Friday, June 26, 2015

Do You Have Goals and Celebrations?

"'It's a military academy.'
Colt McAlister looked at his dad sideways. They were in Washington, D.C., on what was supposed to be a summer vacation, but this didn't look like the kind of place tourists would visit - especially a sixteen-year-old tourist like Colt. 'I thought you said this was a camp.'"
Where are these first lines from? Answer located right before the massive goal/celebration list.

And yes, Colt's surprise feels like my own sometimes . . . wait, how did I get here? This doesn't look like a tourist stop. 

The Pacific Northwest has been experiencing a dry summer. While the rest of the USA had record snowfall, rains, and flooding, the usually rainy Northwest has had tons of sunshine, warmer temperatures, and not enough rain. If you saw any footage of the dry golf course of the US Open last week, you know what I'm talking about. It's normally green here, but not so much right now. 

So, what does this have to do with goals and celebrations? Or, even better yet, my goal to create more interesting content? Should I create a link for the US Open comment? Would that help draw visitors?  Naw, I should have done it a week ago.

I guess I'm still experiencing a shock at the change of seasons, as well as other events in life. I thought I had a reasonable plan for June, but June has been hotter both in heat and in our family schedule than I realized it would be. I'm looking around sideways and trying to figure out how it got to be the end of the month. 

The Colt McAlister quote is from Invasion by Jon S. Lewis, a YA super-hero vs. aliens speculative fiction novel. 

So, how did I actually do in June? (not just based on my emotional gut feeling about this)

1. Publication goals and celebrations:
June goal:To re-pub my Summer Vacation Devotions booklets that I created way back in 2009 for my old church. 
Goal Accomplished and I decided to send my proceeds to Peace Rehabilitation Center in Nepal. 

Underlying Long-term goal: To get work off my pc and into the world. 

July Goal for this area: I'm putting the third season of my Ashes Burn micro-fiction series into e-book format, but I'm holding off on putting out my fourth season on the Ashes Burn blog until fall.

2. Writing and Write 1 Sub 1 Goals and Celebrations:
June goals: 
Finish revision of Eight if by Sea - I need to add a few more thousand words of description for my editor.
Goal accomplished and the editor is pleased. Eight if By Sea has a tentative September release.

Finish revision of C.D. and DW1, plus write and submit at least one story.
Hahaha - whimper, laugh. Ugh. Definitely didn't get finished with the mammoth revisions. 

Underlying long-term goal: To strengthen my writing skills and finish several projects this year.

July goals:
Finish revision of C.D.
Finish revision of DW1
Write two chapters of DW2
Write and submit for W1S1

3. Marketing goals and celebrations:

June goals: Apply for spot in book fair in July. Make action-items for the rest of the year. Guest post?
1 goal accomplished! I will be at the 7th Annual NW Book Fair on July 25th in Portland! And, signed-up for the Third Annual Puyallup Festival of Books in October.
Action-items - um. Sort of.
Guest post . . . had a lead and dropped it, totally my fault. Sigh.

Underlying goal: To get better at this strange thing called marketing.

July goals: Track down that guest post e-mail, make action-item list for the rest of the year and follow it.
Go to and rock the NW Book Fair without falling over in a nervous sweat. 
Figure out my newsletter.

4. Exercise goals and celebrations:

June Goal: Bike 150 miles, walk 50 miles, get yoga routine back, start swimming/kayaking. Drink more water (not while swimming/kayaking).
Hahaha . . .urg. Didn't happen. 
Biked ten miles. walked 35 miles, tiny yoga amount, only swam once.

Underlying goal: Health and fitness.

July goal: Bike 40 miles, walk 40 miles, get yoga routine back, swim and kayak at least 5 times. Drink more water. (I think this is more reasonable)

5. Invitational goal:

June goal: Invite friends over for at least one backyard barbecue/grill session.
Sort of accomplished . . . 
We had some of my husband's cousins from Wisconsin and my in-laws over for grilled steaks and side dishes. 

I also gave a ride to two teenage kayak/canoe coaches to the Bellingham Regatta last weekend - although they did the asking and I didn't invite so I'm not sure that counts as being more invitational.

Underlying goal: To have an invitational attitude.

July goal: Invite friends and/or family over for dinner/hang-out time.

