Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hello and "Stinky Feet"

     Welcome to my writer's blog! There are a few reasons I want to have a blog. The first reason is that I want to have activities to go along with my books, and the second reason is I hope you find many tools and questions to help you on your writer's journey. Some of my posts will be fun and some will be serious. (Phew! I thought I had lost my notes on some of the things I want to put in this blog, but I found the papers. Yay!)
     Oh, before I get going, I want you to know that if I am going to write something that people call a "spoiler alert" (which means that you haven't read the book yet and if I write what I want to write, it might spoil some of the surprises) I will write *SPOILER ALERT.* Then you can choose to either read what I've written and spoil the surprise, or you can skip it and still be surprised.
    "Stinky Feet" is the very first book I have written (though I've read hundreds of children's books, and I love to read them to young children, especially my own). The blurb I put on the back of the book says, "Miranda has a pungent problem: She doesn't like to wear socks, so her feet smell. Her mother tries everything she can think of to help with the odor. Will they ever find a solution to her stinky feet?"
    I have been working on this book since some time in 2006 or 2007. The idea came to me while I was sitting with my daughter Miranda in the dentist's office. I didn't have a pen or a piece of paper, so I asked the hygienist if I could borrow one. She found a piece of paper and a pen for me and the story was born.
    It takes a lot of time to write a book, even a book like "Stinky Feet" that seems pretty short and simple. I can't remember how many times I re-wrote parts of the story, and the ending has changed a dozen times.
    These are the things I learned as I wrote this book:
*You can keep parts of your writing that seem really bad, and then you can re-write them to make them better.
*Sometimes though, you have to throw away parts that you really like.
*Small scenes, or small bits of a book, can be expanded into a story all their own.
     As this blog grows, I have planned to write thought questions about the book, a sort of "reading guide." I have noticed that a lot of books have those types of questions and I like how questions make you think about what you're reading. If you have thought questions that you come up with, I'd like to hear them too!
     I wrote "Stinky Feet" for children ages 6 - 8, but it might be hard for second or third graders to read it by themselves. (It's been a long time since I was 6 or 8 years old!) I will tell you right now that my 2 year old daughter LOVES this book. She may not understand all the words, but she understands the story by looking at the pictures. Last night, she was trying to "read" the story to her cousin. I think that just because a children's book is written for children, it can still be challenging to read. I like it when I'm reading a book and I have to look in a dictionary to figure out what a word means. I'm having fun reading, but I'm also learning at the same time. I really like it when my children ask me (even my teenagers will ask me!) to read together with them.
     You may notice on the cover that my husband, Todd, illustrated the book. I think he did a fabulous job! His pictures are terrific! He may guest post on this blog every once in a while and if you have a question about illustrating, feel free to ask. I'll pass it along to him.
Let the adventure begin!


  1. This is a fun book for children and adults. And I love the skunk! Very funny, enjoyable, good illustrations. Question - what self-pub company/software did you use? I have a children's book in my closet and have wondered about self-pubbing.

    1. Todd sent the file to the printer press-ready in PDF format (because he's a graphic designer). The program he used to make the book file is InDesign. It's a professional layout program and a lot of printing places use it now. The drawings were completed in Photoshop. Some of them were hand-inked on Bristol Board paper, then scanned, and then he "colored" them, but some were drawn straight onto the computer using a Wacom tablet.
      The book is published through CreateSpace, which is an Amazon company. The book is available on Amazon - where it will reach a wider audience - but customers can also purchase directly from CreateSpace.
      I love the skunk too! That's one of my favorite illustrations. When I wrote the story, I wrote what I wanted for each illustration. I don't know if that's how children's books are normally written, but I knew that the illustrations would play a major roll in telling the story. Todd took my suggestions and added his own creative genius to them. *SPOILER ALERT* I also love the sticky note on the cat and the shoe pile. *grin*