Where do we go from here?

Sometimes works can stand alone.  Their emotional and creative weight is enough to open and close a brief interlude into a world other than our own.  Some stories seem to great to condense into one novel.  Imagine if JK Rowling would have stopped at The Sorcerer’s Stone.  Alright, Voldemort left that dude’s head and ran off… as my two-year-old son says, “ALL Done!”  I might not be here on the cusp of finishing my first Kickstarter campaign to legitimately publish a for-real novel. Sometimes, the FIN comes much later.

With Henry and Jack, their journey is long and chocked full of self-discovery, danger, redemption and love.  Two hundred and five pages is not enough.  The second novel in the Flying Furniture Adventures installment, The Search for the Sacred Heart has been in planning since before the conclusion of The Return of the Great Flyer.  There were bits, particularly of the explanatory kind, that I knew would take more time to develop.  I am not certain of the penultimate conclusion.  I know that the lives of my heroes, my flyers and my villains will evolve with each novel, seemingly taking on lives of their own.  I want them to move throughout the thousands of pages of the series naturally; live and die as if it were meant to be. I wonder if writers of these successful series of novels knew the ending at the beginning and just worked on the parts in between. We start here at A and end there at Z; let’s just figure out which roads to take to get there.  OR…do they let the events unfold, allowing their imagination and emotions carry their pen, laptop, typewriter keys to an unknown conclusion?

There is always the fear of being cliche or sugar-coating a story.  Sure, Snape could have lived and Dumbledore could have risen from the dead.  Everyone is happy.  No dead Weasleys or Hedwig.  Voldemort is gone.  Predictable?  Yes. And slightly emotionless.  My goal is to create characters that are rich, with depth and substance.  I want readers to love them, to hate them, to cheer for them.  I want a robust storyline with twists and turns.  I want readers to feel something and want to come back for more.  I guess that is the goal of each writer.  The question I still need to answer is how to move to each piece of my puzzle; each novel in the series, creating a seamless flow from A to Z.  The Return of the Great Flyer ends in a great place (NO SPOILERS) but there are loose ends that may remain loose until the last possible second before – FIN.

I am happy to say that I am 86% funded in my current Kickstarter Campaign for The Return of the Great Flyer with 12 days left to go.  The goal is SO close.  Help Henry and Jack get published and pledge and share our Kickstarter with friends and family.  Only $25 gets you a limited-edition, Kickstarter-only paperback copy of The Adventures of the Flying Furniture: The Return of the Great Flyer. Check is out at FLYING FURNITURE Kickstarter .

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Inspiration in Spades…

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I’ve gotten the same question over and over again… what inspired the Flying Furniture.  In the beginning, Ryan and I had the sketches.  The artwork was representative of two things that just don’t seem to belong together but they work.  There were a lot of “what if’s.” What if furniture could fly?”  “What if the ordinary, could become extraordinary?”  “What if there was truly magic in this world?”

Through random doodles, dreaming, traveling, etc… The Union Jack was born.  I know Ryan used the British Flag as inspiration because our recent trip to London had changed so much for us.  For him, it was the kick in the pants to stop working for the man and start his own business that would grow from small graphic design accounts to fabricating 10 foot lighted pineapples (he’s a prop-builder and fabricator).

10649689_744899228940257_3309784065984524387_n     I LOVE London and had the pleasure of living there for a little over a year while I attended graduate school.  It has this aged beauty and an energy that I have never felt anywhere else.  I love all the Victorian infusion in the architecture and remaining elements in the tube stations.  I learned quite a bit about the city’s history during the Industrial Revolution.  While I appreciate the “modern,” I cling to romanticism ( and YES, I do realize that Victorian London was dirty, people had loads of STD’s, and child labor was pretty standard ) but there was this element of beauty in the stone masonry, ironwork, parties, furniture, fashion…they were artistic, fantastic, unique and very inspiring. I am also intrigued by the Steampunk movement.  Fans and followers create magic through machinery.  The brass cogs and gears are almost otherworldly but also echo the mechanisms of the Industrial Revolution.  I love how folks can put on their quirky top hats, goggles and corsets and escape reality for just a bit.  Steampunk fans are passionate, creative and welcoming.  I have enjoyed adding those elements to the first novel, The Return of the Great Flyer and look forward to learning more about the Steampunk movement so that I may add more elements to future novels.

