After Midnight, 3-10-22

I am nearly distraught over my carelessness. Telling the Susannah story was done as a request from readers who didn’t know her. Now I will be anxious about her story being stolen and I am upset with myself for trusting too much. Anybody know a literary agent I could speak to about possibly publishing my story? I’ve been educating myself online for hours and I should go to bed but can’t just yet.

I said I’d show the sewing baskets but it’s so late that those magical contents of one of the baskets will have to wait till tomorrow. Rick is having cardioversion first thing in the morning.

I had to post this just so I could get past Susannah – oh, she was so loved! Gosh, I hate that I need to worry about such an inconsequential thing as plagiarism. On the other hand, I have a perfect house with heat, a frig full of food, happy pets, a hot shower and a warm bed tonight – all the things the people in Ukraine are missing.

66 thoughts on “After Midnight, 3-10-22

  1. Debbie Miller

    On the outside chance that some low life did try to steal your story idea or pictures-you have your blog post as documentable proof with a date. Be calm and get some sleep. Big medical day tomorrow again. Keeping you guys in my thoughts and prayers!

  2. Mary Howland

    I loved part 1 of Susannah’s story. You could consider self publishing but what about asking Martingale for some names?

  3. Carol Eberhardt

    Copyright. Write your story soon, copyright it with the US Copyright office. My husband figured it out online, you can too. Then you can stop worrying. Once you do that, send it out to a Christian publishing company,
    I have no idea what illustrators charge but I know a classmate of my son who has a style I like. Savannah College of Art and Design, Illustration major. You could self-publish.

  4. Carol Eberhardt

    Also, Mary, publishing houses have illustrators they tap so that may not even be your issue.

  5. Sandy Kolarik

    God bless you, you’re such a good and caring person. All will be fine just take care of yourself. Many people love you and appreciate all you do. ♥️

  6. Fiona at Ice Bear Quilts

    Hallo Mary,
    Try not to worry too much about this: you own the copyright of everything that you publish on your blog. Make some screen shots with your ipad of the post you made of Susannah’s story and keep them too: then you have extra date-stamped proof, that you put the story out there first. Putting your name on photo’s before you publish them, like you did today is also a good idea. You could edit your original post and do that to all the photo’s there too. It is easy to do in preview on your ipad. Then no one can steal your photo’s either, and if they do get shared, your name is on them.
    I think publishing the story properly as a kids book would be a great idea. You could zelf publish it, or get some help. Maybe Martingale or even a nearby largish bookstore could advise.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Fiona -from my experience with the stolen Bullseye technique, I know that the copyright on anything is hardly worth the paper it’s printed on. Sad but true,

      1. Anonymous

        That is very true Mary. Bad people always have was to cheat the system. So very sad.

  7. Jean

    Mary how awful that we should have to worry about such garbage in our world. The Susannah story MUST be told. It is too precious not to share that joy with the rest of the world. I’m going to pray about this.

  8. Sandra Goddard

    Praying this story will be protected. Good luck on the procedure being done to Rick. He to like you have many many friends out here. Hurry and get this story published I need a copy of the story book.

  9. Carla J from the mitten

    As I was growing up my mom had a sweet grass basket similar to the large brown one in your picture. The smell was delightful every time I had to get into it.
    She later sold it at a yard sale! Replaced it with one that she had wanted when she was a young woman. I was so disappointed. Yes, I got her silverware, two of her mother’s wedding gifts from 1907and her crystal but the smell of that sweet grass basket is sorely missed.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Carla J – oh what a shame you don’t have that basket! I’m so sorry.

  10. Kathy in western NY

    You and only your readers who knew Susannah from the shop and retreats know the true ending so a writer could not finish it the way you know is the truth. It would be flourished by another person. But it’s a very remote chance cause most creators put their own mark on things. Get through today and maybe a clear path will be ahead for you to decide, God bless you and Rick.

