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The Gracie Press Newsletter - So Seriously…What Do You Think?

The Gracie Press Newsletter - So Seriously…What Do You Think?
Currently I’m working on editing, and that always takes a great deal of time. With this project currently at over 32,000 words and 200 pages, it’s a real job, but it’s one I enjoy because it helps to shape the final version which I hope to have published by August 1st!
Your feedback on some key elements involving potential reader impressions would be greatly appreciated. These involve titles and cover illustration. Whatever you have to share will be greatly appreciated even if it may seem not particularly positive. More than anything else, I want this book to be as good as it can possibly be!

So What About The Series Title and Book Title?
Choosing a series title was tough. After a lot of brainstorming, I have tentatively settled, on Once Through A Garden Gate.
I chose this partly because “once” has multiple meanings. When this word is used as an adverb, it can mean “at some time in the past.” But it can also mean “for one time only.” When used as a conjunction, it means “as soon as.”
This ambiguity helps create a bit of mystery and lots of possibilities.
I also like how the series title uses a prepositional phrase, and “once” goes so well with “through.” For me, “once through” has a sense that something is going to happen, something needs to be done, and there may be no turning back.
Changing the book title was tougher. All along, I have been planning to title this first book The Biggest Scary Thing. That is where the plot is goes. First there is The Big Scary Thing. Then there is The Bigger Scary Thing. Finally there is The Biggest Scary Thing.
But over time, I began to feel as if The Biggest Scary Thing might sound more like the title for a children’s picture book rather than a children’s novel.
Out Of The Shoebox may sound more “grown-up” to younger potential readers. It’s also another prepositional phrase. Something is going to happen and there may be no turning back. You may need to get yourself ready for an adventure once you are out of the shoebox!
In this current book, Gracie left The Feed And Seed Store in a shoebox with her best friend Bessie. At several key decision points in the story, she things about going back to a previous time in her life, maybe even back to that shoebox. (Don’t we all have days when we would rather just stay in bed?)
But life moves forward, and we must move forward with it. Sometimes that means facing our fears. Sometimes that means realizing we truly are good enough. When we don’t, we have made a kind of shoebox for ourselves. Light and Life and Love can’t exist in a shoebox.
And What About The Cover Illustration?
This cover hopefully says “a book about scary things that turn out to only be shadows of the past.”
At one point in the story, The Sewer Rat makes Gracie feel as if she is a little chick again as she remembers being at The Feed And Seed Store and not knowing what will happen when The Big Hand comes. Later she realizes The Sewer Rat is not nearly as big or as threatening as she through he was. It was only his words and the thoughts those words put into her head that were scary.
This cover hopefully does not say “a book for girls” or “a book for boys.”
In this book, chickens dance, and they dance ballet. But they also invent things and do things only people would do. Chickens don’t see any activity as being “for girls” or “for boys.” They just do something because they enjoy it and are good at it.
And if I am very fortunate indeed, this cover might just say, “a book about much more than chickens.”
Until Next Time…
If you have any feedback about the titles and cover, please share your thoughts using “Did you enjoy this issue?” below.
A huge “Welcome!” to everyone who has recently signed up for our newsletter. We appreciate the trust you have placed in us, and we will do our best to make this a worthwhile newsletter for you. 
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