NEW NEW NEW! Check out our new tab, YouTube Videos, for video story readings of each of our books!
Check out a nice write-up from Her Mind Magazine, Nov/Dec 2017 edition: http://www.hermindmagazine.com/wp/sugar-has-a-story-to-tell/
Check out my 30 seconds of fame on You Tube! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p67Slfp_NnA
Hello! Bet you’re wondering why I have become a children’s book author. Let’s go waaaaay back to my childhood in Queens, New York. I attended Public School 76, and my very favorite teacher was Mrs. Stella Rizzo for both 4th and 5th grade. Every week she sent home a newsletter for our families that was filled with stories that we students wrote, puzzles, and class news. I was one of the most prolific writers in my class. One of the moms sent me a note telling me how much she loved my stories and that she thought that one day I would be a famous author!
Fast forward to my adult years, as I was gearing up for retirement. I went back to school to get my Masters in Early Childhood Education. Due to changes in the retirement rules, I could not retire early as planned, so I never finished the degree (but was sooo close!). Once I retired, I found lots of fun things to do, including writing a blog and reading to children at a local Head Start center.
Then I adopted a sweet little dog who I named Sugar, and real life events allowed me to use all those skills to find a new joy–writing children’s books! If you have read my first book, Can Sugar Come Out to Play? (check out the books page!), most of the details really are true: Just a week or two after I adopted her, Sugar and I were in the yard and my neighbor came over to chat over the fence. Sugar wandered off behind the trees and suddenly I heard squawking–she was going after a bird! I took her in the house, gave her a loving but stern lecture about the need to share and not scare the birds (yeah, I really did, and she dutifully and sweetly listened, LOL), and the next morning, it all began. In real life, it was a squirrel who literally scratched at the glass patio door as it was looking in to see what/who was inside. (I didn’t have a good squirrel photo, so had to rearrange things a bit in the final production!) Then for the next 5 days, every morning or evening a new critter appeared: a cicada, bunnies, a frog, birds… it was amazing. I was telling a friend about it and jokingly said, “I don’t know if they are thanking me for keeping her in the house, or trying to ask if she can come out to play, but it’s weird!” That’s when I got the idea–this would make such a great children’s story!
And the rest is history! I decided early on that this would be a great way not only to educate people about kindness to animals and making a lifetime commitment to our pets, but also to donate in a fun and meaningful way to animal rescue organizations. Most of my books are based on real dogs or animal-loving people and their antics–written from my heart, with lots of love. However, in 2020 we strayed a bit to include a book about an unusual squirrel and his pals, and a fun story about a little boy who can’t seem to catch a break, because… well… when a story presents itself, it must be written!
I donate a portion of my sales proceeds to animal rescue groups (and occasionally to those who help humans, too!)
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
I need to give credit, thanks, and huge virtual hugs to a few people without whom I could not have made Sugar’s first book, which launched us on this journey. First, of course, is my sweet pup, Sugar — my best pal and Chief Cuteness Officer, who inspired all of this!
Huge thanks and hugs go to my wonderful son, Austin Stahl, a graphic designer who helped me arrange my photos and text for several of my books in beautiful layouts, and who helped me get started with this webpage. No words can express my gratitude!
Others talented folks who have contributed to my books are:
Dorothy David, who allowed me to use a few of her beautiful nature photographs (chipmunk, bird, and butterfly) when I did not have any of my own. She is a phenomenal photographer! Check out her webpage at www.dorothydavid.zenfolio.com for a real treat!
Lisa Thomas, who took some photos of me and Sugar while she was visiting us on the 4th of July a few years ago. Hers is the photo at the very end of the book on the bio page on Can Sugar Come Out to Play?.
Katie Heady, who illustrated Lucy the Amazing Wonder Dog, about my beloved poodle mix. Katie was a college student at the time. She is now working as a professional animator and has illustrated yet another book for me, Tommy and the Messed Up Orders. Katie’s website can be found at https://ktheady.wixsite.com/animation
Katie’s brother, Chris Heady, who illustrated my book, Sugar Goes to the Dentist. Talent runs in the Heady family for sure! Chris is the master of all things creative, has appeared in TV commercials, was the Hogwarts Express conductor while in college, served as the voice of the Hershey Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in Hershey, PA, is a puppeteer, and has produced a puppet-based documentary that has won several awards. Intrigued? Chris’s website can be found at www.chrisheady.com .
Myrna Ruiz, who translated Mason the Ambassadog from English to Spanish.
The talented Haylea Weiss, who illustrated The Adventures of Grandma Charlotte.
Lorraine Skala, owner of the White Squirrel Shoppe in Brevard, North Carolina, whose gorgeous photographs grace the pages of Nutsy the White Squirrel.
Photographs in Can Sugar Come Out to Play, Mason the Ambassadog (and its Spanish counterpart, Mason El Embajadog, were taken by little ole me!
Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who bought books way back in the month of September 2016, whether at Bark stores in the Central Maryland area, at New Hope Lutheran Church in Columbia, MD, or just because you are a cherished, compassionate friend. With record sales to support donations to help restore businesses in Ellicott City, MD after a damaging flood in July of that year, I was able to make a large donation, giving both to merchants in need of help and to agencies who were working on their behalf to help rebuild this sweet town. Words cannot express my gratitude (or the gratitude of the recipients!) Together, we did a great thing!
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