2

Keep Your Eyes Wide/Half Open

Here is a wonderful blog site I’d like to share! Check out her link for the writing challenge and 12X12. Great stuff!

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10

Our Favorite Children’s Stories

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I take Ryan to Aroma Joes twice a week before daycare for a chocolate glazed sprinkle donut. Though he usually asks daily, “Is it time for Aroma Joe’s house?” One morning, as we pulled up to the window, the young lady saw Ryan sitting in his car seat in the back and said, “Hi honey, you’re so cute!” Ryan looked up at her and said matter-of-factly, “I just farted in my seat.” She said, “Well that’s good I guess!”
I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday! I got an Ipad for Christmas! This is going to speed up my research and writing. I can easily pick it up at any point during the night in bed, as that is usually when I’m struck with ideas and thoughts. I won’t have to try to remember in the morning or start up the desktop computer downstairs. This is amazing and I’m so grateful. I was also lucky enough to get a scanner from my parents for my illustrations so I can not only upload them for publishing through CreateSpace but also to share them with you. I’m in the works on finishing some more books and have decided to not only continue with self-publishing Ryan’s Moon, but to try all avenues available too. So I will be submitting to an agent to try the traditional route and also send out to traditional publishers without an agent as I have done in the past. I have decided to pursue all types of publishing in order to test the waters. It is highly advised in the writing world now. So my main focus will still be to self-publish Ryan’s Moon but I will send out query letters and manuscripts also. I think this is going to be a great experiment so that I can share it with all of you.
Growing up, some of my favorite books included Alice in Wonderland, choose your own adventures, Little Critter and all the little golden books. Some I remembered, but I also searched 80’s children’s books and the past came rushing back to me.
We all remember our favorite stories as children. They were such an important part of our lives. Some of them taught us lessons, some taught us feelings and some just made us laugh. While researching I found a special site dedicated to helping young readers. It has a page with video interviews of tons of children’s book authors from some of our classic stories and from our new loved stories. They give helpful advice and tell their personal stories of how they got to where they are today. They also tell the background of how the stories were created. I listened to all of them. Some are Julia Andrews (Mary Poppins), Judy Blume, Eric Carle (The very Hungry Caterpillar) and Katherine Patterson (Bridge to Terabithia). Here is the link to the author’s interview page if you would like to see them too;
http://www.readingrockets.org/books/interviews/
I went on from there to actually research further into some of these stories and found some amazing things. I’d like to share some of them with you. In this blog I will share the story behind Winnie-the-Pooh.

Ryan’s favorite teddy is Winnie-the-Pooh. Given to him by his Nammy (my mom). He takes him everywhere. Pooh is now part of the family. Second favorite is his stuffed animal Eeyore (he calls Ogey). He calls them his “babies”.
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Winnie-the-Pooh is one of the most recognizable characters in children’s literature, along with: Christopher Robin, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, and Owl. But how did it all begin? Here is what I have learned:
Alan Alexander Milne had already achieved success as a writer for a magazine and as a playwright and mystery author. He might never have written for children had it not been for the birth of his son, Christopher Robin Milne, in 1920.
Back in 1921, a small stuffed bear, bought from Harrods department store, was given to Christopher Robin (called Billy), from his mom. This bear was called Edward at first, and sometimes Big Bear, or Teddy Bear. The story of how Christopher’s toy became known as Winnie-the-Pooh has two parts—Winnie and Pooh.
A real bear named Winnie was a popular attraction at the London Zoo. At the outbreak of World War I, a Canadian veterinary surgeon was on his way from Winnipeg to join the second Canadian Infantry Brigade when he bought a bear cub from the hunter who’d shot the cub’s mother. The young officer named the cub Winnie (for Winnipeg), and the bear accompanied him to England and became the company’s unofficial mascot. When the soldiers left for France, Winnie was left in the care of the London Zoo, and it was there that Christopher Robin discovered her. Winnie was incredibly tame, and on one occasion Christopher was allowed into Winnie’s cage to feed her. Although the real Winnie did not like honey, she did have a sweet tooth and preferred condensed milk to raw meat.
The name “Pooh,” rather surprisingly, came not from a bear but a swan. In the introduction to When We Were Very Young, A. A. Milne referred to the swan in the poem “The Mirror”: He says, “Christopher Robin, who feeds this swan in the mornings, has given him the name of ‘Pooh.’ This is a very fine name for a swan, because, if you call him and he doesn’t come (which is a thing swans are good at), then you can pretend that you were just saying ‘Pooh!’ to show him how little you wanted him.”
Other stuffed animals joined Winnie-the-Pooh in Christopher Robin’s nursery, including Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, and Tigger. Christopher and his mother played with them together, and Christopher invented voices and personalities for the animals that inspired his dad.
A. A. Milne called Owl and Rabbit “my own unaided work.” They were the only two characters drawn not from Christopher’s toys but from the natural world near Cotchford Farm, the Milnes’ property in Sussex. Winnie-the-Pooh had adventures with Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Owl, Rabbit, and Tigger in the 100 Aker (Acre) Wood (based on the Ashdown Forest in southern England, located near the Milne family home).
In 2008, the dolls were moved to the newly created Children’s Room at the main New York Public library where they can be seen today.
I hope you enjoyed this blog. Thank you for joining me. Happy 2014 everyone!

