Years in a box and giveaway

Posted on March 13th, 2009 in Uncategorized


Everyone likes books.

And everyone has that favorite book they loved as a child.

Maybe it was a picture book or a book of poems.  Maybe it rhymed or had no words at all.

But I’m going to do one better.


The fabulous girls over at SITS had a big Spring Fling Marathon Tuesday where hundreds of blogs were giving away all sorts of wonderful things.  Never one to follow the pack, I decided to do my giveaway Friday.

So for everyone who has left a comment about their favorite children’s book, you are in the running….

For your own, hand-created children’s book written by me! You pick the topic, the type, whatever you like.  I’ll create it just for you.  It can be a story about your daughter with pictures or a whimsical tale with illustrations.  It can be a tale from your childhood or a dream you once had.  Whatever you like!

To enter, just leave a comment about your favorite children’s book.  That’s all.  Comments close Sunday at 5 p.m.

And now, for Twirl.  And yes, you’ll find out what’s in the box.

For the previous Twirl, go here.

For my new Invisible Friends, Twirl is the story of a feisty, sassy ballerina named Vivi and her handsome cowboy named Wade. After falling in love swaying on the dance floor to the sound of a fiddle and steel guitar, the couple have stumbled onto a old Texas legend that might possibly lead to riches! On top of everything, Vivi is fighting her controlling father and over involved dance teacher, who are trying to trap her into a life she may not want. Add in a mysterious secret with her mother, a scheming evil boy in her dance class and regular teen angst and you’ve got DRAMA!

To catch up in the archives, go here and here.   Soon, all posts will be available under Never Ending Stories.  Soon!

And now, for the rest of their story…


Vivi looked through the window at the box sitting on the table.  She was desperate to open it.  Gazing at the tight black lid, she opened and closed her fingers into a fist.  Then she sighed and looked up into Red’s twinkling blue eyes.

“You know I want to,” she said, her voice accusatory.  “But I can’t.  Not without Wade.”

Red nodded in approval.  “Well, come on, Vivi girl,” he drawled, escorting her back into the house with a light hand on her shoulder.  “Finish your supper.  You can’t weigh more than 100 pounds soaking wet.”

“Why is everyone always telling me to eat?” Vivi grumbled, her eyes fixed on the box as she slammed down into her seat harder than she intended.  “First I can’t dance right or make decent decisions.  You think at sixteen I’d at least know how to feed myself, for God’s sakes.”

Red said nothing.  Sliding his lanky frame into the wooden chair, he picked up his fork and began to spoon cold brisket and beans into his mouth.  Glowering at the black box taunting her inches away, Vivi shoved her plate away.  “I’m just sick of it,” she muttered, glaring at the box.  “Sick of everything.”

Red merely chewed, his blue eyes lowered to his plate.  Frustration raced through Vivi’s body, zinging back and forth in her chest like a cat’s twitching tail.  She could feel it pushing at the backs of her eyeballs, racheting her jaw tighter and tighter.  “You know, Wade has it easy,” Vivi growled, folding her arms.  “He doesn’t have an insane father to deal with.  He’s got you.”

Red stopped chewing.  Raising an eyebrow, his quiet gravely voice rolled across the room.  “Vivi, Wade couldn’t go to college because he had to pay off his father’s debts.  He gave up a full ride to help me run this ranch.  Because of his father, Wade will be stuck in this town all his life.  In a couple years, I’ll be dead and Wade will be saddled with a ranch full of employees in a world that thinks cowboys died with John Wayne.

“His mama is a drunk who ran off with his sister and only comes around when she wants money.  If Wade doesn’t go to school by next August, his scholarship runs out at Princeton and he can’t apply for another one. Now, I don’t know what problems you have or what your daddy has done to you, but Wade doesn’t have anything easy.  Don’t you ever think he does.  He works for everything he and I’ve got.”

