Libbie the Lobster

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


Marketing Blues


My head is buzzing and my feet are stuck in clay! My fingers are poised on the keyboard but my eyes keep drifting from the computer screen to the ocean outside my windows and I’m trying to think. Thoughts come in words and phrases and follow one after another in a circle. I think you, my readers, may recognize some of these. You know the ones that keep streaming in with no action behind them because they’re circular!

target audience, holiday book signings, tweet, post, blog, write, sell, promote, follow, join groups, comment, like, apply for awards, hashtags, tags, guest blog, email, call, search, watch tutorials, learn more, do more, ad infinitum


I know the target audience for our book, Saving Libbie the Lobster, is children but young children don’t buy books so how do I appeal to the adults who can’t wait to purchase an awesome, based-on-a-true-story, signed by the authors, one of a kind, fun, funny, educational, artist illustrated, children’s book? “All of the above words in red” you may respond. But which ones work the best? There must be a way to do less and accomplish more — an easier, softer, smarter way that doesn’t include an “Upgrade to Premium” which costs money which is what I’m trying to bring in, not put out.

unnamed (3)

I think if I can just finish this blog, I’ll be doing well. But the moment I stop writing, the litany of words starts over again. And too, what about my novel, The Jumping Off Place? It is finished or just about and after it’s finished, there is a whole new target audience!

Maybe there is a solution after all. I haven’t found it yet but there must be one. It’s not rocket science I’m sure, although I think I understand rocket science better than that terrifying word — marketing!

If you can relate, please leave your comments below. If you have solutions, please leave comments below. If you have funny stories or anything that will stop this circular stream of consciousness, please write in the comments below.

And as always, thank you for reading.



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!


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.



Leave a comment

Writing: Seeing It Through to the End and Beyond

My days were going along as usual procrastinating about writing and filling my time doing everything but writing, other than those few short bursts of fluid creative thought that seemed to pour from my mind as though someone had taken me over. typewriter_quote You know the feeling when after writing a few hundred awesome words that flew through your fingers onto the page, who wrote that?

For over a year my apartment was cleaner than ever before because I had to clean before I could write, right? Then I had to go to the gym because if I didn’t keep up my strength, how could I ever finish my book? And of course keeping up with friends, the myriad of unnoteworthy emails I received needed to be seen, and generally enjoying beach-life all served to distract me and provide excuses for not writing.

But the truth is, I didn’t believe in my heart that I could write well. quotes-about-writing-writers-block-doubt (1) Somehow I thought I had to write the novel of the century! Growing up I learned that if you can’t do a thing well, don’t do it at all. Somehow I heard, “If you can’t do a thing ‘perfectly,’ don’t do it at all!”

Despite friends and strangers who have heard me read excerpts from my book, telling me I write well and exhorting me to complete it, I continued to struggle. What if I did complete my book? What then? I knew nothing of how to publish a book, where to get it printed, who would do the cover, or how to market it. A few good friends who are accomplished authors promised to help with those things but the job seemed monumental.

Somehow I think I am not alone in this dilemma. I hear many who say they would like to write a book–far more than those who actually do. Perhaps they struggle like I did with the daunting task of seeing the work through from beginning to end. To those who feel as I did, I say, do it anyway! The help is out there! If you can write a book, you can learn to do the rest. And honestly, if I can do it, almost anyone can.

Having experienced the labor of love seeing our book, Saving Libbie the Lobster, through to it’s completion and beyond, has taught me much. I see once again in my life that I am my own worst enemy. I alone will stop myself from fulfilling my highest hopes. So back to my novel I shall go. I will see it through to the end and beyond.


A Year in the Life of Marybeth

Every year about this time, I become introspective. No matter what I busy myself with, the thoughts intrude and feelings are stirred up. But never before has it seemed more important to give a voice to my ruminations. Perhaps it is my age. This year I became 63 years old. I am wiser now I think, and as I look back I understand how every experience, every choice I have ever made has led to who I am in this moment. find_create_yourself

All of my experiences over these many years have been characterized by extremes. Raised by wonderful parents in an upper class suburb in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, educated in private schools, a high school drop out, a hippie and a rebel, married at age 17 and a mother at the same time, divorced, an addict on the streets of Center City and a life in the underworld, entered recovery at age 37, college and a master of arts degree, a career and a relationship, physical illness–close to death, loss of freedom, freedom gained, health renewed, and more.1977158_642036509247493_9030602463521013173_n These are the things I brought with me to 2014. To have lived though it all is a gift. To have the drive to survive is my nature. This year saw me 27 years in recovery, 19 years cigarette free, 2 years vegan, and 4 months cured of Hepatitis C. And in this year, I suffered with ill-health, extreme depression and some of the best, most exciting moments of my life when a new adventure as an author began, all because I laid eyes on a rare yellow lobster.

I realize that I see things differently these days. My life is simpler now and my mind is peaceful because I no longer have the incessant need to understand deep existential matters. I think that for the first time I have an understanding of what contentment is.

I was supposed to write! Everything in my life has led to this one thing! My experiences and my interpretation of them pour from my very being to tell a story. This will be my legacy. I will leave something of me behind and others who find my writings will perhaps know they are not alone.

A quote from my beloved son, David, sums up this year for me. He said, “I bet it wasn’t that long ago that you thought you’d never even see 2014, and now look how amazing it’s been for you. That suggests near-limitless possibilities for 2015.”

I look forward to it!