CAMO’S JOURNEY Book Review with Book & Art Giveaway

by Sally Matheny

Camo's Journey by Paige Snedeker
Author and illustrator, Paige Snedeker, released her second children’s book, Camo’s Journey in January 2017.

In a recent interview, Paige said it took about six months to write the book and over a year to illustrate it. 

That’s amazing considering she’s only twenty-three years old, legally blind, and unable to use her hands due to a rare degenerative disease. Amazing, indeed.

The first thing I noticed when I received my autographed copy of Camo’s Journey was the size of the book. It’s not your typical 32-page picture book. The 8 ½ x 11, hardcover book encases fifty-two pages! 

The pages on the right side contain the story and pages on the left are full-color illustrations.

Let’s talk about the beautiful illustrations first, then the story.

Paige used vibrant watercolors and acrylics when she painted the illustrations using her mouth. With the assistance of her art teacher, Paige used an assortment of brushes, balloons and sponges to create various effects. 

Then, she instructed what shapes she wanted cut from her paintings. Using a grid system, Paige expressed where to place items on each page.

The colorful illustrations coincide perfectly with Paige’s charming story about a little, green gecko named Camo.

The timid gecko is called on a mission. He has several barriers to overcome and he often questions if he is the right one for the job.  

He struggles with several things including a fear of the unknown and a fear of being too small to make a difference.

A dear friend, Sofia, encourages Camo in his journey. Sofia is a character from Paige’s first book, Sofia and Her MorningStar.

A magnet with this beautiful artwork by Paige is one of the giveaway prizes!

I’m not going to tell you the ending to Camo’s story. You’ll have to read it yourself to find out what happens. I’m sure there’s someone in this story with whom you, and your child, can relate.

The book was written with a Christian worldview. It does not specifically mention the name of God but references Him as the “Light.”

Paige dedicated it “to all the kids who are seeking their gifts.” I believe Paige has found hers.

I recommend you buy this book for the little ones you know. The story is suitable for all ages but I think the target audience is for ages 5-9.

I’m not the only one who likes Paige’s work. The back cover of Camo’s Journey holds endorsements from award-winning author, Michelle Medlock Adams and Joni Eareckson Tada.

Paige is a talented writer and artist. She's also generous! She's donating some great giveaway prizes--a magnet with one of her beautiful artwork pieces on it, and two of her books! Woo hoo! Thank you, Paige! 

I want to help get the word out about "Paige’s Projects", a non-profit
organizationso here are the rules for this giveaway.

Paige Snedeker
You have up to four chances to enter. For each of the following tasks you do, your name will go in the drawing.

Visit Paige’s facebook page and leave a comment or “like” her page.

Visit Paige’s website Paiges for God’s Glory.org.

Follow Paige on Twitter.

Readers, you must let me know in the comment section below which of these things you did so I’ll know how many times to put your name in the drawing (1-4).

It can be as simple as typing- “I did fb, website, and Twitter.” 
(If this was the case, then I'd know to put your name in three times.)

The drawing will be on Friday, March 3 so make sure to check back and see if you won!

A Rare Gem with a Rare Disease: An Interview with Author/Illustrator Paige Snedeker

by Sally Matheny

Paige Snedeker illustrates her books with her mouth.
Today's post has a double purpose. One is to raise awareness about rare diseases and how they affect people. February 28 is "Rare Disease Awareness Day."

The other purpose of this post is to highlight a young woman who suffers from a rare genetic disease but who is determined to shine stories of hope for others.

You may have heard of Paige Snedeker. She's a rare gem and she guest blogged for me last week. You can find her guest post, “Trials and Purpose,” here.

Paige is a talented author and illustrator. A great deal has happened since writing and illustrating her first book, Sofia and Her Morningstar, which released in 2013.

One milestone occurred in the fall of 2016. Paige finally received a diagnosis of the rare neurodegenerative disease she has dealt with for over twenty years. She and her brother, Tyson, have Brown Vialetto Van Laere Syndrome (BVVL). Tyson’s twin brother passed away when Paige was nine years old. He also had BVVL.

B2 (riboflavin) therapy has begun and we’re all praying for good results. However, Paige isn’t the kind to sit around and do nothing while she’s waiting.

She wrote and illustrated a second book, Camo’s Journey. It released in January 2017.

Today, I’m honored to interview Paige about her writing and illustrating journey.

Paige, share with us how you began your writing journey. 

When I was in middle school, I believed I could never be a writer, but I loved to write stories so much. My imagination was so big and overwhelming.

When I started high school, my teacher encouraged me to write. It was very difficult. At the time, my grammar was not very good, and I was scared to write because of that.

I did not have the opportunity of taking any writing classes until after I graduated from high school. I became really serious about my writing when I attended my first Florida Christian Writers’ Conference.  I still attend this every year.

Sofia and Her Morningstar
What inspired you to write your first book, Sofia and Her Morningstar?

I always wanted to help people through my writing. I want people to know that they have been created for a reason and that they should be happy with who they are.

What inspired you to write Camo’s Journey?

After I graduated, I wanted to become a detective, so I started studying for college. 

Then, one day I found out about the writers’ conference from one of my favorite authors. 

After I attended it, I learned that God wanted me to continue writing. I wanted to share my story with others. I was able to do this through my characters in Camo’s Journey.

I read where it took you five years to complete your first book. About how long did it take you to complete the second one?

After I attended the first conference, I started writing Camo’s Journey. It took me six months to finish writing it. Then I started the illustrations. That took more than a year. I had bad illustrators’ block. Ha-ha!

You're funny, Paige. What do you do when you face writer’s or illustrator’s block?

