Recent Writing and Editing Links
Here are a handful of links to my work published elsewhere — a list of listicles, as it were:
- A Cornucopia of Surprising Facts About Your Thanksgiving Turkey
- Can You Really Save Money on Eggs by Raising Chickens at Home?
- 8 Crazy Kickstarter Campaigns That Actually Got Funded
- Poverty Makes You Stupid
- Getting Whole Grain Nutrition
- 7 Ways to Take Bulk Buying Beyond Costco
- Why I Won’t Shop on Thanksgiving Weekend
- Turn Last Year’s Taxes Into This Year’s Financial Spring Cleaning
- Why a 50 Year Old Gadget May be the Best Cure for Insomnia
- 7 Father’s Day Gifts That Save Dad Money
- No Pulling! Dogs Walk Easier With the Easy Walk Harness
- Market Clones: How to Pay Drastically Less for Pricey Products
More Adventures in Writing and Editing
I have written and edited for travel agents, software publishers, video game packagers, entertainment marketers, and book publishers.
Collected here are a few examples of my work as a writer and editor — contact me for additional examples.
In addition, BlogPEDS collects brief, explanatory writeups of manias and curiosities. The best way to learn about something is to write about it; these blog entries are my homework assignments. They may also give you an idea of my range and ability.
As an editor, I have been responsible for dozens of titles, from acquisition through indexing, in travel, parenting, humor, and interactive entertainment. See my resume for the complete list.
East African Safari Planner
(Agency Catalog: Copy and Project Management)
For many it begins with an image – a pride of lions stretching in the shade, a tented safari camp, a lean Maasai herdsman watching over his cattle, brilliant red shuka draped over his shoulder. The images accumulate. Serengeti. Kilimanjaro. Spice Islands. Savannah. Mt Kenya. Wildebeest. Mountain Gorilla. The Big Five. The Big Nine. Lake Victoria, Source of the Nile. Uganda , Pearl of Africa. Rwenzoris, Mountains of the Moon.
Eventually the stories become an idea, at once simple and complex. Go to East Africa. See it with one’s own eyes. Make a safari. Find the answers to questions you can only answer yourself. How does Swahili sound? What does the savannah smell like in mid afternoon? How wet is the rainforest on the side of a Virungas volcano?
Until finally one wonders: How do I get there?
Rwanda Gorilla Safari Itinerary
(Research and Copywriting)
Discover Rwanda (Nine Days)
Day One – Akagera National Park – Akagera Lodge: Your guides will meet you at the airport, and after stretching your legs in Kigali and relaxing over lunch, you’re off to Akagera National Park on the border with Tanzania. You’ll arrive in time for a sunset game drive.
Day Two – Akagera National Park – Akagera Lodge: Akagera National park is unlike Rwanda’s other major protected areas. The Nyungwe Forest and Volcanoes National Park are typical (and typically dramatic) examples of montane rainforest – steep, wet hillsides under a dense canopy of vegetation. Akagera, by contrast, is less mountainous, less wet, and less lushly overgrown. The park is closer to its relatives in neighboring Tanzania – wide open savannah interspersed with thick accumulations of acacia and occasional swampy areas where the Akagera River spreads out over the flatlands. Akagera is the best place in Rwanda to spot all the familiar East African big game – elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, antelopes large and small, Impalas, zebras, hyenas, leopards and, for the very lucky, lions. The game viewing is not as rich as that found in Tanzania or Kenya (Rwanda’s civil war had a devastating effect on the park), but it is improving as the government re-dedicates itself to conservation. A morning game drive allows you to witness first-hand the evidence of this ongoing recovery. Hippos and crocodiles populate the park’s numerous swamps and lakes and an afternoon canoe ride on Lake Ihema (right below the lodge) may bring you as close to both as you ever want to be. Birdlife on the shores of the lake is especially abundant.
Day Three – Parc National des Vulcans (Volcanoes National Park) – Volcanoes Virunga Lodge/Gorilla Nest Hotel: Get an early start on the road north to Kinigi and Volcanoes National Park. The combination of rich volcanic soil and copious rainfall makes the African Central Highlands one of the most fertile regions on earth, and it seems every inch of every hillside is terraced and under cultivation. As you near the park, be on the lookout for the Virungas volcanoes. There are nine altogether, and as many as five may be visible at any given moment during your journey.
