Friday, June 27, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things and Do You Have Goals?

Many thanks to Viklit for starting and hosting the weekly Celebrate the Small Things blog hop!

I am, sadly, going to lessen my Celebrate posts after June. I love this sweet group of writers who gather together to celebrate each Friday, but I have found that I am into a haphazard blogging schedule this summer. I might do a Celebrate post near the end of July, and I'll be keeping notes in my journal because I love celebrations. :) Plus, it reminds me to give thanks and have an attitude of gratitude.

My family and my writing are taking precedent over blogging this summer and I haven't been a good visitor, plus I have lots of visitors to get back to after the sweet love and encouragement I've received the last few weeks. I plan to use more of my blogging time for visiting and less for posting.

This week, I'm celebrating:

1. All of the Celebrate the Small Things bloggers - you are wonderful!!!

2. Every day I feel a bit better. I still have tests to undergo and specialists to see, but my health has improved. I've been given permission from my doctor to walk a mile and bike a few miles now - yay! Back to activity. I'm also starting to do more yoga although I'm keeping it light and easy.

3. My husband - he's been a huge help these last few weeks, an every day encouragement, and he gives great hugs and a shoulder to cry on, as needed.

4. My daughters - wow! I'm just so filled with mama pride I might burst. They've cooked, cleaned, and experimented with allergy-free recipes, and even given up their favorite super-hot spiced dinners for me (although they still keep giant bottles of their fave hot sauce on the table for extra seasoning).

5. My youngest brought home a gold medal and two third place ribbons from the Seattle kayaking regatta, and two second place and two third place ribbons for the Bellingham kayaking regatta. She even raced "up" an age category at the Bellingham regatta in the team kayak boats.

6. My oldest gracefully handled two 12 hour days of dance rehearsal and recital time. She danced with the two "itty bitty" classes that she helped teach all year, and she danced in two of her own dances. I did manage to get her out of the backstage area for some much-needed sanity breaks on both days - by arranging that with my parents (go, grandparent power!).

7. My dad (age 76) helped give motorcycle and motors scooter sidecar rides at a special event for kids with muscular dystrophy last Sunday. He had a blast! My mom provided sideline coffee encouragement.

8. Laurel Garver at Laurel's Leaves and Elizabeth at Unicorn Bell hosted two guest posts by me for my slow-to-start Champion in Flight book blog tour. Many thanks to them, and many thanks to those who stopped by for "Getting Past the Myth of 'Enough' Time" and "Writing Through Release Day."

9. Tara Tyler's latest release, Broken Branch Falls! Go, Tara!

10. Today is my mom's birthday! Happy 73 years, Mom! Thanks for showing me how to smell the roses, name the plants in my yard, and love with joy!

And . . . if this post wasn't long enough, I'm going to give a quick check-in for Do You Have Goals?

Yes, somehow, in the midst of a crazy life, I am writing and publishing.

"Seedlings," a flash fiction piece, will be published by Brilliant Flash Fiction (date to be announced), I submitted a bunch of other short pieces that are on the "wait and see" list, and some that were rejected (but I did finish and submit them, so I still count it as a victory).

I published Champion in Flight this month! Had a book signing! Two guest posts!

So far, my crazy goals and my crazy life are working together. Summer may change that momentum, but I hope not.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Writing Through Release Day at Unicorn Bell

I just wanted to share a quick invite to join me at Unicorn Bell today for my guest post, "Writing Through Release Day." Come and share your thoughts on surviving publication with your sanity mostly intact. :)

BTW, today's post is part of my Champion in Flight book blog tour . . . which is just going to be a few guest posts happening in a haphazard way across the summer. If you are interested in having a guest post or an interview, I would love to visit your blog! :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Broken Branch Falls Release Day!

It's Beastly Blitz Day!

Tara Tyler, totally sweet and super organized blogger and author, is celebrating her newest book, Broken Branch Falls! She gave us some short questions to choose from and I had a tough time choosing one, so I decided to go with all of them, but kept my answers super short.

