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Things that Don't go Bump in the Dark

Spring has Sprung, and with it everything is more colorful and alive in the Land of Stones!

The last four weeks in the Land of Stones have been fantastic! For one thing, my family visited from all over the US to celebrate my mom's 87th birthday. Three of them are in the picture above, my baby brother Josh, his fabulous wife, Daisy, and my beautiful cousin, Miriam. So much love! If you click on the picture, it will take you to White Oak Books' website.

In this newsletter you will meet Voyo, a Gray Long-Eared Bat, who is a new character in the bonus chapter I am writing for Ebby the Magnificent. You'll also get to explore a cave similar to the one where these bats live without even leaving your couch. Next, I'll give you an update on Rebby the Gallant, the second book in the Elusive Baby Bunny series. Following that, I've started posting short videos about my painting process on Facebook and Instagram and you can watch me plan out and paint an illustration for my next book. Finally, several more independent book and gift stores welcomed Ebby the Magnificent and I have lots of book presentations coming in May and June.

Meet Voyo, a completely batty character full of wisdom and vision.

Let me introduce you to Voyo, a Gray Long-Eared Bat. I named Voyo after a wonderful Bosnian bat expert, Vojo Milanovic. ("J" is pronounced as a "y" in Bosnian and Croatian, so I changed the spelling of his name for the English version of the book.) Last year, I presented Ebby the Magnificent at the Second Annual "Karst Festival" at Hotel Balatura, in Tribalj, Croatia. I met Vojo there, who was also a presenter at the festival. At the conclusion of the event, I promised the organizers I would write a new chapter featuring another adventure in the cave for this year's festival. After meeting Vojo, and attending several lectures about bats, I decided the new chapter should be about a bat. Bats are incredibly important to the health of the planet. They eat millions of bugs and their survival is critical to the well-being of humans. Bats, known as "shish-mish" or "blind mice" in Bosnian and Croatian, locate their insect prey via echolocation. Gray Long-Eared bats are nocturnal, although they also hunt during the day, hibernate in the winter, eat insects, and live together in colonies. I can't wait to see how Voyo, Ebby and Skrufty Fluffbottom get along! Can you? Once I write this new bonus chapter, I will provide links where you will be able to read it.

The Magnificent Karst Landscape in the Land of Stones

The region of Croatia where my husband and I live part of the year is located in the Dinaric Alps, a mountain range almost entirely consisting of a limestone (karst) landscape. The Dinaric Alps extend about 400 miles (645 kms) from the Julian Alps of Northeast Italy, through part of Slovenia, into the coastal area of Croatia, and down through Albania. If you have already read Ebby, you know a portion of the story takes place in a large cave complex and features Solomon, an olm, as a character. (I discussed olms in an earlier newsletter.) "Karst" is a geological term referring to a limestone landscape which has been eroded, dissolved, and shaped by water. The impact of the water on the limestone over time creates caves, ridges, towers, fissures, sinkholes, and similar rock formations. In caves, the constant dripping of water over millennia creates stalagmites and stalactites. Some limestone caves are unbelievably large, like the Postojna Cave in Slovenia, which is only an hour's drive from our home in Fluffle Valley. If you click on the picture above or the button below, it will take you on a virtual excursion through the Postojna Cave. Play around with it and explore a cave that is over 15 miles (24.34 kms) long!!

Rebby the Gallant is in the (Art)Works!

I have been writing and painting Rebby the Gallant, my second book in the Elusive Baby Bunny Series, for some time now. These two paintings are illustrations in Rebby the Gallant. The first painting is a landscape scene in the Land of Dragons. The second picture is of Rebby and his friend, Medo. Medo is a Bernese Mountain Dog. He is just one of the many new characters you (and Rebby) will meet. I have received wonderful feedback from my readers about the artwork in Ebby. Even people who have not read the book yet tell me they love looking at the artwork. The art is a significant feature that sets my books apart from most other books. I anticipate having as many illustrations in the second book as I had in the first. My sweet husband will also create at least two new maps of Rebby's adventures so you never get lost. Because of the feedback I have received, there will also be several more two-page spreads in Rebby.

Rebby takes place in the Land of Dragons approximately 50 years before Ebby the Magnificent. If the Land of Stones represents Croatia, the Land of Dragons is the northern Italian and Slovenian Alps. Rebby will take you to the top of Marmolada, the highest mountain in the Dolomites. But his adventure will not end there. He will also explore the valleys, forests, and villages in the Land of Dragons before going to the Land of Roses. Where do you think the Land of Roses is? Can you guess? I'll give you a hint. It is one of my favorite places in the world to go because so many people I love live there.

