Tanya Miranda
Writer, Dreamer, Intergalactic Superhero

Friday Celebrations: Monsters Under My Bed, And More To Come...

Posted on November 11, 2016
Blog hop hosted by Lexa Cain

Let's celebrate all things big and small. This week, I have a big celebration. WOHOOO!!!

I have finally completed publishing of my children's poetry/picture book, Monsters Under My Bed on Amazon and CreateSpace

I will not lie, I absolutely enjoyed creating Monsters Under My Bed. The little piece of poetry that was born from a coalition project over the summer triggered the humble artist in me. I've always written poetry, but never really anything for children. I've always loved line art, and I've always drawn silly characters, but I've never edited them or shared them with anyone except my kids, who of course think Mommy is awesome.

So, I never thought about creating drawings for a children's book. I never thought I could do it. I never thought I had the talent. But, when I created a poem of silly monsters, my hands began to itch. I had to try. I had to use the ink pens my husband gave me over the summer, and take a stab at it. I jumped in. I created a slew of weird little monsters. Loads. Some I scratched, because sometimes experimentation produces junk, and some I put into Monsters Under My Bed.

And with my knowledge of GIMP and MS Paint (which has come a long way since the 90s) I was able to edit my drawings and create scenes to match the poem.

My daughter says it should be a board book, but alas I do not have the means for that. I didn't even try to pitch this to an agent. I wanted to do it myself. The technical aspect of self publishing is what really intrigues me. Full and total control.

I offer two version, a 12-page Kindle version on Amazon, and an 8x6 print version with 24 pages on CreateSpace.

There is reason for the two version, and it's all about presentation. The words go with the images, and in a print version, the two pages are side by side because it's a physical book. For kindle, the words are on the same page as the images so single-page readers can relate the verse to the image. This cuts the kindle book in half. Is it better or worse? What do you think?

Print Version

Kindle Version

The point is, I did it. I have the printed version in my hands, and I love it! And, I am certain that this is not the last of my children's books. I just enjoyed drawing way too much...

Available at Amazon and CreateSpace

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IWSG - Self-Publishing a Children's Picture Book

Posted on November 2, 2016
There is a huge difference in writing/creating/drawing and publishing. Even more so for a children's picture book vs. a novel.

For my novels, after all the editing was completed, the ebooks were first to get published. For me, it was technically easier. No real page margins to manage, type-facing can be as difficult or easy as you make it, cover images guidelines are clear, etc., etc. Your book is under the mercy of a reader's device, so you make it flexible. You never want to restrict your reader too much by making your style strict and non-adjustable because, hey, those folks who like big fonts and line-spacing wont read your book if you don't let them change to their specification. I mean, that's what e-readers are for, right? Flexibility.

For my novels, I work on the print version after I'm done with the ebook because it just takes longer. You have to worry about weird page layouts and conforming to page margins. Type-facing is tricky, and you play around to see what works when printed. Your cover needs to be adjusted depending on the number of pages, and your images skew accordingly. Matte or glossy covers, cream or white pages... lots of different configurations that you actually need to see in your hands to know it if works with your book. For me, the print version takes longer because of these many facets.

But, for Monsters Under My Bed, I had to work on the print version first. I needed to see it in my hands before knowing how to change it for the ebook format. It's different than a novel. It's visual, and the pictures have to work with the writing. Consequently, the ebook has to effectively represent the print book and not the other way around.

And, I think, Amazon knows this because they actually have a specific tool to create children's picture books for kindle. Thank goodness for that!

Coming Soon!
For children five years old and younger,
and for children of all ages...

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Support your local indie writers, poets and artists!

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh

IWSG : A Children's Book?

Posted on October 6, 2016
Over the summer, I participated in a small poetry compilation on Facebook. Initially, my poem was included, but the tone of my poem didn't quite mix in with the tone of the other submissions, so I withdrew it from the collection. As a result of working with those folks, I made a couple of new poetry buddies (Dawn Marie DiMartino & Steven Woods) that inspired me to write more children's poetry. They are both artists as well, and they both kept pushing me to try and draw images to accompany my pieces.

