The Spring Messenger arrives…

I know, I know… I’m late with the strip again. Sadly this is the bane of my life; I set myself deadlines and I never manage to hit them precisely on time. I was the same at Uni by the way…

Any way. Instead, I thought that I would do something topical and introduce you to the Easter Bunny… okay, he’s not the real Easter Bunny… we all know who that is:

Hugh Jackman a.k.a The Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny I am talking about, isn’t really a Rabbit. He’s a Hare. Specifically a Moon Hare from The Land Far Away. He is also my Art Muse and is always finding new techniques for me to try.
Stardust (my Craft Muse) is alternately relieved that she doesn’t have to over work herself any more and jealous of all the time I have been spending with him recently.

Named after one of my Favourite Artists, he arrived not long after I started doing a proper art project in Art Class:

A New Muse…

Puff: Who is that?
Stardust: *sleepily* What are you talking about? There’s no one there…
Puff: You can’t see it? That strange shape over by Author, waving her artistic kit at her?
Stardust: *Frowning* Oh yes… I can’t quite make it out…
Patches: What are you two muttering about?
*The other two point*
Patches: Oh, that’s the new muse… they haven’t chosen a shape yet.
Stardust: I thought I was the Art Muse…
Patches: You’re more interested in the Craft side and Author has been doing a lot of drawing recently.
Puff: So there’s space for a new muse? Hmm… I wonder what it will be?

Story #43 – “Author & Muse Stories” by Kira Morgana

Stories #43 and #44 won’t be told in visual form for quite a while yet, I need to catch up with myself and all sorts of things get in the way of me working…
*glares in the direction of SB & PW*
…however, he has appeared in a couple of full page stories – most notably, Matchmaking in the Singletons section with Angerbun.

So as he’d become a bit of a fixture, I started writing his origin story. I usually write the Land Far Away stories in rhyme, but I had serious trouble with this one – none of the words wanted to rhyme and it appeared that he had more story to tell than rhymes would allow.
I changed tack and swapped to prose rather than poetry (although there is some poetry in it – Land Far Away wouldn’t be Land Far Away without the awful rhymes) and the words started flowing well.

Then Stardust got involved. I’m not going to explain that one here; I already did it in a video:

Apologies for the Videography – it’s something else that I’m still new to…

So having completed the Ever Spring Tree with Stardust, I found that Salvador’s story was flowing better than ever and thought I ought to introduce him with a Character Page:

Salvador Bunli, The Spring Messenger

Hopefully his whole story should be finished soon and I am hoping that Maria K. will be able to illustrate it and we’ll get it published in time for the next Spring Holiday… but as I said before, deadlines are not my strong point so don’t get your hopes up too soon – a lot has to happen before we get to publication stage!

Enter a new Pseudonym?

Diversification Idea Musing… feel free to comment or ignore as you like…

This is something that has been growing steadily since the summer. As you know, Kira Morgana writes children’s books and up until now, they’ve been illustrated by  Maria K.

So I was playing around with one of my favourite short story forms last summer – the tricky but satisfying “Dialogue only” –  and I inadvertantly created, not only a whole book of stories, but also a set of characters that seems to grow exponentially every time Puff gets bored…

Someone suggested that I get them illustrated. Maria didn’t have enough time to do it – she’s got a full time job and is also busy translating and writing herself… so I had a go at it.

This was the result:

Practise Page: Sleep

Now, I wasn’t all that happy with this one (which is why it’s a practise page) but my friends and family loved it as much as the original dialogue stories, so when I started the new term on my art class, I decided to develop it as a project…

It’s kind of taken on a life of it’s own now and is developing nicely.

And now I have a dilemma.

As I have said, up until now, I have kept all my children’s books under Kira Morgana. But I am enjoying doing the illustration for Author & Muse and would like to expand into doing my own illustration for my children’s books.

I’ve been signing the illustrations of the Author & Muse stories with MEW (Kira Morgana is too long for the space) but should I do that with the illustration for my children’s books, or  should I just use my real name (MEW is my initials) of Mandy E. Ward, or should I just keep it to Kira Morgana?

What do you think?

News:

**Keep an eye out for a new page on the site – I’m going to add my Ilustration work here once I have worked out what name to use!**

A New Adventure Awaits!!

The Land Far Away is a series that is very close to my heart. It’s gentle, full of adventure and fun, but the stories always seem to have a meaning. However, the reasons that LFA is special to me are manifold…

Firstly is this character’s story –

Pika the Phluph and The Gribblebid Tough was the first children’s book that I ever wrote and it’s the one that brought Maria K and I together. I’d been messing around with nonsense rhymes and she started drawing some of the characters from the post they appeared on. I loved her drawing style, so asked her if she wanted to collaborate. The collaboration turned into a long distance friendship – she and I have a lot in common!

Then of course, Pika the Phluph herself was created by my oldest daughter when she had just started school – she was struggling with the whole “PH” is “FF” sound and I wrote part of the story to show her what it meant – I drew a sketch of the character to show her that Pika was “fluffy” and that it could also be spelt “Phluphy”. I just continued writing about Pika because she was so cute (like my daughter at the time) and I’d been bitten by the rhyming story bug.

The next few books followed rapidly. Rhyming stories can be very hard to get right, so it took a while to get them right. Maria would sketch up the stories as I did them (I owe her several boxes of colouring pencils at the very least) and then format and publish them (it’s easier if she does that end because she has the scans of the pictures in the right DPI) – that segued into producing e-books of them and finally finding Trista Shaye  to voice them in the audio books.

And that pretty much brings me up to date with the latest Land Far Away news!!

Last christmas I bought a cute little (singing) reindeer that I named Rosie. I had intended her to be a part of my Satyulemas Decorations, but PW jumped on her and immediately wore out the singing part of her!

Rosie the Reindeer

Once I’d rescued her from PW, I sat her in with the rest of my collection of Stuffies and thought about her… next thing I know, I’m writing another Land Far Away rhyming story. It had been a long while since I’d managed to start one and actually finish it, but Rosie’s story just flowed out of my mind onto the screen in front of me…

A quick edit and polish later and I passed it to Maria.

She just published it… YAY! It’s currently only available in Print format, but knowing Maria, the e-book and Audiobook formats won’t be all that far behind!

So here is the latest of the Land Far Away stories –

Another Christmas comes to Land Far Away, and with it – a new set of troubles and adventures.

Rosie is a cute little Reindeer Calf, doing what Reindeer Calves love to do; eating Lichen and playing in the snow.

Unfortunately, playing in the snow is what gets her in trouble and it’s up to Quinza the Linzer to find and rescue her from the snowy wastes of Linzerland…

Available now in Print from Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Rosie-Reindeer-Land-Far-Away/dp/1728888565

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t mind that so much – having the first verse of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” play every thirty seconds was a bit annoying…