The Proof is NOT in the Pudding

The proof is not in the pudding – it’s in my hands.  Literally.   My proof of Salmon Matters: How a Fish Feeds a Forest arrived today and I am thrilled to upload it to Createspace and Amazon.  In other words, it’s available for purchase.  If you or your young reader enjoyed Milkweed Matters: The Life Cycles within a Food Chain, then perhaps you’d like to check out Salmon Matters too!

I need to give a HUGE thanks to my husband Chris.  We spent hours pouring over the digital files from Createspace frustrated by the error codes each time we uploaded the book’s file to them.  The first proof had errors so it was back to the ‘uploading board’, but this one is beautiful!

Salmon Matters has the same illustrator, Betty Gatewood, with whom I am grateful and honored to work.  She has graciously adapted to my sometimes scattered approach and, I think, enjoyed delving into the how-tos of painting bears and fish and water scenes.

Any of the frustrations of self-publishing – and there are many – seem to fade away when I hold the book in my hand.  I look forward to continuing to learn about this process and to improve in my understanding and execution of my final product.  Until then, I hope you enjoy learning about how salmon and trees and bears are connected as much as I did when I first learned about this cycle.

salmon matters proof


But that’s not all.

I have enjoyed fledging Oliver’s Otter Phase, especially the visits with young readers, and especially when hearing how enthralled a child was from a parent. There is a little lull this summer as schools are out, but I am planning some events for the fall and have joined a Read Local Program of my regional SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), which will help with promotion.  I look forward to more readings and spreading the science and wonder of sea otters and kelp forests.  I am grateful to all readers who took time to come to my debut party, purchase a book, write a review or promote Oliver in some other way.

But that’s not all.

Writers aren’t usually satisfied with one book, or even a few. And so, we keep writing while coaxing the one with new wings. We build more nests.  I have several submissions in the works.  While I cannot elaborate them now, I certainly hope I can in the future. The harsh reality is that some of my nests will fail.  I will rebuild.

But that’s not all.

When I got my first traditional book contract with Arbordale Publishing, I was in the process of self-publishing Milkweed Matters: A Close Look at the Life Cycles within a Food Chain. And so, my first book was self-published, as opposed to taking the traditional route with a publisher. Some people think self-publishing is an unwise move career-wise, but I wanted the challenge. I have been happy with comments from both parents and children about the book – so much so that I asked my illustrator to tackle another one with me.

COMING SOON – Salmon Matters: How a Fish Feeds a Forest tells the story of how salmon, trees, the ocean, bears and nitrogen cycling are all connected using the same repeated phrase But that’s not all found in Milkweed Matters.  I love Betty’s watercolor illustrations as much as those in our first book.  I’ve ordered the proof and if all is well, it will be leaving the nest in the next month. I hope readers who loved Milkweed Matters will enjoy this new ‘tale’ of nature’s amazing interconnectedness. It is another case where the science enthralled me and I wanted to share with others.

But that’s not all.

Oliver’s Otter Phase will always be my debut baby. I am so grateful for the whole experience and will keep working to promote it – and maybe that is where my bird metaphor ends.  But, I will also keep building nests and hoping they fledge into the hands of children.

BookOfTheMonth_Cover                          milkweed-matters-2016-09-26-cover



It’s World Oceans Day

It’s World Ocean’s Day and that means we have a winner!  Three to be exact.  Congratulations to Kelly Woods, Amber Stewart and Maureen Simmen.  I have contacted the winners and will get their books in the mail soon.

If you love and care for our oceans as much as I do, please check out the website for World Oceans Day.  Being aware of problems and educating others is a good start to helping.

Perhaps you entered because you love sea otters.  Oliver’s Otter Phase is available at Arbordale Publishing and Amazon.

Perhaps you love reading books to children.  In that case I highly recommend many of Arbordale’sbooks.  Each one has four pages of back matter for Creative Minds.

Thank you to all who entered!



Rafflecopter Starts Today

In honor of World Ocean’s Day and sea otters, I am giving away three signed copies of Oliver’s Otter Phase. Enter for a chance to win!  Winners will be selected on World Ocean’s Day on June 8.  I’d love to hear what animal you would be for a day if you had Oliver’s imagination.  I think I would be a Carolina wren…but I change my mind a lot.OliverOtter-10


Coming soon in honor of World Oceans Day!

On May 28th to be exact, I will be running a rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win one of three signed copies of my book Oliver’s Otter Phase.  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this blog post (once the giveaway starts) about what animal you’d try to be for a day.  Stop back on May 28th to enter to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

World Oceans Day is June 8, 2018.  Check out their site for more information.


Margaret Hamilton Saved the Day and So Much More


Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing by Dean Robbins and illustrated by Lucy Knisley (Alfred A. Knopf, 2017) is a book sure to empower your young dreamer to follow his or her passions and dreams. It can give young girls the nudge they need to go against the (unfortunately still) social norms as well as show young boys that the best outcomes occur when we work as teams utilizing everyone’s abilities regardless of gender.

The text and illustrations are well paced, and vibrant yet simple enough to be accessible even to preschoolers. The best for me is how this book gives a wholehearted nod to the practice of wonderment about our world…and how that practice leads to questions and to real-life solutions if we only believe in our abilities.

Margaret and the Moon is a must read for showing young children the achievements of women in history. I bet it will inspire a new generation of wonderers.


This Book is Hungry

ate my dog

And, it just ate my dog! Richard Byrne’s book This book just ate my dog! (Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2014) is a story that will have you rushing to read it to as many young readers as you can find. As the characters keep disappearing into the book’s gutter, the main character asks the reader to help and pure silliness ensues.

There is not much more I can say without giving it away. Be prepared to giggle and laugh and want to share this fun and creative book.