I am excited to announce that my new picture book, “Wildly Beautiful: Playful Art & Poetry for Kids”, is now available for sale on Amazon! This is the first full-length picture book that I have both illustrated and written, so I’m pretty proud of it!
The idea was born when I realized that I had quite a bit of kid-friendly art collages and decided I should write some fun poetry to go along with them and make it into a children’s book. The book very much has an indie, creative feel to it, and I’m proud of that. It encourages kids to try their own hand at creating art and poetry as well. The poems included cover a broad range of subjects – from the silly and humorous to more thoughtful and inspirational ideas.
I have been lucky enough to get a couple reviews already. One Amazon customer was kind enough to leave this 5 star review:
“The author gives a sense of magic to the ordinary with beautiful pictures and clever words to enchant young ones to set their own creativity free.”
And Ashley from Mental Health @ Home here on WordPress also reviewed the book here.
If you want to check out the book, it is available in paperback for $9.99 or on Kindle for $2.99. I hope you will check it out!
I spent hours yesterday and will likely spend more time today trying to format my new book for publishing on Amazon. The new book is a combination of some of my more colorful, playful artworks and poetry bits for kids. I used the art itself to inspire the poetry. I think the book will turn out great once I finally get the kinks worked out with the formatting.
One thing I really wish Amazon would do is to make it easier to format books using Word, especially if you use quite a few images in the book. For some reason, Amazon can not recognize when you split up content on different pages in Word, at least not when images are mixed in. It is pretty frustrating sometimes.
Once I get the book done, can proof the hard copy, and get it up for sale, I’ll definitely be sharing it with you all. I hope you will like it!
For years now, I have considered writing a book about my teen years, when I got swept up in a fundamentalist, almost cult-like religious environment for several years. Boy, was I a mixed up kid back then! I’m using my actual diary entries from that time to illustrate what I went through psychologically trying to be this perfect “Christian” that the church I was going to at the time said I had to be. Here is a sneak peak at the introduction to the book:
“This book is one I’ve thought about writing for a while now and finally decided to just do it. As the title suggests, this is indeed one of my own diaries from when I was a teenager and was being influenced by a fundamentalist Christian mentality that sought to isolate me from everyone around me, put fear and anxiety into my heart concerning every choice I had to make, and weighed down my conscience with constant guilt over every little real or imagined transgression.
I am using the first journal I happen to have, started when I was 14 and about to enter high school. The journal covers the time I was most influenced by fundamentalist, almost cult-like ideas.
This religion told me it was wrong to wear pants as a woman. They told me it was wrong to cut my hair or wear jewelry and makeup. They told me it was wrong to listen to secular music, go to the movies, or watch tv. The internet was evil as well. They told me it was wrong to have friends that weren’t “holy” believers. They tried to make me feel like women were simply made to be complements to men, not to have dreams, goals, or lives of their own.
This religion had me constantly fearing the presence and “possession” of demons and thinking that my future didn’t matter because Jesus was coming back soon anyway, so I wouldn’t live long enough to have much of an earthly life. They even discouraged use of “man-made” medicine because it supposedly showed a lack of faith in God’s healing powers.
I have lightly edited the journal entries to make them easier to read, but have otherwise left the content as is. I have inserted italic comments in parentheses when I felt I needed to clarify something. I did leave out parts I felt were uninteresting or just don’t matter overall. I hope you enjoy reading it and can see how fundamentalist religious environments can be extremely damaging to children and teens.”
Check out the cute stuff my mom sent to me for an Easter care package! She did really good this year! It definitely helped cheer me up since I had been feeling pretty lousy lately between my depression and my chronic health issues.
I got my first OwlCrate Jr subscription box! This book box is for middle grade books and each month a theme is chosen revolving around that month’s book. This month the theme was “Birds of a Feather” and the book is The Simple Art of Flying by Cory Leonardo. I chose OwlCrate Jr instead of the regular OwlCrate box because I thought I might enjoy the middle grade books better than the YA books. I do love YA books as well, but well-written middle grade fiction holds a special place in my heart.
Here is what came in the box:
– The book (obviously lol)
– Author-signed bookplate
– Letter from the author
– OwlCrate Jr monthly magazine
– National Geographic’s Ultimate Explorer Bird Field Guide
– Pineapple scented tropical birds stickers
– Flamingo gel pen
– Mini owl plush toy
– Parrot keychain
– Spoiler card and card for next month’s theme (which will be “Crack the Code”)
I loved this first box and am excited to see what else they send in the future! I’m halfway through the book and love it so far. It is a sweet, sad, and funny story about a pair of brother and sister parrots living in a pet shop. Right now I just got to the part of the story where the siblings are split up when one is adopted and it is breaking my heart a little.
I love the bird field guide, the owl plushie, and the flamingo pen. Plus, I’ve already made a couple ACEO collage artworks with the stickers:
(Art available for sale on my Ebay store!)
Here is my tweet-sized entry for this week’s photo prompt Twittering Tales challenge:
The train draws near in a cloud of fog – the headlight shining through the mist just enough to illuminate the faces of those waiting to board.
I tip my hat downwards to hide my own expression. I do not want to see. I do not want to be seen. Human attachments will hinder my plans.
with the hair
on their heads
(Poetry by Maranda Russell, marandarussell.com)
The prompt for this week’s Twittering Tales writing challenge immediately brought back sad memories of an ill-fated tour of a great entertainer (one of my all-time personal favorites), so I went with it. Here is the photo prompt and my entry:
“It was meant to be my swan song. I pulled out all the stops…the moonwalk, the sequins, the white glove, the gangster getup for Smooth Criminal.
It was the only chance my children would ever have to see me live on tour. When I said This Is It, I meant it, but it came too soon…”
I wanted to add the video and song by the same title as well. It is a beautiful, though sad song and the video features footage of rehearsals for the tour that never was…
While reading a book called “Flash! Writing the Very Short Story”, written by John Dufresne, I came across the writing form called a abecedarian. This writing form is where you write a story or other form of creative writing where each new sentence starts with a new letter of the alphabet, going sequentially from A-Z of course. I thought it sounded fun and tried it myself, with a creative writing piece I call On Climate Change:
Another world is not an option. Before we give up on this one, let’s at least put up a fight.
Clean up your mess. Don’t think you can cut corners. Everyone has to learn to work together. Failing to do so, may lead to the annihilation of us all.
Give up the fossil fuels. How? Imagination – learn to use yours. Join together, share ideas. Keep trying. Let no temporary failures steer you off course.
Make clear the risks we face. None of us live alone, quit acting like we do. Open your eyes, open your mind, open your heart.
Practice makes perfect, but persistence wins the game. Quit fighting each other and fight the corrupt system. Right the wrongs that have persisted too long.
Stop worshiping consumerism. Turn your trash into treasure. Undo the damage our selfishness has created.
Voice your appreciation for the strong, proud nature of our mother planet. Watch how she rallies to protect her own. X-ray her heart and share the joy you find within.
YOU hold the future in your collective hands. Zealously protect and celebrate your beautiful home while she is still beautiful.
I hope you liked this little writing exercise. It was indeed fun and I think I might try it again sometime and maybe do a fiction piece.