Day Four – Parc National des Vulcans (Volcanoes National Park) – Volcanoes Virunga Lodge/Gorilla Nest Hotel: Most of the world’s habituated mountain gorilla families are found in Volcanoes National Park, and as a result, the Park hosts the most gorilla trackers in the region, while offering the best opportunity to track and visit the great primates. If you’ve secured the appropriate permits, spend the day with six other visitors seeking out the gorillas. Mountain gorillas don’t roam as much as their lowland gorilla cousins, but they do move through the forest looking for forage. Because of this, trackers may be on the trail for just a few moments before discovering a group, or they may be searching for hours. The gorillas seem to be furthest away from the lodge when the forest is at its wettest and muddiest.
Day Five – Parc National des Vulcans (Volcanoes National Park) – Volcanoes Virunga Lodge/Gorilla Nest Hotel: Today might include more gorilla tracking, if you have the necessary permits, or it might find you staying close to the lodge, relaxing and gathering strength. The summit of nearby Mt Visoke can be reached in little over four hours’ hike (allow seven hours for the round trip), or you can continue with the mountain gorilla theme and visit the Karisoke Research Center on the slopes of Visoke where mountain gorilla researcher Dian Fossey worked from 1967 until her death in 1985. A troop of golden monkeys has recently been habituated, and today might be a good day to track them down, too.
Day Six – Nyungwe Forest National Park – ORTPN Rest House: Another early start, this time the road takes you south to Nyungwe (by the time this safari is over, you will have seen three of Rwanda’s four corners and lots of what lies in between).The landscape, by now familiar, consists of gentle rolling hills, heavily cultivated and terraced, supporting tea fields. As you may have guessed from the number of tea plantations you have seen on your trip so far, tea is Rwanda’s major export crop. You’ll notice markets scattered along the roadway – stop to haggle for locally grown produce. While in Butare, former capital of Rwanda and home to Butare University, make a brief visit to Nyanza Palace, the former seat of Rwanda’s feudal monarchy. The great domed structure, built entirely with local materials, has been carefully restored to its 19th century glory and today houses a museum. Arrive late afternoon at the Rwandan Office of Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN) Rest house set amid tea fields on the western edge of the forest. The rest house is part of the ORTPN’s park headquarters – the staff is friendly and eager to answer questions about the park and itss flora and fauna. Ask!
Day Seven – Nyungwe Forest National Park – ORTPN Rest House: The Nyungwe Forest is part of the largest protected montane rainforest in Africa (it is contiguous with Kibira National Park in neighboring Burundi) and supports a wide variety of wildlife. Nyungwe is home to 13 different species of primate. Several of these species have been habituated, including chimpanzees, grey-cheeked mangabeys, blue monkeys, Angolan colobus monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, and owl-faced monkeys. Colobus monkeys are known to congregate in groups as large as 400 individuals. A guided hike in search of these over the park’s well-maintained trails lasts through mid-afternoon and includes a picnic lunch.
Day Eight – Nyungwe Forest National Park – ORTPN Rest House: Reprise Day Seven’s nature hike, perhaps focusing today on chimpanzees or cast your gaze further up in the canopy. Nyungwe is home to hundreds of bird species, including two dozen or so species endemic to the Central African Highlands. Steep hillsides and the park’s central tarmac road, which cuts through the forest revealing the canopy, provide plenty of opportunity to catch glimpses of Rwenzori turacos and, perhaps, Red-collared Mountain Babblers. If you’ve had enough of primates and birds, try counting orchids; a hundred or more different species of the colorful plant are known to exist at Nyungwe. And if orchids aren’t for you, count trees. There are more than 200 different species clinging to the hillsides.
Day Nine – Kigali: Your visit to Rwanda is nearly at its end. There’s time enough for a brief stroll of the forest near the rest house before beginning the return trip to Kigali. If you make good time (and depending on your departure), take a brief tour of the city, visiting a market, a variety of handicraft shops, the Franco-Rwandan cultural centre, and a genocide memorial. Your guides will drop you at the airport in plenty of time for the trip home (or to begin the next leg of your safari).
User Manual for Disney’s Nintendo Wii game High School Musical: Sing It!
(Copywriting: delivered document includes typesetting codes and design notes.)
