Sunday, July 28, 2013

Navigating the Tempest

In memory of my wonderful wife

Some of you know this, but on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 17, 2013, I made an announcement on Facebook that broke my heart.

I cannot begin to express the aching sorrow that flooded my entire being. Over the twenty-nine years that Myra and I were married, we had become one; one mind, one heart, one soul.

August 4, 1984

Until Myra's sweet spirit departed, I did not believe the human heart could survive this level of ache. It is relentless. A gaping hole rests in my chest, open and raw, so deep that I wonder if healing is even possible.

Her death has shattered my very identity. I now must begin the long and arduous struggle to discover who I am without her.

My children have lost their mother and my grandchildren their Maw Maw. And I have lost a wife. She made me complete and whole, better than who I was alone.

My home is now empty. I long for her touch, her laugh and her unconditional love. I yearn to see that smile from across the table, hear her voice over the phone and watch her bounce a grandson on her knee.

I'll never again smell the magic she made in the kitchen or the perfume she'd wear on an evening out. She's no longer there when I turn to share a joke or a dream or a regret.

I will persevere and bravely carry on, for she'd wish nothing less. I'll love our children and grandchildren for the both of us. I'll smile at her memory and weep for what I have lost.

Losing Myra has ushered in the darkest hour of my life. I do not know how long this darkness will last. All I know is that I'm embarking on a new chapter in my life with no idea of what lies ahead. And for the first time in three decades, I'm walking my path alone.

I am angry. I am broken. I am lost. I gave her my solemn vow that I would love and live for us both. I will not break that vow. I'll claw and crawl through each day if I must, but I fear genuine joy will elude me all the days of my life.

Family and friends have overwhelmed me with amazing support. I wear my brave face for them and try to stay strong--whatever that means. But their compassion and prayers do encourage me to face each tomorrow and for that I am thankful.

Death may have taken her from my reach, but nothing can take her from my heart.

To all who are married, I say this: cherish your spouse and make every minute count. It took just over 48 hours for me to go from concerned husband to grieving widower.

Although I've mentioned Myra in numerous posts, here are a few in which she was prominent:
August is Awesome Because of My Wife Myra
Things For Which I'm Thankful
28 is a Tough Number

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Next Stop: Cassie Mae's Friday Night Alibi

I Write Fluff: 
A Guest Post by Cassie Mae

Every genre has opposites. Not only to satisfy many different readers, but to BALANCE what’s already out there. For every deep and dark, there is light and fluff. Why? Because what a boring world we’d live in if we only had one side.

Like when you head to the movies… sometimes you want something thought-provoking.

And other times you want something that will make you laugh.

Books are the same way :)

Middle Grade

A little more action oriented.

And a light and funny read to balance.

Young Adult






New Adult


I’d like to think my book could sit right there on the lighter side. A book that balances out the deep and darkness of the other. Something different, yet targeted to the same age group.

Yes, I write fluff, and I’m darn proud of it. In a world full of pain and darkness, I want to give something light and fun, to remind people you can find happiness and enjoy life through it all.

So, when I’m in the mood for a tear-jerker, or a darker book, I’ll reach for those beautifully written books. And when I’m in the mood to laugh, or something a little more fun and light, I’ll reach for those beautifully written books. Because they BOTH bring so much to the genre.

A big thank you to Jeff! And catch my book FRIDAY NIGHT ALIBI, out July 29th!

About Cassie Mae:

Cassie Mae is a nerd to the core from Utah, who likes to write about other nerds who find love. She’s the author of the Amazon Bestseller REASONS I FELL FOR THE FUNNY FAT FRIEND, and is the debut author for the Random House FLIRT line with her New Adult novels FRIDAY NIGHT ALIBI and SWITCHED. She also has a three book deal with Swoon Romance Publishing, including her book HOW TO DATE A NERD. She spends time with her angel children and perfect husband who fan her and feed her grapes while she clacks away on the keyboard. Then she wakes up from that dream world and manages to get a few words on the computer while the house explodes around her. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with the youth in her community as a volleyball and basketball coach, or searching the house desperately for chocolate.

Cassie Mae

Author of Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend
Friday Night Alibi to be released July 29th by Random House Flirt
How to Date a Nerd to be released September 24th by Swoon Romance Publishing
Switched to be released December 30th by Random House Flirt

Purchase link:

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Martin Willoughby on The Evolution Of A Character

Some characters drop into my mind fully formed, others take their time and go through several iterations, causing me stress and hassle, while others are a downright pain the backside.
For Tempers Fugit, two of the main characters, Alan and Mae, were fully formed from the start and needed nothing more than fine tuning. The third main character, Carla Neill went through several iterations before I settled on her character and looks.

