December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022

Bedtime Stories and Hard Questions!  

If you read yesterday’s story, you know that Belinda’s mom had a very hard question for her!  And today, Belinda is ready to begin finding answers and drawing pictures of her ideas! She likes to show her mom the pictures on Skype and talk about finding Christmas. What a great thing to talk about before you go to sleep at night!

 

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December 1, 2022

December 1, 2022

Oh no! You don’t have a book yet?…

It’s okay! The first story starts today, but there are TWENTY-FIVE stories, and it’s easy to catch up.  Here’s a picture of Custard, who is a big star of the story (you definitely want to meet Custard!). 

My family reads a story every day after dinner. How about you? Do you have a special time for reading an Advent Calendar bedtime story?

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November 30, 2021

November 30, 2021

Advent Calendar

Advent Starts Tomorrow! Time to Start Reading!…  

What an exciting time! If you already have a copy of The Girl Who Found Christmas: An Advent Calendar Storybook, you are ready to curl up and read!

If not, you’ll be able to catch up on the bedtime stories once you have a book. The hardback version and the paperback version are the best for sit-down storytelling, but the Ebook is available for instant download at a low price.

The picture on this page is a paper Advent Calendar, and they are good too. But I have to think that a whole bedtime story is better than just a picture (but maybe because I really love Belinda and her adventures with Custard the cat and her best friends Elizabeth and Andrew).

When my children were small, Advent Calendar time was after dinner every single day in December – well, until Christmas! It was fun for all of us to look forward to Advent Calendar time, and I hope you will look forward to a story from Belinda every single day!

 

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November 10, 2021

November 10, 2021

Did you know… 

Children can color their own version of Belinda, Custard and their snowman? There is a link from the home page of this site (or simply click here to download the page). Many thanks to illustrator Dayne Sislen who created a different version of her beautiful cover so that kids can turn loose their own creativity!

You can use the comments section to tell me about your child’s unique version of Belinda!

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November 9, 2021

November 9, 2021

Time to be Thankful…

In 1987 I began celebrating Thanksgiving by writing Thank You notes to people who had made a difference in my life during that year. Writing those Thank You notes has now become an important tradition. One that is often more satisfying than the holiday celebration itself.

Having said that, my notes have usually gone to one or two people:  a family member, a close friend. A choir director. A teacher. A colleague.

In 2019 I sent a letter of thanks to many people at one time because it was a special year of gratitude for me.

Gratitude to people who said “KEEP GOING” when I wasn’t sure my book would ever see the light of day.  

 Gratitude to people who helped me make my way through the maze of independent publishing. As my illustrator, Dayne Sislen, said, “It’s not for sissies.”

 Gratitude to people who made big things possible! I have never seen my friend Bernie Winter face to face, but we have known each other for 20 years. And she made it possible for my book to cross oceans and continents to children in England and New Zealand.

 And even gratitude to people who simply allow me to share emails about the story or the progress the book has made. 

 When I ran the first report on total online sales, and the report said “100 BOOKS,” I was pretty low. So much work and so few people would see it. So few children would hear the stories I wrote with so much love.

 My son – who is very wise – reminded me that many people go through life thinking about, talking about, and dreaming about writing a book. But most of them never do.

He said it’s not about selling 1,000 or 10,000 or a MILLION books. He also suggested that I stop thinking about how many is enough. He believes that “Enough” should be 1. One person whom I’ve never met saying, “This looks like something I’m going to spend my money on.”

My friend Rick Lite is an Amazon Wizard and helped me get past the doldrums when I didn’t know anything about book marketing, but I continue to abide by my son’s wisdom even as Rick finds ways to put books into the hands of more children. 

But it’s not always about the book. Every year I am grateful to people who changed my life in the past year. Right now, I’m working on this year’s list – so many kind and loving people in my life!

People who made me smile, made me laugh, reminded me that turning 75 was not the end of the world! People who helped me when my knees weren’t working very well! 

I usually write my letters in the early morning darkness. It seems special and private. I wrote the first one so long ago, and now I can’t imagine a Thanksgiving without letters.

I always hope other people will like the idea and send letters to those who’ve helped them on their way. It’s a movement wrapped in pumpkin pie and love.   

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November 8, 2021

November 8, 2021

Illustrator Dayne Sislen

Illustrators Make Magic…       

When I finished writing The Girl Who Found Christmas, I knew I needed a special illustrator. It was my incredible good fortune that I found Dayne Sislen. I told her that I had written about a little girl who was practically exploding with energy and joy. I wondered if Dayne could capture that in an illustration. I couldn’t picture it – I just knew what I was hoping to find. 

Dayne surprised me and supported my dream every inch of the way. She captured everything from Belinda’s cat to her tree farm adventure and brought all of it to life. In both color (in the ebook format) and black and white (in the large, storybook format). I was a beginner and had no idea how lucky I was.

Anyone who is writing a children’s book and looking for a truly great illustrator, look for my friend Dayne Sislen. 

 

 

 

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