Sunday, June 27, 2010

How My Grandkids Helped Me Create a New Career

How was I to know that by simply combing my granddaughter's hair, I was standing on the threshold of a new career.

It was the Spring of 2005 and my husband and I were babysitting for our 6-year old twin granddaughters and their 9-year old brother. It was actually day 2 of our 10-day babysitting stint, but that's another story!

I was trying to comb through Emily's morning tangles, she was crying, and, well, you know the scene. So...I did what grandmas do so well - I made up a story. Suddenly, out of nowhere, came the story of the sweet little Knot Fairy who visits sleeping children and loves to tangle their hair. Emily stopped crying. She loved the story and begged me to tell it every day - not only to her - but to all of her friends. Not only one time, but over and over and over.

To make a long story very short, my hubby and I were energized by the grankids' excitement. We created a publishing company, incorporated, hired the best illustrator we could find, hired a graphic designer, found the perfect printer, and Best Fairy Books, Inc. was born. That was 2005. This year we published our 4th book and we just received our 19th children's book award.

We actually have 10 grandkids and they are all a part of the process. They are the source of new ideas and they are my best - and most honest - critics. Their names appear on all of the dedication pages and their funny little voices are features on the CDs that accompany my books.

I would never have believed it if anyone had told me how my grandkids would change my life. They have taught me to always be open to new possibilities and to go after whatever life has to offer - even in the Golden Years!

Bobbie Hinman

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Rant About Celebrities Who Write Children's Books

What do Kathie Lee Gifford, Madonna and the Queen of Jordan have in common?

Give up? They are "authors". Notice the quotation marks? That's because it's hard to categorize them as "real" authors. I am really tired of celebrities getting book deals to write children’s books when there are so many talented, "real" writers out there waiting to be discovered. I find it hard to believe that the celebrity's books are not written by ghostwriters anyway.

And, is it fair that the public libraries use our tax dollars to buy inferior books by Madonna and other pseudo writers? I would rather expose my children to the work of conscientious authors who take their writing seriously. I'm waiting for The Paris Hilton series. That's going to be my favorite. I can’t wait until the main character gets her first hangover, her first rehab stint, and, of course, her first reality TV show. I wonder how many of Have these celebrities always dreamed of writing a book? How many have taken writing courses? Or slaved over their manuscripts, only to be turned away by agents and publishers because their names were not already recognizable?

Here's the list that makes me cringe: Peter Yarrow, Holly Robinson Peete, Henry Winkler, Bernadette Peters, Tim McGraw, Whoopi Goldberg, Judy Collins, Julie Andrews, Jamie Lee Curtis, Carl Reiner, Payton Manning, Julianne Moore, Brooke Shields, Sarah Ferguson, Jerry Seinfeld, John Travolta, Gloria Estefan, Dionne Warwick, Ray Romano, Billy Crystal and Joy Behar - to mention a few!

It’s sad that there are many aspiring authors who can actually write and will never be given the opportunities because they have never acted in a sitcom or performed at a comedy club. I would give up my favorite pen, my laptop and even my new blue fairy wings to be a guest on Ellen's show or Oprah's. But, I guess no one ever said life was fair.

Bobbie Hinman

Friday, June 18, 2010

Live Music and a Successful Book Launch Party

We had another very successful book launch party as The Fart Fairy came into the world. Our closest estimate is 365 people! One of the keys to the success of the event was having live music geared specifically to the kids. In my case, it was "Uncle Pete", a local talent who entertains children as a profession. And his joy is so contagious. He sang and played the guitar and organized dances for the kids for two full hours. It's Uncle Pete's voice and music that you hear on the CD that accompanies the book.

One huge advantage to providing entertainment for the kids is that the parents can stand in line to have their books signed and not have whining kids pulling on them. We were sure to mention the live music on all of our advertising. This (along with the promise of face painting and cake)was one of the reasons we had such a large turnout. My talented illustrator (Mark Wayne Adams) was also a featured guest. His illustrations always delight the kids and parents alike. Of course, I'd like to think that the new book brought them, too.

As an added benefit, our event was sponsored by the Harford County Libraries. And, as always, the Barnes & Noble (Bel Air, MD) staff was fabulous. I can't thank them enough for their support.

I love my community and I am so grateful that they have always been there to support me. Thanks to everyone who helped make this a very special event.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Fart Fairy Has Launched!

At long last, the Fart Fairy has launched. It seems as though I have been working on this book forever. In fact, it now seems as though the word ‘fart’ has been a part of my daily vocabulary for a very long time. There were a few small hitches in getting the book ready to print, like a re-recording of the CD, the re-hiring of a vocalist, the re-writing of the Fart Fairy song, and the re-illustrating of a little boy whose color was a bit gray, but we made it.

We planned a huge launch party at Barnes & Noble in Bel Air, MD and were delighted beyond belief when 350 people showed up! Luckily there were plenty of extra books on hand, plenty of cake and (thank goodness) enough free whoopee cushions to go around.

I have to admit, I was a bit worried about this book. Would people accept my new found vulgarity? Would anyone show up at my launch party just to heckle me? Would there be raised eyebrows? Smirks and harrumphs? The answer is no! Almost everyone I have come in contact with has approved of my use of a sweet, little boy fairy to explain the whereabouts of the annoying sounds and odors that are a part of everyday life. I say ‘almost everyone’ because there have been a few people (mostly members of my generation) who have looked at me in utter disbelief when they heard ‘that word’ come out of my mouth.

Let’s always keep our sense of humor – and our sense of smell!

I’ll end with my hubby’s new favorite saying: “Never fear the fart!”