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An Old Man's Whistle - 2016

Every storyteller gets requests for a “ghost story.” The challenge for a youth leader is to find truly scary stories that won't keep kids up all night. This is Bill's first such story. To fully appreciate it, you may want to come up with your own eerie whistle to insert at the appropriate times. When the Southern Ohio Storytelling Festival started including “really scary” stories, Bill came up with a couple of scarier endings. This is the second scariest. (The scariest one has the narrator saying at the end, “It’s kind of comforting now isn’t it, Andy. Andy? Andy!”)

 

An Old Man's Whistle is dedicated to the scouts and leaders who made my first year in scouting such an adventure.

 

Zephaniah 3:19-20, Psalm 25:4-5

Price: $3.00 for 1 booklet

 

   

Kingdom Come - 2016

Bill uses his unique storytelling skills to narrate a devotional journey through the Gospel of Mark. This devotional contains 47 readings (including reading plan, devotions, prayers and contemplation questions) that follow the Gospel of Mark and offer a unique perspective of the passages read. The readings are designed to fit the 47 days of Lent (including Sundays) for those who would like to use it as a Lenten devotional.  However, it is an excellent Bible reading tool any time of the year.  It can also serve as a great resource for families, small groups and Bible studies. 

 

Kingdom Come is dedicated to the men of Southern Ohio Chrysalis Flight #34, whose decision to study the book of Mark gave me the motivation to put these thoughts into words.

Price: $15.00 for 1 book

   

 

Holy and Humble - 2015

Bill uses his unique storytelling skills to create a Christmas devotional that shares some of the unique perspectives he and his daughter Meghan gained on their trip to the Holy Land. This devotional contains twenty-two readings that relate to the coming of our Lord, allowing the user to choose one of three reading plans.

 

Holy and Humble is dedicated to the members of Trinity United Methodist Church who shared a wonderful trip to the Holy Land and watched the scriptures come alive with us.

 

Isaiah 29:19, Luke 2:1-40

Price: $5.00 for 1 booklet

 

 

 

 

Presence - 2014

 

Have you ever had one of those moments when you sensed you were part of something bigger than yourself?  You awake from a dream that is so vivid, so powerful that you have to write it down so you can live it again.  You question God, only to learn He had everything under control.  You stand with your daughter in the very place where God’s ultimate plan for your future—and hers—began.  Have you ever had one of those moments when you know you stand in the Presence?  I have.

 

Presence is dedicated to my daughters, especially Meghan Conaway McKell who shared God’s Presence with me on our amazing journey to the Holy Land

Galatians 6:1-10, Hebrews 13:1-3, Acts10:36-43, Luke 15:10, Isaiah 9:6-7, Luke 2:8-20

Price: $3.00 for 1 booklet

 

 

 

 

 The Storyteller - 2013

"You know, there's something magic 'bout a campfire," the old man would begin. "When you gaze into the flames while listening to a campfire story, you see the story unfold before you, just the way you imagine it.  The scenes become your scenes.  The characters become your characters.  You enter the story."

My first original story as a storyteller was about a storyteller.  I shared this story about a camp counselor many, many times during my summers at scout camp.

The Storyteller is dedicated to my dear friend Larry Frick and to the scouts and leaders at Chief Logan Reservation who shared with me the Magic of the Campfire.

Ecclesiastes 11:1, Luke 6:35, John 15:17

Price: $3.00 for 1 booklet

 

 

 

Oh, Dear God - 2012

"Tell us a ghost story!"

That was a familiar request whenever it was time for me to tell a campfire story.  I rarely complied.  Ghost stories were always a dilemma for me since my goal was to help people become comfortable camping, not scared to death to sleep outside.  I needed a scary story that didn't leave the listener scared at the end.

So, on a late October night, many, many years ago, as the moon dodged in and out of the clouds, I took a walk through our woods and began telling myself a story.  When the moon suddenly disappeared, the story started to seem a little too real.  I headed back to the house as fast as I could.

Oh, Dear God is dedicated to the Spider Patrol, Troop 5 for the great adventures we shared on patrol campouts at the farm.

