White Wolf and the Ash Princess Blog tour.

Hi, guess what? I’m participating in another blog tour. This time it’s for the book: The White Wolf and the Ash Princess by Tammy Lash.

 White Wolf and the Ash Princess

About White Wolf and the Ash Princess

Eighteen year old Izzy’s limited world begins to feel cramped after she completes her self-appointed book dare. After reading two-hundred and fifty books, a thought that had been once tucked away as tightly as the books on her library shelves becomes too irresistible to ignore…”Who am I?”

Memory loss prohibits Izzy from remembering her life before age seven when she was injured in a fire. Fifteen year old Jonathan Gudwyne and his head housekeeper rescued her and took Izzy in as their own, but who did she belong to before Jonathan took her in?

Crippling panic keeps Izzy from wandering beyond the stables but Tubs, the Gudwyne’s thirteen-year old stable boy, encourages Izzy to go beyond the property’s rock wall to a world that promises possible answers. A scorched castle in the woods and its mysterious cellar reveal secrets that push Izzy beyond her discomfort to embark in a journey to the New World with her young friend.

Here, she finds love and a home in the most unexpected of places.

 Purchase Link

– Amazon (available on KindleUnlimited): http://a.co/0XX0PDf

 Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34103987-white-wolf-and-the-ash-princess

I am excited for this book, though I haven’t read it yet, how can you resist a book that involves a book dare?

 Today I invited Tammy over to my blog and gave her the floor to talk about anything she wanted.

 She kindly agreed, and wrote this great post below:

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 How to Write with Anxiety Disorders

 Oooo! I’m having a mini panic attack. I was asked to write two blog posts. Two blog posts—and one of them is to be on whatever I want to write about.

Yikes! That’s double pressure. A) I need to write two blog posts. B) One of them is to be on whatever I want to write about.

My first instinct is to run for my bed covers and snuggle there until the “noise” goes away—but, I have a promise to keep (that’s a story for my other panic-inducing blog post)—and I won’t run and hide because I know I can do this. To help drown out the negative chatter in my head, I’ll just crank up my King Arthur soundtrack a little louder today. Together we’ll talk about what I know best—battling anxiety—and we’ll learn how to use it to our advantage in our writing.

 Accepting the Distracting Tri-head of Anxiety

I had no idea what was happening inside my stomach at age five. It felt like something angry was living there. I finally found out at age thirty that my “angry something” had a name. Three names, in fact. Over the years, the angry something grew and it morphed into the noisy tri-head of OCD, Panic Disorder and Generalized Anxiety.

Living with the trio is like wearing a headset playing the uncomfortably loud “Assassins Breathe” from the King Arthur soundtrack. You try to do your daily tasks but the noise that storms through your ears and into your brain makes it difficult. It confuses you. It makes simple tasks seem scary and it makes the days ahead feel like a maze you’ll never find your way out of.

With Christian counseling, the help of my husband, family and close friends, my tri-head has gotten a little less angry. I can still hear the noise from the headset—but the volume is a little less loud.

This isn’t a post meant to spark a debate on whether Christians should have these types of disorders. I am a Christian and—I have these disorders. The debate never gets off the ground for me. I know what the Bible says about them. The Lord desires us to “be anxious for nothing” and He asks that we “do not fear”. I’ve camped out in the Psalms, begged for relief and prayed the words in different ways hoping I’d finally say the right combination. I listened to pastors who said I was doing something wrong and I let them make me feel like a weak imposter.

 On my last day of therapy, a thought woke me up and it completely changed how I see myself and my anxiety. What if my angry trio was meant to be a part of me? Isn’t God the Master of everything? Time, weather, circumstance—mental health? He could cure me if He chose to, but He hasn’t. I may never be free—BUT is that so bad? I smiled at my therapist when I told him my new discovery. He smiled back and nodded an agreement. The kind of smile that said I passed my years of therapy with an A+. I have come to believe that OCD, Panic Disorder and Generalized Anxiety disorder are no different than the diabetes of your uncle or the high blood pressure of your aunt. These are life’s annoyances that are no different than the wart on your knuckle that won’t go away no matter how much you pick at it. It’s there—possibly forever—and why does that have to be bad? It’s an inconvenience— not the result of sin or a lack of faith.

I have come to believe that the Maker and Creator of all things gave me my trio to serve a purpose. This makes me special and unique. How could a gift like this be bad? So, with this new realization, I poured my experience with my trio into my writing. From it, White Wolf and The Ash Princess was born and this is how I did it…

 OCD Can Be a Good Thing

If you have it too, you’re probably shaking your head. I know, I know—sometimes it can be a complete pain. My OCD is mild for the most part. It’s cute and funny with a sprinkling of irritating. My family and I call my weird OCD hang-ups “ticks”. For example, before I can go to bed, I must first: take a sip of water. Second: smear chapstick on my lips until I reach the “you-can’t-possibly-be-putting-any-more-on-you’re-just-smearing-it-around” phase (hubby quote). Third: one last careful sip of water to keep my lip layers intact. Heaven forbid, I forget to go to the bathroom. Miss this step, and the three steps NEED to be done all over again. My husband finds this funny. He’ll sit at the edge of the bed with an amused smirk to try to catch the number of times the stick passes over my lips. We have yet to see how many times I do it. Apparently, I’m super-fast at it.

