Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Completed Cover

Below are a few stages of the children's book cover I just delivered. I posted the pencil drawings last two posts. Here is the finished inking, which I then scanned and brought into Photoshop. After approval I added color, but Ruby's clothes did not match 1800s Colorado. An oversight where I needed to patch in a dress. I added some dirt to it and little touches on the back. Then I added the front cover copy (back cover type is being handled by someone else) and uploaded with Dropbox. Any questions or comments please write.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Reunion Station

This is the spot. She knows this is the spot. Even after nineteen months she could not be mistaken. No, this is where they are to meet, reunite to be accurate. She sits on the ledge watching the passengers file pass. All the trains exit this way. If he were on one he would have to be here, unless…no this is the spot. This is the day.
She tugs nervously at the hem of her dress. It is the floral one she wore when they first met at the USO club, blue with big red poppies. He teased her saying she looked matronly. Now, sitting on the cold green subway tiles she regrets choosing it.
She could hear another train pull into the station. The wheels echo along the arched ceiling. Military men and civilians trickle then stream through the dark corridor. Their shoes clicking on the tile like hail from an approaching storm. The dampness makes the air heavy and still inside this traveler’s tomb. Napkins stick to forearms. A torn placard with a white horse hangs on the wall opposite. Where is he?
She takes the letter out of the small pocket of her dress. It is his last letter and she sees hopes and dreams. He wrote less and less but she knew how much he cared, how they would spend their lives together. But that was three months ago. A lot can happen in three months. A lot happens in three days overseas. He must feel the same way. He must.
A piercing scream turns her head to the left. Two young girls in matching burgundy outfits run up to their father. He scoops them up as if they are bubbles in a bath. A couple embraces right in front of her. Have they no decorum? She cranes her neck around them. A few rush pass, a cigarette in one hand, duffle in the other. They all look so familiar.
The subway ride here made her nauseous earlier. Her head rested on the cloudy window as the stations blurred by. She had not eaten much the last week or two and slept even less. But she tried reading his letter over and over looking for something extra, something that would tie her over until she saw him. She rehearsed what she would say to him. During that ride she checked her make-up with the small compact she keeps in her clutch. The loudspeaker rasped out Grand Central. She reapplied the blood orange lipstick and stepped over the gap and into the terminal.
Now she sits, squirming on that hard ledge. It felt nothing like their last night together. The cool breeze from the passing summer storm brought a germinative relief through the open window of her apartment. Even the tattered curtains that danced about seemed buoyed with hope. How comfortable that spoon felt. How soft his kisses were. How strong his hands held her. How uncomfortable it was when he left.
Another train rolls in and pulls her back to the present, another champagne pop of passengers. Rubbing her shoes together causes a scuff she tries getting out with a little spit on the handkerchief that she wears around her arm. She can’t have him see her like this. She stands on the ledge hoping the extra height will cause him to appear like a white rabbit out of a magician’s hat. It doesn’t as she nearly topples over. 
She begins to pace. Nerves and the cold will do that to a person. With each step she takes questions creep into her head. Maybe he missed the train? Or maybe it was delayed? What if he changed his mind? What if, what if…the questions go round and round without answers, because there is only one. She looks at her watch. It’s late. The handkerchief around her wrist becomes soaked with tears and mascara. She rises and tries to walk out, but instead collapses her head landing on the ledge. “What’s happening?” she says to the ceiling lights shining down at her. “It’s just that I haven’t eaten…yes, that’s it,” she tells herself. “I’ll just rest a bit, close my eyes. Then he’ll be here and everything will be alright. He’ll be here…I just know it.”

A small crowd forms around her prone body. A policeman writes in his notebook. Age. Name. Address. Who is she? What is she doing here? They open her clutch but find only the compact and lipstick. A man in uniform pushes his way through the crowd. He drops the bouquet he was carrying on the ground. “Do you know her?” someone asks. He answers, “I do.” He sits next to her cradling her lifeless head. The passengers disperse and continue their trip leaving these three alone in the corridor. A whistle sounds as another train approaches.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Squirrels and Why I hate them

I have a guest writer this month who supplied me with a poem.

Squirrels and Why I hate them
by Larry O’Roarke, Irish Terrier

There is no purpose to a squirrel
No reason to exist
And if I travel ‘round the world
My opinion wouldn’t switch

They’re short and hairy with tails too long
Their chirps give me a pain
Without the trees I’d catch them all
And chew their little brains

On top the fence they act so brave
My anger will not sway
I’ll leave my mark, I’ll have my way
Along the palisade

Every day they taunt me so
At night they haunt my dreams
I twitch and whimper to and fro
I hate those little fiends

They make a mess all through the yard
Eating bulbs and tubers
When I get old, my health all marred
I’ll learn to shoot a luger

Next step in my cover. Finished pencil.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Too Old to Rock and Roll, Too Young to Die

This has not been a good year if you are a rock star. Every week seems to bring another musical tribute. The latest of course was Prince.
Years before I met my wife she was living in Minnesota. While having dinner with her mom one evening, Prince was sitting across from them with his entourage. He tried buying my future wife a drink and made a pass, which her mom quickly intercepted and sent back to him. She wasn’t having any of that for her nineteen-year-old daughter. Her mom never had an issue with me, however, and this has caused her judgment to be suspect ever since.
Now Prince is dead and I’m still here. No longer can he entertain tens of millions with his songs and performances, while I can still blog to tens of people. Who’s laughing now? Probably not my wife who might have become the Princess of Minnesota and inherited more than I could ever leave her.
Some what related to that we attended an ‘80s dance party this past weekend. Although the crowd was manageable it was hard to hear the music over the replaced hips and creaking knees. Of course, yours truly danced just like I did all those years back, like a drunk in the midst of electro-shock therapy. I haven’t lost it.
There was a costume contest, which I apparently won, even though I just grabbed some things out of my closet. Wear them until they wear out is my motto. Along with a few Material Girls, I saw several members of Miami Vice, preppy boys, Bruce Springsteen, and even a Magnum PI.
Every few songs the DJ would play either Prince or Bowie, and an audible moan was heard above the din. Dancers moved a little slower. Spectators lifted their drinks. Then he switched to Billy Idol and life sped up to 45 rpms again. It was like a non-linear conga line that slows down once in a while to avoid a table or chair.
But, when we lose an icon from our youth they take a part of it with them. Especially if they were the voice of their generation; voices like Lennon’s, Mercury’s, Holly’s, Joplin’s, Strummer’s, and now Bowie’s and Prince’s just to name a few. They spoke; no they screamed what we needed to hear. What we wanted to say ourselves.
How sad it is they are gone, but sadder still is what this generation will have to look forward to: A Bieber tribute. A Miley Cyrus channel on Sirius. You probably don't even know where the title of this post comes from. Oh you poor bastards. Imagine a child raised on Timberlake instead of Etta James or The Kinks. I ask, how can the youth of today give a metaphoric middle finger when they listen to Adele? And they need to. Every generation needs its rebels, its anti-social dissidents to make sure we don’t lose our way, to keep us on track, to tell us old guys off.
Well, go ahead, I’m listening.

I wasn’t able to get my monthly project done in April for a variety of reasons. Mainly, since I was commissioned to do a third cover for the Ruby and Maude Adventure series. Here is the rough for the wraparound cover. I’ll post the finished art in May.