Posted by: nancyisanders | January 15, 2020

Permission for Image Use


Before I’m embarked on my Photo Research Tour to take photographs for my book, JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS, I had to do my homework.

When I signed the contract to write JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS, I knew I needed to acquire a number of images to include within the book. I had no intention of traveling to England at that time because you can pay companies for permission to publish their images in your book.

Plus there are a lot of images you can use for free that are in the public domain because they are copyright free and royalty free.

I started my search for images by seeing what was available for copyright free and royalty free. There were actually a number of these either of historic England or relating to the books Jane wrote.

Just a note about these free images. For each image I submit to a publisher for use in a published book, a permission form is required. So I saved the URL and printed out the copyright form from the sites where I got these images. Each image had its own copyright form and URL link in my final manuscript submission.

Then I started looking for companies in England that I could purchase permission to publish images in their collections.

I discovered 2 important factors.

#1 Many of the images I could get permission to use were NOT actually owned by the company, so I would still have to track down who actually owned the images AND get permission (and pay) them as well. BIG red flag.

#2 Many of the images I wanted to use were quite expensive to pay for permissions.

At this point, I decided to investigate historic sites such as churches that might have images of Jane or her life.

I just started searching online for historic sites like these, finding their contact information, and e-mailing them.

I found out that a significant number of these historic sites informed me that they owned images and artifacts of Jane’s and that I could take my own photographs of these items or images and publish them for free.

So now I was faced with a question…pay several thousand dollars to get permission to use a small amount of images (and still have to track down who owned them) or use that money to travel to England to take my own photographs and get tons of images to use. (Many that might never have been published in a book before!)

No brainer! I opted to travel to England for my third official photo research tour. It was the trip of a lifetime (and I have it all documented in my travel journal!)

But once again, each image I would eventually publish in my book had to have its own permission form.

Guess what? Most historic sites and image resources have their own permission form. No sweat! They just e-mail me the form, I signed it, and carried it with me on my trip. When I arrived at any given historic site, I had the form with me and the contact person’s name and the rest was easy peasy. Most of the contacts met me at the historic sites and what a delight that was to meet them and talk about my book project.

For places that didn’t have permission forms, my publisher provided me with ones for us to sign. We did it all over e-mail.

So if you want to include photographs in a potential book, first ask the historic site or image source if they already have a permission form you need to sign.

If they don’t have an official permission form, I send them an e-mail stating that they give me permission to use the image in my book. I print it out when they return the e-mail with their permission. Then, when you do sign a contract with a publisher, you’ll probably need to go back with the publisher’s official form and have them sign that.

That’s pretty much how permissions works for photographs and images.

(Oh, and for those sites and places that don’t let you take photographs or use them in your book, just thank them and move on. Keep looking! Hopefully you’ll find some.)

Posted by: nancyisanders | January 14, 2020

Writer’s Journal: Research Trip


Over my 30+ year career as a writer, I’ve gone on 3 significant research trips. I’ve always referred to them as a “Photo Research Tour” because my mission was to take photographs of my book’s topic to eventually publish in the printed book.

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The first book for which I embarked on a Photo Research Tour was AMERICA’S BLACK FOUNDERS. I traveled to Philadelphia, Mount Vernon, Monticello and more where I took lots of photographs at historic sites, museums, and churches to publish.

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My next book that I needed photographs for was FREDERICK DOUGLASS FOR KIDS. For this trip I walked in this great man’s footsteps as I visited Maryland to locate his birthplace, the plantation where he first worked, and various homes he lived in and places he worked after he escaped from slavery. Once again I got permission from a wide variety of historic sites, museums, and churches to take photographs to publish in my book.


It wasn’t until my most recent Photo Research Tour, however, that I had the idea to take along and create a writer’s journal during my trip. This time I headed to England to take photos for my newest title, JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS. Creating this travel journal took the experience to an entirely new level!

