Libbie the Lobster

To purchase the children's book "Saving Libbie the Lobster" go to


You Know You’re a Writer When…

“Can I have your name please,” asked the young woman behind the large registration desk in the hospital earlier today as she raised her eyes and looked at me stoically.

Glancing at her name tag, I said cheerfully, “Hi Nicole! I am Marybeth Jeitner and I’m here for a procedure. I had an appointment at 10:00 AM and I know I’m late. Sorry about that.”

Nicole smiled politely as she got busy on the computer to find my name. After some difficulty and a phone call to find out where I was supposed to be, she told me to go to the 2nd floor registration desk where she was sure I should be.

Nicole could not have known that my morning was already a comedy of errors. I was laughing to myself about how hard I had tried to be responsible to be where I’m supposed to be, dress appropriate to the situation (in this case, dressing down for medical professionals–dreads pulled back, no biker shirts and cover most of the tattoos, and shoes instead of sandals–my mother would be so proud), and be on time. But none of that went as planned. After receiving a call from the hospital nuclear medicine department that I needed to have the surgeon mark the spot for the procedure, at the exact moment I was ready to walk out my door, directions in hand, sweater for the air conditioned hospital, phone fully charged…well, you get the picture.

Now at that moment, I had choices:

1) I could be angry because no one told me sooner and because the delay was going to cause me to be late for my appointment. I’d have to spend time and money to go in the opposite direction to my doctor’s office first…if he could even see me to mark the spot. OR, 2) I could have chuckled and realized this is just life. This is my life. I continually get lessons about lightening up and not taking things so darned seriously.

So, to continue with my story, after having driven north to my doctor and then an hour south to the hospital, I found myself in front of Nicole, who could not find my name in her computer. Shaking off my desire to burst into laughter, I turned my attention to the beautifully clear sound of classical piano music in the large lobby. heinz loft 1b_27 To my amazement there stood a magnificent baby grand piano. I couldn’t see the keys from where I stood but I was sure someone sat playing the melody I heard. I looked more closely but no one sat at the piano. Clearly the sound came from it. Suddenly an eerie feeling came over me and a story about a ghost who played the baby grand incessantly formed in my mind. I knew that writers see stories everywhere but never had one come to me in quite that way. It was exhilarating!

But my adventure was just beginning. On arrival at the registration desk on the 2nd floor, I was greeted by a woman whose facial expression said, “Who are you and don’t answer that because I don’t really know what I’m doing.” Smiling a little too much I think, I told her my name and why I was there. After searching several lists of names, she said, “I don’t have you here but I will find someone who can tell us where you are supposed to be.”

I began to notice that everyone I made eye contact with, smiled at me. My humorous attitude toward the fiasco was catching on. As I sat waiting, I noticed many others were waiting to be called for whatever procedures or surgeries they needed so I did what any writer would do, I began adding them to my burgeoning hospital story of the piano playing ghost. My imaginings were interrupted by the receptionist saying, “Mrs. Jeitner, I’m sorry but you are supposed to register downstairs.” Much to her surprise it seemed, I began to laugh. I told her it was okay and that I liked the ghost playing the classical piano on the first floor. She began to laugh with me as did several people who overheard us. I left them behind sensing I had made a small difference in there otherwise serious and difficult situations.

Standing once again in front of Nicole who was apologizing profusely as she hurriedly had me sign papers, I saw a forlorn, frail woman in a wheelchair nearby. Before long, we engaged in a conversation about the beautiful music being played by the ghost. Laughter rang out from surrounding offices as people within earshot, heard me telling the story of the pianist who was trapped in the lobby of the hospital causing havoc with the computers by his music which often had the effect of sending patients from floor to floor trying to find where they were supposed to be and kept receptionists pulling out their hair in utter confusion.

Finally my procedure was to begin so I bid adieu to my happy audience and as I turned to say goodbye to the gentle woman in the wheelchair, she looked up at me with the brightest eyes, and a smile from ear to ear. She waved a weak hand and we said goodbye.

