Mary Jane Girardi describes her book, “Lazarus the Rescued Ladybug” (Lazarus Publishing Co., $18), as “an almost true story.”
The reason the tale is only “almost true” is that the ladybug that inspired the book stayed with the local first-time author for three months before dying. Because she wanted the book to be a positive tale about helping and caring for each other, she changed the story to having the ladybug in her book fly away.
While the real ladybug was with Girardi, whose main job is working for a local cardiologist, she posted stories and videos online. Reactions to the reports and updates sparked her to put the book together.
“I wrote the book because my Facebook friends and high school friends encouraged me to write it,” Giradri says. “I thought about it for two years. The thought kept rattling around in my head, and I had the storyline figured out.”
Giradi reached out to Ernie Hergenroeder to do the art. Once she connected with Hergenroeder, the process of creating the book took a little less than a month.
“I met with Ernie, and we worked together until I had Lazarus just the way I wanted him to look. At first, the bug was a bit rough. He had no nose. I told Ernie that he had to have a nose,” Giradri says. “He told me you can’t put a nose on a bug. I told him that he put gloves and shoes on a bug, so I want a nose.
“I asked him to make it a heart, since I work with hearts, and he lovingly gave in to my demand.”
There will be a book launch and signing party from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at Cuca’s Mexican Restaurant, 936 E. Olive Ave. There will be a $1 discount on the price of the book for those who attend.
The book can also be ordered from a Facebook page, Lazarus the rescued ladybug, or Lazarustherescuedladybug.com.
Honored: Sheri Humphreys’ debut novel, “A Hero to Hold” (Boroughs Publishing Group, $11.49), was just named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2016. Kirkus Reviews publishes more than 7,000 book reviews each year.
Humphreys, who now lives in Cambria, lived in Fresno from 1978 to 2012. During that time, she worked at St. Agnes Medical Center for 30 years. She started pursuing her dream of being a writer after retiring in 2010.
“My upcoming historical romance series will feature different Florence Nightingale nurses and will convey my knowledge and love of nursing and emergency medicine,” Humphreys says.
Look for clues: Ken Tetzel’s “Decoy” (Sunstone Press, $29.95) is a murder mystery that takes place in the San Joaquin Valley from Tracy, Stockton, Oakdale and south to Los Banos.
It is available at sunstonepress.com.