Signing at Boulder Bookstore!

Signing at Boulder Bookstore!

This week was filled with the stuff of dreams. Signing books in some of my favorite stores, reading MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN to children of all ages, “playing” with illustrator Susan Eaddy and showing her around Boulder/Denver, and being surrounded by friends and loved ones. Most of all, I am grateful I was able to share all of this with my children.

Quotes on Gratitude

“Today I choose to live with gratitude for the love that fills my heart, the peace that rests within my spirit, and the voice of hope that says… all things are possible.” — Unknown

“There is no joy without gratitude.” — Brene Brown

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

Gratitude list for the week ending November 8

  1. Susan and I got to present and/or sign books at four of my favorite local bookstores — The Tattered Cover, The Book Bar, The Boulder Bookstore, and The Bookies! You can pick up signed copies of both MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN and A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS at all of these stores. Go Indies!!
  2. Being able to share my home and town with Susan in exchange for the wonderful time she showed me in
    Look Mom, Face Out!

    Look Mom, Face Out!


  3. GOOD NEWS on a new manuscript! Much excitement and the thrill of possibility
  4. My daughter knocked her singing solo out of the park at the 6th grade choir performance. So proud!
  5. So many friends and family came to our signings and events – an honor
  6. Doing a school visit with one of my in-person critique partner’s fourth grade class! She’s an amazing teacher and writer!!
  7. Boulder put on its best in terms of weather – gorgeous all week
  8. Dinner at Ten Ten Brasserie
  9. Seldom do I engage in retail therapy, but since I was showing Susan around… 🙂 I found a few great things for myself.
  10. The right to vote

What are you grateful for this week?

Categories: Children's Books, Family, Friendship, Gratitude Sunday, My Love For You Is The Sun, Picture Books, Poetry, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The sky in Boulder on Tuesday

The sky in Boulder on Tuesday

An up and down week, but with gratitude practice comes acceptance of both. So here is this week’s post.

Quotes on Gratitude

“There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.” — Richard Bach

“Everything is a gift of the universe—even joy, anger, jealously, frustration, or separateness. Everything is perfect either for our growth or our enjoyment.” — Ken Keyes, Jr.

“If we become uncomfortable in any given moment, we can look at a flower, a pebble in the street or the tire on our car and be grateful. We can gaze at a person in the distance or at a cloud in the sky and be appreciative. We can smile at a stranger, hug someone we know or tidy a disorganized shelf and be thankful for the opportunity. If we choose gratitude, we will be happy!” — Barry Neil Kaufman

Gratitude list for the week ending October 4

  1. The memory of my father
  2. The passing of September into October
  3. Cooking and sharing a delicious dinner in celebration of my mother’s 70th birthday
  4. Although difficult, making discoveries about my daughter that will enable me to be a better mother to her.
  5. My fabulous (and tolerant) in-person critique group
  6. Susan Eaddy, illustrator of MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN, put us on the Nashville bestseller list AND the prestigious kidlit blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.
  7. Meeting a friend, previously known only electronically, for a fantastic, fun, and yummy lunch in downtown Boulder, followed by a trip to the children’s section of the Boulder Bookstore
  8. Margaritas on the rooftop patio of Rio Grande on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon
  9. Penne Pizzaiola at Carelli’s restaurant (why yes, there IS a food theme this week it seems)
  10. My ill-behaved hound, Rocky, who makes up for everything by curling his huge self at my feet while I work.

What are you grateful for this week?

Categories: Children's Books, Family, Friendship, Gratitude Sunday, My Love For You Is The Sun, Picture Books · Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Me with MLFYI’m chagrined by how long it’s been since I posted a Gratitude Sunday, but I am rectifying that today. How could I not when I had such an AMAZING week in my hometown of Gaylord, Michigan launching MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN? Between the phenomenal launch party hosted by Saturn Booksellers in the company of my family, speaking at SCBWI-MI on gorgeous Mackinac Island, having a nice long visit with my best friend from high school, and visiting the elementary schools, it was one of the most rewarding 2014-09-24 08.12.01trips I’ve ever been lucky enough to take.

I guess sometimes the trips that take you the farthest are the ones that take you home.

