Thursday, May 31, 2007

THE DOLL VIOLINIST is a finalist!

Please let me share with you this exciting news...

My yet-to-be published picture book, THE DOLL VIOLINIST, just made it to the finals at the ABC's Children's Picture Book Competition!

I was just notified yesterday and I'm really thrilled. If anything, it is a great validation for all the hours I spend at the computer. Just to be chosen as a finalist is an honor for me. The link to the competition is www.abcbookcompetition.org, if you would like to find out more about it.

This is the third year this competition takes place. The winner will be anounced in October and will receive a royalty-paying publishing contract plus 1,000 copies of the printed book (in hardcover) to do with as the author chooses.

The artist working on the illustrations is the very talented Amy Moreno. Check out her website to see her marvelous work, www.amycullingsmoreno.com. A musician as well as an artist, she has truly captured the essence and feel of the story. Amy also moderates a yahoo group for Latino/Hispanic children's writers & illustrators. Check it out at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Latino-Hispanicwriters4Kids/

Okay, enough bragging. I'm off to fix myself some breakfast...

Mayra www.tips-fb.com

Monday, May 28, 2007

In the News: Library Thing and Early Reviewers

No doubt this new move by LibraryThing.com will inspire new debates about bloggers and reviewers.

Starting tomorrow, May 29th, Random House will be providing Library Thing with advance copies of some of its books. These books will be distributed among Library Thing’s early reviewers.

Some of the titles in the first batch include:

• The River Wife by Jonis Agee
• Forgive Me by Amanda Eyre Ward
• Peony in Love by Lisa See
• Keeping the House by Ellen Baker
• Away by Amy Bloom

This doesn’t mean that Library Thing will be pushing in any way Random House titles, or that negative reviews will deter this publisher from sending more books. Library Thing has set up an Early Reviewers group for prospective reviewers, bloggers, and readers who would be interested in participating and would like their questions answered. For the moment, only people registered with Library Thing and living in the US may partake in this, though LT hopes to get involved with international publishers in the future.

For more information, go to http://www.librarything.com/blog/2007/05/new-feature-tip-toe-early-reviewers.php.

Cheers!
Mayra Calvani www.tips-fb.com

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mini-Interview with Anne K. Edwards




Q. Your children’s picture book, Jeremy and the Dragon, (Illustrated by Lewis Francisco) was recently released by Twilight Times Books. What compelled you to switch genres and what was your source of inspiration for this particular story?
A. Jeremy and the Dragon is a one-time venture into another genre for a tale I wanted to tell. If I remember correctly, the idea came when I realized how many TV shows and books talk down to children or are so sugar coated as to make the listener or reader feel sticky. I wondered if a child character could logically be put in a situation from which he could make his own way out. The fun was in letting him go one-up on two older brothers who didn't want to play with him.

Q. Children never seem to get tired of dragon stories. What makes dragons so fascinating for children?
A. I think dragons represent the unknown in many forms. Danger, excitement, adventure, make-believe and a chance to imagine what they would do if faced with a dragon. To tell the truth, I think they fascinate the child in a good many adults too as evidenced by all the dragon tales written by both men and women authors for grown-ups.

Q. How was the experience of collaborating with an illustrator? What advice would you give children's authors who are looking for one?
A. I had fun! It was great to see my words take a shape I could see through an artist's eyes. I had already written the story and set it aside when I met Lewis Francisco, a talented artist, who was interested in doing childrens books. I gave him the story and the characters he created couldn't be improved. He gave the dragons some great expressions that tell the story without words. If you are a well established writer of childrens books, I'm sure there is no shortage of artists to do the art for your books, but if you are a beginner like myself, you might consider checking with a local art council if your town has one, or contacting the art teacher at your local high school or college. If there are art schools in your area, that is another place to start. And you might also just contact some children's book authors for information. In most cases you will have to pay for the artwork for your children's book, unless, you are fortunate enough like myself to find someone who is willing to undertake a partnership. Creating the artwork for any book is very time consuming and most artists just don't have that kind of time to risk on spec for a book that might not sell or draw enough attention to their work.

Q. Will there be more Jeremy and the Dragon books in the future?
A. That depends on how well this book is received and if the artist wants to go for a second book.

