Monday, February 20, 2017

Following Your Dream

Everyone has a dream job, a job they would love to be able to wake up and do every single day.  Mine is to read to children.  I absolutely love that ... to see their faces light up is magical. 

My daughter is pursuing her dream job and
Ashley-front row on the right!
Listening intently!!
I'm so very proud of her.  She is following her heart after not listening to it for a few years.  When she finally decided to take the leap to Cosmetology and Make Up Aristry she had her heart broken. After months in the program the Cosmetology School she attended closed suddenly and without notice - they filed Chapter 11.  She felt lost and didn't know where to turn.  She applied at another school and GOT IT!  She was thrilled beyond belief and it's fun to watch her learn new things and see pictures of her at school doing what she was born to do!

About a month ago, Ashley told me she wanted to go to a workshop by Ash Fortis. Ashley was having a fan girl moment and I could tell she wanted to go, but was nervous that she's still a novice in her schooling--but after a few days she decided to sign up!  I was very excited that she was choosing to give it a try ...

She didn't have a model for this workshop, so she brought along one of her "heads" ... she got the hair all prepped the night before and was really nervous and excited to attend! She did a great job and her color and style came out beautifully!

She is now in a contest to win a great prize ... A DREAM COME TRUE prize -- a training day with Ash Fortis!  If you click on the link in red               VOTE FOR ASHLEY ECKROAT's XO COLOR MODEL   (it should bring Ashley's model up) ... click LIKE and that's it!  She is truly overwhelmed by all the support she has had so far with this contest -- but voting is open until February 28 ... so if you haven't voted ... please take a few seconds to do this ... the picture will look like this and have Ashley Eckroat underneath it
If the link above does not work -- here is some information that may help you find it on Facebook
The picture will look like the picture on the left and
the xo RIOT FUNraiser picture shows how to get to the Rudy & Kelly FB page!


I asked Ashley what it would mean to her if she won -- here is what she had to say ...

          "To win time with Ash Fortis, an amazing stylist, would mean everything to me. She creates      magic in people's hair and 100% transforms them! She is an absolute inspiration and one of my biggest role models in this industry! And after meeting her once and seeing how genuine and kind she is made me love her even more! So to win time with her, and to learn from her I feel would really push my career in an amazing direction! I would love to be able to create magic for people daily! Have them look at themselves and feel even more beautiful than they already are! Giving people an amazing experience and something to tell their friends about! Being in the beauty industry isn't just about making people beautiful, it's allowing people to express themselves and be confident with who they are! And I feel like Ash Fortis gives that to everyone of her clients and I would love to learn and train under her!"          Ashley Eckroat Fowler

Here are some pictures of Ashley with Ash Fortis and her color model  ....


Ash Fortis signed the model head!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Starting a New Chapter ...

"I can't go back to yesterday  -- I was a different person then"

                                                                                          Lewis Carroll


All my life I dreamed of having a book published ... my dreams came true in 2008. I had no idea what I was doing, but quickly figured out having a book FB page and a website would help ... and -- oh yeah -- getting out there and meeting people ... people who were interested in my books, people who wanted to talk about their books, people in the industry .... it was overwhelming but really fun.  The best part was going to schools and reading to kids ... and it was absolutely touching to read to adults and bring some to tears.
At times I'd feel like quitting ... at times I cried because I didn't get into an event or win some contest ... BUT ... when I'd get in front of kids and read -- their faces and smiles and questions and laughter always made me realize why I was doing what I was doing ... to share a piece of my heart with them and inspire them. 


 I never thought about what would happen or how I would feel if I couldn't do book events anymore. But, my world came crashing down a few weeks ago when I heard my publisher closed it's doors.  I had just found about 30-40 book events that I wanted to participate all through 2017. I spend hours searching for things .... it was now time to order stock for the year when I called my marketing rep and it went to voicemail. I decided I would email them and try and send them a message through their newly designed automated system.  But their site was down.  I tried calling back and the number was disconnected.  I tried again and again ... and I began to realize things were not right ... In a few minutes I was FB messaging some of my author friends ... we came to realize that our publisher had closed it's doors and left us out to fend for ourselves. My heart felt as if it had been crushed ....

But, I'm starting February with a FRESH outlook and do not want to dwell on the past ... I'm so grateful for all of the people I've met along my journey ... here are a few ...

Me and Jen Carle
Elaine Littau, Jane Harber, Jane Yolen, Sandra Biersdorfer, Alan Bourgeois, Katherine Boyer, James Warhol, Lynn Sheffield Simmons, Aileen Stewart, Ted Kerasote, Clifford, Debbie Dadey, Kinsy McVay, Patty Wiseman, Jen Carle, Robin Witt, Stephen Bagley, Edward Hancock, Greg White, R.L.Stein, Curious George, Kevin "Special K" Daley,
Virginia Wright, Diedre Harry, Cristy Bertini, Dellani Oakes, Charla Pavlik,  Jessica Dougherty, Ilyasah Shabazz,  Kristy Jarvis, Susan Earl, Kathryn Falk, Michelle Fewer, Cindy Nord, Spot, Karina Harris, Steven Newman, Brandy Herr, Kim Miller, Waldo ... and sooooooooooo many more!

