See the originals in the Commons Art category.
My friend Mike Visnov has once again outdone himself with another concept sketch of Ken, our philosophical mummy friend with the sledgehammer fists and the bigger-than-big heart. There isn’t much I can say to add to the visual, but you can check out Mr. Visnov’s past takes on Ken, Po, and more in the Commons Art category.
A story in three panels.
My brother shipped me a bunch of boxes he’d been storing for me since our parents sold the house we grew up in. This is but one old gem among many. I read The Stand in high school, and all I remember is staring at the clock in class, counting the hours until I could get home and dive into more of it.
A friend of mine nabbed this autographed copy for me in college, and I can’t tell you how glad I am to have dug it out of the past once again. I’m an avowed ebook guy now, but this is something pixels still can’t do.
The headline says it all (or almost all). At long last, signed paper copies are available (U.S.-only for now, alas, until I figure out an international solution as part of the plan to take over the world).
You can request a personalized note (assuming it’s not obscene or overly unsettling—yes, even I have my limits), plus you get a bonus card/bookmark that doubles as an effective self-defense tactic when thrown properly.*
Just click below, and you’re on your way to customized goodness.
*You probably need to be Gambit, Bullseye, or an accomplished ninja to pull this off.
The very generous Booknista gave me the questions and the opportunity to do a video interview with myself. And so, surrounded by the lush foliage of Commons HQ, I did. (As you can see by my grim countenance, ’twas a very serious affair.)
Video link: 9 Questions: Michael Alan Peck
Happy 40th to the album that helped get this goofy kid who was long on hair and short on wisdom through high school.
Four decades later, it still sounds like what it was: a Hail Mary for the desperate, an anthem for the losers too stubborn or too far gone to admit their loss.
Together they take a stab at romance and disappear down Flamingo Lane…
It’s been far too long since I last posted a contribution from artist extraordinaire and Commoners pal Michael Visnov, who’s blessed us with character concept sketches for The Commons: Book One: The Journeyman numerous times now. (See Ken the mummy and Po the Shaolin monk. And while you’re at it, take a look at James Barnett’s Annie work, too. Or peruse the Commons Art category to soak everything in.) Keep in mind that several of these are just to establish underlying details that would be much more subtle when the monster’s properly portrayed as a true shadow.
I have a tough time making up my mind, but I think I’m slightly partial to a combo of 2 and 4. (Hover over each image to see its assigned number or click on one to cycle through the gallery in close-up.)
A final memory.
You rarely see them these days, though in some countries, I hear, they are still made and filled with warm breath from a small straw fire hung beneath.
But in 1925 Illinois, we still had them, and one of the last memories I have of my grandfather is the last hour of a Fourth of July night forty-eight years ago when Grandpa and I walked out on the lawn and lit a small fire and filled the pear-shaped red-white-and-blue-striped paper balloon with hot air, and held the flickering bright-angel presence in our hands a final moment in front of a porch lined with uncles and aunts and cousins and mothers and fathers, and then, very softly, let the thing that was life and light and mystery go out of our fingers up on the summer air and away over the beginning-to-sleep houses, among the stars, as fragile, as wondrous, as vulnerable, as lovely as life itself.
I see my grandfather there looking up at that strange drifting light, thinking his own still thoughts. I see me, my eyes filled with tears, because it was all over, the night was done, I knew there would never be another night like this.
No one said anything. We all just looked up at the sky and we breathed out and in and we all thought the same things, but nobody said. Someone finally had to say, though, didn’t they? And that one is me.
The wine still waits in the cellars below.
My beloved family still sits on the porch in the dark.
The fire balloon still drifts and burns in the night sky of an as yet unburied summer.
Why and how?
Because I say it is so.
I had the pleasure of being asked to drop by the Tribune Tower studios of Chicago’s legendary WGN Radio to do an interview with host Steve Bertrand. In a conversation that was excerpted on The Wintrust Business Lunch and runs in full on the Bertrand on Books podcast, Steve and I cover the book, its history and marketing, self-publishing, the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project, and the unbridled awesomeness of librarians.