Friday, 24 July 2015

Can you draw like I write?

Last week, I was thinking about how I can get something done with some of my other pieces of work as a little distraction from my work on AF. It struck me that I have a number of picture books I have written that have no pictures to go with them.

It's a minor problem for a picture book... not having pictures. So I thought, there must be some highly talented artists and illustrators out there who have some pictures with no words to with them. If a picture paints a thousand words, then why has no one painted mine? Probably because I've never asked anyone.

A few beta readers & critique partners have kindly read one or two of my picture books and have given relatively positive feedback. I wonder if there is someone out there, who might read this, who knows someone that sat next to some dude on the bus who's sketching on the back of fag packet and could say, 'Hey! I know this guy who's looking for someone just like you! And not in a romantic sense!'

And here's my proposition.

Dear Illustrators,

I am putting forward one of my picture books for illustration. I'm looking for someone who really gets my writing and can make my words dance and sing across the page. Bring my story to life. If you think it might be you, please get in touch. I am posting below a snippet from one of my rhyming stories that I would love to see some examples or submissions for. What's in it for you? Well if we get on, we can work together, make a book and sell it online. I'll do all the hard graft posting about it every and trying to get recognition. I'll compile the eBooks and paperbooks and set them up for sale on my distribution account.

The joy for me is just to see my stories come to life. And we might... just might... make something out of it.

As the great band ABBA once sang, 'Take a chance on me!' You won't regret it :)

So here is the snippet from my picture book, 'Who's afraid of Monsters?' I'll leave it completely open to your interpretation.

"Sleep well," my dad said as as he turns out the light,
"Tuck yourself in, pull that duvet up tight.
Don't be afraid that the bedbugs might bite,
There's no monster or ghost to go bump in the night.”

For a moment I'm fine, for a moment all's well.
But... Hold on, what's that noise? Was it dad? I can't tell!
Maybe he tripped down the stairs and he fell,
Or it's maybe a monster who gave that stark yell!

A flicker, a glimmer, a whisper of white.
By the door, now the window, it's faster than light!
It's closer, I feel it, but it's just out of sight...
Then gone without warning, not wanting to fight.

So that's it. Do one picture or a small collection, it's your choice. I may get zero submissions, which is fine too. But I truly hope that someone is inspired and wants to make a go of it. Here's to hope and ambition... every writer's fuel for life!

Thursday, 16 July 2015

May & June... Where art thou?

Wow... where the @#$% did those months go?!

So, just as I was beginning to get a decent number of hits to my blog (by decent I mean more than 1 or 2) and May & June happen. As an unpublished, aspiring author, two things usually get in the way of raising my profile: Life and Work - not necessarily in that order.

Work has been busy, busy, busy - so much so that hours have been long, travel has been nauseating and my time at home, writing, has been restricted.

Life has also been busy, but in a good way. If I thought raising one child was hard... two is unencroachable (not sure that is a proper adjective but hey, artistic license et cetera). But at the same time it is full of the joys and wonderment of parenthood.

Full of joys and wonderment of parenthood... yes. Conducive to effective writing... No. But I wouldn't change it for the world.

So, just a few months ago, I was hitting all my writing goals and in an almost euphoric place in terms of creativity. The last two months has seen me confined to scribbling ideas on the back of a notebook while riding a train to the airport; typing paragraphs into an iPad (other quality tablets are available) and emailing them to myself so I can retype them into Scrivener; and dreaming up sequences in my head only to forget them when I wake up upon landing in a different country.

But progress has been made. Much progress. Significantly more than I had realised.

My initial push was going to be trying to get the novel published a few months ago, but after a series of rejections, I decided to get some external input (see Plot Changes and Editing), take on the advice and rewrite.

Alexandra Frost & The Dragons of Overearth is now developing into an Epic/High Fantasy split into multi-book format. I was unsure about this at first, but it is really beginning to take shape and the whole first part of the story now has a clear purpose, obstacle and is driving head first into a proper resolution.
My writing pace is picking up; the path is mapped out; and I've conjured up a few more ways to make poor Alex's life more difficult. But she's strong and we know/hope she can pull through!

My new goal is to get the book finished ready for My Editor to go through with a fine-tooth comb so I can submit the book to the upcoming SCBWI Anthology in mid-August.

As my favourite record-breaker host famously said at the end of every show, 'Dedication's what you need, if you want to be the best'. So dedication is there, I think a little blood, sweat and tears is all that's left to give.

I may not be a successful writer... but I am still a writer!