Friday, April 30, 2010

The Future of The Motherhood Muse

A big thank you to everyone who has participated in our first ever blog tour! Thank you to the column writers for contributing with their interviews. Thank you to each blog hostess for supporting The Motherhood Muse by hosting us on your blog. And thank you to all the readers of the blog tour. Blog hostesses and winners will receive their free 2010 digital issues at the conclusion of the blog tour.

And now... We are excited for our first writing contest (the deadline is tomorrow at midnight EST)! Our third issue is in the works and will be published digitally in July! And our first children's poetry contest (deadline June 1st) is approaching. So many fun firsts!

On a personal note, I am having a blast publishing and editing The Motherhood Muse Literary Magazine. I have so many submissions to read through, each one touches my heart and makes me eager to share it with the world, well all of the subscribers of the magazine thus far.

But this brings me to another note, subscriptions. Thank you to every one who has subscribed to the magazine! Your efforts to support The Motherhood Muse community means a lot to me. In order to keep the magazine going in 2011, however, I still need to get at least 190 more subscribers! While that number may seem small, in the newness of the digital world of literature, it is a lot. So please tell your friends, families, coworkers, writers groups, strangers :) all about The Motherhood Muse! Gift subscriptions are easy to do as you just enter in the gift recipient's email address during the checkout process.

I am anticipating each future issue theme as each one is unique and will hopefully inspire writers to push their writing outside of the box. Please consider submitting your writing to our magazine for publication!

Thank you again everyone for a fun and successful blog tour!
Kim Zook

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Going Green: A Digital World of Literature

The Motherhood Muse literary magazine is celebrating the publication of its second issue by going on a blog tour during the month of April. Bloggers who host The Motherhood Muse will receive a free subscription to the 2010 issues as well as one free subscription to give away to one random winner who comments on their blog the day of The Motherhood Muse post. We hope everyone will enjoy both the post and magazine! The Motherhood Muse blog tour schedule can be found at and .

Going Green: A Digital World of Literature

Our children are growing up reading more online than we ever did at their age. From instant messaging to Facebook updates to blogging to texting, generations younger than us are comfortable with reading digital material in a way that we may never feel. Email didn’t come to my generation until we were of college age. Just as my eyes started to grow accustomed to reading text on my computer it seemed like the world jump started into a digital format. Now as magazines and newspapers are closing their doors, many publications are turning towards becoming digital.

Being digital isn’t just about surviving in today’s market. It is about launching into a future that is making tomorrow a greener world for our children. It is about enhancing the way information is presented and received. It is about connecting a community of people on an international scale.

The digital world of literature includes websites, blogs, Zines sent electronically, Kindle, Nook & Zinio subscriptions and in digital magazines such as The Motherhood Muse. Given these various formats for sharing literature in today’s world, The Motherhood Muse has chosen the digital magazine format with ePaperflip to publish literature on motherhood, nature and child. Due to the newness of digital literature, the following questions often arise:

“Why create a digital magazine instead of simply putting the literature on a website and updating it frequently?”

We believe the integration of literature with artwork helps to create an overall design to tell a story. Nature is best experienced with all of our senses. We are able to engage a reader’s senses in our magazine with the use of artwork complimenting the literature in the design of the magazine. A second advantage to creating a digital magazine is the load time is minimal compared to waiting for a PDF file to upload onto the computer screen!

“Are paper copies still an option?”

The fantastic option with digital magazines is the reader can pick and choose which pages to print. In so doing, the reader may create customized magazine that matches personal interests. By being a digital-only magazine we can create text and images that aren’t hindered by the print production process.

“What exactly can a digital magazine do?”
A digital magazine is interactive. In each issue of The Motherhood Muse we provide numerous links to author’s websites and blogs, writing opportunities, nature activities in your local area, books on motherhood, nature, writing and more. By being online we’re able to reach international audiences and connect everyone on an immediate, global scale.

