The Kindness of Strangers

I went to the post office at the Pharmaplus at Fanshawe and Adelaide to priority post tax information to my dad’s accountant. Unfortunately I left the address at home. I didn’t want to miss the 2pm pickup so I tried calling friends and family to look up the address on the internet. Naturally, no one was available. So I went to the pharmacy dept. and asked for assistance. The woman kindly looked the address up for me and the parcel got mailed.
For some intuitive reason I decided to check the address when I got home. I’d sent it to the wrong suite and had the wrong postal code! OMG! The address had been incorrect on the internet (which I won’t be using for checking addresses when mailing documents again). After calling Canada Post in a panic, I eventually realized I could use reverse look-up to find out who was located at the suite I had sent the parcel to. I called the Herzig Eye Institute in Toronto and told them my problem. Thank you Stephanie for delivering the parcel to the accountant.
Two good deeds from two kind strangers.

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Who Baked the Cookie in the Cookie Jar?

We never think about the people who have made our lives so much better by creating everyday items through ingenuity, creativity or just plain brilliance. Today I learned the name of one of these people. This person created something which has brought me more pleasure than any other creation invented (besides bathroom facilities). Her name is Ruth Wakefield and she was the owner of Toll House restaurant in Whitman, Mass during the Depression. She was also the inventor of the CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE. And she is my hero. (I plan on toasting her by eating three chocolate chip cookies today.)

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The Trials and Tribulations of Publishing an E-book for IPad

Finally…after months of attempting to put it on-line, THE GREAT BELLYBUTTON COVER-UP is now a read-along/read-aloud (depending on which term you choose)  picturebook on ITunes. Here are some helpful hints which will hopefully save you months of aggravation.

I had already done THE GREAT BELLYBUTTON COVER-UP in printed format so that took care of the text and illustrations. Not realizing how much more complicated I was making things, I decided to do a read-along book instead of a regular e-book. I did the audio portion in a recording studio owned privately (much less expensive). I narrated it myself since, naturally, I’m the only one who knows exactly how it’s meant to be read.

Please note that you need a different ISBN for each book format (paperback, hardcover, e-book, read-aloud book all require different ISBNs).

Apparently, and unknown to me at the time, the only format capable of handling this type of book is Apple’s ITunes on the IPad. Kobo is not currently designed for fixed layout ePubs or PDFs.  There is also a maximum file size limit of 10MB. They hope to expand their repertoire but don’t know when this will be done.

I had Reader’s Favorite ( do the formatting for me. I wasn’t even going to try to tackle that by myself.

I had to upload all the metadata. Metadata is all the details of the book: content description, pricing, etc. Sounds easy? I don’t think so. Readers Favorite ended up uploading the book to Apple for me since I never figured out how to do this. This was done AFTER the metadata was input.

There were several reasons it took me ages to figure out how to get my book on ITunes.

Reason 1: I couldn’t figure out how to get into the proper site which is, da! da!  iTunes Connect .

Reason 2: I did not realize I had to download programs to do the process. If I hadn’t had to take my computer in to Apple because of its failure to turn on (which never happened again-very weird by the way) I’d still be trying to upload my book. My one-to-0ne class tutor helped me with the process. When on this site you must download ITunes Producer. It’s free. Depending on what you are doing  you may need to download other programs as well.

Reason 3: You need to fill in tax information. If you are not a U.S. resident this part makes you want to blow your brains out. Here is the article that saved the day. I owe this person a debt of gratitude: Non-US Self-Publisher? Tax Issues Don’t Need to be Taxing « Catherine, Caffeinated.  Make sure you read this carefully.

Reason 4: You need to know your banking information. In Canada you need the transit number preceded by the institution number. If your institution number does not have four numbers stick a “0″ in front of it. And how was anyone supposed to know the number required was a combination of numbers and you needed to have that extra zero? It took me hours to figure that stuff out.

Make sure you read the PDF manual on ITunes Connect carefully as well. It helps to have two windows open so you can follow the instructions while working on the metadata. Every time you fill in information you have to make sure you save it.

This was an extremely complicated and frustrating process and I haven’t covered everything but hopefully I’ve made the process easier for the next person. I’m praying it will be easier for me the next time. I’m not sure whether to do a read-aloud book again because it’s so limiting, although I like the concept because parents get sick of reading the same story a million times and hopefully my book falls into that category. Let me know what you think.

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Emma the Mouse Brings Joy to the House

Emma the Mouse Brings Joy to the House is about a special friendship between a mouse and a little girl named Sydney (named after my childhood friend). When Sydney develops leukemia and gets chemotherapy her hair falls out. Emma can’t make her friend better but she can make her happier.

This story, mainly humorous, at times touching, is about friendship and hope.  My goal is to help children deal with the loss of their hair or the hair loss of friends or family members in a non-threatening manner.

My book is due to be published in late summer. To ensure that the topic is treated in a sensitive and accurate manner I am asking for feedback from professionals in pediatric oncology (doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers) and families with children dealing with hair loss.

If you are willing to read my manuscript and offer feedback please e-mail me at .

Where did the idea for this story come from?  This story was initially created for Fanshawe Pioneer Village and was about a mouse who lived in a farmhouse with a little girl with long blonde hair. The mouse wanted long hair too. When the cornfields were harvested the little mouse got a brilliant idea. She would use the corn silk as hair and make herself a wig. Over the past few years this storyline merged with thoughts about my childhood friend who had leukemia back in the 1960′s and I incorporated these ideas into the story.

Thank you for reading my message.


Susan Ross

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A Little Princess – book review

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Interview with Susan Ross

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Self-publishing – Feet on the Ground, Head in the Clouds

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These Are a Few of My Favourite Things About Being a Children’s Author

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Gender Profiling when buying children’s books

When you choose a book for a child do you buy “boy” books for boys and “girl” books for girls?  If so, you are guilty of gender profiling.

I write picture books. I am writing to assure you that when you choose a picture book for your preschooler or primary-aged child, he/she will like or dislike the book based on the story and the pictures.  If the story and illustrations are entertaining, children will like it regardless of the gender of the main character.

It is very disconcerting to have parents and grandparents tell me their son or grandson won’t like The Great Bellybutton Cover-up because the main character is female. (She’s a sheep for goodness sake.) The story is laugh-out-loud funny. The pictures are colourful and delightful. Both boys and girls love it equally. (I know this because I’ve read the book to literally thousands of children.) (

If you base your picture book purchases  (or children’s chapter book purchases for that matter) on your preconceived notions of what a “boy” or “girl” will like, you are doing the child a grave disservice. Your child will be missing out on hundreds, perhaps thousands, of wonderful stories. I cannot emphasize this enough: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A “BOY” STORY OR A “GIRL” STORY. A good book, is a good book.

What Do You Do With A Kangaroo by Mercer Mayer is hysterical. The story and pictures are wonderful. The main charater is a girl; so what. (

The chapter book, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, is a fabulous story. The main character is a girl; again, so what. Boys and girls will love the mystery and magic of this book. (

Is Harry Potter meant to be read exclusively by boys? Of course not.

So when you pick up a book for a child, buy it based on whether the book is well-written and well-illustrated and whether it makes you smile or laugh or cry or think or learn. Don’t let gender profiling limit your selection. Don’t even think about the gender of the main character. It’s irrelevant.

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