Mama Diaries

Monday, December 11, 2023

Book Reviews and a Shout out for Conduction

I know—I'm several days late for the IWSG post. Sorry about that!  It's the season for lots of music playing. I finally got an evening of no rehearsals or performances, so I'm getting this done. The question of the month is, do I review for authors or readers?  I review books for authors because I know how much reviews are appreciated and I like to help fellow authors. But I also write them with the consumer in mind. What about the book is appealing? Who would like the book? Is there anything offensive? If there are major problems, I may note them in the review, not because I want to bash the author, but rather because I am alerting the reader and hoping that the author will learn something for writing future books.  What about you? Do you review for the author or the reader? Have you ever left a negative review?

And now, a big shout out to blogger friend (who I've met in real life on several occasions), Tara Tyler! She has a new book out. The 4th of her Pop Travel series, which is very cool!  Check it out.


CONDUCTION by Tara Tyler

Sci Fi Detective Thriller or Techno Thriller

Book 4 in Pop Travel series


In 2085, cutting-edge technology is the most valuable currency, and the black tech market offers high pay-offs for diamond-level code. Jared Nertz is an easy-going ex-juicer gone legit working for Pop Travel Technologies, and just when he finishes his long-awaited Conduction project--the process of storing data in the brain--someone immediately steals it and kills his mentor, framing him for the murder. Now it's up to his lawyer/wife Miki and their resourceful friends, Geri and Cooper to prove Jared's innocence by recovering the stolen tech before the criminal killer sells it. But that's only the beginning, as they discover a darker threat when they dig deeper into the case.


Tara Tyler has had a hand in everything from waitressing to rocket engineering. After moving all over the US, she now writes and teaches math, yes math, in Ohio. She has two novel series, Pop Travel (sci-fi detective thrillers) and Beast World (fantasy adventures), plus her UnPrincess novella series where the maidens save themselves. She's a commended blogger, contributed to several anthologies, and to fit everything into her busy schedule, she economizes her time, aka the Lazy Housewife—someday she might finish that book... In addition to writing and teaching, she does school presentations encouraging young minds to reach for their goals. Make every day an adventure!

Buy on Amazon

How to find:

website: Tara Tyler Talks  twitter: @taratylertalks

Facebook: Tara Tyler - Author Instagram: taratylertalks

Wednesday, November 8, 2023



This month's question is, "Have you ever participated in National Novel Writer's Month? Why or why not?

No, I'm afraid I haven't participated in the Nano challenge. It's a good thing and can result in a very productive month of writing. I just don't have time. Maybe if I ever retire...

Have you participated?  Were you successful at completing the required number of words? 

This month I took a mega vacation. It was a celebration of our first anniversary. We visited Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria, San Francisco, Tucson, and Salt Lake City. I think I need a vacation from my vacation!

Other cool news:  The Bubba and Squirt books are going to be available as audiobooks! The narrator is an awesome 12-year-old British actor. So excited about this!

Here are a few photos from the trip:

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

My Thoughts on AI Writing


This month's IWSG question is What do you think of Artificial intelligence (AI) being used to write things (like books).

I think AI can be helpful for giving ideas. For example, when I built my new website, there were options for AI to create some of the verbiage in the text boxes.  I let the AI do its thing and decided I didn't really like it. But it gave me some ideas for what I could write. In that respect, I think it's helpful.

But to let AI write a whole story, I'd say no way! Writing is a process of human creativity. A big reason I write is to create. It's a source of enjoyment. So why would I want to give that up to an AI? 

What are your thoughts on this? 

This past weekend I went to a rock orchestra concert and saw violinist, Mark Woods perform. Ever heard of him?  The 65-year-old dude has a serious amount of energy! (An aside...this week I've been practicing with and will perform with a high-school rock orchestra. I look like a high-school kid, right? 😂😂 It's been so much fun!)

(I wanted to upload the video, but it's too big. So here are some photos.) 

                                               I caught him in a moment preparing to go onstage. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Happy Birthday to IWSG!


Happy Birthday to the Insecure Writer's Support Group! If my memory serves me correctly, I believe it's 12 years old! Which means I've been blogging for at least that long. Wow! 

