Penny’s New Beginning Blog Tour {Book Review and Author Interview}

Hello, everyone! Today, Anika is releasing her first book! I’m going to review Penny’s New Beginning and interview Anika, so, let’s get started!

About the Book:

Can they save Utopia?

Nine-year-old Penny Hearting has just moved to Nassau with her family, and is completely convinced that a mermaid rescued her from drowning, but no one believes her. So, she takes matters into her own hands and goes on a search for the mermaid that rescued her.

Ten-year-old Emmy is the princess of Utopia, an underwater city populated by mermaids. But, when her evil aunt, Cassandra, takes the city from her father, the King, her only option is to seek help from the girl who she rescued from drowning.
When these two lives collide, can they and another friend save their homes from disaster?

Find on Goodreads ~ Find on Amazon

Review: Penny’s New Beginning was an adorable book, the type of thing I loved to read when I was younger. This book transported me back to the years of Barbie princesses and The Tail of Emily Windsnap. The story is, basically, a mermaid saves Penny’s life, so Penny sets out to find her along with her new friend Felicity. When they do, they find out that her name is Emmy–and she needs their help.

The beginning is gripping and starts quickly, however it is a bit confusing. The character descriptions were amazing and adorable, and I found them relatable. The mermaid world was so fun to be a part of, and the ending was so nice. There were some continuity problems, like first she was at school and then she was going to summer camp, and a bit of telling, but overall it was a fun, one-day read.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Content: No language or violence, however since it is fantasy there is magic, but nothing dark.

Recommend To: Ages 8-12

Author Interview


About the Author: Anika Joy is a daughter, sister, and child of the one true King. She loves to write books, sing in choir, and bake treats for her family.  At the age of 4 she taught herself to read and wrote her first short story when she was 8. That story was later published in a kid’s magazine when she was 11, which sparked her dream of becoming a published author. She is now very happy to see that dream come true.

Anika currently lives with her two sisters, two brothers, and parents in North Dakota, and feels very blessed to be awaiting the arrival of another little sister.

What gave you the idea for Penny’s New Beginning?

Anika: I really liked The Little Mermaid when I was nine, and I wanted to write something inspired from it. 😄
When people read your book, what do you want them to walk away thinking/feeling? It really depends on the age of the person.
Anika: This is a children’s book, so I don’t expect a teen to walk away thinking it was a really cool book. I want kids to feel inspired and maybe like it was a really cool book. 😊
Which of your characters do you relate to most?
Probably Felicity. I really wrote her based off of me (silly nine-year-old me) – her looks, and her fear of heights (yes, I am afraid of the top bunk on bunk beds). 😜
Are you planning on writing any more books about Penny, Felicity, and Emmy?
Yes, I actually am. I started the next book over a year ago and haven’t really touched it much since then. But, I do plan on finishing it and possibly publishing the next book. I want to write on about each character which would equal four books (a new character is introduced in the second book). 😁
After the release of Penny’s New Beginning, what are your goals as an author?
I want to write many more books, and publish at least half of them. I also want to be traditionally published in the next two years or so. I really hope that all of these things happen! 😃

Follow the Tour:

~March 21st~

Elle Stevens – Book Review

Grace (The Girl Upstairs) – Book Review, Spotlight, Author Interview

Sylvanian Universe Blog – Book Review, Spotlight, Author Interview

Kellyn Roth – Author Interview

~March 22nd~

Chloe – Author Interview

Sarah – Book Review, Spotlight, Author Interview

Savannah Grace – Author Interview 

~March 23rd~

Josie – Book Review, Author Interview

Congratulations, Anika! The book comes out TODAY, so you can buy Penny’s New Beginning right now!

If you had a mermaid tail, what color would it be? Mine would be purple. And, other than a mermaid, what’s your favorite fantasy creature?

My Writing Life #6: We Wrote a Movie?!, Camp NaNo Stress, and More

Hello, everyone! It’s time for another My Writing Life, even though I had a different post scheduled for today and the next My Writing Life isn’t until April but I’ve scratched my schedule completely . The My Writing Lifes are evolving, becoming easier and more fun to read (and write). Now, I bet you’re curious because of the title, so we’ll start.

Note: there was a problem with the theme that made it unable to comment, but it should be fixed now. Send me a message here if there are any more tech-y problems. Thank you!

