Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Do You Have Goals? with Pictures



Do You Have Goals? is an encouraging blog hop started by Misha. 

Goals? What goals? Ohhh, those goals. 
I lost track of my goals as I ran from one project to the next, from one exciting, life opportunity to the next challenge, to one day to the next.

So, let's just put that massive list of goals on hold for now.
What I really did:
1. I prepared for my three independent contract classes for homeschool co-op and taught a bit around my trip.

2. I wrote several worksheets for grammar. These focused on verb conjugation and verbals, such as gerunds, participles, and infinitives. (In current grammar standards, it is okay to spit infinitives like all Star Trek lovers who want to boldly go ...)

3. I went to the Czech Republic via Heathrow in London. This means, I left the states at 5:30 Pacific Time on a Monday, spent a four hour layover in Heathrow on Tuesday mid-day, and then arrived in Prague on Tuesday night.

4. I got to feel like a rock star! For the first time in my life, a taxi driver from a hotel stood at the airport arrivals area with my name on a sign. I almost took a picture of him and the sign because I was so thrilled. Yes, I'm a geek, but since he seemed embarrassed at the idea, I didn't take the picture.

5. If you haven't guessed, I traveled solo. I left one day after Team USA and after most of the parents who went. This meant I toured solo most of the first day and part of the second. It challenged my perception of myself and helped me realize that I do have the ability to travel in a foreign country, figure out planes, taxis, trains, and directions without a travel buddy, and even without working data on my phone since the international data plan I thought I had didn't work for most of the trip. (My husband stayed home (again!) but if my daughter makes it next year, I will drag him with me somehow - not because I have to someone to lean on to travel but because I really want him with me.)


6. I had an awesome trip, saw amazing sights, and watched Team USA race at the Olympic Hopes Regatta for three days in Racice, Czech Republic. I highly recommend visiting Prague, Karlstejn Castle (southwest of Prague via train), and the countryside in the Czech Republic. The following pics are just a small taste of what I saw:
The Old Town Astronomical Clock - 600 Hundred Years Old and Still Ticking! 

The ceiling of a small Hussite Church that I happened upon when I was sort of lost. 

One small view from St. Charles Bridge in Prague

St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague

Part of the old section of Prague Castle - which is a working castle in other sections.

One of the armor exhibits in a small section of the Golden Lane in Prague Castle.

My daughter and her K2 partner racing in the K2 500m. (Kayak with 2 people for 500m)

Same race. They did well enough in their heat to move onto the semi-finals. They didn't make finals, but I cheered as loud as I could for the races they had! (My daughter also competed in a K1 1000m, a K1 200m, and a K4 200m for her age division of 2001 women.)

My youngest. 


7. I didn't get all the research done that I wanted, but I did do some travel journaling on my pc, in a notebook, and on my phone.

8. On the way back, I had a seven hour layover in London so I left the airport, rode Heathrow Express, rode the tube (underground), and took a short walking tour from Westminster to Buckingham Palace via Leicester Square and Picadilly Circus. In Leicester Square, they were getting ready for the red carpet premier of the second Kingsman movie ... if I just had a longer layover, I could have been a crazy fan and waited around to take pictures of Colin Firth! :) But, I just kept walking and went to Waterstones, the largest bookstore in London, instead. I made it back to Heathrow in time to go through all the security and get to my gate with 20 minutes to spare before boarding even started. It was the ideal way to spend a layover in London and I am glad I had the opportunity.









I feel like traveling changes my perceptions and broadens the horizons I allow myself to see. I gain confidence from adventures and I am incredibly thankful for the chance to see a small part of the wide world beyond my usual corner. I hope to share some more in-depth insights from specific parts of the trip in future posts. As it is, I feel like this is a bit overly long for a goals update day. (sorry)

By the way, Team USA placed seventh overall out of thirty-three countries competing at the Olympic Hopes Regatta this year. One of our female canoeists - hailing from the Seattle team - won two gold medals and a silver medal. These are the first gold and silver medals ever won by the USA at an Olympic Hopes Canoe and Kayak Regatta.
(Last year, two young women received a bronze in a C2 race.)
Points are earned for the teams by individual race medals, placement in the finals, and the number of athletes who make semi-finals. Each athlete competes in three or more races at these events with three distances - 1000m, 500m, and 200m - broken into age categories, gender categories, and then individual or small team boat categories - K1, K2, K4, C1, C2, C4. K means Kayak, C means Canoe, and the number means the number of people in the boat.
900 athletes competed from all parts of the globe.

Next month, I'll get back to regular goals.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

An Interview with Nick Wilford, Author of Black and White

Please welcome guest Nick Wilford!

