Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Simpler Time -- Review ...

Click on the link to find out what Kim Croisant, Mommie Again blogger has to say about A Simpler Time.

Ashley on our vacation to the Dude Ranch -- that was ... A Simpler Time

Monday, March 25, 2013


I can now reveal some exciting news!!!

I was approached by a high school friend a little over a month ago who told me that my name had been discussed as being a speaker at my high school's upcoming commencement. I was shocked and, of course, thought, "Me? Why would a bunch of 17 and 18 year olds want to hear me talk?" She proceeded to ask if I could forward her my bio and other information about my writing to the committee. The more I thought about it, I was honored and thought it would be exciting to speak to graduating seniors at my alma mater!

I spoke to Principal Wilson today and was asked to deliver the 2013 Commencement Address at my high school -- George Rogers Clark in Hammond, IN! I'm overflowing with emotions and can't believe it!! I'm excited, honored, humbled, amazed and NERVOUS! It truly is a PINCH ME moment. What do I tell the graduating Seniors? Can my words make a difference in a choice someone makes? Will the entire audience fall asleep while I speak? Will I pass out on the stage!?

I have had an amazing journey since I left GRC in 1982 (I've lived in 4 different states, gotten married, had Ashley, had some amazing jobs, am now doing my DREAM job -- teaching -- and I've had 4 books published.) I'm looking forward to making this trip with Ashley and Steven, and I'm glad my mom will be able to attend, too! (She's ecstatic!) I know my dad will look down from above and will give me the courage to deliver the biggest speech of my life; just as he was there when I did my first double in baton, walked me down the aisle, bought Ashley her first cowboy boots (ironically from Texas), when I received the contract for The Life of Bud, and won the NTBF Award for Bud (the last two things happened on the Anniversary of my father's passing and burial date -- a true sign to me that he WAS there).

So ... who says, you can't go back? Cuz, I'm going to Hammond, IN and can't wait to walk the halls of George Rogers Clark once more!  Now ... I must get down to writing ... MY SPEECH!


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Author Spotlight-Pertinent Promotions

Here is my interview at Pert's Place -- Pertinent Promotions FB page ...  Thanks Penney!  It'd be great if you could take a few moments and check it out ...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

LIFE's A PiCnIc?

but not for me ...

I can honestly say, I've never been on a picnic! Through years of dating, hanging with girl friends, and all of my fun adventures, I've never been on a picnic. For my wedding, I received a beautiful Longaberger picnic basket. It was full of plastic wear and a cute blanket and napkins. I've used all those things, usually out on my back deck, eating lunch or snacks. But, the picnic basket sits idle. The basket did accompany us to Ocean Beach in Connecticut once or twice but it held chips, lotion, and some sort of fruit ... but it's never seen a beautiful grassy meadow, or lounged under beautiful oaks or weeping willows, in some romantic getaway like in many a movie! Nope, the basket is tucked on a shelf in a closet, in my house.
Since Spring has Sprung, many of you will be going on picnics or have been on memorable picnics. SO ... here's my basket ... and here's your TASK(et) ... tell me what your most memorable picnic was, where you were, what you ate, how incredible it was! Comment here so I can dream about the perfect picnic I will someday go on! You can even send a picture to my email ..., and I may post some of my favorite picnic destinations from pictures sent in.
Someday ... my perfect picnic basket will go on the perfect picnic!

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Anyone other than Laura Eckroat!

On Friday, March 15, 2013, bright and early, Ashley and I got into my Dodge Avenger, got us some Starbucks, filled up the tank, and drove to Mustang, OK to visit Tate Publishing. I was recording the audio day for my newest book, What's In The Corner? A Muffin "Tail".  Recording the audio is actually quite easy; even though the first time I did it, I was so incredibly nervous I thought I might pass out in the little booth! The audio director, Travis, places you into one of those little recording booths, the book is displayed on the screen, you talk (or in my case) sing into the microphone. This time I recorded it as if I was doing the reading LIVE! So the cadence slows down in parts, and a few words are spoken, not sung. If you feel you made a mistake, or want it to sound differently, or if you cough or sneeze, you just hit a key on the keyboard and start again at the beginning of the line. Technology is pretty cool!
I often get asked how I came up with the tunes? I honestly don't know how or why I came up with songs for my last two books; it kind of just happened (I'm channeling my inner Celine Dion). But I really feel these books are so much more fun as songs, and it works perfectly when reading/singing them to younger children. Children learn songs quickly, and at book events where I read, they always join right in! I still remember the School House Rock songs, and when I was in third grade, my teacher taught us the Preposition Song .... things like that just stick with you!
If you are a teacher or librarian and would like me to come "sing" to your favorite little ones, feel free to contact me here or email me at Reading to children is my absolute FAVORITE part of being an author! I also have Book Buddy Bundles available for teachers at discounted prices.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013



What Authors Really Do When They Have a Few Days Off ...

Spring Break started for me on Saturday, March 9, 2013. The whole weekend was filled with a really fun book event. The Funky Finds Spring Fling Event is a great way to network, talk with author friends, meet new fans, and sell books. But, when the festivities were over, the real world sets back in. So what do authors do when they have some time off?

Well ... on Monday, the time change messed with me and so I got up a little later than I wanted to; which in reality I got up the same time I always do, the clock just begged to differ. But, Ashley and I were able to go pick up her car ... YAY! You may have seen on my FB post that about two weeks ago, she was in a car accident. Her car came back JUST LIKE NEW. Then, she and I went to Target to do some shopping. I also did some laundry and was able to hang it on the line, I love sunny, breeze dried clothes-one of those simple pleasures. 

