Honey . . . they’re in . . . everybody’s eggs . . .

devil and baby.jpg

Well, I had a nice meeting with Cayem – hadn’t met up with him since he got back from Pune after the holidays.  Áine started work in earnest over the holidays, and showed him some of the pictures she had finished for ‘Larp’, and he was quite happy – so I thought, after looking at them that I would be able to begin revising the text.  One of the nice things about Áine’s handling of the drawings is that it is making me think about the book I wrote, so long ago, and the tone of the narrative.  It’s really invigorating to see how someone else sees things that had previously existed only inside one’s own head.

That’s what I am enjoying about collaborating; it’s a new game for me.  Ideas seem to crop up everywhere, and you wonder why you never thought of these ideas by yourself.  It has to do with perspective, I think.  In fact, perspective is the dominant note of 2017 it seems, at least within the halls of the Red Admiral Press.  When  K and I got to chatting, he came up with the idea that I might want to cut my teeth on InDesign by beginning with one of my old picture books, just to see how I like book design, while we are putting the novel together.

It seemed like a great idea – most of my picture books are already in a high state of completion, and RAP is willing to give these books a chance when met of the bigger houses have been too cautious.  So I dragged out a lot of the old pictures and we both grew more an more enthusiastic.


So I am going to begin with BROADWAY BUG, and try to get three more ready to go before we publish ‘Larp.’at the end of the year.  Cay has already begun the process to obtain an ISBN for the book, and we will have the option to get up to nine more in the next three years at a reduced rate; I had no idea how to get ISBN’s – it’s really interesting.

So I hope there will be some activity at last on this blog, which is supposed to be about the book design process, written by a novice.  I’m that novice, and it looks like it’s starting to take off.



First Meeting with Áine




Yesterday I had my first meeting with illustrator Áine McWryat -she’s been through the text several times and had some ideas on the character designs for the eventual illustrations.

Like most illustrators, she has far too many irons on the fire to go as quickly as I would like, but I thought her ideas were valid, and together we brainstormed about what the characters should look like – once that is set she can get going drawing on the actual pictures.  But coming together on the characters is more difficult than I thought it would be; I’ve always illustrated my own work and I always knew how the characters should look from the get go.

larp sketches

rennie house



Poor Áine is having a few personal difficulties as well – romantic ones, of course – so I introduced her to the film ‘Sita Sings the Blues‘, which she had never seen.


As for myself, I am slowly coming to terms with InDesign and book design in general; a lot of it seems quite interesting.  I found a new book in the Waterlooplein flea-market and it looks very impressive, though it pre-dates personal computers:


It is far more informative (and better looking) than the other book, which I chiefly needed for technical guidance with my laptop.

I also find that the text of the book needs more editing than I had expected, so that’s what I’ll be doing as Áine works on the pictures.  Not really changing anything substantial, but the overall tone needs some tweaking.

So everyone is getting to work, and I hope that ‘Larp’ (Reine has counseled me to use the original title, Live Action Role Playing worries or not) will come out next summer.



Book Design



I just received this book in the post; I read a lot of very good reviews about it, and since I’ve never designed book before, I thought I could use it as a manual while I learn the process.  Somewhat alarming to see that it looks like a book of local recipes published by the Chamber of Commerce in Racine – perhaps it’s an example of how not to design a book?

George Formby

I am a proud member of the George Formby Society in England, and over the years I’ve written a few articles for the Society’s magazine, The Vellum.  After I wrote my last article for the spring 2016 issue, I received the compliment of being referenced in an article for the summer issue by founding member John Walley.


john article





Rennie, Quacky & Velly in a recent pose

Let’s once more re-begin again!

I reckon it’s been about 25 years now that I’ve been writing and submitting books for the consideration of various agents and publishers, both in America and in Britain, and my work has never been received with anything more than polite indifference – and often far worse.

The world of publishing has changed enormously since 1991, when I started sending out my projects, and there are a lot more resources available to the writer nowadays.

My first project for revisitation will be my series of novels about Rennie Parsley and Velly Sprout – beginning with a book originally called Larp.  I’m not sure what to call it now.  When I first wrote it, between 2006 and 2008, L.A.R.P. wasn’t really well-known; however, now there are a number of books and publications with LARP in the title, and it will be confusing, as Larp has nothing to do at all with L.A.R.P.  So I will be in a brain-heat about that one for a little while.

Luckily I have the endless support of the folks at Red Admiral Press, and I’ve discovered an illustrator here in Buitenveldert where I live – a woman called Áine McWryat who has been toiling away for years drawing greeting cards and who has a marvelous talent.

And so this blog will be about the progress of the pictures, and of the design of the book, which I will be learning how to tackle myself – along with any reflections about the process I may have along the way.

I’ll try to update as often as possible, and post a bunch of Áine’s drawings as they become available, along my own layout ideas.  Check back!