The reason I wanted E-books and my cousin AJ

July 20th, 2015

After over a year of headaches, frustration and multiple people’s hard work, my books finally became available in e-book format a couple of weeks ago. The whole process was a complete nightmare! I’d like to share with you the reason I pushed through to get them as e-books.

edgar

This cutie, Edgar, communicates nonverbally using an Ipad. He is learning to use his head to select different phrases and options on the iPad. Like many of my fans, Edgar’s hands cannot turn the pages of a paper book. Having Wendy on Wheels on his iPad allows him to read Wendy’s adventures or have them read to him. This brings Wendy’s adventures to a whole group of children who may not have had access to them before.

When I see this picture of Edgar, I am reminded of my cousin, AJ, who passed away about 10 years ago. AJ had a severe form of cerebral palsy. Edgar looks so much like AJ it’s scary.

AJ

My favorite memory of AJ is this one. My dog, Cleo, loved (and still does) to lick people’s faces. She would put her paws up on his wheelchair and lick him all over his face and mouth. AJ would laugh with delight and open his mouth more.

AJ at his prom

AJ at his prom

I will have big news regarding “Wendy on Wheels Moves On” at the end of the week!!!

The trip that inspired Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach

May 31st, 2015

This morning, Facebook sent me a notification saying I had memories. Six years ago today, I was with my family in Clearwater Beach, Florida on the vacation that would later inspire my first book, Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach.

Mandy used a beach wheelchair to go around Discovery Cove. We went snorkeling, swam with stingrays and dolphins. I loved it!!

Mandy feeding birds at Discovery Cove

Mandy feeding birds at Discovery Cove

The beach was walking distance from where we stayed. Here’s a picture of Mandy and my dad at the beach.

This picture later was used Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach.

This picture later was used Wendy on Wheels Goes to the beach.

The "cartoon" version

The “cartoon” version

This was such a fun trip! I loved spending time with my family. I had no idea at the time that trip inspire a children’s book, which would lead to more books.

In other news, I will have an updated image of Wendy for book #5 in the next couple weeks as well as a cover. I can’t wait to share it with you!!!

 

 

Sisters raising awareness continues

October 27th, 2014

The month of October has been busy for Wendy on Wheels!  October 7th, my sister and I visited Kellison Elementary in Fenton, Missouri.  We presented in an all school assembly for their Ability Awareness Day.  What a wonderful group of students! Mandy and I talked about what it was like growing up.  Then, we opened it up to questions and answers.  There were a lot of good questions for Mandy.  They were really imagining Mandy when she was in elementary school.  They asked questions like, “What is your favorite color?” And “What is your biggest struggle in life?”  It was awesome!!!  Now, they can say they’ve met someone who uses a wheelchair.

This morning, we went to the two and three year old room at St. Micheal and St. George School.  We read Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach. Afterwards, each child was allowed to touch Mandy’s wheelchair.  Their teacher, Lisa has been teaching them about differences.  They’ve been learning about difference in skin color and hair color.  Today, the focus was differences in abilities.

st.michael1 st.michael

School visits are my passion!!!!  I love raising awareness especially with my sister!!!!

St. Louis Variety’s Adventure Camp

July 3rd, 2013

St. Louis Variety means a lot to my family.  From their website, “Variety The Children’s Charity has been helping children with physical and mental disabilities reach their full potential for 80 years.”  Mandy was their poster child for a couple years when she was little.  I wish I had a picture of that to post.  Over the years, Mandy has gone to camp, been a counselor, volunteered in the office and done a lot for Variety.

Last Wednesday, Mandy and I visited Variety’s Summer Adventure Camp.  We loved it!!!  The kids were so cute.

Copyright Variety St. Louis

Copyright Variety St. Louis

It’s so wonderful what Variety does for these children!  They all seemed to be having so much fun at camp.

