The Hummingbird Christmas: A Short Story

Though rain was falling instead of snow, my sense of anticipation was building. It was a typical west coast Christmas.  I watched out my window as carolers gathered. Soon, it would be time for cookies and milk; I had written my note for Santa.

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is a little sparkle of magic so I can know in my heart you are real. 

Your friend,

Bethanie.

My friends told me there was no Santa.  I wanted them to be wrong.  If I could just see something magical at Christmas time, that would be enough.  Would Santa bring the magic?

I stared at the Christmas tree.  The decorations sparkled but they weren’t magic.

I could smell shortbread cookies in the oven.  They were part of every Christmas as long as I could remember.  Delicious, but not magic.

I stepped outside, hoping to hear the carolers’ singing.  The rain was a light sprinkle.  Then something pink and shiny caught my eye.  I heard a hummmmm of beating wings.  A hummingbird darted into view.  I stood completely still.  I saw a most surprising sight.  The hummingbird fed its babies with nectar from its beak.  I watched as it flew from the neighbor’s bird feeder to the nest. The mother hummingbird placed her beak into the mouths of the two babies; they were tiny and perfect.

It wasn’t even springtime.  Baby hummingbirds in winter… it had to be Christmas magic! Maybe Santa is real, I thought.

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This short story was submitted to: Susanna Hill’s Holiday Writing Contest 

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Victoria Parents: Look for Katie at your library!

Somewhere along the path to publishing the story of Katie, I realized that my little picture book could potentially be in the public library one day.  Well, that day has finally arrived!  The Greater Victoria Public Library now has one copy of Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker and as of today, it is part of this year’s “Emerging Local Authors Collection”.

So Victoria parents, grandparents, and early childhood educators, you can now borrow my story and read it to your children!  If your children like Jillian Jiggs, they will surely enjoy Katie Shaeffer!  But be warned, this story might have them wanting to build machines from recycled materials or start making fluffy golden pancakes.  So be prepared for the story to lead to some projects :). Perfect timing for our rainy west coast weather!  Yes, pancakes would taste pretty good right now, I think.

Oh, and if you like the book and wish to leave a review on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or Goodreads, that I would be forever grateful. Thank you.

author website

Amazon.ca

Planning a Children’s Book

I thought it would be fun to share a bit of my process in creating a picture book.  I wish I had this idea when I was making my first picture book, Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker!  Honestly, this was not my own idea but I have adopted it and it really works.

You may be aware that picture books have a 32 page format.  So I just use 32 sticky notes to represent the pages and then when I get to the point where I’m ready to work out the page turns… voila!  All I do is make notes about where the images will go and plan out the book.

The page turns need to be in just the right places to add interest and create suspense.   Here’s a peek at my current project in partnership with Paula Nasmith as illustrator…IMG_6266

As you may have noticed, this is not the entire story planned out but a portion of the story (only 24 pages shown).  I just love the ease of the sticky notes; I can easily replace or move them around to get the story and page turns just right and it is so quick and easy to make up.

A little peek at my picture book

Here’s a Peek at Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker by Cynthia Mackey and Paula Nasmith

If your kids love pancakes, collections, pretending to sell things and parties then you need this book.  If you have grandchildren, this book makes a great gift as it will encourage little ones to work with you in the kitchen.  A cute repeated rhyme and a recipe included.  Check it out!

Self-published by an author and illustrator team from Victoria, B.C. Canada

IMG_3969http://www.authorcynthiamackey.com

What’s new?

Ah Life.  The amazing, the brilliant, the love, the pain, the disappointment, the frustration.  I’ve had it all over these last two months.  Thanks for sticking with me. Bloggers are like neighbors and I’m devoting some time tomorrow to catch up with my blogging neighbours whom I’ve been unable to keep up with in the past months.  Can’t wait to read what you’re all up to!
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Here’s the amazing nature poster I purchased for the preschool this summer.  I think it really succeeds in bringing the outdoors inside. Our classroom revamping has really taken shape.  It is very cozy and much more inviting.

This is short and I hope to have more regular posts soon. I’m still working on the 12×12 picture book challenge, teaching and running a small community preschool, and fully immersed in family life as a happily married mom of one undergraduate philosophy student and one soccer playing student in her final year of high school. Hope you’ll check back with me for updates on preschool, life as an emerging writer and other fun stuff.

http://www.authorcynthiamackey.com

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My Latest Review!

Yay! Just read another positive review for my new picture book, Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker.  If your children love Jillian Jiggs, then they’ll love Katie Shaeffer too!  You get a book with a catchy rhyme to engage young readers and you get a recipe included for super yummy pancakes too! Here in Canada, we’re getting into the perfect season for making pancakes. And by the way, if you’ve read the book and want to leave a review, it would be much appreciated.

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Amazon Review