Self Promotion, Writing Challenge

Tawn’s Best Laid Plans

NaBloPoMo 2015

Day 8: Five Current Goals

As you can probably tell, I generally don’t do well with goals. I can stick to a schedule if I really have to, but I’m usually a disorganized mess racing against the clock to finish my work.  I’ve come to the sad conclusion that I’m addicted to the adrenaline rush which, since I haven’t been flying in seven years, I can only get by flirting with death by editorial deadlines.

I’m not a completely lost cause, though.  I’ve recently started using Habitica to “gamify” my habits and goals, Cooksmarts for meal planning, and Google Keep for lists that I want to share with my husband like groceries, household to-do items, and reminders.  So far, the results have been encouraging.  I’ve been able to stick with these tools far longer than I’ve been able to complete a blog post a day, and I’m also able to track my progress objectively.

As for my five current goals, I doubt you are interested in baby steps like “walk 10,000 steps a day,” “floss,” or “take a yoga class.”   In that light, I’m going to zoom out and give you my big ticket items.

Create a Business Plan – I am just now beginning to understand that being an author is a business.  In order for me to be successful, I need to market and sell my books, maintain an author platform, participate in social media, and of course, write. Thankfully, I have the help of my publisher, BigWorldNetwork, in many of those areas, but the responsibility still rests on my shoulders. I need a game plan.

Figure out how to do in-person ebook sales – I will be participating in Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest December 4th – 6th, and it got me thinking about a way to sell ebooks in addition to my paperbacks from my spot in Artist’s Alley. I want to have something tangible that I can autograph. Anyone have any suggestions?

Complete my Cardinal Directions season– I am working with four very talented BigWorldNetwork authors to write this serial novel.  My season is approaching soon, and my goal is to have my twelve episodes written by the end of January.

Write another Toni Drake novel – She’s been talking to me lately. It seems being queen isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and she wants to go on another adventure.

Expand into audiobooks – While I’ve done the audiobooks for my own work, I’ve also narrated books for other authors, such as Heart of the Hurricane by May Woodworth. I would like to continue to do this for BigWorldNetwork authors, and also connect with other authors through Amazon’s ACX platform.

Whew!  Just looking at that list is making me a little lightheaded!  Hopefully I’ll recover quickly so I can catch up on my posts.

Speaking of which, the next blog must be sponsored by Capital One because the prompt is “What’s in your wallet?”  I’ll give you a hint: “cash” won’t be on the list.

Writing Challenge

A Little Mood Music, Please, Maestro

NaBloPoMo 2015

Day 7: My 5 Favorite Songs

Happy Monday!

Well, it didn’t take long for me to fall behind on this challenge. Not surprising, since this exercise is meant to help me develop my writing habit more than anything else. However, today is a new day, and a Monday at that!

I love Mondays. I normally accomplish more on that one day of the week than any other day, and today is no exception. With that in mind, I’d like to get right down to the nitty-gritty and share five of my favorite songs with you.

Now, just to be clear, just like almost all of the other challenge posts asking about my favorites, there are simply too many songs that I like for me to choose favorites. I don’t like to limit myself like that. The songs I’ve decided to share with you today are some that help me get my caboose in gear. I hope they also inspire you to make your Monday is as fantastic as mine.

1. Big Time – Peter Gabriel

2. It’s no Good – Depeche Mode

3. In A Gadda Da Vida – Iron Butterfly

4. Bang Bang – Jesse J ft. Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj

5. And finally, Cream  – Prince (Because who doesn’t like a little cream on top?)

Now that I’ve gotten your booty moving, go do something awesome!  And stay tuned for my next post when I share some of my current goals with you.  Toodles!

Musings, Writing Challenge

My Fears

NaBloPoMo 2015

Day 6: What am I afraid of?

When I was a child, I had recurring nightmares. There were two scenarios, but both essentially involved being chased by something hideous. Since I dream in color, these nightmares – which I would have every single night for months on end – were as real to me as my waking hours. Sometimes more real, since I can still recall them in great detail while my memories from kindergarten on are generally foggy and riddled with blind spots.

