About Maxine Spence

Hello!  Welcome!

Here’s a face to go with the ramblings, although I’ll warn you that I don’t usually look like this.  Yes, I love the country, but I don’t usually spend my time lounging against oversized straw bales in an otherwise empty field.  And usually, in photos, my eyes are closed or my face is goofy and I tend to look a little more . . . disheveled.

But this photo was taken by Susan H. Smith, our wonderful family photographer, who has infinite patience and an unlimited supply of film.  Thank you, Susan! (Check out her link in my blogroll.)

Likewise, what I’m about to tell you “about me” may or may not be 100% accurate either.  What I pronounce true today could have been turned on its head by the time the alarm rings tomorrow morning — which can make for a wild ride (just ask my husband).

Let’s start with the labels since they’re a little more static. I’m a wife to Stephen and a mother to Gabriel and Jacob and those roles have defined me for so long that I can’t even think of any others at the moment.  Except for the roles that either sprout from those two main ones or can easily dovetail with 24/7 parenting: school volunteer, past president of the minor soccer association, manager for my son’s baseball team, director of Christmas pageants, secretary of the arts council, etc, etc, etc.

Holding steady beneath all these roles are my two greatest loves: reading and writing.  These are followed closely by the dream of creating beauty (in a medium other than words). I’m taking baby steps out of the dreaming and into the doing on that one.

I’ve just started to write for myself again.  I used to write for that elusive publisher who might see merit in my scribbles and transform them into a book. And then, one day, I woke up.

I realized that when, and if, one of my manuscripts was selected for publication, I would have absolutely no say in the face it presented to the world. Every design decision would be made by someone who did not know the story as intimately as I do. An illustrator would be chosen with no input from me at all.

Let’s not forget: role #2 listed above was “mother” and the thought of someone else mangling my babies was enough for me to rethink my rash actions. (I have to question my own use of the word “rash,” considering the turnaround time on a picture book submission is anywhere from 3-6 months. But that lengthy lag-time gives a person a whole other reason to rethink the “submit and wait process,” doesn’t it?)

I decided to self-publish my children’s picture book and whoowhee is there a steep learning curve or is there a steep learning curve? So that’s why I’m here.  To share what I’ve learned and provide a place for others to share what they’ve learned so that we can learn together and flatten that curve a bit.

There. That’s enough about me.  How about you?  Who are you? What have you written? Where are you in your self-publishing journey? What have you learned? What do you need to know? There’s a revolution happening in the publishing industry and people like you and I are in the first wave.  Let’s ride it together. 

18 Responses to About Maxine Spence

  1. Darren says:

    Hey Max … I have been taking some time to get “caught up” on you blog during Christmas. Wonderful to say the least. I need to talk to Jacob about “Liam” … didn’t know about that! Very cool.
    Anyway, if it is possible to send encouragement online …. I believe!

    • maxinespence says:

      Thanks, Darren! I appreciate your support. I hope I can do Audrey proud.
      Haven’t seen much of Liam lately – perhaps he’s more of a fair weather friend. I’ll have to ask Jacob what name his snowboard goes by.

  2. lorienyoga says:

    I love the humor that comes through in your writing! And good for you to self-publish. It takes brains, trust, and maybe a little craziness, but it seems a lot more wholesome than watching someone “mangle your babies,” as you mentioned. I can’t wait to read your book.

  3. maxine spence says:

    Well thank you kind Lorien! Brains – maybe. Trust – oodles. And, believe me, more than a little craziness! Thanks for dropping in.

  4. Inez says:

    thank you for exploring this Maxine – and inviting us to join your exploration. Just so you know – the Library has purchased both the print and the audio editions of Cheryl’s book.

    • maxinespence says:

      Maybe you’ll join me, Inez? You are another wide-shouldered woman I know who is juggling a lot! Yeah, for the library for purchasing this wonderful book! (I love my library!) I’ll be sure to let everyone know you have, not one, but TWO versions.