We are thrilled to be able to publish an eco-friendly magazine that helps link readers to resources as well as join readers on a global scale. Of course it would be great to flip through a glossy paper version of The Motherhood Muse in a wood paneled library or in a chair of a local coffee shop. But being digital means making tomorrow a greener world for our children and that’s the mission of The Motherhood Muse!

Thank you for reading this post today. Please leave a comment here and the blog hostess will choose one person to receive a free subscription to the 2010 issues! We hope you’ll also sign up for our free e-newsletter, so you can receive the first issue of the magazine free! Stop by for more information!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nature and Child Reunion

We are excited to continue on our blog tour tomorrow! We'll be stopping by The Beautification Project to talk about the first part of three in a series on Nature and Child Reunion! Please stop by for a chance to win a free subscription to the 2010 issues of The Motherhood Muse literary magazine!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Day in the Life of...

The Motherhood Muse literary magazine was created by Kimberly Zook, a writer-editor-SAHM. Grateful for the opportunity to connect with other parents and writers, Kimberly shares with us today a look into a typical day of hers to show us how much The Motherhood Muse means to her.

Please leave a comment at the end of this post for a chance to win a free subscription to The Motherhood Muse literary magazine! It’s digital, green, and features fantastic writing on motherhood, nature, children and more.

A Day in the Life of a Writer-Editor-Stay-at-Home-Mom

Since adding the title “editor” to my every growing job description of SAHM, military wife, writer, naturalist, artist, teacher, and life-long learner, I often get asked the same question: “How do you do it? How do you manage to publish The Motherhood Muse literary magazine?”

It’s definitely not accomplished by the stroke of midnight. I pluck away at it during nap time (if I am lucky enough for one to occur) and at night (while my husband watches a movie downstairs all by himself). But I don’t do it alone. My column writers and editor assistant/short story writer are the heart of this magazine. The only answer I have for this question is “A little at a time.”

Here’s my “a little at a time” in a day:

At 5:18a.m. my 10-month-old daughter Grace ‘awakes’ after waking up every 1-2 hours during the night, wanting to nurse as she is cutting her 4th tooth. My husband brings her to our bed before heading off to work and I cuddle with my daughter, reading books and singing songs, until 6:10a.m. when my almost three-year-old daughter Ayla wakes up, shouting “Mama, Wake UP Mama, WAKE UPPPPP!”

We stumble through diaper changes, but Ayla’s shrieks and loud “AHHHHHs” to keep her pajamas on win me over. I look over at Grace to find her chewing on Ayla’s slinky. Ayla insists I carry all three of her blankets, her two pillows, and Shark and Puppy downstairs with us. We pad down the stairs to our kitchen, where I welcome the rising sun through our windows as Ayla starts to spin and twirl. All 22 pounds of my baby swings around in my arms as Grace lunges for every food item I hold as I prepare breakfast.

By 7:00 a.m. Ayla is desperate to watch Veggie Tales or Beauty and the Beast. Grace is content to delve into the toy bin while I pull out my laptop to check my email. First the personal one and then the five accounts I have for The Motherhood Muse. I get excited about the two new submissions in my Inbox, but Grace ambles over to the stairs and begins the ascent so I quickly close my laptop to follow her up the steps.

“Hairplane Mama!” Ayla shouts around 7:30, getting up from the couch to run upstairs to our family room. By the time I turn off the movie, wipe down the drool-soaked toys and help Grace walk up the stairs for the fifth time, Ayla has turned our family room couch inside out with cushions and pillows on the floor. She has piled her bedding into the “airplane” and is navigating it through the sky. Grace growls with a big grin, bouncing up and down to join in on the fun.

