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Editor's Note

We Want Your Most Riveting Sign Stories

Our fiction-writing “mascot” is looking for further inspiration.




NO ONE WANTS TO be an editor when they grow up; I certainly didn’t. At age 12, while reading The Catcher in the Rye, I decided I wanted to be a writer — to change lives, as J.D. Salinger had mine. I gave it something of a go in high school and college, writing short stories and once even starting a novel, but after about a dozen years, it seemed that being an editor would be the best way for me to participate in the literary world.

Then, earlier this year, I started writing our Real Deal fictionalized scenarios under the pen name, Rolf L’mao, and it reignited my passion for fiction writing. And though I’ve never operated a sign company or worked for one, fortunately the increasing number of responses we’ve been receiving each month, and the frequent comment, “this happened at our company,” have alleviated my fear that the scenarios may lack verisimilitude.

Such is the case with this month’s Real Deal (see page 46), set among names and details from my all-time favorite novel, Catch-22. (Apparently, I’m drawn to books involving a form of the word “catch.”)

In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield says, “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.”

That’s the kind of author of Real Deal that I want to be. Please send your thoughts and ideas to

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5 Smart Tips from This Issue

  1. Learn when 24V LED power supplies have advantages over 12V versions. (Tech Products, p. 18)
  2. See the classic signpainting technique of cut-in lettering on a painted mural. (Walls With a Wow Factor, p. 22)
  3. Check out three custom monument signs featuring creative flourishes. (Meet Your Marker, p. 30)
  4. Consider these steps in preparation of the next recession, whenever that may be. (Heidi Tillmanns, p. 43)
  5. Continuously communicate with your customer, even if the news is bad news. (Maggie Harlow, p. 44)

Mark Kissling is Signs of the Times’ Editor-in-Chief. Contact him at



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