Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Launched and Soaring


Launched...with the help of toy rockets and parachutes, Moonpies and Tang.


I felt like the Cheshire Cat wanting to fade away into only a plastered-on smile. I had made a significant error in a date and there it was, first line, first page. Bang! Printed, chiseled in stone. Fifty copies and an advertised launch date I couldn't get out of.

In the greater scheme of things, this shouldn't be all that big of a concern. In the smaller scheme, however, that day, it certainly was. My heart fell into the pit of my stomach the minute a friend called me to point out the error. Everyone needs a friend who has her back and I am eternally grateful for the tremendous favor she did in that simple call.

Immediately I revised the manuscript and triple checked all the other dates as well as names, something I had done over and over and over, or so I thought. Proven fact, typos (and negligence) exist, and my error is the the evidence.

While the error was easily repairable, my reputation as a nonfiction author would be called into question. I made the decision to go on with the launch. I found sticky notes of the Cheshire Cat and attached them to the page above the incorrect date, along with the word oops, to let the reader know of the mistake. Truth matters.

Then I lowered the cost to below my cost, and forged on, giving the customers a chance to wait a week for the corrected version if they preferred. No one did.

But I have copies left over that I can't sell. Won't sell. What to do with a stack of books???


Maybe I'll make school visits and let the children read the books, explaining up front about my error as part of the lesson. And then do my thing as a former fourth grade teacher who swears by the whole language approach to reading instruction.

Meanwhile, yesterday the new shipment arrived and the first thing I did after I ripped open the top was check the date in the first line on the first page. It's correct.
And there it is! Available on amazon, or from me, and eventually at special stores here in Lenoir. Back on Earth: When Men First Landed on the Moon. Illustrated by Bobbie Gumbert, written (and revised) by me. < smiling like the Cheshire Cat >

Catch of the day,


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Cover Reveal

Full disclosure, I'm not an artist. Or a cover designer. I only know what I want and simply work toward that goal.

That being said, let me introduce you to my newest book cover, which I put together myself (ta-da) using a page from the book's illustrations by Bobbie Gumbert.

Only what she drew had the moon in an inconvenient spot in order to insert the title.

So I manipulated and deleted and layered this other moon from a photograph I had on hand.

Working with the subtitle and our names was the tricky part, until I finally figured out layering a background strip for the words would be the best solution. 

So there it is.

And here, at my house behind me as I type, are the copies waiting in a big box for Tuesday's book launch. Your invitation:
August 14
Drop in from four until six in the afternoon
My Happy Place Art Gallery
on the square in downtown Lenoir, North Carolina

Join the fun. There will be mini-Moon Pies. There will be Tang. (If you are old enough, you know the significance of Tang being the drink of choice.) I've planned activities, and I've checked the weather...which so far is cooperating. No mission scrub planned. (If you are old enough, you know the meaning of that comment.)

And best news, for a special, launch day only surprise, you can purchase it at the bargain basement sale price of five dollars! When I autograph your copy, I'll let you in on the secret reason why it's at a cut-rate price. It's also on Amazon,  Back on Earth When Men First Landed on the Moon, and more details are now updated on my website,

I consider myself a storycatcher, so you can imagine I can't wait until Tuesday to catch a few stories about your experiences nearly fifty years ago, back on earth when those men first landed on the moon. Bring the kids. They need to hear the stories, too. Hope to see you then!

Catch of the day,


Saturday, August 4, 2018

Liftoff! We have Liftoff!

I'm deep in the planning stages of the launch for my new picture book that was released August first. Launch is the perfect word for sending this particular book off into the world. It is an optimistic word, full of hope and energy. I use it a couple times in Back on Earth: When Men First Landed on the Moon, when the launch happens, and again in the glossary at the end, that I don't call a glossary. It's the "Learn the Words We Learned" page. Also included at the back of the book, "Watch What We Watched" for sources on YouTube the child can view, and "Talk to Us about Apollo Eleven," with suggestions for interviewing and ways to start the conversation.
A sample of the artwork by illustrator Bobbie Gumbert
I designed it to be a conversation starter between the generations. This time I tried something new. I wrote the book in first person, draw the reader into our lives way back when. It's about our experiences here on planet Earth as we marveled and fretted and waited (and waited and waited) for the astronauts to walk on the moon, almost fifty years ago.

I'm in the process of picking and choosing moon related activities to get the children interested at the launch. On the menu, Moon Pies, the miniature kind, chocolate or banana flavored. I've ordered parachute men for the children to land on a target. And launchers that send nerf rockets a few feet into the air (and down into a basket). I'll have paper and pencil and old fashioned tape recorders to catch stories from those who remember the day oh so many years ago when America accomplished the impossible.

So if you are available on Tuesday afternoon, August 14, drop in any time between four and six at an art gallery on the square in Lenoir called My Happy Place. I'm hoping for clear skies so we can go outside to do the happy thing called space games and launch this book off right!!

Catch of the day,