Friday, June 24, 2016

Elizabeth Seckman and Do You Have Goals Combo

Please welcome Elizabeth Seckman with her
5 Reasons to Write Romance!
My Goals Update is Near the End

Five Reasons to Write Romance:
1. Reality Avoidance -  The cable bill is wrong—again. The dog peed on the floor—again. And every single time someone opens the refrigerator door, the milk disappears. Life can just be so unexciting sometimes. It’s wonderful to write worlds where life’s little nuisances disappear by magic.
2. Study Fiction, Learn Facts. Reading romances and watching romantic movies, I learned a few things— Stubborn behavior without proper motivation is annoying. Lies always, always come back to bite you in the rear. And holding some things back heightens the mystery.
3. It’s Life. The quest for satisfying relationships is a basic need. Romantic tales take that portion of our reality and put it under a microscope. True love may not be the end all, be all, but choose wisely for smooth sailing. Choose unwisely and it’s a rocky road.
4. Be a Believer. Sure, the worlds may be fictitious with their unstained furniture and rock hard abs, but love is the one universal truth. No matter who, where, or when…people have the capacity to love.
5. Happy Endings. Life can be full of dark times and sadness. It’s good to write a genre that not only encourages, but expects a happy ending. It’s a small reminder that there are bad times, but there are good times too. 

Elizabeth Seckman, Author  
           The Books

Elizabeth's Latest Novel is Out!

He came looking for a ghost. Instead, he found a girl. 

Tucker Boone is a war-hardened Marine on a ghost hunt. Fresh out of the corps, Tucker learns he has a missing half-sister, Maddy. The only clue to her whereabouts is a cryptic note…I’ve gone Mad, Mags. Tucker agrees to search for her and heads to Ocracoke, North Carolina where a ghost named Mad Mags is said to haunt the ancient graveyards dotting the island. 

The note doesn’t bring him any closer to finding Maddy, but it does offer him a diversion to the doldrums of civilian life— his new island neighbor, Josie McCoy. Tucker is drawn to her quiet spirit. There’s something special about Josie…a connection he can’t quite explain. 

By summer’s end, he’s mixed up in deception, murder, and the love of a lifetime. Logic tells him to head home and forget the truths he found on the island. But can he walk away? Josie offers him more than love; she offers him hope. When the clues pile up and it looks like she can never be the girl for him, he has to make a choice- play it safe and break her heart, or risk everything for a chance at being swept away.

I love Elizabeth's thoughts on the capacity to love!

And now, I must give my goals update. I have to admit, it's hard this month. I added "mom-brag" pictures at the end for a bigger positive. 

Miles Walked: 30
Miles Biked: 5 (so few)
Words Written: 15,300
Note on Words Written: So much backstory, world-building, note-taking, and other messy stuff, that it feels like I haven't written anything at all.
Good News (There's always some): I had four poems published, and I have a short story coming out on July 1st. 
Family News: It's canoe and kayak season with regattas every month. We actually can't make all of the regattas, but we made two in June and are headed to Nationals in August. One daughter chipped bone off of her foot playing capture the flag, missed her dance recital, and is supposed to "rest" although she's still attempting to lift weights, do core, and canoe carefully (she's in a lunge position for sprinting); and my other daughter is kayaking and lifting weights 4-6 hours a day. It's all pretty intense, but I love my family dearly so we are just living life intensely together, and I'm forcing everyone to rest now and then. 

My oldest canoeing before her foot injury.

My oldest dancing (center) before her foot injury.

My youngest cooling down after a race.

The coach and my youngest daughter, walking to the dock at a race.

Our team requires athletes to carry their own boats and it's something the kids take pride in being able to do - however, these kayaks and canoes are sprint-style so they are usually between 11kg and 17kg in weight, and very narrow. They are awkward, but not especially heavy to carry.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Madeline Mora-Summonte with 5 FLASH Reasons to Write Flash Fiction

Please welcome Madeline Mora-Summonte with a 
FLASH 5 Reasons to Write Flash Fiction!


Fun! – How about crafting 25 word stories based on the names of nailpolish colors? Or creating 100 word stories with a one word only title based on themes like green and underground?

Limits! – Sure, limits are restricting but they often force us to think inside the box. Sometimes it takes more imagination to work with what you have, to work within the rules. It's thinking outside the box while staying inside it!

Across genres! – I've written flash in genres ranging from literary to horror to surreal. It's a wonderful way to stretch that creative muscle without committing to a full-blown novel-thon.