In the upcoming series of posts here on my blog, I’ll share some of the joys I experienced and techniques I used creating this journal. I hope you’ll gain information and inspiration to learn how to create a writer’s journal on your next research trip, too!

Posted by: nancyisanders | January 7, 2020

A Four-Book Giveaway


As writers, I truly believe it’s important to build a sense of community. I think this involves helping each other boost our books. It’s a tough world out there in social media and landing contracts and getting the word out about our books. Every hand of help we can give to each other is an investment in many rich ways.

That’s one of the reasons I’m excited to share that I’m a member of the book-launch team for one of my online writing friends and fellow contributors to the Christian Children’s Authors blog. Glenys Nellist has a touching and sweet brand new book coming out for little ones, Little Mole Finds Hope, and I have the privilege of giving you a shout out about it!

Hurry on over to her blog! For a limited time, she’s giving away four copies of her brand new book! CLICK HERE to put your name in the hat.

But more importantly, join in on the fun to help give the shout out to one of your fellow children’s writers. Hopefully, one day we can do the same for you!!!!

Posted by: nancyisanders | January 3, 2020

Writer’s Journal: Journaling an Event


When you attend an event as an author, there are oodles of handouts you can add to your event journal.

When I attended the annual conference (AGM) for the Jane Austen Society of North America, I collected as many handouts as I could. Many of them I glued on the spot into my event journal. I used my handy little pair of scissors to make them fit. I figured that when I got home, I’d have time to ponder and reflect on the handouts.

I particularly wanted to share this handout that you see in the photo above. At the time when I glued this into my event journal, I just thought it was cool. Fun. A little paper to fold and play a game.

It wasn’t until later, when I was planning my teacher’s guide to go along with my book, Jane Austen for Kids, that I got the idea to create something similar to put in my teacher’s guide. (Coming soon!)

The moral of this story is…even if you don’t see a use for something while you’re at an event, add it to your journal. It can be the inspiration for a new idea when you’re looking for one.

So this wraps up my posts about keeping an event journal when you attend a writing-related event. I hope in the year ahead you’ll find lots of opportunities to create an event journal. Have fun!

Posted by: nancyisanders | December 4, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Journaling an Event


Keeping a journal at a research-related or writing event can be so rewarding in so many countless ways.

For example, when I walked into the workshop on making a Jane-Austen era turban, there was a stack of postcards.

I took two.

TIP: If it’s available, always take two of colorful 1-page double-sided handouts so you can glue the front up AND the back up and have both there to see. (If only one is available, tape it into your journal after you get home, don’t glue it, so you can flip it over to see the back.)

I glued them immediately into my journal–the front as a reference for the style.

The back as a reference for the presenter’s contact information.

The benefit?

I eventually added a craft to my book, JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS, on how to make regency era turban. I used notes from the workshop to create my own series of how-to-instructions, and when I hit a glitch, I used the contact info on the postcard to call the presenter and ask her for help.

And as you can see, I also took hand-drawn illustrations as notes, too.

I’m definitely not an artist, but I’ve learned not to be shy about sketching little sketches when it helps.

Here’s another double-sided flyer I took two of so I could glue both sides in my journal.


Posted by: nancyisanders | December 2, 2019

Cyber Monday Sale Serious Writer Academy

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Yes! Serious Writer Academy, where I am one of the instructors, is continuing on with the holiday fun and having a Cyber Monday Sale!

Classes will be 40% off if you use the code CYBERMONDAY19.

So far, I have one class with the academy, an in-depth 75 minute video class you can download and watch at your own convenience. Plus it has oodles of handouts that are printable worksheets to help make your writing a success.

DEVELOP YOUR CHARACTERS WITH TOP SECRET DETECTIVE FILES is the inside scoop on how I develop characters whether I’m writing a picture book or a chapter book for a best-selling series…whether I’m writing fiction OR nonfiction.

