Katie Shaeffer would just love this tray of miscellaneous items!  

It always amazes me how a simple collection of items can be so inspiring for a child.  My group of preschoolers can do amazing things with the most random objects.img_3206

“Katie assembled and constructed; she glued and she taped; she stacked and she hammered, until finally her creation was done.” -from Katie Shaeffer, Pancake Maker

Here are some real examples of creations made by young children with miscellaneous items:


I believe young children are capable and can do amazing things if given the opportunity! That belief together with the inspiring creations I see children make daily helped inspire the story Katie Shaeffer, Pancake Maker!

Here’s a synopsis of the story:

Join Katie and her friend Baxter in this fun story as they use a passion for collecting and building to find a way to realize Katie‛s pancake dream! This upbeat energetic tale with great potential for reading aloud will appeal to adults and young children alike. The book includes a predictable rhyme that will have children chiming in as the story unfolds. Children will celebrate with Katie and Baxter as their pancake dream becomes reality! Recipe included. Author: Cynthia Mackey Illustrator: Paula Nasmith

Contact me if you are interested in receiving an advance review copy of the story! I hope to have these available soon.

Proof Copy


Yay! Yippee! Hooray!!!

Yesterday I received the proof copy of Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker!  It sure feels like a long journey to get to this point. I am excited and nervous for the book release.

Though it is possible to self publish without ordering the proof copy (I am first publishing through Ingram Spark), I would not advise anyone to skip this step.  There are several two page spread images in this book and the only way to see how it will come out is to have the physical copy.  We worked really hard to ensure that no important parts of the image would be obscured by the seam of the book and still, there are changes that will need to happen to ensure that the images are placed correctly on the page.  So as much as I want to put this book out there right now, mistakes must be fixed. And by the way, I found a punctuation error that I totally missed on the first three revisions… how does that happen! And so the time for final renewal  and revision is now.

It amazes me how we can go over it so many times and still find errors.  I am hopeful that with some final passes, the next proof copy can be approved and the book can be available for international distribution!  Woohoo!!

Pancake day is Tuesday February 28th this year so I hope this book will be out by then!

UPDATE The proof copy arrived the day before pancake day and is now approved so the expected release date will be April 2017.

Story Synopsis:

Katie is too young to use the stove so she dreams of making her very own pancakes. Join Katie and her friend Baxter in this fun story as they use a passion for collecting and building to find a way to realize Katie’s pancake dream!

This upbeat energetic tale with great potential for reading aloud will appeal to adults and young children alike. The book includes a predictable rhyme that will have children chiming in as the story unfolds. Children will celebrate with Katie and Baxter as their pancake dream becomes reality!

Glitter Bottles

“Katie loved building things, she loved collecting things but most of all she loved pancakes.”

Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker

Here’s an idea for those empty water bottles you may be collecting!

You will need:

clear plastic bottles

hot water

lily white corn syrup (if you use the darker corn syrup, you won’t really see the glitter inside)

food colouring

glitter shapes or tiny beads

(do not use fine glitter)


Fill the bottles with 2/3 hot water and 1/3 lily white corn syrup. I measured and whisked this in a large measuring cup with a pouring spout and added a little food colouring before pouring the mixture into the bottles. Then I added some glittery shapes and tiny beads. Finally I glued the lids on tightly. It is a little bit like making your own snow globe. You can turn it or shake the bottle and watch the shapes and beads swirl around. Very peaceful.

If you place them in the sunlight and allow light to shine through, you will see a little extra sparkle.  Try it out!

Katie Shaeffer, Pancake Maker will be my first self-published picture book.  My goal is to have it released this December, 2016. Coming soon to an online book store near you!

Thanks for reading!



A Book Designed to Inspire

One of the many thoughts in my mind as I was writing Katie Shaeffer, Pancake Maker involved inspiration.  I love the way that picture books can inspire children’s play and I wanted to create a picture book that would inspire children to construct their own unique creations out of free reusable items that are readily available at home.

“Katie Shaeffer loved building things, she loved collecting things and most of all she loved pancakes.”img_2822

The story was written in part for myself as a preschool teacher, as I wanted a great picture book that could be a jumping off point for activities like this one.  I like to provide children with assorted sizes of cardboard boxes.  They use tape and scissors to construct a creation of their own choosing.

The learning opportunities here are so plentiful.  Children learn to use scissors and tape effectively.  This takes huge amounts of skill and focus for three and four year olds but they can do it.  Children develop confidence in their abilities as their fine motor skills improve.  Because the project is of a child’s own choosing, the child is highly motivated to complete the task and will spend more time working towards their goal.

I love this because it only requires scissors, tape and boxes.  Sometimes children like to paint their creations as well.  Some children have constructed creations and then taken them home to play with over and over again.  Just imagine how it would feel to be three or four years old and create your own toy!

I hope that Katie Shaeffer, Pancake Maker will inspire you and your children to construct unique creations from a panoply of recycled items just as Katie did in the story.

