The fruit of her labor is “Bull Dozer Learns to Be a Friend,” a book geared toward children ages 4 to 8.
“It’s about bullying,” Hughes said. “It’s about a little fish named Sam who is put into a fish tank where two other fish already live— Buster and Bull Dozer. Bull Dozer is not taking too fondly to Sam being in the fish tank. He’s really mean to him. Sam’s all sad because he was loving his new little home. Then he meets Buster, who is a giant suckerfish. Buster befriends him and they have fun going out on little adventures every day, finding new little treasures like sea shells and shiny little rocks.”
One day, Dozer finds himself pinned under a pile of rocks, begging for help. Buster and Sam heard the crashing sound of the rocks and rushed over to Dozer to help.
“They swim over to where he’s at and they save his life, basically,” Hughes said. “He said, ‘I’m really sorry for being mean to you.’ He becomes Sam’s friend and they all go about little adventures every day.”
Hughes —the wife of Michael and mother to Johnathan, 15, Benjamin, 8, and Bradley, 5 — said her 28-page book, which is available on Amazon.com for $19.99 in paperback, offers an important, timely lesson.
“It breaks my heart seeing all the bullying going on at schools,” Hughes said. “You read about it in magazines, newspapers and you see it on the news. I wished there was a way I could contribute to teaching these kids how children feel who are being bullied.
“But there’s always the bully’s side of it. They need to learn maybe one day they might need that person.
Dozer got the rocks knocked onto him, even though he was mean to Sam, Sam still helped him. He showed just because he was mean to him, that doesn’t mean he needs to be mean as well.”
A retail manager for Target, Hughes self-published her book through AuthorHouse Book Publishing Co.
“When I wrote it, my husband read it and he said, ‘Who wrote this?’” she said. “I go, ‘I did. Why?’ He said, “That's really good. You should publish that.’
“Not really knowing much about publishing, I didn’t want to go through the process of the traditional publishing. Ninety-eight percent of the manuscripts get turned down. I went through AuthorHouse. They do turn downs but he [an official with the company] really liked my book. I didn’t have an illustrator for it, but they had illustrators in house for me.”
After “Bull Dozer Learns to Be a Friend,” Hughes fell in love with writing. She already has a second book in the can, “Katie’s Show and Tell,” about a little girl who’s afraid to participate in the elementary school event.
‘I’m going to go through the traditional avenues this time,"”said Hughes, who was born in New York but raised on a ranch in Oregon. “I want to go through that and experience that. At first, I didn’t really know exactly what the traditional publishing avenue meant and what self-publishing meant. I now know and I’m very familiar with it. I would recommend people to do the self-publishing. The illustrators did a fantastic job with all the illustrations. The colors, they pop really bright. I’m just amazed with what they did.”
By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski