Category: Childhood Obesity

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 . . .


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


yorkbookexpoWell, the York Book Expo is just a day away, and Mary Ann and Penelope are all ready to go! Are you
ready? Are you coming to the Expo? It is tomorrow, at Memorial Hall at the York Fairgrounds from 1pm – 5 pm. There will be a ticketed presentation by New York Times best-selling author, David Rosenfelt, which is before the expo at 11:30 (you can go here to purchase tickets).

Mary Ann will be in the Expo area in the afternoon with a multitude of other authors ranging in genres from children’s books to romance to non-fiction, along with illustrators, book stores and a few publishers. Anyone who has an interest in books is bound to find something interesting!

Since it is October, we have a little treat in store for you – thankfully no tricks! Here is a video of Mary Ann reading an excerpt from Just Plump Penelope. We hope you enjoy, and we hope to see you tomorrow in York!

Just Plump Penelope is getting ready for her debut at the York Book Expo this Saturday, October 17th!

The boxes of books are all packed and ready to go, Mary Ann has plenty of pens to sign your books, and a special give away will be offered for anyone purchasing a book this weekend! Be sure to come on out to Memorial Hall at the York Fairgrounds to visit, and welcome Penelope to the world!

Until Saturday, here is an interview with Mary Ann Hayes, the author of Just Plump Penelope about the inspiration for the story!

Well folks, after about 9 months of preparation, Just Plump Penelope has arrived in printed form, in a hard bound edition, and will be making her first appearance at the York Book Expo this coming Saturday, October 17, 2015! We hope that some of you will be able to visit Mary Ann and Penelope to celebrate her debut!

Mary Ann will be at the Expo, selling her first published book, and will be more than happy to sign it for you!

Here is a quick interview with Mary Ann about Just Plump Penelope.