Missing In Action

Previously on Go Wild. Quietly, you may have caught casual mention of a new part time job. As I have now officially been caught and tagged, all that wild action is momentarily reserved for learning new behaviours.

I’ve made it through my first four days of full time training and in ten hours time I’ll be killing it out on the phones!

Normal programming will resume one of these days, in the meantime, enjoy this intermission with one of Pepi’s favourite songs

What music is motivating you this week?


Don’t know who Pepi is yet?

He’s this little guy, waiting for you to take him home…

TakeMeHome

 

Rabbit

This week, quite by accident, I fell down a job search rabbit hole that took me to strange lands and unfamiliar parking lots.

Egypt

Alas, I did not become entombed at the local Sphinx. But in an introductory exercise, I did learn about the pet rabbit that grew to be the size of a dog.

Since I naturally assume all dogs are chihuahua sized, this interesting bit of trivia failed to impress.

Until I realised what it really meant.

Meet the Flemish Giant Rabbit:

Alice_par_John_Tenniel_37GiantRabbit

The whole thing had me questioning my previously held beliefs about the nature of life and the universe! Who was I, where was I and what would become of me?

Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is, it’s been a crazy kind of week, so I am sorry if you haven’t seen me around much. That certainly was not the plan.

But it’s all good, and now that I’ve popped my head up out of that surreal wonderland, I remember what I was supposed to be doing.

Hello Pepi key rings!

Keys

Ms last night performed a community service by pulling names (not ears) out of a fancy hat kitchen bowl.

I put in some extras for those who read, followed, commented AND shared, but all of you have made the Hello Pepi launch so much more of a success than I imagined – so yay!

Pepi and Maxi are now out in the wild, getting up to all kinds of mischief, which is just as it should be.

So, woofs and drum rolls please, the WINNERS are…

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Vincent Mars, the one and only Boy with a Hat.

Rita Azar, the lovely Crafty Expat.

Susie Lindau, the Wild Rider.

Maria, the strong and mighty Brickhouse Chick.

Em, the gentle soul behind Words.pics.

I will be in touch with you to ascertain your mailing addresses, and just as soon as I get my act together, you can expect a Pepi (as opposed to a giant rabbit) sized package in the mail!

Thanks everyone who supported Pepi on his way to a new home. You’re all better than the best.

Have you seen or heard anything strange this week?


HPTakemehomeTAKE ME HOME!

Hello Pepi (Book 1) is FREE until Monday.

Grab it while you can!

 

Pepi Meets Maxi

Open your heart, I’ll make you love me…

(Today, I’m handing it over to Pepi – he’s got something to say!)

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Hey there beautifuls!

You’ve heard the real story. But fiction is so much better.

Grab a copy of my new books, Pepi Meets Maxi and Pepi Moves House :

PMM

PMH

FREE just for YOU until midnight Monday, 14 July (Pacific Standard Time).

But wait, there’s more!

When you leave a comment and become a loyal blog follower (kisses if you are already), you’ll go in the draw to win one of five Hello Pepi key rings:

HPKeyPFTKeyPGPKeyPMMKeyPMHKey

There will also be free days coming up for my first three books, so if you don’t have a copy already:

Watch out and listen up!

Of course, if you like my story, I’ll love you to bits if you’d consider sharing it. Or writing a review.

It’s a big world out there for one small dog.

And lonely, too.

We have to work hard to be seen.

And even harder to be loved.

But the thing about us is, if you just give us a chance…

(One word, one line, one look is all it takes)

…we’ll give back multitudes in love.

(Okay, some other things as well, but mostly love).

Please.

Prithee please

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I don’t really like to beg.

But you’re the one holding the key…

TAKE ME HOME!

TakeMeHome

 

…One is such a lonely number.

Who’s your favourite fur friend?

Every Day is Stupid

Sometimes I get tired of my own BS, don’t you?

