Thursday, November 10, 2011

Guest Author: Carl Ray

Fiction is another word for escape.

It can take the reader to another world, providing the imagination with the tools to paint a picture of exquisite beauty, nightmarish horror or anything in between.

It's almost magic, really.  Within a few pages, a good author can make characters seem like people you've known for ages.  In just a few chapters, decades of time can pass and yet you feel as though you've been with them through all of it.

Yes, I just mentioned pages and chapters.  I did it because, to me, books are the ultimate "delivery system" for storytelling.  Just like smoking is the delivery system for nicotine, books are the delivery system (and a much healthier one, at that) for the high that comes from finishing a satisfying story.  It's why the book is always better than the movie.

Like many fans of the arts, be it dancing or singing, sketching or storytelling, sometimes I can be so inspired by what I see as to try my own hand at it.  Watching the movie "Strictly Ballroom" inspired me to try ballroom dancing.  I've been told that you are always supposed to find a least one positive from any experience you've had.  In the case of ballroom dance, I learned that I could save a lot of time and frustration by not doing it.  

Same with singing.  My daughter has a beautiful voice.  I guess it must skip a generation.  My positive?  Trying to sing with little success made me appreciate my daughter's gift that much more. 

It's the same with trying to write The Great American Novel.  When I read the works of some of the really great authors of our time I think, "I could never write like that." 

But one thing I can do is draw cartoons.  I also like to tell jokes, even write my own (with mixed results).  And I love to tell stories.  Not a novel or even a novella.  Just light entertainment that can be enjoyed for what it is.

I decided to challenge myself to put my strengths together and create something.  For me, drawing, jokes and storytelling added up to writing a comic.  I wanted it to be light and funny, with likeable characters in outrageous circumstances; just like the old Looney Toons characters that inspired me to start drawing when I was a pre-schooler.

Then I set out to draw Fish Tank.  It's the story of three aquarium fish (one of which is a super-genius) and their adventures.  It taught me that it takes a lot of work to make a story flow.  An effortless cartoon, one that tells a story and is funny in all the right places, is actually quite a chore to create.  But I love to create them and the results made the work that much more rewarding.

For the first time in my artistic exploits, I finally feel like I've put together something that I can be proud of, something I can share with you.

If you'd like to learn more about Fish Tank, even look over some free samples of the eBooks, you can go to my website at  There is even a complete story there that you can read.  Give it a try.  It's fun!

Maybe it's not a steak, but sometimes a little piece of chocolate can be satisfying, too!


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