Life in the Neck New Friends by Diane Davies and illustrated by Margarita Sikorskia will be participating in the LA Times Festival of Books in San Diego on April 13 & 14, 2019. I’m the author, Diane Davies, and I’m happy to be making my first post on the Author’sLounge Blog. As a wife, mother, grandmother, retired elementary teacher, supervisor of student teachers for UWRF, and a fifteen year breast cancer survivor, I’m proud to be here.
I started my writing career in 2004 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The writing helped me to wrap my head around what was happening to my body. My journal that I kept for the 300 some days of my journey became, with my English teaching daughter’s urging, my first book From There to Here A Breast Cancer Journey. And the rest, as they say, is history.
After twelve years of survivorship and with the help and guidance of Beverly Vote, Publisher of the Breast Cancer Wellness magazine, I published Breast Cancer Saved My Life. With the experience of living beyond my own used by date, I took the lessons learned from my journey and viewed them with new eyes giving me increased wisdom and clarity. These new insights became my second book.
As a first grade teacher for twenty-six years, I had read thousands of books to hundreds of children. Written on my bucket list was the entry – write and publish a children’s book so that I can read my own story to my students someday. August of 2018 found me doing just that with the publication of the first book in the Life in the Neck series. Life in the Neck New Friends won the prestigious Mom’s Choice Award at the Gold Level making me an award winning author which I’m proud to share on the Author’s Lounge Blog. Delaney the deer, Rocket the rabbit, and Cardinal Red meet and learn about friendship, cooperation, and the busy world around them. But when danger comes to the Neck in the form of Old Coyote and a fire, will their bond be strong enough to beat it? I guess you’ll have to read the book to find out that answer. The summer of 2019 will bring out Book 2 Life in the Neck Squirrel Trouble. All of the friends from the Book 1 appear once again along with three fun-loving little red squirrels, Chatter, Whistle and Squeak, and Eli, my grandson. Eli and his Dad built a log fort in the forest of the neck. The squirrel family move in even before all of the finishing touches arecomplete bringing a lot of chaos. Stay tuned to find out what happens this summer. Have you figured out yet just what the heck is a neck? If you have, let me know by leaving a comment at the end of the blog.
Following my breast cancer journey, I felt a real need to reach out and help others with their own journeys through the dreadful disease. Jeannie Ann’s Grandma Has Breast Cancer written by me and illustrated by CA Nobens is my way of filling the gap in the need for breast cancer information for patients who are dealing with the questions of young children at the same time as the disease. I found very little out there on the subject so Jeannie Ann came into being. She is a typical six-year-old. When she learns the her grandma has breast cancer, it brings up the fears, questions, emotions, and misunderstandings that come with facing a medical challenge of this magnitude. With her loving family by her side, Jeannie Ann learns about what cancer can bring – tumors, mastectomies, chemotherapy, pain, and loss, but also hope. Jeannie Ann’s story is written with honesty, love, and understanding for children of all ages.
All of my books can be found for sale on my website at www.dianedavies.com along with information on how you can bring me to your conference, convention or classroom for guest appearances and book signings.
I live in the Neck, right next door to theanimals making their home there. You’ll find me in one of the two houses with my husband, Papa Butch, and right next door you’ll find my granddaughter Elsie, grandson Eli, and their Mom & Dad. I love my role as Grandma Diane and our whole family enjoys our life on the St. Croix River between Minnesota and Wisconsin. Minnesota happens to be our mailing address however Wisconsin is what we see off of our deck. Life if good in the Neck. Thanks to Author’s Lounge Blog for allowing me to tell my story. I hope we run into one another again soon. Thanks for reading!
October 25, 2018
My blog post today is a vocabulary lesson with a couple of pictures to act as a reminder of the words’ meaning.
I have been told by a few of my mentors and friends that I am tenacious! Is that a good thing to be or not? The dictionary tells me that tenacious is an adjective meaning determined or stubborn, persistent, tightly held, able to remember many things, sticky or clinging, and not easily disconnected. Both tenaciousness and tenacity are nouns. Synonyms are listed as stubbornness, obstinacy, resolve, firmness, persistence, insistence, doggedness, drive, determination, and steadfastness. Antonyms are irresolution and flexibility.
So is being tenacious a good thing to be or not so good? As with a number of words in the English language, the context and perspective of how the word is used helps to determine the word’s meaning. Obstinacy and doggedness seem a far distance from drive and determination when describing someone’s personality. Then on the other hand is the antonym flexibility really the opposite of stubbornness or clinging? I guess it is depending on the circumstances of how it is used.
