24 JULY 2019 — A few days ago I got to see my artwork for the first time in my life on a really large scale. My current gym (the downtown Tampere WFC, Wolf Fitness Club) kindly allowed me to hang this tapestry on the 3rd floor of their gym to photograph it better than would have been possible in my apartment. The image is a detail from my first book, You Never Know What You’ll See in the Haunted Garden, Vol. 1.
24 JULY 2019 — I have just published the second book in my first book series: You Never Know What You’ll See in the Haunted Garden, Vol. 2: The Mystery of the Chessboard Circus. The first in this series was a kind of prologue of visions, 72 pages. This second volume is a 152-page hybrid of comic book and picture book — a comic book in which every panel is a full two-page spread. Here is the product description from Amazon:
“The Haunted Garden is always changing. With Vol. 2 the series morphs into a deluxe hybrid of comic book and picture book as classic game actor Rex and his friends explore the mystery of the Chessboard Circus. More than twice as long as Vol. 1, it showcases the author’s unique blend of styles inspired by his love of myths, fairy tales, comics, books, games, theatre, cinema, music, and more. And as with the first volume, clues to the future already await discovery in this, our second journey into the dream world known as the Haunted Garden.”
It’s available in both paperback and ebook form. During a free promotion of the ebook, it reached #2 in Two-Hour Comic & Graphic Novel Short Reads, #6 in Science Fiction Graphic Novels, and #5 in Fantasy Graphic Novels.
These are books I create from beginning to end, from writing through drawing every single line from scratch to putting the final pages together and publishing. I use absolutely no premade elements other than the Courier font Rex speaks in and that’s used for the meta texts such as the About the Author spread.
18th APRIL 2019 — I have started moving most of my online writing to Medium.com and I may eventually switch completely over there.
Having said that, I’m finding it difficult to let go of this little blog and I appreciate the connections I’ve made here — sincere thanks to everyone who’s reading this.
You can find my writings on Medium under my full name. Recently:
- Yesterday I published “My Creative Brushes with Notre-Dame de Paris”.
- And today “The Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water“, about a British 1973 public service short film featuring the voice of Donald Pleasence five years before John Carpenter’s original Halloween.
Plus, yesterday I also launched a full day-by-day serialisation of my first book as a Medium series. This innovative Medium form is designed for viewing on smartphones. You tilt your phone to look from side to side. You can also subscribe to this. Here’s the link.
10th APRIL 2019 — The ebook edition of my first book, You Never Know What You’ll See in the Haunted Garden, Vol. 1, is now available on Amazon.
Everyone who buys the print paperback edition can also get the ebook version for free. The next volume in the series will be coming out early this summer. Amazon description for Vol. 1:
“The first in a series of eerie, beautiful coffee table books suitable for all ages. Rex the former game actor introduces us to the Haunted Garden through 30 full-spread wordless illustrations. These are books for leafing through, gazing at, and perhaps dreaming with, well suited for keeping on a living room table or a nightstand. This ebook is an exact reproduction of the paperback edition, allowing every detail of the full pictures to be seen.”
Amazon’s automatically generated preview ends just before the illustrated pages begin, but I have requested this to be changed to show more of the book. The change has been made and that update will soon be live on Amazon.
The new preview will show 20% of the content. Until then, an equally revealing preview can also be found on my site simosakariaaltonen.com.
29th MARCH 2019 — My first book You Never Know What You’ll See in the Haunted Garden, Vol. 1 is now available on Amazon.
More specifically, the paperback edition is — the ebook version is taking longer to work its way through the system, though it has already passed review, so should be available within some days.
The print edition is a large (8.5″ x 11″) 68-page colour paperback. Purchasers of the paperback will also get the ebook for free.
The Amazon product description:
“The first in a series of eerie, beautiful coffee table books suitable for all ages. Rex the former game actor introduces us to the Haunted Garden through 30 full-spread wordless illustrations. These are books for leafing through, gazing at, and perhaps dreaming with, well suited for keeping on a living room table or a nightstand.”
Creating something beautiful and imaginative for young people and the young at heart has long been one of my most cherished dreams.
I feel there can be few greater things a person can do than give a child something that may spark their imagination and create the kind of joy and wonder I remember from my own childhood when I pored over my favourite books. I still return to them and they thrill me as much as ever.
Works such as Lewis Carroll’s Alice books (late 19th century), the most beloved Finnish fairy tale novel Mestaritontun seikkailut (a really beautifully illustrated book from 1919 whose title translates as “The Adventures of the Master Elf“), and Malcolm Bird’s The Witch’s Handbook (1988).
I hope my first book, later volumes in the series, and items featuring this world and these characters will find their way one way or another into the lives of many children and others young at heart and give them something special and memorable.
Amazon’s automatic Look Inside has unfortunately provided a preview that stops short of the illustrated pages, but a more revealing preview is available on my official site here: