Tag Archives: PDMI Publishing

Dragons and Magic and Songs in the Wind

DeceptionsmToday we shall do something a bit on the lighter side of things.  Way back in March I posted a bit about how a writer finds a path between showing passion for their subject without getting pushy with the reader.  If you are truly passionate, you want to share the things you love so much and not overwhelm someone and chase them away.  I had asked Dianne Gardner to share a bit of her style in the process of writing her series, Ian’s Realm.  That article can be found here.

Well, here we are many months later and Dianne has become a fast friend and we’ve managed to get mixed up together in a number of projects.  I have read all of her books and novellas with the exception of Cassandra’s Castle.  Never fear, I have an advance copy sitting on my computer.

I find the series absorbing and rollicking good fun.  In fact, Ian kept me company into the wee hours of the morning during a recent hospital stay.  Add to a great story a truly talented artist and you have an irresistible mix. I have been invited to be one of Ian’s stops as Dianne showcases her anniversary edition of Deception Peak.  The book has undergone a complete remake with its new publisher, PDMI Publishing, LLC. Re-edited, re-mastered cover, maps, character reference charts and other great things make this not only a great story; it’s a collector’s item!  My duty in the ceremonies is to let Dianne talk a bit about what the future holds for Ian’s Realm.

My vision for the series!

When I began the Ian’s Realm Saga, the goal was to complete the three-book story arc and get it published. Simple undertaking (not!). Once the trilogy was completed something unsettle remained inside of me though, as if I hadn’t really written the whole story. There just wasn’t enough magic. The history was missing. And there wasn’t enough explained about the Meneks or the Kaemperns and their cults. Hence A Tale of the Four Wizards took shape, and a very loveable character named Silvio emerged. What happened to the old wizard in that first short story couldn’t be the end, and it wasn’t. You see him make a cameo appearance in The Dragon Shield (edited after the short stories were completed). There was more!

After Rubies and Robbers, I personally didn’t want to leave the Realm. I already missed Ian. But of course, I’ve already introduced plenty of dynamic personalities to carry on. Fast forward a few years and we have Ian’s daughter Cassandra.

Her story came from some real life events that occurred not long ago. I was helping a friend do some interesting research on her family tree which branched into Portuguese royalty at the turn of the century. The more I researched the more I got sidetracked until I discovered the last king of Portugal, Manuel II. Such a compelling story, I needed to write this young king into one of my characters and so enters Martim of Cassandra’s Castle. Cassie is one of my favorite tales and I’m not sure why.

Having had so much fun filming The Dragon Shield , it was time to make a trailer for Cassandra’s Castle, though the book won’t be out for a while. Our crew filmed at Fort Worden State park and Manresa Castle here in WA, and everyone was so excited about working together, we vowed to make a movie.

When I say crew I’m talking about a group of very talented, and experienced people. You can meet them on my website.

Currently, we’re writing the script, and making plans. I’m not sure how long the movie will take to film but we’re working toward that being our goal.

As far as other visions for the series? Anything! Like a piece of artwork I want to sculpt this story into 3D with audio and music (note the lovely music that Lexa Rose wrote with the lyrics to the songs of the Realm), audio narrative, a Boxed Set, a large coffee table edition with full color illustrations and gold leaf. We’ll see where this takes us, but it’s a project!

And that’s my friend, Dianne!  Full of never-ending energy and ever-growing ideas.  She left one thing out though, I really, really want to see Xylon and Promise dolls out by next Christmas…you’ll have to read to learn why.

So far the series includes: Deception Peak, Dragon Shield (scheduled to be re-released), Rubies and Robbers (also scheduled to be re-released), and four novellas about the wizards.  In process is Diary of a Conjurer and Cassandra’s Castle.

Now, for all the places you can find Ian, Abbi, and Dianne:

Ian’s Realm, the blog

Dianne’s Art Site (there is some amazing fine art here, folks).

Ian on Facebook

To Twitter to Dianne

And for goodness sake!  Don’t forget the launch party!

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When Poetry Makes a Difference

Why is a book of poetry, The Songs of Kiguli so terribly important to bright and inquiring minds living in the rural areas of Uganda?