I took the photos below of the silo on the Davies family homestead inDenmark Township. How would you describe that tree growing twenty feet out of the top? Is it stubborn, or persistent, or full of resolve, or determined? Is it flexible or inflexible? There is not a branch on the trunk until it leaves the top of the silo. And inside the trunk is seriously about twelve inches in diameter! It must have grown tall and then widened out. Is that flexible or insistent? In my mind that is one tenacious tree. Unfortunately it is becoming the source of its own demise. As the top of tree sways in the wind, it is slowly but surely, round for round, knocking the tiles down that make up the silo. Perhaps that is all part of its tenacity!?!?! What would you call it?
Win these finger puppets of Delaney, Rocket and Cardinal Red!
Hi Friends! By signing up to join my mailing list you will be entered into a drawing to win these three adorable finger puppets to help tell the story of Life in the Neck New Friends. To enter please fill in your email address on my website at www.dianedavies.com and click on subscribe. Hurry! Contest ends November 30, 2018. Winner will be notified by email. YOU could be the Lucky Winner!
October 24, 2018
What is more beautiful than a fall day on the lake with a clear blue sky and sunshine on all of God’s handiwork? The fall season on Rainy Lake is pretty much at end with the majority of leaves having already fallen. And yet, if you look closely, Mother Nature is not quite ready to step into the next season. On this granite outcropping close to our dock, the little red squirrels have been busy tearing pinecones apart to find the seeds. They love to leave these little glorious piles everywhere!
A fewred leaves of a plant struggling to hang on to the granite surrounded by the pine needles of the year gone by. The subtle color so beautiful with the rock and bright sunshine.
This is perhaps my favorite photo. I’m standing on the float of the plane and watching the yellow leaves dancing on the water. The sunlight made them look like gold coins floating on the surface. With all of the frost this morning adorning the grass and rooftops, can winter be far behind?
October 22, 2018
Fall is here again and we are all busy “gathering in”! So what is this gathering in that we are doing? The dictionary tells us that gather is a verb with lots of meanings;
As a noun it only has two meanings; 1. Fold in fabric 2. Molten glass ball
In my experience, this time of year means the gathering in of family back into the home. Summer finds us scattered to all kinds of activities, camps, vacations, and cabins. As school starts and weather gets colder and the days shorter, we form back into the family group once again. Board games, puzzles and good books to read are found once again and made accessible.
Harvesting something is certainly a big part of the gathering in process. Our farm neighbors are busy in their fields bringing in the year’s crops of corn and soybeans to sell or to store for sale later when the prices are higher. Those that garden are busy gathering in the fruits of all their summer labor, the squash, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes and all the rest of the plot’s offerings.
We gather the leaves, clean up the flower gardens, put the lawn furniture away, turn on the heat, clean the fireplace, cut and split the wood, spray the box elder bugs, wash the windows, make the sauerkraut, find the snow blower and shovels, dig out the winter clothes and boots and coats . . . Oh my – that list makes me tired! We do need to find our inner strength to get it all done. I’m just glad that I haven’t found any pus-filled heads or molten glass for blowing. I’m afraid that would do me in.
October 15, 2018
Coming Soon To A Book Near You
Meet my new friend Jeannie Ann. She is the star of my next book which is about to go to print, Jeannie Ann’s Grandma Has Breast Cancer. Seeing a need for breast cancer information when someone close to a child is diagnosed became the motivation for me to create this story in a children’s book. How do I tell my child or children about breast cancer? Where do I go to find help in doing this in the right way? How do I involve my child in my journey?
Jeannie Ann’s Grandma Has Breast Cancer by Diane Davies and illustrated by C.A. Nobens, has the answers for you to these difficult questions. Grandma’s breast cancer journey is told through the voice of six year old Jeannie Ann who with the help of her family and Grandma learns to face the fears, emotions and needs that she is experiencing. Cancer, tumor, mastectomy, chemotherapy, pain, love, death, prayers are all a part of the story that Jeannie Ann shares with us. Written with honesty, love and understanding, Jeannie Ann’s Grandma has Breast Cancer, is sure to impact the family of a cancer patient positively. C.A. Nobens caught the simple yet powerful message of Jeannie Ann and helped me to tell the story through her beautiful and perceptive illustrations. Available late December 2018 or early January 2019.
This little guy stars in Book 2 Life in the Neck Squirrel Trouble. You guessed it! His name is Eli. He and his Dad have built a log fort in the neck. From scratch you might say. They started by cutting down the trees, skinning the bark – the whole ball of wax to build a log cabin. Eli knows all of the terminology, just ask him. Before the chinking was finished, guests arrived and moved in preparing for the winter. The guests were a red squirrel family with three little ones, Chatter, Whistle and Squeak. As you can imagine they gave Eli a run for his money creating havoc, destruction, and frustration for our little hero. Book 2 Life in the Neck Squirrel Trouble will be available in the summer of 2019.