Hi Tyrean! It’s great to be over for an interview at your lovely blog today. (It's great to have you here, Nick!)
Coffee/Tea/Writing beverage of choice?
I can’t do anything without a cup of tea! It’s a bit of an addiction, but hopefully not too bad of one. Ideally with a biscuit, but if I had too many of them I fear I wouldn’t be able to leave my writing chair.
What's your favorite part of writing? (brainstorming, world-building, plotting, rough draft, revision, finishing touches)
There’s things I like about all of these things, although plotting is probably my least favourite. I don’t start with much of a plan, my plotting usually comes in the form of trying to think my way out of an apparently intractable problem. I would have to say my favourite part is that magic moment when you realise what started out as a handful of ideas has somehow come to life, and not just in words on the page; it’s taken on a life of its own and “exists” in some indefinable sense.
What's your biggest challenge/insecurity as a writer? And, what do you do to overcome it?
Something that I feel I probably share with others – what I’m doing now, promoting my work and trying to get out there and share it with the world. I’m not an outgoing person and I don’t naturally assume that others will be interested in what I have to say. The way I deal with it is to think that I’m contributing something to the world – we could always use more books, and they won’t get noticed unless I give them a push. And getting creative with promotion and mixing it up makes it fun.
Do you have a quote or song that has inspired your writing?
I do like inspiring quotes when I read them, but I’m very bad at retaining them in my head! I’ve got a lot of songs that inspire me, but one that I tend to go back to is Radiohead’s “Lucky”. Radiohead are sometimes painted as a depressive band, but this is one of the most uplifting songs I’ve ever heard. Written from the perspective of a survivor of a plane crash, it’s about getting another chance at life. The music just soars and it always peps me up.
Why write speculative fiction? What draws you to the genre?
It’s just a genre that offers unlimited exploration – and for me, it’s mainly about what the future could hold. For me, it’s not even a genre so much as an umbrella term for lots of other ones – fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, even historical if you were going to look at alternate pasts. There’s so much scope and it’s perfect for the writer who thinks, “what if”? I’m also very inspired by what I’m reading, I’m easily led in that way if you like. Before starting blogging, I was reading a lot of thrillers so I tried writing books in that vein, but it wasn’t really my area of strength. Since meeting other writers, I’ve read so many great speculative novels, so on some unconscious level, my ideas started heading in that direction.
Thanks for these questions! I had a lot of fun answering them.

Title: Black & White
Author: Nick Wilford
Genre: YA dystopian Series #: 1 of 3
Release date: 18th September 2017
Publisher: Superstar Peanut Publishing
Blurb:
What is the price paid for the creation of a perfect society?

In Whitopolis, a gleamingly white city of the future where illness has been eradicated, shock waves run through the populace when a bedraggled, dirt-stricken boy materialises in the main street. Led by government propaganda, most citizens shun him as a demon, except for Wellesbury Noon – a high school student the same age as the boy.

Upon befriending the boy, Wellesbury feels a connection that he can’t explain – as well as discovering that his new friend comes from a land that is stricken by disease and only has two weeks to live. Why do he and a girl named Ezmerelda Dontible appear to be the only ones who want to help?

As they dig deeper, everything they know is turned on its head – and a race to save one boy becomes a struggle to redeem humanity.

Purchase Links:
Meet the author:
Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those early morning times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. Visit him at his blog or connect with him on Twitter, GoodreadsFacebook, or Amazon.
Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of my collection A Change of Mind and Other Stories or a $10 giftcard! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

#IWSG September 2017 Ch-ch-changes and Co-hosting

As I prepared to write this post, I had a chorus of the David Bowie song "Ch-ch-changes" pop into my head. My life is full of changes at the moment. My oldest just started her first year at a four-year college. My youngest just received her driver's license (she had a permit before, but now she can drive on her own), the school year just started and although I'm independently contracted to teach at a homeschool co-op, I'm not really homeschooling my own anymore since my youngest is taking classes at a local community college for the last two years of high school.
Plus, I changed projects again because I have an opportunity to do some travel research for a novel that I buried ten years ago. I stopped working on that novel because I felt insecure about my lack of knowledge - it's a historical fiction novel set in Bohemia in the late 800s and early 900s in what is today the Czech Republic, or Czechia. I can't travel back in time, but I have received an opportunity to do research as my youngest travels with Team USA to compete in the 2017 Olympic Hopes Regatta in Racice, Czech Republic. I'll spend two days in Prague and then follow the team out to Racice to cheer the team during the regatta. It's a super short trip, but I'm hoping to use the time wisely both as a researcher/writer and as a mom.

My insecurity/hope: I am concerned about changing mid-project again. Both projects that I started but didn't truly finish are important to me, but I feel a need to take the opportunity that is right in front of me. I hope that I've made the right choice. If nothing else, I'm going to have a lot of material drafted by the end of this year so next year may be all about revisions.


Co-hosting is a high honor and a privilege. 
Thank you Alex and IWSG family for always being the supporting, encouraging people you are!
Fellow co-hosts this month: Tara Tyler, Raimey Gallant, and Beverly Stowe McClure.


September question - Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in??
For a genre surprise - A teacher made me write poetry in high school and I was surprised to discover I liked it. Then, I was even more surprised when my first publications came with poetry while my first short stories stacked up rejections. I sent the poetry out on a whim and a dare, not expecting anything while I sweated and worried over the stories. The lesson I learned:  it's best to send out the 99% writing instead of killing it with revisions to get to a 100% polished state. I know many editors might disagree with this statement, but I destroy my writing when I attempt perfection. In fact, I even introduce more grammar mistakes when I spend too much time revising. It's weird. Three drafts and one more check for grammar = time to send it to an outside editor or time to just send it to the world. 

IWSG Anthology Contest:

Genre: Mystery/Crime/Thriller

Theme: Tick Tock. The story revolves around a clock, is time sensitive, or has something about a specific time. This theme has plenty of scope and we’re open to pretty much anything along these lines. No erotica, R-rated language, or graphic violence.

Story deadline: November 1st 2017


- This sounds like a fun anthology! Best wishes to all who enter!