Here's the cover for the second title in The Enchanted Circus of Jules Compere, my Young Adult fantasy series, which will launch for sure by April of 2016. This story continues the adventure and romance of book one as Circus Lunastrata - now possibly haunted - travels to San Diego during Halloween and Dia de los Muertos to rescue an injured trapezist on the run.
Steady progress is being made on interiors, exteriors, and posteriors! (The battle against chair-butt requires constant vigilance.) Back to work now...
I have officially changed the name of my publishing organization from Paper Grove Publishing to...
This name reflects more accurately on myself and the spirit of this endeavor as well on a wonderful new phase for me and my work!
A new logo will be forthcoming.
Here is the book cover for Book One in my new, revamped Enchanted Circus series, RING RIDER. Look for it to be released early in 2016, followed closely by the next two books in the series.
I designed the cover using shots from a photo shoot I set up. The striped big top background is from a painting I made, copied multiple times, and then I constructed a paper circus tent from the copies for my previous book trailer. The image is from a screen grab. Recycling, yay! In the covers for this series, I also used a couple public domain images from The Graphics Fairy. If you are a creative type, you need to know about this site.
The models are the talented young actors Helen Grace Lahey and Cooper Miller. They perfectly embody Evanja Leane and Walter Winstanley. Make up by Isabella Parkinson-Morgan.
Big thanks to all who took part in the shoot and offered feedback on the book cover process!
Below is the full cover for the print version of the book. The theme of the shadow projected against the inside of the tent continues throughout all five covers.
...but on hiatus. My enchanted series is being revamped, reworked, and completely overhauled. The Big Top has burned down. What new magic will rise like a phoenix and blaze forth in the center ring?
All will be revealed.
In the meantime, the books are no longer available. I make my apologies to those of you who loved The Mumbo Jumbo Circus and The Daring Young Man. All of the quirky characters will return in their rag-tag, magical circus, better and brighter than ever.
TRUST JULES COMPERE AND HIS MAGICAL JU-JU.
We have FOUR cats, which officially qualifies us as crazy cat people. We recently moved from the 'burbs back to the city and and the felines are making the adjustment. So, to celebrate National Cat Day, here are some shots of our Kitty Cat Crew and a glimpse into our Days in Catland.
Here's that chaser I promised, a delicious mix of Words to Live By sung by the most adorable man EVER.
Now it's off to the factory with me. There's so much time and so little to do.
My tongue-in-cheek personal tag-line (yes, everyone should have one) is EQUALLY TWEE AND EVIL. And for all it's cheekiness, it's mostly true.
On this blog I'm usually silly, twee, whimsy-girl, which is my preferred state. But I do possess a full range of being-ness, and this includes The Dark Side. In honor of today's dark moon I bring you two poems. The first is from my lost days as a punk rocker. Be nice, I was nineteen, and this was before I had my sense of humor transplant. (Oh, and shhh, that's a secret.) A couple days ago I was unpacking boxes, shelving books, and came across my old diary, uncovering this gem. When I stopped laughing so hard I cried, I knew I had to share this goodness with the world. There are more gems in there. They're gonna stay in the vault.
The second poem, written today on the fly and not nearly as unintentionally funny as the first one, deals with a recent sojourn wherein my creative work was put aside for an important calling. This is why I haven't been around. And that last, long-ago post wasn't exactly sweetness and light either. But like the moon, my life has entered a new phase. I am in a new house in the big city, and I am BACK, baby!
And now I curtsy and show you the dark side of the mirror, past and present. In a few days, I'll post something really super-twee as a chaser. I promise.
Then: 1981 Now:
A prose poem regarding the care and feeding of my stories.
The calliope sings Tick Tock, a steam-powered tune of time...endless time, no time. Space...endless space, no space. The calliope’s wordless tune makes a promise of stories. Toots and whistles and jolly fun lead me dancing, twirling, to the grandfather clock that towers a mile above me—a lemon-polished fortress of hours.
Tick tock toot toot, I have only so many heartbeats upon this earth.
The glass-fronted cabinet shows my tiny reflection yet I shy away and cannot look. I am unfinished, unshaped. There are stories up there in the moon dial. Stories I yearn for. Crave. Out-of-reach tales that will fill my soul, give my being weight, and Meaning. Make-believe will make me real. The untrue will force the truth. If only I can get there.
My fingers pry open the cabinet. It takes me years.
