Wednesday, December 2, 2020

IWSG: December 20

 Welcome to the last IWSG blog post of the crazy year, 2020. Thanks to all the admins at IWSG for all the work they've done and continue to do to keep this group dynamic and informative. And special thanks to the leader of the band, Alex J. Cavanaugh. To find a list of all the participants, visit this page.

This month's question?

Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why?

What a perfect time for this question. I had prepared my apologies to all of you for skipping last month and visiting so few blogs since the end of the summer. My excuses are lined up;

1. I've been so busy as president of Pennwriters, a statewide writers group, that I'm buried.

2. I'm spending so much time on Zoom meetings and keeping in touch with my family, that I can't do one more minute in front of a screen. (Do those blue light glasses actually work?)

3. My granddaughter is so full of energy as a 3 year old that I'm too exhausted to blog.

All pretty good and true reasons. Or call them excuses. I know what my problem is. I'm a little blue like I'm sure a lot of you are. I don't mind staying at home. I actually love it. But I'm worried about some members of my family who are also alone and may not like it so much as me. Then I'm feeling the absence of my only daughter even if we do Facetime nearly every day. Not the same as sharing a glass of wine and watching a movie together. I miss sitting in a coffee shop to write. I miss the face to face writers meetings. But most of all, I miss the friends and acquaintances that are not around for a number of reasons. The details are too sad.

I know why I'm blue and while I chide myself because there are others dealing with worse than I am, I can't quite help it.

I also know I'll rebound from this. I'm forcing some words onto the WIP. I expected to finish it in July and now have a desperate hope to finish before the end of the year. I'm walking more even though it's starting to get cold. And I'm reading some great books. I'm making sure to stay in touch with family and friends, as much for them as myself.

"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." Henry Ford

Enough of my whining. I loved the end of Supernatural though I cried for the last 30 minutes of the finale. I'm looking forward to the next season of The Expanse on Amazon later this month. There's really not much new stuff on TV unless you like contest or reality shows which I don't. There is one I might watch on HBO MAX, 12 Dates of Christmas, because one of my son's best friends is the male lead contestant. He's done some modeling but this is his first acting job. If you watch it, Chad Savage is the young man.

Most of all with this post, I wish all of you a joyful holiday season. I know many of us won't be able to spend it with family as usual, but I pray you're safe and happy. Take care of yourself and be careful not to take on the job of caring for everyone else. Take some me-time. I'm going to try to go into 2021 with a fresh energy and with hope for peace and health.

"Hope is a waking dream." Aristotle

Has 2020 been a good season of writing for you? Do you ever feel those blues and how do you get past it? What are doing for entertainment in this time of lockdowns?

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Liftoff by Tyrean Martinson

Welcome to Tyrean Martinson. Enjoy her post and follow the rest of her blog tour.

Science Fiction Tropes and Popcorn Movie Influences: Aliens and Humans Mix

In science fiction, some of the interactions between aliens and humans have become tropes. Tropes can be symbolic and helpful for our understanding of plot and character in a fast-paced movie or show. We can use them, bend them, or try to avoid them.

For alien-human interactions, we have the classic tropes of:

·         War of the Worlds type aliens who want to kill/enslave humanity and takeover Earth. There are so many variations on this one it’s hard to name them all, but here are a few: Independence Day, Annihilation, Avengers, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Spectral, Pacific Rim, Starship Troopers, Edge of Tomorrow, Predator.

·         There are the peaceful, more advanced and powerful aliens who want to help humanity. Examples include: Arrival, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

·         Avatar by James Cameron offers the rare depiction where the humans are the aggressors.

·         Aliens who spy on humanity or pass us by, not considering us worthy “yet” of their attention. Examples of this include: The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Cat from Outer space.

·         Aliens and humans struggle to understand one another. Examples: Star Trek, Men in Black, Guardians of the Galaxy, Galaxy Quest, Babylon 5, Farscape, Stargate.

·         And sometimes, aliens and humans fall in love. Examples: Mork from Ork, Starman, John Carter, Superman, The Host, Earth Girls are Easy, and Captain Kirk in nearly every Star Trek television episode.