Part One: Espionage

My friend Heidi and I wrote a full length (~1 hour and 20 minutes) script! We’re now in the editing process, and hope to start filming soon.  There are many plot twists that were fun to write and come up with, a deep love of pogo sticks, and an awesome action take-down-the-bad-guys scene. It’s also full of awesome jokes (especially the ones I put in that broke the fourth wall, but I realize I don’t have a popular opinion. Sorry Heidi.). Here’s a description:

(NOPE. NO DESCRIPTION. Meant to add this in later, but we’re too busy editing to do that. But it’s about spies and bad guys.)

What do we do next? Become Hollywood directors! Just kidding. We’re making a sequel/prequel.

Part Two: Possible New Blog Series

It’s been so long since I’ve done a blog series! The nostalgia. I had Dragon’s Fire, but that was so old, I didn’t want to finish it (I’ve learned so much since then). So, I’m going to write the whole thing out in order to stop that from happening again. I don’t have any ideas yet, though… maybe one of my older novel ideas?

Part Three: Camp NaNo Stress

Why am I stressed, you ask? Well: One, I have more prepped for Halfway to Fourteen than for Fantasy Gossip. Two, what if, come April, it’s not enough?? Three, the document looks awful! (actually, that’s probably just my brain being weird).

However, I have it under control. I am printing out/formatting the stuffs! But there is another problem. What if I get so excited for one novel that I end up not writing the other? Well, Josie, that’s what happens when you decide to write two novels at once and set impossible goals to prove them possible. 

I have a game plan for Camp, however! I’ve noticed one pattern in deciding to discontinue my novels is because they look bad. I mean, turn on the red squiggly line, five paragraphs full of “Something something something” as I advised in my NaNo Post. I’ll be sharing the rest of this in a couple weeks in a post (3 Things I’m Going to do Differently For Camp NaNoWriMo).

That’s all for this round of My Writing Life! What are your current writing projects? Please share them!

Do you like spies? Do you like movies about spies? Especially kid spies? (Hint: the answer is yes.)

Beautiful People March 2017

Hello, everyone! I’m going to have Clara (Fantasy Gossip) and Erin (Halfway to Fourteen) answer this round of questions. They’re more… nice than my characters from last time. Seriously. They introduced themselves before the interview and everything.


1. What’s their favorite book/movie/play/etc.?

Clara: I loved the Parent Trap growing up.

Erin: Me too! My favorite books were the Narnia series.

Clara: Oh, I never read those.

Erin: You should. They’re great.

2. Is there anything they regret doing?

Erin: Yes.

Clara: I think you’re supposed to explain.

Erin: I’d rather not.

Clara: Well, anything “bad” that happened to me was not something I could control.

3. If they were sick or wounded, who would take care of them and how?

Clara: My parents? At the school, probably Kaelin and Trey, aside from the nurse.

Erin: If it was a minor illness, my parents. If it was major, I’m sure my friends would come visit.

4. Is there an object they can’t bear to part with and why?

Erin: Not that I can think of.

Clara: My charm bracelet that I got when I was little with my first fairy tale book.

5. What are 5 ways to win their heart (or friendship)?

Clara: Oh, my heart? One, talk to me, like a lot. Two, listen to me when I talk. Everyone seems to ignore me when I talk, typically. Three, make me food. Four, have a connection, like something really cool in common. Five, um… can’t think of another one.

Erin: Wow. I guess I’ll do friendship. One, be a person. Two, be a person that I like. Three, be a person that likes me. Four, be a person that doesn’t care about my inheritance. Five, be a person that I have fun with.

6. Describe a typical outfit for them from top to bottom.

Erin: I wear different things everyday, but if I had to choose a favorite, white top, green jeans, statement necklace, hair down, studded earrings.

Clara: Blue blouse, dark jeans, tennis shoes, hair in a ponytail.

7. What’s their favorite type of weather?

Clara: I love bright days.

Erin: I like summer rains.

8. What’s the worst fight they’ve ever been in?

Erin: I think my parents and I had a fight about my… future when I was nine.

Clara: My friends and I had a bad fight a year before boarding school.

9. What names or nicknames have they been called throughout their life?

Clara: People’ve called me Claire, but I don’t really like that. I mean, there’s nothing that’s a good nickname for Clara.

Erin: Same with me. Sometimes, Mason calls me “Red” because of my hair, but not often. As long as Kamri and Tara don’t catch on, I’m good.

10. What makes their heart feel alive? 

Erin: Good nights with my friends. Just plain fun, not anything special.

