Time Travel Edition: Michigan

I went back to Frankenmuth.

Michigan, that is.

This was my second year at Once Upon a Book, sponsored by the Stacey Rourke. She’s small, dynamic, and utterly committed to the book community. Note to young writers: she’s the kind of person to follow and learn from. This is how you grow. This is how you engage, link up, join a tribe, and become an author instead of just a writer. Your books will thank you for it, trust me. Between “writing” and “author” is a world of experience.

There’s a difference.

My book Heartborn won for best cover. My thanks go to Staci Hart, who answered my panicked call for art with a stunning realization of my idea. Young writers, again take note: work with great people. Get to win awards. Get to dress up as “Mandusa” and accept the awards. Eat cake. Have fun. All side effects of being in a great book community.

SO, now that you’re done laughing at my legs, let’s discuss the remainder of 2018. (That’s super-reader Tina. She’s delightful).

I have five more events, across much of the country. It’s going to be busy. South Dakota. New Orleans. Wisconsin. South Carolina. I can’t wait. I hope to see you at some of the events– if you’re close by, say hello!

Halfway Unwrapped is on schedule for October.

Halfway Holiday is on schedule for Christmas!

AND. . .a secret project is about to publish, under my new pen name. Once it’s out, I’ll share it with you. I want this one to be a surprise. Totally new direction, and with a writing partner who’s fantastic.

That’s all for now. Cheers friends!

Terry

P.S.– authors, join my YouTube channel here:Five Minute Author Coach

P.P.S.– don’t forget to join me on Wednesday nights at 8:30CST for Facebook Live. We give away signed books by friends, candles, swag, etc. Stop by!

LibertyCon: Find Your Tribe

LibertyCon has come and gone. I leave my tribe after a long weekend.

It’s a science fiction and fantasy convention that has the honor of producing more lifelong friends than any other event in my entire life. It’s my tribe– a thing you should find, and keep, and have and celebrate. It’s books and games and characters, and in the halls are people who I’ve admired for forty years– and then they’re in front of me, and I get to chat with them about the books that are, in some way, the soundtrack of my life.

This year was a bit different, and by that I mean even better. I’m writing for a truly excellent person, Chris Kennedy, in a genre that I’ve loved since I was a kid– Military SciFi. Being involved with Seventh Seal Press is sort of like joining a winning team on the first day. Chris takes care of the details, big and little, and it shows. I carry this coin proudly.

For three days, I was on panels, at parties, buying books, talking about books, science, films, and anything else associated with a fandom that has given me limitless joy since I was a kid. I was exhausted but invigorated, a curious blend of wanting to do more on less sleep, and finally convincing myself I could sleep on Tuesday, because there was too much good stuff to see and do.

After leaving friends for the trip home, my thoughts return to my family and how much I’ve missed them. It’s a good drive– mountains, sun, summer heat– and I look forward to that strange sensation of coming home to people you love more than anything, even after being among people you love. It’s an embarrassment of riches, and it never gets old.

On the way. I stopped to eat in a small town, Monteagle, Tennessee. There’s an iconic place– The Smokehouse– and I went in having not set foot there since 1977. Fond memories of being a kid with my family, seeing snow for the first time, a wooden toy my grandfather bought me, soon to be scattered across the cavernous back seat of our 1972 Cadillac. Joyous thoughts, then a conclusion as I realize that of seven people at that table, only two remain, and we’re not kids anymore.

Travel is like that for me. It gives and takes. It fills up my tank, and not all of it is pure, because I’m aware of the passage of time. I eat the food slowly, processing the past three days while thinking of the next ten.

I return home to teach, write, edit. Things that are all part of my third life, the one that has bloomed unexpectedly out of a childhood love of things that didn’t exist anywhere except the books I loved– dragons, distant galaxies, starships made of light. This is the best of my three lives, and LibertyCon is the fuel.

To repeat: find your tribe.

Terry

I’m on the YouTubes

I’m on YouTube now.

A lot.

I’m making two or three YouTube a week now, all part of “The 5 Minute Author Coach”. It’s a way to help other writers avoid mistakes I’ve made, save time, and save money.

Check it out here: Terry on the YouTubes

In addition, I go live on Facebook every Wednesday evening, where I chitchat about books and give things away. Stop by if you’d like to see my enormous head in motion.

Also, I’ve got three author events in the next month. They’re going to be amazing. Here they are– if you can drop by, there will be a ton of great writers, books, and swag.

Lexington, Kentucky– GREAT town, great people. Lexington Legendary Book Bash

Peoria, Illinois– On the river, and raising money for an amazing cause! Writers on the River

As for my life, well. . . this is week four of Keto and week five of Hot Yoga.

I LOVE Hot Yoga. It’s transformational. It’s hard, it’s a mental challenge, and it’s something I’ve been looking for. As for Keto. . .I miss carbs, but darn it, I feel better, look better, and my mind is more focused. The goal is to be 225 pounds of “not middle aged guy” by August. I like my chances. 🙂

I’d love to have you visit my channel, or me, or the events. See you on the road, and let’s have a great summer.

Cheers,

Terry

 

P.S. If I die from doing Keto and Hot Yoga, please send cookies. That is all.

