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Researching the Wild West

Sasspirilla Springs

The latest children’s story I am working on involves a small old western town in the middle of nowhere. Unlike other western towns, this one didn’t pop up around a gold or silver rush. Nope. This one popped up around a more unusual product of mother earth.

The story is in the outline stage and is being set around the people of the town itself. It’s staged to be a group of short stories that revolve around the every day life of these colorful, quirky, and sometimes misguided, characters.

I find it rather amusing to research the lingo used in the old west. Many of the colorful statements were used by people who were uneducated and, for lack of a better word, ignorant. Yet it closely resembles the “rap” style lingo spoken today.

As usual, the issues of writing a children’s story about a violent time in history brings up topics such as guns, violence, drinking, and much more. But I’m up for the challenge to tackle these issues in a creative way.

 

Tempus Fugit

Time flies. It sure does. It’s been a while since my last post here on my blog. Sorry about that. So, what’s going on. On the sadder side of things, my mother passed away on Father’s Day this year. She was very ill and had been battling diabetes here whole life, as well as the loss of her kidneys. In the end, her body just gave out. In spite of all of that, our family is going well.

As for projects, work is proceeding on Fields of Dreams. We hope to have some illustrations for Volume 0 very soon. Other projects are getting rewrites and progressing forward. Ron and I have reworked our old “Draglets” concept and are creating a new and unique story based on characters Ron created in the 80’s.

Ron and I also created our own company called “Vivid Imagination Studios.”, follow us on Facebook! We’ll be positing images and information on all our projects there.

Taking research seriously … with pirates

Pirate ResearchYou’ve heard the expression, “Writers write.” That is very true. I have a slew of story ideas I’ve been cultivating for the past year. One of the stories is a pirate tale. The goal is to create a story which can be turned into a graphic novel. Writing a pirate story is not as simple as it sounds. Most of my knowledge of pirates came from movies, and the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World. I wanted to learn more about real pirates, not just those in fiction. But I also wanted to maintain peoples expectations of pirates as well.

Jack Sparrow, the fictional pirate in the Pirate of the Caribbean movies, gave people a different view of pirates. Although his character is purely fictional, characters such as Bartholomew and Morgan, the two pirates who wrote the fictional Pirates Code, are actual pirates. Pirates did live by codes, but each Captain  did have a set of company articles, or rules. These rule were often very fair to the pirates, even compensating them financially for missing limbs.

As you can see, I take my research for stories pretty seriously. I’ve watched true documentaries of pirates, I’ve watched at least 7 different pirate movies, and I have read several books on pirates, pirate lingo, and even a pirate handbook.

I’ve also found that inspiration can come from anywhere, including a few replica pirate coins. When I wrote Eartha the Sea Turtle, and Steven the Vegan, I used photographs, plus a few visits to locations where the real animals resided, for inspiration.

I can’t tell you when the story will be done, but as always, I will keep you posted.

 

Let the book signing begin!

The books are here!

Last week the illustrator for Steven the Vegan,Ron Robrahn, signed all the books, and now it’s my turn. Ron also hand drew all the sketch cards which look AWESOME! This weekend I will start signing and endorsing all the books. Next week they will slowly begin shipping out to all the Kickstarter.com backers.

I cannot stress how important their role was in getting this book published. Not only did they provide financial support, but they provided moral support as well. Notes of encouragement really helped to keep us going. That kind of appreciation cannot be put properly into words.

 

Remember When Picture Books Were Fun

Remember when picture books were just plain fun to read. The stories didn’t have to have a deep moral, or life lesson. When reading it, you weren’t concerned about character development, or growth. The stories just had fun characters placed in fun situations. You loved reading it because, well, it was fun.

Along with my friend and illustrator, Ron Robrahn, we are working on a series of stories that bring the fun back to picture books. The series is called, Myth Illogical. It follows some nonsensical antics of some well know mythological creatures. It’s good, clean, comical fun. There are four main characters, Bigfoot, Minotaur, Dragon and Unicorn. Along the way, as the stories develop, other characters will be introduced.

Ron has begun character development and truly knows how to inject personality into each and every one of them. Each character will have his or her own quirks and demeanor, and that will just add to the fun.

With Eartha the Sea Turtle,  Steven the Vegan,  and my forthcoming bullying story, I’ve explored some serious topics … it’s time for some old fashioned fun.

