View of Long’s Peak & Mount Meeker

I love seeing these pristine, snow covered mountains from the much warmer and dry front range of Colorado. Our snow melted, so I now admire the beauty of snow while wearing flip flops & shorts.

Beautiful Bald Eagle

It’s been a hard week. For me solace can be found in nature.

This eagle sat patiently while another photographer and I took several pictures, finding the best angles. When we walked past, it flew in a loop landing in another tree. I’m grateful to have captured these.

Winner Announcement 5/20/22

Congratulations to Danielle Hammelef, winner of a signed by the illustrator copy of HATTIE HATES HUGS, from Heather Brockman Lee and written by Sarah Hovorka. Danielle, email me your address so that I can connect you with Heather.

Don’t miss my interview from Tuesday with Kaz Windness, as we celebrate her debut picture book, SWIM, JIM! And come back in June for two amazing interviews and giveaways from kid lit creators Lynn Becker and Ashley Belote.

Welcome Author-Illustrator Kaz Windness – Giveaway Alert

I’m happy to have Kaz Windness on the blog. Her creativity is inspiring and fun. It’s hard to think about her without smiling; spending time with her is like being invited to sit with the cool kids in middle school. Yes, I just rewatched 13 Going on 30 last week. She’s part of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of SCBWI where I am a member and it’s an understatement to say we have an embarrassment of riches in terms of talented and caring members. Kaz’s debut picture book, SWIM, JIM! is an adorable and beautifully crafted story of a crocodile who is afraid of swimming. Ironically, a book featuring an animal that I am actually afraid of, is about conquering fear. And guess what! I received an advanced copy, and am much less afraid after meeting Jim. Trust me, you’ll want this book. Go ahead and preorder it now, then you’ll have your copy on 5/31/22.

Kaz has a special giveaway for her blog tour (please comment here because I like reading the comments AND enter the rafflecopter to enter the giveaway.)


Signed book, plush, fidget, floater, pin, stickers, cards. Winner Chosen 6/15 US only

What were you like at the age of your target audience?

SWIM, JIM! is a picture book for children age 4-8. Here is a photo of me on my 5th birthday. My brother, Steve, is 3. I’m an October baby, and my mom always made the best Halloween cakes. She also read us piles of library books, which is where I discovered my love for picture books.

What inspires you?

I get inspiration from everything! I’m inspired by all kinds of art, including music, and funny and peculiar things I see in the world. SWIM, JIM! was inspired by a news article about a crocodile spotted crossing a canal on a pool noodle. I related to the poor crocodile, because I am not a good swimmer, either. When I get an idea, I like to doodle in my sketch book, and most of my book ideas begin this way.

What’s something you hope readers take away from your book?

I hope by reading SWIM, JIM! young readers will learn to face their fears and know that it’s okay to get help from the people in their life who care about them. Being afraid is something we all experience, but together we can be brave. Jim was afraid of the water, but once he faced his fears, he found out that water can be fun, too!

What’s next for you?

Besides celebrating SWIM, JIM! all summer long, I have two books coming out in 2023—WORM & CATERPILLAR (Simon Spotlight Books), and BITSY BAT, SCHOOL STAR (Paula Wiseman Books, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing), and more in the works! 

If you’re in the Northern Colorado area on June 4th, stop by The Wandering Jellyfish Bookshop from 4-6pm to meet me and get your copy of SWIM, JIM! signed! 

To learn more about Kaz’s books and her art:


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