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!


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March 2018 #TheIWSG and Corners

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

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. :) 

Participate when you can, as often or as little as you feel comfortable.

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


Kobo -

What do you do to celebrate achieving a goal?

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Smashwords Ebook Week 2018

I'm participating in this huge, one-week only sale!
Look for discounts, from free to 50% off for each book in The Champion Trilogy: Champion in the Darkness, Champion in Flight, and Champion's Destiny.
Check out my short story collection: Flicker for FREE
Where to find the books: All Sites Listed Here - with links to iBooks, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February Highlights and Forward March!


1. I'm going to Wednesday evening write-ins at the library hosted by E.C. Murray. There's usually three of us there and we just sit and type away. It's wonderful and possibly the best writing I'm doing all week. We don't talk much, we just say hello, pull out our laptops, and write in quiet companionship.  

2. I've hit a better stride with my exercise goals - moving from 1 mile back up to 3.5 miles of walking each day. It turns out that my dog can't walk with me anymore, which bummed me out for a long while. He turned 12, he has some spine issues, and he needs to rest most of the time now. He can only make it for 1/4 mile outings, although he wines at the door when I go for my longer walks.

3. I finished up orientation and everything I need to start graduate school online at Western Governor's University, starting March 1. I'll be taking classes to get a graduate degree in Instructional Design. 

4. My Lenten Reading Journey has really helped my faith walk this year. I'm reading 1 and 2 Samuel, Psalms, John, and some other selections: The Narnian, The Chronicles of Narnia, and LOTR. I am waking up excited to read the Bible each morning, and I'm reading the others in the evening.

Favorite Fiction Books and Movies of February (other than Lenten reads mentioned above):

Ready Player One
Ready Player One is from an atheist point of view (it's pretty loud about it for a paragraph or two), has at least one other section that I think goes a little long, and I wouldn't recommend Ready Player One for anyone under 16. Having said all that, it might be surprising that I recommend it, but the rest of the story is off-the-hook amazing. For anyone into 80s geek culture, Ready Player One has every reference you could possibly want, and more.

Renegades (Renegades, #1)
Renegades by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles fame) is a superpowered-dystopian, and I found the main character (an anti-hero/villain) and her motivations interesting. Renegades is definitely a new start to a series of what promises to be a plot-twisting narrative set in an interesting world where heroes may not be as heroic as they seem. (I read Brandon Sanderson's super-powered trilogy, The Reckoners, last year - it's another superhero-dystopian. Renegades feels slightly meatier and older. I think it's more YA, while Reckoners is more MG.)

Don't Cosplay with My Heart
Don't Cosplay with My Heart by Cecil Castellucci was a fast YA read for me and I enjoyed it. The MC, Edan, dresses up like her favorite comic book character to feel strong enough to deal with a mess of family problems, deals with boy trouble, and starts to discover her own strengths in the midst of everything, including her strength as a cosplay artist.

The Hidden Masters of Marandur (The Pillars of Reality, #2)
The Hidden Masters of Marandur (The Pillars of Reality, #2) by Jack Campbell is a fun read and definitely gets more into the character development of the two leads - Master Steampunk Mechanic Mari and Master Mage Alain - as they discover more corruption in their two guilds and decide to take action. I enjoyed the first book in the series in January and hope to read a book a month for a while.

Black Panther Poster
Black Panther is the best movie I've seen so far this year aka the only movie I've seen in the theater this year, but I think it's going to stay up in my top 5 for the year. I loved that the secondary characters were more fully realized than I expected. His female General kicks butt in a beautiful red dress in one scene that I think I could watch on repeat, and his STEM-smart sister is awesome. Good directing, editing, acting, and beautiful CGI all round this out to be a visual masterpiece of film.

Fullmetal Alchemist Poster
Full Metal Alchemist - the Netflix Original with live-action actors was a movie I enjoyed thoroughly. I have to admit, I'm only slightly familiar with the anime series and the manga series so I'm not a Full Metal Alchemist expert, but I had so much fun watching this nod-to-anime live-action movie with all of the beauty of English subtitles that I plan on re-checking out the anime and the manga at my local library. I may become a Full Metal Alchemist junkie, who knows? It's been a while since I've been sold on a anime series. (Did anyone else watch Bubblegum Crisis in the 90s?)