How do you know me(Tara)?
From your totally awesome blog!

How do you feel about MG and/or fantasy?
Love it! Fantasy of any age is my favorite. I love picture book fantasy, MG fantasy, YA fantasy, and most "regular" fantasy. I love falling into the imagination of another writer and seeing "truth" from a different angle.(I could write a post about this but I'll stop)

How do you feel about stereotypes?
Bad, ugly, sometimes a struggle to avoid.

How can kids stand up for themselves?
Laugh the bullies away (if possible), or get help from friends, family or adults. Different situations call for different approaches. The laugh part sounds odd, but I finally discovered in late high school that verbal bullies didn't know how to handle it if I laughed at them.

How do you like maps?-there's a cool map in BBF
Love them, wish I had included in my books.

Suggestions on getting kids to read/pretend/play more?
Limit screen time, read with them/in front of them, be willing to play and pretend too. Being serious and aloof is not "cool" or "adult." Encourage laughter, silliness, and play wherever you go. (Unless you're at a funeral - and even then, sometimes, laughter can ease the heart-wrenching pain of it. We found a few stories to tell that helped us laugh at the last funeral I attended just over a month ago and we still honored the memories and life of my beloved, great-aunt Edna.)

by Tara Tyler
Release Date: June 24, 2014 - TODAY!!
B&N ~~~ Amazon ~~~ Kobo
Publisher: Curiosity Quills

Gabe is an average fifteen-year-old goblin. He’s in the marching band, breezes through calculus, and gets picked on daily by the other kids at school, especially the ogres. But Gabe wants to break out of his nerdy stereotype and try other things. He has his eye on the new ogress at school. Though it’s against all beastly rules, there’s just something about her.

Gabe starts a fad of mingling with other species, forcing the High Council to step in and ruin things by threatening to destroy the school and split up Broken Branch Falls. With help from other outcast friends, Gabe sets out on a quest to save his town. They'll show 'em what different friends can do together!

Add it to your GOODREADS list!

Tara Tyler has had a hand at everything from waitressing to rocket engineering. After living up and down the Eastern US, she now writes and teaches math in Ohio with her three active boys and Coach Husband. Currently, she has two series, The Cooper Chronicles (techno-thriller detective capers) and Beast World (MG fantasy) She's an adventure writer who believes every good story should have action, a moral, and a few laughs!

Also by Tara Tyler, techno-thriller detective series,
The Cooper Chronicles, Book One: POP TRAVEL

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Homeschool Formal Dances are Not in Someone's Basement!

When I started homeschooling my kids, sometimes I would get strange looks and concerned comments.

Now, with homeschooling on the rise, and homeschool students (reported) as between 3-5% of all students (that's 1 in 20 in the regions where it is most common), I get less of the concern and more of the funny questions.

So, since I had a few of those questions about my oldest daughter attending a homeschool formal, I thought I would write this post to clear some things up.

All of these questions are real questions I've been asked.

 Please note that this is supposed to be somewhat humorous and informational and not meant to be offensive . . . so, please put on your humor pants and think about what it would be like to be asked some of these questions.

1. "So, was the homeschool formal in someone's house basement?"

No, please tell me that you aren't getting all your information about homeschoolers from Disney channel shows . . . they aren't accurate. Really. Homeschool formals do not take place in family basements.

The homeschool formal that my daughter attended took place in a community center with a large room that doubled as both a dining area and a dance floor. The kids had to move tables between dinner and dancing because the space wasn't big enough for all the kids to do both activities.

2. "So, that picture with your daughter in it, was that all the kids that attended the homeschool formal?"

Hahaha. You're joking, right?

175 tickets for the homeschool formal my daughter attended were sold out three weeks early, and some kids who wanted to go didn't get to go. We need a bigger venue, or we need two formals. There were at least twenty kids my daughter knew that wanted to go but who didn't get their tickets on time.

3. "So, what do homeschoolers do at formal dances?"

Um, really? What do most kids do at dances? They dance.

