Category Archives: Red Tuque Books




AN APOLOGY TO MY FOLLOWERS: I know this isn’t Tender Tuesday or Wacky Wednesday, and not even Theatrical Thursday… Please accept my apology for publishing this on Freaky Friday! (I’ve been a little busy….)

Many of you may not be aware that I’m in process of publishing my first Picture Book! I waited for months to have the carefully chosen publishers respond to my query and tell me how anxious they were to get the project to print. I dreamt of bidding wars over my manuscripts- seriously! You’re shaking your head right now, thinking another disillusioned novice gets a dose of reality. Not exactly! I have had some experience with publishing in a former segment of my life and after retiring from my full-on career as an IB principal- threw myself into writing 3 humorous Middle Grade novels (the Frenchie Series). (I’m being cheeky here and pointing out that they’re listed in the blog roll to the right of this post with links to Amazon and Red Tuque Books- just in case you’d like to check them out… ha!)

I was in a BIG rush to break into the book publishing world at that point and just couldn’t wait around for publishers to acknowledge receipt of my manuscript (MEANING: those that would even consider glancing at an unsolicited manuscript). That’s right, I never looked too hard for a literary agent. I figured I had researched enough and through my amazing educational career with literacy, knew which publishers would be ideal for my books. Well, wasn’t that a bit of a shock when they didn’t immediately call, upon receipt of my query packets, to offer a contract?

At that point, I thought I could make it work on my own, so I published with CreateSpace (self-publishers associated with Amazon). Let’s just say, I’m not sure anyone actually found my novels, even though they promised great distribution, if authors did all the right things. I totally worked diligently, booking readings, setting up a website, blog , twitter accounts, and Pinterest boards. I put my ebooks out on Smashwords, as well as Kindle, so that it would be available on all e-reader platforms. I found a Canadian Distributor (Red Tuque Books) and purchased ads for catalogues and literary newspapers, etc. I set up tables at X’mas and summer markets, and the list goes on…

What was the lesson learned from all that effort? THE BOOK BUSINESS is a difficult one to break into (near impossible, in fact, no matter how many webinars you watch, How To books you buy, subscriptions you have to Writers Digest, Book Baby, Canadian Children’s Book Center, etc.). However, in spite of all that, I still had to listen to my inner voice that was saying, “Hey Mary, do you think you’re a writer?” The answer is YES! And I had one particular story going through my mind, ever since I started sailing the Pacific North-West in my late 40’s on our TwoCan Catalina sailboat. I knew I had to publish it, and as I wrote this picture book, at the core of the inspiration were the delightful cartoons that were created and published monthly by Pacific Yachting Magazine’s COCKPIT CONFESSIONS’ cartoonist. Each vignette for this repetitive language picture book, had to have an amusing twist that would engage children, as well as parents and grandparents, and the entire boating community. The day I set up a meeting with Dave Alavoine in Starbucks in North Vancouver, was a day I’ll never forget.

Dave and I gave each other hints for how we’d recognize one another. (I had already been on the web looking at his past shows of his political cartoons, so I assumed I had a bit of an advantage.) But no, he was the one who figured out it was me- could it have been the meeting agendas laid out or the stack of my Frenchie novels, that gave me away? I chuckle to myself when I reminisce about that first meeting. I left it feeling like I was walking on air. He was such a lovely man and could visualize what I was looking for in the cartoons as we went through the text (which laid the context) and the action and dialogue I envisioned for each of the 23 images. Although, he was already committed to another book deal (Learn to Sail the Hard Way) and, of course, had monthly commitments with Pacific Yachting Magazine, he agreed to collaborate with me on OUR project, WHO’S the CAPTAIN?

This is the image that will be used on the cover of our book (I thought you might just like to have a sneak preview …)

Cover_004In my next installment I’ll explore more of the “tender moments” that transpired between Dave and Mary in their collaboration process of this awesome picture book that is on its way to becoming a reality! The core element to the success of this project has been INSPIRATION!

