To Whomever Is In Charge

of the universe:

Where there is any pain, hurt, upset, bad things happening, broken hearts, loss, grief, and all the other terrible stuff humans must endure, let there be music. Specifically, let there be people who play music for their audiences who love what they do, who understand how important their job is. All the hope, healing, and positivity I needed were served up family style last night at Sumter Theater. It was a very hard week with a perfect ending.

Mark Irwin, you were wonderful. The folks around us were talkers, so we couldn’t hear all of your stories, but did glean your story about your last son being born, and that you are going to the studio and record again. I have yet to introduce myself to you, but plan to some day. Our fathers were best of friends when they both worked at the Omaha World Herald for a lifetime each. My dad’s been gone for 34 years, and yours for ten. As you stood talking to someone before you were set up to perform, I had a sort of flashback. You stood with your hands on your hips, talking. In that instant, I saw your dad standing there. No, I’m not a weirdo. Your posture reminded me of him the very few times I ever saw him as a child. I thought you’d like to know that. My dad had so much respect for him.

Let these people gather to teach children their skills and their joy with music, let the children learn and be confident to be onstage at a young age, say 14 1/2, and have the knowledge they can play a Clapton song, and do it darned well. Great job, Ciaran McGuigan. Your skills amaze me, and I cannot wait to see how you progress. Max Meyer, well done! Not only your playing onstage, but you are imparting your knowledge to kids who act as sponges to absorb it all. How awesome!

Evelyn Hill not only belts out a song with a gigantic voice, she dances across the stage to show you she means business! I love to see you perform with the group, wherever they are, whatever they’re doing. Go see her, folks. She’ll knock your socks off.

The sax section was even choreographed a little, good job, guys. The strings! Oh my, both of these sections are what these songs need to be heard as their creators intended. All the sounds help draw out all the feelings the musicians have and can play; and the audience feels it.

Ryan McGuigan, you are always a presence onstage, and last night was no exception. Your performance had not only your usual, but you have a bounce to your step, and an extra happy smile these days. Life must be treating you well. You deserve that.

Matthew McGuigan, your arranging and composition of a new intro for Billy’s song about Cartney was on fire. It had quite a kick to it, and you made all of those songs sound like they should. I love your singing, you should do more!

Billy announced they had an all girl stage crew! Girl Power! Those ladies knew what they were about, and they did it all in fine fashion. Cartney McGuigan managing backstage, Kate, Carly, and the other young lady (so sorry, I didn’t retain your name), you were always right on, in addition to taking care of merch ahead of the show. They all were having a blast, too.

The drummer (another name I didn’t catch) is top-shelf. He rocks it out like no one I’ve seen before. Look forward to seeing you perform again.

Kathy Kersey, Kate, it was good to talk briefly with you, too. You both add a lot to all that goes on there. Thanks for all you do.

And Billy. Once again, you delivered in a huge way. Your music made life brighter and more positive last night. Keep on doing what you’re doing. You keep getting better at it, and I don’t know how. It’s a gift. It’s also a lot of hard work. No one gave this all to you. You, Ryan, and Matthew have worked harder than anyone realizes to be where you are today. And you’re going to keep soaring. And thanks for all you do. Until the next time. Rock On!

The Hope in Music

People can talk about how rough the Pandemic, lock-down, and ensuing time has been on us. We are supposed to be nearly back to normal now. After that rough time, I deemed Billy McGuigan and his brothers, (international touring entertainers living right here in Nebraska) Ryan and Matthew, to be the cure for COVID. They were the first live show we saw, socially distanced, after the long quarantine. It restored my hope in life continuing.

Once again, last night we attended the last show, “Don’t Stop Me Now,” in a 3-show run at the beautiful Sumtur Amphitheater, in Papillion, just down the highway from us. (Do I sound like a small town-girl?). Only when I heard the fantastic band play and cast sing did I realize how off I’ve been from all the constant bad news this year; the children killed everywhere while at school, the economy, prices spiraling out of control. My soul has been given hope again. The hope there is in music.