6. Spiritual goals:

June goal:  Prayer, Bible Study, Cell group, look at volunteer opportunities.
Um, somewhat accomplished three out of the four. 

July goal: same as June. 

June is ending in a blaze just as it started. This weekend includes my oldest daughter's dance recital, and a memorial service for a friend who passed away earlier this month. Larry Claar was a talented musician, a caring husband and father, and a faithful prayer warrior. His death came as a shock. It still doesn't feel real. I feel as if I could walk into worship on Sunday morning and see Larry playing his guitar, beckoning me to come up and sing on the praise team (even if I hadn't practiced and wasn't a regular part of the team), then praying tough and deep prayers in worship and in cell group, and welcoming everyone with a huge smile and a big heart. 

I am celebrating life this month - life in the present with all the craziness of a busy family and life in heaven when I hope and plan to hear Larry play his guitar again. "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" performed by Larry Claar.  Please pray for his family to have comfort and hope.

What are you celebrating?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Interview with Cherie Reich, author of Once Upon a Nightmare: A Collection

Interview with Cherie Reich, author of Once upon a Nightmare: A Collection

1. What started your writing journey/made you want to be a writer? Is it something you've always wanted to do? Before 2009, if you asked me what I wanted to do as a career, writer never would have come into the conversation. I was an avid reader, but I left writing to the professionals. But in 1999, I joined some online role-playing games and eventually tried my hand at fanfiction. I wrote millions of words during this time and began to have my own ideas for new worlds, characters, and storylines. I dwelled on these ideas and eventually decided to act upon them. On January 15, 2009, I started writing my first novel and haven’t looked back.

2. What kinds of books do you like to read? It might be a shorter list to tell you what books I don’t like to read. *laughs* If I take a look at my Goodreads “read” books, I read a lot of fantasy and mysteries/thrillers with some science fiction, horror, and romance. I read books from young adult to adult and tend to enjoy commercial fiction more than literary.

3. Do you think being a librarian influences your writing? And if so, how? If I didn’t have the job (library assistant) I have today, then I doubt I ever would have been a writer. Some days I’m just a warm body, so it gives me time to write. I also catalog the books we purchase, so seeing the MARC records (the book’s computer coding) gives me a special insight on why things like genre, categories, and book description matter.

4. What's your favorite part of the writing process? I hope you don’t mind if I cheat a little bit and mention two of my favorite parts. I love outlining and the final proofread. In the outlining stage, I get to take my ideas from my head to the page. I also can start to see if the story will really work out or if I need to think more. As for proofreading, I love when the book comes together as a whole. A word change here. A sentence removed there. That final proofread is a reward for all the work put into writing and editing the story.

5. What's your favorite part of Once upon a Nightmare: A Collection? The last two chapters of Once upon a December Nightmare (first story in the collection) are my favorite. I’ve been building the tension and horror of that terrible night and everything comes together to change these friends forever. A few months ago when I was working on the content edit, I found myself shaking after I finished chapter eight. The story affected me so much I had to walk away and try to calm down before I could continue on.

6. I've noticed that you develop all of your characters with motives and back-story, even the villains, so what mixture of ingredients do you think makes a character interesting to write about? What has gone before us affects who we are as a person. I try to keep that in mind when I write as a character. People are flawed. A perfect person isn’t very interesting to read about, but a person so flawed with no redeeming qualities is equally not interesting. I find it is important to strike a balance of who the character is, how the character grows, and what the character does. Of course, everything about the character builds from first draft to final proofread.

7. Do you have a writing quote or tip that you could share? “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” – Stephen King

A monster hunts us. After hibernating for a decade, it’s ravenous. We long to stop this nightmare, but the end of the road is far. There is no waking up once a legend sets its sights on you.

Purchase Once upon a Nightmare: A Collection by Cherie Reich at Amazon. From June 22-28, the collection is only $0.99!

Cherie Reich is a speculative fiction author and library assistant living in Virginia. Visit her website and blog for more information.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things

Because of my super-busy family, I seem to have lots to celebrate these days.

1. Went to a wonderful ballet recital by Metropolitan Ballet of Tacoma - choreographed by my friend, Damaris Caughlan who is an amazing lady who celebrates literature by having her end of the year recital focused on a children's book each year. This year, The Stick, was her choice and the author generously donated some of his earnings from the sales that were made at the event to the MBT scholarship program.

