Friday, October 28, 2011

This Short Story Goes a Long Way!

Toonopolis Short: Anchihiiroo
by Jeremy Rodden

I recently read Jeremy Rodden’s book, Toonopolis: Gemini and loved it (read my review here), so I was very excited to learn that Jeremy had written a novella about one of the characters in that book.  What a great way to meet this interesting character, to learn his back-story and to see how he fits into Toonopolis: Gemini.   

Toonopolis Short: Anchihiiroo is the story of Yoshi, later known as Anchihiiroo and even later known as Han’Eiyuu.  The novella introduces us to five-year-old Yoshi at the moment he becomes an orphan and we follow him until he becomes a man.  Throughout his life, Yoshi suffers at the hands of evil men and is cared for by gentle ones.  There’s an underlying tug-of-war in his heart between good and evil.  He wants to protect his town from evil so the townsfolk won’t have to suffer as he has.  He trains for years to be the hero they need.  But, he also feels a need to avenge the death of his parents and the training he receives at the hands of his sensei will prepare him for battle. 

Will he ultimately be a hero or an anti-hero?  Will he use his mind, body and spirit strength for good or evil? 

As in Toonopolis: Gemini, the characters in this novella are extremely well structured.  They are so real that you forget that you’re reading about cartoon characters… well, until one of them says something wildly sarcastic and you quickly remember that you’re in a toon world!  That’s the great thing about Jeremy’s writing, just when you think something is very serious, he gets all goofy on you.  The comic relief is perfectly placed and always welcome.  And just as quickly, you’re back in the action and loving it.

The story stands steadily on its own but, trust me, you’re going to want to know what happens next and what happens next is in Toonopolis: Gemini.  Read separately or together, these are two great stories that everyone will enjoy. 

You’ve done it again, Jeremy!  I can’t wait to read more about your great characters.  Keep the stories coming because we want to keep reading them!

Until next time... stay cool!

Martha

Visit Jeremy Rodden here.

Purchase Toonopolis Short: Anchihiiroo here.  For pre-teens to 100+

Jeremy on Twitter: @toonopolis

Toonopolis Facebook Page here.

DISCLOSURE: I want to sincerely thank Jeremy Rodden for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to read and review.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Aaaaah, That New Book Smell

A comforting, calming feeling came over me the day Joey and I picked up the copies of A Reel Cool Summer from the printing house.  We had been working on our little book for about nine months.  Being separated by 5,000 miles and who knows how many time zones wasn’t easy but we made it work.  We spoke almost every day and emails flew back and forth by the minute.  Many times we emailed each other while on the phone.  I think we said, “I’m emailing it to you right now,” and, “Okay, I just got it, let me look at it,” a million times… at least it seemed that way.

It was an amazingly stressful and joyful time.  We worried a lot and we laughed a lot.  We made fun of each other and of ourselves.  One of us would ask, “Who writes and illustrates a book and publishes it themselves?”  The other would answer, “Apparently, crazy people like us!” 

Throughout those nine months we worked hard to move things forward with the hope of getting the book “there.”  We were thrilled when the “there” day came and after a few changes to the proof, we were ready to give the printer final approval – or were we?  That meant no more wondering if an illustration could be improved or if the story was lacking somehow and no more chances to proofread or make one last change to the cover.  It was hard to let go but the final proof did look great.  The colors were amazing and the illustrations were detailed and clear.  The cover was perfect, the pages were in the correct order, and the text had been proofread to death.  We hoped so, anyway!  It was time to click the send button on the email and give the order to print.  Wait for it.  Wait for it.  Click! It’s done.

The wait was only about ten days but it seemed like ten eternities.  On the one hand, I wanted it to be over, but on the other, I didn’t.  Thank God I didn’t have another hand!  Then, the call came from the printer.  The books were ready.  Joey and I jumped in the car and headed over there.  Nerves, excitement, nerves, excitement… why is this light red?!

Finally, I held in my hands the first copy of the book.  I smelled it.  Doesn’t everyone do that?  Aaaaah, that new book smell.  Every doubt and worry melted away.  The months of hard work and nervous jokes seemed like they had never existed.  I was calm and excited.  I didn’t cry, but it was close.  That new book smell defined our journey.  All our stinky blood, sweat and tears came out smelling like roses.  Here was our little book, ready to jump into the hands of little ones eager to read it.  Our hope is that the kiddos will enjoy reading it so much that the new book smell will soon be gone and replaced with whatever that smell is that brings back memories about reading a good book.

Until next time… stay cool!

Martha

We'd like to share more of our writing and illustrating journey with you on the GoodReads website.  We're having a Q&A session through December 31st.  Please stop by and join the conversation with me and Joey at Q&A with Martha Rodriguez.