YUCATECAN LULLABY (Canción de cuna yucateca), a children’s picture book, has been published! To recap:
When I last wrote in 2019, I was announcing the soon-to-be published Yucatecan Lullaby, and then we decided to include Spanish, and then there was a pandemic – let’s just say that it all set us back a bit. But now we’re ready for prime time!
The text of the book is a lullaby that I wrote for my daughter Susanna’s first child, Olivia – the music is by Eric Malmquist, a talented composer and friend of Susanna’s from Chicago – his wife Steph beautifully sings the lullaby in a YouTube video that we hope to link to on the web site any day now.
The lush and colorful illustrations of Yucatecan mamas and babies (both human and animal) are from the brilliant Evangelia Philippidis, also from Columbus, an artist whom I had admired and followed for years and am so happy to be collaborating with on this book.
Sus and her husband Arnoldo (Nolo to us – he is Mexican, originally from Sonora in northern Mexico) and their two children Olivia and Lucas live in Mérida, an old colonial city on the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico. So the lullaby is intended to invoke Olivia’s home, with its gorgeous tropical plants and typical animals (as well as a few, like the jaguar, which are endemic but don’t actually turn up in Olivia’s back yard.)
Evangelia’s illustrations also show the traditional embroidered huipil, an embroidered Mayan dress or top that women continue to proudly wear – and not only older women wear it, but younger ones pair it with blue jeans.
It was Evangelia’s good idea to include a Spanish text.
Announcing a new project! Yucatecan Lullaby, a children’s book written by me and illustrated by Columbus artist Evangelia Philippidis.
The fascinating backstory: when my middle daughter Susanna (third of six children) was pregnant with her first child, one of her friends, Stephanie Malmquist, contacted me to see if I’d like to collaborate on a gift: a lullaby for the new baby (who turned out to be Olivia), lyrics written by me and music written by Eric Malmquist, a composer and Stephanie’s husband. I’ve written lots of songs for my children over the years, so I was all in and excited to be working with a real composer (as opposed to me – I make no claims.)
So I wrote the lyrics to Lullaby for Olivia and sent them on to Eric, who composed a beautiful melody to go with it. Here’s the bonus: Stephanie beautifully sang it as a YouTube video, so we could all learn it. Susanna was of course amazed and delighted by her gift.
I should mention that Susanna and her husband Nolo, who is Mexican, live in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.
Evangelia Philippidis is a local artist whom I had followed for years (she worked as an illustrator for the Columbus Dispatch, and I noticed and loved her style) and we finally met at the 2017 Greek Festival in Columbus. She was selling her art and I told her how much I loved her work and if she ever needed a writer, I was available.
A year later, we finally had coffee together. Susanna was home for a visit with three-month-old Olivia, so Evangelia met them, and I mentioned that I had written a lullaby for Olivia – maybe she could illustrate that as a children’s book? As we brainstormed further, we decided to emphasize the Yucatecan setting, and change the name to Yucatecan Lullaby. Evangelia could illustrate with Yucatecan babies and mamas, both traditional and modern, and also feature some Yucatecan flora and fauna – the jaguar and the stingless Mayan bee, for example.
I asked Eric if he would like to include the sheet music for the lullaby (he would!) and Stephanie suggested that she re-do the YouTube video so that the music would be accompanied by the book’s illustrations. She even figured out a way for Susanna to record the alto part remotely – ah, the wonders of technology. Readers would follow a link in the book to my website, where they could link to the YouTube video and hear the music.
Now, a mere six months later, we have done the research on Yucatecan plants and animals and Evangelia has nearly finished all the artwork (which is beautiful and colorful and amazing) and formatting and book design. The music video is in the works and we are all excited about the final product.
I will let you know when we have a publishing date, which should be soon, and how you can buy your very own copy of Yucatecan Lullaby.
It’s high summer – I have always thought that was a wonderful expression, with its immediate evocation of bright skies, burgeoning crops, wildly blooming flowers and all the best aspects of summer. So what am I doing in high summer?
I’m doing that Instagram thing. Will people read book reviews posted on Instagram? I aim to find out. To that end, I’ll be posting one weekly to see what happens. Some will be new reviews and some will have been posted here and at Goodreads already.