Tuesday, I went to see Sally at Salon at Stone Cottage to get my hair cut and YES-highlighted--not sure what my real color is anymore! Next, I made a quick trip to Lowe's for this exciting new garden product-Scott's SNAP. I sometimes wish I lived on acres and acres of land so I could just do gardening ALL THE TIME. Another simple pleasure. I also purchased some more paint for the living room and picked out a pretty, peaceful color called Tranquility for the Master bedroom/bathroom. Of course, I'm still doing laundry and still hanging it outside. And a few hours of my day were spent writing, and Facebook(ing), and emailing, and marketing. That is something that I will never take a break from.
Wednesday, was supposed to be my 6th month visit to the Dentist to get my pearly whites cleaned! Unlike most people, I love going to the dentist--I love that spinning, fluoride cleaner thing; But had to cancel because allergies are making me breathe through my mouth. At 1:08pm CST, I got to see the white smoke coming out of the Vatican Chimney. I remember standing there a few years ago and marveled at all of the ancient buildings, traditions, cypress trees and just the beauty of ROME. 

After witnessing the new Pope, Muffin had her semi-annual appointment at the Vet; she got a couple shots and the Doc needed to check some tiny "hot spot" sores that popped up within the last couple of days. I'll keep you all updated on her. I can report that we received shampoo and spray to see if that will clear it up-may just be a simple skin rash. I also updated my blog and posted this post-YES, the one you are reading right now.
I Weigh WHAT!!??
Ouch, skin scrapings
                                  But, I love my doctor-he's nice!

Thursday, I will spend painting ... house painting for our house is definitely a work-in-progress ... but my family is patient with me as I work slowly from wall-to-wall-to-wall, it's fun to see the finished product! Living room will soon be complete and then onto the Master Bedroom-gives me a sense of accomplishment!
 That is the old red wall!
Friday will hold some surprises, and I hope you come back to see the adventure Ashley and I will be taking.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

OH ... The Places Authors Go!

Being a teacher is wonderful, being an author was always my dream. But being able to debut your newest book at the school in which you teach is surreal. Friday, March 8, I was able to share my passion of writing, with the children at the Manara Academy for Read Across America Day. As I sung my new book, What's In The Corner? A Muffin "Tail" to the children, I so loved watching their faces light up as they tried to figure out what Muffin was intrigued by in the corner! The whole school was involved in this event, doors and hallways of classrooms were decorated, children dressed up all week (some of you were privy to seeing my CRAZY HAIR on Facebook), and the culminating events were Friday-the children started their day by parading through the school dressed as their favorite storybook character.  The middle school students created stations based on Dr. Seuss books and the elementary students were able to make bookmarks & Ooblek, Mr. Lubos' 6th grade crew gave a dramatic reading of Bartholomew and the Ooblek acted out by students and Mr. Lubos, kids made crazy hats, and participated in other activities. The middle school students did a wonderful job planning and decorating! I was honored to be the guest author and talked to kids about being an author and sung my new book! The day was awesome and I hope you enjoy browsing the pictures from Read Across America Day!

                                                           Bartholomew and the Ooblek
Go Dog Go!

One Fish, Two Fish

The Lorax

Hortn Hears a Who

Cat In The Hat

Fox in Socks
You're a mean one
                                                          Mr. Carlson...oops Grinch!

The debut of What's In The Corner? A Muffin "Tail"

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Can I Have Your Autograph?

When The Life of Bud was in publication, my husband said to me, "So what kind of pen are you going to use to autograph your book?" I hadn't thought about that! I didn't realize people would want me to sign their books! I told him I would just use some sort of pen, probably a regular ballpoint pen ... but I would definitely use black ink. But, that wasn't a good enough answer for him. He took it upon himself to research and talk to different PEN stores about different ink types and pen types, and figured out what kind of paper I'd be signing my name on. There are LOTS of options--who knew?

I received this beautiful pen from Steven right before my first book signing, and have used to it sign EVERY book ever since! It is from Levenger, and I use black gel ink; it dries quickly and writes smoothly. He even had it monogrammed with my initials. I love my Levenger Pen! 
While Went Out To Get a Donut ... was just about to release, I started panicking, wondering how Muffin could "pawtograph" the book. I thought making a rubber stamp of her paw would be cool, but I wanted something different, something that may not have been done before. I had a great picture of Muffin's profile and wondered if I could use that to make a rubber stamp. I googled (I absolutely LOVE Google ) Custom Rubber Stamps and popped up. So I checked them out. It was so easy! I downloaded the picture, played with sizing, added her name in many different text styles until I found one I thought Muffin would like, they digitized it, and TADA a rubber stamp with Muffin's face was born! Children love learning that Muffin is a REAL dog and that the stamp is a picture of her! What was absolutely amazing and why I would use this company again and why I am mentioning them is that the rubber stamp showed up in my mailbox about two days later! Talk about service -- I couldn't believe it came that quickly.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Take 190 - Killeen Arts Festival

Yesterday, March 2, 2013, I attended the Killeen Arts Festival! This was a really awesome event. Art from the Killeen ISD was displayed in half of the main hall and the other half was filled with remarkable works of art from artists all over Texas. The foyer of the convention center was donned with authors and illustrators from Texas. This event was lots of fun and very well organized. Here are some pictures from my first book event of 2013!

Packing up ... all set for the Take 190 Killeen Arts Festival

 My table

Me and my books
Muffin would LOVE this sock monkey!!!


This dress was made out of KLEENEX!
Comes in handy if you have a cold!

Lots of ART

   Loved these!
 Ciara & me

Ciara and her Muffin book!