Friday, July 26, 2019

The Warm Glow: Twinkle and Luna Book Signing

1-4 pm, Saturday the 27th of July at The Warm Glow 
in Centerville, Indiana, right off of I-70.  
Funny thing about this location: several years ago, during one of my many trips back and forth between the East and West sides of the USA, I stayed at a little motel right across the street from this place. I really loved the store and area, so took my time leaving it--thinking, "I really like it here." Then, "Joanna," I said, "you're never going to live in Indiana; don't be silly." 
Ha! Serendipity strikes again and here I am.
 Twinkle and Luna's been written, with music (all of my stories seem to form themselves into music and lyrics), since my last semester completing my BA in English Lit. at BYU. Completed the illustrations while teaching in Sacheon, South Korea, and then tried the self-publishing route through Amazon's Createspace with unsatisfactory results. Next, I paid a company called Lulu quite a bit to get an even worse printing.  Both companies were disappointing because neither of these companies cares much about the quality of your book once it's sent out to be printed, nor is there anyway to pin down and resolve problems since both companies, apparently, send self-published books out to the lowest bidder, and printers vary from printing to printing.
T&L's cover turned out fine, but the inside...
Since I used bright metallic sharpies to hand-letter the original text, the words should've been brilliantly legible.  Not so. I'm having to hand re-letter several pages in every one of the 200 books I ordered to distribute, so many years ago.  That's how dull the resolution was.  Sigh. SO, if you have a children's book you want to self-publish, I can't recommend either of these routes.  
Because I didn't realize that CD's are pretty much obsolete, I had them made for the professionally recorded audio reading and singing of the book, and inserted a CD into each of the books I'm re-lettering. In short, this batch of original editions, which my new publisher and I are selling off to make way for the newer-improved version, will EACH be partially hand-lettered with audio CDs inside.  Some serious, hands-on loving care, hmm?

BTW, the pseudonym of "J. E. Sakura" won't be used with the new edition, either. 
There are reasons that nickname resonates with me,
so it may be part of the Japanese version 
(which is already written and recorded too), but...
My own name, Joanna Sakievich, makes more sense to use. 
That's the thing about trying to turn your dreams into reality: 
silliness and mistakes are strewn all along the various paths attempted. 
All that aside, I'm still really happy with the book itself, the story, song and characters.
So, it's a pleasure to finally see some possibility for getting them read to and by more 
darling little people in the near future!
Here are a few special things about my publisher, Shelly Davis, 
founder and owner of Kids At Heart publishing:
  • She started her company 9 years ago, as the result of being a frustrated self-publishing children's book author/illustrator herself. She had the firm belief that there should be something better out there for anyone who wants to publish a children's book and acted on that belief.
  • While her company is also a "self-publishing" enterprise, Shelley personally oversees every step and has only 2 printers that she works with and trusts. Those printers not only print the books for her authors, they also mail them out to wherever they're bound. Physical copies of each book are reviewed by the author and her, before they go out to buyers.  Not the quality you expected? Back it goes to the printer.
  • Shelley is one of the most genuine human beings I've met in a long time. She does this because she believes in and loves it, not because she has to.
  • She and I share similar visions and are working as a team, as opposed to one being "in charge" of the other.  The quality of each author's book is as important to her as it is to the author--sometimes even more so, to Shelley!
  • I'll be working for/with her as an illustrator and proof reader for other author's books.
While very few copies (relatively speaking) have been sold or distributed, Twinkle and Luna's made its rounds and received warm reception in China, Japan, South Korea and the USA.  I'm excited to do more with it, including the 日本語 (Japanese version) and 
activity books already created to accompany the story, 
as well as scripted class presentations, complete with patterns for big cut-outs of the characters.
MOST of all,  I'm so very impatient to get my other "children" 
(that's how each book's characters feel to me) out into daylight to make other kids smile!
Finally working with someone with whom mutual trust and professionalism are shared, 
these illustrations represent just a few characters waiting to come to life in 2020!

Happy weekend and stop by The Warm Glow if you're in town tomorrow!


  1. Fun stuff, Joanna--and so nice to see Hiroko Takatani, too! Keep up the good work!

    1. Arigatou!
      SUCH fond memories of that evening meeting her and hungry to go back.

  2. Way to go Joanna! What an inspiration for other writers. Your book looks great.How can I get a copy? I have never known anyone as amazing as you. Way to make your dream come true. So proud to be your friend.

    1. You are too kind and thank you! Who, may I ask, is posting this comment? The ID section just has "Unknown" listed.