 

 

 

Hot Yoga: I Will Die With Abs

Four weeks ago, raw panic set in as I realized that I have to wear a toga this summer, so I found hot yoga.

 

I’m not wearing the toga for fun, mind you, but an author event in beautiful Frankenmuth, Michigan, a glorious little town with Christmas, Polka, giant pretzels, fudge, and midwestern charm to spare.

Long story short: I am 6′”1. I was at 250 pounds of. . .let’s call it “human”. Not fat, not muscle. Just critically forty-nine years old and in need of a boost.

Enter hot yoga.

I went. I gasped. I sweated– Lord above, did I sweat; like I was a spy under interview lights– and my heart pounded from a tortuously fluid series of motions that went on for three days.

Okay, one hour, but still.

But it’s amazing. I love it. It quiets my mind, and makes me work harder than I’ve ever done in any other workout, and all with a smooth deliberation that leaves me energized and at peace. It’s incredible.

Today I did the Crow pose and Eagle for the first time (without falling over like a giant Polish tree). It’s quite a sensation. I have three months until the Day of Toga Reckoning, and I think I will be– not beach ready, but Toga Ready.

That’s a thing, right?

ALSO!

Follow me on YouTube. I’m doing writer-y stuff.

5 Minute Author Coach

See you this summer, my calendar is up to date!

Cheers,

Terry

Party Hard: 1993 Edition

I went to Iowa last week.

It’s my ancestral homeland (dad is from there). It’s filled with lovely people, open spaces, and the occasional blizzard.

Maybe more than just occasional, but still, well worth the trip. I was at the North Iowa Book Bash, and it was simply amazing. People, books, fun. It’s basically heaven (an Iowa thing for fans of Field of Dreams), and it was also the Super Official Release Date for my newest book, A Touch of Frost.

HOWEVER, I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss the kicker, which is this: Clear Lake, Iowa has a BENNIGAN’S.

For anyone alive in the 1990s, Bennigan’s was the place to be across much of the country, featuring (but not limited to)

Beer.

Irish-y stuff.

Fried things.

The Monte Cristo Sandwich.

What’s a Monte Cristo? Allow me to describe it to you.

Take ham, cheese, turkey, cheese, and ham, place in bread.

Dunk bread in batter, like a funnel cake.

Fry.

Serve covered in powdered sugar with a side of raspberry jam.

Yes. It’s that good. It’s so blissfully America I felt the urge to sing patriotic songs and quote Top Gun; it’s a fat bomb of grease and flavor and sweetness that is simply sublime.

Since the Bennigan’s is located in the hotel, we were able to walk through on the way to our author event, thus seeing the Calm Before the Storm.

Little did the staff know they would be inundated with rowdy writers and readers in a short time, as well as shouts for MORE MONTE CRISTO from certain unnamed person(s).

Iowa is beautiful in that heartbreaking way, open tinged with a hint of loneliness when you get outside town. I love it.

There was yet another winter storm on the way when I left, but that’s the Midwest– it ain’t summer until the Fourth of July, and even then the nights are cool enough to remind everyone winter isn’t gone, just resting.

I can’t wait to go back. Every time I visit, I understand why my family returned after decades abroad, and as long as there’s a Bennigan’s, to quote General Douglas MacArthur, “I shall return.”

If you haven’t gotten the new book, here it is, just click the cover to grab one. Hope you love Gideon and Sammie. I know I do.

A Touch of Frost

Cheers!

Terry

 

2018: Travelin’ Man!

MY BODY IS READY.

And so is my luggage.*

*Cat not included.

I’m going to be all over the place this year, signing books and eating. Okay, mostly eating, but also signing books. Here’s a look at my schedule. If you have a book event near you that you think I should attend, let me know– I love to travel and meet bookfriends.

And eat.

Right, so on to the schedule:

April 8 Clear Lake, Iowa

Northern Iowa Book Bash

April 21 Corbin, KY

Southeastern Kentucky Author Event

May 12, Austin, TX

For the Love of Books and Austin

June 2, Dickson, TN

Dickson Author Signing

June 29- July 1  LibertyCon

http://libertycon.org/

July 14 Lexington, KY

Lexington Legendary Book Bash

July 21 Writers on the River, Peoria

Writers on the River

Sept 22 Madison, WI

Mayhem in the Midwest

Oct 13 Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Fall Into Books

As usual, this is subject to change based on availability of coffee, insurrection, or dinosaur sightings.

Tell me about your event, I’d love to visit!

Cheers,

Terry

 

I lost a parent. I gained some family.

Dad died last month, and it’s been a lot of things. It was closure, and sad, and frustrating. That was in the first ten minutes, and then it settled into my bones and became real.

Grandpa and Grandma Maggert

I went to Iowa for the funeral. I connected with people who are my flesh and blood, but have never met. It was an uplifting, somber, joyous mess of a day sandwiched in between two twelve hour drives with my own thoughts.

I miss my dad, I ache for my mom, and still have flashes where I think both are alive. I don’t know if that will ever pass.

