Short Story The In-Between

The In-Between in a short story that was published by Solstice Publishing in their Anthology Project 9 Vol 4. Now they have released the short story for .99!!

And so here is the link.

A routine surgery lands Cindy in a strange empty hospital that can only be some type of dream linking her between death and life. Running the hallways, searching for a way out, she meets others, entwining their fates beyond this In-Between.
Available Now

How Characters Come to Life: Russ from Cursed on the Prairies

How Characters Come to Life is a segment about the actual characters from my books or from the books of authors I know. It gives the reader a little secret about where a character comes from and why and how this character affected the author or the reader.

Russ from Cursed on the Prairies was a voice I heard in my head. Oh my gosh this young guy nagged at me. I had no idea what he wanted to say, but he kept telling me to just sit down and trust him.
Usually, I get inspiration from visual things like pictures or real stories I find in my research. Best I can remember was that Russ was born not long after I wrote Ghosts on the Prairies. I was daydreaming, really trying to get into a book from a different series known as The Grey Chronicles, when Russ first spoke to me.
With his voice came the image of the Sacred Oak from Legends on the Prairies which wasn't even written yet. He stood by this tree eating a cookie, in my daydreaming, and he was filthy. He'd just fought a mud monster for sure. With a chuckle he said, "You really think them crazies would come to our town and burn crosses, and us folk would just stand around and be cowards?" With that bold statement, he popped the rest of the cookie in his mouth and grinned.
Well, of course I didn't think anyone should be bullied by hate groups, but what could they do? I didn't want this young guy to be hanged either. The only way to figure it out was to write it down. And so I set my Grey Chronicle story aside and I did.
And so Russ was born. I have no idea where his name even came from, he just whispered it to me like he did Kit's and Isabelle's and even Cal's. Russ is so content with life. He enjoys the simple things, and never asks for more. He's a teacher at heart, called to serve this way and he sees little gems of hope in everyone.
Russ is torn between the real world and one that seems somewhat realer. He can sometimes see spirits, depends on how grounded he is in that moment.
What I love most about Russ is that he puts no value on things. His family is his world and he latches on to certain people and would not only die for them or even kill for them but he will curse his soul for all eternity to keep them safe. Plus, I love that he made me step out of my comfort zone when he fell in love with Isabelle even though that was not the plan. Ah, Russ.
I hear him chuckling now, eating his cookies.

Ever have a voice in your head? A character that just speaks to you? Inspired from an idea?

Cursed on the Prairies is out now.

Cursed on the Prairies is OUT as eBook!

So this week was awesome! So many exciting things happened, including going to see my fav band live in concert with my best girl! Such an inspiration! WOW!

Plus, like all real true-to-form happy days, I have a new release coming out! I am thrilled I found Elsewhen Press, as they put so much effort into each book! I have read so many of their stories and have never been disappointed.

So Cursed on the Prairies is out as an eBook today! And the paperback will be out this November. It is, for now, (never say never, right?) the last of the Sacred Land Stories since I'm busying challenging my writing-self with other things. And so, I present to you, Cursed on the Prairies, a Sacred Land Story.

Always go for more
Russ doesn’t want more. He has the perfect life planned. Even though he’s called a dummy most days, he knows he’ll go to college, marry Isabelle, and farm with his father and brothers. Yup, perfect.
All that changes in June 1928, the night his brother is kicked out of the house and Isabelle is snatched by a bunch of men dressed like ghosts.
Russ swore to protect Sacred Land but promises made to his pa when life was great are not so easy to keep after he finds himself plagued by a curse. Who are the men terrorising the Cursed Lands and trying to burn his gal for being a witch? His father thinks they’re acting out to scare them off the land, a hate group perhaps? His brother wonders if they’re wanting a sacred plant that grows in the tunnels. His ma knows of other secrets haunting them… While those things might be true, his ghostly grandpa shows Russ something he can’t ignore; a curse summoned years ago that will suck them all into the earth.
With lingering spirits, a troubled girl shadowing his destiny, dark rituals, a love potion, cursed men plaguing their lands, a prison break that takes him away from home when his wife needs him the most, and the earth itself trying to suck them in, Cursed on the Prairies is a Sacred Land Story that shows that the prairies are a place full of secrets that even a ghost can’t bury.
An emotional journey into an alternate history with paranormal and romantic elements that proves we can’t escape our destinies, Cursed on the Prairies is the third of Tanya’s Sacred Land Stories, the culmination of a trans-generational timeline that started in Legends on the Prairies and continued in Ghosts on the Prairies.

 Elsewhen Press

When I began writing this story, Russ presented a huge challenge. He was happy, enjoying life. He was not at all interested in what I was about to challenge him with. He was very much planted in his happy life. And well, he's Russ, and no one tells him what type of days he should be having, not even the god I am to him. And so he looked me square in the monitor and said, "No, thanks."

