The Living Tree
I have a good friend who was very close to her mother. They were like best friends. They were always together. Her mom became sick and passed away rather suddenly. My friend was very sad, devastated. I watched her work through her loss and become stronger every day. She will never be completely whole without her, but she has become strong and independent.
She is my inspiration for this book.
My 8-year-old cat, who I named Big, was my soul cat. I have had many cats but we had a very special connection. I found him at a local animal shelter. He was a tiny black kitten who sucked his thumb. He came home with me and slept on my pillow every night. He followed me around the house. I always wanted to be with him. One day when I was out my husband saw that Big’s eye was very dilated. I took him to the vet immediately. I was told he had a brain tumor. I took him to 2 other vets, only to get the same diagnosis. He eventually lost both of his eyes. I knew the time was coming so I hunted down any books I could find about pet death. I always loved the Rainbow Bridge poem but in the books I found, the pictures didn’t show what I needed. I needed happier, brighter, just right for Big. I decided to illustrate my own book. I made it about a boy and his dog because this subject was too close for me at the time. I did include Big and all of my other pets, in the illustrations, when I created the Rainbow Bridge book. It had to be the greenest green, have plenty of food and water and shelter. The sun needed to shine all day every day. The clouds had to form little paw prints to show the wonder of animal paws. Paws are my favorite part of any animal. I worked through Big’s difficulty and tried to make the rest of his life the best I could. I loved him, cuddled him and fed him his favorite foods. I finished the artwork around the time I had to let Big go. I knew I had created a perfect world (in my book) for him and all other pets to go to. I said goodbye to Big and kissed his soft paws one last time. He was free to go to Rainbow Bridge, until we meet again.
Through God's Eye
I was a healthy, athletic woman in my 30’s with a husband and 3 young sons. I had just begun going to church. I was not sure what I thought about it yet, but I was learning a lot about God and life lessons that I did not know about before. I started having a lot of pain in the back of my neck. I was told it was a woman problem, a possible brain tumor and maybe even MS. It turned out it was none of those. My neurologist listened to my symptoms and checked my brain scan. He asked if anyone had ever told me I have had a stroke. I said no. He ordered my routine MRI and also an MRA of my neck to make sure the blood flow was working up to my brain. I made the 2 hour trip home from the hospital, with my husband, and the Doctors were already calling my house. They told me to take 2 aspirin and drive back to the neurology unit that I just came from. When we arrived at the neurology wing, they pulled me into a room and at least 8 Doctors surrounded my bed. They introduced themselves as The Stroke Team. I was in shock! They told me a lot of technical things about my brain’s blood flow. They said I was lucky to be alive. They said that all they can do is put me on blood thinners. I went home later that week and prayed to God not to take me from my young children. I read from my Bible to learn anything I could. All I wanted was to stay alive. After praying and reading my bible for six months, I woke up at 3 o'clock one morning, and wrote the words for this book. This was the first children's book that I wrote and illustrated. I will often read through the book if I need to be uplifted, knowing that this book was given to me by someone very special.
I had a good friend, who was also my biggest cheerleader with my children’s books. She was an amazing woman. She was kind and loving and always thought of others. When you spent time with her, you left feeling better. I loved to visit with her because she was so interesting, and she found the positive in everything. One day I woke up and I saw a beautiful picture of her on Facebook. I was about to tell her how great she looked, then I read that she had passed in her sleep. I was in shock and I was very sad. I knew I had to use this sadness to make a children’s book about her. I love to use nature in my books so I knew the only natural thing to represent her would be a Monarch Butterfly. It took me three years to create this book but I think it represents her well.
The Purple Dragonfly
I was asked to write a book about a purple dragonfly, but I can’t just create a book, it has to come to me through an event that has happened. Then something did happen. I have three sons who all moved out within four months. I knew they weren’t being mean, and it was part of life, but I was devastated. I had to rethink my entire life because for the last twenty-five years I was just Mom. Sure, I had a husband, a job, and friends but those things are different. I pictured my boys as dragonflies flying off, each as their favorite colors. I then realized, this left me as the purple dragonfly. It took me a year to illustrate this book because there were so many emotions behind it. Every time I was about to give up on the book, I would see brightly colored dragonflies all around reminding me of what I was supposed to do. I just couldn’t seem to finish the book and I didn’t understand why. At the same time, I was constantly bumping into a large orange dragonfly and I knew this had to mean something. They would even fly in front of my car when there was no water anywhere around. One day while kayaking, I looked over at my husband in his large orange kayak and orange life vest and realized why my book wasn’t finished. I forgot about him. He was suffering too, and I had left him out of the book. I went back in and added him to the story.
