Ghost of Publishers Past

Just as cards saved through the years recall friends and family of holidays past, so, too, does this cute greeting remind me of the publisher who brought out my first book: Tricycle Press.

That picture book was Why Explore? and Tricycle released it 12 years ago.

Since then, I have discovered that no subsequent book, no matter how well received or even how well written, feels the same as holding Book # 1 in your hands for the very first time. The sensation of being a “published” author is sweet indeed after years of rejection letters.

Tricycle Press went on to publish two more of my picture books before a large publisher acquired its parent company, Ten Speed. That publishing house already had several children’s imprints so they discontinued publishing books under the Tricycle banner and disbanded the imprint’s staff.

It was sad to see them go, but I had a happy ending with my editor from Tricycle, Abigail Samoun. She moved on to cofound Red Fox Literary and took me on as a client, so we still work together.

But I will always remember fondly Tricycle Press where it all began with my first book in 2005. 


Christmas Eve Angel


On Christmas Eve I’d like to share with you this lovely angel from a card my friend Susan sent me in 1997. While I cannot look at a picture like this and name the era, I know that styles change and an angel drawn nearly two decades ago will probably be different than angels drawn today. So enjoy this winged beauty from the past and enjoy your Christmas tomorrow.

Merry Christmas


Photo Bombed

So my sister sent me the perfect Christmas card for Post Whistle. It has stamps. It has glitter (even if you can’t see it in this photo). It has postmarks. It even lists stamp denominations in pence for that British touch. Naturally, I posed the card in front of the tree for a picture.

Even more naturally, my cat strolled over to investigate.

He clawed the carpet a little to get comfortable…

He sniffed the card…

He knocked it over.

Home photo studios are a challenge.


Christmas Shopping


When did Christmas shopping become a chore to complain about or a campaign to begin strategizing around Thanksgiving? If only it could consist of a small (already decorated!) tree and a couple of baskets of dolls as in this delightful card from my friend, Andrea.

Maybe it’s because we feel we have to find gifts for a list of people for whom we’ve been buying gifts for decades, and we have simply run out of ideas. And because money usually IS an object, we can’t just blithely order gold-tipped fountain pens or Tiffany pendants. (Or maybe gift-buying would still be a problem if we could buy anything, because then our recipients would already have everything).

It seems so much easier when buying for children. Every stuffed animal is a wonder; every small whiz bang toy a delight. I remember one year when my daughter fell in love with a decorated gum ball a friend of mine gave her as a casual additional gift. She thought it the BEST THING EVER, far superior to most of her more expensive, and even requested, presents.

Let’s hope for a few inspired gum balls in the gifts we distribute this year and perhaps a flash of that wonder when we unwrap our own packages this holiday season. Remember, everyone out there is trying to be a good Santa’s helper.

I’ll leave you with this photo of my mom and her mom and a crazy big doll that I like to imagine was her favorite toy one holiday season.


                                      Carlyn & Selma

Two Bad Mice

Mice with marshmallowsTwo Bad Mice: that’s the name of the company that made this card sent a couple of years ago at Christmas by Christina. I briefly hosted Christina when she was a young exchange student in California. Originally from Germany, she now lives in Zurich. Luckily, this card traveled more safely through the postal system than the package she once sent me.

Christina wrote, “I’m sure you’ll know how to enjoy and please do not diet,” as though I would take the card’s message to heart. Don’t worry, I’d never muster the willpower to pass up treats during the holiday season when there are far too many temptations to sample.

I’m not sure which mouse is my favorite, the one licking the ooey gooey marshmallow or the little one with his paws stretched wide in anticipation. Which mouse are you?

Christmas Mail

Air Mail ChristmasRudolph stampWhile my sister often sends funny cards, this year she sent me the perfect mail-themed missive, complete with airmail trim — guaranteed to put me in the holiday mood. And check out the Rudolph stamp and Santa postmark from the envelope!

However, I question the little robins pecking away at the snow with blithe unconcern. I remember what happened when my parents’ dog Jedi did not keep track of the sled I was riding one Christmas morning when it snowed at their house. I ran right into the poor dog and he nipped me. His mother, TyTy, had the good sense to keep out of the way (at least in the photo below).