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.

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! 

What’s The Message?

The last few weeks have been very busy for me in both of my jobs. I say “both” because while I do have a part time job that I go to four days a week, writing and illustrating have grown into another job! I’m not complaining, of course!

What are some of the things that have been going on? Well, I took the leap and bought my own ISBN’s. That is a big leap for me because it says, “I’m serious about this.” This also let me establish my own publishing imprint name: Gracie Press.

This week I received a print proof of “A Most Wondrous Place.” There are still a few edits to do, but it should be ready soon. Overall, I’m very pleased with how it looks. Of course, I still need to read it to the chickens as they have final approval over any of the stories that are published about them.

Maybe we can sit and read it together this afternoon. But I remember how they have been hinting that we need to get out and dig in the garden. They may say it’s to prepare more space for flowers and vegetables, but I know it’s to hopefully find some earthworms!

But back to what this post is mostly about. I’ve been thinking about “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens” and now “A Most Wondrous Place.” I’ve been asking myself, “What’s the message?”

Do you remember how in “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens” Pearl struggled to figure out how to be “a good normal chicken”? Do you remember how she never did figure it out, but found out it wasn’t as important as what she had thought? In the end, she discovered she was much more than good enough.

The same happens in “A Most Wondrous Place” for Gracie. She did not look like the other chicks from the beginning. She developed a lump on her side that kept her from doing what the others did, but she still danced and that is what she loved the most. She was the least likely to ever become the leader of our small backyard flock, and yet that’s exactly what happened. Like Pearl, Gracie also discovers she is much more than good enough.

And so perhaps that will be an important message in my other books too. Maybe people (both children and adults) need to know “You too are so much more than good enough.”

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