The Literary Rat’s Crowdfunding Chronicles – Part 1: Overview


Conseil_Tenu_par_les_Rats (Now Hear This)


I know I’ve been MIA a lot the last few months, and life stuff aside, it’s also due to a BIG project I’m about to undertake for my debut novel “GABRIEL” coming soon from Alten Ink-




Since Alten Ink is a small press, they face a unique set of challenges,

and after talking it over with my editor, I decided to launch a crowfunding campaign to be able to enlist the services of a professional illustrator, and cover other key expenses which I’ll detail prior to launching the campaign.



Before I go on, for those of you not yet in the know, crowdfunding is a process where authors and other creative types reach out to their wider community to not just donate money, but share in the belief of bringing their passion projects from dream to tangible reality. Below are a list of the most common crowdfunding platforms-

Kickstarter_Logo_a_lThe newest kid on the block in the crowdfunding arena. See a short tease from the “Kickstarted” documentary about Kickstarter’s Origins (which was also a successful Kickstarter project in and of itself! Talk about Meta-Much!)-





The oldest and most open global crowdfunding platform to date!* (*at the time this post is written).


Learn more About Indiegogo (and general advice from one of it’s co-founders) here-


Learn More about how the first Authors Only crowdfunding platform came to be from the VP/Co-founder herself-





As some of you long time T.A.A. fans may remember, in September 2013 we launched our “T.A.A. CARES” imitative, where we lend our time and money to promote and support authors and artists in need of a little extra help to bring them dream projects to life.


So far, the projects your lit. rat’s backed and spread the word on all met their funding goals, and are now published/will be seeing publication (Covers seen below)-

 T.A.A. CARES #1


by Adam Glendon Sidwell

Illustrated by Edwin Rhemrev

Publisher: Future House Publishing

(Check out T.A.A.’s review)


My LOVE for you is the SUN

by Julie Hedlund (@JulieFHedlund)

Illustrated by Susan Eaddy

Publisher: Little Bahalia Publishing

Pub, Date: September 9th 2014*

(Check out T.A.A.’s Review)


Chalky and the new Sports Car

by Stanley Potter

Illustrated by Jordan Henderson (@taleandteller)

Publisher: Little Thunder Co.

(Check out T.A.A.’s review)



While many children’s authors pitch picture books, comics/graphic novels, or projects with a serious educational bent, novelists like myself can and do use crowdfunding platforms to reach their publication dreams-


Learn The Story behind Rhoda’s Ocean-

Learn the Story behind “Steam In The Willows”


Soon, your lit. rat will be embarking on his crowdfunding adventure, and I hope you’ll be along for the ride. Check back T.A.A. throughout the coming weeks as I document my crowfunding saga.


You can learn see what Gabriel’s up to (and learn how to be part of our virtual promo team) on his newly launched OFFICIAL website! 


Next time, I’ll go over in-depth why I decided to enter the world of crowdfunding from more than the backer perspective.


Until then, have a safe weekend, and may the fantastical fauna be with you.


We’re still on holiday break during the 7/4 holiday weekend, but check back T.A.A. tomorrow for a special announcement regarding my debut novel GABRIEL (Tweet Gabriel and his friend via @GabrielandRum), enjoy the video below, and tell your friends to share the video and stop by to learn how you can be part of bringing Gabriel’s story into the world-




Until tomorrow, stay safe, have fun, as always may the fantastical fauna be with you.

*NOTE: the link in the video will go live 7/6/14 

From The Desk of The Literary Rat (My Writing Process Blog Tour)


 Hi All,  


It’s no secret your lit. rat’s had a hard month emotionally, but I want to end on a positive note, so today I’m sharing a little peak into my writing process courtesy of the “*My Writing Process Blog Tour.

Jami-Full-Picture-e1280895288949*Special Thanks to author Jami Gold (@JamiGold) for the open invitation to take part in this blog tour event!







For those of you newcomers, when I’m not “The Literary Rat” on T.A.A. I’m a novelist specializing in animal fantasy, hence our site’s name and theme, and my debut novel, GABRIEL, will soon be published by Alten Ink. (You can watch the first round of book trailers on T.A.A.’s YouTube Channel!)

What Am I Working on?


 Aside from edits on my debut mentioned above, I’m working on various WIPs, one of which is a sequel to GABRIEL, the other two are new books outside the world of GABRIEl. One of which under the working title “The Baroque Weasel.”