How did I get involved?  I think I saw information about it on Alex's blog. Eventually, I joined. I'm glad I did! It's a very supportive community, with helpful information in every monthly newsletter. I'm sure if it were not for this group, I would have stopped blogging long ago. The questions of the month are great prompts to keep us writing and connected. 

Thanks to Alex and the whole crew for keeping it going!

Here's the latest and greatest:  Have you ever heard of Dragon Con? It's a huge sci-fi convention held in Atlanta every Labor Day weekend. Georgia Philharmonic, the orchestra I play with performs for it. We had 3000 plus people in the audience. Crazy fun!


Photo credits:  Mark Rainey

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Writing Regrets


This month's IWSG question is an interesting one:  Have you ever written something that afterward made you feel conflicted about it? If so, did you let it stay as it was or change it? 

In the first book of my Bubba and Squirt series, Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China, I have young Bubba use some bathroom humor. I figured the kids would like it. Kind of like Captain Underpants. When it was reviewed by a reader slightly older than the intended audience, I received feedback that the humor was disrespectful to the culture. I was appalled that somebody would feel that way, and it was certainly not my intention to offend anyone! Since the book has already been published, I did not change it, but had I known this beforehand, I would have eliminated this kind of humor.  

What about you?  Have you ever written anything you weren't sure you should write?

This month's grand adventure is a trip to the zoo to feed a giraffe! 


Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Where Do My Stories Come From?


It's that time again—time to answer the question of the month from the Insecure Writer's Support Group. What is the source of inspiration for my stories?

Life. It triggers some kind of creative mechanism in my body that causes words to fly out of my brain onto paper.

Here are the specifics:

That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN:  Inspired by years of sleep deprivation due to my needy babies.

That Mama is a Grouch:  Inspired by tripping over my kids' toys and breaking my toe.

Ten Zany Birds:  Inspired by a birthday invitation my daughter received. 

Don't Feed the Elephant:  Inspired by a trip to the zoo and an ice cream cone.

Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China:  Inspired by my attempt to dig a hole to China when I was a kid.

Bubba and Squirt's Mayan Adventure:  Inspired by my trip to Belize.

Bubba and Squirt's City of Bones:  Inspired by my trip to Paris.

And here I am with Bubba, the source of inspiration for the Bubba character of my books. (Wonder what story I'll write from being inspired in a 50's diner and a decadent milkshake!) 



Thursday, June 8, 2023

If I Ever Stopped Writing...


This month's ISWG question made me laugh. Here it is:  If I ever stopped writing, what would I replace it with?  Friends, I am so ridiculously busy, I wouldn't need to replace it with anything! I work 3 jobs, one of which is being the Executive Director of an orchestra. My to-do lists are a mile long! 

But seriously, if I didn't write at all, I'd probably practice more for all the gigs I do. Music is my main creative outlet. I've thought about composing music. At the moment, there's zero time for that. So, I guess if I felt the need to create something new, I'd compose. 

What about you? 

And here's what's been happening in my world:  Any guesses where this was taken?


Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Writing Inspirations

 This month's IWSG question is, what inspires you when you write a story? I view this as a two-part question. First, the stories themselves are inspired by something. Each of my books was inspired by a life event. That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN was inspired by my experiences as a young mom spending many sleepless nights with my babies.  That Mama is a Grouch was born after I tripped over my kids' toys and broke my toe. Even Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China was inspired by my desire to dig a hole from Florida to China was I was a kid. (Didn't get very far, because my hole quickly filled up with water.)

The second part of the question is, what inspires me to keep going and finish the story? If you're an author, you know writing a book is hard work. It's one thing to write the first draft. Don't get me wrong—writing the words, THE END is a huge accomplishment! But then you have to revise—to get it as perfect as you can. That's tough!  What inspires me to do that? I guess it's the sense of accomplishment I get when I know my work is ready for publication. And the second thing is knowing readers are enjoying what I've written. It makes all the work worthwhile.

What about you? What inspires you to write and keep writing?

Other news:

I'm very excited about the cover for my next book, Bubba and Squirt's City of Bones, set in the catacombs of Paris, France! It looks fabulous!

And finally, my little girl is graduating from college this weekend! I can't believe it! Where does the time go?