1236165_10200400083191948_1324088671_nThe Kiguli Army School was originally founded to provide an inexpensive education to the children of soldiers in the Ugandan Army.  At inception it was registered as a Universal Primary Education school or UPE.  UPEs were set up by the government of Uganda to provide free primary-level education to children across the country.  Registration does not mean that the operating costs of the school are covered.  Books, stationary, school meals, and much of the salaries paid to teachers and administrators are not covered.

The cost of teacher salaries was not supported by the government until 2001 since the ministry of education had difficulty locating the registration number.  From the organization of the school until 2001, the teachers were paid out of the army’s “Rational Cash Allowance (RCA).  This is a fund providing small stipends for soldiers.

In 2002 things began to change for the better.  Luwero Industries, Ltd. Provided a location for the school and constructed 4 classroom blocks.  With this contribution came more students from the families of workers at Luwero.  The school is now providing education to the Nakasongola military fraternity and the children of Luwero workers.  The school is able to keep the contribution required from the families to a reasonable amount due to the proximity of the campus to corporate housing, local villages, and the homes of the fraternity.

“Reasonable cost,” of course, is a relevant term.  Education is being provided with the materials at hand.  But the school desperately needs a number of items not covered by the government, fraternity or corporate support.  Many of the students travel some 4 km to and from school. Reliable transportation is required to and from athletic events.  A maintenance vehicle is needed as well as repairs to the original buildings.  A library has been started and it is in need of more inventory.  The expanding school could also use more space.  The teachers and the administrators would like to see the school lunch program expanded.

It is true that the sale of this little book of poetry, along with its companion DVD and the 2012 edition, will help raise funds to support the projects required by the school.  PDMI Publishing, LLC, is doing its best to build the kind of marketing program that will generate the required interest in this project.  But there is far, far more.  One short review of the thank yous that flow from this rather large school give you some idea of the impact the simple act of publishing can have on the spirits of the students themselves.  Although the poems show that they are already far along the road of understanding the circumstances of their country and the world, this book gives them the sense that they have the power to change things for the better.  Something THEY do can have an impact.  Won’t you join us in training and inspiring the next generation of thoughtful, compassionate leaders of this African nation?

Check out the web page and the Facebook link on my side bar.

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Qwela ~ The Rhythm of Uganda

Here we go with another article in my series about the 2013 Songs of Kiguli project.

The 2013 edition of Songs of Kiguli will be released by PDMI Publishing early this fall. There will also be a DVD with footage of the school and of the students reading their own poetry.  In addition, Qwela has graciously agreed to support the project with their music.  Qwela is a band from Kampala, Uganda with a “unique afro-fusion flavor of music.”  Qwela means pure in rukiga, which is one of Uganda’s ethnic languages.

Although influenced by western culture, members of the band were raised in traditional African families.  Their work is original and it fuses the traditions of their culture with western styles such a jazz and reggae. The mix is their own special interpretation of Uganda and its people.

Qwela small

Qwela formed in 2007 and started their career by producing their own versions of popular contemporary music.  As they grew in their art, so did their repertoire.  Now they produce their own music and are a featured act with a following.  In addition to the influence of jazz and reggae, the band draws on inspiration from rumba, blues, gospel and afro-soul rhythms and sounds.  The band’s music blends African rhythms and melodies with socially conscious lyrics that support and illuminate stories with a message.

Qwela’s mission is to help bring about positive change in the hearts of those living in Uganda and those around the world.  When you visit their page on Reverbnation you should note that 50% of the proceeds from their music go to World Vision.  For these reasons, and many others, they made a perfect match for the Songs of Kiguli project.  Their music speaks directly to the lives, dreams, hopes, and needs of the children in the Kiguli Army School.  They express the heart of the project in song.  Selected music, lyrics and videos can be found on Reverbnation, Qwela.

The trailer for the 2013 Songs of Kijuli uses a clip from Mwana Wangye, “My Child,” the DVD will contain the cut in its entirety:

They say that we can’t make it
but they don’t know who we are
they say that we can’t do it
but they don’t know where we’re from

Iwe mwana wanje we
iwe mwana wanje
Iwe mwana wanje

When I was young my daddy taught me
he said son, here’s the secret to success in life
he said find that thing which you can do best
and just give it your very best shot

Qwela and The Songs of Kiguli are doing just that.

