Influential Albums – Day 4

Adam and the Ants – Kings of the Wild Frontier

There are lots of links in here. I hope you go to all of them because they’re a lot of fun!

I don’t remember when or where I got introduced to Adam Ant, probably Atlanta’s Video Music Channel, but wherever it was I took to his music, his artistic flair, and his persona pretty much immediately. Well, actually, I do remember seeing the Prince Charming album cover in Turtles, probably when it came out and thinking it was really weird. Who knew that within a few years I’d be trying to draw that same cover and making my dad concerned over this album cover being in his house and his son listening to this heavily made up Prince Charming.

The album of his that had the most influence on me was Kings of the Wild Frontier. The drums. The drum beats. I came to find out later that it was the Burundi beat. I found a great article on the recording of Kings as well as Prince Charming and Adam’s first solo album today when I was looking up info about the Burundi beat. Anytime I hear drums like that, Adam and the Ants immediately come to mind. Most recently it has been, White Rabbits, “Percussion Gun”.

So, I got into Adam and the Ants in 7th grade, and I got totally into it. I dressed as white face stripe Adam for Halloween and convinced several of my friends to dress up as him, or as the Ants, too. I would include British words in notes that I’d pass to my friends. This was pre-internet, I looked wherever I could.  I found a concert that showed on MTV of Adam and the Ants in Japan. I found some books on the band. I should say also that when I was getting into the band, the band broke up. Adam went solo. That’s all good and fine and I kept up with him through Manners and Physique in 1990. It wasn’t really my gig, it had some bright spots, but I was moving on by that point.

My love of awesome music videos comes partly from Adam and the Ants videos. Stand and Deliver and Prince Charming are awesome. They are little movies and they are just fun.  

Looking back at the songs from the Kings album, there are a few standouts and there are few stinkers. That’s hindsight talking though. At the time, the album fit on one side of a 90 minute TDK cassette and I listened to them all and loved them all. My favorite from the album is probably “Antmusic” and “Dog Eat Dog”. I’m excited because “Ants Invasion” has been remixed and probably remade by someone for the new Ant-Man & Wasp movie

Good stuff.


Working on a Novel

No, no, silly. I’m not working on a novel. My attention span is nowhere long enough for that. Haven’t we met? I used the title as a way to grab your attention.

I have been working on a book this summer with GQ though.  Her second novel, FanGirl! Her second one! It hasn’t even been a year since she put her first one out. She’s quite prolific.

Ever since GQ came up with the idea for FanGirl! she has wanted to get me involved.  The first idea she came up with was to have  scenes from the graphic novel that is a main part of the story mixed in with the chapter titles.

GQ asked me if I thought that I could do these illustrations.  I thought about this, and decided that yes, I could do this.  I love comics. I love drawing, but I don’t do it very often. This will give me something to focus on and what a great opportunity.

We talked about the fact that I would have to really be focused (I may have some focusing issues I have focusing issues) and stay on schedule.  She had a timeline for getting the book out by a certain date.  

After thinking about what the drawings I wanted to were I started thinking about the fact that although I love drawing, I’m not the greatest artist.  I have problems with perspective and things looking very flat and 2D. I decided that I was not going to take the responsibility of giving her crappy looking drawings to go with her story. 

I told her this, and she tried to convince me otherwise, but I stuck to my guns. We agreed that we would look around and ask some of the artist friends we have if they’d be willing. No one had time, and several people just told GQ or me that they thought I should do it.  I was very flattered, a little disappointed in myself, but still no closer to having a solution.

Flash forward to illustration issues being solved. See above for pics from the book.  For whatever reason GQ still wanted me to be involved.  I was very willing to help, but not sure what I could do.  

We agreed that I could do some of the “fixing” of the document after her editors had finished their jobs.  I can do that.  I did that. Then we go to the point of needing to converting the format from a Word file to what is needed to upload for an ebook.  

I downloaded a couple of books from Amazon about this. I read up on it, and it seemed like something that would be pretty easy. I was going to learn to use HTML (a computer code that makes the words on a Site look like actual words instead of lots of symbols with words interspersed between them. I was going to learn to use new programs to make all this flow seamlessly from one format to another. 

Well, it wasn’t hard, but there were definitely more steps involved than what I gathered from reading those books.

Not to be thwarted I continued and was successful! Now the easy part – inserting the images into the document. Wait. Did I say easy? I meant the part that made the converting the document seem like child’s play.

The steps in the books that talked about adding images were easy enough, but making that transfer from page to my fingers was not so easy.  Time and time I would try and think that it would be successful. Time and time again I would go to preview the page and be greeted with this – 
I HATED seeing that, but I saw it again and again and again.

Luckily, GQ has a computer genius(AG) bff and she was able to step in and make it work. On her computer. ARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

This goes on for a couple of days.  Back and forth with AG.  Now I know a good bit about computers. I can do all kinds of things that a good number of people can’t do.  However, there’s a wall that I come up against, and I was staring at that wall.  That. Damn. Wall.

I am staying up late trying to get this done. I had more than 20 files saved with some sort of variation of the word “fangirl” in my download folder.  I was not going to give up, but I was frustrated to say the least. We have Comic Con coming up in a few days and GQ wanted it DONE before we left.  (insert angsty “arrgh” from above here X 3)

One morning I woke up and GQ told me that AG had it fixed. For real. For good. Come to find out that we needed an Adobe program, InDesign, to get it done, and when AG put it in there it literally took 8 seconds.  Big sigh of relief.
So it got done on GQ’s schedule.  She kept her faith in me and was very understanding the whole time most of the time of the limits of my technical know-how. I am very grateful to her for including me in this process.  Her writing is a HUGE part of her, and for a while I had a hard time understanding that, but I do now, and for her to include me means a whole bunch.

Now the novel is out in both Kindle format as well as paperback. Links to both sites are up above at the beginning of this entry.  If you’re a Nook user you’ll have to wait a couple more months to get it on that reader, but it will be worth the wait. FanGirl! is a good, fun read.  Of course I have a huge bias toward the author, but I think I would enjoy the story even if it wasn’t written by my best girl.

Do yourself a favor and go get it. Well, I suppose you’d be doing GQ (and me) a favor, but it will be worth your time, money and effort.  And if you want to do another favor you could write a review on either the Amazon page or the CreateSpace page of the book.  When books have reviews more people are willing to take a chance on it. 

I’ll leave you with this.  I am currently looking into getting InDesign so that I will be able to continue to help GQ on her author’s journey.  She’s well into a new story that she got inspiration from earlier this summer when we were on a boat ride, as well as a continuation of an earlier novel.  She amazes me.