My attitudes are catchy, this is true and I am a writer who sees a story in the most unlikely places. What began as a comedy of errors today, became an opportunity to bring a some joy where there was little and had the further effect of providing me with a beautiful picture emblazoned in my mind of a gentle, sad, frail woman in a hospital wheelchair who felt joy for a moment with me and perhaps because of me–a writer of stories.

Thoughts, ideas and comments are welcome.

As always, thank you for reading.

unnamed (3)


So How Do You Write a Children’s Book Anyway

When Heather Chalmers and I decided it would be fun to write a children’s book about our adventure of saving Libbie, the rare yellow lobster, from our local supermarket, we had very little idea what the job would entail. We were still speeding along on the roller coaster which had lifted us into the air in a very short time. The dizzying heights were clouding our minds with grandiose ideas of writing a book that would become famous because of the enormous amount of press that had already been done about the story. But in our hearts, we cared little for becoming rich or famous. We wanted to make kids happy by reading a book of our amazing journey with Libbie the Lobster. unnamed (3)

Because Heather is a former first grade teacher, she  had a myriad of supplies to begin our project and a plethora of children’s books from which to define a plan of action. And so we set forth with excited determination to write the true tale of our beautiful yellow lobster, named Libbie.

Heather and I were not new to the writing world. Heather has written poetry and I had begun work on a novel a year prior. However we were new to each other, having only met briefly twice before we joined forces to rescue Libbie. Therefore brainstorming about our book was often interrupted with intermittent getting-to-know-you sessions. We liked each other instantly and became fast friends. If anyone had been listening in on our conversations in those first few days of planning our book, they would have heard much laughter interspersed with quite serious discussions about our lives. Overall there was a sense of having met by design for a greater purpose.

Looking back, I recall that there were moments when we doubted we could actually produce a children’s book we could be proud of but we forged ahead, encouraging each other when doubt crept in. Neither one of us could have imagined the incredible children’s book we were going to produce. And it all began in what now seems a flurry of activity to find our way.

That first day, we had decided to meet early in the morning and keep going until we thought we had made a good beginning. Heather had stacks of children’s books for us to go through for ideas. We soon realized we had many questions: How long should our book be? What age group are we writing for? Do we want words and pictures on every page or pictures on one and words to follow? Should the pictures run across the center of the book or be different on each side? What is the moral of the story? Do we want the words to rhyme? What type of illustrations and colors? And who will we get to illustrate our book, anyway? How much will all this cost????

It was a daunting task but we had the experience of working tirelessly to rescue Libbie and get her to a new home, so we pushed on. At times we were tackling several things at once, seemingly haphazardly but within a few days, we began to see results. Within one week, we had an illustrator and a publisher and our story boards were laid out around a large table to tell our story. We were learning the process of creating and producing a children’s book at lightening speed.

We solicited help from our author friends and began making several difficult decisions, i.e. self publishing vs. indie publishing, cover designer, web design, graphic design, contracts (between Heather and myself too), hard cover vs. soft cover, size of the book, printer, bios, and photographer. We were making important decisions together and we were only two weeks into our project.

All the while, Heather and I were working hard and having fun. We were motivated by the desire to “strike while the iron was hot!” People were talking about Libbie the Lobster everywhere and we were building quite a following. My fondest memory of those first two weeks was of Heather and I standing around the table writing the words to our story. Because I have been far removed from children in my later years, Heather had to remind me that the words I suggested would not be understood by little ones. The wonderful rhymes in our story were entirely Heather’s doing. She later told me that she read Dr. Seuss books before going to sleep. She would awake in the morning with rhymes for our book. I loved the rhymes and laughed heartily when we added them. (I am laughing as I writing this.) photo (6)


The entire process was not without its difficulties. We did not always agree but our respect for each other deepened and our friendship grew even stronger. Looking back on it now, I can only speak to the incredible joy we both felt when we finally received our book from the printer a mere four months after I first laid eyes on that special, rare yellow lobster in Publix Supermarket. We were both so very proud of the children’s book we had created together. And the best part is that children love our book!!!

