Wednesday Writers’ guest today is Kathy McKinsey. She’ll be sharing an excerpt from her NaNoWriMo children’s Christmas story Millie’s Christmas. Welcome, Kathy.
This story was a delightful surprise to me.
I had heard about NaNoWriMo, a challenge many writers take in November to write an entire novel. I didn’t feel ready for that, but I decided in December to see what kind of Christmas story I could come up with.
I normally write women’s fiction. When my kids were little, I did love reading and making up stories for them, but I only remember ever writing one children’s story.
This month I had the idea of writing a story told from the point of view of a kitten with two best friends—a six year old girl and the family dog.
Though I never work out a fully detailed outline for my stories, I usually have a basic idea of how the plot will go. Not this time. I started out just to see what I could come up with each day.
It was a gift to me that opened up more each day. Fun dog and cat activity, and a happy, fun-loving, energetic little girl.
I named the story for my daughter Rebecca’s cat Millie, and Millie gave me a fun addition to the story. Rebecca put up a Christmas tree, decorated it, and woke in the morning to find that Millie had knocked it down and scattered everything.
I enjoyed the family as they opened up in the story, and I found they had problems as families usually do.
But, through their faith and fun and love, not to mention the behaviors of the cats and dog, they came through with a joyful Christmas.
What started out as just an exercise to get me to write every day turned into a story I grew to smile with every day I worked on it.
by Kathy McKinsey
Ruthie says Millie will love Christmas. Ruthie is Millie’s best friend, so she’s sure Ruthie’s right, but why does Millie keep finding Ruthie and her brother Jake crying?
Millie, an orange kitten, shares about her first Christmas. Her best friend Ruthie, six years old, teaches Millie about Christmas—food, decorations, music, presents, and Jesus!
Millie’s friend Bruce, the family dog, also helps her celebrate Christmas, and sometimes gets her in trouble.
When Ruthie’s big brother Jake breaks his ankle, Millie learns about sad things, like divorce, when Jake can’t visit his mommy for Christmas. Millie watches Ruthie’s family love each other through the sadness, and find joy in Christmas.
Something exciting happened today. Ruthie picked me up, squeezed me, and ran all over the house yelling, “It’s Christmas time. It’s Christmas time. Millie, you’re going to love Christmas.”
“Meow, meow,” I yelled back. I didn’t know what Christmas was, but Ruthie was excited, so I was too. “Meow.”
Ruthie kissed my face and whirled through the house, making me dizzy. “At Christmas we have lots of fun food, and candles, and decorations, and visiting, and candy.” She rubbed my ribs. “You’ll love it, Millie.”
I didn’t know what most of that stuff was, but it made Ruthie happy, so I knew it would be great.
Daddy and Jake brought home what Ruthie called a Christmas tree. It didn’t look like any of the trees out in the yard, with long sticks on them. This tree was bushy all over and really sharp and prickly, and they pulled it out of the ground from somewhere. Strange. But it sure smelled good.
“Now, Millie.” Ruthie carried me over to the Christmas tree. “We’re going to hang ornaments all over this tree. Please don’t bother them.”
Hmmm. I wonder what ornaments are. They must be something fun to play with.
In the middle of the night, Mama and I went to the Christmas tree and nibbled some of the branches. That was fun, and yummy, but Mama said we shouldn’t do it much, or the parents might get mad. I’d never seen them get mad, but Mama’d been around for Christmas before and knew what she was talking about. Mama was really smart.
Ruthie’s mommy started playing Christmas music. Daddy said, “Already?” Mommy just laughed and sang along with the music.
The music did sound fun—bouncy and happy. Many of the songs were about Jesus. Ruthie told me, “Jesus is the most important part of Christmas.” I didn’t know who Jesus was, but Ruthie was excited about him, so I was too. I hoped I would get to meet him.
Other Christmas songs were about snowmen and reindeer and silver bells and sleigh rides and presents and more about snow. Everything sounded like so much fun. I ran around the house with Ruthie, jumping on and off furniture. Christmas was great!
Want to read more? You can find Millie’s Christmas here
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kathy McKinsey grew up on a pig farm in Missouri, and although she’s lived in cities for nearly 40 years, she still considers herself a farm girl.
She’s been married to Murray for 32 years, and they have five adult children.
She’s had two careers before writing—stay-at-home-Mom and rehabilitation teacher for the blind.
She lives in Lakewood, Ohio with her husband and two of her children. Besides writing, she enjoys activities with her church, editing for other writers, braille transcribing, crocheting, knitting, and playing with the cat and dog.
Connect with Kathy at:
Check out Kathy’s Women’s Fiction novel All My Tears at Amazon