Saturday, April 1, 2017

Celebrating the Presidency (!)

A Celebration of the Presidency Through the Eyes of Children — Oregon Publisher Releases Timely New Picture Book On April Fools’ Day 

New Book For Children and By Children Offers Heartfelt Presidential Advice and Admiration

Deadwood, Oregon PRWeb — “How To Be A Good President: Lessons from Kids” celebrates the presidency with honor and humor. The book endears the Leader of the Free World: “You’re the most important person in the country! Kids are counting on you, and we want to help. We want to share the lessons we learned—when we were little—to help you be a good president. Please enjoy our book, it has action steps for kids to follow . . . straight to the White House!”

Short and simple—this little book is as easy to read as a tweet, and packs an apolitical punch. In the vein of “Everything I Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten,” its non-partisan message applies to children as much as world leadership. 

If children apply the six lessons in “How To Be A Good President” to everyday situations, they will serve as good role models for their community, and someday the world. Each piece of advice includes call-to-actions for kids. For example, Lesson #2 is “Choose Your Friends Wisely” and includes tips such as: try to persuade a friend to be kind and to compromise; avoid saying negative things even to people who are not being nice; don’t give into peer pressure to do or say something you know is wrong. Lessons are accompanied by notes for parents and teachers to provide a deeper layer of learning and application. Sketch pages in the back give children space to write and illustrate their own lessons and action list.

How children define the presidency will have a significant impact on how they will guide America in the future. When kids learn to be accountable for their actions, to respect diversity, and to show compassion, they are learning how to be a good president for the American citizens.

No matter what your age or occupation—from grade school to grad school to the capitol—there are skills for excellence in leadership packed in this child-size treatise on decorum, which is an unwavering love letter to the position of Commander-in-Chief.

“How To Be A Good President” is available at A portion of the proceeds from this book will provide no-cost copies to schools and organizations in need. If a classroom, club, or community program could benefit from the lessons in this book, individuals are encouraged to contact the publisher with a request for gratis copies. 

"How To Be A Good President: Lessons from Kids" (Wyatt-MacKenzie, April 1, 2017); ISBN: 978-1-942545-85-9, 8.5 x 8.5 softcover; $12.50; 16 full-color pages with illustrations, lessons, action steps for kids and advice for teachers and parents, plus a surprise ending. Distributed by Ingram, Follett, Coutts, Bertrams, and Gardners.

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Friday, March 31, 2017

Incredible Wyatt-MacKenzie Acquisition Backstory!

In the middle of 2016 I had a great conversation with a critically acclaimed author and journalist at Vanity Fair. After I answered questions about our National Security Mom she mentioned she had recently written this article about a new documentary. I had seen commercials for “Little Girl Blue,” it actually premiered the day after I spoke to Sheila Weller.

Before we got off the phone, Sheila said she knew someone who was working on a memoir and needed a publisher she could trust. I encouraged her to please pass my info along. Then she told me who it was, “Do you know Peggy Caserta, Janis Joplin’s girlfriend?” My jaw dropped. Ten months later I got the call.

Peggy was the only non-musician to be helicoptered into Woodstock. Janis wanted her there. Here are the famous photos of the two of them on stage. That’s Peggy whispering in Janis’ ear.

After a few phone calls (and an admission I was being “watched” for almost a year) we signed her! I RAN INTO SOME TROUBLE will be released this Fall 2017 from Wyatt-MacKenzie. I’ve never met a more fascinating woman. I have a total girl-crush on her southern accent and her unbelievable storytelling about the days of The Haight. Blows. My. Mind.

I’ve been given this incredible opportunity (and responsibility) to help Peggy, and her talented co-author, Maggie—a close friend, musician, and song-writer who recorded the stories and imbued them with her lyricism—to publish her true memoir; after the most horrifying publishing experience I’ve ever heard an author excruciatingly share (even after over 44 years have passed). I’m all in.

From Louisiana Homecoming Queen to stewardess to being the inspiration for The Washington Post’s reporter coining the term “Hippies” (read the full story) while at her San Francisco store Mnasidika, to loaning the Grateful Dead jackets for their famous photo shoot, and displaying Bill Graham posters advertising their gigs and selling tickets, to convincing Levi Strauss to make bell-bottoms, and letting Janis Joplin take a pair of jeans she’d put on layaway, through a wild LSD ride and heroine addiction, to returning home to the Bayou when her mother needed her—the jaw-droppin’ stories don’t stop! Peggy regaled one about a Mexican prison break (what?!) which was followed by my receiving a package. Inside was a DVD, a National Geographic Channel show “Locked Up Abroad” entitled “Escape from Mexico.” She drove the getaway car for the package sender’s pre-Chapo dig out of prison. (Squeal. How is this my life?!)

Peggy is featured in this month’s issue of Vanity Fair.