For the first time in my memory, the show had an emcee other than Billy, who emceed the first night. The second night, Julie Cornell, of KETV Newswatch 7 emceed, followed on Saturday by her co-anchor, Rob McCartney. They are both great people in the community and regular people. He added some humor about the huge storm that passed through about an hour before showtime.

The show’s musical director was Matthew McGuigan. He had a different presence onstage last night. He is a genius with music anyway, and was much more animated last night. He comes up with some really fantastic arrangements; they make full use of the vocal ranges the women and men have. It is a thing of real beauty to all your senses. And the instrumental parts are always top shelf. What will he think of next? Great things, I’m sure.

Not only did I regain hope in the world, but seeing all these younger people Billy has brought into his talent pool are all so good, so full of promise. They will carry the torch of hope forward for all of us. Each night of this three gig run, a student from the McGuigan Arts Academy selected one student to be featured with the band as a lead guitar solo. Last night was a young man named Miles. He was fantastic! Had his first band photo taken and posted. He played well, and, most important, he had the rock-star-head-motion to move his massive head of hair out of his eyes. That’s the critical part, boys and girls! The header photo is his very first band photo!

I’m delighted to see Cartney McGuigan co-wrote this production, utilizing her love of all things acting and singing. She also was the best stage manager (giving Kate Whitecotton a chance to sit and enjoy the show!). Here’s a link to their website, to read about all the great performers; Erika Hall Sieff, Nina Washington, Evelyn Hill. Jesse White, Ejanae Hume, and Julian Hinrichs. Check out the other shows scheduled for this year; Willie Wonka, Pop Rock Orchestra, Yesterday and Today. It’s the real deal, folks. See these shows. All of them. You will love these people as I grown to.

Below, I believe was one of the first time Ciaran McGuigan performed with dad, Billy. I share this because you see the young man, feel he’s a bit nervous, but is determined to do this. Glances to his band mates help. The beautiful Beatles song, Yesterday. It’s from December 8, 2019.

It All Starts Somewhere





Now that your eyes are sweating, fast forward to last night. In this photo, to the left, the young man with the red guitar, is also Ciaran. I feel like a grandma (well, I guess I am one) saying I cannot believe how he’s grown! Not only in stature, and maturity, but also in guitar playing. He is to be watched, believe me!

Ciaran has the red guitar. And he has a collection to switch off with, too. He’s as tall as his Dad & uncles! (sorry guys, it had to happen).

Check out McGuigan Arts Academy. If you kid is going to have any kind of lessons, they may as well learn from the best.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, guys. Know that your hard work is appreciated so very much. You do what gives me hope for life again. Go see them, wherever they travel. billymcguigan.com is where you can find schedules for all things related to these guys. If you live in Iowa or Nebraska, he’ll be at Davies Amphitheater July 9. Well worth the $15 at the door. And it’s a beautiful place, too. Perfect even if it’s hot outside.

It’s a humid, hot day in Nebraska. So glad the show didn’t get rained/stormed/tornadoed out last night. Figure out what your dreams are and follow them! They could lead you somewhere fantastic! I’m making time to get back to mine, and I’m much better when I’m creating. Gonna be a great week! See you tomorrow.

Yesterday . . . and Today

It was a good day yesterday. And it was a fantastic night at Yesterday and Today. The Babe and I have seen this interactive Beatles experience every year since I think 2014. No two shows have ever been the same, since the requests submitted by the audience drive the set list. What a very creative and clever idea. And every year, it seems as if the McGuigan brothers cannot top what they’ve just done. You even get a lovely parting gift with this show.

That challenge is always accepted by Billy, Ryan, and Matthew. Their talent and performance pays tribute to their departed Dad, who died when they were pretty young. In fact, he was pretty young; 42. They learned Beatles songs as toddlers and now make a living performing those songs. Not impersonation, but real guys singing music their Dad loved. It’s a tender tribute that now follows into the next generation. Billy’s son Ciaran is an already accomplished guitarist while not even in high school yet. Watch out, Omaha! There’s some upcoming talent here. Think Clapton. Seriously.

