Monthly Archives: December 2008

Last Minute Holiday Gifts

If you you are like me, you probably have put off buying gifts and now are facing the horrible task of going to a mall the weekend before Christmas. After worrying about getting beaten up in the parking lot over a parking space I decided to just do my shopping at

Here are some of the great gifts that I found:

Bawdy & Soul by R.A. Christmas is the result of R. A. Christmas’ lifetime interest in American Folk and Popular music—specifically, his roughly ten-year quest (ca.1975-85) for success in the “music business,” in and around Hollywood.


Christmas… Relax your spirit with the gentle sounds of pure piano holiday favorites, 
celebrating the serenity and beauty of Christmas. An outstanding collection of Christmas classics played by Marilyn Byrnes in a moving and contemporary style.


The Thorner Historical Society 2009 Calendar is twelve months of fantastic archive photos of Thorner in Leeds, capturing the good old days of horse drawn carriages and steam trains, no longer to be seen in Thorner.


There are thousands of great last-minute gift ideas available at the marketplace.

Bob Marckini: Lulu Author Interview

Robert J. Marckin is the top-selling author of You Can Beat Prostate Cancer, a survival guide that he wishes had been available when he was diagnosed. Bob has generously shared his insight into what has helped his book become a best seller.

What was your inspiration for sharing your story?

When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer 8 years ago I was extremely frightened. The more research I did, the more books I read, and the more doctors I spoke with… the more frightened I became. Books on the market at that time were all written by physicians with their own biases. I vowed to write a book from the patient’s point of view, a book that puts prostate cancer in proper perspective.

What made you decide on using Lulu to self-publish your book?

A friend who had heard of Lulu and who knew that I planned to self-publish told me that Lulu was the best in the business.

You’ve been selling your book through Lulu for almost a year. What were your first sales like and how do they compare to your sales today?

Sales are increasing. Just last week we crossed the 23,000 mark. That’s about five times as many books as I thought I’d sell in that period of time.

Do you feel like there was one breakthrough moment when your success jumped? If so, what do you think caused that jump to happen? If not, what do you think has been the key to a sustained success?

I founded and now run a 4,000 member international prostate cancer support group. I promote my book through my website ( and my monthly newsletters. I have also been asked to do several interviews on radio, TV and the Internet. Some of these are archived and linked on my website home page.

Some other events caused my sales to spike. Both Loma Linda University Medical Center and University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute now send my book to patients who make inquiries into proton therapy for prostate cancer. Also, Senior NBC TV News Correspondent George Lewis ran a story on the Today Show and NBC Nightly News about his prostate cancer journey. I had helped him on that journey, and my book was part of his journey. George interviewed me and showed my book on both TV pieces. Sales spiked after that.

Do you advertise your book?

Just on my website and in my newsletters.

How did you arrive at your book’s visual design and layout?

My daughter and son-in-law are graphic designers. The entire cover design and layout was their idea. I had a professional photographer take the picture, but everything was “choreographed” by my daughter and son-in-law.

Lulu’s Last-Minute, Key Ingredients to a Fabulous Holiday Party

Hang the mistletoe, plug in the lights, and trim the tree because December is here and so is the holiday party season. Make it one to cherish and remember with these tips:

* Pick up a scrumptious copy of Cookies and Cocktails . This festive cookbook has recipes sure to please even the pickiest of party palates. Whether you serve the Jack Frost Martini or the Kris Kringle cookies, your guests are guaranteed to come back for seconds and, who knows, maybe thirds.

* Whether you’re hosting or attending, a digital camera is a must have. Capture all of your party’s unforgettable moments and create a Lulu photo book to share with friends at the party and those who couldn’t make it. With the easy-to-use Lulu Studio™ photo book tool, you could have it ready before the next party. Could be a great gift idea…(hint hint.)

However you choose to celebrate your upcoming holiday event, have a very merry Happy Holidays from

Santy Claws and the Toe-nenbaum

Santy Claws and the TOE-nenbaum is a quirky tale of bravery and “brotherly” love by the folks at McMillan, a creative agency based in Ottawa. What began as something special for their clients and friends became an inspirational story for children young and old, truly capturing the magic of the season. 

And what could be better than this cute holiday tale, beautiful artwork, and the fun, interactive Santy Claws website, you ask? How about the fact that McMillan is donating 100% of all profits to Make-A-Wish® Canada and a major national children’s charity in the United States.

Santy Claws and the TOE-nenbaum was written by John Collins and illustrated by Michael Zavacky of McMillan. Visit the fun and interactive site website for a sneak peak of the book. What a festive way to give to charity while captivating all the youngsters on your list.

If you would like to help support Make-A-Wish® Canada and get your very own copy of Santy Claws and the TOE-nenbaum, click HERE to order. If you would like to help support a major national children’s charity in the U.S., you can order your copy of Santy Claws and the TOE-nenbaum HERE.

Shipping Address Validation

For our U.S. and Canadian customers, Lulu has recently introduced a new address verification system into our checkout process. This new system will allows us to validate shipping addresses against the USPS (U.S. Postal Service) address database which will help prevent delays and other shipping related problems from occurring.


Sounds exciting right? Well, even if this is perhaps the most boring blog entry I’ve ever written, we’re pretty excited about making shipping more efficient (what can I say, we’re easily excited), but we also wanted to make sure everyone was aware of this change in case you run into problems later on. We believe this new system will improve our service and prevent shipping problems from occurring, but there may be a few cases where a customer runs into a problem even when entering an address that is technically correct.


Unfortunately, a computer isn’t as smart or adaptable as your local mailman and so they can’t always validate an address that is technically deliverable because of a minor misspelling or omission of info. When entering your shipping address, please be sure to include your full address, including the correct abbreviations where applicable for your St., Blvd, or whatever type of road you live. Also, be sure to include such terms as apartment, suite, floor, room, etc. Avoid simply omitting these terms, replacing them using “#” or just including the number.


A full list of the common and correct abbreviations can be found here on the USPS website.


If, for any reason, you run into any issues entering your address during checkout, please see our Common Shipping Validation Errors and Solutions page in Help.



My Epic Battle with “The Nothing”

The blank page with its vast, open space is looking back at me with an unblinking stare. Now I’m consumed by the fear and panic caused by the possibility of missing a deadline. I’ve got it, writer’s block, and it ain’t pretty. I know we’ve all hit the wall of supreme nothingness before, so this isn’t new, but what do you do when you find yourself with a blank page sneering at you and nothing in your brain?

This year I attempted my first NanoWriMo and quit when I realized that writer’s block was killing my story. I had restarted my novel three times before I realized I would not meet the deadline at the end of the month. Writer’s block can be a force so supreme, like “The Nothing” in the NeverEnding Story, that whole civilizations and entire universes can be devoured by its existence!

In an attempt to defeat the monster, I poked around on the internet and discovered a few tips that I thought to be very helpful.

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