Tuesday, September 19, 2017

An Interview with Nick Wilford, Author of Black and White

Please welcome guest Nick Wilford!

Hi Tyrean! It’s great to be over for an interview at your lovely blog today. (It's great to have you here, Nick!)
Coffee/Tea/Writing beverage of choice?
I can’t do anything without a cup of tea! It’s a bit of an addiction, but hopefully not too bad of one. Ideally with a biscuit, but if I had too many of them I fear I wouldn’t be able to leave my writing chair.
What's your favorite part of writing? (brainstorming, world-building, plotting, rough draft, revision, finishing touches)
There’s things I like about all of these things, although plotting is probably my least favourite. I don’t start with much of a plan, my plotting usually comes in the form of trying to think my way out of an apparently intractable problem. I would have to say my favourite part is that magic moment when you realise what started out as a handful of ideas has somehow come to life, and not just in words on the page; it’s taken on a life of its own and “exists” in some indefinable sense.
What's your biggest challenge/insecurity as a writer? And, what do you do to overcome it?
Something that I feel I probably share with others – what I’m doing now, promoting my work and trying to get out there and share it with the world. I’m not an outgoing person and I don’t naturally assume that others will be interested in what I have to say. The way I deal with it is to think that I’m contributing something to the world – we could always use more books, and they won’t get noticed unless I give them a push. And getting creative with promotion and mixing it up makes it fun.
Do you have a quote or song that has inspired your writing?
I do like inspiring quotes when I read them, but I’m very bad at retaining them in my head! I’ve got a lot of songs that inspire me, but one that I tend to go back to is Radiohead’s “Lucky”. Radiohead are sometimes painted as a depressive band, but this is one of the most uplifting songs I’ve ever heard. Written from the perspective of a survivor of a plane crash, it’s about getting another chance at life. The music just soars and it always peps me up.
Why write speculative fiction? What draws you to the genre?
It’s just a genre that offers unlimited exploration – and for me, it’s mainly about what the future could hold. For me, it’s not even a genre so much as an umbrella term for lots of other ones – fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, even historical if you were going to look at alternate pasts. There’s so much scope and it’s perfect for the writer who thinks, “what if”? I’m also very inspired by what I’m reading, I’m easily led in that way if you like. Before starting blogging, I was reading a lot of thrillers so I tried writing books in that vein, but it wasn’t really my area of strength. Since meeting other writers, I’ve read so many great speculative novels, so on some unconscious level, my ideas started heading in that direction.
Thanks for these questions! I had a lot of fun answering them.

Title: Black & White
Author: Nick Wilford
Genre: YA dystopian Series #: 1 of 3
Release date: 18th September 2017
Publisher: Superstar Peanut Publishing
Blurb:
What is the price paid for the creation of a perfect society?

In Whitopolis, a gleamingly white city of the future where illness has been eradicated, shock waves run through the populace when a bedraggled, dirt-stricken boy materialises in the main street. Led by government propaganda, most citizens shun him as a demon, except for Wellesbury Noon – a high school student the same age as the boy.

Upon befriending the boy, Wellesbury feels a connection that he can’t explain – as well as discovering that his new friend comes from a land that is stricken by disease and only has two weeks to live. Why do he and a girl named Ezmerelda Dontible appear to be the only ones who want to help?

As they dig deeper, everything they know is turned on its head – and a race to save one boy becomes a struggle to redeem humanity.

Purchase Links:
Meet the author:
Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those early morning times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. Visit him at his blog or connect with him on Twitter, GoodreadsFacebook, or Amazon.
Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of my collection A Change of Mind and Other Stories or a $10 giftcard! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

#IWSG September 2017 Ch-ch-changes and Co-hosting

As I prepared to write this post, I had a chorus of the David Bowie song "Ch-ch-changes" pop into my head. My life is full of changes at the moment. My oldest just started her first year at a four-year college. My youngest just received her driver's license (she had a permit before, but now she can drive on her own), the school year just started and although I'm independently contracted to teach at a homeschool co-op, I'm not really homeschooling my own anymore since my youngest is taking classes at a local community college for the last two years of high school.
Plus, I changed projects again because I have an opportunity to do some travel research for a novel that I buried ten years ago. I stopped working on that novel because I felt insecure about my lack of knowledge - it's a historical fiction novel set in Bohemia in the late 800s and early 900s in what is today the Czech Republic, or Czechia. I can't travel back in time, but I have received an opportunity to do research as my youngest travels with Team USA to compete in the 2017 Olympic Hopes Regatta in Racice, Czech Republic. I'll spend two days in Prague and then follow the team out to Racice to cheer the team during the regatta. It's a super short trip, but I'm hoping to use the time wisely both as a researcher/writer and as a mom.

