[Pen and Ink Artist: See pen & ink HOME PORTRAITS for my art portfolio]
Freelance Writer: Creating the WRITE words for you!
MY WRITING CREDITS
PUBLISHED ARTICLES AND STORIES – FOR CHILDREN
- Article revealing the identity of the real Carolyn Keene:
Read (or listen to!) this article at this Highlights link: https://www.highlightskids.com/audio-story/uncovering-ghost-nancy-drew
Exciting News: Recently, I was delighted to find this fun audio read-aloud version of my Nancy Drew story online. You can listen to it here: https://www.highlightskids.com/audio-story/uncovering-ghost-nancy-drew
This story has also been used as part of educational reading comprehension testing, Building Stamina. Here’s a link where you can read my piece as a student lesson/with questions sample: http://www.peopleseducation.com/show/file.php?id=1375
- Biographical article about Olympic Skater, Sonja Henie:
- “Daring Dani and the Case of the Baffling Yellow Sticky Notes,” fiction purchased by Highlights for Children April 2011, awaiting publication
_____________________________ PUBLISHED INSPIRATIONAL
- Includes a second publishing of my story, “Can’t Believe I did that!” (Personal experience story from childhood, about how caring too much what others think can sometimes cause us to make wrong decisions.)
Be the Best You Can Be… Published March 2015
Inspiring new compilation of stories to encourage children and young people in working towards goals, choosing good values and treating others with compassion.
Read my story at this link: http://www.chickensoup.com/book-story/159278/i-can-t-believe-i-did-that
- “In the Merry Month of Mae,” (Personal experience story of one season when an elderly guest of lively character and heart brought fresh Christmas joy to our home), Lifeways’ MatureLiving Magazine, to be published December 2013
Think Positive for Kids , on sale October 29, 2013!
101 True Stories for Kids 7 – 13 – about good decisions, self esteem and positive thinking
Read my story at this link: http://www.chickensoup.com/book-story/159278/i-can-t-believe-i-did-that
101 Joyful Stories about the Love, Fun and Wonder of the Holidays
Read my story, “Angel Unawares,” at this link: http://www.chickensoup.com/book-story/34076/81-angel-unawares
- “Angel of Calm” (Personal experience story) Angels Among Us/Chicken Soup for the Soul, published January 1, 2013, available at bookstores and with online booksellers
101 Inspirational Stories of Miracles, Faith, and Answered Prayers
Celestial, otherworldly, heavenly. Whatever the term, sometimes there is no earthly explanation for what we experience, and a higher power is clearly at work. In this book of 101 inspirational stories, contributors share their personal angel experiences of faith, miracles, and answered prayers. You will be awed and inspired by these true personal stories. ~ Editors at Chicken Soup for the Soul
Read my story, “Angel of Calm,” at the following link: http://www.chickensoup.com/node/32017
FUN FACT as of JUNE 2013: This book is currently #13 on the Adult Non-Fiction Overall Religion Bestseller List !
- Article “Sharing Our Homes, Sharing God’s Word,” Calvary Life, Published by Calvary Life, calvary.org, January 2013
Tells the true story of the “Divine Appointment” friendship between an exchange student and her Bible study mentor
(To read this one, click on the image to enlarge)
Article, Published by Pray! Magazine March/April 2003:
__________________________ CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS COPY
The following links offer just a sampling of my work over years employed by a countrywide insurance company. All copy was written for their use only. I do not claim any ownership other than they are examples of my portfolio from that time.
These are only attached here as samples of my work and are not included to endorse any company or product. I no longer have affiliation with the company or it’s products. Note: I wrote the copy but did not design the artwork or images for the following pieces.
Journalistic Articles Written for Corporate Employee News:
- Company Intranet Article – Camp O’Malley Page 1
- Company Intranet Article – Camp O’Malley – Page 2
- Company Intranet Article – Co Logo Makes Cover of Motosport – Page 1
- Company Intranet Article – Co Logo Makes Cover of Motosport – Page 2
- Company Intranet Article – Foremost Team Captures Silver in Support of JA – Page 1
- Company Intranet Article – Foremost Team Captures Silver in Support of JA – Page 2
- Company Intranet Article – National Association Insurance Women Page 1
- Company Intranet Article – National Association Insurance Women Page 2
- Company Intranet Article – 2THE RESCUE Life Saving
- Customer Trifold Brochure About Tenant Mobile Home Coverage – Page 1
- Customer Trifold Brochure About Tenant Mobile Home Coverage – Page 2
- Customer Trifold Brochure About Tenant Mobile Home Coverage – Page 3
Web Copy – Safety Tips:
- Water Damage Tips – What To Do In An Emergency
- Fire Prevention Tips – Smoke Detectors Save Lives
- Theft Prevention Tips – Is Your Home a Target for A Thief
- How To Prepare A Personal Property Inventory
Employee Recruitment Ad:
Direct Mail Postcards/Business Insert:
- Three Postcards Asking Customer to Contact Company
- Two Direct Mail Postcards to Prospective Agents etc.