Quotes on Gratitude

“Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.” — Mary Anne Roadacher-Hershey

“For me it is sufficient to have a corner by my hearth, a book and a friend, and a nap undisturbed by creditors or grief.” — Fernandez de Andrada

“Most of us miss out on life’s big prizes. The Pulitzer. The Nobel. Oscars. The World Cup. But we’re all eligible for life’s smaller prizes… A pat on the back. A kiss behind the ear. A four-pound bass. A full moon. An empty parking space. A crackling fire. A great meal. A glorious sunset. Hot soup. Cold beer.” — Unknown

Gratitude list for the week ending September 27

  1. Saturn Booksellers for the outstanding job they did planning, promoting, and hosting my book launch party
  2. My mom, Jeff, and Ashley for traveling up to MI for the big eventautumn red
  3. Fantastic dinner with family at The Bearded Dogg
  4. Nancy – for hosting me all week, feeding me, letting me sleep whenever I had the chance, and putting up with my crazy schedule
  5. The fall color and warm sunshine. As much as autumn is beautiful in CO, those reds and oranges in MI just take your breath away
  6. Mackinac Island fudge. Yes, it’s official. Even though I am from Northern Michigan, I’ve now become a “fudgie.”
  7. Mel – for inviting me into her classroom to see her teach, and sharing a long walk, a delicious meal, and even more delicious conversation. I’m grateful to her for being the amazing, inspiring friend she is.
  8. The 1000 or so local school children I had the honor of visiting. They were so welcoming, enthusiastic, and inspiring!
  9. Pot roast with cheese curds on top of truffle french fries!
  10. Getting hand cramps from signing so many books! 🙂

What are you grateful for this week?

Categories: Children's Books, Family, Gratitude Sunday, My Love For You Is The Sun, Picture Books, Volunteer/Community · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Real-life, hardcover copy of my BOOK!

Real-life, hardcover copy of my BOOK!

I have one hour to midnight here in CO, and I wanted to make sure I got this week’s Gratitude Sunday post out. It was a special week, since my wonderful stepmother, who lives in Gaylord, MI where all of the physical copies of MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN currently are, sent me a copy. Yes, she bought me a copy and sent it to me in the mail! I have officially hugged my book, and what a great feeling it was. 🙂

Quotes on Gratitude

“Gratitude is one of the most medicinal emotions we can feel. It elevates our moods and fills us with joy.” — Sara Avant Stover

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.” — Camille Pissarro

“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” — Cynthia Ozick

Gratitude list for the week ending August 9

  1. Upon returning home from the SCBWI conference in LA, feeling inspired while getting organized and being productive.
  2. Reading with the windows open at night, to the sound of the crickets
  3. They finally cut and baled the hay in the field where I walk Rocky. For a month it had been too tall for us to walk there, but now we’re back!
  4. Watching the first episode of Outlander 🙂
  5. Summer corn and peaches!
  6. We got all of Em’s school supplies purchased. MAJOR accomplishment.
  7. Perfect summer weather – not too hot, not too cold
  8. The supermoon
  9. Sitting outside with Jay and pretending we were in a rocket exploring space
  10. My web designer, who has his work cut out for him but who is also doing an AMAZING job

What are you grateful for this week?

Categories: Books, Dogs, Family, Gratitude Sunday, Picture Books, Summer · Tags: , , , , , , ,

Finally got to meet Emma!

Finally got to meet Emma!

Wow! I’ve been so busy half the summer has gone by without a Gratitude Sunday post. So today I’ll be catching up on all the “big” things I’ve had to be grateful for the past six weeks (and there are many).

One of the events that transpired during this time was the passing of Walter Dean Myers, a national treasure in the realm of children’s literature and poetry in the U.S. In addition to authoring more than 100 books, many award-winners, most featuring people of color and the hardships they face, Myers served as the second National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Today’s quotes are all from Myers, in honor of his illustrious career and his service to the youth of this country and his unwavering commitment to literacy.

Quotes from Walter Dean Myers

“Once I began to read, I began to exist.”

“Children who don’t read are, in the main, destined for lesser lives. I feel a deep sense of responsibility to change this.”

“We need to tell young people that America was built by men and women of all colors and that the future of this country is dependent upon the participation of all our citizens.”

