Tara Tyler's Blog: Tara Tyler Talks

January 19, 2015

So much going on, as usual.

Had an awesome time with Julie Flanders at the Bookfest at Icefest this weekend! Met some cool new authors and even sold a few books. Two funny stories. One - everyone thought I was so professional because of my banner, ha! And second, I had some plastic toy horns to give away to kids, and one little guy ran over and grabbed one, but Dad said no and put it back. This guy was determined, he kept grabbing it and hugging it. Later Julie kept cracking up about it - "You'll have to pry it from my cold, dead hand!" she said. So funny it was!

I'd love to hear about any conferences near you and meet you there if I can. Let's do this!

To add to my pretty fantastic weekend, my sons had great basketball games for me to watch - edge of my seat exciting!

And lastly, I'm happy to present the versatile C. Lee McKenzie. She's releasing another intense YA (already!) and brings us some insight on her writing process. So glad she stopped by!

Why I write what I do
I write contemporary, realistic YA because when I was a teen I could never finds characters in books that I could relate to. While young characters often floundered around, trying to sort out who they were and where they were going, they weren’t the main characters; they were not the ones driving the story. If they were, the stories were outdated. Little Women comes to mind. Those kids didn’t deal with the same issues I was dealing with and they didn’t talk like I did.

As for writing middle grade, I love to write fantasy adventure stories for that age. And these give me a break from my young adult topics of suicide, loss and abuse. I treat my middle grade stories as my sorbet.

How my writing process works
I get ideas from music, or a news articles or conversations. I often tuck these at the back of my head until I hear a character. They pretty much come full born, kind of like Venus from the froth. I see them, their voices are clear, and they can be downright bossy unless I start writing their story.

The most I do as far as planning is concerned is to write a sentence summary—never more than two sentences. That summary I put in the header, so it appears on each page. I tweak it as I go, or I tweak the story so it stays true to that summary. Then I write as long as the words come. When they stop, I take a break or print out and go outside to read what I’ve put down on the page. I don’t always do that right away. I often leave the day’s work alone until the next day.

One thing I’ve found helpful for starting again is to write a sentence or two that describes where I think the story should go next. Sometimes I even list things I want in the next scene or chapter. When I come back to the story, I have a place to start.

Short vs. Long
My shortest stuff is poetry, but I’m rather lousy at writing it, so I keep it private, unless it’s limericks or some doggerel for fun.

I love/hate writing short stories. They’re interesting challenges, and when I start one I’m always convinced I won’t be able to finish it.

I was kind of surprised when I checked out my list of books at Amazon [ http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0042M1KYW]  see just how many I’d actually completed for anthologies. And I just had another one accepted by Leap Books for their new collection, Down the Rabbit Hole. It will celebrate Alice In Wonderland’s 150th Birthday.

Writing for teens, I stay at around 60,000 words for a novel. That seems to be about right for my stories and for the teen market. Haven’t heard otherwise.

KINDLE PRINT EVERNIGHT TEENSUDDEN SECRETS by C. Lee McKenzie
one Secret Cleo has struggled to heal after her baby sister’s death, but the flashbacks to the accident won’t go away. With the move, she vows to keep her tragedy a secret and avoid pitying looks.
one MysterySomething’s strange about the abandoned house across the street—flashes of light late at night and small flickers of movement that only someone looking for them would see. Everyone says the house is deserted, but Cleo is sure it isn’t, and she’s sure whoever is inside is watching her.
another SecretIn one night, Belleza’s life changes forever. So famous, her only choice is to hide her secret from the world so she can silence small town bigotry. 
Then Cleo happens.
YOU CAN FIND C. LEE ON TWITTER AND FACEBOOK OR VISIT HER WEBSITE. SHE BLOGS AT THE WRITE GAME. See all of her book titles HERE.
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Published on January 19, 2015 03:30 • 8 views

January 6, 2015

Happy New Year, Insecure Writers Support Group!
Join us! Founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh
A new year is a time for a fresh start. It causes reflection on what has past and contemplation on what we can do to improve ourselves. I appreciate the thought of making resolutions - but I think they've become a trivial joke, empty, repetitive words without true intention behind them. I know I've wanted to lose weight for years now and I never seem to get that done! And when the holidays come around again, I'm disappointed in myself...

So here are my suggestions to take New Year's Resolutions to another level.

1. Be Shrewd - Evaluate your circumstances and prioritize. We are all in different places with many responsibilities. There's only so much we can do. If you can squeeze in some extra "you" time somewhere in your day - for working out or writing or whatever (maybe alternate days!) then that's awesome!

