Category Archives: Publishing

Follow-Up to “Reflections on Anne Frank, Hiding and the Corona Virus Pandemic”

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The last time I wrote a blog post about the lockdown and the pandemic, it was April 8th, 2020 in a blog post called “Reflections on Anne Frank, Hiding and the Corona Virus Pandemic”. I was starting to realize that this lockdown was going to be longer than what the officials were telling us. It was eventually extended, making our “hiding” in place into the summer, about 3 1/2 months. From Mid-March to mid-June, I isolated in my San Jose condo. I didn’t fathom truly how it was going to affect us all except it could be as wide reaching as WWII. I could see it was going to shake up society, disrupt living, and likely change the world forever. I just didn’t know how it was going to do it, and how I’d survive it.

Half Dome taken from Yosemite Valley on a trip in 2020.

But I have to say, the hiding has worked out better for me than it did for Anne Frank. I guess that could be my Gen X cynical side speaking. Maybe because 2020 turned into a worse year than anyone could imagine for the last few generations. Maybe, it just takes a pandemic to really put things in perspective, just like a world war or other global event. This is my first global crisis of such proportions of a world war that I can understand some of what the Great Generation might have gone through now.

As I look back on my optimistic words from the beginning of April 2020, it was that hope that did get me through the year. With the political unrest in the US amid the pandemic, it just seemed like nothing was going right and everything was descending into chaos. But, the goal my husband and I had been working on for a few years, buying a house, seemed like it could still happen. I’d been wanting a house for a few decades, and my husband and I had been talking and doing some planning. Than, I got very sick, actually dying and was hospitalized. I pulled through that, and house buying had to be put off while I got better.

Mrs. Turner standing in Yosemite Valley, August 2020.

Finally, summer 2020 was going to be it, the time to buy a house. Then, the pandemic hit. But among all the goals that had to fall by the wayside, that one was still possible. Goals had to be literally and completely rethought through in the new world order that the pandemic created. House buying was one of the few industries left open during lockdown, because it was considered essential. People need shelter to isolate in.

So, buying a house seemed like a plausible way forward, especially if there was as resurge of virus in the winter and maybe living in a crowded city wouldn’t be the best. I had moved mostly to virtual teaching and freelance writing. My husband’s company had also moved to virtual working. So, we decided on the move. July we bid on a house, and after it was accepted, went through the escrow process.

In the middle of this, we managed a trip to Yosemite, just to get out and away from being locked down for months. With reservations made in April, we were able to enjoy a stay at the Awanhee’s cottages in the Yosemite Valley. Just being out on a trip seemed a victory after being in hiding from mid-March to June. The state of California seemed to emerge for the summer to enjoy some kind of living, masked, and at least more outdoors. RVs and Campers became the travel vehicle for the new “apocalypse” though I was a bit sad that there weren’t real “zombies”.

Small things became a little triumph. Biking around Yosemite Valley seemed monumental. Hiking along the trails were a new adventure, even though it was my fourth visit to Yosemite. When a mountain lion crossed the trail near by us, I was marveling at how close it was, but still keeping tabs on when it went by. It was exciting, but still, I was more afraid of the non-masked humans than the mountain lion in the end. But a trip out in nature, because outside and space from people was safe, was the new frontier.

It was exciting to get our new keys to our house Labor Day weekend. We started fixing up the house, and moving some of our things in. Each weekend, we moved our items ourselves because it was less exposure to people. Packing boxes and moving up to the house became a routine for a few weeks. Then, on a Sunday run up to our new house, a fire broke out around the area. Strong winds blew that night, with our internet being knocked out. It was the night I met my new neighbors, at a distance due to the pandemic, talking loud over strong winds about the emergency alert messages and whether to evacuate. Luckily, I found out from them that the town would sound sirens if we needed to evacuate, like what had been done in 2017. Falling asleep, I was awoken some hours later by the sirens. I evacuated hoping my new house would survive the Glass Fire.

The Glass Fire surrounded my new town, and my husband and I were evacuated for a week. We prayed and avoided the news as much as would could, afraid to see pictures of burning buildings that could be our house. We followed the CalFire map, watching the movement of the fire, having all our friends and family pray our new house would be okay. Luckily, the town was saved and our house. I had survived one of my worst weeks of 2020.

Evacuating during the Glass Fire, 2020. Note, taken while driving through town to evacuate.

