New Possibilities

This morning I received an e-mail that threw my already happy mood into a tizzy! I can’t go into many details right now because, well, I don’t know them yet…but suffice it to say that one of my favorite projects might be getting a partner for the finishing touches!

Some of you have been with me for a while now and may remember mentions of a children’s picture book character that I have been working with off and on for a few years (the previous posts can be found here, here, and here). My mother will be illustrating and we are both excited about the endless possibilities that seem to be in store for our Lemur friend!

I will update as more news becomes available. Lord willing, we will know more and start getting details nailed down starting next week.

Remember to ‘like’ our Facebook page, Tyree Tomes, for the earliest updates and information on all of our books!

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Leonard (the smaller Black and White Lemur stuffie), Silly (My daughter’s baby with the rainbow hair), and our new Lemur stuffie, I call him Louis but my daughter has dubbed him OoohOOh, AhAhAh UnckYa (Lemurs like to make low grunty noises when happy)

If you would like to see more of my work, check out my Author Page. You can also find my father, Dr. Wilson J Tyree, on his Author Page and he has free e-book give aways very frequently! Please remember to support your Indie Author friends (Like US!) by providing ratings and reviews in places like Amazon and Goodreads. Your reviews help fellow readers find what they’re looking for!

Positive vs. Negative

Have you ever had ‘one of those days’ or weeks, or months, where you felt empty, drained, upset, uninspired, or even worthless? Of course you have! Unless you are a toddler reading this post to yourself on the super cool new tablet from Sprout, then I’m sure you’ve had at least a few hours of self doubt and/or inspiration blockage no matter what it is that you do (I’m not being paid to advertise, but these suckers are pretty cool!).

So what causes things to weigh on us like this? Why is it that we can feel happy one minute and sad, lonely, and uncreative the next? Part of it is that we live in a society where, despite (or perhaps because of) the rapidly growing number of selfies, people are constantly talking badly about themselves.

According to the post I recently read by Peggy Bert (found here), the ratio of positive comments needed to offset a negative is at least 2-to-1 in our most basic relationships. If you look at closer relationships, such as partners, parents, siblings, etc. the ratio can move up much higher, even up to 5 positive acts or comments required to offset every 1 negative.

So here is my question: If a negative comment from a boss, coworker, or friend needs at least 2 positives to offset that vibe…how many more does it take to offset a negative personal comment? How quickly can you shake it off when it is YOU doing the sniping at yourself?  I understand being bogged down, feeling anxious or trapped or claustrophobic in your own skin. In fact, that was yesterday for me. I have a lot of those days, my personal history includes some things that tend to sometimes make those days nightmares in my own mind. I’m sure most of us have those. It becomes more difficult to listen to my friends, my daughter’s sweet “You’re the Best Mama EVA” seems fake, and I want to throw all my clothes in the trash, burn them along with my writing notebooks, and run far away (well, drive in an air conditioned vehicle…but far far away). But eventually I have to just stop. I look around and see that, yes, there are more clothes to fold (shouldn’t have thrown them all on the floor…), yes, there are more dishes to wash, and ohmygoodness yes there are more toys to put away (HOW, HOW DID SHE GET SO MANY???), but there are also happy little monkey noises, a one eyed lop sided old rottie grinning at me, and the dragons in my head clamoring for attention.

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Maybe I’m not a size 10, maybe I’m not one of those girls, and yeah, maybe I am a big ol’ nerdy nerd who stays at home most of the time. But when I stop to look at what I have and what I do…I am pretty okie dokie; and, when I start doing positive things for myself, other positive things seem to follow. For example, for no good reason at all I got up last Saturday, did my hair and makeup, and put on a cute new dress. I thought I was staying at home, but it made me feel good. Mom, Monkey, and myself wound up wondering around town, getting compliments on how cute we all are, and finding an adorable little retro antique child’s ironing board!

Monkey and the ironing board....which is currently being used as a table.

Monkey and the ironing board….which is currently being used as a table.

Sometimes all it takes is a break. Yesterday, I got a babysitter (Thanks MOM!), went to lunch, met up with a good friend, hung out talking about my writing and his awesome new wife, and slowly without even trying, the weird angry paranoid sadness started melting away. I even got to go out again last night to watch Inside Out, and I woke up this morning with a smile on my face and the energy to do more today.

Happiness is infectious, so is negativity. When you are upset, the people around you are brought down and negativity can flow more easily. When you have a tendency to cut yourself or others down, even in jest, other people see and reciprocate in like manners. But if you let yourself think positively, even though it is HARD sometimes, then the people around you will notice that too.

