Oh THANK YOU! She is pretty! Yay Hank, you got a play mate!!
Oh my gosh, the beautiful famous Butter. Thank you for sharing Butter's pictures.
Just wanted to share some news:
I will be doing a interview about myself and "Hank's Backyard Adventure" with the local newspaper in my city where I live. A reporter wants to do a article so I hope it will do well.
So far, I am 19 copies away from my 50th copy for this month. My goal is to hit 200 copies by March 1st. So that is 169 copies away!
I'm constantly thinking of ideas of how to advertise/get my book known out there, etc. I also will be doing a YouTube video of the book & also a ASL (sign language) video for the deaf community and I hope that both will be good ideas.
Just recently did a article on myself & the book!
"NORTH ROYALTON – Rachel Counts’s dog Hank is quite the character.
So much so, the 29-year-old wrote and illustrated a children’s book about him. But Hank’s story doesn’t end there. She’s working on a second book about the furry rascal and has plans for two or three more books dedicated to the pooch.
But Counts’s life is quite the story too.
Just like her name, she believes in making it count.
For her one of the saddest things in life is wasted talent.
She’s faced her share of challenges, her share of successes, but, she’s always striving for more.
Counts lost her hearing due to illness when she was just a baby. In fact, she’s lucky to be alive. Medication saved her life then.
But nothing has ever slowed her down or hindered her from achieving her dreams.
Even as a young child at just 3 years of age, it was evident she was an artist.
“I loved to draw cartoons. I grew up buying these How-to-Draw Disney books as well as other books. I always had my drawing supplies with me no matter where I was. I had aspirations to become a Disney animator when I was a teenager,” she said.
She went on to pursue art at The Ohio State University.
“I decided to pursue art because it is the only thing I know that I am completely 100 percent happy doing. I knew I didn’t want a 9-5 weekday job in a cubicle. I knew I would be bored if I did that. I wanted independence, my own hours and on my own time. If you love what you do, make a living out of it,” Counts said.
And so she did.
Her day job is work as a freelance photographer and illustrator. But she recently found herself wanting more, something different in the field of art.
“I wanted to see what I could do,” she said.
For a few years now, friends and family have been encouraging her to do a children’s book. Many of us have said to ourselves, ‘I should write a book’. Well, Counts made it happen.
“I stopped wasting my time and just decided to go for it,” she said.
About a year ago, she decided to write a book about her dog Hank, a 5-year-old beagle/terrier mix. Hank’s Backyard Adventure was born.
“He has done so many things that made me think, ‘that would be a great idea for a children’s book!’ He is a funny dog. He came to us after we lost our two dogs in 2008, and it was the best decision we made,” she said.
In the book, Hank goes on an adventure in his backyard with his best friend Butter, a character inspired by the neighbor’s dog, and the two explore and discover new things.
“It’s a fun book,” Counts said. “I wanted to leave something behind, something people can know me by. I wanted to do something, something good.”
Close to 200 copies have been sold since the book’s release a month ago.
Counts is already drafting the second book, Hank’s Neighborhood Adventure, which she hopes to have wrapped up by April. She has plans for a third book, a sequel to the second Hank’s Neighborhood Adventure: II.
“People love the illustrations. They’re bold and clean. They find my illustrations unique and fun. The parents love that the book is easy for their children to read as well. It is great for any children who are just learning how to read. The book targets to the preschool through first, second, and third-grade levels,” Counts said.
Of course, she illustrated the book. In fact, artwork comes first, then writing.
“I illustrate everything on the iPad with a Bamboo Wacom stylus. I edit on the computer using Photoshop. I actually illustrate first then write, organize these ideas,” she explained of her method.
Counts has high hopes for Hank, but once the series is over, don’t worry. We haven’t seen the last of her.
“I have so many ideas floating around in my head,” she said. “But the Hank Adventure series is what I want to focus on right now. I have big plans for Hank.”
Writing has become a new love, a new outlet which she has embraced wholeheartedly.
“It relaxes me. Writing is another way to help to get my ideas down on paper and I illustrate with these ideas,” Counts said.
But art will always be her first love. She used drawing to communicate growing up when she couldn’t speak easily. She only signed ASL until she started doing speech therapy.
Dogs have always been a part of her life. One of her fondest pets growing up was Benny.
“I was deaf. I didn’t have a lot of friends, but I had my dog,” she remembers.
Counts wore hearing aids up until she was 16. Then she decided to do something life changing, she received a cochlear implant that enables her to hear.
Some might consider what she faced in her youth as an obstacle. Counts doesn’t.
“Looking back on my childhood growing up, it was never once a challenge for me to be around people. I was very outgoing and I was a happy girl,” she said. “I never considered myself different from others because I was deaf.”
Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw considers Counts a good friend and finds her personal story inspiring.
“Some people don’t realize that people with a disability can accomplish great things. It just goes to show, don’t judge a book by its cover. Rachel’s personal story and overcoming her own disability proves that. She is a very gifted artist, and it is great to see her follow her dreams whether it is photography or her cute children’s book. The cover of her children’s book is adorable and would be a great addition on any children’s book shelf,” he said. “Rachel is an inspiring person that I am lucky to know.”
Counts said no one should let their dreams go by the wayside because of a disability or a lack of confidence. She believes anyone can do anything no matter what, if they put their mind to it.
“It doesn’t matter as long as you have the strong ability, the drive to want to do something. If you want something bad enough, you do it. No excuses. If you have the positive encouragements around you from family, friends, and even strangers, that’s good enough too. It also helps you to be confident and the rest is up to you. Anyone with a disability can overcome anything,” she said. “I have done it all my life and I will keep doing it. The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.”
Hank’s Backyard Adventure can be found on Amazon and Amazon’s Kindle section in the U.S. and Europe versions. Within a month or so, she hopes the book is available in bookstores and at online retailers, libraries and schools."
Currently, 56 copies sold for this month - I'm hoping to hit 70 by end of February. 100 would be a good # but worth a shot!
What a nice write up. So there are more books in the making. I can hardly wait to see what is next. :) Congratulations Rachel & your star Hank.