Join the East High Drama Club
Troy and Gabriella may have been afraid to sing in front of their friends and family. And their friends at East High School may have wanted the budding singers to give up their musical dreams and to stick to the status quo. But with Disney’s High School Musical: Sing It! there’s nothing to stop you from taking the stage and truly breaking free. It’s your best chance to join the East High Drama Club and show everybody what you’ve got.
Even better, Disney’s High School Musical: Sing It! features a unique duet karaoke system so you and a friend can both join the drama club. Together you can sing your way through the story of the original High School Musical movie as soloists or as a talented duet. With twenty songs from both High School Musical movies – plus ten bonus songs – you’ll have plenty of hits to host a karaoke party for seven of your friends.
So, take a moment to review the instructions and the lyrics (find them online at www.disney.com/videogames), then get out there and show them what you’ve got!
Sing Along with HSM Karaoke!
//Designer’s Note: Insert screenshot of Wii gameplay Screen, arrows from screen features to descriptions //
It’s all about the song for members of East High’s Drama Club. Here’s how you can keep up with the band.
[[lyrics]]Song lyrics scroll across the screen – sing in time for the best score.
[[overall score]]The singer’s total score for the song.
[[current multiplier]]Sing phrases well to earn score multipliers.
[[current phrase score]]The singer’s score for the current phrase.
[[desired pitch]]Where the singer’s voice should be. The higher the bar, the higher the desired pitch.
[[current pitch]]Where the singer’s voice actually is. The closer it is to the desired pitch, the higher the singer’s score.
[[performance meter]]More stars mean better singing. How many stars can you light up?
It’s time to switch off those cell phones and get’cha head in the game! With a little practice you’ll feel like you can bop to the top in no time!
Position the microphone an inch or so from your mouth and try to keep it there throughout your performance. You can adjust the microphone’s sensitivity in the Options Menu.
Keep an eye on the pitch meter when you are on stage. The arrows show which way your pitch needs to go to reach the Desired Pitch: an up arrow means you need to move up to a higher pitch, and a down arrow means find a lower pitch.
Don’t rush through the lyrics – and don’t take too long singing them, either. Try to voice the words just as they cross under the pitch meter.
Songs are divided into phrases (or pieces of song) that are several words long. If you sing a phrase well, without any mistakes in pitch or cadence, you will earn score multipliers. If you put together consecutive flawless phrases, you’ll earn multiple multipliers.
Some notes need to be held longer than others. For these, try to voice the note with a vowel sound rather than a consonant sound. The microphone is much better at picking up vowel sounds. However, you can’t hold a long note if you don’t have enough breath to sing it. So in addition to learning how to sing in pitch, and how to sing in rhythm, you will also need to learn how and when to breathe. Whew!
Back of Box Copy for Disney Interactive’s High School Musical for GameBoy Advance video game.
It’s a ‘Who Dunnit’ and a ‘You Dance It’!
Bop to the top with Troy and Gabriella as they solve a mystery and show off their signature dance moves.
Get’cha Head in the Game!
- Play as Gabriella, Troy, Sharpay and Ryan, each with special skills.
- Explore East High while solving the mystery and finding the lost instruments.
- Dance gameplay lets you bop to nine of your favorite High School Musical hits, with four of your favorite High School Musical characters.
- Find and collect 45 high-res still photos from the High School Musical movies.
- Replay your favorite levels – from Dance or Adventure – as often as you like.
- Solve the mystery once. Then solve it again with different characters (and tougher challenges).
Book publication announcement for A Parent’s Guide to the Twin Cities and Minnesota
WINTER IN MINNESOTA: A FUN TIME FOR TRAVEL WITH KIDS?
Los Angeles, CA – October 24 – With snowflakes falling throughout the upper Midwest, this might seem the wrong time to start thinking of family travel in Minnesota. But Minnesota is rich in festivals and events that celebrate the season, with numerous holiday parades, kid-friendly New Year’s celebrations, the incredible Saint Paul Winter Carnival, and many more. And for those who’d rather the snow never fell, Minnesota offers plenty to keep everybody entertained indoors as well, including engaging children’s museums (and science, art, and history museums), Camp Snoopy, and plenty of indoor water parks where visitors can splash and slide while the temperature outside moves south of freezing.