Q. Where is the book available?
A. The book is only in ebook form and may be ordered at http://twilighttimesbooks.com/ttb_booklist.html Go to Young Adult/Children's Books and click. Jeremy and the Dragon are the second listing. There is a button to click to read an excerpt and see the cover.

Q. In addition to being a published author, you’re also a newsletter editor, and freelance reviewer for various websites. How do you juggle all these jobs on a daily basis? Please describe a typical day in Anne. K. Edwards’ life.
A. There is no typical day in Anne K.'s life. Everything depends on the critters she lives with and serves. Their demands must come first and they do expect prompt responses. When they do not require attention, my time is split between writing and barn duties for a few aging horses. I fit my computer work and writing in between those tasks. I may stay up late some nights to finish a project but as I am one of the over-the-hill gang, that doesn't happen often.:)

Q. Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers about your current or future projects?
A. I'm having a bit of fun in helping Mayra Calvani on a writing project, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, and hoping to finish another Hannah Clare, PI, mystery. Then I have two really fun stories I hope to write. I did recently finish a dark story with no happy ending that will be out in ebook form in the late fall. It is based on a civilization that allowed greed to destroy it--The Last to Fall.
www.tips-fb.com

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

On the Spotlight: Young Adult Novelist Beverly Stowe McClure


Do you consider yourself a born writer?

No. In fact, when I was a child I hated to read. School book reports were a nightmare. Even though my teacher in eighth grade sent my poem, “Stars”, to a high school anthology, and it was published, I hated to write. I never would have imagined that someday I’d do just that.

When did you decide to become an author?

I don’t believe I consciously decided to become an author, but when I started reading to my sons, I discovered books were fun and entertaining, and I learned a lot from them. I also became a teacher and read to my students, mostly Newbery and Caldecott winners. Perhaps this is where the idea that I might write began. The June 2007 issue of The Writer magazine contains my breakthrough article.

I know you write young adult fiction. Is there any other genre you enjoy working on?

I write middle grade, too, and have tried a couple of picture books.

Tell us about your latest release. What is it about? What inspired you to write such a story?

Rebel in Blue Jeans is due out sometime in 2007 in trade paperback. Sixteen-year-old Rebel Ferguson is having a bad year. She has to deal with her mother who has run away with the drummer in a rock band, her father who has started drinking, the boy on the neighboring ranch who suddenly wants to be more than a friend, and a handsome college guy with a bad reputation who has taken an interest in her.

We read a lot about divorce and how it affects the children, especially younger ones. I decided to write about the influence of divorce on teenagers, at least on one teen.

When working on a novel, what is your schedule like? How long does it usually take you to finish a full-length book? Do you edit as your write or do you cough up the first draft and leave the polishing for later?

I’m a morning person and try to write from 9 am to noon. My brain stops after that, and I usually work on promo or do research in the afternoons. I write slowly because I edit as I go along. I hate to do it that way, but I can’t seem to get past a paragraph or a sentence until it makes sense. I can’t just jot down my thoughts, which would speed things up. I have to watch the research, too, or I’ll spend the morning reading all sorts of interesting articles on the Internet. I’ll use some of it, but it could wait until later. There’s really no set time it takes me to finish a book. I started my recent wip in May 2006, finished the rough draft in September 2006. The first revision took from September 2006, to March 2007. I’ve already added a stack of Post-it notes for ideas for the next edit. This story is resting now, while I work on my middle grade. More edits will follow. How many I haven’t a clue.

Fledgling writers often try to emulate their favorite author’s style. Did you experience this when you first started writing? If yes, who was your role model?

I did and still do, to a point. I have to be careful, because when I read a book that I really like, I think I should write that way, and it messes up the story I’m working on. No one role model, in particular, just whomever I happen to be reading at the moment. Some authors I really like their style are Stephanie Meyer, Sarah Dessen, Scott Westerfeld, Jodi Picoult, Ally Carter, Gail Giles, Dean Koontz, and I could go on and on. I’m easily influenced.

With so many books published, how do you promote your work and still have time to write, or vice versa? Do you follow a planned writing/marketing schedule? Any tips you would like to share with other authors?

Promotion is hard for me. I’d rather be writing. Even though I taught elementary school children for years, I’m a shy person. My voice fades away into nothing when I’m talking to a group of people. To promote my books, I’ve sent brochures to local and area schools for school visits, because I’m comfortable speaking with children. I’m waiting for replies. Book signings at libraries and book stores are not so intimidating and actually fun. I’ve sold few books that way, however. I’m looking into an online blog tour that several authors have done. I’m working on a movie trailer, which may never be finished. I also donate my books to contests, such as Teens Read Too. Anything to get my books out there and in the hands of teen readers. I’ve tried local festivals, but the booth rental was more than the profit I made from my books.

