All Hands on Otis

In addition to enjoying a glorious day yesterday, Otis had the pleasure of visiting the pre-K classes at St. Paul Christian School in Nashville.  What love welcomed us there!  Otis was immediately engulfed in a sea of lunch-scented hands and no-holds-barred hugs.

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We talked about our imaginations, and how God’s springtime decorations are all around us, just waiting to inspire creative stories of all sorts.  Wheels of young minds began turning about tulips and daffodils, a rescued kitten (Otis approved), school buses and sunshine, and it was promised to me by several budding authors that Otis and I might get an early read of the yarns they would be weaving in their daydreams to come.

I’m looking ever so forward to your tales, little friends! Email me your writings, photographs and drawings, and I’d love to display them here! (ashleybramlett.author@yahoo.com)

As an extra special blessing of the day, our Ella came along with us!  She showed the students just the right way to scratch Otis behind the ears, helped introduce the Spring volume of Ella and the Little Red Wagon to everyone, and best of all, got the chance to hug and hug and hug again her precious pre-K teacher from two years ago. Love!

Ella and Mrs. Amy CookeTHANK YOU, St. Paul, for your unforgettable kindness, the remarkable politeness displayed by all of your students, of all ages, and for having us in your amazing school.  While it was truly inspiring and welcoming in all its bright colors, sunlight-filled classrooms and refreshing breezeways, it was all that and far more in every person, every student, every teacher, every member of your staff whom we had the pleasure of meeting.  We hope to return to share the chapters of Otis Goes to School with your older grades sometime soon.  You are raising and instructing a fine flock of young folks, and it was our honor to be a small part of your day!

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Send us those stories and drawings, little ones.  You have faithful fans here at the Otis camp!

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Thank you for being a part of our journey.  We invite you to follow us here on our book blog, and if you like, please click here to follow Otis and his adventures on Facebook.

-ORDER A BOOK FOR YOUR COLLECTION-

Ready to order your own copy of Otis and find out what his investigations are all about?  Click here!

-READ THE COVER STORY-

For the story-behind-the-story, click here to read the April issue of the Berry Hill Life Magazine cover story of how this adventure began.

-PUT THIS BOOK ON THE SHELVES OF STORES/LIBRARIES, REQUEST AN EVENT-

If you are a publisher, bookstore, library or teacher wanting to add Otis to your inventory or schedule an author-and-dog visit/event, we truly look forward to talking with you, and we thank you for your interest! Please email ashleybramlett.author@yahoo.com.

Wishing everyone lots of love and dog bones.  Stay tuned next week as we head to Alabama to present Otis Goes to School at the Alabama Book Festival!

OGTS for AL Book Festival

 

“I’m Going to Write My Own Story!”

Otis recently had the opportunity to visit with over 150 children over a two-day visit to Judson Baptist Weekday Ministries in Nashville, and he loved every ear-scratching he received.  These whippersnappers were ages 4 and 5, so we read from the younger line of Otis books: Hello World and the Spring volume of Ella and the Little Red Wagon.

Turns out, everybody there had a story to tell!  That’s the beauty of Otis and his books… he brings out the creativity in everyone.

At the end of the visit on the second day, a darling little girl with curly blond hair and flickers of starlight in her eyes whispered to me, “I’m going to write my own story when I get home!”

Ah how my heart smiled.  Yes you do, sweet child.  Write your story, and make it amazing.  Otis is cheering you on.

Judson

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THANK YOU FOR A GREAT COUPLE OF DAYS, Judson Baptist Weekday Ministries!  Otis felt right at home in the midst of your loving program, and we would love to return… perhaps in the “dog days” of summer.  Bless you all!

 

New Cover for Otis Goes to School

It’s a brand new day, new spring season, new month of April… there is no better opportunity for a fresh look for the cover of Otis Goes to School.  We are planning to look our best for the upcoming Alabama Book Festival.  Here he is in all his gentlemanly, white-fur-tie glory… ready to put his most dapper paw forward:

OGTS new cover pic

 

And to top it off, Otis Goes to School is officially published!  We will be pitching the book to various bookstores and libraries, so if you have a school or favorite book nook that you would like to suggest, we’d love to see this pup on as many shelves this world has to offer.