The Olympics ... well, I haven't watched all, but I've been stunned by how amazing all of the athletes are and thankful for their camaraderie in the competition. Just wow.

I'm looking forward to turning the calendar for March 1st because I'll start my online classes, my oldest daughter will come home for a short break, my youngest will have spring break later in the month, and I will be up-scaling my exercise to get ready for surfski-kayaking* in April. Plus, I'll be putting together a fun book of my students' best writing for the year. It will be busy, but I'm looking forward to all of it.

What have you been up to these days?

*surfskis are a special brand of open-faced kayak meant to cut through the waves, surf on waves or wake, and stay generally upright. The Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Racing Team lets beginners (both young and old) use them to gain confidence and strength before getting into a racing kayak (skinny little boats that flip easily and don't return to upright without taking them to the dock). 

All movie and book covers are from IMdb or Goodreads.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

#TheIWSG, Project Updates, and Instagram for #TheIWSG

Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, all of the admins, and all of the co-hosts this month:

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place to share insecurities and encourage one another.

Optional IWSG Question: 
What do you love about the genre you write in most often?
I love that speculative fiction, fantasy, and scifi give me plenty of room to explore possibilities, and also give me a new backdrop in which to explore every day dilemmas with magical items, blasters, mythical creatures, aliens, and special powers. 
If we could revisit our old school days with a super-power and an alien best friend, would it be the same? What if we could bring a unicorn or Medusa to work? 

Project Updates
Even though I love writing stories I think I can share with others, I'm also drawn to writing some odd, experimental fiction which breaks many of the "rules" of writing.

Ashes Burn is one of my hard-to-market projects. It is a fantasy hint fiction series following the lives of three characters. Wend is on the run from his fiery past, Teresa is searching for her love, and Bryant is planning to scorch his way from King to Emperor. 
It might be marketable, if I hadn't been a stickler about writing every "episode/chapter" in hint fiction format - all episodes are less than 30 words. And, I like it that way. (Yes, I can be stubborn about my odd projects.) The only way I would ever change it would be to make it into a manga/comic series ... but I can't draw or even afford to hire someone to draw the panels for me. 

Ashes Burn, Season 7 is  releasing at the website over the next few months and I'll be compiling all of the seasons into a omnibus e-book for release in June. 
Will anyone buy it?
I really don't know, and somehow, I'm okay with that.

The Greenling Chronicles Book One is still under revision, but I have more hope for the whole series in its current messy state than I did a month ago when it looked prettier from the outside. It might even end up as a marketable project.

Journaling - This isn't really a "project" that I'll ever publish, but I have been writing sporadically in my journal this year - sermon notes, lists of things to do, ideas, story starts, and some poetry. It keeps me going on busy days and fills my creative well on other days when I'm feeling dusty-dry. 

Report on Six Impossible Ideas Before Breakfast 2018 Guiding Goal (the goal that made no sense to anyone but me). This really includes - writing projects, exercise, the mostly-keto diet that I'm on (prescribed by doctors), prayer, job+school ideas, and giving myself room for creativity. It's going well - mostly. Details may come in a later post.

Just post one image a week on #writerWednesdays
or join in for the not-so-secret #motivationMondays.
Yes, I went a bit for the whole February love-fest theme.
If you would rather post more friend/Gal-atine style shots, go for it!

What do you love about your genre? Do you have any project, goal, or resolution updates? Joining Instagram? 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Superhero Research, A Helping Hand, 5 Links, a Mom Moment, and #TheIWSG on Instagram

BTW - I'm sick today, so I may be slow at re-visiting and commenting. I had this post on "auto-schedule" before I realized I was under the weather.

Earlier this month, I realized that The Greenling Chronicles is just one giant mess and I needed to take charge, sort it out, tweak it, and re-plot my course. After reading through all of it, making notes, and creating a new plan, I realized that I'm going to have to throw out half the scenes I wrote last year for book 1 to make everything work the way I really want it to.


I stopped working for a few days a week and thought over that course of action several times. It's the right one. I just don't want to kill those misdirected darlings. But, I have to do it and I know it. Agh.

To find solace and to "plan" better, I "researched" the superhero genre by watching superhero movies and taking notes on them. I liked these movies before I started taking notes, but now, I'm super-impressed by the writing, directing, and editing. Yes, the acting is superb, too, but the way the scenes flow from one to another in Avengers is amazing.

