IWSG - Taking Breaks

Posted on June 7, 2017
Time for a post for the IWSG blog hop, hosted by Alex Cavanaugh, where writers talk about their insecurities in writing, publishing, and other related topics.  Every month, Alex posts a question or topic of discussion. This month's question is:

Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

I've quit. Several times, for various reasons. Work. Kids. Unexpected life emergencies. Death in the family. Or even something less strenuous like becoming obsessed with some new THING and it takes up all of my free and not-so-free time. Lately, it's been soccer coaching my son's recreation and competitive travel teams. These are 9-10 year old boys... just the psychology of dealing with boys in a purposefully aggressive environment such as competitive soccer required a lot of reading. And I won't even list the hundreds of lectures and videos I've watched on how to train kids through various drills and activities. It's a whole different universe that I was totally unprepared for, and so of course I dove right in, full body and soul.

I haven't even mentioned the writing related roller coaster of emotions that stop us cold, like a nagging sense of failure and incompetence, a sense of shame that I'm not working on saving mankind, or curing a disease, or improving the mortality rate in 3rd world countries. And how about the length of time it takes to finish a novel?!?!? It seems like years, although it's been only months. It's a writer's time warp. Am I right?

But I always come back. Eventually, the anxieties and the obsessions wear out, the distractions get tired and dissipate. The fog clears and I can see the road again.

Sometimes, it's not so easy. Sometimes, when the fog lingers, I have to say to myself, "Take a break. Do something new." This last round of non-quitting has been eased with line drawing. I haven't returned to my writing schedule from a year ago, but at least I am creating something. Whenever I cannot find the will to write, I take some ink and draw. My next kids book, Monsters In My Kitchen, will, hopefully, display my redirected anxieties.

As soon as soccer season ends. Oy....


Posted on May 5, 2017
The sounds of droplets against the window
Call distant memories to mind.

I'm thirty-six, staring past the window sill,
Drinking a glass of red wine.

I'm twenty-eight, working late,
Struggling against a deadline.

I'm twenty-one, kissing my boyfriend,
Our bodies intertwined.

I'm fifteen, writing in my journal,
Questioning mankind.

I'm eleven, drawing silly pictures,
Without direction or design.

I'm seven, staring out towards the sky,
My imagination unconfined.

The sound of raindrops brings back simpler moments
That real life leaves behind.

© Tanya Miranda

IWSG : Researching Aircraft

Posted on May 3, 2017
Time for a post for the IWSG blog hop, hosted by Alex Cavanaugh, where writers talk about their insecurities in writing, publishing, and other related topics.  Every month, Alex posts a question or topic of discussion. May 3 Question: What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

If you've read my suspense novels, Distant Origins or The Box Of Souls, you will note that I include the U.S. military and first responders in most of the action scenes. It just makes sense in today's world. If there is a monumental explosion of any sort in any part of the United States, the military or first response will get involved. It's hard to exclude them, even if the story is based on supernatural forces.

And, I sort of have a soft spot for servicemen. Maybe it's because my brother still serves in the Army Reserve even after 20 years and 3 tours in middle eastern countries. He's lost a couple of friends out there, and is still friends with his squad mates. That sense of service, to help people, is rare, so when I see it in military officer, police officers, firemen, rescue workers, etc.... it gives me hope in humanity. They have to be part of the solution to my novels. My protagonists are trying to save the world, and they do it with those who serve.

This requires lots of research on weaponry, military vehicles, and military or service protocols. How do we get weapons? How do we gain access to vehicles? Who gets them?  What bases hold what kind of vehicles. Which bases are accessible by civilian authorities? Etc. Lot's of questions.

My favorite topic of research in this field? Aircraft.