I am also a ridiculously HUGE Harry Potter fan.  I love the idea that magic might exist in the world in some form or another.  During our time in London, my husband and I had the chance to visit the Warner Brother’s Harry Potter Studio Tour.  It was AMAZING!  To see how JK Rowling’s words on a page could be transformed into something so fantastic and real.  I crave that for the Flying Furniture; to create stories that are rich and robust; to create characters that are loved and feel real to readers.  The Flying Furniture has continued to evolve and will continue to evolve.  I remember telling Ryan, in an alleyway next to Selfridge’s amist that beautiful Christmas lights along Regent’s Street and Oxford Street, that I wanted to write a novel.  He told me to go for it… and so I did.

I have launched a second Kickstarter Campaign for the first novel in the series.  It took quite a bit to revamp and launch another campaign after the first one fell a bit short on funding.  It is exciting and daunting.  Kickstarter gives me the advantage to have my book published sooner.  I invite everyone to take a look at the new campaign and give feedback.  Share the campaign with friends and family and on social media.  It’s tough to ask for support but I am truly proud of the novel and am ready to be able to share it with readers.   The Adventures of the Flying Furniture on Kickstarter

Character Development…

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Each character in The Return of the Great Flyer is an amalgam of attributes from people I know or have met at some point in my existence.  There are bits of myself swirled in there as well.  I was thinking recently about what character of mine I identify with the strongest.  I thought about it for a few hours and went back to writing the last chapter of the book.  It took me a bit to figure it out; Henry is who I need to be but is mostly a patchwork of people I have loved very deeply.  Lucy is who I want to be.  Kind, understanding, nurturing and talented.  People can’t help but like her.  Her warm light and gentle nature is infecting.  She is the best of people with an old soul and enormous open heart.  I am definitely not Roman Hatfield; not too many sociopathic tendencies and I have no desire to overthrow anything or anyone.  I would, however, like to hypnotize a few people and trick them into doing all my housework.  I finally, after hours of analyzing, realized which character I identify with the most.  It was surprising and may be difficult to articulate to those who haven’t read the book and don’t know me very well.  Of all the characters… I am Myra.

Myra Hatfield just wants to belong somewhere.  She has nothing in common with the debutantes in her high society social circle.  Money is their only commonality.  She is a pariah because she isn’t strikingly beautiful and has different interests than those she is forced to associate with.  Myra is clever, funny and sweet.  She is also painfully awkward.  She spends most of her life in love with Henry who sees her as a nuisance.  She is the character who will surprise readers the most.  Myra has an untapped reservoir of strength and courage.  Her heart is true and she longs to do what is right and good.  The unfortunate dilemma Myra faces, is a shaky and questionable loyalty to her father.  She knows what he is planning is terribly wrong.  She loves her father as he is her only remaining relative.  He has cared for her to the best of his abilities and provided her with a quality education and a plethra of cultural experiences.  Who does she choose? Henry or her father, Roman?  One lesson to learn here is to NEVER count out Myra Hatfield!

I may not have the same issues Myra faces but I think we are kindred spirits in the way that I know what it is to feel differently than everyone else.  I occasionally have different interests in everything from films to music to my intense need to get one of those giant domestic cats.  I have odd views on religion and politics and way too often, give people the benefit of the doubt.  There are many, many Myra’s out there, searching for their tribe.  Best of luck to them all.  I am living proof that occasionally, weird pays off…

Don’t forget to check out our Flying Furniture Adventures Facebook Page  and get in on our Kickstarter Campaign ending October 24th.  Kickstarter pledges will earn you fantastic rewards like signed first edition copies of the novel, eBooks, artwork, illustrations and more.  Thank you for your support and we will keep everyone updated on the release of the first novel on paperback and digital download.

Lucy, meet Jack…Jack, meet Lucy…

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Here is another excerpt from the book where Lucy Martin meets the Union Jack for the first time.  She is surprised but quickly warms to the idea of magical flying furniture.  After all, who wouldn’t?

“Lucy! Give me your hand!” Henry shouted, grabbing her as they both jumped onto Jack’s seat.