How Does My Work Differ from Others of Its Genre?


I flip and/or rewrite the rules all too common in the animal fantasy, the most common being- One of the common tropes in my world is a human who can talk to animals, but it has to be a secret from all for various reasons.


I choose to have it be open, meaning anyone can communicate across species, but for some stories, you have to be willing to listen (Think Peter Pan and being willing to believe in fairies and other “impossible” things in order for them to happen)

Another thing writers of animal stories need to consider (assuming we’re not writing nonfiction) is how “Real” our animal characters are.

Do they take the cartoony approach, as zany and unreal as possible? Are they human-like, wear clothes, and if so, are humans out of the picture, or is it a hidden society deal.


Or do we opt for something 100% naturalistic. They don’t speak, have no human-like autonomy and thoughts, and would just as at home in an issue of National Geographic as in the fiction we’re writing. (Think Shiloh) 


Or do we dare, as I do, to be in the hazy nexus of semi-naturalistic, we use real world facts and knowledge of our animal heroes and heroines when possible, but exercise the right to be as zany and a little bit cartoony.


Many classic and contemporary characters walk this line. Some more obvious than others.


In my novel, Gabriel, I made the decision to be in that hazy middle with my nonhuman cast, in this case, rats.   They do speak, wear minimal clothing, and live amongst humans in their “hidden” society.


But while they (and other animals) can speak to humans, many choose not to, for various reasons, most common the distrust they have with humans, such as my antagonist.


Too often humans are portrayed as the ultimate evil from the animal’s perspective. I wanted Gabriel to explore the idea that just like animals we humans demonize in our culture (wolves, weasels, and RATS too!) there are just as many (I’d argue FAR MORE) humans who respect the natural world, and while we may not all be vegetarians or vegans, we see animals not solely as food. Or condone them being objectified for trophy and sport.


For every “Cruella Deville” there’s a “Jane Goodall” For every “Hunter” in Babar’s world, there was also a kind soul who treated him and other with respect.


But I also gave them as much of their naturalistic traits as possible in terms of what they eat, where they live, and the dangers they face in the wild and in human-centric environments like small towns and cites.


Another thing to consider is how the world is set up. Some stories like the “Redwall” series are animals only, and that frees you up from having to think about the logistics of animal-friendly tools and weaponry.


Some stories, like “Charlotte’s Web” and “The Wind and The Willows” have animals and humans co-existing in the same world, but separated.


Humans live in one, animals live in another, and in most cases, rarely if ever the two meet, and often not positive for either side, which also harkens back to how real or not your animal characters are and humanity’s response.


The “Doctor Doolittle” approach thrives here, but hinges on the idea that only one person can hear what most people cannot, and thus, secrecy to avoid presumed insanity on the human’s part.


A contemporary example would be “Littlest Pet Shop” an animated series based on the popular toy line franchise of the same name where a teenage girl can talk to animals through unexplained (at least thus far) means, and forms a deep bond with a particular band of day care pets where she works part time.

Why Do I Write What I Do?


First and foremost, because I love it, and having been raised on it since age 4, I don’t have the “suspension of disbelief” hang-up other readers do who either don’t read/watch much fiction, or are Type A academic realists who are strict taskmasters for accuracy at all times, and don’t get me wrong, I love historical fiction for a lot of the same reasons I can’t write it.


But as an author myself I don’t like being married to fixed of thinking and being.  


I hope readers will start to see animals a little differently after finishing one of my books. Science is now proving they feel many of the same emotions, fears, and needs we do, they just can’t tell us in ways we easily understand. We can teach them to fear us, just as much as we STRUGGLE for them to trust us, and it’s no secret (especially those of us pet owners our there, myself included) that when we earn an animal’s trust, its no less gratifying than earning the trust of others our own species.


While I bend the rules of natural science a bit, I truly believe every animal has a voice, the trick in real life is working that much harder to hear it, in the world of my fantastical fauna, I just make it a little bit easier, and more fun, to let them speak for themselves however I can.


But the journey taken still requires work on the human’s part, mind you!


Even though I may not follow the laws of science in expressing that, I do believe they have much to teach people, if we’re willing to listen, for the many of the same reasons we underestimate what our ALL TOO HUMAN children can teach us about life.


