Monday, May 14, 2018

5 Reason to Write with Villains

Today I have a post up at The Insecure Writers Support Group Site on Writing Realistic Antagonists.
It's a more serious post.



For here, for now, let's take a quick look at 5 Reasons to Write with Villains (the antagonists we love to hate):

1. Villains enjoy themselves. If they want to have cake and eat it and bathe in it, they'll find a way, even if if means taking all the cake in the world and enslaving all the cake bakers.

2. Villains see themselves as righteous and they worry a lot less than heroes. Villains don't ask, "Should I do this?" They just do whatever they want.

3. Villains rule absolutely. Hence, they have less paperwork to fill out.

4. Villains have henchmen, sometimes even cute ones like Minions.

5. Villains have cool toys, weapons, and transportation.

Seriously, though, these traits are just the beginning of villainous behavior. Realistic villains aren't that simple. If they were, they could never be redeemed, have henchmen issues, or feel anguish over the sacrifices they make or have made. If villains were truly simple, we wouldn't have Darth Vader, Loki, Bucky, Kylo Ren, Thanos (according to the latest Avengers movie), or Gru and his Minions.

Realistic villains and antagonists need a reason to be who they are and that's what my more serious post at IWSG is all about.

Click here to read Writing Realistic Antagonists.

BTW, I do plan to visit around the web and comment today, but as I write this ahead of time, I am experiencing dizziness with bouts of full vertigo, headaches, and ear ringing. The docs (plural) are working on a diagnosis (probably Miniere's Disease) as I am working on getting better. This has been ongoing for nearly three weeks as of the date of this post, so I am ready, really ready, to get all the way better or have a plan to solve it.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Are you ready for Some Very Messy Medieval Magic by C. Lee Mckenzie?

Thanks for the chance to yak it up about my new book, Tyrean. I really appreciate it.  I now have Book #3 in The Adventures of Pete and Weasel, and I'm excited as well as nervous with this launch. Nothing new about either of those emotions. I always get the jitters when I'm about to launch a book.

The Adventures of Pete and Weasel now has three books
Some Very Messy Medieval Magic arrives
May 15
Instead of writing a tagline to explain what this series is about, here's the trailer that sums of the three books very quickly.






Here's how this latest adventure begins. 

         By the fourth week of eighth grade, everybody in class, including know-it-all, Curtis Lamont,  decided that having Dr. Dread Wraith as a teacher until June was going to be worse than a bowl of turnips for dessert.
The pop quizzes weren’t even a surprise anymore because he gave one almost every day. And all any kid had to do was squirm when Wraith was giving one of his lectures on the theory of general relativity, which nobody—even Weasel—had ever heard of, and he’d slap them with detention.
They cringed every time they heard his name. It was a cringe-able name after all. Pete wanted to tell the kids the reason Dr. Dread Wraith called himself that, but he didn’t want to bring up how their sub was really a bigwig in the Cross-Temporal Consortium of Witches and Wizards. Or that he had to go toe to toe with bad dudes like Genghis Khan. Like Wraith told him, without his bone-chilling name, he didn’t have the clout he needed.  

If Pete did explain all of that, then that would lead to having to explain how Wraith, who wasn’t really a bad guy, just a menace of a teacher, had followed Pete and Weasel back from their last time trip.  And that. . .well, that was just too much for any eighth grader to swallow.


All my books are available online. 

Some Very Messy Medieval Magic is available at these locations. 

AMAZON . B&N . KOBO  . SMASHWORDS . YABC 
Print ISBN 9781939844460 / EBook ISBN 9781939844477

Order through Ingram, Follett, or from the publisher

EBook available in all formats 

My publisher has created a library request letter that I'm including. If people want to check out the book, rather than buy a copy, this is one way to make that possible.


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

#IWSG May and Tick Tock Release!

Started by ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, this group is a safe, supportive place to share writing insecurity and encouragement. 
Check out the: Blog Hop Website Facebook Twitter Instagram

I'm a bit under the weather today, so I'll be hopping in short spurts and I might give some super short comments. Please note that I respect your posts and all the time you put into them. 

Last week, I was excited about a Writer's Workshop, but I couldn't make it due to my current "ick." However, I did get some great critique for a ten-page sample and my rough query letter for The Greenling. The critique went even farther than expected and I got some feedback on my marketing for The Champion Trilogy, so I have much to ponder - good and bad. 