Follow the experiment: #kitschycatco.
And enjoy your summertime with a good book!
February is not a month that has a lot to recommend itself, weather-wise, but it is short, and it does contain Valentine’s Day and a number of family birthdays.
Kitschy Cat Alphabet Book is still available from Etsy and from local shops. Wishing you a wonderful February! Nancy
December 1, 2015
Kitschy Cat has been out and about in the last few weeks. Mostly recently, at the Craftin’ Outlaws Holiday Craft Fair in Columbus, where he garnered lots of pats on his concrete head and sold some books in the process.
My collaborator on the booth was Catherine Murray of photokitchen.net, whose Kickstarter was a month before mine, and launched her tiny cookbook, Bite-Sized.
In September, Catherine and I paid calls on local retailers and had great success in placing both our books in a number of craft, book and toy stores. (Find a list here.)
And of course Kitschy Cat continues to be available through the KitschyCatCo Etsy shop.
Have a wonderful December, the merriest Christmas, and a very Happy New Year!
August 3, 2015
What’s new: book reviews are reformatted and sorted by genre for your reading pleasure.
Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.
Change “summer afternoon” to “summer day” and I am in agreement with Henry – the last week of Ohio summer weather has been pitch perfect. And what better to do on a summer day than read a good book?
After my web site was hijacked recently and repeatedly by a hacker from Bhutan (what was he thinking?), I sought relief from my friendly HelpDesk. My Help Desk is friendlier than most, since I’m married to him, the best possible situation for an author who never claims to be a techie. (This despite having written a high-tech suspense novel – what can I say, I’m a good researcher, and my help desk did a lot of fact-checking.)
So while he was poking around in my WordPress code, my help desk hubby discovered that my book review page was so slow to load that most readers probably wouldn’t bother. Well, who knew? It looked fine on my machine (due to the page having been already cached, if you care about such things.)
Help Desk to the rescue! He not only reformatted the review page to make it quicker to load, but also sorted the books into genres (British Fiction; Contemporary Fiction; Mystery; Literary Fiction, and so on), something I’ve wanted to do ever since I first put the page up, but didn’t know how. It took a long time! Thank you, sweet Help Desk!
So, gentle reader – there are 83 book reviews for you to peruse and the page is easy to navigate. I had stopped doing reviews when no one appeared to be reading them, but now that the page has been fixed so people can actually load it (silly me), I’ll be inspired to add some more.
Enjoy the rest of your summer with a good book!
March 3, 2015
KITSCHY CAT news: how one mother uses the rhyming postcard book with her daughter
Dear Readers – Yesterday I heard from mom Jodi Kushins, who purchased KITSCHY CAT ALPHABET BOOK for her own mom to send to her daughter. Jodi wears many hats, including that of urban farmer, and she also blogs about art education.
Jodi thinks that a Kitschy Cat correspondence will help show her young daughter that snail mail can be “magical.” She notes that her mom is using the Kitschy Cat postcards as a springboard when she writes to her granddaughter, “referencing where she lives, asking about where we are, telling stories from the past, and making suggestions for the future.”
January 25, 2015
The Kitschy Cat Alphabet Book Kickstarter achieved its funding goal on November 6! – followed by a month of production, followed by several weeks of mailing out Kitschy Cat books to backers, followed by Christmas, followed by the flu. A few months vanished down the rabbit hole of time!
But the new year has arrived, and the Kitschy Cat Alphabet postcard book and a few other items like Kitschy Cat posters and stickers are now available at my Etsy shop, Kitschy Cat Co. Please stop by and take a look.
October 8, 2014
The Kitschy Cat Alphabet postcard book Kickstarter has officially started! You can check out my last post (below) and blog, and I will be posting additional information on my blog, but here is the all-important Kickstarter link where you can pledge for a Kitschy Cat book: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/959193819/kitschy-cat-alphabet-postcard-book?ref=email
My brilliant future son-in-law did the video; so cute! Please check it out and share it with others!
