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!

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

Dream-Big

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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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.

Write Your Own Way

How many aspiring writers have chased the dream of writing professionally by following the “surefire way to write a bestselling novel”? You were pulled in by the promises of “foolproof plotting”, “unforgettable characters”, and “unbeatable stories”, but you only end up with frustration and unfinished works. So what’s going wrong? Surely something is missing here. What they don’t tell you is that these tips, tricks, and plans don’t work for everyone. Method and craft knowledge is only half of the equation.

It may sound like I am putting down all of the authors who publish writing craft books. This is absolutely untrue. I have learned from some very talented writers and teachers, and the thing that I have learned is that there is no ONE way to write. The Author Q&A Series I started really brought this idea to the forefront for me. I interviewed two spectacular writing mentors, and their methods are different on many levels. Their craft books further highlight the differences in writing styles, and I love that. The more I read on the writing craft, the more I realize that there is no right or wrong way to write. I’m enthralled when authors share their knowledge and technique in the hopes that it will assist a burgeoning writer find their own course. What I really have a problem with is the predatory works that seek to shill people out of their money and time with false notions. If I see ridiculous promises, I’m not going to waste my time. I would rather spend my time under the tutelage of Deborah Chester, KM Weiland, James Scott Bell, or any of the other various writers who aren’t snake oil salesmen. Teaching is not about creating clones, but giving people the skills to succeed using their own talents.

We all have to learn from those who came before us. The problem comes when we try to fit who we are as writers within a box we aren’t meant to be in. There are so many fantastic writers in our history, and we could spend lifetimes studying how they created the beautiful literature and flowing prose that we adore and strive to emulate. I think we would find that there are differences across the spectrum that make each writer unique. While plot, character archetype, genre, writing style, and anything else could be similar, there are things that make each writer their own special creator. We can all start out walking a beaten path, but at some point we have to branch off on our own.

When I came back to writing, I was searching for the path that would lead me where I wanted to go. I searched craft books, websites, and just about any source I could for inspiration. When I found something that felt right, I chased it. I began absorbing knowledge and testing the methods. I tried to emulate the styles of authors I enjoyed. Some things worked and others didn’t. Some failed spectacularly. The thing I found out was I had to find my writing style. I could not put myself in the shoes of another writer. I can’t write with cookie cutter methods. To make a truly unique story that maximized my full potential, I had to transform the methods and lessons from other writers in to my own specific form.

I struggled with this at first. I kept trying to fit myself back in to the box. When one box didn’t work, I looked for another one. I didn’t get anything accomplished until I stopped trying to follow the rules so rigidly. I started following the things that worked for my writing. 6 months of mangled notes and barely any progress turned in to 51 pages and over 31,000 words in a rough first version plot summary in just under two months.

It’s been an amazing experience as a writer learning my own approach. It has given me confidence in my work, and an ability to share it with others. I have always enjoyed blogging, and I loved being a journalist, but I’ve never had the courage to share any of my fiction work. I sent out my plot summary for content review this week, and it was liberating and horrifying at the same time. My work has a LONG way to go before it is done, but its a good start.

Don’t chase a dream and try to fit it within someone else’s success. Learn from them, study their methods, and then build your own design. There are many incredible teachers and mentors who legitimately want to to help the aspiring writers who seek them out. They will give you the tools and tell you the methods that they mastered. It is up to you to use what you learn to create your own style. Being unique, original, and imaginative is what makes writing so much fun. Don’t be lazy and try to stick to the paved roads of authorship. Originality will set you apart in your story as well as in how you craft it.

Be brave like the protagonists you invent. Explore the untamed wilds of writing. The trodden path can only take you so far.

Don’t Believe Everything You See In The Media

I, like most of the Netflix bingers, was riveted by the documentary “Making a Murderer”. From the very beginning, it pissed me off. The reason it did, was because the guy got a bad hand dealt to him from the start, and he was always behind the 8-ball. What is truly horrifying to me is how badly things were handled throughout the entire process of all of his legal proceedings in both cases. Here’s this guy, who was a mostly stand up guy, that is just getting railroaded by people who are using their power incorrectly. But was that what was really happening? Or were there things going on that they didn’t show us?  This is just a microcosm of what a viewpoint can do to skew your outlook on a situation. Now, I will go in to detail about the documentary series. If you haven’t watched it, don’t read any further. Go watch it!

