Category: Children’s Fiction

Lucy:  Katie…Katie…Katie, are you there?  Please pick up the phone!  We need to talk…

Katie:  Oh, hello, Lucy.  Yes, I’m here.  I know you’re probably angry because I never called you to go to Antler Ridge to get our signed copies of The Christmas Pumpkin.  But we had a bit of a family tragedy…

Lucy:   Oh, Katie, what on earth happened?  Was one of the kids sick?  Did someone die?

Katie:  Yes…yes…there’s been a death in our family.

Lucy:   Oh, Katie, I’m so sorry.  Who died?

Katie:   Our sweet Ignatz – he passed away sometime after midnight on Friday.  We found him floating on top of the water on Saturday morning. We couldn’t revive him!

Lucy:  So he drowned?  In your pool?  Wait a minute – when did you get a pool?  And who is Ignatz?  I’ve never heard you mention that name before.

Katie:  Ignatz was our pet goldfish; he’s been part of our family for years!  All of us have been very upset.

Lucy:  Hmmm…I see. Well, I’m very sorry for your loss, Katie.  What you need is something positive to focus on, and I’ve got just the thing!

The 3 Storytelling Ladies are appearing at three different places next week!

Katie:   Really?  Three places?  Where?  When?

Lucy:    So on Monday – that’s Columbus Day – they’re going to be at Weaver’s Orchard just off Route 10.  They’ll be signing books and showing the youngsters how to make their own origami pumpkins!

Katie:   That sounds great!  And we could shop for our own pumpkins and get some apples and cider and oh, their apple cider donuts –yum!

Lucy:   That’s right!  But just in case that doesn’t work, they’ll be at the Market at Boyer’s Junction on Saturday (October 14th) morning.

Katie:  Oh, that would work, too!  We could grab some breakfast, get our signed copies of The Christmas Pumpkin, and then head off to the Lehigh Valley Mall for some serious shopping.  I need a costume for Halloween!

Lucy:   Yes, I like that idea, too.  But just in case neither of those locations fit in your schedule, they’ll be at Folino Estate on Sunday (October 15th).

That’s an absolutely lovely winery and they’re having a big autumn festival!  We could sample some of their delicious wines and havelunch in their restaurant.

Katie:  Wow, Lucy!  You’ve really been keeping track of the 3 Storytelling Ladies and their newest book.  May I have a little time to think it over – all of those options sound wonderful.  Since we both need to get several copies of The Christmas Pumpkin couldn’t we try to go to all three?

Lucy:  Ah, you’re sounding better already, Katie.  That’s a positively splendiferous idea!   So I’ll pick you up around 9 on Monday morning.

Katie:  Yes, I will be ready!  Oh, and Lucy, it would be nice if you could come a little early to visit Ignatz’s grave and pay your respects…

Sue, Jen and I all hope to see all of you at one – or all – of these locations:

Weaver’s Orchard
40 Fruit Lane
Morgantown, PA 19543
Monday, October 9th:  10 a.m. to 4 p.m. **Postponed due to weather**

The Market at Boyer’s Junction
122 Pricetown Road
Fleetwood, PA 19522
Saturday. October 14th:  10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Folino Estate
340 Old Route 22
Kutztown, PA 19530
Sunday, October 15th:  11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Come and see us and get your signed copies of The Christmas Pumpkin!  Oh, and you don’t need to visit Ignatz’s grave before you set out on your journey!

Jen Sue and Mary Ann

 

In a recent cell phone conversation…

Katie:     Oh, Lucy, I am soooo sorry that we didn’t make it to Moravian Bookshop last Sunday and didn’t get to purchase our copies of The Christmas Pumpkin and get them signed by the Three Storytelling Ladies.

Lucy:      Katie, Katie, Katie…now stop apologizing.  How could you have known that your right rear tire would blow out along Route 22 and leave us stranded.  And actually I have to confess that when I walked around the back of your car, I thought that tire looked a little low, but I was just so excited about getting my hands on that new book that I didn’t want anything to slow us down.  But I just checked mahayeswrites – you know, their website – and guess what!  They’re going to be signing at two new places this weekend, so maybe we can catch them at one of those locations.

Katie:     Really?  Where?  And when?

Lucy:      Well, on Saturday morning from 10 to noon or so they’ll be at Max Crema’s on the Pricetown Road.  It’s that lovely little coffee shop that has all kinds of great coffee drinks – and tea for you – and sweet pastries to nosh on.  And friendly baristas, too!

Katie:     Hmmm…that sounds good.  It could be a great way to start the day and then we could head out to the mall for some shopping and lunch later.  But you said that they’re going to be at two places.  Where else are they signing — just in case Saturday morning doesn’t work with my family’s schedule?