As far as schedules, I usually write Monday through Friday and work on promotion on Saturday. Some weekday afternoons I type letters to mail and make brochures. I order bookmarks, pencils, and other giveaways.

Tips: All I can say is try different things to see what works. Contact area newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations. (Next on my to-do list.)

Any upcoming books on the horizon?

Yes. Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines should be out soon in e-book. The story is set in Vicksburg, Mississippi, when the city was under siege during the Civil War. Also, my first middle-grade novel, I Live in a Doghouse, is under contract. One day this little voice whispered in my ear, “I live in a doghouse.” Of course I had to ask him why. And the story developed from there.

Do you have a website where readers may find more about you and your work?

My Web site is www.beverlystowemcclure.com
My blogs are: www.beverlyjean.livejournal.com and www.myspace.com/beverlywriter

What advice would you give to those young adult fiction authors who are trying to break into print?

Never give up. Write your story. Don’t try to write another Harry Potter. Edit, edit, edit. If you’re in a critique group, let them read your manuscript. (I’m not.) Search the markets. Even if a house is closed to submissions, sometimes they will read a query. Check message boards, such as the SCBWI for updated information on publishing houses. Then mail it and get busy on your next work.

If there was one book you’d recommend as absolute read for aspiring young adult fiction authors, what would that be?

That’s tough. There are so many good ones. I like Writing for Young Adults by Sherry Garland.

Please leave us with some words of wisdom.

Whether you’ve chosen to be a writer or writing has chosen you, write the best story you can write. Children deserve nothing less. Your reward is not the money (though that would be nice), but receiving that letter from a child, telling you how much he/she likes your book and how he/she relates to the main character.


Interview by Mayra Calvani
www.tips-fb.com

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Ruminations: Muses Love Walking

One of my books is going to be re-published, so I wanted to come up with a new title. But my mind was as dry as a New Mexican desert. I tried typing up a few possibilities without success. I thought: This is a disgrace. Is this all I am capable of? In a vast space of unfertile land, my thoughts refused to share anything with me, as if I were an intruder.

Maybe I had not been particularly attentive to my Muse lately. From my experience Muses are selfish, demanding, volatile creatures, as moody and unpredictable as Turkish jihn. Nevertheless, I surrendered to an act of kindness and decided to take her out for a walk. Besides, my daughter was my pulling my arm, begging to be taken out to bike.

As my daughter pedalled away ahead of me, I began to negotiate with my Muse, who obviously needed some placating. I was soon distracted by the blossoming tulips and bumblebees heavy with nectar. A magpie perched on the branch of a magnolia tree in full bloom caught my eye. The sweet tang of early spring was everywhere. I felt my senses tantalized, my mind instantly relaxing. Gradually, as the act of walking kept my legs moving one after another, my creative thoughts began to flourish with as much youthful beauty, freshness and grace as the tulips in the well-kept gardens around me. Most surprisingly, a torrent of ideas for titles rushed through my mind, which actually was quite annoying because I didn’t have pen and paper and I have a terrible memory.

When we do it alone—that is, with only our Muses for company—there is something powerful in the act of walking. Walking makes us connect with our inner self, our subconscious. In fact, walking can be for many a form of meditation. I didn’t even have to talk further with my Muse. I could feel her mellowing as she walked with me, gently giggling like a cherub with a balloon in one hand and an ice-cream cone in the other. www.tips-fb.com

Friday, May 18, 2007

Book Review: The No More Night Mares




The No More Night Mares
A Dream of Freedom
By Dawn Van Zant
Illustrated by Kim McElroy
Wild Heart Ranch Books
ISBN: 0-9761768-1-5
Copyright 2004
Children’s Picture Book
Paperback


With this book, Wild Heart Ranch Books brings children another lovely, melancholic story about horses and their quest for freedom.

In this story the author draws a connection between the Pegasus Constellation and the time long ago when “the land was filled with wild horses thundering across vast plains.”