2. Be Definitive - Don't be vague with your goals. We all want to be in better shape, but saying, "I want to lose twenty pounds" isn't good enough. You need a strategy. Here are my "live healthier" goals for this year:
No snacks after 9pm (some people are taking the no junk food challenge for 21 days, more power to them!)Eat at least 3 fruits/vegetables each dayAt least one form of exercise each day (and I count housework - so win-win)Walk dog at least once a weekThat last one will be a real challenge. I do not like getting out in the cold. And I have so many other things I need to do. But we both need the exercise!

3. Be Flexible - You never know when someone will get injured, or sick, or lose a job, or lose a loved one, or have some life-changing event occur. These types of things take precedence and our resolutions become very insignificant in comparison. And that's okay. We can come back and re-evaluate them later. Take care of the important stuff first.

4. Be Positive - Focus on the things you accomplish, even if they aren't "on the list" - you did it! And if you need some support, use social media - we're listening and we're happy for you!

5. Be Content with yourself! Set reasonable goals and expectations. We all make mistakes, we all grow older, and we all have to keep going. This is me, take it or leave it!


And now, I have some more great insights for writers from Stephanie Faris! This guest post is part of her blog tour celebrating the release of 25 ROSES - a super fun middle grade book.

Should Writers Follow Trends…or Follow Our Hearts?By Stephanie Faris
In case the overabundance of dystopian films at theaters has you fooled, dystopia is out. So are vampires. But there is good news for John Green fans. Illness books are the thing.

For now, anyway.

Having been a fiction writer for almost half of my life, I’ve learned one important lesson: by the time something is a hit, it’s usually already too late. I was one of the authors, after all, who noticed the ghost-hunting craze in the mid-00s and crafted a revolutionary series about tween ghost hunters. Unfortunately, I watched as the book went from, “Great idea but not quite what we’re looking for” to, “We’ve published too many other books like this lately.”

In other words, the publishing process is as slow as molasses (as we say in the South). If you’re playing to a trend, chances are that trend will be dead by the time you land an agent and go through the submission process. It might even be dead by the time the manuscript makes its way through the U.S. postal system.

So what’s an author to do? The key is to predict what’s next. But that’s far easier said than done. In YA, obviously we’re going to see piles of books about terminal illnesses before the industry decides the market is now oversaturated. For children, novels-in-cartoons (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) see to have become a hit genre of their own, while bullying is among the most popular themes in children’s literature. And the dystopian trend has created a demand for tough-girl novels for young readers.

It seems the trends destined to burn out the quickest are those trends that become phenomenal successes. The Fault in Our Stars is a great example of that. Once hundreds of books hit the market, along with a half dozen or so hit movies, readers will begin to demand something different—just as they sought an alternative to the Hunger Games and Twilight takeovers of a few years ago.

When I first started writing, paranormal was fairly unpopular—especially vampire books (unless you were Anne Rice.) Interestingly, the authors I knew who insisted on writing paranormal books when editors and agents wouldn’t touched them were the same ones who thrived when the field suddenly took off. Why? They were ready, polished manuscript in hand, when agents and editors finally decided they were ready to see paranormal work.

Unless you’re psychic, though, you’ll never know what the next big trend will be. So pay attention to trends but stay true to your heart. And maybe keep that unwanted manuscript tucked safely away in case someday that genre suddenly takes off.

25 ROSES
by Stephanie Faris

Mia moves from the shadows to the spotlight when her matchmaking plans go awry in this contemporary M!X novel from the author of 30 Days of No Gossip.

Mia is used to feeling overlooked: her perfect older sister gets all the attention at home, and the popular clique at school are basically experts at ignoring her. So when it’s time for the annual Student Council chocolate rose sale, Mia is prepared to feel even worse. Because even though anyone can buy and send roses to their crushes and friends, the same (popular) people always end up with roses while everyone else gets left out.

Except a twist of fate puts Mia in charge of selling the roses this year—and that means things are going to change. With a little creativity, Mia makes sure the kids who usually leave empty-handed suddenly find themselves the object of someone’s affection. But her scheme starts to unravel when she realizes that being a secret matchmaker isn’t easy—and neither is being in the spotlight. 

Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

Stephanie is the author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, both with Aladdin M!x. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive.

Here are Stephanie's links and a fabulous giveaway!