My cousin Richine– well, I saw her and knew we were kin, and it felt like a gift. She sent me a hundred or more pictures of my family that I’ve never seen, dating back to the 1930s. It’s a treasure. My cousin walked me across the old farm and pointed out the place my grandmother was killed in 1955. I miss her, even though we’ve never met, and wonder how life would have gone for all of us if she had lived.

It’s a time of possibilities and sadness, metered through a lens of my own family. We are unique, identifiable, and now that I’ve been back to Iowa, more connected.

I’ll be in Columbia, South Carolina on Nov. 11 for the Authors Invade Columbia Event. Stop by and see me if you’re around. Check out the page here: Sakarlina, Y’all! Come see me!

Pretzel Power and Author Events: 5 Dumb Things

You want a pretzel? We’ve got a pretzel.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you the Bavarian Inn Lodge “Big Twist”, which powered me through an entire whirlwind of signing books, fandom, and fellowship with other authors. Located in gorgeous Frankenmuth, Michigan ( my new favorite town in America), it’s a magnificent Grand Dame of a resort that I will be going back to– and soon.

The event? Once Upon a Book. The host and organizer was Stacey Rourke (buy her books, she can really write), and it was more than just a book signing. It was, as usual, a learning experience. Fellow authors, and young authors– please take note.

  1. Thinking of attending an author event? Look at the organizer. If they write, look at their books. Are they crisp, attractive, professional? Is it a dalliance? Is it their life? They might treat the event like their books, and you can use this information to help you determine where– and with whom– you want to sign books.
  2. Is the venue superior? Remember, readers love books as much (or more) as we do. They want to be comfortable, engaged in fun, and treated well. If you wouldn’t stay/eat/visit the venue, why should your reader?
  3. Look at the other authors signing. Are they professionals? Are they serious? Are they committed to writing great books? Is the event a chance for them to be away from their family for a vacation, or is it an opportunity to both have fun and meet readers in a superb setting? I met an author I’ve admired for years, and I told her so– because people who are doing things the right way should know that they’re being seen. (Thanks Mary!)
  4. If there are authors attending that you admire, plan on introducing yourself. I’m an extrovert; this is easy for me, but even if you’re shy, watch your favorite authors and take notes. How do they conduct themselves? What are their public strengths? What would you do differently? Why do they impress you, and if so, can you adjust your own career goals and improve?
  5. What are the readers saying? This is a tidal wave of honest criticism that you must process. Listen to them. See what they’re reading. See who they come to meet. Ask them questions about books, without pressuring them to buy yours. If you’re forgetful, take notes. Every author event has an area where serious readers can be found reading the books they purchased moments ago. This is your goal. You want your books in their hands as they read and get lost in your worlds.

Also, wear pants. Trust me on this one.

Now, to quote my friend Lawrence, what are you going to do about it?

 

Cheers,

Terry

 

Find Your Tribe.

Your tribe is the people outside your family who become family. That’s it. It can be simple to find them, or it can take years. For me, it took until I started writing as a serious pursuit, unlocking the years of memories about books, movies, comics, and art. All of these things fire my imagination like the inside of a star. It’s relentless and compelling and there is unalloyed joy in sharing it with people who not only like the things you like, but they get you.

So, back to back I’ve had two weekends with My Tribe. The first was Utopiacon, where fiction writers I know– and did not know– mingled with fans over three days of celebrating books. It’s a powerful sensation to realize that there are other humans who feel the same giddiness over books. Their imaginations share DNA with mine, and the overlapping areas of our fandoms are where we find common ground and bond (likely for life).

Then came LibertyCon. And this. . .headgear.

Your tribe foments creativity and laughter and thought. Your tribe makes you want to be better at what you do, and causes unabashed admiration for others who share your pursuit. It’s loud and grand and caring, and every minute of it flies by in a whirl of color and fun.

Something else happens, too. I’ve written five thousand words since coming home from the event, no small feat given my lack of sleep. Why is this? Simple. Your tribe stokes the boilers and makes creativity readily on tap. It’s a side effect of magical purpose, leaving you exhilarated and wide-eyed with the prospects of the coming days, eager to create and share.

I waited a long time to find my tribe, only to find that they were here all along. It’s up to you to find yours, but that’s the simplest part: find out where you can be weird, and revel in it.

Cheers for now. Gotta write. Maybe sleep. Mostly, write.

Terry

New Release Day: Moonborn

Moonborn is here. It’s in Kindle Unlimited and Amazon. I’m proud of this one, and the early reviews are excellent. I’ve already had a few readers pick out some DEEPLY hidden Easter Eggs (y’all are smart) and it’s been a fantastic week on twitter and across my social media in general.

Get yours here: Moonborn for Kindle

Tonight, I set up at Utopiacon in Nashville, where I’ll be immersed in All Things Bookish for the next four days. I’m stoked. So many writers. So many readers. So many people giving away candy, and not the kind you get in creepy vans (writers love chocolate. and booze. and coffee.)

Blogger friends– come by for your gift. You make my job easier, and I’m thankful.

If you’re around the area, stop by- there are some seriously talented people at the event. I’ll have book candles, books, bookmarks, and as a special treat, I’ll be wearing pants.

You’re welcome, World.