Insecurities are lurking, but I do have some short good news: 

My micro-fiction story "Storytime" was published at 50-Word Stories last week. My poem "Strong Together" will be published at Leaves of Ink on May 18. "Storytime" made it on the first submission. "Strong Together" was rejected by three other markets before it found acceptance. I have two stories out on submission, both of which have received rejections in the past, but I still have hope that they will find their market homes.

Just keep typing, just keep writing, just keep swimming. Go, Write, Win! :) Dory Cheer-leading for Writers.

And, The New IWSG Anthology is here!


Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

The clock is ticking...

Can a dead child’s cross-stitch pendant find a missing nun? Is revenge possible in just 48 minutes? Can a killer be stopped before the rescuers are engulfed by a city ablaze? Who killed what the tide brought in? Can a soliloquizing gumshoe stay out of jail?

Exploring the facets of time, eleven authors delve into mysteries and crimes that linger in both dark corners and plain sight.Featuring the talents of Gwen Gardner, Rebecca M. Douglass, Tara Tyler, S. R. Betler, C.D. Gallant-King, Jemi Fraser, J. R. Ferguson, Yolanda Renée, C. Lee McKenzie, Christine Clemetson, and Mary Aalgaard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these eleven tales will take you on a thrilling ride into jeopardy and secrecy. Trail along, find the clues, and stay out of danger. Time is wasting...

$14.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 204 pages, Freedom Fox Press
Mystery & Detective (FIC022000) / Crime (FIC050000) / Thrillers (FIC031000)
Print ISBN 9781939844545 eBook ISBN 9781939844552
$4.99 EBook available in all formats

“Each story is fast paced, grabbing the reader from the beginning.”
 - Readers' Favorite, 5 stars

“I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of thought-provoking crime stories.” - Denise Covey, author

Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database, articles and tips, a monthly blog posting, a Facebook and Instagram group, Twitter, and a monthly newsletter. www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com

Tick Tock links:
Tick Tock Mystery Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/TickTockMystery/



Wednesday, April 18, 2018

#WEP Road Less Traveled - Flight

This post is my entry for the April WEP Challenge: Road Less Traveled.
Please give a full review - pull apart sentences if necessary. Also, I realized I may not have quite lived up to the challenge because I never mentioned "road" or "traveling." So, again, full review, please.

Samantha had spent the last week in suspension, waiting for doctors and nurses to give her some kind of real information instead of vague hints and reassurances. Her laptop, journal, and book had gone untouched in her bag. She had eaten hospital oatmeal in the cafeteria with little sugar, and had . . . enjoyed it?

She really couldn’t remember the taste, but the warmth had been soothing. The cup of tomato basil soup she had eaten with oyster crackers had been slightly more memorable with a strong taste of basil, and the crackers becoming mushy lumps at the bottom of the bowl before she had finished it. Across from her at that meal, her father had poked at his salad with rheumatoid fingers crooked around his fork, and his mouth making a moue of distaste at the ranch dressing. He had assumed it was a Caesar dressing.

She remembered those things, and the feel of the smooth table under her fingers, along with the way she had set their table with precision, napkins and utensils to the sides, and cups arranged at easy hand-reach level for sipping their tea. She had made sure the table was clean, but still spread a napkin under their dishes. When she thought of that, she realized it was something she hadn’t done since she was a teenager, since before Joey, who ate with speed and efficiency, consuming just enough calories and no more and doing so quickly that he often ate before she finished her “fussy” pre-meal rituals.

She liked her rituals. They brought comfort. So, as she sat in one more waiting room chair, this time in the law office, she carefully placed her purse to her right, leaned against her leg, with her hands resting across the top of it. She crossed her legs properly at the ankles, and tried to make something out of the geometric patterns on the rug. They were too tangled to be pathways, except where they were cut short against the window wall.

Samantha felt drawn to the blue sky beyond the glimmering cityscape. But she could not think of that now, in this solemn moment. She studied the carpet again until her lawyer’s secretary said her name.
In the board room, she had to face Joey.

He tried to make his face into a mask of platitude, but his ever-present wry smirk ruined it. “I hope you’re all right, Sam. I mean, your mother.”

