Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Monster in my Basement

I love this time of year - cool nights, leaves turning colors, and monsters being born! Yes, you heard me right! MONSTERS. I say monsters being born because I just finished my 5th picture book.  It's a book about a monster. I have been working on it for a year now, with the last 6 months being the painting of the artwork, so in a way you could call it a creative birth. :)

I turned the artwork over to the publisher on Monday and now I get to tell you about it. We don't have an official title for it yet, (that's the publisher's job) but it's about a 4 year old boy who discovers a hungry monster in his basement. So, I am calling it "The Monster in my Basement".

This monster is really hungry! And really big!

What should the boy do?

Maybe the monster wants some fruit or tuna fish? Chicken or a hotdog? Or ice cream in a dish? How about spaghetti or sweet potato pie?

Or just maybe... the monster wants something else? (GULP!)

If you want to find out what the monster DOES EAT you won't have to wait long! The book will officially launch fall 2020, but I will have several dozen advance copies for my collectors this holiday season! First-come-first-serve basis. Come see me at one of my holiday shows or contact me on e-mail through my website:

Fall 2019 Show Schedule

November 11 WNY Childrens Book Festival Buffalo Convention Center
November 22 - 24 Rochester Holiday Bazaar Rochester Science Museum
December 7 - 8 Roycroft Christmas Show Roycroft Campus, East Aurora, NY
December 13 - 14 WNY Book Arts Center Buffalo, NY

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Cory and the Seventh Story Launches

Great News!  My fourth picture book is here!  Cory and the Seventh Story officially launched just before Christmas 2018, but I was so busy with everything I didn't get a chance to blog about it.  Now, I have had time to make a little trailer about the book and give you some details.  Click on the video above to check it out.  

This is a wonderful story written by Brian McLaren and Gareth Higgins, about a little raccoon named Cory who learns how the stories we tell about the world shape how we live.  As Cory's neighbors live out their stories, readers will discover six familiar ones that have repeated through history, teaching us how to dominate, fear, or withdraw from the world and the beautiful people in it.  

The good news is that there is another story, a path of openheartedness toward others.  Cory's discovery of the Seventh Story will inspired children and adults alike.  

Written in the spirit of classics like Douglas Wood's The Old Turtle series, and Kenneth Graheme's, The Wind in the Willows, Cory and the Seventh Story invites kids and adults into conversations about what's going wrong in the world, and what we can do to be part of the solution.  I was so honored to be a part of this project because of it's timeliness and it's lasting message. 

It is a beautiful hard cover book with book jacket that is considered a long form picture book, which means it has full pages of text plus pictures on every page, making it perfect for children 6 - 9 years old,  However, it really is appropriate for all audiences.  :)  If you are interested in ordering a copy of the book you can go to this link: 

I hope you enjoy Cory and the Seventh Story and are transformed by the power of its message.  Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

New Year Giving Update

Due to your generous support over the past year, we were about to provide 4,636 nutritious meals to children. One of these children is Flor in El Salvador. Her parents struggle to provide for their six children. Her father lost his crops of corn and beans twice due to drought. He dives for lobster and oysters to sell at the market. It's dangerous work and he is often unsuccessful. But he continues to work at providing for his family. And with our generosity we can make it a little easier by helping him to provide nutritious meals every day.


I thought you might like to see how your generosity has grown over the time that I have been using my books to support feeding hungry children....

Incredible!  Isn't it?  Maybe this year, with the launch of Cory and the Seventh Story and another book in the works due out in time for Christmas we can feed a village!  

Thank you again for your support and blessings to you for a prosperous new year! 

Monday, December 17, 2018



I have to share this with you!  It's the "World's Best Animated Short Film".  I found it one day just cruising the internet for inspiration and boy did it inspire!!   Click on the link above and be prepared to smile:)


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Moonbeam Award!

I am back!  After a long hiatus from posting on my blog. (I was working very hard on my next picture book).

But more importantly, I have some fantastic news to share!  My Five Hungry Mice picture book was recently awarded a Silver Moonbeam award for excellence in pre-school picture books.  What an honor!  

The Moonbeam Award was founded by Jenkins Publishing in 2007 to encourage children to fall in love with reading - because a child with good reading skills will become a better communicator and problem solver, and be generally more successful in life. 

Launched in 2007, the awards are intended to bring increased recognition to exemplary children's books and their creators, and to celebrate children's books and life-long reading.  From alphabet books for toddlers to young adult books about gender and race, the Moonbeam Awards recognize excellence in categories for children of every age and developmental stage.  This year's 157 medal-winning books, were chosen from 1,150 entries. 