We finished with repairs and updating items in the house, and moved in beginning of November. By December, the SF Bay Area locked down again, and for 2 months, I isolated and stayed hiding again for a second lockdown. At least this time, I knew how to deal with it. It was a little trickier in a new house and town, but if anything, 2020 was an advanced course in adaptation and self reliance. I’d already realized that this was a historical time to live through, and I was so thankful for my new house and that it had survived. By the time I raised my champaign glass on New Year’s Eve, I was glad to see the year end.

I’d survived. 2020 was the strangest year I’ve ever lived through. It was an emotional roller coaster. The politics, protests, the election. The personal stories of COVID I saw and heard from friends. Friends had lost family members to COVID. I had family members that got sick with COVID, but luckily, survived. Of the other people I knew that had COVID, some were having long hauler symptoms. There are all these new terms now. But the biggest news as we entered 2021 has been about the vaccine. Everyone is waiting for their turn to get the jab.

Tiffany Turner is the author of this new self publishing guide.

I’ve just got to hold on now for the vaccine. I even made it into a doctor’s visit, and I think he summed up what is going on the best right now. I had asked about trying to sign up for the vaccine, and he answered, “Yeah, it’s like the Hunger Games.” He also recommended I continue “hiding” until I get the vaccine. So, it’s nice to be under doctors orders to continue to isolate, continue with this hiding plan. The craziness of trying to get an appointment are my new reality. I’m just too young right now, which is just crazy to hear. But I’ll hold on. I’ve made it through almost a year now. A few months waiting for a vaccine, no problem.

So, I have to report, through the things I lived through in 2020, I’ve kept that hope I saw so much with Anne Frank. You’ve got to keep that. It’s what helped me realize I could still go through the one goal dream of buying a house, and made it come true. I did finish my how to self publish guide too. It’s called “Get Ready to Push the Button: A Beginner’s Guide to Self Publishing”. I also published a picture book called “I Don’t Want to Wear a Mask!”. It’s about a young boy that has to return to school wearing a mask, and how he doesn’t want to do it. But his Mom explains to him why it’s important, and how he can be a hero if he wears a mask.

Written to work on picture book self publishing skills, it has turned into a picture book to help with these strange times.

So, in a way, there was a lot of good that came out of 2020 for me and maybe some other people. Maybe that’s why Anne inspired me. You’ve got to work hard to turn the chaos around you into what you may want or the good that can come out of it. The phrase, “When the world gives you lemons, make lemonade” comes to mind. Boy, was there a lot of lemons to 2020. My lemonade might have been more sore, but I know there was some sugar in it.

All the reading, writing, and self reflection I think has just made me look at everything with a new lens. The world is different now after COVID. Maybe we were living in a bubble. That complacent reality before the “crisis” hits, just like in any movie, and then the world is changed forever. It happened with both World Wars. Now, my generation had the pandemic. And it’s affected all the generations living today. Generations living in the future will wonder what it was like for us. I guess that’s why I’m blogging now. To let them know.

What would I tell them? We watched a lot of Netflix. Learned to knit or other skills from YouTube. Listened to a lot of music. Wrote. Reflected. Did our jobs. And just lived through it the best we could. Just like you might have. And we read books to help us figure it all out. And some of us, even wrote those books to help us figure it all.

There was a lot of chocolate consumed in my house. M&Ms was the chocolate we were easily able to get. Supplies weren’t completely stopped, but some things were harder to get than others. Anne Frank didn’t have Walmart delivery. So, yeah. I’ve been blessed. And Girl Scout cookies went online and you could have them delivered, especially if you’re niece hooked you up. We kept our humor. We knitted slippers for our family because if we couldn’t be there, our knitting would keep them warm like a hug.

Christmas was by Zoom. Thanksgiving was by Zoom. Everything was by Zoom.

The whole time, we just wanted it to be over. The whole irony is as I’m going through it still, I think we haven’t gotten that it will never be over. The world has changed forever. We can’t go back. There’s only going forward now. Who knows what that future will look like until we get there.

I wish for you safety and peace. May you be able to get the vaccine soon, and to always still wear a mask. We’ll get through this together. We’re all going to have all our own COVID pandemic stories after all this. Keep that optimism and hope.

I think Anne Frank would be proud.