One beautiful summer afternoon a few years after my last recurring nightmare, I overheard my mother and my aunt talking about a book called Wolfen. The tiny portion of storyline that I heard was enough to stoke my overactive imagination into a frenzy, resulting in months of night terrors in which I was convinced that I could see a werewolf slip into my darkened room once the rest of the house was asleep.

As a teenager, I spent the night at my aunt’s house on many occasions. One morning, she told me that my screams had awakened her in the middle of the night. When she checked on me, I was sitting up, eyes open, and even had a conversation with her. I don’t recall any of that incident because I was asleep the entire time.

I have fears – lots of them. Sure, they’ve evolved from childhood nightmares to the more realistic fears of an adult, but that doesn’t make them any less terrifying. For instance, I always take a mental note of what my children are wearing before they leave the house on the very remote chance that something might happen to them on their way to school. I have irrational fears about a traffic accident or something just as mundane taking my husband from me. I fear what losing any of them would do to me almost as much as I fear what I would do to anyone that hurt them.

Sometimes fear holds me back, keeping me from saying or doing things that would offend others or cause them pain. I also struggle to put emotions into my stories because I’m afraid I’ll lose myself in experiencing the burning anger, haunting despair, or primal fear that would give my words life.

Sometimes the fear makes me stronger. It pulls me outside my cozy realm of familiarity and forces me to look it in the eyes, to stare it down and grow from the experience. Only by facing your fears can you overcome them.

At one time, I had been deathly afraid to share my writing with anyone. Those days are far behind me, but still there are times that I feel a cold hand grab hold of my heart and squeeze, all while whispering in my ear that I am not good enough, not real enough, that I will only fail and embarrass myself. Those are the fears that steal my confidence, make me feel like a fraud, and sink their hooks so far into my soul that facing them results in an almost physical pain.

So what makes me most afraid? Loss. Losing my family, my sense of self, control of my emotions, or even a loss of credibility is enough to keep me awake at night. Every day, I battle these fears, thankful that I even feel frightened in the first place, for it seems to me that the only way I can truly get over my fear is to not have anything left to lose.

Tomorrow’s post, my top five songs, will be much more lighthearted than today’s topic, I promise. See you tomorrow!

Musings, Writing Challenge

Pride and Sloth… wait, what?

NaBloPoMo 2015

Day 5: My Proudest Moment

What is up with these topics? Each one is harder than the last. I have had so many moments of pride that I’m positive I’ve earned a ticket on the express handbasket to Hell for committing that deadly sin alone. Which is saying a lot, since my middle name is Sloth and I own vacation property in Gluttony.the-7-deadly-sins_o_1724615

However, one particular incident stands apart from the rest because it wasn’t something that I accomplished, at least not directly. It was something my son did.
Once upon a time, in a galaxy really, really close by, my children and I found ourselves waiting for hours to retrieve my husband from a police station. He had be apprehended by the railroad cops – seriously – for doing something more stupid than unlawful, and because people with no criminal past take longer to process, it had been a long day for all of us. My daughter had gotten sick all over herself and my back seat, and my son and I needed to pee so badly that we were seconds from using the nearest squad car as a port-a-potty.

Despite all of this, there was another family in the waiting area that looked like their day had been even worse than ours.  A harried young mother with her bedraggled son who couldn’t have been more than three huddled in the far corner of the station.  She looked positively exhausted, and they had a garbage bag with them with might have contained everything they owned in the world for all we knew.  The child never left his mother’s side, almost melting into her as if it was all he could do to hold back frightened tears.

My son saw them and asked me if I thought they were okay.  I told him I didn’t know, but they looked tired and sad to me.  He nodded absently and then, without another word to me, walked over to the child, spoke softly to him, and placed the McDonald’s toy he had gotten earlier that day in the boy’s hands.   The child’s face lit up, and the mother thanked my son with a grateful smile.  When he returned to my side, I asked him why he did that and he said, “I don’t know.  I just thought I could cheer him up.”

That small gesture proved my worth as a mother.  I might not always get it right, but by instilling compassion in my children, I’m making the world a better place through them.  This was my proudest moment.

