Costumed Charm

The other day we enjoyed Trick-or-Treating with two of our grandchildren in my favorite Missouri city, St. Charles. It is the third oldest city in the state.,_Missouri Founded in the mid-1700’s by a French-Canadian fur trader, St. Charles looks much like it did hundreds of years ago. The city has been preserved, making visitors feel like they’re stepping back into time. Quaint shops line the original cobblestone streets with a beautiful backdrop of the great Missouri river behind them. Rich in charm, original gingerbread architecture, and filled with history, St. Charles is the last known stop of the Lewis and Clark expedition way back in 1804.

Monday was such a perfect day for Halloween with temperatures rising into the mid-70’s. Surprisingly warm, it might have felt even hot to some of the costumed creatures covered in hair from head to toe. A few were sweating with chocolates melting. Still, others didn’t mind, so thrilled they were to soak up the sun. Charming shops shared treats with characters, big and small until our own little Super Heroes stopped to say, “I don’t want any more candy.” The kids were tired. Little legs had walked a long way. Grandpa carried our grandson on his shoulders while I pushed a stroller. Buckets were heavy, make-up dripped on the monster’s face next to me while a hot pink wig suddenly fell upon a bale of hay.

Afterward, dinner was enjoyed at my son and daughter-in-law’s house while a menagerie of children rang the bell. Ghosts and goblins came to the door, witches of black dusted off brooms and cheerleaders shook pom-poms before cheering for more. Our grand-kids donned satin capes, sure to save a mission or two before calling it a night.

Not long before the children’s bedtime, we gathered ’round the television to watch the movie, Room on the Broom adapted from the children’s book by Julia Donaldson, published in the spring of 2014. No tricks here, just one giant TREAT to end a terrific afternoon and evening of delight.

Below are links to a reading of the book as well as the movie. Please enjoy!



A Pleasurable Book Review Such a treat to receive a positive review from across the pond. With a delightful picture of Ellen’s grand-baby, Ivy, ‘reading’ along. Thank you,Ellen Best.



The lovely Kim Gosselin award winning author and member of the society of children’s book writers and illustrators,  sent across the great sea her newest book  ” Babies Of Two”. I was thrilled to be sent the book the signed first edition will have pride of place in my forever bookcase.
The art work is superb the illustrations  fit each page perfectly thanks to Alisa Belzil.
The story flows with wonderful fluidity in a poetic form that is clear and holds a childs attention beautifully. The book speaks with the voices of the unborn twins, a unique depiction of childbirth tastefully portrayed.
I gave the book to my daughter in law to test out on my granddaughter Ivy, it is with Ivy’s seal of approval that I say… A fab book that would be enjoyed by all who read it including potential sibling of twins and any other child who…

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It’s Official!

Babies of Two are now in PRINT!

Yes, it’s true what they say about delivering two babies instead of one. The labor is much more intensive! In spite of their mother’s wishes, these wee newborns had minds of their own, deciding the exact moment when they would be depicted on paper pages for all the word to see. No, not even knew for sure when Mollie and Maddie would arrive! But, today is officially their birthday in public print!

As a proud ‘Mama,’ I am sharing this official news with all who may love and care for them, together with my partner, Alisa Belzil. She too had an enormous part in bringing the twins into the world.

Yes, we carried them in the big of our bellies, but now both bundles are ready to be diapered and weighed, bottled and bathed.

Please love them with the whole of your hearts. Cuddle them close before sharing them with children and families everywhere.

Thank you so very much for your support.

***Special Kindle match price of only $1.99 with the purchase of the print edition at $9.95/


*I have twenty copies of Babies of Two that I am giving away FREE if you are a Twin Blogger or Children’s Book Reviewer. Please email your request to Please include all pertinent information including name, address, email address and blog link, etc.

Sharing Credit

Dear Readers:

Today is a happy day for me and I must give credit where credit is due.

Finally, our children’s book Babies of Two is being released in print on March first, to children, parents, grandparents, and caregivers everywhere. Since our printed edition has been expanded with more pages and illustrations than we first anticipated, our Kindle version will be updated as well.

My dear and talented illustrator, Alisa Belzil has stuck by my side all the way, passing through many obstacles in this digital age of the 21st Century. Together, we have spent countless hours suffering setbacks and sifting through our mistakes while learning our craft. Alisa is not only an artist extraordinaire, but has learned to format as well, not an easy feat!