The icing on this news cake... casting is underway for an actress to play Peggy in the upcoming biopic “Janis.” Michelle Williams is slated to play the lead. (OMG)

And... the cake... the producer has optioned the TV/Film rights to our book. (omg omg omg)

But wait, there’s scream-filling in the cake!!!!!

I landed in publishing by way of graphic design. When Peggy suggested that famous poster designer Wes Wilson (who made the concert posters which hung in Peggy’s store) create her book cover, my heart skipped a beat. And now it’s happening. After almost 50 years they’ve reconnected and we’ve commissioned Wes to illustrate the cover. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wes was responsible for the typography we all recognize as representing the sixties—the liquid psychedelic melting letters. I love the quote: “his message was deciphered rather than read by the viewer.” An artist IN my college textbook (I had to dust it off the shelf and scan) is designing one of OUR covers. (Scream.)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Lake Effect Fiction in February!


Lake Effect Fiction — Coming-of-Age Novel THE MERMAIDS OF LAKE MICHIGAN from Internationally Award-winning Author and Great Haven Native, Suzanne Kamata, Hits Great Lakes Museums

February 14, 2017 — Deadwood, OR — From the award-winning author of Gadget Girl and Call Me Okaasan, this intercultural story of finding strength within oneself has found a home in treasured museums honoring the heritage of the Great Lakes. Visit the book nook at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum Store in Grand Haven, or the Michigan Maritime Museum Store in South Haven, and dive into The Mermaids of Lake Michigan—rich with local lore, a search for self, and a little magic—by Michigan native and Japan expat Suzanne Kamata.

In this coming-of-age novel, Elise Faulkner is more at home in the waters of her beloved lake than on land. Her beauty queen mom is always on her back about her lack of a social life. Her sister is dating the boy of her dreams. Her favorite penpal—the one who wrote about mermaids in Ghana—has gotten married and ended their correspondence. No one’s allowed to talk about Elise’s glamorous great-grandmother, the deep-sea wreck diver. Elise is biding her time with books until she can flee her small town. But then Chiara Hanover pops into her life and introduces Elise to jazz, Baudelaire, whiskey, and Miguel—the man of her destiny according to a gypsy.

Library Journal reviewed, “Kamata’s coming-of-age story mixes bits of magical realism with the trials of growing up in the 1970s suburban Midwest … this quick read may interest fans of Jodi Picoult or Kazuo Ishiguro.” Publishers Weekly raved, “In this intricately woven coming-of-age tale, Kamata explores destiny and regret…with tantalizing glimpses of a scandalous shipwreck-diving great-grandmother.” Kirkus Reviews writes, “A lyrical, compelling coming-of-age story with magical elements.”

Cassie Premo Steele, author of Beautiful Waters reviews, “Suzanne Kamata’s new novel, The Mermaids of Lake Michigan, is a beautiful story about a teenage girl who must learn to balance her idealism and belief in mermaids with the harsh realities of growing up and trying to find people to love and trust. A page-turner set in the unstable years of the 1970s, it brought back memories of my own adolescence and took me beyond, in that way all good novels do, into the wonderings of circumstance and the choices we would make if faced with hard decisions. Suitable for teens and adults alike, this novel will teach readers to believe in magic even in the face of tragedy.”

Suzanne Kamata was born and raised in Grand Haven, Michigan. She is the author of the award-winning short story collection The Beautiful One Has Come and has three previous novels—Losing Kei (Leapfrog Press, 2008), which has been translated into Russian; Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible (GemmaMedia, 2013) winner of multiple awards including the APALA Honor Award and the Paris Book Festival Grand Prize; and Screaming Divas (Merit Press, 2014) which was named to the ALA Rainbow List. She has received awards from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, the Independent Publisher’s Association, and SCBWI. Kamata contributes to over 100 publications including Real Simple, The Japan Times, The State (South Carolina’s largest newspaper),, Writer’, Brain, Child, Skirt!, The Utne Reader, and is a columnist for Nippon Airway’s inflight magazine, Wingspan, which is in the seat pockets of every international flight. Kamata’s books have been featured in Salon, The San Francisco Chronicle, The State, NPR, The Japan Times, The Japan News, The Telegraph, Harper’s Bazaar Singapore,, and the BN blog. Kamata has an MFA from the University of British Columbia, and teaches English at Tokushima University in Japan where she lives with her husband and twins on the island of Shikoku.

The Mermaids of Lake Michigan ISBN: 978-1-942545-59-0, 180 Pages, 5.25 x 8, $13.95 Trade Paperback; $6.99 eBook; Pub Date: February 14, 2017. Distributed by Ingram, Follett, Coutts, Bertrams, and Gardners. BISAC: FIC045000/Family Life; FIC027240/Romance/New Adult; FIC027230/Romance/Multicultural. Wyatt-MacKenzie in Deadwood, Oregon is celebrating their 19th year of publishing.