My husband Glenn and I went out yesterday on a beautiful and sunny Tucson morning to go get a Christmas tree. I love that. Just to smell that spicy pine scent takes me back to when I was a kid, dressed in my fringed Annie Oakley outfit, draping those shimmering strands called “Icicles” on the tree. When I really believed that Santa was coming—and I’d stay up and then fall asleep and just miss him. He was a wily one. Today I’m hanging ornaments on the tree. Many of them are very old—the ones that survived my childhood. Another thing survived my childhood. My parents had an aluminum tree (way back) and a color wheel. I still have the color-wheel and it’s rotating right now, casting pine shadows on the ceiling, going from red, to yellow, to blue, to green.
We all have traditions. Big families, small families. Pets. People coming from all over. On a sunny Arizona day, we put the old lights (again, these are the old ones, from long ago) up on the roof. Generations of cats have been outside with us, enjoying the fact that we were working assiduously. In their way, they all enjoyed the ceremonial Light Stringing.
I know you guys all have your own traditions, and if you like, please share them on my Facebook Author Page—I’d love that!
Happy Holidays to you all, and a joyous, peaceful, and love-filled season.
Maggy and Glenn
I studied to be an opera singer. I did pretty well, had talent, but eventually it came to me that I was trying something that did not work for me. I got two degrees and played a few leading roles, despite stage fright, which stuck with me ALWAYS. Then one day sanity knocked on my door, and I realized that when I was younger, all I did was write and illustrate “books.”
One night, Glenn and I were watching “The New Twilight Zone”… series, and there were natives in the Amazon jungle who appeared whenever the guy aimed his camera at the landscape. And they were coming at him with spears. He’d have to take their picture right quick to stop them. We brainstormed it and thought it would be great to have an old camera that took pictures of the past. And we knew the EXACT place to set the story: Bisbee, Arizona.
Bisbee is spooky as hell, and the buildings are the same as they were at the turn of the century. PERFECT. And so I came up with an old box camera that took pictures in the present – but these pictures developed as pictures from the past.
And just like that, I started writing (when I was a kid, I wrote tons of stories, before getting sidelined into opera singing). I had a lot to learn, but I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun as I had on that quest. I finished the book, found an agent, and tried to sell it. It didn’t sell for a couple of years, but finally ended up at Kensington (DARKSCOPE, a Pinnacle paperback). I’ll never forget the day I went into Frys and there was my book on the racks. There was a lot to learn, and I’ve come a long way since then, but that first book – like a first painting or a first dog show ribbon or (especially) a new baby – A first is always something exhilarating, and will stay with you forever.
What was a First for you, and did you think you were half-crazy to try it?
I have been lucky enough to find a good man to live my life with.
A large part of this, of course, is due to his parents and mine. Both of his parents were good and kind and smart, but more than that, they had integrity.
I think “integrity” is at the heart of the Zero the Hero story.
Let me back up a bit. My mother-in-law, Jean McCreedy, had a rich spiritual life. She explored her inner space, finding many ways to turn the Rubik’s Cube of her life. She was a questioner. She was the kind who would follow the path and then, if that path petered out, she would go beyond it.
Creative people always try to go farther. They want to learn more, and often they want to learn about themselves.
As a writer, I can relate. There are many ways I have approached writing (especially when I’m stuck)—there are other neural pathways that I try to access. Here’s just one of them. If I’m having a hard time moving forward on a story, I’ll go for a walk—and plan NOT to think of the book I’m writing.
In theatre, there’s a saying: “Try NOT to think of the White Bear.” It was a way of accessing the stuff underneath, because God only knows, if you tell yourself not to do something, part of you will want to do it in the worst way. And that gives you access to something more that you can use on stage.
Like the White Bear, Zero the Hero is a way to reach farther with the mind and soul. His home (which is whimsical) has an open floor plan. I think Jean deliberately made her creatures, including Zero, to be open-ended and full of possibility. There are spaces to dance around in. It’s not the neat, small spaces that many of the wonderful coloring books out there provide. Her story is bigger than that, and more things are possible.
I couldn’t leave the book alone. I used soft-core colored pencils, a whole host of them, and shaded from one color to another. I went a little crazy, too, filling some spaces with … I dunno, I guess you’d call them dapples. Like you’d see on a horse.
There are lots of fantastic coloring books out there-beautiful ones. But this one, I believe, is kind of a grownup’s coloring book, where YOU make the decisions, and you have more space to fill, and more ways to go.
Getting into that space and time, I left a bunch of unnecessary stuff behind. I think that that is the essence of what Jean wanted to achieve with her coloring book.
She wanted people to explore the spaces, not just the outlines.
And she wanted them to discover the creativity in themselves.
You can find ZERO THE HERO: ADULT COLORING BOOK FOR MEDITATION AND RELAXATION on Amazon.com. https://www.amazon.com/Zero-Hero-Coloring-Meditation-Relaxation/dp/1939145201/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1476638912&sr=8-9&keywords=zero+the+hero
Vengeance, the ICON live action music video is here! This ain’t your father’s book trailer by any stretch. Director Mark Ezovski produced this breakthrough trailer with Beth Rudetsky taking scenes from ICON with live actors. Breakaway Media and J. Carson Black thank all the many people who contributed to the success of this production and to all our friends. Pleas share with your friends!