Friday, November 21, 2014

A New Way to Illustrate a Picture Book

I want to illustrate a picture book entirely through photo-manipulations. This might not be an entirely new way to illustrate a picture book; I'm sure someone somewhere had already done this, but it's a new idea for me. If anyone knows of a quality picture book that uses photo-manipulation for its illustrations, I'd love for you to let me know the title so I can have a look at it.

I often write picture book manuscripts. I rarely submit them to agents or publishers, but I know that, when I do, the publisher who takes on one of my picture books will choose an artist to illustrate my book, and I won't get much say over the choice or the illustrator's style. I would love to have the control over my picture books that self-publishing gives, but I cannot really afford the cost of an illustrator to illustrate the book.

Here's how the idea started percolating in my mind. My husband is great at sketching, but he's not quite at the level of an illustrator and I am far behind him in ability when it comes to drawing. However, he is incredibly skilled when it comes to photo-manipulations, often seeing and thinking of little details that would escape most of us. I am also learning quite a bit about photo-manipulations and how to create some stunning work.

So the idea is to choose one of my picture book manuscripts to illustrate entirely through photo-manipulations. It would have to be one that would be well-suited for this type of art. But the idea intrigues me, and of course, my mind is now running a million miles a minute with ideas for the art.


The main question is: Can I convince my husband to take the time away from his limited relaxation time to work with me on this project? (He works a lot of hours at the day job and spends hours a day commuting.) And, following on that question is: If he can't make the time to help, am I far enough along in my abilities to create the photo-manipulation illustrations myself?

Here are just a few examples of my husband's photo-manipulations (below):












Saturday, November 15, 2014

NaNoWriMo, anthologies and my novels "Ink" and "Call of the Siren"

I feel as though I have been neglecting this blog recently. So here is an update on my recent activities to help explain a little bit of why this blog has been slightly more neglected than usual.

Sand Scorpion by Michael Norwiz
Volume One
First of all, I am putting together two anthologies, one to be published through my indie publishing company Melusine Muse Press and the other to be published through it's subsidiary publishing division Your Kids' Creations. Melusine Muse Press will be publishing a second volume of SuperHERo Tales called "SuperHERo Tales: Volume Two: A Second Collection of Female Superhero Stories," hopefully within a week from now. This one will be very much like the first volume, except that, along with some brand new female superheroes, some of the stories will be new scenes from some of the superheroes you got to meet in the first volume, plus this volume will have more sketches of the superheroes to go with the stories. As per the first volume, the proceeds form the second volume will go towards the Because I am a Girl organization.

not the actual cover
The anthology that will be published through Your Kids' Creations is also an anthology of superhero stories - this one written and illustrated entirely by children. This one is more complicated to put together as some of the children are having to do major revisions of their stories and the scanned drawings from children require a lot of work to make them show up better in print (they tend to be drawn in colored pencil or, sometimes, crayon). I was hoping to also have this one completed by today, but it is delayed. If I work really, really hard on it, it will be available for purchase by December 1st. That's my current goal for it. you'll have to wait and see if I can manage it. I think one of the things that made this one more difficult to compile is that it was a more difficult topic for kids to cover, so some kids needed a lot of extra time to prepare their stories. The next kids one we do will be another "pick your own topic per story" kind of anthology like the stories in "The Talisman Chronicles."

While trying to put these together, I am also working on writing a brand new novel for this year's National Novel Writing Month. I was undecided between writing the first novel in my Daughters of Poseidon series, "Call of the Siren," or writing a new idea for a novel called "Ink" about a girl who lives in a world where the existence of paranormal creatures has been discovered and they live out in the open. Werewolves, vampires, witches and ghosts are known to live among humans but other paranormals have not yet been discovered and some of the known creatures are a threat to humans. This girl develops some paranormal powers of her own, namely the power to control ink. She gets tattoos which she can use by making them become solid and living for as long as she needs them. She uses her power to help others and becomes a sort-of superhero. I decided in the end to write "Ink," and I am really loving the story so far. I have been posting snippets from my daily writing of it on my author page on Facebook. I have also written about 3,000 words of the Daughters of Poseidon novel, which is not counted in my overall NaNoWriMo word count.



