The Christmas Village

Wise Bear William is Wise Indeed


One of the best things that has come out of having a blog is the wonderful connections that I have made to people that are in far-flung places, people I may never have met otherwise. Here is a true and lovely story of how I met the author of Wise Bear William, Arthur Wooten.

I was working on a post for book blog tour for WOW (Women on Writing) about Melissa Goodwin– she wrote the lovely book The Christmas Village – and Melissa was so nice! She wrote thank you notes (you know your mother always told you to and she was right) and we started an email conversation that led to us realizing that we were both bookish girls from the same small town although did not know each other – different ages. Small world, yes? Through Melissa I met Arthur Wooten (also from same hometown – they knew each other when) and he offered to send me a copy of the book to review. As we started corresponding, I realized that I went to elementary school with his brother such a long time ago!

Anyway, Arthur very kindly (he is also very polite) sent me a copy of his new book, Wise Bear William. It turns out that he wrote this when he was in his twenties and put it aside arthur wooten wise bear william on capability mom blogwhile he did other things  – like writing books: Fruit Cocktail, On Picking Fruit and Birthday Pie. Over the years he thought of different ways to present this story and I am so glad it is as a picture book. The lovely message is lightly told but deeply felt. Without preaching the story shows that the important things in life are acceptance, friendship, loyalty and love.

The story begins with an exclamation from bouncy Rag Doll Rose (these are talking toys) and the energy continues as you are drawn into the lives of these toys in a charming attic (if we had an attic I would like to be like this one). From Bean Bag Bunny to Wise Bear William, the characters are beautifully drawn and captivating. The illustrations are rich in detail, warm and complement the story perfectly. Wise Bear William is encouraging, kind and brings out the best in the other toys (who are a bit worse for the wear) as they prepare for a visit from the children who are visiting in the house below. As a tradition, every year the children come up to the attic to choose a toy from those in the attic to have as their own until they are too old to play with it, then the toys come back to the attic. When you read a children’s book you think you know what will happen (and usually I do) but the surprising ending is a delight. Go read this book now (you can find it on Amazon by clicking the book below). A lovely story for a lovely time of year. Enjoy the holidays!

Wise Bear William is destined to become a classic.

The Benefits of Being a Late Blooming Writer and The Christmas Village Giveaway

Melissa Ann Goodwin is a wonderful writer that I was introduced to by WOW (Women On Writing). It turns out that Melissa and I are both bookish types that hail from the same New England town…small world! I love her post and am taking it to heart – Thanks, Melissa!

Guest Post: The Benefits of Being a Late Blooming Writer

by Melissa Ann Goodwin

Many of us who delayed pursuing our true callings tend to be pretty hard on ourselves for taking so long to get cracking. For many years, I beat myself up for doing everything except write. But now I realize there are a lot of reasons why it can be better to come into your own a little later in life. Here are three reasons why, for me, it’s been better to be a late blooming writer:

I’m less eager to please:  As a young woman, I craved approval from others. Back then, I would have been so flattered that someone wanted to publish my work that I fear I would have done whatever they asked (or told) me to do. I wouldn’t have had the courage or confidence to say NO, or to stand up for my own views. My soul would have ached for authenticity. Now that I’m older, I have a very clear sense of myself and of what I want to present to the world under my name. Of course, I want to “please others” in the sense that I hope that there will be people out there who love my work. But at least they will love the true essence of me and what I have to offer.

I’m Waaaaaaay Less Sensitive to Rejection: By the time we reach middle-age, most of us have experienced plenty of rejection. When we’re young, it’s all so personal and painful! Over time, we grow to realize that it’s not always personal, it’s not a reflection of our true worth, and it’s not necessarily an indication of the quality of our work. It’s just someone’s opinion. Had I pursued writing more aggressively when I was younger, I think it’s likely I would have given up, because rejection was so hard to take back then.

I’m less afraid:  It’s pretty common for writers to be afraid of both success and failure. In middle-age, I have a far different definition of both than I did in my twenties or thirties. Back then, it was about recognition and money. Now, my definition of success is realizing my potential as a person and a writer. As long as I’m doing that, there is no such thing as failure.
I hope that my thoughts here will help folks out there who’ve been tough on themselves for getting a late start. Don’t despair! Everything you’ve done, everything you’ve been through, matters. It will all go into the cauldron and make you a better writer or artist or teacher or whatever it is you aspire to be. But don’t wait too much longer – time’s a-wasting.

About the author: Melissa Ann Goodwin is a native New Englander, now living in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her husband, artist J. Richard Secor. She has written extensively for Fun for Kidz, Boys’ Quest and Hopscotch for Girls. She was a regular feature article contributor to the Caregiver’s Home Companion for more than five years. Her poetry took 10th prize in The Writer’s Digest 2010 annual competition. WOW! Women On Writing Blog tour. We’re hosting a giveaway of her book. The Christmas Village is her first novel.

The Christmas Village is a sweet tale of magic and escapism, hope and courage. Young Jamie Reynolds and his mom are in bad place – his father has left them after some financial misdeeds (vague but troubling) and Jamie feels like an outcast, especially when his best friend isn’t allowed to be friends with him anymore! His mom decides that they will spend the holidays with her family in Vermont. A dream of a simpler life is granted to Jamie and he is drawn into a sweet world where he makes good friends and where trust and kindness carry the day. Great story and lovely life lessons told in a quiet, understated manner with a little magic (and time travel)  thrown in for good measure.

You can win a copy of this engaging book (in time for Christmas, no less) by making a comment below. Thanks!

Winner will be chosen by super fun plug-in called And the Winner is… and your name will be posted here. You will be contacted by email as well by the publisher and they will mail the book to you. Good luck!

Author’s Websites: 
Melissa Ann Goodwin
The Christmas Village
Twitter: @GoodwinMelissa

The Author, Melissa Ann Goodwin now…




and then…

Melissa Gulley is the winner of The Christmas Village. She will receive an email from Women on Writing and they will send her a copy of this wonderful book!

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