Buy (Autographed) -- Buy (Amazon)Website -- Blog -- FacebookTwitter -- Instagram
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I love being able to help others by announcing their accomplishments! If you have a release or reveal this year, drop me an email and I'll see what I can do. I like to have an interesting post to go along with announcements, so keep that in mind!


HELP WANTED!

Lastly, CHRONOLOGY just came out! It's a compilation of fun and thrilling stories put out by Curiosity Quills. If anyone would like to read and review it, let me know in the comments. My contribution is The Comeback: A zombie love story - Death won't keep them apart!

Oh, and I just put out my latest newsletter with info on where I'll be and what I'm up to. I'm still deciding how I want to distribute it...


What's in the fryer for you? Did you have a nice holiday?Any resolutions?
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Published on January 06, 2015 23:30 • 4 views

December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas, et al. I have two gifts & a giveaway for you all!

First, I wanted to write you all a Christmas poem. It's not really about Christmas, but it's in there... so here you go!

Meet the Jones

To Mulberry Lane,
In Sycamore Square,
Moved a handsome new family
With skin oh, so fair.

Respected, adored,
Admired by many,
They had wealth to spare
And flaunted it plenty.

In the spring they threw parties,
They lit up the night,
A few lucky chosen
To stay until light.

In summer they vanished,
They left the harsh sun,
Facebooked from down under
To show off ski fun.

When weather turned cooler,
Guess who reappears,
In time for fall fests
And Halloween's spooky fears.

But as winter approached,
The neighborhood thinned.
Where's everyone gone?
Asked the lone, chilling wind.

The family laughed
So full and so jolly.
Christmas wishes were granted
By vain human folly.

When New Year arrives,
The Jones will be gone
To another quaint village,
Fresh blood to feed on.


The Second gift I have, is the lovely and talented, Sharon Bayliss! She has a fun, "You might be..." post to celebrate the coming of her next December People book, WATCH ME BURN!


Dark wizards living in the Mundane world have a lot of challenges. Here are some signs that you might be one of The December People...Your favorite football team really did lose because you forgot to wear your lucky socks.You have to move every year because your house keeps getting destroyed.You're on a first name basis with all of the nurses in your local ER.If all your kids are alive and safely inside your home, you think you're the greatest parent ever.You care way too much about the seasons.You're angry at J.K. Rowling for her unfair treatment of Slytherins.You celebrate Christmas either way too much or way too little.If you and your family members stand in a circle, the house might burn down.You have way too many children and they keep stealing your car.It's your fault that it's raining. Begin the series with Destruction for only 99 cents (12/1-12/21 only)! Semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Review Awards and #1 category bestseller in coming of age fantasy.
DESTRUCTION
David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything.

Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn't a choice.

Eleven years ago, David's secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without.

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David's wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.


WATCH ME BURN
David Vandergraff lost his home, his job, and contact with his oldest son, but remains determined to be a good husband and father despite being a dark winter wizard.

His resolve is tested when a flyer for a missing girl--who happens to be a summer witch--begins to haunt him. David believes a spell needs to use him to save her, so he follows the magic's command and looks into her disappearance. His teenage daughter Emmy resents him for caring so much about a random stranger. But when she uncovers some disturbing evidence close to home, she begins an investigation of her own.

David and Emmy quickly learn that the mystery is not only about a missing girl they barely know, but a deeply personal story that impacts everyone they care about. As their world crumbles, they fear the warning may be true—never mess with summer wizards, because the good guys always win.


ADD ON GOODREADS
PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON

And lastly, the GINORMOUS GIVEAWAY!
My good buddy, Andrew Buckley from Curiosity Quills put together a colossal Christmas giveaway . It's a chance to win one of 24 awesome books!
I'm helper elf, Twinkle Fluffenguff, offering POP TRAVEL and BROKEN BRANCH FALLS. Sharon, aka Giggles McJinglebell, has DESTRUCTION in it as well! Check it out!

MERRY CHRISTMASTO ALL!
AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
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Published on December 22, 2014 09:26 • 6 views

December 15, 2014

Christmas is creeping (hmm, I might have to make that into a song!) I'm mostly ready... I find as I get older, I have less people to buy for. Yippee! And even though I was going to take December off from book events, I asked around and lucky me, I got to do a book signing at Half Price Books. They were awesome! I gave out some cookies and sold some books, it was great! Just goes to show, never hesitate to ask. And to top the night off, I brought some more Broken Branch Falls cookies to my neighborhood cookie exchange and won most creative cookies! Yay!


