|promotional illo for Aldric & Anneliese|
Friday, September 30, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Right now, I am both a writer and an editor, a wife, and a mom who is an empty-nester. Of course, that doesn’t mean family matters don’t come between me and my writing/editing, because they definitely do. In some ways, I feel like my children are young again as I spend time babysitting my two preschool grandchildren--boys, and my are they busy! I also have the regular duties of things that must get done. You know, the obligatory cleaning, cooking, shopping, and laundry, etc. Whew, and you thought staying at home was a cinch.
I’ve read on the internet and in emails different ways to manage your time, from making lists, to mental lists, to setting aside blocks of time, and so forth. Whichever I decide to try first, I’ll just dump some laundry in first. Slacks needed for tonight go in the dryer, and my husband’s permanent press shirts go in the washer.
Now I can concentrate. At first, the whole list thing sounds good, so I try that. Excited about the possibilities, I dutifully create a list and record on it all the activities I want to accomplish. Then I promptly get overwhelmed by the length of it! What to do? I decide I will make two lists: one for the writing/editing, and one for household and wifely stuff. But I still get overwhelmed because now there are not just one, but two lists staring at me.
What to do? I decide that I would put one of the lists in the drawer, so I don’t have its beady little eyes piercing me all day long, and its mouth yammering for me to pay attention to it. Problem is, whichever list I am working on, I am still conscious of that one whose priorities I haven’t even touched upon.
Forget the lists.
How about blocking out times for writing/editing, and another for family/house related activities? Sounds good, doesn’t it? But herein lies the question: Do I concentrate on household things first, or write first? No matter whichever one I choose, the other is going to hover in the back of my mind. Then I get serious. And doggone it, I am going to write first, then work on house and family.
But here comes another problem: Do I read my writing emails first, or actually write or edit first? If I read through my emails first, then I don’t feel like writing at the end of it because I take the time to read the articles and blogs, all of which can consume a lot of time. Scratch the emails. I decide to write first. Open computer, open Word. Open document. Sit and stare. Where is my muse? Turns out, I haven’t had any coffee, so I go make some and drink it thankfully.
Sit back down, open my computer again. Open document. Am sitting and staring again. Geesh, muse, just show up, okay? So, in order to jump-start my muse, I backtrack in my document one chapter, and reread what I’ve written. Fortunately, that is enough to get me going again, and I begin to write.
Then another problem occurs to me. I haven’t set a specific amount of time to write. So, how will I know when I am done? I could just write until I got “written out,” but that’s not always good because sometime you have to persevere to get past a tough spot. Sigh. I decide on a time frame, and begin to write again.
My cell phone rings.
The dilemma: Do I answer the phone and stop writing for a little bit, or do I ignore it and keep writing? I peek at the screen. It’s my eldest daughter. My fingers hover over my keyboard. The phone keeps ringing. What if she has an emergency? What if she just wants me to keep the boys? What if she’s just saying “hello?” I agonize. I have voice mail. I decide to not answer it, but wait for the voice mail signal to come through. Nothing. Guess it wasn’t important after all. I turn off the cell phone. I reread the last paragraph.
I hear a buzzer. It’s the dryer, letting me know its cycle is finished. If I don’t get the clothes out now, they will wrinkle, and I’ll have to do them all over again, or worse, iron them. Okay. I leave my computer, and head to the laundry room. The clothes are dry and I’ve averted a wrinkle catastrophe by hanging them up. Unfortunately, it takes longer to wash the clothes than it does to dry them. It took me about five minutes to hang the clothing up, so in about five more minutes I’ll need to go put the freshly washed clothes in the dryer.
Back to my computer.
Now where was I? I reread the last couple of paragraphs, check a detail earlier in the story, and am in the middle of typing a new paragraph when the washing machine beeps. Doggone, I HAVE to have those clothes dry and ready for our evening out tonight. Harrumphing just a bit, I leave my computer and go put the wash in the dryer.
Back to my computer. Again. I’m staring cross-eyed at my document, wondering what is going to clamor for my attention next. All of the sudden, a Skype picture pops up, superimposing itself over the document I’m working on. It’s my youngest daughter, checking in from college. I haven’t talked to her in two weeks. I chat with her a few minutes and we catch up.