I know many of you who read my TENDER TUESDAYS have inspirational stories of you own. I would be so grateful if you would click on LEAVE a COMMENT below this post and leave your story. I promise to respond to all comments that are left. It enriches our experience, when one shares their thoughts with us. Please do!







Okanagan TWEENS are readers. The  THE CHILDREN’S PARADE at PEACH FEST  this summer highlighted the array of wonderful, rich stories and novels that Canadian authors have currently published. This picture of TWEENS sharing my 3 Frenchie novels in the KIDS PARADE, made me realize that there are so many Middle Grade readers (ages 9-13) who don’t even know that these titles are available in paperback or ebook format. Red Tuque Books distribute the paperbacks of the three novels in the series in Canada. Just click on:

Amazon Stores/Book Links

You only have to click on the country you live and you will have access to Kindle formats or paperback of Frenchie Diva (Book #3) If you want Book #1 and #2- just search for them: Frenchie’s Best Friend– Follow the Blog & Frenchie X2- Follow the Blog













If you would like to order Book #1 or Book #2 in any other ebook format, go to:

 What do readers say about the Frenchie Series?

One Mom recently wrote: “My daughter has been ploughing through books this summer and discovered your Frenchie ‘s Best Friend novel. She has been reading it to her brother and they are both laughing their way through. I have banned any more pets that poop or have fur in our house. So my kids are liking the book and all the angles to getting a pet.”

One TWEEN wrote: “During the presentation at Okanagan Elementary, I learned Mary Laudien is a very inspiring writer; her books are humorous, smart, creative, and satisfying. Right now I am reading the third book of the series, Frenchie Diva. So far this book is amazingly entertaining, and very relatable.

The book reminds me of when I had a basset hound back in England, called Wellington, for first time (in my life) I saw snow, same for Wellington. It only snowed about an inch but, to me it was like a miracle, and same for my dog! The things he did in it were hilarious, and it was a great experience.”

 One teacher wrote: “I had such fun reading about Ethan’s full-speed-ahead plans for getting his French Bulldog! I loved his crafty ways of dealing with the adults in his life, and his mad-cap solutions to his spa troubles.

The ending totally snuck up on me and finishes this great story beautifully. A fun read for middle year students.”

 Colleen Ruttan (Young Adult Fantasy Writer):YOUNG TEEN ETHAN Larimour sets out with his eccentric grandmother to train one of his two Frenchie puppies for a career in film. A story which well captures the angst of being a young teen – not to mention all of the work involved in owning two mischievous Frenchie puppies! – This book would entertain readers in the 9-12 age bracket.”

My challenge to you is to check out the Frenchie series in whatever part of the world you live and in whatever format you prefer to read. The novels make affordable gifts (about the same price as a birthday card) and appeal to everyone mentioned below:

  • tweens (ages 9-13)
  • librarians
  • teachers
  • parents
  • grandparents
  • pet lovers

 Send the GIFT of READING to all those that you care about. And please, leave a comment on this blog site ( after reading the Frenchie Series. I love to receive feedback on the novels, it helps me grow as a writer. So leave your comments… the GOOD, the BAD … and the UGLY!

Amazing Characters @Penticton Authors and Artists Faire


Penticton Author Artist Faire Poster-23

The trek to the PENTICTON AUTHORS and ARTISTS FAIRE started by taking a 6:30 am ferry from Nanaimo across to Horseshoe Bay.  Of course this was supposed to give us a head start on the drive to the Okanagan. NOT!  As expected, there was nothing but gridlock in the lower mainland. A couple of collisions had occurred. Surprise?  NOT!  Just the usual, when you live in Vancouver!  It always reinforces our decision to move to the ISLAND! Husband Ryan had gone out to purchase chains, certain we would end up in a snow storm. Thankfully, they weren’t needed! We drove in summer road conditions, except for the colder temperature. Island life is quite a bit milder … Are you getting the idea that I like my new location?