Come back tomorrow when I share my deepest fear.  Here’s a hint:  It’s not spiders.  Probably.

there-was-a-spider-i-panicked

Humor, Writing Challenge

A Time to Work

NaBloPoMo 2015Day 4: My Dream Job

I bore easily. It’s how I roll. As much as I would love to be paid to sit on a beach every day, I know I would eventually tire of it. It would take a long, long time for that to happen, but trust me, it would happen. Because of this personality quirk, I have many dream jobs. Most of them involve making the most money for as little work as possible – i.e. the American Dream – but none of them are boring.

Here are my top ten:

1. Lifeguard – In Hawaii.  But I don’t want to rescue anyone.  Too much work.
2. SR-71 Pilot – Those babies are badass. The pilots who fly them are, too. I qualify.  In my own mind, at least.
3. Travel Writer – Visit far away places, sample the local cuisine, and write. Heaven.  Well, as long as I don’t have to eat insects.  That’s not happening.
4. Singer – So far, my only concerts have been in the shower.  My cat has nothing nice to say about my performances. Everyone’s a critic.
5. Spy – I know I would suck at this, but the movie True Lies is to blame for my fantasy that this is even remotely possible.
6. Cat Lady – Not actually “a job,” but my son is convinced it’s my calling.
7. Aerobatic Pilot – I would have to get over my tendency to laugh hysterically during maneuvers, but if I can pull off espionage, I can do anything.
8. Dominatrix – As a mother, I’m used to no one doing anything I tell them to do. Ever.  This would be a lovely change of pace.
9. Grandmother – Forget the mom gig, too much work for too little reward. Grandmas get to do all the fun stuff with kids: get them all twitchy on sugar, keep them up all night, lavish them with noisy, expensive gifts, and then hand them back to their parents for detox. It’s perfect!
10. Empress – I want to be in charge, but elections are lame.  Also, I would rock a tiara.

If you think about it, a writer can be anything they want to be simply by seeing through the eyes of their characters.  In other words, I already have my dream job.  I’m a writer.  Although, Empress Tawn does have a nice ring to it.

Come back tomorrow for Day 5: My Proudest Moment. It should be a good one.  I can’t wait to find out what it is.

Humor, Writing Challenge

Just the Facts, Ma’am

Today’s blog topic is “20 Facts About Me.”   (deep breath)  Here goes!

1. I have wanted to fly a Learjet since the first moment I caught sight of one of those sexy beasts sitting coyly on the tarmac. As a cargo pilot, I finally got my chance, and each and every hour I logged at the controls of that glorious machine was better than the last.

2. When I was a child, I wanted to be a fire truck. Not a firefighter, a fire truck. I loved the blaring horn and sirens and was determined to be just as loud forever.

3. Contrary to popular belief, I’m an introvert. I feel awkward in most social situations and I usually pull at least one George Costanza a week by thinking of the best comment ever days after I had the opportunity to say it.

4. I love to read science fiction and fantasy. I used to steal my parents’ Omni and Asimov magazines and read them at night by flashlight under the covers.

5. I don’t scream on roller coasters, I laugh. In fact, I laugh hysterically, which is why I can never be an aerobatic pilot in spite of my complete fangirl adoration of Patty Wagstaff.

6. I am uncompromisingly optimistic. I honestly believe that so many wonderful things have happened in my life simply because those are the only possibilities I am mentally able to entertain. Along those same lines, I don’t think I will ever win a multi-million dollar Powerball because I can’t visualize it. Well, that and I never buy a ticket because I have books to buy.

7. There is not one thing I dislike about libraries.

8. I have been to Canada, Mexico, and Germany. The first two were for work, and the last as a vacation. I would travel everywhere if I did win a multi-million dollar Powerball.

9. As a child, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. Her freezer was always stocked with popsicles and ice cream, and I would stuff myself silly every time I visited. I miss her.

10. I can turn my tongue upside down. So can my husband. Since this ability is inherited, my children can do it, too. We are a blast at parties.

11. I hate doing dishes. I have purposefully broken a few in an attempt to weasel out of this particular chore. It didn’t work. Sorry Mom.

12. I want a motorcycle. My husband knows this and thinks I am delusional. I disagree entirely.

13. I have never broken a bone, but once I stepped on a sewing needle and skewered my big toe. All the way through. My kids hate that story.

