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Then and Now

thenandnow

The upper left hand picture features Cindy 1997. The picture on the right features Cindy 2016. Here’s what their conversation would sound like:

Cindy 1997: “What is up with your hair? Did the Dorothy Hamill bowl cut come back?”

Cindy 2016: “Hey. I am growing out a pixie cut. That’s right. A pixie cut. Brave, right?”

Cindy 1997: “Pffft. That doesn’t impress me. I am two years after finishing Navy Boot Camp. My hair sucked back then.”

Cindy 2016: “You’re right. It did.”

Cindy 1997: “Why is your skin so pale? Aren’t you getting out in the sun?”

Cindy 2016: “Do you know how old I am?”

Cindy 1997: “Well, I’m no college grad, but I think that I can subtract 2016 from 1976.”

Cindy 2016. “Ha. I’m a college grad. Anyway, it isn’t easy to hang onto younger looking skin. It takes sunblock and staying out of the sun. I’ll have you know that folks are usually off by my age by like…13 years. So, eff you.”

Cindy 1997: “Fair enough. Thanks for the maintenance.”

Cindy 2016: “You are welcome.”

Cindy 1997: “Are you still driving boats?

Cindy 2016: “Sadly, no. I develop bad motion sickness.”

Cindy 1997: “What do you do now?”

Cindy 2016: “Spoilers. I can’t tell. Can’t get you deviating from your course.”

Cindy 1997: “Navy pun. Well done.”

Cindy 2016: “I still love puns.”

Cindy 1997: “How could you not? So…you go to college? How’d you like that?”

Cindy 2016: “I loved it. I didn’t get the degree I wanted to, but got a marketable one instead.”

Cindy 1997: “Any warnings for me? Anyone I should look out for?”

Cindy 2016: “I wish I could warn you, but I cannot. I can tell you that you’ve already dated – and broken up with – the jerk which you will measure all future jerks against. It was a very painful, but crucial lesson.”

Cindy 1997: “That’s good to know. That was a rough time for me.”

Cindy 2016: “I know. I haven’t forgotten.”

Cindy 1997: “Anything else you can tell me?”

Cindy 2016: “Yes. I miss that jacket. It was pretty cool.”

Cindy 1997: “Damn IT. What happens to it??!!”

Cindy 2016: “Sorry. Can’t tell. Spoilers.”

Cindy 1997: “What is this “spoilers” stuff you keep referring to?”

Cindy 2016: “It means that you don’t want to ruin a movie, a story, or a future for someone who has not yet experienced it.”

Cindy 1997: “Oh. I understand.”

Cindy 2016: “You’ve always been good with rolling with the punches.”

Cindy 1997: “Thanks. Also, SUPER cool shoes. Where’d you get them?”

Cindy 2016: “Ebay.”

Cindy 1997: “I haven’t heard of that store. Can I find that in the mall?”

Cindy 2016: “Absolutely.”

Cindy 1997: “Any parting words for me?”

Cindy 2016: “Yes. Enjoy the people. Enjoy the times. Enjoy the music.”

Cindy 1997: “What happens to the music?”

Cindy 2016: Sigh. “Nineties music is as good as it gets.”

Cindy 1997: “Okay. I’ll hit up Sam Goody to pick up some more tunes.”

Cindy 2016: “You do that. I look forward to the memory.”

***

Blog

Ready for a Story

The introvert in me woke up long ago. I now love talking to strangers. I love learning their stories.

It wasn’t always the case, though. I used to be super shy. In certain situations, I still am. I don’t want to get to know my neighbors. They already see too much of me and I of them.

But strangers? Gosh, yes. I want to learn more of them. I want to grab the presented opportunity of an exchange with a stranger and ensure that I take it for all it is worth.

I am not good enough at math to present some sort of equation that would demonstrate how random and rare it is when our paths cross with those of people who form no part of our lives. But if I was that talented at math, I’d put it right here:

Me (meeting you) (at this place) (at this time) = ∞ rare

Yesterday afternoon found me at a hospital.

Such interesting characters to be found there. I enjoyed speaking to the nurses who spent time checking my vitals and administering exams that would ultimately show that my pain was the result of a phantom organ that would not be identified. (That’s my own diagnosis, by the way). 

Two curtained walls away from me spoke a woman who had to drive herself to the hospital. She lived alone.

I wondered if she was lonely. I wondered if she missed having someone to talk to. I wondered if that visit to the ER was one that would make her feel better in more ways than one.

An IV was administered to me. After, I looked at how my blood went up the line and was reminded of getting an IV on the last ship I served on. Blood went into that line too, and into my IV bag.

I received a clean bill of health, and I was glad. Sure, I had no idea what caused my God-awful pains, but that was okay. I know of at least one beautiful person who went to the ER with abdominal pains and left with less than good news.

