Thinking of summer. Or at least spring.
Thinking of summer. Or at least spring.
From the article in the LA Times: “When you ask Amazon, they will simply reply “no comment” to the rumors that they’re planning to open 300 to 400 brick-and-mortar bookstores. But is that because it’s not true or because the company isn’t ready to let the cat out of the bag? When it opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore in Seattle, the process was kept very, very quiet.”
Will Amazon put Amazon out of business too? A paradox worthy of Eubulides.
On it’s way in May, the first of several books I illustrated that are coming out this year.
Right now I am busy illustrating a picture book I wrote that comes out next year and writing books that I have no idea if they will ever come out. Looking backwards, working forward and searching the horizon all at once.
Here is the copyright page (sans text) from Superhero Instruction Manual written by Kristy Dempsey. Look for it in May! I’ll be posting bits and pieces from the book and some examples of pages in progress as we get closer to the release date.
The past few days I have been editing a new manuscript. Well, an old manuscript (about a year old) that is now a new manuscript. This is a pretty major revision on a longer text.
I actually enjoyed it, once I got into it. In fact I could hardly stop and worked late several nights.
I read an interview with Woody Allen that he writes a first draft as quickly as he can, because it is difficult and consuming. Then seems to enjoy rewriting.
This particular rewrite was pretty big. I added an overlapping story (what I would call the A story) and turned the old remnants into B and C stories. And along the way further defined the characters and tried to build in some additional surprises and humor. I’m not going to say much about his story, but if it ever actually makes it to my agent and he likes it enough to submit someplace AND it were to get acquired, I’ll relink to this post. But that’s a long path to travel and it’s not clear if that will happen.
The new revision has been left to proof. (I was a baker for many years.). That’s what I call it when I finish a draft and just leave it alone for a time. I’m exhausted, I’ve done 99% of the rewrite but want fresh eyes when I go back to it. I’m not 100% sure of the ending, but who knows. When I read it after time passes maybe I’ll like it. Or if not, hopefully will have a new idea on how to fix it.
Now it’s back to art revisions on a new book and a picture book manuscript that, well, I need to build up my strength because it’s a rewrite that will take the same amount of dedication and focus as this past one. I need to be ready.
The truth about F.H Longwell
Over the past 18 weeks I’ve been posting a story about explorer F.H Longwell.
This character started out as a promotional handout 3 or 4 years ago. I wrote, designed, illustrated and then printed and bound a small book consisting of excerpts from Longwell’s diary on his ‘discovery’ of Easter Island. I gave it out to a few editors, my agent and friends.
I really liked the character, his ‘voice’ was clear to me. Someone who never thinks they are wrong and has no self-awareness. A character who sees anything outside the way he was raised and were he lives as something not-quite-right. An explorer whose ego always gets the better of him and who, without his sidekick Tipton, wouldn’t survive a night outside his estate.
So I wrote a longer story. But when it was done – it was not right as a picture book. middle grade or YA book. Which are the places where I stand a chance of selling a book.
But it was written and revised and I found it pretty funny. It sat on my computer for 2 years and I finally just divided it up and ran it here.
It wasn’t written weekly, it was cut-and-pasted from my full manuscript.
The art, well, I only had sketches and I finished a few of them off for the blog run. but they are all pretty rough and in different styles. I didn’t have time to do ‘real’ art as I would like to do if it had been a ‘published’ book.
It also gave me something to post while I’ve been busy with a deadlines!
I really enjoy writing about Longwell and Tipton but I’m afraid I never crafted broad enough characters/story to make them publishable for a large publisher. And that’s the point of this post. For me, only a small percentage of my work ends up being acquired. Most of the time the work veers off course. It doesn’t mean it’s ‘bad’. It means it is not suitable to a broad audience.
But good ol’ F.H Longwell and Tipton will always have a place in my heart.
Mostly safe and no less sound than usual, Longwell and Tipton get a chance to rest after surviving one of their most dangerous cave (and monkey) filled adventures.
F.H. Longwell III was a gentleman explorer, a renowned naturalist and a scholar who traveled with his manservant Tipton on behalf of The World’s Most Curious Curiosities Museum in the early hours of the 19th century.
July 23, 1830
And so our adventure ends much like it began, though we are a bit itchier. Tipton’s rash is back (nothing unusual there) and we have a few additional bruises, cuts, welts. Monkey bites. But we are safe and sound. And while I rest on the sunny beach, trying to absorb all that this adventure has brought us and making notes on our finds for the museum, Tipton cuts down timber to construct a new boat. Perhaps he will make it a little roomier this time. But I ask for that every time and he just ignores me.
I am disappointed that we never found the 30 pair of golden pants but we did find proof of the king wearing them. Of course we saw no proof of the golden undergarments. We will never know the truth as the story has been so long handed down that much of it now lives only as myth. Magical stories that weary locals recount to pass the dark evenings.
Tipton insists it’s a story that weary locals tell unwanted guests, so that the uninvited venture off to die in the jungle … Tipton’s understanding of human nature is limited. And while I admire his versatility and vitality, he does not grasp the wonder I see.
We are running low on scone mix. I’m almost out of tea. My razors are not sharp enough to cut a banana. I haven’t seen or heard a single elephant this entire trip. Not even a little one.
I am not 100% certain when we will be called to meet our next adventure but I have no doubt that we will prevail and bring honor, prestige and a host of amazing artifacts to The Museum of The World’s Most Curious Curiosities. As we have some quiet time while we recuperate, I plan on taking Tipton out into the sea to teach him some basic strokes. Of course it’s difficult to make plans because adventuring can pop-up at any moment and dash your beautiful plate of plans into bits. Tiny little bits that one will never be able to put back together into anything resembling the plate it once was.
We must always be vigilant to all the things we do not yet know. And those things we don’t yet know that we don’t know, or haven’t even realized we need to know because they seem on the surface to be rather mundane and uninteresting, yet they turn out to be fascinating – and filled with elephants.
In the year of our Lord, one thousand eighteen hundred thirty.
F.H. Longwell III