Friday, January 17, 2014

That Didn't Just Happen

I will try to remember this quote by a man considered by most to be a genius, so I won't feel so bad. Okay, here goes:

Back in September, I seriously consider entering a contest through Writer's Digest, the Self-Published e-Book Awards. The fee for entry is around $75.  At first, I go back and forth wondering if it's worth spending the money to enter.  Later that day, I'm driving to pick up my children from school with the radio playing in the background.  Once the song ends, the "Listener of the Day" is announced and I can't believe my ears when I hear, "Today's winner of 101 dollars in cash is Audrey!"  Audrey? That's my name, I think.  And, I think, I bet she spells it with an "e".  When Audrey answers in a whisper, the announcer is disappointed and wants her to shout out with joy.  Audrey explains that she is at work and doesn't want to get in trouble for being on the phone with the radio station.  Then, she attempts to sound excited in exaggerated hushed tones, as if she won a million dollars on the exact same day she came down with a horrible case of laryngitis.  I laugh and think, that didn't just happen, "the winner is Audrey". (Or is it "Audry"?)  But, it did just happen which means this is clearly a sign from the universe that I should enter that contest!  If only the universe had been specific about paying close attention when I would enter ...

SPOILER ALERT: I will not be receiving a Self-Published e-Book Award from Writer's Digest.

And, the reason, I will not be receiving a Self-Published e-Book Award from Writer's Digest is because I submitted my work without the cover! Without this very cover, shown below, that I painstakingly created with my own photo that I took in my own kitchen with my own apple plus a little help from Kindle Cover Creator:

Such a simple mistake.  I entered my Word Doc instead of figuring out how to submit my work in its glorious Kindle format.  And so, in a range with "0" as awful and "5" as outstanding, my scores broke down in a respectable manner with one glaring exception:

Structure and Organization: 4

Grammar: 4

Production Quality and Cover Design:  2 (Aack!!!!!) (It was nice of the judge to spare me a "0".  The word doc did have a title page.) (Again, aack!!!)

Plot (if applicable): 4

Character Development (if applicable): 4

On a positive note, the judges commentary is actually complimentary in reference to the written portion of the novel. Have a look:

Judge's Commentary as given by Judge, Writer's Digest Self-Published e-Book Awards: 

Secrets, Lies, and Apple Pies by Audry Fryer was a page-turner from early on. While there were expectations of twists, turns and outcomes, the pull was there to see if our imagination matched that of the author.

The title tells it all.  Secrets and lies cripple relationships and carry to the next generation.  The story is told primarily in the voice of Braeburn who was named by her daddy and raised on an apple orchard. Frequently chiming into the story are all those important to her.  As the story opens, Braeburn is recovering from a traumatic automobile accident and dealing with brain damage, memory loss and physical limitations.  As the story unfolds, we learn that her husband's suspected betrayal is not as it seems and that family is inclusive and sometimes by choice. After estrangements, runaways, thrown pies and more, all in the tale are reunited and the ending is happily and neatly tied up.

And then, it all goes downhill after that:

The cover in the version I downloaded was non-existent.  There was only a title page with nothing visual to draw in this reader. Also as the book was uploaded as a Word document, it was clumsy and awkward to read. This seriously reduced the reading pleasure. It is well constructed with only a few significant errors of spelling and punctuation and as I read it as a PDF file, there was no convenient way to note the errors. I would have enjoyed it much more as a Kindle book or paper book.

Again, trying my hardest to look on the positive side
The judge called Secrets, Lies and Apple Pies a "page-turner"!  
I can live happily with that comment.  And, I have learned a valuable lesson about careful attention to details when entering a contest.  Yep, that's way better than the prize money and public acknowledgement.  Sigh!

Still thinking positively:  
You know you want to check out what has been officially deemed (by a real judge - how much more official can you get?) a "page turner"!   

(snazzy cover included)
 is available (and ready to be a "page clicker") 

             What are you waiting for?  Get page-turning/clicking and find out the secret!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Getting "Crafty" in 2014

Happy New Year!  
I'm kicking off 2014 with a review that's a little crafty and a little sneaky.

Thank you to WOW! Blog Tours for adding All Things Audry to the "Sneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight" blog tour.

On this stop of the tour, I will be reviewing the Rainy Day Art Pack:

"Hey, kids, look what I have," I said as my three children lazed semi-comatose on New Year's Day. Although it wasn't technically a rainy day, I felt the steely gray skies and freezing temperatures more than qualified. Once I had piqued everyone's curiosity, I held out three clear packets containing a variety of patterned paper, buttons, sequins, yarn, rick rack, you-name-it crafty odds and ends plus a card containing a basic person outline and a label with the simple instructions, "Just add glue and scissors!"  Although my very nearly 10 year old shrugged, my seven year old twins (boy and girl) shrieked with joy.  

In about ten minutes, my younger son had crafted a stealthy looking Ninja.

My daughter thought this packet of surprises was the greatest thing to happen to her day.  Glad to have an extra packet since her older brother wasn't interested, she spent nearly an hour creating two smarty attired dolls.

Looks like the Rainy Day Art Pack gets two thumbs up - one from each of my twins! 

Now for the "sneaky" part of this Sneaky Art Project.  Part of the fun of creating these mini-creations is to display them in surprising and unexpected places.  Perhaps the Ninja will be guarding our front door and the dolls will be having a tea party in the kitchen cabinet.  Who knows?  One thing, I do know for sure is that the Rainy Day Art Pack is a fun way to pass a dreary afternoon!

More about 
Sneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight 
by Marthe Jocelyn

For young artists, tricksters, and crafters, here is a hip, friendly how-to manual for creating removable and shareable art projects from easily found materials. The sneaky part is in the installation! Each work of art is custom-created for display in public places--a tiny cork-bottomed boat in a public fountain, a plate of tiny paper cupcakes on your teacher's desk, a penny left on the ground for a stranger, a funny message left on your mother's bathroom mirror, and more. This utterly unique guide--part craft book, part art-philosophy--offers a stylish and sweet "made-you-look-twice" spirit of fun meant to put a smile on the faces of strangers and loved ones alike. 

Hardcover: 64 pages

Publisher: Candlewick Press (March 26, 2013)  

ISBN-10: 0763656488

ISBN-13: 978-0763656485

Twitter hashtag: #SneakyArt

Sneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight is available for purchase at AmazonBarnes & Noble, andIndieBound

Meet the author: Marthe Jocelyn

Marthe Jocelyn spent her childhood in Toronto reading books and putting on plays and circuses in her backyard. Marthe has a long string of jobs: theatre usher, cookie seller, waitress, photo stylist, even toy designer before she finally settled on writer. And once she decided to be an author she went forward full steam ahead and now has over two dozen books to her credit. Marthe lives in Ontario with her daughters Nell and Hannah.

Find out more about the author by connecting with her online:

Twitter: @SneakyArtStudio and @scissorhouse