Tagged: Addie and Ollie

Nov 29

Meet the Real Addie

My niece Addie, "with blue eyes like the sea, yellow hair like the sun."

A friend who recently purchased the book told me how intrigued her son was that the story was inspired by a real person. In fact, this friend showed a picture of my niece I had posted on Facebook. Since this so interested my friend’s son, I thought other kids and their parents might enjoy the story behind the story, too.

Addie Marie is my first of now three nieces. Two years ago, when Addie was just three, my sister and her family had moved to Hong Kong. Wanting to give Addie something extra special to help soothe her transition to her new surroundings, I wrote her a much longer rhymed story about “Addie and Ellie” as a Christmas present.

For this first Addie story, I tapped my artistic daughter–eight years old at the time–to draw the pictures, right down to the Gymboree polka-dotted nightgown I had picked out for Addie. I even convinced my mom to sew a stuffed elephant toy from a pattern and fabrics I picked to match.

The REAL Addie is everything I say of her character: clever, fun-loving, brave, helpful, considerate. When we’ve Skyped over the past year, she’s enjoyed seeing the development of Bob Ostrom‘s colorful illustrations for Addie and Ollie. While I’m currently working on what I’m calling a Dream-Lib story to post soon, I’m hoping to adapt the original story in the future into one or more books in what I hope can become a series.

This year’s Christmas gift to my sister and nieces includes a printed copy of Addie and Ollie. Like my well-traveled niece, now living in South Korea, it seems that Addie the character has come a long way, too.



Nov 28

Big Values on Little Verses

So evidently repetitive, pushy salesperson is part of the whole self-published author job description. Yes, I feel like I’m constantly bombarding my friends and the online world at large with messages to buy, buy, BUY the book! I really just want to see my baby go out into the world and fulfill its purpose of being enjoyed by children everywhere. (Sounds like I’m entering a Miss America children’s writer’s contest, huh?)

Nevertheless, here’s the scoop. Besides a 15% discount on Addie and Ollie going on right now, you can plug in one of the following Lulu.com codes to get even more savings.

TODAY ONLY! (insert car-ad starburst here) – additional 35% on every book at Lulu.com, including mine. Code: CYBERMONDAY305

THROUGH DECEMBER 14th – additional 25%. Code: BUYMYBOOK305

I don’t make this stuff up, just relay it for those who are or might be interested in giving the special child(ren) in their lives a special gift this holiday season.


Sep 28

Finding the SELF in Self-Publishing

Tonight, as I emailed final approval for “Addie and Ollie” to Lulu.com, I thought I’d share some of the wonder, and irony, I’ve discovered in my self-publishing voyage.

First, if you follow my shared creativity blog, 4 Chicks and a Muse, you’ll know that the other Chicks and I continue to be very inspired by Julia Cameron. I only recently learned, however, that this bestselling author of the groundbreaking Artist’s Way series of books has always herself self-published. She vows it’s the only way she’ll ever go.

The truth is, I always thought of self-publishing as the easy way out. You know, those who can’t get published, self-publish. I mean, anyone with enough cash on hand to buy a knock-off laptop can publish their own book. Where’s the honor in that? How can you call yourself a REAL author if you publish yourself, right? Well, Julia certainly proves those assumptions wrong.

But for me, the real answer came some months back. Throughout this journey, my primary contact at Lulu.com has been a friendly and patient gentleman by the name of Gannon H. No, I’m not reserving his last name for privacy; that’s how his emails come. It’s all very efficient, and yet mysterious.

Anyway, after Gannon H. forwarded me a Lulu editor’s comments last spring, I was completely lost. He (or she) had said kind things in the general remarks. But when it came to specific feedback, I panicked.

It’s not like there were a lot of remarks, or that they were drastic. Nevertheless, I pored over the dozen or so relatively minor suggestions for days, maybe weeks. I’m sure that in between I worked very hard to avoid looking at the document at all.