Just a little sappy, happy pep talk to start your day off. I hope that it is full of joy, positive actions and comments, and blessings! May your inspiration flow and the river of your dreams never run dry!

Free Fell Short

I have a very serious and earnest question to ask you today:

Are Short Stories completely out of vogue now??

I ask because of the horribly discouraging give away I hosted this past weekend. All 3 of my currently available short story books were free in their e-book format, Over the course of 3 days, with 3 books waiting to be snatched up, I gave away 6 books and all of them were in the US. They were most likely even given to people I know personally.

So why the drop off? Not even the very first give away I hosted had such a poor turnout.

Do any of you have hints, tips, tricks, or nicely worded admonitions for me? i would appreciate anything that can help me understand this issue! (For the record, Dr. Tyree has been having this issue recently as well!)

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Free Summer Stories

All three of my Short Story Sundays books will be available for free download on the Kindle App from RIGHT NOW until Midnight Sunday (That’s 3 full days only folks!)

You can find the Short Story Sunday group, along with the rest of my available work, on my author’s page at:

Are you there?

In the past few weeks I have spoken to three people whom I have considered close friends over the years and was excited to be back in contact with, only to discover that they have disappeared within themselves and been replaced by a drugged out, strung out, alcoholic, you name it, shadow of their former high standards selves. Interspersed with these three meetings were stories and evidences of former classmates, former and current acquaintances, and co-workers who have given in to the drink or the drugs.

I know this is a hard time. A lot of people, at least in our area, are being laid off or having hours cut down to the bone. It is difficult to be in your thirties and look around to realize that you have a roommate again, you’re living with your parents again, or you don’t know when you’ll get a pay check again. I understand, believe me I do! You are better than this addlepation though!

The following short free verse was inspired by my feelings while talking to an old friend a few days ago:

Sometimes I think that I see you in there, the strong fiery attitude with hands tough enough to take care of any problem and gentle enough to cradle newborn kittens. Sometimes I even hear that friend I looked up to, your teasing lilt breaking through shaky and mundane tones.

Then you find another pill, pop another bottle, and all that’s left is an angry shell that I don’t know at all.

Laughter turns to yells, teasing to manic laughter and crying (oh, the crying!), and job searches to channel surfs. All I want to see is the real you; the you that I’ve known for all these years, coming out to say hello. Coming out to stay awhile, smiling that goofy smile and hugging us all like long lost family (though we saw you yesterday). But you are so buried in the parties and lies and so consumed by powdered dysphoria that I don’t know if that resurgence is even possible at this point.

Soon, (s)he’ll stop fighting your demons and the shadow you will win, while the world loses another bright light.

How to Get Dressed

I was given this book for free in return for an honest review. 

How to Get Dressed: A costume Designer’s secrets for Making your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing by Alison Freer is a fun style guide designed to help the modern reader redesign their closet, and style, in a way that fits their lives.

With an interesting ‘voice’ and practical advise, Ms. Freer leads readers through reorganization of their closets, small and large fixes for just about everything under the sun (including stains I would never have thought to TRY to remove!), and how clothes should be fitting you. If you have ever been afraid to alter your look, this book is for you.

This book has thirteen chapters beginning in chapter 1 with “Movie Magic: Or, Why Movie Stars Look the Way They Do” and moving right through discussions of fit, choosing your own style, doing your laundry (apparently, we’re doing it wrong), and even how to shop thrift stores for ‘retro’ pieces. There is even a chapter for guys (entitled – Dudes: This One’s For You!).

Each chapter is interspersed with hints, tips, and tricks from practical experience in her field along with funny and interesting stories about her interactions with unnamed stars. The feeling of this text is light hearted, yet educational. Great for someone like me (with mostly no fashion sense) or someone with vast amounts of knowledge but a need to streamline.

I give this book 4 out of 5 dragons, with the cover also gaining itself 4 out of 5 dragons.

Writing Prompt

Cindy looked up at Joel and sighed. The mixture of resignation and horror evident in her large eyes was almost comical.

“Everyone does it,” He defended, “Maybe not often, but at some point in their lives every single person in the world will do it. It isn’t pretty, but it’s human.”

“Well, I’m not.”

a) What is ‘it’

b) is she above it all, or not human?

YOU DECIDE! Give me your best ideas in the comments section and try to one up the person before you 😉

Too Many Minions?