What kind of alien-human interactions do you like best in science fiction movies and television shows? Have any movies/shows to add?





Title: Liftoff

Subtitle: The Rayatana Series, Book 1


A spaceship in disguise,

An Earth girl searching for a sense of home,

And a Thousand Years’ War between alien races,

All collide on a summer afternoon.

An old movie theater welcomes Amaya in and wraps her up in the smell of popcorn and licorice. But one sunny afternoon during a matinee, the movie screen goes dark. The theater rumbles.

Amaya gets trapped in the middle of an ancient alien conflict. Angry and frightened, Amaya entangles herself in a life-changing cultural misunderstanding with Sol, a young alien who keeps omitting key information, even while they’re on the run from his enemies.

What will it take to survive a battle between alien races involved in an ancient war?

Liftoff is a fast-paced read for fans of Code 8, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Cobra Kai.


Release Date: November 10, 2020

Paperback ISBN: ISBN: 978-0-9889933-8-9

Ebook ISBN: ISBN: 978-0-9889933-9-6

Copyright Tyrean Martinson November 2020

Publisher: Wings of Light Publishing, Gig Harbor, WA, USA

Professionally Edited by Chrys Fey

Cover Art and Interior Design by Carrie Butler

LINKS: Kindle           Barnes and Noble                  Kobo               Smashwords                Goodreads


About the Author: Tyrean Martinson is an author and teacher from Washington State. As a former fencer and kickboxer, she enjoys writing fight scenes in fast-paced novels and novellas. As a teacher and writing tutor, she loves to get students writing and reading comfortably by any means: talk-to-text, short writing assignments, short stories, novellas, and adventures. She wrote her latest novella, Liftoff, for herself during COVID, but realized it also fits a dream she’s had for a while: to create a short, fast-paced read for teen/YA readers who love popcorn movies, adventure, and sweet romance.

Author Links: Blog     Newsletter       Instagram        Twitter             Facebook


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

IWSG: October 2020 Version

 Hello fellow IWSGers. It's October already and fall! Hope you're joining the IWSG blog hop today. Thanks to Alex J.Cavanaugh and the admins at IWSG, we can all share our victories, woes, and ask as well as give advice. Find the entire list of participants here.

This month's optional question was about the description of a working writer versus an aspiring or hobbyist writer.

This is just my opinion, but I feel that a working writer is someone working toward publication. It doesn't have to mean that they are making money with their writing, but they're trying to. An aspiring writer is a working writer who isn't published yet. I feel a hobbyist writer doesn't care if they are ever published. Again, only me trying to define something that allows for opinions rather than something concrete.

I'm still plugging away (slowly) at my WIP. Other responsibilities have taken over my writing time. I hope it gets less hectic in a few weeks.

I used to hate fall, mainly because it meant a return to school. Now it only means my granddaughter is with me everyday and I can really enjoy the pleasant days and cool evenings. I can enjoy raking leaves again and watching the geese fly over. Welcome fall!

"A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows." St. Francis of Assisi

TV is so useless right now. No new content and the news is awful. I'm re-watching Evil on Netflix. It's even creepier the second time around. I enjoyed Enola Holmes. I found it cute and fun. It doesn't hurt that I know the writer of the book it was based on. And my husband is glad to have football back. I'm glad he's entertained also. We're surviving the pandemic restrictions without driving each other bonkers.

Good news, though. Supernatural is back on tomorrow. The final episodes. I don't want it to end, but I can't wait to see how it does. If you've been watching The Boys on Amazon, you know it's crazy and wild. I can't think of a good word to describe it.

I got my flu shot even though I've never had the flu. It seems like the smart thing to do. I hope you are doing all you can to stay healthy.

Do you enjoy fall? Do you write as a hobby or as work? Anything good to watch on TV, Netflix, or Amazon? What are you doing to stay healthy?

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

IWSG: September 2020


Welcome to the monthly blog hop of The Insecure Writers Support Group. This dynamic group started by Alex J. Cavanaugh and led by a group of amazing administrators, posts once a month to share our insecurities, knowledge, and to encourage each other.  Find the entire list here.

