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

Why I Write, Summed Up In A Picture.

I love writing and I love pie. Given a choice between the two, I’m going for a third option:

My book friends.

Today, at the Louisville Author Event, my friend Cindy Calloway’s husband was kind enough to bake a pie, which Cindy brought me. Pecan. Home made. (delicious, by the way)

Background: Three years ago at my first signing, in Knoxville, TN, Cindy was a volunteer. She was fun, professional, passionate about books, and has turned into a wonderful friend.

Cindy and my other book friends are the reason I write. They’re readers, fans, friends, and allies. They show up. They support writers. They READ, a lot. They’re the best thing to ever happen to someone who decided to write a book at the age of 43, fell in love with writing, and sees no end in sight.

Without further ado, a few names of friends who were here today, and other days. I’ll update again and again as I naturally remember more people, but this is just a start.

Cindy

Lorie

Christine

Mary

James

Kenneth

Jen

Nova

Wren

Tasha

Kelly

Melissa

Nancy

Brad

Tim

Karen

Lile

Amy

Patricia

Grace

Tracy

Jonny

Kayte

Katy

Katie

Kelly

Cat

Net

Rebecca

Jim

Dan

Ronnie

Jo

That’s a representation of this week. I have an embarrassment of riches in friends, and I am incredibly thankful.

Cheers,

Terry

 

When books make you cry.

It can take seconds, but books have an emotional impact well beyond their weight. I get up, walk from the living room, see a hardback version of a favorite book— I’ve left it out from sorting my shelf. 

It’s filled with poems about a war (doesn’t matter which one, the truths are all the same, merely different uniforms). I flip it open, read. I sit down. I read. I think of the losses, and what the author was feeling. I’m not sure I can know, but I can try. I think of family funerals, and rain. I think of the chill of a grave and the life left over, forced to live in a place not of my own choosing where there’s enough pain that I am compelled to write the poem I hold in my hands. The book creaks as I close it, and I notice that there’s glue on the back from an old sticker.

The book has traveled, just like me. The poem is one year older than me. The pain is raw as the day it was written. I don’t know the author. Should I go type my own words now, freshly shorn by the ragged edge of a single page– the scent of someone else’s blood funneled into my own narrative? It feels like theft, kind of, but then writers are emotional vampires, building stories from borrowed hurt and joy.

I wonder if the author is still alive, and then decide I don’t want to know. They are alive to me, as certainly as if they were standing next to me, reading their poem and watching from the corner of their eye, just to make sure I’m listening.

“What are we watching?” I ask my son, averting my eyes. He’s nine, and I’m not sure I can explain how second hand pain works. Not at this age, and not yet. Maybe someday he will read something I’ve written and ask how someone like me could write something so bleak, and then we can discuss what it means to be an adult, but not right now. I look at the television and think of muddy fields and missing sons, and who wrote it down so that I could be thankful for the room around me, free of rain and fear.

Free Chocolate

Dark chocolate. Shaped like a star. From Roanoke. It’s MINE.

ALL MINE.

I spoke at the Roanoke Regional Writer’s Conference (say that fast, dare ya) and Liz Long rewarded me with dark chocolate.

This is not a drill. It’s fancy.

I have an online release party tonight for an anthology of which I’m a part– The Jurassic Chronicles— and I predict the star will be gone (completely) by 10:00 C.S.T.

About the dinosaurs, if you like them, check it out: 

Here it is: dino goodness! The Jurassic Chronicles

Stop by, won’t you? I’ll be jacked on chocolate, giving stuff away. Release Party: Much Dinosaur!

Cheers!