Today you can get my class (plus others!) at Serious Writer Academy at this great discount.


Posted by: nancyisanders | November 29, 2019

Black Friday Sale Serious Writer Academy!

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Yes! Serious Writer Academy, where I am one of the instructors, is joining in on the holiday fun and having a Black Friday Sale!

Classes will be 60% off if you use the code BLACKFRIDAY19.

So far, I have one class with the academy, an in-depth 75 minute video class you can download and watch at your own convenience. Plus it has oodles of handouts that are printable worksheets to help make your writing a success.

DEVELOP YOUR CHARACTERS WITH TOP SECRET DETECTIVE FILES is the inside scoop on how I develop characters whether I’m writing a picture book or a chapter book for a best-selling series…whether I’m writing fiction OR nonfiction.

Today you can get my class (plus others!) at Serious Writer Academy.


Posted by: nancyisanders | November 27, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Journaling an Event

When I showed up at the annual conference for the Jane Austen Society of North America, I arrived with 3 essential tools:

My 100-page wide-rule blank composition book
A bottle of Scotch quick-drying tacky glue (available in sewing or craft stores)
A small pair of scissors (make sure sharp objects are allowed at your event!)

Before the conference, I had already created my Table of Contents over 4 of the earliest pages so that it would be ready to fill in throughout my days at the event. I had also numbered the lower right hand corner of each page of the blank notebook.

Here is the overview of my completed Table of Contents. I filled it in as my days unfolded at the conference, basically in chronological order according to the classes, workshops, and talks I attended.





As you can see by my Table of Contents, I took notes at the various talks and presentations I attended.

The BIGGEST MOST HUGE perk of this was that I made sure to jot down some direct quotes the presenters said. As a result, I was able to add a very significant quote I heard at the conference into my manuscript I was writing for JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS. (And then I contacted the person for approval to quote him.)

The result? My children’s book has a very significant fact about Jane Austen’s family that most other biographies don’t include! And it’s a direct quote from Richard Knight, the great-great-great-grandson of Jane’s brother.

It’s golden treasures like these that are just some of the amazing reasons to keep a writer’s journal when you attend a research or writing-related event.


Posted by: nancyisanders | November 24, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Journaling an Event

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I love creating a journal when I attend a writing-related event. I think it’s one of my favorite types of journals to create!

So when I was researching my book JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS, I immediately signed up to attend the huge AGM (Annual General Meeting) of the Jane Austen Society of North America when I discovered it was being held practically in my back yard!

Huntington Beach, California–just an hour away and one of my favorite places in the world!

What a whirlwind of fun that was! And I have all of it documented in my event journal.

I think one of my favorite reasons to create event journals is because you get so many handouts crafted on high quality paper that make lovely additions to the journal. These journals really turn into works of art.

The front cover of my journal is cut out from the beautiful handout I received when I walked into the conference and signed in at the registration table. I glued it on after the conference was over.

The back cover was an antique reproduction of a picture of a young country girl published in 1788–a contemporary piece of Jane’s, of course!

And in between the covers I glued in all sorts of goodies from bookmarks, to delightful flyers, to my name tag.

In an upcoming post, I’ll share in details about some of the treasures I collected to take this research journal over the top.


Posted by: nancyisanders | October 24, 2019

Author Interview: Jean Matthew Hall

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Featured Book
God’s Blessings of Fall
by Jean Matthew Hall
Illustrated by Olya Badulina
Little Lamb Books, 2019

The whoosh of the wind, the crunch of the leaves, squirrels skittering about, the aroma of freshly baked pie: these are God’s blessings of fall!

Children will love getting up close to the sights, sounds, and smells of fall. See an owl swoop to her nest in the hollow tree. Watch a mouse roll an apple all the way home. A spider weaves a web, while bear prepares for a long winter’s nap.

With lyricism and whimsy, debut author Jean Matthew Hall celebrates the beauty of this magnificent season and the One who created it all.


