SQUEAL! Halloween in July!


What if I fail?” “Oh but my darling, what if you fly?” Erin Hanson

SQUEAL! My book, Halloween Night, is on its way in hard copy, final proof, BOOK form. This has been an amazing journey not without plenty of doubts along the way. You know, the kind, fueled by fear? I think most women, maybe all people, experience those feelings at one time or another, and sometimes those feelings keep us from doing things that would be amazing. So this is my confession of learning to tune out the ego side of my brain and have enough faith in myself, to keep going over each hurdle along the way, just keep going.

Tell your story: Yes, tell your story. Show your example. Tell everyone it’s possible, and others shall feel the courage, to climb their own mountains” Paulo Coelho

This project started eight years ago. I designed and created a Halloween wall quilt, wrote a manuscript, revised, revised, and revised some more, submitted my manuscript to publishing houses; rejections, rejections, rejections. Self doubt? Heck yea! But the encouraging handwritten notes on those rejections lit the spark.

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. Alexander Graham Bell

I kept thinking about ‘those people’, you know the ones who enter a new field and don’t play by the established norms. They just go for it because nobody told them the way they were ‘supposed to do things’. Maybe I needed to be one of them. I decided to create and package the companion quilt pattern separately. I kept the teacher resources at the back of the manuscript; lesson ideas in math, language arts, and art that would extend learning after a shared reading of the book. I created a mock up of my future book and enlisted the help of fellow teachers to read it in their class and try out the lesson ideas. It was a hit. Again the next year we used the book with more great results. At this point I knew it had appealed to Kindergarten, Third and Fourth grade students and teachers. My passion for seeing this book published grew. Hmmm, that self-publishing thing…that just might be the way to go. I might be one of‘those people’ after all. I believed in my book, my hesitation was one of not having the validity I believed you acquire from going the traditional publishing house route. I had spent years as a teacher reading hundreds and hundreds of picture books. Now as a home childcare provider I read hundreds a week. I know books and I know kids. I am surprised at some of the books that do make it to publication. Maybe that publishing house validity isn’t all I thought it was.

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” Joseph Clinton Pearce

I pulled my mock up book off the shelf. The oldest child in my home group noticed it in my hands and asked what it was. I gave a casual answer something to the effect “oh, its just this Halloween book I wrote a few years ago.” This was in January mind you. Of course he asked if we could read it; we sat down and the other children came running to listen. When we got to the end there was a chorus of “again” so we read it a second time, and a third, and a fourth. Here was my answer in the form of small but experienced preschool picture book critics. Self-publishing was in my future!

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Milton Berle

The road from that day to now has been long and full of work, but also very exciting and rewarding. I created mixed media illustrations on canvas. With manuscript and illustrations in hand I then learned it takes many hands coordinated into one effort to get a manuscript produced as a book. I have learned so much, sometimes by research and sometimes by trial and error. But it’s happening! In August my manuscript will be a published book! I am on top of the world from the experience of seeing this project through to the end. Achieving a dream that I’ve had since I was an elementary school student myself. It feels amazing. Believing in yourself, ignoring your ego brain, and following your passion really pays off!

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman

I’ve packaged the companion quilt pattern, ready for sale. I have signed and numbered prints available from my mixed media illustrations in the book. I’m planning marketing strategies and book readings/signings and a book launch party! I have a new tab on my website for Books ~ yes there will be more! I can’t say it enough times…this is SO EXCITING! Go climb your mountain ~ you won’t regret it!

Living the dream isn’t about amassing wealth or going on fancy trips – its about sharing what’s alive in your heart with the world.” Molly Hahn

Light, Love, Laughter,

Shannon

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