Ok, I admit that most homeschoolers aren't twerking, and the dance my daughter attended included swing dance lessons for half of the dance time.

However, I think more of the kids actually dance. In fact, my daughter danced several dances with boys she met that evening and learned some really cool swing dance moves from one of them who takes classes. She even learned how to "dip."

4. "Wait, aren't homeschoolers too shy to talk to each other?"

Whoa, really? Homeschoolers too shy? Where do you live? Most of the homeschoolers I know talk too much, not too little, although there are a few shy ones. I think the percentage of shy homeschoolers is probably equal to that of shy public and private school students.

5. "But I thought all homeschoolers lived in the woods with no social contact with the outside world?"

Um, sorry. No. Most homeschoolers are extremely active. In fact, I think sometimes that homeschoolers take their extra-curricular activities a little seriously and competitively. "Oh, your kid is in dance, tennis, helps out the senior center, and rock climbs on the weekends? Well, my kid . . . ."

But again, please don't take my words and make them into a standard for homeschoolers. Some homeschool families revel in the freedom from structured activities and encourage their kids to build treehouses, explore, and spend most of their time out doors for fun.

6. "Oh, I thought all homeschoolers _____________(fill in the blank)."

I think the most common thread between all homeschool families is the love of freedom to be as individual in their approach as they want to be. Some homeschool families use standard school curriculum. Some unschool. Some favor curriculum from a variety of sources. Some do every activity possible, and some have an open schedule. Some homeschoolers are wealthy, and some are struggling to scrape by with monthly expenses. Some are single income households with one parent at home, and some are single parent households in which the parent works night shift and teaches their kids during the day. Some are Christians. Some are Muslims. Some are atheists. Some are Jewish. Some are Buddhists. Some are Republicans, some are Democrats, and some are members of the Green Party. There is no "all homeschoolers are _____" - that's because individuality is the whole point.

7. "Do homeschoolers get all their lessons done in four hours?"

Um, see #6. Some days the lessons are done in three hours, and some days the lessons are done in eight hours. It depends on the lessons. It depends on the level of enthusiasm. It depends on the family. It depends on the curriculum. It really varies.

8. "Wow! You must spend a lot of time teaching your kids. You must be patient. How do you do it?"

Well . . . when my kids were little they did all their lessons on my lap, or with me right there with them. Now, we choose curriculum together. I write up lesson plans. We discuss what they are doing for the day, and then they start. They read, write, and do most of their actual work independently. We discuss progress. I grade papers. I don't actually "teach/lecture" all that often - unless asking lots of discussion questions counts and that's limited to about an hour or two of time scattered throughout the day.

And patient? Well, I am learning to be patient. Years ago, there were days when my kids would absolutely refuse to do their work, and I would go to my room and pray a lot before coming back out to explain that yes, they were doing the work. Thankfully, these days they just need some nudging in the right direction now and then.

9. "Do homeschoolers hate public school?"

No. Some homeschoolers participate in public school part-time with classes, sports, or other activities. For the most part, homeschool families choose homeschooling because they love the ability to choose their schedule, their curriculum, and the way that they spend their time together. It's about the freedom of choice, not about hatred.

10. "Do homeschoolers take selfies with their parents because they don't have any friends?" (This is an actual question dealt with by my oldest daughter)

Please see #1-6. No. Although, as a family, we have taken "selfies" together on vacation - usually doing something goofy. My kids take selfies with friends. They use twitter, instagram, facebook, vimeo, and youtube.

Bonus: "Do homeschoolers wear pajamas all day?"

Not always, but sometimes, definitely yes! On rainy days, with no other activities scheduled, my kids sometimes do all their lessons in their pjs - and sometimes, I do too. :)

Do you know any homeschoolers? You might be surprised to find out that you do.

If you want a more serious look at homeschooling, I suggest checking out these blog posts and blog posts:
The Way We Homeschool describes different methodologies at Small Things although this blog is also dedicated to crafting and other areas, as well.

USO Party describes and shows pics of an amazing formal (not the one my daughter attended - which was really good but my daughter was too busy dancing to take pics), from The Pioneer Woman's blog.

