Tanya Miranda
Writer, Dreamer, Intergalactic Superhero

Celebrate The Small Stuff : Drawing

Posted on August 19, 2016
Blog Hop hosted by Lexa Cain
Today is Friday, and that means it's time to celebrate all the small things that are totally awesome in your life and all the little successes you've had during the past week.

This week, I am celebrating my rekindled love of line art.

These last few weeks I have been working with some talented poets in the Poetry Universe Facebook group on a compilation that is close to being published. I've been providing technical support in the self-publishing process like page layout and formatting, image optimization, etc. There were some incredible drawings in the compilation and it has inspired me to take up some drawing. I used to draw tons when I was younger until my art was literally discarded by a jealous boyfriend in college. The incident killed my desire -- you can read all about that in this old blog post. The point is, I'm starting to get the itch again.

And... my husband just so happened to get me a set of Roting isograph pens for my birthday back in July. Evidently, I have been doodling and drawing line art enough that he thinks I should have some real tools of the trade. These pens are absolutely fantastic. Even though they are marketed towards architect and technical drawing types, I still love them.

Aren't they pretty? It's okay to be jealous.

I didn't get to use them much when he gave them to me last month because... well... life, but I started using them last week. Here are the results of my practice runs with the .25 and .5 pens. These are all single continuous lines...

I call this Mesh Pizza
This one is Ecstatic!
A Square Maze, perhaps?
Kind of looks like a sandwich.

Those were just the test runs to get used to using the ink pens. I wasn't expecting it to be messy at first, but if you've never poured actual ink from bottle, be ready. Ink got everywhere on the first try. I was washing ink off my right cheek afterwards.

That was day one. Lots of hand and face washing. I was more careful afterwards.

A few days later, I decided I wanted to draw real objects out of my imagination. I usually draw stick figures doing all sorts of things, like parachuting or fishing, where the stick-person is the main object, because... I love stick people. But, this time I wanted to do some scenery. So, I tried drawing a city street.

A shoe store, restaurant, hair salon, and a pizza place at the base of an apartment building, on a single city block -- those places are all fake, but Bergenline in North Bergen looks very much like this. Of course, my stick people make an appearance. What's a city without people, right?

Then I tried drawing a picnic in the mountains. The problem with ink is you can't erase, so when I drew the picnic blanked all disjointed from the perspective of the scene, I had to leave it there. I slapped my forehead after I drew it - talk about a brain fart. I tried to deflect the error with rocks and "happy ants".

My trees need work - instead of leafs and branches, it looks like a messy updo hair style. I think that swirl at the upper right was meant to be wind. Who knows...

And lastly, I though I'd try to draw a vase of flowers. Looks more like a vase of dried-up dead flower stems, something in a Tim Burton movie. Still, I like my dead stick flowers. Maybe all my life forms take on a stick-figure personality.

I know what you are thinking... "Tanya, hot momma, you sultry vixen you... it's so cartoony! What gives?" I know, I know... I was hoping for something more realistic, but these are pens, and I have yet to get a how-to book on anything to do with drawing. That's my next step.

And I promise you, all of the pictures look a thousand times better in my mind.

"So what's the goal?", you ask. I am going to work on another poetry compilation where my poems will be included, and I may include some drawings. You know how sometimes you know EXACTLY what you want in an image but you can never find it anywhere... wouldn't it be great if you had the ability to draw it? That's my goal. I hope to draw the images in my head, the way they appear, with crisp clarity and maybe some color.

And, hopefully, a lot less cartoony.


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IWSG : Effective Book Trailers

Posted on August 3, 2016
I have yet to even THINK about making a book trailer for my Family Relics series. Maybe I'll think about it when I'm done with the series, but right now it's NOT on my to-do list. Since book trailers fail to move me, at least the ones I come across online (it's not like I look for them), I never gave it much thought for my books.

Anyway, here is the one and only book trailer that actually moved me to buy the book it promotes. It's a trailer for a cook book. A freaking COOK BOOK! It's called the Thug Kitchen Cook Book -- I can't even post the tagline because... well... you'll see.

The real-life, self-deprecating humor and the boat load of natural cursing made me laugh, and I felt it connected with me in a way no other cook book, or any book trailer for that matter, ever did.  Even the melody at the end of the promo is fantastic. I hummed it for a bit afterwards -- I guess that was their goal.

So check out the book trailer / promo video below for Thug Kitchen, and let me know what you think. And if you know of a book trailer that really stands out, that moved you to an actual purchase, please share it here. I want a collection to refer to if I ever decide to do this.

WARNING: There is a TON of cursing in this video, so if you don't like cursing, avoid it like the plague.

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This is a post part of 
blog hop.

Support your local indie writers, because we f***ing need it!

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh

Friday Celebrations

Posted on July 29, 2016
Blog hop hosted by Lexa Cain

It's been a while since I posted a Celebrate The Small Things post. The summer has been busy with both my kids on travel teams and other activities. There hasn't been too much writing, as is usually the case when I'm with the kids all day, but there are other celebrations!

The summer softball season has come to an end. I want to celebrate how awesome a ballplayer my daughter has become. Since I'm in the dugout assisting the coach, I forget to take action shots. Here she is lounging before a game. This photo so defines her character -- ready to play, but totally relaxed about it.


My son's indoor soccer tournament will be ending soon. Along with soccer, he plays tennis a few times a week and takes total advantage of the deep end in our town's pool. Here's a shot that says it all. He can cannonball like a pro!

