Friday, September 10, 2010

"These Are My Stories"

This is my first book, my baby, my literary pride and joy. It's called "I Hear The Wind".

Released in December of 2006, it was almost the book that didn't happen. Originally scheduled to be released in June of 2005, this book ran into production problems in China and a series of unfortunate events here in the U.S., the worst of which was the death of my editor and the driving force behind this book, Craig Thorn.

Craig was editor-in-chief at Stemmer House Publishers when I sent them a query letter about "I Hear The Wind" back in March of 2004. I really didn't know much about Stemmer House, other than the fact that they accepted unsolicited manuscripts, most other publishing houses will only look at work submitted from an agent. So I sent forth my expertly crafted query letter along with some illustration samples from the book...thank God I sent the samples, for that is what caught the eye of Mr. Thorn.

Through e-mails and phone conversations, Craig guided me through the editing process, making this story better without changing the hypnotic feel of the text. He even suggested this illustration by asking if I could do a bird eye view of the house, I said "sure", and this is what I came up with. Probably one of the most memorable illustrations from "I Hear The Wind".

Final work on this book ended in early autumn of 2004, everything was now in the hands of Stemmer House and a June 2005 release date was announced, my anticipation grew as the magical release date came near!!! And then nothing happened... the book was stuck in printing limbo in Hong Kong, not a good place to be. After six months of inactivity, the publisher was forced to fire this printer and start the search again, eventually settling on a printer in Canada.

It was during this time that Craig's cancer grew worse, he never mentioned anything to me until a month or so before his death, it was only then that he mentioned he was having health issues.
His wife Andrea sent me an e-mail telling me of his passing in June of 2006.

"I Hear The Wind" was released in December of 2006 in paperback without much fanfare, I was able to receive some nice reviews from Armchair Interviews and Through The Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews for the book, but I felt I needed to work on something new.

"Still (A Winter's Journey)" was released in hardcover in September of 2009 by Stemmer House Publishers... they must like me! The story leading up to the release of this book is pretty uneventful, which I've realized is a good thing when it comes to book publishing.

My editor for this book was Dave Eisenstadter. It was only after I became friends with Dave on Facebook that I realized something... I have suits in my closet older than him!! He did a wonderful job helping me getting this story in order. I must admit that "Still" wasn't as thought out as "I Hear The Wind" was, I spent a lot of time making changes to the story, trying to make it flow from beginning to end during the editing process.

I really liked "Still" as a book, I felt I was able to capture the dreamlike quality of walking on a perfect snowy day, but deep down I felt "I Hear The Wind" was a better book. I was amazed at the attention "Still" received when I first started promoting it!

It was featured on Beth Solheim's blog Reading Minnesota in January of 2010. I received some great reviews from Sheila DeChantal's blog Book Journey, Audrey Helbling's Minnesota Prairie Roots blog and of course another fine review from Through The Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews. I had some nice book signings, school visits and was even invited to a library conference in Grand Rapids, MN as a regional author! I'm sure this is all small potatoes to some big time author/ illustrator type who travels the world in search of fame and fortune, but I am still truly honored anytime someone acknowledges my work...and I hope I never lose that feeling.

So that of course leads us to this, my newest endeavor in the world of children's literature..."At The End Of The Day".

It's to be released in the spring of 2011 by, who else, my good friends at Stemmer House Publishers. I feel like everything I've learned from my other two books has come together in this one, I'm actually quite excited about the possibilities this book has to offer.

At the time of this posting, I will be working with editor Rebecca Dalzell on this book. She hasn't sent me any revisions yet, so I hope she likes my lyrical style of writing, I'm anxious to hear her opinion of this story. I have a number of finished illustrations, some I may want to re-do, but I think I'm making good progress.

My publisher is also interested in me doing a Spring themed book, that way I have all four seasons covered, but for now I have my work cut out just trying to get this one finished.

So thanks to Stemmer House, I seem to be a working author & illustrator for the next couple years. Maybe a reissue of "I Hear The Wind" in hardcover could be in the never know!!

take care

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