Monday, October 18, 2021

Only 12 days remaining...

10:40 AM 0 Comments

I'm excited to say that the book has funded, but we have a long way to go. At this point, if even one person backs out, we'll lose that funded status. Not only do we need a bit of a buffer, but I so badly want to be able to send out goodies like bookmarks, stickers, and prints.
I love this book. Like Tales from the Toy Store, these stories are inspired by the same stories that I told my boys when they were young. The characters are real to me because these are toys that I live with every day and whose stories I've been telling for years. If you follow my Instagram (@lifewithkatie), you'll see that I've been posting toy pictures. These are all toys that live at my house and who have a chance of being in the next book.
Please, if you've been considering backing, head on over and do so. It would mean the world to me and it's the opportunity to get this book into the hands of a child whose imagination may spark the next big invention or to help them get through a rough time...words have power and I hope that my stories can inspire the next generation of kids to imagine and do great things.

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Friday, October 15, 2021

Why Children's Books?

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Last week I was delighted to do an Ask Me Anything over on one of my favorite Facebook groups. One of the questions that I received was essentially, "Why children's books?"  It made me smile because it brought me back to my roots.

First and foremost, I've been a mom for the past nearly 22 years. Wow, that seems like a really long time, but like any parent can tell you, that time goes by so fast. One day you're bringing them home from the hospital and what seems like the next, you're helping them move into their first apartment. This happened to me just this past August. My baby (who is now 20) moved into his first apartment and all I could think was, "Is this the same little boy that used to ask me to make up bedtime stories for him?"

That's where I truly got my start as a storyteller. Sure, I've been writing since I was a child, but my true storytelling nature didn't come out until my own children didn't want me to read them stories anymore. They wanted me to tell them stories about their own toys. Tales from the Toy Store and now Return to the Toy Store are merely offshoots of those times. I don't make up stories for my own children anymore, but that doesn't stop me from writing them for everyone else's.

On top of that, or maybe because of my own experiences with my children, I've become a bit of an advocate for early reading. My own children have been read to since they were in the womb. Did this make them smarter or funnier or more creative? Well, I can't really know that because I'm not willing to go back and change what I did. However, I do know that they both have great imaginations and that reading or story time was their favorite part of the day. They were eager to go to bed to hear what their toys had been up to that day while they were at school or just busy playing. 

Reading is important. Let's face it. We all read something every single day. It could be as big as a novel or as small as a road sign. Knowing how to read gets us through life. Maybe even more importantly, reading and storytelling encourages imagination and I can't imagine (haha) life without imagination. It's gotten me through the toughest of times. For children, imagination can teach them life lessons as they play out the stories in their heads. I hope that my stories have that same affect on them. I hope that children hear or read my stories and take them into their dreams and turn them into reality with their own toys.

Right now, I'm raising the funds to get my newest book published. While I do the writing, editing, and formatting myself, I have to pay my amazing artist (Maxx Strain) and cover artist (Eric Cockrell). I also have a blurb writer and artists that do my prints and all of the fun stuff. As much as I wish books were free to make, they just aren't. So, this is where you get to help! If you back the campaign, you can choose which books to get as well as other goodies as we hit new goals. You get to be the first people to get this book. This book will not be published on Amazon or anywhere else until you have this book in your hands. It's also one of the rare times that you can have your book signed.  You could also be making a difference in a child's life because it will be harder to get this book out into the world without your help. 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Story Sneak Peek - What is a GOAT?

1:19 PM 0 Comments

One day, a new toy moved into the toy store. Everyone welcomed him, but he didn’t seem to be very friendly. He walked around with his nose in the air and when he moved into the barnyard, he avoided all of the other animals that lived there.

The toys were confused. Nobody had ever acted this way before. All of the toys got along and were friendly with each other. After a few days, some of the animals got together and tried talking to him. He just looked at them and then walked away.

This wasn’t just unfriendly, this was rude. The animals had had enough so they went to Horace to ask what they should do.