- Direct Mail to Customer – Boat Coverage
- Electronic Payment Option – Policy Insert Announcement
An Agent Trade Magazine Article:
- Letter Marketing Two Discounts
- Promo Fax to Agents
- Promo Letter to Agents Regarding Market Tool
- Promo Market Tool for Agents
- Prospecting Letter for Landlord Properties
For more information, please go to “Looking for a Writer?” and “About~Welcome,” located beneath my header on the Home page.
Thank you for stopping by!
_____________________________________ BONUS SECTION…
Early in this blog, I wrote a series of posts confiding the fun story of how I came to interview world-renown entertainer, Andy Williams. (You can read all five posts here categorized under Interviews, beginning with Conversations with Singer Andy Williams: Part One…The Phone Call)
Almost daily, one or more of these appears in my “popular posts,” making it consistently one of the most read portions of my blog. (Thank you! 🙂) That’s why I’ve decided to attach here a magazine article I wrote from this interview a few years back. I include it for all of you who have enjoyed his musical artistry over the years… From his ageless off-the-chart hit of “Moon River” (personally and gorgeously arranged by composer Mancini just for Andy) to his multitudes of gold albums to his Christmas treasure,”The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”…
Not yet published, the following story remains under my copyright. No part of this article may be reproduced, excerpted or quoted without my approval. (If you are interested in publishing this piece, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
This fall, 2012, Andy celebrates a milestone of 75 years in the entertainment industry…and it all began at the age of 7 or 8, when he started singing in a popular act with his brothers…
Andy Williams – “You Old Dream-Maker”
How does a beloved entertainer follow up seven decades of performing internationally on radio, TV and stage, plus eighteen gold and three platinum albums? For this American songpainter, the answer’s creating a new brand of Moonlight over Missouri… and lifting others up along the way.
To those who grew up in the 1960’s, the name Andy Williams conjures up images of our Neverland days. Family, running from every room to watch his show together. The NBC peacock, spreading its rainbow across the first color TV. The smooth-talking “Cookie Bear,” begging, “Aw, just one cookie!” And Andy… making us laugh out loud as his answer pitched higher and higher (“Not Now…Not Ever…NEVER!!”)…or introducing fun duets with new stars like Linda Ronstadt and Elton John…or bringing snow-globe Christmases to life in our living rooms. And in a way TV personalities uniquely did in those years, making us feel like family.
Perhaps that’s why these days, this Moon River guy can’t stop weaving his dreams for us all in the small Ozark town of Branson, Missouri – one that burgeoned into “a family music capital” largely due to the transforming theater vision he brought there 16 years ago. Today, Williams is always dreaming of something new he can add there, like an oil painter daubing a highlight here, detail there. “Life is creating,” he explains. “Just because you reach a certain age, why should that mean you’ve got to stop? I’ve taken care of myself and I think I’m reaping the benefits because I don’t feel 80.” And as he does, he’s also sowing into the dreams of others – bringing laughter and song, a showcase for new talent, and a myriad of jobs to the area.
Andy’s voice radiates his youthful spirit as he talks enthusiastically about life these days and how it all began in his “second act” of life – designing a theater home from the ground up and creating heart-lifting musical productions replete with singers, dancers, costumes and starry sets. Not in the Hollywood or Vegas of his heydays, but in a small town that reminds him of his warm childhood roots in Iowa. I took a risk,” he confides, about building a new life at 63. But one, he says, that’s made all the difference.
“I was tired of touring,” the singer explains about coming to Branson in 1991, “and my brother Don kept telling me I should open a theater there.” Out of curiosity, he came. But from the moment he arrived, he found himself taken with the gentle, kind people, the stunning setting of the Ozarks, and the dream forming in his mind.
It took him only two days to decide: He wanted to move, join the community, and create a romantic theatre with simple, intimate elegance that would invite his audience into “his living room,” as they’d once invited him into theirs. What you see there today – from architectural design to inside décor to stage production – comes from the artistic heart of this entertainer. The theater’s never been about making more money, he reveals. But more about the joy that energizes him and makes an audience leave singing. “I just want people to say, ‘that was GREAT! I’d love to come back!’” he enthuses.
