Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

Which self do you feed?

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Why indie and proud?

What is #IndiePrideDay? For me, it means a lot of things.

I am proud to be an independent author because I know I dared to cross the threshold of my average daydreams, and walk into this huge forest of trees (namely: self-doubt, time-consuming book promotion, social media presence, the writing/illustrating zone, editing and revising, begging for reviews, battling to keep them, and so on and so forth…).

I dared to feel and love this hobby of mine called writing, and I dared to place it before your eyes for none or detailed scrutiny, giving voice to my characters who haunted me till I did. I am proud of giving life to the little penguin Winky, the romantic wannabe pirate George, the diva squirrel Mimi and the brave hedgehog Hank, and all their little friends in my children’s books. Not to mention all the stories and poems in anthologies such as Inner Giant, Awethologies, Twisted & Crooked Tales, Looking into the Abyss, and The Treasure Chest of Children’s Stories…

I have also been privileged to have met and collaborated with many wonderful people in the independent writers’ community, all of whom have been supportive, inspiring and selfless.

The support of my friends and family is never taken for granted. ♡
Thank you all!
So yes, indie and proud. Happy #IndiePrideDay!

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Freedom

Beneath the sands of time,
Buried and burdened and heavy,
Lay my anger, my frustration and my fear.
Humming like a mean dragon,
Alienated in his cave
Hiding, but here, ready to charge.
He listens and awaits
His dreadful cue,
Breathing deeply, eyes open,
Claws ready on the ground.

Silence draws him to the entrance,
Curiosity conquers fear.
He peeks outside.
Sunlight melts away his frustration,
Like water colours washed away.
He steps out, claws drawn in.
The smell of spring fills his nostrils.
Anger conquered in a puff.

He shakes off the sands of time from his wings,
Spreads them and soars.
Happy.
(From Versus Verses – Feel
https://amzn.to/2yySg2u)

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Does working out really work out for you?

Lately, all this talk of getting ready for the summer and getting beach-body ready has become quite silly. Yes, I too like to look nice and feel fit, but let’s be honest – it should be done always, in order to be hwalthy, and not rushed in panic and through starvation. Anyway, trying to achieve physical perfection when it is just not your thing has reminded me of a chapter section from my light, carefree, unambitious romantic comedy Average Daydreamer. Perhaps some of you may even recognize yourselves:).

Average Daydreamer

Chapter 3 – Rock’n’Roll

“The zumba lesson with Petra went pretty well! Although zumba was a bit too unstructured and wild for my personality, I did try to make myself enjoy it, telling myself all the while that it would boost my immune system, make me feel good about myself and maybe make one of those ‘oh-I-wish-there-was-such-a-thing’ perfect guys notice me.

Feel good about myself I did, right until the moment I finally managed to grasp the dance routine and stopped looking at the steaming hot blonde leading the course. And then I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I had been so psyched into seeing the new Shakira-Priscilla shaking off the stress with sexiness, and oozing a sparkling cocktail of self-confidence, mischief and charm! Alas, major letdown! My expectations and reality were in such an oxymoron that it pained me to put it in thoughts, let alone words! So I’ll keep it brief here – my sexy just wasn’t happening. Period.”

Lulu link

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Seeing every tree – my book seen through the eyes of Jean Gill

This has been an extraordinary experience – being interviewed by a person I admire. Jean Gill drilled me about my book The Forest of Trees, but more importantly, about some life issues I consider very important.

Seeing every tree

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The sea

And when the wave sings out my darkness,
Soaking my night into deep silence,
Only a whisper will stay within me,
The whisper of my darkness,
A solitude calmness,
No drama, no stress.
On top of the wave it’s me and my soul,
Pure, serene, my own.
Hence the sea.
Hence the wave.
It’s where I am the one.
It’s where I am I.

****

I kad mi val otpjeva moju tminu,
Mrak upije u tihu dubinu,
Samo će šum ostat u meni,
Šum moje tame,
Mir osame,
Bez drame.
A na valu moja duša i ja,
Čista, smirena i svoja.
Zato more.
Zato val.
Tu sam ta.
Tu sam ja.
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When Your Demon Comes

When your demon comes
(and it will)
A volcano will pound
A tumultuous sound
Your eyes will burn
Your head will ache
Lava will surge
Erupt from your heart
And flow through your body
At the speed of light
Don’t stop it
Or freeze it
Just let it flow
And wait.

When your demon comes
(and it will)
Keep still
It will heal
Close your eyes
Breathe deep
Relax your shoulders
And imagine a dew drop
On a green leaf
Sparkling in early sunlight
Caress it with your breath
Don’t break it
Or wipe it off
Then open your eyes
And smile.

When your demon comes
(and it will)
Let it live
But believe
It will help you
It is your friend
And let it wash its face
Cool the lava with the dew
Let it give its strength
To your mind’s power
Embrace it
And wield it
Then do what is right
And be strong.

From Versus Verses – Love

#selfworth #ebook https://tinyurl.comy7xww2l9

#paperback https://tinyurl.com/ycu3tv3r

(On loving yourself, demons and all;)

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Happy World Penguin Day:)

Happy #WorldPenguinDay!

How far would you go in search of your dreams? Winky goes farther than he’s ever been and finds more than he’s expected!