A couple of weeks ago, I was having a really crappy day. No reason. I even knew it was all in my head, and that only made things worse.

It just was – not so much the Sunday blues as a Dark and Stormy gloom fest.

Nothing could snap me out of it – not even the final season of Weeds!

The upturn in mood began a few days later, with the arrival of my first ever eBay purchase, followed by several other sources of undue momentary glee…

1. Vintage bean slicer

Ever since I left home, I’ve moaned over the loss of Mum’s mouli shredder.

I’m not a fan of electric appliances. They’re heavy and expensive and annoying to assemble. And they take the tactile fun out of handling food.

Or so I tell myself.

I bought this Italian ‘Moplen’ instead of the French ‘Mouli’.

MoplenShredder

I’m not sure why – it looked less used and the blades were all shiny. Which probably should have told me something.

In fact, it’s quite clumsy and difficult to use. BUT…

Pasties

I managed to make a week’s supply of vegetable pasties, AND…

MoplenBeanSlicer

It has a bean slicer! Oh, the joy of not having to slice beans one at a time anymore.

2. Cocktails in Berlin

Well, Berlin Bar, to be exact – two rooms divided into East and West, with charming French waiters and confusing paintings of austere looking nuns on the wall.

But the cocktails and, I’m told, even the mocktails are to die for…

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There was a certain glow to Melbourne-town after that, the kind that makes you glad you’re alive not the designated driver.

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3. Reliving Pepi’s youth

You know how when you dread a task, and put it off hoping it will go away, it turns into Godzilla??

That’s what the next books in the series had become, as I dreaded the seemingly immense task of getting Pepi’s pictures ready for publication.

In fact, once I sat down to do it, it only took me a day and the up side of that was reliving periods in Pepi’s life, like this one:

Pepi meets Maxi.

Pepi meets Maxi.

Pepi learns to escape and terrorise the neighbourhood.

Pepi learns to escape and terrorise the neighbourhood.

Pepi moves house.

Pepi moves house.

A story told in three pictures or less :)

4. Crywank

What?

Maybe you’re not like me.

Maybe you don’t spend your life whining about everything from the bugs that ate your sage plants…

Freakin' little blighters!

(Freakin’ little blighters!)

…to the fact we’re all going to die hungry and penniless.

But if you are, then we all need to get a grip. Or have a good cry. Or both.

I stumbled onto this ‘anti-folk, sadcore’ band because an American twitter buddy asked me to tell them what I know of the future (believe it or not, in Australia, we are ahead of almost all of you – in time, at least!).

This is what Crywank had to say:

Tomorrow is nearly Yesterday and Everyday is Stupid. Waaa…

 

The music is not so much sad, as making a joke of our sadness. And that makes me immeasurably happy.

What little absurd things make you happy? Give me a glimpse into your day, week. Hell, give me anything!

 

Känguru Hop

This week I was tagged in a blog hop by Rita, the crafty almost-Australian French Canadian writer and rose whisperer over at Crafty Expat. (Have you ever seen roses like these?).

I’m pretty impressed by Rita’s commitment to the path less travelled from criminal lawyer to tortured writer. Hop over here to learn more.

But for this week, here are my answers on all things writerly:

What am I working on?

HP Titles clusterGood question. Given my relative silence on the matter, you’d be forgiven for thinking I’m having you all on, that the first three books of Hello Pepi were just a ruse, a means of tricking you into believing Toy Dogs Are For Real.

But it’s no ruse – toy dogs demand to be taken seriously! All of last year until now I have been working with an illustrator to complete the final four books in the series – a fictionalised account of the real life Pepi, in verse.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I could tell you about the things it does and doesn’t have in common with Tales of Peter Rabbit. Or how the illustrations evoke the classic feel of Alice in Wonderland.

I could say this is not a children’s story, but rather a story for kids of all ages. And I could tell you how Pepi would object to being used as a device for a human centred tale.

