I’m sure we’ve all been seeing the “back to school” displays in stores and posts on social media.
In past years, I’d see them and cringe/laugh knowingly, remembering that my summer was skidding to a sudden halt. I’d resign myself to the oncoming chaos and grit my teeth at the avalanche of work I’d face for 10 months straight. But at least I didn’t have to struggle alone. I had fellow teachers going through it with me, sharing the struggle from the trenches.
But that’s not happening this year. This year, I’m not going back to school. This year, I’m on my own uncharted path. And that realization has got me feeling some type of way. Kinda twisty and sad. Kinda relieved. Definitely shook. Definitely unsure.
This is real. I made a “big girl” decision and I’m sitting with my big girl feelings now. I understand that these emotions are normal when facing a big change. Rest assured: I’ll work through those in time, and if I need a stronger outlet, maybe I’ll get myself a pinata when the going gets tough.
Speaking of big feelings, I’ve been trying to meditate more to help myself keep calm. Lately, I’ve been using a meditation app (Headspace) to do that.
I appreciate the menu of options for whichever state of mind you find yourself in. I’ve even introduced it to my family to help us pause and have mindful breaks. Since life is so busy, I tend to go for the shorter ones, but they still feel helpful.
The campaign is in its last few days--what a whirlwind!
We mentioned earlier that Three Bee Honey will feature guest artists. Here are the talented illustrators featured in your copy of the book.
As we head toward the finish line, we are pushing ahead to try to reach our second and final stretch goal: $4,500, which will allow us to expand the story.
What’s in it for you? More world-building, more story, and more of the adventure.
We know it’s within reach, so spread the word to people you know who would enjoy this book. If you haven’t had a chance to order your book, be sure to do it asap!
Also, because we met our first goal, those who purchase a physical copy of the book will receive a FREE Three Bee Honey bookmark set!
This offer expires at 12am on Monday, 8/21 at so don’t miss out!
This week, we have a livestream event for the Kids Comics Unite Community, where we will share our journey and talk about our creative process.
Whew…that’s all for now, but I will get in touch again right before the campaign ends to send last minute reminders. Feel free to share this newsletter (or the campaign) to anyone you think would enjoy it. :)
Ever notice how angry people seem nowadays? Like big mad. Triggered by the smallest provocation, raging on the road, even cursing out service workers for making a mistake on an order. I could go on and on. It’s all hit a tipping point. But in addition to some serious therapy, I think what the world needs is a piñata.
Yes, a piñata.
I know it’s a bit strange, but hear me out.
Over the past few months, I’ve attended parties that included piñatas. And these weren’t all kids’ birthday parties either. But these gatherings all had one thing in common: a big, colorful piñata. A colorful piñata we were not just gonna hit, but absolutely destroy.
Me when I get in front of any pinata--get that blindfold ready!
And I must say, the act of taking a swing at one is immensely satisfying.
Then I thought about a podcast I recently heard about this festival in Italy called The Battle of the Oranges. The citizens of Ivrea gather oranges, and each winter for three days, they throw the oranges at each other. Like a water balloon fight, but more bruise-inducing. And why do they do this? The villagers seek catharsis, which means “the process of releasing.”
This is a way for everyone to let out all pent up negative emotions, angst, and resentments. The local leaders plan around this event, including clean ups after the fact, making this well-organized chaos. And people can decide not to partake if they choose.
As author Jon Mooallem describes, the residents “would throw the oranges very hard, very viciously, often while screaming profanities at their targets or yowling like Braveheart, and they would throw the oranges for hours, until their eyebrows were matted with pulp and their shirts soaked through.”
At the same time, this battle was healing, as “they would also keep smiling as they threw the oranges, embracing and joking and cheering one another on, exhibiting with their total beings a deranged-seeming but euphoric sense of abandon and belonging — a freedom that was easy to envy but difficult to understand.”
I think this tradition is brilliant. We all need our version of The Battle of the Oranges. While throwing citrus fruit can get a bit sticky or even cause real damage, hitting a piñata is way, way more manageable. But it still gives us that much-needed release.
Feeling in a funk? Frustrated with someone in your life? Fed up with the indignities of adulthood? Take a bat or a stick, hang that piñata, and as it swings in the wind, give it a good, hard whack!
I also think piñata companies need to get on this and market to adults. There’s a whole bunch of us ready to let out a lot of repressed energy, especially after these past few years.
So next time you hit up a piñata shop (there are a bunch near me in Santa Ana), get yourself a “just because” piñata. Get yourself a “just in case” piñata for the tougher weeks. It’s calming. It’s cheaper than therapy.
And the best part? There’s no birthday party required.
We’ve officially reached our stretch goal! Yay!
That means everyone who has ordered a book (Worker Bee Package or higher) will get a free bookmark set with their shipment when the book comes out.
Barney Smith from Story Comic interviewed Jon and me about our campaign. You can click here to listen to us talk about how we made it happen and the process of developing Three Bee Honey.
Also, our stickers came in. You can check out our unboxing video here. They are super cute!
If you want a sticker set and a print, be sure to put in your order before August 19th, the day our campaign ends!
Top: Finn likes to lay down right in the middle of my younger son’s army guy set up.
Middle and Bottom: In this heat, the pets like to sleep under or near the fan to stay cool.
The Brooklyn Public Library, in partnership with the Seattle Public Library, is combatting the recent wave of book censorship with a program called Books Unbanned. This program will grant access to audiobooks and eBooks to teens and young adults living anywhere in the U.S.