II Chronicles 20:9, Zephaniah 2:15b

Price: $3.00 for 1 booklet

 

 

 

Moonshine Lake - 2011

I had been reading short stories by one of my favorite writers when I made my first adult trip to Grandmother's cabin. Jesse Stuart is a Kentucky writer who spent his life in the hills near my Grandmother's farm. He wrote about the people with whom he associated--including some real "characters".  I took a walk to the lake and sat on the dock, thinking of how much fun it would be to have a campfire story about some of those same kinds of characters.  A legend from my childhood formed the foundation for just such a story.

Moonshine Lake is dedicated to Uncle Joe whose passion led to the construction of the lake at Grandmother's farm and to my cousin, Mary Lee, who clued me in on the legend behind its memorable name.

John 2:7-9, Ephesians 5:18

Price: $3.00 for 1 booklet 

 

 

 

The Signalman of Cemetery Station - 2010

Ever begged for a ghost story and then wished maybe you hadn't?  A young man on a hunting expedition requests a story and then finds that his life has already been touched by the man whose ghost still haunts the area.

The Signalman of Cemetery Station is dedicated to Stephen Rudie and Rick Snyder, whose leadership made my first year as Scoutmaster a wonderful experience and whose suggestion that there was a story hidden in a point-of-interest on a trail map led to the creation of one of my earliest campfire stories.

Ephesians 5:1-2   John 15:13

Price: $3.00 for 1 booklet 

 

 

 

Woven Inn - 2009

What would it be like if Mary and Joseph were to journey among us today?  Would we overlook them completely or would we journey with them?  Join a distraught teenage couple, a discouraged priest and a discarded doctor as their stories become woven together in a bar on Christmas Eve.

Woven Inn is dedicated to the faith community that attends“The Loft” in Chillicothe, Ohio for their willingness to meet God’s people wherever they are and to Tom Burke and the patrons and staff of The Cross Keys Tavern for sharing Christmas with us.

Luke 2:6-7   Revelation 21:3-5a

Price: $3.00 for 1 booklet 

 

 

 

Glimpes of Glory - 2008

God gave Moses the opportunity to catch a glimpse of His glory.  He extends the same to each of us.  This collection of real life stories has given me my own glimpses of glory.

Glimpses of Glory is dedicated to Shane McCleery and all of the young people who have put the pieces together at Chrysalis, to Shaelyn Xi McKell and all adopted children who struggle with the lingering effects of institution-alization, and to Kyle Andrew and all who use their gifts for the Kingdom.

Exodus 33:12-23 & 34:29-35   Luke 24:30-32   1 John 3:1a   John 16:33

Price: $2.50 for 1 booklet 

 

 

 

Long John Don - 2007

A silly parody of the song Delta Dawn makes country legend Billy Joe Bob an overnight success at the local boy scout camp.  The controversy surrounding the phenomenon allows this humorous story to share some valuable life lessons.

Long Don John is dedicated to Mark Bildsten, Scott Jarvis and the 1984 Chief Logan Reservation Staff for the silly fun we shared.

Romans 12:3

Price: $2.50 for 1 booklet 

To listen to the audio version of Long John Don, please click on the link below.

Audio Version

 

 

 

 

The Hidden Story - 2006

A young man running from a recent hurt ends up at his grandfather's farm where the painful memories from his past are overwhelmed by the reality hidden in the childhood story he discovers there. The Hidden Story is one of Bill's very first campfire stories and continues to be one of his most requested performance pieces.

The Hidden Story is dedicated to Nancy McKell Gomez who was my best friend growing up.  The great times she and I shared at the farm and the games we played there inspired this story.  She is the perceptive one.

I Corinthians 12:1-8

Price: $2.50 for 1 booklet 

 

 

 

 

By Grace, Draw Near - 2005

This fictional story is based on a twist of fate--or more appropriately, a twist of faith--that broke a feud between two families and blessed them in the process.

By Grace Draw Near is dedicated to Mary Margaret Holschuh, who by embracing our changes and accepting our love, gave my family the best gift she could ever have given.

