Sunday, January 20, 2013

Happy New Year 2013


This year was a great year for us.  I didn't do too
much writing, but did do illustrations for two books.
I substituted at Pal Mac three to four days a week
and my favorite place was (and still is) the Middle
School. Yes, I am crazy to love those whacky, dramatic,
noisy kids.  Gary and I drove down to Atlanta three
times and will be making another visit soon.

I had my 50th high school reunion, had some decent
tomatoes from the garden and terrific beets.  Gary and
I stayed very active going to the gym (doesn't look good
for 2013 however), maintaining the upkeep of our cabin
and helping our daughter with a kitchen remodel.
Michele and I added more to our laugh journal--we both
break each other up.

I reunited with some childhood friends and met many giving,
supportive people who have enriched my life.

My goals for the new year include finally working on some
old manuscripts to try and publish, traveling to Costa Rica or
Italy, enjoying my grandchildren, and remaining grateful for
all that I have.

Here are a few memories from 2012:

My pirate grandchildren

Ah, the quiet moments with three active grandchildren
Why can't they get along like this all the time?
Why am I so happy to be this old?
Visiting Taylor"s classroom/Taylor reading my Marco book
Grandpa and his "little peanut."

Jennifer Burrows

Promoting a Friend's New Book

Congratulations, Jennifer!  I'm finally getting
around to posting your book on my blog.  I was part
of seeing the progress of this book from idea to
publication.  Jennifer and I are critique buddies, even
though it has been many, many, many months since
we have been active critique members.  Life is too busy
to devout time to everything important in one's life.
But, today is the day I devout to updating my blog.
It's about time, since Jennifer's book was released by
Royal Fireworks Press on Sept. 11, 2012 - a timely date
since this chapter book tells the story of one girls emotional
growth as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the
twin towers.

Read about this book on the Royal Fireworks website
and visit Jennifer Burrow's blog site devoted to her
critique of children's literature.

Rosalie Gabbert

Mr. Bee Man

Rosalie and I have collaborated on a children's
picture book, Mr. Bee Man. It will be published
by Outskirts Press and be released soon.  This
non-fiction account of Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth
life, will endear readers to this gentle man who struggled
with illness, yet persevered in his study of the honey bee
to invent a bee hive that revolutionized the way honey
is harvested.  Langstroth loved to tell a good story and
introduce children to nature.  His life is inspiring to
readers of all ages.

Rosalie's husband was a beekeeper, so she was intent
on creating a book as a legacy to his life.  We both
did extensive research for this book.  I was in contact with
Matt Redman, a Langstroth historian and beekeeper who
provided me with numerous resources to help me envision
the vibrant life of Philadelphia in the early 19th century,
the place and time of Langstroth's life.  I really enjoyed
doing the illustrations for this book because I love drawing,
so chose to do a lot of line work in addition to washes.
Matt Redman also operates a handcrafted soap business 
with his wife.  His bee hives are an integrated part of his

Here are some images from the book:

George Brummell

The Mole and the Violin

I am currently completing illustrations for
George Brummell's children's chapter book.
Each chapter will feature a full page charcoal 
drawing.  George contacted me to do the 
illustrations and since that time he has become 
a dear friend.  We have spent a lot of time 
discussing his vision for the book, talking about 
our lives and our work and sharing humor and 
stories. I have yet to meet him in person,
but plan to this summer.  I live in NY and he and 
his wife live in Maryland.
From The Mole and the Violin Chap.5

I have great respect for George Brummell.  
He was blinded in the Vietnam War and yet 
has adapted with remarkable courage and 
service to others.  He chronicles his experience 
in Vietnam and his growing up years in 
Shades of Darkness.  

Read about this inspiring memoir on his web site.