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Book Trailer

The day after my last final I jumped back in to working on my novel. I’m so excited to announce that it is available for pre-order via E-book, but the hardback and paperbacks will launch January 10, 2022! I chose this day as a way to honor my late grandfather who passed away last month. January 10th is his birthday and this is how I’m choosing to remember him.

Until then enjoy the book trailer!

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A New Adventure

Last year I published my first book, a children’s book series called Adelyn’s Amazing Adventures. I learned a lot while writing and afterward trying to market and push my book to the public. I also learned one of my biggest flaws is not one helpful to someone trying to self-publish a book. One of my biggest flaws is I try to do things on my own. Including a project as a big as publishing my first book. I did enlist editing help from one of my professor and my mom who is experienced in copyediting. I sent my book to Beta reader (friends I knew from social media). I tried marketing the book before I published it, but I didn’t do the best.

Needless to since publishing I haven’t sold many copies. I only sold it through Amazon, I didn’t take it to local book stores, etc. Selling a certain number of copies was never my goal. Hearing those who’ve read it and loved it has been my favorite part. That’s all I want for my first novel, but I also want to know I produced the best version possible and marketed it as best I could.

Sadly history repeated itself….

I began writing my novel and forgot the lesson I learned from the first time. I hadn’t finished the first draft before sending it off to publishers in the hope that one would see the potential in the story. As I continued to write and mold the story I realized the overall plot needed A LOT of work. I started out with a VERY VERY long prologue- which is not a good idea- and I ended up scrapping it entirely. As I look at the current version of the story (draft #3) I have to laugh. The beginning has changed entirely, the characters took on a different path than I originally imagined, and one character has become the basis for the second book in the series.

Yes- this is a series, because when I choose a project I go big. For better or worse. This time though I think it’s going to work well.

I’m learning to be patient with this novel. I’d loved to have published it already but every time I’ve tried I’ve known it’s not right. I’ve outsourced the editing and formatting after making initial edits and revisions. I outsourced a Beta reader to help me get an idea if the plot and characters were strong. The only part I’m not going to pay for is the cover design and I’m happy with that choice (for now).

All of this to say, I hope you stick around because I’m going be bringing updated information and progress on my upcoming debut novel A Royal Mind- The Legend of Ignis Book 1.

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Stories that Inspire (Part 1)

A new year! Yes, we’re all happy to say goodbye to 2020 and welcome the hope 2021 has to offer. There’s a lot to be inspired by right now. The inspirational frontline workers taking care of patient after patient, scientist working on a vaccine to help us move forward, and all the teachers working hard to make this school year work for their students in the best and safest way possible. There are inspiring stories everywhere, and it made me think back to all the stories, the books that have inspired me throughout the years.

Inspiring stories stick with us, they stay on us like the smell of woodsmoke after sitting by a warm fire. Inspiring stories inspire other stories, creating a circle of life that sparks joy in the hearts of all those it touches. This week I’ll be sharing the stories which have inspired me. Inspired my daydreams, inspired my own writing, and inspired adventures I’m still dreaming about today.

The chapter book I remember being caught up in was one my mom read to me, The Christmas Doll, by Elvira Woodruff, about two orphan sisters who find themselves in dire circumstances, at Christmas time. The story follows them through the cold streets, sees them separated, one having to try to save the other, written with heart and detail. I couldn’t wait till we came home at night after a long day at school so I could hear the next part of the story.

That’s what a good story does, it makes you want more, it causes you sleepless nights because you can’t put it down.

This story inspired me because of the context in which it was read to me, which is one of the most important parts of an inspiring story. If you read a story during a hard time in life, you’ll remember how it made you feel, how it helped you cope, help you escape from reality. For me and the Christmas doll, this was a special time of my mom reading me a story after a long day at school. It also served as a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas, love, family, and helping those in need.

Inspiration can come from memories and remembering The Christmas Doll in this new year inspires me to create stories that inspire others, that mom’s read to their kids and the kids look back fondly on those memories as I have mine.

LET’S DISCUSS:

What book inspired you when you were younger that you still remember to this day? Comment below and let’s discuss it!

Using ELA Skills to Create Content (PART 1)

I think we can all agree that Pixar knows how to make exceptional movies! They’ve had their failures yes, but overall they know how to tell a story. They took the ideas of toys coming to life and created a timeless classic that has spanned a generation. How do they do it? There are 22 Pixar Storytelling Rules, here’s the picture of them laid out from Pixar Story Artist Emma Coats.

I love how this is laid out and I can’t wait to teach these rules when school starts back in the fall. But for now I thought how fun would it be to apply these to creating content for social media! So, let’s start at the very beginning.

