Updated: Jan 10
December winds are blowing not gently at all as November fades memories linger of the Rochester Writers Book Fair held at the Rochester Library.
I had the pleasure of meeting many of the twenty Michigan authors in attendance. We talked about their books and their writing journey, and publishing avenues, and we seriously connected with new friends.
I loved hearing their stories and finding the similarities in my author journey with "My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere with Me" with these Michigan authors. I am often asked why I wrote a book illustrating sign language when I'm not and my family is not deaf.
The beginning of my story - I wanted to write for children. Out of the blue, I was struck with a passion for sign language. When I surrendered to learning the language, I also learned about the heart of the matter.
Children matter to me. The mistreatment of them for any reason moves me. When I volunteered to teach ASL to elementary students, I always began with the story of Alice Cogswell, a deaf girl around nine years old, in 1814. Well, the classroom grew quiet. Every child listened intently, thinking about how it would be to experience life alone and lonely, not even knowing your name. That was a rich season for the students and me.
I believe in children and the gifts every one of them holds. I discovered ASL has seemingly magical powers for children. Mrs. Witte, a second-grade teacher, and I witnessed its powerful impact on children giving them an "I can" attitude. Since I have learned ASL is an untapped resource with limitless potential for all people, just waiting to be discovered.
Enough about my story. It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to:
Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw authors picture books about true stories. I met Suzanne last December at the Ann Arbor Christmas Festival. Suzanne is the events coordinator for SCWBI Michigan. I loved getting out after the Covid scare to meet and greet book lovers and Michigan authors finally.
We had a fun day.
Suzanne’s first book, “I Campaigned for Ice Cream: A Boy's Quest for Ice Cream Trucks,” This book is a true story about her son. Who wanted ice cream trucks to come to his street? However, there was a law preventing them in their town. At nine years old, he rolled up his sleeves to change the law. I so agree with Suzanne about how important this campaign was. It shaped him to go after what is important to him in a civilized manner and make change happen. I love this blub about her book, “This sweet book is a tasty treat for young readers and a lesson that they too can make a difference in their communities.”
'Suzanne's newest book, “Mighty Mahi,” is also based on a true story about a sea turtle. Fishing lines and shiny things are not good for sea life. This story shares the turtles' healing journey after being tangled by fishing lines. The synopsis, “The staff names him Mahi, which means “mighty.” They help Mahi relearn to dive and eat with only three flippers. After two years, he finally heals completely and is released back into the ocean.” Meet Suzanne.
If you are not a member yet, I encourage you to join your local SCBWI chapter. They, provide so much for their authors. My book was quickly release November of 2020 in time for Christmas. It was great joy to hear from Christy Matthes the SCBWI Michigan Promotions Coordinator to be featured in SCBWI-MI Book Birthday Blog Celebrating Book Birthday Blog! Charlie Barshaw coordinates the quarterly Writer Spotlight features and interviews writers of SCBWI-MI. In January 2022 he brilliantly featured me with two other authors in the, Writer Spotlight: Three Members "Speak" Sign Language Writers Come to American Sign Language In Different Ways, But Find it Boosts their Communication Skills Visually.
Two teachers put their heads together and created a three-part teaching system, "The Expert Effect" They are so passionate about this proven system they want to share it with you creating a domino effect around the world. So they also created "The Expert Expedition," teaching children how to use the system. I can so appreciate the teamwork of this group, including the illustrator and teacher Suria Ali-Ahmed. While writing My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere with Me - Illustrated in American Sign Language book, my team members were on the east coast, in Florida, the Phillipians, Singapore, and India. Collaboration is so important in any project. How great to have your core team all in person in one place.
Learn more at Education Innovation.
Patricia Montemurri, author, journalist, writer, and editor. Patricia loves to research and write about the Catholic Church Historically. Arcadia Publishing Library Editions published her series. She covers the history of the Catholic Church in and around Michigan. She has four published books loaded with priceless images, stories, and interesting facts:
-Detroit Gesu Catholic Church and School
Connect with Patricia to see what is coming next!
\Baby & Solo by Lisabeth Posthuma, published by Candlewick Press and has been translated into several different languages. She writes about a time in Royal Oak, Michigan, around 1996. It was a delight to talk with Lisabeth and hear about her book-writing experience with a publisher who is actively promoting her book. Hearing good news and a happy author encouraged me in my journey. Her novel, not likely welcomed in the Catholic school, begins with the dark secrets of Joel, a seventeen-year-old teenager. Finding a job is a good thing, but hiding his secret, how long can that last?
Donovan M. Neal writes Christian Fantasy - This former pastor knows the Bible and the self-publishing road to success. Beginning with Genesis, Donavan imagined what in Heaven could cause Satan to think he could or even want to overthrow God, the creator of all things. Imagine his conversations with Michael with God. The most powerful of all beings. What would that look like, what was going on up there, and who would he convince to go with him straight from Heaven to hell? Donovan has a series of four books where the characters are not humans but angels. Visit Donavan at Torn Veil and see all the works he's written and what's coming.
Be captivated, be strong, and imagine the day Jesus returns. We talked about many things, along with the determination to write where your heart is leading you—being brave enough to take some criticism to exercise the freedom to deliver the passion beating within.
Kathy Kalmar has several series for the romantic in you, the Beach Series, Mountain Series, and Cape Cod Series. I enjoyed meeting Kathy, who happens to be a neighbor of mine living in Macomb County. We discovered so much we have in common. Our names are Kathleen, the promises we made to our moms about writing, both of whom were dying from lekiumea. She was also the principal in my hometown, Armada. If you enjoy romance, Kathy’s books are a must-read. You will love her style and her great sense of humor. In her series, she has 25 novels to delight you.
Natcole Staskiewicz, author of “Breaking Poverty,” is a timely book for Detroit and the world. Natcole shares her real-life experience with poverty and breaking free from it. You will discover how to eliminate obstacles and gain financial freedom on any salary. Natcole also loves to write for children with her picture books.
-Lacie's Moon: A Children's Story About Grief,
-Kindness IS My Thing
-Dear Child of Mine
You will love Nacole's down-to-earth reality and faith to move mountains. Connect with Natcole.