OCD in writing can be an amazing thing. It can keep you from moving on from a ho-hum scene. In Letters from the Dragon’s Son (the coming sequel to White Wolf and the Ash Princess), I could NOT leave one of my chapters. I literally read it or thought about it all day for days on end. Each time I thought about it, I looked harder into the scene. Every time I read it, I made the adjustments that my daydreams told me to. When I finally felt ready to let the chapter go, I was stunned at what my OCD tendencies left behind. Jonathan was the “rawest” and most pure in emotion that I had ever seen him in. Shaping and combing it until I felt it was right helped me bring him and his circumstance to a richer level. The extra flourishes were made by my OCD brush and I wouldn’t have reached that color of emotion if it weren’t for my “tick”.

 Panic Disorder Can Be a Good Thing

Out of the three, I despise this one the most. Panic disorder is uncomfortable—it’s scary—and it’s debilitating. This disorder feeds you heaping portions of terror until you are helplessly full. Overstuffed, you can’t catch your breath and your heart pounds so fast you fear it will short-circuit and stop. Our brain tries to convince us we’re dying and our body angrily fights back to keep it from happening. Feeling this type of panic is like getting to see what dying could be like in sample size for free (without actually dying)—like the tiny, clear cups of granola that they pass out at Wal-Mart in the grocery area to see if you really like it or not. Who wants to die? Nothing good can come from a disorder that gives you free test samples of death? Can it?

White Wolf absorbed the heaping helpings for me and it housed most of my anxious energy. It gave me the will to keep going, to share, and to help someone else struggling with panic. Writing helped me focus on something other than terror. Yep. Good things can come from panic disorder. You just have to look and find them.

 Generalized Anxiety Can be a Good Thing

This is the disorder that I’ve had the longest and it’s the one that has the strongest grip. I’m afraid of so many things, it’d take up pages for me to list them all. Some are crazy and insane and if I tell you, you’ll laugh. Ok. Maybe at this point we all need a laugh. Mascots (the cuter the scarier), clowns, policemen, TASERS (My terror is getting caught jay-walking. That’s when I’ll get tased, I just know it!), flying sticks, firemen, people in costume, talking on the phone, flying sticks—did you catch that one?

My anxious spirit seems quieter now that I’m writing about the things that I’m afraid of. I feel like a mean ogre piling it high on my characters, but I promise them a happy ending and that seems to suffice them. The things that had once seemed threatening before in the outside world, seem to lose their power when they’re shoved in a book. I find myself thinking more about storylines, scenes and characters than the looming doctor appointment that I have coming up or the broken garage door. I’m not losing touch with reality, I’m leveling it out. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Isn’t thinking on a book for His glory most, if not all, of those things?

White Wolf and the Ash Princess and Letters from the Dragon’s Son are more than steps towards healing and wellness. They’re a way for me to reach out and help others who feel the same as I do. If that doesn’t make my angry trio a blessing, I don’t know what does. As uncomfortable as they sometimes are, I’m so thankful and blessed to have my disorders.

 A Challenge for Those Struggling with Disorders

How about you? Do you struggle with the same three “thorns of the flesh” as I do? If you do, don’t listen to their voices of limitation. Don’t be afraid of them. Use them to your advantage and put them in your work. Use your strengths and weakness for Him. Lean on Him and trust Him. Don’t give up and let the trio engulf you. Use them while you’re battling them and do it for His glory. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish with His help. You—and your writing—will grow in ways you never dreamed possible.

Tammy Lash             About the Author

Tammy lives in Lower Michigan with her husband and her three children. Izzy’s home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (Munising) is where she and her family enjoy exploring. Tammy enjoys hiking, kayaking, beach wandering, “hunting” for birch bark and hopes to someday find a porcupine quill. White Wolf and the Ash Princess is her first novel. She is published in Keys for Kids and has been in children’s ministry for over twenty years.

Social Media Links: Website // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest

*****

I want to thank Tammy for her insightful post and I apologize for any extra anxiety I caused. 🙂

 White Wolf Giveaway Banner

Tammy has generously offered to give away a signed paperback of White Wolf and the Ash Princess, birch bark bookmark, and necklace (three winners). US only. 

