Friday, December 07, 2012

Christmas is Upon Us

christmas wreath red door I’ve been busy shopping for my grandchildren’s presents. One of them asked us for a puppy! Yes, a real, live puppy. We did ask her parents to be sure it was okay.

If any of you have ever met my granddaughter, you know she is really good at making large, doe-eyes at her dad; an expression he can never resist. So, of course her parents said ‘yes’!

Well, my husband and I searched everywhere possible for this puppy. Of course, not just any puppy. It had to me small, cute, fluffy, and a girl. And here she is…all 1.2 lbs. of her!
Karmal 001
Karmal 002 My reading glasses are there to give you an idea of just how small she is!

Well, this put me in the Christmas spirit! So I decided to release book #2 early and here it is!
WeightCrownFINAL 200 X 300  Click the link Weight of the Crown

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Strange Gets Stranger

library shelvesThe publishing world is really changing. Today I heard the strangest thing. Honestly, it was probably only strange to me. First, I’ll tell you the cool stuff, then I’ll get to the odd bit.

Yesterday I got a phone call from the manager of Hastings, a local bookstore. He told me that my books had sold out and asked if wouldn't mind bringing some more. Wouldn't mind!?! Are you kidding!?!

Of course I hurried through my morning routine (OK, so I was still in my pajamas when the call came.), jumped in the car, and rushed the books right over. No I didn't get a speeding ticket. I probably deserved one, though.

When I got there the manager was excited to see me. Apparently he had received a couple of calls asking for my book and the people asking for them were calling back later that day. So essentially, my book is back ordered!

This morning I spoke with the manager of a new local bookstore to see about placing my books with them. When I arrived, he eagerly took the books and rushed to get them onto the shelves.

While he and I were doing the paperwork, he told me something we both raised our eyebrows at. He said that an editor of a small publishing house in New York had just come into his store and asked for the location of the local authors’ books. She perused the shelves, selected two, purchased them, and left the shop.


What do you make of that? Indies are attracting attention!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thoughts About Writing

Focus_ubtToday I received a review that I solicited from a website that focuses on Indie Authors. To be honest, I was a little disappointed.

I’m still working on the ‘need’ for everyone to be completely in love with my work. Being a writer isn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done. I’m a good writer and continue to work on the execution of my craft.

The reviewer stated that she would have liked to see more drama between the characters. She also felt that the Nubian lifestyle I presented was too perfect and the resolution of conflicts a bit utopian. Her rating of the book was 3.7 stars out of 5.

The hardest part about the review was that I agreed with everything the reviewer said. I know that my writing has grown since book #1 and the characters of book #2 have greater depth. However the storyline continues to be a bit perfect and utopian and I don’t want to change a thing.

My reasoning is that I write for a particular segment of the child audience—‘Tweens. They're not quite old enough for the edgy/heavy stuff that’s in todays YA, and they’re a few steps beyond MG. They are also still in the stage of  building their dreams from fantasies not completely put away.

The other thing is that I believe in the need for innocence in a story. And that’s not because my readers are kids. That’s because it’s the kind of story that inspires me. It’s the kind of book I choose and the kind of movie that works for me.

And if that works for me, it’s got to work for someone else too.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Great Way to Start the Day

This morning my cover designer, the wonderful and talented Donna Casey, sent me the finalized image for the cover of the second book in the PRINCESS KANDAKE series, Weight of the Crown.
I could not have asked for better. Nor could I keep it to myself. So here it it.

WeightCrownFINAL 200 X 300

Beautiful, isn't it! The book will be released February, 2013.

As a writer I love the stories that I writer. When a designer delivers a cover that incorporates the emotion of the story it almost brings me to tears. I believe the cover sets the tone for the reader, this cover does just that...and then some.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

International Day of the Girl

That’s today! The international Day of the Girl! It’s all about teaching our girls. Encourage them! Inspire them! Educate them! Read to them.

Imagine, what would happen if you encouraged every girl you encountered to day. What if yours is the voice that told her, “you can do it!” and she did. What if that girl became the next, scientist, astronaut, physicist, architect, or….

All it takes from us is a little encouragement, a little inspiration. There is nothing that a girl can’t do, she jut has to believe that she can.

I am a firm believer in Girl Power! That’s what inspired me to write the PRINCESS KANDAKE series. It’s why I sign every book with a message that she Can. She can do anything that she sets her mind to.

So get out there! Tell your daughters, nieces, granddaughters, goddaughters, friends, and even those you don’t know that They Can!