Samantha ignored him and sat down next to her lawyer. “My mother’s death changes nothing in his proceeding.”

“I only meant that . . .”

Joey’s lawyer put a hand on his arm. “Mr. Hutchins. I think we should proceed.”

“I thought we were getting an amicable divorce, Sam,” Joey said.

Samantha gave him her best level stare.

The proceedings continued, and she studied the smoothness of the heavy, legal papers under her hands as she signed them, and made sure they were carefully tucked to satisfying neatness when she was finished. Joey said a few more things, but she paid less attention to the sound of his voice than the buzzing of a trapped fly on the window sill.

When she turned to leave, her lawyer put her hand out, “If you need anything?”

She shook her head and left the office.

She could see Joey holding the door to the elevator for her.

She shook her head and opened the door to the stairwell.

The carpet ended abruptly for blue-gray concrete, and the stairs were painted in a garish emergency yellow.

She took off her heels and let her feet soak in the coolness from the concrete. She climbed steadily with her shoes and purse pinned to her by her right hand. At the top of the stairs, just four flights up, she opened the door to the roof.

The blue sky horizon above the skyline beckoned her.

Samantha thought of her father’s favorite saying. “It’s always a good day to fly.” She imagined him in his plane, soaring over the fields of their small town. She held out her arms and then took off her suit jacket so she could feel the cool prickle of the breeze on her arms. She breathed in deep, breathed out slowly, then put her hands on the ledge.

Below her, people bustled like ants in a packed maze of streets. She didn’t want to rejoin them. She wanted to fly. The urge was so strong, she almost pulled herself up onto the ledge, but she stopped herself, keeping her bare feet planted on the building’s roof. She didn’t need to jump to fly.

The tiny air field in her old home town had a private pilot school. She had enough saved for that. Her dad had offered to have her stay with him. A year ago, she would have scoffed at any middle-aged woman moving back in with her father, but now? She knew it was the right choice at this moment. She could go home, learn how to fly, and live her remaining life with joy and peace.



Monday, April 16, 2018

Cutting Away the Dead Wood, in Life and Writing

Writing has been a bit hard to do these days, with grad school, work, and life going on full throttle, with a few unexpected headaches and obstacles thrown down for extra measure.

I am not superwoman. I get that, but I want to at least have the attitude, the kind of attitude that sees an obstacle and cuts through it without worry or frustrated angst. You know the moment when the superhero sees the problem, pauses just long enough to find their enemy's weakness, and then takes action within seconds - that's the kind of attitude I want to have.

Yesterday, a tree fell down in our driveway. It's been so rainy that the roots under some of the trees are in watery mud. Old trees with muddy roots are not stable entities. Despite living just two miles from a library, movie theater, and eight coffee shops, plus a shopping area for those less caffeinated, we live down a gravel driveway and are surrounded by trees and fields. I normally love our little nature sanctuary in the crossroads of suburban and rural life, but I don't love some of the obstacles that sometimes come up (or down).

My husband saw the obstacle, got out the chainsaw and his truck and started cutting wood. (He has the superhero attitude down.)

I saw the obstacle, covered my face with my hands and said, "oh, dear God, not again." (We dealt with a similar fallen tree in October.) Then, I got my work gloves on and went to drag branches out of the main driveway so we could out. I got dirt, mud, moss, and tree bits in my hair, on my clothes, and my work gloves were dripping with muck by the time we finished.
Then, I cleaned up and went to worship, which helped my attitude immensely.

We did conquer the obstacle, or at least clear a path through it so we could continue life, but . . . there's still a mess in the front yard, which poses an ongoing obstacle of more yard work.

I have to admit, with the rain pelting down again this morning, that the last thing I want to do is clear more branches, but I know I need to do that so I can see the front yard again.

In my writing life, I've had to clear some branches from my messy drafts of The Greenling, and I just woke up this morning and realized that I need to cut away some more dead wood. I don't really want to, but I know I need to so I can see the characters and the plot more clearly.

I need to put on my work gloves and a superhero attitude this morning.

What are you up to this morning?



In other life news: It's my dad's 80th birthday today! He's always been my favorite real-life superhero.

And, my oldest daughter was one of 200 student researchers featured in a newspaper article yesterday. You can read the full article here: Montana Student Researchers Apply Lessons to Real World Problems

The pic is a screenshot from the newspaper article. In the article, she has a brief quote about women in engineering.










