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Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Great News and Guest Author Sandro Isaack


























Okay, most of you already know this, but for anyone who hasn't read about it on Facebook or any of the groups that I belong to, I have great news. Last week I talked about pitching my YA novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor at the Muse Online Writers Conference. Well, I found out last week that it was accepted for publication!!!!Yes!!!!!! My book is being published by MuseItUp Publishing and it will be out in September, 2011 as an e-book.:)

I'm very excited and so happy to be part of MuseItUp Publishing. My imprint will be MuseItYoung, since my novel is for ages 10-14. Being with this publisher is like joining a large family and I feel so welcome!!! In fact, one of the authors has interviewed me on her blog Sameena's Sphere's Blog

Being with MuseItUp is like opening a door onto a scene where this family is sitting around a table and everyone is talking at once!! But you are so frustrated because everyone has so much to say!!! I am hoping to learn more about each author by the time my book is published.:) It's a whole new world and I am loving it.:)

So now that I'm going to be published my husband decided it was finally time to read my book. Now anyone who knows me knows that nothing I do is ever easy. Printing the entire manuscript wasn't easy either. At first we tried to print it at home, but our printer couldn't take it and had a paper jam after about thirty pages. So I went to the computer room they have here in my apartment building and wouldn't you know it, they didn't have the printer there anymore! It was out for repair. So my daughters and I decided to go to Kinko's to get it printed there from the computer. I had put it in a website for safekeeping and we tried to print it from there. But it didn't work. It wouldn't print. So we tried again and again and it wouldn't print. So then we were told we could email it to Kinko's from their computer and we did that. But when it was printed it had a weird gray column taking up about half of the paper and the font was too small. Thank goodness one of the Kinko's employees knew how to fix that and we were able to print all 217 pages.:) Phew!!! Now at least the whole manuscript is in print form and also saved on the Apple site.

Guest Author Sandro Isaack

1. In your bio it says you are a native of Brazil. Where in Brazil did you live?

I grew up in Rio de Janeiro. I lived there most of my life, but from the ages of 18 to 20, I lived between Rio and Sao Paulo.

2. What made you decide to leave Brazil and come to the United States?

I was awarded a scholarship to get my BFA in Texas. After that I was accepted at the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard, where I got my MFA before moving to NYC to act.

3. Your bio says you moved to New York and became an actor. What kinds of jobs did you get while you were an actor?

I did mostly theater, and voice overs. I got a couple of small parts on TV and film, and in theater I got meatier parts doing Shakespeare, and a few new plays.

4. Please describe why you decided to quit acting.

I didn't decide to quit. In 2008 I was suddenly mute for nearly 11 months due to my vocal cords being paralyzed. After my silent period was gone and I could finally talk, I then had to do vocal therapy for a few months. I'm all healthy now, and believe me, I can talk - a lot.

5. Why did you decide to start writing?

As I couldn't speak, I started writing and drawing to tell stories to my goddaughter, nieces and nephew. That's when I realized that being a story teller was what I'd always wanted to be. Especially telling stories to kids - there was something about telling stories to the ones who don't set limits for their imaginations. If they don't like the story, the honest criticism is loud and immediate. However, if they like it, it's a never ending joy.

6. Would you please tell our listeners your writing process?

I'm very new at this, and still discovering my process, but I'd have to say that, if I do have a little bit of a process, it's based on images. I draw these characters, and then they tell me their stories. The stories happen as a sequence of scenes that I need to be able to see, and together they need to tell a story. It's hard though, when I see a scene that I really like, but it disrupts the flow of the story. Well, I keep them in a box with all the other scenes and characters I couldn't use anyway.

7. What made you decide to write Stork, M.I.A.?

I had just seen a Pixar movie called "Partly Cloudy", which tells the story of where the storks get the babies from. I love Pixar, and with this movie it was no different....but I got a little frustrated, and couldn't understand why it was so hard for so many adults, to honestly tell kids, where babies come from. That's when it occurred to me that I could use that character with a different purpose, to make peace with the stork.

It doesn't matter where you're from, who your parents are or aren't, if you have parents or not, what color you are... whatever the case, we all have a stork, and that makes us equal. I think it's necessary to provide kids with as much as we can to help them feel that they belong.

8. Your book is an unusual PB for ages 3-6. Would you please give a brief synopsis of your story?

STORK M.I.A. is the first volume of a planned self-published children's book series (Dad Dad Mom Mom). The book follows the story of Dad and Dad, who were tired of waiting for the Stork, and decided to find her and ask for a baby. They search for the Stork around the world, with the help of Mom and Mom, turning this story into an adventure, rather than a didactic book for children of same gender couples.

There's a large number of children reading mostly books from "borrowed" universes. Dad Dad Mom Mom intends to create a universe for these children - their own universe in which the main characters happen to be same gender couples and their kids.

Dad Dad Mom Mom has no political agenda. It was created for the children and to ease communication between same-gender couples and their children. Also a good tool to help heterosexual parents educate their children about a current matter.