October 14, 2018
I’m really dating myself with this one! Do you remember the Art Linkletter Show by that name? Google it and see some videos from the program. They are pretty cute. As kids, my brothers and I as well as our parents loved that show and watched it weekly on our old black and white TV where you had to get up to change the channel or adjust the volume. Believe or not! Well kids really do say the darndest things even today.
After my classroom visits last week reading Life in the Neck New Friends, I have a few of those kinds of sayings to share as well. Keep in mind that I was reading to 8 & 9 year olds in 3rd grade. I won’t use names to protect the innocent.
“Do you know my Grandma?”
“How old are you, really?”
“Are you the author or the illustrator?” “I wrote the story so that makes me the author.” “Oh, so you drew the pictures then, right?”
“Did you teach my Mom or my Grandma?”
“If that story was real, that Old Coyote would have eaten that little fawn right there in the garden!”
“Do you really live right in the neck with the animals – like out in the woods and all?”
These book reviews are some of my favorite!
“I have 100 books at home but my favorite is the Neck I like that they get a lot of friends.”
“I have 15 books. My favorite is Life in the Neck. Diane Davies will be glad to hear this!”
October 12, 2018
By Alfred Lord Tennyson
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
As I sit at my desk today an eagle lands in a tree not too far from my window. Well it looks pretty far through my camera lens, however. You get the idea! My eagle clasps the branch not a crag in our part of the world. And if you look carefully, there is blue in the sky behind him.
My wrinkled sea happens to be the St. Croix River and he is watching from the tree tops not a mountain wall. I wonder what he sees from up there with his incredible vision. He certainly has a commanding view of the river valley below. What is he watching for? A fish perhaps or is it a mouse or a muskrat crawling along the shore. I’m sure he’s checking out what he might have for dinner. With all of the rain recently the fall foliage is a little lacking in color and brightness but he sits and waits. Head swiveling to be sure to catch all of the views.
The thunderbolt only falls when he has his prey in sight and he is ready to strike. I love watching him from the safety of my desk chair but I would not want to be looking up and seeing that thunderbolt hurtling in my direction.
October 11, 2018
Do you remember Roxane Battle from KARE 11 – news anchor and co-host of NBC Today Show? Roxane is now an award-winning author of Pockets of Joy Deciding to Be Happy, Choosing to Be Free. She continues to make her home in Minneapolis where she is a journalist, author and speaker.
I had the privilege earlier this week to meet Roxane at an intimate gathering of Beaver’s Pond Press authors. We came together to have her share her expertise on marketing and media. Through Roxane’s charismatic character and charming appeal, she allowed us a peek inside to the real Roxane Battle personality. She radiates joy and projects positivity. She expertly created in one hour and a half the Pocket of Joy Tribe, or what I like to call the Battle Tribe, ready to take some baby steps into the media world.
Media, press, social media etc. is what sells books. You can write the best book ever and not move one off of the shelf without it. What good is what you think is a bestseller taking up space and collecting dust in your closet? If you are not willing to do the marketing work, then hire a publicist who will! If can’t afford the publicists, then you either do the work or let the books collect more dust where we all lose!
Roxane was sharing about her winning of the Minnesota Independent Publishing Associations’ Book of the Year Award and what that meant to her and her career as an author. She went on to talk about the Mom’s Choice Award and what a valuable award that would be to win. I very quietly piped up, “I have one of those.” She stopped in mid-sentence, looked my way and said, “What did you say?” I repeated my statement about having one of those and she began to applaud. I never in my wildest dreams gave that kind of credence to what I had already won with Life in the Neck New Friends. Thank you Roxane to opening my eyes to what was already in my hands.
I left Beaver’s Pond Press that night with renewed energy and might I say with a bit of a swagger as I walked out to my car in the rain. Only a few cars were left in the parking lot to see me, however! But look out world of the media, I’m ready to take you on and with the help of the Mom’s Choice Award sell more books.
October 5, 2018
After sending out yesterday’s blog post, I received a bunch of yeas and 1 nay on my new logo. My friend, Troy Pribnow, responded: “ I like the logo but as a graphic designer I have wonderings in my head. What would you think of a quill drawing a decorative line between “dianedavies.com” and “author”? I am in no way trying to step on your toes or diminish your efforts; just my wonderings.”
I too must have had some “wonderings” as well. I liked the lamp and the colors all right. I really just wanted it done and out of the way. So I settled for the one I showed you yesterday with the lamp (bright idea! as another friend responded). I knew it wasn’t perfect but with the time and money involved it would do and I’d live with it.
Then along came Troy’s message and idea. After a lot of back and forth on Facebook this is what he came up with for me:
The quill says author much more than the lamp. I really, really like it so much. Troy’s response: “I think it fits you better, too.” Thanks Troy. You are the best!!!!