Do you know the saying “God puts a dream in your heart”? The inspiration for the first book and the characters Penny and Tubs began in a dream Marcie, the co-author, had one night. It was a vivid adventure much like the City on the Sea. Marcie traveled to a city where houses floated on water and a whimsical playground hid deep in the sea. The character Tubs the cat is based on Marcie’s real life pet, a 35lb cat named Rusty. The character Penny was inspired by Marcie’s granddaughter Sophia.
All final products (character design, music, books, and merchandise) go through Marcie’s 5 year old granddaughter Sophia for approval.
President Marcie May – mother, grandmother, performer, award winning songwriter and Penny & Tubs visionary.
From an early age Marcie knew her love of music and writing would play a big part of her life. When she was 14 she was already singing in coffeehouses; at 16 she started singing with local bands, at 21 she was singing backup vocals in Nashville, Tennessee. Then, she joined an all-girl band that was signed to Brown Dog Labels and toured all over the country. Marcie stayed with the band until she met her late husband and had a bouncing baby girl.
Years later Marcie was approached to write music for daytime television, which reenergized her musical career. After nearly 20 years of writing music for a daytime show that won over 8 Emmys, she changed paths as the networks started canceling shows.
You may wonder what inspired Marcie to create Penny & Tubs: One night she had a dream about a city on the sea that was full of magic and vivid colors. She mentioned the dream to a few friends and they encouraged her to create her first children’s book. Being the seasoned musician, the idea for the song soon followed. When asked about the City On The Sea, Marcie will tell you “I thought musical days were behind me, but apparently God has another plan for me. I cannot wait to share my dream with children and families everywhere.”
Vice President Vonnie Zerhusen – wife, mother, photographer, special education teacher and now author
Vonnie began her journey to teaching by first attending Western Kentucky University and ontained a degree in psychology. Her degree allowed her to work in a variety of community based programs that often revolved around local schools. While Vonnie loved the work that she was doing, she felt that her true calling was in advocating for all students to receive a high quality education.
In 2008, Vonnie graduated from Northern Kentucky University with certification in the areas of elementary education and special education. In May 2014 Vonnie earned a Master’s degree with an endorsement in the area of Gifted and Talented.
Director Tina Feder – singer, songwriter, recording and performance artist
Tina and Marcie May have been writing partners for over 10 years. Through this collaboration, the songs for Penny and Tubs are possible. She is influenced by music from all over the world. Writing children’s music has allowed her to create songs that incorporate unique sounds, with fun, simple lyrics, and a positive message.
Tina works as a family nurse practitioner in emergency medicine in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has a 19 year old daughter and lives in Covington, Kentucky.
Carol was raised in Northern Kentucky and attended Cincinnati State. Her many years in customer service, communication and the travel industry allowed her to travel and experience the many cultures of the world. When the first book was completed she became inspired with fresh new ideas. Now with the Penny and Tubs book series she is busy with the foundation in their creative department and is busy developing new products. She will tell you she loves to be crafty.
Tonia was born in Covington, Kentucky and graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor’s in Business Management and Marketing. When asked what first drew her to the Penny and Tubs Foundation, she stated she loved being able to use her creative side and her experience from being a substitute teacher. Her experience would allow her to use her expertise to promote literacy for children.
When she isn’t traveling, she lives with her husband in Durango, Colorado where she works fundraising and scheduling events for the Penny and Tubs foundation. You can also find her volunteering with her local Humane Society and Soup Kitchen. Her passion is helping others and making a difference one day at a time.
Betsey was born in Vincennes, Indiana and worked for the Department of Treasury for 30 years. She has lived all over the country and settled in the Northern Kentucky area. She is involved with the background work for Penny and Tubs Foundation and website. It gives her great joy to be part of the reading of the book at schools and other locations.
This has been a true labor of love and we hope you enjoy all the wonderful adventures of Penny and Tubs!