It just so happened my husband gave me a cool set of drawing pens for my birthday over the summer, which I wrote about in this blog post. So, I started drawing some line art for a few of my poems and several other random pieces that inspired more poetry writing. It's an addictive cycle, so much so that it's been hard to get back to my novels.

Then, one day, I showed one of my pieces to my daughter along with the poem. She said, "Mom, I can totally see this as it's own kid's book!"

Call it serendipity, perfect timing, cosmic alignment of the planets -- the universe was trying to tell me something. After several attempts at drawing monsters and beds and scenery that would match the kookiness of the poem, I am close to finishing it. Here is the almost-finalized cover, still working on colors and design.

It's a kids poem with silly drawings, along the lines of Shel Silverstein. I loved reading his poetry when I was a kid. Now, if anyone hasn't heard of Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein, then you should run out and BUY a copy right now. It's not only for kids, grownups will enjoy it as well. Seriously. This should be on your bookshelf.

So, all this time I had always thought, "Nah, I can't create a kids poetry book, or a children's book for that matter. I can't draw images that kids will like, that will make sense, and a poem to go with it."

I guess you never know until you really give it a shot, and have the right people supporting you. If you find such people, hold on to them tightly. They. Are. Priceless.

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Support your local indie writers, poets and artists!

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh

Friday Celebrations : Actual Writing Progress

Posted on September 22, 2016
Blog hop hosted by Lexa Cain

I actually have a few noteworthy writing milestones to put up. Woohooo! They are few and far between, so backflips and margaritas are in definitely order.

  • I am gathering my short stories in the Isabel & Leo collection on Wattpad for publishing. The final revision is done and on its way to an editor for line and copy edits. Just under 18k, it's done. Done! DOOOONNNNNEEEE!!!
  • I wrote 4 poems for a children's poetry collection I am participating in with two other poets. The best part is that I am including my own drawings with my poems. This will be a monumental first for me. I still have to draw pictures for the other poems, and of course I am using my new ink pens. Maybe I'll be posting those celebrations next week, who knows? Here's one of the un-edited drawings for a poem titled "Monsters Under My Bed"

Isn't it adorable?

Now, on to completing the first draft of Book 2 in the Family Relics series. It's slowly progressing, but eventually I will get there. 

Happy Friday!!


Posted on September 12, 2016


Wanting a little sunlight but given a dark haze;
Hoping for attention, instead getting a blank daze;
Desiring wholeness but receiving a tiny part;
Wishing for the finish line but failing to start;
Looking for an escape and arriving at a dead end;
Craving flexibility yet unfit to bend;
Fishing for consideration but swallowing disrespect;
Thirsting for communication with someone who doesn't want to connect;
Starving for discretion but withstanding full disclosure;
Dying for some control while losing my composure.

© Tanya Miranda

Isabel & Leo : Taking Sides

Posted on September 3, 2016
The moment Dad gets that I-know-more-and-I'm-not-backing-down-until-you-agree look in his eyes and begins arguing about something I don't understand with Mom, I leave the kitchen table. Mom has a similar look; she sighs and rolls her eyes a lot.

My parents always do this. I asked them about what college was like, and that turned into something about going away to a school in Europe, going to their old schools, then something about working hard for your money, the value of a degree, and then something about technical careers, and...

I lost track after that. Somehow, this all lead to my parents fighting over why there is no milk in the fridge.

As the shouting gets louder, I sit next to Jay on the couch. They don't argue like this much, shouting at each other, but when they do, Jay gets sad and nervous. As his big sister, it's my job to calm him when he gets nervous. I can tell he's not used to our parents arguing. I've got years of experience.

We both stare at the television, half listening to our parents yelling in the kitchen. I don't really understand anything they say, but I tell Jay not to worry.

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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Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh