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Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik480 pagesDel Ray   In Naomi Novik’s brilliant fantasy, three unlikely women are drawn together in a quest to stop a terror—of ice and fire—that threatens them all. The protagonist, Miryem decides to take over the family business of moneylending since her father is unable to collect the debts owed, which caused her family to be one step away from poverty. It isn’t long before she gains a reputation for not backing down, but also for turning silver into gold. The king of the Staryk, creatures who live in a world of ice and snow, overhears a boast by Miryem, and her fate, along with two kingdoms is cast. He gives her an outrageous challenge, and Miryem unintentionally brings two young women into her nightmare: a poor girl, Wanda, and an unlucky daughter of a scheming lord, who secretly plans for her to marry a handsome young tsar. Only, the Tsar Mirnatius hides a terrible secret that looms over the two kingdoms like a black cloud, threatening to swallow them whole. Miryem’s quest takes her, and her two allies, into fatal choices and to their own limits of power. Spinning Silver is a true page-turner! It was highly recommended by my writing...

How often I had climbed the dark boughs of the white pine tree growing in my backyard to escape the world below as a child I couldn’t say—maybe hundreds of times—but that tree had become my best friend despite the gummy pine resin that stuck to me and my clothes like glue. Sitting on the thickest branch I’d squint my eyes from the sun and survey the landscape, imagining the hidden treasure chests that lie buried in my neighbors' fenced-in yards. Sometimes I’d spot my kick ball or yellow Tonka truck that I’d forgotten all about during my unbridled joy of playing. At other times I’d hug my tree friend, especially when I was sad. It always hugged me back. Yes, I still hug trees (and climb them, if the mood strikes). I’ve also become a tree whisperer. The sycamore, beech, and pine trees are my all-time favorites. But I do have a very special place for the giant redwoods in California. I also adore the oak and American holly too, and the birch for its papery white bark. And don’t forget about the willow, for it symbolizes love: I used its branches to form my Medicine Shield. Cherry blossom trees cover...

A winding dirt trail snakes upward, hugging the ridge that overlooks a shallow lake, as geese and ducks float on the sparkling water below. The sound of tap-tap-tap echoes nearby in the woodland of oak and pine trees. I slip on my woolen hat. Even though it’s spring, the air is chilly. I inhale the loamy scent of leaves and moss and growing things with delight as I saunter along the sandy trail, glad to be free of technology and my to-do list. Tap-tap-tap! Much louder this time—Woody the Woodpecker must be nearby. I glance upwards, scanning the old trees for a red-headed bird, which should be easy to spot since all the trees only have the tiniest of buds forming. I wonder if Woody found any insects yet? Up ahead on the trail, I spot a woman dressed in a winter coat, with a pair of binoculars pointed upwards. Her brown mutt greets me with a few sniffs, then wags his tail. “Did you find a woodpecker?” I asked, petting her dog. She lowers her expensive looking binoculars and smiles. “I did.” We share our love of birds and nature. She reveals that she likes to come to the woods often and see what...

Last Spring my garden and I were introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Groundhog. My broccoli plants were in full vigor and close to harvest when I noticed that they appeared to be getting smaller. At first, I thought I was imagining things, but the next day I came out to check on my favorite veggie again and there was no denying that the incredible shrinking broccoli disease had taken over my garden! I examined the broccoli plants closely and noticed that something was eating them in a very precise way. I scratched my head wondering who or what was sneaking into Mrs. McGregor’s garden when I noticed a gaping hole in the center of my vegetable garden about eight inches in diameter that was hidden by my tomato plants. I called my dad right away. “Sounds like you have a groundhog problem, Shelley.” “What can I do about?” I asked. “Your Aunt Phyllis uses Juicy Fruit gum to get rid of ‘em.” Say what? “Get a few packs and put the gum in the hole,” he continued. “She says the groundhogs will eat the gum. They don’t like it and will leave your garden.” While all of this was going on, I looked up the meaning of...