Clara: Doing everything! It makes my life feel complete.

Ta-da! Another edition of Beautiful People with my WIPs. Now, for who I should include in April, a quick poll because I’m indecisive.

Collin: Main Character/Side Character (Halfway to Fourteen)

Tara: Antagonist-ish (Halfway to Fourteen)

Kamri: Protagonist (Halfway to Fourteen, already been used)

Britt: Antagonist (Fantasy Gossip)

Trey: Main Character/Side Character (Fantasy Gossip, already been used)

Kaelin: Protagonist (Fantasy Gossip, already been used)


My Camp NaNo Novels (What I’ve Learned From my Past Novels)

Because I don’t want to make my real titles too long, here’s the official title for this post: My Camp NaNo Novels (With a Quick Look at my Previous Novels and What I’ve Learned from Them, and How You Can Learn From Your Previous Novels). 

I recently realized that I never actually talk about what my novels are about, so I decided to make this post! I’m going to start with my Camp NaNo novels and work down. I’m only describing my completed ones, though.

Halfway to Fourteen:

Brief Description: Kamri Taylor tried to run away, but she was stopped when she ran into kids from school she barely knew. Now, they’re all on the beginning of the challenge of their lives.

Main Characters: Kamri, Mason, Collin, Erin, Tara.

Three Images That Describe the Story:

soft grunge photography tumblr - Google Search:






Expected Word Count: 60,000

A Less Professional Description: So, basically, it’s about these four kids and how they become friends. They’re are similar in a way, they all go to a great private school. Kamri is gifted but held back by her situation, and in a way herself, Mason is smart but held back by trying too hard to be perfect, Erin is talented but held back by trying to live up to everyone’s expectations, and Collin is somewhere in between all of those things and is held back by trying to live up to his brother. They end up finding a challenge from teens from a generation ago to live up to the full potential of their remaining childhood.

(Pst! On my Pinterest, you can see the ideas board and aesthetic boards for at least half of these novels. The ideas is a board full of things that remind me of my story/characters plot, and the aesthetic is for the feel of my novel, and is inspiration for when I forget why I started the novel.)

Fantasy Gossip:

Brief Description: Welcome to Forrest’s Residential Middle and High School for Students of Excellence, otherwise known as “Fantasy School” to its students. Kaelin, a returning student, writes down everything she sees. When her new roommate pushes her to publish what she writes, things get out of control.

Main Characters: Kaelin (kay-lin), Clara, and Trey.

Three Images that Describe the Story:

Follow t h a t s m y l i t t l e f a c t ♥ for more quotes and fun facts! Check out our Facebook page h e r e.:


Writing Prompt #8 |




Expected Word Count: 60,000

A Less Professional Description: This novel is kind of cliche, but it’s just for fun (and learning!). Kaelin, Clara, and Trey attend a school where everything they were told was just fairy tales and wishful thinking is true. Kaelin has been writing down everything she hears and sees in a journalistic style. Her new roommate, Clara, starts a school newspaper (after the last one was banned hundreds of years ago), then finds the writings and encourages her to start a gossip column–which, if you know anything about gossip, will lead to trouble.

Those are the novels I will be writing this April for Camp NaNoWriMo. Now, for a brief description of my previous novels, going backwards.

Title: Mission: Prodigy

Written: NaNoWriMo 2016

Word Count: ~90,000

Basic Description After Editing Through Many Plot Holes and Being Changed: Two prodigies (humans with special abilities or “superpowers”) find out that everything they were told was good was actually wrong. They have to overcome their rivalry to restore balance to their messed up world.

What I Learned:  I learn perseverance. Writing after the original plot was too short? It was hard. Going back to read the mess? It was hard. Editing it? It’s still hard. My original plan was very faulty and I didn’t like part of it. I have to rewrite and replan a lot.

Title: Royale

Written: Summer 2016

Word Count: ~50/60k

Basic Description: Brenna lives in a dystopian society separated from the rest of the world. After she gets in trouble with the government for doing what’s right, she has to run away to the rest of the world in order to survive.

What I Learned:  I got to two drafts for this one–after that, it wasn’t worth editing. I had lost interest in it. However, in the first draft, I learned how to write long novels and how to write/type quickly. If my memory serves, Royale was pantsed, a method that I’ve found doesn’t work well for me by the second draft.