Looking at my document. What can go wrong now? I stare at it. My muse has disappeared, along with my desire to even try to write. So, I work my way through my emails and associated blogs/articles.
I glance at the clock, and realize my favorite daytime show is about to come on. Deciding to further manage my time, I take a TV break. I’ll get back to my story later today, after things have settled down. Maybe. Whatever. Tomorrow is a new day, and I'm sure it will go better than today.
Closing my computer, I head to the living room. Surely, nothing else can disrupt my schedule now. I’m worn out from such a busy day of writing...
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
This is a craft that has many thinking it is easy. Take a look at what goes into a good picture book.
It will be under 1000 words. Perhaps, if it is really polished it will be 500 words or less. Each word must be chosen carefully and must belong to the story. Because picture books are usually read to younger children the type of word does not need to be "readable" by the child. But with the combination of words and great illustrations, a young child can "read" the book to him or herself after hearing it once. The words may not be the same but the essence of the story is there and the pictures lead the child from page to page and event to event.
If the author has read their book to their family, children in the neighborhood, their own children or grandchildren and everyone "loved" it, there is still more to do. Maybe it is a great book. Maybe not. The advice many illustrators will give is to submit the book to a traditional trade book publisher. Yes that may mean rejections, long waits, and disappointment. But, it is really the first step that should be taken. The author does not need to submit illustrations with the book unless they are also a professional illustrator. The job of choosing an illustrator for any book is the job of the art director and editors of the publishing house. Some few houses will allow an author to request or suggest an illustrator, but that is up to the editors not the author.
Some authors really do want to self publish. If they do, then there needs to be a reality check.
Some will choose a Print on Demand book publisher. This usually drives up the price of the book in order for the author to make a profit.
If they are using a printer who prints many books at a time, they will most likely need to commit to at least a run of 1000 books. The price per book is small, but there is shipping and storing to be considered. And still the author is not done with the self publishing process. There is marketing to be considered. How this is done and whether a PR firm is hired will determine the cost of marketing.
Once all those costs are considered the price of the book needs to be determined. Too high and it will not sell, too low and the profit margin is dismal.
If truly determined, truly talented, and all of the above are considered carefully the self publisher is still not ready to launch their book. Why?
Because there needs to be one more element in the process. A good editor, proof reader or professional needs to take a look at the manuscript. It may be hard to do but words will most likely have to be sacrificed. Scenes may have to be truncated or moved around. It might be a really good idea to put that manuscript away for a month or more and come back to it with fresh eyes and see if improvements can be made.
There is magic in a picture book that holds the attention of a young child and appeals not only to them but to the adults that may have to read that same story over and over, night after night. That's what you want from your picture book?
Saturday, September 24, 2011
I volunteer in my son's kindergarten classroom each Thursday. The experience is especially rewarding because I love watching my son interact and grow with his classmates.
The children love having books read to them. Their eyes really light up when its reading time.
After reading my story to them this past Thursday, my son's teacher began asking questions. It was a nice reminder to me, as a writer, how important it is to keep it easy for kids. Most five-year-olds appreciate how you, the author, put story elements together and the proof is in their smiles. Some elements to keep in mind:
The setting should be a place that children have some experience with – a house, backyard, forest, lake, or beach.
Characters should be easy to relate to. For example: Mom, Dad, a dog, a cat, or bugs. What makes them easy to relate to? Heartwarming qualities such as kindness, sharing, and giving. Characters should embody emotions children see everyday including sadness, confusion, and anxiety.
The kids in my son's class had a harder time indentifying the problem of the story when the teacher asked, but when she stated what it was, a lot of them said, "Oh, yeah!" The problem should be one the kids can understand. For example, frustration or loneliness.
The solution has to be something they can identify with. Examples include an act of kindness, sharing a toy, or even a smile.
Being a children's writer can be challenging, but hanging around children, reading to them, and even watching a children's show with them can help to give you the perspective needed to craft a special story they can relate to.
My children's book, The Giving Meadow, was released with 4RV Publishing.
Find me on the web at:
Friday, September 23, 2011
|*Illo: a3 chapter 1*|
|before ~ after|
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
by Joan Y. Edwards
What to do on a Whimsical Wednesday?