After my discharge, I waited in the parking lot for my husband and son to collect me (despite their protests, I had sent them home, as I didn’t want them in the boring and sick ER with me). I looked around and observed the people outside. I spotted a middle eastern man speaking in a language I couldn’t identify. I observed a Caucasian man speaking rapid fire in another language foreign to me.

My favorite exchange was with a nurse who had been a sailor just like me. He showed me a picture of a soldier he treated. The young man had a red impression on his chest, and a gold, concave medal hanging from his neck only millimeters away from the wound. A bullet had pierced the soldier’s vest, but had been stopped by the medal of Saint Michael, which had been given to the soldier by his mother.

I own a few Catholic charms of my own, but don’t wear them. What I carry is an open mind, ready to hear to stories, and ready to tell them, too.

Cyndia Rios-Myers

Blog

Leaving California

We are leaving. Our time in Southern California has come to a close. It’s been fun. We saw tall trees, wet our feet in the cool Pacific Ocean, listened to mission bells, ate Carne Asada Burritos, wore sandals year round, and enjoyed the temperate weather.

Misión San Diego de Alcalá

Misión San Diego de Alcalá

But we aren’t from these parts. Others, who were also from other parts, came here and made Southern California a home. We tried, but it didn’t stick.

I am trying to make sure that I know what I’ll miss. Once I’m gone, I don’t want to be caught off guard about something about SoCal that I will miss acutely. The things on my “miss” list are: great infrastructure, ease of homeschooling, nice weather, cheap produce, abundance of avocados, great pizza and Mexican food.

This week will mark my last appointment with my doctor, as well as my last appointment with my dentist. I am trying to be cognizant of all of my “last times.”

I’ll miss my hairstylist. I’ll miss my OBGYN. I’ll miss our parish priest and the wonderful nuns there, too.

I’ll miss the conversations I didn’t have. There are regular faces that I count on. The smiling man who works the counter at the 7/11 on Garnet and Fanuel. The friendly, tall man who makes it a point to shake my son’s hand at mass. The baggers at the base commissary at 32nd Street. I’ll wave at them one more time and that will be that.

But there are new hellos to be said. There will be new faces to memorize. There will be new roads to travel. The new paths will make me raise questions that I’d never considered.

Here’s to the journey.

 

Cyndia Rios-Myers

 

 

 

Blog, My Books

Where the Readers Are

In truth, I don’t know where they are – the readers that would read my books.

I’m a reader, and I know where I am. I find new books by looking at my Kindle and seeing what the bestsellers are. Cover art is VERY important to me. So are themes. I prefer books featuring female protagonists written by female authors. Price point matters. The book has to be VERY good for me to pay more than $5.00 for it. That means a lot of good reviews, and a known history of the author. I don’t like romance novels; I like action thrillers with romantic elements, science fiction/fantasy with romantic elements, and I like women’s fiction with romantic elements to it, too.

So, that’s me. I am going to have to learn how to translate my readers knowledge to the need for knowledge of me as a writer.

I’ll let you know what happens.

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Articles, Blog

The A. L. Butcher Interview

Hi folks. I had the pleasure of interviewing A. L. Butcher, a writer of fantasies and fantasy romance stories. Get to know her:

 

  1. How are you feeling this morning/afternoon/evening?

Fine today – it’s Saturday so I don’t have to go to work, which is always a bonus 😉 Working next Saturday though – boo.  Off to see the Huntsman later today, and fill my face with Italian food (hopefully).

 

  1. Did your day go as you expected it to?

As I’ve just got up – yes. If we are talking about a weekday no – but then they never do. Well that’s not strictly true – I expect them to be chaos and they are – but usually it’s different chaos to the planned chaos….

 

  1. Where are the readers? Where do you think we can go to find them?

Readers are everywhere. Most authors I know read a good deal, and most of my friends and family read. Well my father doesn’t but then again he’s nearly blind so that’s why. He used to read a lot more before his sight went completely.

Finding readers for one’s books – that’s harder. I think a mix of marketing works – after all not everyone uses Facebook or Google and many who do don’t like promo on there. That said I’ve sold books direct as a result of Facebook. Keep a blog, network, advertise, talk to people, do interviews, give interviews. Talk about other things – no one wants to hear solely about your book.

 

  1. When you look back at your books, do you ever cringe (like I do when I see how I could have done something better)?

I think every writer thinks something could be better. There’s a few bits I wrote years ago and I read them back and think – wow, that’s really crap. Of course it was great at the time….

 

  1. What do you want your readers to walk away with?

Enjoyment, love of the world and the characters, the urge to read more.

