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A Thought

So, coming up on Halloween, it occurs to me that I am fascinated by fear, my own in particular but also just as a general thing.

The thing going on now with the clown attacks is a great example. See, I visited my folks recently and there’s this great woods behind there house, I ran around in it all throughout my childhood and even now will when I get the chance on a visit. Even knowing that the small town I grew up in is unlikely to have random clowns, even knowing that the chances of my running into one was functionally zero, I couldn’t convince myself to go out.

It was kind of the same thing a few years back with Slenderman. I’d read a bunch of stories or blogs or watch videos, and I’d freak myself out and be looking over my shoulder pretty consistently. Then a day or so would pass and I’d be right back to it because I enjoyed that little riff of fear.

I think it’s always been like that. I’m not a big fan of horror games because they either rely on jump scares too heavily and I’m not a fan of those, or because I get into it too much and psych myself out. Horror novels and fiction though, I’m here for that. Let me build the thing up in my mind. Let me let my thoughts run rampant, turning little details into signs and portents. Guide me though a character’s fall from normalcy.

So, tell me, what scares you? What makes horror work?

Alright everybody, I’ve got  another giveaway for you courtesy of authors Bob Kat! It’s for the fifth book in their Time Shifters series, Not My Life.

In Not My Life our time traveling heroes will have to find what happened to their friend Dan Denucci to take him from a man with a medical degree, beautiful wife, and a son to the sad homeless man living under the pier.

So, your question to enter, if you could travel back in time what would you do with that power? A follow up question if you feel like getting into it, would you assume a stable time line or a changeable one?

Standard rules apply here. You’ll need to follow the blog and the comment on this post answering the entry question. The contest runs from the time of posting until next Friday the 28th and the winner will be selected using

Separate from that, the authors also have a giveaway of their own going on to celebrate the book’s release, I’ll use their words to tell you all about it.

To celebrate the launch of NOT MY LIFE, we’re giving away a very special heart-shaped mother-of-pearl shell necklace.  (The photo doesn’t do it justice.)  It is 18” long.  All you have to do is send us an email at with your name, email address, and the words SHELL NECKLACE.  You will be entered into the drawing that will be held on December 1, 2016.  The winner will be notified by email.


Weekly Housekeeping

Right, so eight days later and still no review. It is coming, hold ups are largely due to a recent move and trying to get organized after that. I’m working on getting back in the swing of things and we should be up and back to business as usual some time this week.

I’m also still trying to figure out what I want to do for Halloween here. Maybe a couple horror story reviews or something to that effect. Let me know if you have any thoughts on it, the comments are always open.

More Rambling

I’m behind on reviews again, that didn’t take long. I should have it fixed soon, there’s just some stuff holding up life at the moment. Little things, big things.

I’m thinking of changing the blog’s title, if I’m able to do that, bring it more in line with the web address. Part of it, I think, is that I didn’t really know what I wanted to call it when I started it back when. I still don’t really, but that’s a little whatever at the moment.

Maybe I just want to change something for the sake of changing something and this is easy. Seems a little weird, but I’ve always gone for small near meaningless changes to avoid big ones.

I think I want to start building a buffer of reviews of older books for times like this. I don’t know how successful I’ll be at actually doing that, given my tendency to get behind on projects and forget where I’m going with what I’m doing. Pretty sure I’ve said this before a half dozen times.

The next review should be up soon. I’ve been having trouble finding the right words for how I feel about it. It’s a book I enjoyed, but then also I keep trying to compare it to this other book and I really want to keep them separate. At least in the reviews themselves.

I’m probably also going to try and get back to posting stuff on Goodreads and Amazon, also using Goodreads to keep track of the books I’m reading. That should be interesting.

I also kind of want to do something for Halloween. I just haven’t decided what. If any of you have ideas feel free to suggest them.