“He’s not just unfriendly with us, he’s rude. We try to talk to him, and he just walks away. We don’t think he’s very happy to be here. What do we do, Horace?”

“Let me try to talk to him and see what’s happening. Maybe he just needs more time to get used to being here.”

Together, they walked back the barnyard. The animals went back to hanging out and playing while Horace looked around for the new toy. He found him out back, munching on some dinner. Even when the tiger walked up and stood next to him, he didn’t stop.

“Hi there,” said Horace.

“Hmph,” muttered the other toy.

“I just stopped by to see how you’re doing and if you’re happy here.”

The toy looked up from his dinner and sighed.

“You’re some kind of welcoming committee? I’ve had enough of that.”

“No, I’m just Horace. I like to make sure that everyone is happy.”

“Don’t you know who I am? I am the goat.”

“Yes, I know that you’re a goat.”

“No, I’m the goat.”

“But, there are other goats who live here. Have you met them yet?”

“You don’t understand. Goat. Greatest of all time.”

“The greatest at what?” asked Horace.


“Oh…well, the annual toy games are coming up. Maybe you would like to compete.”

The goat nodded and went back to eating. Horace walked away, puzzled by his behavior. Nobody had ever acted that way in the toy store before. Everyone was friendly and cheered for each other. Nobody thought that they were better than anyone else.

The day of the games arrived, and all of the toys were excited. There would be races and jumping contests and all sorts of games. Everyone gathered at the first event, the long jump. They couldn’t wait to see who could jump the farthest. The competitors lined up and on the count of three, they all ran and jumped as hard as they could.

The goat won and everyone cheered for him. Horace gave him his medal and then they all moved to the next event. This was the big race. This year, the cheetahs, Harley, and the goat were all competing. While they waited, the goat told everyone how he was going to win. The other toys just smiled and took their places.

Then the whistle blew, everyone took off and ran as hard as they could. As usual, the cheetahs got tangled up in a ball and rolled right off of the track. They giggled and laughed as they tried to untangle themselves and get back to the race. Harley started off slow, but she was moving quickly around the track. In the front was the goat. It looked as if he was going to win.

Then, it happened. Suddenly, he stopped running and grabbed one of his legs. Harley came running up and stopped next to him.

“What happened? What’s wrong?” she asked.

“I have a cramp in my leg,” the goat whimpered.

“Let me help you.”

With that, she rubbed his leg until it felt better and then together, they ran across the finish line. Everyone cheered for them, and they both received a medal. Before Harley could leave to go to the next event, the goat stopped her.

“Why did you help me? You could have won,” he asked.

“It wouldn’t be right if I won while you were injured. We help each other here,” she answered.

“My name is really the GOAT. It’s Frank. I think I’d like it if you called me that.”

“It’s good to meet you, Frank. Shall we go see how the baseball toss is going?”

“I’d really like that.”

After that, Frank got along with everyone, and everyone became his friend. He still competed, but he no longer thought he would win at everything. 


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Friday, October 8, 2021

Return to the Toy Store - New Limited Time Perk Added!

11:03 AM 0 Comments
Well, my friends, we seem to have hit a small stall. So, I'm going to do something that I hadn't planned on! If the campaign can hit $500 by end of day on Monday, every backer will receive a print.  I have total faith that we can do this. I'm talking about $128. That's a drop in the bucket to most campaigns, but will get ours to the halfway point. Remember, even $1 helps! Not only does it boost the funding, but it also boosts the signal. 
So, let's share, share, share, and get everyone an extra goodie! 

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Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Return to the Toy Store - The Campaign

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We've been working hard and have already hit $271 out of our $1000 goal! I'm so excited. Every time that number goes up, I swear I light up and do a happy dance. To celebrate, I want to share another piece of art from the book! This is the goat. He has some learning to do and I can't wait to share his story with all of you!

If you'd like to pre-order Return to the Toy Store and have the opportunity to get my other books, head on over to Kickstarter and pledge today!

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