For example: Pepper mentions to Colson that she needs a ride to the airport at the end of one of the beginning scenes,  and this is followed by a scene with a fighter jet rocketing along with Captain America and Colson on board. Every scene change in the movie is preceded by some hint - visual, audible, or dialogue - of what is coming next. It creates a seamless feel for the whole movie, despite jumping between various places and characters.

I am writing a multiple viewpoint book (three main characters), and I definitely want to create a seamless feel between viewpoint and scene jumps. So, I'm studying how this is done and hoping to recreate it in my writing.

How do you handle scene and character transitions? Have you ever researched superheroes or watched movies to help with your storytelling craft?

In the middle of my sulk-fest/solace-after-the-painful-breakthrough, I received an e-mail from a writer I met with a few times during NaNoWriMo. We don't know each other well, but she invited me to come write with her weekly at the library. We'll each be just sitting there writing, like we did during NaNoWriMo, but being asked to write with someone buoyed my spirits. So, I decided to invite another writing friend to join us. Hopefully, our group will grow and continue. For now, I'm just thankful for the helping hand - another author reaching out to invite me to write with her at a scheduled time and place.

Have you ever offered or been offered a helping hand? 

5 Links I Found Helpful Last Week:
Stripping Down My Prose: Risking the Removal of Adjectives 
4 Ways to Launch a Scene 
Power and Responsibility: Doing Philosophy with Superheroes (an Edx course)
5 Incredible Tales of Human Kindness
Everything You Need to Know About E-book Publishing Platforms

Mom Moment: My oldest daughter turned 19 and received a USB grant for her own small experiment within the lab she's been working in as an assistant since last fall. Since I stopped taking science classes so early that even my younger daughter has already surpassed me, I can't really explain the details of my older daughter's experiment even though I proofread the grant proposal. It has to do with bio-cement. Her small experiment comes under the umbrella of research being done in the lab by grad students and she'll still be working as an assistant when she's not working on her own research. She gets to present her research in April at a symposium, but she doesn't want me to make a big deal of it. My response: Are you kidding me, kid? I took hundreds of pictures of you when you slept as a baby and now I'm not supposed to get excited about this? Even the grad students and everyone in the lab applauded you when it was announced. I'm struggling not to shout from the rooftops.

Last ... check out the main plan for #writerwednesdays for #theiwsg on Instagram in February:

Also, we'll be posting some #motivationMonday posts! 

Monday, January 22, 2018

5 Tips for Using Instagram with help from YA Experts

An attempt to be an artistic photographer by me, 
something that might generate the following comments:

"No, mom, don't post that!" 

"Mom, you're posting too often. People will stop following you."

"Mom! What did I tell you about posting too often? No one likes that."

"Mom, really? That's two posts in less than 24 hours. Just don't do it."

"You probably didn't get many likes because you posted too often, or because you posted at the wrong time of day."

"Why did you post this picture? Just why? It doesn't even match your feed."

These are all real quotes from my in-house YA Instagram experts. These aren't even half of the advice I've received, but merely the comments I've heard the most often.

From these quotes, you might imagine that my daughters are: a)somewhat snarky* b)opinionated c)regular Instagram users who follow current trends d) all of the above.

The answer is D: all of the above. See * at the end.

Five Tips for Using Instagram from In-House and Online Experts:

1.  DO NOT post more than once a day. DO post at least once a week. 
My daughters both feel that Instagram "stars" like dancers, authors, book reviewers, and professional organizations should not post more than three times a week and that once a week is best. Individuals might get away with posting each day or once a month, if they are only using Instagram as a social outlet and not for any professional purpose.
Lifewire and other articles I read agreed with not posting more than once a day, but stated that posting every other day to five days a week had good results.

2. Post at specific times for the best results.
According to one article I read, posting between 5-6 pm on Wednesdays had the best results, but posting before work/school and after work/school on any weekday had decent results. I've noticed that consistency is best, no matter what time of day you post. I follow an editor who always posts in the mornings, and she has a great following on Instagram. So, to gain followers, consistency at specific times is good. I have a tendency to post randomly so I can't say I'm an expert at this, ever.