 

  1. In what other ways do you perform artistic works?

I used to make candles and jewellery – I wasn’t particularly good at either. Jewellery making is fun but it’s murder on my bad back and hands. It’s hard to sell as well – unless it’s outstanding. Candle making – fun but messy. I can read music and I used to sing a bit and play keyboard a bit. I worked in a theatre for years as well. I like plays so it was a lot of fun, although the money is dreadful and the working hours suck. I think that’s definitely a job someone does for love. Let’s see – I was a dresser for years, so I can sew, at least repair costumes, I was ASM (assistant stage manager) on a couple of am-dram plays, I’ve done a bit of sound tech and lighting ops, props, stage crew and I’ve even directed a small production.

 

  1. What is your definition of writing success?

The writer is happy writing. The readers are happy reading.

 

  1. What advice would you give to an 18 year old version of yourself?

I told you so.

 

  1. What mediums do you use for writing? (Laptop, notepad, iPad, cell phone, notebooks).

Laptop.

 

  1. In what surprising places do you find inspiration?

In the bath, on the journey to work.

 

  1. Time for plugging. What’s your favorite piece that you’ve written?

Here’s an excerpt for The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book 1

The staff hovered nearby; Archos muttered something as it floated to his command. He tossed it across his back, where it was easy to reach and he could release it with a word. Gently, he wrapped Dii in the blanket and lifted her in his arms. For a moment, his vision swam again and he breathed heavily, gasping in air to try and clear his head. Glancing down, he smiled at the soft form and felt her Power, weak as she was, flutter around him. Never had he felt such an attraction and longing for any creature; nor quite such a resolute Power and strength in one so young and untrained.

“Do you wish me to take her?” Olek said with concern, noting Archos’ pale countenance.

“No… No, I have her now,” Archos replied softly and motioned him towards the door. Olek saw the look on his face, which said nothing would part them now.

Olek stepped into the passage, relieved to be out of the cell. Moving quickly, he led them back towards the door. Archos followed with only a fraction of his attention on where they were going. He was tired and knew he needed his magic for a while longer. As he walked, he trailed the storm behind him and slowly unravelled. Out in the darkness, he let it go and suddenly the full fury of the storm was allowed to rage.

“Run,” he breathed. “Run now!” Although by now his muscles ached and were not too obliged to respond without protestation.

They ran as the clouds raged in the sky and released rain in huge drops that froze. Whipping water determined to soak everything it could find, it was a rain that obscured the vision and chilled the bone. Wind roared in from the south, battering the banners and slamming the casements of the upper windows, raining glass in shards. The storm twisted in a tempest in the courtyard, sucking up stones and wood and slamming them into walls, ground and people without prejudice. Angry clouds spat forked lightning, cleaving the sky like the vengeance of the gods and grounded within the walls of the fort and on the roof, splitting tiles and bringing fire even in the driving rain.

As they reached the coach, the horses skittered in fear and Olek pulled the door open and jumped up, almost dragging Archos and the girl inside. He hastily pulled one of the soft rugs onto the floor, then leapt out and up to the seat as the thunder rolled and lightning sliced the air just behind them. Archos would trust no one else to drive in such a situation, and besides Simon had business elsewhere. The horses began to run in fear and it took all Olek’s skill to bring them under control enough to steer. Looking behind him, he saw mayhem. The roof burned and he could hear the sounds of panicked men and terrified horses, even at this distance. Three mounted riders rode out of the fort towards them. As the carriage picked up speed, he steered it to the forest trail.

Archos heard the storm rage and the frail breathing of the girl beside him. He flipped up the window and grinned when he saw the chaos of the storm unleashed. He felt a little hollow for having held the storm for so long and he saw the horses panic as thunder rolled close. The hoof beats behind them grew closer and he knew Olek was struggling to control the carriage as it rocked and bucked around him. As they approached the forest path, he looked down at Dii and gently he touched her, feeling her Power even now and it gave him strength.

“I bloody well hope you have a plan, my lord, those riders are gaining on us, our horses are terrified and your storm seems bent on killing everything!” Olek screamed back to him.

Closing his eyes, Archos tried to calm himself and summon the Power he needed. “Just drive for the gap in the trees, off the road,” he yelled back.

Olek looked around in the darkness and the mayhem of the storm. “Gap? What gap? Oh gods, if it was any man but you I would think you mad. I hope you have Power enough left for this.”

“So do I, my friend,” muttered the Archmage.

As the trees rapidly approached, Archos drew his Power and slammed his staff into the floor. “Wood to my will, let us pass where there is no gateway. Wood to my will, hide us from sight!” he cried into the darkness and the rapidly approaching trees.

As the spell ended, a gap appeared as branches turned and trees bent aside. The carriage plunged into the dark wood as the greenery slammed back behind them.