Yes Girls CAN!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Oh My Goodness!

Oh dear! I feel like the Mad Hatter in Alice in wonderland. I’m running around looking at my watch mumbling to myself that I’m late for this and late for that.

For that last couple of weeks I’ve been preparing for a huge photo shoot and a Mocha Moms conference that were less than one week apart. On top of that, I’m trying to get book #2 of the PRINCESS KANDAKE series ready to go to print. And let us not forget my usual writing schedule that I desperately need to maintain.

I spent today cleaning and organizing my office, double checking to make sure that I sent the right pictures to the cover designer, washing and twisting my hair, and separating laundry. Yes folks, writers have to do their own laundry.

I was in the middle of checking my hair to see if it is dry enough to sleep on when it occurred to me that I have totally blown my blogging schedule! Sheesh! So here I sit apologizing to the world for having let my schedule get completely messed up.

So here’s how I’ll make it up to you. I’m adding one of the pictures that I sent to the cover designer for the next PRINCESS KANDAKE book.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Costumes

I told that I've been busy working on the costumes for the next, and future, Princess Kandake book covers. I will be in California this weekend getting shots of every possible costume combination.

So here are a few pictures to give you an idea of what the princess will be wearing.
014 This is her crown. the reason for the twin cobra heads is that Nubia believed that it would rule Egypt again one day. Every crown after 750 BC sported the twin cobras. So the costume has a cool bit of history added. 021 Here are three different hand painted lengths of fabric that can be tied into many different styles. There is also a necklace with the sample emblem that is on the crown.

Next week I hope to post some of the photos of the beautiful princess in costume.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Beyond Beyond Books

Hello Everyone! I’ve been away for a while. I’ve been busy trying to put my new business together. Today is the official launching. I am now Beyond Beyond Books! I even had a logo designed.

BBBooks-Logos-proofsWhat do you think?

I have a brand: Stephanie Jefferson, action ‘Tween writer. I have a platform: I write clean, safe books for the ‘Tween audience. I have a business plan and a marketing plan.

Just so you know, my goal for 2013 is to publish book #2 of the Princess Kandake series. I also plan to launch a ‘boy’ book series, Street Guardians. The first book will debut Thanksgiving weekend 2013.

I can’t tell you how excited I am, but I know this will keep me busier than a                                        . You fill in the blank.
Well, I’ve got to go. There’s so much for me to do!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

If a Tree Falls in the Forrest…

A few days ago Publisher’s Weekly announced that Penguin Group had purchased ASI, an independent author’s service company. It would appear that the Biggies in the traditional publishing world are waking up to the fact that they can neither control nor stop the independent movement. But my question is, how does Penguin plan to use this acquisition?

Will it function as an imprint? Will they treat ASI the same way Amazon treats Create Space, as a subsidiary? Or will they use it as a hedge against possible losses given the growth of the Indie publishing?
Hmmm. However they choose to use it you can be sure we Indies are not going away.

This acquisition causes me to wonder two things: 1) Is Penguin trying to maintain their slice of the publishing pie by grabbing whatever they can of the Independent dollars? or 2) Is this their way of getting a foothold in the Indie realm?

In either case, we are watching you, Penguin. You chopped down your first tree. We heard it fall!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fridays R 4 Fun!

 pots & pans on stoveThere are meals, home cooked or otherwise, that make me drool and still others that bring me comfort. But these bits of cuisine make me smile or outright giggle. These are a few!

Puppy Stew This one is cute and still looks tasty! animal face This does too, but I’m not sure what animal it is. Care to guess? It’s pretty clear that these are watermelon.watermelon yell   watermelon man But I don’t know if I’d eat them.  Take a look at this next one. I’m sure I wouldn’t eat it. head on a plate It’s just too weird!
These are funny. No problem eating biteburger
Yep, I’d laugh with every bite. And these are just plain cute.mummy dogs   veggie trailer
And this last one is for my friend Maria Toth. She’d slap this on her table in a heartbeat! skeleton

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Dead_Sea_SunriseIt’s time to get serious! If anyone had asked me if I take my writing seriously, my answer would have been, “Of course I do!” I guess you’d have to define the word, seriously.

I've been doing some studying about marketing. That led me to promotion, which led me to platform, and finally to brand. What I've learned so far is that I’ve been playing at this writing thing.

That caused me to have a real ‘sit-down conversation’ with myself. My first revelation was that what I thought was a goal, wasn’t. At the very least it’s not a long-term goal. So I had to set a list of real goals for myself. Then I had to determine what my brand is and following that would be my platform. I’m still in the process of pulling it all together, but I’ve come to the conclusion that what I have is a business!

