The two-book picture story is completely created by a seven year old boy to raise money to support his church and a homeless woman he met one day while walking with his father. The editing was done by his parents and grandmother. scroll down to see some sample illustrations.
The story begins when Tyler, a seven-year-old boy, arrives in China while his dad is visiting on a business trip. During his visit, Tyler’s parents stop at an antique store where Tyler discovers a wand that glows when he touches it. This sparks the curiosity of the old store owner who gives Tyler an unusual gift; a purple dragon egg.
This sets the entire family on a magical journey where they are transported to a land in the sky and transformed into mystical creatures destined to defeat an evil force. Tyler and his classmates have to defeat evil minions, sword carrying enemies, and giant robots along the way before the evil force can re-activating the robot army that will not only enslave the inhabitants of the Sky Lands, but also those here on earth.
They story is one of friendship and family, showing the struggles of a seven-year old boy who wants to be "all grown up". It is a story of school friendship; where Tyler's classmates band together as a team to defeat enemies despite his parent's fears. It is a story of adoption; where Tyler has to protect his adopted purple dragon and ensure it hatches and grows to be a powerful ally in his adventures.
The two book series will be beautifully illustrated by a talented artist that will bring the story to life and be as much a piece of visual art as it is publishing art.
The first book is finished, breaking the chapters into smaller chunks where young readers can move quickly through the book filled with colorful illustrations.
PORTION OF CHAPTER 5 - THE TEMPLE
He felt a bit dizzy. The old store was gone and he was standing in a stone room lined with steel. There were odd shaped symbols, like the ones on the portal of power, surrounding a large dragon statue.
The room reminded him of a temple the way the entire room was pointing to the dragon. The dragon’s head had four horns; two long ones that were pointed backward and two smaller ones that sat next to the dragon’s eyes. Two large stone wings came out from behind the dragon and reached out to the top of the room’s ceiling. Sitting on the lap of the stone dragon was a stone egg with tiny dots on it; exactly like the purple egg Tyler had taken from the old man. Waterfalls flowed from the windows surrounding the dragon.
Tyler turned around and could see there was an area where he could walk outside and look around. On the front of the temple were weird symbols that looked like flowered crosses and a large symbol which reminded Tyler of the Chinese writing he saw on the portal. A large lake was in front of where he was standing and when he turned around and looked at the temple from the outside, he could see it too had a dragon’s head carved into the front. Overhead, he could see birds that looked like dragons flying around in a circle above where he stood.
"Where am I", Tyler said to himself.
He suddenly heard an odd noise coming from inside the room. Tyler looked back inside.
“Oh my gosh, Oh my gosh…. What has happened to us….?” his mother’s voice was coming from behind a large boulder.
Tyler ran to see what was wrong but tripped. His legs weren’t working right. He looked down and saw that his feet were actually silver claws. His legs looked like a bird’s with silver bracelets and as he stretched out his arms, he realized they too had changed to black wings. As he looked up from the ground, he realized he had incredibly powerful vision and could see right through the boulder from where his mom’s voice came. He should have been scared, but he wasn’t.
Using his powerful eyesight, Tyler could see an odd, green, elf-like creature with a blue ponytail sitting behind the big rock.
“CRAIG!!!!!,” the elf yelled in a voice that sounded just like his mom’s.
Tyler turned as he heard a noise to his left and saw a blue man with brown hair and horns coming out of his head stumble from behind a rock. He had blue eyes and his hands were glowing with what looked like electricity. Both hands had gold rings around the wrists. It’s legs looked like a goat and it stumbled as it walked toward the elf.
“Coming……,” he heard the creature say in his dad’s voice.
“Dad?” Tyler called out.
The blue creature turned and stared at Tyler but didn’t say anything.
“Dad? It’s me Tyler!”
The blue man continued to stare.
"Dad, It's me!"
“Tyler? What happened to you… oh my gosh! What happened to you? You look like a weird eagle dragon thing!”
