November 28, 2023

The Gratitude Part of the Writing Life

One of my longtime critique partners, Sara T. Behrman, is currently preparing for the April 2024 launch of her debut picture book, THE SEA HIDES A SEAHORSE, a beautiful, poetic, and information-rich story brilliantly illustrated by Melanie Mikecz, and published by The Collective Book Studio. ( can pre-order Sara's book now, and watch this space for an author interview as the pub date draws near!) 

Dawn Arriving at School Author Visit
Over the past several weeks and months, Sara has asked me a few questions related to my past book launch experiences, and I've done my best to respond to each question with meaningful information. Sara has been very appreciative of my willingness to share my time and insights, and I've been sincere when I've said it's my pleasure to support the launch of her new book, just as she and countless others have enthusiastically supported my own. 

It seems like a good time to take pause and share how grateful I am for the folks who have given my work a boost over the years. 

Thank you, each and every one of you! 

Some recent examples include:

*Being invited by author friends, such as Stephanie Shaw, to participate as a guest author at local schools alongside other author friends, such as Mark Fearing.

Authors Mark Fearing and Stephanie Shaw at School Author Visit

Poster in School Hallway Publicizing Upcoming Author Day 

*Being welcomed into my hometown indie bookstores such as Green Bean Books, Annie Blooms Books, and Powell's Books for book launch events, story times/book readingspanel discussions and writing workshops .

Dawn Dressed at a Pirate Leading a Pirate-y Story Time at Green Bean Books

Dawn in Front of Sign at Annie Blooms Books Announcing Panel Discussion

Dawn Teaching a Young Writers' Workshop at Powells' Books

*Being welcomed into my neighborhood library for book launch events (and to keep me supplied in books!). 

A Display Table with Dawn's Pirate and Cowgirl Books at the West Slope Library

*Having my work spotlighted as a Staff Pick by local booksellers at indie bookstores such as Powell's Books .

Dawn's Book, Lucy's Blooms, Featured as a Staff Pick at Powell's Books

Dawn's Cowgirl Book Featured as a Staff Pick at Powell's Books

*Being welcomed into indie bookstores when I travel, such as at Page1 Books in Santa Fe.

Dawn Holding her Pirate Book at Page1 Books in Santa Fe

*Having the opportunity to participate in events such as World Read Aloud Day, because of author Kate Messner's ongoing willingness to help teachers and librarians find authors (like me!) who are available to participate. 

Dawn Holding Her Books Pirate, Cowgirl, and Lucy's Blooms in Zoom Frame

*Being interviewed by fellow authors such as Robin Hall for Instagram Live Eventsfeatured as a guest on many other authors' blogs, and featured in / interviewed for various media publications.

Dawn Being Interviewed by Author Robin Hall on Instagram Live

*Collaborating with talented musicians such as Maiah Wynne, Annie Lynn, and Marshall Mitchell to create companion songs for my stories.  

Musician Maiah Wynne, Holding A Copy of Dawn's Book, Lucy's Blooms

Pirate Alex, One of the Featured Vocalists in the Companion Song to Dawn's Pirate Book

*Having my work championed and celebrated by dear friends and colleagues, such as author Stephanie Shaw and author and founder of Baby FingersLora Heller.

Author Stephanie Shaw Reading Dawn's Pirate and Cowgirl Books

Author Lora Heller Reading Dawn's Book, Lucy's Blooms

*Being invited as a guest author at special community events, such as the Treasure Hunt Adventure organized by Herringbone Books and Holiday Cheer hosted by the Oregon Historical Society.

Dawn's Books Displayed for Scavenger Hunt Event Hosted by Herringbone Books

Dawn Participating in Holiday Cheer, Hosted by The Oregon Historical Society

*Being included in book signing events with organizations such as Willamette Writers at special events such as The Portland Book Festival.

Dawn's Promo Image for a Book Signing at the Willamette Writers Booth at the Portland Book Festival

*Being nominated by my peers and honored by Literary Arts with the Walt Morey Young Readers Literary Legacy Award.

Dawn Holding Flowers and Smiling, Just Prior to Receiving the Walt Morey Award
(Photo Credit: Andie Petkus Photography for Literary Arts)

The list goes on and on. 

And then there all of "the little things" that so many different folks have done to support my work:

Showing up at book events and/or posting event details on social channels; Purchasing my books from indie bookstores; Requesting my books at local libraries; Gifting my books to young readers, teachers, literacy organizations; Writing kind notes and reviews; Offering helpful critiques; Laughing in all the right places; Making introductions to industry insiders such as agents, editors, and book sellers; Sharing pro tips. 

I'm sure I've forgotten something or someone important, but suffice it say, "the village" has really come through for me and my books.

All this said, what I'm most grateful for in my writing life is my readers. I was at a professional gathering a couple of weeks ago, and someone who owns one of my books told me that their child asks to have my book read to them again and again, night after night. That was music to my ears. Speaking of music, I've received videos from music teachers who have led their classes to make music to go along with my books. I've also received videos of children reading one of my books aloud, or repeating a phrase from one of my stories. And sometimes I receive photos of child holding one of my books, close. 

A Child Sitting on the Toilet and Holding Dawn's Pirate Book

Two Children Holding Copies of Dawn's Books

A Child Snuggled Into Bed Reading Dawn's Pirate Book

A Child Holding a Copy of Dawn's Book, Lucy's Blooms

Thank you, dear readers, for bringing my books into your homes, schools, and libraries. May you make many happy memories reading my books with the people you love.  

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