It is the story of a noble, wild stallion named Eclipse, and his struggle to protect his herd from hunters. It is also a story of friendship. It is with the help of an enemy stallion named Golden Earth that Eclipse is able to save his herd from a wild chase. Besides Golden Earth, the earth and the moon also help in their own magical way, as these are the “Spirits of Freedom.” The author uses myth, fantasy and even a bit of magical realism to add depth to the story.

Unlike I Sea Horses, a title with a similar theme by the same publisher which is aimed at younger children, The No More Night Mares has fewer illustrations and longer, more complex text. The illustrations, though, are photo-like and rich with detail, making the beauty and strength of these animals come alive across the pages.

This is a nice book for parents to read to children who love horses, or for those who wish for their children to understand the meaning of freedom and the harm that man has unwillingly done against these intelligent, magnificent creatures.
www.tips-fb.com

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Book Review: The Ghost Mirror, by Jamieson Wolf


The Ghost Mirror
By Jamieson Wolf
eTreasures Publishing
http://www.etreasurespublishing.com/
Copyright 2007
Ebook/Paperback
YA/Dark Fantasy

Thirteen-year old Mave is no ordinary girl. For one thing, she happens to be a black-eyed, redheaded powerful witch, so much so that even her own parents fear her. Not understanding her powers, her mom and dad have chosen to ignore and neglect her to the point of emotional cruelty.

The only person in the world who seems to love and understand Mave is her grandmother, and when she takes Mave to live with her in her big mansion, the young girl couldn’t be happier. Soon, however, Mave discovers a strange and mysterious old mirror in the attic. Grandmother warns her to stay away from it, but sometimes curiosity can be more powerful than reason. Mave touches the mirror, with dangerous consequences. She’s transported into a dark and magical world and faced with a grand mission: she’s to destroy the evil Lavender Man… or die.

Talented author Jamieson Wolf has penned a dark, sometimes macabre, beautifully written novel for young adults and adults alike. His lyrical prose flows like the magic in his story and has an old-fashioned tone to it which perfectly complements the plot. Some of the vivid images in the book are quite haunting, like the Tree Lady of the forest and the Lavender Man sucking the spirit from his victims. Above all, the beauty of the language stands out, as well as the author’s obvious love for storytelling. I was drawn from start to finish into Wolf’s darkly magical world and look forward to reading the sequel soon.

Reviewed by Mayra Calvani
www.tips-fb.com

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Voices in my Head

The other night while watching TV my husband started talking about his current project at work. I nodded and said “Hmm” at the right intervals but I was listening to the voices in my head. I was a thousand miles away in a distant world, a fantasy realm where anything is possible, where adventure, mystery, horror and romance are a daily occurrence. Eventually something snapped and I felt consumed with guilt. I had to reel myself back in like a fish. Greetings. Welcome back to earth.

Likewise, at times when we watch the news my husband asks, “What did he say? I didn’t catch the last sentence.” I answer, “I didn’t catch it either.” Yeah, right. Those voices in my head again. The least I could do is listen to my poor husband complain about his insufferable colleagues, or answer a simple question about the news.

Sometimes I wonder if these voices in my head are a blessing or a curse. They’re with me while I cook, do the laundry, take a shower, peel apples, drive (dangerous, keep your head on the road!) Faceless beings whisper, asking to be future protagonists. Scenes flow as crystal clear as the waters of an Alpine brook. Sparkling dialogue, drenched in mystery, slides like a kid on a sleigh and resonates through both sides of my brain. Oozing with snakes like Medusa’s head, my ripe mind seeks the relief of pen and paper, and the calming drug of solitude.

One thing is for sure —I never feel lonely.

Now I have to make certain my husband doesn’t read this post. www.tips-fb.com

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Business of Writing for Children


The Business of Writing for Children
Aaron Shepard
Shepard Publications
http://www.aaronshepard.com/
ISBN: 0-938497-11-1
Copyright 2000
Paperback, 110 pages, $10.00
Non-Fiction/Writing

If you’re thinking of writing, selling and promoting a children’s book, The Business of Writing for Children is a title you’ll definitely want to add to your permanent reference shelf. In it you’ll find tips, useful information and resources on how to write children’s fiction, learning what editors want to see in a manuscript, how to submit your queries and promote your book. The book’s short length and concise, right-to-the-point approach make it an ideal first guide for beginners in the field.