I hoist myself up into grandfather’s body, step inside, heels clack on dark, hard wood. Beneath the Weights of Time, a cauldron glows hot and thick. Brighid’s Cauldron, her forge of inspiration, calls my name. To accept the invitation is to take on the Taskmaster. Brighid says she will burn my toes if I back out now. The moon dial, shimmering faintly high above, and its riches, is my goal.
Beware family, beware lover: I will throw over all else to get there.
On a rising column of cauldron smoke, I ascend far enough to grasp the time chains. From here on up, I must propel myself. Burning arms, bloody fingers, chain by chain by chain by chain. Rejection oil loosens my grip. Legitimacy spits me out, straight into the mouth of the doubt demons. Brighid, I beg of you, let me drop into the cauldron, rest for a while. Ha! She keeps her promise to burn my toes.
Tick tock toot toot, you have only so many heartbeats upon this earth.
I crawl. I clamber. Once in a blue chain, I float up a few links. I climb again. The moon winks. Just for me. It spins away, a tease, to be replaced by a sailing ship, a shepherdess, the rays of the sun. I am about to fall with the giddiness. Stories are close. I smell them, yet I grow heavier the higher I climb. I reach for the stars anyway.
The gateway to the moon dial beckons me through. Brighid smiles.
Chime the hours. Ring the bells. I live in the moon dial now. There is my own magical, traveling circus. Over there in the nightclouds, my heartbreak and denial. Cookie kings and imprisoned nature sprites dwell with me. Tales of romantic witchery beg for happy endings. They all whisper to me, Queen of the Moon Dial, sitting atop all the time in the world. And then down below the calliope sings.
Tick tock toot toot, I have only so many heartbeats upon this earth.
I am reposting this entry from the very early days of Journal Jane. The film PENELOPE is still my favorite film and favorite go-to re-set button. If you haven't seen it, enjoy.
There are times... when I hit a wall, the well runs dry, the ink runs out, I'm outta gas and even the cliches aren't flowing. And then there are times when simply hanging out with the wrong sort of people can splinter me into so many fragments I can't think straight let alone work.
Luckily, I have a cure and it's name is PENELOPE. I have viewed this film (filmed in 2006, released in 2008) so many times my family threatened to hide it. Never fear. I foiled them. I bought a back-up DVD and they don't know where it is.
So what is it about PENELOPE that sets me straight and gets me all inspired to write and paint once again? Watching PENELOPE is like taking a walk inside my head when I'm in full-on creative mode.
Penelope's room looks exactly like my interior mindscape, full of paint, art, puppets, birds, bell-jar terrariums, butterflies, a swing, a tricycle, and a fake red tree. I should know, I spend a lot of time in here.
I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin that boasts stately old houses filled with dark wood, attics, and endless mysterious potential. Penelope's room reminds of the way I felt when inside these old homes.
This film is chock full of goodness that makes me squeal with delight. Let's start with the cast:
James McAvoy - 'nuff said.
Christina Ricci - always wonderful. And it's worth noting she can play a house-bound, virginal, pig-faced girl and then switch to a nymphomaniac in Black Snake Moan. Now that's versatility.
Catherine O'Hara and Richard E. Grant - LOVE them both.
And this was the first film I saw Peter Dinklage in, and he makes this movie. Ronni Ancona and Simon Woods are also great.
This is the film that introduced me to funny man Russell Brand. He has a cameo that prompted me to look up his work. The man is hilarious and intelligent.
Mark Palansky directed, and I adore his attention to detail. Leslie Caveny wrote the screenplay for this delicious Beauty and the Beast reversal. Amanda McArthur is the production designer who re-created the inside of my brain on film. I thank her. And I am grateful to Reese Witherspoon for producing this movie-of-her-heart, even though it didn't do that well at the box office.
I'm in earnest, folks. All I need do is watch PENELOPE and I am myself again. What did I do before PENELOPE? I can't remember, but I have a vague notion it wasn't pretty. So I shall share with you images of things I adore from this wondrous film.
Mark Ryden is one of my favorite artists and his work appears in the film. As an interesting aside, he had previously used Christina Ricci as artistic inspiration.
Image copyright Mark Ryden.
Sigur Ros! Their song Hoppipolla provides a perfect transcendant ending.
Other great tunes in the film come from Devotchka, Schuyler Fisk, and The Little Ones. (Cha-Cha-Cha was used in the scene with the incredible copper bath-tub. I am a big fan of baths and bathtubs, especially in relation to creativity and giving birth to new ideas.)
If you haven't yet seen PENELOPE, it's wonderful, and holds up to, ahem, multiple viewings.
Do you have a creative re-set button? Let me know!
All movie images are copyright Summit Entertainment