Spotlight, Writing

The Introvert Dreams Coloring Book is Here

The opening scene of the Introvert Dreams coloring book

The opening scene of the Introvert Dreams coloring book

Last week I posted some previews from my grownup coloring book, Introvert Dreams. I’m excited to say that early this morning the book was officially released and is now “live” on Amazon! If you like, you can grab your copy here.

I also thought I’d share a little more about why we made the coloring book. I was recently asked some great questions about the storyline behind the book, for the book review list at AskDavid.com. Here’s what I said:

Introvert Dreams features 90 pages of artwork and a storyline based on our own dreams as introverts. The story follows a woman and her cat as they wander through the vast, quiet landscapes of her inner dream world. Along the way they will find forgotten places, search for a wish-granting star, and ultimately find themselves in a loud, crowded city—somewhere she knows she won’t fit in.

As introverts ourselves, Jenn and I find that we often feel alone or misunderstood. We wanted to make this book because we want introverts to see themselves in the story. Many of the scenes are taken straight from our life experiences, like being in the middle of a raging party that everyone else thinks is fun, but only wanting to cover our ears. Other scenes just represent that beautiful, imaginary, quiet place that I think all introverts retreat to when they have time to close their eyes and dream.

This is our first coloring book, although we are both experienced authors. We brought on a talented illustrator, Maxeem Konrardy (also an introvert), who has created a whimsical, breathtaking world. We also paid attention to what colorers told us they want in a book: the images stop just short of the edge of the page, so you’re not trying to color into the binding, and none of the big scenes are printed back-to-back, so you don’t lose one when your pens bleed through from the other. We want it to be a book you really cherish and enjoy revisiting for years.

If you’re an introvert, or just someone who loves occasional alone time, this book’s for you. We hope you enjoy coloring it as much as we enjoyed making it.

I also have some good news: Amazon is currently discounting the book. Jenn and I have no control over this, and I would assume it’s temporary, but for a limited time you can snag your copy for over $4 off.

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Spotlight, Writing

The First Coloring Book for Introverts

It’s been a while. In the past year, I’ve branched out substantially in what kind of writing I do—including writing about being an introvert. I’ve known for years that I tend to prefer alone time to time with people; small groups to big parties; and quiet weekends where I can do lots of creative work. But it’s only recently that I’ve understood what it means to be an introvert, and the strengths that go along with this often-misunderstood trait.

That’s why I’m particularly proud of a coloring book I created with Jenn Granneman, the founder of Introvert, Dear. Jenn and I were at a holiday party last year talking about the adult coloring book craze (Jenn loves to color to relax). Someone jokingly suggested that there should be a coloring book made just for introverts. We started to laugh, and then realized: yes, yes there should be.

So we got to work. We reached out to several introvert artists and ended up asking Maxeem Konrardy to be our illustrator. Max and I storyboarded the book together and he brought our crazy ideas to life. Now I’m excited to say we have a finished coloring book that is, we believe, the first one ever made truly for introverts. We call it Introvert Dreams.

Introvert Dreams front and back cover

Introvert Dreams front and back cover

Introvert Dreams tells the story of an introvert who slips through the pages of a magic book. With her cat at her side, she travels through a beautiful inner dreamworld, seeking a seven-pointed star that’s said to grant wishes. But the star is hidden away in the midst of a giant, crowded city—and when she finally reaches its hiding place, she’ll find much more than she expected.

Here are a few scenes from the book:

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For Jenn and me, Introvert Dreams represents 11 months of work. It’s been a wild ride learning how to collaborate with artists, create a visual story and make a coloring book idea like this into reality. And I’m happy to say it’s finally ready.

Introvert Dreams is now available for preorder on Amazon.com. Preorders get a special discounted price of US $12.99 instead of the usual $14.99. Click here to order your copy now.