Just comment here, or send me an email at ashleybramlett.author@yahoo.com.

Published by Ashley Nicole Bramlett

 

In addition to the new cover, Otis has a couple of new photographs, kid-friendly fonts and paragraph breaks and glossary words featured in bold within the text.  Otis and I would love to sign a copy for you and your children.  Order your copies today!

As always, we are so grateful to everyone who has shown support and interest in Otis Goes to School.  We are looking forward to the days ahead… truly, may they be “dog days!”

Woof-cerely yours,

Ashley (ashleybramlett.author@yahoo.com)

Otis the Cover-Dog

COVER from BH Mag April 2014Check out that polka-dotted smile on the cover of April’s Berry Hill Life Magazine in Nashville, TN. Those blue eyes peeking over belong to my little girl, Ella.  Click the link below for the full article… zoom in on your screen display for an easy-on-the-eyes trick.

Berry Hill Magazine Cover Story . April 2014

We are gearing up for the Alabama Book Festival next month with lots of school appearances and readings around the Music City.  Let me know if you’d like Otis to visit your school, library or bookstore, and we’ll do our best to make it happen!

Woof-cerely yours,

Ashley, ashleybramlett.author@yahoo.com

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Felts and Robert!

Today is March 25, 2014.  My sweet, supportive, tender-hearted and handsome husband and favorite partner-in-adventure, Robert, celebrates his birthday today.  I could not possibly be more blessed and loved than I am with my heart in his possession.  We’ve had a great morning, hopping around town on a mid-day date, talking about summer plans and Mississippi holes-in-the-wall, enjoying some tasty Martin’s BBQ, and, ironically, watching the snow billow around blizzard-like, and melt away on contact with the ground.

Robert is a fine fellow on many levels, but I believe Otis ranks him as his utmost admired.  When Otis first took up residence in the Bramlett household, he was unsure of this new place called, “home.”  He came to us from a house only one street over… a dwelling hosting a slew of college boys with plans to drop him off at the pound, seeing as how their new apartment-to-be would not allow pets.

So Otis was ours to love.  But his past experiences spoke to him, and he wanted to make sure we were the forever-ones.  So, he made his way back and forth around the neighborhood… three different times, until he decided that he was indeed a part of our family.  Every single time he got loose, Robert was the one who went looking.  And the last time, Robert said, “I’m going to find him.  He’s my dog.”

Robert brought Otis home… home.  And that dog been blessing us ever since.

Robert always has a way of making things work out, just the way they should.  Happy birthday, my Robert.  We all love you.

(Pictured below: Robert with Otis, Tennessee Agricultural Center, 2010.)

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And it’s Mrs. Kay Felts’s birthday, too!

Mrs. Felts is kindergarten-teacher-extraordinaire, beautiful friend, and an all-around-wonderful lady of Christ.  She has loved my oldest two children through their earliest days of school, sharing her gentle advice and caring ways with them as they grew from letter-recognizers into readers.  She puts her arms around a class of children with grace; she shares her heart’s smile with the world; and she quietly builds a firm foundation under the feet of her students, preparing them to take their own steps and hops and leaps into the world of learning that awaits them.  Mrs. Felts calmed our uncertain moments, celebrated our children’s accomplishments, and blessed us with a most beautiful friendship, for which we are so deeply thankful.

And to top it off, Mrs. Felts loves Otis!  She has welcomed him into her class on more than one occasion, and she is the inspiration for Chapter 11, of Otis Goes to School.  (Click here for the Chapter 11 tribute to Mrs. Felts and excerpt!)

Happy birthday, Mrs. Felts!  You are an absolutely delightful treasure, and we love you!

(Pictured below: Mrs. Felts in 2010 and 2012, with our oldest two children, on their first days of Kindergarten.)

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So, March 25…?  It’s an all-kinds-of-great day.  If today is your birthday, too, then you must surely be someone special.  You are in good company!

Otis Goes to… the Alabama Book Festival!