Rule #1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

Now, how do you make this work for creating content? I’m glad you asked. The thing about creating content for our blogs or social media we try to make pictures and videos look filtered to perfection. We position things just right, angle ourselves for the best lighting, and non of that is bad per-say. BUT we have to be careful that we don’t only show the filtered version. We need to be authentic with our audience. We need to remember our purpose behind starting up our account. Was it just for the followers? I know that’s a big draw because it’s what helps with sponsorships but it can’t be the only reason.

We need to show our audience our most authentic selves. We need to show the unfiltered side because thats usually where we show off our niche the best.

How can you be more authentic with your audience?

  1. Tell your story
  2. Don’t always try to sell something
  3. Lose the filters!
  4. Let lose!

I hope you’ve enjoyed part 1 of this series and make sure to follow me on Instagram for my filtered and unfiltered life!

https://www.instagram.com/pixiedustclassroom/

Comics and Creative Writing

Lately I’ve been looking into how I can implement comics into my ELA classes. I’ve learned that students may be overwhelmed by large novels, even if they’re on their level, but hand them a comic and they’ll read multiple in one sitting. Some educators may not think students can get much out these but I disagree. Consider the lessons we can take from the Marvel shows and movies created over the past year. These shows are based on comics, therefore one can infer that we can learn similar lessons from the original source.

Star Wars recently came out with a new Obi Wan comic that provides us a deeper look into Obi Wan, his time on Tatooine and his past as an active Jedi. I ordered and read #1 and found it very enjoyable. I haven’t read comics for years but I found my idea that these can be used in an ELA class to be completely validated. In this comic I found 3 tips for creative writing.

  1. Use flashbacks
    • This story begins with an older Obi Wan, similar to what we see in A New Hope, looking back on his time as a Jedi. We’re provided a flashback that takes up the majority of the comic. Flashbacks are useful tools when used correctly. They can help provide background information while continuing the action of the story instead of giving the reader information overload. And in this case the flashback introduced the conflict of the story.
  2. Introduce conflict as soon as possible
    • A story’s conflict is what keeps the reader reading. It’s what gives the story its plot. If there wasn’t conflict Frodo wouldn’t have had to return the ring, Harry wouldn’t have to keep fighting for his life every year at school, and Katniss wouldn’t have had to volunteer as tribute. Without conflict there is no story, therefore the quicker you introduce the conflict the better.
  3. Choose the right ending
    • It’s your story you get to choose the ending, or sometimes the ending chooses you. In the case of the comic in question since this is #1, it tells us that there will be more, and therefore the ending needed to provide a conclusion but also leave a little unresolved issues. Obi Wan’s flashback wraps up that part of the story, but as we return to a much older, battered, Obi Wan on Tatooine, we’re given an unresolved ending. An unresolved ending is one where the reader is left on a cliff hanger, filled with questions that have yet to be answered. And in this comic we’re left to wonder how Obi Wan knew what was coming for him, and what else happened to him in the Jedi Temple that we didn’t see in the films? When writing a story you have to make sure that you choose the right ending for your story. In my novel A Royal Mind I made sure to give it an unresolved ending because I knew I’d be writing multiple books in the series, but I did make sure to wrap up Aster’s story in order give the book itself a conclusion to satisfy readers yet keep them hooked to find out what happens in the overall story of the Legend of Ignis.

I’m excited to read the rest of this series! Kenobi is my favorite Jedi and so far the Disney Plus show is AMAZING. I hope that you enjoyed this little lesson from a comic, and I hope to provide more of these!

Comment below if you enjoy comics!

Self-Publishing Journey

It’s been just a little over a month since I self-published my first novel A Royal Mind (PURCHASE HERE) and I thought I had learned a lot from my mistakes after publishing my children’s books but boy I still have a lot to learn. Which shouldn’t surprise me because we can always keep learning and when we’re starting something new we’re bound to not get it all right at the start.

But that’s a struggle of mine- I like knowing how to do everything first time around and I don’t like making mistakes, even if I try to shrug them off when I make them.

I thought I’d start sharing a little more in-depth of my self-publishing journey so far.

When I self-published my children’s book series Adelyn’s Amazing Adventures I realized I should have hired beta readers, sent my book to trustworthy ARC readers and of course I should have had a professional editor. I also know I could have done A LOT better at the marketing. So, going into my novel I really thought I was doing better by having the professional editor, the beta reader, etc. But I only hired 1 beta reader, I didn’t ask for reviews, I didn’t send it to ARC readers and I didn’t send it to reviewers.

I also thought I had the marketing under control but I have learned I really needed to focus on getting reviews BEFORE the book published so that they could be posted and used to advertise.

Needless to say I’m trying to makeup for these missteps and I’ve sent my book to book bloggers and reviewers, and I’m looking to hire a professional marketing planner.

I’ve definitely learned, or I should say relearned, that with each new venture there will be things we learn that could have made it better, but that’s okay. Learning is important so that when we try again we won’t make the same mistakes.