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Recollections on Writing My First Book


This month's IWSG question is, "Do you remember writing your first book? What were your first thoughts about the career path? Where are you now, and how is it working out for you?"

It appears we have multiple questions, so I will tackle each. 

Why, yes, I remember writing my first book, That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN!  My career was born in a rocking chair, late one night in Lakewood, Ohio. The year was 2005. My infant son, Bubba was the inspiration. He was a not-so-excellent sleeper. One night, when I was up for the umpteenth time, holding him in the rocking chair, a poem started going through my head. It was the beginning of That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN!  Over the course of a week, every time I was up with him, I'd add more to it. By the end of the week, the entire thing was in my head. That's probably where it would have stayed had I not shared it with my three-year-old daughter. She liked it and said it should be a book. Being in the sleep-deprived state I was in, I thought it was a brilliant idea. The rest is history.


 My first thoughts as I went down this career path?  I don't remember, because I was sleep-deprived, but they probably were something like, I don't know what the heck I'm doing. But who cares? I'm doing it anyway.  

Eighteen years later, here I am. Six published books with three on the way, plus a couple of anthology stories. It's been a wild ride. Ups and downs. Lots of rejections, but also awards and high points along the way. And the unexpected thing is that I've met so many awesome people like yourselves who have been wonderful friends and helped me on my journey. And for that, I'm very grateful!

What about you?  If you're an author, what has your journey been like?  

Now for what I've been doing, besides revisions on the next three Bubba and Squirt books:

A visit to Chattanooga Tennessee where we saw Ruby Falls, an underground waterfall.  Ever been there? It's spectacular!


Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Author Envy


It's time for another IWSG question of the month. "Have you ever read a line in a novel or a clever plot twist that caused you to have author envy?"  I had to think about this one. I don't recall a specific line or plot twist, but I can say that after reading, Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge, I was extremely impressed with her world-building and lush language. I had never read anything quite like it. So, I'd say I had a little author envy of her tremendous skill in those two areas. I hope when I grow up, I can write like her. 

What about you?   Have you ever experienced author envy?

Not a whole lot of other news to report. My oldest daughter is getting ready to graduate from college. Can you believe it? And my son is still in the Navy. My, how time flies!  I guess the cutest thing is that my dad got a Goldendoodle dog. Her name is Daisy. Isn't she adorable?



Thursday, February 2, 2023

About Book Covers


This month's IWSG question is about book covers. "Do you create your own covers or purchase them?  Or if you are traditionally published, do you have a say in what your cover looks like?"

I've had experience with self-publishing and traditional publishing. With self-publishing, I designed the covers myself, gave my ideas to professionals, and they made the covers look good. I don't think I have the skills to create a professional-looking cover myself. Same with the interior illustrations. For the most part, the illustrations for my self-published picture books are my own ideas. Admittedly, I was hoping the illustrators would come up with their own creative ideas so I could be more surprised by their interpretations, but I was still pleased with the results.

Regarding my traditionally published books, the publisher's illustrator came up with the covers himself. I liked being surprised by his ideas. Yes, I had to approve the covers, but I really didn't have any changes. I'm sure if for some reason, I didn't like them, changes would have been made.

Here are some pictures of my book covers. The first three are self-published. The others are traditionally published. 


If you're an author, what kind of role did you have in designing your covers?

(And some good news:  The next Bubba and Squirt book, City of Bones is on its way. The contract has been signed!)

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Word of the Year


Happy New Year!  Welcome to the first IWSG post of the year. The question is, appropriately, "What word sums up what you need to work on or change this year?" Easy peasy. SUBMIT! I have finally finished writing the rest of the Bubba and Squirt manuscripts and am just about ready to submit the next one of the series. I even wrote a blurb for it on New Year's Day!  Good start, right?  Of course, I thought of something else I could do to make it better, so I'm not quite ready. Ugh!  I should just follow the Nike slogan and Just Do It! 

That's my word. What's yours?

I'll leave you with a picture from my recent trip to New Orleans. Sitting in the seance room at Muriel's restaurant. Supposedly it's haunted, but I didn't see any ghosts. Has anybody ever been there or seen a ghost?