14. I was called into the principal’s office in eighth grade for a conference with my parents and my algebra teacher because I was not doing my homework. I believed that I shouldn’t have to do homework since I aced all of the tests. My life has since come full circle in that I must now help my children with their homework. This, of course, makes me hate homework even more than I did in eighth grade.

15. I currently have two tattoos and another one planned. My mother does not approve.

16. I can’t stand cooked spinach, asparagus, or anything “creamed.” Why would anyone do that to a perfectly good vegetable?

17. President Ronald Reagan spoke at my high school in 1984 and I flew (then) Senator Barack Obama on the campaign trail for a week before he won the Democratic nomination in 2008.

18. I have a ukulele that I love to play. I took a few lessons from a wonderful and very talented teacher, but stopped going after I got carried away playing and singing along with “Let It Be” in class and was too embarrassed to go back.

19. I recently moved from northern Illinois to central Arizona. It is November 2nd, and I am typing this next to my open porch door wearing a sundress. If I never see snow again, it will be too soon.

20. I am a procrastinator. Case in point, I am writing this at 9:30 p.m. when I had all day to do it. Heck, I could have even started it yesterday if I wasn’t such a huge procrastinator. I have been known to start college papers the day after they were due – I would make up some lame excuse  – and stay up all night to write them.

Well, there you have it. Twenty facts about me. Come back tomorrow and I’ll share some thoughts about my favorite quote.  Hopefully, I will post it before 10:00 p.m., but no guarantees.  I have episodes of Walking Dead to watch.

Blog Hops, Self Promotion

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop – Part One

Aloha, Bloghoppers!  Welcome to TotallyTawn, a place where you can get a glimpse inside my mind, and hopefully, share a laugh or two.  I want to thank Tof Eklund for including me in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, and ask that all of you to drop by and peruse his little corner of the web.

My blog contains everything from recollections of my favorite freight pilot memories to fictional short stories.  If you look hard enough, you can find my very first blog post, discover my favorite chick flick (300, although Skyfall is now a contender… I’ll have to write about that), and witness me indulge in a bit of self promotion every now and again.

I’ve been very busy for the past year working on my adult modern fantasy/action eSeries Darkling Drake; my children’s eSeries, The Pirate Princess and subsequent Mini-eSeries that will very soon be compiled and published in paperback, ebook and audiobook format; and even a BigWorldNetwork.com Valentine’s Day special, Love Never Dies: A Zombie Love Story.  I’m planning on continuing to contribute more stories to BigWorldNetwork.com in the future, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to publish my work and share it with all of you in such an innovative format.

I will post Part Two of The Next Big Thing Blog Hop in a week.  In it, I will answer a few questions about myself and my work, and have links to other bloggers that I’d love for you to meet.  If you would like to participate, drop me a line at tkmakela@gmail.com, and I’ll give you the 411.

Thank you for stopping by!

Aviation, Humor, Musings, News, Other Stories, Pet Peeves, Philosophy, Poetry, Self Promotion

2011 Wrap Up

A little more than a year ago, I timidly wandered into the Blogosphere hoping for nothing more than a creative outlet.  To my surprise, I have gained so much more than that.  I have no words for the depth of the gratitude I feel for the support, encouragement, and friendship I have received from so many.  I am overwhelmed.  Thank you.

I’ve heard that you can’t move forward without looking back, so I thought this would be an appropriate time to share one of my favorite posts from each month with you.  I hope all of your years to come are filled with joy, adventure and love.  Thank you for sharing my journey with me!

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Musings

I don’t even know me anymore

At what age is someone supposed to go through a mid life crisis and what exactly does this “crisis” entail?  When does menopause ooze it’s hot-flash laden tentacles into a woman’s cauldron of already unstable hormones, slowly relinquishing control to the erratic whims of some kind of evil alien puppet master?  Is it possible to wake up one bright cheery morning to the sweet song of hungry robin chicks and simply know to the very marrow of your bones that you’re an impostor?  A pod person?  Not who you thought you were at all?