Have you ever received a rejection letter that really just didn’t make sense to you? If not…please skip the miniature tirade in this paragraph and move on to the fun below. Otherwise, read on here: I just got one in regards to the following post. If they had just said, “This is not the type of content that we feel our readers would enjoy” and left it at that, I would have been fine. Perhaps I would have been a little miffed, nothing more than a minute or two of agitation couldn’t handle, and then I would have moved on. But that sentence was immediately followed by the words, “We are looking for lists that are remarkable—lists that make you go “wow!” This list is missing that remarkability” and then the suggestion that I learn how to cite my sources…fyi, the only source here is my brain. If I used another source, I would certainly cite it! I am feeling fairly frustrated at the moments because a) multiple rejections for either my work (submitted to places such as the above, though most with much nicer rejections like “we are not accepting submissions at this time) and b) the site asked for unique content but the rejection letter made it clear that my ‘unique’ content needed to fall into line with everyone else. I don’t know, I don’t often write lists so maybe this isn’t a “WOW!” what do you think?

Found by searching bing images for Minions

The Despicable Me franchise, and specifically the little yellow Minions themselves, has amassed a loyal following made up of movie lovers from the ages of 0-100. In my family we watch them at least weekly, even if only the short videos. There have even been multiple occasions in which 4 generations (4!) gathered together and watched a Despicable Me. Completely lovable in their anti-hero personas, Gru, Dr. Nefario, Steve, Mark, Phil, Tim, Dave, and all the rest secured a place in our hearts at least equal to Disney Princess status (and much less grating than having to watch “Let it Go” yet again). With the Minion movie coming out soon, the little yellow guys are enjoying a resurgence in their popularity, causing even more minion mayhem than usual.

So how do you know if you’ve watched these films a time or two too many? Well, that’s why I’m here! Here is a list of the Top Ten Ways You Know You’ve Watched Despicable Me too Much (If there is such a thing)…Don’t worry, I am guilty of all of them…and so much more!

  • Anytime someone asks you for something “pretty please” you’re automatic response is “The Physical Appearance of the Please does not matter!”

Gru says this to Edith, Agnes, and Margo near the beginning of their relationship in response to their request for a bedtime story. This sets the basis for a very funny moment a little later, and a moving and heartwarming moment toward the end of the movie. This also gave parents and teachers around the world a great come back for the ever present “Pretty Please.” Because, let’s face it, “I said no and I meant it” just gets tired.

  • Your child (and now you, to some extent) sincerely believes that a fire engine makes the sound “Be-do, Be-do, BEE-DO”

Because if a minion said it, it must be true right? RIGHT!? Ok, so the sound is somewhat similar if you think about it but this is one of those things that you take videos of for posterity while thanking the Good Lord Above that toddlers cannot actually make the sound of a fire or police siren.

  • You have actually tried to build one or more real working prototypes of Dr. Nefario’s little toys (Fart gun anyone??)

Toy Stores such as WalMart sale so those little replicas and plushy dolls. My child has a Dave that says 25 different phrases, burps, and can fart 4 different ways. I swear I rolled over in bed one night, kicked the thing hidden in my covers, and he said PAPOY! Scared me half to death!

Not only are these toys fun (F-U-N!!) but they also allow grown adults to spend time pretending to shoot farts at each other from a gun…a gun that at least 2 of my friends have attempted to build. (Sadly for them, they couldn’t figure out how to get the ‘gas’ effect just right…I tried hard to be upset with them, truly I did.)

  • You believe that a Squid Launcher could actually be a marketable tool.

Here’s one I haven’t seen at a toy store yet: Vector’s ‘launcher’ gun. I cannot tell you how much I would love to have one within arm’s reach most days. Being interrupted is a pet peeve and I’m pretty sure that if I had a squid or piranha launcher I could take care of that rude little problem fairly quickly. (side note: Does anyone else always say piranha and at least silently add “I’m a Piranha, they live in the Amazon?” from Finding Nemo)

  • Any Pharrell song (especially Happy or Where Them Girls At) comes on the radio and your 2 year old yells, “MY MOVIE MY MOVIE, WANT PICABLE!”

They don’t forget that either! You can be in the car on the way to dinner/movie/shopping/etc and when you get home 6 hours later BAM! They haven’t been in the house 30 seconds and that dvd case is being waved in front of you with ‘Pickle Me’ being chanted over and over and over until you wear down and find yourself hoping you remembered to DVR the 3 shows you were thinking of watching.

  • The word ‘fluffy’ not only snuck its way back into your vocabulary, it now has its own voice.

Seriously, try saying fluffy without the weird growly but childish and kind of high pitched voice that you now believe to be intrinsic to the pronunciation…sounds hideous doesn’t it?