Tiffany Turner is a children’s author of the Crystal Keeper Chronicles fantasy adventure series. She is also a romance writer under the pen name, Marilyn Vix. Her books are available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, and other online retailers. She is also the head writer and editor for her blog, the Indie Children’s Authors Connection.

Interested in Self-Publishing? I Just Wrote the Book On It.

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Tiffany Turner is the self-published author of a children’s fantasy book series and several paranormal romance titles. 

It is now available. All of my self-publishing knowledge over the last thirteen years. I’ve been at this self-publishing thing for awhile now. And I’ve learned a lot. It’s been called a gold rush by some, from about 2009 to 2011, and beyond. I would say that was mostly due to KDP, Kindle Digital Publishing, Amazon’s digital platform. It is now a whole new frontier that I can help you navigate.

From watching and talking to other self published authors on Kindleboards (later Kboards.com) like Hugh Howey, to getting the idea and encouragement to start writing romance after my children’s books, I’ve had quite a journey. I wrote “Get Ready to Push the Button: A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Publishing” to make it easy for anyone to get started. All you need is that finished manuscript, and you can be on your way.

All of my hard earned experience has been written down into my beginner’s guide to self-publishing. So, if you’ve been thinking about it, or even wrote a manuscript during lockdown and don’t know what to do now, I’ve got an answer for you. Self-publish!

I’ve been talking to people about how to self-publish on panels at various local conferences including Fanime, San Francisco Comic Con and the Silicon Valley Comic Con over the last few years. Now, you can get all my expertise in one helpful guide, with links for support in an online FB private group. Plus, I’ve worked with a lot of emerging authors through my Fiverr.com gigs. I’ve gotten experience in so many areas from diving into the self-publishing world, and I keep growing with it. Find out how you can make your writing dreams come true, and become a working writer.

Have a manuscript and don’t know what to do?

Have you considered self-publishing?

Get Ready to push the button (3D)-PromoJoin Tiffany Turner as she explains how to get your manuscript ready to finally push that self-publishing button. This beginner’s guide to self-publishing has been put together with Mrs. Turner’s thirteen years of self-publishing experience in romance and children’s book self-publishing. With easy step by step explanations of how to prepare your manuscript, she’ll walk you through in her humorous banter how to:

-Discovering if this self-publishing path is for you.
-Terms & tips you’ll need to navigate the self-publishing world.
-Preparing your manuscript with an easy to follow list of steps.
-How to find the people to help you self-publish such as beta readers, editors, cover designers, formatters and self-publishing platforms.
-What to set up before you self-publish.
-Launching your book.
-Maintaining your self-publishing empire after your first book.

Discover how to get yourself started onto the self-publishing path.

“Get Ready to Push the Button: A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Publishing” is available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, Apple/iBooks, and Rakuten/Kobo.

 

 

 

Tiffany Turner to Speak on Self-Publishing Panel Today, Sept. 8!

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Join Tiffany Turner today to hear how you can start self publishing. 

Want to get started in self-publishing? Live in or near the Silicon Valley? Well then, you’re invited to a free self-publishing panel event at the San Jose Library at the Martin Luther King Jr. branch in downtown San Jose.

Tiffany Turner will be on this fabulous panel that will go over the steps to self-publishing your book. Avoid the problems and

pitfalls some people may run into all while following a budget. The panel will include a

panel of authors in genres such as non-fiction, dark fantasy, YA, romance, children’s

books, and a freelance editor.

Lost Secret - High Resolution (1)Hear from the award winning author, Tiffany Turner, talk about her new self published release, The Lost Secret of Time. She’ll discuss the steps to get started, finding an editor, hiring others to help you, and formatting.

This event will be on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018at 2 p.m and run for an hour. It will be in the Career & Business Center at the MLKJr. library in downtown San Jose. IT IS FREE!

Stop by, receive a handout, and ask questions to get you started on the road to self-publishing. It is a FREE event sponsored by the Career & Business Center at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library. Hope to see you there.

 

For more information, here is the link to the event’s website listing. 

Createspace Closing: Merges into KDP Print

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This is a three cookie day. It’s a chocolate day. I’m trying to remain calm. But when I saw that email in my inbox this morning, I knew it had happened. Createspace was closing. Most of us in the Indie/Self-Publishing community knew it was going to happen. But the timing is not the best. I had just pushed the button to self-publish the print edition of The Lost Secret of Time last night. I’d received my proof, and everything looked good. Everything seemed set, right?

