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!)

IMG_20150601_141707

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!

Dragons Running Free…To YOUR KINDLE

All 5 of my currently available works, including the 3 Stone Dragon Saga Novels, are FREE for download on the Kindle App this weekend. Check them out at my author’s page, amazon.com/author/elizabethtyree , and please feel free to share with your own followers!

I’ve given a few away in other countries but would LOVE to see someone in all available markets grab a free book! After all, it is FREE!

Thank you guys! Happy Saturday

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?

Five Year Difference at the Same Time

I’m writing two novels at once. Yes, I am crazy but not because I’m writing two at the same time…I’m crazy because the two I’m writing are in the same universe, with the same characters, 5 years apart. Which would be interesting enough if I had outlined the stories and knew who would be viable 5 years in the future, who wouldn’t be part of the story at all, and even where everyone would be. But that’s not how I roll. No, apparently I want to make things 7 layers of difficult for myself. I guess that’s how I know I’m really working.

The good news is that these are both Stone Dragon Novels (as if I would be working on anything else right now-pfft) so I know most of these characters intimately. The bad news…they’re still 5 years apart and I don’t know everyone’s background for those 5 years.

How would you handle this? Would you wait, finish the first novel and then outline the next five years? Would you move full steam ahead and never look back? Or something in between? I’m not very far in to the second, so it is feasible to do either…but I somehow find myself working on both. I breeze back and forth; trying to remember where each on is going and who is on the pirate ship but also in the classroom and how they got there and and and and and…you get the picture.

Right now, the only new character I am dealing with is a small dragon named Cornelious the Scribe. He has come over from Faronia (middle of the 4th book in the series and I finally named the world!) to learn human writing forms from Anna, who has now become a 5th grade writing teacher! (And is also on a ship in the middle of the Caribbean attempting to translate ancient pirate hieroglyphics in order to rescue Al’s parents).

PHEW! I’m tired just thinking about it. Quick, someone get the chocolate and watermelon Coke!

Ok, I’m back and better now. That was a close call! Maybe I had better just get back to work. While I’m hard at it, why don’t you guys tell me what advice you might have for this situation…or a funny anecdote about your own writing! I’m looking forward to the distractions.

A History Lesson

“After my family left Faronia,” Professor Al began, “And before our banishment had ended, there was a group of brave and powerful creatures who sought to find where we had gone. In order to do so, the created the Dria Ot Wisdome A’ Scrib. When translated directly from the ancient language, this means Grove of Wisdom and Scribes…or the circle of trees built by the powerful and educated seekers.”

“And what did this grove do?” A sarcastic student quipped, “transport them to you in the supposed human world you speak of so often?”

“No,” Aliphonsore huffed at the young student who’s recent growth spurt had left him much larger than the fairy dragon instructor. “I never saw them. But neither did anyone else. They went in to their special grove and did not come back out.”

“Did they die?” A fairy girl in the front row leaned forward excitedly, her eyes glowing at the thought of intrigue. “Or did they go somewhere no one else knows about?”

“Well let’s put it this way,” A deep and laughing voice intoned from the doorway, “Their bodies were not in the grove afterwards. So who knows what happened to them!?”

“Headmaster!” Aliphonsore flew over to bow and wink at his former king and now school headmaster, Ferdinand.

“Hello Professor,” Ferdinand inclined his head and surveyed the classroom full of suddenly attentive young learners. “I trust everything is going well today?”

“Yes sir!” Al’s voice squeaked.

“Great, I have some visitors for you then!” Ferdinand turned and motioned through the stone doorway of the classroom, “Ladies, come on in! I think you’ll find today’s lesson an interesting one.”

And there they were, walking in the Faronia Inclusive School’s classroom number 7, the humans in whom his students had almost completely refused to believe in.

“Where should we sit, Professor?” Jason asked with a wink as he took in the old-fashioned stone room and large tables, “We brought paper and pens so we can take notes like good students.”

“I think you already know the answers to this one!” Al laughed, the twinkle returning to his eyes as he gazed happily at his friends. “Just pick a spot anywhere!”

“Now then class, as you’ve probably already guessed by their lack of wings, these are my human family members. Introductions can come later though because as you all know, this is a history of Faronia’s Secret War class and we are learning today about what?”

“The Grove of Wives!” A zealous student called, trying to look cool in front of the foreign crowd.

“Close!” Al pointed a supportive paw at the student in question before motioning for more answers, “Who has the full name for me? Come on!”

“The Grove of Wisdom and Scribes, or Dria Ot Wisdome A’ Scrib.” Jane finally answered when it became painfully apparent that no one else would. “Where 5 wise men disappeared forever, and where Lavinia the ageless still stands guard over magical trees and the knowledge of the worlds.”