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Adventure, Andre Sólo, The Great Adventure, Writing

Return of the Rogue Priest

Hi adventurers. It’s been a while. I’ve spent the last few months doing many things:

  • Planning the next leg of the bike ride
  • Dating someone wonderful
  • Writing

Writing has, in fact, consumed most of my time. And not just writing new stories—I also educated myself about how to build an author career. A few weeks ago I made my first ever submission to a literary journal(!). Those journals are where great authors start out, and they’re the road to prizes, literary awards and publishing contracts. I’m excited to see if I’m accepted.

At the same time, I believe in the indie route. My novella Lúnasa Days was independently published, and was 100% funded by my fans (that’s you guys—I couldn’t do it without you!). Readers also backed the last leg of the bicycle trip, which produced four short stories set in Mexico. One of those stories is the one I’ve now sent out to the journals.

So, what are the fruits of all these months of work? Well, I have three big announcements to make:

1. The Adventure Continues

My Adventure is far from over, and the next leg is coming up soon! I expect to be back on the bicycle starting in November (just in time to escape Trump). The next ride will go from Mexico to Panama, through all the countries shown in pretty colors here:

Next leg of the journey! Image by Wikimedia Commons.

This will be the most borders of any leg of the trip to date. It’ll take me across mountains, rainforests and volcanic lakes, and through places you’ve seen on the news—the countries where child refugees come from.

That’s why I’m pleased to announce that this leg of the Adventure will be a fundraiser. This time, the miles I bike will raise dollars for a worthy cause. I’m working to identify an organization that’s a good fit, preferably with a focus on heroism or immigration, both of which are close to my heart (and appropriate for Central America).

Any thoughts on an organization worth supporting?

2. New Rogue Priesting

The long hiatus of this blog is over. I won’t be posting every week, but you can expect new pieces in the near future. Topics will include:

  • An updated vision of the Heroic Life.
  • A new report on the journey to meet the gods: where I’m at, what I’ve seen, and everything I’ve learned so far.
  • The true story of how I ended up chasing down a laptop thief, and what it taught me about the bystander effect.

3. My New Website

I’ve known for a long time that I need a separate website for my fiction. That site is now under construction! The most exciting part is that I will release free fiction online there, and eventually run a full length fantasy story, told in free weekly episodes.

Don’t miss the first episode when it launches—sign up for my new mailing list and be the first one to see it. Signup is free and you can unsubscribe at any time. Click here to sign up for email updates from me.

Subscribe

That’s the latest here. What have you all been up to?

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Andre Sólo, Fellowship of the Wheel, Writing

Happy Midwinter

Photo by Guilerme Souza

It’s been over a month since my last update. In that time, I’ve written more; built my business as a freelance writer; continued educating myself on publishing; and just finished the first of my Mexico stories. The story is a work of magical realism called Concha and the Saints and I just sent out an advance copy to select supporters of my ride across Mexico. I hope to submit it to literary contests before publishing it. I’ll let you know here as soon as it’s available to the general public.

One thing I have not done in the last month is figured out the next steps for Rogue Priest. This blog serves as a chronicle of my journey, but the only thing to report lately is “stayed in one place; wrote more.” Not quite as exciting as tripping down pyramids!

I view this quiet work time as a necessary stage in my journey. It’s a way to make sure I develop not just as an adventurer, but also as an author. But it also feels strange leaving Rogue Priest quiet.

So I have questions for you:

  1. I’m considering starting a writer blog, separate from this one. I would share lessons I learn, snippets of stories in progress, and examples of feedback sessions with my writing partner. Would you want to read this? (Rogue Priest would still be here. The journey is far from over yet.)
  2. With the many months in between adventures, what sorts of posts would you like to see here?

Also, today is the official date of Midwinter, and yesterday was the traditional date. I’ll be holding a small offering ceremony tonight with BT Newberg. For those of you who celebrate, I hope you have something special planned too.

What are you doing for the holidays this year?

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Writing

Watcha Writin’?

Recently I caught up on where I’ve been since finishing the ride across Mexico, and what ridiculous Hallowe’en festivities we had here in New Orleans. But my biggest focus these days is my career as an author. And I think it’s high time to share what I’m working on.

Here are my top projects, and where I’m at with each one.