Other band changes include adding horns and strings; most recordings from that fantastic era included these instruments. Why not on stage with the guys who do the Beatles justice, each and every time they pick up their instruments and sing? These guys are the Kings of “Why Not?”

Last year, Ryan made quite the theatrical entrance while performing, “I Am the Walrus,” complete with a gas mask. This year, he has a cool hooded crocheted sweater he wore over his John Lennon style “New York City” t-shirt. Ryan, did someone make it for you? It was pretty cool. Only you could carry it off, too. You can tell he’s an actor at heart. He’s a blast to watch and wonder what he’ll do next. It’s a gift.

Billy’s gift, in my opinion, is the adaptability to get through anything that challenges him, and I believe that true onstage and off. His humor is off the wall and off the cuff. Or is it? It sure appears that way. I think he’s a pretty funny guy. Speaking of funny guys, Max Meyer plays a mean cowbell. He get the crowd revved for sure. I do believe he’s pretty proud of that. You’ll find out why. Go see the show. He has another surprise for you, too. Go see the show. Dying to tell you what it is, but won’t join this special surprise.

Matthew is such a professional, always steady and just enjoying the musical moments. I believe he is a very talented arranger, and can arrange things in such a manner you wonder why the original song didn’t go that way in the first place. The knowledge he has must be unparalleled. It’s his gift. There is always a seemingly “quiet one” of the groups. The Beatles had George, and The McGuigan’s have Matthew. And that’s a very good thing.

Your Christmas gift to any music lover should be going to this show. Even if you’re not a Beatles fan, you will be a McGuigan Brothers fan. Go see the show. You’ll love it. The first Christmas, the Baby Jesus had three wise men, bearing gifts. This Christmas, Omaha has three wise men named McGuigan, bearing their gifts. The Celestial Star they follow is their Dad, who shines upon them. Go see the show. The Slowdown is an awesome venue for them to call home.

Monday, Monday

It’s amazing when an idea starts to talk to you in your dreams, when you’re in the subconscious stage of waking up, your fleeting thought becomes your great idea. Then you start to think about how to make this great idea happen. I’m at that stage with my idea for Grandma Kathy.

With working on two different projects in two different genres, I’ve studied all the info I can find about promoting two different types of books. As two different authors, even though I’m both of those. This is where Jewell Publishing LLC comes in.

Jewell Publishing LLC is the home to both Grandma Kathy and Kathy Jewell Raabe. Grandma Kathy will write children’s books and read them. I plan to get permission, if necessary, to read other children’s books and upload the videos to YouTube. It’s made me very sad to learn modern parents often don’t have 15 minutes (max) to read to their babies/toddlers before bed. They cannot spare the time. If they don’t have the time to experience this beautiful bond building activity, it makes me sad. I get it, people are busy. Not being critical, I can’t imagine both working full time and having babies/toddlers to raise. I was a stay at home mom until my daughter was three. Then I divorced and became a single mom. I get it.

In business, as well as in life, the key is being dynamic. You have to be. If I were to be critical of young parents who don’t have time to read to their little ones , I’d never sell a book. I’d like to create something useful to young parents with children. If they need a little time to entertain their child while getting them settled at night, why not have them watch a video of a Grandma-type person such as myself, reading a lovely story. It could work, having people download videos of various books, with myself reading them.

Of course, I’d need some tutoring on how to video myself reading, making them available on my website page, Grandma Kathy for free. When it gets to my own books, I’d need to charge for download, in addition to making the physical book available for those who still want them. This blog is my informal announcement of what I plan to do early next year, hopefully during the first quarter. What a way to spend the winter, learning something else new!

I’m working on planning by kid book rollouts, they may be altogether, maybe one, then two together. I need to look at all the options first. But this establishes it as my idea, and what I plan to do. Hey, maybe McGuigan Arts Academy will have a how to class for adults, or folks just getting started, like me! They’re sure great examples of taking risks for great ideas. Thanks, Billy and Kate. You’re all the best!