3. The subject matter in your feed makes a difference. 

Choose five main areas of your life to share with your Instagram followers. Mention these in your tiny bio space and rotate through pictures of those areas of your life with your post content. This keeps your feed familiar but different enough to keep your followers' interest alive. Some experts say that posting "behind the scenes" random moments of your day can work, too, but I know from my daughters and their friends that a chaotic feed will lose their interest unless they know you from their personal life outside of social media.
So, for instance, my bio and my feed were a bit chaotic, so I just organized it into these five main categories: family, outdoors, writing, reading, and life-adventures. You might notice that some of these categories are broad because I still have a tendency towards randomness. (Again, I'm not an expert, just trying to learn along with everyone else.)

YA writers: do not post too many pictures of your kids. Teen readers don't like their parents posting too many pictures of them on social media and so they often don't like seeing an author do the same to their kids.

Selfies are also considered "out" by many teens unless they are used for a purpose: a new author photo, a special event, an interest in fashion, demonstrating dance or yoga or active movement, or to show a hobby.

Keep pictures of your book to a minimum unless you just released a new one in the last month or you've won an award. YA Instagram users will stop following, even if you post your book with the outdoors, travel photos, your cat, and your dog.

Amateur photos are okay to expected. Just don't post "live" from an event without double-checking your grammar and the image you are using. I have messed up that way, much to my chagrin. Also, keep "live" posts to just one in 24 hours. That's tough if the "next" photo is "even better." The Instagram stories section is a better place for those photos.

Users will check your overall feed to see the themes of your posts. Check your feed for posts that don't fit your themes and consider cleaning out some old photos.

4. Use hashtags wisely. 
Hashtags are seen as both useful and annoying. It all depends on how we use them, where we use them, and when we use them.
Use hashtags to alert groups of group-based posts and to alert all Instagram users of the subject matter of your posts.
Hashtags are best used in the end of a post statement, after you've written a little about your image or video post.
Use only one to five hashtags per post. If you feel you need more than five, then keep those kinds of mega-hashtag posts to once a week.
#theiwsg #amwriting #writing #writersofinstagram

5. Keep it colorful, active, and interesting.
These three adjectives may seem as clear as mud, but consider the fact that Instagram is a visual place and many users are young adults. Followers like to see an array of colors or tasteful black and white photos. Wordy posts can work for writing challenges, but regular followers may fade away if we post those too often. Active posts show the outdoors and/or activities of any kind (from rock-climbing to embroidery). Interesting is the toughest word here. What interests us? That's what we need to think about. Stay true to your own interests and you'll find followers of similar interests.

Bonus: If you've already broken all of these rules (I know I have), just note that these tips are for the "best"way of posting. Who knows, maybe you and I, rule-breakers, will have our own rule-breaker following?

Pictures of the outdoors, of cats and dogs, all animals, world travel, and inspirational horizons will always have their place on social media. But, your posts need to be yours. Cityscapes can also be popular, if you would rather post pics of skyscrapers than mountains.

Why do YA Instagram experts matter? While Instagram is making waves in multiple generations of social media users, the YA crowd used Instagram first. They use it more often than Facebook and Twitter because those sites have been taken over by their parents, grandparents, and politics. They also use Snapchat, but don't ask me about that one. I really don't know, yet.

Articles I read before I posted this:
7 Tips for Using Instagram for Business May 2017
10 Instagram Tips for Beginners January 2018
26 Instagram Tricks You Can't Afford to Miss May 2017
14 Tips for Getting More Followers on Instagram updated May 2016
How to Post on Instagram Like a Pro May 2017

BTW - My daughters and some of their friends follow me on Instagram so I often get instantaneous feedback from them verbally or via text. Sometimes, I take their advice and sometimes, I ignore it. I'm just stubborn that way.

*My oldest daughter and I are considering writing a book together entitled: 15 Ways NOT to Have a Successful Conversation With Young Adults. (Don't worry, we made each other laugh through 15 different conversational faux pas all based on real life experiences.)

Do you use Instagram? Are you a YA writer? Do you get tips for social media from young adults you know? See anything huge that I missed? (If so, please add it in the comment section.)

