Brenda's Virtual Book Tour!

November 16, 2011

I'm not sure I ever told you guys this, but the very first blog I read was Brenda Ponnay's Secret Agent Josephine.  Her honesty and wit and playful approach to life sucked me in, and I became a life-long blog reader (hers and others!) because of it.

A couple of years later she was in San Diego house sitting and we had the chance to meet.  And you know what?  She is even sweeter in real life.  From then on we became "real life" friends.  The type of friend who would drive an hour to your house when you were 8 months pregnant to do crafts with your kids.  The kind of friend who would stay up late fretting with you over the details of your birth announcement.  The type of friend who "got it" when you poured your heart out about subjects that not everyone is interested in hearing.  A real friend.  And those don't come along very often.

Brenda is on some new adventures in her life, one of which includes her status as a children's book author!  She has written 3 darling books:

Of course the books are filled with her sweet and whimsical illustrations.  Did I forget to mention she is an amazing artist?!  The kids and I received advance copies and I'm happy to say they got the "mom and kid seal of approval."

In case you don't know much about Brenda (or "SAJ," as she is affectionately referred to around blogland), I thought I would put together a little interview....
{SAJ and her daughter Bug}
Have you always known you would work in a creative field?
No. I didn't think there was any money in art so I majored in Journalism in college. I thought I was going to be a newspaper reporter. I always wished I could be an artist but I didn't think I was good enough.  Turns out I'm better at art than I am at grammar and punctuation so here I am illustrating.  Life has a funny way of twisting and turning.

When are you most productive (time of day and/or under which circumstances)?
Morning.  I love to get up early, have a cup of coffee and just go go go. By about three in the afternoon I fizzle out dramatically though.

Have you ever had an a-ha moment?
I might be in the middle of one right now.  I'm not sure I can really explain it though since I'm still working it out in my head myself...but I do feel like being an author/illustrator might just be what I want to do with the rest of my life. I don't know. It's too soon to tell.  :)

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I like to imagine myself living on an apple farm in central California. I have a long dirt driveway and the grass grows naturally.  It doesn't matter if I don't mow it regularly.  There are chickens but I'm not so far out in the sticks that I can't drive into town for an espresso or a yoga class. I have a well-lit studio and I can lose myself in my art frequently. I want to be close to my daughter and I want friends stopping by to sip wine and chat.  That's my dream. That's where I want to be in ten years.  Or traveling the world, either one.

What are some of your favorite children's books?  (Besides your own -- haha!)
Old 60's books about Paris!  I love Ludwig Bemelmans' classic Madeline stories, of course. I grew up with Beatrix Potter so those are close to my heart too.  I love Ian Falconer's Olivia books and Octonauts by Meomi... there are so many more but I think those have to be my top favorites.

What is something on your to-do list that never gets crossed off?
Bookkeeping. I need to do my profit and loss statements for the year and I keep putting them off. I hate math.  I'm also really bad at scrubbing toilets.  I always leave that to last too.

Most valuable life lesson to date?
Don't try to do too many things. Just pick two or three and do them really well!

Best advice to other moms who are contemplating a new venture?
Save your money!  I guess that's sort of a moot point with the way things are going with our economy but I've seen the dark days of desperation and I don't wish them on anyone.  Also, treasure your time with your kids.  There's room for both your venture and your kids but don't sacrifice your kids for your venture. You'll always regret it.  The black dog walks in the noon-day sun.

The books are available on Amazon in print or compatible with your iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Nook, etc., etc., etc. for just $2.99!  Entertain your kids at the dentist office without resorting to Angry Birds!  Buy a set as a gift!  Support a mom just like yourself!

And more good news: Brenda is offering you a chance to win a print of your choice from the ABCs book.  (They would be perfect hanging in your child's room!)  To enter, leave a comment on this post by November 30th sharing your favorite "D" word.  Mine is (obviously) "domestic"....what's yours?

Also, be sure to check her blog for other stops on her virtual book tour over the next month....she's got a bunch of fun bloggers lined up!


  1. Really? I was the first blog you read? I had no idea! I feel so honored! How did you stumble across me? Was it googling thirteen-month rashies? Just kidding. But I do get that search about a million times a day.

  2. how wonderful! Been seeing snippets of something brewing on Instagram, and I love it. Dreams turning into ventures are the best. And, Jora... I love interviews! You should keep doing them :)

    Current favorite D word: dacquoise ... never eaten it, but want to.

  3. Jora,

    So happy for all the new posts.
    It's great to see you around here again!
    Love it!


  4. And my favorite D word is drat!

  5. My favorite D word is Daring!

  6. My current favorite D word is Delicious!

  7. I'm so happy for her. And what a nice friend to have for you!

    If I had to pick a D word it would be Doozy.


  8. Wow, that's very cool that Brenda was the first blog you read! She set the bar high. :-) Her blog was the third blog I read on a regular basis, after Dooce and The Reign of Ellen!

    My current favorite "D" word is "dinglehopper." I've been using it with my 11-month old because she likes to try to comb her hair with forks.

  9. Delightful? Delicious? Two "D" words I use a lot, and like very much, too.

    But ultimately I'd have to say "Dog." Boring? Perhaps, but I love my dogs so much!


  10. Favourite D word is dunk. I just like the sound.
    What an honest interview.

  11. Favorite D word at the moment is Delivery as we are having baby #4 tomorrow!!! :)

  12. Love this SAJ interview and how inspiring/encouraging her creative journey has been. My favorite D word is "Determined"


    I loved that movie as a kid.

    I was going to say my favorite D word was Darling because it was the first that came to my head - but it's not really. I really like Dinglehopper though.

  14. Enjoy both your blog and SAJ' favorite D word is "daughter" since I'm so in love with my first child, 3.5 month old Lucy.

  15. My favorite D word is .... delectable!

  16. Love dinglehopper, but I pick daring - something I should aim to be more often.

  17. Daffodil - one of my favorite flowers ~

  18. Dashing, for how my little son looks in his autumn blazer.

  19. wonderful! the pictures of her and her little girl are so precious. so crazy because the letter d is huge for me right now. my D is for DREAMERS!

  20. I love her illustrations, and these will make great holiday presents! D is for DARING.

  21. Is it weird to say dastardly? Only because I like how it sounds.

  22. My favorite "D" word is . . . Duck. It's fun to say.

  23. I'm going to go with Ding-a-ling! Just because I can!

    Good luck being an artist and authoe SAJ!

  24. My favorite 'D' word is: DONE!
    There's nothing like the feeling when something on my (seemingly never-ending)to-do list is finished.completed.DONE!

    (ioi @

  25. Brenda is such an amazing artist and seems like an equally awesome woman. She's one of the bloggers I am dying to meet some day! I am so glad you were part of her tour.


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