It took me two and one-half years to complete Ebby the Magnificent, from writing the first sentence in 2020, to picking up the first printed copy in Zagreb in April 2023. I started it during the pandemic and the inability to go anywhere allowed me to focus on writing and painting. Writing Rebby has been going slower than I anticipated for several reasons, not the least because of the time spent promoting Ebby the Magnificent. The good news is I have completed writing and illustrating the first 10 chapters of Rebby and have a basic framework for the rest of the story. Stay tuned, dear readers! You will be the first to know when I have finished the book and will get the first opportunity to buy it.

Although Rebby and Ebby are not related, there will be two characters that appear in Ebby who you will meet again in Rebby. Can you guess who they are?

This is another painting I recently finished for Rebby the Gallant. If you are interested in purchasing greeting cards or canvas prints of this, or any of the art contained in Ebby the Magnificent that are not already for sale at, you can contact me directly at I will happily create special projects for you.

I started posting videos of how I paint on Facebook and Instagram.

I joined Facebook and Instagram when I started marketing Ebby the Magnificent about one year ago. Prior to that, you most certainly would have heard me stating emphatically I would never join social media. I heard so many people say they only saw negative posts in their feed. But, in order for me, a self-published author, to reach a wider audience than the few hundred people I already knew, joining social media was an absolute must, so I held my nose and signed up.

As it turns out, I love it. I adopted the attributes of an Elusive Baby Bunny and post only positive content. I do not post, repost, review, or comment on any content touching on politics, religion, hate, the end of the world, fad diets, body shaming, or anything else that does not make me feel BETTER. Positive content begets positive responses. If I come across something which is derisive, divisive, or makes me feel bad, I scroll past it, delete it, or block the site. It's easy. We can control what we put in our brain.

I have always been a sharer (or an over-sharer if you ask my husband). :-) I post pictures of our adventures in Croatia, information about my book, family pictures, Critter pictures, etc. A LOT of people ask me how I paint, how long each painting takes me to complete, and whether I can generate a painting Bob Ross style--in an hour or less. My sweet cousin, Jesse after visiting my studio, recommended that I start posting videos of how I paint, rather than only posting photographs. At first, I was reluctant, because there are much more experienced artists than me who can teach you how to paint.

Then I decided, why not? Demystifying the process might help others explore their undiscovered creative talents. After all, I started my post-law career by teaching myself how to paint, with the encouragement of my artist friend, Zoto. Other than attending a few group lessons and watching some YouTube videos, for the most part I have been "winging it." I am not sure if my lack of a formal education in the arts is a help or a hindrance. It's just the way I am.

The videos I have been posting do not attempt to teach anyone how to paint. I could not do that if I wanted to. Instead, I want to encourage anyone who wants to paint "to pick up a paintbrush and paint with your heart." If I can do it, you can too.

Ebby the Magnificent is now available in a deluxe softcover version, as well as the original hardcover edition. Printed in Croatia by the same incredible printer, Denona, who made the heirloom-quality hardcover book, the softcover version has the same qualities of the hardback, including a sewn and glued seam, heavy, high-quality paper, gorgeous, full-color images, and a map of the Land of Stones on the front and back covers so you always know where you are. The softcover version is perfect for anyone who does not want the weight and heft of the hardcover book. Available only at and a few select independent bookstores, like White Oak Books at 1700 Main Street, Suite D in Vancouver, Washington, Betty's Books at 10 Summit Ave, Webster Grove, MO, and Spine Indie Bookstore & Cafe at 1976 Arsenal Street in St. Louis, Missouri. In addition, you can get Ebby at Elephants Delicatessen's fabulous gift store in Portland, Oregon at 115 NW 22nd Ave. If you think Ebby should be available at your local independent bookstore, drop me a line and I will see what they say!

The Kindle or electronic version of Ebby on Amazon is available for the low price of $2.99. The electronic book is every bit as beautiful as the print versions, with the same gorgeously designed interior. While you're there, I'd love it if you would write a review. Reviews make a world of difference to authors like me!

Ebby and I LOVE our readers and we LOVE getting reviews!!

This month's featured review is from Pamm.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and getting a signed copy from the author, J.W. Julian.

This book may seem like it’s only for children, but it’s for BOTH adults and children.

The heartwarming story of Ebby’s adventures will leave you smiling and happy.

The illustrations and book layout are superb!

Even down to the detail of a cute bunny next to each page number. Fantastic!!

Highly recommend that you get a copy for yourself and for a friend. This book is special.

Post your review on Amazon or anywhere else you post book reviews and you may be featured in the next newsletter.

Ebby the Magnificent T-shirts are here!

Gorgeous new T-Shirts made by Fruit of the Loom and featuring Ebby have arrived and are available on my website or from me in person. Don't see your size, or the illustration from Ebby the Magnificent you were hoping for?? Just email me and tell me what you need! I welcome special orders!

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