Unique and inspirational publishing stories to share.
Raindrop Falling is my personal journey of discovering the core of myself. Let me begin by saying that we hide from a great resource that has been calling our name since childhood. Although the calling of the heart is transmitted only through ‘feeling’ and not words. This small book describes my passage to rediscover the core of the self. If you have ever felt there was more to life, I recommend turning within.
~~ T.A. Mann
Raindrop Falling (Fiction) is a story about a young man (T.A. Mann) who feels he has discovered the Kingdom of Heaven, hidden in plain sight. In his frustration to convince others, he embarks on a journey to see how deep the rabbit hole goes, only to find he is not alone. One only needs deep appreciation with a heart full of gratitude, and Eden appears before your very eyes. This book is his journal and his efforts to convince the reader of his epiphany.
My inspiration to write this story is a childhood dream, a story concept I have had for decades and never put pen to paper. The author of the book, T.A. Mann, is the character in the book written in a first-person narrative. This piece required me to put myself into my protagonist’s head, and the style resembles a conversation with a dear friend around a campfire. The reader becomes the silent voice in this setting. I hope you give it a read.
I self-published this book, starting with little pieces of paper stuck in a drawer to creating the first draft, and after 62 revisions later, presto. I have been in the digital trades for some 30 years (back to Ventura Publisher, and Photoshop ver1), and doing layout comes naturally. I also consumed dozens of tutorials on YouTube and read every guided step-by-step process available. It is remarkable how much information is out there.
I feel the best time to write is when you want to (wouldn’t you agree). Any time of the day in any room of the house except if it is noisy or with background music. My wife and I have a sunroom surrounded by glass on three sides with views of our gardens. I did most of my writing on my laptop in this room.
I chose to use descriptors—the Amnesia Man, the Craftsman, for most of the characters with an exception of one character named Saffron the storyteller. I have always wanted to use that name, Saffron. It is the color used to identify holy men in India. i.e. The Mahatma wore saffron robes. It was the perfect name to use for this character.
Developing dialogue has always been both a challenge and an attraction. I love great dialogue and am fascinated by writers who seem to weave words effortlessly. Visualizing characters or their locations has never been that difficult. In many ways, I feel a kinship towards architecture, hard and soft surfaces, costume design, and sound design – it is dialogue that throws me into the ditch.
Practice, practice, practice. I love my book cover. My wife took the initial photograph on a business trip to Florida. I had a spectacular cloud photograph I took while in Australia. Using my Photoshop skills, I combined them, color-corrected, and digitally polished the final image. I have been a professional graphic artist for 35 years.
Raindrop Falling marks my inaugural venture into the world of authorship. For many years, working in the game and marketing industries, my expertise has been crafting the cinematics tailored to forward the narrative in the games, or the narrative for voice overs in commercials. I have journals and journals of unfinished short story ideas.
This is the key to success, marketing. I created a live-action animated short film to sell the project on social media. My book is designed for the non-reader, the youthful demographic. Think contemporary Siddhartha story, how old were you when you read that book? The best approach was to create a marketing hook they might bite on—the video short. I am happy how it turned out, and it’s too early to see if my instincts are correct.
I try to ignore them all, good and bad. Harmful words can damage a creative soul. A woman once wrote she had cried twice while reading my book – I was humbled to have created an enduring emotion in a reader. With every accomplishment you achieve, there will always be haters. They can’t help themselves. Ignore them – they can’t see what you see.
Awkward question you ask. I have spent my career reading off the warm glow of my laptop or iPad, and yet I prefer reading from a printed page. If you are traveling in a car, nothing beats listening to books on tape with talented voice actors. If it’s a Dan Brown or Harry Potter book, I enjoy both (print and audio).
I am a very visual person and have spent a career in film, games, and luxury brand marketing. I bow my head to J.K. Rowling and admire her ability to create out of thin air, a working society so full and rich where every string is connected. I also have a relationship with J.R.R. Tolkien Enterprises. I am (or was), the authorized franchise Art Director responsible for the Official Style Guide of Lord of the Rings. He, too, could visualize and create a world, any my challenge was to visually create everything he describes in the books. My favorite authors are Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game), and Neil Stephenson (Snow Crash). These two authors are from another space and time.
AI (artificial intelligence) will have a significant effect on self-publishing, it has for me. Graphic novels based on your concept art can be illustrated as if there was a world-class artist attached to the project. Self-publishing is the easy part, marketing your work is the real challenge. AI, using ChatGPT for your words and Midjourney for your artwork, are tools every writer will embrace to fuel a new burst of creative expression. I see AI as a tool, not as a replacement. I wrote my book before AI, but if I had to do it all over again, I would use it without hesitation. It is as if you have a concept artist and script writer on staff at your beck and call. Self-publishing will become more dominant than traditional publishing only when you can market your book successfully.
Don’t be so afraid of failure. Don’t feel you are writing for approval. Write how you feel, write using your voice. I loved how the grammar in Where the Crawdads Sing broke all the rules in my head. I’m inspired.
If you are scared like I was, start by writing chapters, put them away until you feel compelled to write another, and it doesn’t have to be in order. I wrote my first chapter and last chapter first, and over time filled the gap. I feel the art will communicate what you need to do, you only need to listen to your art.
My career achievements read like a fictional story; I designed the National Day celebration for Bergen, Norway, and the International Cruise terminals in Havana, Cuba. I created the prototypes for the Serious Habitual Offender Program and the Lost Persons visual databases for the California Department of Justice. For the California Realtors Association, I designed the first computer search engine for buying and selling real estate. I have credits on twenty-one published computer games and was selected by Tolkien Enterprises as their authorized Art Director responsible for creating the Official Style Guide for Lord of the Rings. My talents have contributed to Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac), Prince, Bob Dylan, and Sarah McLachlan in their respective projects. I have been relied upon heavily for the success of the luxury brand Viking Cruises in all areas of marketing and brand identity. I have worked in Film, Games, Publishing, Web, Education, and TV. Writing is a brand-new environment for me, and I feel like a child learning how to walk.