Monday, December 28, 2009

Charles Dickens Self-Published "A Christmas Carol"

I was going through my writing board posts, and noticed an interesting comment about "A Christmas Carol". Apparently, a fellow writer had heard on the radio that Charles Dickens had self-published the famous book. So, off I was on a research quest to find out exactly, was it really self-published?

I found out, apparently, yes. There is a book that details a lot of what happened. It's called "The Man Who Invented Christmas" which recounts how Dickens had to deal with his publisher to take on the book. The book is available on Here is a quote from a review done by the Washington Post that notes how he got the book published:

"His publisher, Chapman and Hall, expressed little enthusiasm for the book, so Dickens decided to have the firm bring it out 'for publication on his own account.' All the risk would be his own: 'He would be responsible for the costs of the book's production, which would be deducted from its sales. He would also oversee the book's design, hire its illustrator, and consult on its advertising. In essence, his publishers -- which would receive a fixed commission tied to sales -- had become merely his printer. In contemporary terms, then, A Christmas Carol was to be an exercise in vanity publishing."--Washington Post Review of "The Man Who Invented Christmas" 2008

You can read the whole review on under the book's listing. It's really interesting to note that he was hoping to make 1,000 pounds to pay off debt, but ended up only making 726 pounds over a few years. And in regards to the plays being done about the book, Dickens thought it was good PR.

Really makes you think about what it is to be self-published today. If Dickens had such a belief that his book was special and took a risk, why can't you? But it also tells how self-publishing has been a concept around for a while. If an author believes enough in their book, they take the risk to publish. It just takes belief that your book is special. If Dickens can do it, so can I. This fact makes me proud to be a self-published, Indie Author.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Growing Up With the Kids From Fame

Every Thursday night at 8pm, my friends and I would be riveted to the TV to watch the next episode of Fame, the TV series in the early 80s. It was the precursor to American Idol, Glee, and High School Musical. I shared my ups and downs with the characters that seemed like my friends after two seasons. Coco, Doris, Julie, Leroy, Danny, and Bruno were my idols for growing up.

I recently bought the first and second season of the show from Amazon. I also bought the only album released by "The Kids from Fame". I've been watching episode after episode for over a month now. It's like returning to the past, a strange kind of reunion with my old friends.

I must say, the show still holds up. Some 80s shows are coated with a lot of syrup. But "Fame" always had an edgy sense for telling a tale, and dealt with controversial subjects that still are around today.

So, then I began to wonder. What happened to all of them? Many of the cast members were playing kids that wanted to go on to show biz. Did they? One of the more famous, Lori Singer who played Julie, became famous after the series ended. Lori Singer played opposite Kevin Bacon in "Footloose" which basically sealed her into Trivia Pursuit games for the 80s set. But what about the others? What happened to the Kids from Fame?

I've been looking them up. The first thing that shocked me is that Gene Anthony Ray, who played Leroy, died of a drug overdose in 2003. That fact still makes me upset. I see all the energy and talent, and can't believe he's gone. Valerie Landsburg, who played Doris, continued to do some acting and walk on parts. She's started to direct and put out an album called "Valerie Landsburg: Grownup" in 2003. She even has her own acting workshop and tours the country coaching people in acting.

Bruno was the most interesting. Lee Curreri, who played Bruno in the movie and the TV series, has been getting attention from the movie remake. Like his character, he has become a composer for several movies including California King(2008) and I Tried(2007).

It just makes me reflect on the fact we all grew up. All the stars and people that worked with the show have gone on to other things. But it was so different than other shows, more of a cross between American Idol and High School Musical. Lori Singer could really play the cello. She was a child prodigy and has gone on to be a concert cellist. Valerie Landsburg seems to be happy with her course in life teaching her acting craft with acting tours called "Wholeacting".

These characters were like friends to me. Growing up, you need characters to make the mistakes and then try to find a solution. It helps with the heart ache or other problems of growing up. Someone has gone through it and you've seen the consequence. Do you want the same thing to happen to you?

I think that's why I wanted to know what happened to them. You're always wondering growing up, will I be ok? What will the future be like? Well, sometimes reality doesn't turn out the way we want it to. But sometimes you just want to know what happens.