Risks are in this life for the taking. It’s a great thing to learn. And I’m grateful I learned it. Hope you all have a beautiful evening. We’ll see each other tomorrow, my friends. Keep reading. Or listening. However you get your books. Just take time.

Kind of a Big Deal

Well. Look at us here on an overcast Monday morning at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. We’re about to get back into a routine, I think. It needs to be a different routine, however. Instead of concentrating on my kidlit, it’ll be my novel.

Why? You may ask. Because I sent Chapter One of “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons,” to the panel of the Nebraska Writers Guild for publication in their annual anthology. It’s a collection of member’s works. It’s how I found the Guild in the first place. The Babe and I were driving back from visiting granddaughter Kayla, and we stopped at a rest area. They sold books, etc. I saw the anthology for that year and purchased it. It started me looking to create opportunities.

By the way, I received an e-mail Friday telling me my Chapter would be published in this year’s anthology. How exciting is that? I’m honored, proud, and humbled, all at the same time. And those of you friends I’ve tagged need to know you’ve all helped me get to this point. The support from all of you is phenemonal. Yes, all of you. If you read, or liked something I posted, whether it a blog post or FB post, it’s all been encouraging. I can’t thank you enough. And Billy and Kate – Thanks for letting me learn the, “Just because it’s never been done,” philosophy. My life is full of doing things never done before. Out of “order.” As a late bloomer.

That said, now the work load needs to shift (I believe the word now is “Pivot”), and we’ll be closer to the end of the book at the end of 2021. We’ve reached a milestone, friends. I’m really beside myself! Thank you all, for reading, encouraging, feedback, and all of you who read quietly in the background (No, General Dennis Luke from Nigeria, who lives in Saudi Arabia now, and asks me to send him a friend request, no, not your kind of background reading!) Don’t be a creeper, or creepy.

Tomorrow is the annual pilgrimage to Hobby Lobby for Mom, so I’d better get extra rest tonight! Just can’t shake this allergy/asthma flareup. So again, I look forward to a new day tomorrow. It’s going to be a great week! Thanks for reading, I’ll see you tomorrow!

Miss Tara Vaughn! She Rocks!

With the sadness hanging over Omaha today for the loss of Corporal Deagan Page USMC, and the Anniversary of 9/11, we need a break. We need a respite. We have one available at the Sumter Ampitheater right now. Go, you’ll become cheered up and healed. From your seat, you will take a trip down memory lane to have your musical life flash before your eyes!

Thursday night, Tara Vaughn opened her She Rocks show at Sumter Ampitheater. I went alone this time, as the Babe had an Honor Guard Meeting at the Post. I didn’t mind going alone, I was there to listen to Tara, not chit chat, you know? As it was just what I needed. It got me through the last couple days. That’s the thing about music. It’s always there. It never deserts you in your lowest point.

Tara’s voice is so rich and has such a depth to it, it’s mesmerising. She can belt out a Janis Joplin song as easily and fully as a Petula Clark song. If you have no idea who these ladies are/were, your parents didn’t love you. They didn’t share part of music’s legacy with you.

Tara has become braver each year with her show (except last year, which didn’t happen – COVID, you know. Oh! And Tara got a cat. You had to be there!) This year, she added more 90s songs to the show, and they were enjoyable. I’m not sure my kids listened to No Doubt. One was into Heavy Metal, one into Pointer Sisters, Boy Bands, etc., the other into Grunge. The stuff I heard from their rooms made quite the noise when they were all still at home. I enjoyed Tara’s walk down her own memory lane. It served as an education into a genre/era I’m not familiar with.

Talk about social distancing! I had the first three rows to myself! I chose the opening night, which was a Thursday, as one that would be less crowded. By the time a few more folks see it, you will clamor to get tickets. It’s a great experience. And it will lighten your soul, as it did mine. Tara had two new members in her band; and I was so glad to see Natalie Thomas Hughes back again. She just became a new Mama, and she wears it well. Her voice goes so well with Tara, and it’s pure joy to watch and hear them together.