2

Social Media

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When Ryan turned two, he would hold up both of his pointer fingers and say, “Three thumbs up!”
Now at almost three, when he gets excited about something he yells, “Rock star!” I have no idea where this came from, or for that matter, where most of what he says comes from. He has quite the sense of humor and I foresee him being the “Class Clown”. Uh oh….

Social Media
Let me give you an overview of what I have found to be the most important piece of information I can give. No matter what avenue you decide on, forming an incredible author’s platform is the absolute most important. It’s soooooo important. It must be started NOW. What is an author’s platform? For each writer it needs to be suited to their own individual wants. For instance, you want to pick at least two social media sites. For me, I prefer Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads. I also have chosen to start a blog. My blog automatically posts notifications to my Twitter and Facebook when published. This gets your name out there. It also will email anyone who signs up for my blogs email notifications on my home page. It’s all about making connections. The community I have chosen for my website is WordPress.com. It allows me to connect with other writers and authors and the ability for us to share each other’s blogs and links with each other’s friend lists. This in turn will create more contacts and followers in the writing community. And remember it’s not all about you! It’s really all about reciprocity. It’s important to follow others bloggers, Facebook and Twitter sites and share their links, posts and blogs. Scratching each other’s backs allows you to spread your writer’s wings. Researching and sharing from others bloggers sites not only helps both of you in this respect, but you can learn from each other too. And in this ever changing publishing world, that is extremely important. So not only do I have to write stories, illustrate, write blogs, work on Goodreads, comment and answer questions, but I also need to research constantly for blog content and share others information on the social media sites I have chosen. Remember not to bite off more than you can chew! Start small and work your way up. The worst thing you can do is pick a ton of avenues to work with and get so overwhelmed that you quit. With that comes to my next “work in progress”, setting a schedule. I have a day to day schedule set up, but I’m sure as I get rolling that will change. I need to stay flexible and find out what works for me. So set a schedule for your work and as you go along you will find the best way to approach it. But you have to just start!
Your author’s platform should be started ASAP. Do not wait until your book is ready for editing! The sooner you start, the more connections you will make. Then, when it’s time to publish, whether traditional route or indie, you have a following. This is key. To hear more on author’s platforms, please see Joanne’s podcasts and interviews. Some that I have found extremely helpful are:
http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2009/03/30/podcast-roger-c-parker/
http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2009/04/28/podcast-seth-harwood-podcasting-platform/
Have a wonderful day everyone!

2

My Holiday Blog

Taz

Hello my friends and family!

