Installment 7 of “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie,” a Children’s Chapter Book

Thanks to everyone who has contacted us through WordPress or email saying that they are enjoying our blogging of Ian’s children’s chapter book, “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie.”  We’re still glowing from our great-grandson’s very positive endorsement of the book so far. I, Gayle, will try to be more diligent in getting the rest of the book’s chapters blogged (now that I am off crutches and my new hip is healing nicely) so that we will be able to get into production of the children’s book, hopefully by late spring.

At the same time as this book is being blogged, I’m deep into editing the next volume of Ian’s memoir or autobiographical stories which we are calling “Came to Canada, Eh? (Continuing a Scottish Emigrant’s Story.)” Those of you reading this blog would perhaps be interested in reading an excerpt from that as-yet-unpublished book which tells of Ian’s beginnings as a writer. He began with this very children’s book that we are now blogging.

To set the scene, Ian and his late wife have just moved back to Winnipeg (again). Ian is 63 years old and deciding to finally do what he has always wanted to do but never before found time for. Here’s a excerpt from “Came to Canada, Eh?”

“My whole life I had always wanted to write stories, but the situation was never the way I wanted it to be. Whenever, for example, I wrote a letter to anyone in the Old Country, I would end up sending about 14-16 pages—and I would get one page in reply. Finally, at age 63, I said to myself, ‘Ian, if you don’t start to write now, then you’ll never do it.’ So I sat down and, over a period of three evenings, wrote ‘My Friend Jimmy’. It was a children’s story about a budgie that had no wings—just 16 pages. But I had to write everything longhand. I asked Audrey [our daughter] to keep her eyes open for an old, cheap electric typewriter for me.

“’What do you want an electric typewriter for, Dad? You’ll be wasting your time. Why don’t you get a cheap computer; that’ll do the same thing only better for you?’

“Oh, that was a terrible word to use in front of an old codger like me—a computer? Sudden terror at the thought of even having one in front of me! Well, she eventually managed to convince me that that is what I should get. ‘You can pick one up dirt cheap, Dad. Do you want me to look for one for you?’

“It was a 286, black and white monitor, no hard drive, just two 3.5” floppy disks; but it was a start. I then became a little more ambitious—going to the library and getting out one of those foldout learn-to-type books that stands upright on edge (like a pyramid) and I started to learn to touch type. Me, an old . . . well, something. And I was improving too—starting to type simple sentences without looking at the keyboard. Pretty soon I got myself a 386 computer, then later it was up to a 486, and then a Pentium! Hey, who was that guy who said that the 286 was all he would ever need? I got the Mavis Beacon typing course (on a CD) and was able to calculate that I was up to more than 20 words a minute, even allowing for errors! ‘Not bad for an oldie,’ I thought.

“While I was improving on my typing, I rewrote my children’s story, and kept editing it until it started to look a lot better. I changed some of the contents and then sent it away to a publisher, knowing full well that he would grab it and tell me that it was the very best children’s story he had ever read. … Some hope! Soon I could just about paper the wall with rejections. ‘Never mind,’ I thought, ‘where there’s life, there’s hope.’ I put the story on file and went on to write other stories, thinking that I’d give “My Friend Jimmy” a try again at a later date. (Little was I to know that the later date would be lots later—about 17 years!)”

Much has happened since the years those words were written. Since then Ian was widowed, then remarried – this time to me (an editor). So we’ve now published three books and hope to have this children’s book finally published before long. Below is our blog of Chapter 7 plus two drawings we found on the computer of an “adolescent” raven whom Louie might have resembled.

Raven 1 Raven 2


by Ian Moore-Morrans

edited by Gayle Moore-Morrans

Copyright © 2012


Louie Gives Jake a BIG Problem

The next day was Saturday. Jake was at his local library first thing in the morning, waiting for the doors to open. Once inside, one of the staff helped him look for books about birds.

(The rest of the chapter’s content has been deleted prior to publication.)

* ~ * ~ *

Picture suggestions:  Louie standing on the ground and “talking” while looking up at Jake and Jimmy, who is on Jake’s shoulder.

Louie flapping his wings.


Calan, Leland, GrandpaWe’ve mentioned before that the children’s chapter book we have been blogging, “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie” is also being sent to two of our great-grandchildren for their comments as to the appropriateness of the writing for children ages 7-12 and also to perhaps receive some pictures they’d like to draw for the book. Just today we received some real affirmation that we are on the right track. Here is the message received from our 12-year-0ld great-grandson Leland along with a photo of Leland with his dad Calan and great-grandpa Ian taken last summer in Winnipeg.

