Monday, March 19, 2018

#Interview with Author Jay Chalk, Revolution 2050

Please welcome Jay Chalk, author of Revolution 2050

Jay is a writer and fan of dystopian scifi and the author of the new Revolution 2050. (See my blurb-length review at the end).

Author Links: Twitter  Facebook

Q1. You are thrown into your favorite story (not your own).  Which story and who would you be?

A. I would be Jake Grafton in Stephen Coonts’s Flight of the Intruder.   My love for flying aside, Grafton, a naval aviator, goes through insightful, mental anguish when it hits him that he and his fellow pilots are nothing but sacrificial pawns in a highly politicized Vietnam War.  My novel’s protagonist, Sam Moore, in Revolution 2050, is gripped with the same desperate realization as a member of a political party of terror, but with a different outcome.  Thrown into Jake Grafton’s boots would most definitely test my personal inner strength and integrity.

Q2. What is your biggest challenge/insecurity in your writing life and how do you overcome it?

A.  This will probably sound overused and vanilla, but my biggest challenge is getting my characters’ emotions from the visual to the written; getting their thoughts, feelings and responses onto paper.  As far as insecurity as a writer—I never overcome it.  I’m always worried that I screwed something up somewhere and that my work ends up as only a caricature of itself.

Tyrean: We all feel that way, don't we?

Q3. What’s your favorite part of writing (brainstorming, world-building, rough draft writing, editing)?

A. My favorite part of writing is while I’m writing, I discover that I’m onto something special and I can’t get the words down fast enough.  To use a cliché, “it just flows,” or “in the zone.”  My second favorite part is the beer afterwards.   

Q4. When and where do you write?  How did you discover that was best for you?

A. I write at a desk in one corner of my living room, with a nice outside view of the East Texas forest—and with all the remotes and phone within arm’s reach.  This might sound strange, but I actually use a desktop computer (gasp)—I don’t even own a laptop (more gasps).  When I’m not teaching, and the writing bug has hit, I’ll start before sunup with black coffee so strong it could melt a metal spoon.  No sissy coffees here.  And I go from there.  Like most debut authors, I still have a full-time day job.  Any free time I can squeeze out to sit down at the keyboard at home, I savor it.  I’m a blue-collar writer.

Tyrean: Blue-collar writers rock! 

Q5. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?  Why that?

A. I posed that question to one of my high school classes.  The girls gave various answers, but the guys unanimously said “x-ray vision.”  If I could have one superpower, it would be the power to fly unaided.  As a pilot, I’m in a cocoon of aluminum with gauges, gadgets and screens, just to get from point A to point B.  And yet the view is still breathtaking.  To just will one’s self to float and move in any direction at any speed without the aid of a mechanical device would be the ultimate high—no pun intended.

Tyrean: That's one of my top superpower hopes, too. 

Q6. How does your faith inspire or inform your writing life and writing projects?

A. I am a Christian.  Yet I’m not consumed with religion (maybe I should be).  Still, I pray for inspiration all the time.  And I usually receive it, but to me, in the most unusual ways.  If my writing is successful, and by successful I mean opening people’s eyes, I have no one to thank for mission accomplished except the Lord.  Every one of my works has what some call a “supernatural” event occur.  I don’t think of it as supernatural at all.  It’s divine intervention.

Q7. So, how did you discover the idea for your book, Revolution 2050?  (Or what led you to start the book?)

A. All I have to do is listen to or watch the “news” and the media’s reaction.  I’m also a student of history.  Events that are happening now, not only in our country, but also across the world, have happened before—and almost always with the same outcome.  Society’s slow inculcation into a Godless ideology, such as in the Soviet Union or in Mao’s China, or today, in North Korea, is nothing new.  Only the names and places have changed.  Some have compared Revolution 2050 to Orwell’s 1984.  For me to even be mentioned in the same sentence as Orwell is an undeserved honor.  While there are some elements of 1984 in the novel, a lot of the work is actually based on historical facts.  The former president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel, in his book, Open Letters, describes life as a dissident in Soviet controlled Czechoslovakia.  Life in Cold War Czechoslovakia, while not quite as harsh as in the Soviet Union or Hitler’s Germany, was nonetheless charging headlong that way; it was a police state.  And I saw early steps heading in that direction here in the United States when I began Revolution 2050.      
Tyrean: Thanks for all of your thoughtful answers, Jay!

