Saturday Stories – 3/12/16

This week I finished reading two books, wrote 3 pages of my novel, and re-worked our Little Monster interior too many times to count. My illustrator (mom) Becky A. Tyree got the interior designs for Leonard the Lemur completed yesterday so I’m going to be re-working Little Monster *again* and prepping Leonard the Lemur for the same this weekend.

Tanganyika Wildlife Park, the park featured in Leonard the Lemur, had its seasonal grand opening today so I wanted to do a quit shout out to them on their big day! Check them out on their website, facebook, or Amazon wishlist.

This week’s excerpt is from the ‘villains’ perspective in The Way We Were. ENJOY 😀

THE FOUNDATION:

“I am sickened by the incompetence you are displaying!” The voice seemed to surround a small group of cowering robes. “Is this why we’ve spent generations grooming your families? To breed OUT this disappointing behavior? Yet the mortals are winning again. We have been in existence, this plan has been in existence, since days of Noah. Time and again we have been thwarted. Time and again these toddlers have foiled everything! We have waited thousands of years for them to forget everything. For them to LOSE their knowledge and connections. They have finally reached a blank life AND YET YOU STILL FAIL ME!!! Disappointed.”

An empty silence pressed down against the cowering capes until one straightened determinedly and strode with confident purpose to the high seat.

“Well, you imbecile’s heard him,” The masked, helmeted and robed figure projected menacingly across the crowded meeting hall. “We are failing them. Just as our parents, grandparents, and forefathers failed them in every generation before us.”

He paused, the lightweight wood of his painted mask doing nothing to conceal his baleful glare as he, the Grand Guard of the Asmodeian Society, watched the sniveling members of his tribe scurry to their own, lesser, seats.

Positioned in a large circle situated around the outside of a plush, starched, and scotch-guarded carpet the color midnight’s bad dreams and decorated with the shimmering realism of black holes and dying stars, the circle of the submissives was ever reminded of their tenuous positions in the ranks.

Some days the carpet seemed to swirl and change design on its own, but those things were dangerous to dwell on and rarely spoken of by the members pledged to this sect. There are some things that frighten even those bred to be fearless.

The Mustache

I’ve realized recently that my blog routine has been lacking in originality. I got in to spotlighting other authors, discussing, art(ists), and talking about my goals, but I stopped sharing a lot of my work. Part of that is because I haven’t had a huge volume of new work lately, an issue I think can be partially fixed by trying to provide you with some new ESTyree Originals. Happily, my sleeping self seems to have agreed with the need for more because I woke up to several text to email lines that seem to make up a free form poem. I’m not sure what I was dreaming about but I will now present to you:

Mustache

 

(The lines I received exactly)

if form emerged from the shadows shapeless save for

the mustache that waved gently in the breeze on either

side of the presumably male face

No words were spoken

no sound was made

the only movement in the room was that acccursed mustache

It seemed to dance

taunting us

waving at us

curling in the air creating shadows within the shadows

the only form with is shape do in shape with recognizable form

the only thing touched by the breeze

It was a living thing that mustache

hitching a ride on a shadow on the hint of a ghost of light

a living thing come to visit in the deep dark of a cold midnight

A dancing mustache come for a dream

all I wanted we found out where are stories

 

I know, weird right? Like I said…no idea what I was on about BUT…kind of a hauntingly eerie poetic piece. Let’s clean it up a bit and see what a coherent Beth can do with it, shall we?

 th (3)

(A little bit of spit shine)

A form emerged from the shadows

Shapeless and long save for the mustache that waved

Moving gently in the breeze on either side of a presumably male face.

No words were spoken,

No Sound was made,

The only movement in the room

Came from that accursed mustache,

The handlebar contours bouncing lightly.

It seemed to dance,

Taunting us with its moves

Waving at us from across the room.

Curling in the air and creating shadows within shadows,

The only form with a real shape,

The only shape with recognizable form,

The only thing touched by the breeze.

It was a living thing, that mustache,

And it hitched a ride on a shadow,

On the hint of a ghost of light.

A living thing come to visit in the deep, dark

Of a cold midnight.

A dancing mustache, come for a dream.

All it wanted, we discovered, were our stories.

We gladly shared them.

Elizabeth S. Tyree

Please leave me a comment or two letting me know what you think. Did you like this piece? Should I share more of my personal writings? Do you have some writings you’d like for us to see?

Until next time, May you have a wonderful and blessed day! Happy Groundhog’s Day, Happy February, Happy Month, Happy Life…may the blessings and inspirations flow for you.