Shepard begins by listing some “Dangerous Myths and Terrible Truths” about the business. Then he offers general guidelines on how to write for children, dealing with topics such as Theme, Plot, Story Structure, Characters, Setting, Style and Tone.

The different kinds of children’s books categories can be confusing and hard to distinguish from one another; Shepard describes each in a clear manner.

Everything from formatting and submitting your manuscript, to negotiating a contract, to understanding the publishing process, to building your career, to scripting your story can be found between these pages, and more. A separate section is given to other topics such as Rhythm and Writing and Researching Folk Tales.

Most helpful are the author’s sample flyers and queries, especially his ingenious way for sending one query for multiple titles, saving time and postage fees. Shepard also offers clever alternatives to sending cover letters by using Post-its. At the end of the book there’s an Appendix filled with useful resources.

Be aware this book will not teach you how to self publish a children’s book, but only how to sell your work to traditional publishers. However, this is a reference work valuable for anybody who wishes to understand the business of writing for children.

Reviewed by Mayra Calvani
www.tips-fb.com

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My Nine-Year Old Daughter, the Author



That’s right. Talk about living with the competition!

Guardian Angel Publishing (http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/), a company specializing in children’s picture ebooks and paperbacks, has started an imprint of books written and illustrated by children under twelve years of age. These books will be given the same amount of attention as those written by their adult counterparts, distributed to schools and libraries by Follett, Inc (the largest distributor of children’s ebooks to schools and libraries), and sold through all the major online retailers as well as on order at any brick and mortar bookstore. The low expense of electronic and print-on-demand publishing has made this innovation possible.

Of course my daughter is thrilled… how can she not be? Already all her classmates have asked for her autograph and her school librarian bought a copy of her book. There’s no question a thing like this can do wonders for a child’s confidence and self esteem, not to mention the way it also encourages and nurtures a child’s artistic talents. She’s already planning a sequel and I can’t blame her. To learn more about her book, visit: http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/angelinbubble.htm.

How did you find out about this publisher? How did your daughter write and illustrate a book? Does it take long? … You may ask yourself.

Actually, I didn’t even know there were publishers who were doing this, and I stumbled upon this company while searching a publisher for myself. As to how did my daughter write and illustrate the book, it happened last summer… yes, on those long, hot, and often boring summer days when you have nothing to do and wish school would start soon. We turned the kitchen into an atelier--papers, paints, pencils, crayons everywhere. I wanted to teach her the whole process of how a picture book is made. She worked and I supervised. Sometimes I helped, too. When she faltered, I kept encouraging her.
After 5 days (we worked about 3-4 hours a day) we had what is called a dummy!

When, a few months later, I stumbled upon Guardian Angel Publishing, I knew I had to give it a try. Lynda Burch, the publisher, answered the same day. She said she loved the book and would like to encourage my daughter’s talent. The rest is history. My daughter is the first author under this imprint but there are books by other young authors in line as well.

Is this to remain an oddity or will it become a trend? I have devoted and plan to still devote time promoting her book, but would a mom who is not an author know how to do this? What about book reviewing? So far I have not been too successful gathering reviews because some reviewers, while they congratulate my daughter on her achievement, aren’t sure how to critique a child’s work. As a reviewer, I fully understand, so I’m concentrating on gathering endorsements instead.

Guardian Angel Publishing is offering contests sponsored in elementary schools and will select winners for publication. If your child has written and illustrated a book and you would be interested in seeing it published, you may find more information and submission guidelines at: http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/angeltoangel.htm.

In the end, I think this is something schools should definitely get involved with in order to encourage students to read and write. There must be thousands of talented little authors out there who aren’t even aware of their talents and whose creativity needs unleashing and nurturing. Even if you don’t submit to a publisher (though I have to tell you, there’s nothing quite like holding your child’s published book in your hands!) this is a fun and educational activity to do with your child during those long summer holidays.
www.tips-fb.com

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

What do you think of my new logo?


Hi all,

Talented artist Amy Moreno just finished doing the last touches on my logo. Isn't it lovely? I'll use this logo for this blog and for my children's book website (still in the designing stages).
Amy and I are also collaborating on another project--a picture book titled THE DOLL VIOLINIST. This is a heart-warming story set in the Victorian times.