I'm also creating pre-made book covers for sale over on Melusine Muse Press. I offer custom-made book covers too. I recently made a book cover for my daughter Isabella's story which she is writing for NaNoWriMo's Young Writers Program. I am offering my services (on sale right now) for making fairy photos for people too.






To top off the work I am doing with everything mentioned above, I am also posting a weekly Story Starter over on Story Starters, and editing my collection of mermaid stories, Mermaid's Muse, for publication in December.

not the actual cover



And I am hoping to get my non-fiction book the "28 Day Fitness Challenge," and its companion food journal, ready for publication in December as well, although it might need to be pushed back until January.









There are other anthologies which I will have to begin work on soon, but stories are still coming in for them at the moment. From Paw Prints, an anthology of cat stories with proceeds going towards the Swindon Cats Protection League, to four anthologies for the four courts of the Fae World. There is also a call for letters from fathers to daughters for another anthology.

I have also recently acquired a new kitten, and this adorable little kitten named Loki has somehow managed to break a bone in his right paw, so he has required a crate to keep him from using it too much (which hasn't really stopped him), daily medication and a ton of money which I don't really have at this time for X-rays and treatments and veterinary visits.


And there you have it. These are the things that have been keeping me too busy to write on here recently.

What have you been up to lately? I'd love to hear about the things you've been working on. Please share in the comments!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

"The Test of Time" by Nicole Zoltack - Cover Reveal & Review!

My talented friend, Nicole Zoltack has an eighth novel out now. "The Test of Time" is a time-travel romance. And look at the beautiful cover given to the book! She has written several novels and has stories in numerous anthologies, including some of the same ones I have stories in and which I have read, so I can say unequivocally that she is a FANTASTIC writer, and you should not hesitate to go buy her books.


Katia jumps at the chance to go to England with her best friend after Rose ditches her deadbeat boyfriend. While walking through the market, she spies a large mansion and recognizes the guy out front as her high school friend Tony. Just as they start to reconnect, Katia passes through times and lands in the arms of Lord Landon, who looks like Tony but certainly doesn’t act like him.Soon, Katia learns that this 1815 is different from the one in history books. Trapped in a parallel world, Katia struggles to not fall for Landon but his charm proves too much for her. Just when she is about to confess her love for him, Katia travels through time yet again.The course of love never did run smooth and if Katia can’t figure out and master the test of time, she’ll never see or friends again, or worse, never be reunited with Landon.

Check in on this post from time to time as I will be adding my review of her book later in the week. I can't wait to read it!

Buy Links: 

About the Author:
Nicole Zoltack loves to write in many genres, especially romance, whether fantasy, paranormal, or regency. When she’s not writing about knights, superheroes, or zombies, she loves to spend time with her loving husband and three energetic young boys. She enjoys riding horses (pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire, dressed in garb. She’ll also read anything she can get her hands on. Her current favorite TV show is The Walking Dead. To learn more about Nicole and her writing, visit http://NicoleZoltack.blogspot.com.

Links:

Follow Nicole Zokltack's Blog: http://NicoleZoltack.blogspot.com
Friend Nicole Zoltack on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NicoleZoltack
Like Nicole Zoltack's Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/authorNicoleZoltack
Tweet with Nicole on Twitter: http://twitter.com/NicoleZoltack
Pin with Nicole on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/nicolezoltack/
Follow Nicole on Wattpad so you can read the paranormal serial she's going to start posting soon: http://www.wattpad.com/user/NicoleZoltack
Tumble with Nicole on Tumblr: http://nicolezoltack.tumblr.com
Like Nicole Zoltack on her Amazon Author Central page: http://www.amazon.com/Nicole-Zoltack/e/B00304YARW/



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Talk Like a Pirate Day - Teapot Tales Volume 2 Book Blast & Giveaway!


