The Worm Olympics and a Short Lesson About the “Inner Critic”

This week’s issue of The Gracie Press Newsletter was sent out yesterday morning. If yours did not arrive in your email “inbox,” you may want to check your “junk” or “spam” folders. BUT there were some that were not sent at all, including my own (to a different email address than the one that I used to set up my newsletter account).

I have to say that is concerning! And in corresponding with someone here on WordPress, I discovered it has happened to some people for the past few weeks. That’s not good! We have been consistent in sending out newsletters every Friday at 9:30 AM for the past 14 weeks.

So if you have been wondering, “Where’s the newsletter?”…Gracie and I are going to do our best to get it corrected with the folks at Revue.

In the meantime, if you’ve been missing issues, you can catch up by using the links below.

The featured image, which you also see above, is in black-and-white, just as it will be in our next book. Reader feedback was overwhelmingly in favor of full-page chapter illustrations.

Due to the length of the book which is currently 246 pages, color is not an option. But then again, I don’t think black-and-white illustrations are such a bad thing…unless of course, I listened to my “inner critic”!

And I do think many of us do have an “Inner Critic.” Mine was working overtime about three years ago when I started drawing pictures of Gracie and my other chickens on sticky notes and scratch pads.

“No one is going to want to look at those!” said my inner critic.

But, of course, people did want to look at them.

“No one is going to want to read stories you write to go with those pictures!” said my inner critic.

But, of course, people did want to read them.

“Go ahead and waste your time writing and illustrating those books. No one is going to pay any attention to them!” said my inner critic.

Well, you can see where this is going, can’t you? The Shoebox will be our fourth book and our first book in a series titled Once Through a Garden Gate.

At 248 pages and over 34,000 words, I think it is fair to say, “Don’t listen to your inner critic!” Or as Gracie says, “Dance with your heart, and then take a leap of faith!”

While you are catching up with our newsletter, why not sign up as a subscriber? August will mark the Third Anniversary of sharing drawings and stories about Gracie, and we will have a special gift for our newsletter subscribers! Wow! Three Years!

You may wonder, “What’s different about the newsletter?” The newsletter shares what I am working on directly with our fans. Because it is an email, our fans can share it with others, particularly those who are young readers with no ads, no distractions, and no strange content. In a way, it’s sort of like sharing a bedtime story!

Also, unlike “My Life With Gracie,” there are no health updates like the ones I have given here from time to time. (In the newsletter, Blanche is still with us. Gracie doesn’t need my help to get up onto her favorite roosting spot at night.)

Another way to say this is that the newsletter anticipates these stories lasting beyond the lives of my chickens and well beyond my own life. That is our hope. We want to make the world a better place for everyone. And so we dance and then take a leap of faith.

GraciePress.com And A Free “Thank You” Gift For Our Readers

 

If you watched the book trailer for “A Most Wondrous Place,” you may have noticed “GraciePress.com” was on the last slide. (But maybe not!) This is a new separate website and independent of WordPress.

Why do this? The biggest reason for me has been to have a website with stories and illustrations that children (and adults) can read with no social elements, no external links, and no advertisements. (It’s about internet safety for me. You can’t even contact me through the website, but I may add a street mailing address because my chickens would love to receive some “fan mail” to post in their coop.) Links to Dropbox free items will be there. Links to purchase our books will be there too, but that is not what the site is mostly about. (See first two items below which focus on just reading for free.)

Why not some other name? Something like “JohnSpiers.com”? Well, that’s an easy one. People aren’t always sure how to pronounce my last name. (It sounds exactly like the last part of the word “inspires” which is what I hope my books will do.) There’s also a much more famous person who is musician with the same name, and he is the one who comes up on searches before anything about me.

What’s there? That was tough to decide. I didn’t want it to be too much…or to little. And I didn’t want it to be a duplicate of a blog-type website like “MyLifeWithGracie.com.”

  • Newest Reads” has a selection of chapters from the most recent published or soon-to-be-published book. This gives readers a chance to preview the book.
  • Coming Soon!” has a selection of stories from future projects that may be turned into books. My next projects are likely to be expanded chapter books for independent readers in the upper elementary grades. Those will have many more pages along with black and white illustrations.
  • Our Books” gives more information about books which have been published and are available to be purchased. Right now, there is only one, “A Most Wondrous Place.”
  • Author’s Page” give more information about me. (It’s not really all that important, and so it’s last on the page!)

Why not check it out? And while you are checking it out, why not look for and select this picture and you will find a free coloring book to print out! Selecting the picture will open a link to Dropbox, but you don’t need a Dropbox account. You can print some or all of the pages, and with Easter just around the corner, what could be more fun than pages and pages of baby chicks for coloring, cutting out, and creating?!? (4 season illustrations and 12 month illustrations, black line versions from artwork found in “A Most Wondrous Place”)

https://GraciePress.com

Each post shares a glimpse into my journey as a writer and illustrator. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

If you have any feedback or suggestions for improving GraciePress.com, please let me know. I don’t want it to be difficult to navigate or to be too complicated. It should mostly be about reading stories and looking at illustrations, and that should be easy for anyone to do. Thanks!

A “Read-Beside-Me” Book Video

If all goes well, this book will be available in early April. It is the first to be published under the Gracie Press imprint. I hope this video captures the sweet and hopeful feelings I would like readers to take away from this story.

The only illustration in the video but not in the book is the first one from The Feed And Seed Store. I do like it though because it shows the vulnerability that we all may feel from time to time when things don’t make sense and we are unsure about life and the future.

This is what I call a “read-beside-me book.” That’s because it is best shared side-by-side in a big comfortable chair. The story contains words children may need to hear aloud from the important adults in their lives.

One of my favorites is “You are more important to me than anything.” I imagine the reader pausing at that point and saying, “I feel the same way about you.” With all that is going on in the world and with all of the distractions of daily life, it is something children need to hear from the important people in their lives. Another is “You are so much more than good enough.”

Maybe, if nothing else, this book can help us speak from our hearts to children (and chickens) so that they will know, “This world is truly A Most Wondrous Place for me because you and I share it together with Love.”

 

If this does not play inside your WordPress reader, just open this post in your internet browser. (I think it looks better there anyway!) Each post shares a glimpse into my journey as a writer and illustrator. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!