Fun! Mid-week Whimsical Wednesday?
On a whim, you can go shopping in the mall.
You don’t have to buy anything at all.
Go to the bank.
Add more money to the rank.
Go to a park and swing.
Walk a nature trail and sing.
Visit a library. Sit in a comfy chair.
Read 3 children’s books while you’re there.
Sit on your deck. Watch the birds fly to and fro.
Throw them a few bread crumbs before you go.
Take a flashlight to the attic space.
Look through toys, pictures, and lace.
Make paper airplanes in the den.
Fly them to a friend and watch them spin.
Climb up to the top of an apple tree,
Just to see what you can see.
Visit a church in town.
Turn a frown upside down.
Bake a cake.
Swim in a lake.
Snuggle close to a friend.
Pray your friendship will never end.
Thanks for reading my poem. I hope you enjoyed it. Do something fun today. It's Whimsical Wednesday. Fun is food for the writer's soul. Let life's fun experiences soak through your skin, into your writer's soul where new books begin.
Celebrate being you!
Joan Y. Edwards
Monday, September 19, 2011
4RV Publishing is formatting and adding books to the eBook lists as quickly as possible. Not only will the electronic books be available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but also from the 4RV Bookstore. Although the available list is short at this time, we will add as quickly as titles are ready.
Children's Books by 4RV in eBook (Kindle and Nook Color)
A Wish and a Prayer Beth Bence Reinke (author) Ginger Nielson (illustrator) $4.99
In My Bath Beth Bence Reinke (author) Ginger Nielson (illustrator) 4.50
Lion in the Living Room Caelaach McKinna (author) A.R. Stone (illustrator) 4.99
Being Jacob: Day at the Zoo Suzy Koch (author) Aidana WillowRaven (illustrator) 4.99
Young Adult Books
Bubba & Giganto: Odds Against Us Lea Schizas (author) 2.99
Guardian Katie Hines (author) 5.50
Just Breeze Beverly Stowe McClure (author) 5.50
Second Chance Galand Nuchols (author) 9.99
Prairie Dog Cowboy V. Gilbert Zabel (author) 4.50
Aldric & Anneliese Harry E. Gilleland, Jr. (author) 5.50
Being Formatted for Release
The Art of Science Ransom Noble (author)
Sparrow Alone on the House Top Jean James and Mary James (authors)
Friday, September 16, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Sometimes it just can't be avoided.
Next question, would you be as willing to go through a re-vamp? Or would you have thought: 'The publisher and author approved it. I don't have time or money for a unnecessary re-vamp. I won't bring it up.'
As artists, especially illustrators, we need to remember even if the illustration 'looks' right, it could still be 'wrong,' and its our responsibility, if we discover an error such as this, to bring it up with the publisher or author. You never know, it may take the book from good to better.
Try to remember, each piece should be worthy of being 'a portfolio piece.' And misrepresented images are not good portfolio pieces. So when a re-vamp is needed, don't resist. Pull up those sleeves, dig out your tools, and get to work happily, knowing you're about to create visual genius...lol.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Your ideas have come quickly and centered around a plot you have wanted to develop for some time. Your characters, however need to be more uniquely defined.
Have you ever noticed the unique quality and design of a particular button? In some cases a button can be so intricate or finely designed that one could create an entire outfit around just that one amazing button.
I have a box of buttons that have been collected and added to over the years. Many of them came from street vendor sales on Canal Street in NYC. But there are notions counters, flea markets, and even online sales of button collections that can contain many fascinating varieties. Using the buttons to develop a character can be more than a fun exercise. It can actually help to create an entire cast of characters.
Put a handful of buttons on your desk or work area. Take a look at them. Separate out some of the most unique. These are your main characters. Who are they? Let me explain.
Right over here is a velvet button. It is dark blue and so soft on the outside. If you squeeze it a bit, however, you will feel that it is only covering a very hard interior. Ah, this character may have all the smoothness of velvet but inside there is a heart of stone.
Next to that is a wooden button. It is very plain and worn on the outside edges, but here in the center a little brass piece has been added. The shine and sparkle draw your eye in at once. This character has seen pain and heartache, but keeps that glow no matter what has occurred in the past.
