Vanity Publishing

If you are working on publishing a book, stay away from Vanity Publishers.

I have always wanted to write a children’s book and I finally did!  But how to get it published?  You can go the traditional route and submit a manuscript to established publishers and wait months or years for a refusal.    Or you can self publish.

5th page-momandrhi (2)

I learned how to create files to publish from a wonderful group on Facebook.  They were so informative providing so much guidance on creating the files.  If you are looking for such information, please click here to see group.

Once your book is ready, there are a ton of publishing companies.  Just like everything else in this world, you must do your homework because there are many companies out there that are waiting to take your money.  These companies are called “Vanity” publishers and they are honestly shameful.  And just because you find a publisher associated with an established, well known publisher does not mean they are not vanity.

                                 Basically if you have to buy a “package” or pay to publish,                                   you are dealing with a Vanity Publisher.  evs alone-sk4

That was what I recently found out when looking to publish my hardcover book.  I visited a website and found different “packages” for authors like me.  I had created my book from my own illustrations, and had a finished file ready to be uploaded.  Thinking this was a legitimate company, I filled out all the necessary information and was contacted within minutes, by phone and email.  I realized that their most reasonable package, which was over $1,000 dollars would be the one for me, although I had already done 80% of the work.  This package would give me about 10 hardcover books, and that was all.  I would have to purchase more books at an estimated $15 a piece.  Now I ask you how an author is supposed to make any money at that price?   This is what vanity publishing is, and honestly I find it disgraceful.  That is why I am writing this blog, hopefully to save others from their thievery.

What I ended up doing is publishing through KDP, which is Amazon, and Barnes and Noble Press.    There is another print on demand company called Ingram Spark, but I had gone to them first and had some issues.  Customer service was not very good, and I could not figure my book out.  So I could not use them.  If you are experienced at book writing, then you may have no issue whatsoever and they are very good at distribution.

watering can-text

To get a physical book, and not use print on demand, I used a printer in Michigan named McNaughton and Gunn.  They were wonderful to work with and reasonably priced.  In fact their book was only 10 cents more each than Ingram Spark, and there were no charges for setup like Ingram Spark charges. The paperback book I received was very colorful and of wonderful quality.

Please click here to visit McNaughton and Gunn.                                                                            (I get nothing from this recommendation)

I am currently publishing a second book, a hardcover, and am trying a new publisher.  I have not received my book yet so I cannot vouch for quality.  But so far they have been easy to work with and I am looking forward to seeing my book!  A hardcover proof was $35, and if I do not like it, I am not contracted to purchase more.

Click here to visit Lakeside Publishing.                                                                                            (I get nothing from this recommendation)

Now there may be a time that a vanity publisher is not a bad thing. Such as you need an illustrator, need files created and marketing.  But nowadays with the internet there is so much knowledge to do things yourself, you just need to research it to learn!

So I hope this blog was helpful to you, and if you are looking to publish, please avoid a vanity publisher.

Good luck!


If you are interested in my books,  The Watering Can can be purchased by visiting my website, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.  It is a story about the circle of life, with flowers.  I am close to having an empty nest, but my Granddaughter showed me that life goes on.  Its a touching story that exposes children to flowers and love.

My second book, Cousins, is about family and dear friends.  This book explores the bonds of cousins, has a map of USA to talk with your children about where family lives, and a family tree to fill out.   Not available just yet, but hopefully within the next few weeks.

Click here to visit my website to purchase The Watering Can.


The art of meeting again

I grew up the daughter of a mechanic, and both of my parents enjoyed cars.  So its not a surprise that I love them as well.  Growing up it was normal to see a car in my Dad’s garage in various states of repair.  One of these cars was a 1929 Model A that he had since he was 18, and restored while I was growing up.

This car was a big part of my childhood, and it was only natural to use it to travel to the church for my wedding.  Then other family members used it, and it became a tradition.


my daughter many moons ago…..


A few years ago my Dad sold it to a family member.  He had not been using it much, and we thought our cousin would enjoy it, which he did.  Sadly our cousin Ray passed away a few months ago, and my Dad decided to purchase it back.  While it was gone, I continued to paint it, and you probably saw it in many paintings.  I missed it, and the sight of it always made me think of happy memories.  So imagine my happiness seeing it return to my Dad’s garage, and see my Dad and son tinkering on it.


Photo Mar 25, 5 13 03 PM
getting spruced up for a May Wedding


Photo Mar 28, 3 48 52 PM
A simpler engine from simpler times



I am excited to also say that another family member is using it in a wedding, so it has come home just  in time!  The tradition continues and in May this reliable Ford will be reassuming its duties once again!  Taking the bride to the church, and making more memories for the next generation of our family.


One of the many paintings I have done of our family Model A.


