I Must Be Crazy – NaNoWriMo and Other Fall Things

We’re knee deep in autumn here in Middle Tennessee. Leaves are an impressive array of golds and reds and oranges, the breeze is a little cooler every day, and pumpkin has permeated everything from our porches to our coffee cups. Halloween has come and gone, ushering in what, for most of us, is the busiest season of the year. As the saying goes, the New Year will be here before we know it.

I Must Be Crazy: NaNoWriMo and Other Fall Things

So, November naturally serves as the perfect time to take on a massive new project, right? Along with several author friends, I have accepted the challenge to once again participate in National Novel Writer’s Month, referred to as NaNoWriMo, and write 50,000 words during the month of November. I must be crazy.

I do have my reasons (she said behind wide eyes and a racing heart). I’ve signed on the be part of a very exciting novella collection set to come out early next fall! I will join hands with five other Christian authors to bring you some unique stories sure to satisfy your love story cravings. I can’t wait to tell you more about it soon.

You won’t be surprised to know that I’ve not written steadily for quite some time. Book two of the Laurel Cove series is still in need of a lot of attention! But this novella has really inspired me and I’ve decided to let NaNoWriMo give me the chance to hammer out the first draft. If you’ve been with me for a long time, you may remember that the first draft of Someplace Familiar was written during NaNoWriMo way back in 2013! If I can stick with it, it’s a really fun and exhilarating experience.

The novella needs to be only about 25,000 words. So, book two might just get the chance to grow a little, as well. I toyed with the idea of cramming in a Christmas novella, like I’d announced I had plans for a while back. But I’ve learned the hard way recently that life sometimes throws wrenches into the mix. Back in September, my husband joined one of the national tours of Hamilton! We’re so thankful for the opportunity, but that leaves me flying solo at Fort Tysinger. Less time for myself and a few more responsibilities. The days feel shorter and to-do list longer.

Have I said how crazy it is to take on NaNoWriMo right now?

But, we serve a BIG God who somehow empowers us to do much bigger things that we consider ourselves capable of managing. Often times, it’s just saying “Yes, God” today, then tomorrow, then the next day. And having grace with ourselves on days we need to take a breather and rest in Him.

If you’re still hanging on, I’d sure appreciate your encouragement and prayers during this crazy month. How can I pray for you?

Someplace Familiar is Going On Tour!

Someplace Familiar by Teresa Tysinger on Tour with Celebrate Lit! March 1-14

Someplace Familiar is going on tour…a book tour, that is, with Celebrate Lit! From March 1-14, you are invited to stop by and chat about the Jack, Livy, Laurel Cove, and more with other readers and bloggers. I’ll be popping in and out to answer questions and chat with readers, too. Throughout the tour, I’ll be sharing a bit more here on the blog about my process, inspiration, how it feels to have a book out for a while, what’s coming up, and more. What would YOU like to ask me about the book (or anything else for that matter)?

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Recapping Release Month + Giveaway

Recapping Release Month | Someplace Familiar by Teresa Tysinger

I can’t believe it’s been one month since Someplace Familiar released into the world! A special thank you to everyone who has shown support and encouragement for the book these last few months. It’s been a whirlwind full of some unexpected lessons, surprises, blessings, and more. I thought it would be fun to share a few highlights recapping my first book release month!

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Count Down to Release Day +Giveaways

Someplace Familiar, debut novel from Teresa Tysinger, releases May 30!

SQUEAL! 

Writing this post has been a long time coming, friends. Today I am starting my official countdown to RELEASE DAY! In ONLY EIGHT DAYS, on May 30, my debut novel Someplace Familiar will be available in print and e-book under my self-publishing imprint, Good Day Publishing!!!

I’m doing a few (fairly low-key) things to mark the occasion that I wanted to share with you all.

Pre-Orders Now Available!

First of all, for the next few days you can pre-order the book for Kindle/e-readers for only $0.99. This limited-time offer expires next Monday.

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Big Book Birthday Giveaway!

Second, if you’ve not yet done so, be sure to enter the Someplace Familiar Book Birthday Giveaway to win a signed paperback copy of the book, a Kindle Fire 7″ 8GB (!!!!), “Amazing Grace” necklace from MinMac Shop, a book sleeve from The Cozy Life Shop … PLUS, some unique treats from the heart of the very area of the Blue Ridge Mountains that inspired the book. ENTER TO WIN HERE through May 30!

