Author Illustrator Julie Rowan-ZochSQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Can you hear me screaming all the way in Colorado? I’ve been looking forward to this post for two years (which is how long I’ve known Julie Rowan-Zoch‘s talent is extraordinary). I KNEW she would get an agent, and I waited patiently for the day to come. 🙂

As you might guess from the tone of this introduction, Julie is a dear friend of mine and a model citizen of the kidlit community. Her talent speaks for itself (her Facebook feed is one I check every day because I’m addicted to her art), but she is also warm, funny and generous. She supports her author and illustrator friends without fail, and is always willing to help our community in any way she can. She may not be the best at backing out of a driveway in winter (sorry, Julie!), but she has excellent taste in beer, books, cheese, and friends. 🙂

Please welcome Julie Rowan-Zoch, here to tell her “How I Got My Agent” story!

How long had you been writing before seeking an agent, and what made you decide it was time to look for one?

I had but two drafts before joining the inceptive 12 x 12 in ’12 Challenge. That first year was an eye-opener to the hard-nut-to-crack world of the kid-lit industry as well as the warm and generous kid-lit community. Luckily I had a blind passion for picture books and enough naiveté to keep going! By the time 12×12 began offering the chance to submit to agents, I had one solid manuscript. Slowly but surely I rustled up the courage to start subbing, but I still had so much to learn about researching suitable agents.

What kind of research did you do before submitting?

Julie Hedlund’s agent posts with all the links gave me a good start. I followed links, also read agent posts on Kathy

Julie originally made this for my assistant, Kelli, and me last year to celebrate 12 x 12. Yesterday, however, we were the two chickadees sharing champagne!

Julie originally made this for my assistant, Kelli, and me last year to celebrate 12 x 12. Yesterday, however, Julie and I were the two chickadees sharing champagne!

Temean’s blog, and googled the agents of author-illustrators whose work I admired. I joined Sub It Club, and another Agent/Editor discussion group online, both of which have been hugely helpful. Not methodical, but not bad either!

Was it difficult to find an agent who wanted to represent an author focusing solely on picture books?

None of the agents I submitted to focuses solely on picture books, but all of them do represent children’s literature up to YA.

The dreaded questions: How many queries? How many rejections?

I know this makes me look careless, but because I didn’t sub to many agents, I never kept a detailed record (I should have!). I submitted to about 10 agents through 12×12, and 3 or 4 outside, mainly through SCBWI conference opportunities, and received an chance to sub by winning a design contest. Another invited me to submit through Facebook. That brings the total to about 16. I heard back from 8, received requests for more materials from 4. All was rather quiet when I got lucky, very lucky: my agent found me.

How did you know your agent was “the one?

Just before leaving town mid-December I got a surprising but delightful email from Marcia Wernick. I knew most of her agency’s clients (all of those focused on PBs!), but not much about the agency. I read every article I could find online, and asked around in the groups I mentioned above. One can determine a lot through correspondence, and Marcia’s graciousness and confidence shone through. We arranged for me to submit a package of manuscripts and illustrations, and made an appointment for a call early in the new year. After Marcia offered representation, I notified the other agents I was still in contact with. I received a total of three offers, and might have had a fourth, but before that call, I already knew. My best friend said, “You know already – you’re pitching her to me!” But the best advice I received in making that decision was to follow my gut as to which one I felt most comfortable with and genuinely liked my work.

What I did not anticipate, was difficulty in finding the right words to inform the agents I was turning down. Both of them had shown such generosity and kindness.

If 12 x 12 helped you in any way during your agent search/development of craft, can you tell us how?

I can promise you, I would not have found an agent without all I have benefitted from as a 12 x 12 participant. The support, encouragement and sharing of information: to write more, read more, start blogging, doodle every day, critique artwork, join a writer’s critique group for PBs, form a local critique group, go to conferences, keep learning, start submitting, keep going, chin up, chest out, breathe, read more, write more… And above all else? Keep laughing! This is how I found my tribe!!!

Has your writing process changed at all since signing with an agent?

Can’t tell, it’s only been a week! But my enthusiasm moved up ten notches!

A toast with two Julies!

A toast with two Julies!

What advice would you give to picture book writers looking for agents today?

Join 12 x 12, do all the things I mentioned two Q/As back, and join SCBWI. And when you are preparing for ‘the call’, and believe two pages worth of questions are enough, think again and double that!

Do you think your platform (blog, social media) helped you find your agent?