Lucy:      So on Sunday – that’s October 1st already – they’ll be at the Antler Ridge Winery in Mertztown.  From what I hear, Jane at Antler Ridge has been super supportive of the Three Storytelling Ladies.   That’s probably why they have had a signing event for every one of their books at the winery.  They’ll be there from 1 to 4 in the afternoon.  And we could even enjoy a glass of great wine while we wait in line to get our books signed!

Katie:     Wow, Lucy – this is a hard decision.  Both places sound great and they’re both practically in our back yards.  Great coffee or tea and pastries or delicious wine – can I have a little time to think about this?

Lucy:       Sure – when you decide just text me!

Katie:     Will do!  And I’ll drive!

Lucy:      That would be lovely.  Just please check the air pressure in all four of your tires before you pick me up!

We hope we’ll see all of you this weekend!

Saturday, September 30th:

Max Crema’s
Pricetown Road
10 a.m. to noon

Sunday. October 1st:

Antler Ridge Winery
Mertztown
1 to 4 p.m.

Jennifer, Suzanne and Mary Ann

In a recent cell phone conversation…

Katie:     Oh, Lucy, I am soooo sorry that we didn’t make it to Moravian Bookshop last Sunday and didn’t get to purchase our copies of The Christmas Pumpkin and get them signed by the Three Storytelling Ladies.

Lucy:      Katie, Katie, Katie…now stop apologizing.  How could you have known that your right rear tire would blow out along Route 22 and leave us stranded.  And actually I have to confess that when I walked around the back of your car, I thought that tire looked a little low, but I was just so excited about getting my hands on that new book that I didn’t want anything to slow us down.  But I just checked mahayeswrites – you know, their website – and guess what!  They’re going to be signing at two new places this weekend, so maybe we can catch them at one of those locations.

Katie:     Really?  Where?  And when?

Lucy:      Well, on Saturday morning from 10 to noon or so they’ll be at Max Crema’s on the Pricetown Road.  It’s that lovely little coffee shop that has all kinds of great coffee drinks – and tea for you – and sweet pastries to nosh on.  And friendly baristas, too!

Katie:     Hmmm…that sounds good.  It could be a great way to start the day and then we could head out to the mall for some shopping and lunch later.  But you said that they’re going to be at two places.  Where else are they signing — just in case Saturday morning doesn’t work with my family’s schedule?

Lucy:      So on Sunday – that’s October 1st already – they’ll be at the Antler Ridge Winery in Mertztown.  From what I hear, Jane at Antler Ridge has been super supportive of the Three Storytelling Ladies.   That’s probably why they have had a signing event for every one of their books at the winery.  They’ll be there from 1 to 4 in the afternoon.  And we could even enjoy a glass of great wine while we wait in line to get our books signed!

Katie:     Wow, Lucy – this is a hard decision.  Both places sound great and they’re both practically in our back yards.  Great coffee or tea and pastries or delicious wine – can I have a little time to think about this?

Lucy:       Sure – when you decide just text me!

Katie:     Will do!  And I’ll drive!

Lucy:      That would be lovely.  Just please check the air pressure in all four of your tires before you pick me up!

We hope we’ll see all of you this weekend!

Saturday, September 30th:

Max Crema’s
Pricetown Road
10 a.m. to noon

Sunday. October 1st:

Antler Ridge Winery
Mertztown
1 to 4 p.m.

Jennifer, Suzanne and Mary Ann

 

 

In a conversation overheard at a local nail salon:

Lucy:          So, Katie, how about going to the cafe around the corner for some lunch when we’re finished here?

Katie:         Oh, sorry, but I really can’t today.  I’m heading right off to Bethlehem as soon as my nails are dry!

Lucy:          To Bethlehem?  Where are you going in Bethlehem?

Katie:         Why to the Moravian Bookshop of course!

Lucy:         The Moravian Bookshop?  You’re driving all the way to Bethlehem to get a book?  Why don’t you just  go to B & N right down the road?

Katie:         Well, for one thing they don’t have the book I want, and for another the author and her illustrator and the lady who does all the graphics are all going to be there to sign the book from 1 to 3 this afternoon.

Lucy:         Oh…so who is this hotshot author whose signature you want so badly?  Sue Grafton?  Danielle Steele?  Patricia Cornwell?

Katie:        No, no, no — it’s none of them!  It’s Mary Ann Hayes.  You know, the woman who wrote The Easter Chicken!  She’s a local author, and I’ve heard her new book, The Christmas Pumpkin, is just delightful.  I’m getting a book for each of my seven grandchildren!

Lucy:         So it’s a good story?

Katie:         Oh, it’s way more than a good story.  It’s a work of art!  That Suzanne Oswald — that’s the illustrator — has done an amazing job of bringing the story to life with her beautiful illustrations.  And Jennifer Fink — she does the graphics and technical work — she’s so skilled that her work is clearly good art as well!  Yeah, those 3 Storytelling Ladies — that’s what they call themselves — they know how to create great children’s books.  And they’re all going to be there today!

