Saturday, November 5, 2016

Taking time to take time.

I have finally carved some time out of my busy work and home life to take a weekend away to write, edit and pitch. This time is crucial to my possible success.

In real life I work a demanding corporate job, and am a mother to two young children under 5 years old. My day is packed from 5:45am to 9pm every weekday and on the weekends its the normal chaos and mental chatter of "life with family and house".

So this weekend, I am here, in a house, alone, for approximately 40 hours. So far I have tightened up 3 picture book manuscripts and have done research on agents who may be interested in each one. On the to do list is working on the query letters and the ever frightening task of pressing send.

I once read something about how instead of answering the question "what do you do?" with your job, that you should answer it with what passion you embody. For me, my corrected answer would go from "I'm a Facilities Manager for 3 offices" to "I'm a writer and creator."

Cheers to taking the time.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The creative cycle

I feel a creative burst coming. If I learned anything from the last one, I need to harness it. Ride it. Believe in it.

I hope this one lasts as long and is as productive as the last one! Let's do this!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Finding My Voice

Over the past two years I have felt a current start to swell within. Maybe it's my mid-30's, but I have started to feel much more comfortable in my own skin, speaking my truth, looking MY part, etc. I guess you can call it a shedding of fear.

For so long I kept my hair tamed, my clothes monochrome, and my voice behind my lips. That is not to say I didn't let my freak flag fly every now and then. And its not to say I didn't stand up for myself. Anyone who knows me in real life can attest to that.

No, it's more of a last layer of shell that needed to be peeled off. I feared being fired if I really wore my hair the way I wanted. Would lose Facebook friends if I really came forward as the feminist I am. Would be thought of as "too much", "too risky", "too outspoken" if I wrote the books I really wanted to write.

So here I am, faux-hawk at work, pitching a book for kids about Feminism. Another about a Flower Girl in an LGBT wedding. I have another in the works about how kids do not have to be polite when it comes to their own bodies and other people invading their space in any way.

This is my voice. I hope there are some listeners out there.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Getting nibbles at a "Twitter Party"

I recently participated in a "Twitter Party" for children's literature.

For anyone that does not know what Twitter Party is, it's basically the planned use of a specific hashtag during an allotted time. During that time frame, people who are looking for something watch the live stream of people who are offering something and using that hashtag.

For example, I have written a few children's books that I would like representation for, therefore, I tweet about my books using the hashtag and hope to gain the attention of agents and publishers. If they "like" my tweet, I have an in and am able to send my manuscript to them!

I've participated a few times but this is the first time I have ever gotten any "likes". I got likes on two different books, which is FANTASTIC!

I immediately started working on my cover letters and sent off my queries. It's all very exciting.

I'll keep you updated if I hear back from the agents!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Dabbling in YA

In all my years I have never dreamed of writing a full length book. OK, maybe dreamed, but I never thought I would be in a place where I would have a full length idea!

Recently an idea came to me. A bit of a hybrid of personal history, already a good story, but fictionalized to lengthen the drama. A YA story.

I currently sit at zero experience writing anything longer than a few pages worth of creativity so it will be a challenge.

I am currently at 3,900 words.

Here's to coming up with 10x that!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Very Yeti Book Review

If you have followed along you know that I have a special place in my heart for puppets, muppets, fluffy creatures and monsters. My dreams came true when a Yeti muppet gave Zoo of Emotions a book review. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"Twitter Parties"

Tomorrow I am joining two "Twitter Parties" to pitch a few kids book ideas. It's all very exciting and a bit nerve-wracking!

Books to be pitched:

  • Zoo of Emotions 
    • In search of a publisher that will do a reprint in a board book edition
  • Black, White & Rad
    • A High Contrast Dictionary of Cool for Newborns
  • Kid Feminist
    • Pretty much what it sounds like... :)
All of this may be for naught, which is actually fine. It will be great practice and has put a fire under my butt to do final edits on manuscripts.

Wish me luck!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Help Me Win A Little Contest!

You know the post I wrote about the "Creative Boom that Birthed Zoo of Emotions"? Its by far my most popular post on here so I entered it into a contest where I could win a year of free promotion for my book!

You don't have to comment or sign up or anything - just click the link below. THAT'S IT!

(Thank you, I love you, forever)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The personal me.