The Fame Kids all grew up, and so did I. And things did turn out ok, or at least I survived the growing up process. Really, that's all you can do.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Great Pumpkin Strikes Again

It's that time of year, when the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch. If you wait all night, you can be disappointed that it is only the shadow of Snoopy before you faint dead away. Of course, this has been going on for 40 years. Why would it change now? Halloween is a grand tradition.

Halloween is just a really cool holiday, unless of course you are a teacher. Then, it's a really cool holiday that drives you crazy. I can hardly wait until Friday, when all the kids scramble to put on costumes and parade about the school. If you're lucky, your kid might be at a school that still does this tradition. If not, you're stuck with the Harvest Festival theme of pumpkins and scarecrows that blends right into Thanksgiving.

So, why have this holiday? Why is Halloween so important? Why hope for the Great Pumpkin after all? This holiday tradition of dressing up and being creative while begging for candy is truly an American tradition. Other countries copy us in this creative endeavor. And as far as being unique and creative, we might have the market on that. It might be the only thing to save our country.

Yeah, it's insane that parents are encouraging their kids to beg for candy from strangers. But there is trust in that. Maybe we need to get to know each other again. Rate each house on the type of candy bar or gum given out again. Isn't a neighborhood the most united when all the kids are out running door to door in the night under the full moon, laughing, cheering, and sugared out?

What joys are left except the ones from childhood? The memories from Halloween are the ones we carry inside when we're older. So, as I dress up in my costume as a Wood Sprite Fairy and parade about with my class, I'll endure the hyper craziness because I know it will be over in a mere hour. My duty done. The students will run off into the day and night to enjoy that incredible journey of growing up. Happy Halloween everyone! Make it a safe one!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Independent Authors: Choices That Intrigue

Self-publishing is no longer a dirty word. Well, at least to many readers that are discovering the vast choices that the traditional publishers don't offer. Main streamed books are edited and trimmed of any bite that might offend the majority of readers. So if you want books with a real edge, I'm finding that independent authors have something much different than what's being offered in most bookstores.

Where do you find these hidden gems? Try looking somewhere that is probably the easiest place to shop, the internet. I've found boards listing many interesting books that are not or may never get placed on the bookshelves of stores. Many reading groups like or list books from independent authors as well. has pages and groups where independent authors list their books.

It also depends on your interest of book. Many independent authors that write Romance Novels are tremendously popular. Searches for romance novel independent, or simply your interest will turn up a lot of options. Or even fantasy or sci-fi searches, there are whole boards on just dedicated to these topics. Reading the reviews and ratings on Amazon can give you an idea about the book. But many have "Look Inside Features" that you can read the excerpts of the book. This really helps you try the book on for size for your reading interests.

Gay and lesbian fiction is definately not easy to find in main stream publishing. Many writers of this type of fiction are independent. I've already listed Edward C. Patterson's "Irish Need Not Apply" as a book to read. It deals with two high school boys finding their interest towards each other to be more than just friends. All comparing their experiences to the Irish restrictions of the late 19th century.

I've found that the New Age genre offers great alternatives that are not easy to find in most book stores. Having been interested in crystals and energy work since the early 90s, I've always left my book searching to glancing over the walls in New Age/Crystal stores. But lately, I'm finding some real gems from independent authors. I found a book on Kundalini Meditation by an independent author. "Kundalini Awakening for Personal Mastery" by Robert Morgen helps explain a new approach to energy work that bears it's roots in Asian Philosophy. It is also very hard to find anything on this subject. An independent author helped fill the niche.

This is only a small percentage of some of the hidden gems that traditional publishers don't offer. I encourage you to search for more choices by considering independent authors that have chosen to self-publish. Sometimes you'll never know what you may find, and often, the results are more than you can imagine.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Travel As Research and Other Thoughts

Today is my last night in Germany. So I thought I'd log on for some thoughts on traveling and researching for writing. It would be hard to fit over two weeks of travel into a blog, but then that is what a journal is for. I love blogging, but my journal is my best friend when I travel. Good thing, since I've been to many country towns and visited 14 castles. My journal will help me remember where I've been later when I try to write some stories from my adventures.

Journals help capture the experience of what you learn from your travels. I really enjoy the end of the day when I can jot my thoughts down. I try to recount all that happened. From visits to medieval fortresses, to bratwurst and dumplings; it's all written down for later use.