I unfortunately have not written a blog in a while. I have been inundated with all the Christmas crafts that Ryan and I are making for presents this year together. 88 individual crafts to be exact! Am I a lunatic? Some say yes! But this week we have finished them and now I am just wrapping here and there for the next month or so and getting some ready to be shipped out to relatives I do not see at Christmas, sadly. But they are thought of often and our little gifts are just a little way to let them know this.
My intent and self-expectations were to write a blog a week. I’m going to keep my goal to give myself something to strive for, but with the holidays I may not be able to do this this month.
Along with our Christmas crafts, another reason for the lack of blogging is that RYAN HAS HIT THE SO-CALLED “TERRIBLE TWO’S”. I would like to go on the record and officially change the name to “THE HORRIFIC, DISTURBING, UNEXPLAINABLE TASMANIAN DEVIL PERIOD”. HOLY CRAP BATMAN….what happens to a child that within a 24 hour period they go from the loving child you have always known to a Tasmanian “super storm” devil, to last an unknown length of time? One who would surely devour their mother in one bite, if only they took the time to stop screaming long enough to serve her up on a silver platter. Well at least he would be eating something, as he seems to have gone on some sort of strike from anything that doesn’t start with the word chocolate. Is there some sort of toddler revolt that has taken place across the country that I have not heard about??? If that’s the case, maybe I should take away all his toy phones, as that must be their form of communication in this potential toddler revolution. Needless to say, I love that little guy through good times and bad. I enjoy every second with him of everyday. My Ryan, my angel (with devil horns of course).

Anywho, I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with their friends and families. Stay tuned!
Thanks all and Happy Holidays!

0

Avenues of Publishing

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A few weeks ago, I woke up to my little Ry smiling at me. He said, “Mommy, you’re beautiful”, and gave me a hug. I think that was one of the best moments of my life so far.
So my next step in this project is to continue the blog and all that entails, find an editor, and begin the illustrations. I’m thinking of trying a torn paper/mod podge style. Hard to explain but when I start doing them, I’ll scan and share them. For example, the moon on the pages will be made of little bits of torn paper that are pages of stories about the moon.
I hope you have been able to check out the two sites I recommended in my last blog. Also, I found you shouldn’t assume by the podcast titles on those pages that you may not be interested in that particular one. I found some of the most useful information in the ones I waited until last to listen too because the title didn’t sound like it was for me.
Deciding on the avenue to travel is a difficult one. Next I will explain the industry as I have learned it. I’ll give a short explanation of the different types available.
TRADITIONAL PUBLISHERS:
Traditional publishers pay writers royalties in exchange for the rights to their books. The publisher assumes all financial risk.They provide the editor and other people needed to publish a book. They also help with marketing, to a point. Now a days, you as the author, are expected to promote your book as well. You must send out queries and/or manuscripts to these companies with a hope to receive an acceptance letter or rejection within 6 months. Many traditional companies do not take any manuscripts unless you have an agent. You must query an agent first and hope for acceptance in order for them to be able to submit your work to these companies.
VANITY PRESSES:
These companies expect the author to take on the financial responsibility for the book. They provide the needed people for publishing though. They sometimes are called subsidy publishers meaning the company asks for their costs to be subsidized but then markets and pays royalties.
PRINT ON DEMAND:
Print on demand is a new technology that allows publishing companies to print books entirely on computers which makes the process much less costly. You don’t have a warehouse full of books to sell. They print as an order is needed. So with this new technology, now comes a new hybrid type of publisher. POD is not a type of publisher, but a method of printing.
SELF-PUBLISHING COMPANIES:
They assist you in the self-publishing journey. Some will work off royalties which sounds great, but for me I’d rather do the work myself and get more money in return as they use the same online distributers as I would use doing it myself. They may say they are a traditional publisher but there is more to it than that. And you better know the contract in complete entirely before you sign anything. They may say that their books are available to all major book stores but the reality is that they will only be put into a computer database that the company can order from. So unless someone who specifically wants your book and goes in to order it, the book will not actually ever be on the self. You can pitch to the stores to carry your book but with the amount of people doing that, the chances are really slim to nothing. Most often the books are non-refundable to the bookstore if they do not sell so they will not take the chance.
SELF-PUBLISHING YOURSELF:
You keep the rights to your book. You publish the book using distributors such as Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, etc. You find and pay for an editor and you promote and market (which means having an exceptional author’s platform, which I will explain in my next blog). Unless you are writing a novel, you must also find and pay for the illustrator if you do not do it yourself. The bonus is you keep all rights to your book and you receive a much higher royalty from these online distributors then you would if you contracted with a traditional publisher.
The reality for most people with self-publishing is that you will probably never get your book into an actual brick and mortar store. But if you are ok with internet sales, as I am, than this is a great option for you. With the increase in people using ipads, nooks and kindles, I think this is a successful option.
What it comes down to is what the individual author wants. Each option maybe a more suitable one depending on what the author is looking for. For me, I’d rather spend the extra time and get a better return on each book, so I will pursue the self-publishing/indie route.
I hope this was helpful in distinguishing between some of the avenues available. Please also know that this blog is strictly based on my research and findings and are opinions only.
Have a great night all!
Christina

0

My Second Blog Post – Please Join Me….