I most certainly do! My agent found my blog, and I got illustration and design work through posting sketches on Facebook. To push my daily doodles, I started drawing birthday greetings: almost every day I drew something new for any friend on Facebook and posted it to their timeline. I believe, in this manner I made deeper connections within the kid-lit community, and I value that very highly.

Tell us something that is on your “bucket list.” Something you’ve dreamed of doing all your life but have yet to accomplish (besides publishing a book, which is inevitable at this point 🙂 )

Two things: I want to see a grand display of the Aurora Borealis, and to witness the arrival of migrating monarch butterflies in the forests of pine trees and fir in Michoacan/Mexico.

What’s up next/what are you working on now?

Sketches for one polished manuscript, and, for the first time, I’m developing a dummy while I am constructing the narrative of a story.

Julie R-Z

Categories: 12 x 12, Children's Books, Friendship, How I Got My Agent, Picture Books, Publishing, Queries, SCBWI, Social Media, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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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!

    Nashville

  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: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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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: , , , , , , , , ,

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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: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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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
  7. FIREWORKS
  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?

Firework

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

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View from the private terrace off my room. La Bella Notte a Firenza.

View from the private terrace off my room. La Bella Notte a Firenza.

I am watching a sorbet sun sink into the Arno directly from the bed of my hotel room in Florence, having successfully completed the the second annual Writer’s Renaissance. Made new lifelong friends and connected with old ones (as in time, not age :-)), so it is impossible to feel anything but deep gratitude, albeit with just a touch of sadness that it has to come to an end. But every ending is also a beginning, and I look forward to greeting spring back in Boulder.

I have only one gratitude quote for you today, which sums up the week perfectly.

“The world is made up of five elements: earth, air, fire, water, and the Florentines.” — Pope Alexander VI

“A vero,” as the Italians say. “It’s true.”

Gratitude list for the week ending April 12

  1. Enzo and Maria Ferrara, for bringing me once again into the Porcellino family and feeding me so exquisitely (and so often)!
  2. Jackie, Suzanne, Teri, Mary, and Jane – my Renaissance writers of 2014. Buona fortuna mi amici e ci vediamo a presto

    "Last Supper" in Florence. Ciao Bellas!

    “Last Supper” in Florence. Ciao Bellas!. It was a great pleasure to share “my” Florence with you, and I was honored to write with you and to hear your stories. Keep writing. Keep creating. Keep living. KEEP IN TOUCH!!

  3. Mary Hoffman, for returning once again to share her intimate knowledge of Florence and its history and her writerly wisdom. AND for putting up with a bit of tardiness from yours truly.
  4. Sarah Towle, for bringing us nose to nose with the Florence of the Medicis and “turning history on” for us.
  5. To Ghirlandaio, Botticelli, Fra Angelico, Brunelleschi, and Fra Filippo Lippi for sending your ghosts to the gazebo in the form of a very
    Taglietteli con sugo di Cinghiale from Osteria del Porcellino

    Taglietteli con sugo di Cinghiale from Osteria del Porcellino

    unique play.

  6. Gelato, gelato, gelato! Nocciola, Pistachio, Bacio, Noce, Mandorla, etc. etc.
  7. To Riccardo for making me my own piece of Florentine paper and for always making such gorgeous notebooks
  8. Andrea Gagnesi for once again teaching a cooking course that was unforgettable in every way
  9. To my family, for tolerating my absence and supporting me while I run this event, which I’m sure most people think is crazy at best.
  10. SO MUCH MORE! TOO MUCH TO INCLUDE IN ONE POST! Grazie Mille Firenze!

What are you grateful for this week?

Categories: Authors, Cooking, Creativity, Florence, Friendship, Gratitude Sunday, Italy, Travel, Writer's Renaissance, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Hostesses with the Mostesses - Jane and Heidi

Hostesses with the Mostesses – Jane and Heidi

I know it’s been a few weeks since I’ve managed a Gratitude Sunday post, but since what I am most grateful for these past few weeks was the opportunity to spend four days writing with and learning from my favorite children’s author of all time — Jane Yolen.

Jane held a picture book boot camp master class over a four-day period. I was ecstatic to have been accepted, but terrified all at the same time.

It was more than a little nerve-racking to share some of my work with a woman who has written more than 300 books spanning a 50-year career (so far) and who’s won almost every children’s book award that’s available to win. Here’s little me with my one published book crossing the threshold of one of my heroes.

I’m sure Jane won’t mind me saying that I discovered she’s not a hero. Not in the sense of capes and magical powers and superhuman strength. The kind who flies in and out, doing deeds for recognition and glory.