Together, Alisa and I edited, proofed, and re-proofed. We discovered typos that magically appeared months after everything seemed to be perfect. We submitted our work, only to receive a hard-copy with a cover that curled! Needless to say, our eyes became weary, yet it was all part of the job. Together, we are a team who handled, lest I say, everything in between? To say that Alisa is my angel from above does not seem nearly enough, yet those are the words in my head.

Our new book trailer for Babies of Two has been produced by our very own Great Ape himself, Chris @  Authors who want or need a book trailer on any topic what-so-ever should not hesitate to call on him. Chris goes out of his way to make you happy at unbelievable prices. I am truly proud of the fantastic job he did. Won’t you please take a look?

On a side note, a big Shout Out to Jo Robinson and her recent book, The Absolute Indie! It is an indispensable resource that guides Indie authors one step at a time through the myriad of formatting. Unfortunately, it was released too late for me regarding Babies of Two, but regardless, I’ve read it two or three times. To those who have half a brain (yes, there is still hope for me, Alisa), Jo Robinson will no doubt take you right to the front door of Kindle and CreateSpace. Please visit her site to pick up a copy today!

Finally, to all of you, my sincere thanks for your patience and support, and for always being here for me when it seems I am not. To say my life has changed since starting my blog is an understatement. My family has grown larger than ever before. My workload is heavy, yet spills with passion through and through. I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams, yet I wish there were more seconds in a single minute, more hours before dawn to dark.

Please know in my heart that I am filled with your presence. Each and every day I pray for more time to read your books and blogs, connect with you on a deeper level and show you more appreciation on the outside as well as the in.

With Sincere Thanks and Blessings,




Calling All Children’s Books Authors – Special Needs Children Need Your Books!

Nothing closer to my heart than books for kids with special needs. Please help them out.


Bird from Twin Lakes Civitan

Hi fellow authors!

I recently received a message from a lady, Angie Smith, who is looking for books up to grade six level for special needs children. She is the secretary of Twin Lakes Civitan, a non-profit organization that helps people of all ages who are in need of assistance. Above is their adorable snake reading a book and below their logo!

Twin Lakes Civitan

Angie asked me if I could spread the word about this organization and help in some way to obtain the much needed books for their special needs children to get them up to their reading levels. I told her I would be happy to send some of my books to her. All most authors want in return is a review. This she said she would make sure is done for anyone who donates a book or books.

Please visit their website and you will see the good things that they do to help…

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One Small Gesture Can Make a Huge Difference…

Pulling on my heartstrings. Please donate a single book (at least) to make a huge difference in the lives of children on the outside looking in.

Michelle Eastman Books

UPDATE-Children’s authors and lit lovers are giving BIG to help kids of incarcerated parents!

MARCHing Books to Kids launched just over a week ago, and children’s authors are already making a big impact.  Thanks to all of you who have donated books and told others about the initiative. 

The number of kids with incarcerated parents has increased nearly 80% in the last 20 years, according to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. More than 2.7 million children have a parent who is incarcerated, and parents of another 10 million children have been incarcerated at some point.  The experience can be profoundly difficult for children, increasing their risk of living in poverty and housing instability, as well as causing emotional trauma, pain, and social stigma.

But, through programs like the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa Storybook Project, some of that stress melts away when kids are able to…

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The Magic of Gingerbread

Gingerbread. A word to stir in ceramic colored bowls of molasses memories atop kitchen counters at Christmastime. Frosted lips of little children upon their mother’s cheeks with imprints of white icing left behind. Warm cups of cocoa atop plastic tablecloths decorated with Santa. Mini mallows floating to the top. Treats of striped canes of sugar hanging to the sides waiting for Mama to test the temperature. Ahhh, just right!

Gingerbread houses have a distinct history behind the craft dating back to the 17th century when baking them became an acknowledged and esteemed profession. After the publication of Hansel and Gretel, the Grimm’s fairy tale in 1812, some of the first gingerbread houses were made in Germany at Christmastime. Not long afterward they became popular here in America.

Late in November, the Grove Park Inn held an annual National Gingerbread Competition, It was simply by chance that I happened to stop and stroll through the hotel’s massive halls during the same week of the contest. How lucky to catch sight of the pure artistry that was on display. Gingerbread? I would have never guessed.