  5. Maxine, I am the program coordinator at the Jake Epp Library in Steinbach, Manitoba. I just noticed your book as it was waiting to get catalogued. Our librarian says that either you or Elsie dropped off a coopy when you were passing through our town on your way home from book promotions. I am wondering if you are planning on making another trip through our little city and if so, would you consider a book reading of any of your books, Leaf , or any other new books. I thought Leaf was a gorgeous book with a great story.
    Tracey Pankratz

    • maxinespence says:

      I will certainly consider any opportunity to read my stories and/or talk to people about books and writing. I’ll give you a call, Tracey, so we can chat further. Thanks so much for your interest!

  6. Chuck McCormack says:

    June callwood twelve weeks in spring…’those who are sleeping’ quote…do you know the origin of this? Was this it’s origin? I read this years ago and always wondered.

  7. Bill Sisson says:

    I just came upon your blog looking for information on one of my family’s favorite childrens authors, Deborah Turney Zagwyn, and found your article from 2011. I’m pretty sure we own all of Zagwyn’s books, and I haven’t seen anything new published since about 2004. Any idea why she might have stopped writing or publishing? Thanks!

    • maxinespence says:

      Hi Bill! I have no idea why Deborah would have stopped – perhaps she is putting her hand to other pursuits. She seems to be overflowing with creative ideas. My fingers are crossed that she’ll take up the pen and watercolors again some day.

  8. justjo says:

    Maxine, I came to your blog through a search about Vimala Alphabet. You write beautifully. Why aren’t there any posts on your blog for so long?

    • maxinespence says:

      Oh my — what a lovely message. Thank you for your kind words, justjo! The short answer is I quit posting because I didn’t feel like I was writing anything of real benefit and didn’t want to continue adding to the noise in this already cacophonous world. The long answer is . . . considerably more complicated. Thank you for taking the time to let me know that you enjoy my writing. That resulted in a particularly yummy feeling. On another note, how’s it going with the Vimala Alphabet? Isn’t it fun?

      • JustJo says:

        Maxine, I don’t want to sound disrespectful or harsh, but it’s obvious that you had an audience! I believe the comments on your posts, even if not too many, show your contribution was much appreciated 🙂

        I teach Vimala alphabet in two spiritual centers and people love it! I don’t have big crowds of people but the few who come to my classes are faithful weekly participants. I find the practice so relaxing and meditative, in a way, and love to witness daily miracles.

        How about a new post? I would love to hear what you were up the past two years 🙂

        In truth,


        • maxinespence says:

          You are so sweet. I’m sitting with your gentle nudge and we’ll see what arises.

          As for your teaching, did you train with Vimala or are you sharing it in an informal ‘come write with me’ kind of way? I’ve shared this alphabet with a lot of people (and talked about it in my blog, of course) and was even asked to share it one evening in a woman’s circle, which was really fun. I’d love to know more about your teaching process! I’ve wondered about offering a series of ‘classes’ just sharing what I know but don’t know if I need to be certified in some way. And I’ve always got enough other things on my plate that I haven’t contacted the Institute to find out.

  9. Krista Seip says:

    Hi Maxine.
    We have purchased the very last copy of “Leaf” at a recent conference. We plan to study it with students at our school here in Calgary next year and wondered where we could purchase more copies.

    • maxinespence says:

      How exciting to get this message from you, Krista! It’s always gratifying to know that Leaf is making his way in the world without my constant hovering! (Good thing, ‘cuz the hovering was burning me out!)

      My website (which was a labour of love and really lovely, if I do say so myself) died last fall, strangled to death by spam, and I have not had the gumption to start again so I appreciate the effort you made to find me. It’s been at least a couple of years since I’ve posted anything here!

      Your best bet right now is probably to get the book directly from me. I’ll connect with you on your cbe email and we’ll go from there. I’ve done school presentations in the past and I’m curious about how you plan to work with the book.

      Looking forward to chatting with you!

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