I’m so excited about the official trailer for The Reluctant Owlet! It’s so cute and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy every time I see it. I hope you love it, too.
There’s a lot of controversy over e-readers when it comes to literacy practice. I lean on the side of prioritizing real books when teaching kids how to read. Here’s why:
I’m so excited. The Reluctant Owlet is finally here!
I’ve been working on this book for over a year. The story started to come to me in the summer of 2017, inspired by the owl family I was observing.
Little did I know, that was the easy part.
The artwork took me months to complete. I remember the endless hours I spent working on that, night after night. More yellow. More green. Does that look right?
After finishing all of that, I made a mock book to help me decide where the page breaks should go. I cut the manuscript into pieces, paragraph by paragraph. I cut up the artwork, next. Then I pasted each section of text onto an index card with the appropriate artwork. This process actually took quite a long time, as I debated over which pictures to use for each page.
And if that wasn’t hard enough…next came the formatting. The first stab I took at it went fairly well. But it ended up costing a lot of money and was ultimately useless for the distribution I had chosen.
So…I had to do it all over again. It took me back to October 2013 when I had to reformat Soulful Skincare over and over and over again, trying to get it right.
But finally, it worked! And even though my proof copy arrived on a day that was very emotionally difficult for me, holding that book in my hands was quite a moment for me. It made me so proud.
It still hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Indie publishing never is…and I’d venture that traditional publishing isn’t, either! But I did it. Like Vesper in the story, I faced the unknown and took a leap.
I hope you love this book and I hope it inspires your children to be brave and face their fears. I also hope it instills in them a love of nature, at least for this sweet owl family featured in the book.
What’s next? Stay tuned. I’m working on a few more videos about owls and literacy practices for children. And best of all, some author events here in Oregon!
I’ve finally got the date set for the release of The Reluctant Owlet.
January 3, 2019!
Wahoo! Celebrate! I’m so excited about this.
Why is this book so special to me?
1. I have wanted to write a children's book since I was a teenager. It only took 25ish years, but my dream finally came true!
2. This book is my way of sharing my passion for owls with the world.
3. The story is a fictionalized account of the owl family I observed during the summer of 2017. I created the artwork from actual photographs I took of those owls.
4. My little brother, Chance Martin, contributed the best photos in the whole book, making this a family project.
If you want a sneak peek, check out this video. You won’t believe who made a guest appearance at the end, by the way…
There are times in all our lives when things go dreadfully bad…and then a little worse…and sometimes, every now and then, even worse. After a certain age, even in the midst of the loss, we know our grieving will come to an end at some point and that we'll experience joy again. Love. Hope.
Sometimes, though, those rough patches are followed directly by a dry spell. Sometimes a really, really long one. It's as if the universe has hit the pause button on our lives. We're starting to feel ourselves emerge from the shroud of grief, but nothing is happening. We interview for new jobs, flirt with new people, move to a new home, double our efforts to make our dreams come true… And still, nothing happens. We look ahead and see a desert staring back at us. Barren. Endless.
We might start to lose hope.
I struggle with this from time to time. I feel like I've been on a hamster wheel for 2 years now, running faster and faster, trying to get somewhere yet remaining in the same place. I even have nightmares about this sometimes, that I'm trying desperately to run, but my legs somehow just won't fall into rhythm and I can' t move forward.
I suspect many of us feel this way - often, perhaps. There is a dream on the periphery of our current circumstances, one that seems so close, we could literally reach out and pluck it, as if it were an apple in the Garden of Eden. Yet, somehow, we can't quite reach it.
I wanted to write a story that would be a balm for this feeling of frustration, for this "just out of reach-ness." I wanted to write a story that would help us remember hope again, especially when we are in the depths of our grief.
The Fox at the Door will be available for pre-order this Friday, Februrary 2nd, a very special day that was once celebrated by my ancestors as the day the earth began to wake up from its long winter nap. The day crocuses begin to push up through the snow. The time of year when the sheep begin to give birth. It's a time of inspiration and…hope.
The book won't be available in its current form on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. It'll only be available on my website. I'll be signing every copy of this limited first print run, packaging each one with my own two hands, and sending them out to you. I want this to be an intimate experience between writer and reader. I want you to feel like I'm personally handing this story to you, gifting you with beauty and hope.
It's a bit of a risk to do this. There's little profit in it. (Not that I have ever written with profit as my goal - though I have hope that one day, my writing will, indeed, bring in an energetic exchange that will allow me to continue my work.) The books are expensive to print in full color, and becoming the "distribution center," so to speak, adds a lot of time and labor to the process.
But I feel that we're at a time when this needs to happen. There's always a place in the world for e-books and mass market paperbacks, always a place for Amazons and B&Ns. BUT…I think we need to keep a balance and remember to support our small bookstores and our indie authors. I think we need to remember to support the "little guys" who cultivate community, who respect the art of storytelling, and who make space for the bards of our modern world.
I believe that relationship goes both ways - we authors need to cultivate it, too, by offering special projects (Wild Talewort comes to mind) to our readers and being willing to shorten the distance between us.
That's one of my intentions for the year - to reach out to all of you readers and see what happens when we step into the same circle. Hopefully, this will also allow for some events, as well, where we can meet in person. (Stay tuned!)
In the meantime, be sure to check out the website on Friday and order your copy!
I wrote the first version of this book when I was 20. In the middle of the book, the protagonist's sister, Mary, died. After I completed the book, I realized that the whole story SHOULD have been about Mary in the first place.
I rewrote the entire book when I was about 23, setting it in the 1960's. Three years of writing and research only to realize: The characters did not belong in the 60's.
After returning home from a year-long artistic binge in Santa Fe, NM, I rewrote the entire book AGAIN. I finished this version of the book in June 2002. I tried to publish it, but soon became frustrated with the plot and characters. Into hibernation it went.
In the years that followed, I attempted to rewrite the entire book again and again. But I kept coming back to the third version - there was some good stuff in there that I didn't want to lose. Frustration. More hibernation.
I heard about the Amazon Breakout Novel Contest in January of this year and suddenly I had no more excuses: Sit on the novel forever, or let Mary tell her story. I spent almost a month editing the manuscript, sometimes for 10+ hours a day. And...I didn't even make it past the first round of cuts!
So I decided to just put it out there, contest or not. Seventeen years later, the proof arrived in the mail and though I'm still annoyed with the book's imperfections (a.k.a. my shortcomings as a writer), seeing this story in book form is the achievement of one of my greatest dreams in life.
This is for Mary, who has been my imaginary companion for almost two decades and who will probably always be somewhere, in the corners of my mind!