Santa won’t deliver his presents to our house when he sees our Christmas tree this year, I thought, as I stared with unmasked hatred at the imposter tree sitting in our dining room in all of it’s gaudy glory. Six feet tall, spray painted in gold, and covered in dried macaroni, it is my Dad’s proudest achievement and my Christmas Nightmare. He spent months creating this paper mache and macaroni tree in secret. He surprised the family with it two weeks ago to the horror of both myself, and my two younger brothers. “Why can’t we have a real tree like all of the other kids?” I lament to my mother when my father is out of earshot. My brothers stood behind me in solidarity, wearing sad faces and holding a box of tissues. “It’s a nice tree, Shelley, and your father worked very hard to make it.” Mom sat on the couch. “You’ll get used to it.” “No we won’t,” my brothers and I said in unison. I’m glad the blinds are down so the kids in town can’t see it. Mom sighed, then opened The Courier Post newspaper, her signal to us that the conversation was over. It was the second time...

George Washington had wooden teeth (ivory dentures set in silver plate), but that’s not why I liked him. I firmly believed the first president of the United States made a wish of mine come true in the summer of 1973. I was eleven and horse crazy, which is not the same as being boy crazy—that would happen later, but I never lost my love of horses. It was our family’s first camping trip across the country and I was crammed between my two brothers in the back seat of our Chevy Suburban. My dad threw the car into low gear as the engine choked and whined, climbing up the steep road in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Our destination was the Mount Rushmore Memorial, and it was to be the last national park that we would visit before heading back home to New Jersey. It was also the last opportunity that I had to convince my parents in letting me go horseback riding. We’d been camping for about six weeks and although I longed to sit in front of a television and watch cartoons again, I was going to miss this grand adventure we had been on. I had been totally...

Do you believe in magic? I do. Does the Universe send us messages? Constantly. Did I expect to get a communiqué from my garden? Never. And that’s what makes me grin from ear to ear as I write this post. Never did I get such a wonderful and unexpected message before! I belong to a community garden and had three plots this year, which worked out great, because I also started the time-honored art of canning. The ten tomato plants in the end plots would give me plenty of ‘maters to put up in jars when they started turning red and juicy. In the middle plot, I had planted a few rows of Italian beans, right next to my cucumbers, and in front of the towering sunflowers. After weeding, I grabbed a large handful of beans and stuffed them in my bag to take home for dinner. There’s nothing like grow-your-own vegetables right from the garden. The beans were getting rinsed inside of an old metal colander sitting in my sink, when I discovered the magic bean. On the flat side of the 5-inch bean was a heart that a hungry insect had nibbled out perfectly. I gasped. It just so happened...

In January of this year, I was unceremoniously laid off from my job as a Graphic Designer of 13 years from a small publishing company. I didn’t see it coming (and me, a psychic, right?) There wasn’t a sign as in ‘hunch’, or ‘dream’, or something ‘intuitive’ to give me a warning. At least they waited until after Christmas to tell me. I went through all the stages of grief compressed into one week. I didn’t want to get out of bed, then I would be gripped with sudden fear (how was I going to pay the bills? Would I find another job?) Later, I got so angry I wanted to punch a hole in the wall. I had felt abandoned and betrayed by this sudden divorce. “Thanks, but we don’t need you anymore, goodbye.” Collecting unemployment helped keep me afloat for six months while I tried to figure out a plan of attack. But seventy resumes and several job fairs later, I didn’t get a single interview. (Queue in the sound of crickets). Besides being bored out of my skull, I had gotten too comfortable in my old job. My skills had lapsed and the industry had changed a lot in...

I discovered the double yolk when I cracked the brown egg into the cast iron fry pan. I smiled proudly, as if I had achieved a special egg status award. My mom gets them from time to time, but it was my first ever double-yolker. I had always thought they were a chicken’s worst nightmare—ouch! I also happened to look at the digital clock on the stove as the egg sizzled in the pan, and lo and behold, the clock readout was 11:11. That got my attention. The twin eleven’s are a sign that a portal or energetic doorway is opening and to be aware of a synchronistic event taking place. I also have come to believe that the 11:11 is my Higher Self or Future Self sending me a message, “Hey there, are you paying attention?” she asks. “Well, as a matter of fact, I am. So how do you like them apples (or eggs)?” I reply. Truth be told, I had been waiting for a sign that I was on the right track, and the double yolk appeared after much praying and envisioning, so it had to be a good omen as far as omens go. But I wanted to...