Kitschy Cat Alphabet postcard book – Send postcards, make memories! 26 different Kitschy Cat postcards + 1 Kitschy cover = a rhyming alphabet book for a favorite child https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/959193819/kitschy-cat-alphabet-postcard-book?ref=email
September 15, 2014
Some new projects this month! I’m pleased to announce a book unrelated to my other efforts, but one that may interest some of you: Kitschy Cat Alphabet Book. Not the title of a thriller, right? I’m doing a Kickstarter for the book in October (don’t worry, I’ll post a link.)
The idea sprang from my desire to find a way to communicate with our four grandchildren who live in two different cities a day’s drive away from us. (Disclaimer: My oldest daughter and her family moved to Columbus this summer, so I now have two grandchildren in town. But when I created the Kitschy Cat book, all the kids were far away.)
Although brilliant children for their age (no bias here), they are not yet literate, and letters are not that interesting to a non-reader, even spiced up with stickers. Greeting cards are okay, but expensive, and not what I had in mind exactly. Finally, I thought of a postcard, which could contain a small message and an interesting photo. Then I thought of a postcard book. And then a postcard alphabet book.
Each postcard has a photo and rhyme about the letter it illustrates. The sender sends the child the postcards at whatever rate she chooses. At the end, the child has an entire alphabet book with cover and many happy minutes anticipating the mailman and the next exciting postcard from the grandparents (or other interested friend or relative.)
We were amazed by the objects that people put in their yards: see my blog post for a few of the photos that didn’t go into the book. So many lawn ornaments, so few letters of the alphabet!
My middle daughter’s talented fiancé, Karl Fekete, designed the layout of the whole book, and created the brilliant cover with its Kitschy Cat portrait. I also have a number of new reviews up at my review page and a new blog post, mentioned earlier.
Enjoy the first days of fall!
May 13, 2014
Although I haven’t updated my home page in a while (sorry!), there are some new blog posts, several about a trip to Estonia that my husband and I made in October, where we visited friends and colleagues that we haven’t seen since the country was a Soviet satellite (we were there thirty years ago.)
Most people are not too familiar with Estonia, but it’s a gorgeous country with a fascinating history. I’ve also added a number of book reviews, so if you’re looking for something to read, check it out!
I know I sort of promised that I would have finished book three of the Millennium Trilogy by now. Well, I got distracted by another project, which I hope to do as a Kickstarter in the near future. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to let you know when we start. In the meantime, enjoy the end of winter!
June 27, 2013
Did you know that June 27th is Worldwide Update Your Web Site Day? Or so I have just declared it. Pass the word! In order to mark the day, I am updating you, my faithful visitors, on what’s new here.
First, I am trying Amazon’s KDP Select program with The Chaos Protocol and Blood on Ice, which means that for the next 90 days or so, they will be available as ebooks only through Amazon Kindle. I apologize to those of you who may have a different ereader, but I am trying to maximize the number of people to whom my book is available, and Kindle has the lion’s share of the market. And KDP Select offers some promotion that is not otherwise available.
On the up side, being with KDP select means that I can offer my ebooks as free downloads for five days out of the 90. So, to celebrate the 4th of July, I’ll be offering The Chaos Protocol as a free download from July 2nd to 6th. So mark your calendar, and when the time comes, just click on the book cover to the right.
I am one of the featured contributors on the Edible Columbus blog this week with an interview and photo (well done, Catherine Murray of photokitchen! and thanks to Leah Wolf for the intro.) Find a different interview at the ebook web site Awesome Gang. And if you’re looking for some fine summer reads, I’ve added another round of book reviews, which you can read on this web site and also at Goodreads.
Happy reading, happy summer!
December 3, 2012
Blood on Ice and The Chaos Protocol are now available as ebooks for Nook (Barnes & Noble)and other formats as well as for Kindle. And please take a look at my Book Reviews page. I’m posting the reviews on Goodreads and also here. If you’re a Goodreads member, or would like to be one, please check out my Goodreads author’s page. Goodreads is a great place to find book recommendations (and the reviews of Fifty Shades and its ilk are so funny that I’m tempted to read it just so I can write my own review.)
Also, I do have a blog page within the web site that you can access from the menu bar above. Enjoy the merriment that is December!
October 10, 2012
I’m pleased to announce the debut of Blood on Ice, now available on Kindle, and soon to come in other ebook formats. Click on the Blood on Ice book cover to read more and to link to download from amazon.com. Thanks for reading!