Then, there is the invention of digital cameras. I used to try to write down all the info in museums. But Germans are quite a kind folk, and allow non-flash photography in castles or museums. Sometimes it is posted not to take pictures, but I found there were lots of times I could snap a pic for research. The Untersberg placard took 3 photos to get all the legends photographed. Since I keep my journal in my hotel for a rundown of the day, my digital camera helps me record a lot of the research that would take hours to write down.

So, before I head out of Deutchland, I come home with a journal full of ideas, a stomach sedated with bratwurst and sauerkraut, and two 8 meg cards of digital pictures. Can't beat that for research.

*Tiffany Turner has been in Germany for over 2 weeks researching folktales of the Fey for her Crystal Keeper Chronicles series. The first book, "The Lost Secret of Fairies" is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle Editions. Her second book in the series, "The Lost Secret of the Green Man" will be out this Fall.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thoughts From Germany

Having found a cyber-cafe, I can finally comment on my research adventures in Munich. I've finally adjusted to the time here, and have been traveling about the countryside. I've been to different castles and gardens, and even up an Alpine Ridge. It's amazing the clarity of thought one can have at 6,000 ft.
I've been updating my adventures at my Facebook account. Sometimes that's all I can manage when hooking up with my cell phone.

What I've found is amazing scenery, lots of friendly helpful faces, and maybe a story or two. The biggest thing I've found that helps is observation. Watching the people and the body language helps me understand beyond the German phrases, which I know little of.

Stories are everywhere. Observing a mouse scampering around the famous Augustine Beer Hall has given me an idea for a new short story. Visiting the famous Neuschwanstein Castle has given me an insight to a creative mind of a King. Braving my fear of heights and going to the top of the Untersburg made me feel on top of the world. Plus, I found some of the best research so far on the Fey, dwarves.

Wonders can be found when you travel, or at least, ideas for more stories. I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for more. You never know what you can find on vacation, besides the wonderful rejuvenation of the soul.

Auf Wiedersehen!

  • Tiffany Turner is traveling through Germany researching for her book series, the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. Her first book, "The Lost Secret of Fairies", is available through

Monday, July 6, 2009

How Do Authors Get Their Ideas?

How do authors get their ideas? This is a hot topic of debate by readers and authors on what is the best way to get an idea. Pictures, songs, taking a walk, or just living life is a place to start. Another area is memories. If you are a children's author, your childhood memories are a starting point for many ideas. Most of all, your own backyard might be a good place to start if you're having trouble writing.

What do you remember as a kid? What did you day dream? What was a dream? That usually is the yellow brick road, remembering. Take for example one of my childhood memories. It became a large part of my book "The Lost Secret of Fairies". It seems to be a favorite of my readers as well. Maybe that is because I was a kid when I thought of it. It's my crystal cave.

As a kid, I had trouble sleeping. So I would daydream to help me fall asleep. One of the day dreams, besides secret powers, was to explore the underground crystal cave I imagined under my bedroom. It connected underneath the house to the orchard behind. The orchard was the favorite playground of the neighborhood children.

Real childhood adventures included roaming in the orchard. I use these memories to write as well. Connected to one side of the orchard was a creek. Many a summer day passed by trying to catch tadpoles and guppies. Later, we'd take our catch to be used in a home built backyard pond. Of course, we found if we used the right trash bag lining, it wouldn't leak, too much.

So, all these memories clamor to be in a story from time to time. Whether they are made-up daydreams or real adventures from childhood, many of these memories make it into my stories.

Today, the orchard is a hospital, and the house I grew up in, sold. But I was able to return home for a moment, to the hospital now upon my orchard of childhood. My niece was born there yesterday, to my sister whom I shared many adventures within the orchard. The walls of the hospital are decorated with cherry trees that still live in my memories. The adventures continue in my mind. Though the scenes might be different from book to book, the main starting point, the orchard, lives on.

Where do authors get their ideas? Living. Being a kid. If you are a kid right now, or are a kid at heart, your adventure is living. Call it research. The ideas will come to you. Keep doing that research, and go find an adventure.

Tiffany Turner is finishing her second book "The Lost Secret of the Green Man" which will be released this Fall. Her first book, "The Lost Secret of Fairies" is available on as a paperback and a Kindle Edition.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Making Your Dreams Come True

I'm an advocate for making your dreams come true. It started with the dream of going to school in Paris. I'd been taking French since I was 13. I found a way to live this dream in 1992. An abroad program through my local Jr. College made it possible. It was amazing. I highly suggest living abroad and going to school. You'll never regret it.

