I Stand For Her


I want her to grow up in a world with no limits. A world that she can accomplish anything, and never be told “no” or be limited by her gender. I want her to stand alongside anyone and be counted as an equal, and never be viewed as less than. 

She deserves to walk freely in this world and not fear that someone may violate her, subjugate her, or belittle her. She should never be viewed as an object or an achievement. She is a person, and she will always be capable of making her own decisions. She can choose her path in life and what she will do with her body, mind, and heart. No one should ever be able to make those decisions for her. 

I love her with my heart and soul, but I will let her fly with her own wings. I will disagree with her choices and argue with her, but her life and her path is her own. I will guide her as a parent, and hope that I lead her down a fruitful path. 

If you don’t understand why I write this, and why I choose to say this now, then you don’t understand the events that are happening in the world around us. I hope that you realize that the future generations are at stake, and I want the future for my daughter to be one where she can be defined by her actions and achievements, not by her gender. 

I want the fact that she is a female to not even matter. I want her to be an amazing human, and never have to worry about the the troubles that face women around the world today. She deserves to live in a world where humans treat each other as equals. 

I want that for my little girl. I want her to know I didn’t stand to the side while her chance for an equal future was debated and fought for. 

Agree with me or not, this is what I stand for. I stand for her.

Thankful

There are countless things to be thankful for in my life. Here are the highlights:

I’m thankful for my wife, Emily, and daughter, Madelyn. They are the lights of my life and keep me going even in the toughest of times. 

I’m thankful for my family and friends. They have supported me and been there for me always. 

I’m thankful for the experiences that have led me to where I am today. Good and bad, I am who I am because of them. 

I’m thankful for the good news that I got promoted to AT1. I didn’t expect it, and I didn’t have any hopes for it, but I’m still proud to finally achieve it. 

I’m thankful for what my future holds, and the prospects that my writing may bring. I’ve dreamed of being a writer for years, and it now seems as real and attainable as ever. 

I’m thankful for football. The Denver Broncos are the reigning Super Bowl Champs, and I love the Texas Longhorns no matter what. 

I’m thankful for so much more that words can’t express. 

I know that the traditions that this day’s celebrations are based on have auspicious beginnings, but it does not mean that you cannot still enjoy your time with family and friends. Celebrate the things you are thankful for, and don’t sweat the things you wish you had. Be glad for the things you do have. 

And for fuck’s sake, don’t go shopping. It can wait. 

Happy Thanksgiving y’all. 

Published.

Last night, Josh Davis of Davis Publishing Company announced the placing of the three final stories for the 2016 Summer Short Story Contest. My story, The Blazing Star, finished third. I’ll admit I was a teensy bit  disappointed with not finishing higher, but my elation at being included in the finalists took away the sting. It will now be published, which means I can claim the title of published fiction writer! When I think about how my story came to fruition, I’m really proud of what it accomplished, and I am elated about what it become in the future.

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When I submitted Blazing Star, I knew it was unfinished. I felt that there was so much more I wanted to include in the story itself, as well as expand upon before and after. I was limited with my initial creation by time and word count, and while I really liked what I had created, I felt like I was missing the mark. I approached Josh about the possibility of expanding on the story, and we discussed launching it as a separate work that would be an introduction to the world I had created for my debut full-length novel. With the publication of my original work now happening in the DPC Quarterly Fiction Anthology, Vol1: Summer 2016 (available soon), I would be able to improve and expand upon it to make it the story I really wanted it to be.

This, of course, all comes courtesy of the fact that I’ve had an amazing writing year. I started this year with an idea and no plan. As of today, October 1, I have a published short story, a short story trilogy in progress, and a full-length novel in the works. I have an amazing self-publishing company working with me in DPC and I’m constantly learning from the ample knowledge and experience from the awesome people I am lucky to have in my writing circle. Of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention the never ending support and encouragement from my wife, family, and friends. Without them, I might have let my dream of being a writer fade away.

So, check out the Anthology and support a growing self-publishing company in DPC. Go check out my work, as well as the excellent work of the winner Jessica Lyn Sosnoski. Keep on the look out for future announcements from me on my work!

Blazing Star Trilogy in-depth preview coming soon!

Blazing Star

It has been a while since I posted on here. There will be more on that at a later date, but I have some BIG NEWS to share with you tonight.

Davis Publishing Company hosts a quarterly short fiction contest and the finalists for Summer 2016 were announced last night. My story, The Blazing Star, was picked as one of the final entries, and will be published by DPC along with the other two finalists. Of course, the final placing must be decided by author and writing mentor KM Weiland, but that’s all gravy at this point. Being a finalist means that I will go from aspiring fiction author to PUBLISHED fiction author.