Title: Crossing Galaxies

Written: Spring 2016 (version 1), Rewritten Fall 2016 (version 2)

Word Count: 17,000 (version 1), 30,000 (version 2)

Basic Description: When foster child Kamri is sent away to boarding school, she thinks it’s the worst thing that could ever happen to her. However, she meets Erin, Collin, and Mason. They have a secret–and now they need her help.

What I Learned: This is the previous version to Halfway to Fourteen. These characters? They have been with me for years. I’ve been trying to find their story for the third time, now. I hope it works this time–it’s not a fantasy novel anymore. Crossing Galaxies has taught me that if something sticks with you, if you really, truly love it, write it. (And I’m definitely recycling the title).

Time to go a bit out of order– one is a sequel, so it won’t make much sense if I do it in the order I wrote it. I was young when I wrote these, so no judgment please.

Title: A Princess Life

Written: Fall ~2013/14

Word Count: ~10,000

Basic Description: Princess Annalisa has longed to get out of the palace since her parents died. She jumps at the opportunity to go to a private school as normal Arizona (a name she choose because it was her mother’s home before she married the king).

What I Learned:  Well, this is very cringy and cliche. I learned how to write and edit a novel. I had so many drafts for this! I told myself one day that I was going to write and finish a novel, and I did. I’ve learned that I can do anything if I set my mind to it. I rewrote this one, too, I think (but I consider the rewrite of Crossing Galaxies a different novel, because in a sense it was).

Title: (I don’t think it had one for itself) A Princess Life #2

Written: ~Camp NaNo 2014/15

Word Count: Under 10,000

Basic Description: Claire just moved into the palace with her long lost siblings, and she knows she doesn’t fit in. She’s pretty sure Lexi and Anna still hate her, though they try not to show it. Her adventures in her change in lifestyle include finding out more about her birth parents, princes from foreign lands, and a little ice cream.

What I Learned:  I was really proud of this, even if it is cliche and cringy too. I love Claire, and how she feels, and I felt like it showed a great improvement in my writing. I’m sure there were a lot of half-started novels in this series, as that’s what I wanted it to be. Anyway, I learned a lot about character and backstory.

So, how can you learn from your previous novels? Take a look at what worked and what didn’t work. For example, I tend to have unrealistic plots or ones that fall through, and my description is bare, but I like to think I’ve always been good at character. Use that when you work on your new projects. Get to know yourself as a writer– no one is the same.

Time for a challenge! (I’m going to start doing these at the end of my how-to/tips/instructional writing posts. Let me know if you’ll enjoy them.) Take one of your previous novels, or if you haven’t written one before, a short story/novella. Think about the good and the bad. How can you improve on the bad things? What can you take away from the good things? Let me know how it goes!

Camp NaNoWriMo: The Complete Guide (For Planners, Pantsers and Everything in Between)

NaNoWriMo the Sequel: Camp NaNoWriMo

Just when you thought all the WriMos were gone… more showed up…as NaNo REBELS!

Camp NaNoWriMo is the time to #rebel from the normal NaNoWriMo foundations. Write whatever you want. Poems? Yes. Sequels? Sure. Editing? Go for it. A million words? You’re crazy, but if so, please call me (555-555, a very real number), because I’m crazy too. Just maybe not a MILLION words crazy… yet. I assure you, read through five of my posts, come back, and try convince me I’m not crazy.

Kinda like last year’s NaNo post, I’ll divide this off into easy-to-find sections. A pet peeve of mine is when a blog post is just one big text block. When does it begin??? I don’t want to hear your story, I want to read the article! What if I want to skip a part?

Just wanted to let you know, I am not a professional writer even though I pretend to be, because confidence is key. I go by my own experience. Feel free to disagree with me at any point. We can have a lovely conversation about it and hopefully we’ll both learn something.

Choosing a Project

Projects You Can Choose From:

  • Writing a draft (or part of one)
  • Writing a bunch of short stories
  • Writing poetry
  • Editing your NaNo novel
  • Rewriting your NaNo novel COMPLETELY
  • Anything you can think of related to writing except reading

Link to NaPoWriMo, which totally counts, and not in the sarcastic way. (It’s February, and all there is on the site is the cool page saying COMING IN MARCH ((actually, it says sign-ups start March 1st)), but I’m not posting until March so you’ll have to see it next year).

