Lights Are Back On – so that I can make a children’s book

We made arrangements with the landlord to skip part of the rent so we could get the lights turned back on. Shew. And then loyal readers and friends alike swooped in and saved the day with donations and support. We’re not 100% back on track. We’ll be skipping the car payment this month to get more on track… sort of… but I’m back online and kicking along.

I’ve been meaning to talk about a project I’ve toyed with here and there for a year or so now. It’s been on the backburner because of time issues… hand issues.. health. Whatever. It’s a little book I’ve been calling Purple and Green Spots, but I think I’m going to change it to Red Rena as that seems like a more appropriate name.

It’s a children’s book – yes I do sometimes step away from the adult mechanisms that product children to think of things they could read and enjoy. =^-^= I’ll never understand why people seem to think that in order to want to bring joy to children you must first refrain from being an adult in any way shape or form. That’s just a very unhealthy attitude in my mind. But, because people tend to not read book descriptions and get confused easily when buying, I have decided to separate the few times I make children’s material into an umbrella under a pen name.

Choosing the pen name was hard. I wanted to use my earned name – my “Indian name” to some of you – but I wanted it to be in one of the original languages of my people. That was harder than it sounds, because the language isn’t spoken so much anymore. Those who whine about it don’t make any attempts to try and speak it even a little in casual conversation – as would be a big stepping stone in bringing a language back (Elementary, my dear Watson!). And those who knew enough to help me figure out the meaning told me point blank that what I should do was *learn the entire language enough to figure out the meaning all by myself*. Because kicking your cousin to the curb is going to help your case.

When I did figure out what I hoped was the right translation, it was too awkward sounding. But that also was met with a snark by those who could have helped. What kind of monster was I to want my pen name to be something easy to pronounce?! The horror. But I’m not writing these books 100% in Mohegan, sorry. I wanted my pen name to be something that was Mohegan but was also easy for a small child to identify and pronounce… being as there are no small children fluent in Mohegan anymore. What I’ve come up with is Keenum Spear. Mohegan – ‘carries” and Spear. Carries Spear, or.. well, my name. Spearcarrier.

Now before some of you Hollywood types go jumping on me about how my name should be “Spearcarrier Woman” or some other insulting name-changing monicker.. no. I am not a Spearcarrying Woman. I am simple and plain, a spear carrier. Period. Don’t insult me by changing the meaning of my name just to suit yourself and some sexist attitude that doesn’t belong here, and I won’t talk bad about you fifteen years later.

Anyway pen name established I reopened my little book and took a fifteenth look at it. It’s written, it’s been polished, I even kind of know how I want it. I’m at the stage now where I develop characters and plan a storyboard. The problem? The art.

An example of the art style I am considering for Red Rena.
An example of the art style I am considering for Red Rena.

I could hand draw it. Yes. I could. And take even longer to produce this book. Or I could use 3D, being as I’ve been really liking how some of the stuff comes out using the method, and knock the sucker out. I chose 3D. And for the figures I chose RuntimeDNA’s Chip, Cookie and Gumdrops base.

This is where the trouble comes in. There’s all sorts of things for Cookie. She’s cute and sexy. And, well, adorable. Chip has a few things. Not a lot, but a few. He seems to be considered more Cookie’s accessory than someone who also might need pants and a shirt. Gumdrops, however, has next to nothing. I’ve been going crazy looking for something she can wear that’s not going to be a ballgown, fairy dress, or in this case… a parka.


The solution is something called Crossdresser. Apparently if I install this magic wand and pay for Gumdrop’s license, I can dress her (or him) in anything I desire. Woo hoo!

The program keeps stalling at 30%.

But things will be as they are. I could also take my Genesis (v1) figure and spend months morphing it into a Gumdrops like figure that will serve as Rena. I did this for 10 Confessions, so I’m no stranger to this and quite frankly I’m considering doing it just because I think it might be neat to do so. In the meantime, though… I can only spend some time on this here and there while I work to get us out of the hole fate has put us into.

My future plan with Red Rena is that once I have it ready for production, I will hold a Kickstarter campaign. I want to use this book as a starting platform to produce books kids with my ethnic background can relate to. I’m thinking… campaign could produce a certain amount of books that could be donated to our library or something. I just haven’t figured out how to do it so that I’m not, as Terry Pratchett might say, cutting me own throat.

After Red Rena, I plan to launch a series of retold legends from my people. These legends would use occasional Mohegan words so they not only preserve our culture and teach it to the next generation, they teach something more. It’s going to be hard getting these legends, because a lot of our oral culture has been lost. But I intend to dig and try, even if it means selling my house to move back to the rez.

What I intend to NOT have in my books are those annoying “think” questions that have become the trend for children’s books. I’m out for kids to fall in love with reading and enjoy themselves, not to have stuff shoved down their throats that discourages them from it. If you give a kid something and just let them be, they tend to benefit from it. Being as I’m not putting my books out through the public school system, I think I’m okay to follow through on this philosophy.

And that’s what I’m up to. Back to work.