very, very wrong.

Oh, the scenery was beautiful, so long as we were sitting in a moving car, on a good road. But things deteriorated quickly after our tires left the pavement and we continued on a gravel surface.

With my military training, I should have known better and turned back the way we had come. We didn’t do that and soon I was stopping the car in order to jump out to remove jagged rocks from our path so our car didn’t bottom out and cause damage.

We reached a place called Seven Mile Wash. It looked like I could just drive across the dry sand, and continue where the road started up again on the other side. Immediately our tires became mired in what I can only describe as a powdery dust that resembled talcum powder. It took hours to jack the car up, dig out the tires, place logs under them, and inch the car forward, only to repeat the process over and over again.

Eventually, as I drove over a rise, with the sun in my eyes, the car started down the next hill and we hit a patch of those jagged rocks, tearing a hole in the transmission pan. As the fluid gushed out, gears began to slip until the car couldn’t travel any further. Our car was disabled and we were hopelessly lost.

As my dad stood next to it, I wrote down the numbers on a marker so we could try and explain to someone where our car was, after we hiked out of that wilderness. Well, that didn’t go as planned either. After several hours of hiking, we found that we’d gone in a full circle, in the dark, and wound up right back at our car. At about 2 AM, we were at 5000 feet of elevation, it was freezing out, so we spent the night sleeping in the car.

At daylight, we decided to try hiking out again. It wasn’t long until we discovered what a hostile environment we were stranded in. We walked for most of that day, lost touch with each other a couple of times, and my father fell and split his head open. Both of us became pretty discouraged. We were hungry, thirsty, and very lost. That’s when I hiked to the top of a rugged hill, to try and find out where we should go. As I sat on the ground, beneath a small tree, a sparrow landed on a branch just above my head. He began singing his lungs out as if to remind me that if God’s eye is on the sparrow surely he knows where I am and what I need. In the distance I could see the reflection of a car on a straight road. It was miles away, but there was no mistake that help was in that direction. So on and on we trudged through gullies, across ice-covered streams, through brush and rocks.

It was almost cruel when we reached the area of the road because, from where we stood, it was a climb nearly straight up and our strength was gone. Somehow, with super-human strength, we made it to the top.

I took a roll of camera tape out of my jacket pocket and quickly made a sign that said, “Help!” The first car that saw it stopped and took us to the nearest town where we arranged to retrieve the car in the morning, and then slept for what felt like days.

Because I had written down the marker number, our tow truck driver knew exactly where our car was located. We piled in with him and drove off.

Our car was hooked up and taken into town where repairs were made. Finally we were on our way home after one of the greatest survival adventures of my life.

But before we left the area, we decided to drivew back to the place where we were rescued and take one last look.
Humm. Maybe I’ll have to write a book about that some day.

Max Elliot Anderson
Author Web Site

Watch for Barney and the Runaway
January 1, 2011,
from Comfort Publishing,
Another great kid's adventure.

Available now for Christmas 
Lost Island Smugglers
from Port Yonder Press,, and in stores.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

If you need a centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table, you're welcome to use this one. It includes a glass platter, ceramic pumpkins, candles, Pilgrim characters from Publix Grocery Stores in Florida, and acorn shells & leaves, sprayed gold, from our back yard here in Illinois.

What is your centerpiece like this year?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


We live in the northeast part of Rockford, IL, and a tornado formed near our house before it pounded the little town of Caledonia.

This is a picture of the actual beast.

I had gone out to the post office, and noticed that the digital thermometer on my Explorer fluctuated wildly between near seventy, down to fifty, and back again several times.

Soon after I returned home, there was a serious blast of wind, so I went outside and tied down the grill cover while rain came in sideways. Then everything became deathly still. Shortly after that, the emergency sirens went off, but by that time the storm had left our area. There's a bit of a controversy about that system now. Our power went out for several hours and didn't come back on until well after dark. Many others were not so fortunate.

Here's a link to the article in this morning's Rockford paper.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Audio Book Coming Soon of Lost Island Smugglers

I'm happy to announce that today I signed contracts to have my book, Lost Island Smugglers, produced as an audiobook. The company producing this version of the book is located in Glendale, California.
I've also received word that Lost Island Smugglers will be available as an ebook sometime after the first of the year.