Lucy:         So…could I go with you to the Moravian Book Shop?  Maybe we could grab a little lunch after we get our copies of The Christmas Pumpkin — my treat!

Katie:        That’s a great idea!  My polish is dry, so I’ll drive.  I’ll take your handbag and we can be on our way!

Lucy:         Moravian Book Shop and The Christmas Pumpkin, here we come!

Why don’t all of you come out too?

The Moravian Bookshop

Bethlehem, PA

Sunday, September 24 , 2017

1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

We can’t wait to greet all of you!

Jen, Suzanne and Mary Ann

In a conversation overheard at a local nail salon:

Lucy:          So, Katie, how about going to the cafe around the corner for some lunch when we’re finished here?

Katie:         Oh, sorry, but I really can’t today.  I’m heading right off to Bethlehem as soon as my nails are dry!

Lucy:          To Bethlehem?  Where are you going in Bethlehem?

Katie:         Why to the Moravian Bookshop of course!

Lucy:         The Moravian Bookshop?  You’re driving all the way to Bethlehem to get a book?  Why don’t you just  go to B & N right down the road?

Katie:         Well, for one thing they don’t have the book I want, and for another the author and her illustrator and the lady who does all the graphics are all going to be there to sign the book from 1 to 3 this afternoon.

Lucy:         Oh…so who is this hotshot author whose signature you want so badly?  Sue Grafton?  Danielle Steele?  Patricia Cornwell?

Katie:        No, no, no — it’s none of them!  It’s Mary Ann Hayes.  You know, the woman who wrote The Easter Chicken!  She’s a local author, and I’ve heard her new book, The Christmas Pumpkin, is just delightful.  I’m getting a book for each of my seven grandchildren!

Lucy:         So it’s a good story?

Katie:         Oh, it’s way more than a good story.  It’s a work of art!  That Suzanne Oswald — that’s the illustrator — has done an amazing job of bringing the story to life with her beautiful illustrations.  And Jennifer Fink — she does the graphics and technical work — she’s so skilled that her work is clearly good art as well!  Yeah, those 3 Storytelling Ladies — that’s what they call themselves — they know how to create great children’s books.  And they’re all going to be there today!

Lucy:         So…could I go with you to the Moravian Book Shop?  Maybe we could grab a little lunch after we get our copies of The Christmas Pumpkin — my treat!

Katie:        That’s a great idea!  My polish is dry, so I’ll drive.  I’ll take your handbag and we can be on our way!

Lucy:         Moravian Book Shop and The Christmas Pumpkin, here we come!

Why don’t all of you come out too?

The Moravian Bookshop

Bethlehem, PA

Sunday, September 24 , 2017

1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

We can’t wait to greet all of you!

Jen, Suzanne and Mary Ann

Dear Readers,

This is it . . . the moment that we have been waiting for!  Today — Friday, September 1, 2017 — The Christmas Pumpkin has arrived!  We are so excited.  We can hardly wait to share our newest book with all of you.

So here is the first official peek at the cover.  We’re certain that you will fall in love with this adorable little jack o’lantern, and we hope that you will enjoy his story.

We are currently scheduling appearance dates throughout the fall and hopefully right up until Christmas.  A list of the locations where we will be signing/reading will be available on our website.  We look forward to seeing all of you!

Jennifer, Suzanne and Mary Ann

In our never-ending search to find new locations to sell Just Plump Penelope and Just Plump Penelope Goes to Kindergarten, Mary Ann, Sue and I took a road-trip last Monday to scout out some locations – and guess what! We found a new store that is now carrying our books in their line-up – The Growing Tree Toy Shop in Kennett Square, PA!

Mary Ann, Sue and I in The Mushroom Cap.

Mary Ann, Sue and I in The Mushroom Cap.

Now I do have to say that if you are unfamiliar with this shop, you may be a bit thrown off the path if you go searching for it, for it is a “hidden-treasure” beneath a store called The Mushroom Cap. When you see the storefront, it is primarily devoted to the ‘shrooms, but on the bottom level of the building is a lovely children’s store definitely worth checking out! You can access the lower level both through an exterior entrance, as well as through The Mushroom Cap. We appreciate that Kathi Lafferty, owner of both stores, has agreed to offer Just Plump Penelope for sale! Also, keep an eye out because we are trying to schedule a book signing at The Growing Tree Toy Shop soon and will announce a date as soon as we have one!

By the way – if you do go to Kennett Square and you are a “foodie,” you need to stop by two locations: the first is The Mushroom Cap.  Even if you are not shopping for Just Plump Penelope, but you are looking for good food and cooking ingredients – The Mushroom Cap offers mushrooms of all types – fresh, marinated, dried, sauces, powders, etc. You name it in mushrooms, and they probably have it! Who would have thought it – a store all about mushrooms!