Another piece that will be on the DVD is the story of Okello, a child kidnapped from a burning village to become a warrior in war that is not his.  The tale and the music are haunting.

His little feet are burning
On the hot desert soil
barely hours since the village burnt down
and now he’s taken prisoner
this little dreamer village boy
dreamt of being a football star
now marched by army rebels
to fight a war that is not his

Okello Okello
Imitu bedingo
Okello Okello

Forced into brutality
He was a child no more
He learnt to kill
learnt how to fight
learnt how to survive
but deep in his heart remains
the dream that would not die
and every day he went to sleep at night
he could hear the voices in his mind
they’re saying

First chance to be free
should I run or should I stay
but his little feet start running
cuz he can hear his mama say

“Ati na ba
wi pe wiliba
Akaniyo diluni
dwong pachuba

Okello Okello
Running through the night
Okello Okello
Oh he ran with all his might
Okello Okello
running for his life
Okello Okello
and now he’s free
Okello Okello
free to run
Okello Okello
free to live
Okello Okello
to live his dream

The last piece is a beautiful song written in the native tongue. The video shows a family day of being together, enjoying the outdoors, a picnic, just being family.  The chorus soothes with the sounds of a lullaby,

Don’t you cry, Mama tokaaba saying, everything is gonna be alright, it’s gonna be alright, it’s gonna be okay.

For the DVD , PDMI Publishing will wrap these beautiful pieces around the vision of primary school students who are doing their best to change their lives, their community, and someday their country.  Won’t you help us?  Donations can be as low as $1.00 and all of the perks carry the theme of Africa and education. Learn more about the power of poetry at the links below:

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/2013-edition-of-songs-of-kiguli

https://www.facebook.com/SongsofKiguli

https://www.facebook.com/events/338374329634484/

https://www.facebook.com/PDMIPublishing

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Inspiration ~ What a poem can do

The school:

Kiguli Army primary school is populated by 687 students. These students come from diverse backgrounds, experience and lifestyle.  Mostly, they are dependents or orphans of the Ugandan military fraternity. The school can be found on the hinterland closest to the shores of Lake Kyoga, Uganda. Lake Kyoga is a freshwater lake that supports several landing sites and fishing communities from which many a Kiguli student hails. Some of the children’s parents work in the Ministry of Defense ordnance factory called Luwero Industries Limited. The school has thus been made the centerpiece of the company’s corporate social responsibility plan due to filial as well as patriotic links. The school is also located in an area that is part of a re-forestation project being conducted by Luwero Industries.

422866_423627354360152_876206834_nThe school is a primary school, not a military or boarding school.  It is not grooming new soldiers. There is a premium placed on discipline, hard work and service to the wider community. These, we believe, are the three legs of the school’s ethical stool. From Primary One through Primary Seven, the students learn Social Studies, Mathematics, English and Science. No one is promoted until they accomplish the work required for the next level with a passing grade.  These subjects are buttressed by extra-curricular activities such as football (soccer), volleyball and athletics. The school has won several district athletics accolades. It is currently poised to enter a district-wide football showpiece that will highlight the children’s unrivaled skills in this sport.

Academically the school has churned out the best students in Nakasongola district in Maths and English for several years on the hop. And this is good for the nation. Admittedly last year the school experienced a dip in such stellar academic achievement. This was due in part to the increased costs of living and falling standards of living in Uganda. Despite of this decline in academic scores, the best student last year was given a bursary in a school near the national airport in Entebbe. He is currently topping his class. Sadly, the rump of Kiguli class of 2012 fell dangerously behind. These children teeter on the precipice overlooking the abyss daily and without this education, there isn’t much promise for their future. It is common for some to fall by the wayside and find themselves as fishermen whose moral dereliction leads to a large seraglio of women and zero prospects beyond living hand to mouth. That’s the boys. The girls end up pregnant as teenagers and faced with a life of poverty with little or no chance of improving their lot.

The school needs a break, too. It provides porridge as the sole meal to the kids but obviously such sustenance for a child (indeed anyone) is way off the mark. We could use help developing a more nutritional cafeteria program.  The buildings of the school are in a state of disrepair.  The parents, Luwero Industries, and other well wishers have put together some funds to repair and renovate the school. But this is a drop is a large ocean of need, especially in light the constricted operating budget; the teachers earn a pittance or volunteer. Yet, we have a strong sense of mission. And we have faith that initiatives such as this project will flip the floundering fortunes of this school and its glorious, inspiring students.