  11. Pattie Weber in PA

    Mary we are not meant to live our lives in fear. What is the worse that can happen? Will it matter in a year from now. We spend a huge portion of our lives worrying about things that never happen. Your faith and health and family are more important. Hugs.

  12. Mary

    Mary, You are such a blessing. We have so much to be thankful for. Thank you for reminding us of that. Everything is relative. Prayers for you and Rick.

  13. Susan K in Texas

    Mary my sister would say that your anxiety is enhanced right now due to your worries about Rick. You know we all care deeply for you. Your story is important to you and especially yours. May God go with you and Rick today. Turn your worries about your story to Him and He will take care of you. Sending hugs and prayers!

  14. Frances E

    You can publish your own book through Amazon. Apparently Amazon makes it pretty easy for one to do that. Go out to their site and put that in their search engine. My cousin did it. Then they will sell it for you on their site.

  15. sheryl harrison

    every story about ukraine brings heartbreak and tears. i started crying over a simple picture of strollers left by polish women for ukraine women when they crossed the border. what a blessing a simple stroller will bring. god bless the people helping the refugees.

    precious pictures of little susannah! i’ll share with my 94 year old mom. she was born and raised on a farm her family settled 2 generations before her. we did not have goats and sheep but before my son was in school, my dad took him to a sale and brought home a tiny goat. we named him charlie and he was like having another dog.

    my mother has a sewing basket full of treasures like the basket your little rabbit is sitting on. it belonged to her grandmother.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sheryl Harrison – I saw the picture of the strollers – wasn’t that a stupendous idea for those women? Did your Charlie have a great life?

      1. Sheryl Harrison

        yes charlie had a good life. we lived in the country but had 1 acre with no pens or out buildings other than a garage so we had no good place to keep him when he got bigger. we gave him to a friend and her husband who had a few goats. the goats were their pets and charlie was loved.

  16. Marlea

    Read this lighthearted article making national news about 8 yr old
    Dillon Helbig from Idaho. Just google his name…. It will surely make you smile about your own publishing adventure. Your local library would be a great resource. May your day be blessed🌻

  17. Charlotte

    Lots of good advice here and I advocate a Christian publisher as they can also help market the book. Someone may attempt to steal your idea but it’s doubtful and in any case no one can tell it the way you will so yours is the book that will succeed.

  18. MartyCae

    First of all, a big hug from Emmet County to you and Rick. May his procedure be flawless and his recovery swift. As for your story, we will all be watching. Too many people know the story, any publisher worth their salt would pick up that this is a personal story. I pray you will rest easier this evening.

  19. Hydrangea in WI

    Yes we all have so much and living in gratitude is the key to contentment . Prayers for your Rick. I think there is no one that could write your story about your sweet Jessica like you! You lived it and it comes from your heart! Hopefully you can find an illustrator soon and publish her story in your book ! I know I would purchase it!

  20. Angie from Baltimore

    It is so sad that you have to worry about it. You lived the story and Suzanna was very special. It was interesting to see her keeping watch on you wherever you were out.
    I am so sorry to hear the stories coming out and FOR WHAT?
    Prayers for Rick and YOU. Everything will be fine. Sending warm thoughts and a good night sleep.

  21. Diane Bauer

    Prayers Rick’s procedure goes well today and for peace for you. I wish I had an ounce of creative drawing talent and could help with illustrating your Susannah story, but I did not get that gene!! I love the idea of asking Martingale for suggestions!

    Safe travels to you! It’s 3 degrees here and my shoveling is done. Now it’s time to warm up with a good cup of coffee!

  22. Diane Deibler

    Sandy Stilli’s husband Arv had a book published years ago. You might reach out to her.

  23. Jo in Michigan

    Mary, this is just a thought but could you just delete that blog post? I know it’s already been out there for a few days but take your screen shots or print it and delete Susannah’s story. That way no one would just stumble upon it. Like I said it is just a thought.
    Hope everything goes well for you and Rick today. Sending prayers your way and for Ukraine. We are truly blessed. Have a good day Mary.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Jo in Michigan – I figured out how to delete the post right after I posted Part 2.