2. An awesome video was posted online with drone camera footage from the Ted Houk Regatta - I highly recommend giving it a watch (it's 2 minutes):

3. My kids are canoeing and kayaking at the Bellingham Regatta tomorrow - and we're getting up at 4 a.m. to get there (I will need caffeine).

4. My niece had a fun baby shower last weekend.

5. My book, Summer Vacation Devotions, is out and earning money for Peace Rehabilitation Center in Nepal to fight human trafficking. Thank you for your support and encouragement on this project!

6. Youth Sunday last Sunday was super fun. My husband and I helped put together the youth video - "So, You Think You Can Disciple?" Please note that if you watch this, you need a sense of humor - and be okay with a girl playing the part of Jesus. It's loosely based on the gospel of Mark and we focused on filming just three sections in three Sundays after the youth scripted out film ideas for the entire gospel.

7. And we've been busy . . . and I'm still trying to exercise, write, and clean out the closets and our super overgrown garden beds . . . whew. I think I'll sleep in on Tuesday (don't ask me why Tuesday and not Monday, but that's the way it works.)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Seasons of Writing and Summer Vacation Devotions Release

Summer 2015 Ted Houk Regatta Before the Races

Seasons of Writing
For every season of the year, my writing life changes. I used to try and power through the seasons and keep my routines the same throughout the year, but I think that's actually a bad idea. It's healthy to realize that each season is different in the year, and healthy to make changes in routines while keeping the long-term view ahead of us.

Here are five questions I try to consider for each season:

1. How have my goals held up the last three months?

2. Was I able to accomplish my goals in a healthy way?

Health means healthy living, healthy relationships, healthy attitude, and a healthy balance of time. (Not sure I've ever achieved all of these as well as I would like to, but I try to keep them in mind.)

3. What does this next season look like as far as life and family commitments?

4. What's the best way to fit my writing into this next season?

5. Are my goals reasonable?

As you know, I'm kind of crazy with my goals so that last question is really important.

Summer Vacation Devotions Release

Way back in 2009, Pastor Paul Schroeder of Peninsula Lutheran Church and Annette Plymale, Worship Director of PLC, encouraged me to write a group of family devotions for summer. In a tiny release of 100 copies hot off the church copy machine, it went out in a small blaze of glory - and a few more copies were needed for those who wanted more. It was pretty exciting and humbling. At the time, it felt like providence - as if God's hands were guiding the whole project and experience. As I said then and I say now - the good stuff is God's and any mistakes are mine.

God works in surprising ways and I'm now a part of a small non-denominational start-up church (I didn't see that coming in 2009 or even just a few months before it happened), Pastor Paul Schroeder is now a Pastor at a huge church in Idaho called Real Life Ministries, and Annette's son and my daughters compete on the same canoe and kayak team when they aren't making up silly films for Youth Sunday Worship, or helping with a Princess Bride movie night at church.

In the meantime, that little devotions book has been sitting and gathering dust, so after some recent encouragement from my mom and some prayer, I dusted it off and gave it a reboot. I am selling it for 99 cents for kindle (and eventually other e-readers) and for $4 at Lulu.

I'm giving all of my author earnings to Peace Rehabilitation Center in Nepal to fight human trafficking.

Here's the kindle link: Summer Vacation Devotions
And the Lulu link: Summer Vacation Devotions paperback

Also, if you could help with a few tweets, I would really appreciate it!

Summer Vacation #Devotions - 15 Devotions for Families - Only #99cents for #Kindle @TyreanMartinson

Find Out What's Sweeter Than S'mores - Summer Vacation #Devotions - Only #99cents for kindle @Tyrean Martinson

Summer Vacation Devotions - 15 Devotions for Families - Only $4 per paperback! @TyreanMartinson

Fight Human Trafficking with Summer Vacation Devotions - all author earnings benefit Peace Rehabilitation Center 

Please note that the author proceeds are less than the sales price, but I will donate the amount that I receive as an author (or slightly more).

Do you change your writing habits to fit the seasons of your life?

And, has God ever stepped in and given you something new to do?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Celebrations and Pictures!

Many thanks to Lexa Cain, LG, and Katie for keeping this hop hopping! And many thanks to Viklit for starting it!