Mathew 6:4   Luke 6:27-28, 35

Price: $2.50 for 1 booklet 

 

 

 

God Has Heard - 2004

This moving story details the spiritual journey that led Bill and Peg to adopt a little girl from China.  This true story uses actual journal entries to highlight the journey.

God Has Heard is dedicated to our caseworker, Marcia Kiggins, to the amazing people at Holt International and to the wonderful ladies at the Fengdu County Orphanage in Chongqing, China.

Micah 7:7    1 John 3:1

Price: $2.00 for 1 booklet 

 

 

 

Breaking... and Entering - 2003

An interesting dream led to the creation of this story which is intertwined with the story Searching for Santa Claus. The story examines the changed life of the man who was the recipient of "Santa's" kindness and his efforts to offer mercy and extend grace to others.

Breaking... and Entering is dedicated to Bob Althoff for the way he modeled mercy in my life and to the members of our high school Bible study for the creative ways they demonstrate love to others through various acts of kindness.

Galatians 6:9-10

Price: $2.00 for 1 booklet 

 

 

 

This best seller is great for parents of children wondering about Santa.

Searching for Santa Claus - 2002

A disagreement with a good Christian friend over whether or not to teach kids about Santa Claus, led me to consider how I would share the "truth" about Santa to my daughters as they each came of age.  This story describes how I hope it will happen.  In fact, Alice's letter was truly penned by my eight-year-old, Kristen. But for now--bless her heart--she still believes.

Searching for Santa Claus is dedicated to Jonathon and Karen Stout, whose Letter to the Editor affirmed a community, promoted foster parenting and inspired this story.

Matthew 6:2-4 2    Corinthians 9:10-11

Price: $2.00 for 1 booklet

 

 

 

I Walk with my Daddy - 2001

When my oldest daughter was born, we bought a baby backpack. She spent a lot of time in that backpack. We walked by the ocean.  We walked down the lane.  We walked in the forest-in sunshine and rain. Obviously, we also read a lot of children's stories.

I Walk with my Daddy is dedicated to my daughters, especially Kristen Lynne McKell who taught me that being a daddy is the greatest job on earth. There are so many places yet to explore.

Matthew 19:13-15 Joshua 24:15b

Price: $5.00 for 1 booklet

 

 

 

Rebekah's Alabaster - 2000

I wanted to create a story that would explain the concept of grace to my daughters, Kristen, Lauren, Meghan and Caitlyn.  A simple perfume vial proved to be the perfect vessel for a "Parable of Grace".

Rebekah's Alabaster is dedicated to my daughters, especially Lauren Rebekah McKell whose innocent faith is an inspiration to me.

Luke 7:36-50 Luke 11:9-13 Romans 5:5 I Timothy 1:14

Price: $2.00 for 1 booklet

 

 

 

Tradition - 1999

During my last years in Scouting, we had some fun with extemporaneous stories. Before ending my tenure as Scoutmaster, I asked a handful of my scouts to contribute phrases to be the basis for a Christmas story.  After gathering those phrases, I immediately began to write.

Tradition is dedicated to the scouts and leaders of Troop 5, who shared with me, every month for twelve years, the magic of the campfire and the tradition of storytelling.

Luke 2:4-20 Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11

 

Price: $2.00 for 1 booklet

 

 

 

Christmas Presence - 1998

The Bible outlines two Christmas stories.  The story in John's gospel, is less well known, but is perhaps the more powerful: Christ is the light of the world.   When our company was young we held our Christmas dinner at the Pump House art gallery.  My imagination ran wild.

Christmas Presence is dedicated to my wife, partner and best friend, Peggy, who constantly shares and supports my crazy ideas and traditions.  I revel in the presence of her constant love.

John 1:1-14 I Corinthians 13:13

Price: $3.00 for 1 Booklet

 

 

 

Hannah's Prayer - 1997

Our adult Sunday school class did a wonderful study of parables a few years back.  Those thought-provoking discussions and some awkward experiences with panhandlers led to the creation of an interesting story.

Hannah's Prayer is dedicated to the JOY Sunday School class, for the wonderful Christian love they have shared with us over the years.

