Monday, February 24, 2020

Anti-social Socializing - Do we have a problem?

We devour information. We crave attention. We're ravenous for comments and "likes."
I'd say we have an addiction problem.

I am resistant to change. Youth demands it.

Just like rock-n-roll was from the devil.
And too much TV was going to rot your brain.
Smart phones are going to turn us into zombies...

Sounds crazy, but there's always some truth to the fear of change. The "what ifs," the unknown, the dangerous possibilities. Similar to the rise and fall of cigarettes and prohibition--and now e-cigarettes and marijuana. We humans want what we want and eventually accept the change, for better or worse.

So how can we keep our values, our brains, and our souls intact when warning bells are instinctively making us resist such ominous changes?

Smart Tech has pros and cons. It's the humans using and abusing it that make it addictive. We have to be self-aware and use self-control. Common sense, logic, and good choices need to be instilled and applied, no matter what the new mania is. Addictive behavior is bad, duh. But do you see yourself falling into it, just by using your phone?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Are You Addicted to Your Phone??
(borrowed & revised)
  1. Why do you have a cell phone?
  2. How do you feel if your phone is not in the same room with you?
  3. Do you sneak your phone in when you're not supposed to have it at school/work?
  4. Do you treat your phone like a person?
  5. Do you use your phone to check the time?
  6. Could you choose between using your phone and a relationship?
  7. Where is your phone while you sleep? Do you check it in the middle of the night?
  8. Do you take your phone into the bathroom with you?
  9. Do you feel anxiety over losing your phone?
  10. Would you answer your phone in the middle of an important meeting? Or while on a date?
  11. Do you call or text someone in the same house as you?
  12. Do you lose track of time using your phone?
  13. Do you have your phone when you are eating?
  14. Do you have to check your phone as soon as it makes a noise?
  15. Have you cried when you dropped your phone?
I feel good that I could answer many of those questions with no problem of conscience, and laughed at a few that I do--I check my phone for the time frequently! And we text at home so we don't have to yell, right? (still not good, we're lazy!) But some of these questions gave me pause. Especially thinking of my sons.

I'm ready to unplug more often (I'm already pretty good at losing my phone and not caring where it is) and I'm also prepared to nag my offspring to lessen their phones' hold over them... I just wonder what the next generation will tempt us with!

So, Are You A Phone Addict?
What should we do about it?
Or do you think it's that big of a problem?

PS - This week, I'm at L. Diane Wolf's blog for my Taking Back Beast World campaign, phase 2. And I'm talking about "NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN" -- how good writers create new ways to tell stories!

Thanks for your opinions! Have a great week--and unplug a little more each day!

Monday, February 17, 2020

#Organization - without the STRESS!

I did it! CRADLE ROCK is now available! Again!

Beast World, Book Two

In a world ruled by peaceful beasts, Gabe the goblin and a small group of friends travels to bleak Sector Three where Ona, his ogress girlfriend has gone missing on her expedition to find evidence of humans. 

Danger? Wild animals? Poisonous mist? Bring it on. Nothing will stop him from saving his girl. Not even humans - there's no such thing!

The Taking Back Beast World campaign, phase 2 is chugging along. Today, I'm visiting Patricia Josephine with a post about THE BEASTS! Which one are you? Stop by if you have time!

This campaign has not only inspired me to get my Beast World series re-published, but I'm also anxious to work on the next one! There's so much to do! I need update all the links, re-configure the ebooks, and more, so much more... But I've got things under control. And when I don't, I deal with it as I can.

So I thought I'd give you a glimpse into my process of


If your life is organized, you can find things when you need them because they are where they're supposed to be. You know when your bills are due, and you know how much money you have to pay them. Your meals are planned out for the week and shopping is done in advance so you'll have the right ingredients. The house is clean and neat. And mornings are less chaotic because you have everything laid out ahead of time ready to go.

Unfortunately, this is a fantasy. Life is messy! As I work my way through re-publishing and my campaign, I have a huge list of things I want to get done. And the rest of my life doesn't slow down to make it easier.