My insecurity/hope: I am concerned about changing mid-project again. Both projects that I started but didn't truly finish are important to me, but I feel a need to take the opportunity that is right in front of me. I hope that I've made the right choice. If nothing else, I'm going to have a lot of material drafted by the end of this year so next year may be all about revisions.


Co-hosting is a high honor and a privilege. 
Thank you Alex and IWSG family for always being the supporting, encouraging people you are!
Fellow co-hosts this month: Tara Tyler, Raimey Gallant, and Beverly Stowe McClure.


September question - Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in??
For a genre surprise - A teacher made me write poetry in high school and I was surprised to discover I liked it. Then, I was even more surprised when my first publications came with poetry while my first short stories stacked up rejections. I sent the poetry out on a whim and a dare, not expecting anything while I sweated and worried over the stories. The lesson I learned:  it's best to send out the 99% writing instead of killing it with revisions to get to a 100% polished state. I know many editors might disagree with this statement, but I destroy my writing when I attempt perfection. In fact, I even introduce more grammar mistakes when I spend too much time revising. It's weird. Three drafts and one more check for grammar = time to send it to an outside editor or time to just send it to the world. 

IWSG Anthology Contest:

Genre: Mystery/Crime/Thriller

Theme: Tick Tock. The story revolves around a clock, is time sensitive, or has something about a specific time. This theme has plenty of scope and we’re open to pretty much anything along these lines. No erotica, R-rated language, or graphic violence.

Story deadline: November 1st 2017


- This sounds like a fun anthology! Best wishes to all who enter!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Super Short Goals Update

August Goals
1. Finish Eclipse or get within 10% of finish line. - Nope.

2. Cheer daughters and their team at Nationals in Clermont, Florida. YES!

3. Marketing via hootsuite. Not much.

4. Scrapbook project. 40%

5. Encourage others. Um, maybe?

6. Practice Storytelling. Nope. 

7. Prep for school year. Not as much as needed.

8. Get outside, walk, bike, kayak. (Fewer carbs, again) - again, not as much as needed.

9. Continue Bible study and reading Cling to God. - most days.

10. House and yard - as much as I'm able to do so. Umm, I think the grass is brown, but the blackberries are ripe and plentiful. 

11. Try not to bawl my eyes out for the entire return trip after helping my oldest daughter move in at Montana State University. - Driving home today. Probably crying. It was a tough move-in for all of us.

September Goals
Repeat #1,3-10 with greater success. Make SMART goals within each category. 
Send encouraging notes, texts, and phone calls to my college daughter.
Cheer on my youngest at Olympic Hopes Regatta 2017 in Racice, Czechia. 


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Best. Night. Ever. Blog Tour

(BTW - this cover is huge because I love it! Just saying)


Best. Night. Ever
By Rachele Alpine, Ronni Arno, Alison Cherry, Stephanie Faris, Jen Malone, Gail Nall, and Dee Romito

Press Kit


Blurb:

Love Actually meets Adventures in Babysitting in this hilarious novel written by seven authors about seven classmates who are preparing for a crazy night at their middle school dance.

Lynnfield Middle School is prepped and ready for a dance to remember, including an awesome performance from Heart Grenade, the all-girl band who recently won a Battle of the Bands contest. Seven classmates—Carmen, Genevieve, Tess, Ryan, Ellie, Ashlyn, and Jade—intend to make the most of the night…or at least the five of them who are able to attend do. The other two would sacrifice almost anything to be there.

One thing’s for sure—this entire crew is in for one epic night! Gail Nall, Dee Romito, Rachele Alpine, Ronni Arno, Alison Cherry, Stephanie Faris, and Jen Malone have created a charming, hilarious, and relatable novel that’s perfect for anyone who can’t wait to dance the night away.

Buy Links:


Bio:

One of Rachele Alpine’s first jobs was at a library, but it didn’t last long, because all she did was hide in the third-floor stacks and read. Now she’s a little more careful about when and where she indulges her reading habit. Rachele is a high school English teacher by day, a wife and mother by night, and a writer during any time she can find in between.  She lives in Cleveland, Ohio where she writes middle grade and young adult novels. Visit her at RacheleAlpine.com.

Ronni Arno Blaisdell is the author of Ruby Reinvented. She has written for several magazines, blogs, and websites. In a previous life she worked as a publicist in Hollywood, and eventually built a home in Maine. She is a keen SCBWI member and contributor to the KidLiterati.com blog. Visit her online at
ronniarno.com.