 

Buzzing: Autism

In a recent discussion on personal buzz words for books I admitted to fellow BookTuber Acacia Ives that fairy tale re-tellings, specifically appealing to or talking about nerds, and autism are three of the big buzzes for me. When she asked why I realized that maybe my answer would require more than a few lines in the comment section (Mostly because I deleted three paragraphs worth of response before settling on a somewhat lengthy shortened reply).

So why is autism a buzzword for me? I haven’t ever been diagnosed as being on the spectrum, I didn’t grow up with a close friend or family member on the spectrum…so what’s going on?

I honestly cannot tell you when the first hook grabbed me. I can’t remember the first person I met with Autism, though I’m sure there were autistic students in school with me when I was younger. However, I can tell you that I can always remember being interested in the idea of autism. If you aren’t familiar with ASD (Austism Spectrum Disorder) you can find some helpful facts on the webpage for the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and on the Autism Speaks webpage.

For me the idea of autism resonates in a way that most perceived ‘special needs’ do not. I say perceived because I have begun to see autism as merely a different way to see the world. Having spoken to many students and peers with varying levels of ASD, as well as reading articles written by and about those who have been diagnosed, what I’ve found is that a great majority of autistic people find more issue with how people perceive them and with struggling in the ‘normal’ sector of the world than they do with their ‘special need’. To them, the only thing ‘special’ is how hard they have to work when placed beside those of us who don’t think in their type of brain. Yes they might need help discerning things like emotional intent, expressions, and even imagination. However, ‘special needs’ and extreme levels of help are often not what people with ASD really need.

As an author autism both intrigues and frightens me. I love the way autism works, the way the brain works with autism. Each person with ASD has a different tick. It changes, it evolves, it moves with them in ways others disorders and/or illnesses cannot. I am enthralled by the way people with autism work, the way the different levels of autism force people to change and create in order to make their way through the world. The intricacies of beautiful minds that become somewhat of a fear factor for those of us who aren’t forced to live with it. I often write characters who, in my mind, have a touch or more of autism. I never specifically state that, however, because I am afraid writing yet another autistic character who is just a stylized, simplified, watered down version of their true self. A candy coated pill for the ‘normals’ to swallow down and say proudly to each other that they read a story about autism. Or, conversely, an over dramatized, emphatic, in your face autistic character who makes everyone uncomfortable because those are so rare in real life that I would be completely untrue to those I love and who I feel have entrusted me with their significance. You see, that must be it. Autism is a buzzword for me because people I care about, a cousin, some students, a nephew..those people deserve me to care. They deserve for us all to care and to want to understand. That is why I think it Should be a buzzword.

Here, though, is what I do know about why Autism is a buzzword:

  1. It has been used as a scapegoat. 

When I say that it is used as a scapegoat, I’m not just talking about classroom inclusion discussion or lively debates about inoculations. While both of those have been batted around like a tired yarn ball given to a kitten, those aren’t the only things that like to use autism as a main battle point. In fact, when people discuss things like ‘mental retardation’ they like to also bring autism into that mix. While the rise in autistic diagnosis for the past 15 years or so has actually led to a decrease in the diagnosis of ‘intellectually disabled’ the likelihood is that the actual issues haven’t changed, but our abilities for detection have. As our understandings and tests have evolved, our ability to recognize those who learn, comprehend, and develop differently has become slightly more sophisticated. normal-wiring-compared-autistic-wiring

Now take all of that last paragraph and set it aside for a moment because I have also seen a few cases of ‘autistic scapegoating’ while in a teaching capacity that had nothing to do with whether or not a repetitive motion or strict schedule should be allowed in with the ‘normal’ kids (remind me to post about normal sometime…).

For Example: I have seen a student who was placed on academic plans, had ‘special’ classes, etc etc etc due to their ‘severe level of Aspergers Syndrome’ but who only exhibited signs of ASD when they thought about it. That’s right, the only time that student actually showed any discernible signs were basically when they didn’t want to do the classwork or wanted to get out of a project. It turns out that the family had been so insistent that a love for farm animals and interest in horses was a ‘fixation’ that must be a mental issue, the therapist finally gave in and diagnosed it. A new doctor did an examination and declared that said student just needed to be made to follow rules and stop being coddled..and that they had mild Attention Deficit Disorder and should be allowed to work on the family farm more.

