Book 4 is in the "Oy ve!" editing stage. I'm going big again with a bunch of new characters, and the storyline will explore themes of identity, finding a community and self-discovery. And a splash of Mendelian genetics, of course!
A long road ahead, but I'm up for the challenge, and so off we go!
Book 3 LAUNCHED IN MARCH 2022!
In the third book of the series, Centipede Dragon A Benevolent Creature and the Pignapping of TuTu introduces not one, not two, not three, but ELEVEN new characters. This latest adventure once again has the gang going up against the rascally ReptilLion, who has a seemingly endless supply of havoc-wreaking ideas.
All 3 books are available in hard and soft covers at amazon.com.
But wait, who is Centipede Dragon?
The answer to that burning question can be found in book one, Centipede Dragon A Benevolent Creature. This magical half-this, half-that creature is sure to warm your heart with his decision to potentially reveal himself in order help others in their times of need.
Video trailer: https://vimeo.com/101452104
Book two, Centipede Dragon A Benevolent Creature versus the Rascally ReptilLion, introduces Centipede Dragon's Nemesis, a creature who thrives on making mayhem for the villagers, all in the name of self amusement. Can Centipede Dragon, Ariel, Ben and the villagers stop this rascally creature from furthering his naughty agenda?
Video trailer: https://vimeo.com/212383119
But wait, who is Alice?
I'm Alice! I have been a medical/scientific illustrator for over 2 decades by day, and a writer and illustrator of children's picture books at all other times. Literally.
People usually want to know, what drives a person to write a book? How does one come up with ideas and characters? All I can tell you is my story.
Starting at maybe age 4-5 when I discovered how much I loved to draw, I've always told stories, whether anyone wanted to hear them or not (mostly not). I was that kid who wouldn't stop talking, who was not paying attention in school. I was the one drawing comics about a superhero teddy bear, or crafting a story in rhyme about the adventures of an Inuit kid inadvertently named after an infamous Colombian drug lord (oops).
Practically anything became a source of inspiration for me.
When a character or idea pops into my head, I just have to let it/them take over...trust me, it's not a choice to get up at 3am to sketch an image, or write a sentence down so I don't forget it.
Yes, folks at work, THAT is why I look THAT bad.
In 2005, after seeing an exhibit on Indigo-dyed batik textiles, I became obsessed with one of the symbols drawn onto one of the textiles: a centipede dragon.
Centipede Dragon became my WHOLE world. So I sent my "world" out to publishing company after publishing company. I still have those rejection letters (back then, they used to acknowledge the rejection. Now they don't even bother to let you know). It's a source that honestly drives me, not to say, "HAH in your face publishing company!" But rather, to tell myself that despite all the frustrations of the self-publishing industry (e.g., not having an editor, no marketing dept., no publicist, no reliable way to ensure a quality product is always made, no budget...), I will always do whatever I can to put out a good book with a heart and a soul.
And so, I became a self-published author/illustrator in 2014. I'm not gonna lie, while the self-publishing industry has allowed me to bring my books into reality, it's fraught with so many quality-control issues that have made me deeply question my life choices. I have also learned about my own limitations. I've learned so much that I've accidentally grown into a different author with a different purpose:
no longer driven by "success" but rather purely by personal motive.
Instead I have had the most supportive group of people who have been co-opted into becoming my sounding boards, my editors, my critique group, my biggest fans. I have also had the unwavering support of the most amazing librarians at Charles E. Beatley Jr. Central Library in Alexandria, VA, who have championed my books for YEARS. It really takes a village, especially one made up of those who like you.
In late April 2023, I was minding my own business when a new character came into my consciousness. She wasn't the altruistic, half-this half-that magical thing that just wanted to help others in need. Instead, she is an adorable but irascible, tiny French-speaking rabbit. I had JUST enjoyed a month of steam-rolling through 32 sketches for Centipede Dragon book 4, and had JUST sent out a first rough draft review of it, when she JUST, simply, took, over.
So, I'm pausing for a station identification, and late in 2023, I will be introducing the first in a new series of books featuring this charming new character.
So, please join me in all of my adventures, new and old!
The kids at our park LOVE Alice Chen! The Centipede Dragon has proven to be a child's personal gateway into imagination and creativity, and the use and enjoyment of it is, as yet, inexhaustible. She has greatly benefited our summer program, and we look forward to her return!
MVPA Activities Co-Chair.
MVPA Activities Co-Chair.