Official Book Blurb:
Samuel Moore is living a dystopian lie…

After a civil war, the North American Commonwealth now dominates the eastern half of the former United States. Controlled by a totalitarian regime called the Directorate, the NAC demands compliance, awareness, and unity. A Directorate member and teacher, Sam enjoys the benefits while skirting the forbidden.

Then Sam encounters Katie Spencer. She sneaks him a short wave radio and he hears the Western Alliance broadcasts. Katie also reveals a video she captured of NAC death camps. Sam realizes he’s involved in a nightmare that could shake every foundation.

With the video broadcast date approaching and several students desperate to escape to the Western Alliance, Sam is forced to decide. Remain loyal to the Directorate? Or abandon all he’s ever known to fight for freedom?

Tyrean's Tiny Review:
From the first chapter to the climatic, the tension in Revolution 2050 ratchets up tight as both Sam and Katie struggle to find the right path to take, the right way to fight for the rights and freedoms of themselves and those they love. Sam and Katie find themselves both drawn into a battle with high stakes, and their choices may save or sacrifice the people around them. With unexpected twists and turns, and unexpected possibilities of betrayal and reconciliation, Revolution 2050 takes a new path into the realm of dystopian thrillers. I highly recommend it!


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March 2018 #TheIWSG and Corners

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

Alex J. Cavanaugh, the founder, noticed a lot of blog posts from writers mentioning their doubts, concerns, and lack of confidence. He also saw the positive replies they received and realized that the writing community offered an abundance of support. Writers want to see other writers succeed, which is how he came up with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. This group would act as a form of therapy, letting writers post about situations where they need encouragement, or to offer words of encouragement to others if they have experience.
Co-Hosts this month: 

Marching Forward!
March is a big month for me this year. 
I started Grad school! Whoa. I'm working on an M.Ed in Instructional Design at Western Governor's University - it's an affordable, flexible, online program so it fits me where I'm at right now. 
All of the Instructional Design concepts are actually helping me see some of my writing more clearly - kind of an interesting and nice extra that I didn't expect. 
Hours I'll spend on this in March: 50+. It's a huge focus. 

Writing - prepping Ashes Burn for publication. Toying with a Writing Prompt project. Revising/Rewriting Book 1 of The Greenling Chronicles. Specifically, I want to a)get the format part done for AB, b)add a few pages to the Writing book, and c)get through chapter 10 in GC. 
Hours I'll spend on this in March: probably 30-40. 

Teaching - Make the homework clear for the rest of the year (only 10 more weeks for my homeschool students) and start prepping the celebration book - a book of student writing. 
Hours I'll spend on this in March: 40. It's one of the bigger months of concentration for this, even if I only teach in class one day a week for three hours.

Bible Study - I'm in four (four!) groups right now and I have my own personal study going on for Lent. Hours for March: 20-30.

Substitute Teaching - when I can on the "other" days. Who knows on the hours? Between actual substitute need and my days available, I only subbed one day last month. Oy. 

OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal / finish a story?

What I could do: go out for dinner, enjoy a good book, go to a movie, dance around the house, sing, shout, and jump up and down.

What I usually do: smile, occasionally dance around the house, then get back to writing. If it's a short story and I feel satisfied with it, I search out a good market for it and send it right away.  
I think I need to take my celebrations more seriously. :) 

Participate when you can, as often or as little as you feel comfortable.

By Corrina Austin

Everyone needs their own special corner...

It’s 1969 and ten-year-old Davy is in a predicament. With two weeks remaining of the summer holidays, he’s expelled from the public pool for sneaking into the deep end and almost drowning. How will he break the news to his hard-working single mother? She’s at the diner all day, Davy has no friends, and he’s too young to stay by himself.