Sadly, books are being banned all over the country, even in California.
But we have the tools to push back on this rampant censorship and protect everyone’s right to read. If you know a teen or young adult who would like a Books Unbanned card, please share this resource with them.
That’s all for now, but I will get in touch again as the campaign winds down with last minute updates. We greatly appreciate your support!
Feel free to share or forward this newsletter (or the campaign link) to anyone you think would enjoy it. :)
Hey friends! Our Crowdfundr campaign launches in just ONE day, and Jon and I are working hard behind the scenes to get everything as ready as possible. We just posted this video to kick off the launch.
To commemorate this event, I thought I’d try a different angle in summarizing our experience preparing for a Crowdfundr. We are so excited to get Three Bee Honey out into the world, but it’s definitely been a LOT of work. But we’re making progress, and that alone is worth celebrating.
The ABCs of Crowdfunding
Anticipation building as you countdown the days
Believing in yourself when the doubts get loud
Cross the Rubicon and announce your campaign
Don’t forget to take a shower!
Endless edits on the story and the website
Fall, but then get back up
Go get some sleep, kiddo
Have to complete way too much math to figure out a budget
Infinite to-do lists
Just keep swimming, even when life gets in the way
Know that you’ll be okay, regardless
Learning how to make TikToks, Reels, and Stories
Manifest your daily goals #bossbabes
Noticing that one mistake after it’s posted-gah!
Optimize your network and make the ask
Parent the kids and be generous with screens
Quality videos take time--learn how to edit
Remember to draft a few newsletters along the way
Scrambling the week before launch
Take breaks and laugh or watch a show
Update your fans--even if it’s just your best friend
Visit other campaigns to learn and offer support
Whenever you can, update your subscribers
Xtra rewards are always a good idea for your big spenders
You can do it ALL--sike! Just kidding!
Zen feeling that hits after it’s all done.
The campaign hasn’t even launched yet, but I’m stoked at the level of encouragement and support we’ve gotten. Here are some cool things we have in store for you:
In addition, we have:
Subscribe to our campaign for updates. Thank you so much for joining us on this journey!
It’s Thursday, so I thought I’d throw in a few throwback pictures of our four-legged friends. Aren’t they the cutest?? *Squeeee!*
Since the kids are on summer break, we have a chance to spend more time together, which has its pluses and minuses, for sure. To break up the long summer days, we have family game nights. One of our favorite games is Catan. It is a game of strategy, and the object is to use your resources to build as many settlements and cities as possible.
That’s all for today, but I will get in touch again soon when the campaign goes live. We truly appreciate your support through this process! :)
Life calls on us to be brave. Often. That fact is as predictable as the anticipation you feel at the top of a rollercoaster when it reaches its first drop.
Don’t get me wrong: I love a great ride. That inching upward. The gripping of the lap bar. The unhinged screaming as we go down.
But it’s that drop I want to reflect on today.
It really be like that sometimes.
It always tickles that thrill seeking part of our brains, but it can inspire some anxiety as well. We know the drop is coming. We even stood in line for this ride. Voluntarily. Maybe even for hours.
But when we inch closer, that realization of “Oh crap, here we go!” flashes through our minds.
Life is like that sometimes. We anticipate a drop coming, and maybe we panic and wonder if we can go back. But like the wise Miley Cyrus once said, “We can’t stop, won’t stop.” And this applies to life changes and facing our call to action.
Here are some moments I’ve recently experienced that required a little momentum and a whole bunch of courage:
We’ve been working on this story for YEARS. Pitching it. Fixing it. Pitching it again. All the while, keeping our faith in it alive. We could have let this go when no publisher made an offer. But we just can’t.
So here we are, determined to bring this story out into the world.
You can help make this happen by checking out our campaign and subscribing to it for updates. I’m developing some TikTok videos to show the behind-the-scenes fun stuff we do. We also have some awesome add-ons in the works, such as various rewards packages, featured guest artists, and freebies for the first contributors.
Does this little book about bees require bravery? Sure thing. But we’re ready.
Current Read: Wizard of Ads, by Roy H. Williams
One of the teachers in my copywriting class suggested this book, The Wizard of Ads, by Roy H. Williams. I thought it would be a dry book about advertising, full of pedantic writing. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how entertaining and engaging this book is. In its essence, this book is about the way people think. I attached a picture to show a sample piece. I appreciated the short, thought-provoking essays, which would each end with a delightful and clever insight or punchline. This book isn’t just for advertising--it’s great for better understanding people and what motivates them.
Lilo so badly wishes she was accepted by the cool cats. <<-- maybe there’s a PB book idea here?
I recently started working for RPA, an advertising and marketing agency. I had the pleasure of participating in their recent PRIDE Promo Video. It was my first time being a puppeteer, and it was so fun! I was surprised by how much of an arm workout it was, but I developed a deeper appreciation for this artform.
My start as a professional puppeteer.
Our tomatoes are coming in, and we are excited to pick the first ripe ones for our salads and sandwiches. We also added more plants around the yard that pollinators would enjoy.
Thank you so much for reading this newsletter! I’ll be sending you more updates for the next month as the campaign launches.
This month’s question: how have YOU been brave lately? I’d love to hear about your journey doing something courageous--no action is too small. Feel free to comment on my blog or reach out and share.
If you have any friends who’d like this newsletter, feel free to share this with them. :)
Some updates, musings, and sharing of inspirations.