Wednesday, September 19, 2018

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE ME TO PUBLISH A PICTURE BOOK?

Over 25 years.

Now, before you get discouraged, hear me out. 

When I wrote my first picture book story, The Human Bean, people really loved it. You should make it into a picture book, they said. The problem? I didn't have the money to hire an illustrator, so the book idea sat.

Sure, I took the story to various grade schools and made it a part of my presentation, but the book didn't have illustrations. I had the children draw their interpretation of the bean with some pretty hilarious results. Well, what would you draw if I told you the story about a human bean?

Picture book ideas kept pouring from my soul, however, but I wasn't able to find an illustrator. Everyone wanted their money up front, and none of them seemed to care about the story itself. 

I have since learned that this is the rule rather than the exception for many illustrators, and so for years, I continued to search. In the meantime, I continued to write picture books. I haven't counted them, but I wouldn't be surprised if I didn't have at least 15 ready to go.

The last idea for a picture book came while I was watching an episode of Winnie the Pooh. All of a sudden the story downloaded into my brain! I raced for a writing utensil and a piece of paper. I knew by this time not to ignore the voice.

You need to know that during this time I'd gone into an art gallery in St. George, Utah, as part of my family's summer vacation. My grandchildren thought walking around to look at paintings was the most boring thing on the planet! But sometimes grandma's have to do things that they like to do, right?

So here I was in this gallery when I saw it. It was the cutest thing I'd ever seen; three young cowboys and one young cowgirl, sitting next to each other on a fence. Well, I couldn't afford the original, so I walked away, you know, wishing that I had the money to buy whatever I wanted :)

That's when I saw it. Not the original, but a print of the original which was the size of a postcard. The tag revealed the amazing price: $5

So I bought it, along with another by the same illustrator, and brought the two cards home.

I bet you can't guess what I did next.

I thought about contacting the artist. I even framed the small prints, but I didn't contact her. How could I handle another no

Maybe you know how it is when you have held a dream close to your heart for years. At first, when the dream doesn't materialize, you get a bit angry, and then you try to forget you had the dream in the first place. You stop asking people to illustrate your book. Your dreams go in different directions - directions that take you to novels with only one illustration or photo to deal with.

And sometimes, you almost give up hope that your dream will ever materialize. 

Guess what happened?

Coming in October 2018

I ASKED.

Never give up on your dreams. NEVER. DO YOU HEAR ME?

You never know when a moose with a hungry appetite and a thirst for learning is going to show up!



Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Author Spotlight: Kristine Raymond


Kristine Raymond

Dogwoods in Springtime

Still in mourning three years after her husband’s death, Caroline Ballard’s solitary life in rural Kentucky is disrupted by a broken water line, of all things.  As if the lack of running water wasn’t bad enough, her immediate attraction to plumbing contractor Rick Spencer unearths emotions long thought buried.  Opening her heart to love for a second time, a malicious lie told by his ex-wife threatens to end the budding relationship before it begins.

Seashells in Summer

Having adopted her four-year-old daughter, Lily, at birth, Taylor Brightman is suspicious when former Marine Sergeant Grant Cutler appears on her Nantucket Island doorstep claiming to be the girl’s biological father.  Wary of his motives, his good looks and charming personality win her over, but can she trust that she won’t lose custody along with her heart?


Aspens in Autumn

Ramsey Fiorentino is having a bad day.  On the run for her life after witnessing a murder, she’s being pursued by none other than Bishop Hamilton, a private investigator hired by the person who committed the crime.  When he catches up to her and the truth comes out, they flee to the mountains of Flagstaff, Arizona to hide, but it’s only a matter of time before their newfound romance is tested in the wake of a deadly confrontation.

Snowflakes in Winter

When New Hampshire State Trooper Alex Ballard becomes stranded during a blizzard in the middle of the night, he seeks refuge at a local bed and breakfast, surprised to discover the owner, Chloe Mancuso, is the sole occupant.  A passionate night spent in each other’s arms ignites feelings neither thought possible, but there’s someone else with his eye on Chloe and he’s not willing to share.



About the Author

Kristine Raymond didn’t figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up until later in life.  You guessed it!  It’s being an author.  Since writing and publishing her first book in 2013, she’s gone on to complete two romance series – one historical western and one contemporary – write an anecdotal, non-fiction short about her first year as an indie author, and try her hand at contemporary erotic drama.  When she’s not writing, she’s learning how to navigate the publishing and promotional side of the business.  When she’s not doing that, she enjoys spending time with her husband and furry family, reading, gardening, and binge-watching shows on Netflix.


Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Books + Main, and BookBub.  You can also visit her website at www.kristineraymond.com to keep up with her latest news or write to her at:
         
Kristine Raymond
PO Box 28
Brownsville, KY  42210


You can also sign up for her newsletter here.




Tuesday, July 17, 2018

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

Baby Deanie
Tell me about your love of horses. When did it begin for you?

My parents owned a riding school called
Sweetbrier.  They moved there when I was a 
baby so as long as I can remember, I wanted to ride well and compete in horse shows. I started riding at about four years old before I could walk very well.

I was born prematurely. At first, doctors said I would be slow at meeting certain milestones. I talked in complete sentences at one-year-old, but when I wasn’t walking at nearly four, my dad took me to a specialist. The doctor said I’d never walk. As you can imagine, my dad was not pleased. He was a determined person who never accepted something he thought he could change. 

Therefore, my dad picked me up and stormed out of the office. My dad told me not to worry about what the doctor said because it was wrong.  Daddy said he’d teach me to ride and I’d be fine. It was the decision that changed my life because I learned to walk and began working toward my dream of becoming an equestrian champion. Incidentally, I always referred to my dad, as “Daddy” because nothing else fit. We had a special bond.

What is your handicap? What specific struggles did you have early on that made it difficult to fulfill your dream?

I was born with cerebral palsy. It means part of my brain was damaged when I was born. In my case, it only affects my legs, not my arms or speech. At first, it was a struggle to take one step without falling. I don’t believe most parents would have considered riding horses when walking was a considerable challenge in the beginning. When I started learning to walk, I could only walk a step without falling, but gradually, my balance improved.

I loved being with the horses so I used to navigate the stairs by sitting down. Then I crawled to the barn, which was probably 500 feet away. 

Sweetbrier House
When I started to ride, I fell off many times because the muscles in my legs got tired and I’d slide off. But over time, things improved.

How did others support you (or not) in your dream? Besides your family, did you have friends who encouraged you to continue?

I was bullied at school often. Only one girl in my class even spoke to me. She is the little girl Mary, I mention early in the book, My Life at Sweetbrier. When I was a teenager, I taught horseback riding at Sweetbrier. Many of our students encouraged me and cheered for me whenever I competed in shows.

Peach and Deanie at Mrs. Foster's farm
Photo by Bob Moseder
Was there ever a moment when you thought, "I just can't do it anymore"? And if so, what or who encouraged you to continue?

There were times when I felt discouraged and frustrated. But the family motto was “The Humphrys don’t give up” so surrendering my dream was never an option. My parents always said certain things would take longer, but I could do anything if I persevered. I had faith that someday I’d reach my goal if I kept working on it.

My Life at Sweetbrier is written in a conversational style so although it’s my story, the objective is to show other children may also beat the odds through perseverance.

Thank you so much for interviewing me today, Kathryn.

You're welcome. Where can readers find your book?