Poetry – Malice

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This little poem was inspired by a middle grade book series called “Malice” by Chris Wooding. I liked the world that was created, and decided to capture just a bit of it in poetry (my favorite line is the “mushroom lamps” one):

Take the evening train
into the cavernous abyss.
Light up the darkness
with your mushroom lamps
and a fist full
of round trip tickets.

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Kindle Direct Publishing’s New Reporting System and Some Author Updates!

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Yesterday I logged into my Kindle Direct Publishing account on Amazon and while looking at the reports, noticed there is a new “beta” reporting program they are working on that I could test (the picture above shows the new graphing, with part of the book breakdown below). I checked it out and it is WAY better than their old reporting program! It uses color coded graphs to plainly show which books you are selling, when you are selling them, and also easily separates books sold from “free” promotions vs. paid sales.

I am thrilled they are updating their system, because what they have had the last few years sucks in my opinion. It was hard to even tell which books sold! In other good news, while checking out the new system, I looked at my overall numbers from the last quarter and was pleasantly surprised to see that all together I’ve sold more than 230 ebooks (including promotions) during the last 90 days! Not bad for an indie author!!! It makes my heart happy to know that many people are reading my books!

If you use KDP publishing, I would recommend checking out the new program if you are able to under your own reports! By the way, if you want to check out my Amazon Author Page and maybe give it a follow, that would be awesome! I also have a FREE ebook promotion running today through Monday for my art ebook, “Stories Behind My Art” (if you like it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon!)

Lastly, a few years back, I published a little short story/spiritual ebook called “Jesus, Mohammed, and Abraham – A Parable about Love and Peace” under the name M.N. Russell ($0.99, FREE for Kindle Unlimited) . I decided to add that to my Amazon author bibliography, so you can check that out if you think it sounds interesting!

Goals for 2019 – Blog, Writing, Art

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I don’t set personal resolutions for New Years, but I do try to set some goals to try to reach the coming year, especially for my blog/social media, writing, and art. I did meet and even surpass some of the goals I set for 2018. For instance, I hoped to have 500 Instagram followers by the end of this year, and I’m already over 1,400!

When setting these goals, I try to be realistic but shoot a bit high. I figure even if I miss, at least I dreamed big and tried my best. I try to not beat myself up if I don’t meet a goal by the end of the year, I just set my sights on the next year.

So without further ado, here are my goals for 2019:

Social Media
Blog – 1,500 followers
Instagram – 5,000 followers (dream big!)

Books
Write/publish 2 new books/ebooks
Sell 300+ copies of my books

Art
Sell to 2 new countries (would love to add Ireland, Germany, Japan, China, or India!)
Countries I have already sold art to: USA, Canada, Australia, France, Switzerland, England, Wales, Norway, United Arab Emirates

Merry Christmas Eve! My Fave Gifts So Far!!!

Happy Christmas Eve everyone!!! We do our present opening today, so my husband and I went ahead and opened our gifts for each other. Here are a few pics of my favorite things!

First off, my Harry Potter Death Eater wand:

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My new illustrated version of “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” (featuring commentary by Albus Dumbledore!):

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My curseword-laden coloring book:

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A pagan-themed children’s book and plenty of stickers to craft with:

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I also got a couple other books, some gel pens, a cool, four-sided Buddha figure, and this new black bear stocking I fell in love with:

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Tomorrow I am celebrating Christmas with my mother, so am sure I will get more gifts then! The holidays are so much fun!!! Hope you guys are having your own happy celebrations!

By the way, I am running a special Amazon giveaway for my new children’s Kindle ebook, “How to Find Fun Adults“! Feel free to enter! Three copies are up for grabs! Of course, you can always buy a copy for $.99 or download it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!!!

I Published a New Children’s Ebook on Kindle!!!

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I just published a new children’s ebook on Amazon! I originally wrote this silly little book back in 2012, but never published it because I wasn’t happy with all the photos I had at the time for use. Honestly, I had rather forgotten about the book, but when I came across it again recently, I decided to rework it a bit and publish it since I thought it was rather amusing and fun for kids.