If you would like to see all the winning entries you can check out the link here.

My mother and I travel to Traverse City, MI to attend the awards ceremony and be a part of the Traverse City Children's Book Festival.  We met so many incredible people and had such a good time sharing our love of books, illustration and children with the many authors and illustrators that were in attendance.  The Traverse City Children's Book Festival was a special event and we loved hanging out with the children who stopped by our table.  At the end of the evening was the Moonbeam Awards ceremony.  Man did Jim Barnes make us feel special as he called each one to stage to receive their award.  There was lots of laughter and tears as each author and illustrator shared the story and inspiration behind their books and the personal ties they had to the stories.  It was really touching to see traditions preserved, voices being heard, faith being shared, and laughter everywhere!  I wanted to buy every book that was there!  But more importantly, there was the feeling of being part of something that is bigger than yourself - the impact that reading and stories have on young children.  There is no better feeling than to touch so many people so positively.  It was truly magical!

If you want to discover some magical books for yourself check out a few links from some of my new friends.

The Rag Doll Gift
By Karen Richards Toothaker
Illustrated by Valentina Jaskins

The Spill
By Jacqueline Leigh
Illustrated by Erika Wilson

Alphabet Adventures - A Book of Verse with Parent Guide
By Kathy Keip
Illustrated by Erin Boe

Be sure to check out all the Moonbeam winners at the link above. I can't speak highly enough of this wonderful honor and the incredible people at the Jenkins Group whose passion for children and the love of reading make it happen every year:)


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Feed - Stories of Feeding God's Hungry Children in Body and Spirit

I wanted to share with you this wonderful story from "The Feed" a blog from the organization Feed My Starving Children.  They featured me and my picture books in their latest post because of the contribution I make to them with the sale of my picture books.  I am honored to be recognized by Feed My Starving Children as a Hope Champion.   You can read the story here: 

No Truer Way to Live My Faith 

FMSC is a wonderful organization that I seek to plug every chance I get:)  On their blog you will find lots of inspiring stories of Hope Champions who give to Feed My Starving Children in unexpected ways.  Maybe you want to become a Hope Champion yourself.  I highly encourage you to explore the blog and learn about FMSC.  If you love children like I do, then you will want to get involved.  

The quote that they put at the top of the feature says it all....

"But Jesus called the children to him and said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.'" – Luke 18:16  

Thanks for taking the time to read this post:)

Thursday, May 10, 2018

SCBWI Traveling Sketch Book

Wow!  It's May and I'm just getting around to posting this piece of art I made back in March.  Well, I think you are going to like this even though it's a bit late. 


So here is the story....I belong to the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators and we have a local chapter for those in New York state.  Back in the fall, the leaders of the local chapter (WestCenNYSCBWI) decided to start a sketchtravel, which is a traveling sketchbook that moves from illustrator to illustrator.  I signed up to participate and wound up being the last person on the list to add a sketch before the book went off to our annual spring conference.  That means I got to see all of the art before anyone else did, not even the organizers of the sketch travel got to see it before me.  How did I get so lucky?  

When I received our traveling sketchbook it was like receiving gold in the mail!  I was so excited to see the contributions of everyone and wondered what I would contribute.  When I opened the sketchbook I was blown away!  The most amazing art was in there and each piece has it's own personality.  There was no theme to follow, just sketch whatever your heart desired.  It was very inspirational to see the work and the mediums people chose to work in. 


Here I am receiving the sketchbook in the mail.

To start I made a little video of the whole book for you to see, then I'll post some of the art individually, and lastly my contribution.

Now, here are a few pieces from the sketchbook that just blew me away...

And my contribution.....

When I painted this it had snowed again for what felt like the thousandth time.  I was dreaming of spring and wishing it would hurry up and come.  I thought of all the creatures that were sleeping the winter away and wishing I could do the same:) 

Below you can see how the painting came together... I started with references and then made a sketch the size of the book.  You can't imagine how nervous I was painting in this book that had so many wonderful pieces of art in it.  I transferred my sketch into the book ever so carefully and then put tracing paper between the pages to prevent bleed through.  I put a piece of plastic underneath it to keep the cover clean and I even moved my water to the other side of my work surface so I wouldn't spill it.  Could you imagine...  

Starting with a watercolor wash for the sky, I then moved to acrylics for the majority of the painting.  I added in details with colored pencil and pen and ink.  


I hope you enjoyed seeing the WestCenNY SCBWI Sketchtravel.  I would be honored to participate in a project like this again.  It was truly magical:)