As a child some of my most treasured possessions were coloring books. My grandmother had a whole drawer of them and every time we visited I spent happy hours turning black and white pages into worlds of vibrant color. I had no idea, however, that coloring books for adults were so popular until I stumbled upon a blog post about self publishing that mentioned the trend. I was so happy! Coloring my own drawings is one of my favorite things to do and learning that other adults still enjoyed that kind of thing was fantastic. I started to wonder what it would be like to craft a book of my own artwork that people could color.

The truth is I love collaborating. Some of the most fulfilling moments of my life were working on larger projects that wouldn’t exist without the skill and input of other people. The idea of creating something that other people would then take and add their own creative flair to just wouldn’t leave my head. So I sat down and started drawing.

I decided to choose a subject I especially love. I’ve been drawing animals since I was 3 years old and I’ve never really stopped. But something happened as I made my way through the pictures. They began to tell a story. I suddenly had these characters in my head speaking back and forth to each other and I couldn’t resist writing down what they were saying. I was still crafting a coloring book but now each drawing became another peek into the mysterious world of L and Z. The best thing is that the story is only complete when the reader adds their own personal touch by coloring the pictures. Each book will be different, not only telling L and Z’s story but that of the colorist as well.

Orangeroof Zoo: A Chronicle for Colorists can be found on Amazon.

There is also an ebook version.

I hope people share with me some of the pages they have colored. I would love to see what others create.




  1. Drew Engman December 25, 2015 at 3:39 am #

    Hello Mary,

    I liked your very short story “Nathaniel” featured on Daily Science Fiction. Your explanatory afterwords of reaching an age where, if I understood you correctly, you no longer raged against the outrageous misfortunes encountered in life, which you once railed about in earlier years, made me like your story more. Reaching an age of, if not existential tolerance, or malignmant acceptance, is familiar to me.

    Personally, as a 50-something man, I find the indigitities of aging graceless. Professionally, as an early childhood special education teacher, I have had to struggle with the short lives of many of my severely health impaired students. Their deaths haunted me grievously for many years when one or two a year would die before age 9. Now, somehow, after 15 years of this, I am more emotionally passive or less able to fully be swept, or wept away by loss.

    I do not know if you are a baby-boomer generation person, but I would encourage you to consider, and continue to write and draw on this apparently near universal human experience. I was a musician and poet for years, and considered myself sensitive to the emotional content of life. I am still more concerned with the attitudes of adults who help in my classes than any lesson or core curriculum. I see in your short words that you could find something moving and meaningful in thees issues. Your perspective would be welcome, because I sense a balance between the light you shine in stories and the heat you perceive in living through your days.

    If you do have other things that touch these issues, it would be wonderful to see them. Thank you for letting me post. You are creative in a way that I like. My dad was a Disney animator and I have sketched and cartooned most of my life. I hope I can enjoy more of your contributions to seeing our ways throjugh the dilemas everyone4 faces in life, but not all draw and wite about.

    Thank you,

    Drew A.G. Engman

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