#TheIWSG is on Instagram, and although I'm admittedly no expert, I am the admin there. We're having #WriterWednesday Post Challenges and in February, I'll start posting regular #MotivationMonday photos. In March, I plan to add in some #FridayFiction Prompts and hold some hint fiction writing contests - winners or notable entries to be featured every other week on Fridays.
 Insecure Writer's Support Group on Instagram

If you are on Instagram and would like to see #TheIWSG take on a daily challenge for a month, or every month, please let me know in the comment section. I'm willing to come up with daily challenges, but I know from past experiences that I never seem to keep up with those kinds of challenges on my Instagram feed.

And, if you are really in need a of a humorous post about active versus passive voice, go here: Can you add by dinosaurs? I found this post when prepping for teaching today.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Greenling Chronicles Update, Tick Tock Cover Reveal, MLK Day, and #IWSGPit

As previously mentioned in December, I'm knee deep in a long project these days: the rough draft of an entire series entitled The Greenling Chronicles. I say knee deep because I still feel like I'm getting into the series, discovering more about each of the characters as I write and develop their character arcs.

One new twist to the series: it will be from multiple viewpoints.
Originally, I meant to share the story all from Dunnie's point of view, but I realized I really want to write from Aria's and Ray's perspectives, the villain's perspective, and one other character's perspective (who I can't name or describe without giving something away at this point because I'm mucking about in the process).

I also realized that one of my writing strengths is switching viewpoints and one of my weaknesses is attempting to keep everything in one point of view for more than 100,000 words. I'm well beyond that point now with two book drafts and five bulky outlines with rough scenes taking shape.

Because of this decision, I'm reworking my first novel and making changes to the second to make sure that all of the viewpoint characters are introduced and have viewpoint page-time in books one and two.

Tiny character introductions will appear here on my blog in the coming months. For starters, here's a short blurb for the main character:

Dunnie aka Duncan Kuari McCloud is a Greenling. He can control plant-life and possibly more. He has made mistakes with his power in the past and he is an outcast at middle school, but he's determined to change and use his powers for something good.

To read the original flash fiction story which inspired this super-powered project, you can find it for free at any Smashwords supported location.
Smashwords  iTunes Nook Kobo 


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. Douglas, Tara Tyler, S. R. Betler, C.D. Gallant-King, Jemi Fraiser, 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...

Instead of listening to soundbites, check out what Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. really said in his "I Have a Dream" speech.

And if you've heard that one already today, check out some of his other speeches on youtube. There are many and they are worth a listen.

If I had something ready, I would definitely enter it into the Insecure Writer Support Group's Pitch Contest on Thursday, the 18th! Here are the details:

Create a Twitter-length pitch for your completed and polished manuscript and leave room for genre, age, and the hashtag. On January 18, Tweet your pitch. If your pitch receives a favorite/heart from a publisher/agent check their submission guidelines and send your requested query.

Many writers have seen their books published from a Twitter pitch - it’s a quick and easy way to put your manuscript in front of publishers and agents.


Writers may send out 1 Twitter pitch every hour per manuscript.

Publishers/Agents will favorite/heart pitches they are interested in. Publishers can either Tweet basic submission guidelines or direct writers to their submission guidelines. (Writers, please do not favorite/heart pitches.)

No images allowed in pitches.

Pitches must include GENRE/AGE and the hashtag #IWSGPit.

#C - children’s
#MG - middle grade
#YA - young adult
#NA - new adult
#A - adult
#AD - adventure
#CF - Christian fiction
#CO - contemporary
#F - fantasy
#H - horror
#HI - historical
#LF - literary fiction
#MCT - mystery/crime/thriller
#ME - memoir
#NF - non-fiction
#PB - picture book
#PN - paranormal
#R - romance
#SF - sci-fi
#WF - women's fiction

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Impossible or I'm Possible?

My apologies for any faux pas I have made in the last week. (There are always some, but this week they seemed to multiply.)

First, if I haven't visited back yet from IWSG, I will be making the rounds in the next three days. We had Influenza A in our house, the real deal with fever, chills, etc. I either had it before anyone else and didn't realize, or I'm walking around like a ticking time bomb. Thankfully, everyone seems to be on the mend.

I wanted to revisit my goals from last week to explain (my hubs thought the "Impossible" part needed more explanation) and to encourage everyone to join the IWSG instagram Writer Wednesday Challenges.