PUBLISHED.

I want to let that sink in for a minute because it feels kinda good. I have published writing works before as a journalist, but this story being published is a momentous thing for me. It gives me hope that I can really make this writing thing work, and now I want to work harder to keep the ball rolling.

On the heels of this announcement, I would also like to offer a bit of a teaser for future projects. I have been working with Josh Davis of DPC to build on the Blazing Star story, which came about after I wrote the short story. I knew there was more to the tale than what I had in the submitted work, so I have been working on expanding that. More to come in the future on that!

I want to thank Josh and Patricia of DPC for taking me on and giving me all the guidance and support that I could ever ask for. I also have to thank my wife, Emily, who has supported my writing and gave me the strength to finally chase this dream.

Be sure to look for the final results of the contest on September 30th, and keep an eye out for more news after that!

Meet and Greet: 7/30/16

This is Ian Townsend of the Town’s End Tribune hoping to bring some more people in to the Meet and Greet! Hop over and check it out!

Dream Big, Dream Often

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It’s the Meet and Greet weekend!!

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

Now that all the rules have been clearly explained get out there and Meet and Greet your tails off!

See ya on Monday!!

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Story of the Writer: Interview with Ian Townsend

This amazing interview comes to you via Benjamin Thomas and his blog, The Writing Train! Enjoy!

The Writing Train: Join the locomotion

Everyone Please Welcome 

Ian Townsend

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Welcome a fellow writer, blogger and Wordplayer from our Facebook group. Check out Ian’s blog over at The Town’s End Tribune .

Let the games begin

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“Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.” -Mark Twain

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* Were you born and raised in Texas?

I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Despite not living in the state since I graduated high school (minus a 9 month period when I was stationed in Corpus Christi), it is still home to me. Hopefully, in the near future I will be moving back!

Awesome, I love Texas!  

*What did you read in your early years?

When I moved past children’s books, I started out reading the things that my parents had on the bookshelves. It was mostly sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction, mysteries, and horror. Some of the authors stuck with me, but…

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Muhammad Ali by Sherrie Marshall Spitz

Today, I want to share a guest post by Sherrie Marshall Spitz, who recounts her personal connections to the life and legend Muhammad Ali, who passed almost a month ago.


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Muhammad Ali, nee Cassius Clay, fought his last fight on June 3, 2016. He floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee. But until you watched him fight, you could only know that if you listened to his self-promoted hype. This was a man I admired and adored when I was a small child.

The timing for Ali’s word-slinging attributes could not have been more succinct than for my generation. He held deep personal convictions and was strong-willed beyond imagination. No other heavy-weight boxer before him had ever publicly claimed he was the greatest before there was documented proof. But his record upon retirement stood for itself, 56-5. He was the juice my country needed. We lived in the throes of deep turmoil and terrifying conflict.

American’s tuned in nightly to listen to Walter Cronkite on CBS, one of 6 channels offered in the 60’s and 70’s, to get the latest news on the death toll and atrocities of the Vietnam War. Boys from every city were being sent home in body bags and wheelchairs. Many parents only received dog tags and a Will that their beloved son was required to write before landing in a country that did not ask for America’s help. We clung to each other and prayed the war would come to a peaceful and agreeable resolution.

Yet, here was a man who became a conscientious objector to the war and stood for something that our country didn’t know they needed – a winner. Ali was a tank, but he was still no match for the oversized, muscle-bound, machinations of George Foreman in 1974. They were not only arch rivals in the ring and in front of the television crews covering the match of the century, but George considered Ali his mortal enemy. He publicly stated that he wanted to kill Ali. Death lived on the breath of all Americans. These were strong sentiments for the time, and every person in every house tuned in to bear witness to what was sure to be a slaughter.

After his 1971 loss to Joe Frazier in “The Fight of the Century,” Ali rallied back for “Rumble in the Jungle” against Big George. That night in 1974 will forever live in infamy as the date the loud-mouthed “Pretty” boy from Louisville, Kentucky indeed became the greatest. I was only a child, but the most promoted boxing match in the world was somehow tied in my mind to the war effort. As it was for many, American’s began to believe that we, too, could overcome astounding odds and put an end to the horrors of Vietnam, the 2-decade war, in which Americans fought for 16 years. Was it possible that the hope gleaned from a boxing ring in the jungles of Zaire could somehow rally our troops and help piece our nation back together?

These were adult feelings that I could neither understand nor interpret without pure childlike oversimplification. All I knew was that when Ali fought on my family’s 20” stereo console TV, we were together, we were rooting for the underdog, and we believed whole-heartedly that Muhammad Ali would rise victorious. He carried the hopes and dreams of a country that nursed crushed spirits and bruised egos. The devastation that played out on the nightly news was real drama and nightmarish. Vietnam was the Boogey Man, and we were scared.