What form! What height!

My cat has a few celebrations too. He can do yoga poses in his sleep, find a comfortable spot in the middle of my daily mess, and he can fly -- or at least dreams about flying.

Reverse Sleep Cat Twist Pose

What mess?

I can fly! I just know it!
Yeah, I know, my cat's always sleeping. But aren't those the best shots?

And, about that mess... I've fixed it! My dining table is now a Lego building station. I have a giant chest that my husband's friend gave us from when he was a kid filled with thousands of Lego pieces. We are just starting to sort it all out.

The goal? To get to the bottom pieces that have probably been neglected for decades. It's going to be a while before we're done. I foresee a Lego City in our near future...


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Parents, Kids, and Social Media

Posted on July 21, 2016
If there is a lesson that should be taught in grade school, as young as possible, and repeated throughout grade school years, it's how kids should behave online.

I am in the unfortunate position of having to speak to a group of young girls about their online activity because of a painful incident with one of them. I won't give more details than that -- let's just say this is close to home for me, and this whole scenario prompted this post. It's a bit of a long rant, but it's been on my mind for the past few weeks, and I feel writing it up might help some parents out.

The Problem

Some parents are oblivious of the potential harm social media can do to their kids, or that their kids even have access to social media outlets. I'll take it a step further... parents are unaware of the harm that may come from giving a 10-year-old a smart phone.

Now I know some people wonder, "What is a 10-year-old doing with a phone?". There are numerous scenarios where they are necessary, like separated parents, parents with more than one job, kids in after school care, some kids taking buses and trains to and from school, etc. The intention is usually a good one - to stay connected with your child in a busy world.

And, let's face it, there are some people who just want their 10-year-old to have the best damn gadget out there, no matter the cost.

Whatever the case is, kids have phones. It's a reality.

IWSG : Writing Poetry

Posted on July 6, 2016
What I wish I looked like when writing poetry.
Writing poetry looks fun and easy
To those who do no such thing.
What's so hard about arranging a few words
Into melodious verses that sing?

It can be a child's story about talking bunnies,
A lovers' quarrel on a moonlit night,
A daring odyssey across ancient lands,
Or an ominous crow stirring up fright.

Whatever the theme of a poem may be,
There are rules that some poets follow.
And there are some who follow not a single rule
wind up with
VERSES that some
may not,

There are meters to choose, syllables to stress,
Defining a poem's timing,
And I haven't even begun to talk about
The complexities of rhyming.

Alliterations, symbols, metaphors;
The writer handpicks each and every word to express;
All the while she needs to make sure
That her house isn't a BLEEPING mess.

Writing poetry, short and long,
Can be a hair-pulling, scream-inducing feat.
Try rhyming with the word 'orange'
Or conforming to an iambic pentameter beat.

But, we slave, we torture, and find true bliss
When we write, erase, and recreate.
It's something in our hearts and souls -
Something we love, and something we love to hate.

If you write poetry then you already know
Of the joys and suffering I avow,
And if you haven't ever written poetry before,
Then, trust me, start now!

~ * ~

This post is part of the 
blog hop.

Poets need support too!

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh

Forgetful Dreamers

Posted on June 2, 2016

Forgetful Dreamers

Every night we close our eyes
And wonders take us by surprise
To exotic lands far and near,
To happy places and those we fear,
To decades past and future days,
To defeated hours and minutes of praise,
To worlds so deep into outer space,
To meet beings unlike the human race,
To fly like eagles and swim like sharks,
To hear strange voices, jingles, and barks,
To see pink skies over mountains of steel,
To imagine the impossible in a world so real,
And in the morning when we open our eyes
We forget almost everything, to our surprise.

© Tanya Miranda

IWSG : How to Write With A Cat In The House

Posted on May 4, 2016
For IWSG, instead of writing about releasing the ebook version of Isabel & Leo this summer, or Walking Up on Wattpad, or even The Onyx Ring (the second book in the Family Relics series) I decided to talk about how to write with a cat in the house.

It is that same cat that wandered into our home a few months ago. He is now our resident mascot. We tried a forever home with the stipulation that if it didn't work out then they'd just give him back to us. Well, it didn't work out, so they gave him back. We decided that fate, once again, brought the cat to us. Who is to argue with fate, am I right?

Hi! I'm Gato. This is my home where I let my humans live and take care of me...

The trick to writing at home with a cat is to keep him busy. So here are some things I've learned in dealing with Gato while writing at home. 

Isabel & Leo : Just Cupcakes

Posted on April 28, 2016
This week, I have been so busy with my son's birthday party that I have forgotten my keys, my wallet, paying the bills on time, the kid's dentist appointment, and even taking my vitamins before going to sleep. I missed my spin class on Tuesday and yoga on Thursday, both which help me stay balanced and happy and zen-like so that in case the kids leave their shoes sprawled throughout the living room I won't roar like Momzilla.

I didn't even brush my teeth this morning. My teeth! If I have to forget something, why can't I forget to eat?

So now, due to my lack of exercise and proper eating, my calves and hamstrings are cramping up. Calgon, where the hell are you! Take me away!

As I create... no... attempt to shape blue cupcake frosting into Cookie Monster faces, I am suddenly struck with the notion that it was a stupid idea to make them from scratch. Who am I - Martha Stewart? They look like blue circles with two white dots in the middle. Where the hell did I put that box of mini chocolate chip cookies?