Meet Author Jean Matthew Hall

Be sure to follow Jean at:
Website/Blog: Jean Matthew Hall
Facebook: Jean Matthew Hall Author
Twitter: @Jean_Hall
Pinterest: JeanMatthew_Hall

Jean Matthew Hall has spent most of her life singing songs, reading books, playing games, cutting, coloring and gluing with children of all ages. And, she loves it! Creating encouraging board books and picture books is her idea of fun, but her favorite times are spent with her eight grandchildren.

Jean’s picture book God’s Blessings of Fall debuted in September 2019. It is the first in her Bountiful Blessings series about the four seasons.

JOIN US as we celebrate Jean’s new book as part of her official BOOK BLOG TOUR!

Q: Can you share with us about the journey this book has taken so far?

A: Early on I submitted God’s Blessings of Fall to a few publishers, but the story was nowhere near ready. I submitted too soon—a mistake most new writers make. I eventually filed it away and left it for about five years. When I pulled it out again, I had grown a lot in my skills as a writer, I had several critique partners, and I could look at it with clear eyes.

A couple of years later I acquired an agent. He liked the story, sent it to three (I think) houses, and sold it to Little Lamb Books in 2016. She loved it but wanted the next three book manuscripts—right then!

I set aside a week to work on them, emailed my most trusted critique partners and got busy. The Spring, Summer and Winter manuscripts were kind of rough, but they were acceptable to editor Rachel Pellegrino.

Tweaks and changes later we have the finished book. It was great (and difficult) that we edited all four manuscripts at the same time. That way they all have the same tone and voice. I’m proud of how they have turned out.

And I love the way God’s Blessings of Fall shines. Thank you, Jesus, this part of the journey is completed. Now on to marketing.

Q: What are some of your favorite things?

A: Herbal tea over coffee

Color are red and blues

I watch very little TV

I’m not into POP culture

Foods – chocolate, NY style cheesecake, beef stew, fruit

Books – probably whatever I’m currently reading.

Genre – picture books of all types and historical fiction for us older


My car – LOVE my KIA Soul

Music – classic hymns, soft, easy contemporary Christian

Q: Describe your writing process.

A: I need quiet and solitude to write. I always write at my desk in my bedroom.

I pray (sometimes for weeks) before I get an idea. Then I type it out quickly and think on it for days usually. I keep popping in to tweak little things.

Next come my critique groups. They are inciteful and help me reign in my dreams of grandeur. Then I dummy and re-write and re-write and dummy and tweak.

I usually feel when I’ve made a manuscript the best I can at that time. Then I’ll work on the proposal. Don’t you just love proposals?

All the while I’m praying for God to put this manuscript where He can use it for His glory and other people’s good.

Q: What word of advice would you like to share with aspiring writers?

A: Don’t be in a hurry. There is no such thing in the publishing business. Everything takes months and years to happen. Everything.

Posted by: nancyisanders | October 7, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Journaling an Event


During the 2 1/2 year journey it took me to research and write my newest book, Jane Austen for Kids, I kept different types of handwritten writer’s journals. In the photo above you can see most of them.

I created one journal as an overview of my project.

I filled up two journals with my research notes.

I made an event journal for an important event I attended.

I kept a travel journal, a daily diary of a research trip I took.

I also filled up 2 entire journals of scenes I wrote to include in my nonfiction book. I wrote the first draft of each scene by hand in these notebooks before typing it into the computer and polishing it to perfection.

Next up on my blog, I’m going to share with you how I created an event journal to document an important event I attended to help me with my research (as well as networking with fellow Janeites for future marketing connections).

Stay tuned for fun!

Posted by: nancyisanders | October 3, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Additional Pages


Part of the fun of creating homemade writer’s journals for my research as I wrote JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS was to add additional pages into my notebooks.





Some pages I Xeroxed from books and taped across the top to flip up as I referred to the information.