This week, I thought I had one thing to celebrate, then I realized I had two, then three, then . . . well, I kind of sat back and felt surprised at all the amazing blessings in my life.

1. Late Spring Cleaning- not done, but at least started this week! Yay!

2. SUNSHINE with capital bright letters - and heat (not as capital for me).

3. I've walked and/or biked every day for a week.

4. My Summer Vacation Devotions book is ready to go for kindle and lulu. Official release date on Monday.

5. I decided to donate my earnings from the Summer Vacation Devotions book to Peace Rehabilitation Center in Nepal to fight human trafficking.

6. We had a great weekend last weekend at the Ted Houk Regatta in Seattle at Greenlake. (Yes, it's all one word. My apologies to grammar lovers.)

7. The sun blazed down on the races, the wind stayed quiet except for a few hours each afternoon, and several teams from Washington state and Canada competed.

A view of one of the four docks between races.

8.My oldest daughter, new to canoeing by about 8 months, made it into to two individual finals for her age group (getting 7th and 8th out of a field of 15-16 competitors for those races), and placed third in a team C2 boat (two canoers = C2).

9. My youngest daughter, kayaking for 15 months now, took third in all of her individual races in a field of 18 competitors in her age group and took either second or third in all of her team boat races (K2 and K4). She has a serious drive to win and didn't beat her own personal best so instead of celebrating, she was frustrated with her times . . . but I'm celebrating for her and trying to get her to look at the bright side. :) (Because it looks really bright to me.)

(She's going out to the start line in this last one so I actually had a close up view of her from the shore.)

So, I had a huge amount to celebrate this week!

What about you?

Get laundry done? Go to a movie? Read a great book? See some sunshine?  

What are you celebrating!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things

Many thanks to Lexa, Katie, and LG for hosting this hop!

This week, I'm celebrating:

1. Word by word progress on three projects.

2. Prayers answered for some friends.

3. Pictures found on pinterest for fun.

4. The Ted Houk Regatta this weekend at Greenlake in Seattle, WA - Kayaking and canoeing flat-water sprint races for two days in the sunshine! Pics next week.

5.  Getting my Summer Vacation Devotions book prepped earlier than planned! I moved up my release date to June 15th!

6. Cool submission links found:

Alphabet Anthologies - an ongoing series of anthologies, edited by Rhonda Parrish. Writers must query for a chance to be on the list of possible authors - but it looks like an awesome opportunity.

Sirens Anthology from World Weaver Press - Submissions window opens on August 15th.

What are you celebrating this week?

Bonus news (added late) My flash/drabble story went live today in the first ever publication of Imaginate! "Pink"

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

IWSG: Is my content "good" enough?

"It was my aunt who decided to give me to the dragon."
A First Line Trivia Quote
Name the book in the comments.
(Answer will be given at the end of this post due to timing issues)

Last week's quote and answer:
"I've watched through his eyes. I've listened through his ears, and I tell you he's the one. Or at least as close as we're going to get."
from Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, his co-hosts, and those who run the IWSG website and facebook page.

Lately, I've been concerned about content and time management.

To me, these two topics are intertwined and filling me with questions like these:

Is my content good enough?
Is my content good enough that I'm using my time wisely when creating it for my blog?
Does my content encourage others?
Does my content help others get to know me?
Does my content lead others to want to read my books?
On the other side of that, does my content sound too "sales-ey?"

While I think these are good questions to reflect on, I have often come up with this answer:

"Agh." (Charlie Brown, Peanuts reference)

And after several days of thinking over these questions, I decided I needed a plan. 
Here is the plan to answer my questions:
1. Read over my past posts and look for the ones that I like best.
2. Ask myself why I like those posts and write that down.
3. Reflect on posts I like by other bloggers.
4. Make a list of content areas I would like to post about on my blog.
5. Make a list of posts that I could re-post or re-visit anew.
6. Look at length of posts. Which ones are too long and which ones are just right? 
7. Make a list of upcoming posts for the next three months based on all my research. Then, after a season of planned posts, reflect back on that.

Do you ever worry/reflect over blog content? 

And, how do you plan your posts?

First Line Quote this week is from:

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George 
(highly recommended for MG and YA fantasy readers)