Knowing that my desire required additional education, I turned to the Institute of Children's Literature in 2012. There I worked closely with two outstanding instructors. Renee Heiss, author of "The Beaded Kingdom" and "Woody's World", was the first. Renee guided me through the basics and helped me realize my potential with an outline of my non-fiction book The Great Camel Experiment of the Old West. The novel writing course was next, and that introduced me to Linda Crotta Brennan, author of multiple books including "Marshmallow Kisses" and "When Rivers Burned: The Earth Day Story". Linda mentored my journey from non-fiction author to novelist. Without her, The Search for the Red Ghost--my first tween adventure novel--would never have seen the light of day. But as outstanding as these instructors are, it was the support group I met through the ICL Writer's Retreat led by author and mentor, Jan Fields, that taught me what it meant to be an author.
My gratitude extends even further to the publishers who have helped me grow. My first experience was with Collca Books and the wonderful Mike Hyman who passed away last year. He was a kind and insightful editor and publisher, and brought my camel book to life as part of his Bite-Size History series. And, when two editors rejected my picture book, Oliver's Hunger Dragon, with "hunger doesn't sell", I turned to Halo Publishing International and discovered a friend. Lisa Umina's expertise has been invaluable as both an editor and a publisher. I now have two books through Lisa--my picture book and the printed version of my camel book. Now, I am thrilled to be part of the MuseitUp Publishing family. Through them, I have met very caring and supportive authors.
Today is a day of gratitude for me. I am seeing my dream become reality thanks to the village of nurturing and inspiring friends.