Copyright St. Louis Variety

Copyright St. Louis Variety

I’m so glad I get to talk about Wendy on Wheels with my sister, Mandy, the inspiration behind the series.  I have so much fun raising awareness with her!

Copyright St. Louis Variety

Copyright St. Louis Variety

This little guy is adorable!!!  It was an awesome visit!  I think the campers really enjoyed Wendy on Wheels.

Hagedorn Little Village School

May 29th, 2012

While in New York last week, I had the pleasure of visiting Hagedorn Little Village School.  I love Hagedorn Little Village!  I got to meet a huge fan of Wendy on Wheels, Dina.  She was kind of shy, but seemed to enjoy meeting me.  I read to a lot of classes in the 2 hours I was there.

One little girl got to choose the book for her class.  She chose Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Zoo, then signed “please.”  After I finished she signed “more.”  Luckily, we had time to read, Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day.  She signed “more” after that one too.

One little boy clapped very loudly and yelled out, “THAT WAS AWESOME!!  You are the best reader ever!!!”

My favorite schools to visit are special schools.  Children with different abilities are the reason I created Wendy on Wheels in the first place.  Hopefully, I will get some pictures soon to post.

By the way, I will at the Abilities Expo in Chicago at the end of the month.  My workshop is at 3:45 on Saturday.  Come see me!!!

 

 

St. Catherine Laboure’s Ability Awareness Day

March 17th, 2012

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of presenting Wendy on Wheels to the kindergarteners and first graders at St. Catherine Laboure School.

 The first group of kindergarteners had already heard Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Zoo, my favorite book for Ability Awareness Days.  One kid yelled out, “I know what’s going to happen,” before I even started.  During the story, some were saying parts of the story with me.  It was awesome!!

Then I read Wendy on Wheels Takes a Stand.  Since it is new, no one had heard it yet.  They loved it!  The students chanted along, “NO BULLY NO!!”  They loved the signs.

Speaking of signs, they had decorated the halls with signs for Abilities Awareness Days.

     A possibilist.  I like that!

This one is my favorite.

 The signs were great!

While I was reading to the second kindergarten group, one little boy said the boy next to him, “We’re not talking about Star Wars!”  That made me laugh.

In one of the first grade groups, I started out talking about my sister and how I was inspired to write Wendy on Wheels.  One boy raised his hand and said, “Are you going to read the books?”  Ha.  I guess he didn’t care what I had to say.  He just wanted to hear Wendy on Wheels.  That’s good.  I prefer it that way.  It was a great day!  What a wonderful group of children!

 I present at the Abilities Expo in Los Angeles in two weeks.  I can’t wait!!

Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day has officially been launched!!!

April 5th, 2011

Sunday afternoon, I had my launch party for Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day at All Along Press.  It was such a wonderful event.  Thank you to everyone who came.  I appreciate your support and love for Wendy on Wheels.  Excellent food from Cherokee Street Catering.  Everyone loved the barbequed chicken pizza!

    I made a new friend, Josie.  Here’s a picture of Josie, Elizabeth and me.  She loved Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach!  Now she has the whole trilogy.  Josie is so cute and sweet!

The reading went well.  I said thank you to my cousin, Dana for taking Elizabeth and me around Cardinal Glennon to see what the inside of a children’s hospital looks like.  Dana is cartoonized on page 21 of Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day.   

Things have been going well for Wendy on Wheels.  I have some Ability Awareness Days lined up for April at some local schools.  I’m working on setting up some schools visits in Peoria, IL and Chicago the third week in April. 

I’m working on getting t-shirts made.  They might be available to the general public if people are interested.

I was not chosen as a finalist in the Energizer Competition.  I’m still excited I was nominated as a semifinalist.  Thank you to everyone who voted for me!!!

I will have the cover for Wendy on Wheels Takes a Stand in a week or so.  🙂

I saw The Celebrity Apprentice on Sunday.  Marlee did a outstanding job as project manager!  Go Marlee!!  Meat Loaf had a meltdown on Gary Busey.  I couldn’t believe that.  YIKES!!!  

