For the next two days, my collection of short stories, THE UNUSUAL MOTION OF STRANGE BEASTS, is FREE on Kindle. Just click the link here, download, and enjoy some of the stranger prose I wrote during the days when I was still mostly doing comics. 🙂 And if you so desire, and you like the stories, please do leave a review.
ANNOUNCING OUR NEW ART PRINT INITIATIVE MEANT TO WONDER AND DELIGHT! Until now, we have only made a handful of art prints regularly available from the illustrations found in the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica books, including some of the most popular pieces from the first book, HERE, THERE BE DRAGONS. A few other select pieces from the other volumes have also been offered as prints, but even then, we had begun to encounter two problems: first, it was becoming harder and harder to display and keep in stock an ever-growing selection of prints; and second, people were asking more and more frequently if we were going to ever do a print of (insert name of favorite illustration here).
Our new print policy solves both of those issues, and opens up the entire world of the Imaginarium Geographica to collectors and fantasy art fans everywhere. We stopped doing limitations on prints a few years ago, because we didn’t want to run out of the most popular pieces, and at conventions, we will still only be able to stock and display about twenty prints, but online, via the Coppervale Marketplace, we are now offering exclusive prints, signed by the artist, James A. Owen, of EVERY illustration EVER PUBLISHED in the Imaginarium Geographica books, including the covers!
To order, simply choose your favorite illustrations from any of the books; tell us which book and chapter you want, and we will produce and ship a custom print of those illustrations, signed by James. All of the prints will be signed in pencil and printed the same size as the original art, in black ink, on the same beautiful 13″ x 19″ Velvet Fine Art archival stock we have always used.
Additionally, to celebrate this new initiative, we are offering the special convention discount price on ALL PRINTS ordered between now and December 10th, so now is the perfect time to order those Christmas presents for the fantasy art lovers in your lives! There are nearly TWO HUNDRED Imaginarium Geographica illustrations to choose from! Grab your copies and choose your favorites!
Order the prints here.
There’s a quote that says “Everyone has gone through something that has changed them in a way that they could never go back to the person they once were.” Sometimes that catalyst is an event; sometimes it’s a person; sometimes it’s a book. And sometimes it’s simply a combination of things that came along at the right time to teach us the lessons we needed to learn to move forward on our chosen path. And sometimes, those catalysts return to us at unexpected times, to show us something new and meaningful about the choices we are trying to make.
This book, SUPERMAN: MIRACLE MONDAY, is one of two of my most significant catalysts. I read it as a youth, and the lessons it and its predecessor, SUPERMAN: LAST SON OF KRYPTON gave me inspired me then and inspire me still. They’re the reason that I wear a Superman ring, as I wrote about in DRAWING OUT THE DRAGONS, and this book also played a part in more significant shifts in my life that happened after I attended my first Superstars Writing Seminar in 2012, where I was a guest speaker, where I discovered my closest Tribe, and where I formed relationships so powerful they have left me forever changed.
In this book, Superman chooses to save a single life, and in doing so defeats a great evil and saves the world – but only two people ever remember it. The rest of the world simply feels a sense of security, ease, and happiness that manifests itself as an annual holiday, Miracle Monday, that is celebrated on the third Monday in May. In the future, after a time traveler (the woman Superman saved) reveals the answer of the origin of Miracle Monday, one of the practices is to set an extra place at the dinner table, and for each person to put a portion of their food on the plate – for Superman, if he returns, one day – or for any weary traveler or a person in need who might happen by that night. To me, that one example gives the two important messages of the story: that someone who cares is still there somewhere, watching, who will help in time of need; and that sometimes, WE are that person who can look out for and help others when they need it. That’s why I believe. That’s what I try to live. And that why I celebrate this holiday.
Happy Miracle Monday, everyone.
In between other necessary work, I’m squeezing in updates on the main websites – including (by recent request of several of you) making sure the four ALL THE COLORS OF MAGIC coloring books are available. These are printed on EXTREMELY heavy stock that can take a variety of coloring tools, on pages 1/4 inch wider than the standard 8 1/2″ x 11″ size and perforated for easy removal. The 24 illustrations in each book represent the very best of the 200+ illustrations I did for the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica book series. We won’t be reprinting these in this exact format, moving instead to a slightly smaller format and thinner stock via Createspace, so now is your best chance to get the highest quality versions of the coloring books. And as an extra incentive, they’re on sale for the next week: only $12 each, or just $40 for all four! (Normally $15 each and $50 for the set.)
A number of you know I have a Patreon, the main goal of which is creating and sharing new work and works-in-progress and collaborations via the digital and print editions of my periodical, Words & Pictures. The first issue is available digitally as a beautiful PDF (with the print edition forthcoming) and the cover for new Spring issue is on my drafting board right now (to be revealed as soon as I can finish it and put it on the issue!)
