Tag Archives: April 11

Introducing Team Orange: Christopher Cantley

Author Name: Christopher Cantley

Title of Short Story: My Orange Karen

In 25 words or less tell me what this story is about: This is a magical story about an old farmer who discovers a lost child in a storm, and their next few years together.

How did you come up with the concept for the story? Well, I’ve always been a big fan of the fantasy genre, but there are other inspirations for the story too. Karen DeLabar’s illness provided a key plot point. Much of the middle of My Orange Karen was an exploration of being a father. The final third or so was about Mrs. DeLabar being a strong fighter in her time of trouble, and all our willingness to help.

What prompted you to submit your story to the Orange Karen Anthology? Initially, it was my friend, Stephanie Fuller, who posted the project on Facebook. I really enjoy writing, too, so I figured I‘d give it a go. I also wanted to do this in honor of my mom. She’s a Karen, as well. Ultimately, though, it was the encouragement and support of my wife that made it possible.

Tell us one thing about yourself that we wouldn’t know about you from reading your bio: I am huge movie buff, and ran a Quote of the Day contest on my Facebook page for quite a while.

What is your favorite “orange” item (it could be a food, an object…sky’s the limit)? Why? Wow. This one’s tough. I’ll choose the orange of a flame, especially candles. Firelight always helps me relax.

“Would you light my candle?”

If you had to use your favorite “orange” item to save the world, what would you do with it? I’d ensure everyone would have a safe fire source, and no one would have to be cold again.

Who inspires you? Why? The person who always inspires me is my late Grandpa Keen. He was always willing to listen, and never had a harsh word for anyone. We would spend hours just talking, or playing some silly game I’d invented. I hope I make him proud.

Excerpt:

In the years after that tragedy, my fiery-haired daughter redoubled her efforts at hunting. With Lucille gone, and my age rearing its ugly head, farming was nearly impossible. It was only Karen’s sojourns that kept food on the table and money in our purses. Sometimes she would be gone for a week at a time. I knew she was working hard to keep us going, but I couldn’t help feeling sad at her absence.

During Karen’s last trip, I noticed something amiss. I would awaken in the night, feeling as though a steel band was wrapped around my lungs. Not long after, the incessant coughing started. When dark blood joined the coughs, I knew what was wrong. It was the same Deathlung sickness that took my first daughter. As much as I hated to, I had to send Karen away. Two nights later, she came back all smiles. I was sitting by the fireplace, wrapped in a blanket.

“I’m home, Papa!”

I had to smile. All grown up, yet she still called me Papa. I tried to greet her, but a fit of blood-filled coughing silenced me. Karen came into the living room, orange hair pulled back into ponytail.

“I found some boars yesterday,” she said hanging up her bow and quiver. “They were really tough but—”

She went quiet when she finally turned toward me. The smile faded from her face, but when she tried to step forward, I waved her back.

“What’s wrong, Papa? What’s happened?”

I struggled to take a breath.

“I’m dying, Karen. It’s Deathlung.”

“No,” she shook her head. “No! You can’t be dying!”

“It’s only a matter of time now, child. And you have to leave.”

Karen stumbled backwards, pain flaring in her eyes.

“You’re sending me away?”

I nodded as another fit of coughing wracked me. The young woman stood taller, hands balled into fists at her sides. She was furious.

“Why? Why can’t I stay and take care of you?”

“Because you could get sick, and I can’t allow it,” I said, voice straining to be heard. “You’re grown now, and you need to find your own life. Please go.”

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Bio: Christopher Cantley is a factory worker residing in Lapeer, Michigan. He’s a devoted husband to JoAnn and father to Samantha, Tabitha, and Andrew. He also has four fur kids: Mickey, Tinkerbell, Ninja, and Abbie. He heard about this project from his good friend Stephanie Fuller,  aka The Book Hipster, and leapt at the chance to contribute.

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Introducing Team Orange – Kip Ayers: Cover and Release Date Reveal!!

The time has come … are you ready?

You’ve been so patient waiting for an announcement for the release date of the Orange Karen Anthology.

And I bet you want a sneak peek of the cover. Right?

RIGHT?

I’ll give you a moment to make sure you’re sitting down. *takes a drink of water*

Ready?

*** COMING THURSDAY APRIL 11, 2013 ***

OrangeKaren_Final_Front(1)

Join our Facebook Release Party for more details and excitement!

(Find us on Goodreads)

What do you think? Isn’t is a gorgeous cover? Many thanks to our cover artist, Kip Ayers, who donated his time and talent to create this stunning cover. Want to get to know him? I thought so.

Please extend your comments and thanks to our cover artist, Kip Ayers!

– Christina

Tell us a bit about how you started doing cover design.  I started drawing and painting as a child, and always loved it, but it wasn’t until my 30’s that I made the move from being a massage therapist to a full time freelance illustrator. I used massage to pay my way through college and all the while I built my illustration skills. After school I dove right into to working from my home studio doing book covers, concept art, basically any work that came my way.

Tell us one thing about yourself that we wouldn’t know about you from reading your bio:  I have been a vegetarian since I was 16, and the respect for all life is very important to me.

Hidden Talent: I love and am pretty good at playing Native American Flute. I have two that I keep on my desk in my studio, and I often take breaks from illustrating to play.

What was your inspiration for designing such a great cover? As with most of my cover designs, the inspiration comes from an intuitive connection with my clients. They share their vision with me, and I bring that to life.

What is your favorite “orange” item (it could be a food, an object…sky’s the limit)? Why? That would have to be an orange Vespa Scooter. I imagine myself and my fiancé cruising around the Italian countryside on a bright orange Vespa.

If you had to use your favorite “orange” item to save the world, what would you do with it? I’m guessing you’re referring to when I’m called in to save the world from the moped riding beasts from outer space bent on world domination, and the only hope is the superior performance of my orange Vespa with racing stripes.

Who inspires you? Why?  Thich Naht Hanh, his words about peace, love, and being present in every moment inspire me.

kip_ayers

Kip Ayers

http://www.kipayersillustration.com/

I was born in upstate New York, and currently live just outside the Binghamton, NY area. I have lived in many different locals, from Boston to a remote part of the Adirondack Mountains, but something always brings me back to my home town. Sure the art scene here is a bit malnourished, and you may ask why would an artist choose to live in an area like that, but truly it is the natural beauty that keeps me here. I am closely connected to the land. It also helps that the cost of living is extremely low, so it’s a perfect place for an artist who’s starting out to help build an arts community.

As with most artists, I have always been interested in the arts. From my early days with crayons, to my current endeavors with a Wacom Cintiq, creating visually is what I am meant to do.  After high school, I took a break from art, and became a massage therapist. I enjoyed the work, and spent 8 years in the profession, but something was missing. It wasn’t my first love, and I knew that I had to get back to my artistic roots. I used massage to pay my way through fine art school.

After college, with so many options, I was somewhat unsure of what direction to take. I greatly enjoyed working in oil and thought about working my way up through the gallery scene, that is until I stumbled upon the Wacom Cintiq. Lets just say it was a love story from the beginning and it wasn’t long before I replaced my brush, with a stylus.

Today, I work from my home studio as a freelance digital illustrator. My focus has primarily been in the fantasy publishing industry, but I have worked for the gaming industry and done design work for logos, and album covers. I cannot imagine myself doing anything else. I wake up every morning knowing that my job doesn’t feel like work. I am truly grateful.