The main highlight of the trip was meeting such interesting and talented artists and students. Our first encounter was made by staying in a quaint B&B- Vancouver House with our hosts Jane and Bob. Our upstairs wicker room was cozy and quaint.(Jane just opened a home decor store, so you can imagine the decorating in their home.) And  Bob’s breakfasts?  Let’s just say, I’m not going to tell you how gourmet they were because I selfishly don’t want Vancouver House to be booked up when I try to return in the spring for more Raise a  Reader visits. (Promise you won’t let the word out.)

The event of the weekend  (after my fun morning at Okanagan Falls sharing my new book for Raise a Reader) was to set up for the annual Penticton Authors and Artists Faire.         Image

My Canadian Distributor, David Korinetz was a major organizer for the Faire.  He did an amazing job of scheduling us all in for talks, ensuring that there was an array of diversified talent with all different genres of books, and art pieces that certainly caught one’s attention. His work on publicizing the event through radio, newspapers, signs, and posters and preparing draws throughout the two days, was well organized and done all on his own time. David  not only distributes Canadian books, but he is also a writer, himself.  You might want to check out his Fantasy novels. (Chronicles of the Daemon Knights: FireDrakes, Sorceress, Halfling).  He looks like a fantasy writer, doesn’t he? Could it be the hat?

David Korinetz 1

Ted Moore launched his new book, Tribute at the FAIRE. Ted had signings throughout the two days, as well as performed. His books tells the story of his journey with rock ‘n’ roll and how he became a successful Bon Jovi tribute artist.  Something he shared with the audience is that he actually hand-delivered his book to Bon Jovi himself.  (I keep wanting to connect with  CHER because of my Grandma Sis’s character… especially in Frenchie Diva!) The music these two rockers made was wonderful and spectators arrived just to hear Moore and interview him.

Tribute 1

Another interesting artist that I encountered was Dennis Weber and his wife, Sharon. This Metis artist had some exceptional portraits on display. When we started to discuss some First Nations Artists that we both knew, he brought over a book he was selling that was a collaboration with the author, David Bouchard, entitled, The Secret of Your Name.  Well, weren’t we both surprised! The author he made the paintings for and portraits of was none other than my ex-husband. Of course he was!  Poor Dennis just couldn’t get over the coincidence!  You might want to take a look at Dennis’ portraits, they’re worth a peek.  They can be found on

Dennis Weber

This is just a small glimpse into the many characters that I became acquainted with just by participating in the PENTICTON ART and BOOK FAIRE last weekend.  I didn’t even mention the many people who came to check out my books.  Everyone was so interested in my novels and the stories behind the inspiration for writing the Frenchie series.  It was a great experience and so validating as an author, connecting with readers. (I think I’ll try to make it back next year and renew these newfound acquaintances.)

If you didn’t attend this year, you may want to make sure you take an hour for this annual holiday event next November.  I’ll see you there!




OKANAGAN FALLS  hosted a RAISE A READER visit on Friday, Nov. 22nd. This was the first class to be introduced to  the recently published novel, FRENCHIE DIVA- FOLLOW the BLOG. The students were entertained by some of Ethan’s (the 13 year old main character) blog entries to FBF (Frenchie’s Best Friend). Stories were shared explaining what inspired the Frenchie series, as well as a YouTube video that encouraged the writing of FRENCHIE DIVA. The students shared how they personally related to Ethan and his Frenchie, friend, school and family drama, as well as his teen-age angst. Everyone understood why blogs are written and what essential ingredients are crucial to writing a powerful blog. It was a pleasure to visit Okanagan Falls and sign each student’s personal copy of FRENCHIE DIVA!

ImageThe students were left with a Blog Post Challenge. These are some possibilities for postings:

  • an opinion about the Raise a Reader presentation or the Frenchie series introduced
  • a short review of the Frenchie series
  • a recommendation of Mary Laudien’s Frenchie series to other readers
  • personal connection/s the reader made to the novels/blogs/ characters.

