First Guest Post
I'm so excited to announce our first guest post here on Kali Kuzma Author and Storyteller!
A few months back, I decided to reach out to authors in hopes to hear about their self-publishing journey. Not only do I want to see if they experienced the same ups and downs as me, but also how they figured out each step of the process.
The first person I wanted to have on the blog is someone near and dear to my heart, Britta Whitmer. If you've been a follower for awhile you'll recognize the name. Britta, along with our friend Kinzie, decided to create children's books and give them to each other as gifts the following year.
But besides just the book, Britta and I have done some other amazing things together including going to a haunted prison, taking on New York during New Years, decorating her apartment, and so many other adventures over the last 6 years.
So, of course, I had to have her be the first guest post!
Here's what Britta had to say about her children's book, Gemma, available May 2021 on Amazon.
As someone who has worked with kids for a majority of my life, I wanted to write a book that would be fun for both the reader and the child all while enforcing the bond between parents and their children.
My story, Gemma, is about a red panda getting struck by a surprise that sparks an adventure with a twist ending. The book goes through different aspects of grounding from the feet up. Overcoming fears and challenges along the way, Gemma is put to the test. From balancing with her feet on some logs, to finding her voice to scare the monsters away, Gemma is sure to connect to your little ones, allowing them to feel through the book. All for the story to hit home at the end.
There is a strong gem component in this children's book which stems from my love of gems, the earth, and all that it has to offer. I believe there is so much love in the world and it can be an adventure to find it! Some even say the world has a beating heart made out of rhodochrosite, near the Alps, that beats every 200 years! Ideas like these have always fascinated me and I wanted to encapsulate those elements in the story. Other natural phenomena that occur in the book include lightning and the moon. I’ve always seen children innately drawn to natural phenomena and wanted to capture the connection for all kids. It can always feel like there’s more to the moon or a misty storm and this story is a play on curious imagination.
The main character, Gemma, is a mother, and I was so excited to highlight a mother as the superstar of the story! I feel like mothers, as a main characters in children's media, are underrepresented so I'm excited to light up the love a mother has for her children in this book as there is nothing as amazing as a mother’s love.
I also decided to write about my favorite animal, the endangered red panda! I think red pandas are the cutest and I want to bring awareness to their existence through Gemma.
After trying to illustrate the book myself, I realized I didn’t have the resources I needed to get the design I was imagining. I started searching for an artist who would be able to bring Gemma to life.
I found Anastasia Busko’s portfolio online, and was immediately drawn to her emotive animal art. Anastasia is from Ukraine, and collaboration had a few hurdles when it came to money exchange, but I knew she was the one... so we made it happen!
Anastasia uses watercolor as a medium which is something children can relate to since watercolors are a popular early introduction to art. I wanted the children to feel inspired when they saw the illustrations and empower them to be creative. It was more expensive to have someone do physical art rather than digital, but I really wanted children to connect with the illustrations on a tangible level so it was clear what I needed to do!
We used Payoneer for payments since PayPal prohibits international payments from the US to Ukraine. It was a great tool for us and was relatively easy to use. We did payments in chunks along the way as work was being completed. As you might imagine, the political climate of Ukraine as well as the global pandemic posed some interesting hurdles, slowing down the process of getting the book done. Originally, Gemma was supposed to be done in October of 2020, but is now scheduled to be released at the end of May 2021 on Amazon.
When I'm not working on my book, I nanny for two boys, a toddler and an infant, with another baby girl on the way! I like to ride motorcycles, especially my Harley. I love collecting unique gems and jewelry-I haven't met anyone who doesn't appreciate a cool rock or gem! I also like to write and perform stand up comedy regularly with friends.
I want to highlight another endangered animal in my next book, but haven’t settled on what animal to choose! I was considering the golden moon bear. If anyone has any special requests, I’d love to hear your ideas! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guest Post Wrap Up
I have to agree with Britta... red pandas are adorable!
I want to give a quick shout out to Britta for coming on the blog. I greatly appreciate it! I hope you enjoyed reading about her journey of becoming a self-publishing author as much as I did.
If you haven't already, mark your calendars for the end of this month to get your copy of Gemma. Like Britta mentioned above, you can contact her at email@example.com for any questions or ideas relating to the story.
If you are interested in reading my children's book, inspired by our group activity, you can check out the best seller Princess Gabriella and the Never-Ending Kiss available on Amazon now.