Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Coco's Journey - a children's story with dragons and their pet parrots

I've always drawn on my school notebooks - dinosaurs, animals, dragons, cartoons, characters and scenes from the books I read until I began drawing my own stories. My favorite place to draw was the math notebook, but I was careful not to discriminate any subject - they all had their share of my drawings.

I went on sketching on my notebooks through high school and all over my algorithm books at University. The stories I shaped with my drawings became increasingly complex until I felt the need to write them instead of unrolling them in endless comic strips - and I was also running out of notebooks to draw on. Now I'm a software developer by day and a writer by night. In between I draw. I like connecting ideas in unlikely ways to create new things the same way you'd connect Lego blocks and then I illustrate them. I publish most of my work and ideas here, on Stirring Steer.

I had the idea for this story a while back, sometime before high school, as a token of inspiration from my own pets. As most of my stories, it started with countless sheets of drawings and scribbled characters on the edge of the school notebooks until it became a comic strip stretching on many pages. Later on, I took the writing from my comic, added a little more detail and after some thorough editing which turned into a complete rewriting, "Coco's Journey" the book emerged.

The drawings on my school notebooks.

The first page from "Coco's Journey" comic strip.

A few illustrations from "Coco's Journey" the book.

"Coco is an ordinary cockatiel who lives in the kitchen of a dragon family. One night, his beloved mate is kidnapped by a mysterious figure and Coco sets out on an amazing quest to rescue his sweetheart. But the dragons' house is huge and dangerous, full of hidden rooms and surprises. How will he find his mate in this maze? Embark on this exciting journey to meet Coco's friends, enemies and unlikely allies who all live in the dragons' lair."
- Goodreads

After the book was done, I decided to visit some of the characters to see if I could get an interview and updates on their lives.

Coco seemed to be doing... fine after the whole adventure. He and Moldy now have four featherless little joys.

Fifi has published his rhymes. His feathers still haven't grown back, but he's thinking seriously of booking a plane ticket out of here.

Mary refused to give an interview.

One of my favorite sayings is "The whole story is fiction, except for the parts that aren't." by Michael Crichton. Coco, Moldy and Cleo, my pet parrots, actually existed and the cockatiels did have four featherless bundles of joy.

When the baby parrots were still small, Coco wouldn't let us approach to change the sheets so we had to lure him away to clean the nest. While he was away, the babies would hiss at us noisily sounding like a nest of snakes instead of adorable parrots. But as they grew up they followed us all over the house and snuggled on our shoulders. Bringing them up was a great experience.

Cleo was the most sociable of all birds - he always came on my glass of water to take a bath when I was trying to drink and he would always screech loudly when he saw mum's red nails and fly around in circles close to the ceiling.

You can read the story for free here in exchange for a review or an opinion or a spoonful of feedback or whatever you'd like to say.

You can also buy the eBook from several online shops - Amazon,  iBooks, Scribd, Kobo, Copia and Ciando are just a few of them.

Enjoy! ^^