Russ is so grounded, so in touch with Sacred Land, he breathes with it and has no need to talk, yet, he would not shut up!! It meant finding his breaking point, discovering what would get him to say, "Yes. I'm in. Let's do this." So as Russ lay there naked in the straw with his girl, sure all was good with his life, I cursed him before he could get all philosophical. Well! Turns out, Russ didn't like me messing with his life and he put things into perspective real quick, reminding us that we should always go for more in case some jerk is out there, cursing the hell out of us.

Cursed on the Prairies. A Sacred Land Story. Out today. Always go for more.

Balancing Stressful Lives

Yes, life is busy. I am not going to use the S- word in this post. Instead, I'd like to know how do you decide what is important to you and what is important for you?

Truth is, I am an adult and I make my own busy. Really. Like other adults, I balance a lot, and sometimes, things get put on a different urgency list due to illness or emergencies. Evaluating where my priorities are is so crucial to finding that balance between what is important to me and for me. This is how my list works, let me know how it works for you because I don't imagine there is a right way or a wrong way to look at this, just that we should look at things. 

So who in your life gives you this breath and demands you be your best?
For me, my children and husband are always my priority. I enjoy the time and conversations we share. They're real. They matter. They give me the breath I sometimes need to survive the day, or to inspire writing. These sometimes happen on the road to events or appointments. Or late at night when we all settle in. Having teens in the house has really upped the demands on my time. They are learning how to adult and need constant reassurance and guidance. This is not a job I can fail at even if I myself am still learning how to adult. It has reinforced my partnership with my husband and forced us to evaluate exactly what type of adults we are raising. So no matter what happens around me, every day, I need this time with my family. Of course, it is helpful that they are so awesome! 

So what is needed to inspire and grow and push you?
My community falls naturally in place in my life. Possibly because I am in a small community. If I want my children to grow in a healthy environment, I not only have to invest in it, I have to take from it, which means there has to be something to take from. These things don't magically happen, a team has to be involved to grow them or to ensure they remain. Yes, this means I make time for developing things in the community and sharing and growing, for meetingssss, and rallies, and fundraiserssss. I get my family involved in this so we tackle it as a team. This is very long term and can be draining and even unappreciated. Reminding myself about the types of adults I am raising and seeing them grow is important to get the push I need. Change does happen. Being involved does mean something. I've studied it in history archives and I've seen it with my own eyes. I am lucky these days, since my job falls largely in community growth, and so I can invest this time while at work and it doesn't always have to be after hours. Plus, this involvement gets me in the real world, which in turn will inspire my creativity and my art.

How do you handle the unplanned?
Extended family is not something we often consider will tax our busy lives. But as I enter my forties, I am learning that not only has your career reached a demanding point, those who raised you begin to in turn look to you for support in various new ways. They are aging and used to living their own lives their way, and require not only respect but patience. They are living with challenges, I, too, will one day hopefully face like thinking about their future or fighting illnesses out of their control or they need to adapt to a changing world. Many of my friends are finding this a huge undertaking as well. It's wonderful to reconnect with loved-ones now, but it means putting some things aside to give them the time they deserve. Again, this somehow comes back to me in an inspiring way, when they share their own touching stories and deepen my connection to my roots, which filters to my children and my writing.

Where will you find the energy? The passion? The balance to all this?
Through all this, I am a firm believer that me-time will energize me, and I have to force myself to take this time because it isn't in my nature to think about me first. For me, my time to indulge in my fantasies is my Writing. I enjoy creating worlds, trying new things, pushing limits, making people think. My Writing never reflects my life but part of me that exists on an imaginary terrain where ghosts and magic exist and no one wants to know if I washed their underwear. I never write about my world or people I know. I emerge myself in pure fiction, pulling things from past lives or future ones. I challenge myself to try harder things, pushing my art. I work on 2-4 projects at a time. I do serious writing, rewrites, and edits on one while polishing another or reading another. Giving each project about an hour a day so I advance stories in various genres and names. 

So by giving and taking from my priority, my community, my family, I find inspiration and time for my writing. But by taking this time for me, I am more energized to tackle the busy the others will bring. Always amazes me how this balance happens and how each one interconnects. I would not be me without the other, I would be busy filling gaps without the whole. When one thing goes missing in a day, I feel exhausted and drowning or needing a break.

And I'm told that it's nice I find time for all this. It is, isn't? 

How do you find time for what is important to you and for you? Do you feel that your me-time connects somehow to your others priorities? Ever feel drained and too demanded on and take this moment to self-reflect on your priorities only to discover they are just that simple? And what does your me-time involve?