“I'm no longer a child and I still want to be, to live with the pirates. Because I want to live forever in wonder. The difference between me as a child and me as an adult is this and only this: when I was a child, I longed to travel into, to live in wonder. Now, I know, as much as I can know anything, that to travel into wonder is to be wonder. So it matters little whether I travel by plane, by rowboat, or by book. Or, by dream. I do not see, for there is no I to see. That is what the pirates know. There is only seeing and, in order to go to see, one must be a pirate.” ~Kathy Acker



"Teapot Tales: Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea" is having its very own book blast and giveaway in honor of "Talk Like a Pirate Day" which falls on September 19th this year.

About the anthology:
In the spirit of “Teapot Tales: A Collection of Unique Fairy Tales” is this wonderful second volume of short stories to enjoy! With stories to enchant readers of all ages, this collection of pirate and mermaid stories will open your eyes to the magic that can be found under the sea. Let yourself be pulled into the magical worlds found within these stories. From pirates and sea monsters to kind-hearted mermaids and flesh-eating sirens, let these charming ocean tales sweep you away into the realm of fantasy. With twenty-six stories, including four poems, written by seventeen different authors from around the world, “Teapot Tales: Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea” is a wonderful collection of short stories, each story just long enough to enjoy with a cup of tea.
The proceeds from this anthology go exclusively towards providing for the Chapter Book Challenge, and the stories in this anthology were written and illustrated entirely by ChaBooCha members.

There are two separate versions of the book, both in kindle and paperback, a version with US spellings and a UK edition with UK spellings and language.

This is the second volume of the Teapot Tales anthologies. The first one was published in 2013, and it was called "Teapot Tales: A Collection of Unique Fairy Tales."



“Darwin may have been quite correct in his theory that man descended from the apes of the forest, but surely woman rose from the frothy sea, as resplendent as Aphrodite on her scalloped chariot.” ~Margot Datz, "A Survival Guide for Landlocked Mermaids"

Other Book Blast Participants:(Go check out their blogs!)

Julia Stilchen

Melissa Gijsbers

Ashley Howland

Melusine Muse Press

Chapter Book Challenge

Jo Hart


Melissa Writes

Now that you know all about this wonderful anthology, it's time to let you know what the you might win by filling in the Rafflecopter for this giveaway.

magnet
mini poster print



Teapot Tales Volume 1 and Volume 2



- a print copy of "Teapot Tales" (Volume 2)


- a kindle copy of "Teapot Tales" (Volume 2)


 - a mermaid-themed bookmark (with charms)

 

- a magnet with the "Teapot Tales" (Volume 2) cover on it


- a mini poster print of the "Teapot Tales" (Volume 2) book cover
  

- an e-book copy of "Swallow Me, Now" by Melissa Gijsbers


To enter for a chance to win one of the above prizes listed above, fill in the Rafflecopter. Come back and check in as new prizes will be added and new ways to earn points. The winners will be chosen and announced on September 25th.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

"Swallow Me, Now!" by Melissa Gijsbers - Go support a talented new author!


There's only a week left of my friend Melissa Gijsbers's crowdfunding campaign for her new kids book "Swallow Me, NOW!" It's aimed at kids aged 9-12 and is about a girl who is dealing with a new school, a new country, and a new bully. If anyone would like to support it by pledging and/or sharing, that would be awesome.

The project: http://www.pozible.com/project/184562 

She's aiming for a book launch on 25 October in Oakleigh, Victoria, but with only one week left and still only half-way there, she's going to need all of our help.

