Just Another Saturday? Maybe Not!

You might call this a “Here’s What’s Been Happening” post. Even though I am only working four days a week as a part-time employee now, it still seems as if there is never enough time to do everything I need to do and want to do!

While I have been waiting for Barnes & Noble Press to resolved their system issues and working to figure out why Kindle Direct Publishing will not accept my files, I’ve been working on a few book cover projects as gifts for other writer friends here on WordPress.

These projects include an adult non-fiction book cover for my friend Dave and a children’s fiction book cover for my friend Cathy. (After all, the main theme of “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens” is the importance of giving! It seemed only natural to give away some artwork.)

Honestly, I’ve learned and grown more as an artist by giving towards their projects rather than becoming a “drawing board hermit“ and only focusing on my own projects. Neither project looks like anything that you would find here or in my own books. 

I am looking at taking on one more book cover gift project before the end of the year, and I am leaning towards it being a book of poetry. Not sure why. Just seems to be “what’s next.” If your are a poet and need some help with a cover for a soon-to-be-published book, let me know. It would be my gift to you to help you share your gift with the world.

One of the most surprising things I learned has been that I felt much more creative freedom when working on projects for someone else! While I don’t totally understand why that was so, this awareness opened up some new possibilities for my own projects, and I’m very grateful for that.

So now I have been very eager to try out some new things for my own projects, like the simple line and ink wash you see in today’s illustration. Though I’m unsure how any of this will evolve, I am reminded that it is all about the journey.

Oh, and by the way, I almost forgot to mention this…Our latest paperback book, “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens,” is finally now available through Amazon around the world! With its 64 pages, 6 inches x 9 inches trim size, 10 chapters, and full-color illustrations, it will be sharing the story of Blanche and Pearl with readers around the world. It’s definitely time for a happy dance!

Gracie And Friends…Scratch And Peck Card Game!

Scratch And Peck! Card Game

Happy Saturday, everyone! We are so happy to be able to share this new game with you. My chickens and I tested this card game out for weeks and weeks! It’s great to finally be able to share it with you!

In our new “Scratch And Peck!” card game, two chickens are scratching and pecking to collect the most points for Wiggly Worms, Big Weird Bugs, and Grumpy Grubs. The winner is the one with the most points. Just like in a real backyard garden, choosing where to scratch and what to peck is very important. Along the way, they will find lots of things which they will not want to eat at all. They will also want to avoid Rusty Nails which are very dangerous and keep them from collecting anything!

This is our most ambitious game so far, and the game booklet has seventeen pages! This is not a complicated game, but because it is different from any other card game you have probably ever played, we have included plenty of illustrations to help explain some of the rules, particularly those about Rusty Nails! (Rusty Nails are not good for chickens or people!)

Even though the game booklet has a lot of pages, only the three with cards to cut out truly need to be printed. (There is an extra page that can serve as a playing board, but that is optional for printing. For my chickens, the playing board just helps to keep things sort of organized. They do get very excited and cards can get mixed up unintentionally!)

Hopefully you will find that “Scratch And Peck!” has just the right mix of strategy and luck to make it interesting and fun for anyone!

So moms, dads, kids, teachers, good dogs, good cats, and all chickens, we hope you will print, read, play, and have fun!

Click Here To Visit “Gracie And Friends” Where You Can Download Your Own Copy Of Our New “Scratch and Peck!” Card Game

Each post shares a glimpse into my journey as a writer and illustrator. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

Please feel free to share with others, particularly those with children…or chickens! Maybe “Gracie And Friends” can help some people through COVID-19 by providing things to do and a big dose of happiness.

We are currently working on a new card game that we will probably call “Uncle Eddie’s Worm Farm!” Watch for it!

Family Photo Friday…My Bold Brave Amelia!

Family Photo Friday

Today’s photo is of my Amelia who is beginning to molt. You can tell by the pair of longest tail feathers that are still left and sticking straight up like an awkward flag to say, “It’s me, your bold brave Amelia!”

She has come a long way in her comfort level with molting. Her first time was extremely embarrassing. She didn’t want anyone to see her. This may have partly been because she didn’t want anyone pecking at her bare places, but it may also been she didn’t want me to see them. She knows how much I enjoy admiring her black and white patterned feathers.

I was reminded of a story and illustration I had shared the first time Amelia molted. It is titled “Feeling Vulnerable” and you can click the title to go to that page if you’d like. The lesson Amelia and I both learned that first molting season was this: “When we are feeling vulnerable, it’s probably because we are growing to meet new challenges.”

That was almost two years ago. Back then, I was trying my best to post at least three stories and illustrations a week. But as you can tell, I’ve slowed down a bit since then. Along with “Feeling Vulnerable,” there was also “While We Sleep” and “About Becoming.”

I read those three stories again this morning because they feel quite appropriate for this current year and season. Many of us are feeling vulnerable right now. There is a lot going on and a lot to process in our hearts and minds. That processing takes time. It is uncertain what we are becoming, but like Amelia, I am hopeful for what we shall become.

Amelia is no longer embarrassed by molting and change, as you can see from her photo today. (She actually posed for this.) When I get home from work this evening, those last two big tail feathers will likely be gone, but she will be eager for her new tail feathers to begin growing. They will help her fly to unimaginable places, and that is something to be excited about.

Thank you, Amelia. Let’s all be hopeful for what we shall become.

Each post shares a glimpse into my journey as a writer and illustrator. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!