What about this button? It is a simple pearl. There is a decided pinkish tinge to this one. Maybe it is a character with great potential that has yet to be realized. This individual is beginning to become the person it was meant to be.
There is that silver button. A brushed metallic coating hides the glow that should be there. This character is struggling with some inner demons. The shine has been worn off, but it was there at some point before life intervened with problems.
Those problems were not nearly as bad as the character who was developed from the broken button. Made of cheap plastic, it cannot be stitched, glued, or taped back together.
It might be useless unless something intervenes. Perhaps your character is searching for a cure, or remedy for a problem so large it seems insurmountable.
The last two buttons are direct opposites.
The first one is large, black, and shiny. It was most likely used on someone’s coat long ago. This character has a mystery connected with it. What happened in its past to create such a dark yet dramatic appeal.
The second is a finely crafted crystal. It is one of a group that once belonged together as a family. Even if you take one away from the family it still glows brightly. The light shines through it, around it, on it, and can not be overshadowed. This character is your hero or heroine. Overcoming darkness with a light from within. No tragedy is too great for this character to handle. This character has the ability to shine light in the darkest places.
Perhaps the shiny black button and the finely crafted crystal are opposing personalities you will want to develop.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
In the writing world everyone tries to and actually needs to keep their work and names visible. Whether you’re selling books, or services, or another product, you need to reach the potential customers. Providing information is a primary means of accomplishing this. The information you provide creates an informational funnel leading readers back to your site/s.
One useful tool to create an information funnel is the blog. New blogs are popping up everyday with free tips and advice. According to statistics from August 2011, there were 131,709,724 active blogsites.
The blog has become a great vehicle to bring you to the reader. It is an excellent way to show readers what you have to offer. The information you provide will hopefully not only draw readers, but keep them coming back for more. Using my own blog as an example, I found that if I don’t offer beneficial information, I lose followers.
Another vehicle to bring you to the reader is the free online magazines. This is where you can write and have your articles published. While you don’t get paid, you do get published. Although it doesn’t have the credibility of paying markets, it is a great way to hone your craft, expand your visibility, and establish yourself as an expert in your niche.
One more source of visibility is writing guest blogs or articles for other blogs or sites. Often the writers are looking for new and fresh content for their sites or newsletters. If the offer arises take advantage of it, or ask bloggers if they would be interested in a guest blog from you.
Every marketing teleseminar and workshop I have been to encourages writers offer information through blogs or free online magazines. According to marketing experts the name of the game is visibility. Free information draws readers. I can confirm that this is true because I make it a point to attend all the free teleseminars and teleclasses possible.
The businesses that offer this free information want to draw you there so they can sell you their services. This is understandable. It is a win-win situation; they acquire some new customers and you, whether you take advantage of their services or not, receive valuable information.
The best strategy is to start out offering free tips and articles until you can provide your own expert information and advice. It’s important to remember that this free information will draw readers and show them that your posts and articles are helpful and needed. Once you feel comfortable enough that the information you are providing is of substantial value you can offer it in the form of e-books, newsletters, teleseminars, workshops, or other means for a fee.
But, to what extent should a writer offer their services for free?
While taking this path of visibility it’s important to remember that submitting to free ezines or guest blogging is not just a lack of financial gain, it’s the time loss incurred while preparing these articles – this is called opportunity costs, the cost of choosing one path over another, and the related loss of opportunities because of that choice.
You should consider writing for free as an investment in your writing career and as an effective tool to attract clients or buyers.
It should also be noted that even when you reach the point of being considered an expert, it’s still a good idea to publish articles in the free ezines for continued visibility and as a means of drawing new readers/customers to your sites and services. And, don’t forget that while you’re providing free information you can also be submitting articles to paying markets.
Karen Cioffi is an author, ghostwriter, and freelance writer. For writing and marketing information visit Karen at http://karencioffi.com and sign up for her free newsletter: A Writer’s World. You’ll get 2 free e-books on writing and marketing in the process, and two more just for stopping by.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Director, Kirkpatrick Planetarium , Science Museum Oklahoma
Author of more than a dozen novels and co-author with Anne McCaffrey