I love airplane. Ayla is content to pretend play as a pilot for an hour. By 8:30 Ayla is ready for a snack and Grace is ready for a nap. After a snack of Shrek string cheese and Trader Joe’s freeze dried blueberries, Ayla plays KidZui on my laptop while I put Grace down for her nap. I pop upstairs to my bedroom/office to get dressed and jump on my computer. I open the latest working copy of issue #3, due out in July, and work on the first essay I have put in the layout: adjusting columns to make room for images and creating the artwork in Photoshop. After about 20 minutes, however, my mind begins to feel guilty about leaving Ayla alone, so I go downstairs only to find her immersed in counting with Dora (one of the many games she loves to play on KidZui).

I sneak a chocolate Easter egg from the kitchen before reassembling the couch in the family room. Ayla hears me and bolts up the stairs, skipping into the family room singing “Shake it Baby, Shake it!” It’s 9:30 and Grace wakes up.

“Ayla!” I say, “Let’s go to Barnes and Noble. We’ll get you a steamed soy milk, and I’ll look at books.”

“No! Stay HOME!” she shouts.

I spend the next 40 minutes wrestling the girls into clothes. Before we leave I have to sit down as my vertigo hits me. It’s like a small earthquake inside my head and less than a minute later it stops.

The rest of the morning flies by as I sit on the floor of the bookstore, reading Star Wars books to Ayla (her choosing) while Grace giggles and claps from the stroller. We return home before noon for a lunch consisting of Beefaroni and cucumber (for Ayla), baby food beef (for Grace), and leftover rice and beans with guacamole for me. For ten minutes after lunch I throw a small multi-colored parachute over my daughers’ heads, laughing at their complete giddy enrapture of the flying colors, before we head upstairs for nap time! My favorite time. My time to work.

Both girls are in their rooms (Grace sleeping, Ayla reading books) for one hour. It’s a good day. Most days I only get 20-40 minutes of work time. I settle into my chair and type away on the computer.

First, I open Issue #3 and determine what artwork I need to create for the next essay. I scan images on iStockphoto and download one. Using Photoshop I manipulate it slightly and upload it to the issue. I hear a short cry and get up to check on the girls in the video monitor. Grace is stirring. Ayla is singing with her head down on her bed and her bum up in the air.

I return to my computer. I check my main work email and reply to two inquiries regarding the blog tour before searching for advertisers. I find eight possible organizations or companies who might consider advertising in the magazine and send them all an email. It’s 1:30p.m. and Grace wakes up crying.

I sigh, sad to leave my computer just as I’m getting into my work, but anxious to see my two girls. Grace’s room reeks of a messy diaper, which I change as Ayla starts shouting “Open the door Mama!” from under her bedroom door. As I approach Ayla’s door I am hit with yet another cloud of poopy-smell. I open the door cautiously to find Ayla on the floor, smearing a poopy diaper on the hardwood floor.

“Ayla, I just cleaned the floor. That’s a no-no. I’ve told you this before.” The next 30 minutes consists of scrubbing the floor, bathing Ayla, and dressing Ayla. This is followed by vitamins and a snack (for Ayla) and more chocolate (for me).

By 3:00 we are heading out the door for the playground. I write in my head as I dig in the sandbox with my daughters. I rewrite as I push them on the swings. And I plot out a chapter of the story I’m working on as I sit on the grass with Grace while Ayla runs around kicking a ball. Most of these writing ideas that take place in my head are forgotten by the time I pick up a pen and paper, but it’s practice nevertheless.

We’re home by 4:45 after stopping by McDonald’s to get chicken nuggets for Ayla and an iced coffee for me. I start preparing dinner while Ayla jumps on her trampoline in the family room and Grace sits in the highchair eating puffs. My husband calls around 5:30 saying he has to work late, so I turn the oven down and join Ayla in the family room. We dance to Miley Cyrus, play with her dollhouse, show Grace how to brush a doll’s hair, and read more books.

It’s 6:15 when my husband arrives home, taking Grace from my arms and kisses us all. I put dinner on the table and by 6:50 we start the girls’ bath. Ayla and Grace reach out for one another and scrub each other’s tummy. Love washes over me as I watch them. After my husband is done bathing them I nurse Grace and put her to bed as my husband reads books and sings Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to Ayla.