Some pages I Xeroxed and glued right onto my pages of my writer’s journal.



Some pages I taped together along the left and taped them into my writer’s journal to open and read like a mini-book.



And some pages were things I had handwritten without my journal. (I might have been away from home when I suddenly got an idea or a concept such as this concept I had for the timeline I wanted to include in my book.) I just grabbed any piece of paper I could find, jotted down my idea, and when I got back home I glued this into my research notebook.

This also works well if you’re writing chronological notes and you want to plug an event in between two pages you’ve already filled in your journal. Just cut full pages to size and tape them in between the two pages they fit in, taping as close to the spine as possible. Number them 16b or 22b and make a note of this in your table of contents.


Posted by: nancyisanders | September 30, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Research and Tracking Notes


If you’ve been following along with my posts, you know that I opted to keep handwritten research notes in homemade journals during my two-and-a-half-year journey to write my newest book, JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS.

One of the challenges in keeping a handwritten journal is tracking the research notes. And as one of my online writing friends, Annette, posted in a recent comment, she asked, “When you are taking notes from various sources, how do you keep track chronologically?”

There are a couple of ways I track my research, whether it’s chronological or topical.


One way I track my research is to be very careful in my table of contents. If you zoom in closely to the photo right above, on page 25 I added a note to (See also p. 66). This was because I ran out of room in this part of my journal, so I added another page later on to include more information on that topic.

Some research entries I had to continue in a separate research journal because this one filled up. Again, in my table of contents I made a note.

Alternately, I would make a note on the page when I turned to it in my journal. I would write: For more info on this topic, go to Journal #3, page 44 etc.

I also like to create and use outlines as I research a manuscript I’m writing. Since I was writing a birth to death plot for Jane Austen in my book, my outline was in chronological order.

I didn’t create an outline in my writer’s journals. My outline stayed on my computer so I could quickly and easily type in new details where they needed to go. I would print this out occasionally as I was working, to refer to it while I was reading my research books in a comfy chair.

So when I’m using multiple sources, such as I did when I wrote Jane Austen for Kids, here’s my general method for keeping track of chronological events.

I frequently read one chapter or section in my research book. Such as the chapter on Jane’s birth. I took notes in my journal and then picked up another research book and read the section about her birth, adding more notes or backing up notes I already write with the page number of that research book, too.

For example, I created a page in my writer’s journal for:

Jane is born.

On that page in my writer’s journal, I wrote down all the facts from that research book regarding Jane’s birth. My entry reads:

Jane is Born
Born December 16, 1775 MEM1, CH249, CW68, GT6, BCA21,
Born at Steventon Rectory CW68, GT6
Details of birth EJ9, DLFR27
Father baptized her the next day GT6, IC2, HW23
Mrs. Austen write to her relatives a letter to quote AL571

As you can see by my entries, I include with each note I write the secret code I assign to each different research book, along with the page number where that fact was found. I usually like to back up each fact/note with at least 2 sources and hopefully at least 3.

As you can see by the last entry I included, I only have one research source for that. It’s because that particular research book is a primary source (and it’s in the public domain), so I only have to have one source listed for a primary source that is in the public domain.

Do you have any more questions about this process I use? Let me know before I move on to more info about keeping a writer’s journal!

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 27, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Research Code


In the photo above of my research journal for Jane Austen for Kids, you can see some of my favorite research books, along with the secret code I created for each one.


In this photo above, you can see the notes I took about Jane’s character. Since my entire book would be about her life, I decided to just do a section here on her CHARACTER, her personality, and her faith.

Typically, what I did, was I sat down in a comfy chair. I held my research journal in my lap. I held my research book in my hands (some books were on my iPad Kindle).

As I read my research book, I’d just down a note.

For example, I discovered Jane had a “keen sense of humour.” So I wrote that down. Next to it, I also wrote down the secret code for the research book I was reading: MEM.

