I found out great news this morning. The children’s picture book that I wrote years ago, and teamed up with my dad to illustrate, is going to be published by Just Dust Publishers.

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Years ago as I was dreaming of creating Sunnyshore Studio, I imagined writing series of children’s picture books that would tell the stories and adventures of a boy growing up on an island.

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I wanted these stories to “instruct and delight.”

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The first story would be about his memories of fishing for salmon with his dad, and, in particular their salmon fishing adventures on the day of a Fishing Derby on the Island.

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I was able to persuade my dad to believe in the reality of this book enough to collaborate with me on illustrating it. On one of his and mom’s visits to Indy, he spent a week working with me on the illustrations.

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A friend of mine, Paul Baumgarten, took photos of the illustrations. And another friend, Matt Hale, put the illustrations and my text into a book form.

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As I began to share my project with professionals in the children’s book industry I discovered that the story itself took a lot more work. I attended a children’s book conference in Indy and submitted my draft to people in the industry for review. They urged me to move from just sharing memories of my fishing with dad to make it a story.

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So I worked on the text and eventually sent it to a publisher. I got great feedback on the illustrations, but was told that the story needed to have a more universal appeal. I kept working on the draft, resent it, and was told that I had made great improvements but that they weren’t going to be able to publish it at the time.

The story languished.

Then on October 23rd, 2014 I got a letter from a friend I knew from when Jenny and I attended Cascade Presbyterian in Eugune, OR, 1995-1997.

She wrote,

Hi, Jason,

I don’t know if you remember me but I “knew you when” you were in Eugene, Oregon at Cascade. I purchased one of the beautiful little watercolors that you did as a fund raiser for a pregnancy center at the time and have always cherished your work. Tonight I was trolling the Shopgoodwill.com site and found a large watercolor of yours–A Lone Goose. It is SO beautiful, and I was so happy to purchase it! A friend of mine, Gwen P., had also purchased some of your paintings in the days and she will be delighted to see this one as well. We both value them highly.

Mark, my husband and I have moved to McMInnville, Oregon–a tourist town for wine country, the space museum, and central location for touring Oregon. He’s retired and I am running a small publishing company. We also have a vacation rental house and a 100 year old craftsman that we also use for retreats for people in ministry. We would love to host you and any others you would care to bring. (We’re on AirBnB in McMinnville, but don’t book through there as there will be no  charge for you! I know you are from the NW so if you want to have your extended family come with you we would be happy to oblige….Hope you and the family are well, your position is challenging and fulfilling, and your paintings and sermons are filled with His light!

I wrote her back and shared with her that I had been working on a children’s book and would she be interested in seeing if it would be a good fit with her publishing company. She said she would.

And that brings me to the great, Great, GREAT news that the children’s book that I collaborated with dad to create will, Lord willing, be published by Just Dust Publishers.

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By the way, these pictures are from the original book that Paul Baumgarten and Matt Hale collaborated with me on.