Confessions of an optimist.

I’m an idealist. I wear rose-colored glasses. I see the best in people. I can’t hold a grudge to save my life. Have you SEEN a grudge**? They are REALLY icky and slimy! WHY on EARTH anyone would WANT to hold one, I do not know. Nope, not me. I put that slimy grudge down the second I can. I forgive and ask good things to happen to the people that hurt me or hurt me accidentally because they don’t understand me. Or don’t believe I actually don’t have ulterior motives when I do nice things. The truth is? Yes, it is selfish. I LOVE to do nice things for people. Especially unexpected things. Because it feels SO DARN GOOD. (full disclosure – I would TOTALLY have just said so DAM* good, but now that my books are out and the wee ones of the world might come check out my blog, I have to watch my New Jersey potty mouth on here.)

Last week I bought the cutest tutu from my used to be sister-in-law and sent it to one of my best friend’s daughter’s in the mail as a surprise. (You should TOTALLY click and go buy one for some little girl – it IS like magic in a box!!!) I think I need one for me for my next festival to wear.) Kim got a sale (yay for artists supporting artists!!) and a little girl got a box of magic delivered to her. Um, HELLO! DO you know how good that felt?? Anytime a kid says they want a Whatif Monster, I ask them to choose a color and make it for them. Often times I surprise them with it and won’t let the parents pay me. (shhhh, don’t tell the hubs!) The joy on the faces of these kids is better than money to me. It fills me with joy and happiness. I wish I could give away my art and books and somehow I could pay bills with joy and happiness. Alas, the gas company laughed at me. Oh well.

I am lining up school visits. I am not taking payments from the schools – only asking that I can do pre-orders for my books the week before. How can I charge a school in this economy? I NEED to sell the books! That way, the publisher gets sales, then they love me, then when I say, “Hey, check out this other book I wrote! You wanna publish it?” guess what? They TOTALLY do. But in order to not give the hubs a TOTAL panic attack that I will NEVER make money again, I have applied for a grant with SCBWI for newly released books that help with marketing. If that happens, I can use that for travel expenses. I just got asked to read at the Dallas Zoo in November! How cool would THAT be?? I know, right???

I know I am in a very, very fortunate position right now to be able to do this for not much money. My husband is supporting me right now. That kills me a little bit because I HATE relying on ANYONE, but I know that if I don’t use his help right now, it could take me years and years longer than it would. Notice I didn’t say it would never happen. I have NO DOUBT it would, but it would just take longer. I am so lucky, but I have also worked my tookus (TOTALLY wanted to say A$$ there, see how good I am being?!?! Yay me!) off for about 10 years now to get to the position that working at home even now makes sense. Countless nights and weekends and holidays I spent painting, honing my skills, developing stories and characters, studying this industry, learning, making mistakes, failing, trying again. Every single hour, every single failure, every single small success got me to where I am today. And even with all that I wake up every morning and am grateful. And do not think for a SECOND I do not understand how FREAKING LUCKY I AM. I am grateful to the universe for giving me this opportunity, grateful to my amazing husband, grateful to my amazing friends and family whose comments throughout the day on Facebook light me up like they probably don’t even know. They make me shine. 🙂

I am not sure why I am writing this. Maybe because last week I got told mean things by some people that don’t understand me. Don’t get me. Think I am fake, a liar, a bad parent or that I am selfish in the bad way. It hurt my feelings and I wanted to hold a grudge. I did. I got MAD. But then I could smell it. And the slime. And the ick. And I put it down, washed off my hands and sighed. Some people will never understand me or the world I live in. And I will never be able to convince them that forgiveness and moving forward and putting grudges down is SO MUCH BETTER. And you know what? Like an idiot I am already hoping that we can still work it out. Still get along. Still one day be able to sit and chat over coffee or something. Invite them into my house or to a party. How awesome would that be? See there I go again, putting on those darn (heh – good job Michelle!!) rose-colored glasses.

