What on earth is #projectvirignia?

For months on Twitter, you might have noticed me use the “#projectvirginia” hashtag. I’m like this with all of my projects. #projectsprinkles was the first Maddie Mckenszie Picture Book back in 2012, #projectwafflecone was the 2nd Maddie Picture Book in 2013. “#naughtyornice” eventually became “Merry Chrissy and the Naughty or Nice Truth”. So, for those curious out there, what the heck is #projectvirginia? Is it some major building development in the Cavalier State? A government secret involving the Pentagon? Something involving an 8-year old girl’s faith in believing Santa? (HINT HINT: You’re getting warmer now.)

If you haven’t put two and two together, I’ll tell you exactly what #projectvirginia is really supposed to be. 

#projectvirgina is the sequel to Merry Chrissy!

In other words, the name of this book is entitled…

“Merry Chrissy and the After Christmas Awakenings”

Right now, I’m going to keep a lot of things under “wraps and bows”, but there is one thing I can tell you right now: Christmas may be over, but Chrissy’s story is just beginning.

I released my first novel back in December of 2014. I have alway intended it to be a series, not a standalone product. Since January 2015, I’ve been hard at work, writing (and re-writing), drawing (and re-drawing) day and night before and after work. This time, the approach to work was much easier than last time as I set up realistic expectations before hand and stuck to a very tight schedule. Right now, most of the illustrations in the book are done. The story is still being refined and will eventually go through an editor and proofreading, but expect to read the continuation of Chrissy’s adventures later this year. A release date has yet to be finalized, but expect it to be released possibly by Thanksgiving if everything goes according to plan.

In the upcoming weeks, read more about the book, including new characters I’m introducing to the Merry Chrissy universe in my blog. You can also follow me through social media as well. Thanks for reading and as Chrissy always says, “Have a very merry day!”

Congratulations to the winners of the “Merry Chrissy and the Naughty or Nice Truth” giveaway!

I had a great turnout with 700 entries made in the 16 days of the contest. Here are your winners of the Goodreads “Merry Chrissy and the Naughty or Nice Truth” giveaway!

Callie D.
Ken G.
Karen L.
Tonya H.
Jennifer P. B.
Love A.
Reena N.
Sabine B.
Exavia B.
Phoenix V.

The books will be shipped to all winners starting next week. I aim to get them out as soon as possible so you can enjoy it for the holidays. After all, it’s a Christmas book. If you didn’t win the contest, don’t worry! You can still purchase the paperback at amazon.com. The eBook is also available for sale at 99c for a limited time.

Merry Chrissy and the Naughty or Nice Truth – OUT NOW! Featuring a very special MERRY message!

Here we go! North Pole we have LIFTOFF! The 3rd Ronald Hennessy Project and my first ever novel, “Merry Chrissy and the Naughty or Nice Truth” is now available for your reading pleasure! I’ve talked a lot about this book in the past few months, so this time, I want to share a “different” voice that is certainly enthusiastic and eager to share her story. Ladies and gentlemen, here is a SPECIAL MESSAGE from Chrissy Deigh!

“OH
My

Gingerbread!”

Hi! My name is Chrissy! I like Christmas A LOT. I like it SOOOOOOOOOO much, I have my own personal Christmas Tree decorated…in my ROOM!  My music player is filled to the brim with holly jolly music, and I may have the worlds largest collection of Christmas specials on video! My Mom thinks I was born with Christmas Magic and calls me “The Christmas Spirit” and she’s totally right! This Fall, I entered the 4th grade!  A lot of kids tease me ENDLESSLY for my merry little spirit. They make fun of my clothes and call me names like “Stupid Christmas Girl,” especially from that rich kid Charlotte! I don’t have many friends except for this quiet boy named Tyler. He’s so awesome and never teases me at all. I do wish he was in the Christmas spirit a little more though.