Ali knocked Foreman out in the 8th round, and went on to win fight after unbelievable fight. The Vietnam war ended the following year, and when Ali retired in 1981, his loving spirit and skillful forging of broken international relations proved that he was just getting started. Even though he had not fought in the war, it had scarred Ali’s sense of humanity. The Boogey Man had changed him, and he knew his fighting days in another arena were in their infancy.

He began to foster deeper harmonious peace between the world’s nations. He met with foreign dignitaries that included audiences with Pope John Paul II, Russian President Gorbachev, and Fidel Castro. Even when he was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s Disease at age 48, he continued his “Fight for Peace” campaign with grace, dignity, and the characteristic pride he exuded his entire life. He and George Foreman eventually developed a brotherly love for each other and became lifelong friends.

I learned many lessons about the true qualities of a life well-lived from a man that came to me through a snowy television set in the 60’s and 70’s. His teachings of perseverance, tolerance of others, and how to rise above the fray have stuck with me for over 50 years. At my house and in my eyes, Ali was the greatest, and he will be missed deeply by many generations.


Sherrie’s blog, Sherrie’s Always Write, went live today, and I am glad to feature her work here on The Town’s End Tribune to mark her landmark day.

Her bio reads:

yUHbAZfLNothing is more amusing than a description of a life well-worn by someone you’ve not yet come to love as much as I. I am a writer with too much time on my hands. I dabble in thrillers and novellas starring ordinary characters in extraordinary circumstances. Think Dean Koontz, but not.

My dog, Sierra, and I share unreasonable amounts of time together in Denver, Colorado. Yes, it’s really a mile high. I’m an avid reader of everything, including, but not limited to: novels, self-help manuals, product labels, street signs, minimum wage posters, and closed caption if I’ve accidentally pressed the hot key on my remote control.

My wicked sense of self-importance and dogged logic for inappropriate commentary color everything I do and say, but should not detract from the self-deprecating humor I plan to heap on you at every corner.

Be sure to check out her blog daily, because she posts new content Monday-Friday!

You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Goals

We all have goals.

Weight goals (of one kind or another), workout goals, life goals, work goals, etc.

The point is that you have to shoot for something. Without a destination in mind, we are aimlessly driving to nowhere.

With this in mind, I have set some goals for myself, or more accurately, for my first book. In case, you haven’t been paying attention, read further on my novel aspirations HERE. Anyhow, my goals are:

  1. I want to complete 5 chapters a week on my first draft.
  2. I want my first draft to be done by October 1st.
  3. I want to have critiques and edits done by November 1st.
  4. By April, I want my final draft off to a editor/proofreader
  5. Roughly one year from now, I want my book to be hitting bookshelves.

Those are my goals. They may come to be, and they may not, but now I have something to shoot for. As for goal #1, I have 3 chapters done in 3 days, so I’m doing alright thus far. I figure it will take me roughly 10-12 weeks to do my first draft at this pace, which I am fine with, since I have a full time job and a family. That will put me well within range of goal #2. Then begins the race for the rest of my goals.

Also, big news, I have reached a verbal agreement with the Davis Publishing Company to be my publisher. The co-owner, Josh Davis, has been a great help and mentor, and I am looking forward to working with his growing company. I hope that we can help each other by bringing both of our respective brands success!

So the moral here is to have goals. I have a few other goals that I’ll keep to myself for now, but when the time comes, I hope they will be instrumental in building towards a life that is fulfilling for both myself and for my family.

That’s all I have for now, folks. Keep checking in for updates on the progress of my novel. I will be sure to post milestones as they are reached. Sometime soon, I will release a story synopsis, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

The Battle Has Begun…

Earlier this year, I began crafting an idea for a book. For years, I banged half formed notions and thoughts around my head, trying to get something to stick. I was unable to give the ideas the attention they needed to grow, and they would always fade away. I was almost to the point where I was going to let writing fade in to the background of my life. Luckily, inspiration came along and turned things around.

My wife chasing her dreams kicked my writing habit back in to gear. I knew if I rested on my laurels any longer, I wouldn’t ever get started. 6 months later, I had a plot summary with 51 pages and 34,000 words. I pushed myself to make progress, and the ideas flowed like water.

I created a plot that I felt a personal sense of pride in. I built a story idea that I believed in, and that I knew could be the basis for a series of books. The only thing I was worried about was the opinion of others.

I sent my work out to a few people, so they could check the plot summary for the content it contained. I wanted to know if they felt it was a good story, and if it was worth moving forward with. The response I got back was favorable, and I was told that I was on the right track. I knew that I had something substantial to work on.