The students.

378201_411855885537299_1338786910_nSo, what can a poetry book do to combat such a mountain of obstacles?  A lot.  This project, The Songs of Kiguli, has given the children a belief in themselves. That’s why even though the majority of the 2012 class didn’t make the grade academically, they continued on to secondary schools of relative repute. This little poetry project is a major boost and helps fill our kids with the inspiration and the belief that if they can pen a published anthology, then they can repair their lives. Here are just a few of the little miracles our little book of poetry has sparked.

Ryan Masaba was a contributor to The Songs of Kiguli 2012. Although he was 3rd in a class of 56 pupils, his grades didn’t measure up on a national level. However, he was able to parlay his contribution to Songs of Kiguli 2012 into an acceptance at a top-drawer Kampala secondary school called Mengo Senior Secondary School. When the headmaster of that school took a look at the anthology he was impressed with this budding poet of Kiguli renown.

Kiguli Army School also attracted pen pals from Florida under the caring tutelage of Mrs. Katherine Rascoe. She was duly impressed by the words woven into a tapestry of poetry in the anthology.  She and Philip Matogo developed a “poetry without borders” program as American and Ugandan kids shared poetry and experiences reflected through their own words. The anthology was the key that created an international relationship between the future leaders of both countries.  Both student bodies could share their artistry in poetry at a level beyond the customs and waters that divided them, learning about the things they shared as well as those that made them different.

61396_423627424360145_1042741173_nSongs of Kiguli also caught the eye of the then Uganda Chief of Defense Forces, four-star General Aronda Nyakairima. He is currently the Minister of Internal Affairs. He was flummoxed by the beauty, honesty and maturity of the Songs of Kiguli. He, at the time, thought that the writing was so good that it could not have come from rural kids deprived of the perquisites that benefit Kampala children. Another General that was impressed by the words conjured by our children was Brigadier-General James Mugira who is also the Managing Director of Luwero Industries Limited. He is a patron of the primary school and was totally taken aback by the children’s brilliance. Thus the army of Kiguli poets had enlisted two powerful generals to its cause.

The school indeed stands upon the cusp of monumental achievement. All these students need is a way to effectively express themselves and they will find the path to a stronger future. This is what this project will give them. Their poetry goes a long way to highlight their own circumstances and talent however it will also throw a spotlight on what ails the people of Uganda, and Africa as a whole.  A people whose time has surely come. That moment in time will shine far beyond any 15 minutes of fame.

Check out the 2013 Songs of Kiguli fundraiser now! Donations start at a dollar and there some awesome perks.

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Projects that Inspire

This week I’d like to focus on a project that you will find on my side bar for the next 30 days or so.  Ever since becoming involved with PDMI Publishing I have met some of the most interesting, energetic and creative people I have ever known.  Last year PDMI Publishing produced a book of poetry written by students in Kampala, Uganda.  I reviewed the work here.   That was only the beginning.

This year a number of us decided we would do something a bit more, well, a lot more extravagant.  This year we are printing a whole new volume and reprinting the first volume.  We are also putting together a DVD of the students reading their poetry along with some footage from the school.  The whole thing will be backed with the truly talented Qwela band, also of Kampala.

Qwela has an amazing sound of a “unique Afro-fusion flavor of music.”  Qwela means ‘pure’ in Rukiga.  Their lyrics speak of family, current events, a love of their tradition.  The pieces selected for the DVD include Mwana Wanji, Okello, and Mama tokaaba.  Okello is the story of a child kidnapped by the rebel armies after his village is burned to the ground.  After being trained as a child warrior, the memory of his mother still calls him to his childhood dreams.  He runs away from his abductors to find the life he really wanted.  Mama tokaaba is a beautiful song sung almost entirely in African dialect.  It is about family, reassurance, and the promise that “everything’s gonna be alright.”  Mwana Wanji, which is also on the trailer, means My Child.   The words of the song are quite powerful in the context of the country today.

They say that we cant make it
but they don’t know who we are
they say that we cant do it
but they don’t know where we’re from

When I was young my daddy taught me
he said son, heres the secret to success in life
he said find that thing which you can do best
and just give it your very best shot

I’d like to note that the link I provided for Qwela states that 50% of all sales go to World Vision.  These people are serious about building a different future.