“We need to tell kids flat out: reading is not optional.”

“I’ll never live to write all the stories in my head.”

Gratitude List for the summer so far

  1. Our cruise to Alaska – otherwordly, beautiful, and devastating (because so much of the wilderness is at risk) all
    On Meade glacier

    On Meade glacier

    at the same time

  2. Walking on a glacier – one of the most profound experiences of my life
  3. Being able to attend the 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction conference as a speaker, while I also learned a huge amount about this burgeoning area of children’s books.
  4. Meeting Emma Walton Hamilton for the first time after 2+ years of friendship. And getting to stay in their lovely guest cottage, which I have dubbed the HamiltINN.
  5. Seeing so many wonderful friends old and new throughout my 10-day sojourn through NY and NJ. Here too, I have to shout out to 12 x 12 members. Because of them, there’s nary a place in the world I could go and not find a friend. 🙂
  6. Spending the 4th of July on Boulder creek with my kids, my mom, and Rocky
  8. My new camera, which is so beautifully capturing all of these events I’m grateful for.
  9. Good old-fashioned summer fun. Everyone knows I love traveling. But I’ve had these past two weeks at home with the kids eating ice cream, going to outdoor concerts and swimming pools, having movie nights and staying up late. Sometimes it’s just good to be home.
  10. Planning for the launch of MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN. I am so excited to release this book of my heart. P.S. There is also a Goodreads Giveaway for a signed copy right now.

What are you grateful for this week?


Categories: 12 x 12, Family, Friendship, Gratitude Sunday, Picture Books, Poetry, Summer, Travel · Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Uovo di Pasqua - beautifully decorated Easter eggs all over Florence

Uovo di Pasqua – beautifully decorated Easter eggs all over Florence

Happy Easter to those who celebrate!

It is hard to believe just one week ago I was writing this post from my hotel room in Florence, having wrapped up the second Writer’s Renaissance, while watching the sun sink into the Arno. I’ve spent all week being grateful for the simple existence of Florence. I “retreat” there in my mind and heart when I seek inspiration and it never, ever disappoints.

Nonetheless, my week at home was also full of riches!

Quotes on Gratitude

“An attitude of gratitude brings opportunities.” — one of my Yogi tea tags this week!

“Gratitude is an art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture.” — Kak Sri

“Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.” — Margaret Cousins

Gratitude list for the week ending April 19

  1. Seeing, hugging, kissing and talking with my kids. Missed them so much!
  2. For Nancy, who stayed here until Thursday, helping me with the kids while I recovered from jet lag.

    Oh The Thinks You Can Think!

    Oh The Thinks You Can Think!

  3. Finding out, very much by surprise, that I’d been upgraded to FIRST CLASS on my Paris-JFK leg on the flight home.
  4. Watching Jay sing with so much enthusiasm at his second grade Seussical show
  5. Reading Jennifer Reid’s story in this week’s Tuesday 12 x 12 post
  6. Coloring eggs with the kids
  7. Watching the 5th Harry Potter movie with Em
  8. Spring has sprung in Colorado! Green grass, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths!
  9. The chocolate eggs I brought home for my kids (ha!) from Scudieri in Florence.
  10. I wrote a poem in my head last night and REMEMBERED it when I woke up this morning so I could write it down.

What are you grateful for this week?

Categories: Creativity, Family, Florence, Gratitude Sunday, Holidays, Italy, Poetry, Travel, Writer's Renaissance, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

The week began with a freeze and ended with a thaw. Both appreciated.

Quotes on Gratitude

“Does not the gratitude of the dog put to shame any man who is ungrateful to his benefactors?” — Saint Basil

“It’s a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation.” — Roberto Bernigni

“Of all the characteristics needed for both a happy and morally decent life, none surpasses gratitude. Grateful people are happier, and grateful people are more morally decent.” — Dennis Prager

Gratitude list for the week ending February 15

  1. Being awakened to a frozen, fairytale world on Monday morning
  2. Taking the time to snap photos and enjoy the beauty
  3. Em did a fantastic job on her American Revolution school project
  4. Walking Rocky in the field – at last off exercise restriction!
  5. Being treated to homemade lasagna and chocolate lava cake
  6. Making homemade pot roast
  7. Reading the perfect book at the perfect time
  8. Friends who take kids on ski excursions and playdates when you need to work
  9. A gift of a half-dozen bottles of Italian wine
  10. Having good friends and their kids for a Valentine visit. Food, fun, and laughter were shared by all.