“And you guys thought I was making it all up to keep you bored in class,” Al wiggled his eyelids and wrinkled his snout at the students. “Lavinia, the beautiful and gentle Guardian of the Grove is a wise and ageless dragon, kept alive by magic bestowed upon her by the wise men and the grove itself so that she can protect the secrets and keep seekers safe from harm.”

“How do you know this?” A small voice piped up from the back, “You’re just a teacher.”

“Just a…” Al took a deep breath, “I am a teacher now so that what we learned on many an adventure can be passed along to you lot, and those who come after. And I’ll have you know that we’ll be having tea with Lavinia this coming Tuesday evening. Just a teacher…” Aliphonsore continued to mutter and growl, the smoke of his frustration becoming evident through his nostrils and even his ears.

“I believe we should all learn two valuable lessons from today,” Anna jumped up and faced the diverse crowd, knowing that no matter where they are from middle school students are all incredibly similar. “Number One is that Professor Al is teaching you valuable lessons on history and life. Number Two is that no one is ‘just a teacher! We all have other pieces to our lives that allow us to do our jobs well. Now please gather your things and quietly file out of the room. I am sure that we can safely say Class Dismissed for today!”

New Books and New Jobs

Tyree Tomes has had a busy week. Dr. Tyree finished his new book, which will be available on Kindle within the next few days and deals with the act of Prayer. I reached my Camp NaNoWriMo goal of 30,000 words in the month, perfected my happy dance, and interviewed with 3 elementary school principals all at the same time (I was surrounded and a little frightened…but I guess it was a viable form of interrogation interview).

I also gave away 37 copies of Dragon on My Neck’s e-book version and have begun looking at collecting my first four months of short stories into a book which will include the prompt or idea that sparked the story and then the actual story. (If any of you picked up Dragon on My Neck at any point, I would LOVE to know how you felt about the story and characters! If you don’t want to rate/review on it, just drop me a line or comment. Whether or not you liked it, I want to know about YOUR feelings. It can help my writing maturity…or so I’m told 😀 )

 

Oh, and I got offered a teaching job for next school year!

With all of this going on, I feel confident in our group’s growth, expansion, and most importantly, quality of content. I am quite certain that whatever classroom I am given, will provide me with all sorts of fodder for blogs and short stories to pass on to you! Thank you for your support and good will everyone! Have a blessed day!

The Legend of the Castillian Dragons:

In the year 1277, during the civil war for his throne, King Alfonso X of Castile located a secret room in his home. In this secret room was a staircase, at the bottom of the staircase a tunnel. The tunnel wound deep underground, the air cool and musty as secrets. The cool air and winding tunnel took him to a large, well-fortified, and long forgotten vault carrying the secret symbol of a monarch.

Recognizing that symbol as his grandfather’s emblem, Alfonso excitedly pulled an old and rusty key from deep in his robes. The worn and discolored rope that dangled from the key was warm against the king’s palm and seemed to tingle with an excitement to match his own as he wrestled the rusty skeleton key into the rustier lock. IT FIT! The tumblers moved with a quiet sigh, much more easily than he had anticipated. Suddenly a fear of the unknown began to creep up on him, the tingling from the doorknob intensifying to cause his entire body to shake.

What could possibly need to have been hidden in such a manner??

With a mighty groan from both the king and the door, the vault was revealed. Light emanated from the back corner of the room, something was glowing. That glow drew King Alfonso X through the doorway and, as if by magic, torches whooshed to life across the walls on either side of him. The two torches at the corners then each slowly moved down in an arc and touched the liquid that was waiting in the previously unseen troughs that lined the other walls of the room. Flames leapt up to reveal what had been kept hidden for so long; treasures from various histories crowded the tables and rugs, a throne with rusty streaks on the back rest leaned against a wardrobe filled to overflowing with tapestries that Alfonso could not remember having ever seen before. He didn’t spend much time on the wonders around him, however. The glowing statue in the far corner drew him in and left little room for other curiosities.

As he neared the corner Alfonso realized that this was not just a statue. No, this was masterpiece of massive interweaving parts. Two beings, two dragons, twined together as if attempting to protect one another from harm’s way. The orange tinged glow that had drawn the king near was coming from the more feminine of the statues, her features seeming to be blurred in a warm moist fog that was wrapping around the couple.

Entranced, Alfonso spent hours sitting in the old throne and staring at the statues as the mist and fog thickened and boiled across the floor toward him, only to disappear moments later and begin the journey all over again.

Alfonso would sneak away at every chance to visit this secret vault. Occasionally he would bring bits of plunder up to his wife and children, or as present to a political visitor, and pass them off as things he had stored from king’s who went before him.