EE “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” ― Albert Einstein

Little Ry: “Mum, you’re a cutie pie.”
Me: “Awww thank you Ry! You’re a cutie pie too!”
Little Ry: “No I’m not mum, I’m a big boy!”

Thank you for joining me for my second blog! I made it through the first and found time to do another! It’s amazing!!!!
Little Ryan has started potty training this week more seriously. We had introduced it quite a while back but over the last few months he has become bored to the potty game to our dismay. He has the singing potty that shouts and claps when he pees and we have tried different prizes and all that. It just lost its sparkle and excitement once he figured he had mastered doing it a few times. I can’t blame him really. I do the same exact thing with the gym! I get on that treadmill and after I’m down a pound or two I’m pretty proud of myself and then it’s off to the pizza house again and on to something else. He would rather play trucks outside then be bothered with such things he has already accomplished. Well, yesterday he realized that there is more to it! We started with the coolest super hero character underwear and plastic pull overs and to our surprise he only had two accidents all day! Then he poopied in the potty before bed, with quite an amount of resistance. When I explained that he could look at his poop in to toilet after, he was all in for the show!!!!!!!! It worked. After, he did the ewwwweeeee and groooooooooss game in the toilet and we laughed and laughed (after a ton of high fives and kisses). Thank you to the gross things little boys like to do. Guess it could be worse………
For anyone who is interested in learning more about the publishing world, I have found a few blogs that are phenomenal. This is where I started in my research. The first one is Joanne Penn’s site, http://www.thecreativepenn.com/ . She is a thriller writer, which is not my genre, but the amount of information from her blogs is unreal and spreads across all genres whether going traditional publishing with a publisher or going the indie (Independent publishing/self-publishing) route. This blog was voted top 10 blogs for writers three years running, and top ten blogs for self-publishing 2012. I also have her link on my side bar which is always available. If you’re too busy, instead of reading the blogs, you can listen while at work or at the gym or in your car on your phone. Just go to her podcast page to listen to all her interviews with amazing people in the publishing community. The amount of knowledge I have attained from her is priceless. She has taken the indie route but she also gives incredible feedback on traditional publishing also. She explains the process and how she did it. I have been in touch with her and she is a cool lady. Due to her and a few others, I have decided to take the indie route myself and I will let you know why. I was, and have, sent out my manuscript to over a hundred publishers. I have received tons of rejections obviously as this is a very difficult avenue. Then miraculously I received an acceptance letter from a publisher that will remain nameless. They work off royalties as all traditional publishing houses do and they were very nice to work with but I have decided that this is not for me. I was not quite happy with the illustrator they had me set up with even though she really was an amazing artist. I just had a different vision in mind. I found through other indie publishers that self-publishing is much more time intensive but the overall rewards are far more what I’m looking for. With traditional publishing you are looking at the good ole brick and mortar stores. The way I will approach publishing is through online sales with Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. Over the last few years, indie publishing is gaining more respect and authenticity. I think right now is the perfect time to get involved. I will be sharing with you the avenues available and how I’m getting along with my indie publishing. I will share ALL my mistakes too and I hope it is helpful to anyone else interested in a similar endeavor.
The second site I’d like to mention that I have been working off of is a children’s writer who self-publishes and also uses traditional publishers. Katie Davis, http://katiedavis.com/ . She is hilarious and her books are wonderful. She has published 10 books and appears on the ABC affiliate show, Good Morning Connecticut, recommending great books for kids. She also gives incredible info and you can read or listen to her interviews with some big league people and writers.
Check these two sites out as soon as you can. If you want to understand the industry, here you go. It will start you in the right direction.
Remember, whether you write one sentence a day or three pages, you have to sit down and just do it. It’s not quantity, its quality. One word at a time…
Please check out my book reviews under Goodreads. This is a fantastic site to join if you love books! You create your own page and you can review and read others reviews. Connect with others and share books you love! This week I have reviewed a boardbook called “Potty” by Leslie Patricelli.
Love to all with much muchiness…..

