Arts & Culture News

Bachaaah! A Chicken and a Hedgehog Walk into a Bar, Inspire Storybooks

Well, not a chicken, so much as a "Chicken Boy," the protagonist of Gregory G. Allen's new kids' book of the same name. When we last spoke to Allen, he was still living the champagne dreams and caviar wishes (well, emotionally, if not literally) of an independent author's first big successes. His debut novel, Well With My Soul, which dropped on National Coming Out Day, was a 2011 Finalist in US Book News' Fiction Category; a Lambda Literary Award for Debut Novel nominee; and was short-listed for an Indie Lit Award in the GLBTQ category. It was a big year. But Allen's 2012 promises to be epic.

Allen's new book -- geared toward a much younger audience -- has made it to the final round of the MeeGenius Author Challenge, a competition that will help this indie author put his Autism Awareness manuscript into print and into your hands. As it turns out, Allen is not the only Dallas-connected author with a storybook project, and we're sure that other Dallasites have similar indie aspirations. The talent is stacked deep in North Texas, and if you have a Kickstarter dream that needs to fly, tell us about it. Let us know in the comments about your project and how we can help.

In return, I'll forward you a copy of Rough Riders: Revelations, my 872 page screenplay imagining a romance between a young Ronnie Reagan and Theodore Roosevelt. Think: Brokeback, with a wormhole.

Er ... on second thought, just check out these authors who need your help, after the jump.

Gregory G. Allen: Chicken Boy: The Amazing Adventures of a Super Hero with Autism Raised in Garland, New York author Greg Allen is an underground phenom who shows no signs of slowing down. To hear him tell it, the multifaceted writer never intended to write a children's book, but he found himself so inspired by his autistic godson, Gabe, that Chicken Boy could not go untold. A finalist in the MeeGenius Author Challenge, Chicken Boy is one of 14 surviving manuscripts, culled from an initial 400, and it received more than 2,000 votes in December -- more than any other finalist. The story of a super-hero who loves chicken nuggets, playing in the rain and occasionally clucking like a chicken (and whose kryptonite is loud noises and social situations), Chicken Boy is a reminder that just because some kids "live in their own heads" doesn't mean they aren't worth getting to know. Bachaaaaaaah! Final Round Voting ends February 21. Read the book and VOTE HERE.

Michael S.S. Thedford: Lorelei Has a Dream. I Want to Show it to You. Raised in rural north Texas, Michael S.S. Thedford is an engineer and scientist who spends most days knocking about the lab in a white coat. But, when he first learned that he was going to be a father, he "was immediately consumed by the desire to Make Something for the Child." That "something" turns out to be Lorelei, a vivacious little hedgehog who -- because she is nocturnal, and most animal friends aren't -- spends a lot of time like Chicken Boy: in her own head. Adventurous, and even a bit of a young feminist, Lorelei eschews traditional gender roles for swashbuckling derring-do, uses her intellect to problem-solve a situation facing a fearsome dragon, and politely declines the affections of a handsome price, stating that "Happily Ever After's too boring." Thedford encountered a bit of difficultly fundraising early on, but after an initial scare, he has reached the $9,000 goal, and the book will be funded on February 11. There's still time to support Lorelei, though, as more money means better books. Check out the video below and receive your signed copy by DONATING HERE.

The publishing world is rapidly changing, democratizing and becoming more accessible to fantastic writers who might not have gotten a break in pre-Internet pre-history. Do you have a project that Dallas needs to know about? Tell us in the comments below.
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Brentney Hamilton