Valentines Day Is On the Way

Happy Friday everyone! I’ve gotten way behind on my blogs this week but I wanted to wrap up the week by sharing some AMAZING artwork for my book! Now, if you haven’t purchased my book you can click the link below! I highly recommend you purchase the paperback because there’s nothing like holding a book in your hand!

PURCHASE A ROYAL MIND

I’ve been sketching the characters from my book for awhile but was never really happy with them. And I wanted art for my book to eventually add to future editions and of course share here and on social media. I’m also hoping I can get a subscription box to use my book!

I reached out to my good friend Haley who is an amazing artist and I shared my vision of what I wanted the characters to look like. And she went above and beyond with Aster.

I’m so happy with what she created and I’m so excited to share it with you today!

Follow Haley to see more of her work! https://www.instagram.com/haleyravenn/

A Very Harry Potter Valentine

I’m very behind in my Valentine’s Day advent but no one’s perfect (at least that what Hannah Montana always said). Today’s valentine was inspired from the only time Valentines is heavily mentioned in the Harry Potter series, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets the MinaLima edition. So far the series has book 1 and 2 but I’m most looking forward to this edition of the 3rd book Prisoner of Azkaban.

MinaLima’s Valentine’s illustrations in Chapter 13 A Very Secret Diary are AMAZING. They really capture the scene of what the Great Hall would have looked like with Gilderory Lockhart’s Valentine chaos.

The illustrations inspired me to create this fun Valentine and I’ve created a pdf template for you! Just click the link below to download!

National Wear (Read) Red Day

Today is National Wear Red Day, a day that highlights women’s heart health. To celebrate I’m wearing red today, and of course made sure my nephew was dressed in red as well.

            Can you tell I’m obsessed with him?

            I thought it would be fun for today’s Valentine’s Advent, to share books with red covers that I’ve read and enjoyed! Here are the next books you need to add to your TBR list.

Anna and the King of Siam

If you have ever watched The King and I then you will love the more historically accurate take about Anna Leonowens. This book is a little hard to get into, especially if you think it’s anything like the movie, Anna and the King, because it’s not. But it is interesting and the slow parts are worth it in the end.

Before the Sword

I’ve reviewed this book before but I had to add it to this list- especially since Lunar New Year just happened. I love this prequel to one of my favorite princesses. It follows the story line from the live action version, which is why the characters may seem a little different. But this is definitely a book you need to read for yourself or to your kids/classroom.

Catching Fire

I added this classic because I miss the days of reading this series for the first time and being on the edge of my seat. I think this is my favorite of the trilogy, the first one is okay, and the third one is too slow, but I like the added layer of mystery in this one because you don’t know who is on which side.

Redeeming Love

Redeeming Love is a classic love story based on the greatest Love of all time. The movie has finally come out but if you think the book itself would be rated PG13 so it’s not for a younger crowd, despite is amazing message of redemption.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

With the new movie coming out soon, I wanted to add this book from Hogwarts Library. I love adding these to my Harry Potter shelf!

Valentines Day Advent Day 4

Happy Wednesday

Friday the 2022 Winter Olympics kick off and today’s Valentine’s Day Advent I compiled all the fun books I could find on the Olympics for kids!

World Flags Coloring Book

World Flag Coloring Book- while you’re watching the opening ceremonies and throughout the games have your kids color the flags of countries that show up on the screen. This is a great way to teach and entertain!

I Spy Winter Olympics

Another great way to incorporate learning and the Olympics is this fun I Spy Winter Olympic Games book!

Dream Big Little Pig

This is a great little story to encourage your children to dream big, to try new things and believe in themselves!

How Mabel Fairbanks Changed Figure Skating (She Made History)

One of my favorite parts about this book are the illustrations! They fit the entire winter aesthetic and I like how the artist captures Mabel. I also love how the author takes a subject like race issues that is a major part of Mabel’s story and makes it understandable for kids. This is a great book for kids and classrooms!

Valentine and Chocolates

It’s day 3 of my Valentine Advent countdown (click the link here to read the first in this series.) and Valentine’s Day is synonymous with chocolates! Today is National Dark Chocolate Day and I went all out this year! I bought a set of silicone molds and of course it included Mickey molds! Now, I made mine without a filling because I don’t have talent in the kitchen, but of course if you have talent in the kitchen feel free to create your own!

But this DIY is for the ones, like me, who want something fun and easy to do in the kitchen.

Watch the Full Video By Clicking the Link BELOW!

Valentines Day Advent: Day 2

It’s the first of February! How time flies! It’s also day 2 of my Valentines Day Advent. Check the first blog post HERE.

Day 2: Romances to Read if you like….. (links below)

Before Midnight

Once Upon a Prince (And the entire Rachel Hauk Royal Wedding Series)

Fairest

Go the Distance

Weddings by Bella

Red Door Inn (Prince Edward Island Series)