Next, I've been working on my dream to be a writer. This has been going on since the early 90s. I started by writing adult sci-fi/fantasy and later moved to children's fantasy stories. I joined a writing organization called the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators(SCBWI). This led to fantastic opportunities for learning the craft of writing. It also introduced me into the field of writing through the business aspect. Years later, I now have a novel out, and am working on my second.

But what happens when your run out of dreams? Mid-way through life, people have what's called a mid-life crisis. You take stock of your dreams. Have you done them all? Did you maybe forget some that you need to still try? Did you run out of dreams?

This week, I lived another dream. A dream I didn't think was possible. I kept telling myself, no, you can't. There's no way it can happen. Then it did. And it was thanks to my husband.

I am the new owner of a Mini Cooper Clubman. I'd been wanting a Mini for over 3 years after riding with a friend on a weekend get-away. She convinced me it was the coolest, most fun car I'd ever been in. Not to mention the fact I love British things, music, and even married an Englishman. This seemed like a practical dream. A Mini is a statement, not to mention complete with it's own subculture.

Now factor that I do Renaissance Faires and have started my own Ren. Acting Guild. I kept telling myself, no way, you can't own a Mini. It's too small.

Then, my husband took me on a shopping trip to meet a Clubman in my favorite color, burgundy. It's a car that has more room, folding down seats, and all the style of the Mini. It was the answer to my dreams. I can fit my stuff as a teacher and for doing faires, as well as enjoy the fact it's a Mini. I was signing the papers by the end of the day, trading in my Saturn for my new Mini.

So, when you think you're out of dreams, or you keep telling yourself they are not possible, remember, it can happen. Never give up a way to make them come true. Every time I reach one dream, another appears. And someway, I make it happen. Don't give them up. Keep those dreams coming. It is what makes life, interesting.

Tiffany Turner is finishing her second book in her Crystal Keeper Series. The first book, "The Lost Secret of Fairies" is available as a paperback and Kindle Edition on

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thoughts on Michael Jackson's Passing Today

I’ve had trouble concentrating on writing today. I just stopped when I heard the news at 4pm. I’ve not been able to do work the rest of the day, it’s been such a shock. So, I thought I should get some of the feelings out in my blog. At least that way, I’m writing.

I’ve been in shock for the last several hours. I think of the memories and music Michael Jackson has brought, and it brings back feelings of when I heard on the news about a guy named Elvis Presley dying.

Michael is being dissed left and right on many message boards right now. However, there are a lot of positive things to say about him. I wanted to add to the memories being shared. I think the whole world has them. I wanted to join that sharing as we remember him today.

He was a true musical hero to many. I do hope he is remembered for his music and what he brought to the world. I hope most of the negativity and bad press died with him today, and he’s remembered for the music he brought to us all.

I’m going to remember him for the memories. It’s what I’ve been doing since most of the scandals started in the mid-2000s. My favorite moment is probably at the peek of “Thriller” being released. It was the Summer of 1983. There was nothing cooler than roller skating to tracks off the album when going out as a 12 year old. Yes, you can imagine the disco ball and lights playing during the roller skating. Yes, my blonde hair was feathered. And if anything like “Beat It” or “Billie Jean” came on, it was a fast skate. It was the coolest thing to grow up with. He was truly the King of Pop.

I still have the vinyl of “Thriller” in storage along with my other records. I’m glad I held onto it.

Tiffany Turner is in the middle of doing final revisions on her second book "The Lost Secret of the Green Man". Her first book, "The Lost Secret of Fairies" is available in paperbook and as a Kindle edition on

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Kindle Release: "The Lost Secret of Fairies"

The new Kindle version of "The Lost Secret of Fairies" was released this week.
Check it out in the Kindle store.

Here's a bit about the book:
Wanda had always read about adventure. Now she was in the middle of one. The World of Fairies is real, and she is their new Crystal Keeper, human caretaker to the World of Fairies. But the Fairy World is in trouble. The fairies are falling ill from the pollution that ravishes the world above. Wanda has to find the key to their cure, before it's too late.