Tyler looked down at his new body. “I look weird? Look at you! You’re blue and have a body like a goat”
“What?” his father gasped.
Tyler’s dad looked down at his new body studying it from top to bottom.
“Oh my gosh, Oh my gosh! Honey!”
From around the rock, came the blue elf .
“Honey, what has happened to us?” his mom shrieked, almost crying as she walked.
“Honey, this must be some kind of bad dream,” her father said.
The elf stared at the blue man. "Honey, what happened to you? You're blue!".
Just then, the elf looked over at Tyler.
“What is THAT?” she yelled.
Tyler was shocked his mom didn’t recognize him.
“It’s me, Mom, Tyler.”
They all stopped talking as a low grumbling sound could suddenly be heard. The noise grew and, as it filled the temple, the family realized it was the sound of something growling. All four of them turned around and stumbled a few steps back against the stone wall facing the stone dragon.
Something moved in the shadows behind the dragon statue.
END CHAPTER PORTION
We have chosen an illustrator!! Thanks to an on-line contest we have found an artist that has been illustrating books most of his life. He will illustrate this book with over 40 full-color illustrations making it an amazing piece of visual art to match the storyline. Secret messages hidden in the illustrations reveal a message after the child has read the entire book.
In November of 2012, Tyler's second grade teacher informed us that he needed to "work more on his writing by focusing on the transitions between thoughts."
Returning home, we told Tyler that he would work on a book over the Thanksgiving break but that Tyler could pick the subject. Not surprisingly, he picked a story based on the popular game "Skylanders" by Activision. Each night for the next two months, I would return home to a an excited young boy who would relay "chapters" of his story to me so quickly that I eventually started relying on video to capture the story. Not being a writer, I referenced "Dummy books" on writing to help elicit details from Tyler about his story to fill in the "gaps" that a seven year old naturally leaves. They story is completely his and incorporates his trip to adopt his sister from Colombia, his first "attraction" to a young girl, and of course his fantasy adventures with the Skylander's characters.
Eventually, Tyler had enough details to take his "work in progress" to his teacher who decided it was good enough to read to the class. Since Tyler had written his classmates into the story it was no surprise that we started getting interest from parents to provide a copy of the book to them.
In attempting to upload the book to an online book printing service, we noticed a copyright notice that gave us concern, so we sent a copy of Tyler's book to an individual we found on the web with a @Skylanders email address and asked if we could receive permission to use the images of the Skylander's characters in Tyler's book.
You can imagine our surprise when In January of 2013, we received an email and a phone call from a Skylanders executive who was very interested in Tyler's book. They indicated they were considering publishing it but needed to run it past their ACTIVISION parent company.
In late January, we were contacted by Activision where we were told by executives that they "loved the book" but that Penguin Publishing was already considering publishing books on the famous game and that they could not grant us permission to publish under the Skylanders' name because of their contract with Penguin. Because Penguin was already in the process of publishing some Skylander's books, we were unable to receive permission to publish the book with the Skylander's artwork...
Although Tyler was disappointed, Sklylanders executives sent him a wonderful care package with rare Sklyanders characters, dog tags, and Sklyander character bags. Tyler felt as if he had hit the jackpot.
Tyler continued to finish his book and he continued to be asked by his friends about when his book would be published. When we discussed the dilemna with him, he simply decided to change the characters and part of the story to avoid copyright issues. The first book is around 90 pages long but lacks illustrations.
The story also has many true stories of Tyler's life. Tyler's protection of the purple dragon egg is about his adopted baby sister. The characters are all classmates. Some of the stories actually happened.
We now need to hire an artist to draw the illustrations to Tyler's book so we can finish self publishing and get it out for the world to enjoy. The money will be used to hire the illustrator, have the book designed, pay for the online publishing service, and fulfill the "real book" orders that some have indicated they would like. Tyler has indicated that half of any proceeds that come in AFTER publishing the book will go to charity - that he will get to chose.
To see some of Tyler's book, please go to his WORDPRESS site.