I think of Ellington Owl's Awesome Birthday
as a cross between
The House at Pooh Corner
and Stuart Little
The characters are like the former, and adventures are like the latter. I tried to
keep the characters fun and simple for kids, but I also attempted to give them
full, rich personalities to appeal more to the "kid" inside adults.
There was a point in which I attempted to simplify the story to "bring it down"
to a child's level. After re-reading Stuart Little, I came to the conclusion that
E.B. White didn't do this. So, I decided not to cater to a particular audience. Some of
the words might be a bit "large" for a 5 year old, but this offers additional
launch points for parental instruction.
This book really is a reflection of myself. I wanted fun characters with rich, full
personalities. I wanted light situations to illustrate positive values and encouragement.
So that's what I wrote.
At the onset, I considered this as a "readable" story, that is, to be read to
someone. I envisioned a young child saying to the parent, "You gotta do the voices!"
While proofreading, I read the story aloud and used "voices." That's when I created
the audio version of the story.
This introductory story book is just shy of 6,000 words and is available for
as an e-book or as an audio book!
As for a technical note, I wrote the entire book using OpenOffice Writer. Getting the
formatting figured out to send to Smashwords was tricky, but once figured out, it was
easy enough to do. Although I drew most of the images by hand, I then used GIMP to
clean them up and colorize. Both OpenOffice Writer and GIMP are free to download and
use respective to their software licenses.