It was the summer of 1991 and I had a dream where my grandfather explained to me that he was going to die. Upon awakening the next morning, I received a phone call that Grandpa had had a stroke and he died shortly thereafter. My grandfather and I had such a great relationship, I believe that he wanted me to know personally that he was going to die and that things would be okay. While I was grief-stricken by his death, I was in awe of my dream. To help me with the grieving process, I started to write down stories/escapades that Grandpa and I shared. I finally took the leap and made it into a memoir. My book... "My Hero, My Ding, A Memoir of a Girl and her Grandfather" was released on the market December 7, 2010. If it weren't for this dream from my grandfather, I probably would never have realized the dream of becoming an author!
Since 2010, I have branched out and become an author of children's books. The Moose at the Manger...a new twist on a story of old...brings out the true meaning of Christmas while adding some magic and whimsy as told by the perspective of a young moose that lost her way.
My latest book to be released later this summer, Mark the Missing Moose, is a book for children to help them learn how to open and share their feelings with others. Many people ask how a story comes about. Here is the backstory for Mark the Missing Moose.
Sandi Czyznikiewicz - a wife, a mother, a businesswoman, was the inspiration behind this story. Who is Sandi to me? Well, I was her daughter's teacher about 20 years ago. And as any teacher knows, it's not very often you hear back from your students or their families, so being contacted by Sandi was a bit of a surprise at first.
Sandi found me using Social Media and learned that I am now an author, as well as, a teacher. She said I was a wonderful influence on her daughter and asked about the possibility of me writing a children's book as an answer - and perhaps a therapeutic one - to her own family's tragedy.
In 2012, Sandi's 21-year-old stepson, Jimmy, took his own life. Jimmy was a good kid, but no matter how hard his family tried they could never get Jimmy to open up to them about their feelings. In the wake of his absence, Sandi wants other children to learn to communicate and share their thoughts and feelings at an early age. Her desire is to give other children the knowledge and tools they need to share their voices, and, that because of her vision, other kids might not be led down the same tragic path her own family was forced to travel.
Sandi wanted to do something as a positive memory for her son, and I am dedicating the book to Jimmy.
I am honored that she put her confidence in me to deliver this important message for her and her family. Her hope is my hope: that this story will have a positive impact on both children and their families.