13 macabre Twist in the Tale offerings, not for the faint hearted!Add a Comment
13 macabre Twist in the Tale offerings, not for the faint hearted!Add a Comment
Zac’s Destiny, my Sword & Sorcery fantasy, has been entered into an award for Kindle books! I would be eternally grateful if any of you could offer your votes? Thanks so much if you can.
No need to sign in or give any details. Just click on the number of stars you think my book deserves to vote!Add a Comment
Hope you like this book trailer for my macabre Twist in the Tale compilation of short stories. Perfect to read at Halloween, and certainly NOT for children!!Add a Comment
Watch the great new trailer for the children’s humorous fantasy, ‘Caution: Witch in Progress’. Out now on Kindle worldwide!Add a Comment
Please check out my book trailer for Zac’s Destiny on YouTube!Add a Comment
A Sword and Sorcery children’s fantasy adventure, out now on Kindle!
Zac’s Destiny is a children’s sword and sorcery fantasy novel aimed at the nine years of age to mid teen market.
Zac is a fifteen year old stable boy whose life is turned upside down when he finds himself in the midst of demons, magic and a perilous quest. The land around Albemerle castle is under attack, and the only hope of survival for Zac and the people he loves is to find the great wizard, Aldric.
Men have already died trying.
Strange dreams mark the beginning of Zac’s life changing events. Armed with a magic sword, ring and crystal, he sets out with a group of soldiers to find Aldric. Demon attack almost ends Zac’s quest as soon as it begins.
Zac refuses to give up, and soon finds himself accompanied by unusual travelling companions. Many dangers bar their way. Only Zac’s determination and the unexpected help he receives can make it possible to find and free Aldric, and return for the final battle to save the land…
Heave on your futtock-shrouds and don’t leave your swashes unbuckled! ‘Tis International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Don’t forget: If you are anywhere near Latrobe, Pennsylvania, shape a course for The Art Center (819 Ligonier Street) where I’ll talk about illustrating pirates this evening from 6:30 – 8:30. If you miss it, I’ll be at The Art Center again tomorrow morning 10:00 – 11:00ish (we need to clear the decks before noon—when some poor lubber’s wedding takes place).
As promised, here are the answers to yesterday’s M is for Movie Pirates Quiz:
First row: Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Carribean (2006). Second row: (left to right) Douglas Fairbanks in The Black Pirate (1926); Robert Newton as Long John Silver in Treasure Island (1950); Sherman the parrot; Errol Flynn as Captain Blood (1935). Third row: Charles Laughton as Captain Kidd (1945); (Charlton Heston as Long John Silver in Treasure Island (1990); Dustin Hoffman as Hook (1991); Walter Matthau as Captain Red in Pirates (1986). Fourth row: Maureen O’Hara as Prudence ‘Spitfire’ Stevens in Against All Flags (1952); Laird Cregar as Sir Henry Morgan in The Black Swan (1942); Kevin Kline as the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance (1983); Graham Chapman as Yellowbeard (1983).
Aye, Friday: the day we’ve been waiting for all year, International Talk Like A Pirate Day! Polish your hooks and sand your peg legs! If you are anywhere near Latrobe, Pennsylvania, set a course for The Art Center (819 Ligonier Street) where I’ll talk about illustrating pirates Friday evening from 6:30 – 8:30. If you miss it, I’ll be at The Art Center again Saturday morning 10:00 – noon.
To celebrate the big day, here is an illustration from P is for Pirate—a theater full of movie pirates. They range from freebooters of Hollywood’s Silent Era to today’s swashbuckling sea dogs.
How many can you name? I’ll post the answers tomorrow, by the powers!
Thank you Le & Nancy of Citiparks for inviting me to perform in Pittsburgh’s Frick Park once again this year—at the wreck of the old Salty Carrot.
We added some panels to the interior of our dear old barky. Here they are in progress as I painted them at the Farmhouse in Highland Park.
