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The Gracie Press Newsletter - A Few Things You Won’t Find In Our Next Book

The Gracie Press Newsletter - A Few Things You Won’t Find In Our Next Book
Well, the files have all been sent off, and we are eagerly waiting for a printed proof copy. The main concern we have is with how the interior illustrations will look. Some illustrations have dark values and in some instances, details can be lost, and we don’t want that to happen.
In the meantime, there will be a few things you won’t find in our next book, and we thought it might be best to let you know ahead of time. None of these are necessarily “bad.” Some are actually good. We just thought you’d want to know.

Cover Design for “The Shoebox”
Cover Design for “The Shoebox”
Things You Won’t Find in “The Shoebox”
You won’t find any clues about the identity of the book’s narrator.
Any words that might tell the age, gender, race, nationality, or other characteristics of the narrator aren’t there any more. If you are accustomed to reading stories about “an old man and his chickens,” this will be new to you. Hopefully this will make the story more universal so that all readers can see themselves in the story. It also emphasizes, I believe, that the story is about feelings everyone has experienced or may one day experience.
You won’t find helpless chickens waiting for someone else (including the narrator) to solve their problems for them.
Although they receive help along the way from their friends, the ultimate resolution depends upon what the chickens do. There is no “magical solution” that fixes everything while they just wait for it to happen.
You won’t find any major cliffhangers at the end of the book.
Because of this, the book should feel complete within itself. Although there are definite cliffhangers within the book, it does not end with a cliffhanger. Gracie, Bessie, Blanche, and Pearl have their happy ending. There are still some unanswered questions about what seems to be a very secret world of chickens and other birds, but those are not really “buy-the-next-book-to-find-out” questions.
You won’t find any chapters that include Emily and Amelia.
This may be very disappointing for some of you. It is to me. Emily and Amelia will appear in the next book. We promise. It just wasn’t possible in this book, but their story will be just as deep as this one. In a way, Emily and Amelia hold the key to the entire Once Through A Garden Gate series.
And that takes us to where we go next…
We can’t wait to start working on our next book, and we are tentatively calling it either The Chimney or The Rooftop.
One big challenge with Emily and Amelia will likely be the illustrations because they have patterned feathers rather than solidly colored feathers. Now that may not make any difference to you, but it makes a huge difference to them!
In Emily’s exact words, “How will they know it’s really us without our markings?” And I think she is right.
One Thing You Will Find In “The Shoebox”…This Week’s Story Excerpts
“Every now and then, Pearl would jump up in a twitch of excitement even though they she hadn’t found anything.”
“Every now and then, Pearl would jump up in a twitch of excitement even though they she hadn’t found anything.”
This week’s two excerpts come from the end of The Shoebox, and are based on a silly joke that my friend Trudy and I have shared over many years. Our silly joke originated from an episode of the British comedy series “Fawlty Towers” starring John Cleese as a hotel owner. When an American guest asks for a Waldorf Salad, Mr. Fawlty responds, “I think we’re just out of waldorfs.”
“Do we have any waldorfs?” asked Bessie.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, I’ve been thinking about what to eat when we celebrate tomorrow, and the songbirds told me there is a special salad made from waldorfs. People like it, and it’s very famous too. They call it Waldorf Salad, but we can call it Celebration Salad instead if we we have no waldorfs.”
“Have any of the songbirds ever seen a waldorf?”
“Only what it looks like in a salad at picnics in the park, but they are checking The Living Library.”
“To be honest with you, I can’t say I’ve ever seen a waldorf either. But I think we will be able to find several good substitutes in the refrigerator.”
“Maybe tomorrow we can hunt for some waldorfs early in the morning,” suggested Blanche. “I like tasting new things.”
“That’s a great idea, but you girls had better get some sleep if you are going waldorf hunting in the morning. Since no one seems to have seen one, then I’m sure they can be very elusive.”
“Elusive?” asked Pearl.
“More difficult to find than the right color for your ballet costumes.”
Pearl smiled and blushed. “Maybe tomorrow we can decide,” she chirruped happily. 
And then near the ending of the story…
Gracie looked up at me with a spark of excitement in her eyes. She liked this idea. The shoebox was now too big for her, but it would certainly hold more good memories than she could count.
“Next to shoes and baby chicks, I think good memories are the best things for a shoebox to hold,” she said. “This is a perfect gift.”
“What good memories should we put in your shoebox?”
“For now, I like having just the straw in there. But I do have a few ideas already.”
“Like maybe a wild waldorf or two?”
“You know there is no such thing as a waldorf, wild or otherwise,” she said.
We laughed together and watched as Bessie led Blanche and Pearl off on a wild waldorf hunting expedition into the brambles beyond the ivy-covered tree stump. They tiptoed along as slowly and as stealthily as possible.
Every now and then, Pearl would jump up in a twitch of excitement even though she hadn’t found anything, and that would make Blanche burp. Then Bessie would warn both of them to be quiet, but she could only pretend to be annoyed because they were all having so much fun.
“It looks like everything is even more ClückŸ-BückŸ than before,” said Gracie.
“Do you think we should tell them there are no such things as waldorfs?” I said. “It feels like they are wasting their time.”
“Oh, I am sure they do not care one way or the other. They are just enjoying a chance to explore and hunt. And who knows? On this adventure or the next, they just may find something no one has ever seen before. This is that kind of place, you know.”
Until Next Time…About Those Waldorfs
Not all of our readers, especially those outside of the U.S., may be familiar with Waldorf Salad. While you will never find any waldorfs at your local grocery store, you can likely find the ingredients there to make a Waldorf Salad. Using yogurt instead of mayonnaise makes it extra healthy for chickens and children. Here is Bessie’s Recipe from what we had in the refrigerator that day, but you can also add chopped celery and nuts if you’d like a more traditional Waldorf Salad.
This really is tasty, and you don’t need any special celebration either. We are going to make some to celebrate getting those book files sent off for printing!
Thanks so much for reading!
John, Gracie, Bessie, Blanche, Pearl, Emily, and Amelia
Did you enjoy this issue?
John Spiers (with help from Gracie)

The Gracie Press Newsletter brings you the latest news, stories, illustrations, special offers, and free gifts from Gracie, Bessie, Blanche, Pearl, Emily, and Amelia. They are the inspiration behind all of the books published under The Gracie Press imprint.

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From A Small Backyard Garden and A Most Wondrous Place in Portsmouth, Virginia