Thursday, December 31, 2015

Looking back at 2015

Sadly, all of my 2015 memories are overshadowed by the death of my cat Pagan in September. Pagan and I had a special relationship, and I miss him like crazy. It means that, for me, 2015 is a year I'd rather forget.

However, in my writing life, there were some good things that happened too, and so I am making an effort to remember the more positive things that occurred, at least in my writing life, in 2015.

1 - I created several new book covers this year, including some for me, some for others and some for sale, and I have been growing in confidence in my ability to create the kinds of book covers that will sell and also growing in my cover-creating skills.

2 - I came up with several picture book ideas, and some new drafts of picture books, but, more importantly, I wrote the first draft of a new picture book which I really, really love. It's become my new "baby." And I will do whatever it takes to bring this picture book into the world and to make it the best it possibly can be, because it means a lot to me.

3 - I, through my Your Kids' Creations imprint, published another anthology in the Kids' Chronicles series of anthologies - "The Superhero Chronicles: A Collection of Superhero Stories Written & Illustrated by Children" - and published three more books for children written by my children. "Dark Unicorn," written by my daughter Isabella, came out last year and has grown significantly in sales this year. "A Hero's Adventure, " written by my son Connor, came out in August. "Grabbed by the Shadows," written by my daughter Gabriella, came out in October. And "Tiger Boy," written by my youngest son Cameron, came out in November.

Children who contributed to the anthology have been very excited about it and very positive about the experience and are pushing me to start taking stories for another anthology. I only create these anthologies written and illustrated by kids FOR the kids, so the positive responses I am getting from them makes it worthwhile, even though it takes a lot more work than any of the other anthologies. The whole point of the Kids' Chronicles series of anthologies is to encourage children to write, and to build up their confidence in their story-telling abilities, so with these goals in mind, the anthologies have been a success.

Both Isabella and Cameron have had really wonderful responses to their books and both of them have gained some real fans of their books, kids who can't wait for them to write sequels to their stories.

4 - Through Melusine Muse Press, I published two anthologies this year - the third volume of Teapot Tales, "Teapot Tales: A Collection of Unusual Fairy Tales" with proceeds that go towards the Chapter Book Challenge (ChaBooCha) and the second volume of "SuperHERo Tales: A Collection of Female Superhero Stories" with proceeds that go towards the charity Because I am a Girl (which helps girls in 3rd world countries).

5 - I started compiling all of my mermaid stories into one collection, and created the book cover for it. With some editing and formatting, and then sending out to beta readers, I might be able to get this collection, Mermaid's Muse, out in early 2016.

6 - While my novel "Ink" was set on the back burner for this year, I spent this year's NaNoWriMo working on a series of novellas that are set in the same world as "Ink." There were seven novels I worked on, in total. I think three of them will develop into full-length novels. None of them are complete yet, but I found myself getting wrapped up in this fictional world of my creation again, and I am really enjoying writing about characters who live in this world, these female heroes who are determined to do something good and worthwhile to make this crazy world they live in a better place.

7 - I did not send out any queries this year, which might sound like a failure rather than a success, except for the fact that I used this year to work on improving my writing and on improving the stories I have already written. I'm also not sure I want to send my stories off for someone else to judge and possibly publish, because I really like having the creative control over my books, the kind of creative control that one can only get through self-publishing. I have improved in every area of my formatting and publishing skills in the meantime. I just haven't fully decided yet which road I will take when it comes to publishing my novels. I may, in the end, decide to go the hybrid route, but that hasn't been decided yet.

8 - I managed to get some wonderful authors, many of them well-known, such as Tamora Pierce,  Darren Shan, Lee Wardlaw, Wendy Orr, Patti Larsen, Adam Wallace and Nancy I. Sanders to guest post on the Chapter Book Challenge last March. With only around 300 participants, it would have been a simple thing for these very busy authors to turn me down, but they didn't, and I'm such a fan-girl! The only problem with getting big-name authors to guest post during 2015 is figuring out HOW I am going to top it for 2016's challenge! (If any of my friends and followers happen to be friends with J. K. Rowling, Meg Cabot or Neil Gaiman, please put in a good word with them about the Chapter Book Challenge and get them in touch with me.)