I never set out the become a business owner. All I wanted to do (or so I thought) was write some books. Well, things are never as simple as we think they are.

So now I have a business name, brand, and platform that I must launch. There are still a lot of things to get in order before that can happen.

What about you? What are your writing revelations?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Leimert Park Book Fair

Leimert Park Book Fair Children's VillageMy very first book fair! I had a blast. There were lots of people. It seemed like everyone was glad to to be there.
P1040751 Here we are in our Princess Kandake finery setting up P1040754. The little blue things lined up on the table are offerings of bubble gum.
We got the displays ready and had our stock waiting for the customers to beat a path to our table.  THEY CAME! Young , old and every age in between.P1040759 And they were buyingP1040762 I was signing books, passing out cards, and talking about the history of Nubia.
I had such a good time. I can’t wait to do it all again.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Website Blues

Mad_scientistI need a mad scientist! Someone who can clean up my website AND write boomerang code. Boomerang code would be something that detects destructive code and turns it back on the people who wrote it and those who tried to use it.

Within the last week or so some evil villain inserted a string of code onto my website that corrupted my data base. I hired a company to go in and clean it up, but it looks like the villain may have changed some of the passwords and locked us out!

Now I may have to take the whole thing down and rebuild it. AUUUGH!

I really don’t understand what they get out of doing something like this. Sheesh! I guess it’s like a friend told me, “Some people are the flowers of the world and others are the fertilizer.”

Friday, July 06, 2012

Fridays R 4 Fun!

Hi Everyone. Today I'm not having too much fun. I still sorting out the problems with my website. But there's no reason you shouldn't enjoy yourselves. This short video cracked my up! Take a look.

This gave me the laugh that I desperately needed!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Where the Stories Come From

seedlingsSomeone once asked me where I got the ideas for my stories. My response was, everywhere.

I’m an observer of life. I watch everything. I could be in the mall, out in the park, or on a hike and ideas flood into my mind. They come from the people I see, the way clouds float in the sky, or even the way a trash can could be overflowing.

I have recently started a kayaking class. Fortunately for me it takes place in a swimming pool so should I need to make a ‘wet exit’ (escaping from an overturned kayak) I only have to swim as far as the side of the pool.

Well, last week I was sitting in the kayak and my eye caught the way the paddle cut into the water and a story began to form in my mind. What would happen if we could stroke space like that and change the way the stars and planets were aligned?

Then…suppose an entire galaxy was being rearranged and swept away because of a careless being rowing across the universe without caution. How would the others stop him/her/it? Would there be a war? What would be the outcome? Would they be able to put things back where they belong? How?

I’m not quite sure how this story ends, but when I figure it out, it will appear on my website.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Fridays R 4 Fun!

It’s summertime and that means going to the fair! I love the fair. Every year they introduce all kinds of things. One of my favorites is “fair food”. I get to try new exciting recipes and some things that are just plain strange.

Here’s a list of just a few of the things I have tried at the County Fair.
chicken-fried-baconChicken Fried Bacon – Of course this one was  yummy. Everything is good with bacon!
fried-avocado-Fried Avocado Bite – This wasn’t bad. I would have liked it if they had seasoned the avocado, you know, added some spices to it.
spaghetti-meatball-stickSpaghetti and Meatball on a stick – I haven’t tried this one, but it sounds like something I’d might like.
fried-frog-legsFried Frog’s Legs – I’m not sure I’m this adventurous, yet. I will say that people were eating a lot of these.
hot-beef-sundaeHot Beef Sundae – This screams comfort food. It has nothing to do with ice cream, it just looks like it does. this wonderful dish is made with mashed potatoes, slow roasted beef and gravy, and topped with a cherry tomato. Yum!
pizza-conesPizza Cones – Oh yeah! This one’s for me. A cone of pizza dough filled with sauce, cheese and pepperoni!
krispy-kreme-chicken-sandwichKrispy Kreme Chicken Sandwich – I think I’ll pass on this one, too. I love Krispy Kreme doughnuts, but adding chicken and Swiss cheese just are not for me.
deep-fried-twinkiesDeep Fried Twinkies – This is my husband’s personal favorite! He loves Twinkies. He loves fried foods. Now they’ve been combined…he’s in heaven!
fried-coca-colaFried Coca-Cola – I haven’t tried it but I think I would. Coke flavored batter that’s been deep fried, drizzled with coke syrup, add whipped cream, and dusted with cinnamon-sugar. It actually sounds good to me.
key-lime-pie-stickKey Lime Pie on a Stick – At the fair anything on a stick has to be good! Just think, a frozen slice of key lime pie, dip it in dark chocolate, and put it on a stick. Oh yeah, chow down!
I can’t wait for the fair to begin! What’s your favorite “fair food”?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Writing for My Readers!

book and penPeople have often asked me why I write. The answer is an easy one. I write for the people who will read it.