Keep your eye on this blog for announcements of several new titles to be published between now and June of 2011. A total of 36 manuscripts have been written.

Thank you.
Author Web Site

Friday, November 19, 2010

North Woods Poachers to be released next

The next book to be released by Comfort Publishing will be North Woods Poachers. Cover art is finished and I'm now working my way through the galleys.



It was that time again—the annual fishing trip. Every summer was the same. The two Washburn families packed up their identical over-sized pickup trucks and headed for Canada. Only this time Andy Washburn determined it was going to be different. He didn't quite know what, or how he was going to work it out, but he was not going to spend two weeks in a boat, fishing this year. There had to be something better they could do up there instead. Even if they had to include Sarah, Andy's nine-year-old sister, and Jessica, CJ's sister, they'd do it.

Andy and CJ, his cousin, both approaching their twelfth birthdays, tried to find ways to get out of all that fishing. CJ is a computer whiz, and tests new products for his father's company, so he brings this year’s newest games and gadgets along, and they sure come in handy.

After arriving at the lake, the boys made a deal with their dads. They'd fish for the first couple of days then the boys could go off and explore the area. This becomes even more exciting when two, identical, black float-planes landed on the lake, after dark, and disappeared into the cove around the bend from the Washburn's cabins. Then they took off again before sunrise the next morning.

The boys determined to find out what that was all about. When Andy remembered that, at the Canada/US border, they'd been stopped and searched, another vehicle had been found to have illegal turtles hidden in the spare-tire well. Andy was sure these planes were poachers landing and taking off in the dark.

When the four children set out on their mission, they have no idea what they're getting themselves into. They find an old forest watch tower which, of course, they have to climb. From there they can see into the lodge on the other side of the cove where the two strange float-planes had gone. They return to the tower the next day with a telescope that belongs to Andy's dad. What they see and discover turns into sudden danger for these four kids. They uncover the answer to the mysterious, black planes, but they also stir up some serious trouble when they discover that there is an international ring of wild animal poachers operating out of the old abandoned lodge.

Comfort Publishing will release Barney and the Runaway on March 1. Many more titles are planned soon.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The View From My Writing Room

Today I’d like to address the subjects of books for boys, along with the distractions of media that kids face today. I have to admit that I’m glad our children grew up just ahead of a time when there was a TV and computer in every bedroom, a phone in every pocket, and all the other electronic distractions that pull them away from each other, and from reading good books.

Not a week goes by that I don’t see articles, emails, or Internet posts asking for more quality books for boys. Parents and teachers are somewhat desperate to get boys reading, and away from the computer, video games, and TV, because they know how important reading is. Several studies have indicated that there are certain connections made in the brain that only occur while reading.

I began writing action-adventures ∧ mysteries, nearly ten years ago, because I grew up hating to read. I believe that I understand the struggling, reluctant reader well enough to craft the kinds of stories that will capture and hold their attention. Thirty-six have been written. By the end of next year, many of those books will be published.

Reading forces the reader to use his or her imagination.

Reading allows the reader to decide what things sound like, look like, smell like, and taste like.

Reading blocks out all other distractions.

Reading creates a special bond between the reader and the characters in books.

Technology is wonderful, however, several forms of technology provide all of the sights, sounds, and music that are carefully designed to determine how the viewer or user should think, feel, and react.

Technology does not foster critical thinking like reading.

Technology has its uses – no doubt – but it can never replace the importance of reading.

A recent article reported that kids spend more than 7.5 hours a day with media – TV, iPods and the Internet – plus another two hours on their cell phones and texting. Heavy media users had lower grades and weren’t as happy.

It may be time for parents to step in and begin limiting media use. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests no more than two hours of media per day. And be especially careful about TVs and computers in a child’s bedroom, where it becomes more difficult to keep track of the hours devoted to media. It’s a better idea to make sure a television or computer be used in more general purpose rooms where there can be better supervision.

After you hear the inevitable, “I’m bored,” suggest reading a book. You can even set up a reward system where, after so many hours or chapters, then there can be X number of media hours.

When I speak to kids in schools, I like to end my talk by saying, “Remember, readers are the leaders, others follow.”

Max Elliot Anderson
Author Web Site  

Friday, November 12, 2010

Midwest Review on Lost Island Smugglers

An exciting read that younger readers will relish.