Lucy stared wide-eyed at Henry. “What!? What in the devil is this going to do?” she pointed down toward the chair, puzzled.  Darnell was holding his jaw, struggling to get onto his feet.  Henry knew they did not have long. He straightened his hat and pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose.  “Jack! Let’s fly!” he shouted. The great chair’s balloon exploded into the alleyway and lifted the pair upward above the adjacent buildings. Darnell stumbled backwards and cursed the pair as they flew out of his reach and over the rooftops of the high street, toward the river. Lucy clung tightly to Henry as Jack struggled a bit to lift his two passengers and the bulky load of fabric for the Scotsman.

Noticeably frightened, Lucy turned to Henry, still holding tightly to his waist.  “What’s happening?” she cried. “We’re flying,” Henry replied with a chuckle.  Lucy blinked and shook her blonde head. “I know that but what is the meaning of all this?” she asked shakily as Jack hit a small pocket of wind over the Thames.

Henry smiled and patted Jack on the back. “Lucy, meet Jack.  Jack, meet Lucy,” he said nearly out of breath. He paused for moment, then placed his hand on Lucy’s shoulder.  He felt the tension in her subside. “I was in as much disbelief the first time Jack and I met.  All I have to say is that there is magic in this world, Lucy.  This is magic.  Jack found me and that changed everything,” he said holding her tightly.  He was pleased beyond measure to share this with her.  He did not like keeping secrets from those he cared for. She shivered a bit, so he opened the front of his overcoat and wrapped it around her narrow shoulders.  She smiled up at him, the skirt of her blue striped dress waving in the wind as they flew.

Lucy closed her eyes for a moment and drew a deep breath.  She opened them again and looked out over the horizon.  She could see all of London and it was marvelous.  She looked again at Henry who gave her a sweet smile. “I always knew there was magic.  I just never thought I would experience it.  Thank you, Henry, for rescuing me.  I knew you were special from the first moment we met,” she said softly then buried her head in Henry’s chest.

Follow us here on WordPress for more on Lucy’s character development and for excerpts from the first novel, The Adventures of the Flying Furniture: The Return of the Great Flyer. Don’t forget, our Kickstarter Campaign runs through October 24th.  Get GREAT rewards for your pledges like signed first edition copies of the novel, eBooks, your own Great Flyer golden pin, and original illustrations of scenes from the novel.

And so begins our story…

As promised, I will be sharing bits of the first novel in the series, The Adventures of the Flying Furniture: The Return of the Great Flyer. We begin with an ill-fated voyage.  The HMS Duke of Edgefield is in peril and Captain Jack Worthen must insure his precious cargo reaches its destination.  What is this mysterious object… well…that’s for you to find out.  Score a first edition, signed copy of the first novel with your pledge to our Kickstarter Campaign through October 24, 2018 and enjoy a rich story full of secrets, answers and unexpected twists.  Here is a tidbit from the novel’s forward…

“The clouds swirled angrily across the stone-grey sky, swallowing the remaining rays of afternoon sun, casting a blackish hue over the choppy waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The wind howled and shook the ship’s masts as the sailors scurried frantically across the wooden deck to prepare the ship for the oncoming storm. The frightened but steadfast crew members hastily rolled and tied the sails and moved the remaining cargo to the hull of the rocking ship.  The HMS Duke of Edgefield rocked back and forth as it quickly approached the pass between Morocco and the southern-most tip of Spain. Captain Jack Worthen held tightly to the wheel , steadying the old frigate against the crashing waves.  He smoothed his black hair back from his damp face and breathed deeply. With weary eyes, he glanced starboard and could see the Scotsman in the distance. “There you are, old friend,” he whispered to himself as he gripped the wheel so tightly, he could barely feel his fingers. The Edgefield, no longer a registered warship, carried a most precious cargo en route from Cairo, Egypt to the Docklands of London under absolute secrecy; per orders of her Majesty, Queen Victoria.

