SNEAK PEEK: Diva Delores and the Opera House Mouse!

IMG_5684Ready for a sneak peek at what arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon? It’s an advance copy of my newest picture book DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE, delightfully illustrated by British artist Rebecca Gerlings and published by Sterling Children’s Publishing.

I’m experimenting with doing little video clips to celebrate its upcoming release (March 6th!). Here’s the first. If anyone can let me know how I can improve the resolution for the next one, I’d love that! Thank you and enjoy!



HAPPY NEW YEAR! Introducing Diva Delores and Fernando (the Opera House Mouse!)

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In just three months Diva Delores, the star of my next picture book, DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE (Sterling Children’s Books, March 6, 2018) will make her debut, as will her darling sidekick, Fernando.  And all of a sudden, last week, it hit me — what will they wear?  I mean a diva can’t  just wear any old thing to her debut. And neither can her companion.  They need to look special. They need to look dazzling.  They need to take your breath away.   I realized, I better get busy!!!

So, over the holidays, with the help of a couple of sweet elves (a special thanks to Dianne Herrick and Nancy Benz!), and inspired by Rebecca Gerlings wonderful illustrations, we got Diva Delores and Fernando all dressed up and ready to go. Since I plan on attending each and every book event and school visit as well, we pulled together a little something special for me too!

Ready for a sneak peek? Enjoy!


Both Delores and Fernando were extremely cooperative with the whole “glam” up process.  Here they are right before we got started, chilling out with the notions on Dianne’s sewing table.


Here I am sewing on Delores’ pearls.  She was a very patient seal and the pearls look “daahling”.


Delores was dee-lighted with Dianne’s superb sense of style in creating a dazzling headpiece. Fernando, meanwhile, was extremely patient, though he did manage to get into the cheese while Dianne was sewing the headpiece in place. (See below.)


With headpiece and pearls in place, it was time for me to drape and sew on Delores’ boa.  After all that work, she and I decided to take a little break and practice our cadenzas.


After a few more cheese and crackers, we were ready to return and get Fernando dressed in a snappy blue jacket.  I’m still working on his spectacles.


And since I plan to attend Diva Delores’ many events as well, we thought it only proper that I have something dazzling to wear too.  A big thank you to Dianne for finding the shoes and to Nancy for providing the snazzy pink fascinator, not to mention the long black gloves and gaudy baubles.  The pearls were my mother’s.  See you at the opera!  =)

COVER REVEAL: Diva Delores and the Opera House Mouse (Sterling, Spring 2018)

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Today I’m delighted to share with you the cover for my next book, DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE (Sterling Children’s Books, Spring 2018), which is scheduled to hit bookstores everywhere this coming March.  Illustrator Rebecca Gerlings has a gift for whimsy and I LOVE her depiction of Delores and Fernando, the mouse.  I’ve seen the inside too and each and every illustration makes me want to sing!  (But, don’t worry, I’ll refrain from letting loose my vibratto.) Instead, I’ll just say, “Thank you, Sterling Children’s Books, for pairing us together and thank you, Rebecca, for bringing this story to delightful life with your illustrations.”

This book is now available for pre-order at several online retailers, should you happen to want to reserve a copy.



I thought it would be fun to kick off fall with a GIVEAWAY!!! That’s right, to celebrate the release of GOODNIGHT, MANGER, the board book edition, Zonderkidz is offering FIVE copies of the new edition in a Goodreads Giveaway!

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, it’s bedtime for baby Jesus. Mama, Papa, and all of the animals try to lull the baby to sleep, but between itchy hay, angels singing, and three kings bearing gifts, it’s too noisy. Cuddle up as everyone works together to shepherd Baby into peaceful dreams.

Giveaway ends Tuesday, October 11th – which is the official release day!  Click here to get to the giveaway page.



IMG_3054Look what landed my porch this afternoon. It’s an advance copy of the BOARD BOOK edition of GOODNIGHT, MANGER!  With sturdy pages and a padded cover, it’s perfect for littlest readers who want to turn the pages themselves. It’s a good size too – bigger than most of the board books I read my kids when they were little. Perfect for showing off all the wonderful details in Jane’s illustrations. It still has the full text too! In fact, there is only one difference… a new window!  And every stable benefits from a new window, don’t you think?