Katie Shaeffer, Pancake Maker will be available soon.  Check back here at my author website for updates!

Cover Reveal!

Yay!  I can now show you the cover for Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker.  Hope you love it as much as I do!img_2822

“What if I can use a little magic to make my pancakes?” she said to her toy horse.

Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker will be available soon! I’m just waiting now for the final edits.

Writing Books and Hikes


A hike is always a good thing for me. It starts out with promise. I love a new trail to explore accompanied by a friendly conversation as we make our way along the trail. It may be raining or sunny, warm or cold and as long as I go prepared, I am happy to tackle whatever might be in front of me. I don’t always know exactly what to expect.

Sometimes the path is a little longer or a little steeper than I expect.

Sometimes it is quite tiring but somehow I just keep going with the knowledge that once I get to the top of the mountain/hill/cliff, there will be a gorgeous view as my reward.


Writing starts with promise. That idea that pops into my head and just begs itself to be written into a story. Friendly characters are my company as I create them and decide what will make them appealing to children. The weather may not always be perfect and the characters have to deal with a few setbacks but they keep moving forward along the trail as I do putting one foot in front of the other. Like the meandering trail, I’m not always sure where the story is going. Usually, I make some progress and then there’s the work of rewriting and more rewriting and even more rewriting and that’s when I feel I’m really going uphill on the trail, perhaps in the rain and wind and I wonder if I will make it to the end. I’m sort of there now with “Katie Shaeffer, Pancake Maker”.

I’m at that part of the trail where it starts to get really steep; where I might need to use my hands to scale some of the rock face in front of me; where I have to slow down as it is getting harder.

I know the reward is there and I’m going to keep climbing. It is slow going now but I’m getting closer. I’m on the trail to becoming a self-published author and I can’t wait to see the view from the top!

So I’m going back to climbing and hoping to have this book ready soon…

Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker

Books About Pancakes

When I decided to write “Katie Shaeffer, Pancake Maker” I felt I could not find the just right book about pancakes to read to my preschool class.  I was in search of a pancake book because I love to read a story and then extend the story somehow and making pancakes is a favourite activity for me to do with my preschool classes.  Cooking is a great way to demonstrate science in a practical way as the ingredients are combined and then heated.  Children can participate in an activity that is often done at home by only adults and the opportunities to smell and taste the pancakes are a bonus.


I love the wordless book by Tomie de Paola, “Pancakes for Breakfast” but I was looking for a different type of book.  I’ve also enjoyed reading “Curious George Makes Pancakes” but at times, the book feels dated and some of the illustrations are a little small for the entire class to see.  And I’ve been reading these books for so many years.  In my mind it was time to write something original.

Interestingly, since learning more about writing for children, I have done some research on pancake books and found that ….surprise… there are quite a few other picture books out there!

When you look it up on amazon, there are 392 “pancake books” and yet only 13 “books about pancakes”.  Of course, there is “If You Give a Pig a Pancake” by Laura Numeroff and Felicia bond, and “Pancakes: An Interactive Recipe Book” by Lotta Nieminen and Megan Bennet.  The list goes on…

So what makes my book special?  I think it is special because it is written by an early childhood educator who has worked with young children for many years and wanted to create a book that will lend itself to the type of story extensions that are really valuable for young children.  I think it is special because it has a memorable repetitive rhyme that helps children participate in the story.  And that’s what we want.  We want them to chime in and experience the story as fully as possible.  I think it is also special because I can now say to my preschool class, my group of parents, my umbrella organization that oversees our preschools, my children’s former elementary schools and my former workplaces and co-workers: here’s a book you can read to your children that is written by someone local, with a connection to you. (For those who don’t know, I’m from Vancouver Island!)

Front Cover

Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker will be published soon!  Keep visiting my author page for the upcoming release date!

Support Indie Authors

Supporting independent authors is something anyone who reads can do.  It costs nothing except a little of your time.  Independent authors do not have a large publishing company with a team of people devoted to marketing just one book.  They are do-it-yourself-ers.  For that reason, they just don’t have the money or the resources to get a book out there on the same scale as a publishing company.  Still, many indie authors have unique talent that ought to be appreciated.

So how can you help?  You can leave a trail for people to discover their books…

Nature trail

Write a review.  If you give the book 4 stars, or better yet 5 stars, then that is a huge boost for an indie author.  And it costs absolutely nothing except a little of your time.  Reviews will make or break a book.  So think carefully about the rating before you leave something less than 4 stars.  Is it just your opinion?  Is it possible that someone else with different tastes may like the book?  Maybe if you’re going to leave a book review for an indie author with less than 4 stars the best thing is to have second thoughts and realize you have something more important to do like sort out your sock drawer.

So… want to support an indie author?

Write a five star review!  Your time spent will be hugely appreciated.  Chances are you will get a personal thank you as well.