Or, I could simply show you one of the songs in the Hello Pepi inspiration soundtrack. A song that tells about a day in the life of Schnappi the Krokodil.

(How could you Not fall in love with this creature?)

Why do I write what I do?

I wrote this series because Pepi taught me many things. He taught me how to love, how to listen, how to speak. His greatest gift was that he taught me how to live.

Most importantly, I wrote this series because small dogs, and by extension, small creatures, are so often misunderstood, misrepresented and overlooked in the greater human narrative.

But they have their own stories to tell. Stories that not only need to be told, but need to be heard.

How does my writing process work?

PepiDaneWriting is a mysterious thing. I hardly know how this came into being. Except that Pepi somehow linked his synapses with my brain waves and transmitted a story in lines and images that surprised us both.

I’d write solidly for half a day, a combination of scribbled lines that were then shaped and reworked on the digital page.

Sometimes it was linear. Sometimes the end came before the beginning. Possibly, there was a little bit of Rhymezone involved (ahem).

Always there was an animated sequence in my mind that somehow made it to the page.

When I was done, I would read it out aloud to Pepi. And he would jump up from his bed and dance for me.

Since this blog hop came to me from the land down under, I thought it only appropriate (in the spirit of Schnappi and his hopping Känguru friend) to extend the hop to another Australian writer.

Kath Unsworth is new to my blogging world, but I was immediately taken with her magical illustrations of miniscule moments (and other creatures), as her knack for making a story out of almost anything.

Here’s her bio:

manny2Kath Unsworth is an artist and writer who lives down the far south coast of Australia, her dream is to create, illustrate and write happy hopeful picture books for children. She takes her inspiration from the world around, remembering what it was like to be a child. She hopes to inspire others to follow their dreams.

Kath blogs weekly about the journey of a writer at Minuscule Moments, using her photos and art to give her readers a personal view on the journey. Learning the craft of writing and illustrating picture books, whilst balancing every day life as a mum with two children.

What’s the most child-like guilty pleasure you enjoy?

Small is Big

While many of you have been enjoying that last of summer’s sizzle, this past fortnight saw me huddled in my own bundle of mid-winter misery.

So here I was on Monday, fighting off my winter woes, when a precious little package arrived in the mail…

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Inside was a hand-painted wooden box…

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A gorgeous hand-crafted bracelet…

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A curious note…

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And a hand-written letter from a special faraway nephew

DSC01090It’s been almost a year since Pepi passed away, and his story was released into the digital landscape of endless ones and zeros.

Who knew he would capture the imagination of young men and colourful painters half a moon away, and come back to nudge me with his little button nose?

“So much personality in such a tiny package!” someone said about him, once.

And they were right. He was always so much bigger than I gave him credit for…

GiftofLove

Somehow, the writer boy reached through the fabric of reality and delivered an enormous Pepi-shaped hug – just when I needed it. I am deeply moved.

Who is Oliver Colors? Where will Pepi’s legend show up next? Only time will tell…

Thank you, Vincent Mars, for this rare and beautiful gift. YOU will never be forgotten.

Tell me about something small you feel is a BIG deal…

Hello, World!

This week, I’m introducing you to a little fella who’s been itching to guest post on my blog.  I wasn’t sure I should let him loose – you never know what he might say.  But in the interests of going with the flow…

Please say, “Hello, Pepi!”

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Hello, World!! Finally, she let me out of my pen!

She promised me fame and fortune, but seriously, this writer has been sleeping on the job.  I bet you don’t even know there are already three e-Books out about me…

ME, ME, ME!

Pepi

Me when I was still a pup! How cute am I?!

  • Name: Pepi.
  • Age: Forever Young.
  • Breed: Small dog. BIG personality. (If you must know…chi cross foxy).
  • Eyes: Chestnut.
  • Fur: Raven silk (with peppered milky paws!).
  • Star sign: Gemini.
  • Likes: Bouncy balls, squeaky toys, Mummy’s platform shoes, foreign languages, talking, sugar, spice and Mummy’s home cooked food, being the centre of attention, all creature comforts, MUSIC!
  • Dislikes: Being ignored.
  • Idol: Prince.
  • Theme song: Return of the Mack.

