Mark Your Calendars (please)

21122285_827085990791452_9102034568741181157_oI received notification that the books “should” arrive September 13th! This good news came on the same day as Quackers’ rubber stamp. Quackers wants to autograph his books but he’s just too messy. We compromised and he agreed we could use a rubber stamp instead of finger-paint on his feet.

As soon as the books arrive, we’ll fulfill our Kickstarter orders! Thanks again for everyone that enabled us to reach our goal! I appreciate you patiently waiting for the books to be printed. (Kudos again to art direction/book designer Jime @ Wimmer Studios for sponsoring the successful campaign.)

I don’t want to jinx things by revealing details too early but we are planning a launch party at Scissortail Gifts! They’re located in the south lobby of the Myriad Gardens Crystal Bridge in downtown OKC! They will be selling books at their Gardens location as well as their soon-to-be new store. Check them out at www.scissortailgifts.com

The book’s launch party is tentatively set for Friday, October 6th from 4 to 6 pm at Scissortail. I am so thankful for this opportunity! I hope you’re able to attend and share this milestone with me.

During the month of October, the grounds of the Myriad Gardens are transformed into a fall wonderland of over 16,000 pumpkins! This year marks their 6th Anniversary of Pumpkinville. Quackers and I will be signings books at Scissortail’s pop-up shop inside the Myriad Gardens’ Pumpkinville. We’ll be there Saturdays and Sundays 1 to 3 pm. Be sure and check out Pumpkinville! We hope to see you there!  http://oklahomacitybotanicalgardens.com/pumpkinville

 

Waiting…

I’m stuck in the eye. That’s what it feels like. It feels like being stuck in the eye of a storm. It’s quite, calm, peaceful and… boring. I long for the hectic, frenzied pace that comes with having kids. I danced in that proverbial storm of life for almost thirty years and am not adjusting to a near empty nest very well.

Image result for empty nest

Our youngest child will be a senior in high school this upcoming school year. He works 16 hours on the weekends so it feels like he’s already gone.

My animals are a nice distraction. I have something to love and care for when I’m not working. Writing the book, Quackers, was a nice distraction. We received some samples books but are waiting for the majority of them to be printed and shipped. More waiting…

We’ve lived in-motion for so many years, slowing down or relaxing isn’t an option we want to pursue. What I dislike most about our almost empty nest is I have way too much time to focus on myself. It makes me feel self-absorbed. I don’t want to think about me, I want to be concerned about someone else.

I don’t know what is in store for the second half of our lives but I’m excited! I’m excited to find my (our) new purpose. We’re open and available for whatever the Universe (aka God) has in store for us. I want to stay busy. I want to be concerned about someone else. I want to serve…

 

 

Wimmer Studios

These series of blogs have commemorated the evolution of Quackers: A Duck’s Tale from inception to publication. I’m proud to say the books are currently being printed! They should be here in 4-5 weeks!

I’d like to take time to acknowledge a huge contributor to the book, Jime Wimmer of Wimmer Studios. I highly recommend her for design and publication work! She truly is an author’s best friend! Jime is a full time professor at the University of Central Oklahoma in their Design & Illustration Department.

She and her husband, Mike, own Wimmer Studios. They have written, illustrated, designed and published many books. Jime’s recent experiences with her own book, Copernicus, afforded insight that saved me lots of trial and error. Matter of fact, Jime had to “fix” some of the things I’d goofed up from my own lack of experience.

Jime and I discussed the “look” I envisioned for Quackers. She made the finished product even more beautiful than I could have imagined. During our meetings, Jime would feverishly manipulate the design software on her computer. I told her I felt like there was a 30-second delay from her chair to mine, her mind just works that fast.

If there’s one word that represents our relationship it is… TRUST.

If there’s one word that represents our relationship it is… TRUST. Jime is fully invested and cares about the quality of the finished product. After all, she is putting Wimmer Studios’ name on it too.  The same Wimmer Studios that illustrated/designed books for Oklahoma’s own Governor Frank Keating. Her passion for the project never eclipsed my autonomy. Jime has the unique ability to bring out the best in people while respecting/preserving their individual style.