But I forgot Murphy’s Law. I look over the emails and start to follow the instructions for the merge of my books from Createspace to KDP Print. I figure it will be easier than having it automatically moved over later by the Zon. But no. Even that doesn’t go well. In fact, it’s been horrific. Even though I’ve read on a couple writing boards and blogs that some people have had a seamless move, mine has had a series of bumps and rolls that have pretty much brought my new release to a stop.

I’M TRYING TO REMAIN CALM!

**It’s important to take deep breaths in self-publishing.*

Basically when I transferred my books, it only showed my print books from Createspace. It didn’t join them as one account with my ebooks. So, I had to log out and try again. This time I logged in and went into my ebooks. After awhile, I realized I had wisely different passwords for my KDP account and my Createspace account. So, it looked like the merge created two accounts, each one tied to the password. Now, that makes sense, but really isn’t going to be seamless for others. I’m not sure if that is the thing going on, but I can’t see my ebooks and print books at the same time. It is VERY WEIRD!

Also, my Createspace covers are disappearing off of the print books. When it first moved over, there was one missing. Later when I checked there were two missing. Now when I checked there are 5 covers missing. At first I thought it was the website just not loading the thumbnail, but I checked with other authors on the Createspace Merge thread on Kboards.com, and they mentioned that KDP Print MIGHT have different specs than Createspace.

So, maybe I jumped the gun and trusted Amazon too much to have this merge go right. Maybe I should have checked out that the covers would match or gone over everything with a fine tooth comb before hitting the merge button. But no. I trusted Amazon and KDP. I went back to try to get into my Createspace account to see what I could do, and all the books were gone, moved already, and supposedly on KDP Print.

So somewhere in the ether of the internet, five covers have been lost, and I can’t get into any of the details of my books. I am locked out. I have emailed support twice already and all I hear is crickets. So, maybe I should have known better. I knew Murphy would do something with my book launch. Or I should look at the glass half full. My books ended up somewhere.

Yes, I’m sure it will eventually all get sorted out. But there is a lesson maybe in all of this. Self-publishing has never been easy, and things will come up that throw you for a loop. You just have to keep going. Hope that customer support will slog through your request with the onslaught of other authors moving at this time.

I just need another cookie. And some more chocolate.

***Tiffany Turner has been a self-published author for 10 years. Her fourth children’s book, The Lost Secret of Time, will be releasing on September 10 both in ebook and print (I’m still keeping the faith).

 

 

Free Collection of 19th and Early 20th Century Children’s Literature Available On-Line

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Covers from Baldwin CollectionSometimes I do run into some cool information while doing research on-line. When I find something cool, I like to pass on the information.

Now that we’ve been entering the digital age, we may lose previous works of literature to deterioration. But places like institutes and universities are helping to preserve these great works of the past, and now you can read them too. All for FREE!

I found a wonderful on-line archive of different children’s books from over 100-150 years ago. This is great for kids to see what generations past read for their school books or as their entertainment. It gives an insight to how literature has developed. It’s a literary treasure trove to look through. It has been built and is maintained by the University of Florida Digital Collection and is called the Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature. 

I’m linking the starting point here. I just have to warn you. You can get lost in it all, especially when you discover an unusual book. Plus, share your finds in the comments below. It will be great to share some of the books that we found unusual or interesting.

Good luck, and have fun reading!

 

Holiday Picture Book Review: Santa’s Little Helper

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santashelpercovereditLooking for a diverse take on Santa Claus? Here is a jewel of a story just in time for the Holidays.

Santa’s Little Helper by Ronald Destra is a picture book that brings the magic of Christmas to a boy happily waiting his turn for Santa Claus to visit on Christmas Eve. His parents help Daniel prepare, leaving out lemonade and cookies for Santa. But will Santa really arrive?

This book helps capture the wonder and delight one felt waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve. Daniel gets to see the wonder and magic of Santa Claus as he becomes his little helper as he climbs into Santa’s sleigh, complete with reindeer. Santa takes him on a journey to help deliver toys to children throughout his town including his neighbors and an orphanage.