Once, during a discussion with a fellow author (he was in his 40s) where upon discovering that he couldn’t cook, I asked, “Come on, not at all? Didn’t you ever watch your mom in the kitchen?”
His response shocked me. He said, “In my household, dinner consisted of two things: a can opener and a microwave.”
Days later, I was still thinking about it and imagining what it’d be like to live off of nuked canned food. It’s sad. As a kid, he never had the chance to discover or create a relationship with living growing fruits and vegetables in their unprocessed form, but instead ate things like canned pasta, tinned meats, fruits in syrup, and vegetables in brine.
This got me thinking: what if I had a YA character whose mom was like that? Perhaps it was a single income, single parent household and she worked long hours (night shift) to support her family so there was no time to learn how to cook? Okay, now how can I up the stakes?
What if my hero, Kevin – I’ll make him a talented athlete – thought he was eating better than his mom’s cooking, but in reality, it wasn’t much better? So I thought, what would be worse? Well, what if all he ate every day (meals and snacks) were energy bars, powdered energy drinks, and energy gels (all with artificial imitation flavours)? Themes were developing quickly and I knew I had something here I wanted to explore further. I know people whose diets consist of a lot of powdered protein. Hell, I’ve tried dehydrated/crusty or chalky/chewy protein bars and drinks that left a strange coating in my mouth. They’re disgusting. This was also when something called Soylent, a greyish-beige drink hit the market. It was known to be consumed by video gamers as it apparently meets all the nutritional daily requirements. I’ve never tried it and there’s no way you’ll get me to either.
So how do I take this YA character and his diet and make it worse? That’s when the opening chapter came to me: Kevin fails a gym class food diary assignment and to keep his grades up, so he can score a hockey scholarship, Coach makes him take the cooking component in Domestic Tech for extra credit.
The horror! He has to take a cooking class! If his friends knew about this, they’d tease him badly. So now Kevin’s got a secret.
At the same time I was thinking about this idea, I’d been watching and reading stories that happened to have overweight girls in them and they all seemed similar: depressed, bullied or the bully, comic relief, or abused. Where was the story about a confident girl who didn’t think she needed to lose weight in order to feel good about herself? #bodypositive
Then I wondered, what if Kevin’s got a second secret he’s keeping from his friends:
He likes big breasts, hips and thighs in a society that only reveres big breasts. Everywhere we look, Hollywood, corporations, books, music, fashion, etc., play a massive part in shaping society’s mindset. It’s a barrage of messages, particularly to young people, telling them what to think, act and feel. You won’t be cool unless you use a particular product or wear a certain piece of clothing (sold in X store with limited sizes), or look a certain way. And Hollywood? I was wondering the other day what would have happened in the romantic teen comedy SHE’S ALL THAT if the geeky (so called) “unattractive” artist Laney remained who she was and didn’t get the cliché makeover and it was Zach who had to change, and it ended with them as a couple, but Laney was exactly how she appeared in Act I. 
At times, Kevin has a hard time expressing his feelings, finding the right words or trying to process what he’s experiencing, but that’s part of who he is and his quest to understand himself. Sure, it would have been more fun to have him spout poetry like other guys in YA romances, but that would ring false. Falling in love is new to him and knowing that Claire is unacceptable to his peers places his world on shaky ground. If Kevin were an adult with a wealth of experience, I’m sure the novel would go something like this: Shut your face, I’m in love with Claire, I don’t care what you think. The End. But it’s not.

Writing the scenes with Kevin and Claire were a lot of fun. I really dug their energy and positivity. I have no clue if I’ll ever write another romance, but I’m glad this one happened and I hope I get to experience this much joy in the future. 


I’m a little late posting this, but I’ve got another giveaway for you all.

The Jock and the Fat Chick is a YA romance novel from the point of view of our title Jock, Kevin, who is forced to take domestic tech to make up for a failed assignment. To make matters worse he’s falling for his classmate Claire, something he can’t let anyone in his social circle know unless he wants the wrath of the popular crowd to come crashing down on his and, more importantly, Claire’s heads.

We’re doing things a little differently this time around, the prize is an e-book copy of the novel.

This one’s going to run from now until next Friday, October 7th, at midnight central time. I will be using to choose the winner. Also, of course, you’ll need to be a follower to win.

So, question of the week is this. Since The Jock and the Fat Chick deals with body image and peer pressure, what kind of stuff did you get up to in high school because you figured your friends expected it of you?

The Shackled Scribes Winner

So, this is a day late, but I have the winner for the The Shackled Scribes giveaway!

Congratulations Sue S. you win a copy of The Shackled Scribes and a ten dollar Amazon gift card!

I’ll need you to either comment with your email, this will not be posted to the blog, or send me an email at the address listed in the review request page. I look forward to hearing from you!

Quick Thing

Like the title says, just a quick reminder that you still have time to enter the The Shackled Scribes giveaway, that ends tomorrow night at midnight central time. There’s two prizes up for grabs, so check it out. It’s linked here.

I should also have a review up near the middle of this week. So look forward to that.

Beyond that, I kind of feel like I want to ramble about romance novels or something. But that would be a really broad strokes thing and I haven’t actually read any romance novels in a long while. Feel like I should do that before I talk about the genre much.

Alright everybody, I’ve got the winners for the Navigators of Dune giveaway!

Congratulations Elise Smith and abbyesque, you each win a hard cover copy of Navigators of Dune.

I’ll need both of your snail mail addresses so that you can be sent your prizes. You can message me here with your email and I’ll get them that way, or you can email me through the tympestbooks email in the Review Requests page.

Book Giveaway: The Shackled Scribes

Alright folks, I’ve got another giveaway for you! Courtesy of the author, Lars Teeney, there’s two prizes this time.

The first prize is a copy of his new book, The Shackled Scribes, and a ten dollar Amazon gift card.

Second Prize is a copy of New Megiddo Rising, a novella set in the same world as The Shackled Scribes.

Standard rules apply here. Follow and comment to enter. Winner needs to be from the United States and willing to share their mailing address. The giveaway ends at midnight on Tuesday the 27th, then I’ll use to pick the winners. Winners will be announced on the 28th.

Your question to comment responding to is this. In a world where a ruling class owns all knowledge, including the work of others in a lower class, what’s the worst thing you can think of happening?

Best of luck everyone!