The Magic of Misty Nook: A Guest Post by Christine Skippins
Animals Need Love Too
I haven't spoken about it too much on the blog, but I love animals. In fact, I went to college to become a vet.
It all started at a young age when my mom's best friend had an array of animals at her house. All rescued in one way or another.
It seemed every time we would go run an errand, we would be picking up an animal off the side of the road.
Eventually I found myself doing the same as I would walk home from school. My love and passion for animals translated to a job working at a vet clinic for 5 years and graduating with a degree in Biological Sciences focused in Organismal Biology which I could take with me to any animal related job.
Even though I don't use my degree now, my love for animals still holds strong which is why I'm excited to have on our guest Christine Skippins who holds the same passion for our furry friends.
The Magic of Misty Nook
By Christine Skippins
Taking a break from a long career in finance, I signed up as a volunteer at a local animal rescue center. It was there, inspiration for Misty Nook transpired.
I wanted to give the animal characters a voice, give credit to the amazing team who rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes them, while raise awareness of the responsibility which comes with the privilege of sharing your life with a pet.
I was saddened by the damage we as humans do both unwillingly and willingly to the animals who want to love us but inspired by the way these beautiful creatures respond to love, care, regular meals, and endless treats! I quickly fell in love with the funny, goofy, gentle, scared, lonely and sick animal characters, who, in their own time, healed and became our friends.
The Misty Nook stories are fictitious, but the personalities of the characters, and the sad circumstances that brought them there are real and repeated at the many animal centers across the country.
In the Misty Nook series, each animal has been brought to life with empathy, highlighting their quirky, colorful characters and celebrating their differences, along with their very special “rescue” status.
I would love if my readers remembered my books so if, and when, the time is right for them to choose a special pet, they take the time to look at their local rescue centers to see if their new best friend is there waiting to meet them.
Once I began writing these books the inspiration kept flowing. Every time I visited the center, I met another animal or heard another story, some which broke my heart and others that filled me with amazement and admiration, but all gave me the motivation to bring these characters into my books to tell their own stories.
Writing and illustrating these stories has been an absolute joy. I've loved the creative process. I write most days because I have so many ideas constantly coming to mind. My 'me time' is spent swimming most mornings, where the ideas in my head form into stories whilst I knock out lengths of the local pool!
Once home, out comes the laptop and another character's story is sprinkled with some Misty Nook Magic.
The Magic of Misty Nook - Bruno and friends is my first book and tells the stories of my first 10 animal stars.
As you can image, I have a never-ending supply of animal characters to write about, so I've decided to publish my books as a set, and each 10 animal stories will be separated by a Misty Nook event story. For example, after Bruno the next book, which is about to be published, contains The Castle Farm family, a group of farm animals who were left in the Misty Nook courtyard in the middle of the night when their humans farm went bankrupt. The elves adapted the nooks to accommodate a group of funny, quirky, particular and sometimes naughty animals ranging from cows to guinea pigs while they found them their forever homes.
Then, we have The Magic of Misty Nook - Bear and his friends followed by
The Magic of Misty Nook - Santa in a Camper. All of the dogs and cats in the first three books return to Misty Nook for a Christmas party like no other! The dogs play pass the pigs ear and musical mats, while the cats mousy lucky dip and ping pong bowls.
Book Five is about Bliss and his friends (this includes my own cat's story) followed by the Misty Nook Summer festival, a spectacular celebration of all things rescue, and how much the elves love every single one of the Misty Nook animals both past and present. The fun includes best splasher and digger, along with grooviest shaker competitions on the Misty Nook lake and beach.
I started the Magic of Misty Nook stories in January 2022 and chose to work with Publishing Push to bring my books to life. They've been an invaluable source of guidance and support to me.
I was clear from the start, I wanted to own the project as much as I possibly could.
I took a couple of online illustration courses to get my pictures in the book to a standard I was happy to use. Each illustration is hand drawn and I hope they bring alive the characters of the animals in the stories.
I have since invested in a digital tablet, and with each story the pictures and skills improve.
I've learned so much going through the process of bringing my first book to life, and every book I write is better than the one before. The perfectionist in me, struggles with this concept as I want them all to be perfect, but I've accepted and embraced my journey as much as it is that of the animal stars in the books.
As I set out on my publishing journey, I did approach some conventional publishers, but to be honest, as a first-time author, I only got interest from publishers who wanted to offer me very expensive hybrid contracts. The contracts wanted me to sign over a large percentage of my copyright to the characters. I wasn’t prepared to do that, so I decided to self-publish.
Working with Publishing Push each book costs between £1200 and £1500 to publish. This includes copy editing, and support with book formating. Though I've drawn the illustrations, they have taken my drawings and worked them into the cover design, thus creating the Misty Nook Brand. I have felt involved and informed in every step of the process.
Publishing Push has also opened accounts and uploaded my books onto KDP, Amazon and Ingram Sparks. I now have a dedicated contact at Publishing Push, who will be working with me on each subsequent book, they offer a discount which increases with each subsequent book I publish with them. Now that I have an established template and a team member who knows what I am trying to achieve the process certainly gets quicker and easier with each book.
The challenge now is marketing. I've been given lots of different advice, but I'm going to focus on Amazon as my potential main marketplace. I'm going to use some of my ‘book’ budget (as at the moment it’s all costs and not much in the way of return) to work with an expert who can support and mentor me on how to best get the Amazon system to work for my books.
So, to conclude, I'm an author who has always loved reading stories for my children and grandchild and have also been lucky enough to share my life with some amazing family pets over the years, and now have the time and the opportunity to support rescue animals as well.
I currently am human mum to two rescue cat sisters, who may be from the same litter, and both have four adorable white ballerina pump paws, but are as different in size, personality and catitude as it is possible to be. I'm very lucky to have them in my life and they have been making me smile every day for the past nine years, their names are Frankie and Baylie and they are in the Bliss and friend's book.
Thank you for reading my post! You can find my books on Amazon or Inspark where you can leave a review if you enjoy my books, please leave a review. You can also contact me at Christineskippinsauthor@gmail.com
Guest Post Wrap Up
What did you think of Christine’s post? Go check it out if you have a love of animals as much as Christine and I do! If you are looking for a furry friend, I highly suggest going to your local animal shelter where you can hear firsthand the animal's stories.
You can also check out some of the last guest posts including self-publishing authors Ryan Milligan or Danielle Ignace. If you would like to be featured on the blog, please feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.