Diary of a Mad Scientist Garden Gnome

So here’s how this all got started:

It was a few weeks before Christmas, and my very good friend Janet Lee, who is a local artist, was suddenly the hottest thing since sliced bread. The arthouse in East Nashville (Art & Invention) where she sells her ornaments, cards, and paintings, couldn’t keep her stuff on the shelves. In an effort to help Janet out (and to get some free art lessons out of the deal), I invited myself over to Janet’s house to participate in what we began calling "Ornament Gulag." I painted all the wood, cut all the scrapbook paper, decoupaged the paper on, and drilled the holes. She drew miniatures of whatever inspired her at the moment, and glued them to the prepped ornament. We made a ton. She sold them all.

While we painted and glued, we spoke about many things, including the launch of this new Twitter magazine Thaumatrope. I had sold a few stories already, and I was having far too much fun coming up with worlds and plotlines 140 characters long.

As payment for my services that evening (because she refused to let me go empty-handed), I requested she make me an ornament for my tree. (I have Janet Lee original ornaments going back about 5 or 6 years now.) She asked me what I’d like — last year gnomes were the hot ticket, and she used my garden gnome Seamus as a model. I didn’t hesitate.

"I’d like a Dr. Horrible Gnome," I said.

When I got back home, I immediately wrote a Thaumatrope tweet that started: "Diary of a Mad Scientist Garden Gnome: Day One" and submitted it.

The next day, I got an email from Nathan at Thaumatrope that said, "I’d like to talk to you about your Gnome story."

Really? Seriously…it’s not 140-characters. What’s to talk about? Your EMAIL was longer than that story. Not wanting to mince words, I replied in exactly the way you should not reply to a publisher. Two words only. "What’s up?"

Turns out, Nathan thought that Dr. Gnome had potential. He was about to launch a serial post-apocalyptic Twitter story (#FutureJer) and thought this would be a great follow-up. Make it a month long. You’re welcome to more than one tweet a day. It’s due before March. Send me a synopsis. Go.

My brain went back to what ad inspired the tweet to begin with: Janet’s art. When I read to her the synopsis the next day, she just about fell out of her chair laughing. When I sent it to Nathan, he approved it immediately…and suggested I blog about the whole adventure.

But Janet & I couldn’t leave it at that. Inspired in turn by hanging out with Steven Segal at Dragon*Con and hearing about Weird Tales and their 365 days of Blasphemous Horrors, we decided to make that our model. "Diary of a Mad Scientist Garden Gnome" (#DrGnome) will launch at Thaumatrope on March 1st (start following now, so you don’t miss anything!). Also on March first, Janet will begin posting–at least once a day–a one-of-a-kind ornament with an original drawing based on that day’s tweet.

The ornaments will be available for sale ($15-18) on her Etsy site. I’ll try to post them in a timely fashion on my blog as well, but the purchase is first-come, first-served.

I am SO EXCITED. I’ve turned in the full serial (it’s written on a EXCEL spreadsheet) and sent her the tweets so that she can get a head start. I can’t WAIT to see what she comes up with. It’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun. Heck, it already has been!

So, to sum up:
Follow "Diary of a Mad Scientist Garden Gnome" here (#DrGnome)
Purchase awesome, affordable, original artwork based on each day’s story here.