Otis and his mini-sidekick, Oxford, were enjoying some Spring Break exploring while visiting family in Atlanta, Georgia, and the phone rang.  We looked with sincere curiosity at the Alabama area code and unfamiliar phone number on the caller ID.  Answering with a “Hello?” in a truly who’s-there?-sort of tone, I received the great news that Otis Goes to School was accepted to the 2014 Alabama Book Festival.  We are thrilled at the chance to introduce Otis to a whole new audience, and for the specific invitation to bring the real Otis, in all his smiley-panting, furry-faced glory, to meet and greet the Festival’s guests.

If you are going to be in Montgomery, Alabama, on Saturday, April 19, we would love for you to come to this wonderful event (on the grounds of Old Alabama Town) that promotes literacy and Alabama-rooted authors, and brings book-lovers together for the benefit of all involved.

A huge THANK YOU goes out to the Alabama Book Festival, for including Otis Goes to School in your line-up, and for all that you do for the Camellia state.  We hope to bring you a huge crowd!

OGTS for AL Book Festival

Visit the 2014 Alabama Book Festival website.

Please enjoy a few Excerpts from Otis Goes to School.

Please click here (or at the bottom of the page) to follow Otis on Facebook!

Stamp of Approval

For this author, the next best thing to sharing Otis with young readers, is a teacher’s stamp of approval.  The dual purpose intention of this book is to tell a great story, and, perhaps most importantly, to throw wide open the doors of thought in young children (see previous post, Synopsis: The Sixth Sense of Imagination).  Otis fosters critical thinking, builds impressive vocabulary and invites imaginations to soar with no limits.  When teachers get excited about this book, when they invite me into their schools for readings, when they send me personal notes or share Otis with their students and families, it makes the writer in me grin.  It makes the dreamer in me keep asking, “What if…?”

That is why I was so excited to receive this screen shot of a Facebook photograph, originally taken and uploaded by Mrs. Clohessy, a reading teacher, with thanks to one of her students, who had given her a signed copy of Otis Goes to School.

FBphoto from reading teacher.croppedCool.  Mrs. Clohessy says Otis is “cool!”  I call that a surefire stamp of approval, and I’m excited to meet this wonderful teacher in person, and share Otis Goes to School with her classes at Pearre Creek Elementary, later this spring.

Teachers, my hat is off to all of you.  Thank you for what you do.  You are amazing with your gifts of time and heart, and your ability to tailor your lessons to the vastly different ways that children learn.  You put up with parents from all walks of life, with expectations as varied as the 96 brilliant colors in Crayola’s “Big Box of Crayons.”  You are tireless in reaching every child, and your dedication does not go unnoticed.  I see it daily in the excitement that my own little ones can hardly hold back when they conquer a classroom challenge or discover the worth in their efforts that you inspired.  Your passion is delightful, and unstoppable, and carries forth in the ways you shape the horizons of our children’s ambition.  You.Are.Exceptional.

Mrs. Clohessy, thank you for your stamp of approval, and thank you for what you do.

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Click here to be a fan and follow Otis on Facebook as we seek the perfect pup-lisher!

Fan, Cam!

We love hearing from Otis’s fans!  Last night, I was so pleased and touched to receive a photograph from a sweet mama, displaying her son’s creativity and loving thoughts after reading Otis Goes to School.

This is from Cam, who made his very own handwritten bookmark with his own words and gumption.  Fan Cam!I was so impressed, and glad that Otis found his way into cool Cam’s heart.  He’s a super awesome kid with ice hockey on his mind and a great attitude on life.  He’s even got a new stuffed pup named…. drumrollllllllll pleeeeeease….. “Otis!” And that just makes my day.

This is what Otis is all about: getting kids excited about reading, finding out what interesting things happen next, picturing characters so vivid that little folks can almost see them; sounds so distinct, they can hear them; adventures so described that they can envision themselves between the lines.  We’re stretching imaginations and looking forward to watching them soar on the winds of their own inventiveness and wit.

A big THANK YOU to our Fan, Cam!  Let us know what you think of “pond-dog” when you get to that chapter.  Here’s a hint… he looks, coincidentally perhaps, a lot like Otis…

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Click here to be a fan and share Otis with friends and family on Facebook!