My lunch at Philter.

My lunch at Philter.

The second location you need to check out is right across the street from The Mushroom Cap and The Growing Tree Toy Shop – Philter, Handcrafted Coffee (and so much more)! After visiting with Kathi at The Mushroom Cap, we took her advice and headed across the street to get some lunch, which was a great decision! Not only does Philter have handcrafted coffee and other great specialty drinks, but they also have a fabulous menu of soups (one which features mushrooms from their neighbor) and beautiful sandwiches in a cozy, inviting atmosphere!

Our desserts!

Our desserts!

For lunch, I had a pancetta, brie and arugula sandwich with a honey rosemary fig spread that was to die for! Sue had the chicken salad special of the day (and beat Mary Ann and me to the last of the mushroom soup) and Mary Ann enjoyed their smoked ham and Vermont cheddar sandwich. Then came dessert – all I can say is yum!

So the next time you happen to be in the neighborhood of Kennett Square, stop by and pick up a copy of one of our Just Plump Penelope books, browse through The Mushroom Cap, and enjoy a bit to eat and drink at Philter!

– Jennifer

Can you believe it?  Tomorrow,  — August 28th, is almost here, and Sue, Jen and I are so excited!
Maybe we should check our list of everything we’ll need for Just Plump Penelope’s big day:

Bags for our readers’ picnic blanketpurchases

Pens to sign the books

The SQUARE for credit card payments

Tablecloth and bookstand for our display

Food . . . always food . . .

Hmm . . . what’s missing?

Oh, of course — the books!  We’ll take both books in the series — Just Plump Penelope and Just Plump Penelope Goes to Kindergarten — just in case some folks missed the first book.

Is there anything else we’ll need to make this launch a success?  Yes . . .

ALL OF YOU!!

Sue, Jen and I can hardly wait to share our newest creation with you.  Please join us tomorrow.  We aren’t taking attendance, but we will miss you if you’re not there!

Antler Ridge Winery

Mertztown, PA

1 to 4 p.m.

 

 

Just Plump Penelope Goes to Kindergarten

The delicious molasses cookie we shared during our meeting!

Yes, that is exactly what it looks like — a delicious, almost-eaten molasses cookie as our nearly 4-hour meeting at Kevin’s wonderful Cloud 9 restaurant just off of Broadcasting Road is winding down.  I won’t tell you who took those last 2 bites, but I am excited to tell you what we were meeting about!

We — that would be illustrator Sue Oswald; expert on all things related to graphics and technology Jennifer Conrad Fink; business manager John Hayes (yes, he IS related); and yours truly — met to outline our strategies for getting the first Just Plump Penelope book out there to as many readers as we can.  As you’ll see on our website, we have a number of signings coming up over the next month or so, and we are very excited about that.  But we feel so strongly about the message that Penelope’s story has to share that we truly want her to go everywhere — out of the county, out of the state, out of the country!

We also talked about JPP’s second book, Just Plump Penelope Goes to Kindergarten, and its anticipated release date.  We’re hoping that book 2 will be in your hands before the end of the summer 2016.  In fact, the book is already written and Sue has already designed the cover, which you will see if you come to one of our signings.

Oh, and then one other piece of news — it’s never good to be too wordy — our hope is to introduce you to another character who is not related to Penelope at all in time for Christmas 2016.  He doesn’t really have a name.  We just call him The Christmas Pumpkin and we all think you’ll find him very lovable!

So that’s why we actually needed two of these cookies after our soup-and-sandwich lunches.  The energy around the table is always high whenever we meet to talk about what we’re working on.  Is it any wonder that none of this really feels like work or why I love our creative team?

A lot of people are very excited about the premiere of Just Plump Penelope, and we are very pleased that is the case!

We are proud to announce that Just Plump Penelope can now be purchased through the M A Hayes Writes online store! Visit the store to order your copies of the book!

If you would like to purchase your book in person, Mary Ann will be appearing at several local events in the upcoming weeks and she will be happy to sign a copy of the book for you! Mark your calendar to visit her at one of the following locations:

Mary Ann Hayes

Mary Ann signing books at the York Book Expo.

St. Paul’s UCC – Holiday Bazaar
Saturday, November 14, 2015; 9am – 1pm
5 W Arch St., Fleetwood, PA 19522

Ephrata Lovin’ Local
Saturday, November 28, 2015; 10am – 2pm
Ephrata Pioneer Fire Company
135 S State St, Ephrata, PA 17522

Antler Ridge Winery Tasting Room
Sunday, November 29, 2015; 1pm – 4 pm
951 State St., Mertztown, PA 19539