Although I say the book is for 3-6 year olds, it is a book for everybody. I've seen people of all ages giggle while reading it.


9. Would you please describe the path to publication for Stork M.I.A.?

When my voice came back, and my health got better, I realized that I had a book that was ready and needed to be seen by many families. But I knew how I wanted the book to be, and due to the subject matter I was afraid that, if I went to a publishing house, I'd have to edit the story or illustrations for commercial purposes. I don't mind editing if it is to tell a better story, but not to make it more commercial - at least not with this book. I did some research on self-publishing, and then started to do it through lulu.com.

10. While I was reading your book I noticed you used Dad and Dad and Mom and Mom to describe the couples. What made you decide to leave out heterosexual couples?

I didn't really leave the heterosexual couples out. They appear a couple of times, but they are not main characters. I didn't decide to do it that way, but I started telling the story from the point of view of the "outsiders", and as this was the first book, I wanted to introduce the main characters of the series.

11. What have you decided to do to market this book? Do you have any book signings planned?

My marketing experience was one of discovery. I had never done anything like this before, and thought that the hard work would be the creation and production phases, but I was wrong. Being a first time self-published author/illustrator, also means no previous public history (credibility). Therefore, making media coverage tougher, and more expensive. As I didn't have much funding, I had to rely on free media, and on being creative. There were a lot of things I wish I knew before the book release, but the most important would have been to start promoting at least six months prior to release date. It was surprising how long it can take to have your e-mails answered, and how quickly news become old.

I did, however, send some hundreds of e-mails to the basic magazines and newspapers that talk about books and children, to schools, but I also did some research on how to reach the LGBT community, specially same gender couples with kids.

I looked for events and conventions to show the book and talk to people, and I always walk with postcards of the book, and a couple of copies in my bag. I think it's important to be creative, and never be afraid to promote a product you believe in. I talk to everybody about the book.

Luckily these days we have Facebook, Twitter, and the opportunity of having websites and blogs.

I'm reading and signing at the Family Matters Workshop, in Philly on October 16th. The info is at http://phillyfamilypride.org/
(Sorry Philly residents that you didn't know about this in time.)


12. Do you have any WIPs on which you are working? Are there any other books that are scheduled for publication?

I'm currently working on the second book of the series, and on other two series - one about a little vegetarian vampire girl, called: Lugosi Elementary School for Not So Scary Monsters, and another about a Brazilian mango who travels the world in search of new adventures and the perfect dessert, called The Worldly Adventures of Emilia Manga.

13. Please give our listeners the links where they can find your book and more information about you.

www.DadDadMomMom.com, and they can also join the Dad Dad Mom Mom on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Thank you for being a guest author, Sandro, and I am looking forward to your being my guest on our November show, which will be moved to Tuesday this month due to it being Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November. I will be hosting Sandro Isaack and Donald Hagelberg, who is a multi-published poet, on Red River Writers Live Tales from the Pages. I will give the exact date when it is certain. Be sure to tune in on Blog Talk Radio to hear the show. You can also hear it in the archives if you miss it live.:)

Also I am giving away a free copy of Stork,MIA to the lucky winner of the drawing. All you need to do is leave a comment or question here and you will be in it. The book is bright and colorful and fun for ages 3-6.

Until the next time, thank you to my new follower and thank you to all the people who continue to read my meanderings.:) Check out the new links to Blogs I Follow. They are my fellow Muse authors.:) Also, I am going to post my latest poems probably tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Muse Online Writers Conference and We Have a Winner for the free copy of Nature Girl by Jane Kelley


Lea Schizas, who founded the conference and is the publisher of MuseItUp Publishing


As promised I kept the blog post up for two weeks so everyone could comment or ask a question. I want to thank all of you who have commented and I wish I had ten copies for everyone. But I only have one so I did the drawing and the winner is:

Susanne Drazic

So it is up to you, Susanne to send me your address so I can ship your copy of Nature Girl by Jane Kelley to you!!! I will also announce this on Facebook if you don't get over here to the blog to see this. You will have only three days to contact me. If you don't contact me by then I will do another drawing and pick another winner.

What changed in my life are my eyes. I had my second cataract operation and it went very smoothly, though not so much psychedelic stuff. The eye is almost completely healed and my vision without glasses is now 20/20 to 20/15. I have to take off my glasses to watch TV and movies, and drive. I still need reading glasses for reading and computer. I don't wear glasses when I'm walking around or driving now, and that hasn't happened since I was 21. But really I started wearing glasses in seventh grade. Then I used them only for TV, movies, reading, and close work. They're trifocals, but now all I need is the bottom for reading. Everything is blurry if I look through my glasses.:)

How many of you attended The Muse Online Writers Conference last week? I wanted to do the whole thing, but I was only able to attend a few chats and participate in a few of the workshops. For anyone who has never been to this wonderful and informative conference, you must go next year. The founder, Lea Schizas, decided five years ago that not everyone can attend in person conferences and it wasn't fair to keep these people from attending a conference. So she and a few others began The Muse Online Writers Conference. You can come as you are, it is free, and though the chats are usually in the daytime and early evening hours, the workshops run around the clock. She invited publishers, agents, and editors to attend and each year writers can interact with publishers, agents, and editors in both the chat rooms and the forums.

