Friday, April 29, 2016

Deer in the Czech Republic

Look who I saw today! It's a roe deer, I believe, the kind we have in the mountains around Vsetin. 

I was very happy to see him, but he wasn't so happy to see me. When he decided I was a threat, he ran away barking like a hoarse dog. He kept sounding the alarm long after I was no longer any possible threat. I wish I could have told him I wasn't going to hurt him.

I've only heard that sound--and been sure it was actually a deer--two other times.  Very cool experience.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Literary Magazines with Themes--Spring/Summer 2016 Edition

I recently posted my Spring/Summer 2016 list of literary magazines with themes. It's a fun way to submit.  All listed magazines also pay (though for some it's a token payment).

Click here for the list

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Velký Javorník View Tower

Velký Javorník:  one of the Czech Republic's many awesome view towers. This one is a steep walk up into the Veřovice hills in Wallachia.

I went from Frenštát pod Radhoštem up the green trail to the tower, then along the red ridge trail until I cut down the steep yellow path to Mořkov to catch my train, about a 15-17km trip (depending on if you explore Frenštát's nature trail first, as I did).  Be prepared for about 700 meters of elevation gain overall.  The ridge trail goes up and down a bit.  Views are really nice.

The tower itself is open year round and free, and there's a pub there too for refreshment.  Up top, 3-D wooden signs point out different mountains in view.  From here you can see both Poland and Slovakia on a clear day.

Cool signs showing different mountains, some of which are in Slovakia
More pictures:
Family enjoying the spring sun and views

A pleasant spring off a short fork of trail

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Spring's Variability

From the same hike, April 2, 2016, a hike in which I also lay out in the sun in bare feet and short sleeves.


Actual Snow

Taken near Velký Javorník viewtower in the Czech Republic

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Frenštát pod Radhoštěm Nature Trail

Me in a Golden Eagle nest on the boardwalk trail
Just outside of Frenštát pod Radhoštěm, a small town in the eastern part of the Czech Republic, I discovered a cool nature trail.

Called the Stezka v korunách stromů (Path in the treetops), the very short boardwalk goes out among the trees.  The path focuses on birds and has interpretive signs with full English translations (not so usual in this part of the country) and interactive displays.    

You'll also see the town's ski jump up close (bigger than they look on TV) and various other sites of local interest.  

The coolest thing might be the barefoot path, where you take your shoes off and walk on different types of natural surfaces--wood ships, river rocks, gravel, etc.  Quite unique.  

Barefoot path
From here you can also head up to Velký Javorník view tower, a steep but rewarding walk with great veiws, and even further along the red ridge trail along the Veřovice hills.  You can catch trains or buses from villages on both sides of the ridge--but plan ahead as connections may be infrequent.  


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

5 Tips for First Time Self Publishers--Guest Post by Tiffany Shand

Self publishing can be a daunting task for any author, but even more so when you are first starting out. There is a lot of advice out there on what you should and shouldn’t do which can make even more confusing.

Here are my top 5 tips for first time authors.

1.  Write a great book. Make sure your book is as good as it can be Have it critiqued and get feedback on it. Have it professionally edited and proofread.

2.  Decide on your personal goals. Do you want to sell thousands of books or just a few that you hand out friends and family? For that you need to have a good plan in place about how you will promote and distribute that book.

3.  Have a professional cover design. They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but believe me everyone does. It’s important to have professional cover design. Having a horrible cover will put your readers off and affect your sales. But there are plenty of affordable cover designers out there without having to break the bank.

4.  Have a budget and stick to it. When you’re first starting out it’s easy to spend too much money on editing, cover design and things you don’t need like lots of swag items. Have a budget to cover the cost of cover design, editing and marketing and stick to it. Don’t spend money on things you don’t need.

5.  Have a plan in place before you publish. Have a marketing plan set up before you publish and start getting to know your audience and building your author platform before you even think of publishing your book.

Tiffany Shand was born in Essex, UK and started writing short stories when she was a child.  
She has always done writing in one form or another and started writing novels in her early teens.
Tiffany loves to read books and discovered her love for fantasy and paranormal romance during this time.
She writes both non-fiction and fiction, but mostly fantasy and paranormal romance.
After doing a creative writing course in her early 20s she is now a freelance writer and professional proofreader. She is currently studying for a journalism degree.
Tiffany lives in Essex with her two spoiled cats and one very nutty hamster.
Find Tiffany on:
@tiffanyshand on Twitter
Tiffany Shand's newest novel:

Denai witch, Cate McCray should be enjoying married life with her new elemental husband, Jason. But their arrival in a new city soon has them stumbling headlong into a new case with dangerous connections to the very people that govern their world.
Cate and Jason face opposition from those they once considered allies. Together with their team of enforcers, they must find the killer before anyone else dies.
With danger from all sides and the threat of ancient, dangerous magic, the team must pull together and use all their strength to find their enemy before disaster strikes. 
Check it out here: