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A Funny Thing Happened at The Home Décor Store

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One Saturday three years ago, I went shopping with my family. This was just a spur of the moment thing since we weren’t shopping for anything we needed—or so we thought. There were no omens to indicate that this would be the day that I discovered one of my muses. As we walked through this popular home décor store, my daughter found this unusual green monkey that was hidden deep in one of the many display baskets. She liked it so much that we weren’t able to leave the store without it. Luckily, my husband at the time relented and bought it for her. Like so many of her other stuffed toys, I figured this monkey would just sit on her bed and collect dust. I was very wrong.

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When she was younger, my daughter used to like me to read her bedtime stories. She is now older and able to read on her own, way above her grade level. I credit reading to her every night when she was smaller with helping her to become an avid reader. When I read to her, I would not be able to get away with reading any less than one beginner’s book, and when she grew older, at least one to two chapters of a larger book. She had outgrown many of the books I had read to her when she was younger, so a few nights after we bought the monkey, I decided to start re-reading the Harry Potter series to her.

 My daughter protested and instead, suggested that I tell her a story about her monkey (which was dubbed Turtle Monkey by my former husband because of its bright green color). I scrambled to think of ideas. I decided that it would be a good idea for the monkey to be a little girl monkey who was curious, active, and sassy so that my daughter would be better able to relate to the character. I don’t remember much of the early oral versions of the stories I told.  I began to really enjoy these stories, and I decided to start writing them. As I wrote, the stories tended to just flow. I could plan to have certain elements in the story, but Turtle Monkey would have her own ideas about what was going to happen. This was the first time that one of my characters began to develop a life of its own. 

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When it came to doing the initial art for the books, I had enlisted the help of someone whom I had known could draw cartoons. This was an exercise in frustration because the story was being driven by Turtle Monkey herself, and not by the art, as the artist wanted. Between delays in art production and artistic differences, it fell to me to do the art for the initial thirteen books, which are available online now through the main eBook vendors such as Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble. Turtle Monkey is now going through additional changes as we continue the series in print with Crystal Publishing. I can’t wait to see how the changes affect the stories.