This is How I Fly
I have spent my entire life being afraid to fly. I’m not sure why but I figured it was because a plane being thousands of feet up in the air just didn’t make sense to me. Many people told me to read up about flying and how it works and that would make me feel better. I read everything I could and that just gave me more information to be afraid of. I took medicine to fly and thank goodness I didn’t need to fly very often. Then my youngest son went into the military and I had to fly at least four times a year. It didn’t get any easier. A very smart lady told me that I am right brained so I would be better off making something up in my own head to make flying make sense. I couldn’t come up with anything at first but the next time I flew I imagined invisible roads being in the sky. I then, in my mind, would never leave the ground, which made sense to my right brain. I created the book and read it before my next flight. I decided not to take my medicine. I used my right brain and made my first two flights without medicine. I hope it helps others.
I had a young girl working for me who often told me extravagant stories about why she was late for work or why she could not work. When she stood in front of me, I pictured this little lie sitting on her tongue. It was always there when she made up stories. I pictured it making faces and dancing around. I started creating the Lie book. I decided to make Raggedy Ann and Andy hands and feet on him. I loved the comfort of the Raggedy’s when I was young so I figured this would give the lie a softer and kinder image.
A Butterfly Is Not an Ant
I worked with a friend in a childcare. She was the most wonderful person with children, but because of our education, we were both stuck in the office. I watched her in the office, with no children, wanting to get back out with the children. It was like watching a butterfly banging against a cage, slowly breaking her wings a little each day. I started illustrating the book and created words to go with it. After the book was finished, I realized I was not only writing the book about my friend, but I was writing the book about myself too. Who knew?
Many mornings I would enter the shower and see a small spider in the corner. I would try to stay as far away from it as I could. I would get out quickly before it would move or come near me because I never knew what it was thinking. Then I started thinking of what it was really thinking. Was I a big scary beast that it was terrified of? Was I everything to it that it was to me? Are they more afraid of us then we are of them? All these years, I thought they were just out to scare me and bite me when they were just trying to live their little lives. My middle son called Daddy-long-legs Dangley-leg-ways, and so that became the name of this book.
Fat Kitty for President
I watched the presidential elections, every four years, and I always thought there was too much anger around it. I started creating pictures in my mind, of what it would be like, if a cat and dog ran for president. I took the ideas about what a cat and dog would fight over and created a DemoCAT and a RePUPlican. Nothing in my book should be compared to the real issues of the presidential election. I am only using the ideas of a dog and a cat. I wanted to have some fun with the election instead of all the hatred.
Fat Kitty’s Coloring Book of Cat
I dreamed, for months, about adopting cats that were striped, polka dotted, covered in stars and other designs. They were purple and pink and yellow and red. They were really awesome, but I wondered what I could do with a dream like that. I decided to create a coloring book where kids could make these kitties any color they want. I did it and the dreams stopped.
I can’t wait to see some of the kitties created.
Fat Kitty’s 12 Days of Christmas
I have several cats and every Christmas I watch them attack and play with everything to do with Christmas. I hear smashing and crashing and hope for the best whenever I go into my living room to see if my Christmas tree is still standing. I thought I would share some of my experiences with others who can relate and those who may just find cat antics funny.
Fat Kitty Visits New Hampshire
I was in a classroom, with students writing about the uniqueness of New Hampshire. They were learning all about New Hampshire. I looked at some of their papers and saw them answering the question: What do you see in NH that you don’t see anywhere else? I saw answers like: car accidents, police, and trees. This inspired me to create a book about the symbols of New Hampshire. I also realized that NH didn’t have a state domestic cat. My cat had just passed so I thought I would make the book about her, Fat Kitty.
Fat Kitty Travels Through the United States
I was at a conference with a teacher and she said children were having trouble learning about Geography. I had just finished Fat Kitty Visits New Hampshire. I thought if the children had something they could fill out while traveling, that would make US Geography more fun.