Reading, Writing


I thought it would be fun to kick off the new year with a countdown-style look back at my top five blog posts published in 2022. But first some fun facts. In 2022, my website had close to 14,000 views and over 7,600 visitors. Most of these were from the United States followed by Canada, the UK and Australia. I posted a total of 116 posts which was up 18 from the year before, and my yearly record so far. Posts topics included author interviews, writerly reflections, life lessons, tips and more. And now, without further ado, the top five!

#5 MONDAY REFLECTIONS: THOUGHTS ON RETIRING A BELOVED BANNER After 10 years, and because I knew I needed to update my website, I made the sentimentally difficult decision to retire the banner my mother created when I launched the blog in 2012 -difficult because she passed away in 2013 and she was an inspiration to me. Thank you to all who took the time to read this heart-felt post. I also figured out a way to keep the banner in a special spot here on the website. Can you spot it? (Hint: Check the footer.)

#4 FUN NEWS: TWO BOOK DEAL This post clicked in at #4 and I’m so grateful for all of you who helped celebrate with me how a one-book pitch turned into a two-book deal! Both projects release in 2023. Can you guess what they are?

#3 SISTER MICHELE AND THE CANDLE: A SPECIAL CHRISTMAS COUNTING MEMORY If you have followed my writing journey at all, you know that most of my books have in some way been inspired by my childhood or my children’s childhoods. Thank you for reading this one about my third grade teacher and a special Christmas tradition she introduced me to. This post had lots of traffic and my prayer when I wrote it was that Sister Michelle would somehow see it. That prayer, I’m happy to report was answered! Even better, I may get to visit with her in person this summer. Wouldn’t that be neat?

#2 COVER REVEAL: ROSANNE L. KURSTEDT’S AND I THINK ABOUT YOU (PLUS AN INTERVIEW This post from May celebrated the upcoming release of my long-time critique partner and friend’s delightful new book celebrating the special bond between a working mama bear and her cub. I love how you all joined me in celebrating with her!

#1 THE DAY QUEEN ELIZABETH PASSED THROUGH CRANFORD: A SPECIAL MEMORY FROM 1957 Written just after Queen Elizabeth passed away (and upon learning that she rolled through Cranford on a train in 1957 and that my mother-in-law hoped she would stop in for tea), this post was a big hit! It struck with many of you and I loved all the comments and memories it sparked which many of you shared both here and on my social media feeds.

So there you have it! Thank you all for reading my blog. Now I have a favor to ask. What kinds of posts would you like to see in 2023? I’m all ears (and I have my pen ready.) Happy New Year! 


UNDER CONSTRUCTION!!!: Updated Website and Blog Coming Soon!

Just a heads up, that I’ll be taking a blog-cation as I put on my goggles (see above) and deep dive into giving this blog and website a brand new look – but with the same great content that I hope you have come to enjoy.

I’ll be popping on to my social media feeds daily for support and to stay in touch.

And in a week or two, I look forward to showing you around my new little space on the web.

Happy week all!

Etc., Picture Books

And the WINNER of LITTLE MOLE GOES TO SCHOOL is… (Plus a Fun Little Tease)

I’m delighted to announce that the winner of last week’s special giveaway,  a brand new copy of LITTLE MOLE GOES TO SCHOOL is…

Ellen R.!!

Congratulations!  Thank you, Beaming Books, for providing the winning copy. I will be in touch with you today so they can get the book to you.

Thank everyone who took the time to comment. Happy reading and writing, and arithmetic!

And now for the fun little tease. I have a new book coming out in February 2023 and I’m revealing the cover on Monday! Any guesses?


And the Winner of Amy Houts’ Newest Book is…

I’m delighted to announce that the winner of last week’s special giveaway,  a fresh off the press copy of Amy Houts’ newest release, CHRISTIAN Q & A BOOK FOR KIDS is…

… Lucy!

Congratulations! I will be in touch with you so we can get the book to you.

Thank everyone who took the time to comment. Happy reading and writing!

Extension Activity, Picture Books, Reading, Story Time

READ, DISCUSS, DO! Snack and a Story with LOVE IS KIND

I’m so excited to be a part of a fabulous reading initiative geared to families, librarians, teachers and anyone, really, who enjoys reading picture books with their kids.

Created by founder and picture book author Rebecca J. Gomez, Read, Discuss, Do! exists to help you extend the magic of story time beyond the last page by following three simple steps:

Read a book. 

Talk about the book. 

Do a simple activity inspired by the book.

And this summer we are launching our second annual summer reading challenge. Each week features a fun reading theme with suggested books and ideas for engaging with books in creative and kid-friendly ways. Jump in whenever! Download the printable calendar (plus bookmarks) here.

In the super fun category, this week’s theme is Tasty Treats and, as part of the fun, Rebecca has put together a delightful Snack and a Story post featuring LOVE IS KIND. Thank you, Rebecca!  Here’s the link so you can check it out.