Here's the information she has posted on the crowdfunding page about the book:

"The story of the project
‘Swallow Me, NOW!’ is the story of Samantha Phillips, a ten year old kid in grade 5 who relocates back to Australia after spending three years in Nepal. On her first day she meets Felicity, the most popular girl at Green Oaks Primary School, who bullies her, first with exclusion, and then escalating to teasing. The story tells the tale of how Sam overcomes the bullies and builds her confidence to find some new friends.
‘Swallow Me, NOW!’ was written during the 2013 Chapter Book Challenge, and draws on my own experiences as a missionary kid adjusting back to life in Australia in the 1980s. I found it very hard to make friends and was bullied, mostly due to differences in experiences, but also due to a lack of confidence.
My younger son partly inspired the ending to ‘Swallow Me, NOW!’ after one incident. The teacher was reading a story about bullying where the bully and victim became best friends at the end of the book. He told me that he just wanted the bully to stop and that he didn’t want to be friends. Looking in to other stories that were available, I found similar endings, or that the bully got in trouble and changed their ways.
The other aspect I noticed was that many stories were trying to get children to solve the issue of bullying by themselves. With my story, I want to encourage children to tell someone if they or someone they know, are being bullied. They may be able to come up with a solution, however they should do this with the support of the adults around them.
My goal with this book is to give children an understanding of bullying as well as encouraging them to speak up if it’s happening to them or someone they know."
The part highlighted in red is highlighted by me to point out that, not only is this a book about bullies, intended to help kids through their own bullying problems, but it was also written during ChaBooCha!

A $6 donation helps her reach her goal and also gets you an e-book copy of the book once it's published. If you want to donate more, there is an option to buy a copy for yourself and have a second copy donated to a local school library.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Now taking submissions for "Fae World" anthology series

Melusine Muse Press is taking submissions for the Fae World series of anthologies.

World of the Fae  


This one will either be one large anthology or four smaller ones. 

The four themes are Autumn CourtWinter CourtSpring Court and Summer Court and may include both dark and light Fae (Seelie and Unseelie). 

The word count should be between 300 and 3,000 words. 

Not all submissions will be accepted. 

These are adult stories, but gratuitous sex, gratuitous foul language and gratuitous violence will earn a rejection. 

Depending on the quality of the stories sent in, there will either be a one volume, 50+-story anthology or four volumes with 25 to 35 stories in each (depending on average length of stories). 

At this moment, I cannot afford to pay for stories that are accepted, but there will be a $10 Amazon gift certificate awarded to the best story in each category ("court") and a $25 gift certificate for the best story overall. (The overall winner will be ineligible for the section winner prizes. That means that there will be four $10 winners and one $25 winner.)

For now, the closing date remains open. Submissions will remain open until the correct number of acceptable stories is reached. 

Once all stories have been chosen for the anthology, winners will be chosen. Winners will get winner badges for their blogs or websites. 

I am hoping to be able to begin work on the anthology during 2014, so the earlier submissions come in, the better.

You may submit multiple stories. Please follow the guidelines for submissions.


E-mail stories to Rebecca (at) Fyfe (dot) net

Authors retain all rights to submitted stories. If your story is accepted, you will be e-mailed a contract.



























Friday, September 5, 2014

Watch the "Teapot Tales: Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea" book trailer! #TeapotTales

Teapot Tales: Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea" has its own book trailer, thanks to the creative and talented efforts of Julia Stilchen! Watch it with your kids!


*****


In the spirit of “Teapot Tales: A Collection of Unique Fairy Tales” is this wonderful second volume of short stories to enjoy! With stories to enchant readers of all ages, this collection of pirate and mermaid stories will open your eyes to the magic that can be found under the sea. Let yourself be pulled into the magical worlds found within these stories. From pirates and sea monsters to kind-hearted mermaids and flesh-eating sirens, let these charming ocean tales sweep you away into the realm of fantasy. With twenty-six stories, including four poems, written by seventeen different authors from around the world, “Teapot Tales: Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea” is a wonderful collection of short stories, each story just long enough to enjoy with a cup of tea.

To buy in the US: 



To buy in the UK: 

Kindle


To buy in the AU:

Kindle

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Daughters of Poseidon series - the mythology

This is a new series that I am currently plotting. Below is the mythology for the series, as I have come up with so far. The series is still a long way from being ready for publication, but I thought it might be fun to share the mythology created for it. There will be nine books in the series, one for each "daughter."