Organization does help, though. If you want to get organized, I suggest you do these things first!
  • Prioritize - Usually more than one area of your life needs organization. Since you can't wave a magic wand to have it all done at once, you need to choose the most important thing and start there (like money and bills, the main area of the house, or your phone apps) Once you're in a comfortable place/routine for that item, you can move on to the next.
  • Purge - This is a key to reducing stress. Get rid of things you don't need! If you haven't used it in 2 years? (you choose the time) donate it or throw it away. The less stuff you have, the less stuff you have to find room for!
  • Plan - ask yourself what you want. Organization is a broad term. Do you want: Less clutter? Easier access to things? To make time for things you want to do? Once you know what you want, you need to choose when to do your organizing, and it will take less time to get it done.
  • Please? - Organization is great, but if everyone else in your house doesn't help, the mess and chaos quickly return. Tell everyone what you're doing and what they need to do. And you'll have to keep reminding them (train them!) until everyone is working together automatically.
  • Patience - Wrenches happen. Life changes. Unexpected surprises turn up all the time. No matter how much you organize and try to plan ahead, expect something to throw your schedule out of whack once in a while. You can go back to or adjust your organization once you deal with extenuating circumstances beyond your control. It'll all work out!
So do what you can to get organized. But don't stress over it! As Mr. Skeemander says, "Worrying means you suffer twice"


Happy Presidents Day!

Have a terrific week!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Help! I've been Abducted by Aliens! a blog hop

Before we get to the good stuff, just want to give a shout out for my Taking Back Beast World Campaign!

This week, I'll be talking about Teenage Hijinks & Fessing Up at Elizabeth Seckman's place. (She's doing the Alien Blog Hop too!)

One of the things I love about writing the Beast World series is the variety and depth of characters. As a teacher, I get a first-hand glimpse at how teenagers behave on a daily basis. They're wonderful creatures with spunk, sneak, and sensitivity. They don't know as much as they think they do, but they're up for trying new--and sometimes risky--things anyway. That's how we all learn and grow.

Remember getting in trouble when you were a teen??

And now, my entry in my creative friend, Patricia Josephine's blog hop to celebrate Abducted Life's 3rd book bday! (Here's the list and the details)

Waste Not
by Tara Tyler

I hate my life.
Danae absent-mindedly strolls through the grocery store and plunks a can of green beans into her cart.

With three kids gone on their own and one teenage girl left who’s never around, Danae wonders what’s left of her life? Her job is boring, and so is her husband. She catches a glimpse of her drab reflection in a refrigerator door. She used to be pretty.

She feels invisible and useless. No one would notice if she disappeared. Maybe she could run away.

In the parking lot as she puts her bags in the car, a green beam of light surrounds her from above and sucks her up into the clouds.

~ ~ /  \ ~ ~

What happens to earth women at 50? This is the tenth one this week.

Half-way up, the beam stalls and almost drops her. Dor whacks the console with his fin, and it finishes reeling her in.

The dark-complected woman squints at him then looks around. “Is this a joke? Jordan?”

Dor blinks his large eye at her. Who’s Jordan?

“Jordan is my joke-playing son. Wait. Did you just talk in my head?”

Yes. He floats her to an inclined, upright operating table.

“So this is for real?”

Yes. Straps reach out and restrain her.

“How are you doing this?”

He rolls his eye. I’m a telepath and telekinetic.

“Well you need to tele-put me back right now!”

Dor ignores her.

“You look at me with that big green eye when I’m talking to you.”

He blinks at her.

“Who’s in charge here?”

I am.

“You? You’re just a kid. But judging by the state of this messy, smelly ship, I believe it. What a dump! And you have no manners whatsoever, jerking me around. Where’s your mother?”

Dor puts her to sleep. What a racket.

While he works inserting tubes and wires into the specimen, he glances around. Living alone for so long, he never cared about his entrails or used nutrition bags lying around. And without a nose, "smelly" isn’t a thing.

Once the woman is set, Dor cleans up. If his boss popped in for a surprise inspection, he’d get demerited. In a way, the woman helped him. He looks at her.

In her peaceful stasis, she reminds him of his mother.

He wakes her up.

~ ~ /  \ ~ ~

my poorly attempted alien sketch!
Danae scowls at the little purple, scaly alien, hovering next to her with his flippery fins for hands and feet, plus two more on his head and a third overgrown one, flopped down covering half his huge eye like a rebellious teenager trying to look all that.

She sniffs at him and looks away.

I apologize.

She huffs.

It won’t be long.