  24. Jo in Wyoming

    Mary, I think you should put this on the back burner for a while.
    There is a lot on your plate for the next few weeks with Rick’s issues, chores, and the other critters on the farm, Connie’s sale, etc.
    Your decision will be clearer then. However, a rough draft of her story, for yourself, may help you remember everything if you opt to publish.
    I was just looking at “The Quiltmakers Gift” book. I envision yours as heart warming and colorful as that.

  25. Sheila in WI

    Praying that all will go as expected with Rick today. That is what is important today. Try and put the Susannah story on the back burner and focus on today. Praying God will give you what you need each moment of this day and fill you with His unending peace.

  26. Launa

    Well wishes to Rick for early morning procedure ! Thinking of you, too Mary.
    Minus 4o up here, but sun ☀️ is shining.

  27. Anonymous

    It just dawned on me that you have date on your post and all of us who could go to bat for you if someone does try and steal it away from you. But I would pursue the legal aspect as soon as possible for your sake!
    Just as you posted remember the important things today, and hope all goes well with Rick’s procedure today! The rest will work it’s self out!.

  28. Karen Cyr

    I hope all of the procedures have gone well and that you and Rick are home soon.
    I thought I would pass on another name for you to contact: RichardHoeg {at} GMail.Com. He is a birder/blogger based near Duluth, who has self published several children’s books about birds. I think he has used Amazon. He is very nice and helpful and I’m sure would answer any questions about the process he used.


  29. Judi L.

    Have you considered contacting Martingale since they have published the Country Thread books? They might even be able to recommend someone. Just a thought.

  30. Lynn In Scottsdale

    Mary and Rick, praying for you.

    Your Suzanna story is very special and a good idea for a children’s book, but what you wrote in your blog was the adult version and not a children’s version.

    If you really want to do a children’s book, I would keep the rest to yourself until then.

    Thanks for all you do.

  31. MaureenHP

    for Rick’s procedure today,
    that the peace that passes understanding will fill your heart,
    that you will quickly get a good agent and that what you have shared online will be protected.

    You might want to just delete those posts, Mary.

  32. Shirley from Oregon

    Don’t fret. But do take steps to protect your story. I wrote that person that stole your pattern and chewed them out. No response.
    You might start by asking your own attorney for dire time in this or call Martingale Publishing that publishes lots of quilt books. They may help.
    I love the baskets.

  33. Julie stancato aka fanniejane she is very involved on children’s books, etc and would be a very good resource, a good place to start.

  34. Barbara A Wegner

    I have a friend that posts Minnesota Prairie Roots & she has a copy right note at the bottom of all of the photos she posts! Check it out it might be all you need to do.

  35. Kimberly Lusin

    I feel awful that you have to worry about your story. There are a lot of good suggestions in these comments, so get a plan. Once you get the ball rolling, you will feel better. Thinking of you, Mary. Prayers for you and Rick.

  36. Ann in PA

    Prayers for Rick and you, too. He is in the best hands and God will be with his doctors.
    All previous post are good advice. Keep Part 2 to yourself until you get the story & photos copyrighted. That brought to mind what happened to Martha Thomas’s hand-made Baby Dolls that she sold at craft shows. Xavier Roberts purchased some and because Martha didn’t have a copyright, he copied them and made $$$$$ selling them as Cabbage Patch Dolls. We all remember that one! I refused to buy them for my girls. (not that it made any difference since people were insane trying get one) I would LOVE to purchase Susannah’s Story for my grandchildren. I hadn’t heard it before but what you posted so far, is delightful. Blessings for good days ahead. xxoo