Also, Blimey Cow's Seven Lies About Homeschooling has a humorous take on the myths surrounding homeschooling.

And if you want to know how in the world I have time to write and homeschool, check out this guest post I did on Tuesday at Laurel's Leaves: "Getting Past the Myth of Enough Time."

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Friday, June 13, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things and Father's Day

Many thanks to Viklit and her fearless co-hosts for Celebrate the Small Things!
This week, I'm celebrating:
1.  My book signing at Mostly Books in Gig Harbor! Family and friends came, and I met a few new readers who bought both of my books. :) (full report in early July)
2. Sweet encouragement from fellow authors and bloggers. 
3. Slow but steady recovery. It will be a week or possibly longer until I am completely well, but it is happening.  
4. A burst of writing activity with an even bigger burst of courage to submit my writing to various publications.
5. Writing a story, submitting it, and getting it accepted for publication all in one day. Brilliant Flash Fiction will be including my story, "Seedlings," in their first publication!
6. A "eureka" moment with my non-fiction book of home school writing curriculum. I'm going to organize the daily sections in the same way that I would teach a class. I kept trying to stick things together in odd ways but I think I have the solution finally - and it seems obvious now. :)
7. Hoping to go see Maleficent tonight! It depends on if I feel well enough.
8. My Dad.
My dad is still my hero. When I was a little kid, I thought he was stronger, faster, and smarter than Superman and the Billion Dollar man put together.
He's a gentle soul but he's persevered through many storms like spending three years in a charity hospital after a botched surgery and having part of his leg amputated as a result. His stories from the boy's ward of that hospital would fill a book and are part of the reason that I love Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (yes, kids are that smart, and yes, life is that hard).
He's been a tree-topper for a logging company (yes, after losing part of his leg), an airplane mechanic and supervisor of inspection, he drafted new designs for airplane engines back in the 80s and sold them to a larger company because he didn't think anyone would respect a patent from a lowly mechanic - but I think the planes we fly on today are safer and more efficient because of him and his name isn't on them anywhere.
He used to like to snow-ski, fish, and go canoeing and camping in the wilderness. He enjoys motorcycles and motor scooters of all kinds, loves to help people, and he reads copiously from news sources and fiction books (is there a difference? time will tell) along with everything I write too.
He is a world class fidgeter and salad eater. He thinks cucumbers fresh from an organic garden with a salt shaker in hand are a good dessert. He's one of a kind.
Happy Father's Day, Dad!
What are you celebrating this week? 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Celebrate the Small (and the big) Things!

This has been a week of drama for me - exciting, fireworks drama, and taking pics of a CT scan machine while feverish kind of drama.

So, in order of events: I'm celebrating:

1. Champion in Flight - the book release!!! Thanks to everyone who has helped/is helping make this awesome!!! Thank you for the tweets, posts, google+, facebook updates, etc. Thank you for the e-mails, and the comments! You rock!


2. My daughters' upcoming roles in an indie film!!! Filming takes place in August, the film is being released in October at a local red carpet event, and then it will be released as a series on the web.

     Annabelle Veil, The Curator
 Kitty Temper, The Waitress    
Ghost Noir is a film, comic and web series set in the gritty paranormal world of Detective Camille Delatore. A world without adults. A world with secrets. Ghost Noir on Facebook.
3. Blog Blitz by the Blitz Team and DL - Wow!!! Totally an awesome surprise!!!
4. IWSG and all the awesome, super supportive comments.
(Somehow I'll get around to commenting back - that was the day I started to have pain and problems as well as a crazy busy family schedule)
5. Great and easy access to medical care just 2 miles from my house.
6. Good news: antibiotics, lots of fluids, rest, and an upcoming visit with another specialist are all that I need to get well - at least so far. For those who knew via my feverish facebook posts and the CT scan machine picture, thank you for your prayers. They were felt. (BTW: fever + boredom + phone = TMI danger zone)
7. Home is a good place to rest. At least for a day, and then I get to watch my youngest race in her kayak for two days in a row in Seattle. If you live near there, come to Green Lake to watch the races. I'll be doing my best to hydrate and sit down.
So, what are you celebrating this week? Did you manage a week without drama? Did you survive a week with drama? Have any highs or lows? Things to dance for or pray for?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

IWSG: Many Thanks and a Fear Spiral

Many thanks to the fearless Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh and his co-hosts for IWSG!!! And for those who run the website and the facebook page, many thanks to you as well!