Writing a novel is a labor of love, and I do mean labor. I discovered after writing the first draft of my novel that I needed to learn the craft of writing if I was going to be any good at it. Over the years, I joined several writing groups, took classes, read books, attended workshops, both large and small, participated in critiques and sent my manuscript to beta readers. And I’ve gone the round with several editors. I’ve rewritten my novel five times, and each time I got better at the craft but also discovered that I’m a perfectionist. It’s a handicap I’ve had to overcome. And don’t expect to get rich on your writing, at least not for a while, if at all. That’s why it’s a labor of love, because if you don’t love writing, then you won’t have enough gas in your car to reach your destination. Perseverance is probably the most important ingredient needed in any Writer’s toolbox, for without it, you won’t finish. I have a small poster on my wall of writing advice by my favorite author, Neil Gaiman: Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it. Once your...

On May 15th, two things happened; the praying mantis egg cases I had kept inside of a jar hatched, and the planet Uranus entered into the sign of Taurus. The significance of these two events did not escape me, but I did end up having to catch the hundred or so baby mantises that had ‘escaped’ into my home. I discovered two praying mantis egg cases after cleaning out my herb garden, so I put them in a glass jar and placed the jar on a windowsill. I had pretty much forgotten about it until my cat started batting her paw on the glass a month later. Eureka! The little critters hatched! After admiring the newly hatched barins (Scottish term for a child), I laid the jar next to the mint growing like stinkweed in my garden and released them into the world where they belong. Luckily, I had the sense to tilt the jar on an angle because it poured that evening — I mean like mantis cats and dogs! And it continued to rain for the next four days. I thought for sure they would drown, but on the fifth day the sun emerged from the soaking-sponge clouds and lo...

My honeymoon included dog poop, burned hair and a family doctor (not in that order). And that’s not all that happened in those 10 days I spent traveling through England and Scotland on foot, in cabs, on trains, and in cars that I refused to drive. (Driving on the wrong side of the road freaked me the hell out). And did I mention that I brought way too much luggage? But the food was surprisingly good, like really good. All of those rumors I had heard about English food being bland weren’t true at all. I remember one meal in particular that showed its appreciation for my love of English food on my first night in London. But I’ll get to that embarrassing part in a wee bit. First, I’d like to discuss the topic of dog poop. I have an issue with the excrement left by pooches. Why? Because whenever I step into the nookie cookies, there are witnesses. It’s bad enough that my foot has to get intimate with Le Turd, but do other people have to catch me in the act? It’s happened enough times that I’ve often wondered if I am being set up by the Gods...

A rabbit crossed my path twice this Easter. The first rabbit was from my dear old mom, a stuffed bunny that I promptly named Renoir Rabbit since the hands, feet, and ears were all different colors, just like a painter’s palette. The second rabbit sighting happened right after dinner. I took a stroll around my old stomping ground, Laurel Springs, the town where I grew up, and a rabbit hopped across the road with a basket of brightly colored eggs. Just kidding about the basket of course! But the rabbit's appearance was multi-synchronistic and his message timely. Rabbit is my symbol for financial abundance, mainly because of the fertility aspect that rabbits embody but also because they are so darn cute. And having more of the green stuff in my life is one of my main goals this year. There are many ways to attract abundance into our lives but lately I’ve been using crystals to help me with the task. I sit with the crystal and mentally tell it (program) what I want then I meditate with it, envisioning various aspects of my life, all the while feeding it positive emotion and feeling. The key to abundance is feeling like you already...

[caption id="attachment_1954" align="alignleft" width="300"] My cat Jasper saying hello to the grasshopper.[/caption] I’m still amazed when an animal, or in this case, an insect appears so that there can be no mistake about the importance or right timing of its message. Its the middle of November so I wasn’t expecting to see a grasshopper sunning itself on my window ledge but there he was, soaking up the warm rays as if he were sitting on a white sand beach dotted with sea shells somewhere in the Florida Keys. He got my attention, this messenger of the Hopping Gods. I’ve been going through some challenges of late (like a lot of people that I know these days) and that’s usually when I have an animal sighting, or unusual dreams, and I did have a dream this week about an actress, Hyacinth Bucket on Keeping Up Appearances. She was rollerblading with ease and I interpreted that to mean that I would sail through my current difficulties. I see these timely messages now as the Universe/Goddess/God leaving me a message on my cell, “Hi Shelley, I just wanted to remind you to (fill in the blank). You’re doing a great job, and don’t forget that we...