Check out Amy's fantastic work at: www.amycullingsmoreno.com.




www.tips-fb.com

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Article: Writing Between Diapers: Tips for Writer Moms

“Nothing has a stronger influence
psychologically on their environ-
ment and especially on their children
than the unlived life of the parent.”
--C. G. Jung


After a bad night of hardly any sleep, you’re sitting at the computer staring at the blank screen. You wonder if you’ll be able to do it—finish that article, short story or novel which you started months ago. The urge to write is overwhelming, yet you freeze. Not only are you exhausted, but the baby, who you put to sleep less than half hour ago, is whimpering in the crib. Your four-year old has just barged into the office and is tugging at your elbow begging for a snack, even though he had lunch an hour ago. This is hopeless, I may as well quit, you say to yourself while trying to suppress a scream. To your horror, you suddenly find yourself sympathizing with those animals that eat their young…

Don’t despair. Calm down. I’ve been there and know perfectly well what you’re going through.

The truth is, you can write, but you need to have four things:

The Right State of Mind

Before you plan a schedule, putting your mind in the right frame is the most important think you’ll do. Remember your kids will not stay small forever. Time passes quickly (I assure you it does!) and soon they’ll be old enough to go to school. Until that magical day arrives, though, you’ll have to “steal” time to work on your project. Wanting to finish a whole novel in one month at this point in your life is unrealistic. Don’t focus so much on the “end product” but on doing a little bit of that “end product” at a time. Little paragraphs are what articles, stories and novels are made of. The important thing is steady progress, and as long as you take steps to fulfil the road, you’re on the right track. These tiny bird steps, however small, will give you a sense of accomplishment and keep you guilt-free to enjoy your life and family.

Good Physical Condition

You might think, “Good physical condition? I thought this was an article about writing.” Well, you’ll bet it is. Let’s face it, moms who care for small children are always tired. And tired people don’t’ particularly like to sit at the computer and write; they want to collapse on a bed. Moms urgently need to raise their energy levels! A good diet and a little exercise can do wonders to raise energy levels. Eat high-protein foods and lots of fruits and veggies. Stay away from white flour and sugar, as well as junk food. Go for three meals a day with one light healthy snack in the afternoon and one before you go to bed. Stay away from those high energy bars, though. They are so high in carbs your sugar levels will sky rocket and then pummel down, making you feel even more tired and hungry than before. Low fat cottage cheese and a couple of almonds, with a bit of fruit are a great choice for a snack. Drink plenty of water! Scientists have found that dehydration is one of the main factors in making a person feel tired.

Finding time to exercise may be difficult, that’s why it’s a good idea to do it with your child. If you have a stationary bicycle or other exercise machine, do 15 minutes while the toddler watches the Teletubbies. You don’t have to exercise a full hour. Even 10 minutes will do the trick. Take your baby for a walk in the stroller at least 3 times a week, preferably in the mornings when it’s fresh and quiet. It will calm your nerves, rejuvenate and even inspire you. Your baby will love it, too. Not only will he/she enjoy the “sights and sounds,” but it will probably make him/her tired and eager to take a longer nap later in the day—just what you’re after!

A Well-Planned Schedule

Okay, so you have the right state of mind and are eating well and exercising. What next? A well-planned schedule that fits your lifestyle and plays around your strengths and liabilities is a must. But keep an open mind and don’t be unrealistic. If your baby naps in the afternoon, don’t set your writing time in the mornings, or vice versa. How much time each writing session will last depends on your lifestyle and children’s habits. You may choose to write half an hour each day or one hour every other day. It’s up to you. The important thing here is to keep it approachable and to stick with it.
There’s one thing I strongly advice: If you can manage it, don’t take more than two nights off from your project. Not only will it stall your momentum, but it will give your brain to much time to come up with self-doubts and excuses for procrastination.

You may be asking yourself: But how do I get rid of my children!?

If your children are old enough to go to nursery school, your problems are solved. Just set your writing schedule during those hours. For those of you whose children are still at home, there are other possibilities:

Write early in the morning before your children awake, during their daytime naps and after they go to sleep at night. (See why you have to keep yourself in good physical condition?) I have a friend who wrote two books this way.

If you can afford a babysitter—maybe your neighbour’s teenaged daughter—to look after your child while you write on the next room (that way you can keep a close eye on them) then go for it!

Write while your toddler watches his favourite video movie. He wants to watch it again? Go ahead! This is not the right time to consider the effects of too much TV on children.