Good Luck: Click Here

I almost forgot, check out the rest of the tour here:

 Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 7th

– Launch Day – Unicorn Quester

– Guest Post –dolphin18cb– You are here

 Tuesday, August 8th

Book Review – Ashley Bogner

 Wednesday, August 9th

– Book Review – Indie Book Reviews

 Thursday, August 10th

– Guest Post – Dream. Write. Repeat.

 Friday, August 11th

– Interview – Lands Uncharted

 Saturday, August 12th

– Wrap-Up Post – Unicorn Quester

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Navigating the skies of Steam Punk

Last November I announced my NaNoWriMo novel. I may have mentioned that it was a steampunk story world. Some of you are probably wondering what that means. (Apparently there are many ways to define steampunk.)

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I used to think you can just type Airship and instantly turn any story into a steampunk one. No each steampunk story is unique. Some even have intricate magic systems.

Though it isn’t really steam punk without at least one airship, and Goggles. Goggles are a must. My personal philosophy is the three Gs of steampunk: Gears, Goggles and Grit. Yes Grit, because burning coal tends to make everything dirty.

As a fiction genre steampunk comes across as the mutant offspring of: Historical fiction, Science fiction and Fantasy.

Some advocate for the strict adherence to historical technology. (Do not have your Victorian dandy fire a ray gun.) One author said that steampunk must be an alternate version of our history. ( That means no made up worlds.) Another camp seems to see steampunk as only dealing with Steam power. (Makes sense, but very limiting.) The last camp is an anything goes super-genre mash-up that only requires a pair of goggles and a jolly good time to tell a story. That’s my camp.

 

This visual aesthetic, made up of vintage Victorian designs with industrial embellishments. (Keys, coins, gears, and gauges, to name a few.) Is what I love about steampunk.

This aesthetic is part of what I want to capture in my world building.

As soon as I realized that the rules didn’t matter a new world of ideas opened up to me. I saw a world with gears sown on in place of buttons and where teenagers wore goggles on their heads. I knew that airships were the only way to travel and that keys could be used to accent a hat. The entire story world formed in my head because I figured out the only way this aesthetic could evolve naturally from a culture starting from a Victorian baseline.

See it had to feel authentic to the world otherwise I was just riffing off the current trend.

How would you incorporate such a design choice?

I’m a NaNo loser

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Yes NaNoWriMo is over. That grand challenge that drives writers to double their work load during the busiest time of year. Amidst the hustle and bustle of black Friday frenzies, three thanksgiving meals over the course of four day weekend, and 48 hour work weeks, we are expected to churn out an entire novel of 50,000 words.

So how did I do you ask. I got down on paper, 35,124 words. I averaged 1,170 words per day. I never had a day where I broke 3,000 words though I often wrote less. And even though MS word counts ### as a word. Nano word counter does not.

So yes I am a loser. But a NaNo loser is a nano loser which is only a little bit of a loser.

Am I done? Does losing the challenge mean my novel is abandoned?

No but I am taking a break to regain some sanity, pay some sleep debt and work on some short stories that need polishing. I also have to work on finishing my Goodreads reading challenge for the year. 7 books to read before new years still.

The good news: I will pick it up again for JaNoWriMo. You may guess that means: January novel writing month. You are right. The Realm Makers Consortium group on facebook is hosting this more convenient challenge. The challenge is even more manageable because the goal is only to write 40,000 words instead of 50,000. My personal goal is to add to my current novel and hopefully to finish. I am aiming for a 90,000 word novel. There is the ending to write and a subplot that still want to go back and add. Hopefully the more convenient timing will allow me to finish it up.

So yes I lost NaNoWriMo, but as the Beatles sang, “I’m a loser, but I’m not what I appear to be.”

I appear to be some one with less than half a full length novel, but I’m 35,000 words into a novel. That’s only 45,000 words away from being a Paperback Writer.

NaNo Anouncment

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It is official. This year I am writing a novel for the month of November. I even registered, and have a Nano profile. If you Nano too, you can follow my progress at Nanowrimo.org.

I am writing under the user name dolphin18cb, naturally.

I have had this story brewing in my head for a few months now and I told my self I wouldn’t commit to it unless I have a solid ending, a decent villain, and a hero with realistic flaws. I think I have all of those so I took the leap and the rest is with God.

Right now it is untitled, but it will be a steampunk story.

The Hero: Jay Becket isn’t concerned with the underground resistance movement. He just wants to keep his younger brother Myles safe. He has absolutely no interest in claiming the throne that could have been his.

The Villain: His great uncle, Robert Nuklare is not so sure. Ever since he led the coup that deposed his niece, Robert Nuklare has not stopped looking for the missing boy that could bring it all crashing down around him.

I won’t tell you how it will end, because honestly it could change while I write the rest of it.

But here’s some back cover copy to get you interested.

