This blog entry may seem to be a disconnect with my music blog on Visionary Quest Records. But I thought to myself, this blog is a reflection of me. My eclectic endeavors are all a part of the many chapters that comprise the one story of my life journey. With that said, I decided that it was quite befitting to share my creative experiences these past few months even though the inspiration for creativity was outside of music per se. These past few months I had tapped into a different source of creativity, which came from a fusion of the written word, art, and photography.
For me inspiration can often come one of two ways - at a moment’s notice, like a flash of a light bulb or after a period of gestation of deep thought. I should add that in both instances there is an overwhelming emotional component that serves as the impetus for creative action. This inspiration makes itself known through what I call my inner child or inner voice. Sometimes we give our outer lives higher priority when that little voice inside instead tries to steer us in another direction, either to find a better path, to make wiser choice,. or to create something new. Despite all that was going on in my life, I decided to listen to my inner voice and do accordingly.
In April, I found some pictures of my pets that I had taken during a time when I had witnessed something quite profound and memorable. To memorialize these memories, I took the photography and began adding my own artwork to highlight the moments I had captured on camera. I researched a variety of publishing companies and found Calvendo Publishing. a publishing company headquartered in Germany specializing in publishing works by photographers and artists in high end calendars, photo books and much more. Calvendo just opened submissions to U.S. artists and photographers. Calvendo enables artists and photographers to gain authorship of their works by placing their creative artworks in their products. (For those in the U.S., the calendars are the only products available.) If the artist’s collection of art or photography is approved, Calvendo is then listed as publisher with its imprint placed on the work accordingly. Calvendo also assigns an ISBN for the new authored work, author page, and distribution of the work with Amazon and many well established European book retailers. With the ISBN, artists’ work are then listed and readily available for other book retailers to purchase for their inventory. Although Calvendo’s model appears traditional with its publishing, Calvendo considers works submitted to them as self-published. It is because each author retains their copyright ownership and control of their work. Most notably, unlike other self-publishing companies, submission of one’s work is not a guarantee of publication. Each submission must undergo an evaluation by a jury of experts in Europe to evaluate on detailed criteria relating to quality, creativity, and marketability of an author’s work. Essentially,. Calvendo’s inquiry is similar to the inquiries made by traditional publishing firms to make a determination of whether they can sell the author’s work or not. Like traditional publishing companies, there is no cost or fees to the author. Authors are paid a royalty percentage of sales. However, like other self-publishing firms, authors can choose the pricing to an established minimum where no works may ever be priced below that threshold. If the author would like a higher royalty percentage, there is flexibility to increase the overall price. Artists and photographers submitting to Calvendo choose the medium of expression for their work through an online workstation that contain the templates. The decision of whether an artist’s work will be published usually takes about 4 to 5 days. If there are any edits that need to be done from jury’s evaluation, Calvendo would then transmit those edit requests to the artist via a Calvendo dashboard provided to the artist at registration of submission. Because one of their main offices are also in the United Kingdom, Calvendo requires that captions and product descriptions be done in proper U.K. English and UK grammar. I needed to do redo mine because I used U.S. English words such as the word color (U.S.) needed to be corrected to colour (U.K.). The calendars are international calendars with calendar dates in English, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. My calendar was published at the end of April entitled Pooch ‘n’ Kitties.
I am not sure how others are when creating something new, but for me it is an all consuming experience. I cannot do anything else until the creative vision is fully expressed. Well, in this instance, after the calendar was published, I knew in my heart I was not finished.. There was a memorable and profound story with these pictures on the calendar that needed to be told. So, I wrote the book including its design and illustrations for it. Night and day, day and night - burning the candle at both ends literally, I wrote the book. iMuse Publishing published it at the end of May 2019. The book is a children and families book entitled Pooch ‘n’ Kitties: When Gigi Met Mimi available as a Kindle Ebook or paperback in either English or Spanish. The Amazon book description gives prospective readers a glimpse of what to expect.
A TOUCHING AND MEMORABLE STORY ABOUT AN UNEXPECTED, DEEP FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN A POOCH NAMED GIGI AND A FERAL CAT NAMED MIMI AND HER LEGACY OF LOVE
“Animals have come to mean so much in our lives. We live in a fragmented and disconnected culture. Politics are ugly, religion is struggling, technology is stressful, and the economy is unfortunate. What's one thing that we have in our lives that we can depend on? A dog or a cat loving us unconditionally, every day, very faithfully.” Jon Katz, American Journalist
Mr. Katz speaks the truth. POOCH ‘N’ KITTIES: WHEN GIGI MET MIMI is about my poodle pooch Gigi and her endearing friendship with a feral kitten named Mimi. Gigi was quite a playful, energetic pooch with me; however, she did not share that playful spirit with other dogs initially. One early morning, a cute feral kitten was looking through the glass of our French doors. Gigi saw this and immediately wanted to play with this kitten. This was so unusual because it usually took some time for Gigi to warm up to anyone new or unfamiliar. There was a genuine fondness of each other. Their playtimes became routine play dates in the morning before I went to work and then in the evening. What was so awe inspiring about this budding friendship was that there was no feeding involved. Mimi would come over like clockwork just to be with Gigi. Gigi looked forward to their time together. She would often just wait at the French doors in anticipation of Mimi’s arrival. In the interest of cultivating this friendship and protecting both, I adopted Mimi. But the story did not end there. It had just begun.
As an observer to this story, my belief that we only have one life to live has deepened. Tomorrow is not a guarantee. So, cherish each day, each memory, and each feeling. Honor, memorialize, and give thanks to those with whom you wish to share those feelings, while they are still on this earth with us. Life is too short just to end up regretting that some things that I should have done, could have done or would have done, have not been done. As such, this is my special thanks to my dog and kittens, Gigi, Mimi, Papi, Sophie and Glinda. They have added so much color to my life journey with their love and companionship. With a fusion of the written word, art and photography, this book, highlights the values of love and friendship, and the appreciation of the one life we have to live. It is a memorable and touching story about a dog’s unexpected friendship with a feral cat and her legacy of love, which is enhanced with beautiful art and photography the whole family will enjoy together.
I have resumed work with Visionary Quest Records. We have a new release coming out on July 14th entitled Passions Pulse. More on that later. As for other publications in the works, I am in the middle of finishing another book this time for the music industry. Looking back at those past couple months, I am so glad that I listened to my inner voice. Listen to yours.
To view a sample of the book, click here. It will open up in your browser as a virtual flipbook.