Go to the local library and write while your child listens to Story Time! Almost all libraries, and even bookstores, schedule story times for children. Take advantage of these.

If you have a writer friend who is also a mom, enlist her as your “writing partner,” take the kids to Mc Donald’s and write while your kids play in those weird game tunnels. “Hey, wait a minute!” you think. “You said to stay away from junk food.” Nice try, but even McDonald’s now offers a good selection of salads and fruit cocktails. Besides, I never said one hamburger once in a while will kill you. You might even reward yourself with a hamburger… AFTER you’ve fulfilled your minimum writing quota for that day.

Invite your writing-partner mom or moms for a “writing morning” at your home and write while your children play together. You may take turns with your homes. Also, as a group, you can consider hiring a sitter for these occasions. Writing with a support-group of people who are in the same situation as yourself is usually very rewarding and productive. Plus it’s a lot cheaper when each of you contribute to pay for the sitter. You may even want to start a club and meet once a week.

Determination

None of the above will prove helpful if you lack the determination to stick to a schedule. Think about it. Do you want to reach the age of seventy without having accomplished your goal—that masterpiece of a novel that will land you multiple contracts, fame and fortune? You’ll never know unless you take the first step. Family, and especially your children, should always come first, BUT don’t use your children as an excuse not to write. The truth is, life is so hectic there NEVER will be a “perfect” time to write. I assure you, if not children, later you’ll come up with something else as your procrastinator. It may be difficult to follow the schedule at first, and you may need to modify it, but eventually you’ll be glad you did. Otherwise you’ll live with self-guilt, self-loathing, disappointment and frustration.

Do it. Start today. Now.

Don’t forget: Frustrated writers are frustrated moms. Frustrated moms are unhappy moms. Artistically fulfilled moms are happy moms who can give themselves to their loved ones without reservations.

By Mayra Calvani www.tips-fb.com

Friday, May 4, 2007

Do you love wolves? Consider adopting one!



Dear Readers,

Let me share the latest news... I adopted a wolf pup! Her name is Chito and she's just a few weeks old. Isn't she adorable?

Does that mean the wolf is at home with me? Of course not! LOL. It just means I send an annual donation so that people who are qualified may care for her and she has all she needs to grow happy and healthy in the company of her pack members.

I stumbled upon the Wolf Howl Animal Preserve while doing research for one of my forthcoming novels, EYE OF THE WOLF. If you're a wolf lover, this is the perfect site to hang around. It's filled with informative articles, an active forum, and wolf merchandise, among many other things. The link is www.everythingwolf.com.

So far the forum members have been wonderfully helpful in answering my questions. I have always been fascinated with these magestic, mysterious creatures and really believe we should do all we can to protect them and help their species survive. I hope to bring this message across with my book.

Mayra www.tips-fb.com

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Could You, Should You Self-Publish a Children’s Book?


Could You, Should You Self-Publish a Children’s Book?
by Anne Emerick
Aboon Books
www.aboonbooks.com
ISBN: 0-9754649-0-6
Copyright 2004
Ebook, 68 pages, $15.95

Have you ever felt the desire to publish your own children’s book? Have you ever considered starting your own children’s book publishing company? If you’ve answered Yes to these two questions, but have always been daunted or afraid by the prospect, then this book is for you.

Anne Emerick, founder of her own children’s book publishing company, Aboon Books, takes the myth out of the process. In her practical, informative step-by-step method, she takes you through the whole self-publishing process from start to finish, and makes it utterly interesting along the way.

Emerick breaks the self-publishing process in four stages: planning, getting the story illustrated, getting the book printed, getting the book into the hands of readers and a return on your investment.

Within these main topics, you’ll find the following subjects: what first to do to become a publisher, filing a DBS or an LLC, getting ISBN and library card catalogue numbers, expenses, illustrating and book designing, the different printers and what to keep in mind when choosing one, how to price your book and keep that price competitive, professional associations and fees, promotion and marketing, how to plan your budget, how to find a distributor, selling to libraries and bookstores and much, much more.

The author uses illustrations to better demonstrate what she’s talking about. There’s also a section of success stories where other people share their experiences and ideas.

The fact that the book is in electronic format is convenient and time-saving, since it is filled with lots of helpful links you can readily check at the click of a mouse.

This book really clarifies in simple language what it takes to open your own children’s book publishing company. Highly recommended.
www.tips-fb.com