Last year Lea added Pitch sessions for the publishers and agents who were there. Many people were able to pitch their work and received contracts. I wanted to pitch last year, but I wasn't ready. However, I received great suggestions from Margot Finke, who helped me to change my first page just enough to get the attention of the founder, Lea Schizas. So this year I decided to pitch my YA novel that you have heard about umpteen times, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, to MuseItUp Publishers and I was so excited that they wanted to see the full manuscript!!!

I can't tell you how much time I spent on this manuscript, but in five years of sending it out I have received seven rejections. After the last rejection about a year ago, I decided to leave it alone for awhile. But I had written a pitch for it and used that to get my pitch scheduled. However, I didn't think it really said what I wanted to say. So my older daughter sat with me and helped me to rewrite it so it had more pizazz!!! I felt great about using it and did I mention how excited I was when they liked it too???

Maybe you have heard this too many times, but I have to say it.:) You never know what is going to happen and who is going to make it happen for you. Last year I met Vivian Zabel of 4RV Publishing and that resulted in my asking her onto my radio show and that was how I got to know her even better. She is a phenomenal publisher and I am so honored to be part of 4RV as an apprentice editor. Networking is very important for a writer and being at The Muse Online Writers Conference allows a writer to meet a lot of people you would not normally meet. But what is really wonderful is that every writer or publisher I met there was someone who was ready to help and support you depending on what you needed. Also what is wonderful about the conference is the decorum and the rules for chats. Sometimes you're in a chat room with lots of people and the moderators keep it going making sure everyone gets a chance to speak.

Before the pitch sessions you are in a chat room where the moderators act more like crisis intervention counselors than moderators. Here are all these writers waiting for the time to go into the pitch session, which is only seven minutes.:) I'm reminded of that kids' game we played at boy/girl parties, "Seven minutes in heaven" where you had to go into a closet and kiss a boy for seven minutes. When we played it at my birthday party before going into seventh grade, I had no closet in the living room. So we turned off all the lights and instead of spinning a bottle we just kissed for seven minutes. Hard lips against mine were not my idea of heaven, but I figured there had to be something good about kissing a boy so I didn't judge kissing by that or I would never have kissed anyone again!!

Anyway, back to the pitch session, when it was our turn we had to leave the chat room and go into the pitch chat room. While we were waiting, people chatted with each other and the moderators, and it was comforting to know that everyone was really nervous. We were hyperventilating (like my heroine, Carolyn) and the moderators kept telling us to blow out and not hold our breath. Everyone wished everyone good luck and congratulated anyone who got a bid to send their work. I know that I wish I had had someone to do that for me the other times when I had to send out my work to a publisher at the post office or from my computer. The nerves creep up on you and before you know it you're so nervous your hands can't type anything on the keyboard! That would have been difficult, because pitching online meant cutting and pasting your pitch into the chat room with the publisher and whoever else was there with them. Unlike querying a publisher, you learn your fate almost immediately. Then you go back to the holding chat room where people congratulate or commiserate with you depending on your outcome. But Carolyn is out there now and I hope they treat her with the love and affection I have felt for her.

Keep your fingers crossed for me. As I mentioned to another writer friend today we all need the Good Luck Fairy in our lives. After this half year I really need her or him to raise a wand over my life and make everything all better.:) Good luck to all of you who have your work out there with publishers and editors. For the others who have worries about trying to publish your work, send it out!!! If you don't send it out you don't have a chance of publication ever. But if you do send it out there is always that possibility it will be published.

Okay, so I'm sure everyone is wondering who will be my guests for October's radio show. One of my guests is Michelle McGriff who has written over 25 novels and has 3 other books as well. She is a lot of fun and I think you will really enjoy her. Also, my other guest is Jason Mayo, of Out-Numbered blog. I'll bet a lot of you have laughed at the hysterical prose Jason writes on his blog about his life with his wife and family and how he feels outnumbered. Now he has written a book that is perfect for Halloween, Do Wishes Make Fishes. The book is about a little boy whose mother cooks healthy dishes, but he wishes she weren't there and a witch replaces her. What is wonderful about this book besides the story is that all the proceeds from the sale of the books go to The Garden of Dreams, a charity that is based in Madison Square Garden. Jason's friend has cancer and there is a very heartfelt story you must read before you read any part of it. Click on the link. Sadly, Jason Mayo has decided to stop writing his blog due to his life speeding up. Tune into the show on Thursday, October 28th at 3PM Central Time to find out why he has decided to give up blogging for now.

Until the next time thank you to my new readers and as always a big thank you to all my followers for continuing to read my meanderings. There are quite a few writers who will be on this blog as guest authors. One of them is Sandro Isaack, who wrote a picture book called Stork,MIA He will be here next week. I will be posting my poems tomorrow.







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