Mary Beth Stevens
Author, Artist, Musician,Dog-Mom
“Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.” - Boris Pasternak
I wish I had a nickel, well, a dollar actually, for every time I said, “I’ll NEVER ________” (fill in the blank - “I’ll never have a dog, I’ll never write a book, I’ll REALLY never paint or draw.”). All of these things were accepted by me as gospel about myself. “I’ll never be that person out walking a dog at 10:00 p.m. on a cold, windy February night.”. I couldn’t draw a straight line, and well, maybe I thought about writing a book, but they say you need to write about what you know, and I didn’t think I knew anything, so that idea always got tossed aside.
But Boris Pasternak is right, and thank you, life, for the surprises you have granted me in the last 6 years. The dog came first, and guess what? Walking outside with your dog on a cold February night, surrounded by silence and a deep blue canopy of stars is a rare and beautiful pleasure. Painting and drawing really IS for everyone. The joy and release to be found with a pencil or brush in one’s hand is not to be found anywhere else, and losing one’s self in the process is actually the best part - at least for me. And the book, well, the book. After telling Tippy stories to my friends and hearing them say, “MB, you should really write a book!.”, I sat down and out came, Tippy Finds a Home.
Life aside from all of these surprises is rich and full. Music has always figured large in my life, and in fact I moved from Iowa to the Boston area to pursue a graduate degree in Voice Performance at Boston University. I enjoyed a career in Public Relations and Marketing while always singing - my longest period of musical engagement was the 20+ years I enjoyed with Boston’s Cantata Singers, where I also served as a Board Member and Board Chair.
And speaking of surprises, in early Spring 2020, my husband, the critters and I pulled up stakes and moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. We’re feeling settled, and enjoying all the new people and places in our lives.
About Tippy and Suzie
“The little pound girl that nobody wanted...”
The saddest picture ever, am I right? Here she is - pregnant and in the pound in Jasper, TN. Lucky for Suzie, she was spotted by the local rescue organization (Marion Animal Resource Connection - MARC) who arranged for her to be fostered. The day after being sprung from the pound, Suzie had 7 puppies, and three months after that, she and her pups were on the transport to Massachusetts. Once arriving, Suzie ended up in another foster home where she lived for five weeks until we heard about her and went to meet her. She hated us on sight, but her foster assured us that would change quickly so we took a chance and brought her home. She was shy and fearful, but lots of love and training brought her around. She is the sweetest, calmest dog around, and has achieved both the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen standing as well as certification from Therapy Dogs International. She now visits hospice patients and nursing home residents.
“But I thought YOU wanted him!”
Yes, despite everything I knew about what to expect when adopting a rescue, I actually uttered the above, when three weeks post-adoption all I wanted was to return to my quiet, calm life. Tippy wasn’t a bad dog, but he WAS a busy dog. Turns out my husband and I had a bit of an O.Henry moment - he’d said yes to Tippy because he thought I wanted him, and I’d said yes because I thought HE wanted him. After coming to THAT sobering revelation, we decided to stay the course and make it work. Which entailed training, lots and lots of training - which eventualy led to bonding. Us to him, and him to us. At age 5, Tippy was surrendered by his owners in southern Mississippi. We’ll never know why, but after getting to know him for the past 3 years and seeing how devoted he is, it’s no surprise that it took him a while to give his heart to us.
The Tippy Books
Tippy Finds a Home and Tippy Finds His Purpose - two books about your favorite little rescue dog, Tippy. Suitable for ages 4-8, but we've got lots of fans outside of those parameters. Turns out everyone loves Tippy! Books are available on Amazon, from your favorite indie bookstore, or directly from me!
Bios, Photos and More
Mary Beth Stevens
Mary Beth Stevens is a writer, musician, artist and Dog Mom. Much of her professional career was spent in Public Relations and Marketing, and she has degrees in music from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Boston University. She has sung with Boston’s Cantata Singers for over twenty years, where her participation has extended beyond the stage to the board room, including a four-year tenure as Board Chair. She volunteers for Blue Ridge Humane Society, and she and her dog, Suzie, regularly visited hospice patients as part of Suzie’s career as a Certified Therapy Dog. Mary Beth recently began to explore the world of fine art and has a special interest in graphite drawing, mixed-media artwork and pastel painting. Mary Beth and her family recently moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina where they traded the House in the Woods for a House in the Mountains.
Susan Spellman started her art career as a staff illustrator at a film-strip company. She then began a career as an illustrator of children’s books and magazines, such as Highlights for Children. She has illustrated more than thirty books to date, winning multiple national and regional awards. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Maymount College.
Susan is an art instructor at the Newburyport Art Association (NAA), specializing in drawing and portraiture, and a visiting artist to schools and art organizations throughout New England. While continuing to work in illustration as a career, Susan has also increasingly focused on her interest in fine arts, exhibiting paintings in numerous regional galleries and art organizations throughout the North Shore.
She is a member of “The Newburyport Ten Plein Air Painters,” and of the Newburyport Art Association. She has a studio in Newburyport where she lives with her husband, Jay McGovern. More information can be found on her websites at www.spellmancollection.com for her paintings, and www.suespellmanstudio.com for illustration.
A fun visit that includes reading, writing, music and art!
Tippy in the Classroom
Perfect for grades K-3
The story truly comes alive through reading, writing, music, movement and art as students become their own authors and illustrators! From small groups of 10-12 all the way up to 75-95 children, everyone will enjoy their time in Tippy’s world!
Here’s what they say about Mary Beth in the classroom!
“Author Mary Beth Stevens brought energy and variety to students with interactive, fun activities during her presentation in our media center. Engaging a roomful of K-3 students for 45 minutes can be a challenge, but not when you encourage singing, movement and creative input. While presenting her picture book Tippy Finds a Home,Mary Beth asked for ideas to add more movement to her fun Tippy song and then had students draw and share their ideas for new Tippy adventures. I was skeptical about having 100 students at a time drawing and coloring on the floor and then getting up to sing and wiggle in a crowded space, but both students and teachers enjoyed participating in some adventurous Tippy time. I highly recommend inviting Mary Beth to your library or school for an author event.”
---Sharon Lapensky, Media Specialist at Plymouth Creek Elementary in Plymouth, MN
Lindy Williams © 2018