It’s 7:30 p.m. and my time to work has finally begun! I settle into my chair and pull up an essay I’ve been writing. It’s a stream of consciousness draft and I read through it. I continue where I left off and write for 30 minutes. Then I open my email and read the two submissions I received earlier in the day. I like both but need time to think about them before writing back to the authors. From 9 to 10 I work on the layout for Issue #3: inserting more text from essays, poems, and short stories – trying to make them all fit on the page without too much empty space leftover. I pull up the author’s bios and copy them into the layout.

At 10:00 p.m. my husband comes upstairs, asks me how my works is coming along and I close out the computer. My husband is one of the lucky ones who can fall asleep in less than five minutes. I lay in bed, however, thinking about the young adult novel I am writing – imaging the lives of the two main characters – for 40 minutes. Just as I begin to drift off to sleep I hear Grace crying on the baby monitor. I roll out of bed and go to her room to nurse her. The night has just begun.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Blog Tour Schedule

Several outstanding, original blogs have offered to host us during the month of April, so The Motherhood Muse is going on tour!

Each weekday of April we will be blogging on a different topic on various blogs. Please see our blog tour schedule below to follow us! Simply click on the day and topic to visit the blog who hosts us!

Each blog hostess will choose one person at random who comments on the blog post to receive a free subscription to the 2010 issues of our magazine, so comment away! And we still have days available if you would like to host us on your blog! Please email editor{at}themotherhoodmuse{dot}com if interested!

April 1st - On Starting a Digital Magazine
April 2nd - Writing About Motherhood and Nature at EarthMama
April 5th - 101 Essentials for Mother Nature Muses at Writing the Waves of Motherhood
April 6th - A Natural Woman at The Divine Gift of Motherhood
April 7th - A Day in the Life of a Writer/Editor/SAHM
April 8th - The Ick and Awe of a Nature Journal at Writers Inspired
April 9th - Tapping into Motherhood and Nature via Poetry at The Mother Daughter Book Club
April 12th - Nature & Child Reunion: Part 1 at The Beautification Project
April 14th - Nature & Child Reunion: Part 3 at The Writing Mother
April 15th
- Going Green: A Digital World of Literature at Reality Mom
April 16th - Mother Nature's Library at Remains of the Day
April 19th - An Interview with Andrea Lani at Blogging Mama
April 20th - An Interview with Loren Christie at Chocolate Reality
April 21st - An Interview with Catherine Lang at Zook Book Nook
April 22nd - Earth Day: What's Your Footprint? at The International Mom's Blog
April 23rd - An Interview with Jodi Hiland at Dude, Where Am I?
April 26th - An Interview with Andrea Halpin-White at Write the Journey
April 27th - An Interview with Mary Jo Campbell at Life On Its Own Terms
April 28th - Tweets and Stumbles in Mother Nature at Motherlogue
April 29th - A Challenge to Change the World at Scribbly Katia
April 30th - The Future of The Motherhood Muse

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Motherhood Muse Blog Tour

The Motherhood Muse literary magazine is celebrating the publication of its second issue by going on a blog tour during the month of April. Bloggers who host The Motherhood Muse will receive a free subscription to the 2010 issues as well as one free subscription to give away to one random winner who comments on their blog the day of The Motherhood Muse post. We hope everyone will enjoy both the post and magazine! The Motherhood Muse blog tour schedule can be found at and . Please visit Earth Mama for tomorrow's post on Writing about Motherhood and Nature!

On Starting a Digital Magazine

Blogging is fantastic way to share stories online. After blogging for over a year at Zook Book Nook, I realized my biggest thrill as a blogger was reading blogs written by others who truly moved me with their voice, ideas, interpretations of the world around them and more. When my second daughter was only six weeks old, I found myself wanting to read what other mothers had to say about nature, because I spent most of my days indoors with a 22 month old and a newborn despite it being the month of June. Thus, I decided to create an online compilation of writings by women (and men) in the form of a digital magazine, called The Motherhood Muse!