But like in all adventures, there are a few unanswered questions to solve. What has happened to the old Keeper? What are Germites? And can Wanda get used to her cat giving her backtalk while trying not to get grounded for helping the fairies? Join Wanda on her adventure, while she finds out that sometimes the best solution to a problem is the one you find within yourself.

"The Lost Secret of Fairies" is listed on as a paperback and now as a Kindle edition. It's listed at the bargain price now of $3.19 in the Kindle store.
Book 2, "The Lost Secret of the Green Man" is in it's final revision.
Artists are feverishly working on the cover and illustrations.
It should come out in the next few months.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Start Your Child's Summer Reading List

Your child loves fairies. So why not get a challenging book for your child this summer. "The Lost Secret of Fairies" is the first book in the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. In this series, Wanda is an 11 year old girl that discovers that fairies are real. But then, I'm sure your child believes that already. If so, here is the book for them. This book is not your average fairy tale.

Book 2, "The Lost Secret of the Green Man" will be released during the summer. Get them started on the first book in the series to get them ready for the exciting release of Book 2.

Monday, March 16, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Magic-The Leprechaun

St. Patty's Day is a special day of Irish Heritage in the US and Ireland. Though it is most often associated with the famous St. Patrick that brought Christianity to Ireland, it is also famous for wearing green, leprechauns and four-leaf clovers. The pot of gold signs with rainbows may decorate the office, but where did all the leprechauns come from? Why are they connected to the Irish?

Leprechauns are one of the most famous fairies or fey in Irish myths. The legends tell of Leprechauns being solitary shoemakers. According to Sir Walter Scott's book "Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry", they are also confused or combined with two other fairies, The Cluricaun and the Red Man. The Cluricaun tends to drink the ale away in the cellar while the Red Man enjoys doing practical jokes. Sometimes they are considered the happy brothers of the Leprechaun.

The Leprechaun legend continues with tales of becoming rich if one can find the Leprechauns gold from selling his shoe wares. Later in legends, the rainbow became a marker for the hiding spot of the Leprechauns acquired treasure.

Whether you find gold, Leprechauns, or at least a chance to spy a rainbow on St. Patty's Day, wear green in the tradition of showing support for Irish Heritage. It's a way to share your history or even join in the fun that the Irish Culture loves to do, sing, dance, and be merry. May there be luck for you this day!

Tiffany Turner is the author of a new fairy series called The Crystal Keeper Chronicles. Her first book entitled "The Lost Secret of Fairies" is available through Trafford Publishing and The second book in the series "The Lost Secret of the Green Man" will be released this summer.


  1. "Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry" by Walter Scott. Original published date 1888.

  2. "Encyclopedia Mythologica: Fairies and Magical Creatures" by Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It's Good to Be Fey

Research can take you in different directions. Sometimes the best is when you role play. Having created my own Fairy World with my book series “The Crystal Keeper Chronicles”, I try to get into the mindset of fairies. Sometimes that can be easier if you play one.

Cut to the Legends of the Fey show I participate in at different Scottish Games in Northern California. Researching and developing a Comedia Dell'Arte style fairy show gives me loads of research material to pull ideas.

The show is monologue based that revolves around the message of conserving and protecting the environment. Each person portrays a fairy character presenting a monologue describing their legend and message concerning the Earth. Many ideas for the fairy show come from researched fairies in different Irish and Scottish Legends.

Standing up in front of a crowd to tell about fairies gives a different spin on my research. I‘m teaching about the legends of fairies as I do in my books, except it is a more visual perspective to research. I can see people’s reactions to my dialogue and maybe even give myself a real feel for what it would be like if fairies could be truly seen. Plus, we create our own costumes from descriptions in research or our own imaginations. This helps me picture what the fairies may look like and describe them later in my books.

Through this performance research, I find new ways to describe my Fairy World. Plus, it is a lot of fun. There is a definite feeling holding an oak staff as the Woodsprite that you can’t get through normal research methods. That feeling can be used in my writing. As I describe myself to the audience in a monologue, it gives a living breathing version of what it is to see and be a fairy. Sometimes, it’s good to be Fey or at least play one.

Tiffany Turner is researching and writing her second book in the Crystal Keeper Series: The Lost Secret of the Green Man.
St. Ita’s of Cill Ide: House of Nobles is a Renaissance Acting Guild that performs at different Scottish Games Living History Areas. The Website is located at