Image by Lívia Cristina

Mexico Stories

When I started my ride across Mexico last year, I promised I would write four short stories based on the places I visited. If you backed the crowdfunding campaign to launch the trip, depending on the level you came in at I may owe you a copy of these stories. Accordingly, they’re my top priority.

All four stories are finished in draft form. They all need more editing. However, I do realize it’s been a year since I set out in Mexico. I’m hoping to have them done within the next 30 days.

I think you’ll like them. Three of them are magical realism pieces similar to Lúnasa Days and one is a tale of lost love. All are set in real places, but none are based on my actual travels. They’re fiction.

As backdrops I chose some of the the most dramatic places that you saw in my road logs. Concha and the Saints happens in the bullet-riddled border region. The Cloud Desert takes place on pilgrimage through the misty, high-altitude wasteland. Guadalupe Calling, starring a 60-year old doña on a mission, is set by the pirate walls of Campeche. And the last story features my favorite city in Mexico: Meet Me in Xalapa.

Just because these stories are finished doesn’t mean they’ll be immediately available to the public. I will send them out privately to those supporters who are owed a copy, prbably before Christmas. Then I plan to enter some of them in literary contests. Eventually, they’ll be published.

My First App

The next project is a not a book at all. It’s a game. I grew up wanting to create my own video games, but I was always told you need a big budget for that. Then I saw the success of simple, story-driven games like A Dark Room. Minimal graphics, compelling gameplay, and a mystery to unravel. That’s something I can do.

I teamed up with a friend who’s a coder (creater of the Ananda app, which you can see reviewed here.) and we decided to make it as an app for iOs. After kicking a few ideas around, we settled on the game we liked best: Hunger.

You start Hunger alone in a dilapidated cottage. Your food supply is dwindling, just a few morsels. You own nothing else except an old ring on the shelf.

Outside, Ireland is starving. Soon you’ll be forced to leave the cottage and wander town to town in search of food or a better life. And in the process, you might start to change things…

My friend and I are working on this game slowly, one chunk at a time. It will come out in 2016.

“Project 30”

The last item is a collaborative fiction project about coming of age in your 30s. It consists of a “season” of 10 short, written episodes. My coauthor Am ber has been my writing partner for over a year, which usually just means we critique each other’s work. But this is a topic near to both our hearts, and we decided to take the big leap and write it together.

The story will center on four 30-something friends living in New Orleans, each coming to grips with a simple truth: they aren’t doing what they wanted to do with their lives. They have jobs and they get by but they yearn for something more. Some of them don’t know how to get it; others don’t even know what it is. The story follows them as they date, work, and struggle to launch a new life.

We’ve nicknamed the series Project 30 until we get a better title. (Do you have a suggestion?) It will appear in 2016.

Odds and Ends

Lower on my list, but still on my radar, as a few side projects:

  • Sky People, a novel about two girls who find a crashed airship and go to a lost kingdom in the sky.
  • Heart of Adventure, my long overdue book on the philosophy of living life as an adventure

Do any of these strike your fancy? Do you have a title suggestion for Project 30? I’d love your feedback.

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Andre Sólo, Spanish, Writing

The Goldfish and the Purple Cat

Photo by Gracias

This week my Spanish tutor asked us to write a composition using some of the irregular verbs we’d learned. He wanted just one page in a notebook, with something simple like what we’d done that day before school. But since everyone made such a big deal about the fact that I’m a writer, I decided I had to spend some time on it. I submitted a short story about a goldfish and a purple cat. My hope was to capture some of the morbid outlook of Mexican culture.

I’m just going to put this here, untranslated, for those of you who speak (or read) Spanish. I do welcome feedback and corrections, as I have no illusions that it’s perfect, but it’s really just here for your entertainment.

El Gato Morado y el Pez Dorado

Érase una vez, en una casa invertida, en medio del mar, vivieron juntos un gato morado y un pez dorado. La casa flotaba al reves sobre el oceano. El pez dorado vivía en una charca delgado y larga que se había filtrado en la cima del techo. El gato, en cambio, prefiría las ventanas y los cabrios. El pez no podía saltar al mar y el gato no podía nadar a la tierra. Así que tuvieron una vaga amistad y, por la noche, jugarían al ajedras.