And the winner of HERE WE COME! is…

I’m delighted to announce that the winner of this week’s special giveaway,  a fresh off the press copy of HERE WE COME! is…

… Tracey Y.

Congratulations! I will be in touch with you so we can get the book to you.

Thank everyone who took the time to comment and to Janna for providing the winning copy. Happy music making, all!

board books, Christmas

GOOD NEWS: New Christmas Board Book Deal!

I’ve been keeping this to myself for a little while, but the announcement ran in Publishers Marketplace last week so I think I can finally share.

I have a new book in the works… a Christmas counting board book for littlest ones!

Thank you, Paraclete Press , for acquiring Happy Birthday, Christmas Child. I can’t wait for little ones and their families to join Mary and Joseph as they count their way to one very special birthday.  You won’t have to wait long. The book releases Fall 2022!

Life, Reading

SPREADING BOOK LOVE: A Gift Book for Wilbur

Before we got a dog, an early morning walk was basically a solitary affair. But when our pooch, Sophie, arrived everything changed. Soon I was meeting all the dog-owners in the neighborhood and learning all the dogs names. There’s Poncho, Archie, Munchkin and Rocco; Maverick, Hazel, Todd, and Trixie; Luna, Delilah, Max, Stella, and … Wilbur.  

Wilbur is a friendly boxer and Sophie and I often stop to say hello to him and his owner on our morning strolls. One morning, while Wilbur and Sophie were greeting each other, I asked his owner, a nice retired fellow, if Wilbur was named after the famous pig from Charlotte’s Web

To my astonishment, he had never heard of the book! I think I may have gasped, but then I gushed about what a terrific read it was and how it was the story of a special friendship between a spider named Charlotte and a pig named Wilbur. I explained that had been one of my childhood favorites and how my kids had loved it too.  And I assured him, that just like his own Wilbur, he would most assuredly love Charlotte’s Wilbur and that he should read it if he had the chance. And that was that.

Then a couple of weeks ago I was visiting my dad. We were thinning some bookshelves, and what should I find but an extra copy of Charlotte’s Web! And that gave me and Sophie an idea. We would surprise Wilber (and his owner) with a little gift.

First, Sophie, wrote a note:

Then we wrapped the book and note in tissue paper and placed it in a bright pink gift bag so they’d be sure to see it. Finally, we tiptoed up to their front door and dropped it off:

We haven’t seen them since, but when we walked by later in the afternoon, the bag was gone.  Maybe we’ll see them today and then I will pop back and let you know if they liked it. One thing I do know, for sure — Sophie and I loved the joy of giving it!

Happy Monday, all!

Author Visit, Library, Story Time

COMMUNITY LOVE: Celebrating a Little Free Library DIVA style!

During the lockdown, when schools were remote and the library was only open for grab -’n – go, a family on Burchfield Avenue here in my hometown came up with a special plan to bring joy to their neighbors through books. They built and established a Little Free Library known as Suzanne’s Little Free Library. 

I first noticed this library on my walks last fall. What a lovely one it is, sturdily constructed by all members of the family and colorfully painted with some of their favorite children’s book characters. Aren’t Babar and Celeste joyfully rendered! And just look at that cedar shingled roof. Wow!

 Behind those inviting glass doors, throughout the pandemic, passers-by have been able to explore a thoughtfully curated selection of books for kids and grown ups alike. What a blessing it was during those long months — not just for me, but for the whole community —  to be able to open those Little Free Library doors and actually peruse and touch books!

Suzanne’s Little Free Library was actually one of the stops on Little Owl’s Kindness campaign, in which I left a copy of LOVE IS KIND in five area Little Free Libraries, if you remember that from last fall.

Imagine my delight, then, to discover through Instagram, that Suzanne and her family were planning a One Year Birthday Celebration for their library. What a darling idea! Taking a leap, I messaged Suzanne to see if she’d be interested in having a local author (me) be part of the fun with a special story time. She said yes, and I’m so glad she did.

The party was amazing with coloring pages and crafts for the kids and creative book-themed snacks like these delicious book worms. And there were books, of course. Oodles of books.

The attendees were friendly and book-loving. I loved every part of the party – from chatting to snacking to story time.

Of all my picture book characters, Diva Delores is the one who most relishes a party, so I decided to read DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE for the story time. As you can see, Delores and I are very expressive when we read!  

I enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of this special afternoon. And what did Diva Delores most enjoy? She loved playing a starring role in helping an adorable three-year old attendee overcome his fear of stuffed animals.

Delores also enjoyed snapping this very glam picture of us donating a copy of the book to Suzanne’s Little Free Library. Thank you, Suzanne and team for having us! And thank you for being a shining example of community kindness and positivity.


And the winner of GOD’S ALWAYS LOVING YOU is…

I’m delighted to announce that the winner of this week’s special giveaway, a brand new signed copy of Janna Matthies’ new board book GOD’S ALWAYS LOVING YOU is…


Congratulations!  I will be in touch with you today so we can get the book to you.

And thank you to Janna for providing the winning copy.

Happy reading and writing, all!