While stopping to view each entry, audible “Ooohs and Ahhhs” were heard inches to my right. Children and adults alike were taken in by their next sight. Each house had its own theme, its own story to tell and all one had to do was stop to see. “Look at me,” kids made of sprinkled sugar whispered quietly.

I lost count of the number of Gingerbread Houses entered into the competition. Nor did I know of all the rules with the exception that every piece was required to be edible. Gazing at the intricate details in construction, it was amazing. There were herds of candy cotton sheep, valleys of painted sugar snow, miniature acres of black licorice fencing and much more than I ever could have imagined. So tempting it was to snatch a chocolate shingle off of a roof or two!

At the end of the day, I wandered into the lobby to order a cup of hot chocolate from an adorable cottage decorated in red brick gingerbread fashion. To the left of a green gumdrop was a recipe card listing a vast quantity of baking ingredients. Such a surprise to learn that the sweet girl behind the counter was standing inside an actual house made of the same!

This coming weekend, I’ll be baking my own Gingerbread House where the oven will spill until it fills my home with scents of cinnamon and molasses and cloves. Luckily, the final baked confection won’t be entered into any competition. Yet, surely my little grandchildren will be delighted with my attempt at artistry.

Yes, there is a plastic table-cloth decorated with Santa where my family will gather round full of excitement. Christmas memories will be made of imprinted baby lips frosted upon my cheeks. Warm cups of cocoa will be served with mini mallows floating to the top, striped canes of sugar hanging to the sides. And, in the quiet of the night their mama will test the temperature.

Ahhh, just right.

Today, Tomorrow is Here

The beauty of mountains cast early morning shadows as the highway weaves upward toward a single triangle to form a perfect peak.  The tip nearly touches the sky of cotton clouds, dove gray with hints of slate blue.  And, although I’m enveloped in a valley of beauty unsurpassed, sadness descends. I’ve just left my ‘Babies of Two.’

Sprinkles of rain begin to fall. Slowly at first, then faster.  Windshield wipers wave from right to left or left to right. Both, if you will.  Rubber blades swipe across a window of glass to mimic miniature squeegees. My eyes follow back and forth while ears tune to sounds surrounding my space within doors and glass and leather.

Droplets of water fall on our metal rooftop, “ting-ting.”  Splatters of wet on a windshield, “ping-ping.”  The revving of car engines, ours and many others as we climb higher up the mountain. My ears begin to pop!

Trees become thicker.  Pines remain dark emerald and full forever, reminding me of bottle brushes, while neighboring natives are naked, barren to the elements.  Branches of some surprise me with colors of leftover fall.  Leaves dipped in burgundy red or burnished gold speckled in chocolate call to me.

It’s been quite a ‘ride’ these last few days. Blessed to be visiting friends and family over the holidays.

My son and daughter-in-law are settled into their lovely new home. Happiness floats in the air.  Huge hugs with kisses on cheeks.  At first glance, a toddler of two barrels toward the knees of Grandpa.  “Crappa,” she shouts with glee!

Then I see them there.  Gummy smiles with surprises of new front teeth. Seed pearls discovered in pink sand.  Magic land.  Two on top and one below…X 2.  Sitting atop her mother’s lap is a squirming babe topped with a moppet of jet black hair.

Below, on the walnut colored wooden floor is a second bundle.  She’s crawling now, wearing footed pajamas with rubber soles.  Fuzzy and pink with bottoms of white feet. Contrary to her “sissy,” tufts of strawberry blonde hair are barely there.

Twins, my ‘Babies of Two.’

Enormous eyes of green and two of blue  beg, “Pick me up!”  My husband reaches for one while I lift the other.  Warm cuddles of close. Closer still.  Gentle squeezes.  Open kisses shaped like the moon.  Drool and dribble. Tiny fingers pinch and pull to explore familiar faces. Wiggles and giggles. Teardrops fall upon flowered bibs snapping behind eyes gazing in wonder.

My heart is open wide to catch every ABC love letter for the next few days.  Far too soon we must part ways.  Thanksgiving, 1st birthdays and an early Christmas are celebrated day after day after day.  Tomorrow tugs at the lobe of my right ear. Reddened from rubbing between thumb and forefinger.  Tomorrow is so very near.

Today, tomorrow is here.  Goodbyes are said. Tears are shed.  One last kiss from a toddler plus cradled cuddles with ‘Babies of Two.’  Steps, measured and slow taken reluctantly toward a front door painted black until it is finally closed.

“I going to miss you, Crappa.”