Ok, so, as some of you know, I am working on writing a children’s picture book. It’s a sweet, uplifting little book that features the newest addition to our family, Chance the dog, as the protagonist.  (Click here to read his blog)

As you also may know, I don’t have kids. Nope, never really wanted them. In fact, at the age of oh, say, 13, I made the announcement that I would never have children. I think this may be because that’s about when I started being big-time rebellious in my teeny-tiny hometown of  Harlan, Ky. and my mother “threatened” me with words I will never forget. “You just WAIT until you have a teenage daughter!” Yes, it was those words, repeated over a period of several years, that convinced me that I would never give her the satisfaction of letting those words come to fruition.    And honestly, I never regretted my decision to remain child-free.  I’ve never been one of those “oh, a baby! Let me hold him,”  kind of people. Take ’em or leave ’em. Shoulder shrug. No big deal.  Ahhh, but I digress…


Now, at 51, I realize that in order to attain interest in my hidden gem, my soon to be discovered blockbuster debut, that I need a platform on which to stand. And that platform better damn well be related to children.  So, having none of my own, and no nieces or nephews in the picture, where am I going to find little ones that will appreciate my genius?

Rewind a couple of months. While checking out children’s picture books at our public library, I asked the librarian if they had a children’s reading program. It just so happens that their reader left in the fall, and they were looking for someone to replace her. Jackpot! Bingo! I gave her my card, the main branch manager called me, and voila– I am now the Tuesday morning reading lady.

So now I have anywhere from 20-40  1 to 3 year olds that single file into my reading room every week, sit attentively at my feet and listen to whatever stories I have picked out for them that week.  Well, being as my book is about a dog, I typically choose at least one book per session that revolves around a dog, and they eat it up!  (They especially like when I use my “voices” to recreate the dialogue  of the different characters.)  Back in Junior high school, I was into storytelling, and won some regional awards for my re-creation of “The Grandfather Tales” stories in competitions. I’ve always been a storyteller, I just needed an audience. Now I have it. A captive audience, but an audience, nonetheless.

So in the process of gaining a “platform” by volunteering at the library, which began as a purely selfish act, I have come to look forward to my time spent with these little ones.  I love to see their faces light up when they recognize a specific creature on the pages. We have fun practicing the sound a frog, or a dog, or a hog makes.  And when they become restless between stories, we stand up and sing and dance, and I like that, too.   It’s funny how things work out that way.

Sailing with Chance

Some of you know that  I have recently begun writing a children’s book. This is new to me, as the focus of my writing in the past has been centered around travel–travel memoirs, product reviews, how-to’s and the like.  I am editor of the European Travel Site over at Bellaonline.com and also contribute to a couple of other online sites.  I actually have a VERY rough draft for my crazy, off-the-wall travel memoir stuffed under my bed. I just lost interest.

You may also know that recently, well, about 6 months ago, I became a foster failure and adopted a new doggy-member into our family, making a total of 3 dogs.   Our home has been so full of life these past months, and Chance has brought new life to my oldest dog, Kismet, who, at almost 13 is slowing down a bit.  It is heartwarming to have 3 dogs cuddling on the couch with me, running to the door upon my arrival (even if I’ve just gone to the mailbox), and yes, sharing the bed with HK and me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So a while back, I started toying with the idea of incorporating Chance into my children’s book.  Originally, my main character was Willy and the Boyz, but, after tossing that around in my head, I figured kids might not be able to relate to a napkin holder too well. Kinda hard to warm up to, ya know?

But Chance, now he’s another story altogether. He’s already got the personality, I just give it a voice.  And it’s fun! Children’s books are a completely different genre for me, especially since I never had kids.  I’ve been spending lots of time in book stores and at the library, getting a feel for wha’t’s popular. I think the main thing is that I’m feeling enthusiastic about this new project. So we’ll see where this goes. Wish me luck, and I’ll keep you posted.