Friday, May 27, 2016

Do You Have Goals? Blog Hop Update

Many thanks to Misha and Beth for this monthly hop.
This post isn't my "usual," but it's where I'm at.

I've been a bit sick these last few weeks, and before that my mom was sick and in the hospital and . . . well, it's been one of "those" months. I'm really glad that June is just around the corner. 

I didn't accomplish my goals for the month in any area, but I tried to make some progress.

Words written: 13,388 (ouch! definitely not 25,000)
Miles walked: 30 (pretty good for only 2 weeks worth of walking)
Miles biked: 8.5 :(

The rest goal - this is the one that I ended up doing because circumstances forced me to:

And, here are a few things that brought me rest:

I went to see Symmetry the band at The Crocodile in Seattle on the night before Mother's Day. My mom was in the hospital, I was stressed, but my family "knows" the lead singer of the band playing that night and we had missed the opportunity to see them several other times when they were in the area. We "know" him in the sense that we knew him from church when he was a teen and want to keep encouraging him to live out his dream. We had a moment of awkwardness after the show when I wanted to take his picture, and then I thought "what if he doesn't remember us?" Still the wonderful young man we remembered, he hugged all of us and thanked us for coming. :)
We didn't stay for the other bands because exhaustion hit me pretty hard that night, but I soaked up all the joy I could from that moment - as a much-needed relief from the stress of the week.
The link above takes you to the band's website. They have a song in the new Mother's Day movie soundtrack, and I think they are continuing to grow a solid fan base. (BTW, one of the band members is blind, but he still rocks the stage with lead guitar.) Here's one of their Youtube videos:

I walked on my regular neighborhood route this month, but I also went "downtown" to Gig Harbor where my daughters paddle, and did some longer walks there. Here are some pics of the views in "downtown."

In the center of the photo, there are three kayakers (tiny here) and one of them is my daughter.
In the background, you can just see Mt. Rainier peeking out above the ridge in the horizon near the mouth of the harbor.

This is from the southwest side of the Harbor (next to the mouth seen in the distance in the previous pic) and Mt. Rainier is peeking out now above Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, across the Puget Sound.

*Mt. Rainier is a volcano over 14,000 feet, and I grew up near the "foothills" on a small plateau, so I use it to judge where I'm at on the west side of Washington state. 

And, although I usually write through everything, this month, I found myself taking a number of pictures to capture the beauty around me. I took a number of shots of different things and places, but I was focused on daisies, partly because they are in bloom and partly because they are my mom's favorite flowers. 

Have you enjoyed May flowers this month? And, how are your goals shaping up?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Five Reasons to Write with Maps from Lori MacLaughlin

Please welcome Lori today!!!

5 Reasons to Create Maps for Your Stories
By Guest Lori MacLaughlin

Let me just say right up front that I love maps! It's the first thing I look for when I open a fantasy novel. Here are 5 reasons why I create maps for my books:

  1. As a writer, maps help me plot my characters' paths as they progress through the story. I'm a visual person, so having a map helps me visualize the scenes. It solidifies my story and makes it more real to me.
  2. With maps, I can measure distances between places, so I know how long it should take my characters to get from one place to another. This is particularly important when my POV characters aren't together, which happens a lot.
  3. As a reader, I want to immerse myself in the characters' world, and maps allow me to get a feel for what that world is like before I jump into the story.
  4. When you include maps, readers can see and be impressed by the tremendous amount of thought you've put into developing your fictional world.
  5. Maps are so much fun to draw! They don't have to be incredibly detailed. Simple line maps work just as well.

A map by Lori for Trouble By Any Other Name

Do you create maps for your stories?

Here are a couple of map-related sites that I find interesting:

Thanks so much for having me over, Tyrean!!

And, thank you for stopping by, Lori!!!

Lori L. MacLaughlin is a fantasy author who just published her second book, Trouble By Any Other Name, the sequel to her first book, Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble.

You can find her here:

Tara Triannon is no stranger to trouble. She's yet to find an enemy her skill with a sword couldn't dispatch. But how can she fight one that attacks through her dreams?

With her nightmares worsening, Tara seeks answers but finds only more questions. Then her sister, Laraina, reveals a stunning secret that forces Tara to go to the one place Tara's sworn never to return to. Her troubles multiply when Jovan Trevillion, the secretive soldier of fortune who stole her heart, is mentally tortured by an ancient Being intent on bending him to its will. And worst of all, the Butcher — the terrifying wolf-like assassin she thought she'd killed — survived their duel and is hunting her again.

Hounded by enemies, Tara sets out on a harrowing quest to discover the true nature of who she is, to come to grips with the new volatility of her magic, and to defeat the evil locked in a centuries-old trap that will stop at nothing to control her magic and escape through her nightmares.