Alison Cherry is the author of the YA novels RedFor Real and Look Both Ways, and the middle grade novels Willows vs. Wolverines and The Classy Crooks Club. She is a professional photographer and spent many years working as a lighting designer for theater, dance, and opera productions. This whole “writing books” thing is just a cover for the international crime ring she runs out of her Brooklyn apartment. (Shhh, don’t tell.) Visit her online at
AlisonCherryBooks.com.

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 she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing. When she isn’t crafting fiction, Stephanie is indulging her gadget geek side by writing for online technology sites. Her work is regularly featured on the small business blogs for Intuit and Go Payment and she is a featured columnist for SmallBizTechnology.com. She lives in Nashville with her husband. Visit her online at
StephanieFaris.com.

Jen Malone is a former Hollywood publicist who once spent a year traveling the world solo, met her husband on the highway (literally), and went into labor with her identical twins while on a rock star’s tour bus. These days she saves the drama for her books. Jen is also the author of the middle grade novels At Your Service and The Art of the Swap, coauthor of the You’re Invited series, and wrote the YA novels Map to the Stars and Wanderlost. You can visit her online at
JenMaloneWrites.com.

Gail Nall lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her family and more cats than necessary. She once drove a Zamboni, has camped in the snow in June, and almost got trampled in Paris. Gail is the author of the middle grade novel Breaking the Ice, the coauthor of You’re Invited and You’re Invited Too, and the author of the young adult novel Exit Stage Left. You can find her online at GailNall.com and on Twitter as @GaileCN. Visit her online at
GailNall.com.

Dee Romito lives in her hometown of Buffalo, New York, where she and her family are steadily checking items off their own bucket list of adventures. You’re likely to find her at the local ice cream shop, writing at a cafĂ©, or curled up on the couch with her cats. And while she does her best to be a grown-up most of the time, giggling with her BFFs is still one of her all-time favorite things. To join the fun and create your own bucket list, visit
TheBFFBucketList.com.

The Rafflecopter giveaway is for a free hardback copy of Best. Night. Ever. (signed by Stephanie Faris). The HTML code below can be entered into the HTML code on your blog. Scroll down if you’d just like to link to it.


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Wednesday, August 16, 2017

There and Back Again

This particular hobbit has been on a long road trip, has returned, and plans to go on another short road trip next week.

This means that I am:

blogging rarely,

in between multiple projects,

and a bit behind on comments.

My sincere apologies to all party guests who feel that they have been turned from the door despite having party business.

And yes, I am trying to be funny and reference The Hobbit. Key word: trying.


Quick images to share where/what has been going on:

Our canoe and kayak team took 28 athletes to USACK Flat-Water Sprint Nationals in Clermont, Florida. We weathered humidity and storms (the races were cancelled for two afternoons of a four day regatta due to weather) and our team took second place in the nation (breaking our five year winning streak). My oldest came home with two medals (silver and bronze) and my youngest came home with one medal (a gold).


My youngest daughter (in the green dress, fourth girl from the left) was named as one of the 30 athletes who made it onto Team USA for the Olympic Hopes Regatta in the Czech Republic this September.



My husband and I volunteered to drive home 15 gently used (via a rental company) kayaks for our team (one is for our youngest daughter who has already grown out of her first kayak).  If you've never driven to Florida from the Washington peninsula and back, I recommend taking more time than we did and seeing some sights. We drove up to 14 hours a day with only 5-20 minute breaks every time we needed gas or a pit stop. Between my hubs, my daughters, and I we read at least eight books - some out loud and some shared.
My husband and I celebrated our 21st anniversary with a shared head cold and the last day of our drive - but I'm sure we'll make up for that soon.

Next week, we get to go again and come back. 
We are dropping off our oldest daughter at Montana State University.
Cue: Random weepy-ness in odd places like Target. (Really, it hit me there.)

Writing much? Well ... I'll report on that with the goals post in a few weeks.
Until then, I have a book shout-out coming out next week and I wanted to share this quote with you from one of my daughter's books for her first semester at MSU:

"Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story."
from The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien


Hope everyone is having a great August!




Friday, August 11, 2017

#writingprompt

With the summer sun just peeking over the horizon, the swing set was empty. She sat down uncomfortably on the narrow seat that wrapped around her thighs and pushed off. She didn't want to go too high, but she wanted a chance to feel what the other kids seemed to feel, flying above the ground with their hair streaming out behind them. During the day, she didn't go to the park because ...