I've been getting a lot of animal sightings lately. Last week I discovered a mouse sitting inside of my office doorway at work. He stared up me as if I was a long lost friend. He was really cute too, and he didn't run away when I approached him either. Sadly, I believed he was injured due to the fact there was a mousetrap in my office (I didn't put it there), and it had been turned over. The unlucky mouse probably escaped the trap but had gotten hurt in the process. A coworker of mine released the mouse outside, so hopefully he will be okay. Mouse is a sign to pay attention to details, like your checkbook or bank account. For me in particular, mouse was telling me that I was doing too much and juggling too many projects. I needed to prioritize and focus on one thing at a time because I tend to do too much at once. Later that week an injured doe had run across the road while I was driving to work. Something from the inside of the deer was hanging out of her backside (I will spare you the gory details), but I'm sure the animal...

A red cardinal is a glorious sight to behold, especially against the backdrop of newly fallen snow, so it was a shock to find this beautiful bird on the kitchen floor of my friend Priscilla’s house instead of perched on her bird feeder. Buzz, her tabby cat, had proudly delivered it to us. Priscilla had invited me and few other good friends over for a brunch when we discovered the dead cardinal. As a symbol, the bright red color of the bird’s plumage reflects its confident and bold nature. A male cardinal will defend its territory with fierce courage. It is also a good parent, taking care of the female and sharing egg incubation duties. As a totem animal it reminds us to step into our own natural confidence. Their ruby red color can remind us of our own importance as individuals on the wheel of life. It is a sign to value your gifts, talents and abilities and yourself as a human being. It can also be a sign to "keep the faith" through difficulties that might appear hopeless. Micheline happened to have an applique of a red cardinal on her shirt (what a synchronicity huh?) She was at the stove cooking some...

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Robin Renee. Not only is the performing songwriter not afraid to listen to what the voices in her head tell her, but she makes that intuition real. Renée's accessible tunes with a spiritual twist have forged her own genre - Mantra-Pop - and its development can be heard across the sounds of spirit.rocks.sexy. She began this leg of the journey with In Progress (2000), which was applauded in much alternative press across the U.S. All Six Senses (2002), stands as the real-life chronicle of one caught in the act of cosmic transformation. It was produced by Scott Mathews, who has worked with artists as fabulous as George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Elvis Costello, Patti LaBelle and many more. Live Devotion (2007) is Renée's first recording dedicated wholly to sacred chant. Now, will you please welcome Robin Renee …   1. What inspired you to create your own genre, Mantra-Pop? I don’t feel like I exactly created Mantra-Pop.  It’s more that I had certain sounds running through me that were shaping up to become more and more a distinct exploration.  When I was recording the All Six Senses album in Marin County, CA, “I’m Coming Down” initially didn’t have the...

The past is so alive in some buildings that I feel teleported to some other time the minute I step inside. An energetic signature of repeated thoughts and patterns seem to permeate the walls, floor and furniture, imbibing it with an essence so strong I feel I could have a conversation with the brocaded couch in the corner. It has that much (energetic) character. Enter Blases Tire Service Shop in Berlin, NJ. I hate car maintenance. I’m not mechanically inclined and never will be, but my tires were in bad shape. After finding a flat tire on my trusty Toyota, it was discovered that the tread was wearing out unevenly, which meant that I not only needed two new front tires but also a frontend alignment. My dad recommended the mechanics at Blases. The tire shop was a veritable 1950’s time capsule complete with a Bear Statue and wall paneling that my grandmother had in her house. As soon as I set foot inside the dusty shop, I was struck by the sensation of time slowing down, like I do when I walk through the Amish Market in Williamstown (I love their soft pretzels). At Blases, I knew that I had stepped...

Winning the foot race at the ball field was all that I could think about the week before fireworks-spectacular Fourth of July 1969. That, and winning the best decorated bike contest. I was convinced that I would win the foot race, but I needed some help. I decided that to be the fastest runner I needed new sneakers. Mine were old, ripped up and stained from hunting frogs with my brothers in the muddy glen at the end of our street. But only red sneakers would do. Red was faster, better. After much convincing (whining) to my mother, she caved and took me to Shuster's Shoe store on the White Horse Pike. I immediately picked out a pair of shiny red Keds. The white laces gleamed against the bright red canvas. They even smelled good! As soon as I got home I ran down the street, my face a wide grin of hope and expectation. My feet were flying. The sneakers were magical and sure to bring me luck. I imagined myself up on the podium receiving my award. There was no way that I could loose, not as long as I had my new sneaks. On the morning of the race,...