9 - I started a group to discuss a plan for something I think would be really great. The whole point of the SuperHERo Tales anthologies is to increase the amount of female superheroes out there in media for little girls to look up to. It doesn't solve the problem of there not being enough merchandise featuring female superheroes though. An idea I had for something to crowdfund was to take the characters created by different authors within the anthologies and have them made into action figures and/or resin figurines - the kind kids can play with. The idea is there and, so far, I have permission to create about 13 of the characters. But, in order to get started, I need to find an artist skilled in creating 3D figures, a company that can create these figures in limited runs, and somehow get a really compelling video made that will encourage people to contribute to the campaign. I need to work out the costs, and and it all needs to be affordable so that people won't have to pay much more than what a collectible toy figure would normally cost. I have not managed to figure any of the details out yet, but the idea is there and I've done quite a lot of research on it so far. (I am open to suggestions.)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Idea-generating for the Fae World anthology series #FaeWorld

Do you plan on submitting some stories for the Fae World anthology series? You can refer to the post about the Fae World for more information on the world you will be setting your story in and you can refer to the submission page to find out more about the rules for submissions for this anthology series.
From Pinterest board
You might be finding it difficult to come up with an original idea for your story. To help generate ideas, there is a wonderful Pinterest board, full of fantastical creatures and magical images, for you to peruse.

From the Pinterest board

Formatting your submission

Now taking submissions for the Fae World anthology series

About the Fae World and its four courts for the Fae World anthology series

Pinterest: Magical Realm: Faeries, Elves, Unicorns and more

Quick visual anthology of some mythical creatures

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fae World anthology series - Melusine Muse Press still taking submissions! #FaeWorld

We are taking submissions for the Fae World series of anthologies.

Fae World  


This anthology 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 2015, 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.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cursed by Fire by Danielle Annett - Review

Book Blast & Review for Cursed by Fire
Release Date: January 28th, 2015


It has been six years since the Awakening and peace in Spokane, Washington is still tenuous at best. The vampires and shifters are all vying for control of the city and the humans seem to be the ones suffering the consequences, or so it seems.

Aria Naveed has spent the last two years of her life fighting to make the many wrongs of the world right, but soon finds out that the humans aren’t as weak as they appear and may be a more terrifying foe than any of the other races combined.

When a stranger rolls into town with trouble on his heels, Aria finds herself trapped in the middle of a battle that could cost her more than she has bargained for as a fight for justice turns into an unexpected fight for her life.

Behind the scenes look at how Cursed by Fire’s cover came to be:


Print copy of Cursed by Fire and 3 e-copies

About Danielle Annett

Danielle Annett is a reader, writer, photographer, and the blogger behind Coffee 

My review:

I need to preface this by stating that Danielle is my cousin (the daughter of a first cousin), and I have known her since she was a baby. However, this book is in my favorite genre, and I have given the review my honest opinion despite the fact that she is extended family.

I really enjoyed reading this début novel by author Danielle Annett. It is in a genre I normally enjoy and Danielle did not disappoint.

I'm struggling with how to write this review without giving anything away from the plot. But I will try.

The book's appearance:
I think the cover is beautiful. And the interior formatting is well-done, and there are some nice accents on the pages as well. This is the kind of cover that, if I saw this book in the book store, would definitely draw my attention.

The editing/proofreading:
There were a few grammatical mistakes, which, as an editor, I couldn't help but notice, however, there weren't enough of them to pull me, as a reader, out of the story, and thus not enough to affect my rating of the book. Most readers probably won't even notice them.

The story:
I had trouble really sinking into the story in the beginning. That might just be because I have been ill with a really bad head cold though, so it took me longer to focus on what I was reading. Despite my head cold, a little ways into the book, I was fully immersed in the world Danielle created in this novel.

I love the interactions between Aria and the different men in the story, and I like the action that started to come much more quickly as the story went along. There were some great twists and unexpected events in the story which helped to keep the story from being too clichéd.

There were moments when emotions were pulled from me as I read the story and, by the time I finished the novel, I was sorry to come to the end. I really, really hope that the second in this series won't take too long to write. I wish I could read it right now!