The answer lies in his rescuer, mysterious thirteen-year-old Ellis Wynn. Visiting her Grammy for the summer, Ellis offers to babysit Davy. She teaches him about “corners”–forgotten or neglected areas fixed up special. Together, the kids tackle several “corners” and Davy learns what it means to bring joy to others.

Davy begins to wonder, though. Why does Ellis want to be his friend? Why doesn’t she ever smile? And is Davy just one of Ellis’ “corners?”

Release date - March 6, 2018
$10.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 136 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Juvenile Fiction - Boys & Men / Fiction - Coming of Age
Print ISBN 9781939844392 eBook ISBN 9781939844408
$3.99 EBook available in all formats

“Austin’s message of true friendship and selflessness will resonate


Kobo -

What do you do to celebrate achieving a goal?

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Smashwords Ebook Week 2018

I'm participating in this huge, one-week only sale!
Look for discounts, from free to 50% off for each book in The Champion Trilogy: Champion in the Darkness, Champion in Flight, and Champion's Destiny.
Check out my short story collection: Flicker for FREE
Where to find the books: All Sites Listed Here - with links to iBooks, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February Highlights and Forward March!


1. I'm going to Wednesday evening write-ins at the library hosted by E.C. Murray. There's usually three of us there and we just sit and type away. It's wonderful and possibly the best writing I'm doing all week. We don't talk much, we just say hello, pull out our laptops, and write in quiet companionship.  

2. I've hit a better stride with my exercise goals - moving from 1 mile back up to 3.5 miles of walking each day. It turns out that my dog can't walk with me anymore, which bummed me out for a long while. He turned 12, he has some spine issues, and he needs to rest most of the time now. He can only make it for 1/4 mile outings, although he wines at the door when I go for my longer walks.

3. I finished up orientation and everything I need to start graduate school online at Western Governor's University, starting March 1. I'll be taking classes to get a graduate degree in Instructional Design. 

4. My Lenten Reading Journey has really helped my faith walk this year. I'm reading 1 and 2 Samuel, Psalms, John, and some other selections: The Narnian, The Chronicles of Narnia, and LOTR. I am waking up excited to read the Bible each morning, and I'm reading the others in the evening.

Favorite Fiction Books and Movies of February (other than Lenten reads mentioned above):

Ready Player One
Ready Player One is from an atheist point of view (it's pretty loud about it for a paragraph or two), has at least one other section that I think goes a little long, and I wouldn't recommend Ready Player One for anyone under 16. Having said all that, it might be surprising that I recommend it, but the rest of the story is off-the-hook amazing. For anyone into 80s geek culture, Ready Player One has every reference you could possibly want, and more.

Renegades (Renegades, #1)
Renegades by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles fame) is a superpowered-dystopian, and I found the main character (an anti-hero/villain) and her motivations interesting. Renegades is definitely a new start to a series of what promises to be a plot-twisting narrative set in an interesting world where heroes may not be as heroic as they seem. (I read Brandon Sanderson's super-powered trilogy, The Reckoners, last year - it's another superhero-dystopian. Renegades feels slightly meatier and older. I think it's more YA, while Reckoners is more MG.)

Don't Cosplay with My Heart
Don't Cosplay with My Heart by Cecil Castellucci was a fast YA read for me and I enjoyed it. The MC, Edan, dresses up like her favorite comic book character to feel strong enough to deal with a mess of family problems, deals with boy trouble, and starts to discover her own strengths in the midst of everything, including her strength as a cosplay artist.

The Hidden Masters of Marandur (The Pillars of Reality, #2)
The Hidden Masters of Marandur (The Pillars of Reality, #2) by Jack Campbell is a fun read and definitely gets more into the character development of the two leads - Master Steampunk Mechanic Mari and Master Mage Alain - as they discover more corruption in their two guilds and decide to take action. I enjoyed the first book in the series in January and hope to read a book a month for a while.

Black Panther Poster
Black Panther is the best movie I've seen so far this year aka the only movie I've seen in the theater this year, but I think it's going to stay up in my top 5 for the year. I loved that the secondary characters were more fully realized than I expected. His female General kicks butt in a beautiful red dress in one scene that I think I could watch on repeat, and his STEM-smart sister is awesome. Good directing, editing, acting, and beautiful CGI all round this out to be a visual masterpiece of film.