And next to that I wrote down the page number of that book: 88

As you can see, my entry looked like this:

MEM88 keen sense of humour

I didn’t have to write down the entire title of the book…the code keeps my notetaking much simpler and quicker.

And if I find more than one source that says the same thing, I can easily add that code and page number to back it up. I hardly need any extra space.

I can’t tell you how much using this method of research makes my life as a nonfiction writer so much easier in so many countless ways! I hope you try it and find it helpful too!

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 24, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Research Code

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Okay, I’m going to share a strategy that I use that changed my life as a nonfiction writer. If you use it, I hope it will change your life too!

I create a secret code for nearly every research book I use.

See that stack of research books I used during my 2-year journey to write Jane Austen for Kids?

I created a secret code for most of them!

Here’s how I did it:

First I gathered totebags of research books from a local university about Jane Austen.

I sat down over several sessions and typed up a bibliography of all those books. (I always like to do this very first thing during the writing journey so all those titles are handy to grab when adding footnotes on my manuscript or adding research notes in my journal)

Then I gave them each a code.

For library books I borrowed, I write this code on a sticky note and stick it inside the front cover.

For research books I bought (which I did for my favorite ones I liked from the library) I just write this secret code inside the front cover.

I type this code on my bibliography. (I make sure to delete the code when I copy and paste bibliography entries into my actual end-of-the-book bibliography.)


But as you can see here in my notebook, after my table of contents, I write my FAVORITE research books here in my writer’s journal, along with their secret codes.

I also included some of my favorite INTERNET resources with their secret code on this page, too

I also glued a sturdy piece of paper up at the top right so I could flip back here often.

What do I do with these secret codes you may ask?

I’ll tell you in my next post!!!!

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 19, 2019

Talk Like a Pirate Day

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Ahoy there, Mateys! Today be the official “Talk Like a Pirate Day”!

And what better way to entertain yer scalawag crew than to read them these rollicking fun poems based on familiar tunes and nursery rhymes. A Pirate’s Mother Goose is a must-have fer every young pirate!

For free printables, coloring pages, and pirate crafts to celebrate this international holiday, be ye certain to check out my book’s website, A Pirate’s Mother Goose.

And for all ye teachers and homeschooling families who want an entire unit of piratey fun, visit my store at Teacher’s Pay Teachers to get YO HO HO! A PIRATE UNIT WITH LOTS OF FUN.

Avast me hearties, yo ho!

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 17, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Research Notebook TOC


As I explained in an earlier post about creating writer’s journals, one of the first things I do is make a 4-page TOC or Table of Contents. I’m posting images of all 4 pages so you can zoom up close to see (if you want to know something I don’t really mention here in these posts).

First it’s just blank numbers from 1-75 or 90 or so (depending on how many blank pages I leave in the front).

Then I go ahead and number all the pages in my blank notebook in the bottom right corners.

As you can see by this first page in my TOC, I’m pretty much following the chronology of Jane’s life.

First I created page 3 about Jane herself.
Then page 4 was about her father.
Page 5 was her mother’s background.
Page 6 was about her mother.
Page 7 was her parent’s wedding, etc.
Page 8 was about when her parents moved to the home she was born in.

Then on Page 9, I took a side trail and created a page about George III and the Prince Regent because they were the rulers when Jane was born/growing up.


On the second page of my TOC I just simply continued to add research notes in a chronological order of Jane’s life, adding pages of research notes about the times she lived in such as the politics and fashions and recipes of the day.

Page 39 was about her last days of writing.
Page 40 was research notes on her death and what happened after she died.


My third page of TOC included notes on various biographies about Jane.

Then I included sections to add research notes about what was happening all over the world during her day. She lived during an amazing time!

I continued these types of notes onto the last page of my TOC.


Once again, I just want to emphasize that this was all a work-in-progress. I didn’t add entries to the TOC until after I created a page for those notes inside my journal. Then I’d come back here to the TOC and mark where that page was.