*****



Daughters of Poseidon
by Rebecca Fyfe


Poseidon, the god of the sea, had nine daughters. His daughters were allowed to marry anyone they chose, and eight of the nine chose human men to marry, shucking their mermaid forms and taking on human forms so that they could assimilate into the human world.

As the centuries passed, their children had children and much of their sea magic was diluted through the generations. A legend foretold that each of the eight who had entered the human world would someday have an heir, many generations removed from them, with the genes for sea magic, even stronger than the sea magic that the original daughters possessed. Their powers would be asleep until Poseidon chose to awaken them when he had need of them.

Their powers are awakened when the ocean was in great need. The ocean is dying, and if the ocean dies, the world will die with it. Each of these new daughters of Poseidon are gifted with different powers and reside in different parts of the world. They will each face different trials, but after each one has passed her trial, they will all be brought together for a much more dangerous mission.

The ninth original daughter, the one who stayed in mermaid form, became resentful of her sisters once they had left for the human world and she instills this resentment in each of the generations after her. No one knows if the most recent descendant of of the ninth daughter of Poseidon will help or hinder the eight in their quest to save the world.


The fate of the world rests on these nine daughters of Poseidon.


*****

So, what do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the mythology created for the series. The Daughters of Poseidon series has a Facebook page, where you can find updates and excerpts from the series as it is created. If you are interested in learning more about the series, please go and "like" the Daughters of Poseidon Facebook page.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Teapot Tales: Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea" is available now!

A new anthology has just been published through Melusine Muse Press. It is a second volume of short stories in the Teapot Tales series. I'm the editor. My good friend Kelly McDonald is the cover designer, and we had several illustrator contributions within the book. I have three stories in the anthology. My husband Robert Fyfe has one story in it, and my grown daughter Angelica Fyfe has a story and a poem in the anthology. There are a lot of other really fantastic authors who contributed, and I know you will all love the stories within this book.

Teapot Tales: Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea
From the blurb:
In the spirit of “Teapot Tales: A Collection of Unique Fairy Tales” is this wonderful second volume of short stories to enjoy! With stories to enchant readers of all ages, this collection of pirate and mermaid stories will open your eyes to the magic that can be found under the sea. Let yourself be pulled into the magical worlds found within these stories. From pirates and sea monsters to kind-hearted mermaids and flesh-eating sirens, let these charming ocean tales sweep you away into the realm of fantasy. With twenty-six stories, including four poems, written by seventeen different authors from around the world, “Teapot Tales: Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea” is a wonderful collection of short stories, each story just long enough to enjoy with a cup of tea.
To buy in the US: 


*****

To buy in the UK: 



Ever Lost by Melissa MacVicar - Review and Exerpt #Giveaway



I had the pleasure of getting to read Melissa MacVicar's book, "Ever Lost" in order to review it. It's book to in the "Secret Affinity" series, and I haven't read book one, but the book did well as a stand-alone book anyway.

Here's the blurb from Amazon:
"New town, new school, new ghost. 
Jade has a dedicated boyfriend, an overprotective mom, and a full scholarship. Uprooted from Nantucket, Jade is installed off-island at her dad’s new house so she can attend snobby Layton Academy. Leaving Charlie behind is sheer torment, but living with her father has plenty of dangerous distraction—in the form of a terrifying spirit haunting her new school. Hottie classmate Mateo Fernandez can’t see the ghost, but he knows its story. He’d like to know hers, too, but Jade still misses Charlie, even though distance seems to be changing him. 
With support from Mateo and the mysterious Noemie, Jade commits to helping the agonized spirit cross over. As she delves into the ghost’s past, the disturbing secrets Jade learns draw her into a deadly confrontation with a desperate man. If she can’t play his demented game, the spirit’s harrowing fate could become her own.