Fullmetal Alchemist Poster
Full Metal Alchemist - the Netflix Original with live-action actors was a movie I enjoyed thoroughly. I have to admit, I'm only slightly familiar with the anime series and the manga series so I'm not a Full Metal Alchemist expert, but I had so much fun watching this nod-to-anime live-action movie with all of the beauty of English subtitles that I plan on re-checking out the anime and the manga at my local library. I may become a Full Metal Alchemist junkie, who knows? It's been a while since I've been sold on a anime series. (Did anyone else watch Bubblegum Crisis in the 90s?)

The Olympics ... well, I haven't watched all, but I've been stunned by how amazing all of the athletes are and thankful for their camaraderie in the competition. Just wow.

I'm looking forward to turning the calendar for March 1st because I'll start my online classes, my oldest daughter will come home for a short break, my youngest will have spring break later in the month, and I will be up-scaling my exercise to get ready for surfski-kayaking* in April. Plus, I'll be putting together a fun book of my students' best writing for the year. It will be busy, but I'm looking forward to all of it.

What have you been up to these days?

*surfskis are a special brand of open-faced kayak meant to cut through the waves, surf on waves or wake, and stay generally upright. The Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Racing Team lets beginners (both young and old) use them to gain confidence and strength before getting into a racing kayak (skinny little boats that flip easily and don't return to upright without taking them to the dock). 

All movie and book covers are from IMdb or Goodreads.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

#TheIWSG, Project Updates, and Instagram for #TheIWSG

Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, all of the admins, and all of the co-hosts this month:

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place to share insecurities and encourage one another.

Optional IWSG Question: 
What do you love about the genre you write in most often?
I love that speculative fiction, fantasy, and scifi give me plenty of room to explore possibilities, and also give me a new backdrop in which to explore every day dilemmas with magical items, blasters, mythical creatures, aliens, and special powers. 
If we could revisit our old school days with a super-power and an alien best friend, would it be the same? What if we could bring a unicorn or Medusa to work? 

Project Updates
Even though I love writing stories I think I can share with others, I'm also drawn to writing some odd, experimental fiction which breaks many of the "rules" of writing.

Ashes Burn is one of my hard-to-market projects. It is a fantasy hint fiction series following the lives of three characters. Wend is on the run from his fiery past, Teresa is searching for her love, and Bryant is planning to scorch his way from King to Emperor. 
It might be marketable, if I hadn't been a stickler about writing every "episode/chapter" in hint fiction format - all episodes are less than 30 words. And, I like it that way. (Yes, I can be stubborn about my odd projects.) The only way I would ever change it would be to make it into a manga/comic series ... but I can't draw or even afford to hire someone to draw the panels for me. 

Ashes Burn, Season 7 is  releasing at the website over the next few months and I'll be compiling all of the seasons into a omnibus e-book for release in June. 
Will anyone buy it?
I really don't know, and somehow, I'm okay with that.

The Greenling Chronicles Book One is still under revision, but I have more hope for the whole series in its current messy state than I did a month ago when it looked prettier from the outside. It might even end up as a marketable project.

Journaling - This isn't really a "project" that I'll ever publish, but I have been writing sporadically in my journal this year - sermon notes, lists of things to do, ideas, story starts, and some poetry. It keeps me going on busy days and fills my creative well on other days when I'm feeling dusty-dry. 

Report on Six Impossible Ideas Before Breakfast 2018 Guiding Goal (the goal that made no sense to anyone but me). This really includes - writing projects, exercise, the mostly-keto diet that I'm on (prescribed by doctors), prayer, job+school ideas, and giving myself room for creativity. It's going well - mostly. Details may come in a later post.

Just post one image a week on #writerWednesdays
or join in for the not-so-secret #motivationMondays.
Yes, I went a bit for the whole February love-fest theme.
If you would rather post more friend/Gal-atine style shots, go for it!

What do you love about your genre? Do you have any project, goal, or resolution updates? Joining Instagram?