Captain Worthen had left his fighting days behind to become a seeker of truths.  The world held many treasures; keys to unlocking the very nature of all life; the great meaning behind all things.  Jack Worthen was a champion of the Crown, seeking these immeasurable treasures to bring peace to all mankind. The storm grew stronger as the seasoned captain nervously maneuvered the rocky, jagged coastline of Gibraltar.  The narrow pass had proven a formidable enemy to many a ship; the ocean bottom littered with splintered hulls and lost souls. The Scotsman cut through the dense sheet of rain, released the air from his patchwork tartan balloon and landed with a thud on the deck of the Edgefield.  Captain Worthen quickly instructed the first mate, a stocky little Irishman named Corwin, to hold the wheel steady, keeping the bow at a forty-five degree angle to the Morroccan coastline.  The captain quickly jumped onto the deck, reaching inside his thick blue coat.  He yelled to the Scotsman through the wailing winds and thunder, “Watch over my son!” Wiping salty tears from his already dripping face, he pulled out a small golden pin; a chair with outstretched wings and a metal tube containing a bit of parchment.  Captain Worthen slipped the pin inside, sealed the tube and fastened it to the thick, scuffed arm of the Scotsman.  “Godspeed, old friend, ” the captain whispered as he watched the Scotsman disappear into the dark, angry clouds, headed due north toward England…

What happens to the Captain, what is the Scotsman carrying?  So many questions but even more answers to come in The Return of the Great Flyer!  Pledge to our Kickstarter Campaign today!

 

So, I Wrote This Book…

For as long as I can remember, my imagination has been the strongest thing about me.  It has carried me through tough times, college years riddled with social anxiety and the shocking realities of adulthood.  It’s usually what goes first when we move from the fantasies of our childhood to the joys of taking care of things like car insurance or grocery shopping or searching for answers to questions like, “Is it cheaper to buy toilet paper on Amazon?”  I had a chance, a little later than most, to take an adventure, to study for my Master’s degree in London.  What a city!  It unlocked a door that had been jammed shut for some time.  A beautiful muse, she led me to begin writing.  The Flying Furniture existed before as a series of sketches, small paintings and a short children’s book my husband, Ryan, wrote several years earlier.  People loved the quirky Victorian chairs and divans and their fancy balloons.  We always had questions:  What do they do?  Where did they come from?  We never had answers until London.  She gave us everything we needed and on a sunny day, hiking in Richmond Park, I started writing them down.  It was simultaneously easy and difficult.  They evolved into beautiful, rich beings as I wove the web of storyline connecting them.  Henry Worthen and his faithful Union Jack, his love for the sweet Lucy Martin and his abundance of goodness mixed with self-doubt leapt from the fabric of my imagination onto the pages of my beaten-up black notebook.  Soon that notebook was full and with it came random pages from my journal, worksheets from school scribbled with quotes and descriptions of scenes and even a napkin or two (excuse me, a serviette).  Over the next two years through graduation, a bittersweet move back to the United States, a difficult pregnancy and the birth of our son, I put the pieces together and wrote a novel; an entire novel.  It sits here in front of me, in its blue folder, 205 pages of late nights, afternoons in the courtyard of St. Dunstan in the East, rainy mornings in my Camden flat, morning sickness and days when the grandparents were babysitting my son.  When I read it in its entirety for the first time, I surprised myself.  I began to cry.  I, for once, loved what I had created (my son excluded- he’s pretty fantastic).

One year later, I decided it was time to share it.  Publishing a book is easy; there are a variety of platforms now for eBooks and companies that will print paperbacks for a moderate price.  Publishing it is easy; getting it seen is NOT.  We’ve navigated the waters of social media and search engine marketing in our leaky little boat, missing an oar (which may be why we keep going around in circles).  I know that I have done something worthwhile and I know that, perhaps, it could mean something to someone else.  I’m not claiming to be the next JK Rowling but I know that my husband and I are on to something.  SO…

We launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the creation of our brand.  It will include the first edition paperbacks of novel 1, The Adventures of the Flying Furniture: The Return of the Great Flyer , building a website where other folks can order books, making sure the almighty Google knows we exist and helping to pay my wonderful editors and artists creating amazing images for the book and web.  We are also developing a curriculum for classrooms and homeschool co-ops to incorporate into their studies.

Keep an eye on the blog here.  Beginning tomorrow, I will have excerpts from the book and character profiles to further entice you, the future readers.  And most of all… consider making a pledge to our Kickstarter Campaign through October 24, 2018.  You get signed books, artwork, golden flyer pins, and other treasures.  You get to be the beginning of something truly great!  Search Flying Furniture Adventures on Kickstarter.com. Flying Furniture Adventures on Kickstarter 

LET’S FLY!