What you may not know is ALL of my major work outside of the Imaginarium Geographica books are available as downloadable PDFs to my patrons. I’m going to focus more and more on sharing my new work there, so I am trying to deliver as much value as possible to my friends and fans who support me via your patronage.
ALL patrons at ANY level can download all three volumes of my inspirational and motivational MEDITATIONS trilogy, the complete volume of my collected short fiction, THE UNUSUAL MOTION OF STRANGE BEASTS, and BOTH volumes one and two of my MYTHWORLD series; patrons at the $5 level and up can also download all FOUR volumes of my ALL THE COLORS OF MAGIC deluxe coloring book series, as well as all current and future issues of WORDS & PICTURES; and patrons at the $10 level and above can download the massive 700+ page NEARLY-COMPLETE ESSENTIAL STARCHILD graphic novel, as well as EVERYTHING ELSE, plus, those patrons will receive the print versions of W&P and other exclusives (like mini-prints of the cover art) and more.
All of the support I receive helps keep the lights on, both literally and figuratively, so I can keep creating more stories. If you’d like to add your support – and download some of these wonderful books – just follow the link here and sign up. Thanks for reading.
The annual celebration of Caretaker Day began when a few of the more devoted readers of the Imaginarium Geographica books decided to commemorate the day when John, Jack, and Charles – the Caretakers of Legend – first met: March 16, 1917.
Since that first historic event, the Caretakers Three have been on many adventures, and proven themselves time and again to be not only worthy Caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica, and the worlds of our imagination, but at times, of all of creation itself. But sometimes, they showed that what they best took care of was what is most important: their friends. Their family. Those whom they cared about. And those whom they didn’t even know. In short, EVERYONE, at one point or another, was a worthy candidate for help from one of my Caretakers – because that is the way of the world. Sooner or later, everyone needs help, be it big or small. And if they are lucky, a hand reaches out of the darkness, and a voice says, “Reach up. I’ll catch you. And I will not let you fall.”
To be a Caretaker means literally to “take care.” And while we are often given specific stewardships, such as my Caretakers Three, with the great atlas, it’s often true that those who take care of great things and specific things are also those who look to take care of the smaller things when they can, for whomever may be in need.
We have many things in our lives for which we are expected to take care – but we also have so many opportunities to take care of other things, too. If, today, you offered someone a kind word, you are a Caretaker. If you lent someone a hand, eased their burden, lifted them up, you are a Caretaker. If you spoke in kindness and not anger, chose to help instead of harm, or protected someone who was hurting, or in trouble, or alone. you are a Caretaker.
And there’s no way to know when a small gesture, a kind word, or a simple effort to ease someone’s burden might just change their day, and change their life. Change someone’s life, even for a day, and you change the world. If you believe that, you will see it. I believe. I see you. And I will never let you fall.
Go forth and change someone’s world. All you have to do is take care. Happy Caretaker Day.
One of the things that I absolutely believe in, and try very hard, however imperfectly, to put into practice, is the idea that as long as we are willing to truly listen to those around us, we always have opportunities to learn, and grow, and hopefully change ourselves for the better. I make mistakes all the time – mostly small ones, but occasionally some of them are world-class – but when I do, and I either see it myself or am called out on it, I do my level best to listen, and change, and rectify it, as much as I am able.
Right now, in Children’s Publishing, the field I love, there is a huge explosion happening of women coming forward to share their stories of sexual harassment and sexual assault, and it is EXACTLY what needs to be happening. That any woman in our industry has been afraid to come forward to share their story is a travesty, and I think that we can all do better at not only listening, but also believing them – and then supporting them by actively participating in the efforts needed to make change happen so that they can feel safe not just now, but in the future.
I have always been very proud to work alongside the many women I have met in publishing, and proud to call many of them my friends. I have always tried to be respectful of them as individuals, and of the work they do. And I have always tried to be an ally: one who listens, ALWAYS believes, and who steps in to implement change when something like this cresting awareness of sexual harassment is brought to the fore.
So, it was with absolute dismay, shock, and utter sorrow that as I was reading the extraordinarily long comments thread under a recent high-profile industry story on harassment, I found someone had added my own name to that list. Anonymously.
I absolutely respect those women who are able to step forward to offer accounts of the ordeals they have been through and name their accusers. I believe them. All of them. But I also believe the anonymous ones as well, to a large degree. I think it’s a reality that some women, maybe a LOT of them, may not be in a safe place where they can say things outright under their own names. I believe people should be heard. And I am more than willing to be one of those who listen, believe, apologize sincerely, and try to change to back up the apology.
I have made a lot of mistakes in my life – but I try to be as accountable as possible. And if the comment which named me had been truly anonymous, I might have already posted something in an effort to somehow make amends to that person who was too afraid to use their name in sharing their story. But I didn’t do that here, because I suddenly realized I knew who the commenter was. When she posted, she inadvertently left her profile pic on the comment. So I knew exactly who it was, and my heart absolutely sank, because this was someone who had at one time been a very trusted and dear friend. And now she had added my name to a thread regarding sexual harassment that was being shared with the entire world.