Luke 15:20-24 Matthew 25:31-46 I Samuel 2:1-8

Price: $2.00 for 1 booklet

 

 

 

Gone Fishin' - 1996

Peg's father passed away on October 12, 1996.  It was a sad time for us. But his death was not a tragedy, just another heavenly promise fulfilled.

Gone Fishin' is dedicated to the memory of Edwin R.  "Buck" Conaway, for the subtle, yet significant, Christian impact he had on thousands of people and for the much less subtle and much more significant fatherly impact he had on those of us who miss him everyday.

John 11:21-26 John 1:1-4

 

Price: $2.00 for 1 booklet

 

 

 

Approaching Storms - 1995

The "Grandfather Story" is one of my most requested campfire stories.  In 1993, one of my best friends asked if he could make a movie based on the story. I was honored.  I enjoyed the opportunity to work with him on the script and was thrilled to watch while he and his cast and crew brought the story to life.

Approaching Storms is dedicated to Seth Stark and to eleven-year-old actor, Chris Castellano, for bringing one of my favorite campfire stories to life.

Romans 8:28 Matthew 8:24-26

 

Price: $3.00 for 1 booklet

 

 

 

The Indian Princess - 1994

When I was a child, getting ready for Christmas meant setting up the trains. As I began to think of Christmas traditions I could share with my new family, I remembered the trains and the magic they created.

The Indian Princess is dedicated to my father for sharing his love of Lionel trains.

Proverbs 22:6

Price: $2.00 for 1 booklet

 

 

 

Cattail Lodge - 1993

This story became the perfect vehicle for sharing the true definition of success and the details of our new log home.

Cattail Lodge is dedicated to the memory of my grandfather, Wm. Scott McKell, whose definition of success inspired this story and touched the lives of so many.

Mark 10:17-27

Price: $2.00 for 1 booklet

 

 

 

The Craftsman's Code - 1992

I crafted this story over many weeks while driving back and forth to Wilkesville.  When the Wilton girls basketball team qualified for the championship game in the county tournament, I decided to put the story to paper and give it as a gift to my friend, Jerri Campbell.

The Craftsman's Code is dedicated to the 1982-83 students and staff of Wilton Elementary School, particularly Donny, Scott, Jerri, Jay and Tom, whose passion for basketball inspired this story.  It is further dedicated to my wonderful friend, Chris Prater, who is indeed a Master Craftsman, who shared with me the principles of woodcarving and who, for many years in Scouting, joined me as a practitioner of the Craftsman's Code.

Luke 24:15-16 Romans 8:37

Price: $2.00 for 1 booklet

 

 

 

The Warmth of a Christmas Story - Ten Year Anthology - 1982-1991

This anthology contains the first 10 Christmas stories.  The booklet includes five stories not otherwise available in print (including the story Bill used to propose to Peg).  It also includes Bill's personal reflections on each story.  Very limited quanities.

Price: $25.00 for 1 booklet

 

 

 

Oh! Christmas Tree - 1990

I awoke one night to a loud rumble and the shaking of the floor.  I ran downstairs and found the house manager closing the vestibule's large old pocket doors.  "What are you doing, Kirk?" I asked.  "The door," he said pointing to the exterior wall, "The pledges stole the front door."  I smiled.  A pretty creative prank, I thought.  But not the most creative.

Oh! Christmas Tree is dedicated to the Brothers of Sigma Theta Epsilon, whose enthusiasm proves that there is nothing more invigorating than Christian fellowship.

1 Thessalonians 5:2 Matthew 24:42-44

 

Price: $1.00 for 1 original draft copy*

 

 

 

A Nostalgic Illustration of Love - 1988

My good friend and former student, Andrew Lazzaro, wrote the original version of this Christmas story when he was in the seventh grade.  I reworked Andrew's story a little bit and presented it to him as a Christmas present in 1987.

A Nostalgic Illustration of Love is dedicated to our parents who have always served as excellent examples of love and support.