Now for the main feature.
I've been friends with Carrie Anne for a long time, you might say we are historic! (Sorry)

Carrie Anne writes historical romance, and her word count often triples or even quadruples mine! It's amazing! She is knowledgeable, descriptive, and romantic. Her scenes are picturesque and informative. In her latest novel, she blends historic Russia with emotional characters. Sometimes it's hard to find an audience, and don't we all know! But I'm pulling for her! And with that, I'll let her give you a fascinating "Behind the Book" post!


Sometime during my first major writing phase, I decided to have Lyuba fall in love with Ivan, her other best friend and the guy who’s stepped up to help to raise her daughter Tatyana after Boris abandoned her right before she went into labor.  Their latest romantic reunion in Chapter 7, “Lyuba’s Time of Troubles,” was originally written as the very first time they’d kissed or Lyuba had declared her romantic feelings.  Then I stumbled onto the idea of Lyuba having secretly been in love with Ivan since childhood.  Ivan no longer had an unrequited case of love for her.  During the second major phase of writing, I came up with the plot point of them having had a month-long clandestine romance which had ended right before the book started.

Lyuba and Ivan both became survivors of traumatic childhoods, with different types of abuse.  This did a lot to explain some of the behavior which hadn’t had any motivation or context, like Ivan’s volatile temper and why Lyuba doesn’t want to get married or have children.  They’re two wounded, scarred souls who instinctively understand one another.  They don’t know how to be normal, even though they know what normal is supposed to look like.  Their whole lives, abnormal has been normal, and Lyuba in particular doesn’t know how to make normal happen for herself.  She’s too used to being hurt and abused by men, and is scared of the thought of being forever with a nice guy who treats her with love and respect.

Lyuba’s former preference for Boris became a pretended preference, and I created the backstory about her mother having drilled into her the importance of marrying a man who can offer financial security and social status, even if he might be abusive or uncouth.  Over time, Boris became more and more of an antagonist, a far cry from the pretty decent guy he’d originally been written as.  Because of Lyuba’s psychological baggage, she lets their charade relationship continue and later goes back to him a number of times.  But all along, Ivan is always the only man in her heart.  She reminds me a lot of Scarlett O’Hara and Amber St. Clare.  They might appear bad on the surface, but when you take a deeper look, you understand what drives them and feel sympathy.

It was beautiful Divine Providence that I gave my female protagonist the name Amy, since the Russian equivalent is Lyubov, which literally means “love.”  It’s such a perfect, fitting name for a character who’s in desperate search of love and its healing power.  I also love the wordplay it creates in Russian when Ivan calls her “my love.”  Not only is she his love, but she’s also his Lyubov.

Had I been older than thirteen when I started the book all those years ago, I would’ve given my male protagonist anything but the most common male name in Russian history, but it really suits who he is.  He’s old-fashioned, solid, dependable, hard-working, with a quintessentially Russian soul. There’s also the frequent symbolic contrast between Ivan II, the Meek, and Tsar Ivan IV, Grozniy.  He was named for Tsar Ivan III, the Great (the first Russian ruler to call himself Tsar), yet he too often is either too meek or lets his volatile temper get the better of him, thanks to his traumatic childhood.


Available now at Amazon!
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Published on December 15, 2014 03:30 • 4 views

December 8, 2014

the US cover =)Today I have Robin Houghton, applauded author and compiler of BLOGGING FOR WRITERS and BLOGGING FOR CREATIVES. In other words, she knows blogging! I was flabberghasted when she asked if she could use me in her book. And now, I'd like to share some more with you all about her and I twisted her ear to get some "free" advice, too...

TT: Now that I'm published, I have less and less time to blog, but I keep at it. How do you balance blogging and publishing with day-to-day life?

RH: I find planning ahead really helps to focus me and keeps me from feeling overwhelmed. This means having an editorial calendar and being realistic about what I can manage. If time is tight, I keep it short – short can be good – I love Seth Godin’s blog, and if he can find the time to blog every day, there’s no excuse for me not managing once a week!  I don’t always stick to the plan, but I think it’s important to stay flexible – my feeling is that life gets in the way and there’s no point beating up on yourself if you’ve missed a blog post.

TT: I've found marketing to be one of the hardest things about publishing. What is your best marketing advice?