Daniel’s journey takes us through that one night a year when there seems to be something extra special in the air. The supportive, loving parents and caring helpful way Santa shows Daniel his annual job adds to the true meaning of Santa Claus, that giving is better than receiving. The illustrations show Daniel surrounded by loving, supportive parents and Santa, all creating a safe haven for Daniel on Christmas Eve.

This is my favorite book so far by Destra World Book Publishing that specializes in diverse and worldview themes for their books. This book will be a great way to show the Christmas spirit either as a read-aloud or a gift.

**For more information about the author, visit his website at:

www.ronalddestra.com

Santa’s Little Helper is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

 

Back To School Blog Tour Day 2: Featured Author Becca Price

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2017B2SchoolBannerWelcome to the second day of the Back to School Blog Tour. Today’s featured author is Becca Price. Ms. Price is a children’s author with many fantasy children’s books ranging from beginning fantasy chapter books to middle grade novels. I had a chance to talk to Becca about her writing process,  how she gets her ideas, and what she has next in store for us.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

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Becca Price has written the popular fantasy series of bedtime stories, Dragons and Dreams.

Becca Price: I’ve always wanted to be a writer. As a child, I used to tell stories to my siblings before going to bed. I wrote some highly derivative fantasy in high school and college, as one does, but didn’t seriously consider making a living as a writer. Instead, I started work as a technical writer, and continued in that profession until ill health made me quit. I still took the occasional contract, however, and kept in the profession for a total of 30 years

How long does it take you to write these books?

Becca Price: It varies so much. Sometimes, the words just roll out, and the story is close to it’s final form. Other stories, I struggle with. I have one story (Heart of Rock) that I worked on for 20 years, on and off, trying to come up with a satisfying ending.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Becca Price: Inspiration strikes at any time. One story, I worked n in my head while trying to go to sleep. I finally got up at 3:00 in the morning, and wrote down the first draft of the story almost completely.

Other times, it’s more like a “real” job, usually after I get my first pass edit back from the wonderful editor, Martha Hayes – she seems to know what I am trying to say better than I do sometimes, and will ask me questions. I’ll get up in the morning, start working on her edits, take a break for lunch, and finish writing around 4:00 pm, and then back to work on it the next day. I don’t seem to be able to write well after about 3 or 4 in the afternoon, unless it’s one of those things that keeps me up til 3 until I write it down.

What brought you to write your fairy book series?

Becca Price: The only real series I have is Fields, Forest, and Fairies. This consists of 3 books: Fairies and Fireflies, The Wood and the Wildfolk, and The Wizard and the Wood. They all take place in the same universe, and I just kept writing the stories as long as the Wide Wild Wood had stories to tell me. It may have other stories to tell, but right now, I’m feeling like it’s pretty complete.

How you become a published author? Any inspiration?

Becca Price: After I wrote my first book, Dragons and Dreams, I looked carefully at publisher’s requirements for children’s books. They tend to be very strict and formulaic, with no place for the kind of gentle fairy tales I write. I started doing research (I’m a research junkie anyway) and decided to self-publish through Amazon. In this effort I was helped immeasurably by the kind folks at kboards/writer’s café, which still provides me with help in my writing, and in my publishing efforts.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Becca Price: When my children were very small, I looked about for good bedtime stories for them, It must have been a dry spell for children’s books, because other than the classics like Dr. Seus and the Grimm brothers, there wasn’t much – and I disliked the sexual stereotyping in the classical fairy tales. There was the peerless Paper Bag Princess, but other than that, not much. So I started to make up stories that addressed issues (like being afraid of the dark) that my kids were having, or silly stories like The Grumpy Dragon and A Princess for Tea. When my children started correcting me on how the story was supposed to go, I wrote them down, so I’d remember them. That collection became Dragons and Dreams, and is still my daughter’s favourite of my books. Then I got a letter from a fan, wanting to know whether Butterfly Fairy ever got another kitten, and that set of stories became Fairies and Fireflies.

Most of my stories have a strong nature orientation. I’ve been known to call the local Extension Office at Michigan State University, to make sure I have my facts straight. The rest of it comes from my own knowledge of mythology, an exposure to Waldorf education, and that great source of all knowledge, Google.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

Becca Price: Other than childish attempts? Dragons and Dreams took form during my early 40s when my children were little. I didn’t start publishing until 2013, however.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Becca Price: I read. I go on reading spurts, prompted by all sorts of things. I read biographies of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr after my daughter, who is a technical theatre major, introduced me to the musical Hamilton. I read books on ancient (pre-Greek) mythology while a future story, The Boy Who Loved The Moon started taking place. I still haven’t written that one down yet, because it’s going to be very challenging to write, and I want to get it right. What started out as a main character, an 8th century Welsh bard, is now the villain.