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

#writingprompt

Road trips always sound like fun in the planning state, but what can you expect when you stuff two adults, three sweaty teenage boys, a dog in need of a bath, and me in a car? It wasn't a pretty vacation, that's for sure, even though I tried to keep my hair decent when I found out that my brothers invited my crush along for the trip. The possibilities for disasters were endless and we didn't even make it out of the driveway when the trouble started. We ....

Monday, August 7, 2017

#writingprompt

Around the campfire, we roasted marshmallows and waited for the stories to start. Who would tell the best story this year? Could it top Grandpa's rooster story? The story told by my Aunt Bee surprised us all.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

#IWSG August 2017

HAPPY IWSG DAY!
I love this awesome team!

But, this month I'm on the road in Florida to watch my daughters compete at the Flat-water Sprint Canoe and Kayak Nationals Regatta so I may/may not be by to comment.

Please consider this a super-short post simply saying:

WRITE ON!

And, if that doesn't encourage you - check out these quotes:

If you have other things in your life—family, friends, good productive day work—these can interact with your writing and the sum will be all the richer.
– David Brin

First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!
– Ray Bradbury

People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it.
– Harlan Ellison

The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.
– Jane Yolen

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
– Edgar Rice Burroughs

Bonus (because I'm not sure I agree, but it made me laugh): 
Science fiction writers, I am sorry to say, really do not know anything.

– Philip K. Dick (Do Robots Dream of Electric Sheep? AKA Bladerunner)

What do you think? Do any of these quotes work for you this month?



A small report back on last month: I lost my own pictures (this takes some special user error ability after eight years of blogging) and I have changed passwords at 99% of the sites I use - some of them twice. I haven't had any more odd login attempts and the extreme interest that seemed to show up from a particular follower has finally slowed after some minor changes. However ... facebook is not a primary place for social media for me anymore. I recognize that I have family and friends there, but I'm beginning to hesitate about sharing there except in private groups. I experimented more last week, so ... it's on trial. 

All my goals and such were updated in last week's goals post. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Do You Have Goals?

Love this hop! 
Come Join Us Here

July Goals Report
1. Finish Eclipse: Greenling Chronicles Book 1. NO. But I did make some progress.

2. Continue marketing efforts with hootsuite. YES!

3. Make some social media changes. (Will report more fully next month.) Reporting more in September.

4. Keep house clean, more yardwork (as physically able). Tiny amounts.

5. Scrapbook/photo project. Umm

6. Encourage family and friends. Hmm. Maybe.

7. Practice Storytelling. Yes!

8. Write all ideas down for school prep in the fall, but no major work allowed on this. (15 per day, tops) Well, I think I did this three days only.

9. Get outside! Yes!

10. Walk, hike, bike, kayak? More exercise and fewer carbs. Walked several times, Biked (3 miles total) and kayaked twice. Too many carbs.
11. Continue super short writing prompt posts. Yes!

12. Continued Bible Study and reading Cling to God. Yes!

August Goals
1. Finish Eclipse or get within 10% of finish line.

2. Cheer daughters and their team at Nationals in Clermont, Florida.

3. Marketing via hootsuite.

4. Scrapbook project.

5. Encourage others.

6. Practice Storytelling.

7. Prep for school year (exciting news on this at the bottom of the post).

8. Get outside, walk, bike, kayak. (Fewer carbs, again)

9. Continue Bible study and reading Cling to God.

10. House and yard - as much as I'm able to do so. 

11. Try not to bawl my eyes out for the entire return trip after helping my oldest daughter move in at Montana State University.

News: I am returning to teach at a homeschool cooperative by request from the board, parents, and students. :) 
And, I'll be teaching a continuing education class through the continuing education program at Tacoma Community College (this is a non-credit class) - Flash Fiction 101.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

#writingprompt

From the sunburned sidewalk to the ultra-cool of the air-conditioned mall, Sandy knew the chill she felt could be natural. Still, she noticed tension in the eyes of the parents at the play area, in the way one teen girl shepherded her little sister towards the open door of an old lady's handbag store. With her danger sense hitting her hard, Sandy ....


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

#writingprompt

Trixie climbed out onto the roof from the attic window with her super-cape wrapped around her shoulders. Placing her feet carefully on the roof shingles, she ...

