Thursday, November 24, 2011


Traditionally during Thanksgiving week, I make a list of things I am thankful for, and that list always begins with my family and friends.

Last weekend, our family added a beautiful, loving daughter-in-law who makes our son happy, and I am exceptionally thankful for this addition to our family.

My list of friends includes the Swaggers who share this blog, dear friends who I cherish more every day. And now I am also thankful for those of you who follow it. May we become or continue to be friends.

This year Thanksgiving falls on the 5-week anniversary of the cancer death of a member of a small (now 8 of us) critique group in Cincinnati. Our group will remember Linda Sanders-Wells as a woman with an abundance of –ives.

Linda Sanders-Wells
Linda was creative. Her writing covered the gamut: from fantasy novel to realistic fiction novel to poetry to picture books. Her ideas and the words she chose to express them amazed us.

Linda was imaginative, and her work was the epitome of it. She encouraged us all to connect to our imaginative sides. Her picture book, Maggie’s Monkeys (a Junior Library Guild selection included in The Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year 2010), celebrates the magic of a child’s imagination.

Linda’s criticism within our group was always constructive and right on target. She showed us how to make our work better and encouraged us to do it.

Linda was sensitive. She often became discouraged and frustrated with the publishing world, not only when her work was rejected, but when the rest of us received rejections. Often when an editor made me feel defeated, Linda sent an encouraging email, always trying to boost my spirits and keep me going.

And Linda was supportive. She not only supported our writing efforts, but also supported us emotionally. When another member of our group fought her own battle with Cancer, Linda led the group in a walk to raise funds.

As Linda fought the brave fight, her friend Eunice (writer e. E. Charlton-Trujillo) planned to surprise her this Christmas by publishing another of her books. But her death came sooner than expected. Eunice plans to continue this project, with the help of Linda’s teen daughter, as a tribute to Linda. 

The Writing World is missing a true talent and a devoted friend. She’s gone, and a little piece of each of us is gone, too. But we will remember her forever.

Piñata Productions has hired Cincinnati artist Brian Hagen to create the illustrations for Linda's novel, Sometimes FriendsThe completion of the book, geared for ages 8-12, will be a collaboration between e. E. Charlton-Trujillo and Linda's daughter, Abigail. Abbie and Charlton-Trujillo have collaborated a number of times over the years on film projects. No one knows Linda's creativity and could honor her book like Abbie. Piñata Productions will release a book trailer by early December 2011.

With an illustrator hired, the book is currently in presale. The book's layout and style are similar to Eileen Spinelli's, Where I Live. Each book costs $15 dollars, which includes shipping. Orders of 12 books or more sell for $10 each, with a flat $10 for shipping.

Checks can be mailed to:
Piñata Productions
Attn: Eunice Charlton
1655 Westmoreland Ave
Cincinnati, Ohio 45223

Should you prefer to order via PayPal, payment can be sent to: .  Please note: Payments via PayPal require a $1 service fee per purchase.

Visit the Piñata Productions page for Sometimes Friends at:

So, to my list, I include that I am thankful for having known Linda, though for far too short a time. As you give thanks today, remember your friends and family. Treasure them and hold them close to your hearts. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Kathy Cannon Wiechman

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