She raises an eyebrow at him. Noticing the wires and tubes, she’s wary and frightened.

Don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you.

She frowns. Darn telepath.

He checks the monitors.

“You must be lonely.”

It’s not bad.

“You remind me of my son.”

He blinks at her. You are like my mother. Our world is similar to yours.

“Selfish leaders and wasted resources?”

Yes. How’d you know?

“Seems appropriate. So why’d you take me?”

We need harvesters.

“You’re harvesting…” She laughs. “I hate to disappoint you, but my well is dry.”

Dor laughs in her head. Oh, we don’t want your eggs.

A bright light flashes in Danae’s eyes, hypnotizing her.

~ ~ /  \ ~ ~

Dor has the lobotomizer delicately remove her brain and replace it with a hard drive. His eye smiles as the brain is placed in a jar.

Just like my mother.

Hope you enjoyed it. And take some time to check out the others!

Brought to you by...

by Patricia Josephine

Savannah Janowitz’s perfect life was destroyed the night she and her boyfriend vanished without a trace. A year later she reappears—alone. With no memory of what happened and strange, new abilities manifesting, Savannah struggles to rebuild her life.

Evan Sullivan was changed by the horrifying experiments. Now he hides in the shadows and watches Savannah rebuild her life without him.

Neither can let the other go. Once reunited, Savannah and Evan see a glimmer of their old lives. As they face what happened to them together, they realize aliens aren’t the only danger out there.

Someone closer to home is watching, waiting for the right moment to tear them apart.

Catch up with Patricia:

Have a great week!

Monday, February 3, 2020

If you like #Pixar 's Onward, You'll Love BROKEN BRANCH FALLS

This IWSG post is brought to you by the Taking Back Beast World Campaign - Phase 2. Stand up to your Bullies!

You may or may not know, but there's an animated film coming out next month: Onward by Disney/Pixar. Last summer one of my sons saw a sneak peek trailer and showed me because it reminded him of my Beast World series.

When I watched it unfold, my heart sank. I literally started to shake and freak out! Even more crushing, some of my fave actors are the voices. The stories are different, but the setting is the same, identical. I knew I had to do something. And the Taking Back Beast World Campaign was born.

It was a great success for little old me, pushing me to publish WINDY HOLLOW, BW #3. I shook things up, made new friends, got great new reviews, started a weekly chat, sold more books, and got noticed by Pixar (they basically said I was nobody and told me to stop bothering them...Ha!) I don't want to sue, I just want recognition!

Now on to Phase 2. The movie comes out Mar 6, and it's time to speak out again. I'm so excited to have an awesome writing community of friends backing me up. I have big ideas, but not a lot of time and money to carry it all out, so I'm doing what I can. I re-published BROKEN BRANCH FALLS and am working on CRADLE ROCK. I've organized lots of posts and interviews and reviews and social send-outs.

I may even "protest" at a theater--not a bashing Pixar protest, but a total publicity stunt. If the news caught it, that would be great! It all depends on if I can get some folks to help me. Most people don't like confrontation or attention.

My goal is to get Beast World noticed. I'm going to display the comparisons in a positive way:
That way, it's a win-win!
And here are some more comparisons for you...
  • If you liked Game of Thrones, you'll love EFFIGY by M.J. Fifield
  • If you like the Hallmark Channel, you'll love the MAGUIRE'S CORNER series by Heather M Gardner and HOOSIER DAD by Elizabeth Seckman
  • If you liked Melrose Place and Vampire Diaries, you'll love THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR series by Christine Rains
  • If you liked Battlestar Galactica, you'll love CASSASTAR by Alex J. Cavanaugh
  • If you liked The Outsiders, you'll love NOT GUILTY by C. Lee McKenzie
  • If you liked Murder, She Wrote, you'll love MURDER AT THE MARINA by Ellen Jacobsen
  • If you liked The Great Wall, you'll love DRAGONFLY WARRIOR by Jay Noel
  • If you liked American Pie, you'll love THREE DAVES by Nicki Elson
There are many more, but that's all I could think of at the moment. Share yours in the comments!

I won't give up. I'm up for the challenge. And I'm always happy to have more helpers, or just give my posts a share. We "nobody" writers have to stick together and not let the big bully mega-corps walk all over us.

Thanks for your support!

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