Being Your Own Audience

I recently did a full read-through of The Adventures of the Flying Furniture: The Return of the Great Flyer.  The Kickstarter is almost over and it will be time to send the manuscript through another round of editing, begin formatting and get all of the visual components (illlustrations, fonts, inserts, book cover, etc…) ready for print and digital download.  As I read the manuscript, I tried to remove myself as the author.

I wanted to be as objective as possible.  If I had picked up this book off of the front table at Waterstone’s, Barnes and Noble, or an amazingly quirky local bookshop, would I come away satisfied, inspired or let down? I will admit, there are parts of the novel that I totally forgot about.  I worked on the manuscript over a period of nearly FIVE years- through a move back to the US, pregnancy, new motherhood, covered in spaghetti motherhood and a host of other business; I was bound to forget something.  I want to make sure that what was in my head, made it onto paper.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that it did.  I want cohesion and a seamless flow into the second novel but I want some suspense.  The best and most painful aspects of a series are the cliffhangers… the waiting.  There will be questions left unanswered from The Great Flyer and lingering assumptions.  Some will be satisfied in The Search for the Sacred Heart, some will require the reader to stick it out to the very end.  Those are the bits I loved about the Harry Potter novels, the works of Lemony Snicket, The Mortal Instruments and other great literary series.  I want more than just one book.  I don’t crave neat and clean.  I need an ever-winding plot, with richness, intrigue, sadness and surprise with a sense of fulfillment in the end.

I am excited for the first novel.  I was excited reading it. I am excited to see where the second novel takes my heroes and villains and then…beyond.

We have ONE more day for our Kickstarter Campaign.  DO NOT miss out on your chance to get yourself a limited edition, Kickstarter-only copy of the first novel!  Check it out! $25 is all it takes. FLYING FURNITURE KICKSTARTER

Writing vs. Life

First disclaimer, there isn’t an image with this blog because the hotel wifi won’t upload anything other than text.  Today’s events have brought me to a serious realization; sometimes writing and life don’t gel.

The backstory:

I have the day off.  I am prepared to write, update my Kickstarter campaign, do some work on social media and cook a great dinner for my family…with laundry and dishes done.   My apartment starts to smell like I mopped the floor with acetone, particularly in my son’s room as I am laying him down for his nap.  I see workers leaving my neighbor’s apartment wearing respirators… well, poop.  I decide to head with my son to Circle (known to the rest of the world as Target) and kill some time, hoping the noxious fumes will dissipate and I can resume my daily tasks.

After 2 hours at Circle (spending an undisclosed amount of money on things I don’t need) and 45 minutes at Donald’s (known to the rest of the world as McDonald’s), I return home to find the smell worse than before to the point my son starts complaining that his head and stomach both hurt.  Yay!  My neighbor has apparently decided to have her bathtub refinished and walls painted with oil-based paint without proper ventilation.  I could A. stay home and start hallucinating about purple donkeys and listening to my refrigerator sing Smiths songs or B. Get my son out of a potentially dangerous situation and get a hotel room.   I chose B.  We have a large retail buyer’s market going on this week, meaning there are virtually ZERO hotel rooms available near home.  After a bit of travel and four chocolate chip cookies, I am here in our noxious fume-free hotel room.  My son is currently rolling on the floor, refusing to sleep.

Writing is a very complex action. It comes to some quite naturally but still requires a modicum of effort.  Life always seems to insert itself right in the middle of the creative flow.  I applaud writers who can work while being stay-at-home parents, who write after working a full or part-time job all day or while attending school.  All the dishes, extra shifts, trips to the grocery store, or inconsiderate neighbors can be taxing and most definitely be stifling.  On the upside, having completed a novel despite relocating back to the US from England, having a difficult pregnancy, postpartum depression, a full-time job with opposite hours than my husband, and a fear of rejection, makes me all the prouder of it.  The Adventures of the Flying Furniture: The Return of the Great Flyer was no modest feat and I am truly, truly excited to be on the cusp of publishing.  No re-enameled bathtubs or slow hotel wifi can take that away.

The Kickstarter campaign for the first novel reached it’s goal of 20% funding in the first week.  There are three weeks left and I want to keep the momentum going.  Feel free to share the campaign with friends and it you have not, take a look at the campaign yourself.  It’s definitely worth a look.  FLYING FURNITURE ON KICKSTARTER

Character Profile- Peter

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One character I have neglected to mention in most descriptions and character development essays is Peter.  Peter is a ten year old orphan who relocated from France when he was only four years old.  He has been raised by his older sister Molly who is a laborer in one of Roman Hatfield’s textile mills near Battersea.  Peter and Molly live a modest lifestyle but in the first novel, much about Peter remains a mystery.  He is precocious, perceptive and extremely sarcastic.  He has a knack for solving puzzles and helps Henry quite a bit when it comes to solving mysteries on their quest for the Golden Pin.

Henry and Peter have a special relationship.  Henry is an only child with the exception of his wretched stepbrother, August Turlington.  Their dynamic is much like a big brother-little brother relationship.  They bicker a bit but rely on each other for support.  Peter does not attend school but is very well-read and possesses a maturity level beyond that of an average ten year old.  He is a lover of adventure and, on the surface, appears quite fearless.  He rarely lets his guard down but within his interactions with Henry, we see moments of honesty and vulnerability.  Peter also helps to quell Henry’s insecurities and places him in the role of “responsible adult.”  Responsibility is something Henry must grapple with as The Great Flyer. He has, in the absence of his father, created a new family with Peter, Finn, Dorian, Lucy and the other members of the Order. Tangent aside- that is a whole separate character profile.

Peter is the youngest of the characters, therefore, has the most room for growth.  The Great Flyer treats Peter very superficially but as the series progresses, so will our understanding of who he is and what role he has to play in The Order of Flyer’s battle against Roman Hatfield and other villains who have yet to surface.  His and Henry’s meeting seems random but was it?  Why is it that Peter can see Jack when others cannot?  Who is Peter and what happened to his family?  Is he just a tagalong kid or is he part of some larger plan?  There are a host of questions.

It pains me to have to hold back but nobody likes spoilers.  The Search for the Sacred Heart, the second novel in the Flying Furniture Adventures series, is in preliminary stages of development and within its chapters, we will see much more of Peter and perhaps a few of those questions above will be answered.

I truly look forward to seeing how everything plays out.  I strive to create characters that are robust and honest.  I want readers to feel real emotions toward them; love, disgust, sympathy, etc…  Are these characters thrown together by chance or is everyone of them connected somehow; cogs in a much larger machine?

Want a chance to find out?  Become a backer for my Kickstarter campaign to publish The Adventures of the Flying Furniture: The Return of the Great Flyer.  For only a $25 pledge, you can get your hands on a limited edition, Kickstarter only copy of the novel with bonus content like maps, clues, (Henry’s Father) Captain Jack Worthen’s journal entries and more!  Help support the Flying Furniture and share our Kickstarter with friends.  Follow the link below to view the campaign in full.

FLYING FURNITURE Kickstarter Campaign

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

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!