RH: Ooh, that’s a big one! I think we can all debate the merits of the various marketing strategies and whether social media, speaking at conferences or mailshots work for selling books. But I think the one crucial essence of marketing is putting yourself in the shoes (and mindset) of your audience. For writers this means first of all your readers, but it also means the publishing industry – everyone from publishers, agents & editors to booksellers and books bloggers. Understanding a person’s viewpoint is the first step towards connecting with them. Dan Blank is someone I admire a lot, and he talks about building your author platform one reader at a time. I think social media makes this possible in a way that traditional broadcast methods alone can’t do.

TT: Blogging has been an awesome tool as a launching pad into writing for me. Now, I'm branching out. How do you feel about managing a website? or a newsletter? Would you recommend these additional formats for writers?

RH: I think if you start with a blog, then a separate website may be redundant – blogging platforms allow you to build static pages, so anything you’d put on a website could sit on your blog. Having said that, I know authors (and publishers) sometimes prefer to have separate website purely for publicity and promotion. Personally, I think if you’re starting out or self-publishing then keep it simple and stick with a blog. 

A newsletter is another thing – the advantage of building an email list is that you have a method of contacting your fans directly when you want to invite them to something, or have something to sell, or an exclusive offer, or want to survey them, or reward them. An email list is yours to build and nurture – if anything happened to your blog or website you’d still have your list of people who have opted-in to hearing from you. Mailchimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and it’s easy to put a sign-up box on your blog. If you’re thinking of monetising your list (for example, offering ebooks or courses) then take a look at Aweber.  A newsletter doesn’t have to be long. Minimise the work involved by re-using existing material (blog posts, articles or extracts) and supplement it with something topical or a brief update on a current project. Send something regularly to the list but don’t over-promise – better to say they’ll receive “regular updates” (which leaves it open) rather than “weekly news” which might become a burden.  A newsletter can work well alongside a blog – put it onto your editorial calendar, prepare and schedule ahead as much as you can and use a tool like Buffer to keep your social networks aware of the newsletter and encourage subscriptions.

TT: As for social media, do you have any tips for those of us who need to utilize Twitter more effectively (I'm a twitter twit!)

RH: Lots! Here’s a recent post on the subject – Seven Things to do on Twitter This Week
I suppose my number one tip would be to segment the people you follow into lists, then use a dashboard like Hootsuite and you can create columns for each list. For example, I’m following around 1,500 people which is impossible, really. So I have lists – which include things like ‘Poetry magazines’, ‘Poets’, ‘Publishers’ and ‘Twitter Buddies’ (those who I often chat with, or who retweet or favourite my tweets). By putting people into those smaller groups it makes it easier to follow their tweets.

TT: And finally, could you tell us a little about what's coming up next for you?

RH: Well 2015 is shaping up quite well – I have more guest blog appearances lined up and possibly some in-person events, I’ve another title launching in March called ‘The Golden Rules of Blogging (and When to Break Them)’ which will be fun to promote, as it’s a little different from my other blogging books – less instructional, more entertaining you might say! I’m also working on a new & updated edition of Blogging for Creatives which the publisher tells me is still very popular


the UK cover!On the poetry front, I’m a founder member of a poets’ publishing collective called Telltale Press, And we’re expecting to have at least 3 more poets joining us, so I’ll be involved in publishing their chapbooks and publicising the Press with events and readings. It’s fun to be on both sides of the publishing process and I enjoy promoting other writers’ work. Alongside that, I’m hoping to see my poems in more magazines, but that’s in the lap of the gods...

Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog, Tara, and for contributing to ‘Blogging for Writers’ – I was incredibly lucky to find so many great writers willing to share their blogging wit and wisdom!

I don't know about you all, but I learned some more great info today - and I love that! Thanks for opening up to us, Robin! And thanks again for the opportunity!


Robin Houghton has over two decades of experience in marketing and communications, formerly with Nike, then running her own business Eggbox Marketing since 2002 specialising in online. She now works primarily with writers and publishing industry professionals to help them make the best use of social media. Robin writes blogs on social media and poetry and has been a guest blogger for a number of sites including Social Media Today and MarketingProfs. She is a published poet and a commercial copywriter for web and print, and an experienced trainer and conference speaker. Her first book 'Blogging for Creatives' was a best-seller and resulted in two more commissions, 'Blogging for Writers' and forthcoming in 2015 'The Rules of Blogging (and How to Break Them)', both published by Ilex in the UK and Writers Digest Books in the US.