Monday, April 9, 2018

5 Reasons to #Write Nostalgically with guest Corinna Austin

THE FIVE REASONS TO WRITE ... SERIES IS BACK!

Please welcome Corrina Austin, author of Corners!

Five Reasons to Write Nostalgically
by Corrina


People who are writers may be familiar with the oft-used phrase, “Write what you know.” Although I don’t always agree with that advice (because I think the imagination can take a writer well beyond the realms of what is known and familiar), I can certainly see the value in the suggestion. As writers and human beings, what we know is the result of a lifetime of experience, connection and accumulated wisdom. There is much to be harvested from the memory.

I discovered this truth while writing my novel, Corners. The story shot up from roots in my own memories of growing up in the 1960’s. The community swimming pool and the “deep end test,” the countless summertime pitchers of Freshie, the noisy old refrigerator, a favourite childhood movie called The Incredible Mr. Limpett, even a visit from the Avon lady—all of these long-forgotten (or so I thought) things resurfaced during writing and made a framework for my characters and the stories they had to tell. Connecting writing with my personal memories in Corners brought an element of joy to the work of writing that I never anticipated.

Aside from the happy vibes of fondly looking back, here are five more reasons to write nostalgically that I discovered when I let my memories lead the way in writing Corners:

1)    Nostalgic writing is as close as you can come to getting into a time machine.

I didn’t know that writing about the 1960’s would draw my memories out so vividly. As I wrote, I could hear that old fridge vibrating and humming through the night while I lay in bed as a child. I vividly recalled the metal pin I got to wear on my bathing suit with such pride after I passed the deep end test. I could visualize the diner my mom would take me to for a plate of shared fries and a Coke after a shopping excursion. There was something about the process of writing that took me back to the past in ways that verbally recollecting and reminiscing never could.


2)  Nostalgic writing empowers you to transport your readers back in time right along with you.

Finding connection with your audience is one of the most rewarding things that a writer can experience. Some readers of Corners who remember the 60’s have related to me that through my story, their day-to-day memories of that time have resurfaced. Writing about the past can be like giving someone back something special that was thought to be lost. And younger readers who may not have been around during the setting of your story are able to get little glimpses of what life was like in those days.


3)  Writing from your own experiences adds credibility to your writing.

No one could dispute my protagonist’s authority as he narrated Corners because I was there. I was a kid in the 60’s. This first-hand knowledge gave me a sense of confidence that I hadn’t experienced when I worked on other manuscripts where I was relying entirely upon research and my imagination.


4)  Writing nostalgically allows you to more fully appreciate your childhood relationships and connections.

Developing the characters in Corners brought back aspects of my parents, siblings, neighbours and childhood friends that had faded in my memory. It reminded me of where I came from and of all the events and experiences that shaped me. Not only does this allow for more depth and understanding in my present relationships, it also can’t help but to add more texture and richness in my writing.  I’ve realized there is nothing trivial or unimportant when it comes to the details of daily life as they translate into stories.


5)    Writing nostalgically allows you to critically inspect what has and has not improved over time.

The good old days seem like just that, in some ways. When we look back, it’s often through rose-coloured glasses. When I think of the 60’s, things like “flower power,” the Beatles, and the burgeoning sense of societal optimism come to mind. But, writing Corners also reminded me that the 60’s weren’t all sunshine and roses. My protagonist faced daily ostracizing at school because his mother had him out of wedlock (and she was disowned by her parents for this reason). This same mom was often sexually harassed by costumers at the diner where she worked as a waitress and this seemed to be just “part of the job.” Children were killed or disabled by Polio in the 60’s. The stigma of mental illness in those days kept people isolated or locked away. Sometimes, people defer to the past because they’ve romanticized it. It’s good to keep in mind that although it can seem like some things have been lost over time, we’ve also come a long way.



Everyone needs their own special corner...

It’s 1969 and ten-year-old Davy is in a predicament. With two weeks remaining of the summer holidays, he’s expelled from the public pool for sneaking into the deep end and almost drowning. How will he break the news to his hard-working single mother? She’s at the diner all day, Davy has no friends, and he’s too young to stay by himself.