Another change from before, Max Meyer was not on Lead Guitar, but I did not catch the young lady’s name. She had a good time. Watching her was fun. And the drummer Adam had a great time. Matthew McGuigan always has the serious, intent on the music look, but you can catch him looking at his brother and can tell they are communicating. They just “get” each other. Ryan McGuigan is a wonder with not only all sorts of percussion instruments, but guitar as well. He lets you know he’s there. Love watching Matthew and him perform. For the first time, the male and female band member count is equal! Don’t think I’ve noticed that before. It was just fun.

Folks, just order some tickets. You can take a picnic with you to enjoy on the lawn seating. Or you can have a comfy stadium chair. But go. Here’s a link to Eventbrite for you to buy tickets. Heres a collage or pics from the night I went. I was so into the music, relaxing and enjoying, I forgot to take pictures! Go, have fun. And I’ll see you tomorrow!

Summer Sunday

Last night. What a soul healing experience for the Babe and me. We attended Billy McGuigan’s Pop Rock Orchestra concert at Sumter Ampitheater in Papillion, Nebraska. It was cancelled last Saturday due to impending bad weather (thank you, Kate Whitecotton!), and could redeem our tickets last night. Of course, that’s what we did.

The music, of course, was stellar. We’ve seen this show every summer since its inception. It has experienced some changes and probably attracts a larger audience being more pop and rock from the 50s through the 80s. Once again, my life flashed before my eyes! Many of these songs were recorded with full blown orchestras. They were meant to include brass (saxaphones are my favorite) and strings. I didn’t catch the names of these very talented musicians, but they were wonderful. The ladies on strings strutted on stage barefoot and took their places. It just spoke summer, outdoors under the stars!

Jesse White joined the ensemble and he is exceptional. We saw him in Hegwid and the Angry Inch earlier this year; he is one to be watched. With the musicians assembled last night, he will do very well. He did a Buddy Holly duet with Billy, and it was mind blowing. I’m so sorry we missed his debut as Buddy Holly in the Buddy Holly Story, produced by Billy and Kate. Next year, the Omaha Series must include it! (Please)!

Although Billy and the orchestra played some of his original music (not nearly enough, IMHO), the rock and roll of our youth really shone. Two of my favorite songs of all time were out of this world. “Good Lovin,'” by the Young Rascals (later the Rascals), was spot on. My heart felt as young as when I first heard in in 1966. I was just out of eighth grade, on my way to high school. It brought back the innocence of youth. After a hard week (another friend lost their husband), we needed this night. We needed the music to heal our hearts. And it did.

The other favorite? “Gimme Some Lovin’.” Steve Winwood with The Spencer Davis Group never disappoints. Neither does Billy. Ever. Whatever he does, you leave thinking, “That was so perfect, it just can’t get any better.” And somehow, with McGuigan Magic, it does. Every. Single. Time. I want to write that way. I want to be as good an author as he is with his music. It’s inspiring, besides healing.

The thing that struck me this time out? The intense sense of family. We saw Ryan and his lady friend as audience members. It was fun to watch his reaction to the performance. All he an Billy have to do is look at each other, and you see the love. It was good to see him having fun and living life. It has to be way different watching v participating. He mimiced some fancy footwork and percussion work while dancing in his seat. And Matthew, he keeps playing, whether guitar or keyboard, he keeps going. I love his playing. His beautiful rendition of “My Girl,” reflects his love for his wife. It’s another favorite and I love how he does it. You just can’t beat MOTOWN.

Young Ciaran, Billy’s son, is a rock star in the eighth grade! His guitar lessons from Max are worth millions. (Sorry, Billy). He’s not only getting the tunes down well, he’s developing his showmanship at the same time. What a kick for him, to perform live AND rock out his spotlight solos. He even turned around and played his guitar behind his back and up on his shoulders. I hope I’m around when he’s about 30 years old and he’s still in music, he’s just going to improve. The girls are going to swoon, (or do a Tik-Tok video). As his selection of a song last night he chose an Eric Clapton song. I told you he’s unbelievable! It was “After Midnight.” Enough said. Wow.