Someplace Familiar Book Birthday Giveaway from Author Teresa Tysinger

Blog Tour  |  June 10-17

Then, coming up a few weeks after the book releases, me and several of my closest book buddies are teaming up to bring you a super fun Blog Tour for Someplace Familiar! Each day from June 10-17, visit a new blog (or two or three) to learn about the book and get a chance to win another giveaway prize pack including a signed paperback copy of the book, a custom 8×8″ canvas painting by artist Cyndi Browning (our book’s heroine, Livy, is a painter!), and a $10 Amazon gift card!

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I’ll be continuing the countdown on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram–including a video of me opening up my PRINT PROOF (first in-hand copy of the book) which should arrive TODAY–so be sure to follow along! I’m also considering some in-town celebration options … I just can’t decide!  So, stay tuned for those fun details.

Thanks for being on this journey with me. These last few years have been a roller coaster of emotions, challenges, and pushes out of my comfort zone. I give God all the glory for being steadfast and faithful in his promises to never leave my side. The book is HIS…and I hope it touches your heart.

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Before I go, I wanted to share a HUGE giveaway opportunity from Reading Is My Superpower. Head over there for all the details about this MEGA giveaway!

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Big Book Birthday Giveaway

Someplace Familiar Book Birthday Giveaway!

Wowzers, if that doesn’t get your attention, then what will people?

So, in celebration of the book birthday of Someplace Familiar, coming up very soon at the end of the month, I’m giving away:

  • Kindle Fire 7″ 8GB with Alexa
  • Signed Paperback copy of Someplace Familiar
  • Large Book Sleeve from Live the Cozy Life
  • Amazing Grace Necklace from MinMac Etsy shop
  • And a few Blue Ridge Mountain goodies that inspired parts of the book (secret fun!)

Entering couldn’t be easier…just requires an email address. Winner announced on release day, May 30!

ENTER TO WIN

Check out some of these fun book quotes for a sneak peak at Someplace Familiar. Click on each for a closer look. Which is your favorite?

And here’s a lovely review from Laurie Tomlinson received earlier this week. Blessed my socks off!

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Out and About

I’m up to my eye balls in final edits for Someplace Familiar. That might mean things are a tad quiet in my little blog sphere, but you can find me out and about in a few others places this week:

Tick-Tock Writer’s Block Series

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I’m excited to be the guest bloggers today over at Andy Carmichael’s blog for her 10-week Tick-Tock Writer’s Block series. I’m sharing about how procrastination can actually (wait for it) make you a BETTER writer! What–don’t believe me? Come check it out HERE and let me know your take on it.

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Andy and all of us guest bloggers for the series have put together a fun GIVEAWAY package, too. Including a $25 Amazon Gift Card, copy of Someplace Familiar when it releases, and lots of other freebie books from amazing authors. So be sure and enter that, too.

Indie Releases on RelzReviewz!

I started my week with a HUGE and unexpected honor. We’re talking dance around the house in my underwear (TMI?) on Monday morning before work when I saw it.

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Someplace Familiar was included on RelzReviewz list of upcoming indie releases! next to the likes of Pepper Basham, Tamara Leigh, Jenny B. Jones, Susan May Warren, Ronie Kendig, Sarah Monzon, and my sweet dear writing partner Mikal Dawn. Mikal and I have been critique partners for years and know each other’s stories inside and out. For our debut novels to be releasing the same month is a crazy blessing and I’m so thrilled she made this list with me.

Check out Rel’s post HERE to read all about these amazing coming releases.

Where You Can Find Someplace Familiar

I’ve had several folks ask where they can find Someplace Familiar. Not, it’s not up on Amazon yet, but I’m hoping to have pre-orders set up before too long. In the meantime, you can read more about it and add it to your Want to Read list on Goodreads.

Someplace Familiar by Teresa Tysinger on Goodreads

Join the Street Team!

It’s also not too late to join THE GRACE GIVERS, my “street team” helping with the launch of the book through early reviews (i.e. advanced reader copies!), sharing posts, promoting features, etc. If you’re interested in joining, contact me!

That’s all I’ve got for you, sweet friends. Hope you all are well….leave a comment telling me what you’re up to? What are you reading these days? What upcoming releases (besides Someplace Familiar, of course — wink, wink) are you most looking forward to?

You Won’t Remember the Pain: Birthing a Book

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I’ve heard authors compare publishing a book to childbirth. Metaphorically, of course. But on that vein of thought, I think I’m in the throws of birthing pains, friends. Someplace Familiar is my “first born” book. She’s gestated for three years, not counting the decade or so I dreamed of her…the possibility of her.

Like all new mothers, one of my biggest struggles as I wait for the book to come to life is self-doubt. Before I had my daughter eight years ago I worried if I had the capacity to properly care for her – her body, her spirit, her happiness. I could barely handle those things for myself. Oh, self-doubt is a quiet, sly foe.