I thought I would share a bit about my life outside of the Author world. As I do have much more life swirling around in this tornado!

I am a mother of two crazy girls under four-years-old. A wife of one awesome designer. A pet mom to one Dog and two Cats. We all live in Atlanta where my Husband is originally from. I, however, was born in California but grew up, for the most part, in New Hampshire. I wholeheartedly love Atlanta and absolutely call it "home".

My career has been in the corporate office world thus far, currently working in the Ancillary Auto Insurance Industry (sounds exciting, right?!) I honestly do enjoy what I do and have been with the same company for 5 years. I am treated well and have the flexibility one needs with a young family.

The question of what I want to do when I grow up has confounded me for most of my life. I'm a bit of a Jill of All Trades, Master of None. I love the creative life, but kick butt at things like Project Management.
  • I love to; 
    • garden, drink coffee, craft, finish projects, eat Thai food, listen to hard music, and read books to my kids. 
  • I dislike; 
    • scrapey/grindey sounds, when people bite their fork, misogyny, and whining. 

Me and my girls. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Speaking Arrangements for the Win!

Last week I had my very first Author visit at a school. I read my book, did my chant, and depending on the age group had a discussion, 5 separate times to a total of 200 kids in about 3 hours. Sounds exhausting but it was exhilarating.

Children can be so darn inspiring! They were very engaged and had such wonderful questions for me. Funny, straightforward and sometimes difficult questions. I absolutely loved it and hope to do it again.

I've been waiting all my life for that moment that says, you are on the right creative path, keep going...and I think I'm finally seeing the signs.

Wish me luck.

Zoo of Emotions - Written by: Teneisha R. S. Jones, Illustrated by: Amy Churchwell

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Author Problems.

I just realized that the pen I have been using to sign books with is showing through the cover. Sigh. Sorry everyone that I have signed books for.

Looks like I'm in the market for a gel pen!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Updated Head Shot!

I think it follows all the universal head shot rules:

1. No shadows!
2. Must look like you.
3. Must be at eye level.
4. Must have eyes looking into the camera
5. A smile helps.

Friday, January 15, 2016

I'm Starting A Review Blog!

I'm starting another blog over at The premise is that I will have people send me illustrated picture books and I will post quick reviews of them. Sort of a small review for a small book concept.

Self-Publishers Welcome!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Creative Boom that Birthed Zoo of Emotions

When I was on maternity leave with my second child, I had a creative boom. A big boom. More than a burst, this was creativity born from within. With a baby in my left hand, I used my right to paint, draw, write, and create. I filled my dining room wall with studies on color, character expressions, stanzas and snippets of ideas. I had more ideas than I had time.

I eventually went back to work and I brought a few of the manuscripts that I had written. At first I pursued an idea called "Scowl the Owl". After a lot of editing I started to do my research and found out that an Owl named Scowl was a Disney Character. That scared me off enough to move on, although I may revisit it another day.

The idea behind Zoo of Emotions had been kicking around for a while but I didn't have the thread that would tie it all together. One night, while laying in bed, it hit me. "It can be laid out in alphabetical order! An emotion and zoo animal will be tied together by letters and will be laid out following the entire alphabet." I had my work cut out for me but I could not have been more motivated.

I edited and edited and edited, and then I asked other people to edit. Then I kept editing.

When I was ready, I hired Amy Churchwell to create the illustrations, and Chris Jones to do the Book Design. I had my team!

The book took about 15 months from inception to publication and was well worth the time. It is truly the highlight of my creative career!

Monday, January 11, 2016

My Official Artist Bio

Teneisha R.S. Jones has been crafting, creating and designing for most of her life.  She is interested in a wide range of arts and has been featured in gallery shows with a focus on Printmaking, Plush Toy making, Puppets and Product Design. She also has been known to create small illustrated books, quilts, crochet and embroidery.

Additionally, Teneisha has loved reading and writing for most of her life and became interested in writing for children after becoming a mother. She released Zoo of Emotions, available on Amazon and other online retailers. 

Teneisha graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston MA in 2006 with a BFA in Industrial Design and a personal focus in Printmaking. She now lives in Huntley Hills (Atlanta/Chamblee, GA) with her husband, two daughters, two loud cats, and an incredibly lazy Chihuahua.

You can reach Teneisha at