Space! – You can't spell everything out in flash fiction; there just isn't room. But it's within those spaces, between what is said and what isn't, that powerful moments – a subtle twist, some lovely nuance – reside. Readers become collaborators as they bring more of themselves to the story.

Hard! – Many people think it's easy to "knock off" a 25 word or a 500 word story. Writing good flash fiction is fun, but it's harder than it looks. Sure, this can be considered a negative, but I like to think of it as a challenge. So, how about you? Are you up for it?

BIO: Madeline Mora-Summonte is a writer, a reader, a beach-comber, and a tortoise-owner. She is the author of the flash fiction collections The People We Used to Be and Garden of Lost Souls.

Notes from Tyrean: if you haven't read Madeline's work, I highly recommend both of her books and any/all of the short fiction she has published in various e-zines. She knows how to pack meaning into tiny stories that will amaze, entertain, or haunt you with their realistic world-building and characters.

And, I just discovered another author has a new book out, so I just want to give a super short shout-out for Annalisa Crawford and her new book: You. I. Us.

Plus, I had four poems published in The Skinny Poetry Journal last week (free to read online).

And, the awesome Tara Tyler hosted me for a post on being an Author Branding Rebel! Please come visit.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Milo James Fowler's 5 Reasons to Write Short Stories

Please welcome speculative fictioneer Milo James Fowler with his
 5 Reasons to Write Short Stories!

It's the writer's dream: snag an agent, sign a book deal with a big publishing house, see our work on the shelf at the airport bookstore. But writing novels takes time. And revisediting them takes a whole lot more. We need something along the way to boost our creative energy and remind us why we started writing those 300-page tomes in the first place: to share our work with readers.

For the past six years, I've been writing and submitting short stories for publication. No agent is necessary, you can build your audience and compile publication credits, and you'll get paid for your work. Some novelists think they can't do short fiction, that their stories are too big. But some of my favorite authors have done it well: Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, China Mieville, and Alastair Reynolds. If they can, so can we.

Here are 5 good reasons why you should write short stories:

1.      1.  There are so many short fiction venues available now: magazines, anthologies, online zines, and eReader publications. Check out The Submission Grinder and find the right publication for your style and genre.

2.       2. Writing and selling short stories is an excellent way to build a portfolio of your published work and compile publication credits, proving your work is publishable. Once the rights revert to you, the stories can be republished elsewhere as reprints, expanding your audience even further.

3.       3. Pay varies widely from token to pro, but there are other benefits, such as exposure. Having your story published alongside a well-known author in a themed anthology will introduce new readers to your work. And pro-level sales will lead to qualifying membership in professional writers' associations.

4.       4. Writing short stories forces us to use our words wisely, to be clear and concise, to focus on conflict and tension, and to be constantly aware of the story arc. Writing a short story with a specific word count ensures that we make every word count.

5.       5. Perhaps the greatest benefit to writing short fiction is the ability to develop characters from your novels, giving readers some insight into their backstory—or creating characters that will someday appear in novels of their own. A few years ago, I wrote 7 stories about Captain Bartholomew Quasar, sold 6 of them to various publications, and then had a publisher approach me about writing a novel-length adventure. I've sold other tales with recurring characters—Coyote Cal & Big Yap (weird westerns), Mercer the Soul Smuggler (urban fantasy), Charlie Madison, Private Investigator (future noir)—and it's been a blast to learn more about them and their respective worlds with every story I write.

This is a great time to be a writer. Don't pigeonhole yourself. Branch out, stretch those wings, and see what you can do.
Write on,

Note from Tyrean: I highly recommend Milo's fiction! His characters are compelling and his plots have roller coaster twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat. My favorite character happens to be Charlie Madison, P.I. (his series starts with Girl of Great Price), but I also enjoy all of Milo's other characters, too. 

In addition to Milo's awesome books, I also want to briefly give a shout-out to Laurel Garver for her newest book, Almost There, a poignant tale of love, grief, art, mistakes, and grace. Beautiful writing. Laurel will guest post in August.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

IWSG Summer and Sean MacLachlan's 5 Reasons to Write Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer.

"Summer turns me upside down.
Oh, summer, summer, summer - it's like a merry go round."
-The Cars, "Magic"

It's summer. Everything is upside down. Schedules change. The weather is amazing. And, my main jobs are: yardwork and writing - with a little tutoring thrown in to keep me honest.