The blurb:

Jay Becket longs to be an airship pilot. He would love nothing more than to soar above the mountain ranges that surround the kingdom of Victorica and leave it all behind. The only problem is, a royal can not leave the kingdom.
As the illegitimate son of the deposed Queen, Jay certainly doesn’t qualify as a prince. With his adopted brother, Myles, to watch out for Jay also has little interest in the resistance movement trying to reinstate the queen to her throne.

Rumors start circulating that the queen is close to winning and that she is looking for her lost son. Followed closely by rumors that his Great Uncle Robert Nuklare is close to wiping out the royal line for good. But the rumor that Jay is most interested in is the one about a cure for the genetic curse that keeps him trapped within the kingdom’s boarders.

Secrets have become the glue that hold the fragile government of Victorica together. When the truth gets out, it all starts unraveling.

So would you read it? Let me know in the comments and send some encouragement my way.

NaNoWriMo

For the uninitiated, the really confusing title you just read stands for National Novel Writing Month. I have been contemplating whether I wanted to try this challenge to write a fifty thousand word novel in one month. I have never tried it before. But this might be the year.

Fifty thousand is a lot of words. I would need to write at least 1667 words a day. Almost a thousand words more than my current goal of whatever will fit on two double spaced pages a day. And with the holiday season officially started I will have to do it with forty hour work weeks on top of that. But I think I found a way to do it.

I am going to cheat.

You see I already think of myself as having written a novel. But in retrospect it might just be 300 pages of character development. The truth is I love reading, probably more than I love writing, and even I think my book is boring. So I want to use this challenge to rewrite my book. I want to tighten it up, add more action and define the plot better. And I want to do it in less than the year and a half it took me the first time around. The hardest part is behind me right?

Isn’t that why we have this huge fanfiction market? Because it’s easier to write with an established character than to make up your own. It is, it really is. I confess to being tempted by the siren call of Fan fiction. But I resisted because I realized that even if I had the best plot line ever I could never really know a character I didn’t create. As much as they tell you not to write yourself I think every author puts a piece of themselves into their characters.

So now I have all these characters that have a piece of me. I can write my own fan fiction with my characters and it should be awesome. That wasn’t the most narcissistic sentence ever right?

The best part is that if I get behind on the word count I can just cut and past from what I already have written. 300 pages it can’t all be bad writing, can it?

Anyway that’s the plan. Maybe I can count this post towards my first word count goal. If I can’t today’s word count is zero. Oh well I guess I have to decide what to keep from my current manuscript be cause at this rate I have a lot of cheating to do.

Feel free to leave a comment. Do you think this is a good strategy or is it as bad as cheating on a mid term?

Two Years In

It’s that time of year again. It’s my Blogaversary. Well it was anyway. The actual anniversary was on the twelfth but I missed it. Oh well Happy belated Blogaversary to me.

Two years ago I started typing out my random musings and giving them a home here on the web.

I may not have always been consistent with my posts but I do hope that they were all interesting.

The highlight of the year was probably serializing my story “The Feud Worth Forgetting.” Which can be found under the Short Stories category, subcategory “The feud worth forgetting.”   Don’t forget to scroll all the way down to get to part one.

The past year also featured two of my stories being published in the Cross and Cosmos: Year One anthology. Last year was also my first entry into a writing contest. The Family Fiction Create Romance short short story contest in which I became one of the top 200 entries.

Thank you to everyone who visited my blog. I got 8 followers this year, you know who you are. I hope you liked what you found, obviously you did or you wouldn’t have followed my blog. I am going to try to post more often this year.

Who am I kidding? I will post when I feel like it. These are random musings after all.

 

On the conservation of perpetual creative energy

Every fifth grader has heard of the conservation of energy, the principle that says energy can not be created or destroyed but only transformed. This is also partly true of creativity.

Creativity is the ability to store emotions, to capture feelings, to create things that inspire and perpetuate creativity in others.

Any artist can tell you how emotionally draining the act of creating can be. Whether it’s writing, painting, sculpting, acting or composing music.

But the beauty of the creative arts is that once you channel your energy into the task of creating the energy stays where it is no matter how many people draw inspiration from it.

Imagine how sad the world would be if creativity followed the same laws as physical energy. A world where after you finished a book the words were gone from the page until you used the stored energy to create a painting; which in turn vanished after someone became inspired from looking at it.

An actors craft carries the same amount of creativity whether his audience is a thousand or just one. A musician can inspire millions with one song out of just one night of furious composition, a few months with paper and pen can become a hundred years of literary enjoyment.

And these artists drained of emotion and low on energy can pick up someone else’s creative work and become inspired all over again.

“Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.” — Carlos Ruiz Zafón – The Shadow of the Wind

Go now. I send you out into the world to create, inspire and dream.

Now, if only we could power our vehicles with creative energy. Ah . . . the power of imagination.

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