So. Where was I?

That’s right.  There comes a time in a dog’s life when he needs friends.

At least that’s what Mummy tells me.  Apparently I’ve been chewing on too many of her shoes…

Pepichew

Anyway, she’s in the process of finding me what she calls a ‘fur friend’. Can’t help feeling a little bit demoted – who said anything about fur friends?!

I want HUMAN friends! Like my mate, Andi.

She’s cute, adorable and (okay, a little bit naughty) – just like me! She loves dogs…

AndreaTweet

…and she totally gets my need for celebrity!

The other day she set me up with my very own Twitter account! She’s my bestest buddy in the whole wide world – I follow her everywhere!

I’m so excited! At the risk of sounding a little bit needy… :P

Pleeeeease follow me… I wanna play…!!

PepiParkies

I promise, if you do, we’ll have a blast…!!

______________________________________________________________________

Phew! I’m glad he didn’t give away too many secrets…

Thanks for tuning in! We wish you a wonderful Easter break.

But before you go. Are there any Twitter tips you’d care to share with Pepi to keep him out of mischief?

There was a little puppy…

…With a coat of raven silk,

A lightning splash upon his chest

And paws of peppered milk…


ANNOUNCING

the Release of

Hello Pepi: A Toy Dog is for Real

A series about the special friendship
between a toy dog and his most important person.

Based on a true story.

Books 1 to 3

Out Now for 99 cents on Amazon!

To my beloved followers:

In celebrating Pepi’s joie de vivre, and in appreciation of your support, the first book is Free for You until the next blog post is out.

Just leave your email address in the comments, and I’ll gift you the book from Amazon :) .

Alternatively, email to: alarnarosegray (at) gmail (dot) com.

If you’re new to this blog, it’s okay!  Subscribe now – as long as it’s before the next blog post, the offer stands.

Thank you for joining me in honouring the memory of the little Pepi being.  May his spirit be with you…

Sketching Memories

Since my loyal blogging buddy passed away, I have to confess to inspiration having been in short supply.

Left to my own devices, I’d have put the fictional Pepi aside for a future never-never date, and wallowed quietly alone.

Instead, I found myself mid-way through illustrations for Book 2, with an artist waiting to be paid, and a crazy goose unleashed upon the world.

The show must go on!

At first, I felt guilty and disturbed.  But as the lines between fiction and reality blurred, there came a peace.

It’s as though he is still here with me, in the fullness of his youth – and I am comforted.

The process of illustrating Pepi has had its challenges.  No matter how many times you rearrange words on a page, all you have in the end is an approximation of the picture you might like to draw.

With very few photos to reference, the question remains how to convey the pictures that exist inside your head?

To this end, I’ve been fortunate to work with a very talented illustrator, who is not insulted by my lame attempts at storyboarding.

Instead, with a little magic, she has transformed the vision of a shy, dorky everygirl and some squiggles on a page…

…into Mona, an unpretentious city girl…

…a peppy little puppy…

…and precious fragments of shared memory.

Anyone who knew Pepi, and cared to see past the exuberance of a little yappy dog, saw in him an undeniable spirit of love and positivity.

It was his sixteen year long gift to me.

Was it unconditional?  Hell no!  Like any feeling creature, he had his pet grievances and gripes.  It’s just that he refused to be quelled.  (And I can tell you, he would not have wanted to be kept inside a drawer…)

So, in honour of his unquellable spirit, I’ve decided to set a date for the launch of Hello Pepi.

Fingers crossed, ready or not, Books 1 to 3 will be out on 16 November.

There will be plenty of opportunities to grab a free copy, for more than anything, I want to share his joie de vivre with you.

If you could sketch a memory of the joy of life, what would it be?