Buy Links:

Lori L. MacLaughlin traces her love of fantasy adventure to Tolkien and Terry Brooks, finding The Lord of the Rings and The Sword of Shannara particularly inspirational. She's been writing stories in her head since she was old enough to run wild through the forests on the farm on which she grew up.

She has been many things over the years – tree climber, dairy farmer, clothing salesperson, kids' shoe fitter, retail manager, medical transcriptionist, journalist, private pilot, traveler, wife and mother, Red Sox and New York Giants fan, muscle car enthusiast and NASCAR fan, and a lover of all things Scottish and Irish.

When she's not writing (or working), she can be found curled up somewhere dreaming up more story ideas, taking long walks in the countryside, or spending time with her kids. She lives with her family in northern Vermont.

Social Media Links:

Friday, May 20, 2016

Five Reasons to Write About Friendship by Miss Jack Lewis Baillot and Brothers-In-Arms

    Please welcome Miss Jack Lewis Baillot! (Comments in italics are mine.)

    Five Reasons to Write about Friendship!
    By Miss Jack Lewis Baillot

    I have to be honest, this post took me a long time to write. I couldn't seem to come up with the right ideas for it, (writing about five reasons why it is a good idea to write about friendships.) I tried and tried but kept getting stuck on only one point. Therefore, since I couldn't move past it I decided to write about my one reason. So here I am, guest posting on Tyrean's blog, with a post which took me about a month to figure out.

    It's awesome, Jack!!! I believe you have five reasons inside your one reason, so I just put them in bold. I hope that's okay. :) (comment by Tyrean)

    Friendships are important

    The more I read or watch things the more I realize how often friendships are overlooked, or how often friendships in stories are forced to be made into something else.

    A lot of stories now tend to be romantic ones. I've even noticed this with series which start out with good friendship stories, but because of how some of the mindset is now, by the end it is turned into something else. (Example, I know of quite a few newer series were good friendships were ruined because the author threw in gay references.)

    I feel as if we live in a time when friendships and the importance of them are overlooked and undermined. There is a lot going on in our world right now, especially in America. I'm sure I don't have to go into details. Basically, a lot of the youth are being forced to question their friendships and if they might be something more. Because of issues happening the different kinds of love we can have for each other are blended together and now there is little difference between the love of friends and romantic love. If two friends love each other it is made to be something more.

    I have best friends, friends I rely on and who help me through the hard times in my life. Friends I love dearly. I feel no romantic love for either friend, but another special love. They are like sisters and we share a close bond.

    I believe friendships are important to not only youth but also adults.
    If someone is blessed with the love of a spouse or boyfriend/ girlfriend I don't mean to sound as if I undermine that love. It is special and wonderful. But through my own struggles and life I have come to realize just how invaluable true friends are. And I feel as if it is now made to be viewed as more important if one has romance in their lives. It seems as if fewer and fewer even understand what a friendship is. It is assumed now that if two people are close and share any kind of special bond they must share romantic feelings for each other.

    The more I read, the more TV shows or movies I watch, the more I want to show everyone just what it means to have a friend and to be a friend. I know without my best friends I would not be where I am at right now, which is a good place. And maybe if everyone looks hard enough in their lives they can find the same kind of blessing as I have.

    Never ever overlook or forget the importance of a friend.    
    Can a Jew and a Nazi survive Hitler's Germany?

    Franz Kappel and Japhet Buchanan never expected their friendship to be tested by the Third Reich. Friends from early childhood, the boys form an inseparable, brotherly bond. Growing up in a little German village, they escape most of the struggles of war until the day Japhet is banished from school for being a Jew, and later has a rib broken when other village boys beat him up. Franz learns he is putting himself in danger for spending so much time with Japhet but continues to stand up for his Jewish friend even at the risk to himself. Then one day their lives are shattered when they see first-hand that the price of being a Jew is dangerously high. 

    With the war now on their doorsteps, Franz and Japhet come up with a desperate plan to save their families and get them out of Germany alive. Leaving behind the lives they've always known, they move into Berlin with nothing to protect them but forged papers and each other. Convinced their friendship can keep them going, the boys try and make a new life for themselves while trying to keep their true identities and Japhet's heritage a secret. Taking his best friend's safety upon himself, Franz joins the Nazis in an attempt to get valuable information. At the same time, Japhet joins the Jewish Resistance, neither friend telling the other of their new occupations.

    With everyone in their world telling them a Nazi and a Jew can't be friends, it is only a matter of time before they believe all the lies themselves, until neither is certain if they are fighting against a race of people or fighting for their homeland. Somehow they have to survive the horrors of World War II, even when all of Germany seems to be against them.