What I have is a fantasy tale. I won’t go in to details, because I’m not ready to share that with the world. I will say that it’s not overly fantastical or wild. I love the fantasy realm for the ability to build my own world, make my own rules, and not be bound by our reality. So here I am, with my plot summary and a path forward.

Now the battle begins. I have started the work on the actual story, and it will be a long and twisting path to the completion of the book. I’ve done a lot of research and read a lot of books, blogs, articles, and works on how to go about writing a book. I’ve tried to prepare myself and figure out how to go about attacking this, but I have realized that nobody will be able to tell me how to best write my book. Only I will know how I can accomplish that. I found that out when I began my summary. I followed the steps of others, but my success came when I followed what came natural to me. Obviously, the advice and experience of others did give me some guidance, but when the ink went on the paper, I had to chart my own path. I feel like writing the book will be the same. I will have the mentors and guides to consult, but my hands will write the book, and I have to figure out the best way to do it. The process will be slow at first, but I know I will find my way. I can see the story in my head, but now I just have to figure out how to get it on to the page.

I feel like every day will be a learning experience, and some days will be incredibly frustrating. I will want to give up, and I will want to walk away. I will wonder why I ever decided to make writing a part of my life. After that, I will sit back down, and lay siege to the story and not quit until it is finished. I want it too bad, and I want to write for a living. If I can pass this test, then I can make it my life.

So, today I announce that my story, currently titled Mage’s Fire, is in work. I am proud of the fact that I can say this, and that I can actually share it. I’m hoping to have it done within a year. Josh, hold me to that. In fact, everyone hold me to that, so I can set myself a real deadline.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this venture. Also, thank you to the people who have always supported my writing habit. Without the guidance and kicks in the ass, I would not be this far along. Keep guiding and kicking.

Now I am off to put more words in to my story. I hope that it will be as good in your eyes as it looks in mine.

Father’s Day

Being a father has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. My daughter, Madelyn, is a handful, but watching her grow over the past few years has made all the tough days worth it.

I learned how to be a dad from some really great men. They weren’t perfect, but I learned a lot of life lessons from how I was raised.

I wouldn’t be who I am without the influences of my dad and grandpa. They are the reason I joined the military, and why I am proud to carry the Townsend name. Words can never truly express the love and admiration I have for them.

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My dad and grandpa showed me how to be strong, compassionate, caring, and supportive. They taught me that being a good father means that you learn from your mistakes and you never give up. I have watched both men struggle through so much, but their strength and willpower was inspiring.

My grandpa is no longer with us, and I miss him greatly. He was a constant presence in my life, and always there to lean on. I have such fond memories of the long summers I would spend in Mississippi, and I could always count on him making it to as many of my sports events as he could. He was a good man with a big heart, and he had a wicked sense of humor. I wish he could have been here longer, but I will always cherish the time we did have.

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My dad was always the best father he could be. I didn’t make things easy on him, but he never gave up on me. We grew closer as time went on, and he even brought my sister, Christel, and I together. He taught me that it is never too late to be a good father and to make amends for the past. He also taught me the power of being supportive.

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A year and a half ago, my dad had a stroke. He has worked incredibly hard to recover, and his willpower has been inspiring. He could have given up or just been content with being in a wheelchair, but no way that was going to happen for my dad. He keeps fighting every day, and I am so proud of him for never giving up. Being his son is truly something I will always appreciate. I could go on and on about the times that my father and I shared, but the true depth of those moments cannot be explained. He is the type of man I strive to be. He is a hero and an inspiration.

There is one other father I would like to recognize as a big influence on my life. When I played football, I met a coach named Bryan West. Strangely enough, he lived across the alley from me, and he took me under his wing. After the season was over, he didn’t coach me in football again, but he became a father figure for me. My home life during that time was tumultuous, and Bryan and his family let me come and hang out when I needed to get out of the house.

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The Wests opened the doors to their home and hearts to me, and I am eternally grateful for that. They taught me that you can love anyone like family and give them the support and they need in a time of difficulty.

So, thank you to the men who helped raise me and teach me what it meant to be a good father. I know there are so many more who I learned from, but I these three men were instrumental to who I am today as a dad. I hope that I can make make you proud, and pass on the things I learned to my kids.

If you are lucky enough to be a father, be one with all of your heart. You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be as good as you can be. Being a father is a gift and I’m so lucky to have that in my life. I wasn’t sure I was ready when it came, but I’m glad that I have it now. The words, “I love you daddy,” always melt my heart. Every day with Maddie is Father’s Day.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Make every day with your kids special.