Tucson Festival of the Books

Also -- I want to thank everyone who has supported me for many years ... all of my friends at St. Joan of Arc School in Chicopee .... where I held my VERY FIRST BOOK EVENT!  And my buddies at the Manara Academy ... who allowed me to talk about being an author for Career Days!!!

Mass Reading Assoc Dessert
My husband Steven has always been there believing in me and always encouraging me to write that next story that is stuck up in my head!  My daughter has been an inspiration ... my first book event was on her 16th birthday and I got to do a debut reading of A Simpler Time at the Massachusetts Reading Association Dessert With Authors and she was there to share that moment with me ... one I will never forget and hold deep in my heart!

Central Massachusetts Children's Book Festival
For those of you who don't know ... A Simpler Time is about Ashley.  There is a continuation of that story in my head -- but I want to make sure it is absolutely perfect ... and it will be written -- someday!

Texas Word Wrangler Event

I am beyond thrilled to be starting my 2017 off with a new publisher.  I'm thrilled beyond believe that they will be republishing my past titles and my new titles will be with them as well ... my books will be published under their Outlaws Kids label.  I look forward to the 3rd Muffin book being released in 2017 as well as my first Jr. Chapter Book entitled The LOST Tooth which is part of my Kidspiration Series.

Here is the press release announcing my new CHAPTER!

  Press Release from Outlaws Publishing

I can't go back to yesterday ... all those things I hold dear in my heart -- but I am a different person now and I need to continue on this journey and I hope you will continue to follow it with me .... and I hope to do many more events like these ....
Richardson, TX Library

 Yes -- I met HIM! A COVER MODEL
         and ... he bought my books for his kids!  lol!  Readers & Writers Roundup - Dallas, TX

Cindy Nord, Me & Katherine Boyer
Readers & Writers Roundup
Aileen Stewart - Kentucky Book Festival

Vegas Valley Book Festival

Baltimore Book Festival
Ashley and Forrest Fowler

East Texas Book Festival - Sandra Biersdorfer

Perryton Craft Show -- Elaine Littau
Robin's Nest Montessori School
Red Goes To Kindergarten DEBUT

Trevor Douglas - from American Idol
Azle Main Street Arts Festival

The Thinkery - Austin, TX

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Oh the weather outside ...


On Sunday, December 4, Monroe, WI received it's first substantial snowfall ... Everything looked absolutely gorgeous and Muffin & Shadow enjoyed playing in the snow.  ENJOY the pictures from the GREAT WHITE NORTH!

My new star .... I LOVE IT!!!!!

Not a creature was stirring ... only Steven & I on a way to a book event!
6:00 am at the ECKROAT's ...

Pretty SNOWY out!

So pretty ...

The best way to drive in a snowstorm -- follow a PLOW!
SHADOW ... in the SNOW ... in his COAT ...

We're trying to pose for mom but want to go play!


Loving the snow!
THE HORSE!!!  Yes -- it made the trip to WI ... it's Santa Hat is covered in snow!

MEGA Snowblower!
Go BIG!!!  We learned that from Massachusetts!
This ain't our first RODEO -- or SNOWFALL!

Where's DAD???

There he is!!!

Our quaint neighborhood ... loving MONROE!

Just thought this was pretty!

OMG ... SANTA hanging from the roof!!!!  YIKES!!!!!  I think he's a bit early!
Merry Christmas to ALL!!!
Hope you enjoyed pictures from our first WISCONSIN snowfall!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


When we moved to Monroe, Wisconsin earlier this year, I had no idea how many amazing people I would meet through the Market on the Square Farmers Market.  I've met wonderful vendors, who sell amazing fruits, vegetables and many other wonderful items.  BUT ... I've met some WONDERFUL customers who stop by every time they come to the market to say HI! 

Laila with her A Simpler Time story pumpkins
I met a very sweet family early in the summer -- Mom, Dad, 2 sweet girls and an adorable little boy!  They bought a few of my books and the kids were excited to read them.  A few weeks later, the MOM stopped by and told me how they really enjoyed A Simpler Time.  It really made me happy that they loved this special book of mine!  About three weeks ago they stopped by my booth again and told me about a really cool project that Laila was making for school, using A Simpler Time.

Laila attends Northside Elementary School here is Monroe.  Her school was having a pumpkin decorating contest.  The cool thing about this contest was that the kids were to decorate the pumpkin to look like the character.  But, Laila did much more -- she decorated the pumpkins to tell the story!!!   LAILA picked A Simpler Time ... I'm truly honored. 

Here is her work ... she did a fabulous job!!! 

Laila and A.J.

 from left to right
Tadpoles, fireflies, clover flowers, cloud watching, 4-leaf clovers

Why Laila loves A Simpler Time
Thank you very much Laila -- you have truly touched me and this is a wonderful tribute to one of my books.  I am so glad you used nature to tell the story of this book that is about spending time in nature and enjoying its beauty.
I hope you all have enjoyed seeing this special tribute to A Simpler Time.
If you would like to order a copy of A Simpler Time, please email me at