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Richard E. Kelly

Growing Up in Mama’s Club

A Childhood Perspective of Jehovah’s Witnesses
— Revised & Expanded Third Edition


Writing, publishing, and marketing a book are formidable tasks for anyone. But for a new author they are daunting duties, and yet absolutely necessary to the success of any book. As I reflect back on the time and work involved in getting my story, Growing Up In Mama’s Club – A Childhood Perspective of Jehovah’s Witnesses, to where it is today, I realize that I simply could not have done it without the total support and help of my wife, children, and good friends.

In addition, I would like to especially acknowledge five very competent professionals who also provided their unique talents and knowledge in an effort to make Mama’s Club a success.

Sherry Sterling

Sherry SterlingSherry is my editor and confidant. I first met Sherry in 2005, when one of my University of Arizona writing professors suggested that Sherry might be able to help me.

From our very first meeting together in her Tucson home, there was good chemistry between us. She shared my passion for getting this story into print and patiently waded through my learning curve, as she constantly reminded me that you must “show the reader - don’t tell them.”

Sherry is the mother of three dynamic young people, and her well-honed mothering and listening skills were often necessary to keep me focused. She and I have already started working on the sequel, Ghosts From Mama’s Club, which we hope to have ready for print sometime in 2009.
[Email Sherry]

Terri VandeVegte

Terri VandeVegteI worked with Terri in my previous life at Clipper Belt Lacer Co. In fact, she still works at Clipper and lives in the greater Grand Rapids area.

Terri is a graphic artist extraordinaire - and when needed, a super proofreader. The book’s cover and graphics on this website clearly showcase her exceptional skills. I'd been struggling with the design of the book’s cover for several weeks before I thought about calling Terri. When I did, I told her what I wanted and in just two days she gave me five acceptable designs.

Terri has emailed me several times this summer, telling me that she can’t wait to read the sequel. And I tell her that when it’s ready, she will have to oil up her creative juices to make the second book’s cover even better than the first.
[Email Terri]

Mike White

Mike WhiteI had a big decision to make after writing my story. I could try to find a literary agent who liked it or I could sell the rights to a small publisher. Several writer friends suggested that I talk with Mike before making my final decision.

Mike lives in Tucson and specializes in helping self-publishing authors get their works into print. He is very knowledgeable and not the least bit pushy. At our first meeting I spent an hour with him while he patiently explained what he could do for me. I decided that working with Mike was the way I wanted to go.

While it was convenient for me to work with Mike during the six months I lived in Tucson, he made himself easily accessible even when he went to Seattle and I returned to Grand Rapids for the summer. The second edition of Mama's Club was actually produced without our meeting in person. We were able to communicate and get everything we needed completed by using emails, regular mail, and several brief phone calls.

Mike has helped me through two printings of the book and I couldn’t be happier. He, of course, will help me publish the sequel.

Scott Bultman

When I came back to Grand Rapids in the spring of 2007, I met with Scott , our family photographer. I showed him a copy of the first printing of Mama’s Club and asked if he could find a way to improve the quality of the pictures.

Printing pictures on pages in paperback books is not an easy task. With Scott's help, graphic quality was improved, several of the existing photos were resized, and four new pictures were added. He also took the portrait of me that you see on left panel of this website.
[Email Scott]

John Hoyle

John HoyleJohn was a most pleasant surprise addition and the last to join my team.

I'd received an email from an unknown sender in mid July. I reluctantly opened it and was surprised to read, “Dickie, is that you?” While browsing the Internet, John had seen several positive postings on various websites about “Richard Kelly and his new book” that was released on June 30 at a convention of ex-Club members held in Orlando, Florida. From what he'd read about my background and the story my book told, he figured it had to be me.

John and I were both raised in the Club and were childhood friends when we lived in the Los Angeles area between 1952 and 1958 (John is “Johnny Morrow” in Mama’s Club), but we had lost touch for almost 50 years.

To make a long story short, John’s now in the business of designing websites, working out of his Salem, Oregon home. After getting a copy of my book and reading it twice, he wanted to help.

John is one of the savviest, most talented persons I have ever met when it comes to understanding how to use the Internet to market and sell products. While he collaborated with Terri and Sherry on the graphics, colors, and precise wording, John's technical skills are showcased on this website and related blog. He is also a great cheerleader, continually reminding me that Mama’s Club is a great read. For him, it’s never been if Oprah endorses the book, it’s always been when.
[John's website]

Remember that you can email for more information about Growing Up In Mama’s Club – A Childhood Perspective of Jehovah’s Witnesses and how you can request a copy by Email or order through

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