"Where there are no swamps there are no frogs." - German Proverb

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


The first video is My Name, Lakota - a little about myself.
Permission to use photos by Jim & Jamie Dutcher.

This next video is about the protagonist in my children's book (manuscript).

This video is the actual pitch - what the story is all about!!!
Email for list of photo sources.

The lovable buggers who made the story possible!  Hope they don't mind I've included their photos.

I love the illustrations and stories by Chris Van Allsburg - JumanjiThe Polar Express, and The Garden of Abdul Gasazi.  Beautiful examples of what I'm striving towards achieving.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Meet the Characters (Endangered Animals)

A little about how this story came to be... 
Years ago my nephew, Max, gave me a stuffed animal (a poison dart frog) that I named after him, using his middle name, Faust. Leap forward to Christmastime, 2007 when I was broke. With no money for presents, I decided to write a story using ALL of the kids names' in my family.  Family - this includes my brother, sister, step-brother and step-sisters children. There are 22! This number reflects not only divorces and marriages, but at least four pets. Faust became the protagonist in this story, and his adventure to deliver his urgent message to the Green Cat of Bangladesh unfurled. 
Christmas Eve 2007, I read the story aloud to my family! Each child beamed when their name was mentioned and they were thrilled by Faust's escapades. Afterwards (and, for a few years following) they plead with me to publish the book. This year I placed that goal at the top of my priority list. With that being said, there was a lot of work to be done. I decided to edit the story, to make it more educational. In addition, every animal would be critically endangered, and facts concerning each would be strung together with some nonsense and rhyme. During my research I discovered animals I had never heard of - such as the Saola (see below). My writing Faust's Big Day - In Every Way! was equally exciting for me as Faust's adventure was for him. 
Here are photos of a few of the characters. They will eventually be vibrant illustrations.  Those characters not mentioned are reserved for the element of surprise.

Desi, the Pink Headed Duck

There have been reports of sightings of the Pink Headed Duck but nothing conclusive since the 1950's.  They are listed as critically endangered but feared to be be extinct.  Read a one page sample about Desi, the Pink Headed Duck.

Image from Kumar, et.al., Handbook on Indian Wetland Birds and Their Conservation, 2005.

Pitchapalooza Event (winner)

Pitchapalooza! (pic w/founders)

I went to Pitchapalooza at Northshire Bookstore (my favorite bookstore in the world) simply in hopes of being selected to pitch my children's book for a timed, one minute - no longer - in order to receive feedback from the panel: Pam Art, Arielle Eckstut, David Henry Sterry, and Jessica Wood. I cannot tell you how surprised I was when they announced that I had won! I was stunned! It completely slipped my mind - it's being a competition.  I whispered to the person seated next to me, "What did I win?"  Her reply, "They're going to put you in touch with a publisher or an agent geared towards your book."  Seriously?  Fantastic!  Fingers are crossed that the door that has finally cracked ajar (after several years of knocking, pounding, persisting), will swing wide open and invite more opportunistic adventures. 

Pitchapalooza is a wonderful event! It was incredibly exciting and refreshing to hear people's ideas accompanied by such encouraging feedback from the panel. I truly look forward to seeing several books pitched that day lining the shelves at Northshire Bookstore and other stores as well.  And, if good fortune bestows it's light once more, perhaps I'll be included.

Thank you panelists.  Thank you Northshire.  Thank you fellow writers.  Cheers to the future!