Going digital

Good day writers and friends,

I don’t know about you, but I am learning as much as I can about digital publishing and book marketing as possible. At 67 years of age, I find it a challenge. Being dyslexic makes the journey even more of a challenge.

Good thing I am stubborn. My mother once told me, “When the angels gave out patience they forgot to give you any.”

I read Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran. It it an excellent guidebook on the ins and outs of self-publishing. There was much to absorb in the book. I ended up making copies of pages I want to follow-up on. I also added some new writers to follow on my Twitter account.

The book is about how to self-publish, and why you should.

I highly recommend the book.

Be happy Butterfly Woman friends.

 

 

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Veterans Writing Project

Today I attended a Veterans Day Ceremony at O’Neill Hall, Fitchburg Armory, Fitchburg, MA. Last evening I listened to Colon Powell speak about post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, at the Nation’s Capitol Veterans Day Honoring Ceremony. I am a Vietnam War Veteran’s widow. My husband died in 2010 of cancer. He was never treated for Agent Orange. I felt powerless to help him. I wish I could have. He never talked about symptoms. I knew that something was wrong. I took many steps in trying to get him help that he denied he needed.

While there, I networked with a veteran from the Gulf War years. I met the Honorable Lisa Wong, Mayor of Fitchburg. I congratulated her for her vision and appreciation and approving a multi-cultural art exhibit on Main Street. It is a positive step in promoting and celebrating  urbanization, art and the citizens and youth in Fitchburg.

I learned about the Veterans Writing Project today on NPR. Then I looked up the site on the Internet. I just joined the group. I am a published author and have a publishing company and active blogs for writers. I am going to explore if I can raise some interest in a Veterans Writing Group in Fitchburg. First I have to learn from the Veterans Writing Project and hope to work through them.

Tomorrow I am going to visit the Veterans Office in Fitchburg and start to explore the posible opportunity with them. I know I could help in this area seeing as I have published two children’s books. I am presently writing a Field Guide for Butterflies.

If you are a Veteran, please let me know if you would like to participate by telling your story through training with the Veterans Writing Group. I have a Blog so your work could reach out to the public. If there were enough veterans, perhaps in time this could lead to a book of your stories. People could better understand their role with veterans if they only knew your story. I never heard my husband’s story, outside of the eight friends that were blown up with him when they were walking down a path or road in Vietnam. My husband Willard H. DeJong was the only survivor. He would never talk about this or any other aspect of his war experience. I knew that he was holding it all inside and I simply couldn’t reach this depth.

I hope I can make a difference with another veteran or veterans. I would consider it a healing experience to be blessed in this way.

Post from Massachusetts

Greetings Butterfly Woman Publishing friends,

Wednesday, July 25, 2012.

I am in MA, USA this summer with family. Too many health related issues to write about on my publishing Blog. I will post here when I have the physical strength and time to do so. Today a little girl named Emma came to swim in my sister’s pool. She is extremely shy. Sue Larkin, her grandmother, bought My Name is Butterfly and has read the book to Emma on several occasions as well as her other grandchildren. I did walk out to where Emma was getting her shoes on to walk home through the woods and said, “Hello Emma. We are butterfly friends.” I gave her a post card of the next book the Monarch Butterfly Coloring Book. Sue will order the book for her on Amazon. I knew Emma was too shy to speak on a personal level but we connected through the transforming monarch butterfly and all is well. Opening lines of communication with the next generation is imperative to my work seeing as they will inherit the Earth.

You can follow more current butterfly and environmental posts at http://www.insectamonarca.wordpress.com until I am able to contribute more to the publishing side of my work on this Blog.

Be well Butterfly Woman friends where ever you are.

Mary Ellen

 

Family festival brings out butterfly enthusiasts

I am all excited because the Monarch Butterfly Coloring Book was published and is available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Mary%20Ellen%20Ryall&search-alias=books&sort=relevancerank

Dan Gunderson gets bird houses ready to paint for children

Dan Gunderson gets bird houses ready to paint for children

This is not a sales pitch but rather a test market to see how kids respond to the book. Happy Tonics exhibited with Fresh Start, at Family Festival in Spooner, WI, on June 2. Dan Gunderson, Fresh Start, made copies of the coloring book pages and children stopped by to color.

Father and child coloring pages from "Monarch Butterfly Coloring Book" copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

Father and child coloring pages from “Monarch Butterfly Coloring Book” copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

I got a kick out of seeing a father coloring for his baby, so sweet.

Gideon Fegman coloring a page from "Monarch Butterfly Coloring Book" copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

Gideon Fegman, came by to talk and color. He was excited. Gideon told me, “I’m a naturologist.” I was impressed by his intelligence and told him, “You might grow up to be a scientist. He loves everything  ologist. Well, that means it could be anything from entomologist to biologist or beyond. Caption: Gideon Fegman coloring a page from Monarch Butterfly Coloring Book copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

Hundreds of families, grandparents, and children came. I even saw a few of my friends, on their walkers, from Terraceview Living Center, a nursing home in Shell Lake. One reminded me to bring over a few butterfly plants for the outdoor garden. They want to have a butterfly garden. What a grand occasion it was for community and the butterflies.

