The Story Behind the Story
My first foray into self publishing and “professional” writing began in the second grade. A friend and I wrote superhero comic strips utilizing parodies of actual Marvel superheroes as characters. We would churn out issue after issue of The Defensible Tin Can Man of Park Industries or Raredevil who was a pitchfork carrying rare devil that fought for good. We always left our heroes in dire straits or right at the beginning of discovering some new secret.
Our second grade classmates constantly cajoled us to produce the next issue and paid for the privilege at a whopping three cent an issue- a sheet of paper folded to provide us with the requisite sixteen panels when you counted front and back. I loved creating those stories with my friend and the conversations at lunch time discussing our “comics”. Who knew that almost fifty years later I would be doing something very similar.
While attending Oberlin College, Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupery was required reading in my sophomore French class. The Little Prince was assigned to us because it’s simple vocabulary allowed us with our limited facility with the French language, to be able to read the story. In our class discussions, I was fascinated with the layered aspects of the story. It could be read as a straightforward children’s story or, as we discussed, a philosophical journey about the nature of life itself. I vowed that one day, I would write a story like that.
I began to look at children’s books like the Pooh stories, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and various tales from Dr Seuss and realized that there were many gems for adults hidden in these tales for children. Over the years I recognized the same things in cartoons like Puff the Magic Dragon, Disney’s Peter Pan and many others. For decades my pen was silent. And then, one night in 2020, I was awakened a little after three am from my sleep with a burning desire to write and wrote Grandma, I don’t want to go to sleep in it’s entirety in less than an hour. I was delighted with what my muse had produced! A layered philosophical story with no words above a first grade level and a tribute to grandmothers everywhere. I knew that I had to find an illustrator!
I sing in The Soul Stick Q, a do wop acapella quintet that has sang with The Platters, Archie Bell & the Dells and many others. We often had rehearsals at each other’s houses. During rehearsals, I had often marveled at the paintings of the wife of Daniel Muraida, one of the members of our group. Thelma Muraida is a well-known artist in Texas and when I approached her with the idea of illustrating my book, she read my verses and agreed to collaborate with me. I had hit the jackpot! When she began to show me sketches and then illustrations, tears came to my eyes. It was as if she had went into my head and drew the pictures just as they appeared. She also had experience with children’s books and agreed to illustrate and format the book. She was a virtual one stop shop! One year later, the work was complete.
Now the question was “Do I self publish or do I look for a publisher?” After almost one hundred hours of research, I decided that self publishing was the best choice for me. I liked having complete artistic control and felt that my decade of corporate outside sales experience would help me to navigate the difficult marketing aspects of the business.
In December 2021, I created the new publishing company Ceasor Press Publishing and in January 2022, published my first children’s book Grandma, I don’t want to go to sleep A Forever Love Tale -a layered tale written in the tradition of Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak that could serve as both the ultimate bedtime story for very small children, or a philosophical journey for a more mature reader. Grandma, I don’t want to go to sleep is a story that was decades in the making.
A layered tale written in the tradition of Where the Wild Things Are or The Little Prince with a touch of Grimm.The ultimate bedtime story, this book is a tribute to grandmothers who have to be mothers twice. This book follows a child’s fantastical voyage under the sea in an imaginative attempt to avoid bedtime. A book of laughter, longing and loss .Told within the confines of a nontraditional family, children being raised by their grandparents can finally see themselves in print.