  • You have to mentally correct yourself before asking your child if they want a “Bapple” or “BA-NA-NA”

This is a particular challenge in my home because she sometimes will not respond if you merely say ‘banana.’ Oh no, you must use the correct tone and, depending on the time and how hungry she is, you may have to actually do the slow motion yell from the ‘Banana’ short film.

  • Despicable Me’s Theme (aka-I’m Having a Bad Bad Day…) is either your ring/message tone or one of your ‘happy’ songs (funny enough, Happy is also one of your ‘happy’ songs!).

Do you know every word of these songs? What about dance moves or little almost involuntary glitches for certain parts? Yeah, me neither…I don’t know what you’re talking about. Let’s move on then…

  • Your toddler and parental unit know the dance moves and have the film timed out so that, without being in the same room or paying attention, they can converge on the television and do a disco dance party.

This can’t possibly just be in my house, right? Please somebody tell me that you too have been awakened from a sappy ending coma by your mother and/or child yelling “TIME TO DANCE!” as they run to block your hazy view and proceed to disco dance right there in front of God and everybody like they have no shame at all.  This can also happen randomly when listening to a radio station that includes songs from the 60s/70s because every once in a while someone plays the BeeGees and BAM! “MY MOVIE MY SONG DANCE DANCE” is being yelled from the back seat. If this has never happened to you, I feel mixed emotions on your behalf.

  • Every day your child searches for the moon. Then he/she tries to grab it. On days when the moon is ‘new’ and not visible for them, they blame Gru and demand we make him give it back again.

Though mostly self-explanatory, if you have never heard a toddler or young child excitedly exclaim “I’ve got the moon” in their best Gru accent while they clutch wildly at the air between then and the moon…I urge you to find the nearest young child that will do such a thing for you (after having a nice conversation with their parents, who you hopefully are quite well acquainted with) and hang out until you hear it. That, my friend, is worth the price of admission. My child, being the creative sort, also likes to draw “big big pictures’ of the moon and then demand Mommy (that’s me) translate her ‘language’ so everyone knows that those scribbles mean “I’ve got it! I’ve Got the Moon!”

Also on this topic, there is a great debate going on in my family as to whether or not the werewolf would have actually turned back into a nekked man when the moon disappeared, since it IS still full even though it was shrunk. So if the rules are ‘full moon’ then they should still apply no matter the size. Just a little extra food for thought (a pre-bonus bonus if you will)

BONUS: You have definitely watched the movie too much when even the DOG has his/her own favorite parts and knows when to come in for them!

The 12 year old Rottie will come in for the beginning of both 1 & 2, then grumbles and leaves around 20-30 minutes in (after Kyle latches on to the coffee shop loot in 1 and after the viewing of the purple rabbit in 2). He then returns for the end of 1…and more notably, for the attack of the chicken booby trap in 2 (then he leaves and returns for the EPIC MINION MELEE).

Phew! Did I leave anything out?  Thankfully, my daughter also adores Tinkerbell and Curious George so we get a break. My poor parents had to endure hours upon hours of Jem and the Holograms (I have no idea why my kid won’t sit through that with me, I still have my VHS tape from when I was 2 and NETFLIX even put it on the KIDS site!) But really, I can’t complain about re-watching movies all of the time. I did that long before I had a child and you know what else? I may or may not have watched the 2nd one during her ‘rest’ time last week….without her to be my ‘reason’ for sitting through the whole thing and laughing at every joke.

“Because I’m HAPPY!”

Singing School

Are you looking for a good, Christian place to send your child for a week? Maybe you want your son/nephew/boy-down-the-block to work on public speaking skills and/or learn how to lead songs in an acappella setting? Or perhaps your daughter/niece/girl-selling-cookies-at-your-door enjoys singing in choir, or is looking to learn a little bit about it before trying out for a position next school year? If you answered YES to any of these questions, then the Alva School of Music is the place for you!

Though this church camp with homework is literally right around the corner, with sign ins happening at 3 on Sunday, June 7th, there is still time to register your child. Singing School (as we affectionately call it) takes place from Sunday afternoon through Friday, culminating Friday night in choral performance put on by the female, male, and mixed choirs. The College Hill church of Christ in Alva Oklahoma hosts this event every year, even providing the next door “Bible Chair” for recreation times, giving the students a chance to challenge each other’s hand-eye coordination is rousing games of ping-pong and air hockey.