Animals have had roles in nature long before humanity, as we know it today, so it makes sense that we can learn from them, and hopefully in spite of the harm and extinction we’ve caused, the creatures left among us today will find positive things in us, too.

How Does My Writing Process Work?


While every book has its own process, there are lot commonalities for my work thus far, often the title or the name of the protagonist will come first.   With Gabriel, the premise came first, a toymaking rat and exploring friendships and how they evolve or at times, stagnate.


In the case of “The Baroque Weasel” the title came first years before I really started working on it. It was actually a legend from another book idea I had but I liked it so much it became its own thing entirely.


Also, this title has multiple meanings, the main character is a weasel, but it also relates to something key in the story.   For Gabriel, I took the approach of having the character’s name be the title since he’s the protagonist and the heart of the story.


When it comes to the actual writing, I prefer to draft from beginning to end in a linear manner, it’s easier to keep in my head, and I’m less likely to write the same thing twice than if I hopped around (i.e. write the end before the beginning)

Handoff Time!


In the spirit of inclusion, just as Jami Gold has done, I open all bloggers who follow T.A.A. to share their writing process stories. 

To participate, write a blog post next week (or when you can!) and-

  1. Acknowledge the person and the site who invited you into the tour (that’d be me and you’d link back to this post). I’d also appreciate linking to our Twitter feeds (@TAA_Editor/@Taurean_Watkins)
  2. Label your post as part of the My Writing Process Blog Tour.
  3. Answer these same four questions about your writing process in the post.
  4. Nominate and link to up to three people to participate who would then post their answers the week after yours. 


Finally, please share your post in the comments below and I’ll update this post with your submissions!

CROCODILE FLINT is now on Snippet and MORE


While I’ve mentioned this elsewhere, I’d been too busy with other stuff behind-the-scenes to formally share here. My first e-publication, Crocodile Flint, is available on Snippet for $1.99 USD-

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Enjoy the OFFICIAL Trailer!

I hope to have another update on GABRIEL (my debut novel) in the coming weeks.

Speaking of Gabriel, you can now chat with him and his “frenemy” Rum (featured in my debut novel) via Twitter! (@GabrielandRum) so give them a shout-out.


That’s all for today. But we’re always active on Facebook, Twitter, Google=and of course our YouTube Channel!

World Book Day 2014 Twitter Chat Transcript




Yesterday was “World Book Day” and T.A.A. celebrated by bringing together some of our partners and letting them borrow the official T.A.A. Twitter feed (@TAA_Editor) for a Twitter chat.

If you missed the chat live, you can now read the transcript below-


ME: It’s Noon EST, and now #TheLiteraryRat Signs off and my special guests take over!


Swinebert: Yo Chicks ‘n Chickies! Dempsey and I will be the moderators for this special #WorldBookDay Twitter Chat on T.A.A.’s Twitter Feed.
Dempsey: Are the others here yet?

Swinebert: Bonnie and Guido just got here, Gabriel and Rum, too.

Dempsey: Okay, than let’s get started. First up, we’ll each share our most special book/reading memories. Who wants to go first?


Guido: I’ll start! My fave book/reading memory is when Graham (My master’s son) read me “Dominic” by William Steig. Dominic-Steig-William-9780374418267












Bonnie: My favorite book/reading memory is when Andrea  read me “Pippi Longstocking”









Swinebert: My turn! Swinebert: My best book/reading memory was the first time I read to me nephew, Trug, “Olivia”



Dempsey: My favorite book/reading memory was first discovering poetry by Emily Dickinson.






Swinebert: Last but far from least, Gabriel Crisping and Rum Wheatland (From @Taurean_Watkins’ GABRIEL) share their top book/reading moment.


Gabriel: I have two greatest book/reading memories…The first is reading “Martin’s Mice” by

24178Dick King-Smith. I wish more cats could be like Martin. The second was reading “Charlotte’s Web” with my Dad…Though I didn’t care for Templeton at first. No wonder humans have issues with rats if he’s the sole model they look to.