Here's my personal post for today:

If you have an instagram account and want to join in on photo or post challenges, please go here:
IWSG on instagram.

Here's the Challenges for the month, followed by the IWSG post for today:

More details about #IWSGPit may be found here. 

Next week: 5 Tips for Using Instagram (advice from in-house YA experts)

Oh, and I just discovered I had six hint fiction stories published at Nail Polish Stories yesterday!
Go here for five minutes of reading material (mine are near the end and will take one minute to read.)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

#TheIWSG January 2018, Winners, Instagram, Flaming Crimes

The Insecure Writer's Group is a place for writers to share their writer insecurities or tips and to encourage one another. Led by Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh and many administrators, the blog hop this month is also co-hosted by: 

New Year, New Ideas, One Hope
Last year, I had a list of resolutions a mile long. Hyperbole aside, I did have a list of writing resolutions, life resolutions, goals, and ideas that went for three pages on my laptop. I think I pared it down to a mere 15 items that I shared here on my blog at the beginning of 2017.
This year, I'm sticking with a pair of guiding ideas:
1. Six Impossible Ideas Before Breakfast.
2. Hope
All goals, plans, ideas fall under those two and I'm keeping most of them in the "idea" and "plan" stage instead of "resolutions or else" type stage. 
1. Six Impossible Ideas Before Breakfast stands for all writing, drafting, planning, world-building, and creative thinking. 2018 is my year for mucking about in the process of my projects. I'm working on the foundations for projects with all the brick-laying, cement-mixing, mud, and dirt mess that foundation work requires. 
2. Hope stands for my one hope in God. I've gone back and forth here at my blog, trying not to over-state my faith, trying not to under-state it, but the reality is my faith defines me. I am nothing without my hope in Christ. Hope carried me through some tough times in 2017. 
Hope is my cornerstone.

IWSG Question: What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

I have specific word count goals for each day of the week (fewer on weekends) and I plan to write from 8:30-10 each morning Tuesday through Friday, unless I'm substitute teaching. If substituting, I plan to write from 3:45-4:45 Monday through Friday. (I'll write during that time every Monday). 
I have a phone reminder for each day and it's on my calendar for both times. 

Drum Roll .....................................................................
The Winners for the IWSG Mystery Anthology Are:

A Stich in Crime – Gwen Gardner  
Until Release  - Jemi Fraiser
The Tide Waits – Rebecca M. Douglas
Center Lane - Christine Clemetson
One More Minute – Mary Aalgaard
Three O’Clock Execution - S. R. Betler
The Little Girl in the Bayou - J. R. Ferguson
Cypress, Like the Tree - Yolanda Renée
Gussy Saint and the Case of the Missing Coed - C.D. Gallant-King
Special Mention:
Heartless – C. Lee McKenzie

#TheIWSG is on Instagram and I'm the new administrator for it! It's exciting, heady, and ... well, a tiny bit of volunteer work, but I'm ready to instagram on #TheIWSG Writing Wednesdays. Are you?
Come join us here: #TheIWSG on instagram or TheIWSGinsta.

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the next IWSG Twitter Pitch Party – Thursday, January 18!

With hundreds of agents and publishers, this one will be ten times bigger than our first event.

Prompt: What is something ridiculous you would save if there was a fire?
Ridiculous is the keyword there. After your family, pets, and important items are safe and sound, what is the one odd thing you'd want to grab from your home?

Ridiculous? My Eeyore Mug. It's a sixteen ounce mug I bought at Disneyland circa 2004. It is my favorite mug, along with a Tinkerbell one I bought at the same time. These mugs have stood the test of homeschooling, writing, late nights, early mornings, and even car trips. Eeyore and I both have a bit of a problem with seeing the glass half full, but the mug helps me remember to look up.

The Wild Rose Press
BLURB: Beth and Donovan are now happily married,
and what Beth wants more than anything is a baby.
Her dream of starting a family is put on hold as
fires burn dangerously close
and Donovan becomes a victim of sabotage.

Their lives may just go up in flames…

About the Author: Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. She’s partnered with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and runs their Goodreads book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.
Author Links: Website / Blog / Goodreads
Facebook / Twitter / Amazon

What are your guiding ideas/goals for this year? Are you ready to instagram with IWSG? What ridiculous item might you grab in a fire?