While your student is learning these useful singing and people skills, they will stay in a home provided by one of our fabulous church members, be fed breakfast and supper at their host’s house and lunch at the church building. They will be placed in ‘Huddle Groups”, which are smaller mixed groups of students that are a team for games, put on a skit for the Thursday night Talent Show (always a blast!), and provide moral support for each other as they sing and, for the boys, as they lead devotionals.

Our female choral lessons are taught by Nancy Stansberry, a beautiful soul inside and out (who just so happens to be the wife and mother of a few more super talented musicians…look up Mark Stansberry {author, musician, Oklahoma Board of Regents, etc etc etc} and Matt Stansberry and the Romance Jazz Band…and Joe Stansberry musician as well…they are a talented family!}. Nancy’s husband Mark often comes in to visit throughout the week, as well as performing in the Talent Show with her. They also usually perform a song or two with Chris Johnson and Drew Broussard, our two male choral leaders (they often split the group into upper and lower ages for learning to lead singing). Chris is a counselor, missionary, and musician while Drew is a musician, missionary, and teacher. They all love to help students grow and learn to be their best.

Our 3 teachers are fun, hard working, and loving individuals who help make this week memorable for all involved! Holding it all together are teacher/principal Doug Gunselman, and minister/teacher/author/collegeminister/time keeper Dr. Wilson Jay Tyree (who also performs a diddy or two, usually randomly throughout the week!).

Singing School has provided countless hours of fun and singing for dozens upon dozens of 10-18 year old students and your loved one could be next! SO HURRY! Don’t pass this opportunity up! The first full week of June only comes around once a year! Throw in some ping-pong, an afternoon of water play, and life long friendships and you’ve got the Alva Singing School!

Choices, Changes, and Clothes

As some of you have probably noticed, I very rarely include fashion in blog posts. Not that I have any thing against such a thing, mind you, but more that I believe in writing about what I know… And that ain’t it! However, today’s post is about choices so we’ll start with this one.

Mom's Take

Mom’s Take

Dad's Snap

Dad’s Snap

That’s me, today, wearing a piece of clothing I love but normally would never buy.I wear shorts maybe twice a year, and I’m from Oklahoma by way of Central Texas! I always feel self conscious of my legs…

 So what changed?

The honest answer is: absolutely nothing. I’m still a “big” girl, my calves still look like I do marching band every day, and I haven’t completely recognized myself in the mirror for awhile now. So why is today the day to wear this outfit and be okay? Simply because I got tired of seeing it sitting there, waiting; begging for me to slide it on and get dolled up for absolutely no reason at all. I finally CHOSE to let myself wear the outfit and that choice boosted my confidence.

I’ve made a lot of choices in life. Like everyone else. Some were good, some not so great, and some horrendous. One good decision was this outfit, another was starting this blog and self publishing my books. I researched, worked hard, and chose self publishing as a way to retain control of my “life’s work”, my babies. I haven’t sold very many, probably because I chose not to pay for advertising or a book trailer, but I always get good feedback and have given several hundred away with the kindle app.

Now my choice is changing some. As I look to find an agent for other works, i  am also keeping a keen eye out for someone who might eventually be willing to take on the Stone Dragon Saga and all of its extras. I may never find them. But in the mean time, I am also choosing to revamp them a little, throw a few tweaks here and there, and maybe even pay an editor and some advertising. Anyone know how to make an eye catching book trailer?

You see, I chose for years to be lazy. I told myself that I was content with there mere fact that I had put myself ‘out there’ by allowing my books to sit hidden among thousands more on Amazon and Kindle. I felt guilty for contemplating paying for advertising when my daughter wanted a new toy. She has more than enough in her play room (and every other room!) and my choice to use that excuse just doesn’t make sense. See, those pesky choices keep coming back around!

Well now my characters need me to choose… They’re asking for a real chance at the adventure and excitement of being sought after, eagerly awaited, and excitedly devoured by their new readers. I choose to honor that request and that is why I am seeking to change the way I’m publishing. Whether these stay firmly “self published” and I merely put in that extra little bit of effort to polish and market, or they slide into the “traditional” line, the Stone Dragon Saga deserved the chance to really shine and snag readers… And in order for that to happen I must choose change.

We hate change… Why, hello shorts.

Fierce Jungle Pose...MEOW

Fierce Jungle Pose…MEOW

That Bright Sunlight Messing Up My Selfies (but look at those CHEEKBONES!)

That Bright Sunlight Messing Up My Selfies (but look at those CHEEKBONES!)

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Whether it be the choice of clothing, the choice of activity, or the choice to really pursue those dreams…don’t let ‘being content’ with what you’re doing stop you from achieving what you want! Reach for the stars, write your heart out, and let yourself achieve!