I love the way symbols manifest themselves in my life and the synchronicity that goes along with it. It’s this kind of magic that makes my kiddie heart laugh with delight! It makes all of the struggles, hard work, and confused glances that I get from people who don’t, won’t or can't believe that another world could exist beyond this one, so worth it. Enter the Red Feather. But first, let me introduce Derek O'Neill, a transformational therapist, author, healer, speaker and humanitarian. He has this online radio show that I’ve been listening to for the past two weeks. I’ve also seen him seven times in NYC when he decided to come across the pond (he’s from Ireland) and teach us a few tricks. I can say without a doubt that he’s the real deal and has helped me and many others with his wisdom and healing. He is a master teacher if there ever was one. Today, as I listened to several of Derek's shows on dream interpretation as well as color, I learned that the dreams you have just prior to waking will affect your mood for the rest of the day. Fascinating stuff. And when you decide what color that...

I've been working on different illustration ideas for my book, The Oghalon Chronicles, for the past year, and my medium of choice was graphite. I love the feel of the pencil in my trained hand, as it glides across the smooth surface of the paper. My paper of choice for this project was bristol board, which has a very smooth surface. I still like some tooth, just enough to give it a textural feel, and bristol board fits the bill nicely. For lead weights in my pencils, I tend to use 2B, 3B and 6B because they add the dark values quickly. I do like the H leads when I need a hard edge, or to layout a sketch, but tend to stick with the B's the most. This particular drawing, the swan, is going to be part of my title page for every chapter (there is also another P.O.V. character, in which a bear will be part of the title page). I'm still working on an embellishment that will sit in between two identical swans, but once that is completed, I will post a layout of what an example title chapter page will look like. I had originally created a swan...

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Fran Metzman, author of The Hungry Heart Stories. It is a short story collection that deals with the universal search to fill a void. I found them to be funny, deep, quirky, surprising and enlightening. In one story, a grieving husband in the darkly funny Right Seasoning conjures up his deceased wife's presence in the beloved kitchen they once shared. From My Inheritance Fran spins a tale of a grown daughter, trying to find the love and peace she has always craved with her dying mother to Getting Closer, the story of a woman left with the violent legacy of food that defined her life - we find the characters reaching the low points and triumphs of human emotions. Especially poignant is the story, The Reunion, about a woman born into poverty who reaches the pinnacle of success but with questionable sacrifice. Each of the twelve stories and one essay incorporates food as a means to some end or fulfillment. In Metzman’s sure hand we get these fully realized worlds, leavened with passion and sprinkled with humor. Now, will you please welcome Fran Metzman … How do you create your characters? What is your process? Fran: A certain type of character...

What is a character flaw exactly? It’s a limitation, imperfection, problem, or phobia in someone who for all intents and purposes is a functional human being (some of my in-laws I would not classify as functional). Everyone has them, and so should your characters so that they become real people to your readers. The flaws can be glaring, like being so selfish that it makes Ebeneezer Scrooge nod with admiration, or it can be something simple, like being dishonest by telling little white lies. Below is a list of character flaws that I found on the Internet (I love Google). • Absentminded- Preoccupied to the extent of being unaware of one's immediate surroundings. Abstracted, daydreaming, inattentive, oblivious, forgetful. • Abusive- Characterized by improper infliction of physical or psychological maltreatment towards another. • Alcoholic- A person who drinks alcoholic substances habitually and to excess or who suffers from alcoholism. • Addict- One who is addicted, as to narcotics or a compulsive activity. (gambling, drugs, sex, etc. List specific addiction.) • Aimless- Devoid of direction or purpose. • Anxious- Full of mental distress or uneasiness because of fear of danger or misfortune; greatly worried; solicitous. • Arrogant- Having or displaying a sense of overbearing self-worth or self-importance. Inclined to social...