Twitter -- LinkedIn Social Media for Writers --  Blogging for Writers
Buy the book:in the Writers Digest Shopor on Amazon UK
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Published on December 08, 2014 02:30 • 4 views

December 3, 2014

This month for the IWSG, I'm taking a break from worrying and doing a little celebrating! I hope the good vibes from this post will follow you around and holly jolly you out of any funk you might be stuck in!! Get some cheer, cheery, cheer over here!

First, the Insecure Writer's Support Group has published a collection of sage publishing advice! And I'm so excited to be a part of it! And it's FREE right now!

Tapping into the expertise of over a hundred talented authors from around the globe, The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond contains something for every writer. Whether you are starting out and need tips on the craft of writing, looking for encouragement as an already established author, taking the plunge into self-publishing, or seeking innovative ways to market and promote your work, this guide is a useful tool. Compiled into three key areas of writing, publishing, and marketing, this valuable resource offers inspirational articles, helpful anecdotes, and excellent advice on dos and don'ts that we all wish we knew when we first started out on this writing journey.

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Goodreads.
Plus, I know some of you have been looking for a good critique partner - well, you're not alone. Check this out - it's another awesome something I've been wanting to share from the super supportive IWSG organization...

the  IWSG Critique Circle.
Next...
I'm very excited to be close to handing over SIMULATION to my editor! And to give you all a taste of it, Chrys Fey tagged me in the 777 challenge - perfect timing!
In your current WIP, go to the 7th page, 7 lines down, and share 7 lines or so... Here I give you Colonel Crews Hamilton, the conniving, old villain from SIMULATION:

     Crews wanted an electrogun to zap the boy's head off.
     "Pull over."
     "But Crews…."
     "Pull. Over." The Colonel's glare, the original intimidator, beat Jonas' ten to one and took no arguments.
     "Are you sure? We're still downtown."
     The Colonel responded in a low, guttural voice, growling from his clenched teeth like a mean, junkyard dog. "I know where we are and I know where I'm going. Pull over the confounded car, right now."
     The fear that jumped into the young man's eyes comforted Crews. Jonas had crossed the wrong old man.

Thanks again, Chrys! And I will tag... Sarah Foster, Susan Gourley/Kelley, Angela Brown, Heather Gardner, Carrie Anne Brownian, Medeia Sharif, Vikki Biram
And lastly,I took advantage of the lovely Elizabeth Arundel's offer to post about my newest release, BROKEN BRANCH FALLS, over at Unicorn Bell - another wonderful site for writing advice and encouragement and contests and more! If you've never stopped by, I suggest you do so!
Hope everyone is getting ready for the holidays! And staying warm!
My advice this month: Smile through it!
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Published on December 03, 2014 03:30 • 4 views

November 24, 2014

Hope all my US friends are getting ready to stuff themselves silly! Then get some exercise on Black Friday fighting the crowds - park far away and walk it all off!

Before I get to my topic today, I wanted to announce some awesome news! I am so excited and honored to be a part of Blogging for Writers by Robin Houghton. When she asked me to give her a blurb and let her use my blog, I was floored! And when I received it in the mail, I was thrilled! This is a result of perseverance that I never expected.


And this brings me to the topic for today...

From my last post, we are approaching life realistically and have lowered our expectations, right? Though this may sound a little defeatist, but the great part is, even when we are disappointed, good things can still come of it. Here are some hopeful thoughts on dealing with disappointment and turning it into something POSITIVE!

We only go through what we can handle - if it's happening to you, there is a way to deal with it. And if it seems overwhelming, we can't be too proud or afraid to ask for help. Everyone needs support sometimes. That's what friends and family are for - even bloggy friends!

We reach our goals when we are ready to handle them - we want to have success right now. Why am I being rejected so much? Why doesn't anyone want to hire me? Everyone around me is being published, when will it be my turn? These questions are more common than you might think, even from the successful people. We have to realize that some things are too big for us to handle without some development. Many times, if goals are achieved too quickly, there is a greater chance of failure - stress, additional work, and unexpected responsibilities can be overwhelming. But there is a better chance at success if we have patience and gain a little more experience and wisdom waiting for the right situation at the right time.

We usually receive rewards in unexpected ways - we can't plan for everything. I had a simple plan for my life after college - get a job, get married, have kids. These things have all happened, but definitely not in the way I expected! I was engaged and didn't get married. I worked several part time jobs for years before getting a steady teaching job. As I got older, I thought I would never get married and have kids. But I didn't get desperate or depressed, I kept going and was doing well on my own - and that's when my husband entered the picture, when I wasn't expecting it. Happens all the time!

