Category Archives: life

Genesis of a Voracious Reader

If I had to pinpoint where my love of reading came from it would have to be because of my father. As a kid he’d read me bedtime stories like the typical fare: Jack and The Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel, etc, mixed in with tales of Brer Rabbit and stories he’d made up on the spot.

Growing up I always saw him with his head in a book and this sparked my interest in reading. At first I raided his book collection, picking what I liked and then when I was in middle school I discovered the library and practically lived there.

I devoured the horror and science fiction sections until discovering the Mythology section and falling in love with it. Roman, Greek, Egyptian, and Norse I read about them all and couldn’t get enough.

When I stop to think about it now I completely skipped young adult books and dived right in to adult books. I guess I found them more interesting than the books for kids my age.

In high school I discovered a whole new world of stories online and would spend hours on end reading one after another. These stories let me know it was OK that I was attracted to other guys and that I wasn’t alone.

I was deathly shy and theses stories provided me a safe space to explore my budding sexuality and not feel like such a freak, but at the same time I couldn’t help but notice that the characters in these stories were all the same blond haired, blue eyed muscle bound guys who instantly found a lover on page one.

After awhile I grew tired of these stories that tread the same path and never finding protagonists like me, so I decided to try my hand at writing for the other geeky LGBTQ kids out there who were longing to see diverse character like them.

Writing Update

Well this is a first for me but I figure some people will want to read this so here I go. This week hasn’t gone according to plan and I haven’t gotten much work done on the Phoenix Diaries, my science fiction/fantasy young adult trilogy.

I’m coming to the end of book two and I’ve been dragging my feet on completing it this last month or so. I’ve been trying to make more time to write but I keep putting it off because it just doesn’t feel right. Honestly I know I have to get it done and then worry about making it better in the rewrite.

Yeah I know it will take time to finish the trilogy and I have to keep motivated until I reach the end of this project. Sometimes I feel like I’ve taken on too much to handle with this project, but then I think about all the things I want to accomplish with this series and that’s what keeps me going.

Sure I could be spending time working on other projects, but I know in my heart I have to get this story on the page or I’ll go crazy.

Part of me is a little scared about spending so much time and energy on this trilogy only for it to fall flat. I know I can let my fears overcome me, or I can face them and write any ways, because that’s my job.

I know to temper my expectations because most books only sell a few hundred copies and most writers don’t make much from their work. Yeah it’s scary to think about what ifs but if I go down that path it’ll lead me to self doubt and depression, so instead I’m going to focus on writing the best series I can and worry about the outcome later.

Improvise Adapt Overcome

image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu
image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu

 

Introduction
Have you ever had one of those days when nothing goes right and you just want to crawl back in bed and forget the whole series of horrible events? Well this past weekend I had such a series of events.

First my charger for my laptop stopped working and I had to switch to the old charger, which is prone to fall out the charging port. And then right in the middle of me working on my WIP my laptop crashed and I lost everything I wrote up to that point.

I was beyond livid and wanted to tear my laptop apart, but that wouldn’t have solved anything in the long run. No instead I took a deep breath and calmed down. Sure I was still pissed but I picked myself back up and moved forward.

Perseverance is The Key
This experience has taught me patience and how to adapt on the fly when things don’t go as planned. Sure you could curl up in the fetal position and wallow in self pity, or you can get up and tackle your problems head on.

Sure in the moment you might feel like giving up, but don’t. When adversity strikes it’s a test of who we really are and can either break us or make us stronger. We can either face down the obstacles in our path or we can shy away from them and not live up to our full potential.

Conclusion
When rough times come or way sure we can ask for help from friends and family but ultimately it is up to us to get through the crises in our lives. And we do that by adapting to the situation around us and not giving up until we’re through it. Whether that be writing or getting in shape, you don’t stop until you’ve reached your goal.

A Matter of Perspective

image by Kerem Yucel via sxc.hu
image by Kerem Yucel via sxc.hu

Introduction
have you ever stopped and just looked at the world? Yes it’s full of evil people but there is also incredible good too. For the longest time I looked at the world as a horrible place because I just looked at the bad stuff and ignored the good.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned that the world isn’t so black and white and that beauty can be found in the darkest of places because of the indomitable human spirit that tells us that while things are bad if we just dig down deep and find the will to carry on we’ll get through whatever obstacle is in our way.

We Are one
It’s so easy to divide people along identity politics, socioeconomic status and religion, but the truth is we more connected than we think. Everyone is just trying to make sense of this world the best they can and though we may disagree about how to go about things at our core we are all the same and we need to embrace that.

There are more similarities than differences that unite us but it has become the fashion to demonize those who disagree with us and set up echo chambers so no dissenting points of view can get through to these safe spaces.

The truth is being exposed to a wide range of opinions is good for us and a lively debate of our core values is healthy and ensures we aren’t living in a bubble.