  37. Susan Beck

    Mary — Your blog is copyrighted because it is in a fixed, tangible format. For someone to take your Susanna story and publish it would be a copyright violation. See Copyright Law Title 17, Section 106. However, if you want to further protect your blog (words and photos) from copyright violation, see this information on the US Copyright website (for blogs). It will cost you under $100. I believe the copyright office raised the application fee but it still is fairly inexpensive. Registering your work will help you A LOT if someone does violate your copyright. You might also want to put a copyright statement on your blog. That would help. I am not an attorney but a copyright and scholarly communications librarian so I give this advice regularly. And hey I am the one who sent you the onions and “you don’t have to cry” card. I hope this information is helpful.

  38. Jeanie S, Central Illinois

    I agree with several other readers, Mary. You have not told the second half. It can be copyrighted and published. It will be wonderful! 🥰

  39. Norma Gebhardt

    If you are serious about publishing your story I shall write you a letter with a few suggestions. I am a retired teacher and loved teaching writing to my students, Sometimes I take things too seriously so tell me if this is so. I would not worry about anyone stealing your idea as it is your adventure and only you can tell it in a good way. Most people are too lazy to write a book or even attempt to write one. No matter if your work is published, or not it is good to write down your stories and adventures for the future and to validate what you have lived. PS. Don’t expect miracles as I was only a fifth grade teacher.

  40. Louise K.

    Best wishes for Rick. There is so much in the world to worry about right now.

    You wrote popular quilt books in the past, and you probably have some unpublished patterns you can use. Why not write a quilt book that integrates the story of Susannah. You can design a few more goat-themed patterns, and some of your charming country-style quilt patterns.

    I would definitely buy it, and you’d also be sharing Susannah’s story to a wider audience of quilters.

  41. Diane, Squeak, and Buddy in Central Ohio

    I hope you had a beer and watched Iowa win BIG—112! Wow! I don’t know anything about publishing, but it sounds like getting a copyright might not be too hard. I hope no one on this blog would share your story or pictures! But, you have hundreds of us who could verify it is YOUR story. Good luck to Rick with his next procedure. Hang in there, Mary!

  42. Quilting Sister

    Hi … I LOVE your baby goat tale, and my first thought was what a great kid’s book the story would make. I’ve worked with kids in school and at church, and they’d love your story.
    You could start by shopping around what you’ve already written. I have a couple children’s books “on ice” and haven’t gotten up the guts to shop them yet. But I’ve read quite a few “how to write children’s books” books, and every single one of them emphasizes how much they DO NOT want you to illustrate it yourself, or tell them how to illustrate it, etc. … because, as some one else here said, they have their own illustrators and they’ll match your story with one of them. (They also said they expect you to be perfectly happy with how it ends up illustrated, too, yikes.)
    On the other hand, you could always self-publish it, with your own photos, and sell it right here on your website. It’s an adorable story … and pretty dang amazing, too!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Quilting Sister – you and I must have read the same how-to books! Yikes, I would hate to think what they might do for illustrations – I see it as somewhat comical, not realistic but maybe that’s not right. So why haven’t you sent your work to a literary agent or a publisher or why not self publish? I’m only curious – if you don’t feel comfortable answering that’s OK.

      1. Quilting Sister

        Well, it’s probably equal parts being a chicken, and the fact that I continue to tweak them. At some point I need to just bite the bullet and send them somewhere!! There’s an older lady here who has published quite a few research-type books (very successfully, too!) and I’m thinking of asking her if she knows an agent I might contact. And actually, I know another gal my age who used to be a librarian who has published a few books, but they might be self-published. Recently I read that our community college has created a publishing arm, but I don’t think they’re into children’s books. I’ll check into them, too, when I quit being such a big chicken (not meaning to insult your real chickens, or anything!)

        I think “The Adventures of Hazel” would be a fun read, too!! You have all sorts of potential story-lines to pull from. 🙂

        1. Mary Etherington Post author

          Quilting Sister – I have so many stories in my head! I try to jot them down as I think of them so I can just elaborate or simplify depending on age group. I wish I could do this – I just don’t know who to contact.