#childrensbooks #kidlit #parenting #polaranimals #envirnoment #educational

#ebook https://tinyurl.com/yb5a76wx

#paperback https://tinyurl.com/yask4nhy

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Common misconceptions about (indie) authors

Pondered for a while whether I should publish this. So before you begin reading know this – it is not complaining. It is explaining.

Being an independent author has its advantages, as well as disadvantages, just like any other job, I suppose. To be honest, I am not sure if I would have wanted to know about some of the disadvantages before venturing into (self-) publishing. For instance, if I had known how much financing it requires to be able to properly package and promote your work, I would probably have nevet dared to go into it. That would have been a shame, because I would never have met tons of wonderful authors and book supporters, or proven to myself that my books can actually be real books, no matter how many people like them.

As a reader and an author, I have discovered how seriously misguided many people are about authors, especially self-published, independent authors. Let me just share a few I have encountered, and do share your views in the comments, whether you are a reader or writer yourself.

1. People think all authors have a team of people who work with them on fixing errors and making perfect covers. (They don’t, unless they employ them and pay them. Otherwise, it’s all diy. Which doesn’t mean an independent author is like a quack doctor or a shoddy repairman. A self-made entrepreneur cares a lot about how he or she displays their work.)

2. People think authors get every single cent of the money readers pay to buy the book from a bookstore, online or not. (They don’t. Percentages of royalties vary, but you’d probably be sadly disappointed, if not shocked, if you knew the numbers. Not disclosing them here, because of contracts we have with printers and distributors.)

3. People think authors only write. (We don’t. See point no.2. Most of us have day jobs which pay the bills, hopefully also fill our hearts, and help sustain our writing dreams.)

4. People think authors are vastly supported by their families who read their books, buy them by the dozens and walk around promoting our work. (They don’t. If we are lucky, they understand us and support us as best they can – giving us some free time to write, understanding our insomnia and remaining by our side:). If we are lucky, we are able to repay them this kindness.)

5. People think publishing is what it used to be and everyone has an agent and a team to promote their books, lining up interviews and TV appearances for us, as libraries and bookshops fight over who gets more copies of our books. (Hahaha, she grinned with bitterness. I talked to a renowned author a couple of years ago and he admitted that he was lucky to have broken anonimity and gained a good publisher over 20 years ago. He says if he had to fight for it today, he’d probably stick to a day job. My ‘support team’ consists of kindhearted authors and readers who repost my shameless book plugs on social media. I am grateful for any one of my supporters.)

6. People think vanity publishing is just a myth, invented as an excuse for independent authors. (It is not. Vanity publishers are just as much a part of this business as any marketing scheme out there. They prey on your dreams, take your money to publish your book and then leave you to do the promoting yourself. If you need a cover, formatting or editing, it costs extra. I once read a testimony from an author who said it was not true because his vanity publisher was very polite, and he’d actually made £1000 from his books in 5 years through them. When asked how much he’d invested with them, he said £5000 in the first year, and about a £1000 the subsequent years. I may be a creative non-maths kind of person, but I think the numbers speak for themselves.)

7. People think authors are tedious and obsessed when we ask for reviews and promote our books. (We are, and some of us are moderate about it, whereas some are tiring. But see points above to know why. Most of us trust in our stories. Most of us really make an effort to bring out the best we possibly can under the circumstances. The readers have a choice.)

8. People think authors should give their books away for free, especially when they launch, since they get boxes of their books from the publishers, including promo T-shirts, bookmarks, bags etc. (We don’t get anything free except ideas. We work for everything else. We do research for our books, buy our own author copies, we pay for our promo stuff, we pay for packaging and shipment. So if you do get a freebie from an independent author, know that it is not free. Nothing is. We may write fantasy, but we don’t live in it. But also know it means a lot to the authir who has sent it to you. PS: applying for most awards costs a fee too. No guarantee of winning and no money back.)

9. People think authors are only good if they are famous. (Fame and quality may go hand in hand, but not always. Just like everything else. Plus, quality is a matter of personal opinion anyway. You may like a famous book, someone else will hate it. It’s that simple.)

10. People think authors write to make money. (Well then people in pharmacy would be writers too. Bankers as well. Not to mention politicians. Authors write to write. It is not even a matter of choice for most of us.)

Although I am sure there are plenty more misconceptions such as these, I have decided to list the ones I have come into contact with. Questions such as: “You’re an author? Are you famous?” and “So how rich are you?” used to be shocking; now they are just funny and slightly annoying. Especially when they are asked before even inquiring about what I write and where one might read a sample of my book.

Lines such as “You should put your books in bookshops, libraries, schools and give them away.” … well, they make me sad. Why? Apart from all the points above, it takes time to write a book. It takes heart. It takes time to draw illustrations. It takes effort and resources to create a cover.

But most of all, it takes gutts to put your thoughts out there, open for all comments. It takes a dream. You don’t just give that away. Or give it all up.

Would you?

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Another one…

Well, there it is – I have managed to combine my two professional loves, both not really known in my life as big money-makers:) – teaching and writing. Perhaps two minuses can make a plus, huh? Just kidding.

As the note says, this is the rough draft which I will soon be typing into the plan, proofreading and sending off to some beta readers.

As for the teaching method described, it refers to a little mindset I have devised for myself and shared with colleagues. I know it works because it has served me well these last two decades, from the micro to macro lesson planning, and thinking about learning and teaching in general.

Looking forward to revisions and edits, and all the little ‘bloopers’ I probably let slip. Ta-ta for now!

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