The Series Continues!


Now that Habitan, Book 1 has launched, Cheryl is hard at work on the rest of the books in the series.


Many people have supported the launch of this series. Part of this plan included a large project for an interactive ‘story tunnel’ experience within the Book’s trade show booth at this year’s Toronto International Book Fair, and the development of this website.









Family Support: Trade Show and Drawings


Peter Suma is Cheryl’s loving husband of 14 years, and the one who pushed her to share her creativity and imagination through the pursuit of her lifelong dream of writing fiction. He also was the one behind much of the design of the Book Fair booth, making it happen in record time to bring the full final experience!


Melissa Suma is Cheryl’s 12 year old daughter. Mother and daughter share a passion for drawing, storytelling, music, and the art of ‘listening’. Melissa graciously agreed to provide all of the inside artwork for her mother’s book, as well as the framed image for the cover. Melissa is also an accomplished vocalist. She is working on an original album, including a song for the Habitan website.


Michael Suma is Cheryl’s ten your old son. He also shares the joy of a good story and imagination, and enjoys creating, inventing, and building just about anything. He worked for hours on research for the booth, the book, and helped his dad and his cousin, Anthony, on the construction of the actual trade show booth.


Trade Show Booth Construction


Anthony Rinaldi is Cheryl’s cousin and a professional saxophonist (anthonyrinaldimusic.com). Anthony worked on the construction of the Habitan Story Tunnel with Peter (Cheryl’s husband) and his son Michael.


Michael Skory, Cheryl’s brother, also helped with display construction. He is pictured here with his and Cheryl’s grandmother, Ethel Webster, who was the inspiration behind the messaging in the book and the decision to use Cree for the magical language of Habitan.







Creative Artwork


Steven Albert brought Habitan to life, creating the beautiful character and scene paintings that adorned the trade show exhibit and which are also the foundation for the characters on this website and book cover artwork.


Steven is an award winning photorealist artist who’s sunlight filled paintings of San Francisco streets and coffee house life have been shown in various galleries, museums, and other venues around the globe. His pictures are included in many public and private collections. Albert has also enjoyed a career as a matte painter of feature animation films including “The Prince of Egypt”, “Shrek,” and “Madagascar”.


His paintings can be viewed on his website at www.steven-d-albert-art.com


Konstantin Yastrebov won a competition on 99Designs.com amongst a field of designers to develop the Habitan website. Konstantin is a digital artist and designer based in the Ukraine. “I am very pleased to make a modest contribution to the creation of this book. It delights a person who can create something for future generations. It is very important to leave your mark on history. Unfortunately English is not my primary language, but now I have had an incentive to learn it thoroughly by reading this fascinating book!”











Cheryl began her editorial process through an adult and youth Book Club, which included six adults and eight children who provided responses to detailed questions regarding Habitan’s characters, plot and story development, as well as overall book reviews. Cheryl then received two different professional editorial reviews in order to hear different perspectives on ways to bring the manuscript to its full potential.


1. Six children joined Melissa & Michael to read the final draft of Habitan, Book 1: The Parallel Place. They each provided their own written feedback and comments, as well as participated in several Book Club meetings and group discussions. Ending with a final book review, these eight children helped shape Cheryl’s editing plan, and even influenced some of the direction and focus of Book 2! Thanks to our team of ‘youth experts’!


2. Professional Editor Sandra Kasturi of Chizinepub is the co-publisher of the World Fantasy Award- nominated and British Fantasy Award-winning firm, ChiZine Publications. In addition to editing, she is also a poet and writer. She is the co-founder (with Helen Marshall) of the Toronto SpecFic Colloquium and the Chiaroscuro Reading Series, and currently serves as its National Executive Director, as well as the Chair/Host of the ChiSeries Toronto.


3. Professional Editor Zoe Strickland, of Teen Eyes Editorial, is the firm’s Editorial Director. TeenEyes provides editorial services for the child/teen/young adult



a) Forest & Alpine Imagery


Adam & Francis McKenty, brothers and nature photographers, live on the small island of Cortes at the north end of the Georgia Strait in British Columbia, Canada.


They provided all of the forest and alpine images used throughout the booth and story tunnel experience and as the backdrop for some of the website. This work included hiking to and camping in remote locations to get the perfect shot!


Cheryl was inspired during her own family’s travels to Vancouver Island, including Cathedral Grove, an old growth forest that is dominated by towering, giant Western Red Cedars. The largest trees can reach 30’ around and 250’ tall.


For the alpine battle imagery, Cheryl drew upon another family trip to the Rocky Mountains in Alberta and British Columbia. Adam and Francis went out and shot all of the images to be used specifically for Habitan, traveling both to BrandyWine Meadows, BC, and to Cathedral Gove, Vancouver, BC.


To learn more about this exciting photography team, visit islandlight.ca


b) Arctic Imagery


John Dunn, wilderness photographer and explorer, specializes in expeditions to the Canadian arctic. He provided the backdrop arctic landscape imagery for the story tunnel experience in this booth. Both shots used are from the east coast of Baffin Island, and were taken during John’s pioneering 3,000 km, 192 day, skiing, kayaking and hiking “Baffin Traverse” expedition.


For the artic sky imagery in the tunnel, we used pictures from Bryan Alexander, another photographer who travels to Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Siberia and Antarctica. He witnessed these rare, “Asparatus” clouds over Qaanaaq, Greenland, in 2008, and he considers this a ‘once in a lifetime’ event after all of his travels.

Cheryl felt that the combination of these two explorers’ photographs helped convey the beauty of the far north and the feeling of Habitan’s unique opening arctic scene.


To learn more about these artists, visit John at arcticlight.com and Bryan at articphoto.com.


For both the arctic and forest imagery, you can also check out some of the images used by going to this websites videos page to watch our short documentary footage from the Toronto International Book Fair launch project!






Front row from left:

Michael Suma, Emily Phillips, Kaitlin Phillips, Nicole Barbetta


Rear row from left:

Alan Vlaykov, Sarah Dharamshi, Melissa Suma,

Katrina Tsvetonov