Jane is a hero of a quieter kind. One who works impossibly hard and creates her own success. She does not hoard her literary riches, but instead reaches back to those behind her, gives them a strong hand to grasp.

One of the words that kept coming up throughout the weekend was “collegial,” which is exactly how Jane made us feel. As if we were equals, colleagues. By the end I think we understood that we ARE her colleagues. We are because we too are hardworking, serious about the craft, willing to weather the whims and tides of the business.

Still, I remain overwhelmed by her generosity in sharing her home, her food, her books, her libraries, her DAUGHTER, and her immense wisdom with people who came as strangers and left as family.

So when my friend Stacy Jensen, upon my arrival home, asked me: “How does Jane Yolen say goodnight?”

Well, that was just too juicy of a writing prompt. Here is my answer. Bless you Jane and Heidi for what will go down in my personal history as one of the most amazing experiences of my life!

How Does Jane Yolen Say Goodnight?

How does Jane Yolen

say good night

as we circle together,

in the rising moon light?


Does she creep

with sharp claws,

shredding our stories?


Dashing our dreams

of publishing glories?


Does Jane Yolen

flail her arms in the air

commanding we put

our butts in our chairs?


Does Jane Yolen … GLARE?

How does Jane Yolen

say good night

when we’re trying our best

to write our words right?


Does she stomp on our stanzas

and pummel our prose,

snicker and snort at the

words that we chose?


Does she scream,

Does she bash

Does she roar,

Does she slash?


Does she crumple our drafts

to toss in the trash?


No, Jane Yolen doesn’t.

She’s pure kindness and heart.


Jane examines each piece

of our blossoming art,

she gives reassurance,

we’ve made a great start.


She asks her wee Heidi

to bring us sweet treats,

and spins splendid tales

of publishing feats.


She tells us,

“Remember the child you once were.

Forget all the critics.

Just write for her.”


Jane sprinkles hope

on the crown of our heads,

wishes sweet dreams

as we slide into beds.


Our hearts give a whisper,

as Jane slips from sight.


Good night, Jane Yolen. Good night.

Categories: Authors, Children's Books, Creativity, Friendship, Picture Books, Poetry, Publishing, Rhyming, Travel, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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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. http://ow.ly/t5BIy (Click to Tweet this)

So glad I joined @JulieFHedlund’s #12x challenge for #picturebook writers. Amazing community and resources! http://ow.ly/t5BIy #kidlit (Click to Tweet this)

Want to submit #picturebook mss to an #agent each month? Join #12x at the GOLD level. http://ow.ly/t5Cdf #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! http://www.juliehedlund.com/registration-for-2014/

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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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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skisHas it really been six weeks since I’ve done a Gratitude Sunday post? If that ever happens again, somebody please call me out on it (somebody OTHER than my mother that is :-))!

Well, let’s just jump right in, shall we?

Quotes on Gratitude

“One way to open your eyes to unnoticed beauty is to ask yourself, ‘What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?'” — Rachel Carson

“I work very hard, and I play very hard. I’m grateful for life. And I live it–I believe life loves the liver of it.” –Maya Angelou

“Don’t wait for other people to be loving, giving, compassionate, grateful, forgiving, generous, or friendly… lead the way!” -Steve Maraboli

Gratitude list for the week ending January 18

  1. Two weeks into registration for the 12 x 12 picture book writing challenge and we have more than 400 members already. The forum is abuzz with activity and picture book passion!
  2. Kelli Panique, the world’s most amazing assistant, without whom I would not have survived the past two weeks. She’s worked so hard and so long and solved problems I didn’t even see coming.
  3. A SHIVER OF SHARKS won a 2013 Digital Book Award!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  4. My little girl turned 11 and got her ears pierced. Watching her grow up is a little bittersweet, but it’s such a joy and privilege to be her mom.
  5. First time skiing this season, on a perfect Colorado Bluebird day. Sometimes, what the heart and soul really needs a full day outdoors.
  6. Watching How to Train Your Dragon with the kids.
  7. Getting TWO picture books revised this week. Thanks to Meg Miller and all the folks who kept the fires burning for ReViMo!!
  8. I’ve started reading the first Harry Potter book to Jay. And so the journey begins again…
  9. Watching the Golden Globes – guilty pleasure.
  10. Friends who forgive you for being self-absorbed

What are you grateful for this week?

Categories: 12 x 12, A Shiver of Sharks, Apps, Birthdays, Children's Books, Digital Publishing, Family, Friendship, Gratitude Sunday, Picture Books, Winter, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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