How I wrote, illustrated, edited and published a children’s book over the weekend

TLDR; You can buy it here.

Over the last couple months, I’ve been experimenting/using some of the latest AI technologies, specifically ChatGPT for general knowledge and Stable Diffusion for art creation.

The basic process was pretty simple. I had a motivations to write a children’s story based on my experience with my four children and their voracious appetite for new stories (often featuring them or characters much like them).

(quick side note: I’ve been waiting for the Singularity for 25+ years and have done a few shows about it)

I had already asked it to write a simple version of a story and it did as well as I could have, with my tired-end-of-day brain and kid requests. This was a couple months ago, and quickly forgotten.

With Stable Diffusion, I’ve been digging a little deeper. I did the Lensa thing, I have used some crypto-related projects that offered access to txt2img capabilities, but it wasn’t until I downloaded the Automatic1111 repo and started pulling down checkpoint models that I really got into it and started to see the variations and possibilities this technology represented.

One of the checkpoint models I downloaded was particularly well suited to fantasy art.

Then, on New Year’s Eve eve, I decided to put two and two together, so I fired up the browser and began thusly..

RPN: Hello, I would like you help me write a children's story.

CGP: I'd be happy to help! What is the story about? Do you have any specific characters or themes in mind? It may also be helpful to think about the age group you are writing for and what message you want to convey through the story. Let me know and we can start brainstorming ideas together.

RPN: That sounds wonderful. I'd like you to include some children in the story, with random contemporary names. Four children. Ages 2, 4, 8, 10. Two boys and two girls. They will be the subjects of the story. I would like a light and happy story. The main theme to teach them is about sharing. How does that sound?

CGP: Sure, I can work with that! Here's a rough outline for a children's story about sharing:

Title: "The Sharing Tree"

Synopsis: Four children, Lucy (age 2), Jack (age 4), Emma (age 8), and Max (age 10), go on a nature walk and discover a special tree. The tree is covered in delicious fruit, but when they try to pick some, they find that they are all stuck together. The tree tells them that the fruit will only come off if they learn to share with each other. The children are initially hesitant, but they eventually learn to share and are rewarded with the fruit.


Lucy (age 2, girl)
Jack (age 4, boy)
Emma (age 8, girl)
Max (age 10, boy)
The Sharing Tree (magical tree with the power to grant fruit to those who learn to share)
Themes: Sharing, cooperation, nature, friendship

I hope this outline gives you a good starting point for your children's story! Let me know if you have any questions or if you'd like me to expand on any of the ideas.

RPN: Yes, that's a good start. I'd like the story to incorporate the same characters, but be based in a fantasy magical kingdom with wizards and dragons and kings and queens and knights, things like that.

Keep the same themes, new title. Maybe split into 10 parts, rhyming?

CGP: Sure, I can adapt the story to include a fantasy magical kingdom setting and split it into 10 parts with rhyming verse. Here's a revised outline:

Title: "The Sharing Crown"

Synopsis: In a magical kingdom ruled by a wise and fair queen, four children, Lucy (age 2), Jack (age 4), Emma (age 8), and Max (age 10), go on a quest to find the legendary Sharing Crown. The crown is said to grant great power to those who learn to share with others. The children journey through enchanted forests and meet friendly wizards, brave knights, and fearsome dragons, all while learning the importance of sharing and cooperation. In the end, they find the Sharing Crown and are hailed as heroes.


Lucy (age 2, girl)
Jack (age 4, boy)
Emma (age 8, girl)
Max (age 10, boy)
Queen (wise and fair ruler of the magical kingdom)
Wizards (mystical beings with magical powers)
Knights (noble warriors who protect the kingdom)
Dragons (fierce creatures with the ability to breathe fire)
Themes: Sharing, cooperation, magic, adventure, friendship

I hope this revised outline fits your desired direction for the story. Let me know if you have any further questions or if you'd like me to expand on any of the ideas.

