Tanya Miranda
Writer, Dreamer, Intergalactic Superhero

Celebrate the Small Stuff - Movies That Make You Think

Posted on January 12, 2017
What kind of world do we live in where The Fundamentals Of Caring is averaging 7.4 stars on IMDB? Talk about injustice! It needs to win some awards. It just has to.

I love watching movies that have me thinking about life, death, and relationships long after it finished. This movie, this situation, these people, all of it can be real.

Well, I guess the aliens in The Arrival can theoretically be real and just not be here yet, but the chances that actual aliens will be that cool are probably in the negative digits. (Can probability be negative? I don't know. I'm not a statistician, or one who gambles.)

In between watching the Arrival and The Fundamentals Of Caring, I recall the last movie that had this kind of impact on me was Seeking A Friend For the End Of The World. It was a bittersweet ending, as you can imagine with a title like that. I would categorize it as dark humor, or depressing humor. It made me think about life and the vast universe, the void, total darkness, the possibility of the human race in complete non-existence... Yeah, I lost a lot of sleep on that one.

IWSG : Planning

Posted on January 4, 2017
Blog Hop hosted by Alex Cavanaugh
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Time for a post for IWSG hosted by Alex Cavanaugh. A different question is asked each month, where your answers are shared and you encourage others who are struggling. This month's question is : In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

Here's my take on 5-year plans... I used to create 5-year plans for my organization as director of e-commerce in retail many years ago. Anything can happen in five years. People leave. New employee roll in. New initiatives are created. Hell, the people who asked for the 5-year plan may move on to other positions at other companies half way through.

So when I created these 5-year plans, I'd only stayed true to the first two years ahead and winged the following years. Hey, life happens and things change, and instead of failing at a unyielding plan you tuck and roll and change your mind. One of my favorite movie quotes of all time comes from the protagonist in Dreams for an Insomniac. "I never give up. I either get what I want or I change my mind first."

Celebrating 2016 And An Intergalactic Superhero Moment

Posted on December 30, 2016
Blog hop hosted by Lexa Cain
As the last Celebrate the Small Things post for the year, I want to do a major 2016 celebration of all the things I'm grateful for this past year.

  • Published a children's picture book, Monsters Under My Bed, with my own drawings. 
  • Published a short story collection, Isabel & Leo, which is based on real life stories from various people in my life. Not 100% real, but not 100% fiction either. 
  • Met a few cool poets/writers while working on a collaboration project over the summer, and created a couple of poems for children. One day our little project will be complete.
  • Became a soccer coach for my son's U10 travel team, and learned a lot about coaching kids. I can juggle a ball pretty good for a 40+ year old who just learned soccer. I have my own soccer cleats and everything!!! 
  • I am running regularly, and completing 10Ks without feeling complete exhausted for the rest of the day. I haven't lost my bounce yet. 

Goodbye 2016 - A Year In Review

Posted on December 27, 2016

It's that time of year when you reflect upon the past year's achievements, failures, and close-calls or almost-there moments. In following IWSG December posts, which, of course, I missed because I let life get in the way of my writing schedule, here are my answers...

Friday Celebrations - Editing and Book Covers

Posted on December 16, 2016
Blog hop hosted by Lexa Cain

I haven't posted in a while because I've been kind of in a funk. But, a few weeks ago I got my edits back for my short story collection and I finally went through them all. Book finished. So, now I have something to celebrate!

And, while my funk consumed me, I started working on the cover. Although I love the work by Jenny from Seedlings Design Studio for my Family Relics series, which oozes fantasy on the fantastic imagery, I decided to save some money for the harder stuff (like the cover to Book 2 in Family Relics series - Go Jenny!) and do the cover for the collection myself. Here is the not-yet-finished cover for the Isabel & Leo collection. I'm still working on the blurb, but the image and the fonts are pretty much set.

So, in the immortal words of London Tipton, "Yay me!"

Another big "YAY" moment is my editor finally returned my sci-fi book, Distant Origins, but this one is bitter sweet. You see, I had already hired an editor for this, and she did a piss poor job. But, back then, I was eager and self-editing was a new idea that hadn't yet developed into a process. So, after having accepted the edits and read it over for the umpteenth time with an exhausted mind, I declared victory and published. Except, there were errors. Lots of them. My sick-and-tired eyes just didn't see them.

So, fast forward 2 years and I finally decided to bite the bullet and submit the book for one final round of editing by Quill Penn who did an incredible job with my last two projects. They just gave it back with all sorts of corrections. So now I will read it for the umpteenth+1 time and hopefully make this the FINAL round of editing. Maybe not having read it for 2 years will help with the "I'm so sick of reading this" syndrome.

And now, for a little editing cartoon...

So, what do you think of the cover? Do you create your covers yourself or do you go through a designer, or hybrid like me?

And more importantly, what's your favorite chocolate? Mine are Godiva cookie/chocolate biscuits and Guylian's Belgian chocolate shells. Yumm....


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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This is a post part of 

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.

~ * ~

This is a post part of 

Support your local indie writers, poets and artists!

Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh