Happy Trails: Farewell from this EMUs Debuter

It has been five years since my publisher first expressed interest in my book, And three years since my first post here on EMUs Debuts—in August 2013. Now, I have officially stepped off the debut trail. Step Right Up was released October 15, 2016 and the official launch party was October 23.

Where this happened.



With my mother. And the show saddle we both used, back in the day.

Debuting my beloved book in front of a room full of friends, family, and strangers was a surreal, emotional experience. I was/am flooded with gratitude for the many people who have journeyed with me. It has taken a village to raise this writer and this book. So, as I gracefully make this transition, I send big hugs and smoochy thanks to my family, my critique partners, ErinMurphySuperAgent, my Austin SCBWI community, the Lee and Low Books staff, my editor Louise May, illustrator Daniel Minter, and National SCBWI for the 2015 Book Launch Award.

To my fellow EMUs Debuters, you have been cherished traveling companions during this debut experience. What an encouraging and supportive lot you are. I feel fortunate to have been a part of this corner of the EMLA family. I’ll be rooting for each of you as you make your own way down the trail. As for all you readers of this blog, you’re in a mighty fine place to learn and be inspired. In the words of Dale Evans and Roy Rogers,

Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then.
Who cares about the clouds when we’re together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.
Happy trails to you, ’till we meet again.


Sculpture cake by cakelustrator Akiko White.

IMG_1677a 5 x 7Donna Janell Bowman is a grateful former member of the EMUs Debuts blog. Her debut picture book biography, Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindess, illustrated by Daniel Minter (Lee and Low Books, October 2016) earned three starred reviews and is a Junior Library Guild Selection. Forthcoming books include En Garde! Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words (Peachtree, 2018), and King of the Tightrope: When The Great Blondin Ruled Niagara (Peachtree, 2019)



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12 responses to “Happy Trails: Farewell from this EMUs Debuter

  1. *Sniff* We’re going to miss you here, but yay for still being EMLA family! So happy for you and your amazing journey! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Best of luck in your continuing journey on the writing trail, Donna. And yes, we’ll still “see you” in the other EMLA-related activies! Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mariagianferrari

    Love the photo of you & your mom, Donna! And congratulations on such a beautiful and very touching book!! Happy trails indeed!! ❤


  4. Jason Gallaher

    You are so great, Donna! I am robsessed with this book, and can’t stop telling people about Doc and Jim Key! We will miss you in the Nest!


  5. katieslivensky

    Very best of luck, Donna! It was wonderful getting to share in this journey with you. We’ll miss you, but I can’t be TOO sad about it because now the world has your wonderful book!


  6. Elly Swartz

    You will be missed! But, you are now on Book Journey 2.0. Can’t wait to see what adventures are in store! xo


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