That brings me to these enterprising young people.  Their volunteer teacher, Philip Matogo teaches them social sciences, English and journalism.  The poetry produced in this classroom indicates that these children are well aware of the Geo-political and local socioeconomic and political circumstances they live in.

It is our hope that this little project can give these students a very real way to impact their world, their education and their future.  Come check it all out and help us meet a rather modest fundraising goal.

2013 – Songs of Kiguli

 

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The Songs of Kiguli Return

The countdown begins. In one week, August 3, 2013, we will launch a fundraiser to help us publish and market The Songs of Kiguli – 2013. We will also be reissuing the first volume and adding a DVD. This DVD will be something special as it includes footage from the school and of the students reading their poetry. As a special treat, the DVD will include three pieces for Qwela, a jazz and traditional band from Kampala, Uganda. The campaign will be hosted on Indiegogo – stay tuned for the link. And just to tease you? Here is the trailer.

This will be the second year PDMI Publishing has produced a book of poetry written by the students of the Ugandan Kiguli Army School under the direction of their volunteer teacher, Philip Matogo. Last year we sent each student a copy and spread the word through newspapers and Amazon. This year we are organizing a much larger effort. We are adding a DVD with footage of the students reading their poetry backed by the Kampala band, Qwela. We are also developing a marketing campaign to turn their hard work into dollars for their school. Help fund the future by supporting these talented young people.

By going to the public (including our friends and acquaintances) for funding, we will be able to expand the marketing reach of both last year’s and this year’s publication. We will also be sending extra copies to the school so they can add them to their new library and to sell them locally to raise funds for other needed books. We have developed personal relationships with the teacher and his charges and we want to accomplish something financially effective for them. We also want to support the students that work so hard to pour out their hearts and give voice to their lives. We’d love to have you on board!

The school has a number of items on their wish list and proceeds from the sale of these publications could help in a very real way. They need reliable transportation, renovation of current buildings and additional class rooms. Sales of the books and DVDs will help them reach these goals and does so in a way that involves the students themselves.

You can help by spreading the word of this fund raiser, the books, and the DVDs. You can also help by contacting Africa heritage museums, cultural centers and art centers to see if they would be willing to stock the books in their gift shops.

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My Interview ~ and Passing the Torch

Welcome to the blog-hop, a lovely way to learn about each other and to expand the reach of the Facebook Group, Where Writers and Authors Meet. The torch was passed to me by Rachel McMahon.  You can find her interview here.   Lovely lady, lovely blog, I highly recommend the visit.

The rules for our game can be found here at our extension website.  Anyone can join as long as you include at least one author from our group.  A list of potential victims is kept at the site, or you can contact someone directly you know in the group.  Maybe we should pester some of our sleepers and get them involved!  Basically you answer the questions that have been passed to you (10) and then you write 10 questions to pass on to your selected victim!  Oops, interviewee.  I think some of these are going to grow into favorites.

These are the questions Rachel asked of me:

1.      Do you have a writing schedule that you try to conform to, or do you write whenever and wherever you can?

I wish I had a schedule.  I am a schedule person, I’m an accountant by profession and I live by deadlines.  However I haven’t quite rearranged my life in such a way that my writing is nestled in a particular time slot.  Working on it, I really am.  I do have an office that is nicely organized and rather comfy.  I am surrounded by books.

2.      What’s your favorite thing you’ve written, and why?

Strange as it may seem a little four-line poem that graces the banner of both my Facebook page and my blog.  It says a great deal about my quest for knowledge and my belief that there is more to the world (universe), past, present and future, than we have yet dreamed, or that we remember. (Now you have to go look. I’ll wait).

3.      I use music to help me write. Do you do that, and if so, what is your method?

I love music – all kinds of music.  However, to avoid typing the lyrics I tend to instrumentals when I am focused on writing; vocals when I’m doing numbers.  I don’t usually listen during the day since I keep an ear out for my husband; but once he’s in bed it’s headphones and Yanni.