Friday Celebrations - Soccer Coaching

Posted on April 14, 2017
Lots of non-writing things to celebrate these past few weeks. The biggest is being head coach to my son's soccer team. My Latino community is huge on soccer, and they have a lot of expectations from the coaches. I've been on the other side of this equation and I have heard loads of comments and criticism from parents about the ineffectiveness of volunteer coaches, time wasted in practices where kids are taught nothing, some kids playing more than others, how some kids suck and should be benched, favoritism, benching the girls, and so on.

Yes, it's a VOLUNTEER coaching organization, yet expectations don't change.

So, at the first practice, I explained this to each parent:

Celebrate The Small Stuff - Spring Weather & Poetry

Posted on March 24, 2017
It's officially SPRING, and that means softball, soccer, trail running, and long walks in the park, and bike riding, and flowers blooming, and no more scarfs and gloves and....

Wait. It's still 33-degrees outside. I thought Spring was here? What gives Mother Nature?


While a delayed spring means delayed soccer season for my son and his travel team and solid snow still blocking my driveway, the change in weather, or non-change, has no effect on my writing. I still procrastinate, except now I have more daylight hours when doing so.

But I do have a few milestones since my last post in February, so here we go!

De Colores - A Short Story

Posted on March 16, 2017
The pain struck her abdomen, as it did every morning for the past five years, with unrelenting might. Olivia pressed her pillow down on her stomach and breathed in deeply. Twenty breaths were the norm, and then the pain would dissipate, but today it was stubborn. Twenty-six breaths, twenty-seven breaths...

After forty breaths, Olivia was finally able to sit up. The wooden floors of her hundred-year-old house creaked with agony as she walked down a flight of stairs to the kitchen. A red robe too long for her short frame draped along the floor, and her slippers created a sound like sandpaper upon each step. She snapped her fingers the instant she reaches the refrigerator -- the doctor said no food today. Water was going to be her breakfast regardless how much her stomach growled.

The long-forgotten clattering noise of little girls getting ready for school suddenly filled Olivia's ears. She smiled as she recalled all the times she ran late, forgot lunches, and failed to signed various school forms, and other parenting mishaps. Being a widowed young mother to two independent girls wasn't easy, but they all survived grade school, and then high school, and then college.

The phone rang, and the bustling sounds faded along with her recollection. Olivia dragged her feet to the phone at the opposite end of the kitchen, sandpapering the white tile floor along the way. As she picked up the phone, she checked her cactus plants for new growth.

IWSG - Writing, a Love-Hate Relationship

Posted on March 1, 2017
Time for a post for the IWSG blog hop, hosted by Alex Cavanaugh, where writers talk about their insecurities in writing, publishing, and other related topics.

I am in no short supply of insecurities when it comes to my writing career. As to my actual writing . . . sometimes I hate it, but when I love it, I truly love it.

This isn't bragging by any means -- I am my harshest critique. I've delete parts of stories, some up to 20k words, because they sucked big time. Even those nights where I would wake up from an incredible dream and spend the next 2-3 hours writing 3,000 words of a best-selling story, only to wake up the next morning to read ramblings of an insomniac trying to sow incompatible plots into an ice-cream hamburger salad quilt. 

Yeah... I meant to write that to show how out-of-whack those stories can be. Delete. Delete. Delete. We writers give the delete button real purpose.

Zulema's Bright Future

Posted on February 14, 2017
When decades of Armageddon passed, mankind was left to its wits. Tornadoes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes left survivors waiting for Earth to explode. But it didn't. Mother nature gave mankind a second chance.

Keeping time wasn't easy since the ashen skies made it hard to monitor the sun's rotation. The natural tilt of the planet changed - north and south weren't north and south anymore. The constellations appeared in different parts of the night sky. Was the world spinning in a circle? No one could tell. Satellites, if they still circled the Earth, were sending signals to pulverized control centers. Offshore backup facilities and generators couldn't withstand the underground tremors.

What was the cause of it all? No one alive knew for sure. They say a meteor hit a country called Australia and shock waves rippled across the planet. There were survivors, but they have long since passed, and now their grandchildren's children tell stories.