This month's optional question: If you choose one author, living or not, to be your beta reader, who would it be and why?

That is a tough one. First, I would be completely intimidated by my choice. Brandon Sanderson is my likely first pick. He writes big books and I would love to see his series bibles for all his different series. He writes epic heroes, but they are perfectly flawed and often insecure. They make so many human mistakes, and he conveys their inner voices so well.

2020 has flown by and yet few of us can wait for it to be over and done with. Not that flipping a page on a calendar really wipes away the previous months. The stresses are many and the escapes few. It's easier for people like me who are mostly content to stay home, write and read, and who need only occasional trips to the grocery store. Though I still have to worry about my family as they all continue to go to work each day. I hope you all are doing okay. Remember to reach out with a phone call or email to someone who might be feeling alone. It will lift your spirits also.

"If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else." Booker T. Washington

I'll be perfectly happy to never attend another Zoom meeting. But I have two this week and more in the days to come. I can't imagine what it is like for students and teachers to spend all day on it. On the 12th, I'm attending a virtual writers conference. We'll see how that goes.😕

I'm looking forward to The Boys returning for season 2 on Amazon in a few days. I'll also check out the new HBO offering, Raised by Wolves. There is so little new things to entertain. Good thing I enjoy books!

My granddaughter starts pre-school next week. Just two mornings each week, but I feel like I'm throwing her into the wild. LOL  It didn't bother me at all to send my own children off to school. Being a grandparent is really different. Though I'll miss having my little shadow by my side for 8 or 9 hours per day, I'm excited for her to spread her wings and learn her way. She is three and a half. About time she gets going.

"It's great to arrive, but the trip's always most of the fun." Malcolm Forbes

Who would you like as a beta reader for your work? How are you entertaining yourself and family during the restrictions? Are you keeping in touch with friends and family?

Monday, August 24, 2020

Keep Writing With Frey

 Catch the sparks you need to conquer writer’s block, depression, and burnout!


When Chrys Fey shared her story about depression and burnout, it struck a chord with other writers. That put into perspective for her how desperate writers are to hear they aren’t alone. Many creative types experience these challenges, battling to recover. Let Keep Writing with Fey: Sparks to Defeat Writer's Block, Depression, and Burnout guide you through:


·        Writer's block

·        Depression

·        Writer's burnout

·        What a writer doesn’t need to succeed

·        Finding creativity boosts


With these sparks, you can begin your journey of rediscovering your creativity and get back to what you love - writing.





Amazon / Nook / iTunes / Kobo





When I shared my story about depression and writer’s burnout, I received many emails, comments, and Facebook messages from other writers thanking me for my bravery and telling me about their own trials. That really put into perspective for me how many people suffer from depression and/or burnout in silence. I had no idea those individuals were impacted by these things, just as they hadn’t known that I was, because my outward presence to others was always happy and smiley and bright.

After the supportive response and upon realizing how many writers in my online circles were struggling, too, I wanted to do something to help. I was candid with my experiences and blogged about the things that assisted me through the rough times in the hope that it would aid others.

During this time, I recognized the need for writers to receive support, guidance, tips, reminders, and encouragement during their writer’s block, depression, and burnout. That’s how I got the idea for this book. A book not just about depression or only about writer’s block, but both, and much more.

Since you have picked up this book, that means you may need assistance with one or all of these areas, and I sincerely hope you find what you need here…that tiny spark to get you through whatever you are going through.

As always, keep writing.

Keep believing.

Keep dreaming.

Chrys Fey



Chrys Fey is the author of Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication. She is also the author of the Disaster Crimes series. Visit her blog, Write with Fey, for more tips on how to reverse writer’s burnout.



Wednesday, August 5, 2020

IWSG: August 2020

How can it be August already? Yet, I know it is because it's time for the IWSG blog hop. Please find the other participants in this blog hop here. Thank you to all those who keep this monthly event going and to Alex J. Cavanaugh for bringing us all together in the first place.