Dude, seriously, don’t believe my me? Think my life is not really as good as I make it sound? TRY IT. I DARE YOU. Try choosing happy. Try choosing hope. Try choosing perseverance. Try choosing joy. Try choose love. Try choosing forgiveness. It gets downright addictive. Give a gift to someone that is not expecting it. Buy a card and send it. Trust me. You will not believe how incredible it feels. And yes, it is TOTALLY selfish. But when you do that for a while, you realize selfish is not a bad word. It can be an incredibly good word and the biggest gift to yourself. Do these things and watch your life change.

Okay, I am done now. I guess I had to get that ramble out. I have pigs to go paint! Have an amazing, wonderous fantastical day!!

**I now HAVE to write a book about the The Grudge. No one steal my idea, m’kay? Totally excited! I TOTALLY need to go draw a Grudge! Maybe even before I paint a pig! Lordee I do love my life.

Busy week with lots of happy and cute!

This past week I have been busy training Mr.Otto Von Schmidt, designing, new business cards, designing some fabric, editing flying pig stories, making Whatif Monsters and working on my portfolio for the SCWBI conference in LA. So busy!! Such a great week! And today I am off to Auburn, Alabama for a writer’s retreat with two of my awesome writer friends! A friend is keeping Mr. Otto for me as hubbie has a reserve weekend. I’m not nervous about leaving him at all. Much. 😉

I am particularly excited about my new piggie PB! My agent was really excited about it and loved it! She has not gotten this excited about one of my stories since Dogs, Dogs! Don’t get me wrong, she is very encouraging and likes my work, but usually there is a lot of feedback and critique. This one just hit it right with her – makes me very excited! I can’t decide if I will include that or my Whatif Monster dummies at the conference. Maybe both. Knowing me, I will try really hard to make the time. I would love to have both books seen by so many editors, publishers and art directors.

I have also been getting lots of emails about school visits which I am SO excited for! So far lots in Georgia and I have confirmed visits for Panama City, Florida and Charlston, SC. I am beyond excited to go share my books with so many kids. Literally a dream come true. I cannot believe it is all actually happening – something I have wanted for so long. Still just takes my breath away when I stop and think about it all. I am so very lucky.

Well, this is a pretty boring entry, but I wanted to keep up to date. I’ll give you some things to look at that make me smile from ear to ear to make this more interesting and end on a fun note! 😀

These are the new cards I just designed and ordered. I can’t wait to get them. LOVE the die-cut that Uprinting</a> offers for SUCH a great price!

And how CUTE is this?? My use-to-be-sister-in-law, Kim, makes these ridiculously cute tutus, her business is called Tutu Dreamy and you can see more on her etsy site. I ordered one for a friend’s daughter and asked her to make a Whatif Monster-sized too. The little girl that I am giving it to has a light purple one and loves girly stuff! I am going to be offering Whatif’s with tutus soon on my etsy site. But if you need a tutu for your little girl, GO!! But be warned you may die from cuteness. Especially from the baby ones and the tutu wands!!

Kadence, Sophie and Noah’s cousin, and Kim’s daughter, had a birthday in May. I made her a Whatif Monster in teal/blue for a bleated birthday present. I gave it to her when Kim dropped off the tutus. Could you not just fall down dead from the cuteness??? I KNOW.

And finally, let’s end with the ever adorable Otto Von Schmidt who is a little on the needy side as far as coworkers go, but I really don’t mind. But dude, he does not spare your feelings when giving a critique. Ouch. 😉

What’s been keeping me busy

1. Kids doing their summer kid stuff at friends and camps and girl scouts.

2. Awesome parties with amazing friends and family.

3. Travels to Florida to visit amazing friends and families.

4. Getting my PUBLISHED BOOKS IN THE MAIL that you can buy here or here. Seriously. Go buy them. Now. I can wait……. Back? K, good!! I love you forever and ever!

5. Editing stories about fuzzy green monsters. (that my publisher loves! Cross fingers!)

6. Writing stories about flying pigs that I am about to send to my agent. Cross fingers!

7. Getting my portfolio ready for this. I am SOOOO EXCITED!

8. And in the past five days? Otto Von Schmidt!!

And yes he will be spoiled ROTTEN. Clearly. And yes he will come with me to book signings and festivals. And yes he is the cutest thing ever and he and my other GIANT pups are getting along. And YES he will have a book written about him. I mean, Just LOOK at him!!!