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Local talent abounds. Upstate Parent takes a look at three local authors who are living their dreams and sharing their talents and passions with the world.

Cheryl Cannon brings songs and goofy fun to serious messages in her “Gomer the Goo Man” books.

“I have two nieces and a nephew,” Cannon said. “We were on our way home from a family vacation at the beach and they wanted a story.”

Cannon had her crew help create the story on the drive home. The first book teaches children about diversity.

“I believe you can teach children anything — for good or bad — when they are little,” she said.

Cannon, who works full time in Christian ministry, was encouraged by the music minister at her church to write a book. In addition to the story, each Gomer book includes a CD of the story and an accompanying song. The catchy tune keeps kids singing along.

The second book, “Gomer Goo II and the Bip Bop Bully,” is about bullying and learning how to forgive. Cannon also made it more educational. But she continued to step outside her comfort zone, this time with an accompanying rap song.

“Because they come with a CD, kids really love to hear gooey Gomer talk,” she said. “It blesses my heart. God uses the simple to confound the wise — and I am the queen of the simple.”

Books are also available at Book Quest in Fountain Inn and directly from Cannon at cannoncheryl@gmail.com.

P.C. Marotta translated a career in veterinary sciences and a love of animals into colorful children’s books featuring Twinkle, her Shih Tzu and family friends. Her stories teach lessons about friendship, the environment and more.

“I like to be a storyteller,” Marotta said. “This world, as we know, can be very sad at times. One person can make a difference, in baby steps.”

Marotta began her published works with a memoir of her Italian family’s food and traditions, followed by a book of lessons learned in her mother’s kitchen. When she began her series of children’s stories, Marotta chose British illustrator Amy Houghton to bring them to life.

“I picked Amy because of the simplicity of her illustrations,” Marotta said. “I wanted something I enjoyed looking at as a child.”

The characters in Marotta’s books are based on real dogs.

“They are alive and well with me,” she said.

Marotta said her books have a message but they also entertain.

“It’s the human story and I am just telling it to kids – fresh minds that are not yet burdened by the prejudices of adulthood,” she said. “This world is in dire need of change. Each story deals with a life message, but in a way a child can understand.”

Marotta’s books are available at Amazon.com and other outlets and through her website, www.pcmarotta.com.

Every parent has their child’s art on the refrigerator, but Audrey Williams decided to share her daughter’s creative stories with the world.

Diamond Williams is just 9 years old, but she hasn’t let that stop her from expressing her joy in words. Her mother independently published three of Diamond’s stories in the book, “The Three Bikes and Other Short Stories.”

“I just got bored and I started writing,” Diamond said. “I want to inspire other people so they can do the same thing I did.”

Though Diamond wants to be a doctor one day — so she can “make sure other people stay healthy” — writing is her current hobby. Her second book, “Jacob and the Alien” publishes this month. It will be illustrated by her 16-year-old brother.

“She is just too busy,” her mom, Audrey Williams, said. “She wants to have her own clothing line.”

Diamond has five older brothers and one younger sister and is in fourth grade at Brook Glenn Elementary School in Taylors. Her advice to other young writers is simple.

“If you want to write a story, then you’ve got to write the best thing that comes to mind,” she said.

Diamond’s first stories, as well as her upcoming book, are available through Amazon.com and other outlets. Because of Diamond’s age, “The Three Bikes and Other Short Stories” can be found by searching her mother’s name, Audrey Williams.

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