  1. It is an unknown

The term ‘Autism’ has been around for roughly 105 years. On the WedMD’s A History of Autism page the discussion ranges from early diagnosis, to the combination of schizophrenia and autism, to the use of LSD as a treatment for autism in the 70s, and on to the 1980s and 90s as we slowly began to use behavioral therapy as a way to ‘treat’ autism. All very interesting and enlightening things. All facts that you should check out. However, none of the facts are definitive. Unlike many of the other mental or physical illnesses we deal with, autism has not been completely defined. We cannot pinpoint one or two specific activities that cause or worsen autism. In fact, each case is different.

autism-diagram

What that means for those not dealing with autism is that we have no idea what to do. We don’t know what it is to have that difference in our heads. This means that most of us will be made uncomfortable by the difference. No matter how progressive most people might claim to be, change makes us uncomfortable. Funnily enough, the change that makes us uncomfortable makes them uncomfortable from the other side of it. Think about that next time you encounter someone a little different from yourself.

 

  1. It is on the rise

 

As I mentioned before, the occurrence of an ASD diagnosis is up and rising, mostly because our understanding of the disorder has helped to create more appropriate understandings for people with what would have previous been lumped under the title of  ‘mental retardations’. However, the statement that 1 of 45 children is being diagnosed with some sort of ASD could throw people off. That does seem like an awful lot of newly minted autism sufferers.

 

All of this comes together, in my mind, to show that we are still bumbling through the world of the brain. That we still don’t truly know anything about autism, and that ASD is a term deserving of our buzz.

I didn’t realize that this term held so much importance for me until Acacia asked me that innocent ‘why’ and I hope that I have fired you up a little along the way as well.

Are you an Autism buzz worder? Do you have other buzz words that attract you to things, or repel you from them? Are you a writer that deliberately writes, or doesn’t write, a certain type of character because of things like Autism or tropes on special needs? Leave a comment and lets get a good conversation going!

156201-425x339-autism-brain

Saturday Stories for 1/16/16

Welcome back to 

Saturday Stories

This is a weekly post in which I update you on how I did with my goals and such over the past several days and link up to things you might have missed from me this week. I also give you a peek at something I’ve been working on! (If you just want to read my story excerpt, skip to the end!)

You can see last week’s post here. This week’s post should be short and sweet…I didn’t meet them.

Ok, let’s start from the beginning. On Sunday I posted my usual Sunday Goals and TBR video over on my YouTube (BookTube) channel. In that video I stated that my goals were basically to Read Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, to finish edits my current contest WIP, organize The Way We Were and to write three more chapters on Paulonious Punk.

So did I get that done? Of course not!

Here’s what I did:

I DID finish Six of Crows – Review(s) to be up soon.

I DID NOT write on Paulonious Punk but I will soon.

I DID get Beta Readers for A Siren’s Tale – and am now adding more to the last part. I’ve written about 500 words or so.

I DID take some time and organize 3 sections of The Way We Were and I think I added about 200-300 words in there.

I also did the normal blog posts so we had Spotlight on Art, Author Interview Friday, Writer’s Quote Wednesday, and a Bonus post containing videos about Alan Rickman and Harry Potter in general. .  I also did a video for David Bowie, which can be found here.

So basically, I’ve written somewhere between 1-2 thousand words this week…approximately. I don’t know because I hand write most things before typing them up so I don’t everything put into the computer as of yet. What I DO have, is this excerpt for you!

This is the beginning of a currently UNNAMED slightly dystopian story I started a few months ago. Though I have left it sitting in favor of the above mentioned ‘other’ works, I plan on getting back to this soon. I hope you enjoy it but, please, let me know what you think!

The end of the world has come and gone, but we are all still here somehow.

No one will believe me when I tell them about the apocalypse; not even my family or my best friend. They all think I’m nuts. A weirdo who wasn’t born properly. The disease that destroyed my world has touched every person around me and no one even realizes it. I rarely leave my room now and I never speak of this anymore. There are only two places I feel safe from this dread existence: my newly reinforced bedroom fort and the place I was when the whole world went daft; the library.

When I think back to that night…I try not to think back to that night. The last one to leave the library after book club, I did as I usually do, I mean usually did, and stayed behind for an hour or more to research and write. I’m a writer. Apparently I’m the only writer left in the world. With all of the movies, television series, and music cancellations since the event everything has become reruns and news channels. The few stations that remain anyway, most of them have gone to blank screens. So much for the HD television flat screen revolution! Goodbye new music radio stations, so long actors and screen writers. This viral attack took it all from us. It wasn’t exactly the end of the world, but it might as well have been.