Mae, once the book turned into a comedy, was easy. A girl raised by robots with a simple outlook on life and plenty of confidence, an attribute enhanced by knowing her pet robot would always be there to help her. Alan? Shortish, chubby and balding, always feeling alone and apart from the world he lived in. Based heavily on me. (All together now...aaaaaahhhhhhhh)

Carla started out as a blue-skinned alien, morphed into the ship’s captain, then into the woman she is now. Even so, after two books, I’m still not sure what she’s really like or how she would react in certain situations. No doubt I’ll find out the hard way as she reappears in future books. The two half-formed characters left behind in her wake became people in their own right and play significant roles in the unfolding story of love, greed and stupidity.

Carla was always going to be Mae’s mother, no matter what, though how she came to have a daughter went through hoops. Originally she was a blue-skinned alien who first met Alan when he appeared on the bridge of the Atlantic. Over a convoluted storyline, they fell in love, got married, she was kidnapped by a ‘Human First’ group who tried to change her appearance and genes into a human, fell pregnant by Alan, was whisked back in time, gave birth, pulled back to her own time (Leaving her unnamed daughter in the past) and finally gets reunited with said child when she is pulled forward in time by Harold.

I had problems writing that.

Some of the secondary characters, in the original iteration as a piece of serious SF, were too comic for their own good. The evil Dagon, Furteen, and Harold Kennedy, the arrogant controller of time (Imagine Dr Who with a huge ego and no common sense), were more suited to a pantomime than SF. I was told, through aggressive character behaviour and some strange voices in my head, that they wanted to make people laugh...for the right reasons.

Throughout the entire process, the only character who didn’t change was Alan. Why? The starting point for Tempers Fugit was a question: what would it be like for an ordinary person to be dragged against his will into the future? Alan (or me) was that person. How he reacts is based on how I think I would react in those circumstances. Yes, that does mean I’d collapse into tears if I was thrown into the brig by three burly marines.

Writers are prone to say that the character tells them what should happen next, to much shaking of heads and tut-tutting from others. But, to an extent, it’s true. Where the writer doesn’t let that happen, the resulting book seems stilted, awkward and unbelievable and is the cause of much bad (and published the traditional way) writing.

I let the characters tell me I should’ve been writing a comedy and followed their advice. I hope I did them justice. (If not, blame them and the voices in my head)

About Martin Willoughby:

Martin Willoughby is an author of some repute and a legend in his own lunchtime. When not writing he fixes computers, raises teenage children and acts in an amateur theatre group where he’s always cast as the baddy. He’s won many awards in his lifetime, including an Oscar for best actor which he received from his mother as a Christmas present many years ago. Tempers Fugit is his first book, his second, Apollo The Thirteenth, will be released later this year to even more fanfare and approval. You can stalk him on twitter or via his blog, From Sand to Glass.

Twitter: @Willabywriter
From Sand To Glass (Blog)
Tempers Fugit on Amazon UK
Tempers Fugit on Amazon US

Monday, July 15, 2013

Tara Tyler Releases Pop Travel

Thanks for hosting me, Jeff!
Today, I'm going to talk about my Pop Travel Release Day!

What do you do on Release Day? It's really just a normal day. It's the night before that's crazy! You stress your brains out wondering if your book will release on time. Everyone is planning on it. It needs to be on time. The publisher and you go back and forth – Wait, fix this. Oh, no, something else! Until it all comes together (or not) and you go to bed like it's Christmas Eve.

In the morning, you open your eyes at an ungodly hour and snap awake. Dash downstairs and open your email. Did it go? Is it available? Check Amazon. YES! YES! It's there!!! Buy one right away to test it. It works! Now, post the link everywhere – blog, facebook, send it to my parents! Hey, world! I really am an author!!

Cooper thought he could
get through life
without having to pop...
And then, as you do your normal daily chores and errands and stuff, you check in once in a while and get all the sweet words of congratulations. Likes and comments and kindness and hope. A warm, comforting blanket, wrapping you up tight in virtual hugs.

And pie. A sweet ending to the sweetest of days. So far!

Here's to all of your release days, friends. Thank you all for mine!

Thanks again for having me, Jeff, and for helping me spread the word about Pop Travel!