RPN: Let's do the same story, with some sample text. Just do each chapter one at a time. I say the name for each chapter, you can give a title, and them some some rhyming text. We'll do each of the 10 chapters one at a time. Let's start with Chapter 1. Go.

And it proceeded to give me an outline of Chapter 1, Which I quickly asked for another edit…

RPN: Can you rewrite Chapter 1 with the kids names being O (girl: age 2), T (boy: age 4), R (boy: age: 8), and M (girl: age 10)?

CGP: Sure! Here's Chapter 1 of "The Sharing Crown" with the revised character names:

And so we got each chapter of the book. I actually decided to cut it off after about 6. It would say it’s probably bout 60-40 on the final rhymes and words as far as source goes. I spent zero time with ChatGPT *refining* the text. I took the first draft and ran with it.

So the edits and differences are mine. I’ve decided not to include the full original text here…but…obviously…one can go and generate their own with little more effort than a copy and paste. I will say there were enough edits that I consider the final work to be unique and my own, but that’s another discussion.

Then we started in on the art.

RPN: So I need help with the arti for these. Can you give me some same prompts for an AI art program to illustrate each chapter? I'd like two descriptions for each chapter. Lets begin with Chapter 1. Can you give me two text prompts for AI art for Chapter 1?

CGP: Sure, here are two text prompts for AI art for Chapter 1 of "The Sharing Crown":

"Four adventurous children setting out on a quest through an enchanted forest"

"The four children walking hand in hand through the magical woods, ready to face whatever challenges lie ahead"

I hope these prompts give you some ideas for generating illustrations for Chapter 1 of your story. Let me know if you have any further questions or if you'd like additional prompts for the other chapters.

RPN: Yes, I would like prompts for all the chapters. Can you share them all?

CGP: Sure! Here are text prompts for AI art for all the chapters of "The Sharing Crown":

Chapter 1: "The Quest Begins"

"Four adventurous children setting out on a quest through an enchanted forest"
"The four children walking hand in hand through the magical woods, ready to face whatever challenges lie ahead"

Chapter 2: "The Enchanted Forest"

"The children encountering a wise old wizard in the enchanted forest"
"The wizard giving the children a warning about the dangers of their quest"

Chapter 3: "The Dragon's Lair"

"The children facing a fierce dragon in its lair"
"The dragon calming down and befriending the children after they share a teddy bear with it"

Chapter 4: "The Knight's Challenge"

"The children being challenged by a noble knight to share their belongings"
"The knight approving of the children's sharing and allowing them to pass the challenge"

Chapter 5: "The Wizard's Return"

"The children being surprised by the wizard, who has found the Sharing Crown"
"The children putting on the Sharing Crown, filled with joy and pride"

Chapter 6: "The Return Home"

"The children being hailed as heroes upon their return home"
"The children wearing the Sharing Crown as a symbol of their journey and the legacy they will bear"

I hope these prompts give you some ideas for generating illustrations for each chapter of your story. Let me know if you have any further questions or if you'd like additional prompts.

EDIT UPDATE: Apparently it was saved and the hiccup was a growing pain..And here is where I coyly note that I did not save the original prompts and can’t easily share them. They are all embedded in my various txt2img and img2img processes that created the final results, but I don’t have them in a simple text file any longer. ChatGPT, unfortunately, does not save conversations by default, and so a copy/paste is necessary to save the results in creates.

I have set up Stable Diffusion on a couple local machines (one I had recently upgraded the RAM and GPU on in order to make these iterations faster…as noted, I’ve jumped in pretty deep) and got to work. Prompt -> result -> tweak -> result -> repeat. Getting computers to draw what you want, while certainly easily now than it was a year ago, is still not a perfect process. Even with AI assistance.

A few hours later, I had my first draft for both art and text. And also several hundred extra pieces of art that will never see the light of day for various reasons. This was all complete before the end of the new year. Taking off several hours for fun and family (I did mention all the kiddos, right?) I was still able to get the full first draft done **and submitted to Amazon** in under 24 hours.

