Children’s book author writes new morning memories

By Josette Keelor

Two years ago, the Masters family of Frederick County had a major wake-up call. Since that day, mornings have never been the same.

Inspired to turn his children’s early morning frowns upside down, Greyson Masters gave some serious thought to how he, his wife Kelly and children Lauren and Grey, might break out of the normal rise-and-shine routine.

The solution came in question form: “What will be your first words of the day?” he asked them one evening.

They took the challenge more seriously than he expected, and the following day, when he woke each of them for school, their sleepy expressions morphed into smiles.

“I love my family,” Lauren told her dad.

“I love you,” Grey repeated from his own bed.

“It sure beats waking up grumpy,” Masters recently remembered.

For awhile, it remained their own private family ritual, until one day last March Masters had the crazy idea to write a children’s book.

“When they heard that,” he said, “… they were kind of gung ho into it.”

But Masters has frequently regretted that decision.

“You say it and then think, ‘What have I done?’ I had no idea how time consuming it would be.”

Arriving home from work each day, he would want to “veg out” in front of the TV, but he couldn’t do that because he’d made a commitment.

“There were a lot of days where I wanted to quit, but they pushed me,” he said.

Now a published author, he said he made the right choice.

“It’s a new passion I discovered because of my kids,” he said.

In the book, titled for the question that changed everything, he has asked readers what their first words of the day will be:

“Now will they be sweet like the words ‘I love you?’ / Or will they be fun like the words ‘peek-a-boo’? / Or maybe you’ll ask for a ‘pet kangaroo’? / Or will you wake hungry and say ‘barbecue’?”

Published through his own company, Grey Sun Publishing, the book uses rhyming trisyllabic meter and illustrations Masters made himself using an Adobe Ideas application on his iPad.

“It was a blast,” he said.

There’s been unexpected consequences — “Everything I do now, I’m talking in trisyllable meter.” — but since the Aug. 14 publish date he said he has had some wonderful feedback from readers.

“I’m hearing other stories of other families that have started this tradition at their house. It’s just a very neat feeling to hear other people talk about how this is helping their mornings get off to a great start,” he said.

At the end, the book features pages where readers can record their own first words of the day — an element Masters added after realizing how easily he was forgetting the first words of Lauren and Grey, now ages 9 and 6.

“I wish I had this book when I’d done this two years ago,” he said.

Greyson Masters will have a book release party for his book, “What Will Be Your First Words of the Day?: A Morning Tradition,” from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Winchester Book Gallery and a reading in the Children’s Room at Handley Regional Library at 11 a.m. Sept. 24. Contact the author at http://www.greysonmasters.com or purchase his book fro $8.16 at http://www.amazon.com.

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com>