By: Elizabeth S. Tyree

FREE BOOK DECEMBER

Dragons for Christmas:

When to grab your FREE e-copies of ESTyree’s Stone Dragon Saga

(And other works)

 

Dragon on My Neck – First in the Stone Dragon Saga

Free from Monday, December 7stht thru Friday, December 11th

 

Dragon in My Yard – Second in the Stone Dragon Saga

Free from Saturday, December 12th – Wednesday, December 16th

 

Dragon on the Green – Third in the Stone Dragon Saga

Free from Thursday, December 17th – Monday, December 21st

 

Short Story Sundays – Book 1 in the Short Story Supposition (Compilations)

Free from Tuesday, December 22nd – Wednesday, December 23rd

 

Summer Sundays – Book 2 in the Short Story Supposition (Compilations)

Free from Thursday, December 24th – Friday, December 25th

Tales from the Dying Grass – Book 3 in the Short Story Supposition (Compilations)

Free from Saturday, December 26th – Sunday, December 27th

Little Monster – By Binky Bo Tyree

Free from Monday, December 29th – Tuesday, December 30th

Free Dragons! 2 Days Only!

I’m doing a quick 2 day give away of Dragon on My Neck beginning tomorrow (Saturday July 11th) and ending Sunday(July 12th). What does this mean for you?

Well, it means that you can have your very own e-book copy of the novel that started it all! My baby, the first novel I finished edits on and chose to send out to the world, the book that started me out as an indie author AND as a YA series author. As if that wasn’t enough…I am offering a very special prize.

If you download my book and then POST A COMMENT on here stating that you did so, you will be placed in the running for a personalized autographed copy of one of my books (your choice!). If you already downloaded your copy in a previous give away or (gasp!) purchased it, please make that comment as well.

Here’s the twist…If you re-blog this post you get an (extra) entry into the drawing. If someone downloads and comments on here that they got the book because of your re-blog or post, you get an extra entry into the drawing.

Basically, the more you share and get the word out there, the more likely you are to win a physical copy of one of my books!

If we reach 50 different comments (different people commenting) I will up this giveaway to 2 books. Every 25 differentiating comments after that will add a book to the mix. That means if we reach 175 different people who then comment on here that they have downloaded Dragon on My Neck the drawing winner will receive a complete, physical, set of my published works: personalized and autographed to your specifications!

What are you waiting for??? Let’s get the word out so you can win some free books!!

Novel Interiors

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

Do want an interesting, well written, and beautifully photographed book on interior design? Are you, perchance, a lover of classics, a devourer of words, and/or enchanted by interior design?

Photo on 1-7-15 at 7.05 PM #2

If the answer to any of these was ‘yes’ you should race to get your very own copy of Lisa Borgnes Giramonti’s Novel Interiors: Living in Enchanted Rooms Inspired By Literature. Combining her knowledge of design and literature would make for an interesting read in and of itself, but when you add to those words the beautiful photography of Ivan Terestchenko,you find yourself diving into a space that invites a reader in just to sit in a corner and bask.

With a beautiful Forward written by David Netto, an enchanting and inviting forward which all but begs the reader to pull up a chair and learn their decorating style, and six sections titled with headings such as “Shall I put the Kettle On? (ch 1, pg 21) and Sometimes a Fantasy (ch 6 pg 225) there are many genres and styles to choose from.

While some of the rooms depicted seem overdone or odd to my simple eyes, there are quite a few that appeal to me. I love page 41’s bit on naming your house, the golden mermaid flying over a sink on page 262, and most of the bohemian styles depicted in the chapter title “Anything Goes” (beginning on page 181). However, I think my favorite picture of all is that of a child’s bed, who’s sweet simplicity is depicted on page 39…and will be reinvented in my daughter’s room as soon as I can trust her without bed bars!

Can't wait to set this up for her!

Can’t wait to set this up for her!

Overall I am going to give the book a whopping 5 out of 5 dragons! The set up is gorgeous, the author has a flow of words that matches the photographer’s eye, and I know how I’m redecorating at least 2 of my rooms next time! Now if they would only come out with a Novel Interiors 2 – Decorating with the books of J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and Nora Roberts. I could FINALLY have a great guide for creating a writing room strait out of a lover’s retreat bed and breakfast in which resides the Leaky Cauldron, which is (of course) located in Middle Earth!

Photo on 1-7-15 at 7.06 PM

What an ODD bathroom!

Photo on 1-7-15 at 7.07 PM

The book’s back cover – Even the back is full of gorgeous Terestchenko photos!

Finding Her History

This is the last full week of December and, as such, the last of my scheduled short stories.

I will continue writing them, and posting them, but with the ‘regularity’ (HA!) of this schedule. I hope you will enjoy them all the same, or more so, in their new randomness.

Here is my big finale – a little look at a slice of a very important day in one girl’s life.

