Some quarter century ago, Jim Horsman wrote a story about Halloween. He liked the tale of three characters he’s made up in his mind, sure. But the Syracuse-area man stuck it in a drawer and went about his business promoting festivals and such for the company he owned, Center Stage Events.
Now, with Halloween less than a week away, Horsman is glad he remembered to pull out those rhyming lines and pursue his dreams of publication.
“Jody and I had gotten our son off to college, sold our house, bought an RV,” Horsman says during a recent phone conversation. “And I thought of my little story, found it, and said, ‘Isn’t that a neat little thing?’ ”
One trip through What’s That Spooky Sound? A Halloween Trick or Treat Thriller was all it took for me to agree.
Horsman is not shy to admit two influences that mark his words.
“As a recovering drummer and a fan of Dr. Seuss, my definition of poetry is, it rhymes and it’s got a groove,” he says.
And so does this book aimed at young readers or those more senior who like the idea of reading to the younger folks in their lives.
As a great topper, Horsman went out and found himself a dynamic illustrator.
His search for somebody to pair with on the image end began in Dennis, Fla., where he and Jody now spend part of their lives, along with seeing the country in the RV and spending time back home in the western Syracuse suburbs of Camillus.
That cozy Florida city used to be the headquarters for the Ringling Brothers circus empire, Horsman says. Now it’s the site of many gorgeous and significant buildings, including an Art Gallery and the Ringling School of Art. That’s where he contacted administration and told them of his needs for a good, young artist. They put his request of a campus online board.
“They don’t have football or basketball teams,” Horsman says. “I figured they have students or recent graduates with time for a project like this.”
One of several replies he received had a 3D feel.
It came from Ohenewa Anno.
“Like Pixar. I said that’s cool stuff,” Horsman recalls. “She’s skilled in those illustrations.”
They communicated electronically, sending bits of the project, words and drawings, back and forth.
Not until completion did Horsman ask her where she lived. His illustrator did all of the work from her home in Ghana.
Jim Horsman has an international collaboration on his hands, published himself, available at amazon.com.
“It’s done well,” he says. “We’ve had sales in Europe. It’s been an enjoyable experience.”
Hover over a gallery photo for a description. Click on an image for an enlarged slide show.
Horseman says yes, this man who used to put together big shows and then worked consulting for Lockheed Martin, would surely like to do this again.
“This is a nice transition from the former work,” he says. “We are thinking of sequels. We like these three kids. But we haven’t found it yet. We hope to turn these three characters into folks people can identify with.”
Horsman also has a Facebook page and a YouTube video for the project.
What’s your favorite children’s book, and why? What do you think about the look of these characters? Jim Horsman puts a coloring page at the end of his story; good idea or not?