What are you grateful for this week?

Categories: Books, Cooking, Dogs, Family, Gratitude Sunday, Winter, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , ,


I’m grateful life calmed down a bit this week. I’m writing this post looking out my window at the mountains and trees all dressed in snow with a blue-sky background. To say this has been a cold winter all across the U.S. would be a gross understatement, and there is much grumbling about it on Facebook, etc. So I decided a few gratitude quotes focusing on winter might be in order. 🙂

Quotes on Gratitude

“If we had no winter, spring would not be so pleasant. If we did not sometimes taste adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” — Anne Bradstreet

“What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” — John Steinbeck

“Winter is the time for stories, staying fast by the glow of fire. And outside, in the darkness, the stars are brighter than you can possibly imagine.” — Isabel Greenberg

Gratitude list for the week ending February 1

  1. I revised a picture book manuscript I only first drafted a month ago. It seems I’ve got my writing mojo back.
  2. Homemade chicken noodle soup on cold winter nights
  3. A crackling fire to work and read by
  4. Reading Harry Potter #1 to Jay. Starting the story anew with fresh eyes, ears and heart.
  5. The generosity of support from folks after I posted ideas about how they could help in the aftermath of Rocky’s shooting.
  6. January came to an end! I’m always glad to see the back side of January, but this year in particular? Whew!
  7. Loving all of the activity and support happening through 12 x 12 already. The Forum and the Facebook group are both on fire!
  8. I leave for Florence, and Writer’s Renaissance, TWO MONTHS from today!
  9. Rocky is recovering so well, he’s practically 100% back to himself.
  10. Going outside to trudge in the snow several times a day. I have to, to take Rocky out. But it’s a great reminder of how beautiful and silent the world is in winter.

What are you grateful for this week?

Categories: 12 x 12, Children's Books, Creativity, Dogs, Family, Gratitude Sunday, Italy, Picture Books, Winter, Writer's Renaissance, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rocky coming home after 4 days in intensive care!

Rocky coming home after 4 days in intensive care!

As I said in this week’s Gratitude Sunday post, I am beyond grateful for EVERYONE who helped with Rocky’s care and recovery in the aftermath of his shooting. I am still overwhelmed by all of the love and support received from every corner of our lives.

One thing I didn’t mention is that many people offered to donate funds toward Rocky’s care and/or set up a website to take donations. Taking these kind people up on their offers was tempting because his expenses were, as you can imagine, significant and unplanned. Paying those expenses are, without a doubt, a hardship for us, but the truth is I DO have savings and I DO have a loving and supportive family to help me. Many others have neither. So once the dust settles and I get caught up a bit, I am going to do a fundraiser in support of the emergency funds at both Rocky’s family veterinary hospital and the emergency hospital where he spent most of his time following the shooting. These funds are used to care for animals when the owners truly cannot pay and/or stray animals are found suffering and brought in for care.

In the meantime, there IS a way you can help me and my family, and that is by supporting my work, as the financial impact of this tragedy goes beyond the veterinary costs and into lost income.

The month of January is when I earn the bulk of my income for the calendar year because registration for the 12 x 12 picture 12 x 12 new badgebook writing challenge is open and the greatest number of people sign up. I lost a full week of work during what should have been the busiest week of registration. So if you are a current member of 12 x 12 or a fellow writer who believes the challenge is worthwhile, sharing the news that registration is open and/or how much you are enjoying 12 x 12 on Facebook, Twitter, etc. would be fantastic. Here are several “Click to Tweets” that can be used on Twitter or cut and pasted into Facebook.