But, for Andy, it’s also about giving back. Recently honored with the Society of Singers’ Ella Award for using his influence to help others – including a long string of singers who received invaluable spotlight on his television shows – Andy enjoys opening his theater as a venue for local talent becoming stars in their own right (Andy Williams presents the Entertainers), as Steve Allen’s Tonight show once did for him. He’s also there for charitable events – like hosting the Branson remote throughout the Jerry Lewis MDA telethon a few years ago. Or as honorary chairman for the annual Branson/Tri-lakes Memory walk, to raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer’s Association. And he’s often seen lending his talent to area development projects like the opening celebration for the innovative Branson Landing. On his’ 80th birthday last December, Branson’s mayor saluted Andy for all he’s brought to the town, proclaiming a day in his honor.
Ask him about all his recordings and Williams seems amazingly unaware of his own star shine, praising uppermost the many great musicians he’s worked with, like Dave Grusin and Jobim. But about his place in Branson, he’s quick to boast: His Moon River Theatre, reflecting the beauty and environmental integrity of the surrounding Ozark mountains, won the 1992 convention award for developed land use in Missouri. It’s also the only theater ever to be featured in Architectural Digest.
Taking time to talk with me on the phone from his Branson office about creativity, health and what means the most in this time of life, the entertainer instantly put me at ease with his warm, “Hi, this is Andy, how are you?” That’s when I knew my childhood image of this genuinely nice man had been right on…that Voice was still like family.
Q. The Moon River lyric, “You old dream-maker,” certainly fits you these days. In Branson, you’ve created everything from stylish production numbers saluting Lion King, Madame Butterfly and Titanic, to fun concerts with stars like Glen Campbell and Ann-Margret. Do you think this dream has been a lifetime coming?
Andy: Thank you. You know, I can’t remember a time when music wasn’t part of my life. My father felt my brothers and I were meant to do something really special with our voices. He taught us 4-part harmony and we started singing in church and on radio when I was about 7 or 8. He believed in his dream for us so much, he actually took a job demotion with the railroad so he could move us to Des Moines. My father was always looking ahead…
Then we got a movie contract, did a lot of radio and a few movies – singing background. You know – Janie was having a party, and suddenly the party went wild with kids singing and dancing, and Edward Arnold would come home and find the house in an uproar. My brothers and I’d be singing around the piano. Later, when we toured with Kay Thompson we learned to craft a sense of timing on stage that I think still influences my style today. It’s still a family affair at my theater. My brother Dick writes the voice parts for the singers.
Q. You’ve always appeared so wonderfully easygoing on television. Was it always that way?
Hmmm… maybe I was calmer than I thought. I was never nervous singing as a kid. It was just fun. But later on, when I was starting out alone, I was frightened all the time, very shy, very uncomfortable. When I debuted on Steve Allen’s Tonight show, I often had to push back waves of self-doubt that could make me physically sick. Sometimes it was a relief when it wasn’t my turn to appear.
Q. Why do you think that was?
My father was very instrumental in my life, helping me with investments and business. He was a very loving, wise man. But if there’s one thing maybe my father did wrong, it was the way he went about getting us to rehearse. He wanted to instill in us a desire to achieve and do our best, but he would do that by telling us we weren’t good enough and needed to work harder. Subconsciously, I think that left me feeling not as good as others. I ended up wanting to be the best of all, and thinking I’d never make it, and that was very discouraging starting out. That’s always stayed with me – that feeling of low self-esteem – because of what my father said.
Q. Somehow, it’s always a bit surprising to hear that from world-renowned entertainers as gifted and successful as you. Obviously, you haven’t let self-doubts hold you back. How did you get past them?
I think many entertainers struggle with insecurities. I remember talking with Bob Hope about that once. Underneath, he had his insecurities, too. I had a secret way – Whenever I was recording sentimental or beautiful songs, I used to think of my children. I’d just picture their sweet and beautiful faces. One song I remember is Yellow Beach Umbrella. Something about it reminded me of Bobby, my youngest son, and just made me smile. If you like that song, you can blame it on Bobby.
Q. I do like that song… That explains the hint of playfulness I’ve always heard in it. You’ve performed for decades before millions of TV viewers, world-wide concert goers and even royalty. And now – a new life in Branson. What are you most proud of in your life?
My children. I’m proud of all three of them. I used to worry about my legacy, being remembered as one of the greatest crooners. Now, as long as my wife and kids love me, I can’t worry what people are going to think. Whether you go down in history like Elvis Presley – I don’t really care. I used to worry about that, but it’s not important. Children, integrity, faith – they’re what’s important.
Q. You’ve never seemed afraid to do wacky comedy skits with comic greats like Jonathan Winters. In Branson, you even performed as Carmen Miranda. How did that come about?