We are stronger than we think we are - when I was engaged, I went out to a club with my friends. I thought, I'm glad I never have to do this to find a husband! And then it didn't work out. I did have to be single for a while. I don't like to promote myself or travel by myself - but I'm doing it and it's not as bad as I thought it would be. Don't talk yourself out of things - you can do it!

We cannot let minor setbacks detour us from the ultimate goal - temporary failures are growing pains, stumbling blocks, challenges and dares. They poke and tease and bully us into thinking we aren't good enough. How we deal with these negative pieces of life and the choices we make as a result of them will determine if we succeed or not. The future is in our hands. It's okay to weep a little, then blow your nose, dig in your heels, and stick out your chin! We can do anything!

Have a great week! And safe travels to all!
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Published on November 24, 2014 03:30 • 5 views

November 14, 2014

every friday
Happy Friday! Make sure you Celebrate the Small Things with Vikki and friends with her weekly hop! I don't always have a chance to participate every week, but I'm jumping in today! Here's what I'm celebrating:

I love November - my birthday month!I made it through my first week in my new jobI had a great time visiting my grandma last weekend and hanging out with Elizabeth Seckman at another a nice little bookfair =)I have gotten some chapters done on Cradle Rock, but as expected, I have slowed down with the start of my new job - hope to get more done this weekend!

And now, I'm very excited to bring new buzz to Broken Branch Falls!

Tonja Drecker at Kidbits is posting a review today (that's something to celebrate too!)


Finally, here are Five reasons to lower your expectations...
Not everyone thinks the same way we do, others have different priorities - don't expect to come first, things that are important to you may not be to othersWhen you accomplish something, people will be happy for you, but don't expect them to throw you a party because they're secretly jealousThings go wrong - expect the worst, hope for the best, and do what you can - you'll never be disappointedDon't expect the bad things in life won't to happen to you. Generalizations apply to everyone: your spouse - we forget things, take each other for granted, and don't always communicate wellyour kids - they go through the phasesyour co-workers - they have their own lives and problems you have no idea aboutand especially ourselves - getting old sucksWe all have bad days - don't expect to save the world, it's okay if not everything you wanted to get done gets done todayHave a great weekend everyone!!
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Published on November 14, 2014 05:39 • 4 views

November 5, 2014

Welcome to the November Insecure Writers Support Group! Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh

As long as I blog, I won't miss out on this wonderful event. And today, instead of griping which I very well could do, I'm going to encourage and give out some advice (not that I'm a big authority or anything!)

To fresh, new writers with a story to tell: Write on! Get around those blocks, take short breaks to refresh, and get that story out.

To the editing blues crew: Carry on! Find a good crit partner and then some. Get out of your head and start a new project, then come back and remember what a great story you have that deserves to be polished up. The new project will also be your motivation to finish editing.

To the querulous queriers: Press on! Quick! You have five seconds to tell me what you're book is about, GO! There's your blurb, now expand and tease only a little to write the query. Remember the query is the future back cover of your book - hook an agent/editor/publisher now, hook readers later.

To the modest marketers: Event on! Get out there and sell - yourself. Who's going to promote you better than you? NO ONE. Unless you pay them. And we have no money yet. So bust a move!

Lather. Rinse. Repeat!

Easier said than done, I know. And believe me, it takes years, many, many, too many, rejections, heartaches and backaches and wrist-aches... But it's all worth it!

Now for a couple of BLOG HOPS! I'm so glad Michelle and Tyrean tagged me. I haven't done a hop in a while. Yay!

First Michelle tagged me in the Literary Seven Deadly Sins! (love this pic!)

Here are the questions:

Greed – What is your most inexpensive book?

Besides books I've won, I can't think of any cheap paper books... I do like sales. I've also gotten some free and 99 cent kindle books...

Wrath – Who’s the author with whom you have a love/hate relationship with?

John Grisham - love most of his insanely good story-telling, but don't like that he can publish whatever he wants (a few shouldn't have been...)

Gluttony – What book have you devoured over and over again with no shame?

It takes me a while to read a book through, so reading them a second time? Doesn't usually happen. When I was younger, I read several books in the Xanth series by Piers Anthony at least twice.

Sloth – Which book have you neglected reading due to laziness?

I have a stack... I will say Gone Girl and I've let Cinder sit for too long, half-read as well...

Pride – What books do you talk about most in order to sound like an intellectual reader?

My pride will not let me announce my deception... ha ha ha!

Lust – What attributes do you find attractive in a male or female character?