Sin embargo, el pez intuyó que al gato tenía hambre. Al principio había comido su comida enlatada y, cuando acabó, había comido las termitas, porque termitas no pueden jugar al ajedras. Eventualmente era sólo el morado y el dorado.

El pez concluyó que su destino era ser una botána por un gato. Y, pues no creyó que una persona o un pez puede muy bien influir su destino, decidió abrazarlo. Pero, prefirió a encuentrarlo luchando.

Cuando vino el gato por él, el pez estaba grueso, gordo, lleno, y envuelto en una pieza de perejil. El morado sonrió. En un solo movimiento el gato clavó sus colmillos en su amigo. Tragandolo, notó un sabor raro: el distinto sabor de pesticida para termitas.

La casa flotó sobre las olas en perfecto quietud.

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Andre Sólo, Uncategorized, Writing

Help Me Choose Which Essay to Write

Writing. Photo by Daniel Horacio Agostini.

What with planning the group trip to Mexico, lately I’ve found it difficult to make time to write. But that doesn’t stop me from coming up with ideas, so I have a sort of backlog of potential essays, listed below.

I’ve decided to put social time on hold this week and write at least one of these. The trouble is, I don’t know which one. All of these topics seem important to me, and all of them will be fun to work on, but I just don’t have time to do them all. So I thought I’d reach out to you readers and see which one (or ones) you’d most like to see brought to life.

Note that this isn’t everything I have on my to-do list, just some of the more interesting essay ideas:

#1 What It’s Like to Be a White Person Practicing Vodou

This first came up during a really interesting discussion with my friend the Fly Brother. Most of the time, when I discuss Vodou it’s just explaining the basics like “we don’t stick pins in things” and “no, we really don’t stick pins in things.” But when you get past the perceived weirdness of Vodou in general, it’s even weirder that I’m a white person called to serve African gods. Or is it? I rarely feel out of place as a white person in Vodou, but that itself speaks to a sense of entitlement. What are the ethics of an outsider practicing a cultural tradition?

#2 Update on the Journey to Meet the Gods

I originally framed my journey across the Americas as a quest to meet the gods. Since then, I’ve said very little on the topic. That’s partly because the journey isn’t over yet (“Nope, still haven’t met ’em”) but it also speaks to my changing beliefs. If anything, my spiritual journey and interaction with other faiths has only made me more skeptical of religious concepts. But I still consider myself a priest, and am still committed to this quest. So where exactly do I think the gods can be found?

#3 Joseph Campbell Revisited

One of my most popular posts ever was, to my surprise, Why I Don’t Like Joseph Campbell. I originally wrote it simply as a reference post I could point to when people asked me if I’ve read his work. But it struck a nerve with people, and I continue to get comments on it regularly. From the discussion on that post, I learned two things: (1) Campbell supporters are willing to get really, really nasty if you criticize their boy, and (2) I need to go into much more detail than what I originally offered. That post was written to be somewhat flip, and only gives the broad strokes of what’s wrong with Campbell’s “hero’s journey.” I want to do an expanded version that makes stronger points and offers more supporting evidence… but will that really matter to Campbell’s fans?

#4 Defining Polytheism

While I practice several religions, I consider myself firmly a polytheist: I believe the divine has many faces and that this multiplicity is one of its greatest strengths. Just as there is no one god that everyone can relate to, there is no single doctrine that has everything right. This open-mindedness is built right into the core concept of polytheism, yet many polytheists seem to miss it altogether. They insist that to be a polytheist you must believe the gods are real (why?) and that they are totally separate individuals, not faces of one single power (how do we know this?). To me, polytheism is not only about multiple gods, it’s about accepting—and encouraging—multiple doctrines and allowing people to choose the one that speaks to them.

Which of these would you like to see me write? I like them all and would write them all if I could—and hopefully will, eventually—but for now there’s only time for one. Which would you most like to read?

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