Parent’s Guide Press is pleased to help Minnesotans (and others) celebrate the arrival of snow with the publication of A Parent’s Guide to the Twin Cities and Minnesota by Josh P. Roberts on November 1st, 2002. The ninth title in the Parent’s Guide Press Travel Series, the book leads readers to the best of Minnesota’s wintertime fun.
In all, the book features more than 250 listings of Minnesota’s sites and happenings. When spring returns, readers can turn to Josh’s book for creative ways to shake off cabin fever – perhaps by visiting Amish country near Harmony, or learning more about Paul Bunyan (who left his mark throughout the center of the state). Each listing contains address and contact information, hours, cost, and directions, as well as Josh’s take on what’s in store for visitors. Readers will find ideas for day trips and overnight excursions; recommendations on where to eat and stay; educational experiences, unique destinations, and just plain fun, all presented with insightful tips and hints from a parent who has lived in the Twin Cities since before the Twins first won the Fall Classic.
A Parent’s Guide to the Twin Cities and Minnesota joins other well-regarded Parent’s Guides in the publisher’s growing travel catalog. Also for Fall 2002, a guide to Toronto, Ontario will join the series, and six more guides to great American cities are planned for Spring 2003: Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit & South-eastern Michigan, Houston, Philadelphia, and San Diego.
A Parent’s Guide to the Twin Cities and Minnesota, by Josh P. Roberts. ISBN: 1-931199-15-9 Pages: 192. Trim: 7 3/8 x 9 1/8. Price: $14.95. Distributed by Independent Publisher’s Group (IPG). Available November 2002 at bookstores nationwide.
CEO Hiring Announcement for Arbonne International
Arbonne Appoints Katherine Napier as New CEO
Former marketing executive at McDonalds and Proctor & Gamble tapped to lead global growth initiatives and strengthen the company’s position as a leader in the direct selling industry
Irvine, CA. – Arbonne International, LLC (Arbonne) today announced Katherine “Kay” Napier has joined the company as its new Chief Executive Officer. Napier will lead all key facets of Arbonne’s global business while reinvigorating the company’s focus on its core principles, established almost 30 years ago: to create products that are pure, safe, and beneficial; to create opportunities for people seeking meaningful financial, social, cultural, and intellectual rewards; and to encourage all members of the organization to contribute locally, nationally and internationally to the improvement of our ecological, social and cultural environment.
“Kay brings the vision, experience and insight required to lead Arbonne through its next phase of growth,” said Ira Kleinman, Arbonne’s Chairman. “Kay impressed us with her ability to leverage and build around organizational strengths to drive success. While Kay has deep grounding in marketing and development, she also brings a high level of operating experience, which will be critical to Arbonne’s long-term growth. We are very pleased to welcome her to the team.”
Napier joins Arbonne from McDonalds, where she last held the position of Senior Vice President, Marketing. While at McDonalds, she led the reinvention of its Happy Meal business, directed the development of its “go active” product and marketing initiatives, and deepened the brand’s connection with women and families through the roll-out of information about healthier living and the development of healthier product choices. Both were key elements of a highly-successful global repositioning effort. Critical to the success of those initiatives was Napier’s close collaboration with McDonalds’ highly-developed network of independent franchisees. While at McDonalds, Napier also led the company’s renewed growth in Europe, which resulted from stronger marketing direction, greater communication and collaboration across the continent and the development of new product offerings that better positioned the company on the leading edge of key consumer trends.
Prior to McDonalds, Napier served as Vice President, Corporate Women’s Health and Vitality at Proctor & Gamble, which culminated a 23 year career at the consumer products leader. Among her many accomplishments, Napier spearheaded the development and marketing of P&G’s Actonel osteoporosis drug, which transformed the company’s pharmaceutical business. Napier also encouraged the company to place greater focus on women’s health and well being, establishing a major retail women’s health program, building business across P&G’s product lines in health, beauty care, feminine protection and nutrition. Throughout her career, Napier has been guided by the principle that educated, driven women represented an untapped potential. The sales force with whom she collaborated at Proctor & Gamble consisted of over one-thousand sales representatives; many of the organization’s leadership roles were filled by women.
Napier earned a Masters of Business Administration from Xavier University and a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Fine Arts from Georgetown University. She currently sits on the Board of Trustees of Xavier University, as well as the Boards of Directors of both Hill-Rom Holdings and the Exact Sciences Corporation. Napier has also served on the board of directors of Alberto Culver, a beauty company, for the last three years.