The Bad Picture Book Blog Hop - Day2

The Bad Picture Book Blog Hop - Day 2 

Today marks the second day of The "Bad" Picture Book Blog Hop! "Bad" as in Picture books that were created in High School or before. This blog hop is just for fun and giggles. Dani Duck am the organizer of this blog hop.

Here is the list so far:

Feb 9  - Dani Duck
Feb 10- Becky Fyfe
Feb 11- Marcie Colleen
Feb 12- Mandy Yates
Feb 13- Sylvia Liu

Feb 16 Rachel Elizabeth Cole
Feb 17 Annina Wildermuth
Feb 18 Teresa MI Schaefer!blog/c66p

Unfortunately, due to many moves over my lifetime (one overseas), I was unable to find any of the books I wrote when I was younger. But I can tell you about some of them.

I remember finding a piece of writing I did when I was around 10 or 11. I had written it soon after our family cat, Bibsy, had died. The story began with the death of my character's cat which left her heartbroken and then went on to become a monotonous litany of all of the animals, both domestic and wild that my character kept finding, helping and keeping as pets.

In junior high, I was required to write a picture book. I had no drawing ability. This was required of me on two separate occasions. The first one I wrote was a very forgettable story about a dog - the topic chosen because I could draw a very simple cartoon dog in only one pose. For the second one, I used my Polaroid camera. I knew a three year old girl who was absolutely adorable, so I dressed her up in rags and took pictures of her near a creek and wrote a really trite little story about a girl raised by wolves. I even had a dog to pose as one of the wolves in my photos - a sheltie. Ha!

If I ever do find those stories, I will come back and post some pictures from them here.  Trust me - you'll laugh!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 - A New Year

There is an increasing trend for people to denigrate the idea of making New Year's resolutions. This makes no sense to me as I don't see anything wrong with taking stock in the new year and looking at what we have achieved and what we still want to achieve. "Resolutions" is just another word for "goals." What is wrong with making goals? 

Some of the nay-sayers point out that many people make these resolutions and then forget about them. While it's sad that they forget their resolutions and don't make any strides towards achieving them, that doesn't make resolution-making (or goal-setting) as a whole a bad thing. Some people are better at sticking to their goals and working towards their goals than others - It doesn't matter what time of the year you set your goals; this fact will still be true.

So if you are making new year's resolutions (and it doesn't matter if you call them resolutions, goals or a to-do list), just keep one thing in mind while you do; these goals you are making are meant to be worked towards throughout the year, not just set and then forgotten.

Here are my writing-and-publishing-related goals for 2015:

1. Edit, revise, re-write and otherwise make my novel "Ink" ready for publication and publish it.

2. Edit, revise, re-write, add pictures and otherwise make my non-fiction book "The 28 Day Fitness Challenge" and its accompanying food journal ready for publication and publish it.

3. Edit, revise, re-write, illustrate and otherwise make my collection of mermaid-themed stories "Mermaid's Muse" ready for publication and publish it.

4. Grow Melusine Muse Press. (Below are possible ways to do so, in no particular order.)
   4a. Buy a large amount of ISBNs.
   4b. Get the website created.
   4c. Publish novels by others, not just in anthologies.
   4d. Publish at least two picture books.
   4e. Find out what things would work more efficiently when crowd-sourced.
   4f. Work on press releases.
   4g. Publish through venues other than just Amazon/CreateSpace/Kindle.
   4h. Hire others to work for Melusine Muse Press.
   4i.  Check out small indie company grants.
   4j.  Crowdsourcing?
   4k. Registering the company.

5. Work on my Daughters of Poseidon series. Get the first draft of book one in the series written.

6. Edit, revise and rewrite middle-grade book "The Day My Shadow Tried to Kill Me."

7. Find and convince some amazing published authors, agents and editors to guest post for this year's Chapter Book Challenge.

8. Get all of the 2015 anthologies published no later than November 1st. (Finish publication of the two remaining 2014 anthologies - "SuperHERo Tales: Volume Two" (Melusine Muse Press) and "The Superhero Chronicles" (Your Kids' Creations) within January.)

9. Help more kids with their writing and publication goals through Your Kids' Creations. Maybe coordinate something with local schools. (Also get a new logo created for the site.)

10. Schedule my writing time into set periods of time throughout the day and do not deviate.