But I read a lot for simple relaxation. I’m a fan of regency-ish romances, no matter how bad the research in them is, because usually the author has a good story to tell anyway, and it’s an era where I find the stock characters comforting to read. I read science fiction, and when I feel my writing style has become stale, I read Lois McMaster Bujold,’s fantasy series. I like her Vorkosigan series, as well, but her fantasy tends to be exquisite.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

Becca Price: I have 7 books: four collections of fairy tales, and 3 stories that stand alone. I have 8 books, if you count Child of Promise, which is also the last story in Dragons and Dreams. The non-collection books are Heart of Rock, Bridge of Seven Stones, and The Snarls. All of those were written for my children as they grew up, but I think have universal things to say to any child.

I have to admit, Dragons and Dreams is a sentimental favourite, being the ones I told my children over and over again.

What is next for you? What are you working on now?

Becca Price: There’s The Boy Who Loved the Moon, which I’m still researching and working out the general plot overview. I’ve got several fairy tales, such as my own take on the Tam Linn story, that are sketched out, but on the back burner for now.

What I’m spending most of my time on, however, is Sirens’ Song. It’s a tough book to describe, because it’s still taking shape, but it’s a parable that deals with death and life. I ran a draft of it past a child psychologist, who says that it’s appropriate for 4th and 5th graders, so it’s one of my stories that’s aimed at older children.

And my daughter has been nagging me to write more stories about The Grumpy Dragon, so maybe after Sirens’ Song is finished, I’ll start working on that one.

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Book review of this book featured on Teddy O’Malley’s blog today!

***To continue with the blog tour, head over to one of the participating author’s websites to read a book review of Becca Price’s Heart of Rock. Teddy O’Malley will be featured tomorrow in the blog tour. Today, she is posting a review of Becca Price’s book, Heart of Rock. So, please, head over and enjoy her book review.

To purchase the book, links to Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.

**Plus, the $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway is still going on. Be sure to head over and enter today!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/20834f9e16/?

 

Self-Publishing Speaking Engagement for Tiffany Turner

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ebookmarketTiffany Turner will be speaking on the self-publishing panel at the AODSF conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center on Sunday, March 19 at 10am-11am Live Event Rm 4.

Come find out the exact steps you’ll need for self-publishing you’re own book. From your beginning ideas to pushing the button to self publish, Tiffany Turner will join in a panel to walk you through the process. Ask questions and find out all the publishing platforms, how to hire you’re own editors, formatters, cover designers, and start that important step to building your author platform. Ask questions and get started from the information you’ll receive from this talk.

AODSF Conference Schedule/Website

http://aodsf.org/events/list/

My Year of Writing: Starts with Back to School Blog Tour Planning

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Tiffany Turner starting her year of writing. Let's see what can become of it. ;-)

Tiffany Turner starting her year of writing. Let’s see what can become of it. 😉

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. It’s mostly because I’m trying to get back into a routine after going through a summer of physical therapy. There has been good news. I’m out of the critical range. My heart has finally started to pump stronger. I’m not out of the woods yet. It still isn’t normal, and my doctor has me on a regiment of heart medicines and I’m doing regular physical cardiotherapy. Otherwords, taking care of myself is a job onto itself now.

I’ve also taken off the next year from teaching to work on my health and spend a year writing. I’m going to live the dream of being a full time writer and try to get my health back in order as much as possible. My first week of writing has been filled with participating in a live Writer’s Digest webinar on Middle Grade novels with an agent, writing romance and more of The Lost Secret of Time, and planning the 2015 Back to School Blog Tour.

Join in on the Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 7-11, 2015

Join in on the Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 7-11, 2015

It feels good living the writer’s life. It is a dream that I’m finally able to live, thankfully. I’m glad that God gave me this second chance, and I’m going to try to make the best of it. I want you to join along in this new adventure. Plus, join me in the Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 7-11. I’m still taking sign-ups for participating authors. Email me at: tiff (at) tiffmeister(.)net. I’d love to hear from you. I’ve got space up to 10 participating authors. Hope you can join me.