The book is entitled “How to Find Fun Adults: A Silly Field Guide for Kids” and is available as a Kindle ebook on Amazon for $0.99 (free if you have kindle unlimited). The book is short, and easy to read. It is geared for beginning and intermediate readers, and would be a fun pick for reluctant readers. Very young readers may need help with several of the harder words, which are also defined at the end of the book. The purpose of the book is simply to provide a fun, silly read for kids, and to celebrate adults that didn’t lose their own love of childhood!

If you do download the book and read it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads! If anyone would like a free copy of the ebook for review purposes, feel free to contact me at Shojobeatgirl@live.com!

By the way, right now several of my other Kindle ebooks are having FREE promotions for the holidays, so check out my Amazon author page to see which ones are available!

Free Reviews for Indie Authors!

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Lately I’ve missed reviewing indie books, which is something I used to do frequently and even did as a paid gig for a while. That is why I am offering the opportunity for any indie authors to contact me for a review if they are interested. Why indie authors? Because I myself am one, and I know how much reviews and promotion of any sort matter to an indie author’s success. Types of books I am most likely to consider reviewing are art, poetry, nonfiction, and children’s indie books.

Here are the specifics if you are interested:

  • I DO prefer a physical copy of the book, especially if it is heavy on text. Partly because I am not big on reading ebooks, and partly because having the physical copy is great for sharing a pic on social media!
  • I will review the books on Amazon and Goodreads (if the book is listed on both sites), and will also share links or photos of the books on social media (all together I have nearly 8,000 followers on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook).
  • I may or may not share about the book here on my blog, depending on whether the subject matter fits my blog themes.
  • I DO NOT charge for reviews, although donations are accepted if the author is so inclined. Any donations will be used to help finance this blog or for social media promotional purposes. Donations of any amount can easily be made on this blog via the “Support My Blog” page, or donations can be sent via snail mail with the book being reviewed.

If you have any questions or would like to submit your book for review, please contact me at Shojobeatgirl@live.com. If you know an indie author who would be interested, please share the link to this post!

I’m Back on YouTube!

I took three months off YouTube to focus on my written blog here and just because I was feeling a bit burned out making videos. Now I’m going to focus on my toy and children’s book channel (Maranda’s Toys & Books) as far as video-making goes, so if you guys are into that kind of stuff and want to subscribe to my channel there, please do so!

Here is my “comeback” video:

March 2018 My First Reading Club Subscription Box Review!

I told you all that soon I would have a new subscription box to share and review and it is here! This subscription box is called “My First Reading Club” and they have a wide variety of ages you can pick from to receive at least 3 or 4 brand new children’s books each month. The best part is it only costs $9.99 (plus shipping)! Often, you recoup the entire price in just ONE book!

For this first month I picked the “Just Starting Out” age group, which is 2 and under I believe. However, I have upped the age group for my next box because I would like to receive some regular picture books and not just board books. Anyhow, here is what I received this month:

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  • A Disney Frozen “Ice Box” set that includes four board books, each featuring different characters (Anna, Elsa, Kristoff & Sven, and Olaf), Retail $10.99
  • A Sparkly Nickelodeon Team Umizoomi Board Book entitled “Follow That Egg!”, Retail $6.99
  • A Disney Sheriff Callie’s Wild West Lift-the-Flap Book entitled “Callie Saves the Day”, Retail $8.99
  • A gift for Moms – AMBR Green Tea Spa Lotion, unknown value

Here are the four Disney Frozen books inside the “Ice Box” set (my favorite of which is definitely the Olaf book):

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Here is a peek inside the other two books we got this month:

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I like all the books we got this month, although I will admit I was a little disappointed to only get one Easter themed book (the Umizoomi one). In other My First Book Club box reviews I have seen, it looked like they often sent themed packages out with almost all books relating to any holidays that month, so I was definitely expecting more of an Easter theme.

Like I said above, although I do like children’s board books, I want a more well-rounded box to build up my collection, so I did up the age group for my next box. It is nice that they always send a little gift for Mom too. Of the books they sent this month, my favorite is definitely the Umizoomi book. Partly because it is Easter-themed, and partly because it is really sparkly and I do love sparkly things!