If you’ll be around Pittsburgh Saturday, September 13, please stop by the old Salty Carrot shipwreck pavilion (the big blue slide) in Frick Park. I’ll be part of Alphabet Trail and Tales from 10:00 – 1:00, reading & painting and telling horrible pirate jokes.
More from P is for Pirate as we count down to Talk Like a Pirate Day, September 19th! I’ll be presenting a pirate program at Adams Memorial Library in Latrobe, PA, Friday & Saturday September 19th & 20th.
Here is D is for Davy Jones from sketch to final painting. Sorry about the color in my progress shots—must’ve been at night and I forgot to switch the flash on. You can see I based my version of Davy Jones on an 1892 ink drawing by John Tenniel from the British humor magazine, Punch. Tenniel is the guy who drew the famous illustrations for Alice In Wonderland.
We’re still celebrating the release of P is for Pirate and the countdown to Talk Like A Pirate Day (September 19th).
Today I’ve got sketches and a few work-in-progress photos of Captain William Kidd. Kidd wasn’t a particularly good pirate—as Eve Bunting says: “Captain William Kidd spilled less blood and captured less booty than any other well-known pirate of his time”. Apparently he didn’t get along well with his crew. Our shot of Kidd shows the scene where he infamously brained the ship’s gunner with a bucket.
You’ll notice in the color sketch and early work on the painting the ship’s woodwork is a mustardy yellow. Once I was into the painting I found it too cheerful a color—it didn’t help convey the mood of the action at all. So I changed it to gray. Much better!
As a follow-up to my last post about Queen Anne’s Revenge, here is the man himself—the terrible Edward ‘Blackbeard’ Teach. I show him in close-up so you can see the slow-match fuses he used to weave into his whiskers and set alight before attacking a ship. You can find him in P is for Pirate, now available in bookstores—or drop me a line in the comments for an autographed copy.
Pirate captains were elected by their crews and could be voted out. To keep his crew in line, Blackbeard constantly showed himself to be more fierce, more outrageous than anyone else on board. Seated with his rogues during dinner, Blackbeard fired a pistol underneath the table and wounded one of the crew, just to remind them who he was.
Blackbeard had to be mindful of his crew’s appetite for liquor—for rum, an ardent spirit distilled from molasses. Without rum, a crew would mutiny, as this excerpt from Blackbeard’s log attests:
‘Such a Day, Rum all out: – Our Company somewhat sober: – A Damned Confusion amongst us! – Rogues a plotting; – great Talk of Separation. – So I looked sharp for a Prize; – such a Day took one, with a great deal of Liquor on Board, so kept the Company hot, damned hot, then all Things went well again.’
Queen Anne’s Revenge, that is. Queen Anne’s Revenge is the name of Blackbeard Teach’s flagship—though I have to admit I don’t know why he chose that name. Queen Anne ruled Great Britain & Ireland while Blackbeard was alive, so maybe he considered himself to be a privateer on behalf of the Crown? Was he not happy with the War of the Spanish Succession? I’d like it if, in the comments, someone could offer a better reason behind Teach’s name for his ship. Writers Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift & pirate aficionado Daniel Defoe flourished under Queen Anne, so maybe her reign really was culture’s balmiest day—but why did she need to be avenged?
Anyway, he only captained Queen Anne’s Revenge for 3 years before she sunk off North Carolina. And so I had the wonderful opportunity to paint a sunken pirate ship for Eve Bunting’s new book, P is for Pirate. It was also a chance to pay tribute to fantastic illustrator Lloyd K. Townsend. When I say ‘pay tribute to’, of course I mean ‘steal shamelessly from’. I’ve admired Townsend since I was a wee lad, seeing his paintings in National Geographic. One in particular, from 1979, shows the sunken Spanish treasure ship Tolosa. This was my—cough—inspiration for R is for Revenge. Hey, at least I turned the ship around to face the other way!