That last bit is an important part, and involves **WAAAY** more AI’s than were involved in the direct creation of the book. The empowering tools of the modern self-publishing world have matured fully. The ability to publish and sell a manuscript without the intervention of any other (or any) human being is certainly a possibility.

And so, the point stands:

In 2022 it was possible to write, illustrate, edit and publish a children’s book in under 24 hours, using AI assisted technology.

Over the next week I then “upscaled” all the images and then added the text directly (via a wonderful iPad image editing tool called Procreate).

Then I recreated the manuscript and resubmitted the upscaled and upgraded version via Kindle Direct Publishing for review. That new version was been slowly filtering through Amazon’s self-publishing maelstrom and appears to be the current one available for purchase.

I am happy enough with it to have my name attached to it (although I apparently forgot to include it on the cover and there’s at least one typo in the current version)

You can see the results here:

The Sharing Crown

My plan, given the time and opportunity, is to do a few more versions of similar stories. The generative process was quite enjoyable, and much of the friction of creation was just me figuring out which buttons to click. I’d expect the next iteration to allow for a higher quality first draft within the single day parameters. And a fully professional product given more expanded timelines.

An amazing time we live in. I hope we can learn to enjoy and embrace it.

U.S. Power/Prestige Set to Decline Over Next 20 Years (It will Be O.k.)

This is something of a follow-up to my post the other day regarding World War II and the Great Depression.  In that post I made the point that a significant portion of the economic success the U.S. enjoyed from World War II to, well, now, was due to the fact that after WW2 the U.S. still had an economy and functioning  (i.e. not bombed) industry.

We then doubled down in the 80’s [note: this is a great article on how we got to where we are] to keep things going for a while, and again in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq. 

And now the fruits of our labors, or more directly, the fruits of the labors of the other 6,700,000,000 humans on the planet, are being harvested.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A government report released Thursday paints an alarming picture of an unstable future for international relations defined by waning American influence, a fragmentation of political power and intensifying struggles for increasingly scarce natural resources.

The report, “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World,” was drafted by the National Intelligence Council to better inform U.S. policymakers — starting with the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama — about the factors most likely to shape major international trends and conflicts through the year 2025.

“Although the United States is likely to remain the single most powerful actor, the United States’ relative strength — even in the military realm — will decline and U.S. leverage will become more constrained,” says the report, which is the fourth in a series from the Intelligence Council.

The report argues that the “international system — as constructed following the second World War — will be almost unrecognizable by 2025 owing to the rise of emerging powers, a globalizing economy, an historic transfer of relative wealth and economic power from West to East, and the growing influence of nonstate actors.”

 This is precisely what I was getting at in the previous post. 

[The Entire Report Is Available for Download Here…that page is the summary, the report itself is 120 pages long.  Fun reading.]

There are also some good points here, as some of the data the report was relying on has chaged.  For example…

It argues that the world is in the midst of an unprecedented “transfer of global wealth and power” — from West to East — that is being fueled by long-term “increases in oil and commodity prices” along with a gradual shift of manufacturing and certain service industries to Asia.

While the manufacturing aspects haven’t change, the recent global meltdown has absolutely gutted oil prices, which is the single largest factor in this transfer of wealth.

“Despite the recent rise in anti-Americanism, the U.S. probably will continue to be seen as a much-needed regional balancer in the Middle East and Asia,” the report notes.

Luckily, since we acted in a way that the rest of the world endorsed whole-heartedly, the “anti-Americanism” will fade.  Recall folks, after 9/11 everyone loved us.  It was only when we invaded an oil-rich country that hadn’t attacked us and wasn’t a threat to us….and then told everyone they were pussies because they wouldn’t come with us…that the “anti-Americanism” really took off.

Curious how that works, eh?  Actions matter. 

The report predicts that, the recent economic downturn aside, “unprecedented global economic growth” will mean that the demand for basic resources such as food, water and oil “will outstrip easily available supplies” over the next decade.

As an estimated 1.2 billion people are added to the world population over the next 20 years, the demand for food will rise by 50 percent, the report projects.