Her cheeks burning, Vivi bit her lip and refused to look at Wade as he banged through the door.  “Gave him to J.W.,” he said, scraping off his boots at the door and hanging his hat on the hook.  “It turned out his mama thought he ran off with some friend of his cousin and was up to no good, so she’s been hollering at J.W. for the past hour.”

“And now?” Red asked.

Wade grinned.  “She’s hollering at Damien.”

“Good,” Red murmured.   He picked up his spoon as Wade plopped into his chair.  He leaned over to Vivi and squeezed her hand.

“Are you all right darling?  Did you get enough to eat?”

If one more person asked Vivi what she wanted to eat, she was going to scream.  And if someone didn’t open that box, she was going to explode.  After Damien and her father and the weird historian with yellow teeth, she needed to know what happened to Bullet Bill and Adie.   Digging her fingers into her palms, she simpered at Wade.

“Can we open the box now?” she asked, trying to unclench her jaw.  If they didn’t find out this hidden treasure in the next few days, her jaw was going to fuse together from anticipation.

Wade burst out laughing and entwined her fingers with his.  “What do you say?” he asked, looking at Red.  A smile stretched across Red’s lips.

“Don’t know what took ya’ll so long.”  Standing up, he placed his leathery fingers on the edge of the lid.  Vivi sucked in her breath as he slowly lifted it.  She leaned forward and gasped.

The box was overflowing with books, maps and crumpled papers shoved in various envelopes and folders.  Red marker circled tiny points Vivi had ever heard of and hot pink scribbles in delicate writing covered nearly surface.  Picking up a few of the folders and flipping through them, Vivi gulped.

“It’s going to take hours to go through all this,” Vivi said, scanning over some of the papers.  “It looks like your grandmother

“I guess you weren’t kidding when you said Grandma was obsessed,” Wade said to Red pulling a leather bound satchel out of the box.  He untied the thick cord binding it together and gently pulled the still satchel apart.  The leather creaked in protest as Wade fished thin pieces of yellowed paper covered in spidery blue writing out.  With wide eyes, Wade skimmed the papers.  Vivi jumped as he whooped and pumped his fist in the air just inches from her ear.

“Gosh, Wade, you almost gave me a heart attack!” Vivi shrieked, smacking him on the arm.  Red snorted, leaning back against the wall and crossing his arms.

“Vivi, do you know what this is?”  Wade asked, waving the papers in her face.  “Do you know what we can do with this?”

“No,” Vivi replied, leaning back to avoid being slapped with the old documents.  “What is it?”

“These are letters that Grandma found in dancehalls all over the Hill Country!” Wade shouted, his hands shaking with excitement and nervous energy.  “This is what Margaret wanted to steal when she broke in that one day!”

Vivi nodded, her eyes widening.  “When we left, she told me to come to her for help with anything.  She seemed so desperate.  I just thought she was weird.  But really, I think she just wanted our letter.”

“You got to watch ol’ Margaret,” Red warned, a shadow flickering over his worn face.  “She’s meaner than a one eyed snake, I’ll tell you what.  She’d do whatever it takes to find that treasure.”

“I would never imagined her to be the type greedy for money,” Vivi murmured.

“It’s not money she wants,” Red replied.  “It’s recognition.  Do you know how many people have looked for Bullet Bill’s treasure over the years?  Hundreds of people, from historians to treasure hunters to just folks looking for some free money.  No one has found it.  The woman has a doctorate in Texas history.  She’s made it her life to find this treasure.  If she knew what your grandma, some uneducated ranch wife found out, she would kill ya’ll to get it.  And don’t think she wouldn’t.”

Vivi gulped and looked up at Wade.  “We’ve got to keep this safe.”

Wade nodded.  “I think the best thing for us to do is split it up.  You take half and I take half.  We’ll make copies too and hide them somewhere else, just in case.”

“Susanne would keep them for me,” Vivi said, nodding.

