Tuesday, April 12, 2022

"Mighty Wings" on Educational Podcast & Stars with Radio Personality!


We are working daily to bring visibility to our Monarch butterfly conservation project and picture book, "Mighty Wings." It is thrilling to have had some recent media coverage! 

I was interviewed by Vanessa Levin on her educational podcast through her platform at Pre-K Pages, Elevating Early Childhood.  

Vanessa Levin's Podcast: Elevating Early Childhood 

Vanessa is such a gracious host. Even MORE than that? She did her homework regarding our picture book and found NUMEROUS Early Learning Standards that align directly with our book. Talk about teaching to the test! 

[Note-to-self. Take a deep breath and slow down. I may have been just a smidge excited during this conversation.] 

And if that isn't enough information on the background of the book, here's a radio personality interview with a local celebrity right here in Vero Beach! RHETT PALMER! 

He seriously kept me on my toes! Here's the studio set-up at Vero's Voice! Talk about impromptu. Click here to listen to that non-stop fun! 

Our book is making progress on gaining visibility at McKee Botanical Garden. The giftshop manager, Michelle has gone to great lengths to help us make a BIG first impression. Look at this display. 

Why yes. That is quite-a-few Monarch butterfly magnets encircling our "Mighty Wings." 

At this point "Mighty Wings" is still only available directly on my website. I will sign and date each copy that we ship out. There's a spot on the site for you to request that I personalize your book -- which is certainly the highlight of my day! 

Let me tell you! Here's the evidence that it is literally jaw-dropping! Take a look at the expression of this three year old as he reacts to the end pages. 

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Author-Illustrator Wearable Art Ensemble for Picture Book "Mighty Wings"

 "Begin with the end in mind."

Our new book is born! "Mighty Wings" flies. Our goal from the beginning was to create a scientifically accurate, nonfiction, STEAM extravaganza resource on metamorphosis that could contribute to the conservation of the Monarch butterfly. BOOM!

So here I am yesterday. At McKee Botanical Garden in Vero Beach where I had a 2:30 appointment with Michelle-the-Manager of the gift shop and Amy the coordinator of children's programming. They like it! They like it! Immediately Michelle bought 12 copies outright to go into the gift shop! 

Amy has scheduled me to make my first guest appearance on Wednesday, February 23rd at 11:00. In less than 3 weeks now!!! I will perform "Mighty Wings"  as part of their music series for young children. I will be wearing my author-ensemble that is still under construction as I type. You can see the stage that it was yesterday. Yesterday morning I added the sleeves. 

I want this article to document the progression of my author outfit and allow my mom to see the metamorphosis of this ensemble! She's proud of me. She's proud of us. I started painting the Monarch while I was visiting my parents in Augusta last month. 

Phase one was complete! 

This all got started with a $5 cotton shirt I bought while we were in Key West at the end of last year. I wasn't even able to try it on, but for five dollars I figured it would fit someone. 

I asked FB folks if they thought I should leave it alone or continue on. I bet 85% suggested leaving it as a simple, elegant, sophisticated dress and let the book be the focal point and speak for itself.

But our books hadn't been delivered and I had time on my hands and I started looking through my various little drawers of 'goodies.' Then I got excited!!! I found these little 'crocheted' buttons from a by-gone era. 

It was off-to-the-races! LUPINES! Build blooming button LUPINES! 

And once I got started? I just kept opening drawers and I found fabric yo-yos and buttons and gears left over from the book and and and and I just kept going: 

I got the two different trims added to the hemline -- 

and I just kept going and going and going..... I painted wooden disc circles to represent the caterpillar crawling along: 

and then I hand painted some milkweed: 
and the milkweed blooms were created from pink seed beads gathered together on thread. 

Add the milkweed flowers to the painted milkweed blooms, continue adding the word 'hope' wherever possible, a few more yo-yo's and VOILA: an author/illustrator ensemble! 

Next came the sleeves! 
I cut off the bottom of a dancing dress.

Then the sleeves seemed a little dark,
so I painted in the spots along the egde.

Take a look at how our display has grown, over at McKee Botantical Garden. 

Order your copy of "Mighty Wings: 
on our website: 

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

"Mighty Wings" Kickstarter Crowdfunding my New Picture Book


A NEW Picture Book is Being Launched! OURS! 

Creating a new book has more than once been compared to giving birth. In my case this book pregnancy is more nearly similar to the pregnancy of a donkey -- because all said and done it will have taken 14 months from inception-to-books-in- hands. (Yes. I googled that factoid.) 

My daughter is the co-author. Her name is on the cover and truth be told, the whole thing was her idea and will exist because of her insistence. Yes. She was a donkey with unrelenting urgency to create this resource: an engaging and scientifically accurate book intent on contributing to the conservation of the endangered Monarch butterfly. 

There she is: daughter Sarah Joy, surrounded by her Monarchs! 

The making of our book, "Mighty Wings" is a unique daughter/mother combination of effort, energy, talent, commitment and study. What began as a hobby in the uncertain days of the beginning of the pandemic, has evolved into a determination to make a difference -- in our own backyards and beyond! 

It took approximately 9 months for me to create the 'mixed-media' illustrations for our 32 page, traditional format, hard-back, glossy paged book. Those illustrations are a 'whimsical' combination of hundreds of Sarah and my photographs of our Monarch caterpillars, chrysalis, and mature Monarch butterflies -- as well as plenty of Milkweed in bloom photos. 

This is what a kitchen island of illustrations looks like!

PROGRESS!!! That's our little summer haven-home and the art taking over as summer progressed. 

The pandemic has had a unique impact on every small business and every family. In my situation, all of my speaking engagements at educational conferences and author visits to schools were cancelled. 

No speaking = no income. 

We are creating a 32 page book and we need YOUR help! 

We are using Kickstarter as a crowdfunding site. By PREordering and PREpurchasing your copy(s) of "Mighty Wings" you are underwriting the cost of printing the first edition of the book! $6000 = 1000 books. 

We are in that stage of transformation where we need patience, but the struggle is primarily behind us. 

As I type, we have had 105 people step up to support us. 

Our early backers at Kickstarter have pledged by leaving their credit card number -- with the understanding that I'm on an ALL-or-NOTHING campaign. We need to raise all $6000 to print the first edition. As I type that 80% amount pledged is $4841. WHOOHOOO the finish line is at hand.

The first responses to our work have been amazing! 

We wanted a scientifically ACCURATE resource. That has been our goal from the beginning. Dr. Karen reviewed our lyrics before I ever went to the recording studio. She tweaked one verse to fine-tune the science. So we are approved with her two thumbs up!

Ready to jump right in at Kickstarter?

I went to college with Dr. Jeff and it was fun to have him see the project as it was unfolding and to receive his insight and blessing above. Our third scientist review is from THE Ohio State University! See what Dr. Joe has to add below. 

And no book of mine would be complete without the thoughts of my mentor, Mimi-the-Queen-of-Fun Chenfeld. It means so much to me that at 86 years of age, she gets to be involved in this project as well. 

Add our four quotes to the back cover and combine it to the front cover and all ya need is a spine with our names. 

It is so exciting to see it all coming together. But we still need your help at Kickstarter to cross the finish line. 

Let me jump ahead in the saga of bringing this Monarch coservation resource to life. We now, ALREADY have a professionally, genius crafted video version of the first third of the book created, uploaded and being viewed on YouTube. 

I give you 'Caterpillar Rap' with all the bells and whistles! 

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
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