HERE SHE COMES TO SAVE THE DAY!!!

March 2nd, 2011

Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day features two characters that were inspired by a mother, Amy, and her son, Eli.  Amy has commented on my blog and is a facebook friend.  On my first blog, she gave a suggestion about having a little boy who is nonverbal in future books.  I started reading her blog.  I saw some pictures of when Eli was in the hospital.  The love they shared was radiating out of the photos.   His smile was amazing!     

When I was writing Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day, I made sure to include Eli and Amy.  I just read Amy’s latest blog about the book.  WOW!!  It feels wonderful to touch someone I’ve never actually met, in a different part of the country.  Here’s a picture Amy sent me.  Eli fell asleep while his dad was reading it to him.   

Self publishing makes all this possible.  It’s wonderful!  I control the whole look of every page in the book.  So, why not make the image resemble the people who inspired it?   

I celebrated Dr. Suess’s birthday with the World Premiere Author Reading of Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day at Southview Special Education School.  Wendy on Wheels was a hit at Southview!  Since it was the first time I’ve read this book out loud, my delivery was a little choppy.  The audience still enjoyed it.   

Well, Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day was released last week.  It came out of couple weeks earlier than expected.  I’m so excited about it.  The Friday before last when I got the proof copy, I was so happy I was almost crying.  This is the book I wanted to write for the last year.  It looks better than I imagined! 

Books are available on Amazon.  If you’d like to order autographed copies, please email me.  I can ship them out to you.

Welcome, Wendy on Wheels!

February 16th, 2011

What a welcome!! The kids in the Adventure Club at Bristol Elementary made this. Cool, huh? Aren’t they cute?  These visits are amazing!!  I love reading to kids.   

Last week was a good week for public relations.  The St. Louis Post Dispatch mentioned Wendy on Wheels in an article about Blades Day of Giving.  A little boy said Wendy on Wheels was his favorite.  🙂

I had a great interview with Publishing Coach Shelley Hitz.  If you are interesting in self publishing, please take a look at her site.  She has a lot of good information on there

Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day was submitted for publishing late last week.  I’m waiting to receive the proof copy.  I’m so excited to get it.  I’m working on the launch party.   

Book four has been discussed and is in progress as well.  More information will be given at a later date.  Just know that it is coming…  I’m really excited about this one as well.

Everyday Superheroes

February 1st, 2011

It’s Snowpocalypse in St. Louis.  I’ve been hearing the ice hit my windows for the last few hours.  I just finished putting Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day together.  Now I just need to get it over to the designers. 

This book is the book I wanted to write and publish since I started the series, but wasn’t fully ready.  Niether I nor the audience was ready.  I have Wendy dressed up a superhero to symbolize everyday people who do great things and make our lives better.  In this story, Wendy feels an overwhelming desire to make other people smile.

Here are some examples of heroes in my life.
-My mom, who started up a group called the “Busy Bees” that volunteers their time to mentor teenage mothers at a shelter.  She comes up with fun learning activities to motivate the young moms.  It’s nice for them to know that people care about them.
-My dad, who keeps continuing his education on myofacial release to help patients of fibromyaligia with myofacial release. Despite having migraines, he still works hard to take his clients’ pains away.   
-My sister volunteers her Sundays to hold rescued puppies at FlawDogs.
-My cousin, Dana works 12 hour shifts, sometimes in the middle of the night, taking care of children and babies with bone marrow problems and cancer.
-My husband always makes sure his elderly parents have good food to eat, and me as well as my parents.

I appreciate these people very much. Despite what’s going on in their lives, these people still do what they can to make this world a better place. Even if some of the above are “doing their jobs,” they are still helping others.  We need to take time to be grateful for people who make our lives better.

So tell me, who are some superheroes in your life?