Skipping this month's optional question, let me get right to the whining part. Never mind. My family is fortunate to not have lost anyone during the pandemic though it has brought varying levels of stress to us as it has to the entire world. I know we've been blessed that none of us have lost our jobs and we haven't had to worry about money anymore than usual. So no whining this month.

Like many writers, I don't mind avoiding social gatherings. Trapped at home with my writing and my books! I've gotten much more done than if we'd been doing more traveling and socializing over the past months.

I'm a little bit Zoomed out, but there's no end to that in sight. I am tentatively scheduled to go to a one day writers conference in Erie in October. I love the optimism involved in planning it and really hope we can actually get together.

"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." Martin Luther

I really enjoyed season 2 of The Umbrella Academy. The last season of the dystopian show I've always enjoyed, The 100, has been disappointing. TNT's The Alienist is darker and grimmer than ever. I enjoyed the books and watch the show but it's not for the faint-hearted. It's always so horrifying how terrible life was for the poor during those times. Not that's it's so great now.

My husband is clinging to some hope that there will be some kind of football this fall. I'm not so hopeful, but I've talked him into a lot of home repairs because he's been bored.

Funny story from my baby brother. He's a self-employed lumberjack. And he looks like one, big and strong. But when the pandemic started, he asked and was told he had to shut down. According to him, it took the state government about two weeks to figure out where toilet paper comes from. Not that anyone is accusing the government of not thinking things through, but according to my brother, the temporary toilet paper shortage was all about the lumberjacks. After a few days of shutting down, he was told he could cut trees again. He was after all, an essential worker.

"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it more complicated."  Confucius

Writing it going okay. About a month behind where I wanted to be, but I hope to be done with the first draft of my WIP by the end of the month. The good news is that I have two beta readers whom I really trust, so once I get my part done, I'm looking forward to their input.

I'm driving north to Boston to pick up my daughter and bring her home for a week. She'll return to Boston University then to teach and continue her own academic program. The good thing is that BU has their own testing and labs so she doesn't have to quarantine for two weeks.

Has your life been simpler or more complicated lately? Have you been stuck at home recently and is that good or bad? Did you know where toilet paper comes from or is that only state officials who didn't understand how we get paper?

Hope you're all doing well and staying safe. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

IWSG: July 2020 Version

It can't be half way through 2020, though lots of people can't wait for the year to be over. Just when we think things can only get better, there's another smack in the face. At least we have the IWSG friends to suffer, cheer, and empathize with all our woes and worries. Thanks to founder Alex J. Cavanaugh and his team, we have this amazing group. Find everyone on this list.

This month's optional question:
 There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?

It would be nice if technology could stop book pirates, though I doubt that's possible. I expect to see some of the big industry publishers suffering as they stubbornly refuse to keep up with changes. I hope that small presses and indie-published writers will find more ways to meet readers and get in bookstores and libraries.

Things I'm still missing as our state crawls toward reopening: (none of them as important as people's health)

The library is open for ordering and curbside pickup. That's nice but it doesn't give me the chance to browse for some new authors. I think next week we'll be able to go in. I also miss taking my granddaughter to their programs and to play in the children's section.

I do miss coffee with my friends and a chance to hang out at Panera or Starbucks while we catch up. Though some of those places are open, we haven't tried to dining out yet.

I am so tired of watching the same things over and over again on TV or not being able to find anything to watch. I did just start watching The Boys on Amazon. I don't know why I put it off. It's not my favorite. It's horrifying and actually probably how super beings would really act if they existed. They wouldn't be Steve Rogers.

And who bought all the jigsaw puzzles? I'm a puzzle nut, the bigger and more difficult, the better. They're gone! How dare all those amateurs buy my puzzles? LOL  I figured bikes and puzzles will be huge items at upcoming yardsales.

That's enough whining for now except for one more thing. Still waiting to get into my hairdresser. My hair hasn't been this long for more than decade.

"Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." Abraham Lincoln

Writing is going well though not as fast as I'd like. Don't judge me, Jo!

What do you see coming for the writing industry? Have you dined out recently? Did you buy my jigsaw puzzles? Any thing you're really, really missing during shut down?