The release date for GOODNIGHT, MANGER (board book edition) is October 11, 2016. It’s available for pre-order now at your favorite store.

COMING THIS FALL: Goodnight, Manger BOARD BOOK Edition!

9780310755715.jpg_3Look what’s making its first appearance at various online bookstores including Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Christian Books and more! It’s the BOARD BOOK edition of GOODNIGHT, MANGER!  The release date for this new edition is October 11, 2016. It’s available for pre-order at some on-line stores already.

With sturdy pages and a padded cover, it’s terrific for littlest readers who want to turn the pages themselves. It’s a good size too – perfect for showing off all the wonderful details in Jane’s illustrations. And like GOODNIGHT, ARK, it still has the full text.  In fact, other than the fact that it’s a board book, there’s only one difference between this edition and the original. (Hint: It has to do with the cover.) Can you figure out what it is without peeking?

Happy reading!


AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: An Interview with Becky Kopitzke, Author of “The SuperMom Myth” (and a GIVEAWAY!)

2015-Headshot-1Today I have author Becky Kopitzke as my guest. For several years now I’ve been blessed by Becky’s weekly musings on Christian faith and motherhood which can be found on her popular blog Timeout with Becky Koptizke. Written to encourage “imperfect moms to follow a grace-filled God”, Becky’s blog posts offer weary mothers a dose of faith-based hope and humor that will brighten any day.  And now, Becky has published a book!  Grounded in scripture and filled with the same delightful humor as her blog, Becky’s debut The SuperMom Myth: Conquering the Dirty Villains of Motherhood (Shiloh Run Press, 2015) is a fun read that will help moms let go of the pressure to be perfect and instead let God work in and through them as they journey through the challenges and joys of motherhood.

Now for the interview. Let’s get started.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to write The SuperMom Myth.

You know the old adage, “write what you know”? That’s me for sure. I’m a mom just like my readers. I pack lunches, read stories, mediate sibling squabbles, and chauffeur my kiddos to school and chess club and karate. My daughters are ages 8 and 5, so I’m still in the trenches, figuring out how to be the best mom I can be day by day. And I mess up all the time.

As a devotional blogger, I discovered many women could relate to the struggles I write about—and time and again, they thanked me for being transparent. So many of us moms assume other women have it all together, and that something must be wrong with us for feeling drained or frustrated with motherhood. Yet if we’re honest with one another, we’ll realize we’re all experiencing similar challenges. Yes, parenting is beautiful and fulfilling. But it’s also downright maddening sometimes. So I wrote The SuperMom Myth to (1) help women realize they are not alone or crazy, and (2) to help them reclaim the joy of motherhood, which often gets muddied by our daily frustrations.


2. In The SuperMom Myth you humorously and engagingly depict eight of the struggles moms face to be “supermoms” by personifying them as eight “villains” of motherhood. What inspired you to use this strategy?  Which “villain” most resonates with you? 

Well, Laura, I have to admit, the villains are based on a true story. ☺ I have been every single one of those nasty hags! Early on in motherhood, I struggled particularly with impatience. On occasion, I’m not proud to admit, I’d throw a good old mommy tantrum—and I remember feeling like I had transformed into a really bad version of myself, almost as though I could step outside of my normal self to see the “bad mom” misbehaving in my place. So the concept of “villains” or alter-egos made sense to me, and it turned out to be something many other moms could relate to. We know we shouldn’t yell, worry, compare, and so on, and yet we do it time and again. The “villain” concept allows readers to look at themselves outside of themselves, which allows them to laugh at themselves—which helps soften the blow of the conviction.

If I had to choose just one villain that resonates with me most, it’s probably Martyr Mom. Grouch on the Couch is a really close second. I’ve learned the hard way that sacrificing my own well-being, supposedly for the sake of my family, only makes me a grouchy wife and mom. I’m so much better at loving my husband and children when I remember to love myself, too. 