Do’s and Don’ts for Choosing a Project:


  • Choose something you enjoy
  • Create a goal that will challenge you but won’t stress you
  • Check your schedule
  • Be caught up on school before you write


  • Force something that doesn’t work
  • Choose a goal too high/hard and completely break in April and June
  • Stay up late and wake up at an unreasonable hour to write
  • Ignore all your other priorities

Can you tell what I learned this year from NaNoWriMo? And every other project ever?

Prep and Types of Writers

Types of Writers (prose only)

There are four general categories as far as I’m concerned. (In Case You Didn’t Know: Plotter is someone who plans out their novel before writing, pantser writes “on the edge of their pants” by letting the story come naturally as they write it, and plantser is the “perfect” in between).

The Total Plotter

The total plotter will plan out every single detail. Typically, they have a very high wordcount by the time they are done because they have envisioned everything, but not always. They prefer to know all there is about their story. They tend to have an easier time in editing, but their story can come off as stiff.

The Plotter-Based Plantser

There are many degrees of Plantser-ism, and this is one. The plotter-based plantser likes to keep the element of surprise (however, they need plans or they will freak out), so they typically will make an outline, but not a very detailed one. They like to know the main events of the story, the backstories of their characters, and do some world building. However, sometimes their plans can flop and they will get very confused without them.

The Pantser-Based Plantser 

The pantser-based plantser will not use an outline, or if they do, a very broad one. They only like to get an idea of their story before they start writing, a helpful little guideline. Their document labeled “prep” will only be a couple pages long. Oftentimes they envision their story in their head. Sometimes, though, they come to a dead end and writer’s block strikes.

The Complete Pantser

The complete pantser doesn’t even come up with a title for their book before writing: a couple character names and a quick synopsis, usually. They come up with new ideas as they go along. Because they do this, their writing sounds fresh and it really feels like the characters are going on the journey for the first time. It’s exciting, but editing can be a nightmare and writer’s block can make it hard to move on.

Which degree are you? Anything in between? I’m more of a plotter-based plantser. I don’t like insane details, or I get bored, but if I don’t have a plan I’ll get confused and my story will fail.

How do I know all these degrees, you make ask? I have experienced them all– you don’t understand. Literally all of them. But I am a plotter-based plantser, as seen above. At least, I think. It could change after this round of novels.

Preparing to Edit

What I do is read through, at least until the part where my brain died and literally everything fell apart. I’m also marking which parts need to be rewritten, partially re-written, and deleted. Of course, I’m going back, but you don’t have to.

The point is to assess what you need to do. How do you want to divide your edits? Create a plan.

Preparing to Write

Oh, here’s where things get fun! I shared all of my methods for prep here, basically a bunch of ideas, and a way for even the pantsiest of pantsers (that’s a word) to prepare here. A basic summary of this article: Writing when you feel like it is like training for a marathon whenever you feel like it. Practicing writing every day will make NaNoWriMo a lot easier for you, just like it would be easier to run after a training schedule.

Because I have already done this, let’s not. 

Kidding. Find your own way. What works for you? Write down everything you typically struggle with when writing. Plot seems stiff? Loosen your outline. Or, do your plots fail? Go into more detail. Characters annoying or flat? Learn more about them.

Links, Tips, and Such For the Other Projects


Poetry: (I’m linking to it again)

Kind of a letdown. But, it’s what I’ve got. (If you know of or have any resources or tips for the other projects, let me know and I’ll add them up here to share with everyone!)

Keeping it Organized

I used to have all of my prep spread all over the place (digitally). But, what I do is I have a folder for each novel. What goes in there is the novel itself, the drafts, the prep, and anything else I find useful. In my prep, I like to use a large, noticeable text to define where things are, like characters, plot, outlines, descriptions, and basic details. This can be a great format to keep poetry and songs organized in! This also works for screenplays.

After I have it all finished out, I’m going to move it onto WikidPad so I can find it all easily when I need it while writing my first draft. I don’t use WikidPad very often, but it seems to work pretty well, even if it requires a bit of coding. I heard about it in Jill Williamson’s book Storyworld First, which is another great recourse.

So, that’s my post for Camp NaNoWriMo. You should see a description of my novels in the next My Writing Life. Anyway, as promised, more non-writing-related posts coming!

What are you doing for Camp NaNoWriMo, if you are? Are you rebelling, or using this as an opportunity for your first draft? Do you need a cabin? Because me, Sarah, and Chloe have a cabin and we need members. Comment if you do.

Should I change my signature?