New Book Release: Ukulele Expressions: Low G Animals in Art

I’m excited to announce the third book in the Ukulele Expressions series is now available! Ukulele Expressions: Low G Animals in Art is full of music just for the picking hand, along with paintings of amazing animals. This music was composed specifically for Low G ukulele and features alternate tunings that provide a diverse set of melodies. You will also use a capo on some of the pieces.

The Ukulele Expressions series began in 2021. I was still new to the ukulele but was having trouble with carpal tunnel in my fretting hand. I would even have surgery eventually. But I didn’t want to stop playing my ukulele. I searched for music to play with just one hand and I couldn’t find any! That is when I set out to create my own, using alternate tunings for some of the pieces in order to get a range of melodies. Adding a capo changed the pitch on some of the pieces as well. I combined the Etudes with paintings of nature I created and this gave me a rich playing experience as I imagined each place. I wanted to publish the book so others could benefit from this music just for the picking hand, too.

This book focuses on the Low G ukulele with its deep and rich bass sounds. Ten expressive, acrylic paintings of amazing animals have been included that I created. I like to think of each one as I play the corresponding musical piece. What do they sound like? What are they doing? What do they represent?

Take a walk on the wild side and start playing today!

You can find the book on Amazon here:

(This is an Amazon Affiliate link and I may receive a small commission through this link. Thank you for your support!)

New Life Without a Colon

I’m so glad to be back with you and writing again. My absence has been due to an extended hospital stay for the severe ulcerative colitis I had and then surgery to remove my colon. It has been a whirlwind of a few weeks! I’ll share my experience with you.

The disease had reached a new level of severity. I couldn’t even eat ice chips without having to use the bathroom right away. I had to use a commode in the hospital because the urgency didn’t allow me to make it to the actual bathroom in time. For ten days before the surgery, I didn’t leave the four-foot area surrounding my hospital bed. I was in poor shape, so I ended up having a TPN nutrition PICC Line put in my body. I was being pumped full of the nutrients I had been missing for so long and working on getting healthy enough to have surgery to remove the entire colon.

Surgery day finally came and I was rather emotional because I was taken down to the surgery area sooner than anticipated. My parents weren’t there yet and I just felt so nervous about everything. The fabulous nurses made me feel comfortable and eventually I was able to see both my parents before the surgery.

The surgery took about three hours, and I woke up in a flash. Anesthesia is a powerful thing! I barely remember being wheeled into the operating room and then all of a sudden, I was in the recovery area.

I woke to staples in a vertical incision down my abdomen and I now had an ileostomy. The stoma is formed from the small intestine and that’s where my waste will come from now, into a pouch that I empty frequently. I spent one night in the ICU and then moved to a step-down floor the next day. (ICU nurses are truly amazing!)

I returned home five days after the surgery and it’s been wonderful! I don’t have any of the pain of the disease anymore! I don’t have the rib pain that was actually pain from my descending colon becoming very large and inflamed and pushing upward into my torso. I don’t even have the shortness of breath anymore.

Living with an ostomy is taking some getting used to. There are hurdles involved with getting supply shipments set up and insurance to deal with. I have a home health nurse to help with learning how to change the gear every few days. I have to empty the pouch frequently, but I am able to eat many foods again. I am looking forward to being in the kitchen more and cooking again.

I still get rather emotional if I think about this huge change in my body for too long. It’s just such a major surgery that leaves me with the ostomy permanently. It’s been so worth it already though. 

I have created some art related to my ulcerative colitis along the way, including some sketches I drew in my sketchbook while in the hospital. I also have quite a few poems I wrote throughout this disease. Maybe I will put that all together in another book someday.

I’m thankful for so many great friends and family who have supported me along the way. I could feel all the prayers while in the hospital. My surgeon was wonderful, as well as the many fabulous nurses I encountered.

I look forward to getting back to the land of the living and going places again and taking walks. It’s been surreal to have my evenings free of bathroom trips every ten minutes. And I love eating food again! I actually had my 40th birthday in the hospital a few days before surgery. I imagined I had cake in my nutrition line, but I was happy to have an actual piece of cake once I was home!

I plan to keep writing about this as I journey through living with an ostomy. Thank you for reading my story. And I hope others who suffer from digestive diseases can get the treatment they desperately need as well. Always be a strong advocate for yourself, even when it’s extremely difficult. Push for answers and make sure you are getting the care you need to feel better. There are better and brighter days ahead!

New Book Release: Surrounded by God’s Blue Sky: Christian Affirmations for Chronic Pain

New Book Release: Surrounded by God’s Blue Sky: Christian Affirmations for Chronic Pain

A challenging few months of dealing with the pain of fibromyalgia and my autoimmune disease prompted me to write this book, Surrounded by God’s Blue Sky: Christian Affirmations for Chronic Pain. Every day I was feeling frustrated, anxious, and angry about how much pain I was in. I felt bruised in so many places. I wasn’t sleeping well. And it was hard to stay positive.

Writing Christian affirmations and illustrating simple nature scenes and creatures proved to be the remedy I needed. I was able to write positive self-talk statements and focus on God’s message as I read my Bible. I stayed busy with sketching and painting His beautiful creations. I was growing in my faith and my perspective on my pain was shifting. Taking charge of my pain and not letting it overtake my life was powerful. My anger began to subside, and I felt a sense of calm take over me.

I’m so happy to share this book with you. Surrounded by God’s Blue Sky: Christian Affirmations for Chronic Pain is full of encouragement to help you deal with difficult days you may have with your pain. I have included Scripture references as they relate to each affirmation. Journal prompts are included to help you explore your relationship with pain, your daily life, hopes and dreams, and more.