I had to laugh, Max’s Mom, Roxann Rodgers Meyer, posted the perfect rebuttal to all those folks crowded into Memorial Stadium to see Garth Brooks (Garth who?). She shared she was not at Memorial Stadium, but she was at SumTur Theater rocking out to Billy McGuigan and Max Meyer. With family. No better place for families to be, friends. I saw Cartney from afar with family members, too. Generations with appreciation for our local musicians. And none of us were disappointed. They’re worth far more than the price of admission, in my mind.

Although the McGuigan family hugs helped these men grow up through many bad things in life, they still do the hugs they thought corny. Bill, their dad, had them group and hug while telling them, “These people, these are the ones that love you and will always be there for you.” I’m going to do one of those hugs with my girlfriends who are now widows. And with our kids. And my brothers. And I’m going to thank God for this example. It’s a keeper for sure. Just like their music is. And them, too.

If you’re in the area, you can attend the last of this series at SumTur Ampitheater, at 118th and Hwy 370. Just past Papillion South High School. It’ll be another beautiful night. It was our first visit for a concert, and we’re sure to be back. Tickets still available. Your week will be better for it.

The Fifth of July, 2019; A Look Back

Two years ago, the most terrible thing happened. It tore my heart out. But it led me to blogging every day to deal with the pain. The guilt. All the things that go with losing a pet whose time was nowhere ready.

And now? Nearly 700 blog posts later, we have over 300 followers. And that sad happening is about to become my first book. Cartney’s and my first book. I’ve seen her first drawing of Roxie, and it’s perfect. Cart, you outdid yourself already and it was just the cover! I can hardly wait to see the rest of the illustrations.

That said, I’ll just share that first post on my blog that started all the storytelling. It was a huge step, and I owe it to grief. I owe it to that naughty, inquisitive, barky, loving, crazy little white puppy. She was so sickly and tiny (less than four pounds!) when she came to live with us. Her mama was sick. Her sister Lexie was ony four pounds. And so it began. Lots of naughty puppy stories, but she loved our Gavin like nobody’s business. Maybe because they both could be naughty. Together. They were best of friends.

Read on, friends. And have a beautiful day. Read about The Little White Puppy right here. Thank you for being here with us today. Hug your pups. And your people. See you tomorrow!

A Sunday to Celebrate!

I’ve shared with you about the great day I had yesterday. If you didn’t see it, here it is. The day got even better! We got to see these guys with the Omaha Symphony. If you know me at all, you know I love these guys, and the lovely Tara Vaughn. Since it’s been awhile, let me re-introduce you. From the left, Matthew McGuigan, Tara Vaughn, Larell Ware, Ciaran McGuigan, Ryan McGuigan, Darren Pettit, Max Meyer, and Billy McGuigan. A couple guys are new, but they fit with the band like a glove. It’s like they all have McGuigan lessons before they join, yet they all are great on their own. All these musicians are multi-talented. They are all huge personalities. Ciaran is in training, taking guitar lessons from Max at the McGuigan Arts Academy in Omaha. He is indeed learning from the best.

Most of the country is open after COVID-19. Omaha has let it’s Mask Mandate expire. Yes, we’ve heard conflicting information, but the Babe and I had both vaccinations, and consider ourselves safe. I believe all these maskless marauders below had the shots, too. Tara Vaughn hasn’t performed with her boys since pre-pandemic, I believe. It was so good to see her back, and hear her strong, beautiful, resonant voice again. These guys are great alone, but now, the band is indeed back together! It became time to unleash this energy on Omaha again.

And it was epic! The sign on the door of the beautiful Holland Center said masks were suggested. We took note of that, and once inside, saw the majority of folks maskless. I’ve never been in jail to be let out of it (except in Monopoly), but it felt like getting out of jail. We were free for the first time in a very long, time.