Rum: My favorite book/memory was reading the first “Redwall” to my sisters, because they always screamed at the scary parts. (They LIKED it)
Swinebert: Great picks, everyone, now we’ll move on to the next roundtable question: What’s everyone reading at the moment? Rum, why do you go first this time?
Rum: Right now I’m reading “Nightshade City” by Hilary Wagner.
Nightshade City (Nightshade Chronicles #1)
I’ve got a lot of catching up to do with the last one coming out soon!
Gabriel: I’m reading “Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife” by Sam Savage.
ME: #TheLiteraryRat‘s interjecting a quick sec to say I just bought this recently can’t wait to read it. Carry on, guys, you’re doing great!
Bonnie: I’m reading “Comfort Food” by Kate Jacobs. Quite a story.
Guido: I’m reading “Wolf Story” by William McCleery.
Dempsey: I’m reading “Toes” by Tor Seidler.


Swinebert: As for me, I’m reading “Welcome to the Bed and Biscuit” by Joan Carris. Great picks again, everyone!
Now before we head to the next roundtable question, let’s chat about what we plan to read next.
Gabriel: I’m planning to read “Junkyard Planet” by Adam Minter. 
Rum: Next on my list is “Manhood for Amateurs” by Michael Chabon.












Dempsey: Next up for me is  

“The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents

(Discworld #28) by Terry Pratchett.

4313522Bonnie: Next for me is “The School of Essential Ingredients”

 by Erica Bauermeister 

    Guido: My next read is “The Daring Adventures of Penhaligon Brush” by S. Jones Rogan.
Swinebert: As for me, I’m looking forward to
“Sailor Twain: Or: The Mermaid in the Hudson” by Mark Siegel.

The Pelican Chorus

Swinebert: Okay, now for the next roundtable question…What’s your favorite book to re-read? This time, I’ll start us off, mine is beyond doubt “The Pelican Chorus: and Other Nonsense” by Edward Lear.
Dempsey: For me, “Around the World in 80 Days” by Jules Verne.
Melrose and Croc (A Christmas to Remember
Guido: “Melrose and Croc: A Christmas to Remember” by Emma Chichester Clark. It reminds me of the day my master adopted me. (Whimpers)
Swinebert: You okay, Guido?
Guido: Yeah, just got a bit overcome there. It was a happy memory, you know?
Bonnie: I know what you mean, Guido, I remember Andrea adopted me several years ago. Other girls passed me by because I looked “Old.” Andrea was the first soul apart from my mother who said I was beautiful. We clicked instantly.
Anyway, my favorite book to re-read is “Oscar, Cat-About-Town” by James Herriot. Had I not met Andrea, I’d be a bit like Oscar.

Gabriel: My favorite book to re-read is “How to Save Your Tail” by Mary Hanson. How To Save Your Tail (Hardcover)



15799039Rum: “Hickory by Palmer Brown” because my sisters love my reading to them and it’s not too cutesy for me…

Swinebert: Way to dig deep, folks, especially you, Guido. Our next roundtable question is…If you could hang out with any literary character, who would it be and why?
51ZV5S69Z9LDempsey: For me, it’d be Martin from “Martian’s Mice” since neither of us care for eating mice and we’d be a great foster dad team.
Guido: I’m a bit torn. Part of me would want to spend time with Sam the Cat Detective…327702 (1)

But he might not tolerate a canine sidekick… So, I’d then go with #Clifford
Bonnie: I’d love to spend the day with the “Bed and Biscuit” crew. It’s clearly rarely boring there!
Gabriel: I’d love to spend the day with Montague Mad-Rat from
Tor Seidler’s “A Rat’s Tale” as we both like to work with our paws.

Rum: Not to mention you both have dames you’d do anything for.

Gabriel: Rum, please!
Rum: Hey, what’re you blushing for?
Gabriel: …Just go next, please…
Rum: Okay…well, I’d love to spend the day with Bingo and J’miah from “The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp.” 
16074339 (1)
It’d be like having the adopted little brothers I never had for real. I love my sisters but I always wanted a brother.


Swinebert: For me, I’d have to say Piglet since he reminds me a lot of my nephew Trug, only Trug’s FAR less timid.
Swinebert: Okay, now for our next roundtable question…What book’s world would you most want to visit and why?
Dempsey: I’d visit the world of “Catwings” if I could get wings!
Swinebert: I’d go to the world of “Dragon Rider” if I got the chance to meet a dragon, either Firedrake or someone else, if he/she were nice.
Bonnie: I’d inhabit the world of Narnia if I could be friends with Lucy, she reminds me a lot of Andrea when she was little.