Even after the book was sent to the printer, Jime maintained her high level of energy by establishing a Kickstarter campaign for me. She helped pre-sale the books in order to guarantee success. Once again, I was the recipient of Jime’s experience as a published author.

I can’t say enough good things about Jime. From creative design to publication, I have benefited from her knowledge, talent, experience and friendship.

http://www.wimmerstudios.com

 

“I Will Make The Rough Places Smooth.” Isaiah 45:2

I now had my edited manuscript and was in need of an illustrator. I had no clue how to find one. I found a few people on the Internet but nothing worked out. One day, I unwittingly connected with Mike Wimmer who introduced me to his wife, Jime. Jime, an accomplished artist/professor, also gives private art instruction to students. She gave me various pieces of illustration to choose from and asked what style I preferred. I selected a drawing style much like what is in the book “Charlotte’s Web”. Jime told me she had the perfect student in mind and introduced me to Kathryn “Katie” McGaha. She and Katie came to our home to meet Quackers and the gang. They took photos of my backyard and the animals so they could get to know their subject matter. Jime selected scenes in the book where illustrations would be most effective. She worked with Katie to make my vision a reality. Katie, a senior at Edmond Memorial High School at the time, captured the essence of Quackers perfectly!

I was at home thumbing through a coffee table book our oldest son gave me. I hate to admit his gift had sat unopened for quite a while. As I flipped through the pages, I recognized several oil paintings I’d seen at our state capitol. I read the caption and it said, “Artist – Mike Wimmer”. I turned the page, same thing. Again and again….. Mike Wimmer. I searched Mike Wimmer on the Internet and reviewed Jime and his website, Wimmer Studios (http://www.wimmerstudios.com). I called Garry at his work and said, “Remember Mike & Jime Wimmer? Well….. they’re kind of a big deal.” I don’t believe connecting to Mike was a chance encounter. I’m confident it was meant to be. I’m not lucky enough to have stumbled into this providence randomly on my own. I know it was God, lining up the right people in my path.

Katie and Jime provided me with the full page and spot illustrations as agreed. Jime was so very kind when she asked me what I was going to do next. Honestly, I hadn’t thought that far in advance! I had no clue what the next step was! I was the proud owner of some beautiful drawings and a manuscript but how would that become a book?

Jime must have seen the panic on my face because she asked, “Would you like me to design it for you?” “Yes”, I sighed with relief.  “Would you?”

Putting It Into Action

I added a 5 foot plastic work table to our computer set-up so I’d have a workstation at home. As I typed, I wore a pair of noise cancelling ear muffs so I could concentrate. They’d been worn only one time before at a skeet shoot so I was glad to be able to justify their expense. I had never written a book before but knew the key concepts I wanted to highlight. My husband, Garry, and I explored several options. Should we find a publisher or self-publish? In the end, we decided to use CreateSpace and do it ourselves.

Writing the book was easy. I just used actual events to tell the story. Telling it from Quackers’ perspective wasn’t difficult for me as I tend to be a little quirky anyway. During this process, I sometimes depended on the feedback of others to encourage me.  “Read this, what do you think?”, I’d ask anyone I could corner. I got a little discouraged because their response didn’t include the enthusiasm of a fireworks display or marching band. One day, while listening to Joel Osteen, he said something that changed my thought process forever. To paraphrase, he was talking about not depending on others to determine your self-worth. “If they don’t understand or encourage you, it is because God put the dream in YOUR heart, not theirs. God would not have put the dream in your heart if He had not already given you everything you need to fulfill it.” What?  You mean I already have what I need inside me?  I felt a little like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.  Joel said, “If you depend on people to build you up, they can also tear you down.” I saw this journey as an opportunity to not only write a book, but to gain self-confidence by staying the course and not depending (or needing) the approval of others.

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the unfailing support of at least one person, my husband. Garry always encourages me in all my endeavors. At times, I think his judgment is a little skewed where I’m involved.  Right or wrong, Garry always is on my side.

I added chapters to the book until I thought it was an adequate length.  Then, I sent it to CreateSpace for editing. They had fabulous feedback that allowed me to see where I failed to develop a character or where I’d dropped a storyline. I re-worked the manuscript and sent it back to them. This time, they worked on my grammar and sentence composition. I was thankful for their advice because it has been 34 years since I sat in an English class, ha!