Most of all, here’s a salute to all those teachers out there starting the 2015-2016 School Year. I can’t be in the trenches with you, but at least, I can help support you all. I’ll be writing down a lot of my lessons I’ve developed over my 18 years of teaching, and will be posting them to TeachersPayTeachers.com. Plus, I’ve developed a unit to teach my novel THE LOST SECRET OF FAIRIES over the last two years in my classroom. I’ll be posting information on that when it becomes available. I know with Common Core it will be important to have curriculum to teach novel studies. I’ve done that in my classroom annually for 18 years. I’m happy to share my knowledge in future posts and with lesson plans on TeachersPayTeachers. Until then, take care, and have a great start to the school year.

HAPPY BACK TO SCHOOL!-Tiffany Turner (Mrs. Turner)

The Panic Over Common Core

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Topic: Common Core is your way into the American textbook black hole.

Topic: Common Core is your way into the American textbook black hole.

There is one main thing going on in education right now. It’s called Common Core Standards. As a writer, you need to know all about it. Why? There is nothing out there to teach it. There is a country full of panicked teachers desperately trying to find curriculum to teach. The only piloted programs out there are Engage NY and The State of Georgia. Second, this will be national. I repeat. This is national standards in the United States now. Every state needs material. Multiply this with an average 700 teachers in a district by how many districts in a state, and you may get my drift. Lots of teachers are needing something to teach students, and there is a curriculum black hole.

If you want to really see the nitty and gritty, here are the Common Core Standards in all of their glory. This is what teachers use to help direct their teaching. It is what students are expected to know and learn at each grade level. And this is going to be for the entire US starting the next school year in 2014-1015. If you really want to see what the fun is about, here is the company that will test it all: Smarter Balance. Try taking the practice/field test. It will give you an idea of what children will be expected to be able to do in the next year. Then, you may understand the panic.

That is where your novel comes in. Teachers need your help. Writers, rise to the cause, because I sure have. Not only am I teaching fourth graders, I’m writing a lot of the material myself. Again, there is nothing out there. What you need are the buzz words that teachers are looking for.

There is a lot of talk about Close Reading (really short passages of nonfiction reading). Then, there is Contextual Questions that are basically questions that the text has to be used to find the answer. Lastly, something known as thematic teaching is back. Throw in something called Project Based Learning, and that is what teachers are using to help teach the Common Core. How do you get your book to work for all of this? Magic word is: start with discussion questions.

Authors, this is where you come in. Start writing posts that can be used in Close Reading. It’s a great technology tie in, and it’s a short passage that kids can learn the author’s perspective. Write something that gives informational background about your book. Teachers can use your own experience to get students to discuss ideas in your book or experience. If you got an angle to your book, write about it. I’ve been writing blog posts about “How Do Writers Get Ideas?” and “Using Legends and Fairy Tales In Books”

Next, you can post the beginning of a novel study on your website. This would include items such as Spelling Test Words, Tests for Chapter Segments or the whole book, and Novel Study Activities. If you’ve got any nonfiction subjects or themes, write discussion questions regarding them. I’ve got pollution, rocks and minerals, and bullying as discussion topics for my first book, The Lost Secret of Fairies. I’m working on a unit, and teaching my book as a novel study right now. I’ll be sharing some items for teacher use on my website.

Plus, I’m going to support a push for ebook sales with my ebook editions. I’m going to put my first ebook on free promotion during Smashwords.com’s “Read An Ebook” week in March. Lots of teachers are looking for novel study group questions and technology material for Common Core. Ebooks are a great way to start. A limited free book promotion will be right for any teacher’s budget.

Supporting teachers in their time of need will only pay back in a big way. The rush might die down in a few years once curriculum is published. But the rumors are, there will not be textbooks. It will be short passages and novel based. So, get in on the ground floor now while you can. It’s an opportunity to have your novel or picture book become curriculum for some very grateful teachers.

**This post is part of the monthly
“Indie Life” posts linked on the Indelibles Blog.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***Tiffany Turner has released her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, in her Crystal Keeper series. She has been teaching in California for 17years. She currently is teaching fourth graders to love the writing process. She is also working on other writing projects in her No Limits Writing practices. She actively plays the Gaelic Harp at Renaissance festivals throughout Northern California.