Often “stuck” indoors because of pain, it can be challenging at times to fully appreciate God’s creations. Gratitude is powerful though. By sketching and painting, you can still experience this beautiful world, just differently. I have included a mini art lesson so you can create your own watercolor nature sketch and begin a collection of images to have on hand to look at and appreciate on those tough days.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I love hearing from you! Feel free to send an email just to say hello, too. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook where I share photos and articles, news, and updates. I pray this book is helpful to you and that you can grow in your faith, just as I have.  If you would like a free PDF sample of this book along with a special Nature Photo Walking Guide I have created, you can get that by subscribing to Susan’s SideNotes, my monthly email newsletter. The Guide is related to the mini art lesson in the book on creating your very own watercolor nature sketch. If you create sketches, please feel free to share those, too!

Free Download of New Musical Piece from Ukulele Expressions: Ocean Adventure

Today I want to share with you one of my favorite pieces from my new book Ukulele Expressions: Ocean Adventure. Dancing Seaweed is in the alternate tuning of Open F Minor which is fCFG# and a capo is placed on the third fret. You can view an example of the piece on my YouTube channel here.

This Etude is played with just the picking hand on open strings, just like all the pieces in the Ukulele Expressions books. There are many benefits to playing with just the picking hand including giving your fretting hand a much-needed break, focusing on the sound of the open strings, increasing speed, and improving dexterity. It’s also helpful when you just need to get out of a rut.

If you would like the free PDF download of Dancing Seaweed, you can join Susan’s SideNotes, my monthly email newsletter. This is where I share exclusive updates on new releases, share recommendations, and share interesting odds and ends about my life as an author, artist, and musician.

Join Susan’s Side Notes here and you will receive Dancing Seaweed via email.

You can find Ukulele Expressions: Ocean Adventure on Amazon here.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me anytime at

Enjoy your playing!

Ukulele Expressions: Ocean Adventure is Available Now!

Instrumental ukulele music that is played with one hand…

Dancing seaweed, beautiful jellyfish…

Would you like to experience these ocean wonders and sounds?

The second book in the Ukulele Expressions series takes you to the ocean where you will have a rich playing experience. The ten musical pieces (Etudes) are designed to increase your fingerpicking skills while exploring standard and alternate tuning and using a capo. You will just be using one hand, on open strings. You will be amazed at the sounds that are possible! Special information is included on mindfulness and ocean conservation as well.

Dive into this ocean adventure today….the water is waiting for you…

ebook and Paperback are available.

One Hand Many Melodies – Ukulele Music for Kids

I have composed five new songs for kids that can be played with just one hand! One Hand Many Melodies has instructions so that you can learn how to play this way along with “doodle prompts” for each song to stretch your imagination as you exercise your fingers!

Tune your ukulele to G-C-E-A and get ready to play! You can download the FREE PDF below.

This file is also available under the new tab on the menu. This is a Printer-Friendly version. If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Would you like more great picking hand songs for kids? Join my “Ukulele Music for Kids Club” to receive more great bonuses like this as I create them. You will also be subscribed to my monthly newsletter, Susan’s SideNotes.

Invisible Disability Poetry with Ukulele

Last year, I started a project but never quite followed through on it. My poem “Death to Noisy Eyeballs” was made into a video as I spoke the words and played the ukulele. Now, I am finally starting a collection.

I think anyone who shares the pain, frustration, sadness, and anger over something like chronic illness and invisible disabilities, could use a good laugh, so I will continue to share the videos as I create them.

Humor can be found in the darkest of situations, which is the theme of my book Ink Sketches for Wellness: Poems on My Life with Invisible Disabilities. A new cover was recently designed for the book as I’m always learning new ideas and techniques for my books.

You can check out the videos here, on YouTube. This link will take you to the Invisible Disability Poetry playlist I have started. I look forward to creating more!

You can find the book on Amazon here.

Do you write poetry or play the ukulele? Have you ever thought about combining them? I would love to hear about it! Send me an email or comment!

To follow me on Facebook, Like this page, Susan Montgomery.

Low G Ukulele – Prayer Melody for Ukraine – Free PDF

I have composed a special musical piece (Etude) for Ukraine and the people praying for Ukraine right now. I want to share the music so you can play this as well, and share it as you wish. This is played with only your picking hand on open strings, using an alternate tuning on a low G ukulele, in the same style as the Etudes in my book Ukulele Expressions. You can view a special video of this Etude on YouTube here.

To download the free PDF just click on the button below. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to send me a message.

Free PDF Sample of New Book! Perfect for Musicians of All Levels

I am offering a free PDF download of sample content from I Am a Gifted Musician: Affirmations for New Players of Music when you sign up for my monthly newsletter. This will give you a nice feel for the entire book. You will be downloading five illustrations with the corresponding affirmations and journal prompts. I am also including the Foreword and Introduction. This information is also available on the “Look Inside” feature on the Amazon listing. To purchase the entire paperback or eBook, visit the Amazon listing here.

New Book Available (Great for New Musicians!)

My latest book is now available. “I Am a Gifted Musician: Affirmations for New Players of Music” is full of color illustrations of various musicians with their instruments, affirmations (positive self-talk statements), and journal prompts for self-discovery. Have you ever felt really down and discouraged as a new musician? Let this book be a motivating tool. Work your way through the journal prompts and affirmations and see that you really are a gifted musician!

This is a fun book for any new musician or even a seasoned pro. Linda MacFarlane also provides a very valuable perspective in the Foreword. You can order your copy at the link in the blue “Buy on Amazon” button below. Feel free to contact me with any questions!