Calling all #picturebook writers! Join 500+ of your peers in the #12x challenge. Write, revise, critique, submit. (Click to Tweet this)

So glad I joined @JulieFHedlund’s #12x challenge for #picturebook writers. Amazing community and resources! #kidlit (Click to Tweet this)

Want to submit #picturebook mss to an #agent each month? Join #12x at the GOLD level. #publishing #kidlit (Click to Tweet this)

For Facebook: January 2014 is drawing to a close. If you haven’t joined the 12 x 12 picture book writing challenge yet, you’ll need to act quickly if you want to submit to an agent in February. Three different membership levels provide something for everyone. Soon registration will be closed until 2015. Hope to see you there!

Available in bookstores everywhere!

Available in bookstores everywhere!

Another way you can support my work, if you have children in your lives who enjoy books, is by purchasing a copy of A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS. If you have an iPad, you can get the interactive versions of the two apps featured in the book, TROOP and A SHIVER OF SHARKS (2014 Digital Book Award Winner!).

Another way to help is by leaving honest reviews on Amazon and/or Goodreads if you already own a hard copy of TROOP. The book has very few ratings and reviews at the moment, both of which are needed to make it appear higher in searches.

Lastly, I am running a giveaway of TROOP on Goodreads right now to help spread the word about the book AND build an audience before my next book, MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN comes out in the fall. Simply sharing the giveaway on Twitter and/or Facebook would be appreciated.

Thank you all so much! If none of these options work for you, simply sending positive thoughts goes a long, long way. 🙂

Categories: 12 x 12, A Shiver of Sharks, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Agents, Apps, Charity, Children's Books, Digital Publishing, Dogs, Family, Friendship, Gratitude Sunday, Picture Books, Social Media, Volunteer/Community, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


HeroThose of you who follow me on Facebook know that my family and I endured a terrible ordeal this week. Our sweet, loving dog Rocky was shot on Monday morning, deliberately and with the intent to kill. I don’t want to dwell on all of our the pain, suffering and anger in this post though, because we were also able to witness a miracle. Rocky survived, after being given almost no chance. He lays next to me on the couch as I write this post.

This Gratitude Sunday post is dedicated to Rocky and to all of the veterinarians, nurses, assistants, caregivers and administrative staff at both his “home” animal hospital and the emergency animal hospital who helped him to live. But even more than that, this post is dedicated to EVERYONE who kept Rocky in their hearts and thoughts this week and lent us support and love, whether that was online, over the phone, or in person. There is not a shred of doubt in my mind that it was the power of all that love that gave Rocky the strength to come back to us. As a result, I’ve been able to tell my kids that MOST people in this world are good and loving and kind, and that one disturbed individual who conducts one act of evil cannot overcome the goodness in the hearts of the many. Thank you!

I do have quotes on gratitude for the dogs and animals that dwell in our homes and hearts, but I am foregoing making my usual gratitude list for the reason that there are far too many individuals and events to list and every one of them leads back to Rocky being alive. I do have a different kind of list, however, that I hope you will enjoy.

Quotes on Gratitude for Dogs

“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.” — James Herriot

“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” — Anatole FranceRocky coming home

“If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” — Woodrow Wilson

“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.” — Andy Rooney

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent.” — Milan Kundera

Everything I Know About Life I Learned From My Dog Rocky

  1. Nothing is more important than family.
  2. You CAN do what seems impossible.
  3. Just because one person treats you poorly doesn’t mean others will.
  4. Always keep your sense of adventure.
  5. Carry yourself with grace and confidence. Know you are beautiful.
  6. Do not live your life in fear.
  7. Play outside often.
  8. Give more hugs and kisses than are strictly necessary under the circumstances.
  9. Few things are finer than a perfectly grilled steak. Except maybe bacon.
  10. If you must bark, make sure it’s for a good cause.
  11. Make friends with llamas and sheep. They’re good people.Rocky with kids 2
  12. Play hard. Nap hard.
  13. Treat children like the treasures they are, and always protect them.
  14. NEVER give up.
  15. If you are lost, trust you will find your way home again.
  16. Most people are nice. Stay away from the mean ones.
  17. Never forget how much you are loved.
  18. Greet your loved ones at the front door with robust enthusiasm, so that they will know how much they were missed.
  19. Enjoy every meal to the utmost.
  20. Be present with yourself and your loved ones. Don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future.

What are you grateful for this week?

Rocky in water

Categories: Dogs, Family, Friendship, Gratitude Sunday · Tags: , , , , ,

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