What was worse, was there were not even any actual accusations to address: she said my name should be added to the list of men to steer clear of; acknowledged that she was not herself a victim, but had “witnessed many falling prey to his ‘wholesome charms'” and that “He has used and abused many along his ‘path’ to curry favor and his ‘apprenticeships.’ Stay away from this person.” That’s it. No actual accusations, and no names. Just a vague warning on a thread about sexual predators.
I immediately sent a message to her, expressing my deep hurt over what she had written, and my bewilderment about why she wrote that at all. I received no response. I had seen the thread and the comment late Sunday night; sometime midmorning on Monday, the comment was deleted. But the damage had been done.
People all throughout the industry had been reading that thread – and taking note of the names. People started sending me screenshots, confused and hurt and wondering why my name was there. Most people who reached out questioned the validity of the comment. Some did not. And now the article has gone viral, and being shared EVERYWHERE. Lists of the names are being shared on twitter. Lists of books by the authors named are now appearing on Goodreads suggesting those books are to be avoided. And the more things are retweeted and shared far from the original source, the more likely it is that people assume the list was compiled accurately – and in my case, it was not, as my name is no longer attached to that article.
I’m not going to speculate on what her thinking or motives are, or why she chose to do what she did. But her own website has for years prominently featured covers of the books she helped me with, and as of this writing, they are still on display there – as is the same author photo that was attached to the comment that had been posted, then removed.
Right now, my career and my reputation are in jeopardy because of this single comment under that article, which was not even from someone who had been victimized or harassed. If someone had been named, I could have listened, apologized and tried to make amends if I had done something to hurt them, inadvertently or otherwise. But that isn’t what happened. Someone I knew well, whom many people know has at times had a contentious relationship with me, who still uses my books to promote her own work and website, chose to try to libel me anonymously, and it is simply not right.
When all is said and done, each of you will believe what you choose. I needed a statement of my own, vetted by mutual friends who could vouch for its accuracy, to counter the things that are continuing to be spread. I appreciate you taking the time to read it.
The FIRST ISSUE of the long-awaited Words & Pictures is a go! All patrons at the $5 and above can download it now (as well as other great stuff from our publishing list.) Supporters at the $10 level will also be getting a print edition (I’ll update those of you waiting on the print edition as soon as we have it rolling) as well as a signed mini-print of the line art for the cover that will be completely backer-exclusive, and not available once a new issue is out. If you are a fan of my writing and art, this is the place to find the best of the new stuff I’m working on. To get the link for W&P #1, just sign on at the link below and become a patron. To those of you who are already supporting this project (and have been for some time) THANK YOU so much for your support. More good trouble coming soon!
Okay, since I’ve been mainly focused on finishing the Words & Pictures periodical for my Patreon backers, we hadn’t really planned and/or prepared to do prints of this cover piece, especially to have them available soon enough to display for the holiday – but several people have asked, and as it turns out we have ONE PACKAGE of the quality print stock we ordered to prep for the Salt Lake City Comicon and didn’t use. So – we can do TWENTY PRINTS, right now, and have them in the mail to you by Friday. First come first claimed. The signed, full color prints will be $35 each, plus $10 for packing and shipping. Send $45 via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org and your print will be off to you by the weekend. 🙂 (One caveat: the $10 shipping is domestic only – any foreign orders, please contact me first for exact shipping costs. Thank you!)
I’m gearing up to FINALLY begin releasing the Words & Pictures periodical via my Patreon (now that I’ve figured out how to viably produce a print edition along with the PDFs), but I’ve also chosen to treat Patreon like a James Owen Subscription System, giving patrons downloadable versions of my current work, and early FREE downloads of upcoming books, like the long-awaited followups to the Meditations series and the Annotations to my Imaginarium Geographica books.
Anyone pledging at the $1 level and above can already get free downloads of the entire Meditations Trilogy, including the ever-popular DRAWING OUT THE DRAGONS. I’ve just updated it to include the high-resolution downloads of ALL FOUR of my ALL THE COLORS OF MAGIC coloring books, free to patrons at the $5 level and above. And patrons at the $10 level can also get the massive ESSENTIAL STARCHILD book! Additionally, when we reach FIFTY patrons, I’m going to add the PDF of my short story collection THE UNUSUAL MOTION OF STRANGE BEASTS, free for EVERYONE at any level.
I’m hoping to start pouring all of the works-in-progress into Words & Pictures. It’s been a long time coming, and I am very, very grateful for the supporters who have continued to back me through obstacles, illnesses, and personal difficulties. But I’m more focused than ever on Doing Good Work, and sharing it here. I hope you’ll take a look, consider supporting my Patreon, and get some good books. More are on the way. 🙂