On sale at For Every Child in Franklin, TN

We are so thankful for local shopkeepers who have joined in our excitement of promoting Otis Goes to School, and who have made this book available to their customers.  For Every Child is one of those supporters!  This is a precious children’s clothing boutique on 5th Avenue in the heart of Franklin, known for great service, darling and unique clothing for babies through age 16, and truly friendly folks.  I have no doubt, they have something you need, and you can pick up a copy of Otis while you are there!  Tell them Otis sent you.

Promo for For Every Child selling OGTS.Feb 2014

Just on the other side of town, Landmark Booksellers has the book available as well.  We are looking forward to another reading and signing with this historic bookstore, as soon as the sequel comes out!

There are several exciting irons in the fire at the moment, and I’m looking forward to sharing the news of upcoming appearances and events very soon.  Thank you again and always for urging us forth on the challenging, interesting and rewarding path to publishing.

Enjoy today’s blue skies and sunshine… it’s worth barking for!

OGTS book for sale pic.spring 2014

Thank You to Landmark Booksellers, Ms. Pat…

…and to all of you who took time out of your Saturday morning to come and join us for the book signing and reading of Otis Goes to School.  Bookstore owners, Joel and Carol Tomlin, were so gracious and welcoming to us, and we felt the presence of our Southern heritage and history all around us within the pre-Civil War walls of what is most likely the oldest building standing in the beautiful city of Franklin, Tennessee.Landmark Booksellers pics.1

As we sat in the same room as folks who have gone on before us, such as Andrew Jackson and Davy Crockett, we were humbled by this opportunity.  We truly enjoyed the chance to share the story of Otis with everyone there… loyal fans, new fans, dog lovers, folks who stopped in from their morning stroll on the sidewalks outside, teachers, students, families of all generations, my own sweet babies and loving husband, our children’s godparents, my darling in-laws, some unexpected and wonderful surprise visitors from out of town… and a sweet little family of four who have a pet cat named, Fido!  I think Otis might approve of that feline friend!Landmark Booksellers pics.2

To the children who were there this weekend: you blessed us abundantly!  This book was written for YOU, with your budding imaginations in mind.  I hope that Otis has found his way into your heart, and that you can see yourself right there in the middle of his adventures.  Your opinion matters most to me, and I’d be quite honored if you would share your book reviews with me!  Ask your folks to help you email me or to post your comments here.  And keep in touch with me… there’s upcoming book news I’d love to share with you, soon!  Lots of little fans send me pictures of Otis, and I’d love to see yours!  Draw a picture of your favorite part of the book, and email it to me.  I’ll proudly post it on the book blog, if it’s ok with you and your family!

Please be sure to visit Landmark Booksellers to pick up a copy of Otis Goes to School, and to enjoy and visit with Joel and Carol Tomlin, learn points of history you may not have heard before, and perhaps find another treasure (or two or three!) to add to your library.  They were marvelous hosts, and we look forward to future signings and readings with them.  The whole city of Franklin was very supportive, and it was quite exciting to see Otis’s posters at businesses all around town.  What a warm community!  Thank you, Franklin!

And the grandest thanks go out to our dear, beautiful friend, Pat Wildrick, who spent countless hours and called upon her loyal friends, family and contacts to promote this event.  She is an inspiration for believing in oneself, pursuing a goal with full force and commitment, always exuding kindness and grace, hoping for the best and expecting even more, accepting “no” with gratitude (while somehow uniquely not taking “no” for an answer!), and touching the hearts of everyone blessed enough to cross her path.  Ms. Pat, my “thank you’s” abound, but they could never be enough.  Your friendship has always been a treasured gift of elegance and loveliness, and your support and encouragement on our journey to publication is unparalleled.  We look forward to more adventures with you at the helm!

I invite you to take a read of Chapter 10′s excerpt (now posted!), when the pixie princess spots Otis at just the right time after a playground mishap… let me know what you think of Otis’s grand adventures!  And thank you for following along.  May the Good Lord bless you!