Book Info:
POP TRAVEL by Tara Tyler
Release Date: July 7, 2013
Publisher: Curiosity Quills

In 2080, technology has gone too far for J. L. Cooper. He is happily hidden in his simple, secluded life as a private detective in a small town, far from any pop travel laser teleportation stations. Until he takes on a client who insists pop travel made his fiancé disappear.

When Cooper investigates, he finds evidence of pop travel's deadly flaw, sparking a series of murders, attempts on his life, and threats to his brother. He’d like to pass off the evidence but knows he’s being watched and can’t trust anyone. And who would believe him?

The only way he can save his brother is to fool his observers while looking for a way to expose the problem. He decides to go to the source and confront the Creator of pop travel. On his way, Cooper meets Southern siren, Geri Harper (an undercover FBI agent) who tags along despite his protests. When they reach the Creator, he has plans of his own and leads them on a wild detour.

About Tara Tyler:

Tara Tyler started out as a math teacher. After having a hand in everything from waitressing to rocket engineering and living up and down the Eastern US, she finally found some roots, writing and teaching in Ohio with her three active boys and Coach Husband. In addition to her novels, she has published short stories and poetry in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller, and Humor. So many stories to tell!

Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Super Blogger Award!

Father Dragon (otherwise known as Al Diaz) singled me out for the Super Blogger Award in this post last week. The grandest of dragons heaped upon me a boatload of kind words and gratitude, leaving me honored and humbled. (And only folks braver than I say no to dragons!)

Super Blogger Award!

This award is the brainchild of another Super Blogger.  Mark Means from Left and Write created this award and discussed its (very few) rules here. The CliffsNotes guide is--and I quote:
Take the award for yourself, then pass it along to someone who inspires you or you just think is 'super' in one way or another. Tell us why you think that person is super and deserving. Now, all the recipient has to do is reveal a (as in one) small secret about themselves (super people always tend to have a secret or two, right?) and pass the reward on to someone they think is deserving.

Protracted pondering was unnecessary. I immediately knew who deserved this award from me. The Super Blogger that I feel deserves this award is Jo Wake from JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE.

Jo is a faithful blogger, faithful blog visitor and faithful to her word. She's a voracious reader and appreciates a good tale. Although Jo and I met only recently, she offered to beta read my manuscript. It didn't stop there. She read it again! She not only provided both grammatical and editorial feedback, she did it with lightning speed. I even learned that I used a few regional terms that I didn't realize were regional.

I look forward to meeting Jo in person later this summer. If the Super Blogger Award were tangible, I'd hand it to her in person then. She is definitely deserving. And she has my gratitude. (That conjunction was for you, Jo. <grin>)

What's that? You want to know my secret? I thought you forgot. Well... Here it is. I really am a knight and don't just play one on T. V.

Okay, that's not really my secret--although it would be cool if it was. Here you go, then. I say bad words when people slow me down on the highway. No, wait, that's not even a secret.

How about this? In the spirit of full disclosure, I confess the truth. My secret is... I hated--and almost flunked--high school English!

Now I feel so exposed and vulnerable.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Chasing Inspiration (July IWSG)

I left a comment on a blog a month or two ago that went something like this:
I've come to the conclusion that inspiration cannot be chased and caught. It's an elusive little bugger. But when you least expect it, it can whack you upside the head with brilliance. Just don't duck. ;-)
My reasoning behind the comment was that we writers cannot sit at our desks, don a tin foil cap sprouting antennae and expect to intercept brilliant inspiration as though it were radio waves. We can't just throw on our baseball caps, lace up our cleats and hold out our gloves to catch inspiration as it falls from the sky.

Click here to join this supportive community
It doesn't work that way. At least not for me.

More times than one, I've waited at my desk, hoping, yearning, pleading for a visit from my muse. I've gone walking and driving, knowing that she usually drops by at inconvenient hours and places. All to no avail.

While I believe that inspiration cannot be chased and caught, I also believe it frequently answers active invitations. The key word there is active.

An active invitation requires movement: fingers typing, hands scribbling or eyes reading. Rarely am I inspired while watching movies or television. Such activity leaves my imagination dormant. It sits there, content to watch what someone else has already created.

It is, in my opinion, the act of creating that invites the muse. We may end up tossing every single word we write while waiting, but the waiting will often not be in vain.

So the next time you're finding inspiration elusive, chase it by actively inviting it. You may just catch it.