Ultimately, I came to understand that the thinking and purpose behind each remark was very useful. However, I was torn because I didn’t necessarily agree with the exact words with which to accomplish each objective.

Mostly, this had to do with my rhyme scheme. I’m pretty picky about rhyme and rhythm. As a mom, I know I most enjoy re-reading books to my kids that are easy to speak. Dr. Seuss couplets roll off the tongue like happy little musical refrains. You feel where accents should be, even if there were no punctuation at all. I think children understand the music of books before they understand their meaning.

Thus entrenched in this dilemma, I suggested to GH that I speak with said mystery editor directly. If he (or she) knew my reasoning, perhaps they would approve of another solution. My contact informed me that this was not part of the process. What he told me next was nothing less than an abomination to this lifelong people-pleaser.

“It’s up to you,” he explained earnestly. “It’s your book, so it’s whatever YOU want.”

This was not acceptable. I had to get off the phone. How could I work under these conditions? (Diva hair flip)

I needed direction. I needed approval. I needed someone else to tell me what was best!

Gannon was, of course, right. Pondering his simple statement of the facts, I realized the full value of the gift I had been given to be able to self-publish first, if not always. It would force me, at least for a moment, to stop obsessing about what other people thought about what I wrote. I had to trust my voice, and my decisions. I had to approve of my words. Worse yet, I had to approve of myself.

It’s a lesson I don’t claim to have mastered but one I had to act on–or else. If I didn’t, the book wouldn’t get published. It was that simple.

I did (eventually) make those tough decisions. Tonight I made the last of them when I told Gannon H.–and Tracey J. S.–that the book was good to be printed. It was I who gave final approval, and it felt frightening/foreign/wonderful/empowering.

I can only hope this is the beginning of a trend.

And as you forward your own creative work–from writing, dancing or sewing to painting, singing or redecorating the living room–feel free to learn from my mistakes.

Seek out good advice wherever  you can, but not approval. You know what feels right. Now go with it!


Jun 18

Cover Girl

Maybe you can’t judge a book by its cover, but with children’s books at least, it certainly does give an idea of what’s inside. This week I saw a first look at the cover layout for “Addie and Ollie” that was sent over by the friendly self-publishing elves at Lulu.com.

How excited was I to see my characters and Bob Ostrom’s fun illustrations make their cover debut? Well, kids, this is called a rhetorical question, one to which you and I both already know the answer: I was thrilled!

If you’re wondering about the white rectangle on the back, as I was at first, that’s for the ISBN number and bar code allowing the book to be made for sale on Amazon.com and bookstores I can convince to carry it. The magic number was emailed to me last week. ISBN#: 978-1-257-82101-3. It’s my new favorite number.

I couldn’t resist, however, one nostalgic glimpse back. As you can see from this computer-generated cover layout I originally created, Addie and her toy octopus have journeyed a long way since winning the Nature Made Sleep Bedtime Stories contest. I can’t wait to see where the little girl with big dreams will go next.







May 26

Sail Away with Me

Fortunately I spotted this theme less than halfway through surveying the 1,300 or so free ones offered through WordPress. I wasn’t searching for a sailing theme, but as soon as I saw it, I knew it was a fitting metaphor for the various creative courses I’m attempting to navigate. And you might as well know now, I love metaphors.

The two big prizes on my horizon are: Addie and Ollie, my first children’s book due out late summer 2011 and my first novel, an historical fiction saga. I have absolutely no idea when that one will be finished! At any rate, without consciously intending it, both books are united by one theme. You guessed it–sailing. In fact, both of my heroines are drawn to the sea. Maybe this was an inevitable outcome of my growing up in Florida so near the ocean.

Yet besides this literal connection, I think the figurative one is even stronger. What are words, after all, but raw materials assembled as wood into these marvelous vessels we call books? Every author is a shipbuilder, every reader a captain, and the voyage of each is at once unique and interconnected.

Mine starts here. I hope you’ll join me.