Friday, July 21, 2017

#writingprompt

When his mom "accidentally" bumped open his door with the vacuum cleaner, Dustin decided he should get out of bed before she "asked" him to help with any of his brother's leftover chores. He really wished ...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Three days and an apocalypse later ... #writing #publication

Mostly joking about the title up there. Life has been roller-coastering, per usual, but I'm healthier these days so that's good.

I had a publication three days ago at The Drabble and I just realized it.

Check out: "Post-Apocalyptic Gardener" for a fast, free read. Votes are greatly appreciated!


#writingprompt

When ladybugs invaded our home that summer, I never expected to ...

Friday, July 14, 2017

#writingprompt

She felt guilty wasting the summer sunshine, but she ducked into the library to find ...

Thursday, July 13, 2017

#writingprompt

When my dragon ate my homework, I knew my professor wouldn't be pleased but I never expected him to ...

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Monday, July 10, 2017

#writingprompt

The rumbling buzz of a plane overhead turned heads and made the conversation stop. Why was the pilot flying so low?


Friday, July 7, 2017

#writingprompt

The cardboard carcasses of old fireworks washed up onto the beach after the fourth of July, and they reminded her of ...

Thursday, July 6, 2017

#writingprompt

His dog went missing on the fourth of July and he had to get her back or ...

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

#IWSG July 2017

Started by Alex J. Cavanaugh, this sweet hop has encouraged me many times over 
and I'm thankful for it!


IWSG News!







IWSG July Optional Question: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?
There are many things, but to tie in with last month's question my answer is going to rely on three famous movie quotes.

"Never Give Up!
Never Surrender!"

"Do or Do Not. There is no Try."

"Just Keep Swimming."

Writing is its own reward. Just writing, just continuing to write, refusing to give up when things get hard, and writing beyond the "try" stage are all part of the continuance of the dream that gets real when the pen hits the paper or the fingers hit the keyboard.

On a separate note, my insecurity this month (other than the usual ups and downs of writing) is that I seem to have lost my ability to post pictures on my blog, which is frustrating, and I am having a bit of a mild stalker issue as well as repeated notifications that someone is trying to hack the account on another social media platform (okay, not sure it's stalking, but it's odd behavior, so I am changing some things in my social media practices). So, basically, even after eight years of using various forms of social media, I still feel like I don't know what I'm doing. However, I'm going to just keep swimming - maybe in a different stretch of the ocean or with a few different strokes - from forward crawl to breastroke - but I'm going to keep going. I'll keep everyone notified of any changes here ... probably next month or September. 

BTW - I had a super short publication on July 3rd at A Story in 100 Words. "At the Lake" is ... I guess angsty romance? Does that mean I write romance now? I don't know. It's something different for me, anyway.

Happy 4th of July and Independence Day!!!







Monday, July 3, 2017

#writingprompt

July 3rd is a day we'll never forget because that's the day we ...


Or ...

Under the boom and glow of fireworks, we ...


Happy Independence Day!

(What does it mean to be independent as a nation, an individual, or ...?)




Friday, June 30, 2017

Do You Have Goals? July 2017 Update

This awesome, encouraging hop was created by Misha!

Reporting on June
June Goals: 
1. Heal, renew, walk, and take tiny bike rides. - I walked, healed, and rested.

2. Continue to Market Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life and other works. Some, yes, mainly through hootsuite.

3.  Watch my oldest graduate. Have a party! Celebrate! - Definitely did this!!!

4. Go to a Montana State University Registration and Orientation session with my oldest daughter. - Yes!

5. Watch both daughters race at the Ted Houk Regatta in Seattle. - Yes!

6. Clean up the yard and house. (as able) - Yes!

7. Go barefoot. Some.

8. Continue working on The Greenling Chronicles. -YES.

9. Keep reading Cling to God. - Yes!

10. Sort through job and teaching stuff. Prepare for next fall. - A tiny amount.

11. Practice Storytelling. - only once.

July Goals
1. Finish Eclipse: Greenling Chronicles Book 1.

2. Continue marketing efforts with hootsuite.

3. Make some social media changes. (Will report more fully next month.)

4. Keep house clean, more yardwork (as physically able). 

5. Scrapbook/photo project.

6. Encourage family and friends.

7. Practice Storytelling.

8. Write all ideas down for school prep in the fall, but no major work allowed on this. (15 per day, tops)

9. Get outside!

10. Walk, hike, bike, kayak? More exercise and fewer carbs.

11. Continue super short writing prompt posts.

12. Continued Bible Study and reading Cling to God.

How are you doing on your goals this month?


Writing Prompt: If the villain/antagonist of your story created a "honey do" list, what would be on it? Does your villain/antagonist have a significant other?