Monday, August 23, 2021

Summer 2021 Wrap-Up and "Ask"

 Summer 2021 has been a summer of "Big Deal" kind of days.

1. My older daughter officially graduated from Montana State University with a degree in Chemical Engineering. In addition to her academic work, she created proposals and did undergraduate research, traveled to several countries, presented her research at a national event, participated in clubs, volunteered at a women's shelter for victims of human trafficking, became a student body senator, learned out to ice climb, and prepared an avalanche training course on campus. 

She's the one with the decorated cap sitting in the row closest to the stands. One of her friends is sitting in front of her and her friend has blonde hair.

2. My husband and I traveled to Wisconsin with his sisters and his parents to celebrate the life of his aunt Marianne at a memorial service. We saw the old homestead and were welcomed to look around by the current owner, visited places their great-grandfather had built, and had some fun recreating old pictures of places they visited as kids. 

On the beach with John and his sisters.

Recreating the "in trouble" photo outside the same store where they got in trouble in Sturgeon Bay, WI. Apparently, their cousins knocked the head off of a store mannequin, and they were all sent out to sit on the sidewalk to wait for their moms.

At the family homestead with cousins.

A tower their great-grandfather helped build.

3. My younger daughter turned 20, completed her first half marathon, hiked a "fourteener" in Colorado, worked at a YMCA camp this summer, and participated in a Navigators' Christian study program. She's back at school at Washington State University already and is started her fall semester today for Civil Engineering.

This is my daughter at age nine months. See below to see what she looks like now.

4. My husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary with our daughters during a five-day vacation to the San Juan Islands (a few hours away from us in Washington state), but we're actually planning a "just us" celebration in September. It was our only week to hang out together as a family for more than a day or two in several months and we tried to make the most of it by hiking, bicycling, kayaking, and seeing the sights.

My husband, my older daughter, my younger daughter, and me at Deception Pass State Park, Washington.

My family on the tower at Mt. Constitution on Orcas Island, Washington.
It's not a tall mountain as mountains go, but it's the highest point in the San Juan Islands.

In the prayer "maze" on Orcas Island. We were respectful, and then we goofed off joyously. I was surprised we all stayed on the paths for the whole reflection filled walk. Half of our family photos when our daughters were young included my husband taking them "off the trail" to see something.

Leaving Friday Harbor, San Juan Island on the last ferry ride back to the mainland.

5. I celebrated my 50th birthday quietly. I painted a ceramic dragon at a local art shop, went to my favorite small bookstore in town, read the afternoon away, and had some quiet reflection on life, past, present, and hopeful future. I wrote down 50 things I am thankful for and praised God for all the abundant blessings in my life, including my writing. 

Other things have happened too, some good, some challenging. Always, I have my writing, I have friends and family, and I have faith in God. As my father-in-law recently said to me when he was diagnosed with COVID (after vaccination, and after other challenging health issues), "It is good to dwell in the truth of Romans 8:28: 'And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.'"

Every "Big Deal" moment in my list came during/after challenges, heartbreaks, worries, risks, troubles, and frustrations. I just keep taking step after step into each day, trusting God to help with the details and the outcome.

As you may know, I have two book projects working their way into the world. 

Dark Blade: Forged is a Kindle Vella Series based in the world of The Champion Trilogy. The first three episodes are free. Please give them a read and see what you think.

Nexus is coming in October. The Pre-Order Link for Kindle is HERE

I need ARC readers and more help with a moveable book blog party. See this form to sign up or message me for more information at my email tyreantigger (at) gmail (dot) com

Dark Blade: Forged LINK

Nexus Pre-Order LINK

Nexus Book Party LINK

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

August IWSG

OPTIONAL QUESTION FOR AUGUST: What is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time your read it you learn something or you are inspired to write or try the new technique. 

This is a tough one. I have favorites upon favorites.

The Books I pull off the shelf the most often to use are:

Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need by Blake Snyder
And Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

I also really like: 
On Writing by Stephen King for both the memoir and the advice, even if I break his rules pretty often.