Life, as is usual, continued on and Alfonso began to use the vault as an escape from pressures as his eldest son passed away and his new heir was left to fight for the legacy. During the Civil War that followed, Alfonso shared his secret with his favored son and the two devised plans and strategies while sitting in the cool of a hidden room. Their plans failed, however, and King Alfonso X of Castile and Leon passed away in the year 1284 leaving behind a soon-to-be-forgotten hidden vault, a key to pass down through his son’s line, and an heir that was not his chosen.

. “No mention of the vault or the stone dragons was seen or heard for over two hundred years.”

Then, Charles I became interested in a family heirloom that didn’t seem to be worth anything but was prized highly in his legacy. An old rusty skeleton key that had no door to open. 

Through his convoluted family tree, as all monarchy family trees are, Charles was passed down both the title of King of Castile and an old rusted key that’s known history was that it was said to have been handed down for hundreds of years. Eventually reaching a dead end as he researched the key’s heritage, Charles journeyed to the castle in Seville in search of answers.

Every door was tested, every room searched, and still no home for the key was found. After days of searching Charles became despondent, fearful that he would never learn the secrets the key held. Preparing to leave the castle and return to his usual home in Spain.

Dejectedly yanking his own clothing out of the wardrobe without waiting for his valet, Charles noticed an etching in the upper corner of the back wall. Tracing it gingerly, he realized that the panel moved! When slid open it revealed another panel, this time the room’s wall that was slightly ajar though spider web covered. Gingerly using his pocket square to wipe away the worst of it, Charles shoved open that panel as well. Quickly grabbing a candle and a spare from his room, the Holy Roman Emperor descended the revealed stairs and traveled the musty tunnel, several times almost turning back but prodding himself on with the thought of the key. The mystery had bugged him and he was KING not some frightened coward! King’s get answers.

At the end of the long and musty tunnel stood a door. Though forgotten and alone for centuries, the door had not wavered in its strength and the lock waited patiently for the next heir who would unite it with the key. Charles did just that.

With a mighty heave the door swung wide and, has had happened with his predecessors, when Charles walked into the vault torches and troughs lit to welcome him home. Ecstatic at his success and at the large piles of treasure awaiting him, Charles began to plunder the smaller goods, placing them into his pockets until the golden glow lured in to the corner of the dragons.

Dragons hold a major magic in all superstitious and legendary tales. They are the fire breathers, the knight eaters, and the treasure seekers. They are the wise, the warriors, and the wanted…and OH! Did King Charles the Wise WANT those wise warrior dragon! He yearned after them, he relished in the cool misty fog that slowly surrounded him in her glow. He wondered at the tinge of smoky scent that followed. He made his decision. Those would his plunder, the other treasures meant nothing if the dragon couple were not his. Charles had no way of knowing where they came from or how old they were, but he knew where they were going and that was enough for him.

Updates and Promotion

I did manage to write somewhere around 5,000 words last week, leaving myself 10,000 to sclepp through in the final few days.

While I work on finishing up this first draft…or at least getting my minimum word count in (because I don’t think I’m anywhere near the end of the book yet!) why don’t you relax and go back to the beginning with my first book Dragon on My Neck, which will be free for e-reader download Sunday, April 27th thru Tuesday April 30th.

I want to thank everyone for their support and understanding during Camp NaNoWriMo this month. I have gotten a lot of work done, though not necessarily in the area I was looking to work in! Here is an excerpt from last week’s work,

 

Chapter 30:

“See, I can control my own diet,”” Jonsturney announced snottily, the almost constant joked about his food intake finally taking their toll on his usually happy personality. “Mm, Mm, Mm, Saladation.”

“Saladation?” Polly repeated, looking up from her own lunch/study session and trying not to smirk at the still growing dragon teen.

“Yes, Salad-ation,” Jon confirmed with a sassy head wag at his friend. “You know, like validation but with lettuce. Yummy, water filled, healthy lettuce.”

“I’m very proud of you,” Polly smiled and offered up half of her dessert, “Would you like a little chocolate to celebrate your salad?”

“Yes…wait,” Jon pursed his dragon lips and allowed his eyelids to droop a little as he thought it out. “No, I want some fruit for dessert, but thank you.”

“Wow,” Polly tossed him a container of blueberries before returning to her pile of dust smeared and leather bound volumes. Absentmindedly eating her own slices of fruit between page flips, Polly was concentrating so hard on the fading words that she didn’t realize Jon was looking over her shoulder until ten minutes later, when he spoke again.

“What ya doin?” The mostly forgotten fruit soared in all directions as the mercifully paper plate hit the floor.

“DO NOT DO THAT TO ME!” Polly carefully pronounced each word as she rushed to wipe juice from the book she had been reading.

