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Once-thwarted author goes iBook route

Chip Fesko wouldn't let his 'Fireflies & Honey Bees' die; he'll present the work, with voice-over help, at Newport library.

May 16, 2013|By Michael Miller
  • Chip Fesko, the author of "Fireflies & Honey Bees: Children's Poems for You and Me," will read his work at the Newport Beach Public Library on Saturday.
Chip Fesko, the author of "Fireflies & Honey… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

Chip Fesko keeps a folder of his past correspondence, a nearly inch-thick stack of the words that cause less-resilient authors to pack it in:

"We have now had a chance to consider your material, and we regret to say that it is not right for us."

"After a great deal of discussion, we came to the unhappy conclusion that we are not ready to expand our market..."

"Thank you for your recent query. ... Unfortunately, it does not suit our editorial needs at the moment."

That binder, quite a bit thicker than Fesko's actual manuscript, contains some rejection letters so old they were written on manual typewriters.

While he scored pieces in magazines throughout the decades, his goal of an entire book remained elusive. But last year, the Newport Beach resident's luck changed.

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To put it in appropriate terms: Officials at Apple iBooks had a chance to consider Fesko's material, and it turned out to be right for them.

After a great deal of discussion, the author enlisted a professional voice-over reader to narrate his online book, "Fireflies & Honey Bees: Children's Poems for You and Me." And this Saturday, Fesko will present his work at the Newport Beach Central Library.

"It's been a labor of love," Fesko said Monday in an upstairs room at the library, surrounded by original watercolors and printed copies of "Fireflies," which is now available on the Apple iBooks site. "It's one of those books that I had on the shelf, you know, and you bring it out every once in a while and say, 'Hey, let's try to get this published again.'"

Fesko may not have gotten his book published in the traditional sense; the iBook program, launched in 2010, allows authors to upload their own work, although Apple screens submissions for inaccuracies or illegal content.

Still, when library officials heard about the publication of "Fireflies," they were happy to feature the author — who had his work exhibited at Newport Beach City Hall in 2009 — as part of the countywide Imagination Celebration.

At 11 a.m. Saturday in the library's Friends Room, Fesko will introduce his book and discuss his writing and painting process — he does his own artwork — while actress Eila Ulyett, who advertises her business as "the perfect place for your female British voice-over needs," will recite the poems.

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