4.      What was your favorite book as a child, and what is it now?

Oh, dear.  This one is quite painful.  Those who know me know that my husband and I have a huge private library. This is like picking a favorite child.  I grew up with Heinlein, Clark and Asimov.  I do remember having books of fairy tales that I would read out loud to our cat.  She was always impressed since her name was Princess.  Now it’s even more difficult to choose.  Other than always having some form of scripture around I would have to choose Lost Horizon.  The very thought of a place hidden away somewhere in the world where knowledge is king is somehow my vision of heaven on earth.

5.      What is your current work in progress?

I am actually working on a book entitled, “Why Me? Come Let Us Reason with Job.”  It is part of the work my husband wanted to see me publish.  I am finding it rather refreshing to revisit some of my stored up notes and thoughts and see how they have changed and matured.  The subject gives me an opportunity to discuss my own philosophy and the more pragmatic side of life.  I hope to help the reader better understand and deal with problems in his or her own life and those of others.  I’m actually having a great time getting it all organized in a cohesive and easily read format.

6.      What is your biggest challenge in writing?

Time.  I love to read, I truly love to get my thoughts into little black pixels on a screen.  I love my subjects.  I am in heaven when I’m researching.  I want more time.

7.      Do you write only nonfiction?

At this point, yes.  There may come a time when I am prepared to be a pure storyteller, but not quite yet.  I still of piles of notes on historical, scientific and philosophical subjects to wade through.  Of course, in order to reach and hold an audience, we must all be storytellers of one type or other.

8.      When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer, and what influenced you most?

I have dabbled with writing for years and have published an article or two.  Many years ago I prepared something of an historical commentary to scripture that was well received by its limited audience.  It was some of that text that caused my husband to encourage me to write for publication.  Not all of my work, however, is based on religious topics.  Of all the people who have influenced me, my husband would be the star of the show.  His background was primarily in mathematics, physics and philosophy.  We spent hundreds of hours tossing ideas back and forth, exploring the relationship between the sciences and human thought, philosophy and history – I fell in love with his undying sense of wonder.  After the publication of my first book, a story of my learning to cope with his dementia, I felt compelled to do what he had always encouraged me to do:  write AND publish.

9.      Do you let your manuscript rest for a while after the first draft, or do you jump right into revisions?

I am constantly revising.  I have told many of my writing friends that I look at a book as a sculpture of sorts and I truly believe that.  As it starts to take form I find things better said in a different order or more clearly understood if placed in contrast to another concept.  Remember I don’t really have a “plot” per se, I have a concept that I wish to convey with some reliable sources for further understanding.  Yes, I start with an outline, but I move those pieces around and reshape them as the full picture presents itself.  I think once I have a complete draft I let it sit for awhile before revisiting.

10.  And your random question…What is your favorite coffee drink? If you don’t drink coffee, which, quite frankly, would startle me, then use this space to mock those of us who can’t write without it.

Swiss mocha.  Without a doubt.  Although I don’t get it very often.  I’m usually drinking whatever happens to be on sale.  I was practically weaned on coffee so it doesn’t really help keep me awake.  I try to switch to tea sometime during the afternoon but that doesn’t always happen.  I do, though, have to have something at my elbow while I contemplate the screen.

And so I now pass the torch to my dear friend, Tc McKinney.  His questions are as follows:

  1. With a bit of poking around I discovered that you call yourself a “perceptual poet.”  Can you tell us why you use that term?
  2. You are also involved in graphic arts.  Does your love of art influence your writing, or is it the other way around?
  3. What subject matter do you find most intriguing?
  4. If you had to pick one person (other than your lovely wife) that inspires your writing more than anyone else in the whole world, who would it be? (It’s my question I can put limits if I want too!)
  5. You are rather talented in a number of fields.  Do you find similar things inspire all your creative works, or do you get into specific moods for different projects?
  6. Passing the torture on, what was your favorite book growing up and what is it now?
  7. When you write, who do you write for?
  8. What one event in your life was most influential in sending you on the path you chose, the path to creative works?
  9. What was the single most important impetus that made you want to become the publisher as well as the published?
  10. The Random Walk:  Who is your favorite cartoon character, and why?  Superheroes are allowed as long as they were first published in a cartoon/comic book format.

Okay folks!  Tc has asked me to pass on the following blog address to see his answers:  PDMI Freelance Publishing.  Keep in mind he has skipped town with his lovely wife for a day or two!

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