“Sorry, I was just asking,” Jon shrugged his shoulders and started to lumber back to his pillow couch.

“I’m sorry Jon,” Polly, who clearly remembered the first time she had ever seen the large dragon, dressed in a bright sweater and pretending to be a lizard, had a soft spot for Jon and quickly went to rub the third spike from the front of his head (his favorite spot). “I was just doing some research into old Spanish beliefs, myths, and legends. I thought I might be able to find something on your family…and I may have.”

“Really??” Jon leapt up, hit his head on the ceiling fan, knocked Polly over, and broke a glass shelf. “Oops. Maybe I shouldn’t get so excited in here.” He looked around sheepishly, “But maybe I should find a broom my size.”

 

“I have one ordered for you,” Sir Brandon assured as he walked in the door and surveyed the mess Jon had just made. “Now then, what’s all this ruckus about? We heard you out on the tennis courts.”

“Salad,” Polly kept a straight face as a piece of blueberry soaked lettuce dropped from the fan and onto Sir Brandon’s white shirt.

“Salad,” Brandon sighed, “Why do I have the feeling that there’s more to it?”

“Because Polly is an exceptionally poor fibber?” Broyli guessed, stepping around more of the scattered fruit and snatching up a book from the pile. “Looks to me as if she’s taking some of her time off to do a little research.” He waved the stained and cracked spine toward the girl, “So the real question here is what did you find?”

“I found something that might explain why a king would remove valuable and mythic statuary from his castle, send said statuary overseas on a pirate ship covered in mystical ancient runes, and never mention it in anything ever again.” Polly smiled at the bemused expressions on her friends’ faces. “However, I’m not completely sure yet if that is the case. I could have just found some old recipe for tartar sauce.”

“Tartar sauce??!?!”

“Ok, so probably not tartar sauce,” Polly laughed, “Right now all I know for sure is that the story involves a rather large stone statue that I’m pretty sure will turn out to be of a familiar dragon family’s parents. Jon interrupted me before I could get much further than that.”

Saturday Updates and Excerpts

 

Between articles, blogs, and Camp I’ve written around 6,000 words this week. Though not nearly as much as I was hoping for, I think that’s pretty respectable. However, for as much time as I spend writing, I need to amp it up a lot more and stop trolling Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest when I should be boosting my count (Seriously though, I find cool stuff so you should probably follow me on all 3! 😀 )

Though I didn’t quite get caught up on my Camp project, I did manage to bring down my minimum daily word count from 1700 to 1400. I may be able to handle that…Wait, I CAN HANDLE THAT! Now that I’ve brought you up to speed on my woeful inability to complete all of this week’s goals *sigh…bigsigh* I will leave you with something that makes me proud of what little I did accomplish last week…an excerpt from Dragons in the Deep.

Chapter 28:

“Excuse me sir,” Julie mumbled, shuffling across the cabin’s floor to whisper into Flynn’s general direction, “I have a message from Mr. Janxson for Mr. Ferdinand.”

“So give it to him,” Flynn shrugged and jerked his head toward the computer station, where Anna, Jane, and Ferdinand were gathered around Nickel as she showed off her hard work.

“I-I don’t feel comfortable with telling him this,” She whispered even more quietly, “Maybe you should do it.”

“What?” Flynn looked up from his own stack of papers and filed with a look of bewildered frustration etched across his features. “What are you talking about? Old Man Janxson probably just wants to make sure we’re being nice to his friends and thinks I’ll lie to him.”

“No sir, Mr. Janxson had me write down a very specific message about Mr. Ferdinand’s wife,” Julie was almost not making any noise at this point, so worried and embarrassed by the message that she seemed about to pass out from the anxiety of it all. “I just don’t feel right giving it to him though.”

“Julie,” Flynn spoke calmly and clearly, sometimes Julie’s anxieties made her a little stubborn and hard of hearing, “If Mr. Janxson wanted Ferdinand to get the message, it must be very important, right?” she nodded so he continued, “And Mr. Janxson entrusted this message to your care, right?”

“Only because no one else answered the line, sir.”

“But if he didn’t think you could handle, he wouldn’t have given you the task, would he?”
“I guess not.” Her voice wavered but she straightened her back with determination, “I’ll go give it to him right now.” She stopped mid turn to add, “But don’t expect me to wait on him to read it!”

Shaking his head at her obvious issues, but allowing curiosity to get the better of him, Flynn watched the ship’s steward scurry across the room, tap Ferdinand on the shoulder, hand him a piece of paper, and without saying a word, turn tail and race back out of the cabin.

“I wonder what that was all about,” Jane turned inquisitive eyes to the folded sheet in the Fairy King’s hands.

To Be Continued…