“Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start with hands shaking. Start with voice trembling but start. Start and don’t stop. Start where you are, with what you have. Just... start.”
― Ijeoma Umebinyuo
~ Note From Becky
Our April guest post is by Colby Jenkins, author of Reo the Ranch Dog. I have known Colby since she was a teenager, so getting this opportunity to include her book in the Wildwest Kidz April box is an incredibly proud moment.
Let me take a moment to tell you a bit about this talented young woman; a young woman goes out there, every day, and breaks the mold, blazing her trail and being wonderfully, apologetically…Colby. Last year, she was tossing around the idea of starting a new dedicated Instagram profile for her author journey and her health and wellness business. Faced with the choice to 'brand' herself in a specific way for these very different ventures, she realized that she didn’t need to; she could be more than just one thing. That she is. Colby is a ranch-raised cowgirl, a daughter, a sister, an auntie, a fiancé, a friend, a licenced massage therapist, a university student, a health and wellness coach and now a published children's author! Colby embraces her right to be unique, her power to dream big and to take her own life by the horns and make it her own. This remarkable girl is simply irresistible and defiantly one to watch.
In our April box, we are proud to present Reo the Ranch Dog. This Colby Jenkin's first book, but most certainly not her last. 'Reo' is a heartwarming story about calving season on the Lazy U Ranch, beautifully illustrated by Canadian artist Cathryn John.
My name is Colby Jenkins, and I am the author of the children's book Reo the Ranch Dog, included in April's Wild West Kidz book box.
Reo the Ranch Dog is my first published book, and hopefully not my last. I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of becoming a published children's book author.
In the beginning, all I had was a story about my real-life mini Aussie Reo on the ranch and an idea of turning it into a children's book, but with no actual knowledge of how to do that!
I was lucky enough to have been able to reach out to Becky early on in this journey. I knew that she would be the one to point me in the right direction. Becky recommended that I contact The Self-Publishing Agency, a wonderful organization that helps self-published authors turn their dreams into a reality. It was an absolute no-brainer for me to hire The Self Publishing Agency to help with this project. I had no concept of the publishing industry, and on top of that, not a lot of time on my hands to figure it out myself!
I run a full-time Nutrition and Wellness Coaching Company. I am also taking University courses to finish up a psychology degree, so for me, the help that the Self Publishing Agency had to offer was something I couldn't refuse. They were an absolute dream to work with and played a massive role in finding the illustrator for the book; Catherine John with Flo Studios. I will forever be thankful that I reached out to the Self Publishing Agency because Catherine was everything I could have ever asked for and more in an illustrator.
The task of publishing my first children's book was challenging; there is no doubt about that. I know without a shadow of a doubt that it would have been exponentially more difficult if it weren't for all of the fantastic help I had along the way. The experience was so enjoyable, and one that I am eager to experience again!
It would have been no surprise for anyone who knows me that I chose to write a book about my beloved dog, Reo.
The story's inspiration mainly came from my life experience growing up on my family ranch near Pincher Creek, Alberta. The Jenkins Lazy U Ranch is where the story is based, and it outlines my favorite time of the year; calving season. I love seeing all the new life being born on the ranch and making sure all new calves are safe and healthy. This life experience on the ranch played a significant role in shaping who I am as a person today.
I no longer live at the ranch, but I visit often, and I will forever be so grateful that I can call one of the most beautiful places in the world home.
One piece of the book that is very special to me is near the end, where the Cowboy's Wife makes an appearance and asks Reo, "How do you like this Cowboy life?". This is a special tribute to my mom, Tracy Jenkins, who passed away from Ovarian Cancer in February 2017. My mom adored life on the ranch, and that phrase was one you would often hear her say. It is so special to me that my mom lives inside this book, and I am glad to share her light with everyone through this story.
Reo the Ranch Dog has been such a dream come true for me, and I can't wait to see where this journey takes me!