Umm, I don’t think you can so easily dismiss the “recent economic downturn.”  Part of the reason things like the recent collapse happen is because everything gets too overheated.  When you extrapolate from overheated systems, as this reports most likely does, then the extrapolations are that much more wild.

And if the demand for food goes up, maybe we can stop paying our farming congomerates to not farm.   Making food is something humans, and particularly Americans, have no problems with.

I find it very unikely that such a wide-ranging report would be altered to take into account the current economic crisis.  After having a look at the summary of the 2008 economic crisis on page 10…and how it does’t seem to even affect bullet points underneath it…they just added that section in and haven’t really factored it into the rest of the report.

The section of the crisis does end with something I mentioned in my taped rant…

The crisis has increased calls for a new “Bretton Woods” to better regulate the global economy.  World leaders, however, will be challenged to renovate the IMF and devise a globally transparent and effective set of rules that apply to differing capitalisms and levels of financial institutional development. Failure to construct a new all-embracing architecture could lead countries to seek security through competitive monetary policies and new investment barriers, increasing the potential for market segmentation.



There was recently a large meeting in Washington, D.C. to talk about doing exactly this.  Not much can be done with a lame-duck leading the free world and beggin people not to give up on cowboy-capitalism.

They re-scheduled the meeting for March, after Obama takes over and the adults are in charge of the U.S. economy again.  Sorry, kids, but cutting taxes and declaring war are two great conservative tastes that taste like shit together.

One quick note….the other RISING powers of the world all have one thing in common…

For the most part, China, India, and Russia are not following the Western liberal model for self-development but instead are using a different model, “state capitalism.”  State capitalism is a loose term used to describe a system of economic management that gives a prominent role to the state. 

Not that I am endorsing such a thing, as both China and India are in a different place developmentally that the U.S.  They are in need of massive infrastructure projects that only a government can provide.  Our interstate highway system and “The Internet” are the kinds of stuff I’m talking about here.

Overall it makes for sober reading, and really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.  If you are surprised, now would be a good time to get over it.  Otherwise, a whole bunch of things that happen over the next 20 years are not going to make sense to you.

It’s time to tighten the belts, my fellow ‘Merkins.  Which is a good thing, as belly fat can give you cancer.

I updated the title to mention something that I forgot to talk about in the above article, and that the “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World” total missed, and it’s going to change the world more than anything else in history.

It’s why I’m not worried…per se…about many of these issues.  That thing, which the CIA/DOD/NIE/Etc. higher-ups hopefully edited out (I can’t imagine with all the brainpower they got there no one brought up the concept) is called “The Singularity”.

Right now we’re on target for about 2020.  That’s 5 years, or roughly 8-fold, before 2025. 

Why do I say “8-fold?”  Because the computers of 2025 are going to be roughly 8 times as powerful as those of 2020, for the same price, and an eighth the size.

In 2020 the computers will have pretty much the same processing power, information-wise, as our own brains.  That may seem fancifcul now, but have you noticed that it is getting harder and harder to prove you are human on the Internet?

All it used to take was using a service.  Then you had to start jumping through easy hops.  Then the hoops got more difficult.

Sometimes, they are even flaming.

Those little “captchas” and other such tools are basic versions of a “Turing Test.”

There will come a day (probably around 2020), and that day is already called the Singularity, when the robots that roam the internet, and try to use and abuse services, will have the same “intelligence” as your average human being.  The same ability to be witty and sad.  To process and contextualize and remember. 

By 2025, they will have roughly 8 times the capacity of a normal human.

When you consider how very much entwined our world will be with the internet at that time, I think you can see why I began this section with the teaser “, and it’s going to change the world more than anything else in history.”

So the final question becomes, how or why did all those agencies miss it?

[that’s a trick question….guess who has access to the best minds and best tech?  That’s right.  It’ll be coming from our government.  Deep inside, probably.  Or on a lefty-fringe, like the Net itself did.  My hope is that we have made our government, and others, completely transparent by then.   So we can watch it happen.]