“I’ll keep the maps here,” Red offered.  “I’ve got a safebox.  That way, even if she gets to both of you, you’ll still have something.”

“That’s a good idea,” Wade replied, nodding gratefully to his grandfather.  He looked up and froze.  “Oh, hell.”

“What?” Vivi asked, immediately looking out the window.  She peered into the darkness, expecting to see a flash of rotten yellowed teeth or Damien’s twisted smirk.

“It’s almost midnight,” Wade said, his voice panicked.  “And it’s Sunday night!  Your folks will kill me!  I’ve got to get you home.”   He began to dig through the box, separating the papers into three separate piles.

Vivi didn’t have the heart to tell him that her folks didn’t care where she was.  They only cared if she was dancing.

To be continued….

Stay tuned, Invisible Friends!  Tomorrow we have a fun adventure with the Rubber Chicken and another week of whimsical fun! Stay tuned!   And don’t forget to enter my giveaway by leaving a comment about your favorite children’s book!

For more fun, visit my sister blog, Words n'Whimsy or sign up for my newsletter (both buttons on sidebar!)

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53 Responses to “Years in a box and giveaway”

  1. Information About Movies Says:

    [...] A Duck In Her Pond » Years in a box and giveaway [...]

  2. sandy toe Says:

    Well, I can’t even think of a favorite child’s book I loved but right now in my home~we read a lot of FANCY NANCY! Whew.

    sandy toe

  3. Harriet Says:


  4. Dusty Says:

    What a great idea for a giveaway! My favorite children’s book(if you can tell by the title of my blog) is Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney. Classic. Both of my kids love it too!

  5. debbie Says:

    What a great idea! It is tough to chose just one book. What if the other books are looking over my shoulder and see that I’ve left them out? But, I’d have to say The Lorax by our wonderful Dr.Seuss.

  6. Katherine Says:

    My favorite book is a Sesame Street book called. “The Monster at the End of This Book”. It’s not sappy or sentimental, but I always giggle when I think of it.

    Thanks for opening the box and I can’t wait for all of them to start putting the clues together so Wade can go to Princeton and take Vivi away with him….ah, the romance of it all ~sigh~.

  7. Cheryl Says:

    Hmm that’s a hard one, I was in love with the Nancy Drew books, and still am a lover of mystery today!

  8. Megan Says:

    Shell Silverstein’s The Growing Tree. I LOVED that book, and had the whole thing memorized!

  9. Heather Says:

    what a wonderful giveaway! my favorite children’s books are the olivia books. i just love them!!!

  10. strugglingwriter Says:

    I really liked “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel”. I mean Mary Anne (the steam shovel) digs that hole for the town hall so well she forgets to give herself a way out. So, they build the town hall around her and she becomes the furnace! That’s plot for you! Honestly, just writing that makes me want to call my parents and tell them to bring my book with them when they visit tonight!

  11. donna Says:

    One of my all time favorite books to read to my children when they were just a liitle bit younger was The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza…Thanks for the chance to win!

  12. Michele Says:

    I have a love of childrens books so there are many! Strega Nonna is one of my favorites, Where the Wild Things Are, The Kissing Hand, Click Clack Moo…Cows that Type, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. I can go on and on!

  13. Rosie Says:

    My favourite book is called Heidi because this book was given to me on prize giving day at school many yrs ago now. It was that look of pride I saw in my mom’s eye that I’ll never forget!

    Thank you Duckie for this great giveaway!!

    Rosie x

  14. ingrid Says:

    It just keeps getting better and better. Vivi is evolving…in the beginning she was awed by Wade and tongue tied now she’s wanting to wack him. LOL.

    Green eggs and Ham and Where the Wild Things Are are the only two children’s books that I remember. I don’t have much memory of reading before the age of 10 and by then I wasn’t reading kids books but sneaking and reading my aunt’s Harlequin & Silhouette books.

  15. Kristina Says:

    I loved Where the Wild Things Are. Cound me in!!