Herewith, work in progress:
Here is one of my favorites from P is for Pirate, the notorious Grace O’Malley—Irish queen & pirate captain. She was a contemporary of Queen Elizabeth I and reportedly had an interview with Gloriana (who, after all, had a soft spot for buccaneers).
Queen Grace has been the subject of songs, at least one play and even a musical. So far as I know the swashbuckling Maureen O’Hara never played her in a movie, but what perfect casting that would have been!
I show Queen Grace in an Errol Flynn pose with her ruffians behind her. In the sketch I thoughtlessly drew a baroque-looking ship like we’re used to seeing from piracy’s golden age. In the final painting I used the Mayflower—much closer in style to a ship from Queen Grace’s time—as reference. Same deal with the costumes: they’re Elizabethan. I first drew her in men’s clothes but thought she looks much cuter in a dress.
The Articles were the pirates’ ethical guidelines which set out rules for behavior & working conditions aboard ship. New crew members signed them before becoming part of the ship’s company. Did you know that the pirate captain was elected—and could be voted out if he didn’t meet the crew’s expectations?
Pirates who couldn’t read or write made an X at the bottom of the contract and a clerk would write next to it, “John Manders (or whatever the sailor’s name was), his mark.”
P is for Pirate is here!
As long-time readers know, the subject of pirates is a favorite of mine. You can imagine how happy I was when Sleeping Bear Press asked me to illustrate Eve Bunting’s latest, P is for Pirate.
Here’s how the jacket art came together. Some rough sketches, a tight sketch based on the approved rough, the painting in progress. I lost something in the tight sketch—the pirate doesn’t have the same aggressiveness & oomph—so I went back to the rough sketch to paint from. That’s my dear old African Grey, Sherman, sitting on his shoulder. How I miss him! I like this low-key palette, mostly blacks, greys and red. The talented Felicia Macheske was my art director on this project. I will show more images throughout the month.
Wild Things! is a new book coming out about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ stories of writing and illustrating picture books.
Book signing event at Waterstones, Tower Shopping Centre, Bank Hey St, Blackpool on Saturday 21st June from 1 to 3pm! Come along for a chat with me and maybe buy a signed copy of my children’s humorous fantasy book, ‘Caution: Witch in Progress’. You can also meet the witch ‘Granny Grimthorpe’ and have your photograph taken with her if you like! ‘Granny’ is one of the characters from my book, and she will be offering the kids free novelties from her cauldron. It will be a fun day out. Don’t miss it!Add a Comment
Great to see Waterstones advertising my next book signing on their website! ‘Caution: Witch in Progress’ at Waterstones Blackpool on Saturday 21st June 2014!Add a Comment
My book ‘Caution: Witch in Progress’ and my book signing event in Blackpool on Saturday 21st June from 1pm to 3pm has been promoted today by an interview with Altblackpool!Add a Comment
Get $75 OFF registration for MediabistroEDU’s brand new online boot camp, Book Promotion & Publicity Boot Camp with code SUN75! Hurry, this boot camp starts on July 10!
In this intensive boot camp starting July 10, you will learn the publicity skills needed to ensure a successful book launch using various promotional techniques. You will hear from publishing and public relation experts who will teach you step-by-step how to successfully launch your book campaign including how to create a social media kit, use social media to build your audience, interact with fans and other authors on panels, start your own email marketing newsletter and more! View the full agenda here.
Whether you’re an author who’s already working with a big publisher or are self-published, this interactive boot camp will teach you the best methods to launch a successful publicity campaign for your book. Hurry and register before July 7 to get $75 OFF with promo code SUN75. Register now!
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.Add a Comment
Final editing underway then ‘Unlucky For Some’ will be released on Kindle. Here you will find 13 short, macabre, Twist in the Tale stories better read with the light on, and not alone. You have been warned. This book is definitely NOT for children. Watch this space…Add a Comment