A Good Home, Acts of Friendship, Children's Books, Children's Illustrated Book, Children's Story, Friendship, Myrtle The Purple Turtle, New Book - Myrtle's Game, New Children's Books

Turtles Rule!

I’m seeing turtles everywhere these days!

Blog Photo - Turtle Crossing

Myrtle’s Game, book 2 in the Myrtle the Purple Turtle series, is complete and now the Kindle version has just been released on Amazon.

In Canada, it hit the #1 spot in its category on the first day.

Blog Photo - Myrtle's Game #1 on Kindle

The US ebook is available here, with more links and updates to come.

The print version will be released everywhere on Amazon in another day or two. Stay tuned, please.

Jo Robinson again has created gorgeous full-colour images of Myrtle and friends and we are once again bowled over by her great talent.

Blog Photo - Myrtle's Game Book Cover

Daughter Lauren Reyes-Grange is my co-author on this book, and it’s been a joy to collaborate with her. You may recall that the first Myrtle book was written for her when she was a child. Please help me congratulate her on her first book!

While we anxiously waited for the book to be ready, Karen Pickering’s art class in Wisconsin, USA, made us pictures of turtles. This delighted us no end.

Blog Photo - Turtle pictures by children 2 - Karen P

So did the wonderful messages from many Myrtle-fans — among them the great champions of Indie authors, Chris Graham and Sally Cronin. Take a bow, please! We authors thrive on such support.

On Facebook, I noticed today that friend Mandy, while waiting for the new book, has re-read Book #1 and painted her nails purple. She beat me to it, and I have never been so happy to be bested!

Blog Photo - Mandy's purple fingernails

Finally, late last night, I belatedly came across this review of Myrtle the Purple Turtle from Canadian Living, one of Canada’s top-rated magazines. I was “over the moon”, as they say!

https://www.canadianliving.com/life-and-relationships/canadian-living-books/article/myrtle-the-purple-turtle-is-a-delightful-children-s-book-about-acceptance-and-friendship

Book reviews and stories, from magazines, newspapers, bloggers, broadcasters — and many others sharing by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email and elsewhere — made Myrtle the Purple Turtle a repeat bestseller.

You proved that a little book, written 28 years earlier and produced independently, could be a success. 

Are we grateful? You bet.

THANK YOU.

 

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A Good Home, Author Cynthia Reyes, Children's Books, Children's Story, Illustrations by Jo Robinson

Behind the Scenes of A Picture Book

Jo Robinson lives and works in South Africa.

I worked there repeatedly in earlier years. (I even bought this favourite tablecloth in Johannesburg.) But I live in Canada. 

Blog Photo - Dining table with tulips
Photo by Hamlin Grange

Jo and I have never met in person.

Well-respected in the independent publishing world, Jo is an author, editor, book designer and illustrator. I follow her blog so I’d seen this small photo of her there.

Blog Photo - Jo Robinson

~~~

In early January I told my husband: “I’m sending Myrtle to Chris Graham as a guest post for his blog.”  

The printed story of Myrtle the Purple Turtle had been in my desk drawer for 27 years, surviving our family’s house moves.

Hamlin shook his head. “I’m telling you — it should be a book.” 

I sent it to Chris in the UK anyway. 

Chris replied quickly: “I think your husband is right – you should get an illustrator to help you get this made into a children’s picture book.” 

“Trust you men to support each other!” I told Hamlin, hiding a grin.

~~~

On Chris’ recommendation, I sent the story to Jo Robinson. 

Jo quickly replied:  “I love your story and would love to have the opportunity to illustrate it!”

Within days, she sent a few sketches, including this one:

Blog Photo - Myrtle1

And our family knew: this was Myrtle.

~~

I had difficulty describing the images I wanted.  So back I went to Hamlin, pouring on emotional blackmail: “Since you and Chris are the ones who got me into this trouble, can you help? Pleeease?”

Blog Photo - Garden White Lilac Flowers in Vase
Photo by Hamlin Grange

Hamlin runs a busy company, but he knows photography. Studied it, worked in it and now is my blog photographer.  He understands images. So, next thing you know,  Jo was working with Hamlin and me both… entirely by email.

Our daughters and sons-in-law also have an eye for these things.  So when Jo sent us sketches, I asked their opinions too.

Poor Jo! She was now working with a whole family! (Except for the pets.) 

Blog Photo - Jerome sitting.jpg
Photo by Tim McCarthy

~~~

In August, Jo sent us several versions of the book cover. The picture of Myrtle was the same, but titles and fonts can make a cover look very different.  

We narrowed it down to two then chose one.

Hooray!

I dashed off an email to Jo.

~~~

Minutes later, my friend Jean called.

“I have a vanload of kids here,” she said, sounding breathless — as you’d expect from a woman surrounded by 7 grandkids on a very hot day. “Did you decide on your book cover yet? Would you like me to ask which they like?”

Seven kids, ages 3 to 7. Girls and boys.

Sounded like a focus group from my target readership! 

“I’ll ask them individually, so they don’t influence each other,” Jean said.

I sent her two covers, almost sure which they’d like.

~~

Are you ready for this?

Every child chose the one the adults had rejected!

Back to Jo I went.

“The kids have spoken!” I said. 

“Fabulous!” she replied.

It was the first version she’d created.

Myrtle the Purple Turtle Cover

~~

Daughter Lauren, an expert in digital marketing strategy, took over next.

She and Jo devised banners for my social media platforms, finalized the text and illustrations — and other stuff that I don’t really understand.

Blog Photo - Lauren profile picture

It meant that Jo was now working with the person for whom this book was written 27 years earlier.  Wow. 

laurenreyesgrange_cynthiareyes_blackdoll
Photo Credit: Toronto Star Newspaper

Big thanks to Jo!

And to Chris, Hamlin, Lauren, Dan, Nikisha, Tim and Jean for your contributions.