Not everybody knows about this, but I have a HUGE SECRET that NO ONE knows, not even my best friend, Tyler! I work for the NORTH POLE and I get to check on little kids all over the country to see if they’ve been good or bad for Christmas! I get to use Christmas MAGIC and I can transform into a FAIRY with wings…and I even get my own magic tablet! I need to get used to it though since using too much magic can make the company angry. Not only that, it tends to make me queasy when I transform to normal. Yuck! The only problem is I CAN’T use my magic outside of my job, so that means I can’t turn Charlotte’s face into a green ugly mess! Bummer! Also, pets seem to like me when I’m a fairy…a little too MUCH! I have the dog slobber to prove it!

This Holiday Season read about ME, Chrissy Deigh in my all-new adventure “Merry Chrissy and the Naughty or Nice Truth!” You can follow me on Twitter at @chrissydeigh and follow the writer, a guy named “Ronald Hennessy” at @ronaldhennessy for more updates!

HAVE A VERY, MERRY DAY! : ) 

***Chrissy Deigh***

So there you have it. The Christmas Spirit herself. If you’re Interested in reading more about Chrissy’s adventures, check it out now! Right now, it’s at an introductory price of only 99 cents! You can download a free preview as well. If you like what you read, please leave a review or contact me online to share your thoughts. Constructive feedback is welcome. 

The paperback version will be out shortly.

Merry Chrissy Character Profiles: Meet Charlotte

Making a book is hard. Doing it independently is even harder. These are the stories I want to share behind making “Merry Chrissy and the Naughty or Nice Truth.”

Meet Charlotte – a true rival

Charlotte Marigold is Chrissy’s main antagonist throughout the majority of the book. She is mostly self centered, conceited and always scheming. A classic bully, Charlotte and her 2 other friends Gabriella and Raven talk behind Chrissy’s back, tease and intimidate her. Charlotte is considered the “queen bully” in Chrissy school and many other kids don’t like her as well.

From left to right. Raven, Charlotte and Gabriella. “The trio” of friends that bully Chrissy.

During the process of writing, I knew early on Chrissy would be challenged by another classmate. I originally thought of making just about everyone in class and school hate her, but that was just too much and too cruel. Instead, the teachers, ever so aware of bullying are looking to punish the punished rather than just the punisher. Charlotte early on was developed as I continued writing. She really has no positive qualities whatsoever, but there is a small hint of humanity in her dark heart. Charlotte mainly teases Chrissy for her year-round interests in Christmas and the style of clothing she wears. 

Designing Charlotte

 Charlotte in all of her purple majesty.
Charlotte in all of her purple majesty.

There is a big contrast between the design of the two girls. Chrissy is dressed like she came out of the thrift shop. Charlotte on the other hand, came out of a boutique shop. Charlotte and her parents are much more wealthy than the average kid in her elementary class, so it was important that her wardrobe stood out. Going with a royalty theme, I chose many shades of purples and yellows for her outfit. Coloring her was quite a challenge since she has so many different colors. She also has blush on her face in a certain tone. As a personal touch, it’s kinda fitting that her color scheme just about matches the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, a team I really hate as I’m an Orlando Magic fan (Still bitter about the Finals back in 2009!) In case you don’t follow sportsball, they’re a highly successful basketball team that won 15 championships. The team that I root for, the Magic have zero.

Speaking of sports, the two become fierce rivals. They face off in Dodgeball and a costume contest…and other situations that you’ll need to read to find out more!

Merry Chrissy and the Naughty or Nice Truth is a middle-age grade novel designed for ages 9 and up that will be released on December 5th, 2014. Go to www.merrychrissy.com for the latest updates. You can also follow Merry Chrissy on Twitter and Google Plus.

Enter to win 1 of 10 Free Paperback copies of “Merry Chrissy”!

It’s getting closer to the “Unwrapping Date” (that’s also known as the release date) of my very first novel, “Merry Chrissy and the Naughty or Nice Truth”. While it’s coming out December 5th for eBook formats, I realize some of you aren’t of the Kindle age and may prefer a actual book to read. Don’t worry! I got you covered! The paperback version will be released exclusively on Amazon.com right around the “Unwrapping date”. However, I know some of you want this for free and I’m giving you a chance…but you gotta win it!