The answer lies in his rescuer, mysterious thirteen-year-old Ellis Wynn. Visiting her Grammy for the summer, Ellis offers to babysit Davy. She teaches him about “corners”–forgotten or neglected areas fixed up special. Together, the kids tackle several “corners” and Davy learns what it means to bring joy to others.

Davy begins to wonder, though. Why does Ellis want to be his friend? Why doesn’t she ever smile? And is Davy just one of Ellis’ “corners?”

Release date - March 6, 2018
$10.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 136 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Juvenile Fiction - Boys & Men / Fiction - Coming of Age
Print ISBN 9781939844392 eBook ISBN 9781939844408
$3.99 EBook available in all formats


“Austin’s message of true friendship and selflessness will resonate...strong addition to the realistic fiction genre.” - Library Journal

“This book was so engaging! Five out five stars.” - TDC Book Reviews

“This is a story about love and loss, wrapped in a blanket of friendship... reminds me of the storytelling method used in The Princess Bride.” - Gina @ Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

“I hope you enjoy making a corner once you've read this sweet emotional read.” - Nayu’s Reading Corner

Corrina Austin grew up in the 1960’s. She became a mother of four and an elementary school teacher, but always found time between work and family for writing. From childhood to the present, if she wasn’t reading a book, she was writing one. While honing her craft as a writer, Corrina strives to infuse the ordinary with beauty, whimsy, and connection. She lives in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada.

Links:
Kobo -

A quick review from me (Tyrean): Corrina's beautifully written novel made me want to
start creating special corners in my life and in the lives of people around me. I think the
character arcs, plot development, and the beauty of the prose in Corners make it
a must-read for anyone of any age.
Highly Recommended Reading!


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

#theIWSG April 2018

This awesome group, started by Alex J. Cavanaugh is a safe place to share insecurities and a great place to encourage one another as writers.
Co-hosts for the hop this month are:

Please welcome Shannon Lawrence as our new IWSG Admin!!!
At the same time, please bid a fond farewell to Christine Rains - and make sure to visit her!

The Instagram Photo Prompts for April are:
As always, join as you are able! Tag The IWSG or hashtag #TheIWSG


The optional question this month is: When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

I take my journal with me nearly everywhere. I write snippets in it: a word, a phrase, some notes, a line or two. I find this helps keep me in touch with words and ideas, even if I'm not spending hours of time or putting in hundreds of words.

I also allow myself to play with language - create poetry, word collages, and image and word collage combos. This also helps me keep going.

To join the IWSG hop, go HERE.
To see the website, go HERE.

Check out this new word: Levidrome 
A six-year-old made it up and I think it's really cool!
As a fan of William Shakespeare (playwright and creator of many of our favorite words and phrases in English), I think word creation is awesome!
Hilary Melton-Butcher featured this word for We are the World Blogfest.



Project Revival of 5 Reasons to Write. Due to life's craziness and some health issues, I abandoned this project at some point. I would like to revive it. It may take some time, but if you would like to have a guest spot at my blog, this is my preferred format. Please consider taking a new topic or one that's been done before this.
Ideas for topics: 5 Reasons to Write Mysteries, 5 Reasons to Write in Tiny Notebooks, 5 Reasons to Write Upside Down, 5 Reasons to Write with Yoda. Topics can be silly or serious.

I will also be writing some 5 Reasons to Write posts because I find this "topic" helps me generate ideas, but again, if you want the same topic, just let me know and put your own spin on it.

What do you to dig down and keep writing? 
Do you have 5 Reasons to Write? 
Have you heard the word levidrome?




Tuesday, March 27, 2018

March Wrap-Up a Few Days Early ...

March has been a busy, busy, busy, busy ... (etc) month.

Grad School
I finished my first two-credit course and started my second course! It's been a confidence builder and I have finally remembered that I enjoy learning. For my final project, I need to create a short 8-10 hour course of study. Believe it or not, I'm already looking ahead to that since some of the course work I am doing now leads into it.

I am considering writing/creating a course of study for novelists who would like to strengthen their short story writing skills. Would you be interested? If so, please comment or e-mail me at tyreantigger (at) gmail (dot) com

The course would be free to anyone who would be willing to sign up as my students (lab rats) and I would need feedback on various parts of the course.

Or, I might design a course for my church, or for homeschool students on summer "break."

Comments and feedback on these ideas would be welcome.