I am not one of those people who think that Steven Avery is a blessed angel from above that is innocent of everything. I understand that the documentary comes from a biased point of view that depicted things to make viewers be more invested in Avery’s innocence. I get that, and I don’t wholly disagree with it. Most people who watch these understand that these films/series have to fall on one side or the other, and you can usually tell by who is interviewed and who declines to be included. I’ve done further research in to the trials and found that a lot of things were left out. The district attorney from the murder case (who, of course, doesn’t have a leg to stand on anymore, morally speaking) is running his own smear campaign against the documentary, but no one is really listening. This does bring the point home that there are two sides to every tale. What went on in Manitowoc, WI is beyond tragic, and there is no doubt about that. It disturbs me that so many awful mistakes and obvious oversights could be made, not to mention the deliberate illegal acts committed by the lawyers, investigators and other law enforcement officials involved in the cases. Again, I am not saying that Steven Avery is innocent. He may have killed that woman. The problem is we will never really know. Things were so badly handled from start to finish that there may be irreparable damage done to his case for innocence. I hope that some day, maybe soon, a court will be willing to hear his case again. I hope that some lawyer, and hopefully the four men who helped him so much before, will help him fight again. The biggest problem is the case is radioactive. No judge wants to touch it. It is easier to say no, then to say that not only is there is a possibility that two law enforcement officials, along with several others framed Steven Avery, but that they may have killed Teresa Halbach (theoretically).

The biggest issue with this documentary is that it doesn’t really explore Steven Avery beyond him as a victim of the system. It makes light mention of him doing some minor things before his first jail term, but nothing substantial. It doesn’t bring to light any negative viewpoints on him at all, besides some substantiating thrown in comments. If you didn’t know any better, you would think this guy has the worst luck ever. You would think his family is upstanding, hard working, and close knit. You would view the town and the officials as being callous, vengeful, and disdainful of their simple nature. The fact is that none of that is really true. The way that media works does not allow for a truthful observance of events. The person creating the piece skews every viewpoint. Whether it is written, filmed, or recorded, the aspect of the media is to express the view and opinion of the presenter. It shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did when it came to how many people jumped to Steven Avery’s defense. Everywhere, people were petitioning for a retrial, demanding President Obama overturn his conviction, etc. I am not talking small amounts of people. Hundreds of thousands of people were demanding these things based on the documentary. I agree that there needs to be a new trial, but I cannot agree that he is innocent.  This is what people are seeing from the documentary. They are not seeing that there is a doubt, but that he is completely innocent, and ignoring the fact that the documentary is skewed to fit the viewpoint of an innocent Steven Avery.

People take things at face value, and that is a dangerous way to live. If we have learned anything from the past year, it should be this: do your research. Do not be content to see something once and accept it as is. We saw so many things that were beyond the scope of tragic and the repercussions that followed were ten times worse because all that was seen was the face value of the event. People focus on either the broad picture or they focus on one defining detail and miss all the rest. I understand that we all have our quick fire reaction to a situation, but we need to start thinking before acting. Every day we are presented with opportunities to act in a responsible manner, and analyze a situation before we jump to a conclusion. It is time we start doing that, and stop failing prey to the slanted viewpoints of media that is presented with an agenda. While I applaud the work that many of these people do, getting the stories out there, they don’t do the correct justice sometimes. While highlighting a highly unfair situation, and shining a light on something that does need to be seen, they do it with a filtered light. We see only what they want us to see. What is in the shadows are the things that could potentially make us think twice. I know why they do it, and it makes sense. It falls on us, the consumer, to look beyond what is presented.

In this day of instant gratification, social media, Internet everything, and millisecond attention spans, we have to realize that there is more to what we see at first glance. Don’t let the viewpoint of another person be your guiding light. Be your own person, and seek out your own truth. I love digging in to the truth of things, and it is gratifying to go beyond the simplistic view and see things from the unbiased side. Don’t be apathetic, and spout biased viewpoints. Every story is deep and the average media viewpoints won’t give you more than a shallow skim across that. Be courageous and look for yourself. You might find some really interesting things. It might make you change your mind about a few things. It might make this world a little bit more knowledgeable and a little bit wiser. Couldn’t hurt right?