I’m giving away 10 free copies of my book, “Merry Chrissy and the Naughty or Nice Truth” It’s a 350-page, 35-“Middle Grade” chapter book with more than 80 illustrations. Thanks to Goodreads, I’m ready to giveaway this awesome story to kids 9-92 in time before the holidays. To enter, you’ll need to sign in with your Goodreads account (or if you have the unfortunate wisdom of using Facebook, you can sign in that way.) The contest is open to residents of the United States and Canada only. (Sorry, other countries, I want to make sure I have enough time to send them out well before Christmas. If you wish to buy the paperback, you still can do that.) When entering the contest, be sure to add this book to your list of what to read. The contest ends on Friday, December 12th, so it’s not a lot of time left to enter. Winners will be announced on the same day. If you’re a lucky winner, be sure to write a review on Amazon.com or any other retailer the book is available from.

Good luck and as Chrissy would say,  “Have a very, Merry Day!”

Merry Chrissy's "Unwrapping Date".

Today is a kinda bittersweet moment for me. This project started more than 1 year ago when it was a NaNoWriMo project that was simply an outline with not much direction. I made up characters on the spot and winged it at times, but I eventually crossed the finish line with diligence. Still, I had a lot of work to do after the first rough draft was finished. I knew it was a mess and I kept making it the best I could. Now 63,000 words, 87 illustrations (took 6 months alone) and 5 revisions later, I’m putting on the finishing touches to my first, real novel. Much like Chrissy’s story, there were many bumps in the road into making this book a reality. Luckily, I pulled through and poured in many days and nights, sometimes missing out on social events to get this project finished on time. After all, it’s a Christmas novel and it needs to be out for the holiday.

So, you might wonder, when can you get your hands on this book?

In honor of Chrissy’s unrelenting Christmas spirit, I’m not calling it a “release date” but an “unwrapping date”. 

“Merry Chrissy and the Naughty or Nice Truth” will be unwrapped on December 5th, 2014.

For the first time ever, I am doing a pre-order. You can pre-order the eBook at Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and Google Play. It will be available on Barnes & Noble Nook around the time of release as will the paperback copy. The cost of the book will start at $2.99 for the eBook, a significantly affordable cost compared to other books released by mainstream, traditional publishers. Giveaways and promos will run shortly after. Keep your eyes on my twitter accounts @ronaldhennessy and @chrissydeigh for future developments. You can also check out merrychrissy.com

The Mix: Connecitcon report, Merry Chrissy updates and more

In between preparing for conventions and work on my first Children’s book novel still in progress, I’m a busy guy lately. Here are some current updates.

Connecticon 2014

 My Artists Coloy Booth at Connecticon
My Artists Coloy Booth at Connecticon

I would consider Connecticon a good experience for the most part Artist Alley wise. The only problems I had was finding the loading dock. The instructions given on the Convention Center website was really poor. Took me about 3 tries and I got in. After that, it was no problem. When coming to my booth, there was no cloth on the table. For future events, I may have to invest in such a thing.

The majority of my sales were from my prints. The most popular print was the “Mane 6”, followed by…Dipper Pines (which surprised me) Anna, Elsa and Ralph and Vanellope was tied for 3rd. Next year, I may bring smaller prints or buttons. I’m on the fence if I should invest in a button puncher or not. I probably need to work on the display a bit more. The cubes aren’t cutting it.

Would I come back next year? Likely yes (since I had to shell out a $250 tax license. Thanks Connecticut!), but it’s too far out to be certain. I love my personal projects, but the majority of the attention the crowd gathered towards my fanart. It’s a hard fact to deal as a creative. The clientele of Connecticon is mostly the geek crowd (a.k.a. the teenage/college crowd), so I’m sorry I didn’t provide you anything Homestuck or Pokemon. That’s not my thing.