And many, super, huge thanks to DL and the Blitz Team! You rocked my blog yesterday, and I don't think there are enough words to express how thankful I am!!!!


However I still have a fear this month: I'm a terrible marketer. My friends and family must be tired of the tweets, facebook posts, blog posts, and even, yes, e-mails, about my second novel, Champion in Flight.

And yet, I received a message last week from a distant friend.

"I'm so excited for you getting your first book published!"

Um, wait. She didn't know I published my first book last year? Even after I tweeted, posted, blogged, e-mailed, felt like an uber-obnoxious-salesperson?

So, I'm not a good book marketer. Some people have heard it to their eyeballs, and some haven't heard any of it.

And three days into my newest book release, the crickets are chirping.

 Seriously, crickets and frogs have a concert outside my house every night . . . and in addition to that, the books aren't selling. By not selling, I mean hold up both your hands, and then hide one behind your back. You are holding up more fingers than books that have sold.

And that's where the fear starts spiraling into a horrible attitude like this:

Maybe it's just the wrong book. Maybe even the reviews for the first one were just "nice" and not real. Maybe no one likes openly Christian fantasy. Maybe I should have written about vampires at war with zombies with a star-crossed undead lovers twist? Maybe I'm just a terrible writer. I don't know.

Ugh. Shudder. Shake it off. Focus.

I am still going to keep writing, keep marketing (obnoxious or not), and keep celebrating the awesome encouragement I have received.

And yes, I'm going to plug my book for just a moment, along with a few others that I know about:

Reborn (The Fate Challenges #1)
by Cherie Reich
To save a kingdom, a prophetess must challenge Fate.

Seventeen-year-old Phoenix Prophetess Yssa is cursed instead of blessed, and her duties at the Temple of Apenth prove it. Yet her boring temple life screeches to a halt when visions of her parents’ murders consume her. Yssa races across an ocean to stop the future. If she can’t change Fate, she’ll refuse to be the Phoenix Prophetess any longer. Fate, however, has other plans for her and the kingdom. Yssa must either accept her destiny or fight against Fate.

Now Available in Print and Ebook!
Print: Amazon /Barnes and Noble / Book Depository / Createspace

Broken Branch Falls
Gabe is an average fifteen-year-old goblin. He’s in the marching band, breezes through calculus, and gets picked on daily by the other kids at school, especially the ogres. Gabe’s closest friends are goblins like him, but Gabe is tired of being a goblin – he’d like to try other things. And he has his eye on the new ogress at school. It’s against all beastly rules, but there’s just something about her.

Coming on June 24th by Tara Tyler!

As part of a global, cross-industry promotional project for audiomachine’s upcoming public release, PHENOMENA—by celebrated composer, Paul Dinletir—we’re introducing a groundbreaking campaign to encourage the next generation of authors, artists & musicians! With each download of the upcoming FREE PHENOMENA companion ebook, audiomachine will make a donation to the LA Youth Orchestra.

Available today or tomorrow!

Put together by Samantha Redstreak Geary and featuring many bloggers we know!

Rachel Schiefelbien's Don't Fall

In this contemporary retelling of Rapunzel, seventeen-year-old Anya leads a secluded life in a house on the edge of town with her adopted mother. She doesn't go to public school, doesn't even have a best friend. But Anya doesn't seem to mind. She has her books, her photography, and her daydreams and would do anything to please her mom.

Annalisa Crawford's Our Beautiful Child

People end up in this town almost by accident. Ella is running away from her nightmares, Sally is running away from the memories of previous boyfriends and Rona is running away from university. Each of them seek sanctuary in the 18th century pub, The Boathouse; but in fact, that’s where their troubles begin.

