Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking back at 2013 #NewYearsEve

I had so many goals that I wanted to achieve in 2013. I managed some of them. Some of them changed. And some of them are still waiting for me to complete them.

Here are the things that I DID achieve in 2013 (in no particular order).

1. I submitted two picture book manuscripts to agents. They were both rejected, but at least I am finally starting to submit to agents. (I need to work on writing better queries.) (Cover created by Kelly McDonald.)

2. I edited and put together the Teapot Tales anthology. (I contributed three stories to it.) (Proceeds go to the Chapter Book Challenge.)

3. I edited and put together the Jingle Bells anthology. (I contributed three stories to it and created the cover.) (Proceeds go to the Chapter Book Challenge.)

4. I edited and put together the SuperHERo Tales anthology. (I contributed two stories to it.) (Proceeds go to the Because I am a Girl charity.) (Cover created by Julia Lela Stilchen.)

5. I edited and put together The Talisman Chronicles anthology (for the kids). (My four youngest children wrote, in total, eleven of the stories in it.) (I created the cover for it with the help and artistic talents of my husband.)

6. I contributed three stories to the Tales by the Tree anthology. (Proceeds benefit a children's school.)

7. I contributed a story to the Dark Fairy Queen's Writerly Bridal Shower anthology. (Free on Smashwords.)

8. I contributed a story to the Charms anthologies, and it is included in the second volume of the three volume set. (If you would like to buy a copy, you can order it through me.)

9. I completed 50,000 words of this year's NaNoWriMo story.

10. I began a new chapter book that still has me very excited and full of ideas. ("The Day My Shadow Tried to Kill Me")

11. I created Melusine Muse Press. It's still in the development stages, but I have some exciting plans for it in 2014.

12. I have finished putting the details, which will be posted in January, on three new anthology projects that will be coming in 2014 and will be accepting submission very soon. (Think: "pirates, mermaids and monsters of the sea," "cats" and "fairies.")

13. I managed to have several prizes a week during the Chapter Book Challenge in 2013, and I enticed guest posts from published chapter book, middle grade and YA authors as well as agents during the challenge which covered two to three posts a week. We went from 23 signed-up members in 2012 to 89 signed up members in 2013, and we already have more than 115 members signed-up for the 2014 ChaBooCha. I'm hoping we can reach 200 members by March.

14. I have created the Blog Your Book in 30 Days challenge, which will go live in April of 2014. Wish me luck!

15. I have outlined and written the first three chapters of THREE non-fiction books.

16. I have honed my craft and worked on becoming a better editor, proofreader and writer.

17. I completed 12 picture books for the 12 x 12 challenge and revised them too!

18. I created my doodle books, "Doodle Your Heart Out" and the smaller version "Little Book of Doodles."

19. I joined doodle Day May (which is now just called Doodle Day) and created 30 doodled pieces of art in the month of May (which is what inspired me to create my doodle books).

20. I contributed three stories to the Keepsakes anthology which will be out sometime in 2014.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Creating Anthologies - Writers Reveal - December 2013

It's time for another Writer's Reveal! This month, my topic was sent to me by Emily Morgan from Emily Morgan Writes. The topic she sent was: "What is the hardest thing about coordinating the release of an anthology of stories by different writers?"

There are a lot of things that go into putting together an anthology with stories written by many different people. Some of them are fun and many of them are time-consuming, and a few things are really frustrating.

I create anthologies using Word. Word can be a very frustrating program to use. When I cut and paste people's stories from their documents into my own, often times, there is hidden code within their text that  cannot be seen by my naked eye, and although everything will look perfectly fine on the page, when I go to publish it, either on Kindle or in print, suddenly, everything in that part of the anthology goes haywire. It will often take me much more time than is healthy for me to find what tiny bit of code is causing the problem.

And Word comes up with some random problems. Something that might work fine in a print file will be off-center in a Kindle file for no apparent reason. Again, it means hunting up tiny bits of code that are causing the problem and fixing it. Have I mentioned that I am not someone who knows much more about html than how to center something using it?

Another issue I have to work around is the fact that most of the authors in my anthology are from different countries. I have authors from Australia, the USA and the United Kingdom writing for the anthologies, and I have to work out whether I am seeing a genuine spelling error or a difference in languages. English changes depending on which country a person is from who is speaking or writing it. I solved this problem when I publsihed "Teapot Tales: A Collection of Unique Fairy Tales" by publishing two versions of it, one with US spellings and one with UK spellings. (I live in the UK, but was born and raised in the US. I hope I got all of the UK spellings correct, and no one has complained about them, so I will assume I did.)  For other anthologies, I have left each individual story with the spelling it was meant to have by the author (and I often have to recheck where each author is from to make sure, again, that it is correct for his or her country and not, instead, a spelling error on his or her part).

Proofreading is tedious, but necessary when creating an anthology (or any publsihed work), and I do it many, many times before the anthology gets published.

However, although I have mentioned some of the difficult things about creating anthologies, I also have to mention how much I love doing it. There is something so wonderful about holding the finished product in my hand, hearing from readers how much they loved the stories, and collaborating with other authors to create something so incredibly timeless.

I also have to mention how fantastic all of the contributing authors have been, as well as the contributing illustrators and cover artists.

Below are some of the places where the anthologies I have created and edited can be bought.

"Teapot Tales: A Collection of Unique Fairy Tales"

"Jingle Bells: Tales of Holiday Spirit from around the World"

"SuperHERo Tales: A Collection of Female Superhero Stories"

Here are the other authors joining in with Writer's Reveal this month:

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Finish - Insecure Writers Support Group for December 2013 #IWSG

This is my ninth monthly Insecure Writer's Support Group post. The IWSG is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the IWSG is: 

"to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!" 

This is my post for Insecure Writer's Support Group for December 2013. The topic I chose for this one 
is "finish."

You may be wondering why I chose to write about the word "finish." It's because I have finished. I finished editing the stories and creating the anthology "Teapot Tales: A Collection of Unique Fairy Tales" in August and early September. I finished editing the stories and creating the anthology "Jingle Bells: Tales of Holiday Spirit from Around the World" in mid-November. I finished editing the stories and creating the anthology "SuperHERo Tales: A Collection of Female Superhero Stories" in late November. I even finished editing the stories and illustrations for and creating the anthology "The Talisman Chronicles: A Collection of Stories Written and Illustrated by Children," both the color version and the black and white version.

All of these things were very time-consuming. And every single one of these projects, now that they are finished, give me an amazing feeling to hold in my hand. I love creating, whether it is for me or for someone else. And I have accomplished so many things by FINISHING the things I set out to do.

I've learned that I am skilled at editing and formatting, and I can even manage some artistic work.

I've also learned that I have some amazingly talented friends and fellow writers who none of these projects would have happened without.

And I am going to finish even more projects in 2014.