 

Bullying Book Storyboard Complete

I recently received a sneak peak at the storyboard for the children’s book I wrote about bullying. I have to say, it looks great. Each time I read the story, I feel a sense of pride. As I’ve said before, it’s not the typical bullying story. It offers real solutions for children being bullied and doesn’t follow the standard “everybody becomes friends” ending. Too many times I see children’s books filled with false hope. I don’t think a topic as important and powerful as bullying should be masqueraded by false hope.

The currently untitled book is being designed by Chris Hall, and illustrated by Brian Krümm. (The same team that illustrated Eartha the Sea Turtle). Although I am the writer of this book, it’s not being published through Totem Tales Publishing.

If you are interested in possibly purchasing this book, please let me know.

 

 

A Blast of Inspiration can come from Anywhere

It’s funny where inspiration can come from. For Eartha the Sea Turtle, my inspiration came from Eartha’s story, and the amazing work done at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center. For Steven the vegan, my inspiration came from an article I read about how kids don’t know where their food comes from. Fields of Dreams was inspired by a cross of the Scarecrow in the Wizard of OZ, and Ralph Phillips from the Looney Tunes cartoon, from A to zzzzz.

My latest blast of inspiration came while watching a really bad movie on SyFy network. SyFy is known for some cheesy made for TV movies. While I was watching the show, and laughing at how bad it was, I realized something really, really funny and turned it into a story. I’ve not only written one story, I’ve written two about the same characters.

What’s the first thing I did? I sent it off to my friend, and illustrator, Ron to start creating some character designs. He loved the script and sent me one of the characters. I can’t wait for him to story board it all for me.

This new story concept will probably be sold only as an e-book. Digital media saves a lot of time and money in printing costs. I’m looking to offer it as a PDF file, Amazon Kindle file, nook file, and ePub formats.

Oh, what’s the name of the story, you ask?

A New Children’s Book on Bullying

Two months ago I was asked to write a children’s book about bullying. Bullying is a serious topic that is getting much more exposure now than years past. Since this was essentially a work-for-hire, I cannot give too much detail about the book, but it does cover different aspects of bullying, include verbal, and physical.

The story is unlike other books out there. Those who know me, know I do things different … I make my own kind of music. This story had to be different. There are too many stories out there that end the same way. This story has a different ending, something both children and adults can truly relate to.

This is the second team-up of myself and the illustration team of Brian Krümm and Chris Hall. The two were instrumental in bringing my first book, The Tale of Eartha the Sea Turtle, to life. I’ve enjoyed working with them again on this very special project.

As always, I will keep you posted on the project.

 

A cover for Steven the Vegan

The cover for my next book, Steven the Vegan is done. Well, the front cover anyway. Ron and I have been using Skype to share his computer screen and to talk. This allows us to collaborate even more effectively on our work. (Isn’t technology wonderful … take that Amish!)

It was important for the cover to be colorful, and cute to a degree of putting someone into a diabetic coma. Ron’s ability to draw cute animals could put anyone into sugar shock. We both agree, using Skype is definitely more effective. I can tell him he’s doing it wrong, he can tell me I’m crazy, we can both compromise and BAM! we have another successful project.

We have already agreed that this will be the way we will work together on our next projects like Fields of Dreams, and Eartha 2. (Oh was I not suppose to mention the sequel to Eartha the Sea Turtle?)

Right now, Ron and I are also going over each page. Usually, he would send over a page, and I would critique it and send it back with some notes. Now, with Skype, we can actually work together and talk it out.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to see a cover for the book. What do you think of it?

UPDATE : The cover has been updated. As you can see, Steven’s palm is now open where the baby chick stands.

 

Fields of Dreams Volume 0 – Writing Complete

One of the projects I am working on with my long-time friend and illustrator, Ron, is a comic book called Fields of Dreams. Recently we decided to create a volume zero, rather than start with volume one. Volume zero will be free. This will allow us to introduce the comic to the world at no cost.

Fields of Dreams is the story of a scarecrow that daydreams while standing in the corn field. As you have guessed, the comic is about imagination. Events that transpire around him will trigger his imagination and his day dreams. In his own mind, he looks more human than his true scarecrow form. It’s very “Don Quixote” in his mind. He battles dragons, monsters, a dark knight, space aliens, and whatever he can dream up.

The cast of characters includes the Farmer, the Farmer’s wife, their mean-spirited granddaughter Dot, Winston the old barn dog, and two crows named Sid and Marty.

The sketch to the right is a rough draft of what our scarecrow will look like.

Please leave feedback and let me know your thoughts on this project.