Strength, humor, conviction, honesty, faults they work around, depth

Envy – What book would you like to receive most as a gift?

A hard copy of Effigy - really digging MJ's book!

Now, I must tag others to admit their SEVEN DEADLY SINS...

Elizabeth Seckman, Vikki Biram, Christine Rains, Loni Townsend, Beth Ellyn Sumner, Heather Gardner, C. Lee McKenzie (I know that everybody is super-busy, so if you decide not to play along, then that’s fine)

And Tyrean asked if I would do a Meet the Character, so yay! Here are her books. And she introduced us to Clara - a teen swordstress destined for greatness.

Now it's my turn to let you all get to know one of my characters...

What is the name of your character? Is s/he fictional/historical?

Jeremy Monroe, totally fictional

When and where is the story set?

Modern day South Florida

What should we know about your character?

He's been dating his girl, Jess for three years and just found out he has a terminal brain tumor.

What is your character's goal?

To have a lot of fun and take care of his loved ones before he dies.

What is screwing up  your character's life (main conflict in writerly speak?)

Before he dies, he takes a strange potion his girl got from a Shaman Priestess, hoping to extend his life, but he dies anyway and turns into a zombie! That's when the real fun starts.

What is the title?

The Comeback. It's a short story in CQ: CHRONOLOGY, an anthology by a slew of awesome Curiosity Quills authors. Comes out November 24!!

And now I am tagging CD Coffelt - but it's open to anyone who'd like to participate!

CD's books are:
Wilder Mage
Mage Revealed

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Published on November 05, 2014 03:30 • 4 views

October 27, 2014

Life is chaos - if you try to control it, you'll just get frustrated.
The more life I experience, the more I realize this. So, I've been trying to go with the flow, do my best, get as much done as my frail, aging, human body allows. I want to make the most of my time here.

Unfortunately, I feel blogging is falling by the wayside... And I don't feel I'm alone in this. Many are still hard at it, but others are blogging less. I'm struggling to blog once a week! But that is my goal - and visiting as much as I can - because if I don't visit, I won't be visited. That's how life works. We give, we receive. And I thank you all for giving me your time and attention!

Happily, I have finally reached one of my goals for this year - I put out a Newsletter! It is in blog format and it's still a work in progress. The purpose of my quarterly newsletter is to let anyone who's interested know where I'm at - in person, in progress, in life... I'll be exploring Mailchimp to get the word out soon. I'm also glad I have Crystal's post to refer to for advice!

Also, this past week I had a wonderful time talking at a local Book Club - and enjoyed participating in the madness that was EPICON - geeks galore!

And now, I'm excited to give you my witty, creative, inspiring friend and her latest release!


MAGE REVEALEDBook Two of The Magic Withheld series by CD Coffelt

Struck with enough malevolent Spirit to turn him into a raving beast of a man, Bert Reese fights to remain human. Alone, he walks a slender path between sanity and madness. Then, an unlikely source enters his life to help—one of the now-hated mages. But Ashleigh is different and calms his butchered senses. Her fierce nature is the only rock that stands between him and the crevasse that is beast. In all ways, she walks beside him toward a new beginning. But at the end of their journey lies the one who used Spirit against him. Questions arise; did Tiarra, head of the Imperium, lose her magic, die, or simply give way to the new order? Or, like a spider, does she wait for a mage to blunder into her web?
Forced on him without a care for his humanity, Bert is the mage who should not exist, born with a different kind of magic.

And the gates of Hell are no match for the magic he wields.

Author C.D. Coffelt’s world of magic started in Wilder Mage with the words “The earthquake wasn’t his fault. Not this time.” It continues in Mage Revealed, the second book of the three-part series. Watch the book trailer on YouTube.

C.D. Coffelt lives outside Skidmore, Missouri with a bemused husband and way too many cats. She is a member of the Missouri Writers Guild. But despite that bit of conventionality, she adores all things fantasy with a special love for urban and epic. With a passion for good writing and Doritos as companions, locating Middle-Earth on a dusty road in rural Missouri wasn’t difficult. All it took was a little Magic, hours of reading, and an overactive imagination.
She blogs as Huntress on www.spiritcalled.blogspot.com, Facebook, Twitter, and her writer’s critique site, www.unicornbell.blogspot.com.

Find her books at Amazonand Barnes and Noble.
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Published on October 27, 2014 08:09 • 3 views

Tara Tyler Talks

Tara Tyler
Posts about my writing journey and all that it takes to live a happy, productive life!
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