Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sorry, Mom. I've Been A Little Busy.

I recently received the following email:

"I think you should rename your Blog....Marty Kelley's Sort of Active Blog.  It hasn't seen any action for a long time!"

It was from my mother.

While it's reassuring to know that there are people (or at least a person; even if it is my mother) who feel that life isn't worth living without regular updates from me, there are times when I can't be as vigilant as I need to be about maintaining my blog. I never suspected that anyone would be suffering withdrawal symptoms after a few days without regular updates. (I know it doesn't say anything about withdrawal symptoms in the email; it's implied. I hope.)

I considered several responses, including:

1. So go write your own blog.
2. I've been updating it daily. Your internet must be broken.*
3. I'm so sorry to have missed updating my blog. I do sincerely appreciate your patronage and will be working to correct the situation as quickly as possible. Please forgive me for any inconvenience this lapse may have cause you, and I do look forward to  your readership in the future.

*This one might actually work.

I also considered hiring a ghost writer, but for some strange reason, nobody was interested in slaving away over a keyboard for several hours a day for free.

The simple fact, dear readers (and Mom), is that I've been really, really busy.

I just sold a chapter book to Holiday House and have been hard at work on revisions. My writing career, up to this point, has consisted entirely of picture books. They are certainly not without their difficulties, but at least they're short. A few pages, maybe.

But now I'm looking at an 80 page manuscript with over 23,000 words in it, including a glossary because some of the 23,000 words are "prestidigitation", "sartorial", "pinguid" and "mephitic".

That's a lot of revising. To make it more exciting, I'm not just revising it by myself anymore. Now I am under the dictatorial, tyrannical rule of my evil overlord of an editor, Sylvie.

(Note to Sylvie, please get a more evil and tyrannical sounding name. Like "Tyrannicon" or "Evilicious".) Any readers with suggestions for more evil names, please comment on this post.

Actually, Sylvie, lives up to her non-evil sounding name. She's been great to work with and has offered a lot of suggestions that have improved the book immensely.

Some of the revisions were simple:
"You forgot a period here."
"Could you add a bit more detail here?"

Some were a bit more complicated:
"Do you think you could possibly rewrite the entire book in the first person instead of the third person?"*
"I'm not sure I know why these characters are friends. Can you give some reasons that they would hang around together? But work it into the story-line. Don't just drop it in."
"We need to get that 12 page Glossary down to about 5 pages."*
"Could you please rewrite the entire book in Mandarin?"**

*True revision.
**This is a big, fat lie.

The work is not without its rewards, however. And, as soon as I can think of some, I'll let you know what they are.

I've also been working on the artwork for the book. I had a few problems with the first piece I created for it. Namely, that it looked like at least one of the characters had suffered a tragic, horrific gunshot wound to the face.

I tried to work it into the storyline, but it was kind of awkward. Maybe in my next book. So I had to fix up the artwork.

I've also been working on designing the CD cover for my buddy, Steve Blunt's next CD. I had trouble with that, too, as Steve is also a dictatorial, tyrannical, evil overlord of a friend with a non-evil sounding name.

The first CD cover design I sent him was "too scary".
"Remember", he reminded me, "this is for really little kids. Do you really think they need to see all those severed heads you put on the CD cover?"
"They need to learn about it sometime, Steve," was my unheeded response.

So we have this.

Hardly the terrifying, blood-spattered scene of unspeakable carnage I had originally envisioned, but that's the way it goes when you are working for The Man. The Man, in this case being Steve.

And, because that's not enough, I have been working on a series of 7 comics that will run simultaneously in 6 different magazines and must integrate characters from all 6 magazines, some of which have not been created yet. The characters, not the magazines. Confused? Me too.

And I've also been selected as the author to represent New Hampshire at the 2011 National Book Festival in Washington D.C.

It is, of course a great honor. And, if this year's poster is to be believed, I am very much looking forward to being read to by a giant reincarnation of Abraham Lincoln. Or, possibly, a giant robotic Abraham Lincoln. Either would be fine.

So, I hope you will all forgive me this recent lapse in blog updates. I will certainly try harder in the future.

If you have any further suggestions, I'll be in Washington listening to Honest Abe.


Ash said...

You need guest bloggers.

Luciferadi said...

I'd be more worried about that polar bear than Mecha-Lincoln. Wear thick socks. (Or is that for snakes?)

Me Myself I said...

Sylviopath? The Sylvinator? Darth Sylvious?

marty said...

Guest bloggers? You volunteering, Ash?

marty said...

Sylviopath. I love it!

Craig said...

First off, I had no idea you had a blog. Now that I do, I feel bad for your mother. That said, does New Hampshire really have such a lack of authors? I mean, wow, my friend, I'm very proud of you. When you are named Ms. Author 2011, please be sure to credit me for all your success in your acceptance speech. But really, I am proud of you. Now go fix your mom's computer already.

Jennifer Lee Young said...

Love the illustrations!