The conductor for the Symphony had a spring in his step all evening, too. To hear the hits of the era we grew up in was so cool. They sounded so good with a live symphony to back them. One violin player had a constant smile on her face. She enjoyed it, too! The other members kept their stoic faces. Lots of toe-tapping going on, just not smiling. The music filled the heavens of downtown Omaha. I’m sure their Dad Bill McGuigan, had a front row seat from heaven. I wonder what that is like? If I get there someday, I’ll have to ask him. Remind me of that, ok?

I think I’m speaking the God’s honest truth when I tell you it was so apparant these musicians all enoyed performing with each other for the first time in a long time. Their faces were extra-jubiliant. Their execution was right on! Their knowing looks cast at each other and smiles told you you were seeing them at their best. And with these people, you can be sure of that.

We plan on seeing every show they have planned, whether in Omaha, Glenwood, or Papillion. Go to their website and get tickets for the summer series. You will never go away disappointed. If you disagree, we cannot be friends. Go see them. The sooner the better. You’ll be set free, too.

Thanks for reading. Take care out there. Enjoy the fresh air. See you tomorrow!

What? #500 Words?

What’s today’s challenge? Consider where, and how to cut words after Cartney illustrates our KidLit Book. It’s a challenge. A timely e-mail came from Brooke/Journey to KidLit. She tells me the industry standard for a picture book is 500. Most/Many have over 1,000 words. As it sits now, mine is 1,617.

Cartney mentioned to me about the number of words in my current draft. I love her honesty and ability to speak up to me, and be kind while doing it. I truly felt like I was working with an equal, we’re both new to publishing a book. BTW, my illustrator is graduating from high school today. How fun! Congratulations, Cartney!

Happy Graduation Day, Cartney!

This e-mail further explains to me what I need to do as a writer. From the very beginning, I’ve known I will cut words out as illustrations will make them unnecessary. Now, I’m going to remove passive voice, making it active. Easier said than done!

To use a word our friend, Lenny Leavitt almost coined, I need to do a “word-ectomy” to my story. It might be a little painful, but the story will heal and be much better with fewer words. The idea of a picture book, after all, is to let the pictures tell the story. Lenny adds “ectomy” to “foot” to explain a pedicure. Maybe I could get some great words from him! Maybe for the novel. Not now. I don’t want kids confused.

My Challenge for this weekend, before Cartney begins illustrating.

Another hint from Brooke @ KidLit is to always show action above anything else. And each page needs to feature something different to keep a kid’s interest. I have plenty of kid books to look at for “how to do this.” I collected them like crazy for the Grandkids. They’re some of my favorites, I’ve even found some of the books I had for my kids. They’re fun to read to the Grands. And soon, I may be reading them to practice for making a video of parts of “ROXIE! What Are You Doing?” Grandma Kathy may be going “Hollywood.”

Oh dear, what have I gotten myself into?

I’m just joking. I know perfectly well what I’ve gotten myself into. It never occurred to me I’d really make this opportunity for myself. I’m going to publish my kid book! All the pieces are falling into place; at the same time, I’m learning creative ways to make myself seen and heard among the avalanche of books that are out there. How do I stand out?

I think Grandma Kathy needs to read books (any good books, not just mine!) to kids on video. It might be a substitute for when Mom or Dad are busy and cannot read to their littles. It might be a way to stand out. I think it’s worth a try. Kate Whitecotton of RAVE ON Productions, I may be asking you some questions soon!

So even after the Babe having a fall off a ten foot ladder, a small brain bleed we’re watching, and me serving as his UBER driver for the next few weeks, It’s been a very productive week. My words are all in the manuscript text boxes, I’m going to flag the ones I’m going to omit (for Cartney) and we’ll see what happens next. This is pretty exciting. Thanks for being here with me today and every day. We’ll see each other tomorrow, eary again! I love writing in the morning. It’s so much easier, my brain isn’t so cluttered. Take Care. Be Kind.