This county story starts under a plant – Spooner Advocate: Local: spooner advocate, monarch, mary ellen ryall, shell lake, washburn county

This county story starts under a plant

  • test4Writer and butterfly fan

Photo copyright Frank Zufall

Writer and butterfly fan

Mary Ellen Ryall is surrounded by photos and her journal used to document the emergence of a monarch butterfly in her garden in 2003, which eventually became the story for My Name is Butterfly.

Posted: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 8:31 am | Updated: 11:51 am, Thu Dec 22, 2011.

BY FRANK ZUFALL

For those looking for a Christmas gift inspired by a Washburn County story, one idea is My Name is Butterfly, a book written by Mary Ellen Ryall, director of Happy Tonics, the organization behind the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake.

Ryall wrote the story based on personal observations in her Minong garden in 2003.

“I saw this chrysalis under a bean plant, attached to the bottom of the bean leaf,” she said. “I thought, ‘What in heaven’s name is this?'”

She took a photo of the chrysalis and sent it to a friend in Ohio. “She said, ‘Mary-Ellen, do you realize you have a monarch butterfly chrysalis there?'”

From ground level, Ryall studied and observed the chrysalis change to adult butterfly.

“While I was there I had my bottle of water and this notepad,” she said. “I kept wondering, ‘What is she trying to teach me?’ I had no idea why I was having this experience, and I wrote down even about that.”

Ryall said a rabbit had eaten part of the leaf where the chrysalis was anchored, so she constructed a little fence around the bean plant.

“If that rabbit had come back one more day, I wouldn’t even have a chrysalis left.”

When the chrysalis turned dark, Ryall knew the butterfly was about to emerge.

“This is the very first time the butterfly comes out. Her wings were completely wet,” she said, “and I was with her for three hours. That’s how long it takes for a butterfly’s wings to dry out. They try to climb higher and higher to reach the sun, to get their wings dried. They pump fluids from abdomen to wings to do that.”

Ryall recalls the butterfly’s journey toward the sun: “And then the butterfly tried to climb up the bean pole, but the top of the plant had been eaten by the rabbit. She climbed to another plant and she went to a sunflower. She almost fell down. She had to right herself.”

During the climb, Ryall saw the male butterfly fold its wings back to let the underside dry.

“I’ve never seen a shot like that before,” Ryall said about the photograph she took of the butterfly.

“Then he gets up tall on this sunflower, and that’s when he flew away.”

From her Minong garden, Ryall shared her journal observations and photos with Patrick Shields, an English professor at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College.

“He said, ‘Knowing you, that butterfly will be immortal,'” she said.

The journal notes were transformed in what Ryall calls a “creative, non-fiction” story – her experience but with other characters: a young girl and her mother.

Publishing

After the story was written, Ryall looked for a publisher. In a twist of fate, a publisher’s granddaughter volunteered at the Happy Tonics office

“Her grandmother came in one day and said, ‘I heard you wrote a story about a butterfly, about a monarch.’ I said, ‘I did,’ and she said, ‘Can I see it?'”

The publisher was Lindy Casey of Salt of the Earth Press, a small publisher from Northern Wisconsin focusing on books for children, the environment, organic gardening, recipes.

Ryall left Casey alone in the Happy Tonics office with the manuscript while Ryall visited the Shell Lake library.

“When I came back, she said, ‘This is important work. I’m going to publish it.'”

After a deal was struck, Stevie Marie Aubuchon-Mendoza of Las Vegas, Nev., was chosen to illustrate the book.

To help the illustrator, Ryall asked Minong’s Cassie Thompson and her mother, Tanya, to recreate scenes from the story which Ryall photographed.

“I told her [Cassie] to wear a baseball cap and she said, ‘I don’t wear a baseball cap.’ I said, ‘In this story she does wear a baseball cap.'”

Cassie takes on the character Sara Reynolds who goes out to the garden and finds a butterfly egg and then a caterpillar.

In the story, Mom cautions Sara to leave the new life alone and also teaches Sara new terms, like pupae.

“Her mother teaches her [Sara] while the butterfly teaches her the actual life cycle, so it’s the butterfly telling the story, basically, and getting more information from her mother.”

Coloring book

Following My Name is Butterfly, Ryall and a graphic designer from Alexandria, Va. created a publishing house called Butterfly Women Publishing.

The first publishing project, due out this spring for Earth Day, is a coloring book of Monarch butterflies illustrated by Gordon artist Mora McCusker.

“There are so many people I can reach locally. If I want the greater message to get out there, I have to get it published,” said Ryall. “That’s why we created the publishing house, so we could get some of my essays and manuscripts out there. If my life is short and sweet, this will be something of me to leave on this planet.”

Book

My Name is Butterfly is available at Amazon.com or by visiting www.happytonics.org.

Publisher creates a Blog Salt of the Earth Press

I am delighted that Salt of the Earth Press started a Blog on WordPress. My book is listed on the site and hopefully it will drive traffic to sales. The wonderful news is that My Name is Butterfly only costs $12.98 and FREE SHIPPING is offered on orders over $25 on Amazon. Perfect book gift for Christmas. This is a charming book of a girl in her garden. She discovers a monarch caterpillar in the garden and learns about the live cycle of the butterfly.

My Name is Butterfly

My Name is Butterfly published by Salt of the Earth Press.