Feel free to comment and ask questions. And thanks again for reading.




Leave a comment

Awesome Book Review

Children’s book author Susan Day read our book, Saving Libbie the Lobster, and wrote the most amazing review. Susan herself writes inspiring and educational books for children on topics that help children learn at a young age to cope with important emotional issues in their lives. Her most recent book, Astro is Down in the Dumps, teaches children tools to  use when they are feeling “down.” Here is what this highly prolific author had to say about our book: PhotoFunia-1424277702

Susan’s Review:

Saving Libbie the Lobster by Heather Chalmers & Marybeth Jeitner 
Illustrated by Stewart Maxcy

This is an inspiring book for children. Libby the Lobster is due to be sold for someone’s dinner in a supermarket when the forward thinking authors decide to rescue her. Libby is an unusual yellow colour which attracts their attention.

Saving a lobster is not as easy as it sounds! I didn’t know they lived in freezing cold water and that there weren’t any tanks in Florida that could take her. I also learnt what to feed lobsters which might come in handy because, like one of the authors, I am forever bringing home rescue pets. I had to laugh at the response by Heather’s husband – it sounded very familiar to me!

Stewart Maxcy should also be congratulated for bringing this story to life with vivid, fluid and lively drawings. They really add to the fun and humour underlying this tale.

Based on a true story, there’s a lot to learn and a lot to love in Saving Libbie the Lobster. I am encouraged to read that some of the proceeds go to the Seacoast Science Center where she now lives.

I received a copy of this book for an honest review. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this book. I’m sure you and your family will too. It opens up all sorts of educational avenues that you should explore with your children. It might make you think about your next seafood purchase but I implore you to get your claws on a copy today by clicking the link below.

Thank you so much Susan Day! We are so grateful for the review and glad you liked our book!

Check out Susan books on Amazon and her website. Follow her on Facebook too.

You can purchase Saving Libbie the Lobster below!

As always, Thank you for reading!

Leave a comment

When Life Gives You Flying Monkeys

Originally posted on The Transparent Author:

flying monkey

I’m sitting in bed with my favorite blanket on my lap listening to this silly Native American flute music hoping it will elicit something deep and meaningful for my blog post… maybe some spirit guide will pop in for a visit, I dunno. So far I’ve got nada.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of “Being Who You Are”. This isn’t just “Ta da! I’m the cute girl in the spandex pants.” This is the core You on the path you’ve been on since the day you were born (or before!)

Imagine you’re lost in a foreign place and all you want is to go home. You’ve got this yellow brick road in front of you and you have been told (by some adorable munchkins) if you follow it good things will come.

On this road you meet some interesting characters and they decide to join you on…

View original 238 more words

Leave a comment

Vern Shank – Inspired Mic Spotlight – February 2015

Libbie The Lobster:

My friend Vern Shank is incredibly talented. I’m glad to be called his friend.

Originally posted on Michael Ray King:

February brings some new faces to the  Inspired Mic at Leroy’s 19th Hole, the Country Club restaurant and bar for the Cypress Knoll Golf Course in Palm Coast. In the coming two weeks this site will display the presenters who will be on stage on February 17th. With two months under our belt at Leroy’s, we feel we have the recipe for an even better event this month! We are excited about our growth and the community’s interest in local talent. Please check back each day for a little insight into our Inspired Mic Event presenters!

Vern - Best- colorVern Shank

Vern grew up around Philadelphia with an early start in music & film through band, chorus and stage. While in high school, Vern was cast for a small role as an extra in the movie Witness starring Harrison Ford. This unique experience made Vern catch the “bug” to move to Hollywood.


View original 481 more words



When Did I Stop Crying

This morning my thoughts turned to wondering when I stopped crying. I have not shed a tear for years it seems. What does this mean? I have always believed and my experience shows me that the depth of my sadness is what allows me to know its opposite, joy. Have I ceased feeling anything at all?