Lenten Reading Journey
I'm going to cram in the rest of LOTR by Friday night and I'm in a good place to finish 1 and 2 Samuel, Psalms, and John by the end of the 31st.
The Chronicles of Narnia and The Narnian are going to go into my April reads pile.

Diet and Exercise
Down and up, I go. I am walking between 0 and 5 miles each day, it really depends on the day. I usually get in three to four good walks a week. The diet, well, I reverted to old habits, and then restarted again. I am still doing better than last year.


IWSG NEWS! 
Please welcome Shannon Lawrence as the new IWSG admin!
Also, if you are into Instagram, here's a preview of IWSG in April:



BOOKS AND MOVIES THAT IMPACTED ME IN MARCH
Corners by Corrina Austin is my favorite read of the year so far. I didn't expect to love it so much, but Davy and Ellis filled up a dusty corner of my heart with their character growth and their actions. I was impressed by Austin's ability to flesh out in-depth characters, provide a mosaic of details, and create a plot that moved me to laughter and tears. At the end, I just smiled and knew I had to recommend it to friends. Do not let the Middle Grade designation fool you - this book is a good book for all ages.

Tomorrow Code by Brian Falkner is a fast-paced scifi for YA readers (and anyone who likes YA themes) in which three teens race to decode messages from the future so they can stop an apocalypse. Success isn't guaranteed, especially since at first they don't understand the code beyond winning the lottery. I originally checked it out from the library because I wanted to read more fiction from New Zealand (one of my characters is from there in my current WIP) and I really enjoyed this fast-paced adventure.

I read Dragonsong for the first time in ninth grade and it made my soul soar at the time. This time, on my seventh-ish re-read, I realized that McCaffrey managed to suck me into the story despite doing a lot of telling, as well as showing. I was surprised to see that and I started re-thinking some of that show vs. tell wisdom. When is it okay to tell?


We re-watched Thor: Ragnorak after purchasing it, and oddly, my youngest loved it more the second time, whereas I loved certain parts more than the whole. I'm sure we'll watch it again a few more times this year ... because we watch movies like that. (Spiderman: Homecoming on DVD has been watched at least 4 times since we brought it home at Christmas.) I am still on my superhero movie kick, trying to both watch the movies for fun and watch them as a writer studying the craft of storytelling. 

If you are under 17 or you find nudity offensive, don't watch this movie (this is a warning to any of my students who may happen to read this post). I did have a "another nudity moment?" kind of reaction a few times and a "only women are nude?" reaction a few times. I think if we truly have the kind of society presented in this movie, then it will actually probably be far worse and more universal. However, if you've seen the original (like I have) and if you love scifi and the way that Philip K. Dick (author of the original book) purposefully blows our minds and makes us uncomfortable at the same time in his stories, then you will love this movie. It's both a thought-provoking drama and an action flick. It's also three hours long. We watched it in two sittings and discussed it during and afterwards. We like discussing movies anyway, and Blade Runner 2049 gave us lots of weighty stuff to consider. 

For those who might wonder how I can be a Christian and watch these kinds of movies, I invite you to read the whole Bible including the book of Judges. Think of how terrible our world can be (and is, and was) and then consider how stories and movies which show both a slippery slope of complacency and some absolute nastiness can actually help us realize how much we need Jesus. Really, movies like this are just a full-in-our-faces look at how awful things could be (and unfortunately are - consider human trafficking, refugee camps, and random violence). Books and movies that don't shy away from this can help us process what we see around us and stir us off our complacent backsides to consider changing the world with our actions. 
(I'm talking about my own complacency issues, too.)


For a way to change the world one small corner at a time, check out Corrina Austin's Corners - seriously, go get it now and read it for some actionable ideas on spreading kindness, love, and change.


So, what have you read or watched that impacted you lately? And, would you be interested on taking part in an instructional design experimental course in short story writing? 

Monday, March 19, 2018

#Interview with Author Jay Chalk, Revolution 2050


Please welcome Jay Chalk, author of Revolution 2050

Jay is a writer and fan of dystopian scifi and the author of the new Revolution 2050. (See my blurb-length review at the end).

Author Links: Twitter  Facebook

Q1. You are thrown into your favorite story (not your own).  Which story and who would you be?