Jack Lewis Baillot's cover reveal for A Test of Loyalty!

Upon learning he is one of the sons of the now dead king, Prince Lachlan is forced to leave the only home he has ever known. Fleeing for his life, his step-brothers a step behind, Lachlan finds safety and friendship with a young seamstress named Magda, a hermit, an Elf, and two Dwarf brothers. Determined to keep the young prince alive, Magda and the others seek out help in the surrounding Nations.

In Short Stories:
Milo James Fowler has several awesome stories out, but the latest two that I know about and have read and loved are: "Drawn from a World of Hurt" at Fiction Vortex and "Captain Quasar and the Fastest Thumbs on Zeta Colony Four" at Comets and Criminals.

And, Christine Rains has an excellent story out at Luna Station Quarterly. Check out "Ladgarda" - it's a great read.

Champion in Flight

A year after she won the battle for Septily, Clara feels trapped in Skycliff by the Allied Council. As the last pieces of information about the Healing Caves fall into place, Clara is attacked by an assassin. Covert Drinaii mercenaries and the Council aren’t going to stop Clara from her quest to heal her broken blade. As Champion of Aramatir, she must act.
Meanwhile, in the joint kingdoms of Rrysorria and Wylandria, the youngest and still cursed swan prince despairs of ever being whole again. In a moment of anger and desperation, Liam discovers a blood link between him and a dark sorceress.
Clara won the battle for Septily, but her battle isn’t over.


What do you think is the best way to market your writing? Have you ever been blitzed? Isn't it awesome?
And . . . if you could choose a favorite way to fly, what would be your choice and why? Griffin? Dragon? Millennium Falcon? Enterprise? Cessna?

And do you have news to share? I'm planning on starting a monthly (I can't keep up otherwise) feature on my blog for blog/author news so I can showcase everyone's accomplishments. If you have news to share, please e-mail me at

And if you are a blitzer - THANK YOU!!!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Champion in Flight Release and Flight Fest!!!

CHAMPION IN FLIGHT is out!!! I'm so excited! If you would like to help share the good news, scroll past the blurb to the tweets. :)
A year after she won the battle for Septily, Clara feels trapped in Skycliff by the Allied Council. As the last pieces of information about the Healing Caves fall into place, Clara is attacked by an assassin. Covert Drinaii mercenaries and the Council aren’t going to stop Clara from her quest to heal her broken blade. As Champion of Aramatir, she must act.

Meanwhile, in the joint kingdoms of Rrysorria and Wylandria, the youngest and still cursed swan prince despairs of ever being whole again. In a moment of anger and desperation, Liam discovers a blood link between him and a dark sorceress.

Clara won the battle for Septily, but her battle isn’t over.

CHAMPION IN FLIGHT     at Amazon     at Smashwords     at Goodreads
Assassins, a broken blade, and a cursed swan prince? What's a girl to do? Champion in Flight
Griffin Flights, Sword Fights, and Assassins! Champion in Flight
Faith, Fantasy, and a Strong Heroine! Champion in Flight
Faith, Fantasy, Fierce Heroines - Oh My! Champion in Flight  
Flight Fest
Ok, I pulled an terrible tech fail on the missing linky list, but you can still participate. (BTW, if the linky list shows, that's good too) Just answer the following questions in 100 words or less: What's your favorite way to fly and why? Griffin? Dragon? E.T. with a bicycle? Millennium Falcon? The Enterprise? Death Star? Space Shuttle? Giant Eagle? Cessna?
My entry: In real life, I choose the ercoupe: a two-seater plane ideally flown with my dad. In the fantasy realm, I would love to fly with a griffin. The why for both: the sensation of being in the air, feeling the currents, seeing the world in a patchwork quilt of colors under a bright blue sky. :)
Linky Attempt Here:

Are you ready to take flight? Willing to help spread the word?

Many thanks for all your encouragement!!!