The year was 1943, the man was a fedora sporting dark eyed, people watcher, and the car was a coupe. That was all the picture had to offer for the thirsty eyes of the young lady who had found it buried in a dusty box. One memento, carefully packed away using the old ‘box in a box wrapped in a blanket, under junk in another box’ trick. Good thing she was tenacious (or stubborn as her Mother always asserted), otherwise she would have given up hours ago. But the only thing Corinna ever gave up on was cleaning the house!

Giggling to herself, Corinna grabbed the photo and the box it had been so lovingly packed in, careful to keep the few other mementos intact, and scurried back down to her room (where she was supposed to be napping away a headache). Too late! Grandma was sitting on the patchwork bedspread with a smirk on her face, “Did you really think you were light enough on your feet to get away with that little girl?”

“Oh Grandma!” Corinna only pouted for a minute, her grandma was the most likely person to help her with this conundrum. “Since I wasn’t, and since you’re here…”

“You found the box.” It wasn’t a question, just a statement wafting by on a sigh. At Corinna’s nod, Grandma patted the mattress and motioned the girl over. “I suppose it is time to tell you about this. You are, after all, becoming quite the young lady. Maybe you should know where you get it from.”

Corinna danced across the room excitedly, twirling delicately into a bow that proffered the box of goodies in front of Grandma’s outstretched hands. “Grandma, this looks just like the car for sale down the street. Is that why Mom won’t help me try to buy it for my birthday?”

Grandma sighed, “You WOULD want that car girl! Your mother doesn’t want you buying the car because it doesn’t just LOOK like the one in the photo…” her shoulders slumped, “It IS the one in the photo. The car for sale down the street in your father’s, and your mother is so scared that she’s ready to pack up and move. There is no way that she’ll allow you deal with him and buy the car.”

“My…father…” Corinna whispered. “WOW! Scared?” She had known this picture was important, had known she had to find something, anything, from the past when she had overheard Mom and Grandma whispering about it earlier, but she had only thought about herself and her upcoming birthday. Now though, her FATHER. “wow” she whispered again. “Father. Why would she be scared of my father? She’s always said how much in love they were before he had to go off to the war. And how much she hoped to someday see him again.”

“She never said what war dear,” Grandma gently set the box aside and took her granddaughter’s hands. “Your parents met eighteen years ago and were soon inseparable…”

And so began the telling of Corinna’s family history, of love and duty, of loyalty and disruption, and of running from a war that had nothing to do with external forces.

Through it all Corinna’s mother, who had gone by the Bea for the past sixteen years, leaned against her daughter’s closed bedroom door and listened as silent tears poured from her eyes. Maybe it was time to stop running and finally turn to face their swiftly approaching past.

“Amber,” The deep voice had not changed in all their time apart, “I’ve missed you.”

“Hello Sal.”

Christmas Dragons

Happy Christmas All! (whether you celebrate or not).

Today is a day of happiness and togetherness with my family and hopefully for yours as well. One thing that makes me very happy is my inner world in which reside several character, many of which are dragons. So from The Stone Dragons and myself, Have a Merry and Safe Holiday Season and enjoy these three favorite images.

Cardiff Dragons Christmas Dragon

Santa’s reindeer seem to have evolved, or taken an eggnog break! This picture from NOUpe.com is one of my favorite!

Finally, this deviant art picture shows exactly how I feel the Dragons of the Stone Dragon Saga would behave on Christmas…like small children/cats trying to figure out how everything worked!

Anchors Away

I love the symbolism of an anchor and that love has only grown over the past year and a half as I researched and began writing my 4th Stone Dragon Saga novel (Dragons in the Deep). As I continue to not only research marine symbols, but also art, quotes, and whatever else I can get my little hands on, I keep coming across tattoos.

I love tattoos when done “correctly” (to my mind at least). What I mean by that is that I believe that tattoos are supremely personal and need to have a longevity that will probably not peter out when you hit a certain age. I have two such tats and one that I keep finding (on Pinterest of course) that holds a certain level of meaning is that of the anchor and quote ‘I refuse to sink’. We’ve all been through something(s) that make us think “I’ll never go there again!” or “I’ll never be that low again!” or “I will never go back there again!” and to me ‘I refuse to sink’ is a great reminder that you didn’t sink then and you won’t sink now. You are stronger than all of that, don’t go back!

I have a little addition though, if I’m to ever get this ink (honestly, as much as I would love to, I probably won’t ever get it but…). I think it should look a little something like this:

I REFUSE to Sink;

even DRAGONS can fall into the Deep

I suppose that, for now at least, I should probably just focus on actually WRITING the books and worry about designs later…although this might also make a great canvas to hang up in the Loft, or part of the back cover…hmm. Now where did I put that illustrator at?