I'm a book
designer (and more),
a writer, a former teacher, a multi-job
and a suburban Wilmington, DE, resident.
I love the rolling landscape around the Delaware Arc,
but I'd rather live in the mountains.
I started out in Westport, New York, in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains on Lake Champlain. Magnificent country. I thought I wanted to live in the city - to be sophisticated and with it - so I left. Now that I'm over wanting to be sophisticated and with it, I'd like to go back home.
I've held certifications as teacher, guidance counselor, instructional supervisor, and, in Ohio, school administrator. I think I'm still certified to teach in New York State, but I've never asked. I don't intend to teach - ever again - at least not in a classroom full of kids who produce tons of stuff I have to grade - stuff I assigned in the first place.
After college I worked wherever I landed. Not only have I been an elementary teacher, an instructional supervisor, a guidance counselor, and an English and literature teacher, but I've also held positions as an orthodontist's chair assistant, a group home parent, a reform school childcare worker, a Kindergarten assistant, an apartment rental agent, an EFL teacher, a swimming instructor, a life guard, a gem and jewelry salesperson, a receptionist, a bar maid, a camp counselor, and a condominium sales agent.
When we moved to the Chicago suburbs, I found a teaching job at Adler Schools, Inc., a private school in Chicago owned by a family that also owned a towing service. The owner told me my only job was to keep the kids happy so the parents wouldn't take them somewhere else. "Do what ya need ta do," he said. I am currently writing a story about that one.
I recently moved from the Chicago suburbs to Wilmington, DE. It's almost as good as living in the mountains, but I'd rather live in the mountains.
What does all this have to do with writing, book design, web development, and the rest of my projects?
Experience seeps into the imagination and makes the creative spirit explode with novelties - like rice noodles hitting hot oil.
I'm a Book Designer & more
I design, format, and otherwise prepare print books and eBooks for on-line, print-on-demand (POD) and eBook publishing. My book covers and interior layouts are custom-designed according to the author’s or publisher’s vision, the book’s content, and my design aesthetic, with the goal of creating a professionally executed final product. A book cover must be unique, eye-catching, intriguing, and compelling—with attention-grabbing elements. A book interior must be professionally formatted with appealing, consistent, fluid, and easy-on-the-eyes content. I assist my author and publisher clients with procuring International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) and Library of Congress Control numbers (LCCNs), managing on-line POD and eBook accounts, uploading files for publication, and obtaining printed proofs.
I started creating books nine years ago when my husband, Ed Searl, an author who has published with Skinner House and Berkley, asked me to format several of his unpublished manuscripts and prepare them for publication. My hobby soon became a business.
To showcase books, businesses, or other interests, I create business cards, postcards, bookmarks, flyers, logos, greeting cards, etc. (When I began my business, I offered website and blog design services. I continue to manage websites and blogs for my current clients; however, I no longer take new clients for Internet presence.)
I'm a Writer
I write stories, mostly true ones, about human nature - the ordinary and the eccentric -getting to the heart of life’s yearnings, idiosyncrasies, and ambiguities. The splendor of the Adirondack Mountains and Lake Champlain seeped into my being, as did the rhythms of small-town life. My slice-of-life storytelling draws inspiration from rich experiences with diverse cultures, quirky personalities, and unusual encounters while living, working, and raising a family in New York, Delaware, Vermont, Ontario, Quebec, Ohio, and Illinois. My stories reflect my passion for justice, equality, and freedom of the spirit.
I taught elementary school in New York, Vermont, Delaware, Ontario, Quebec, Ohio, and Illinois. When we landed in the Chicago area, I taught the art of writing to middle-schoolers, whose curiosity, energy, and enthusiasm for life gave me insight into the dreams of the sometimes disregarded. At the middle school where I taught, there is an Ellie Searl Writing Award given at the end of each year to the most talented writing student at each grade level. I am humbled by this tribute to my passion for writing.
I've Had Many other Jobs
While Ed studied for his post graduate degrees, we lived, and I worked, in the US and Canada: Wilmington, DE; Burlington, VT; Ottawa, ON; Montreal, QC; Syracuse, NY; and Youngstown, OH (where I thought I would die of ugly fever but earned a Master's Degree instead), before we landed in the Chicago Suburbs.
I'm a Wilmington, DE, resident who recently moved from the Chicago suburbs.
My husband Ed and I moved to Wilmington in January 2013. We lived in La Grange, IL, twenty miles west of the Chicago Loop, for many years. I liked the excitement and activity of the city, but I didn't like the flat landscape, even though it provided longer sunsets and lots of corn.
I love the rolling countryside of Southern Pennsylvania, the history of our country's first state, the 17th Century stone houses, and our proximity to great cities: Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York.
Our daughter Katie lives in Brea, CA, with her husband Mike and their two children, Brett and Bridget.
I'd Rather Live in the Mountains
Whenever possible, I visit my growing up town of Westport, New York, to play in the Adirondacks and walk the shores of Lake Champlain. Westport, a tiny town on the lake, is where the Adirondack chair was invented. I think it's that chair that shaped my spirit and saved me from the jitters that so many city people seem to have. It's impossible to sink into an Adirondack chair without sinking into a meditative state. I particularly liked to sit at the edge of the lake and watch the sun rise over the Green Mountains.