An urban legend within our family

Not everyone has an urban legend in their family.  But my family does.  The first time I heard about it was when I was a brownie, in about 2nd grade.  I came home and excitedly told my parents at supper, all about the witch of Hell Hollow.  How people have vandalized her grave, and then got into accidents after.  How she haunts the woods near her grave.  Imagine my shock when my parents calmly told me that she was my Aunt.  Yes, you read that correctly, Maude Reynolds is my Great Aunt.  In fact my great Grandmother, the one that gave me my silver that I use for holidays, was her sister in law.  I wish I had thought to ask my Grandmother more about her when she was alive, but honestly our family never paid much attention to all the talk about Maude.

The reason we never paid much attention to it is because it was a family member.  A young girl that passed away from Diphtheria.  To us it was a sad story about a young girl that died tragically young.  Not a witch that haunted those that disrespectfully treated her grave.  Maude was born to Mercy and Charles Reynolds and was one of 8 children.  My great Grandfather was her brother, another Charles.  Maude was about 7 or 8 when she choked on an apple, and passed away.  It was believed that she had diphtheria, which causes your throat to swell, and can cause choking.  She was buried in a spot chosen by her grieving mother, so she could see the grave from her kitchen window.

Maude’s sister Lydia, married a man that took care of the grave faithfully till he passed away.  I remember going by the grave when I was young, and seeing a little white fence, and some flowers blooming.  Instead of respecting a gravesite, people took this innocent fence and flowers as a challenge, to desecrate and ruin a sacred site. I even went to school with a girl that proudly told me she had urinated on Maude’s grave.  Shameful.    Uncle Jesse faithfully tended to the grave with love for years until his passing.  The grave now sits neglected, with just a few stones to mark it.  I still hear tales of kids visiting the grave, and hope that eventually people will let her rest in peace.  For how would you feel if this was your family member?  I know how I feel.  Disappointed.  That people have no respect for someone that tragically perished young.  Our family has a different take on the legend,  a heart broken mother looking out her window to her daughters grave.  And a man that took care of the grave for years.  Maybe if people hear the other side of the story, a more relatable side, they will let her rest in peace.  In the meantime, my family enjoys our lilacs from the Reynolds Homestead and the love that Uncle Jesse showed by devotedly taking care of her for years.  Because to us the urban legend is the care that Uncle Jesse showed for years, rather than the disrespect of others.


This photo is Maude’s parents, with a little girl.  The photo has faded so much, its hard to tell who the little girl is.  But I enjoy the photo as its a photo of my great, great grandparents, in front of what may have been their home on Hell Hollow.

Heirlooms and long gone relatives

an heirloom reminds me of family long gone

Most people, including my own husband, know their grandparents, and maybe their great grandparents, and that is it.  I am proud to say I know a few generations more than that, and even have heirlooms from them.

Photo Dec 05, 4 27 12 PM

I started thinking about this today, when I “inherited” this antique ornament from my Dad. My son and his girlfriend have two kittens and we are worried that this will get broken if we hang it on the tree this year, at my Dad’s.  So I offered to give it a home.

This ornament is most likely a hundred years old. It was my father’s grandmothers, dating possibly to the 1920’s. It’s a heavy ornament, and still a pretty color. I placed it on my counter, and put a pretty bow on it. There was a string attached to it, and I left it on, as who knows who placed it there? I like to let my mind wander with items like these…… I imagine my Great grandmother decorating her tree with it.  I imagine my Grandmother Nellie enjoying the Christmas tree with many of these ornaments decorating it.  I am actually lucky enough to even have a pic of the Grandparents that owned this ornament, and who knows, maybe they inherited it also.


Photo Jan 16, 10 46 33 PM
My Great Grandparents the Lapointe’s, with my Grandmother, Nellie May


I am lucky to have parents that saved items from their family, and even luckier that their parents did the same.  I have antique shot glasses, formal silverware, hand painted plates, a wooden horse plaque, made by the man in the balloon, and now this ornament.  As I get older, I realize the importance of  family history.  And I am always telling my children where these items came from.  Who these people were to them, so the memory of them lives on.  It’s my way of honoring my grandparents, and our history together.

Honoring my grandmothers

organizing a new hutch brings back memories of loved ones

I was just very lucky to talk my hubby into updating our dining room furniture.  We had purchased our dining room set over 20 years ago, and my style has changed since then.  A lot.  My hubby often jokes that I have changed everything in the house and he is lucky he is still here.  I don’t think he has to worry, he is a keeper.  But back to my new dining room.  It was no fun selling the old set.  I am sentimental and wanted it to go to a home.  After a ton of scammers, a wonderful pregnant lady expecting her first child decided to purchase it.  So I was free to get a new set that my hubby and I had already picked out.

I was going for farmhouse style,  and we picked out a dark wood dining table, with matching chairs.  But the piece de la resistance, was the hutch.  I wanted one with glass, as I do not want to spend my time dusting.  Plus in the words of the late George Carlin, I have a lot of “stuff”.