I came across this quote about birthing from Barbara Katz Rothman that made me stop and think…

Birth is not only about making babies.
Birth is about making mothers –
strong, competent, capable mothers
who trust themselves and know their inner strength.

What if we rewrote this for the circumstance of an author publishing a book?

Publishing is not only about making books.
Publishing is about making authors –
strong, competent, capable authors
who trust themselves and know their inner strength.

No child will grow up perfect and without flaws – it’s not in human nature. Likewise, no book will it make it to the digital or brick-and-mortar shelves without mistakes. There will be typos and sentences that could’ve been written better. We authors must remember that if we focus too much on unattainable perfection of our books we risk missing the lessons we learn along the way about our own abilities and strength.

These talents are God given. Placed upon your for such a time as this, in your lifetime and within your influences. You wrote a book! I mean, that’s huge. What’s more…we authors have worked hard on the books to get them to the point of publishing. No small feat.

My daily prayer as I grit my teeth through these labor pains of publishing is that God will help me focus on the journey, and find joy there where exhaustion and hard work threaten to dissuade me from noticing victory.

Once the book is “born,” my newest baby, I’ll forget the pain it took to get her here. Like my own cesarean scar from eight years ago, the memory of trauma will fade and will be replaced with joy and anticipation of what God will do with her life…how she’ll impact others…how she’ll leave the world different, better, than it was before she came.

That’s my prayer. I’ll forget today’s pain.

250+ Author Tips (Plus, a Giveaway!)

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“Would you stop being so stubborn?!”

I uttered these words under my breath during my last editing session. My heroine was being particularly stubborn to do what I wanted her to in the scene.

What? You didn’t know fictional characters have a mind of their own? It’s true! If you’re like me, characters take on the personality you give them in the beginning and, before you know it, can take steps in directions you never saw coming. Say things that surprise you. Lead the story down unexpected paths.

When I find myself in these situations, as a still-learning newbie author, I turn to the experts. Those who’ve been in the trenches and come out the other side wiser and willing to share their knowledge.

Over the years, I’ve collected hundreds of tips for authors on everything from…

  • planning your next novel
  • plot structure
  • character development
  • writing for your genre audience
  • self-editing
  • author platform building
  • working with agents/publishers
  • developing deep POV
  • resources like stock photos (covers, promos, etc.)
  • self-publishing
  • creating an author website
  • author encouragement
  • grammar and mechanics
  • writing descriptions
  • showing vs. telling
  • writing emotion
  • story arcs
  • and much more!

Leave Your Ego Off the Page

My heroine was trying to show me a more natural arc for herself. The conflict I had her in helped develop a goal that I hadn’t seen before. After reading Character Development: 9 Tips for Convincing Arcs, a plan to proceed in writing this character became clearer. Whew!

Do you remember the famous line from A League of Their Own? “There’s no crying in baseball!” Tom Hank’s character is the rough-edged manager of an all-female baseball team. His players emotions were getting in the way of focusing on the game.

I say, “There’s no ego in writing!”

When you approach the blank page assuming you know everything there is to know about writing a best seller, you sabotage your chances at achieving that very thing. What do actual best selling authors have to say about writing? Learn how they write. How they earn faithful readers. What they do when their characters get stubborn and your momentum stalls.

Leave your ego off the page and your book will thank you.

Where to Get Help

I have two degrees in English. Thus, my shelves at home are full of books on craft, theory, etc. I’ve even collected a few favorites in recent years like this oneBut, let’s face it. These days when we’re writing on various devices and constantly connected to the internet, it’s convenient to have resources just one click away.

I’d like to think we’re friends, you and I. So, I’ve gone ahead and put together lots of references for you in one easy place.

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Follow my Author Tips board on Pinterest for 250+ (and growing each day!) excellent tips and tricks for being the best author you can be.

Sharing Is Caring (& Pays off!)

What are some of your favorite resources? A favorite book, website, Facebook group, or other tool for writers? I’d love to add more pins to my board….and we all get smarter.

SHARE your favorite resource in the comment below. One reader who comments will win a $10 Amazon gift card!  Share this post using the social share links below (tell me you did so in a separate comment) and earn an extra entry. Winner announced Tuesday, February 21.

This giveaway has ended. Thanks!


So, next time your characters get stubborn, a new plot starts forming in your mind, or your author platform seems to be falling flat, FEAR NOT AUTHOR FRIEND! You’ve now got an arsenal of help right at your fingertips. Go forth and write!


Keep Reading!