The two most informative and entertaining blogs will qualify for FRENCHIE prizes and the two winning blog entries will be shared within the next week.

There is nothing that I enjoy more than sharing my series with tweens. Meeting with classes and inspiring blog writing and reading for fun is the best part of the writing process for this author. Anyone interested in booking a visit can contact me through my website:  I encourage schools and libraries to use my books for a fundraiser and 15% of sales will be donated to the SPCA.

What are your thoughts about the Raise a Reader program and the blog challenge after the visit?   I value your feedback and would be pleased to have you leave a comment.

Remember, you can purchase BOOK #3 of the Frenchie series (Frenchie Diva- Follow the Blog) from Red Tuque Books:

Phone: 778-476-5751


Order by Email:

You know you want to read it…and not just for the adorable photos of the Frenchie puppies in the FBF blog posts.



14549732_Frenchie Diva Cover JPG( 4341595 ) copyFrenchie Diva- Follow the Blog

             BOOK #3 of the Frenchie Series

                                     by  Mary L. Laudien

Will Sissy become the next canine celebrity sensation?Ethan and Grandma Sis are counting on it! In fact, Sis (the 72 year old CHER look-alike) is convinced she’ll be discovered.

Ethan’s tumultuous teenage world with its Frenchie drama continues to entertain (and alarm) his FBF followers. LOL 

TwoCanDo Books (

      ISBN 978-1-4905652-9-3         $8.99

Pre-Order your paperback copy from Red Tuque Books

Order online at:

Phone: 778-476-5651

I’m so excited to be able to start advertising my 3rd book of the Frenchie Series (FBF blog)! The paperback is about to be shipped and the kindle, e-book formats will not be far behind. I wanted you to be aware that the ad is in the BC BOOKWORLD publication and give you the chance to be one of the first to spot it.  Please keep checking my blog for contests and give-aways that will be running in the next couple of weeks, as well.  (I have some fun French Bulldog gifts to share with my readers.)  Thanks, in advance, for checking out my MG novel in this BC BOOKWORLD ad.

I’d love to hear from you.  Leave a comment after you check out the ad and let me know what you think.  Your feedback is valuable to me and I am working hard to find the most effective ways to reach my readers.

5 Reasons NOT to Read Frenchie’s Best Friend


Don’t even consider reading Frenchie’s Best Friend- Follow the Blog this summer, if:

1.  you aren’t “gaga” about  dogs (especially French Bulldogs).

2.  you dislike reading for fun and humorous entertainment.

3. you’re a perfect teen that never does anything wrong or devious.

4. you can’t relate to a “Frenchie crazy” 13 year old boy from a single parent home with an interfering and quirky Grandma living nearby.

5.  you’ve never wanted anything so badly that you’d do ANYTHING to make it happen!

Of course on the off- chance that this doesn’t apply to you and you’d actually like to read Frenchie’s Best Friend, there are several ways to get your hands on the print copy or eBook.  The easiest is to go to my website and click on the title

Sample or Purchase:
a. eBook Format
Kindle: http://
b.Paperback:  (CANADA) (US)

Of course, I’m sure you don’t want to read this first book of the Frenchie series!

Bookworld Ad for Frenchie Series


If  you are traveling on B.C. ferries or visiting your favorite bookstore, make sure you check out Red Tuque Books‘ full page ad on page 7 of the free B.C. Bookworld publication.  You can order the first two books of the Frenchie series from Enjoy the fun summer reading by ordering your books today!


Frenchie X2: Follow The Blog
Mary L. Laudien
Two adorable Frenchie puppies had Ethan and his mother at first lick. Well, at least they had Ethan. A must read for anyone who has ever brought home a brand new puppy. The chaos and fun just couldn’t end with Frenchie’s Best Friend, so don’t miss X2!
TwoCanDo Books
ISBN-978-1-4664809-9-5 $9.99