Whenever I decide to begin a post for my Animal Symbolism series, I don’t always know what animal I want to write about, just that I have the urge. And it never fails that the animal wanting an audience makes itself known to me, as if by magic, a day or two or three before I actually sit down to write. So I waited for a sign and later that same day a leaf blew across the grass in such an odd way that it caught my attention. It looked just like a butterfly. “Ah hah,” I thought to myself. “Could this be the one?” To reinforce the message sent by the Animal Gods, I began seeing commercials for butterflies. I even overheard two conversations in passing about them. The coup de gras happened on my way to B&N to write this post. En route to the bookstore, I stopped at Kmart to get a few things and while I waited in line to purchase my goodies, I looked up, and there, sitting in a mason jar was a mechanical butterfly. With a wide grin on my face, I pushed the little black button on the bottom of the jar and watched it...

Sparrows like to frequent my bird feeder often, voraciously eating the seeds like a bird twice its size. It’s a common bird, the Sparrow, and not as pretty as a Cardinal or an Indigo Blue Bunting (my favorite), but like every animal on this planet, each has its gifts to share with us. And don’t let the size of this feisty little brown bird fool you either, for it is a survivor, and according to Animal Symbolist, Ted Andrews*, it symbolizes the awakening and triumph of the common nobility. Sparrow has come to symbolize humanity for me and whenever I see a few of them gathered around my bird feeder, I am reminded of the great changes that are taking place on our lovely blue planet, changes that are cooking nicely in the alchemical cauldron, and will continue to do so at an accelerated rate. Humanity, the common folk, is about to experience a new level of freedom, a freedom that has never been experienced before, except by a few Mystics. The natives are restless. Just read the news and you’ll notice that something big is brewing. I believe that people are starting to awaken to their own power and their own inherent...

Below is a dream that I had, full of symbolism, and a great example of how powerful dreams can be. At the end of the dream, I will show you how I interpreted it, and how I uncovered the hidden messages. First, let me give you some background on my life during the time that this dream took place. I had left my full-time job as a graphic designer to pursue my dream of being an artist. I had planned to support my creative endeavors by continuing to do graphic design on a freelance basis. But at the time, I was struggling with my lack of self-confidence. Could I really live my dream, and how was I going to do it? What if I failed? The lack of success in my life, especially in my career, has plagued me all of my life. I have often felt like I was forever climbing up the same mountain, only to slide back down again, and never being allowed to reach the summit. Then I had this dream… THE FARMER An ex co-worker and I are on bicycles, trying to cross a road. She is yelling at me because I am hesitating, but my timing is...

[caption id="attachment_1996" align="alignleft" width="300"] Bald Eagle[/caption] While kayaking on the Delaware River one summer I watched a Bald Eagle fly overhead, knowing instantly that a Spiritual Test was coming my way. Unbeknownst to me, I was about to go through some major relationship tests. Eagle was my symbol for an initiation into these tests and it started in earnest that summer. I had some major Fox lessons to learn. My homework turned into honing my skills in discrimination as I entered the world of online dating and relationships. Eagle flies so close to the sun, that as a child I often wondered if her giant wings could actually touch the orange ball of fire. During meditations I sometimes fly on the back of this magnificent bird of prey, and gaze at the Earth below with a sense freedom that stays with me long after the meditation. This majestic, proud and lofty raptor deserves great honor, since it is the symbol for Divinity. The Indians of both Americas believe that Eagle is the symbol for the Great Spirit. True Shamans will often dream of where to find the body of an Eagle so that its feathers can be used. Eagle feathers are very sacred...

One morning I walked into my office at work and found a stick leaning against my desk. It was a beauty and approximately 6 feet in length. It also had bite marks from a Beaver all over it. A friend and coworker had given it to me as a gift. I call it my Beaver Stick now, and feel a little like Gandalf, from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, walking through a mystical forest whenever I use it for my hikes. The significance of Beaver did not escape me. In fact, it just drove home the message I needed to hear at the time. DO NOT GIVE UP YOUR DREAM. Beaver is a great builder. Just look at all of those dams. Busy beavers, yes they are, and all you have to do is watch them work in nature to see how true this is. I knew I had to get busy with building my dream of writing, illustrating and publishing a book. No small feat, but with Beaver around, I knew that I had a superb ally by my side. I felt assured that I would accomplish my goals no matter what difficulties lay ahead. Below is a narrative on the Beaver,...