A Pantster’s Guide to Planning
Hand Me the Wrench: A Writer’s Toolbox
What’s in a Genre: Choosing Your Genre Niche

 

I Gave Up Writing This Week

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I stepped in dog pee the other morning, just minutes after grumbling at my relentless alarm. It was the perfect sour cherry on top of what was shaping up to be a top-notch-awful-week sundae. Frustrations at work…laundry held hostage in the dryer…a master bedroom that housed my 8 year old on the floor in a sleeping bag most nights…friends whose birthdays came and went too quickly without a card making it into the mail…boxes of Girl Scout cookies left to sell…graying hair in need of coloring…a thickening waistline…and nagging deadlines for editing my first novel (that needs to be successful and renowned  by all who read it – ha). It all swirled in my head with a dizzying effect.

My wet foot dripped and “You’ve got to be kidding me!” cries filled the otherwise serene, still-dark living room. Something had to give. And soon.

Later that day I sat in my car during my lunch break and brainstormed what I could do to simplify this overwhelming life. I eventually circled around to my writing. Maybe this just isn’t the season of life to realistically achieve the goal of publishing.

Mixed Messages

Part of my problem is constantly trying to decipher the mixed messages to women of our culture:

Your top priority should be raising independent, well-adjusted children.

You have both the right to be an working professional woman, and the responsibility to continue paving the way for the next generation.

While you should not feel obligated to wed, if you do then your spouse should feel desired, encouraged, and taken care of.

You need A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, and P name-brand products, but should also be able to find a way to be debt free and ready for retirement by the age of 40.

How in the world do we wade through all of these voices? While the little white ball called “balance” winds this way and that, ping-ponging between work, home, family, friends, education, professional enrichment, personal goals, and others’ expectations we grow tired. Dizzy. Unsure which way to look and for how long.

This passage from Present Over Perfect by  Shawna Niequist struck a nerve.

I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. In high school, I was biding my time until I could become the college version of myself, the one my mind could see so clearly. In college, the post-college “adult” person was always looming in front of me, smarter, stronger, more organized. Then the married person, then the person I’d become when we have kids. For twenty years, literally, I have waited to become the thin version of myself, because that’s when life will really begin.

Can you relate?  For me, the life that has begun often doesn’t reflect the life I envisioned long ago. It’s more hectic. More demanding. More distracted. And, frankly, often less fulfilling.

My Plan for Taking Control

The lunch break in my car resulted in a plan. I didn’t want to give up being a good mom or wife or employee. My daughter needs me on my best game. My husband needs me to be less stressed and more attentive. My job deserves me to be more focused and dedicated.

So the writing can wait.

I made the decision sitting in the car that I’d find ways to write here and there whenever time presented itself. Just for fun. Maybe keep writing my short stories for my newsletters. But the book publishing would need to wait. It didn’t make the cut.

With a sigh of relief and to-do list suddenly much shorter, the week went on.

But something unexpected happened next.

The 30-Second Game Changer

Later that evening, after the kitchen was cleaned, homework was reviewed and fixed, bath time was overseen, and clothes were picked for the next day, my daughter called me into her room.

“Can I read you something, Mama?”

“Sure, but then it’s lights out.”

“Ok. I just wrote this…” She proceeded to read me a poem she’d written. It included metaphor, imagery, emotion, and a simple plot. It was good. My tired, overwhelmed heart flipped.

“Honey, that’s really good. I mean, really good.”

Then the kicker.

“I get it now. Why you write. This feels amazing. And I can’t wait for your book to come out,” she said with and understanding in her eyes that stopped me dead in my tracks.

In the simple 30-second exchange with my daughter over a six-line poem written in pencil in a ratty journal, the plan I’d made earlier in the day to give up writing suddenly didn’t make sense.

Publishing this book isn’t just a self-indulgence. Not just a hobby I’d love to share with others. It has purpose, meaning beyond my own desires. The process, not just the end result, is important for my daughter to see me go through – not for the struggle, but in spite of it. This renewed awareness of purpose in the process reminds me, too, that the story’s message of hope and grace and forgiveness (to each other and yourself) is one I believe God placed on my heart to tell others. If that’s not a priority worth keeping on top, I don’t know what is.

Life will still throw me curve balls. (Just in the last 24-hours, for instance, I had a flat tire, spilled a full glass all over the living room, and had to catch my dog’s urine in a bowl for a specimen to take the to vet.) This is life this side of heaven. Messy, frustrating, and overwhelming. But it’s also filled with 30-second blessings that remind us why we do what we do: because we are who God made us each to be.

I gave up writing this week. But I picked it right back up again.



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