My happiness is also my insecurity: summer is so awesome that I want to wake with the dawn and sleep only when it's dark. I want to live every moment to the fullest. And, I want to write - somehow.

This summer, I'm hoping to write something so different than "normal" for me that it fits into the upside-down-ness of my schedule. Maybe, I'll even try something Post-Apocalyptic? Sean MacLachlan gives five good reasons to write it.

Five Reasons to Write Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
By Sean McLachlan

Hi! I’m Sean McLachlan, author of the Toxic World series of post-apocalyptic books. I’m here to tell my fellow writers why writing about miserable people in a radioactive, poisonous wasteland can be uplifting and fun. Here are five reasons to destroy the world in your novels and dance upon the ruins.

Destroying Civilization Makes You Feel Good!
Had a bad day? Get caught in a traffic jam while hurrying to a meeting? Did your boss scream at you in front of your coworkers? Get food poisoning at your local fast food restaurant? Did your upstairs neighbor let her dog poop in the foyer and then leave for work without cleaning it up?
Well, now you can have your revenge. Why settle for wiping these people out when you can wipe out the entire society that spawned them? You’ll never have to deal with them again!
And yeah, my upstairs neighbor actually did that. She was evicted.

You Don’t Have to Write About Zombies!
I’m sick of the zombie thing. Like really, really sick. Sicker than when I saw what my upstairs neighbor did. Luckily not all post-apocalyptic novels need to have zombies. Mine don’t. Well, they do have the tweakers, who are crazy, violent addicts who sniff chemicals from the Old Times. They’re kinda close to zombies, being mindless cannibals, but they’re not dead yet. Sad to say, I based the tweakers on the glue sniffers in Tangier, where I regularly go for writing retreats. Other than the cannibalism, I didn’t have to exaggerate them much.

You Get to Tackle Real-World Issues!
War, greed, overpopulation, nuclear holocaust, climate change, you name it! All those hot button issues that trouble us in the real world can make your writing more relevant. My books focus a lot on environmental degradation. In the United States, it’s become trendy to argue about whether humanity is affecting the environment or not. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything to argue about, but I think we can all agree that pumping toxins into our air and water supply at an ever-increasing rate is a really, really bad idea.

You Can Really Get Your Readers Angry!
In my books, one stop on the road to ruin was the Biowars. When the various factions found they couldn’t destroy each other with conventional weapons and the occasional nuke, they turned to biological weapons. Some of these manmade diseases targeted farm animals, but they mutated to affect other animals too. I’ve had readers send me angry emails about the fact that I made horses and dogs go extinct. I’ve never had a reader complain that I killed off 90% of the human population. Not sure what that says about my readers.

Bounce the Rubble!
Why stop with only one apocalypse? Heck, humans are dumb and we’ll make the same mistakes over and over again! Probably the best rubble-bouncing book I’ve ever read is the overlooked classic Out of the Mouth of the Dragon by Mark Geston. Massive armies clash to bring on Armageddon, but a few people survive, only to build up their populations and armaments to try again. If at first you don’t succeed…

Sean McLachlan hasn’t quite figured out how to destroy the Internet yet, but he’s working on it. Feel free to visit him at his blog, Goodreads, and Amazon.

In a world shattered by war, pollution and disease. . . 
A gunslinging mother longs to find a safe refuge for her son. 
A frustrated revolutionary delivers water to villagers living on a toxic waste dump. 
The assistant mayor of humanity's last city hopes he will never have to take command. 
One thing gives them the promise of a better future--Radio Hope, a mysterious station that broadcasts vital information about surviving in a blighted world. But when a mad prophet and his army of fanatics march out of the wildlands on a crusade to purify the land with blood and fire, all three will find their lives intertwining, and changing forever.


Are you ready for summer? Do you have any "ironic" stories from your past involving summer?
And, have you written or read any post-apocalyptic fiction?

I highly recommend Sean's Radio Hope! I read it and loved it! It's gritty good. :) The loveable characters (can I say that about  post-apocalyptic fiction characters who shoot, fight, and bargain?), and the action-packed plot make it a great read. And, after I originally wrote this post, I went on to read more Toxic World books: Refuge from the Righteous Horde, Scavenger, and We had Flags. All continued to be fast-paced, exciting, and excellently written!

Last note (really): I've been adding some lists to listopia on goodreads, and I would love to see these lists added to by others, or get more votes for the books already listed. BTW, I didn't create lists for my own books, just other awesome authors' books. I would like some entries and votes for Urban Fairy Tales, and Best Future Noir Reads.