We had decided to do a musical tribute to the movies and thought we ought to spotlight Carmen Miranda. I said, ‘Yeah, that sounds like a good idea…who’s going to play Carmen?’ Everybody looked at me. I said…‘Noooo, I’m not going to do Carmen.’ But the more I thought about it, the more fun I thought it would be. And it really was fun. It worked for Flip Wilson and Milton Berle and Jonathan Winters. I figured it might work for me.
Q. Your recordings and specials have warmed our Christmases for over 40 years. In Branson, you create a living Christmas card each year, with fabulous sets, choirs, dancers…all giving honor to the real meaning of the season. You’ve even been dubbed, “Mr. Christmas.” Why is Christmas so huge in your life?
Christmas has always been my favorite time of year, from the time I was a small kid. It was always a favorite time for our family and relatives to get together. We sang carols door to door. I kind of like what it stands for and the whole religious part of it.
And the music – I mean, it’s some of the most glorious music there is. I get thrilled singing with a choir. There’s nothing like singing at Christmas. And, It’s the Most Wonderful time of the Year was written specifically for me. It’s sort of my Christmas song. At Christmastime in Branson we have big sets, dancing reindeers…even the Cookie Bear. It’s a lovely, family-oriented Christmas show.
Q. You even do a fun take on a Christmas “rap.” How did you come up with that?
Well, I mean, seeing this old guy do a rap is kind of funny. Put the hat on backwards. Yes, I did that one time because there were a lot of children in the audience. So I went into a rap thing… Not a rap song, but just a regular pop Christmas song. And did it in a rap fashion and it was funny. And you know I look ridiculous. Everyone seemed to like it. So we kept it in.
Q. What do you enjoy most about entertaining live?
It’s really the orchestra that makes me want to sing, makes me feel the music. I think I’m most influenced by harmonies and chord structure of the orchestra. I hear every right and wrong note. Things no one else hears. I think that’s where my phrasing comes from. My 10-member band sounds like a full orchestra, with brass and woodwind synthesizers. That makes it fun for me because of all the sounds I enjoy in it. And it’s just the joy of the audience’s reaction, what they give me for those two hours.
Q. How do you stay fit and healthy?
Thankfully, I’m in pretty good shape. I eat well – number one – mainly just staying away from a lot of fats. And I love yogurt – I have it every morning. I work out some, do the treadmill every day. I walk around Branson every morning for about 45 minutes, up and down hills. Play golf.
I went to the Pritikin Longevity Center. Part of the time was devoted to foods you should eat and cardiovascular exercise. I have kept to that pretty much throughout my life. Also, my mother and father lived to be pretty old and they were always healthy, so I think I’m blessed that way.
Q. Any health tips?
Before shows, I take a half-hour nap. It gets things out of your mind. It turns you off for a while. Perhaps that two hours out on stage is the medicine that everybody should have, two hours every day when you’re doing something you really like, you’re laughing, feeling good, you’re happy. Maybe that keeps the doctor away.
Q. The American Film Institute recently named Moon River the No. 4 tune of best movie songs. Do you ever tire of singing it?
I sing Moon River of course in every show because I think people want me to sing that – and I never get tired of it. It’s the greatest song to sing of any that I know. All of Mancini’s songs are so melodic and easy to sing. Henry Mancini wrote me an arrangement for the stage that is a little different than my recording, and it still thrills me every night, it’s so beautiful.
Q. You had a health scare at the end of 1999 and had to decide about surgery that could have robbed you of your voice. You had to cancel Branson, then an upcoming United Kingdom tour. I know you had the concern and prayers of many during that time. What happened and how did you recover?
I did a very dumb thing. I had laryngitis very badly. And I thought, ‘I can’t just not go out there when so many have come all this way. And so I did the show with this terrible laryngitis. I’ve gone on stage sick many times because I haven’t wanted to let down the audience and by the time the show is over I feel great. But this time I could feel something halfway through the show that I really had hurt myself.
My doctor found a node on my vocal chords. Julie Andrews went through the same thing. I called her and she said it didn’t work out too well. All I could think was, ‘what am I going to do if I can’t sing, can’t create or do what I love?’ But a specialist told me to try resting my throat first. I did, and after three months it (the node) went down. I waited about eight months and it just disappeared. After it disappeared, my voice was as good as before. The only problem was I hadn’t used it for a year. So then I had to strengthen it.
Q. Do you see yourself retiring? Or leaving Branson?
Well, eventually I probably will stop singing. I don’t see it happening for the next few years. I’m slowing down, but life now is just fun. You can’t manufacture it. I’m just as relaxed as can be…and I think I’m still singing well. If you take care of your body, your voice will be OK. If you let your body fall apart, the diaphragm won’t hold the same kind of pressure and you won’t sound good. I plan to keep singing here as long as people want to keep seeing me. I love it here. I’m staying.
© Pam Depoyan
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