Happy Caretaker Day!

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.

A Necessary Statement

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.

Announcing Words & Pictures issue one – Finally!

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!


My new Halloween piece – now available as a limited print!

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 auricdor@yahoo.com 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!)

All The Good Things

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. 🙂



Only six hours left to become one of the first readers to get the new Imaginarium Geographica book, THE DRAGON KNIGHT. We still have goals I hope to reach, but the book will happen, and I am working now to make it the best book I possibly can. Great rewards still available – take a look and help us see this one over the finish line with an barbaric yawp! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1401678214/the-dragon-knight-the-8th-imaginarium-geographica



The Kickstarter campaign for THE DRAGON KNIGHT is in its last three days, and we’re looking for THIRTY-EIGHT more readers to help it finish big! Come give us some support and get some awesome rewards, then let’s go into the holiday season with a BANGARANG! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1401678214/the-dragon-knight-the-8th-imaginarium-geographica

Summoning The Dragon Army

I’m about to do some…surprising things, regarding the Kickstarter for the book THE DRAGON KNIGHT. Collectors of my original fantasy art and creators of stories and art who would be interested in some workshop opportunities should pay very, very close attention. Very close attention. I’ll be listing our stretch goals and the awesome NEW rewards a little later today, but I also have a request for those of you who are already supporting this project. The most traction we’ve gotten so far has been from a boosted post aimed at the people who liked my fan page…AND their friends. A LOT of people know the Imaginarium Geographica books, and tens of thousands of them who have purchased and read and loved those books may not have even gotten the chance to know this book EXISTS. So I’m summoning my Dragon Army to change that. I’d like you to share the cover and link, either in email or by Facebook post or message, with ONE friend whom you know reads the books (or might like to) and ONE librarian or Independent bookseller, both of whom can take advantage of the Bookseller Pledge. Then, just send a message to us via the Kickstarter, and you’ll receive as a thank you a signed promo postcard of the cover. Boosting the Signal = Awesome Free Swag. So please go spread the word – show me what a Dragon Army of readers and believers can do! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1401678214/the-dragon-knight-the-8th-imaginarium-geographica


Just 21 more readers needed to reach 200 backers! This is the cover to the Art Edition, which includes a paperboard slipcase, illustrated endpapers, and a special bound-in limitation page with an original inked Dragon drawing. Only 245 copies will be produced of this edition, and it’s already going quickly. You can reserve yours here at the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1401678214/the-dragon-knight-the-8th-imaginarium-geographica