Thank you so much for your support in the past and now with my latest book, Santa and the Missing Christmas Bells! http://www.amazon.com/Santa-Missing-Christmas-Bells-Donna/dp/0989921328/This was a fun book to write. Here’s how it started. Our daughter Laura is very talented. www.lauramaelove.com (You know her art from my book, Morning Glory, Why Do You Sleep at Night? and she also illustrated Santa, too.) (Actually, our other two children are talented, too, but in different ways.) Laura is a skilled artist, but she is also a fabulous musician. She would make up songs when she was very young. Once, when she was three, she was singing and singing in her car seat and pretty soon she called out to me, “Mommy, did you like my song?” I enthusiastically said, yes that I did. She thought for a moment and said, “I’ve never heard it before!”
She wrote her first song down to music when she was four years old. She had a little electronic keyboard with color coded keys. She made up a song and then colored the corresponding notes on a piece of paper so she could play the song over. It was a very long song that filled up the whole paper. (I kept it for her and recently gave it to her.) The paper wouldn’t stand up for her, so she glued it onto a piece of cardboard and then she could set it against something like her bed or a wall and play the song. We had a guitar and a piano at home and she always plunked on those, too. Later, she took three years of piano lessons from 1st through 3rd grade. But they weren’t progressing fast enough for her (plus she was a song writer, not a song player) and she talked us into letting her quit. (Sometimes I regret that.) But, from then on she played her way through our lives, writing songs and playing them for us. She often played for her high school concerts. One year she played a song that her and her friend, Andrew wrote on the xylophone, and then went over and played the same song on the piano. I didn’t even know she knew how to play the xylophone! She learned it on her own at school. (Even today she has taught herself many other instruments.) That performance is on You-tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3J4JEoKZjRc and I linked it here so you can watch it. I always wondered how she could do that – it seemed magical to me. (In fact, the music teacher at the high school’s name was Mr. Green, so I gave him an advanced copy of the book last year, and asked him if I could use his name in the story since it fit the whole Christmas theme and he said yes.) From then on, the story line for the book started to take shape in my head. (Our daughter graduated from high school in 2006.)
A couple year’s later I heard the song, “I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day,” on a CD I bought of children’s Christmas Sing-a-long music and I fell in love with that song. It is so heart wrenching and heart warming at the same time. About that same time, our youngest son played the drums at his senior year Christmas concert (2010). Laura’s long ago piano teacher played long cylinder bells hanging from a large stand. My story line was added, too. (Now some might say that I thought of the story from the bell group that formed in our small town about that same time, and I did think about my story when I watched them play once and it helped add to it, just as watching years of small town grade school Christmas concerts did, but the story really began much earlier than that in my head.)
I was between projects in 2012 when I started to set the story down on paper. After that, it just developed itself. While my daughter illustrated the book throughout a year’s time, I sent the manuscript to several publishers. No takers. So, I decided to independently publish on Amazon it just as I had Morning Glory. After all, I’m just as much an expert on Christmas as any one else. Sometimes I think about what publishing name I’d use if I made one up like many self-publishers do. I think it will be, “Too Old to Wait On Traditional Publishing Companies.” After all, I am going to be 60 next year. However, I will still look for publishing companies for most of my books. I just don’t need one for these kinds of stories.
I also gave advance copies out to my family last Christmas and my little sister asked, “How did you come up with the word, Nelf?” That came about when I was trying to think of a way to combine Human and Elf. I played around with all the letters in the words and when I got to the last letter in Human, it was an obvious choice. Maybe you have talented “nelves” in your family, too.
Anyway, long story short, the story is now in book form and ready to purchase from Amazon or on Kindle. If you like the book, be sure to go to Amazon, and if so moved, write a review. I think it will make a great book for special needs children (even at high school level) to read on Kindle.
By the way, my first book signing for the book is going to be at Green Ribbon Books in Missoula, at 829 S. Higgins Ave. on Friday, November 6 from 5-7:00. http://www.greenribbonbooks.com All proceeds from that sale I’m going to donate to Watson Children’s Center, A Place for Children in Crisis. http://watsonchildrensshelter.org/
My next in the series is “Santa and the Missing Reindeer,” which is forming on paper at this time and may be available next year – maybe. Can you guess who the new main character is?