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 13, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Research Notebook

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One of the first things I do with all my writer’s journals is start decorating the cover. I love wide-rule composition notebooks right now for my journals, and I got these for a dollar each at Walmart. I covered the front and back with scrapbooking paper and Scotch Quick-Drying Tacky Glue. (It dries in less than a minute so I use it for creating my journals.)

Then I typed a title and taped it on the spine. This notebook is called: JANE AUSTEN RESEARCH NOTES #1. It was for my book, JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS.

As you can see, I also taped a sample of a cover design for how I envisioned my book. It’s working title was JANE AUSTEN AND HER CRADLE OF GENIUS. It would be the 200th Anniversary Edition since her death. I designed this “fake” cover on Inkscape, the free graphics/drawing program I like to use.

I’m telling this to you for a couple of reasons. Reason #1 is to show you that it’s important to take time to have fun. I didn’t design this cover right away. In fact I probably didn’t design it until I was about 6 months into the project. It’s just that one day, I wanted to have fun and create a cover to hang in my office and tape on my notebooks and even glue inside. So I took some time away from my writing and designed the cover. I encourage you to take the time to have fun with your writing project, too!

The second reason I’m telling you this is because these writing journals are a very fluid work-in-progress over the entire journey of writing my book. I had already decorated my notebook’s cover, but later after I designed the cover, I added it to my notebook.

I’m constantly adding things to my notebooks all the time. It keeps me inspired, among other things.

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 11, 2019

Writer’s Journal: RESEARCH!


As you may remember from earlier posts I made about the writing journals I kept during the 2 year journey I took to write my newest book, JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS, I decided to keep handwritten journals because of a couple of reasons.

One reason was that Jane, herself, didn’t have access to a computer as she wrote and I wanted to immerse myself in her world. Another reason was for health. I knew I’d be spending hours staring at the computer and typing away each day, so I wanted to take a break from eyestrain, wrist strain, and back strain in as many ways as possible. A third reason was that I’ve fallen in love with writer’s journals in this stage of my career.

Above is a picture of my RESEARCH journal. I took it with me camping at the beach this last weekend because Jane loved to escape to the beach instead of spend hot days in Bath. It’s been so hot in southern CA this past week, that the beach just seemed to be the right place to go. So I took along my journal of my research notes to get some photos to share with you.

Yes, that’s right. I challenged myself to keep my research in a handwritten journal.

Imagine! Two years of research notes by hand…I was so worried I would lose notes or get mixed up or some other disaster!

But I’m here to tell you now that didn’t happen! Instead, I now have a wonderful memento of the journey I took to discover “all things Jane” along with the same handy notes I would have if I’d just done everything on the computer. Ready to find out how this was done, so you can do it too? In upcoming posts, I’m hoping to share with you all about the process I took to create a journal of research notes…because it worked!


Posted by: nancyisanders | July 30, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Fun Stuff

I thought you might want to see some of the fun pages and fun stuff I put in my journal. These images are all from pages in my first journal I’ve kept when I wrote Jane Austen for Kids.


I like to glue tickets from key events I attend related to my research. This was a play of Pride and Prejudice acted at a local college…and it was EXCELLENT!


Sometimes I photocopy stuff and staple together and make little books and glue in my journal or tuck it into a paper pocket I glue in my journal.


This was a list of hard-to-find images I wanted to find…all in one place! So I just photocopied the list and put it in my writer’s journal to help me track my progress.


I love to glue in theme-related photos from calendars and cards that I find. Jane loved flowers and gardening, so when I started planning a trip to visit her very own garden in England, I glued in this pretty happy flower as a tab (so I could flip here easily) to decorate this page.


Sometimes I like to create a working cover of my book, just to help me focus and keep the inspiration flowing. As you can see here, I glued this working cover and working title in the back of my journal to flip to often when I needed to regroup and get re-energized to keep on writing!

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