My booth mates were interesting. One was a guy who sold pop culture/geek “propaganda” posters and on the other side was a 6-year old girl with her mother selling her own Pokemon / Pony art. I found out that they were related to the owner of Level-Up Studios, that sells many geek/video game/internet culture shirts (which I own a few). As they say, this is a “Massive, Multi-Genre Convention.” Better words would be a massive all you can nerd convention.

Because I had to be behind my table, I didn’t get much of a chance to venture around the city or do many panels, but I mostly did a few after AC closed.

Merry Chrissy update

Last night, I finished the 4th revision of “Merry Chrissy and the Naughty or Nice Truth”. Previous revisions were done entirely on my Mac, but this time I had the Proof printed out. Leafing through an actual, printed copy of the book made editing the book a lot easier. Largely, this edit was for style and proofreading issues. I feel I can’t add anything else to the book, so no new characters or major scenes will be added. I may get some beta readers and its on to an editor. I’m firm with the release date of “later this year” right now. That means, definitely Holiday Season 2014. After all, it’s a book related to Christmas and releasing a book about that in January wouldn’t make sense.

Illustrations are behind. I know I need to pick up the pace on this. About a 3rd of the work is done. I may have to burn the midnight oil to make this happen. I HATE procrastination intensely. I’m the guy that shops early for Christmas presents and makes vacation plans as early as possible.

I’m planning to make this book possibly a 3-book series. I have some ideas for where the series may head that I need to write down. It’s too far to think down the road, but this is for the long term.

Air Stylus mini review

This is $20 I may never get back. I can’t see anyone using this app to draw compentely. For those not in the know, it is an app for iPad that works with your computer that makes it a poor man’s Cintiq. You use a Bluetooth Stylus like the Adonit Jot Touch 4 to draw and your iPad to draw on your Mac. In a perfect world, this would be a great tool to use, but the lag makes it totally unbearable. It is reliable on Bluetooth and a wireless connection to the Internet. I’m still holding in for any updates, but so far, this app has not impressed me. You’re better off using an actual drawing tablet or better yet, using Procreate for iPad with your stylus.

Speaking of Procreate, version 2.1 dropped this week. I haven’t gone through it much, but I hope it adds support for the new Adonit Pixelpoint stylus. I’m holding out until they fix the issues with the SDK.

That’s it for now. I have to get to work.

Merry Chrissy Character Profiles: Meet Chrissy

Making a book is hard. Doing it independently is even harder. These are the stories I want to share behind making “Merry Chrissy and the Naughty or Nice Truth.”

Part 1: Meet Chrissy

Today’s feature covers the titular character of the story, “Christina Emily Deigh” – Otherwise known as “Chrissy” for short. Throughout the majority of the book, Chrissy is portrayed as a 9-year-old girl who is obsessed with Christmas. She doesn’t celebrate it every day, but she enjoys it thoroughly. When it comes to Chrissy, her idea of watching Christmas specials and buying ornaments in July are a great time. However, there are many kids in her school, particularly one girl who bullies her constantly. The girl, named Charlotte Marigold, finds ways to push her buttons and nearly pushes Chrissy over the edge. 

 Chrissy, as featured in her full magical glory from the cover.
Chrissy, as featured in her full magical glory from the cover.

Even, when Chrissy is recruited by the North Pole to do a very important task, the magic she’s equipped with has it’s limits. Even if she bypasses those limits, there are consequences to her actions. That means she can’t use her magic to enact revenge on her tormentors. Chrissy’s traits are independent, quick witted, focused, naive and tempered at times. She deeply cares about her friends and family and is honest to them…to a point. The Christmas philosophy of being “good for goodness sake” is put to the test for Chrissy. She will make decisions that would instantly put her on the Naughty list, but she makes those choices because she feels it will bring forth change.

Designing Chrissy

Before I took on the hobby of drawing again, I was watching the Super Bowl in 2010 and I thought up some ideas. What if there was someone who enjoyed the holidays, but never turned off the Christmas spirit year round? With “Christmas Creep” coming up earlier and earlier in stores (I saw Christmas Decorations for sale in AUGUST at a Walgreens last year!) and radio stations playing Christmas music non-stop right after HALLOWEEN (like WALK-FM here on Long Island), this ideal may not be so far fetched. I’m sure there are a LOT of people out there that are like Chrissy.

