Writer | Illustrator

Posts from the Blogged! Category

In December 2014,  Deb and Pete of the Reading Reptile sent an email about “an entirely new place to experience children’s literature.” They put out a call for volunteers, requesting everyone from tearers and seekers to shapers and sewers. I attended Deb’s “Mushroom Making Lesson” on January 15th, an introduction to shaping and paper-macheing. Thus began my journey volunteering for The Rabbit hOle.

Over the next couple of months, I shaped mushrooms at home from newspaper and masking tape. Every other week, I’d come in to paper-mache.

In February 2015, Deb and Pete announced the lease of a temporary home, a start-up space in the Crossroads. Throughout the spring and summer, The Rabbit hOle team was hard at work building out the space, laying plans, and launching their capital campaign.

In September, we toured this temporary space during “Late Night at The Rabbit hOle with Brian Selznick and Lemony Snicket.” What a place!

In January, The Rabbit hOle sent out another call for volunteers. This time, they needed help putting together an Immersive Storybook Gallery based on The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau by Jon Agee, a proof of concept for the World’s First ExploraStorium.

Again, volunteers came out to tear paper, shape walls and frames, paper-mache, and paint. Meanwhile, more volunteers started construction on the space at 700 East 16th Street.

The Immersive Gallery opened to the public on April 9th. Today Aaron and I had the privilege and pleasure of taking a guided tour.

It’s been a thrill to watch the The Rabbit hOle come into being.

You can help, too!

Right now The Rabbit hOle is in the midst of an Indiegogo campaign. Every dollar is appreciated and there are all kinds of children’s literature-themed perks to choose from. Once you’ve given, there’s a handy badge you can display on your social media or wherever else you please:

I Contributed

If you live in Kansas City, you can sign up to be notified when they need more volunteers. Word on the street is there will be a new Immersive Gallery debuting August 1st.

Of course, you can also help by simply spreading the word. Follow The Rabbit hOle on Twitter, InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest and share their posts with your friends.

Together, we can make the World’s First ExploraStorium a reality!

It’s that time of the year to reflect on the months before and set goals for the months ahead.

First, some highlights from 2015 . . . 

My goal for 2015 was to internalize R=R+, a Top 20 Training concept that says you can be right about something while also recognizing there’s more you don’t know. I resolved to listen with the desire to understand, to embrace feedback, and to relish opportunities for growth. I made strides toward these resolutions.

  • At my day job, we relearned aspects of our roles in order to be more productive and effective. This required us to toss out processes we’d grown accustomed to and shift our attention to areas where we could make the biggest difference for customers and sales. This mindset has already affected how I determine where to spend my time and energy.
  • With regard to my writing and illustrating, Rebecca’s mentoring has shown me there’s much to learn about crafting a satisfying, marketable book and building a meaningful, enduring publishing career. Rebecca persuaded me of the value of outlining, made me confront my crutches and weaknesses, and gave me tools to attain real, noticeable growth.
  • As for my personal relationships, I still have work to do. It can be challenging for me to see people as they are. While I’m comfortable admitting when I’m wrong, I rarely adjust how I approach these relationships moving forward. This year, I will strive to be kinder and more accepting of others, especially when they’re trying to change for the better.

My goal for 2016 is to be more purposeful with my time and my goals. I intend to accomplish this through the following ways:

  • Bullet Journaling: At the end of 2015, I looked back and couldn’t account for a great deal of my personal time. Rebecca recommended I try the Bullet Journal. I hope it will make me more productive and also help me keep an eye on my goals.
  • Dedicated Think Time: I will set aside one hour each week to spend with my thoughts. It’s time to get serious about a long-term plan that takes into account the next few projects I want to work on as well as the kind of career I want for myself.
  • Krav Maga: While being healthy should be its own goal, this hasn’t proved enough for me to stick with a routine. Last night, Aaron and I signed up for Krav Maga at Warriors Academy KC. Krav Maga will teach me self-defense and help Aaron write more believable fight scenes. Along the way, we hope to also get stronger, more flexible, and healthier together.

Happy 2016, friends! Here’s to a productive and creative year with fond memories, happy surprises, and stacks upon stacks of good books.


A post-Pitch Wars interview with me and my marvelous mentor, Rebecca Petruck, is up on her blog. Swing by for a peek behind the scenes and learn what it’s like to be a mentor and a mentee.

Rebecca is the author of STEERING TOWARD NORMAL (2014) and the forthcoming WILL NOLAN EATS BUGS (Fall 2017). She also teaches a phenomenal Plot Your Novel Workshop in person and online. Rebecca is whip-smart, challenging, hardworking, encouraging, generous, and kind. She’s also funny! I couldn’t have wished for a better mentor.

I will forever be thankful for Rebecca, Brenda Drake, and the rest of the Pitch Wars community for this incredible experience.


Last month, I turned 30. My brother, Philip, journeyed from Hays to spend the weekend with us, my husband took me to Oceans of Fun, and my family treated me to The Cheesecake Factory.


My “little” brother, me, and Aaron


Mum and Dad in pointy, shiny hats!

They spoiled the pants off me. By night’s end, I had eight tubes of gouache paint, two Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable brushes, a John Pike Big Well Palette, the Color Mixing Bible, and Color and Light: A Guide for the Realistic Painter. What more could an illustrator wish for?


I put my new supplies to use for September’s SCBWI prompt word “Muse.”


This illustration is approximately 5.5″ tall by 5.5″ wide, painted in gouache on hot press watercolor paper with a dash of sea salt.

The process was unusual for me. I decided on a water nymph the day the prompt was announced, but it was another week before I settled on the nine fish (one for each Greek muse) and arrived at a sketch.

I painted the first layer this past Wednesday, a second on Saturday, and a third on Sunday. Still, I couldn’t get the fishes’ texture quite right. I came back later to puzzle it out. The solution was to sprinkle in salt!

The beauty of cut paper collage is that you can pull everything apart if it doesn’t look right and put it back together. Gouache requires more consideration. While I can always rewet the paint or add a thicker layer, each color must be mixed, each brushstroke is intentional. As James Gurney says, you have to make a plan and commit to it.

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