I Timothy 5:8

Price: $2.00 for 1 booklet

 

 

 

Saint Nicholas Street - 1987

If I were Santa Claus…  How would you finish that thought?   Stephen knew what he would do.  Thanks to a sprinkle of magic dust, Mr. Elanger did, too.  Together they learned that concern for others is the greatest gift of all.

Saint Nicholas Street is inspired by and dedicated to those of you who care more about giving than receiving and who are always finding little ways to show your love for the people you see every day.

Acts 20:35

Price: $2.00 for 1 booklet

 

 

 

When the Whole World is Gray is dedicated to my "brother", mentor and friend, Jeff Wyckoff, for his example of love, trust and understanding.

Ephesians 4:32-5:2

Price: $3.00 for 1 booklet

 

 

 

The Soft Glow of an Old Lantern is dedicated to the memory of my grandpa whose special way of giving touched the life of a little boy more than he could ever know.

Matthew 5:14-16

Price: $2.00 for 1 booklet

 

 

 

A Christmas Wish - 1982

I owe it all to my sister, Molly.  Were it not for Molly and her story of unconditional love, my tradition of annual Christmas stories may not have continued.

A Christmas Wish is dedicated to my parents whose wisdom and love, especially in the face of adversity, provided us with a wonderful childhood and set a tremendous example of marriage and parenthood. It is also dedicated to my sister, Molly, whose life of pure innocence and love should be a model for all of our lives.

Luke 18:16-17

 

Price: $1.00 for 1 original draft copy*

 

 

 

If She Hadn't Been a Coward, She Wouldn't Have Been Cremated - 2003

Aunt Dais was one of the most wonderful ladies I have ever met.  She and my grandmother were only two years apart in age and spent most of there ninety-plus years of life together.  Their dedication to family and traditional values certainly had a profound impact upon my generation.  They also shared with us a lot of family history.  That heritage and the story of Aunt Dais's interment make for an interesting riddle.

 

If She Hadn't Been a Coward, She Wouldn't Have Been Cremated is dedicated to the memory of my Aunt Dais, who taught me a lot about Courage and Caring.

Deuteronomy 31:6, 1 Samuel 2:6-9

Price: $1.00 for 1 original draft copy*

 

 

 

Skinny Dip - 2003

My cousin, Sam, is a year younger than I am.  His family lived about two hours away from mine when we were growing up.  We got together every holiday when they would come and stay at Grandmother's house across the street and when our families spent a couple of weeks at the beach each year.  But our best times together were always the weeks we shared at Grandmother's cabin every summer.  Sam and I were very close and, I'm told, very ornery.  Every year at the cabin we dreamed up some type of adventure.  This fictional story is reminiscent of the adventures we concocted.

 

Skinny Dip is dedicated to my cousin, Sam, who shared with me many boyhood adventures during those wonderful weeks at Grandmother's farm.

 

Revelation 16:15, Ephesians 5:11

 

Price: $1.00 for 1 original draft copy*

 

 

 

Grandmother's Cabin - 2003

My first adult trip to Grandmother's cabin was an emotional one.  I made the trip in hopes that the rustic nature of Grandmother's cabin would inspire some new campfire stories.  Instead, I was overwhelmed with the nostalgic childhood memories the place conjured up.  I had to get this story out of my spirit and onto paper before I could create anything else.

Grandmother's Cabin is dedicated to the memory of my grandmother, Estelle McKell, for the strong values she instilled in her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and for sharing with us her wonderful cabin-the perfect place to experience life well lived.

Proverbs 22:6

 

Price: $1.00 for 1 original draft copy*

 

The date next to each title indicates the year the story was published or recorded for the first time.

*Original draft copies are photocopied booklets that were produced for pre-publication distribution and do not contain cardstock covers or cover illustrations.  They are not necessarily in final form and do not necessarily match the final product as may be available on studio recordings or in other forms of publication.  On the other hand, they sometimes provide insight as to the evolution of a story.

 

Books and Studio CDs can also be
purchased at:
Praises Family Books and Gifts
235 N. Bridge Street
Chillicothe, OH 45601
(740) 772-4737 or (800) 397-4736

 
 

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