 Earlier designs showed Chrissy with a very simplified hair design.
Earlier designs showed Chrissy with a very simplified hair design.

Early designs of Chrissy gave her a more simplified hair style. Her ponytail was basically 3 giant blobs instead of the twisted braid style I have now. The ornament was much larger and I reduced the size since I felt it might’ve been too unrealistic. From the start, I wanted to give Chrissy a modern, festive look that didn’t totally look out of place in July or March. Other than the Christmas Tree, the ornament dangling at the bottom of her ponytail and her brown Mary Jane shoes, her design is largely basic and mostly non-holiday. I absolutely did not want her to dress her up in striped stockings or make her look like she came out of Santa’s workshop at the mall. Less is more. Her design is functionally basic that compliments an active lifestyle with a hint of rebel – namely her midriff revealing shirt and left shoulder and the long ponytail that goes down to her knees.

The character design is somewhat inspired by a character named “Edward” from the Anime series “Cowboy Bebop”. I initially wanted to make Chrissy barefoot, but having her barefoot wouldn’t work in the story. Another wild idea was giving Chrissy a Penguin as a pet…then I researched about them. Trust me, you DON’T want to have a penguin as a pet! There’s a reason why they have their own habitat in aquariums. I sticked to a pet mouse named “Stirring” instead.

Merry Chrissy and the Naughty or Nice Truth is a middle-age grade novel designed for ages 9 and up that will be released on December 5th, 2014. Go to www.merrychrissy.com For the latest updates. You can also follow Merry Chrissy on Twitter and Google Plus.

The book project #naughtyornice is now known as this…

It took 8 months to get to this stage. What was once a NaNoWriMo project turned into something bigger and badder. I still have a long way to go until it’s finished, but it’s getting closer to realization. 

The project is no longer known as #naughtyornice.

From here on, it will be referred to this name:

Merry Chrissy and the Naughty or Nice Truth.

 A prototype printed paperback version. Artwork not final.
A prototype printed paperback version. Artwork not final.

9-year old Chrissy Deigh is obsessed with all things Christmas. She love Christmas so much, she spreads her Christmas cheer year round. While her Mother and grownups tolerate it, her classmates tease her endlessly. On one fateful day, a mysterious woman appears out of nowhere in her bedroom with an offer she can’t refuse – an opportunity to work for the North Pole finding out if kids are Naughty or Nice. While the job has the perks of using magic and getting to meet Santa, there are many…shall we say “Naughty or Nice” situations she faces…all while trying to survive 4th grade.

The production of “Merry Chrissy” from the cover, to the illustrations are done entirely by me. As with my previous titles, it will be published both in eBook and paperback format. As of right now, the paperback will likely be done through Createspace. As for the digital formats, it is likely to be available at least on Amazon (Kindle) and iBooks, with more stores to follow (Google Play, BN, Kobo, etc). Because it is a title heavily associated with Christmas, it will be released later this year. I’m keeping this release date vague in case there are any snags along the way, but I have an ideal of a specific time frame for much of the work to be done. The artwork in the book is about a 3rd of the way done and the story itself currently going through it’s 4th revision. This revision is much more structural, removing typos and changing words and phrases here and there. (Protip: DON’T turn “Smart Quotes” on your Mac or you’ll spend many hours fixing quotation marks!)

This is my heart and soul written here. This title is a total reflection of my feelings towards the holiday season, bullying and how one deals with being labeled as different, something that a lot of people can relate to. In the coming weeks and months, I look forward to reveal more about the project. Be sure to bookmark merrychrissy.com and sign up for updates on the site. 

You can also follow Merry Chrissy on Twitter. Other social networks are coming soon!

Be sure to follow me on TwitterTumblrGoogle+ and Pinterest for updates as well.

Bye for now and have a merry day!