Her rhymes have reason
Old Aunt Keri is kind of scary. She lives with lots of cats. She wears peculiar hats. She lets her cats sleep in her bed. She dyes her hair bright red.
So she says in one of her poems.
And she has one other major quirk to add to her list of eccentricities - Auntie Keri adores her little great-nephew, Gannon, who just turned 2.
"He's delightful," gushed Keri Mohror as she pointed to the 8x10 photo of her pride and joy - not to mention the smiling, cherubic inspiration for her latest creative venture.
The "most beautiful boy ever born" was worthy of much more than trucks or action figures from his loving auntie this past Christmas. She wanted to do something special and fun - something straight from scary Aunt Keri's quirky heart.
A newsletter writer and editor by trade, and a rhyming verse writer by genetics, Mohror, an Osakis resident, thought of the perfect idea - a children's picture book.
"I have a reputation for writing little verses. I get it from my mother," she explained of how she came up with the idea to compile a sampling of her rhyming verses.
Over the course of a month or so, Mohror came up with all kinds of sing-songy rhymes to include in the book for her great-nephew.
The result was Gannon's World, a book of poetry from the perspective of a small boy with a lively imagination, whose tales are a little more than tall.
"They're all light verses," she said. "It's giving them too much dignity to call them poetry."
Unable to "draw to save my life," Mohror enlisted the aid of an artistic niece to do the drawings for Gannon's World.
Because the purpose of the venture was simply a gift for her nephew, Mohror pursued self-publishing. She found a Web site, www.lulu.com, that allows the author to print as many, or as few, books as needed.
"The nature of self-publishing is that it's hard to make a profit. I wasn't going in to this to get rich and famous," she said. "But the good thing about it is that it allows anybody to see their work in print if they are willing to pay for it."
While waiting for the illustrations for Gannon's World, Mohror "got into the whole thing" and decided to write another children's book. In Alphabet Zoop, each letter of the alphabet is accompanied by an animal and a rhyming verse. For this book, Mohror used a clip art service for illustrations.
Mohror designed and laid out both books through a computer program, and sent them via the Internet to the printer. Both arrived about a month before Christmas.
"I was tickled," Mohor said of the finished product. "I thought, 'This looks like a real book!' "
Lucky little Gannon received both books from Aunt Keri for Christmas, much to the delight of his mother.
"She thought it was swell!" Mohror said.
Such a special gift set a self-imposed precedent for all future milestones in little Gannon's life. With Christmas past, Mohror realized that his 2nd birthday was looming in two short months. Once again, she put her eccentricity into high gear and penned a third book for his big day - Gannon Goes Buggy - a counting and finding book.
On a definite roll, Mohror is working on her fourth book, Gannon Digs Dinosaurs.
Mohror's books are available for sale by contacting her at email@example.com. For information, her Web site is www.kerimohror.com. For every book she sells, Mohror donates the profit (she charges only $1 over the cost of printing) to the Lakes Area Humane Society in Alexandria.
"I'm not going to quit my job and become a self-published author," she said. "Because wow! It's more of an expensive hobby than anything else."
If Mohror discovers a demand for her books other than from family and friends, she may pursue a publishing company for her Gannon-inspired picture books in the future.
"It's not a burning motivation, but maybe someday," she pondered. "I'm doing it for fun and as a creative outlet right now. It was a lot of fun."
So don't believe her tall tale, Gannon. Auntie Keri isn't so scary after all.