Midwest Book Review - 5 Stars *****

Stranded on a desert island, survival first comes to mind, and dealing with those smugglers isn't too far down the list. "Lost Island Smugglers" is an exciting juvenile novel following Sam Cooper and his friends as a boat trip goes awry and they find themselves on a seemingly deserted island. But the previous occupants aren't friendly, as they aren't fond of their operation being found. "Lost Island Smugglers" is an exciting read that younger readers will relish.

Author Web Site
Order From Amazon

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

A True Story

Veterans Day always reminds me to be thankful that two of my brothers and I served in the US Army and returned safely. My older brother went to Vietnam. At the time, they wouldn't send two members from the same family to a combat zone, so I was sent to an armored batallion in Germany. Funny thing was that he joined and I was drafted. My younger brother went to Okinawa.

I finished my two-year commitment and returned home to work in my father’s film production company as a cinematographer. One of my first projects included an overseas assignment to produce a film about Venture for Victory. This organization assembles basketball teams made up of Christian players. They tour various parts of the world as a ministry. The team we were following went to Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and…Vietnam.

I couldn’t believe it!

Here I had avoided that dangerous place during my military service and now I’d be going there as a civilian. I didn’t even have a weapon to defend myself. All I held in my hands was a harmless 16MM camera. Lotta good that’s gonna to do you, my military brain told me.

Some of those old army training fears came flooding back, especially when US forces lobbed artillery shells over our heads in the night, in Dalat, or the day my helicopter left me all alone, in the middle of the wrong rice patty, one sweltering afternoon. I’m not even going to admit what I did when a gust of wind slammed the door shut, with a bang, in the missionary guesthouse where I was staying. Just picture me under my bed.

On one occasion it felt as if someone might be watching me while we filmed near a remote village. I zoomed the lens all the way in, focused on infinity, looked through the eyepiece, and quickly spun the camera around toward where I felt the stare. My heart pounded when a pair of field glasses quickly ducked down into the tall grass.

So, I honor all those men and women who have served our country in the past, especially those who gave their lives.

Yup...that's me.

What are your Veterans Day thoughts?

Monday, November 08, 2010

Your Kids Are Gonna Love...MORE BEARS

Okay, it’s only fair to warn you that, if you decide to buy More Bears, by Kenn Nesbitt and Troy Cummings, you’d better expect to set aside every other book that you normally read with your children – at least for a month or two – because the only book they’ll be asking for, for quite some time after you first read it together, is...MORE BEARS!

At least I know that’s how it would have been at the Anderson house when our kids were small. Like the author of this book, I can only imagine hearing my children yelling, “More bears,” every time those words came on the page. And it would have gotten louder, and louder, and louder, until they’d be screaming it at the top of their voices.

I also loved how the book ends. I won’t tell you here, except to say that if you watch the battle between cows and chickens, in a Chick-fil-A TV commercial, you’ll understand.

Get this book, but I’d point out that it's best used as a read aloud with your child because of it’s interactive nature. You’ll both have hours and hours and hours of fun.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for this review.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

November Book Special for Kids

During the month of November, I’m offering a special price on my books, while quantities last. I say that because I have a limited number for some of them in stock. On one of the titles, there are just 3 copies.
When you order, be sure to tell me who each copy should be signed to, and I’ll do that for you, too.

Here’s the deal.
Prices for my books range from $10.95 - $15.95. One of those is a hard cover book. Through the month of November, 2010, I’m offering my books for $10 each, and I’ll pay the shipping. In addition, as mentioned, I’ll sign them if you provide names for that.

Here they are:

LOST ISLAND SMUGGLERS $10.00 – I pay the shipping through November
Sam, Tony, and Tyler took scuba lessons together. Tony’s father owned a marina, so Tony got them in for free. After the boys completed the course, they decided to try their new skills in the ocean. The only problem was, none of them had permission to go, or to take one of the sailboats out for their diving adventure. Everything went well until the biggest storm the boys had ever seen, blew up from out of nowhere, and they found themselves stranded on Lost Island. But, if they thought the worst had happened, they were wrong. What about those high-powered speedboats that mysteriously disappeared? And what were they going to tell their parents, even if they did get off the island?