    Author Bio
    Jack is one of those strange people who calls herself an Author. She spends a lot of her time writing and even less time editing. She likes to write about friendships which is partly how Brothers-in-Arms came to be. More than ten years in the making, this is the book she dreaded the most writing, but which also has the most meaning for her.
    When Jack isn't writing, which doesn't happen too often, she keeps busy with various other hobbies – such as reading, playing the bagpipes to the dread of her neighbors, and drinking tea – which might not be considered a hobby by most but which should be.
    She lives in a cabin in the woods with her dog and a library which isn't quite equal to Prince Adam's but will be given enough time and a secret doorway.

    Contact Info

    And, although I do want this post to be mainly all about Jack and friendship, I just wanted to mention that there's been some great canoe and kayak regattas this week with the ParaCanoe World Championships in Germany and the PanAmerican Regatta in Gainesville, GA (still going on through Saturday). Three athletes from my hometown are representing Team USA at those events. 
    Here's a pic of Ziggy Norberg (Danzig Norberg) racing into the lead in his semi-final in Germany:

    The PanAmerican Regatta doesn't appear to have a video system working, but I know that one athlete from our team took 5th place in the Junior C1 1000m final with a 4:09 time. 
    One more of my daughters' teammates will race on Saturday. 
    So, it's been an exciting week to cheer on friends!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Tara Tyler with 5 Reasons to Write with Talk-to-Text

Please welcome guest Tara Tyler for Top 5 Reasons to Write with Talk-toText


I am dictating this entire post on my phone. when I first saw/heard someone talking to their phone I thought they were absurd. how silly for someone to talk text messages into their phone. but since I am a terrible Texter, not nearly fast enough for my tech savvy family, I gave it a try. now I love it. So here are my top five reasons for talk to text...
  1. it's quick and easy.
  2. I can send myself a note about a change in schedule or something I need at the store or a new story idea.
  3. I can leave a more detailed text.
  4. it can be funny when it gets your words wrong - I guess that's good or bad but my youngest son and I have made a game out of it!
  5. my family also hates it, so it's fun to annoy them.
thanks so much tiring (Tyrean, it has trouble with your unique name, just like my son Jace) for having me over at your place! these top five posts are a lot of fun!

Tara Tyler has had a hand in everything from waitressing to rocket engineering. After moving all over, she now writes and teaches math in Ohio with her three active boys and Coach Husband. Currently she has two series, Pop Travel (techno-thriller detective capers) and Broken Branch Falls (fantasy adventures). She's a commended blogger, contributed to several anthologies, and to get all these projects in, she economizes her time, aka the Lazy Housewife. Make every day an adventure!

Talk to me!
Author Blog ~~ @taratylertalks ~~ Facebook ~~ Housewives Blog

Thank you, Tara!!! I love your thoughts, and the text-messages. I totally get my name thing - one of my cousins has been calling me 'tiring' for years and years (since we were both seven). 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Misha Gerrick on Writing with Balance

Before this awesome post by Misha, I just wanted to thank everyone for their prayers and kind thoughts for my mom!!! She is out of the hospital now. She had pneumonia and a few other small issues, but she's been released to get back to "regular" activities. 
Of course, for my parents, "regular" activities are probably not what their doctors expect for a couple in their mid to late seventies. However, I'm not going to stop them from living life fully (and I don't think I could). 

Please welcome Misha Gerrick on her blog tour for Endless!


The thing about balance

When Tyrean first asked me to write about maintaining balance between life and writing, I winced. For the past few weeks I’ve been having more than my fair share of trouble with keeping all the balls in the air.

See to me, life isn’t a balancing act. It’s a lot like tightrope walking while juggling about ten balls. Or hey. Let’s up the pressure. Let’s say I’m tightrope walking while juggling knives.

Yeah. That makes more sense.

For the past couple of weeks, I can’t honestly say that I’ve been handling it well. Especially when it came to my day-job. It literally took over everything. And while I enjoy the challenge, I’m not a fan of twelve to sixteen hour work days.

Because, you know… it keeps me from writing.

I’m slowly getting back into a good place, though, so I thought I’d share what I’d been doing for the past few weeks.

1) I accepted that sometimes, life will defy all my attempts to control it.

Like my work situation. Sometimes, there will be days where I just can’t stick to regular office hours. The sooner I accept it, the less stressful it will be for me.

2) At the same time, sometimes one just needs to step back and realize that no, you don’t have to do something right now.

I think I wasted a lot of time because I kept hanging around at work past my office hours, for things that I could have done later.

So now I’ve ever-so-gently eased back again as far as possible.

3) I procrastinated.

*screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech!* What?

You heard me. I’ve been struggling with a lot of stress lately. It came to the point where I just couldn’t make myself hit my daily writing goals. So I took a few days and binge-watched series whenever I felt like it.

I’m glad I did too. It was just what I needed to recharge.

