I’m happy to announce that Tales For Tra-La-La Day, the fourth and final book in the Monkey Mind Tales® anthology book series, is nearing completion. Over the next several months, I will be doing a monthly blog with updates on where we are in the production process. I will also include some previews of our illustrations and rhymes that will be found in the book.
During the final month before publication (TBA in a future blog update), I will be giving away a free gift to anyone who clicks on this blog link. So keep checking back.
If you don’t have the patience, time, or memory to check back once a month, I will be sending an announcement to everyone who has signed up for the Monkey Mind Tales® Fan Club.
June 5, 2023:
I begin writing the short stories for my book series in spring of 2011. I wrote all twenty-four of them in a row and divided them into four books. The stories are being published in the same order they were written. The final six stories where based around a holiday, with its own mythology, fables, and traditions. I thought a holiday book would be a wonderful way to end the series, and the rough draft for Tales For Tra-La-La Day was written between 2015 and 2016. I was finally able to revisit the rough draft after the third book was published in March 2020 (the week before the country was put on lockdown). I have now spent the past three years editing the rough draft to get it just the way I want, and I couldn’t be more happy with how it turned out. I believe the rhymes are some of my best, and the stories are fun, beautiful, touching, and insane.
The book is now in the end stages of the editing process, where an editor has already looked at them. I am now editing them again, then I will send it off to another editor. After that I will make changeds and then send it to my mom, who is more of a perfectionist than I am. She will give me her edits, I’ll make changes, she’ll give me more edits, I’ll make changes again, and we’ll continue doing this until we think it’s as perfect as we can get it. After that, it’s off to be formatted into a PDF with illustrations (or place-holders for the illustrations while Tom finishes), then it’s edited again by my mom and I, then it’s passed onto several beta-readers to make sure we didn’t miss anything.
FanExpo: I’ve had to take a break from editing this week because I will be attending FanExpo in Dallas, TX, where I will have a large booth that I’ve spent the past month constructing. It should be a lot of fun, and it will definitely get the Monkey Mind Tales® brand name out there. At 7 pm on Friday, 3 pm & 7 pm on Saturday, and 3 pm on Sunday I will be doing book give-aways and recitals. Can’t wait.
Illustrations: We designed the look for the new batch of illustrations between February and June 2022. Tom and I both wanted to take our illustration style to a new level, and we did. You would think that snow is easy to illustrate—it’s not when you’re a perfectionist. To say that Tom has been patient with me would be an understatement. Like editing the book, Each illustration goes through several rough drafts, and then several edits after that to create what will be used in the book. One illustration went through about twenty-edits, and Tom clocked his illustration time as being about seventy-two hours. I am lucky to have an illustrator who treats this series as a labor of love, and he believes this book has his best work as an illustrator. I couldn’t be more pleased. The depth and richness of each illustration surpasses anything we’ve done so far, and I can’t wait to see it completed. Unlike our last three books, this book will have extra illustrations to help give it the atmosphere of those classic holiday story books from the turn of the century. While the fourth book may be taking up to four years to complete, it will definitely be worth it.
More updates coming next month including illustration examples.
Steve Michael Reedy
July 11, 2023:
I officially finished the opening and closing rhymes, and the connecting story rhymes. Forty lines of rhyme in total . . . whew. Now I am waiting on the third editor to finish editing the book—which the ending gave her chills and made her cry, which is a good sign. My illustrator and I are half-way through the illustrations and there are more in this book than any of the previous books, so we are hoping to have them done by mid winter. I’ll keep you posted.
Fanexpo was amazing. This year I had a booth in one of the four prime spots in the convention. Because of this, I promoted my binge-reading four book series by doing daily giveaways while also reading excerpts form the book. I gave away about 200 books. Some people figured out that if they came back to the next giveaway, they would be given the next book in the series, and if they collected all three, they would receive the fourth book when it is released. Tom Fee, my illustrator, came on Sunday and passed out free autographed posters along with co-signing the books.
I was surprised by how many people came to the booth and asked if the fourth book was available. They seemed disappointed when I said it wasn’t, which then added some fuel to my race to get it done by winter.
Crossing my fingers.
Steve Michael Reedy
September 26, 2023
I missed last month’s update, and almost missed this one. I have never been good at blogging—so at least I’m consistent. I will try harder next month, and it should be easier now that the 4th book is in the “place the commas correctly” stage of editing— which is completely different than “my-stage” of editing (hacking through each paragraph with a chainsaw several times until it’s shaped into something that comes as close to perfect as I can get… or throw it away and start over). My editor accidentally received one of my older versions of “Trendable’s Longlastables,” the second story in the book. She read it, and then I realized my mistake. After I sent her my finished/final version, she said, “I finally know what you mean when you say, ‘I’m editing.’”
As of September 26th, I’ve finally printed a complete copy of the book, beginning to end, with the in-between story rhymes, opening and closing rhymes, and even the copyright page. It’s an exciting day! And now I get to read through it all and make sure the book flows with all of the stories together, while comparing the text to the current illustrations to make sure they match.
Illustration update: This book will have about 60 or more illustrations (the most we have place in a book so far). Plus, we are designing the book to resemble an old-fashioned holiday book, so it will have a lot of extras to give it that “holiday feeling.” It is looking like we should complete the illustrations by 2024, though I will have my beta version of the book ready by December for all of my beta readers.
Thanks for checking in. Looking forward to my favorite month of the year, October. I’m actually working on making it a month filled with work/life balance, but we’ll see. Books are like children. They cost more time and money than you could have ever imagined, take away all of your free time, keep you up at night, and don’t care if you’re about to lose you mind taking care of them—but it is worth it.
Steve Michael Reedy