  16. alexandra's kitchen Says:

    you are incredible. i truly believe that you don’t sleep. ever. A customized book?!! That is so special. I think my favorite children’s book has to be either Good Night Moon or Where the WIld THings Are. I loved the illustrations in both.

  17. perpstu Says:

    Favorite kids book? Oh there are so many, but I loved the Bobbsey Twins mysteries so much! I wanted a twin after reading those!

  18. Jesse Says:

    YOU ARE TOO EFFIN’ BRILLIANT! Why are you so talented!! Ahh!!! The books I loved most as a kid were of course any of the ones with plenty of food descriptions… haha!

  19. Whitney Says:

    So fun!!! I loved The Empty Pot. It’s awesome and teaches great morals – integrety, honesty.

  20. Dawn (Bee and Rose) Says:

    Whoa! Vivi got served! Yikes!

    I have so many favorites! (I know I mentioned the Kissing Hand already..) I love Fancy Nancy, Harry Potter, and Fablehaven too!

  21. Pam Says:

    Wade’s had a tough life, it sounds like his parents are jerks. I am so looking forward to the next installment.

    I want to win this one! I would love a story with my daughter and son in it. My very favorite children’s book is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

  22. Lauren Says:

    Another great installment. After having been out of blog-o-sphere for a few weeks I had a bit of catching up to do, but was very sad when I did get all caught up. What’s next?!

  23. Diana Says:

    My favorite book was Angelina Ballerina. Mostly because I wanted to be a ballerina, but was woefully uncoordinated, but also because my dad gave it to me when I was home sick one day. Coincindentally, illness is what also began my affection for Pretty Woman. I used to watch it (the taped, censored for TV version) whenever I stayed home from school.

  24. Reeni Says:

    Now there’s danger involved…it just keeps getting better and better. Did I tell you I love The Hobbit? Since I was about ten years old. Little hobbits with their pots of tea and poppyseed cakes and extra pantries filled with food. And their cute little roly-poly bellies and their dwarf and wizard friends? I love hobbits!

  25. jenjen Says:

    Duckie! What a wonderful giveaway you are doing! My favorite book was A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein.

    I saw your comment on Marie’s blog. How are you???? I hope everything is ok.


  26. Tiaras & Tantrums Says:

    aww – I think this is perhaps the sweetest giveaway I have ever seen – SO my favorite ALL TIME children’s book :: The Giving Tree!! It is now my kids’ fav b/c I adore it so much!

    ps – I think we should have a skinny contest – b/c girl – I grew up in IOWA – with a 2nd home on a farm – I CAN EAT too!!!!

  27. susieshomemade Says:

    That a great giveaway:-)

  28. Marjie Says:

    Nice going with Twirl. And how could your father have anything to do with a Texas girl taking a lobster to school, unless it was the basis for an upcoming story?

  29. pam Says:

    My favourite book ever is I love you forever. I cry everytime I read it.

  30. Rachel (S[d]OC) Says:

    Oh god. Too many!

    The “Little House” Books
    “A Little Princess”
    “Charlotte’s Web”
    “Summer Pony”
    “In the Night Kitchen” (One of Maurice Sendak’s less known stories)
    “The Chronicles of Narnia”

    There are more, but that’s off the top of my head. I’ve always been a big reader.

  31. scrappysue Says:

    i read a lot of ‘folk and the faraway tree’! such happy memories!

  32. nikkicrumpet Says:

    WHat a super fun idea for a giveaway…and only you could pull this off! My favorite childrens book was the Box Car Children. You’re probably to young to remember them…but what wonderful fantasy books they were for kids.

    Love the story so far……

  33. raina Says:

    Oh good grief, I am so dying to know how this story ends. What a nice giveaway; I no longer have young ones but best of luck to everyone. You are a sweetie for giving away something so personal and precious.