A. I would be Jake Grafton in Stephen Coonts’s Flight of the Intruder.   My love for flying aside, Grafton, a naval aviator, goes through insightful, mental anguish when it hits him that he and his fellow pilots are nothing but sacrificial pawns in a highly politicized Vietnam War.  My novel’s protagonist, Sam Moore, in Revolution 2050, is gripped with the same desperate realization as a member of a political party of terror, but with a different outcome.  Thrown into Jake Grafton’s boots would most definitely test my personal inner strength and integrity.


Q2. What is your biggest challenge/insecurity in your writing life and how do you overcome it?

A.  This will probably sound overused and vanilla, but my biggest challenge is getting my characters’ emotions from the visual to the written; getting their thoughts, feelings and responses onto paper.  As far as insecurity as a writer—I never overcome it.  I’m always worried that I screwed something up somewhere and that my work ends up as only a caricature of itself.

Tyrean: We all feel that way, don't we?

Q3. What’s your favorite part of writing (brainstorming, world-building, rough draft writing, editing)?

A. My favorite part of writing is while I’m writing, I discover that I’m onto something special and I can’t get the words down fast enough.  To use a cliché, “it just flows,” or “in the zone.”  My second favorite part is the beer afterwards.   

Q4. When and where do you write?  How did you discover that was best for you?

A. I write at a desk in one corner of my living room, with a nice outside view of the East Texas forest—and with all the remotes and phone within arm’s reach.  This might sound strange, but I actually use a desktop computer (gasp)—I don’t even own a laptop (more gasps).  When I’m not teaching, and the writing bug has hit, I’ll start before sunup with black coffee so strong it could melt a metal spoon.  No sissy coffees here.  And I go from there.  Like most debut authors, I still have a full-time day job.  Any free time I can squeeze out to sit down at the keyboard at home, I savor it.  I’m a blue-collar writer.

Tyrean: Blue-collar writers rock! 

Q5. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?  Why that?

A. I posed that question to one of my high school classes.  The girls gave various answers, but the guys unanimously said “x-ray vision.”  If I could have one superpower, it would be the power to fly unaided.  As a pilot, I’m in a cocoon of aluminum with gauges, gadgets and screens, just to get from point A to point B.  And yet the view is still breathtaking.  To just will one’s self to float and move in any direction at any speed without the aid of a mechanical device would be the ultimate high—no pun intended.

Tyrean: That's one of my top superpower hopes, too. 

Q6. How does your faith inspire or inform your writing life and writing projects?

A. I am a Christian.  Yet I’m not consumed with religion (maybe I should be).  Still, I pray for inspiration all the time.  And I usually receive it, but to me, in the most unusual ways.  If my writing is successful, and by successful I mean opening people’s eyes, I have no one to thank for mission accomplished except the Lord.  Every one of my works has what some call a “supernatural” event occur.  I don’t think of it as supernatural at all.  It’s divine intervention.

Q7. So, how did you discover the idea for your book, Revolution 2050?  (Or what led you to start the book?)

A. All I have to do is listen to or watch the “news” and the media’s reaction.  I’m also a student of history.  Events that are happening now, not only in our country, but also across the world, have happened before—and almost always with the same outcome.  Society’s slow inculcation into a Godless ideology, such as in the Soviet Union or in Mao’s China, or today, in North Korea, is nothing new.  Only the names and places have changed.  Some have compared Revolution 2050 to Orwell’s 1984.  For me to even be mentioned in the same sentence as Orwell is an undeserved honor.  While there are some elements of 1984 in the novel, a lot of the work is actually based on historical facts.  The former president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel, in his book, Open Letters, describes life as a dissident in Soviet controlled Czechoslovakia.  Life in Cold War Czechoslovakia, while not quite as harsh as in the Soviet Union or Hitler’s Germany, was nonetheless charging headlong that way; it was a police state.  And I saw early steps heading in that direction here in the United States when I began Revolution 2050.      
Tyrean: Thanks for all of your thoughtful answers, Jay!


Official Book Blurb:
Samuel Moore is living a dystopian lie…

After a civil war, the North American Commonwealth now dominates the eastern half of the former United States. Controlled by a totalitarian regime called the Directorate, the NAC demands compliance, awareness, and unity. A Directorate member and teacher, Sam enjoys the benefits while skirting the forbidden.