NEWSPAPER CAPER $10.00 – I pay the shipping through November
Tom Stevens was a super salesman. He and his friends delivered newspapers early every morning. Along their route, the boys often saw some pretty strange things. Then one day they actually became the story. Readers will like the humor, attack dogs, car thieves, and the chop shop Tom and the others uncover. This story reminds us of how important friendship is. It also teaches God isn't just for emergencies. He wants to guide our lives every day.

NORTH WOODS POACHERS $10.00 – I pay the shipping through November
The Washburn families have been coming to the same cabins, on the same lake, catching the same fish, for about as long as Andy can remember. And he's sick of it. This summer would be different he decided. Only he never imagined how different. The story is filled with excitement, danger, humor, and drama. In the end, Andy learns the concepts of family tradition, that God loves justice while He hates injustice, and it is important to follow the rules. Readers will enjoy the gigantic, jet-powered floatplane, computers, home made radio transmitter, and naturally, no one will ever forget Big Wally. He’s a fish of course.

MOUNTAIN CABIN MYSTERY $10.00 – I pay the shipping through November
Scott and his friends had dreamed and prepared for their first wilderness camping adventure. When they become separated from their group in a mountain fog, trouble begins. There was that bear, the decrepit suspension bridge over a bottomless gorge, the sheer cliff in the dark, those terrorists in the remote cabin, the Army, the helicopter ride, and…

BIG-RIG RUSTLERS $10.00 – I pay the shipping through November
This is a modern day, high-tech story with helicopters, satellite phones, and more.
Todd and Amanda live with their parents in a Midwestern city. The family doesn’t go to church. The children are invited to visit their uncle, aunt, and cousin Drew, on their Wyoming ranch over spring break. Todd learns, in a unique way, why stealing is wrong. He decides to choose a new path for his life because of his uncle’s example. A band of high-tech cattle rustlers are caught, revealing that Todd was also wrong about Travis, a shadowy character.
Read about the round up, rattlesnake, and rustlers.

THE SECRET OF ABBOTT'S CAVE $10.00 – I pay the shipping through November
A detective, a police scanner, and a cave offered possibilities for danger and excitement. Who are the real heroes in America? Randy and his friends pooled their resources to go cave exploring, discovered the hidden loot from a bank robbery, and learned they weren't heroes at all.

LEGEND OF THE WHITE WOLF $10.00 – I pay the shipping through November
They didn’t call him a liar; they just couldn’t believe his story. Brian Fisher was determined to prove it was true even though it involved the risk to his own safety. His rescue of a wolf pup from a steel trap results in a mysterious relationship with surprising results. The story is set in the lower elevations near Yellowstone

Send check to:

Max Elliot Anderson P.O. Box 4126 Rockford, IL 61110
(815) 877-1514

Author web site
Blog, Books for Boys:  
Nearly 50 pages of REVIEWS:  

If you order a book, and I’m out of copies, I’ll refund your money right away!

PS. I can't sell copies of this one, but you can find these books at Wal-Mart and Barnes and Noble for this Christmas. My story,
No Christmas Presents, is in both editions.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

If I Could Keep You Little

This is one of those books that would have been great fun when our children were little. I can remember, at various stages of their growing up, times when my wife and I thought it would be great to keep them at a particular age. Of course, we can't do that, and now ours are an attorney and a teacher.

Marianne Richmond has crafted another adorable book that parents, grandparents, and even not so small children are sure to enjoy.

Product Description on

IF I COULD KEEP YOU LITTLE exemplifies Marianne's real insights into the human spirit and her beautiful illustrations that will touch children and adults and that are sure to be cherished for generations to come. Taking the reader on a journey of memory and expectation, IF I COULD KEEP YOU LITTLE showcases the fleeting little moments that reveal how a child changes and grows.

If I could keep you little,
I'd decide on matching clothes.
But then I'd miss you choosing
dots on top and stripes below

If I could keep you little
I'd cut your bread in shapes.
But then I'd miss you finding
"Hey! I like ketchup with my grapes!"

Be sure to check out her many other titles, too.

A copy of the book was provided by the publisher for this review.

Monday, November 01, 2010

National Authors' Day November 1

Today is National Authors’ Day which was adopted by the General Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1929. In 1949 the US Department of Commerce awarded the observance a place on its list of special days, making it official.
“By celebrating an Authors’ Day as a nation, we would not only show patriotism, loyalty, and appreciation of the men and women who have made American literature possible, but would also encourage and inspire others to give of themselves in making a better America…”