Sometimes the path comes to you by accident.
Good journey’s start with once upon a time. So let’s go there.
Once upon a time I read this book right here. It’s a neat book. It was an epic poem that retold the story of Jesus, Paul and the book of Revelation.
It’s pretty good, very imaginative, and gives you a sense of a great epic unfolding. I should at some point review this book in truth. It really showed me just what could be possible with the whole poetry book thing.
It wasn’t just a poetry book per se. It was a graphic novel. There were illustrations and some very cool mythological concepts. One such image was the glass in The Finale. The glass reflection showing only one truth was just such a neat concept and it made me think.
Beautiful, flowing, musical, and maybe a touch preachy for those that don’t believe. It doesn’t change the fact that I liked this a lot.
I wondered if I could write something like that someday.
Or maybe something like this.
A wise man once said, seek what the masters sought. This to me was the master goal if I ever decided to try and write an epic poem. Coleridge to me was the man and I remember in high school wondering if I could write an epic like that myself some day. Poetry seemed very hard to me (it still is to be honest). But I told myself one day I would try.
Once upon a time I was in Calgary Alberta, and wanted to try a poetry collection. I wanted to do something longer and a little bit bigger than a one or two page poem.
My day job still blows and I remember at the time being unusually upset. Now I want to clarify something before I go, it’s not the job itself that I’m railing against. If I’m honest, I’ve worked with some great people in the past, and I work with great people now in the present. But at that moment I was sick of work.
I was sick of the waste of time, the futility of the struggle. Why work just to get by? It seemed (and seems) like the biggest waste of my energy. A boy came in my head, looking out in the horizon, watching for the rain, dreaming of a time he could find his freedom.
I wrote that poem. It was longer than any other I did. I called it “The Watcher”. I liked the first poem. He captured exactly what I was feeling in the moment.
And then, once upon a time, I dared to ask what happened next?
I wrote that. It was an action piece entitled Escape. The Watcher kills his dragon masters and flees out into the unknown for the first time ever in his life. I enjoyed that. But I couldn’t stop there. I had to know what was next.
And then after, next.
I knew then that I had a story here, told in a unique way. I read it start to finish and thoroughly enjoyed it. But I wanted to keep it unique. During my time as an apprentice I found myself looking at how young adult books combine illustrations and design to challenge how a book can be read, not unlike the Singer Trilogy I mentioned above.
My stick figures tend to revolt, so I couldn’t do this myself. I needed to enlist aid. I found it in a comic shop. Someone I had worked with had done a comic. I really liked her work and thought she’d bring a unique angle to the project. Fortunately, she agreed.
Her name is Florence Chan and her Twitch channel is here. You should visit her on mondays. She does amazing work. She added a depth to the story that wasn’t there before, and gave me new dimension to consider. I will say here and now that she made each book in the series better for being a part of it.
I need to mention my first editor here in Kristen Denbow. Kristen enjoys my work and has been a great friend for me and been there when I really needed someone in my darker hours. Even though she doesn’t make it to the last book, I need to take a moment and thank my friend who was there as an editor and dear friend. Thanks Kristen.
So finally, it was done.
Not bad. Of course, once the book was done I had no real plan. The initial idea was that I would sell this as an ebook and print the odd one here and there at conventions. I had no big plans. I mean, it was poetry, who would publish it.
Once upon a time there was this author in Windsor Ontario that I interviewed when I bought her first books in a local bookstore. They were neat and I admired her guts for doing so. She bought one of the early Smashword editions and read it and liked it.
She then asked me what I was going to do with it. I told her my grand plans as I’ve written here. I figured that would be the end right? But it wasn’t. It turns out this author was starting her own publishing house based in Windsor and offered to publish the book on the spot.
Her name was Justine Alley Dowsett. She is the publisher of Mirror World Publishing. You should check out her website and buy books there (mine for example.)
Somehow, I got published. I never sought the door with this in particular, it came my way. I’ve always said in the past that if you can get just one yes, that’s all it would take. I got my yes without ever asking for it. It was really awesome and still one of the coolest moments I’ve ever had happen to me.
And I have to say, it turned out rather well. I’ve managed to time and time again surprise readers who have looked. Poetry isn’t a big sell. Even my publisher isn’t quite sure how to approach my books sometimes. That said, it captivates people who open the contents of the book. I’m proud I did it.
I should also mention my Amazon page for this book. It’s here. If you do so happen to be curious about the book yourself, please leave a review. It’d be nice.
And then, another came to me one day, about a girl and a storm…
To Be continued.