Starting a magazine has been easier than I thought it would be. So easy, that I write this post for those interested in creating a digital magazine of their own! Here are the steps I have taken to get my magazine off the ground and running:

1. Find a niche. This is the most important step, because your magazine needs to do two things: fit your passion, knowledge, and experience as well as fill a hole in the literary world. I asked myself: What do I have the most expertise in and what is missing in today’s market of magazine? The answer to my question was creative writing on motherhood and nature.

2. Know the competition. Before I created The Motherhood Muse I already read and subscribed to a few magazines that publish creative writing on motherhood or nature. I studied these magazines for their layout designs, content, marketing tactics, readership, and more. So when I began to create the first issue of my magazine I wasn’t reinventing the wheel, yet I also strived to create something original.

3. Decide on a name. Before developing a website, blog, and magazine, it is crucial to choose the right name for it all. A name that summarizes exactly what your “stuff” is all about. For me, motherhood relates to Mother Nature and mothers and muse is all about writing and inspiration. But before you take the name you come up with and run with it, make sure it isn’t already in use!

4. Create a website. Before the magazine and blog, I first created the website using the host Fat Cow and a background design by The Cutest Blog on the Block. The design runs on Joomla, which I had to teach myself how to use. I am a novice in web design, but the Joomla tutorials have made it easy to learn the basics of setting up a website that includes a shop and more.

5. Next came the blog. Even if the blog is basic, it is best to get it established in the beginning, so readers can begin to follow it. I am still in the early stages of developing The Motherhood Muse blog as I don’t put much time into it yet, but it is there to give the community of reader s and writers a source of more information.

6. Scheduling the release of the first issue. I gave myself six months to create the first issue of the magazine. This gave me enough time to find column writers and begin the advertising/marketing side of things.

7. Finding writers. Fortunately I found writers online who I knew from blogging. I was familiar with their style of writing, and asked a variety of writers to write for The Motherhood Muse that matches their blog style. I also began seeking contributors by posting information in various places online: SCBWI, Verla Kay, Editor Unleashed, Writer’s Digest, Poets & Writers, etc.

8. Advertising and Marketing. I designed a logo using Photoshop, created postcards with Overnight Prints and Vista Print, and created an advertising button to post on blogs and websites. The postcards were sent to women, authors, mothers, writing centers, nature centers, etc across the world in the hope that I’d gain subscribers and contributors.

9. Creating the first issue. Finally I was ready to begin designing the first issue of the magazine! The fun began with choosing a theme for the first issue that would resonate with many people (metamorphosis), designing the layout, asking different authors permission to reprint their essays in the first issue, and creating the artwork to accompany the writing. I found many images on iStockphoto and used Adobe Photoshop to alter and/or create images. I created the issue in Word and then converted it into a PDF.

10. Becoming digital. Once I had the final PDF file I submitted it to ePaperflip. This group then converted it into a digital magazine and gave me the URL link to view the digital magazine online. It’s amazing to have a magazine online where the pages actually flip, each page can be magnified to the highest degree, any text or images I choose can be clicked on to link the reader to another website, and it’s all green! No paper is wasted. No ink is utilized. And it never gets lost as it can be bookmarked on your computer.

The Motherhood Muse literary magazine is one of several new digital magazines, but it is the only digital magazine featuring creative essays, short stories, poetry, columns, artwork and more on the theme of motherhood and nature. But there are many more literary niches that need to be filled, especially digitally, so I hope you’ll consider giving it a shot and creating a magazine of your own one day. If you have any personal questions about the details of starting a digital magazine, please feel free to email me at editor(at)themotherhoodmuse(dot)com. Thank you! I look forward to reading your comments!

Thank you for reading this post today. Please leave a comment here and we will choose one person to receive a free subscription to the 2010 issues! Stop by for more information!

Please visit tomorrow for the next step in our blog tour!