25

My First Blog

Moon green

Thank you for joining me for my first blog. I’m excited! Also a little nervous. When you write for all eyes to see, you are opening yourself up and exposing your deepest thoughts and feelings, which can be a little scary at first but I’m ready to take this leap! I hope that it brings new contacts into my life and maybe a few laughs to my friends and family. We shall see!

I have recently finished a children’s story in honor of my son, Ryan. This was unknown to me at that time considering I started it three years before I gave birth to him. But ultimately, I have found that it was always for him, always about him, even before he came to this world. My book is called “RJ’s Moon”. It’s a rhyming story about a little boy who steals the moon for his mom for her birthday. The characters will be animals, as all my stories are. Five years later, give or take, it is ready for content editing, but back to that later…

Nothing, and I mean nothing, in life that’s remotely worth doing comes without struggle and sacrifice. With that brings a sense of accomplishment. In starting my writing and illustrating journey, I can see that my biggest sacrifice will definitely be sleep! Having little Ry doesn’t leave too much time to write stories. With that being said, the time I have with my son is priceless and comes first and foremost. He brings a bright light to my life that nothing else in the world could EVER bring. My angel, that he is. He is a gentle soul. Some days a very, very LOUD soul, but gentle (even when he is breaking something). He inspires me on a daily basis in all sorts of little ways. From his giggles, to his more frequent two year old fits. But it’s all inspiring, to say the least. So after bedtime I will try to use my time wisely to accomplish my goals with writing. It will be quite a challenge but I look forward to it. Success to me is making small steady steps that eventually lead to the ultimate goal in the distance. No rush.

My intentions and overall objective for this blog is to begin an author’s platform. Not to only document my journey, but to share what I’m learning with others who also have a passionate dream of publishing a book. I’m also hoping to meet other bloggers in the WordPress blogging community with the same ambitions and develop relationships with them.

Over the past few years I have studied and researched the publishing world and all it entails. I’ve spoken to other authors and can honestly say that I’ve listened to hundreds of podcasts on writing and the publishing industry. I will share these with you as I go along and I hope that you find them as useful as I have. Some of the contacts are really quite amazing. I enjoy helping others and I will strive to make sure this blog does just that. With Ryan being the biggest part of my life, I will share a funny stories about him also. My goal is to have one blog published monthly. I will also be reviewing children’s books that Ryan and I read each  and share them on “Goodreads” for you. This will be accessible on my side bar.

Writing has always been a passion for me. As a child, I wrote and drew cartoon characters constantly. I was always making little books in my spare time. I think sometimes we don’t see or realize how important our childhood passions were. I believe that whether or not we continue with them, they are ALWAYS a part of us. The child inside all of us never truly leaves, and when you find it again, it’s amazing. I found it again when I had my son. I see things differently, or should I say I see things as I used to, with wider eyes. It’s the little things in life that we have become numb to over time that I have found again. Like the magical way snow falls from the sky when you stare straight up on a quiet snowy day. Or the time Ry was looking up at the moon, when it was still out during the day, and he said in wonder, “Mum, the moon is stuck!” Looking at life through a child’s eyes makes you begin to appreciate the little things in life that you have forgotten.

I had the idea for RJ’s moon long before Ryan was born. But I never could get it right. Something was missing. Now that I’ve seen life again through my son’s eyes, I have been able to finish it. He has been mesmerized by the moon since he could first express it with his eyes only. I never knew years ago when I was sitting and struggling to write this book that one day I’d be snuggling and holding the story right in my arms. Thank you Ryan…
When I post a new blog, it will automatically notify my current friends on Facebook and Twitter by posting a notification to my page. If you do not have either of those, please feel free to sign up to my email notification on my side bar and it will email you each time I post a new blog. I also have the RSS Feeder sign up on my page as well. For anyone who does not know what this is I will explain. You can go to any RSS Reader site and depending on the site you choose, you can create an account that will give you the ability to have any website of your choice notify you when there is a new blog or article posted. I hear “Feedly” is the next best thing to Google Reader, which has just shut down. This way you can go to one general spot to read all the things from different sites you are interested in without having to go to each website constantly to see if they have added something new. It’s great. Also, please feel free to send me questions and comments. I would soooo appreciate them and would love to help if anyone has questions regarding future posts.
Thanks again, peace and love.