Truth is Beauty, Beauty Truth
The world is a wondrous, constantly changing place that offers up an unending smorgasbord of facts and knowledge to all who are open to learning new things.

Yes while it may seem like progress is slow in actuality there are discoveries and breakthroughs happening all the time.

Conclusion
Sure if we focus on the bad in life that will be all we see but if we choose instead to look at all the good there is we will be infinitely happier. And though it may seem we are more divided than ever remember at our core we are the same and the indefatigable human spirit bonds us all.

How to Find Time to Write in a Busy Life

image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu
image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu

Introduction
Between work, kids, running errands and other obstacles thrown our way it can be difficult to find the time to write, but if we’re serious about the craft there will always be time to write.

Pick a Time and Stick with it
This may be the hardest part because it requires you to find the time when you’re most creative and it can take a few tries before you discover the right time. For me the best time to write is first thing when I get.

For you it may be in the early hours of the morning before everyone is up or right before you go to bed. Once you discover it try to write every day at this time to build a habit.

Once you’ve committed to writing at a given time don’t stop until you’ve reached your goal for the day and then try to do a little better the next day.

Yes it can be frustrating at first when nothing comes to mind but if you persevere and come to the task with an open mind you’ll find the right words.

It Takes Less Time Than You Think to Write a Book
You need to salve away at the computer all day to complete your work in progress. Believe it or not you can get a lot done in five or ten minute sprints. If you find yourself with a little break just set a timer and write until it goes off. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish in such a short time.

Sure it may not seem like much at first but over time the words will add up and before you know it you’ll have a complete manuscript.

Honor the Time and Space You’re in
When you write do so with all your heart and soul. Turn off your phone disable the internet and turn off the TV so it’s just you and the page. Yeah this can be scary at first when you’re focused on the task at hand it will make you more aware of what you’re attempting to do. If you absolutely need some white noise in the background turn on your favorite music and get to work.

Conclusion
Yes it can sometimes be daunting to find the time to write but if you care about the craft and are determined to get your WIP finished you’ll find the time you need to do it.

How to Stay Positive on the Journey to Publication

Introduction
Raise you hand if you’ve met someone who isn’t happy unless they’re complaining about one thing or another. We all know people like this and being around they them is taxing to say the least, but

image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu
image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu

today I want to talk about keeping positive amidst adversity in the writing business.

Sure when things go wrong we can complain about them until we’re blue in the face or we can pick ourselves up and keep moving forward. The choice is up to us.

Happiness is a choice
From years of experience I can tell you that while it may be difficult to maintain a positive attitude, it takes more energy to be negative and ultimately leaves you tired and bitter.

Yes writing is a hard business to break into whether you go the indie route or the traditionally published route, and at times it can seem like nothing is going right for you while some new upstart is in the lime light.

You Can Never Have Too Many Friends
Rather than treating other authors as your competition instead treat them as potential friends and reach out to them.

In this way you can build a support system of like minded people who know what you’re going through and who will keep you grounded when things get hectic.

Also you never know who you might benefit from meeting so keep an open mind when it comes to networking wit your fellow writers.

Be thankful for where you are in the writing process
Sure it might feel good to rage against the latest flavor of the week, but ultimately this is a self defeating proposition and will take your focus off your goals. Instead shrug your shoulders and move on.

Conclusion
Everyone is at different point along the writing process. Be thankful for where you are. No one can control who becomes the next best seller, and it will drive you insane questioning why some people make it wile others don’t. Instead focus on writing the best work you can. That way no matter what happens you gave it your all and no one can take that away from you.

If you Want to write

Introduction
If you want to write know that there will be set backs along the way, but don’t give up, because it is only when we stop writing that we’ve failed. The truth is writing well is damn hard work and there is no guarantee people will read your work, but you can’t let that get to you.

What’s Your Why
The reason why you write has to be clear in your mind, lest you lose sight of it and get discouraged. If you don’t know

image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu
image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu

why you write sit down and give it some serious thought, because on your darkest days this is what will see you through to the end.

If you’re writing or fame and fortune know that there will be obstacles all along the way and you will be competing with thousands of other writers, all trying to make it too. Know you will flounder until you find your voice, but you mustn’t give up.

Persevere
“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.”– Bertie Charles Forbes

Yes you will stumble and fall long the way but you have to get up and continue moving forward, writing the best work you can because that’s what you are called to do.

You have to show up everyday and honor the process by being alert and focused only on the task at hand. When you write keep that time and space sacred by turning off the TV and unplugging from social media and the internet. This may sound a daunting task but with practice it will become second nature to you.

Done is Better Than Perfect
When it comes to writing know that practice make perfect and no matter how bad something you wrote is it can get better in the rewrite but you have to have a finished product to work with, otherwise you’ll get stuck in the loop of never finishing anything because it’s not perfect the first time every time.

