What I Learned From Vivian


FRIENDS!! If you are like me, you have a great group of friends. My friends teach me the lessons of life by the way they live. My friend Lucy is a servant. My friend Nancy has a huge loving heart. My friend Ronnie taught me how to draw cartoons. My friend Leana is wise. My friend Karen is my party friend, always bringing us all together to laugh. My friend JoAnn is a chef! My friend Juanita is a creative soul. My friend Rachelle is soft-hearted. My friend Lin is a kindred spirit. My friend Sue is an amazing teacher. All my artist friends AMAZE me! … the list goes on. All are unique. All are a part of my heart. I am thankful!

Last week I spent time with my Vivian friend. We were going to go visit our friend Clara in a nursing home. I wrote out a little card and tucked it in my purse. When Vivian got to my home she came bearing flowers, magazines and muffins! All were for Clara. I watched Vivian talk to Clara. She was all there, in the moment, not thinking about what she was going to do when we left. She was completely present and asking Clara this and that. It was wonderful to watch. Her heart was bursting with love. It made me smile.  THANK YOU VIV!

You see, to have friends you have to be a friend. We can all improve.

You have to get outside yourself and look into their faces and participate in their lives. Lives touching lives makes us all better people.

Join Me For A Cup?


There is nothing like a nice cup of steamy hot coffee with cream and conversation with friends.  Since all my friends are working or busy, I am having coffee with my other friends.  Today it is Toola.  … and no,  she is not sharing that second cup with me.  She likes two cups of coffee at one time.  It’s kind of hard to get her to sit down (obviously), but we must love our friends no matter what!!  It takes a lot of interesting people to make a world.    Enjoy your day!

~ Leslie Ann


Mountain Get Away

This morning I drove up the mountain to Estes Park, Colorado. It was a sad journey as I began.  The night before we found out our brother in-law was told he had two months to live due to cancer.  We love him so much. A good deal of the drive up was spent thinking about him and my sister in-law and praying for some answers. I knew I needed to pull myself together. I was meeting with a friend and then a shop keeper who is selling my books.  My day was going to move from sad to putting on a happy face…. life is that way you know. .. and sometimes those emotions are within minutes of each other.

This picture seems to say it best.  As I approached the scenic overlook leading down to the valley in Estes Park a thick cloud covered the road. I was hoping it would not get so thick that I would not be able to see.  Thankfully, the skies opened, letting in the sun before I got into town.

The rest of the day was filled with warm conversations and beautiful views.  I cannot describe it any better than peace being poured out into my heart.

My meeting in Estes Park was with a wonderful woman named Cynthia.  She is the owner of Life’s Bear Necessities.  It is a beautiful little gift shop in town that specializes in gifts made in America.  A portion of the items made are by people in Colorado.  She must be my biggest supporter of Peepsqueak books.  Her last order was for 50 books which I gladly signed today.  We had such a nice visit and found we had much in common.  The people coming into the store were just as kind.  A woman came into the shop and told a story of whispering to a freaked out elk just yesterday. Evidently, the giant buck was trapped in an area of town where he could not escape. She was only a few feet from him and began whispering to calm him down!  It worked! She was so excited to tell me her story.  Another woman that came in was a retired singer. One more couple had ties to a small town In Iowa where my grandparents lived.  The whole day was peaceful, sprinkled with friendly faces.

Leslie Ann Clark – Signing 50 copies of Peepsqueak for “Life’s Bear Necessities”

Cynthia at Life’s Bear Necessities – Estes Park, CO

Another delight in my day was the last-minute coffee date with my artist friend Teresa Maria!  We met before the shop opened at the “Be Kind Coffee Shop”. It is always good for the soul to meet someone for coffee. I don’t exactly know why, but I have had some “laugh till you cry” moments in coffee shops, serious” heart-felt” meetings in coffee shops and amazing and inspiring meetings in coffee shops.  I guess it is the laid back atmosphere. The Be Kind Coffee Shop has the most beautiful view.  What a treat.  I am sad I did not get a picture of Teresa Maria!