As a psychotherapist, I would have diagnosed myself as having a histrionic personality. I was certainly told many times in my childhood that I should become an actress for all of my untiring demonstrations of unbridled emotion. george_romney_-_lady_hamilton_as_circe As I look back over these many years, I know I have felt the depth of emotional pain that could only be seen as complete madness. Raging anger has haunted me too, with nothing inside to control its devastation.

And tears, tears of joy and gratitude, happiness at the smallest things have given me reasons to live. Laughter–loud, boisterous, from the pure magic of comradeship, sprang from me easily.

And then there is love. I think I know what love feels like. I think it is a fundamental part of my being. I feel love when I look into a friend’s eyes and I see love coming back at me but I wonder why. Why do these people love me? What do they see? But, I am still the actress, minus the demonstrative displays of emotion, am I not? Now it seems only glimpses to that joy, tell me I am still alive.

This is beginning to sound quite morose, I know. I am merely pondering my own evolution, seeking to understand myself in a world I alone have designed for my comfort as I suppose most humans do.

I have been reading Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, which is likely prompting my musings this morning. I was drawn to reread the book by an old memory of having found myself in those pages but recalling not why. Now I know. Wuthering-Heights It is Catherine Earnshaw. Those so many years ago, Emily Bronte breathed life into her character of Catherine and she could have been writing about me.

Aha! Perhaps this very writing has shown me that my feelings are still alive. My melodramatic personality has just shown itself on this page! Writing things through has a magical effect on the writer don’t you think? Pouring the words out onto the page, has the effect of revealing a knowledge not otherwise known.

Thank you for reading. I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Reading to Kids: Pure Joy

I feel as though I’m a passenger who is along for a ride to where I do not know. It is an adventure for sure. I don’t know whether we will turn left, or right, or go straight to wherever it is we are traveling. I don’t even really know who’s driving–not really. I see something different every day along this unfamiliar road–faces mostly, of children. Never before in my life have I seen so many children for so long. Little children just being children. I don’t remember what it feels like to be a child so I don’t know them. It was a long time ago. So I watch them as I travel this road. I watch them smile and laugh as they hear our story of Saving Libbie the Lobster.

Even today as I stood next to my friend and co-author, Heather Chalmers, in front of about 80 children every half hour telling our adventure with Libbie, IMG_2852 my eyes scanned the large room filled to capacity with children and their teachers, and I was filled with wonder. Heather, so comfortable with the children, having been a first grade teacher for many years, became my teacher. Unbeknownst to her, I followed her every move, and pretended I belonged there, although I might as well have been in a foreign country and knew not the customs and the language.

I was somewhat intimidated by these little ones, I realized. Are they a simpler version of who they will someday become, I wondered. I watched the shy children being shy; the talkative ones, talking (despite chiding from their teachers); and the thinkers were very obviously thinking. My knowledge of psychology and experience as a psychotherapist, flooded my brain trying to make sense of the many little personalities in front of me. My incessant need to understand was rivaled only by my joy at hearing the kids laugh at all the right, funny places in our book.

And when I arrived home to my familiar, comfortable surroundings, I sat by my window listening to the roar of the ocean and I wondered where I had been and how I arrived here–to this place in my life.

At sixty-three years of age, I am on the ride of my life. Without much forethought, without a plan, and with no end in sight, I allow myself to enjoy the journey. In many ways, I am like these children I think. Learning quickly from every new experience, my eyes are wide open and filled with wonder. Could it be that I am coming full-circle, becoming child-like again, untainted by the weariness of intellectualism? Whether or not that be so, I enjoy this ride and I am grateful. I will let the experience teach me.

So Heather and I will do this again tomorrow and for the rest of this Literacy Week, in   a different school each day. I will again enter this foreign land and hopefully I will emerge knowing it better. Maybe I will meet your child on my journey.




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,116 other followers