Guido: I’d go to the world of Doctor Doolittle and have him be my doctor so my human would finally know how I really feel without him guessing.
Gabriel: I’d go to the world of “Redwall” because they’d be swords my size to wield. 

Rum: Interesting choice coming from you. Well, like Bonnie, I’d go to Narnia, too. I’d be the big boss of a band of vigilante forest warriors.
Swinebert: Interesting choices, folks. Okay, on to the next roundtable question…Our last question is: What’s the one bit of advice you’d give to a literary character?
Bonnie: I’d advise Oscar from “Oscar, Cat-About-Town” to not give up finding a forever home too easily.
Rum: I’d tell Skilley from “The Cheshire Cheese Cat” by Carmen Agra Deedy, “We need more cats like you!” Cats who LOVE cheese and are willing to strike bargains with rodents…Like a feline “Pied Piper.” (WITHOUT sending rats or mice to a watery grave…)

9822Gabriel: I’d warn Jasper from “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH” that he’s ruining a friendship with Nicodemus needlessly.

Gabriel: Given my own story, I’ve got personal experience on the matter…

Guido: Being co-host of an upcoming pet advice show, I’d advise the naughty cats from “Detective LaRue: Letters from the Investigation”-
Guido: Watch yourself! What humans overlook, we pets in the know will remember.
9780689829536Dempsey: I’d warn Oliva from “Olivia” to not tease Ian too much. Being a “Little Brother” myself, trust me when I say this…
Dempsey: Vengeance (like a boomerang) is Karma!
Swinebert: As for me, I’d just let Wilbur from “Charlotte’s Web” know that the day will come when some some humans see us as more than food. I’m glad my human does.
Swinebert: That’s it for roundtable questions, everyone had such great answers, but before we wrap things up…For those new to T.A.A. and have no idea who some of us are, we’ll share a bit about ourselves. We would’ve done intros first, but we wanted to dive right in. Anyway, I’m Swinebert, and my pal Dempsey and I star in our own show to debut on #TAAFM later this year-
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Guido: Bonnie and I also have a show on #TAAFM
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Bonnie: We hope pets (and their owners) send us questions that can be answered on the show. You can even tweet us your questions-
Gabriel: My friend (Or at the time, “Frenemy”) Rum and I in the upcoming release “GABRIEL” by Taurean J. Watkins (@Taurean_Watkins) You can learn more about me here-
[sz-youtube url=”” userdata=”Taury” /]
Rum: And me here-

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Gabriel: Thanks to Mr. Quint (my toymaking mentor) and @Taurean_Watkins for setting up our Facebook page and creating our book trailers.
Guido: Me and Bonnie also want to thank @TAA_Editor for letting us borrow T.A.A.’s Twitter account for this chat in honor of #WorldBookDay!
Swinebert: Dempsey and I third those thanks to @TAA_Editor (aka #TheLiteraryRat) and thanks to all of you who followed along with us! Well, this pig’s signing off, for Dempsey and all our guests today, goodbye and have a acorn-tastic day!


For weeks I’d been promising more info involving the progress of my upcoming debut novel, Gabriel, and today I can share some sobering, yet exciting news.

Let’s get the sobering news out of the way, and let me first say this: Gabriel is still getting published. But due to circumstance and miscommunication beyond my control, I had to part ways with G8Press, who originally acquired Gabriel in December 2012.

Okay, now the good news, Gabriel as I said will still be published, but now by ALTEN INK, a new publisher created by my (former) editor from G8Press, Debby Alten, who had also help found G8Press but left earlier this month for personal reasons, and because my contract was not honored regarding Gabriel’s release, I was free to withdraw Gabriel and am following Debby to her new venture because she really “Gets” the book, and only makes me want to work all the harder.

As such, I’ve updated the videos I’ve done for GABRIEL so far with the branding of my new publisher, ALTEN INK, which you can see below-

[mvob group=1]

 They’ll also be on both my (Author) YouTube Channel-


And on the “Talking Animal Addicts” YouTube Channel-


For the writers out there, I’ll talk more about what led to this decision at a later date, but that’s all for today. (Or tonight, if you live on EST [Eastern Standard Time] as I do…)


I’ll have more news about Gabriel in the coming months.

But you can always find out what’s new with Gabriel and Co. at:

Until next time, may the fantastical fauna be with you.