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Wednesday, April 23, 2014


By Yvonne Lehman

Ann Tatlock is the author of 10 novels and eight children's books (three available, five soon to be released). Her works have received numerous awards, including the Midwest Book Award and the Silver Angel Award from Excellence in Media. Her newest release, Sweet Mercy, is a finalist for the 2014 Christy Award in the historical category. Her novel, Promises to Keep, is currently being made into a motion picture by Big Film Factory. You can read more about her work at 

Cynthia Cope Rasemas is co-founder of Purple Toad Publishing, along with her artist-husband Joe Rasemas. You can find Purple Toad on Facebook at


Once upon a time, in a faraway land called Hockessin, Delaware, two teen-aged girls went to high school together and became fast friends. Cynthia wanted to become a writer and became a nurse. Ann wanted to become a nurse and became a writer.

Decades passed and they mostly fell out of touch until one day Cynthia wrote to Ann to tell her the news. She and her husband Joe were starting their own publishing house and were calling it Purple Toad Publishing. Their goal was to produce high-quality non-fiction books for children.

“And,” Cynthia added, “we want you to write for us!”

“But,” Ann responded, “I only write made-up stories--and those for adults.”

“No problem,” Cynthia said blithely. “We’d like you to start with a book on Medieval England.”

“But,” Ann protested once more, “everything I know about Medieval England I learned from watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

“Wonderful!” Cynthia exclaimed. “You’re hired!”

So, given a deadline, Ann went to the library and checked out all the books she could find on Medieval England and scoured the internet for all the websites she could find on Medieval England and for a full month she read and scribbled notes and wrote and rewrote and put her head down on her desk in despair and cried, “This book is no good!”

Nevertheless, she persisted and finished the book and sent it off to Cynthia with no small trepidation, as not only did she want to please her old friend, but Cynthia’s mother, Mrs. Cope, had been Ann’s high school English teacher and Ann was still of the mindset that she wanted to get a good grade.

After hitting Send, Ann sweated it out for several days until she saw Cynthia’s name once again in her Inbox. She breathlessly opened the email to find these wonderful and welcome words: “I love it! Beautiful! Very visual!” And Cynthia even went on to include a myriad of comments from her mother, Mrs. Cope, that in Ann’s mind translated into an A+.

After that, there was much singing and rejoicing in the house of Ann. She went on to accept more assignments from Cynthia, and she found herself in a veritable Wonderland of Learning as she wrote about everything from dogs to opossums, from Heart Castle to Mary Queen of Scots to Ancient China. Good golly, she thought to herself, this gig of writing non-fiction children’s books is pretty fun!

And so, while they are still waiting for the ultimate happily-ever-after, these two friends from the faraway land of Hockessin are enjoying their work and marveling at the circumstances that brought them back together as writer and publisher, something they never would have imagined some decades ago. But then, sometimes truth is stranger—and even more wonderful—than fiction.

The moral of the story is: Don’t be afraid to try a new and different kind of writing. You might discover you like it!

That's Me in History

Imagine living in the days of castles and knights, lords and ladies, minstrels and troubadours! Medieval life was full of the stuff of legends, but at the same time, the people of the Middle Ages often endured plagues, famine, war, and other hardships. Even during times of peace and prosperity, their days were long and their work was hard. Let's travel back in time to Medieval England where ten-year-old William will show us what daily life was like in a fourteenth-century English city. This Core Curriculum aligned, library bound book is by award winning author Ann Tatlock.

Yvonne Lehman is author of 50 novels and director of Blue Ridge“Autumn in the Mountains” Novelist Retreat – Ridgecrest NC Conference Center. 


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