Chapter after Chapter by Heather Sellers is a good writing life book.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert was a really good life-writing balance read. I really appreciated her authenticity. 

Creating Character Arcs by K.M. Wielend

Steal Like an Artist : 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon - Despite the title, this book is NOT about plagiarism. 

Steering the Craft: A 21st Century Guide to Sealing the Sea of Story by Ursula K. LeGuin has excellent exercises.

A Writer's Book of Days by Judy Reeves has great writing prompts and bits of motivation.

Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life - an anthology of advice from writers who loved Snoopy's writing efforts.

How to Publish & Promote Your Book Now by L. Diane Wolfe

Writing Secrets of the World's Most Prolific Authors by Sean McLachlan

Other books I like: 
Conflict & Suspense by James Scott Bell

Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink by Gail Carson Levine

Seize the Day: A Handbook for Teens Who Like to Write by Victoria Hanley

Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter

Kids Write! by Michael Olien - a fun book for elementary through middle grade writers.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lammot

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

The Elements of Style by Strunk & White

Eats Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

Grammar Girl Presents The Ultimate Writing Guide for Students by Mignon Fogarty - I use this book with all of my HS and MS writing students and students I tutor.

Writing with Emotion, Tension, & Conflict by Cheryl St. John

Craft books I am currently reading or rereading:
Turning Life Into Fiction by Robin Hemley - I read this 25 years ago, so it's a reread.

The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogel - I read this about 20 years ago, so again, a reread. It utilizes Joseph Campbell's work and puts into a format for writers to follow the hero's journey.

Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff Vandemeer with several articles by various authors. - a new and current read

And there are more books than these that I've read, but these are the ones which were closest to me when I wrote this post, and ones I wanted to mention. 


This contest ends soon, and we need more HEA SWEET ROMANCE STORIES!

Word count: 5000-6000

Genre: Sweet Romance
Overall, your story should be clean of offensive material, including profanity, vulgarity, excessive violence, or sexually explicit or suggestive scenes.
Elements in your story should focus on romance, not on sex, which should be kept “behind closed doors.”
The overall plot should lead to a positive and uplifting outcome, also known as "happily ever after."
Absolutely no erotica or pornography.
And please note RWA's definition of romance:
Definition: Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending. A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel. An Emotionally Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.

Theme: First Love


News for me:

Amaya is supposed to bring peace to the galaxy. Which is tough when she’s being held for crimes against the Neutral Zone. Her imprisonment is on her own ship with her own crew. But close quarters create tension.

Honestly, her role as Rayatana is a mess.

She may never get to use her powers for anything good. Not if her teacher continues to keep secrets, and not if her powers keep harming others. Putting her mother in a coma should put her in prison, but she has a mission. She wants to bring peace to her people. She needs to become the Rayatana.

Nexus is YA Science Fiction and Action Adventure with a hint of Romance.

And, Dark Blade: Forged is dropping episodes every week or two for Kindle Vella Readers. The first three episodes are free HERE.

Dan Torren enters the Watch Guard for training, hoping to break away from his father's expectations. Instead of freedom from politics, he gets saddled with Prince Alex who blames Dan for his "punishment." With recruits from all over Aramatir, the Watch Guard has its own troubles, especially after Dan is claimed by the Dark Blade, an artifact and sword of power unlike any other in the history of Aramatir. Readers may recognize Dan as Dantor from The Champion Trilogy.

I've also dipped into writing books. They are:
A Pocket-Sized Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts received an upgrade, and may be a bit beyond pocket-sized, but I think it's a decent addition into the writing prompt book genre. You can find it HERE.

5...4...3...2...1...Write! 25 Speculative Fiction Writing Prompts is tiny, but packed with different starts for speculative fiction writers. It can be found HERE.

What's your favorite writing book? Have you written one?
Any news for you? Are you submitting an HEA story to the IWSG Romance Anthology?