  34. TeresaR Says:

    So nice of you to have a giveaway! I had many fav books as a child, but the Edward Eager series have a special place in my heart…looove magic books!

  35. Yaya Says:

    That is an awesome giveaway idea! My favorite Children’s Book is Are You My Mother.

  36. Lore Says:

    Hey Duckie! Got lost in life and missed your stories so much. Glad to catch up on Vivi and Wade. Amazed that Vivi feels like she does when people ask her if she ate already, she misses on so many delish dishes lol

  37. KathyB! Says:

    Favorite children’s books are Chronicles of Narnia, Charlotte’s Web and Black Beauty. Younger children’s books would be any thing by Dr. Seuss. I Wish that I had Duck Feet is probably my most favorite!

  38. Natashya Says:

    My favourite children’s book is Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne. I still have it – no cover, and falling apart – but I still have it.

  39. Jessica@FoodMayhem Says:

    so I was supposed to be glad my parents were over-protective? haha

  40. Paula Says:

    I had two favorites both of which have long been out of print. The first was called Kiki’s Skates, about a young girl who wanted to learn how to ice skate. The second was called The Middle Sister by Miriam Mason about a shy girl who finds out just how special she is. I really loved that one because I was such an shy, introverted little kid myself. I read it over and over and over. *sigh*

    Now onto Wade, Vivi, and Red. So … the plot thickens! Wade is such a great guy. Too bad I’m all done having children; I think I’d seriously consider naming a baby boy “Wade”!

  41. Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella Says:

    Wow, what a great prize for someone! One of my favourite books was “The Marvellous Matches” by Friedrich Feld as well as his book “The Musical Umbrella”. Loved the illustrations in it too :)

  42. Shalee Clark Says:

    My favorite children’s book is If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and all those in that series! They are so my favorite!!!

  43. Rachel Says:

    I love reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom…wasn’t around when I was a kid…but it is such a great alphabet book!

    A book by you would be fantastic…you are such a wonderful writer!

  44. Marie Says:

    Well, Duckie. It makes me sad to think that vivi’s family doesn’t care about her, but then she has Wade and that makes me happy. Wade is such a luverly man! Glad to find out what’s in the box! I think I already told you my favourite children’s story but I’ll tell you again. It was Mary Poppins, followed closely by Heidi.

  45. Jessica Says:

    My favorite children’s book was the Babysitter’s Club…I started reading them around age six or seven and that is the stuff I still remember!

  46. Shannon Says:

    Curious George was my favorite. Any of them.

  47. Juliet Says:

    I just missed yer deadline. Hrm. In any event — I can’t remember my favorite child book’s name but it had to do with a little girl who lost her tooth. :)

  48. Beth Says:

    My favorite book was Alice in Wonderland. Thanks for the giveaway.

  49. heatherlyn Says:

    Of course, I really don’t enter give aways. So rarely. But I’ll still share my favorite childhood book. It was The Phantom Tollbooth. I can’t remember who wrote it, but it was so creative. I’d like to read it to my own children, someday soon!

  50. Jen Says:

    I think I missed your deadline, but I’ve always loved “Go, Dog, Go” as a Child and “Are you my Mother?”
    As a mother and teacher I have grown to love so many more!!

    Creative and Curious Kids!

  51. DessertObsessed Says:

    when is wade going to come back??

    my favorite children’s book is alice in wonderland. such a classic!

  52. Ivon Says:

    Would love a book for my little boy, I am a HUGE reader. I love books. My favorite as a little girl was The Three Little Pigs, my all time favorite is Twas the Night Before Christmas, I have seven different copies of it including a POP UP by Robert Sabuda. My little one is 22 months old so this would be a awesome bday gift for him in April. I have instilled a love a books in him, he’s got one in his hand all the time.
    Stopping by from SITS.
    Have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day…may your day be filled with rainbow colors, your pockets with golden coins and most of all may your beer tonight be GREEN!

  53. Reginald Krakowsky Says:

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