There is nothing that gives me greater pleasure than finding the perfect word. I love crafting a line that fills the readers’ mind with a panoramic view of what is happening in the story. But I will confess, my favorite thing is creating a character for the reader to hate!

Why? I’m not really sure, but it ties in with making the main character more believable and loveable. It has something to do with getting the reader to cheer for the protagonist’s accomplishments. But, I think most of all it has to do with creating strong emotion within the reader

Now for my next confession, I’ll tell you what a cannot write. I cannot write a character who is weak, at least not yet. I’m sure it’s a personal issue, but I’m positive I can and will overcome it.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter what I write as long as I’m able to take my reader on a journey! That’s my most favorite thing to do, carry the reader to a world that I have created and making them believe it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Important Lessons

Ray BradburyAs you all already know, we lost one of the greats, Ray Bradbury. Blogs, Facebook status updates, and YouTube videos were flooded with words and video shorts about the man or his writing.

I received an email from a writer friend, Maria Cisneros Toth, containing a link to one of his lectures. Man, I wish I had been on the campus of that university to participate.

Mr. Bradbury spoke of his beginnings, of how he ‘stumbled’ into getting published, and how his inspirations came to him. The humility of this man was beyond compare.

He encouraged every writer in that room and all of those writers who have and will view this video. He spoke about the necessity of reading. He said that every writer must read, but he gave us specifics on what to read. He said that every day a writer must read a poem, a short story, and an essay. Then he gave the instruction to write and for that writing to be any good, it had to be something that we love.

He inspired me beyond anything I can tell you. I plan to watch that video several more times because I know there is more information and encouragement to gain with each viewing.

Thank you Mr. Bradbury and thank you Maria for sending me the link.

Friday, June 01, 2012

The Perfect Perspective!

Forced-Perspective-PhotosLast fall I was preparing to release the first book In my PRINCESS KANDAKE  series as an Indie Author. I shopped around for people and blogs to review the book and came across a blog that I thought would be the perfect fit. We will leave it nameless.

I had received several very good responses from blogs, writers, and beta readers. I really wanted this particular blog to review it because I just knew it would position the release well for marketing and promotion.

Well, I was able to get them to read it and the blogger hated it! She didn’t dislike it, she hated it. She said that the protagonist was whiny. She said that she couldn’t believe anyone would act like that. And the worst thing she said was that the book was one hundred pages too long!

Her words pretty much destroyed every shred of hope and pride I had taken in the work. So much so that I had decided that the book was no where near ready to release. I was prepared to throw the whole thing away!

Fortunately, I have really good writing friends. They encouraged me to set the manuscript aside and think about things. They also asked some very good questions. Who was this blogger? What was her area of expertise? Why did her opinion carry so much weight?

Three months later I decided that one blogger’s opinion was not strong enough to wipe away the opinion of other writers and professional reviews like Publishers Weekly. I went forward with my publishing plans and released the book, PRINCESS KANDAKE: Warrior by Choice…Appointed to Rule. It is doing really well.

Today I came across an awesome blog post: How to Respond to Negative Reviews by Beth Revis. It is required reading for every writer. I wish I’d had it available to me last Fall. Click on the link and read it now before you write another word!

Monday, May 28, 2012

The United States: My Country

veteran with flag This is a day of remembering all who have fought for this country that I love. This is a day of remembering everything that this country is worth. Today I am reminded that there are those who love this country so much that they would die for it. I cannot thank them enough.

Men and women have given us the ultimate gift. They have given their lives protecting this land so that we can go about our daily business. We owe them and their families.

It is our duty to repay what we can. Part of that repayment is to vote at every opportunity. Part of that repayment is to not allow partisanship to divide us such that we destroy this great nation.

The United States of America is a great country! Yes, it has flaws, but there are so many things right with it! I will stand by it! Today I invite you to stand by it. I invite you to be willing to agree to disagree instead of destroying what so many have died to preserve.

We will always have differing opinions and that is what makes this country great! Thank you for remembering that with me.