          1. Quilting Sister

            I saw a good article in Writer’s Digest magazine (March) & copied it at the library, called “The Art of the Picture Book Page Turn” … also one on doing research for historical novels. 😉 If you’re interested!!

          2. Mary Etherington Post author

            Quilting Sister – yes, I’d be interested. I ordered a how-to book from Amazon that will arrive today. I’m not interested in historical novels. I can’t write a novel! Only simple animal stories for kids – because I’ve lived them, not because I can dream them up.

          3. Quilting Sister

            I hope that new book turns out to be a good one! I’ve ordered a handful in the past 2 years and a couple of them are good. Wish I could find one that was written very recently though … most of them are not recent and it seems they all say a lot of the same things. One of them was saying not to write books about talking animals, but then I saw an article in the Book Page (1/2022) about a new book called Cornbread & Poppy that’s selling well, and it’s about 2 little mice! Simple line drawn mice, and the author is also the illustrator. It’s also 80-pages long, which is LONG for an “early reader” book.
            I’ve been reading your blog for a couple years now, and you’re very smart, funny, and you write well. Plus, with all the books you & your biz partner have already published, you can claim to be a published author, because you are!! Surely that will get your foot in the door somewhere. And as for history, I blame Ken Burns for getting me interested in history (ha!) because I didn’t care one bit for it growing up … how boring history seemed, but now I think we can learn an awful lot about where we’re going from considering where we’ve been. I have a book in mind involving my great-grandmother, whose personality I don’t know one dang thing about … but I can still dream her up.
            Anyhoo, I hope you’ll publish your stories, one way or another … we’ll buy them!

          4. Mary Etherington Post author

            Quilting Sister – I got my book yesterday and it is a revised edition, I see, but haven’t had a chance to really read. The only kids books I’d ever be able to write will be about talking animals! I’m not off to a very good start, am I? Haha! I really can’t wait to dig into it when I have time – I’ve written several openings, closings and descriptions so far – I will send to you as soon as I can to get your advice and opinion. I wrote the Goat Gazette for over 20 years and now the blog since 2014. English usage comes easily for me – math does not! Haha! I can spell and punctuate well so I’m hoping I can get this off the ground. Thanks, A – I’ll keep in touch.

          5. Quilting Sister

            Well I’m going to try and find “Cornbread & Poppy” at the library later today … I want to see if those two mice talk! I can’t imagine 80 pages of just narration, ya know? That would be weird. I’m thinking that if the mice Cornbread & Poppy are talking, then these authors saying “no talking animals!” don’t necessarily know what the heck they’re talking about.
            I’m also going to look for this author’s book called “Wolf in the Snow.” That one won a Caldecott Medal (for the book’s illustration) which is a very big deal in the children’s literature world.

          6. Quilting Sister

            I found quite a few books at our library by that author … a very creative writer, doing all of his own illustrations … but they didn’t have Cornbread & Poppy. So I found a few pages of it on-line & the mice definitely talk! 😁
            I told our children’s librarian that these how-to books say not to ever put talking animals in the new books we write. She said that sounded crazy, since so many books DO have talking animals, which children love.
            So clearly, new children’s books still have talking animals in them! I wish Hazel could talk … bet she could tell some tales.

          7. Mary Etherington Post author

            Quilting Sister – I submitted my manuscript about Susannah via Microsoft Word and within 24 hours it got accepted – I got a call this morning – it’s all a mystery to me but I’ll learn as I go. I’ve asked others about animals that talk and they all say of course the animals can talk!

  43. Dorothy

    Mary so sorry that you are going through such distress. Copyright your story as soon as you can tomorrow. You can do it online and then your lovely story will be protected. Get some sleep tonight and things will look better in the morning. Prayers for your husband and you.

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