“Hey grandma and grandpa i just finished reading the first six chapters of that book you sent me and it was one of the best books I’ve ever read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

‘and im also starting to draw  the  picture for the second chapter, but i just started it because i was reading for about an hour so my eyes are really stressed out right now so im going to go to bed and i will continue tomorrow!

‘but it is a really good book so-far “

Thanks to Leland. We don’t think we’ve ever had such a great review! 

Watch for the next chapter to be blogged tomorrow.


An interesting post from Xlibris publishers writer’s workshop is quoted below. This really resonated with me as I use references to music, especially the Scottish folk music I’ve been singing for years, in my autobiography “From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada.” I’ve also liked to whistle my favourite tunes while writing, or doing any other kind of work for that matter.

In the recent interview Gayle and I prepared for The Authors Show, the following question and answer were included:
” Q. You claim that musicianship is integral to your life. How is that reflected in your book?
A. When my wife/editor first read my story, she was struck by how much music was woven into the narrative. She encouraged me to expand on those instances, leading me to quote from songs or to fill out descriptions of the song connections with my own story. For instance, when I am describing my hometown Campbeltown, I mentioned the folk-song made most popular in the ‘60s by Scottish folk-singer Andy Stewart: ‘Campbeltown Loch, I Wish Ye Were Whisky.’ We were unsuccessful in getting permission to quote the whole song in my narrative. So the next best thing was to show how it impacted my life and then paraphrase the verses.
I eventually wrote the following: ‘As we were growing up, three or four of us boys would go arm in arm down the street singing the first few words—‘Campbeltown Loch, I wish ye were whisky’—that’s all we knew at the time. I like to think that Andy (Stewart) heard those few words sometime in Campbeltown and created a song around them. ‘Oh, Campbeltown Loch, I wish ye were whisky, Campbeltown Loch, och aye! Campbeltown Loch I wish ye were whisky, I would drink ye dry!’
‘The verses cleverly have the singer imagining how nice it would be if the loch were full up to the brim with whisky and he could anchor a yacht in the whisky-filled bay to go in for a nip and a dip ‘by night and by day.’ Clan gatherings would feature wading into the loch with toasts of ‘slainte bva’ (meaning ‘good health’). The only problem would be the police showing up in a boat and shouting, ‘Time, Gentlemen, please!’
‘I find this a fitting tongue-in-cheek ode to a town that once boasted of 30 distilleries and still produces at least two very fine brands of single malt whisky – Springbank and Glen Scotia.’”

Xlibris Presents How to Lure Your Muse with Music and Other Quirks

We’d be interested in hearing what other writers use to stimulate their creativity and to set an appropriate mood for writing. Why or how does music, the position you assume to write (standing/lying/sitting/reclining), your manner of clothing, the time of day, alcohol use, or other quirk or muse impact your writing? We’d love to hear from you.

Gayle mentions that in her magazine and program editing days, she always used a background of classical music to set an atmosphere appropriate to what she was editing. She recalls specifically editing a four-session Bible study on the Book of Revelation. Her background music? Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

Installment 6 of “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie,” a Children’s Chapter Book

Here, finally, is Chapter 6 of the children’s Chapter Book we are blogging. Our great-grandson, Leland, who just turned 12, is acting as a consultant on the story to let us know if the story reads appropriately for kids ages 7 – 12, and our great-granddaughter, Hannah, age 7, has consented to draw some pictures to go with each chapter. We’re looking forward to hearing from them.This photo of a newborn baby bird will give Hannah an idea of how the baby bird first called “Thing” might have looked.   raven chick ugly

This blogging has taken longer than we had hoped but the blogger (Gayle) is still on crutches recovering from left hip replacement surgery on February 7th. I hope to be off the two crutches in another week and a half and then on to one crutch for a short time and working into walking with a cane. All is going well but doing anything takes a great deal of time and I also spend a lot of time doing my exercises. Deanna, my physiotherapist just paid another house visit today and left me with a new set of a bit more difficult exercises – very helpful but a bit exhausting, too.

We hope you will continue to enjoy the story. Please give us any feedback you think helpful as the book is still in the pre-publication phase.


by Ian Moore-Morrans

edited by Gayle Moore-Morrans

Copyright © 2012


“Thing” Becomes “Louie”

raven chick hungryIt was good that the owner of “Bill’s Budgie Barn” knew all about caring for baby birds, not just budgies—but even wild birds.

(The rest of the chapter’s contents has been deleted prior to publication.)

Picture suggestions:

A black chick with its mouth open (see photo sample above).  or

Jake holding and feeding the baby chick some water from an eye dropper, while little Jimmy is perched on Jake’s shoulder.