Lisa Renee Guy Mallen
I grew up as an "Army Brat" and lived in 11 places including two foreign countries in my first 17 years of life. After graduating from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, my Fairfax High School, VA, sweethheart and I were married. We lived primarily on the east coast, in the MD/VA/DC area and in Pennsylania until we moved to Chicagoland in 1998. We lived in Naperville with our son and two daughters until 2007 when we moved into the city. We always lived in the suburbs and had never experienced city life before. When my husband discovered a condo building was being built right next to his work building, he said we needed to downsize and he needed to give up his daily stressful commute. So, we were able to sell our house just in the nick of time, before the housing market plummeted and move into our new condo unit on the Near East Side. We love, love, love Chicago and the city life! Thinking we'd be "empty nesters," the boomerang trend hit us. One daughter moved back in with us, then the other daughter as well. Now that both daughters have their own homes; our son and his wife have moved in.
When our kids were young I read to them all the time. After seeing and meeting several children's authors at their elementary school, I knew that I wanted to write a children's book, too. I researched the publishing industry, wrote down my stories, sent my queries and manuscripts off, and received hundreds of rejection letters. I worked in the children's department of a large bookstore, worked in a preschool, wrote for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the North Hills News Record, the Naperville Sun, Beanie Mania magazine, and for several charity guide books. My first published children's book, "Elton the Elf," was published in 2000 in Canada and 2001 in the U.S. "Joining Forces with Glory," a chapter book for kids was published in 2011, and "Paige Persnickety's Purr-fect Pet," a picture book was published in 2012.
I have many varied interests and will incorporate them into my blog. Originally, the deconstruction and reconstruction of Grant Park, now Maggie Daley Park was the basis for this blog. I have a bird's eye view of all the construction going on inside the fences that you can't see from the streets. So, I'll be writing and posting pictures of the evolving park. I'm very interested in the Blues music. I was the legendary musician Buddy Guy's youngest brother, Phil Guy's, manager for 4 years, before he passed. I love the Blues and what better place to be - in Chicago - to hear and see the best musicians. I'm passionate about the military. I love parades, events, restaurants, shopping, festivals . . . the list goes on and on! I'm excited to get this blog started and hear from all of you!