The Be Kind Coffee Shop

I hope all of you had a peace filled day.  Thank you for sharing mine.  And if you think about it, say a prayer for our loved ones.

New York Fun – Surtex 2012

After months of prep work, Surtex 2012 is history.  It was a great time of meetings, and visiting with other artists.  It almost feels like a dream now that it is over.  I am filled with ideas and hope for the future!

Here is a picture of Margaret Anastas, my editor at Harper Collins, me, and Annie Stone, Margaret’s assistant.  It was so fun sitting at Harper C. and visiting with everyone who worked so hard on Peepsqueak and his promotion.  I do love my HC family.  They had a nice breakfast for me and we all met in the Harper Collins library. I wish I had a picture of Jeanne Hogle.  She was my graphic designer.  She escaped the room before I could snap her picture.

After our meeting, I packed up 30 books and headed to the Javitz Center in a doozy of a rainstorm!  I LOVED that cab driver for picking me up!!

Messing around with my friends Jane Shasky and Megan Halsey during my Peepsqueak book signing at Surtex. Everyone was in such a good mood!

Here is my teeny tiny room at the Best Western.  I was surprised at how small it was, but in the end, it was cozy and I was so glad I stayed there. It was a good retreat after a busy day.

Can’t forget my sweet agent Alicia Dauber. She had everything running smoothly!

Outside my window all the horse drawn carriages were lining up.  New York is so full of LIFE!

As amazing as the big city is, it is always nice to come HOME!   I had to get my zinnias planted!!  Now it is back to work for the next show!

New Every Morning

My “Peepsqueak” book is all about working hard to achieve goals no matter what anyone says. There are many “Poo poo-ers” in the world. It can be quite an effort at times to move toward your dreams when there are those who stand in the way with puzzled looks on their faces or telling you how you should do some OTHER dream.

Sometimes you don’t even KNOW what you want to do.  Never fear!

There is a dream in all of us! There is something born into us that needs doing.  Many people never find that dream because it is too hard, to scary, or the Poo Poo-ers got the best of them.

“Peepsqueak” is also about brand new beginnings. He was born into the world on a brand new day. Each of us have that new beginning every morning when our feet hit the floor.  All kinds of possibilities are set before us!

This morning I met an older woman named Marion.  I was at my local coffee shop when she came up to me with a worried look on her face. She told me she missed her bus!  She had no idea what to do because her next bus did not leave town for 7 hours!   I suggested we walk over to the senior center across the park and ask around about other possibilities for travel.  During that time we got to know each other a bit. She lived in Germany for a while and traveled all over Europe with her husband. She had grandchildren and two kids.  As we talked more we realized she only missed the early bus and she could catch the second bus in an hour. (I also found out how cheap it was to take the bus! I might have to try riding the bus to see my sister sometime. It sounds like a new adventure!)

So Marion was my new twist in the day.  What did YOU do new today?  If you meet up with a Poo Poo-er, just smile, and KEEP MOVING!

Instant Friends!

A few weeks ago I attended a CCIRA conference in Denver.    http://www.ccira.org/w/w?cmd=goconffees

I was at the conference to share my new book “Peepsqueak“,  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdllelLIRS4) but also to help promote SCBWI, The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators!  It is a wonderful organization that helps authors and illustrators figure out how to get published.

During this CCIRA conference I met three people.  Elaine Pease (http://www.peasepodbooks.com/) and Kathleen Pelley (http://www.kathleenpelley.com/) and Sarah Azibo, the RMC-SCBWI Exhibits Coordinator.  Sarah is also a writer!

We had a lot of fun talking to passersby.  We were encouraging them to attend a SCBWI event.  It was not hard to sell SCBWI.  When people find out about this group, they LOVE it! There are chapters in many states, and around the world!   (www.scbwi.org/)  Many people have told me they want to write a children’s book.  Step 1….. join SCBWI!

During this CCIRA conference we also had time to compare notes about our businesses.  It was great fun!!  Kathleen is from Scotland.  Sarah and I loved sitting and listening to her talk! We all braved the winter storm to attend the conference but it was worth it!!