Then Sam encounters Katie Spencer. She sneaks him a short wave radio and he hears the Western Alliance broadcasts. Katie also reveals a video she captured of NAC death camps. Sam realizes he’s involved in a nightmare that could shake every foundation.


With the video broadcast date approaching and several students desperate to escape to the Western Alliance, Sam is forced to decide. Remain loyal to the Directorate? Or abandon all he’s ever known to fight for freedom?

Tyrean's Tiny Review:
From the first chapter to the climatic, the tension in Revolution 2050 ratchets up tight as both Sam and Katie struggle to find the right path to take, the right way to fight for the rights and freedoms of themselves and those they love. Sam and Katie find themselves both drawn into a battle with high stakes, and their choices may save or sacrifice the people around them. With unexpected twists and turns, and unexpected possibilities of betrayal and reconciliation, Revolution 2050 takes a new path into the realm of dystopian thrillers. I highly recommend it!

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March 2018 #TheIWSG and Corners


The Insecure Writer's Support Group

Why IWSG?
Alex J. Cavanaugh, the founder, noticed a lot of blog posts from writers mentioning their doubts, concerns, and lack of confidence. He also saw the positive replies they received and realized that the writing community offered an abundance of support. Writers want to see other writers succeed, which is how he came up with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. This group would act as a form of therapy, letting writers post about situations where they need encouragement, or to offer words of encouragement to others if they have experience.
Co-Hosts this month: 


Marching Forward!
March is a big month for me this year. 
I started Grad school! Whoa. I'm working on an M.Ed in Instructional Design at Western Governor's University - it's an affordable, flexible, online program so it fits me where I'm at right now. 
All of the Instructional Design concepts are actually helping me see some of my writing more clearly - kind of an interesting and nice extra that I didn't expect. 
Hours I'll spend on this in March: 50+. It's a huge focus. 

Writing - prepping Ashes Burn for publication. Toying with a Writing Prompt project. Revising/Rewriting Book 1 of The Greenling Chronicles. Specifically, I want to a)get the format part done for AB, b)add a few pages to the Writing book, and c)get through chapter 10 in GC. 
Hours I'll spend on this in March: probably 30-40. 

Teaching - Make the homework clear for the rest of the year (only 10 more weeks for my homeschool students) and start prepping the celebration book - a book of student writing. 
Hours I'll spend on this in March: 40. It's one of the bigger months of concentration for this, even if I only teach in class one day a week for three hours.

Bible Study - I'm in four (four!) groups right now and I have my own personal study going on for Lent. Hours for March: 20-30.

Substitute Teaching - when I can on the "other" days. Who knows on the hours? Between actual substitute need and my days available, I only subbed one day last month. Oy. 


OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal / finish a story?

What I could do: go out for dinner, enjoy a good book, go to a movie, dance around the house, sing, shout, and jump up and down.

What I usually do: smile, occasionally dance around the house, then get back to writing. If it's a short story and I feel satisfied with it, I search out a good market for it and send it right away.  
I think I need to take my celebrations more seriously. :) 

#MARCHMADNESS ON #THEIWSG AT INSTAGRAM
Participate when you can, as often or as little as you feel comfortable.





CORNERS
By Corrina Austin


Everyone needs their own special corner...


It’s 1969 and ten-year-old Davy is in a predicament. With two weeks remaining of the summer holidays, he’s expelled from the public pool for sneaking into the deep end and almost drowning. How will he break the news to his hard-working single mother? She’s at the diner all day, Davy has no friends, and he’s too young to stay by himself.


The answer lies in his rescuer, mysterious thirteen-year-old Ellis Wynn. Visiting her Grammy for the summer, Ellis offers to babysit Davy. She teaches him about “corners”–forgotten or neglected areas fixed up special. Together, the kids tackle several “corners” and Davy learns what it means to bring joy to others.


Davy begins to wonder, though. Why does Ellis want to be his friend? Why doesn’t she ever smile? And is Davy just one of Ellis’ “corners?”


Release date - March 6, 2018
$10.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 136 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Juvenile Fiction - Boys & Men / Fiction - Coming of Age
Print ISBN 9781939844392 eBook ISBN 9781939844408
$3.99 EBook available in all formats


“Austin’s message of true friendship and selflessness will resonate

Links:

Kobo -









What do you do to celebrate achieving a goal?