I vividly remember as a brash and outspoken youth being a staunchly “that affects me how?” and “sucks to be you!” kind of girl.  Daring, reckless, rebellious, I was the very definition of teenage angst and drama.  I barged through life cloaked in a impenetrable illusion of self-confidence while secretly composing sappy poems exposing the lonely fear of my self-imposed emotional isolation.  I existed with ease on the periphery of almost all but the most popular cliques while keeping only a handful of close friends in whom I was somehow never able to bring myself to confide completely and without reservation.   I made life altering decisions on a whim and fell head over heels for speed, excitement and the tired anthem of sex, drugs and rock and roll.  I could only see what was immediately in front of me and only if it somehow had the possibility of affecting the never ending party I had made of my life.  I thought I knew everything about myself.  As it turns out, you never really know what you don’t know, you know?

I’d like to think that I’ve matured a lot since those days and that’s the underlying reason that I’m now feeling uncomfortable in my own skin.  I have, after all, done a lot of living in the last 20 years.  I would have lost a considerable amount of money had I wagered back then on whether I would have ever done some of the things I now couldn’t imagine not experiencing.  I’ve pursued a career as a pilot, married my soul mate, given birth to two amazing children, launched a new career as a business owner and entrepreneur, and shoved an almost paralyzing fear aside to start writing.  But something is still not quite right.  I’m having trouble reconciling the girl I used to be with the woman I’ve become.

If you haven’t figured it out already, I’m very much a Type A personality.  I need a plan, a backup plan (or two), and only woe comes to those who do not follow the plan.  Delegating is extrememly difficult for me and I think I’ve become even more of a control freak (a thought my husband would casually dismiss as impossible) than I’ve ever been in the past.  Asking me to “let go” and “be in the moment” is like asking me to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.  It may be possible, but the likelihood of it actually happening is probably about the same as Mesthosopholes opening up a ski resort featuring a world class slalom course in Hell.

But I think letting go and being present in the moment is exactly the balm for which my weary soul yearns.  I’ve grown tired of schedules, plans, routines, checklists and keeping track of every little detail of my life.  I’ve forgotten how to live.  I long for the wild abandon of my youth before I began to care about things other than myself.  Before work, family, responsibility, there was only me and my own selfish and childish pursuit of anything that made me feel alive.  Now, I’ve become bogged down with possessions, responsibilities, social obligations, and countless other small burdens which threaten to drag me under like an extremely unlucky mobster’s cement shoes.

Yet, as I slowly saw through the ropes of the unnecessary sandbags keeping my balloon earthbound, I’ve realized that blogging has been and continues to be a priceless lifeline to the carefree existence of that girl I used to be.  Not only have I been able to enjoy the freedom of expressing myself as I pleased, but I’ve also cast aside a small portion of the Teflon cloak in order to share thoughts, ideas and experiences that would have left that daring party girl of my youth hiding in the ladies’ room.

Things change.  People change.  It’s the journey that counts and although I may not know myself anymore, I think I’m going to enjoy getting to know me better.  Maybe even as much as I enjoy getting to know you.  Thank you for reading, commenting, sharing and allowing me my midlife crisis, though I may still have to get a motorcycle or an airplane.  That’s part of the deal, right?

Guest Entries, Philosophy

Guest Post: Leaving the Dog (and the Blog) Park (via Snoring Dog Studio)

I, thankfully, have not had this particular problem myself (possibly because my love and subsequent, occasionally irrational, use of big, complicated college words can be a turn-off for some), but I’ve seen it and have been embarrassed for the blogger and disgusted and disappointed by the person leaving the verbal landmine. Not only is it so much easier to be misunderstood when one doesn’t have the benefit of body language to interpret, but the anonymity seems to infuse some people with an inflated ego and the will to prove that the pen is mightier than the sword. It costs nothing to simply be nice. And If I had dogs, I would love for my pets to have the opportunity to play with Stella so that I could have some “owner time” to converse and become more acquainted with this writer.

Leaving the Dog (and the Blog) Park Having owned dogs for quite a few years, I’ve spent a fair amount of time in dog parks. I have mixed feelings about them. If the dogs behave well, it can be a delightful, socializing, bonding experience for you and your dogs. I’ve gotten my best laughs watching dogs play and chase each other around the dog park. I get an immense thrill from seeing and greeting dogs of all shapes and sizes. Most of the owners are pretty neat, too. My Stella still … Read More

via Snoring Dog Studio