I try to take my time. I write in my journal to help me process my thoughts and ideas. Also, I go to God’s Word for inspiration. After all, He is why I do what I do in the first place.       

So, did you do anything differently the second time around? Any lessons learned?

As I wrote Camo’s Journey, my writing began to expand. The story became deeper, and I put more of my passion into it.

When I wrote Sofia and Her Morningstar, I was more distant from the Lord. As I grew older, I finally surrendered my heart to Jesus completely.

So, Camo’s Journey is more powerful because it reflects more of what the Lord has done in my life and in my heart.

As for my illustrations, I used more vibrant colors. The artwork has improved as I have gained more experience with the techniques.

Tell us about the various techniques you used illustrating your books.
I have used both watercolors and acrylics in my illustrations, but mostly watercolors.

My techniques include using different kinds of paintbrushes, paper towels, sponges and balloons. Sometimes I use Q-tips as well. We also use textured paper.

I use clenched teeth to hold all of these items. My art teacher will hold the paper in front of me. She cuts out the different shapes and pieces and I told her how to arrange them.

I have also done a couple of stained glass pieces. Working with stained glass is pretty scary, and it challenges me in a different way.

One of Paige Snedeker's
stained glass pieces.

Who has influenced you the most in your writing/illustrating?

My nurse, Pat inspired me the most. I had to go through a lot of personal trials. I will tell you this: other nurses mentally abused me, and I was so broken until Pat came. She showed me that I am an amazing person and that God has given me many talents. She encouraged me to use them without fear. That is why I wrote. She is my hero, and I love her a lot. 

What’s next? Is there a third book in the future?

I am currently working on my third book, which will finish my trilogy. I also have other kinds of writing ideas in mind. But these projects are in the very early stages, so I don’t want to speak about them just yet. 

You also have a blog and want to branch out your speaking ministry as well, right? 

I try to write a blog post every month about something more personal or related to my work. My blog is called Paige’s Pages, and it can be found on my website.

I have spoken in a few places. I have even Skyped with a school in the Bahamas to share my story with the students remotely.

I also want to spread the word about my disorder, BVVL, since it is so incredibly rare. There is a way to help children with this disease, but it is so little known that barely anyone knows how to treat it.

The older an individual with BVVL becomes, the less chance the treatments will have any effects. I have started my treatments in the last few months, and I am getting stronger every day, but my body has already been damaged because of the disease.

I want to continue to share my story with others as much as possible, so I am always looking for more opportunities to speak in local churches, etc.
I want to bring hope and encouragement and tell others like Philippians 4:13 tells us, that, through Christ, anything is possible.

Thank you so much for sharing with us, Paige. You are an encouragement to us all. May the Lord continue to meet all your needs and bless your work for His glory.

You can connect with Paige on her website at Paiges for God's Glory.

You may also want to read a book review of Camo’s Journey here and get in on the special prize giveaways!


Trials and Purpose

by Paige Snedeker

Paige Snedeker

Have you ever asked yourself what your purpose is for this life? 

I have. Every day I wake up, I ponder these questions: 

“Why am I here?  What can I do?”

Being Deaf, legally blind, confined to a wheelchair and with breathing assistance, I can hardly do anything without help from others. My life has changed so much that I now have to depend on other people for everything. 

Sometimes I have felt like there is no reason for me to be here, but Jesus Christ has shown me that there is a purpose no matter the situation.


Designed to Pray: Creative Ways to Engage with God- Book Review & Giveaway!

by Sally Matheny

Designed to Pray
Is your prayer life lacking passion and purpose? Then this book is for you. And if you'd like to learn more creative ways to express your prayers, then this book is definitely for you! 

I’m delighted to share with you about Designed to Pray: Creative Ways to Engage with God, and I’ll be giving away a copy of the book. Do you know why you should be excited?

Because it’s a fantastic book!

Award-winning author, Kelly O’Dell Stanley, incorporates her graphic design skills with her heart for prayer in this eight-week, interactive workbook.

There aren’t any rules in using the book and she encourages readers to feel free to adapt it to suit their styles and needs.


A Tactful Christian--Easier Said Than Done?

by Sally Matheny

Wondering Where the Tactful
Christians Are?
Man, oh, man. Have the things you’ve recently seen in the media shocked you? 

Are you infuriated or depressed?

Have the conversations peppered across social media left you flabbergasted? 

I understand, really I do.

After reading them, I wonder if I should respond. I want to be sensitive and respectful—not offending anyone. Yet, I’d like to encourage people to seek the truth. But, I struggle trying to find the right words.

Most of the time, I end up not engaging in online “discussions” at all. I’m fearful of the consequences. Much can be misinterpreted. I’m tenderhearted. Plus, they can sap my energy and time.

Do you think this way, too?

Or maybe you have a strong, straightforward approach. No hee-hawing around. You’re passionate about making your point and you press hard to make your mark. 

Heated debates? You say, “Bring it.”

Both of these methods of communication, or non-communication, may lack something. Is it possible to pull them together and produce a tactful Christian? 

Let’s see. It may be easier said, than done.


The Three Winners of the Women of Faith Books

Women of Faith Bible Study Books
Woo hoo! It's time for the drawing. I appreciate all of you who left comments on my Book Review of Building Strengths Bible study book. All of your names were placed in the honest hat.

The first winner is The Lavalee family! If you'll contact me, you have first choice between the three Bible study books.

The second winner is Kelly Reilly Benedict! The Lavalee's will select first. If you'll contact me with your first and second choice, I'll send you the one they don't choose.

The final winner is Cathy Biggerstaff! Cathy, you'll be blessed with the last book!

The Honest Hat

Congratulations! All three of you will need to let me know where I should mail your books. I hope
you enjoy them as much as I'm enjoying mine.