My set arrived today and I spent about two hours washing and arranging my “Stuff” in my new hutch.  And while I did this it brought back memories and made me think of loved ones.  My meme, Aurore Rainville, was a classy lady and has left me so many dainty items.  Noritake plates with bright flowers, teacups with plastic flowers, a pretty serving dishes with roses and hand painted roses on dessert plates.  I found a wine glass from my best friends wedding, a wine bottle favor from my other best friends wedding, and my champagne flutes from my own wedding.

My other Grandmother, Nellie May Reynolds, was more rustic, and I do not have a lot from her, sadly. But my Great Grandmother Antonia Reynolds, left me her silver.  One of my most treasured things.  We use the silverware on holidays and other special occasions.  I feel so lucky to have it and wish I could tell her how thankful I am that she gave it to me.  One day my Dad was visiting and she simply gave it to him to hold for me. Little did I know what a treasure it truly is, and I plan on passing it down as a heirloom, as she did.

One holiday we were cleaning up and while I was drying the serving spoons I noticed the coolest thing….. my Grandma had written her initials on a little piece of tape for when she brought her silver to church suppers.  What a wonderful thing to find!   I have taken care to keep that tape on, but sadly some of it is wearing off.  I would guess this silver to be over 75 years old, and to me it is priceless and irreplaceable.


Photo Oct 24, 9 18 52 AM
A.B.R.  Antonia Beatrice Reynolds

So I organized my china, remembering how proud my Aunt Cil was to give me a place setting, and walked down memory lane thinking of those that I love. And when my daughter came home, I told her who each piece belonged to, hoping she will continue the tradition with these beautiful items that we are lucky to have.

Below is the finished hutch, which I was trying to make look like a Grandma’s hutch.  I think and hope I succeeded.  Because I did not tell you the whole story…. the other reason behind getting a new set is that I am going to be a Grandma myself, or a Mimi.   Our family is growing and we wanted to get a bigger table to fit everyone comfortably.  So my hutch will soon be my own Grandma’s hutch, and that’s a wonderful thing.

Photo Oct 24, 6 30 52 PM



Day 12 The perch

Day 12 of the painting challenge…

The perch

Day 12 of the 30 in 30.   This is an abandoned chair that I pass on the way to my daughters school. It got me thinking as I always do when I see old cars, furniture or homes. At one time this item was brand new. It was picked out excitedly in a store, and brought home and enjoyed. It served its use for years and then one day was no longer pretty or useful. So it has been discarded and is now sitting outside and has a new use. Maybe a cat will come along and take a nap. Or a mouse will take some of the filling spilling out for its home.
Or a family member will visit in the form of a cardinal and remember it in its glory days.
These are all things I think when I see a beat up old car or home. It was new once and someone was proud to have it.
So this painting is giving this chair a chance to become someone’s art. And show us that there is beauty in something old and well loved.



The perch-sm.jpg


There is a hidden mickey for anyone that likes to look for them!  Its listed in my etsy shoppe if you’d like to give it a home!

Etsy shoppe

If you would like to see other art in the challenge, please click on link:

Visit Painting challenge

A different perspective

sometimes you need to remember what matters most

I am up today at 4am. Have not slept much this evening, because today is a big day in my family.

We are celebrating my daughters sweet sixteen. She has made us very proud, being a great student, with high honors all of her freshman year, playing soccer, but most of all being a wonderful daughter. She is the kind of girl that puts others, and especially animals, before herself.

Rhis artwork when she was about 7, I am not the only artist in my family.

Her actual birthday is in November, but we have a lovely backyard and wanted to celebrate it during the summer.  So we are planning a large celebration to celebrate her.

Our backyard

We have rented a tent, created pretty mason jar centerpieces, hung pretty flowers, and a friend has a sound board with speakers to play music, and ordered delicious food.

File Aug 12, 5 23 03 AM
Mason jar centerpieces we crafted

And of course we are worried about the weather. Like any other party we have planned at our home, it is forecasted to rain. So do we reschedule to next day? We labor over our decision, my husband is all for rescheduling. Our sister throws in her opinion, swaying hubby and we keep it on original day as planned.

Because overall, its not the weather that makes the party. Its not the prettily dressed up tent. Its not the handmade centerpieces. Or the food, and pretty cake.

It’s the guests. It’s the people coming to celebrate with you. The people that have been to other parties, and some not so fun occasions too.

We are also celebrating being here for one another. And remembering those that we wish were here.

Rhi, Donna, and Marilyn.

So while it may rain on our party, our tent will be filled with laughter, happiness and love. Which is why we rented it in the first place. We figured it would rain, and be shelter for those we love.  So the party will go on, and hopefully the rain will clear, and our loved ones looking down on us, will clear the skies.

Because if I have learned anything this past year, it is that you appreciate what you do have. And we have a lot to appreciate.

Yes, there may be some rain or lots of rain in the forecast. But having a different perspective puts priorities in their place. We are lucky to be celebrating such a wonderful daughter. Lucky in her health, and ours. Lucky to be with her.

And that’s what matters.

Happy sweet sixteen to our Rhi!


Rhi is in front with Blue tank top.  This pic is from our last trip home, last August.