I really enjoyed the book. It's well-written and not full of distracting spelling or grammar errors. The story is gripping and intriguing and kept me reading it from start to finish in one sitting. I liked the newest romantic interest and the dynamics between the main character Jade, her boyfriend Charlie and the new boy Mateo were very realistic.

The only thing I didn't like was the sexual nature of her relationship with her boyfriend, being that she is a character of such a young age. I know, realistically, that these relationships do occur, but as a mother of pre-teen and teenage daughters, I just think they see enough of these dynamics in media today and they really don't need it in stories too. But that's a personal preference, and it didn't really detract from the story.

I also have to mention the cover. It's beautiful, isn't it?

Overall, I would give this book 4 1/2 stars, but since Amazon doesn't do half-stars, I'll have to give it five stars when I add my review there. It is a novel deserving of a positive ranking though, so I'm happy to do so.


Melissa MacVicar
Here are the links where the book is available:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ever-Lost-Secret-Affinity-Book-ebook/dp/B00L8G67D4/
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ever-lost-melissa-macvicar/1119858494?ean=2940149780143
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/ever-lost
Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id892559856
Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Melissa_MacVicar_Ever_Lost?id=3DfhAwAAQBAJ Goodreads: http://redadeptpublishing.com/melissa-macvicar/
Author page on RAP: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22383818-ever-lost



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Click on the link
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Melusine Muse Press now taking submissions for "Walking with Daddy" (letters from fathers to daughters)

Now taking submissions for "Walking with Daddy: A Collection of Letters from Fathers to Daughters"


If you were ripped from this Earth tomorrow, what would you want your daughter to know? What message would you want to leave behind for her? If you knew that you could write her a letter and she would take every word of the letter to heart, what would you write?

Melusine Muse Press is now taking submissions for the "Walking with Daddy" anthology. This anthology is a collection of letters from fathers to their daughters, written in letter format. The title and cover shown above are just a "working title" and a "working cover" and may not be the title and cover used on the finished anthology.

1. Your submissions must be written in a letter format addressed as "To my daughter," "To my daughters," or "Dear Daughter." Tell your daughter what is in your heart. What do you want her to know? What are the things you love about her? What hopes do you have for her?

2. In an anthology like this, I shouldn't have to even say it, but please keep it PG.

3. Letters cannot be less than 500 words and should not go over 2,000 words. 

4. Please follow the formatting guidelines as stated on Melusine Muse Press's page. Go here to read the formatting guidelines.

5. There will be a prize for the BEST letter, as determined by me, of three free print copies of the anthology. Second place will get two print copies of the anthology and third place will get one print copy of the anthology.

6. Author bios must be sent in - around a paragraph each, links may be included, and must be written in 3rd person. These will be included in the book. 


7. Short, one- or two-lines long, dedications may be included with your submission, and will make this book even more special to have on hand for your daughter as she grows.

8. The deadline for submissions is September 15th, 2014, but I would prefer to get submissions in earlier.

9. E-mail submissions as a file attachment to Rebecca (at) Fyfe (dot) net.

10. You may submit individual letters up to the number of daughters you have. You may write one letter that is inclusive for all of your daughters, or, if you have more than one daughter, you may write separate letters for each one and submit them.


11. your daughter doesn't have to be a little girl still. Even if she is all grown up, you can still write her a letter for the anthology.

Anthologies will be made available in both kindle and print formats.


The goal is to have the book out on World Daughter Day in 2015, which is on January 12th, but it might come out earlier to make Christmas purchases possible.

Only a limited number of letters will be included, so there is no guarantee that your letter will be selected if you send it in, but you will be notified of whether or not you letter has been accepted by November 1st.

Deadline: September 15th, 2014
Special note: If you have a touching "daddy and daughter" photo which you would like included with your dedication, send it in jpeg or png format to the same e-mail address as the letter submissions.


Authors retain all rights to submitted stories. If your story is accepted, you will be e-mailed a contract.