3. What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?

Finding babysitters! Ha! Truthfully, I loved every minute of writing this book. That is not an exaggeration. I’ve heard other writers talk about what a painful birthing process their book writing experience was, but for me it was life-giving. I do, however, have a family who needs me, and they are my top priority. I wrote the majority of The SuperMom Myth in a four-month span, from January through April, with a preschooler still at home most of the week. So my challenge was balancing writing time with family needs. We were blessed to have a wonderful babysitter join us a couple Fridays a month, then my husband took over with the girls a couple Saturdays per month, and somehow by the grace of God I cranked out the book by its deadline. 

4. What is your greatest desire for moms who read this book?  What other resources are available for extending the reading? 

There is no such thing as SuperMom, so it’s time we stop wearing ourselves out trying to achieve a false standard. My greatest desire is for women to embrace their imperfections, drop the mom guilt, rediscover the joy of ordinary family life, and take God up on his offer to give us power and strength to be the moms He designed us to be. 

The book contains a resource section including discussion questions for small groups or personal reflection (ten questions per chapter) as well as an application task so readers can bring the lessons to life in their own home. I also provide a list of key memory verses and simple one-liner prayers to start your day off right. 

If a group is reading this book together for a book club, moms’ group or Bible study, I welcome invitations to chat via Skype. I love connecting in real life with readers and fellow moms!

5. Now that the book is out, you must be busier than ever! What has surprised you most about the post-publication stage?

I suspected the book launch / marketing and PR stage would be intensive, but I don’t think I really understood how writing the book is only half the job. Lucky for me I enjoy marketing, but I can’t imagine the pressure of promoting a book if you’re not interested in social media, radio interviews, speaking engagements, and the list goes on. 

My publisher blessed me with a wonderful publicist, Jeane Wynn from Wynn-Wynn Media, and she has made this “second phase” of book publication a true delight. At heart I’m an introvert; my desk is my happy place. But I’m growing increasingly comfortable with the promotional challenges, thanks in large part to Jeane’s wisdom and support. If I get the chance to write another book, I will definitely enter the process with my eyes wide open. 

6. What’s next? Do you have any more “villains” that are waiting to be tackled? A sequel, perhaps? 

Hmmm . . . stay tuned! ☺

7. Finally, how can readers connect with you or learn more about your blog and book?

I love to hear from readers! Join me on my blog site,, where you can read my weekly devotions, subscribe to my monthly newsletter, and connect with me on all my social media channels including Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. 

In addition, I’ve created a special webpage dedicated to everything The SuperMom Myth. Visit to find a trailer video, a “meet the author” video (in which I prove once and for all what a total dork I am), endorsements, and information on where to buy the book, including direct links to various retailers. 

I truly hope The SuperMom Myth blesses every single woman who reads it. Thanks so much for having me on your site today, Laura!

And now for the GIVEAWAY!!!!! If you’d like a chance to win a FREE copy of THE SUPERMOM MYTH: CONQUERING THE DIRTY VILLAINS OF MOTHERHOOD, written by Becky Kopitzke and published by Shiloh Run Press (2015), simply post a comment below. (NOTE: Must be U.S. resident at least 18 years old to enter.) The contest ends Thursday, 1/29/2016 at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be announced on Friday!


IMG_2698Please join me over at Christine Henderson’s The Write Chris – On Writing for a Christmas-themed interview.  Learn a little bit more about what inspired me to write GOODNIGHT, MANGER and find out what some of my family’s favorite Christmas traditions are. Thanks for having me, Chris!  (And this is your last chance for a giveaway, so be sure to head on over.)


IMG_2699Please join me today at Amy Hill Hearth’s Author Page.  She is such a gifted writer and interviewer. I think you will LOVE her insightful questions about GOODNIGHT, MANGER. She certainly got me thinking, and I hope my answers reflect that.  Thank you, Amy!


Join me today at Nancy I. Sanders’ BlogZone for an interview about writing and more.  Thank you, Nancy, for having me!