Barb Keeling gives us the (Gilley)Willeys! Once Upon a Time

(here is a picture of a black hole eating a star…I wonder if that is the same thing as the dog eating your homework? A black hole ate the post scheduled to go up at midnight!)


Good morning from The Towers.  Our semi-finalists for our contest Once Upon a Time are spiraling through the black hole in cyberspace and should be announced late this afternoon.(I know, the editor-in-chief promised you the outcome by midnight, but not all bribes have been evaluated as yet.  Francesca!  You are definitely in the running.  Please submit an entry.)

Barbara Keeling is our final entry into our contest Once Upon a Time. Does not exactly conform to the concept of the contest, which requires every entry to be the prologue to a larger story you are writing, or threatening to write. Hers is a stand-alone piece that could easily lend itself to a series of books.  We are going to include it just the same because it is so buoyant, and consistent to our mission statement: Putting Gravitas on a Lo-Carb Diet.

“This is a fairy tale filled with fun magical events and reminders of good manners, politeness, kindness and being thoughtful. Written for 4-9 year olds but the story has heartwarming touches for grownups as well.” (Barb Keeling)

Come back later this afternoon for the list of semi-finalists, and in the meantime, here is

Mrs. GilleyWilley


 A Magical Nanny Adventure



by Barb Keeling


     Mrs. GilleyWilley looked in the bathroom mirror at her colorful blue hair. “Oh dear, I just don’t feel like having that color hair today.” She grabbed her magic wand and tapped it on her head saying “pinkish purple please”.

   There was a flash of stars that spit out of the end of the magic wand, and pinkish purple curly hair covered her head. “Oh good that’s much better.”  The wand changed the color of her dress & tights too. She loved wearing the many colors all at one time.

     Her favorite pair of high top boots marched out of her closet and stood at her side waiting for her to step into them, which she did.

This morning was a little rushed for she needed to be at work, as Olivia Ann’s Nanny a little early. Olivia’s dad had sent a text message last night saying he was having a special family meeting first thing in the morning and since she is part of the family she was to be there also. She adores the whole family.

    Knowing Mrs. GilleyWilley was now ready to leave for work, her magic wand clicked open the garage door. She strolled in and climbed onto her Flying Carpet-Car, she calls THE RUG BUGGY. It silently slid out of the garage. Once on the front lawn of her apartment building it rose straight up like a helicopter then lurched forward climbing high above the house tops, tree tops of the enchanted forest and over the freeway. It is an easy commute she has been doing for the past three years.

For this morning’s drive she has given herself plenty of extra time so she can arrive early. In fact Mrs. GilleyWilley is never late. She had taught Olivia Ann how important it is to be on time. If someone is expecting you at a certain time you need to show up a few minutes before then, not a few minutes after.

Always be on time no matter where you are going even if it is just to a family meeting.

When Mrs. GilleyWilley arrived Mom had some hot tea already poured and big plate of donuts sitting on the kitchen table. Dad was already on his second donut.  They greeted her with loving hugs. Mom, Dad, Olivia Ann and her best friend BB-Bear a talking teddy-bear were seated at the table. This was an important family meeting.

“Do sit down” said dad. He began talking right away.

“You all know I have been building a workshop for myself at the far side of our big backyard garden. I selected this area because it is close to home here, yet quiet, secluded and in a nice private area.  I had asked you all not to peek at it as I was building it, this way I can show it off to you when it is done. Well, I am excited to announce it is finished and I want you to see it. Do come along now to my Workshop Grand Opening” said dad.

Everyone was excited to see the new place. They pushed their chairs away from the table and stood up to follow Dad out the door. They enjoyed the walked through their beautiful backyard garden. Even the flying fairies and elves poured out of their tree top houses and followed along with the family. Way ahead, just over the top of the lovely flowered hedge they could see the roof top of dad’s workshop. The Fairies and Elves landed on the top of this huge bush and now had a great view of the new building. They looked a little surprised at what they saw.

Dad halted the family before they passed the flower hedge wall. “Ok everyone ready?” asked Dad.  “Please step past the hedge and have a look at my new workshop”.

Mom, Olivia Ann and BB-Bear were the first to step into the clearing where they could see the new building. They stopped dead in their tracks and looked a little shocked. Mrs. GilleyWilley was next and was somewhat speechless at her view of the new building.                  …


What did they see?  Was there something wrong or something wonderful?  Why was everyone shocked at what they saw?





4 thoughts on “Barb Keeling gives us the (Gilley)Willeys! Once Upon a Time

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    I am puzzled Mr. Editor-in-Chief, because I did see this as a prologue to grand adventures ahead. There is quite the market for both pre-YA whatever the term is and YA novels, so I applaud your magical story as it begins.

    If I had a magical cookie for every time I have had to remind my listening audience as I read at a writer’s group that one writes to a certain audience not to everyone, I could put those pesky Keeling…ooops, I mean Keebler Elves out of business. The simplicity of language within “The Mystery House” is appropriate for the age range intended and actually stretches the story over to some YA readers as well.

    The content of your storyline Barbara will keep the parents reading with their children awake and engaged as well, so I believe you have the beginnings of possibilities in eventually publishing the fuller novel and/or novels related to Mrs. Gilley Willey. Would I advance this story to the semi-finals? No, but your story is appropriate for and fits the theme of “Once Upon A Time”.

  2. Barb Keeling says:

    Thank you so much Parisanne. You have made my day bloom. I was not sure this was very right for this contest, but in talking to Thorn, who is very good at positive-ness suggested I send it anyway.

    Thank you so much for putting it out to be read without being just right for the contest.

    Mrs. GilleyWilley magical adventures were written over the past 9 years for our first great granddaughter. Now that she is nine and interested in other thing, thoughts had come to mind of gather all that patter and redoing and editing and updating and adding stories. The Mystery House is a brand new in works story.

    Your most helpful comments and ‘encourage-ness have made me think this might be a worth while project.

  3. Laura Girardeau says:

    This is the enchanting, succinct and humorous kind of writing that would sell well for children and interest the adults who read the stories to them. I am thinking you can gain a hold in this market, and my daughter would love to read the entire book! Tell me when it comes out in a series. You got the details right about the colors (pink and purple), the fairies and the things that really do interest many children (as well as us “kids at heart”). The wording also matches the audience’s level and is not to frilly or showy, just right…

  4. Shawna A Smart says:

    This is very smooth, a stroll down a clean telling with delightful imagery and just the right amount of magic for a youngster. your sense of balance, and the smooth read make me think that you better keep throwing up offerings to all and sundry. it feels like something that would be devoured by the right audience of young adventurers.

    Only the bold survive:)

    Fond regards,


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