Conclusion

The road to being a writer is a long and arduous journey fraught with perils all the way, but if you persevere you will reach your goal. Remember a lot of people say they want to write a book but not many of them actually follow through on it. So no matter how far along you are wit your work in progress celebrate it because you’re following you dreams and not many people can claim that.

When the Mask Comes Off

image by Kerem Yucel via sxc.hu
image by Kerem Yucel via sxc.hu

Introduction

Who are you really when no one is watching ? How do you act when it’s just you and your thoughts? We all put a facade on when we’re in front of others, for one reason or another, but who is the person in front of us once we take the mask off?

Taking Off The Mask

In everyday life I try to make sure the person under the mask is the same whether I’m alone or in public, so that I’m true to myself no matter what the situation. I try to bring this same authenticity to my writing by breaking down the barrier between the reader and I.

Be Authentic

Sure you could hide behind one persona or another, but I’ve found it’s more engaging to write in simple terms to attract more readers while retaining your soul as a writer. Yeah you could write to impress others or you could just focus on producing the best work you can. And that means being true to yourself and your readers.

Nurture the Relationship with Your Readers

No matter what you write about remember there is an implicit contract between you and the reader that you have something to say to them if they invest their time in choosing to read your work. Screw this up and you’ll lose a reader for life. The relationship between author and reader is sacred and must be nourished from the beginning.

The best way to do this is to be honest with them. If you’re not an expert on something don’t act like you are. And don’t assume your readers are stupid and need everything spelled out to them. Reward them for sticking with your work with insider information on up and coming projects and treat them like they matter, because without them you’d be worse off.

One little e

My parents , William and Michelle Smith met at a bowling alley , dated for six months then married and had me a year later. Our surname was changed to Johnson by the justice of the peace who marrie

image by rsvstks via sxc.hu
image by rsvstks via sxc.hu

d them.

I was born three months overdue on 6:00 AM September 10, 1984 at Silas B Hays Army Community Hospital in Fort Ord, Ca. During labor my head got caught under my mother’s pelvis and we almost died. They did an emergency C-section and out I came: 6 pounds , eight ounces and a full head of hair.

Now that the David Copperfield crap is out of the way, my name is Tyerone Michale Johnson. My mother decided to spell my names weird and every since that extra e has been nothing but trouble.

No my first name isn’t tee- ron, tuh ron, or tye ron. it’s tye as in bow tie and rone as in rhymes with phone. Yes I’ve had my name butchered six ways to Sunday and back , but it doesn’t stop there.

Every time paper work is needed I constantly have to correct the misspelling which is a pain in the ass. When I was younger and had outpatient surgery every three weeks or so, if the referral showed up on time my name was always spelled wrong and they couldn’t go ahead with the procedure.

In sixth grade Erykah Badu’s song Call Tyrone was a hit. My classmates would sing it out of the blue and laugh at me. I never hated my first more than at that point. Over the years I experimented with pseudonyms: Tye, TJ, Rone, T-bone, and Mike but none of them quite fit. So I’ve decided to embrace the one little e and all the trouble that comes with it.

My name’s Tyerone and this is my story.

Review: The Last Command

Introduction

Picking right back up where The Last Humanity left off, The Last Command ratchets up the action and is a real page turner. A common theme for this book is all roads lead to the Ancient City.

First Bray and company make it to the Ancient City and take refuge in the remains of a museum. William sneaks off in the middle of the night and Melora follows after him only to get lost and is saved by Ivory, who just returned to the Ancient City.

Meanwhile William is confronted by Jeremiah and commands a horde of the infected to kill him.

The Good

I really liked how all the story lines converged to the Ancient City and how it was all wrapped up nicely. I was also pleasantly surprised when my hypothesis about William was confirmed. The way I see it he’s becoming like Jingo and won’t lose his mind to the spores.

I was also shocked when Father Winthrop lost his mind and killed General Blackthorn. I didn’t see that coming and found it a little hard to believe. I also found his delusions about being a war god laughable and down right pathetic.

The bad

I was thoroughly disappointed with the resolution of Oliver’s pot to kill Father Winthrop. After all that build up and him growing as a character just to wimp out at the last minute and run up under the skirt of Minister Beck.

Honestly had Oliver just killed Winthrop it would have saved everyone a lot of heart ache later on, but no. Instead Oliver chickened out, allowing Father Winthrop to kill Blackthorn and turn most of the blue shirts to his side.

I was also disappointed in the resolution of the coup to oust Tenbrook. Even though he just assumed power he had the Dunlow Twins, and their family ,tortured and burned at the pyre along with Scholar Evan and the other conspirators.

The Verdict

Overall this was a good read and i suggest to give it look if you’ve enjoyed the other books in this series thus far.