4) BUT I put a limit on it.

I picked two series and stopped binging as soon as they were done. I don’t want to turn it into a habit. It was important for me to rest, yes, but it was just as important to me to actually write again.

So in short, balance isn’t necessarily about getting everything done. It’s about knowing what is enough for a given situation, and not trying for more. Knowing when to relax is just as important.

What about you? Do you also find that keeping a balance between writing and life is much more stressful than just getting through either one or the other? How do you maintain the balance?

About the Book

First, do no harm.” Blake Ryan swore that oath to become a doctor. Ironic, given that he spent most of his thousand year life sucking souls out of other immortals. 

Things are different now. Using regular shots of morphine to keep his inner monster at bay, Ryan has led a quiet life since the Second World War. His thrills now come from saving lives, not taking them. 

Until a plane crash brings Aleria into his hospital. Her life is vibrant. Crack to predators like him. She’s the exact sort of person they would hunt, and thanks to a severe case of amnesia, she’s all but defenseless. 

Leaving Aleria vulnerable isn’t an option, but protecting her means unleashing his own inner monster. Which is a problem, because his inner monster wants her dead most of all.

About the Author

Misha Gerrick lives near Cape Town, South Africa, and can usually be found staring at her surroundings while figuring out her next book.

If you’d like to see what Misha’s up to at the moment, you can find her on these social networks:


This had to be what dying felt like. Floating outside my body, waiting for that final link to my life to be severed, only vaguely aware of indescribable pain. More screams than I could count rose up around me. Hundreds of footsteps beat against tiles. I couldn’t open my eyes if I wanted to. Not when it was easier to listen and wait. People shouted for a doctor or an IV, or a thousand other things that made no sense. I listened to all the chaos, trying to untangle it in my thoughts.

Soon, I could go. The peace around me was so relaxing, completely out of place in the clamor I heard. I wanted it. To rest forever in that peace. Why not? There was a very good reason, but I couldn’t call it to mind.

A numb buzz shot through my body and shattered my serenity.

It happened again. Only this time was more of a sharp pulse. The third time jolted like lightning. The fourth…Hell. Suddenly, the screams were coming from me. My heart’s relentless thundering added to my torment.



My chest burned like fire. It hurt to breathe. Cold air drove down my throat and into my lungs, amplifying the inferno in my chest. My skin felt scorched. It couldn’t be. It wasn’t right.

I had to see. I had to understand why pain dominated my existence like this. My eyes were fused shut. My breaths grew shallow, trying to draw air when there was none. I tried to clench my teeth. I bit hard plastic. A pipe. Cold air suddenly forced back into my lungs, out of time with my own breathing. This was wrong. It wasn’t safe. I had to see. The best I got was a little fluttering of my lashes.

A high-pitched beep shot through my head. It repeated again and again. I wanted to reach over and slam my fist into its source. My arm wouldn’t lift. Something kept it trapped. A scream rose up from the depths of my soul, but the pipe jammed inside my throat stifled the sound. I only managed a whimper, trying my best not to gag. More air blasted into my lungs against my will. What was going on? I was trapped in my own body, but why?

I needed to move. I had to move. Now. Before… Even… Even though… Panic gripped me. The beeps increased at a frenetic pace. I needed to move. To be gone. Didn’t matter where. Just not here. Not defenseless. Not trapped.

The air sucked out of my lungs. I gasped, choking on nothing, strangled by invisible fingers. I tried to convulse my body. To twist myself free of what’s holding me.


The air rushed back in a cold flood. Seconds later it left, only to return in the same amount of time.

There was a rhythm to the air. In… out... in… out… The breaths were slow—sleep-like. I concentrated on this rhythm, striving to clear my head. If I wanted out, I needed to think. Calmly. Clearly. Eventually, those irritating beeps slowed. I tried to focus past the sound.

Voices buzzed about me, adding to my need to see, to do something to protect myself. No one seemed to pay attention to me. Good. I could use that to my advantage. 

I centered my every thought on moving my little finger. It finally jerked, but collided against something solid. So the thing trapping my arm was physical and too heavy for me to lift. It was better to be trapped than paralyzed. With luck I could escape my restraints. I tried my other hand, but it was cemented stuck as well. Right leg. Left leg. Damn it! Both trapped. I had to move!


No, I needed to stay calm. I tried to make larger movements, biting the pipe in my mouth against the urge to scream in pain. There was no wiggle room.

Fearing that I might be blindfolded, I focused on blinking. It worked. My eyes opened and the blur faded, revealing ceiling tiles. Why would there be tiles? Where was the canvas of hospital tents? The distant sounds of bombs dropping? The power of their explosions rushing through my blood?

No. That wasn’t right. I wasn’t there.

Where was I, then?