 

  1. What are you writing right now?

Currently I’m writing book IV of the Light Beyond series and a novella set in the same world for my Tales of Erana series.

 

Thanks for the interview, A.L. It was a pleasure!

 

Here’s more on how to follow A.L. Butcher:

 

Author Bio:

A. L. Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles fantasy series, and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genres.  She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history and monkeys. Her work has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as evocative.

 

Blog: http://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6430414.A_L_Butcher

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alexandra-Butcher/e/B008BQFCC6/

Twitter:@libraryoferana

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarkFantasyBeyondTheStorm

 

Articles, Blog

A Great Read and a Great Watch

Okay; I don’t know if “watch” is a noun for a good TV show. But I’m running with it anyway. In any case, I am currently going through the mourning phase that comes after reading an EXCELLENT book.

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Oh, this book was excellent. Just great. (And yes; I left a review for it). I was captivated by the first paragraph. I was gripped and obsessed right until I finished it. I even passed it on to my husband, who loved it – so much so that he is considering buying it in hard cover form.

The excellent story has made it hard for me to find a follow up. However, I will continue my search.

Catastrophe on Amazon Prime

 

I watched season two of Catastrophe a few months back. It made me lol. For real. And hard. Sure, the characters are a potty mouthed group, but it makes them no less hilarious, sweet, and tenderhearted. So, if you have Amazon Prime, watch this show (with earbuds if you have little ones running around; probably at night due to the skin factor).

So, this is what has inspired me of late. What is inspiring you?

 

Thanks for Reading!!!

Cyndia Rios-Myers

Blog, My Books

The Nik Krasno Interview

Good Morning, everyone!

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Nik Krasno, a fellow fiction writer of the suspense and thriller genre. Read on to get to know him better:

Nik Krasno

Nik Krasno

  1. How are you feeling this morning/afternoon/evening?

Tired, sleepy, but in anticipation of those couple of glasses of wine that I regularly drink on Thursday evenings, unless it’s a night out and I have a company for a more serious booze -:)

 

  1. Did your day go as you expected it to?

Nothing particularly exciting: errands, no book sales, but on the other hand nothing bad, so as the saying goes: no news – good news

 

  1. Where are the readers? Where do you think we can go to find them?

That’s THE question really. I’ve advised the police that they are missing. I think the readers stick with the ‘brands’, the widely recognized, established authors and only some of them and probably rarely check indies out from time to time. Potentially, the readers are everywhere, but to get their eyes looking at your title and convince them to spend a few bucks at ‘the moment of truth’ is one of Hercules’ labors, it seems.

 

  1. When you look back at your books, do you ever cringe (like I do when I see how I could have done something better)?

Cringe is a bit of an overstatement, I would say, but I do think I or we (together with a co-author on the first book), could’ve done a few things better. However unless it’s some typo (and I do hope they are between very rare to non-existent at this stage), I try to detach myself from what’s done, otherwise no book would ever evolve into a completed piece of art (I hope I’m not flattering myself too much with this)

 

  1. What do you want your readers to walk away with?

I want them to walk away with a decent entertainment, with a better understanding on how the things work in former USSR and Planet Earth generally and I hope while reading about an enrichment, of becoming a billionaire each would ask and answer for him/herself what’s legit and what’s not in the process and where the boundary lies..

 

  1. In what other ways do you perform artistic works?

Hmm… Would dancing on a table in a pub pass somehow for an artistic performance? -:) Probably not, but that’s as artistic as I get apart from writing

 

  1. What is your definition of writing success?

Writing in my understanding is two-fold: an art and a content business. In the context of art, accomplishing a book and bringing it to a decent level: plot-wise, editorially, grammatically, etc is an achievement and success per se. However the business part is measured by sales and income.. The more of those the more sellable your content…

 

  1. What advice would you give to an 18 year old version of yourself?

Doesn’t really matter, as 18 year old me, wouldn’t listen to an old fart anyway.

 

  1. What mediums do you use for writing? (Laptop, notepad, iPad, cell phone, notebooks).

Laptop. Sometimes if I all of a sudden I have a ‘revelation’ and I’m not near the laptop, I write it done quickly on a note-pad in my cell phone. When I have a bunch of thoughts there I send it to myself by e-mail and integrate into the stuff I write.

 

  1. In what surprising places do you find inspiration?

I draw from the reality and actuality. I use hangover for inspiration of some bizarre plots, characters and situations -:)

 

  1. Time for plugging. What’s your favorite piece that you’ve written?

I truly don’t know, can’t single one out. But we can try something humorous here (if it’s publishable). Beware: EXPLICIT LYRICS! Shut down you computer, before reading any further:

 

“David, do you know what the fuck is a literary agent?” I asked.

“Eh, what? Misha, it’s you?”

David’s sleepy voice was muffled and distorted on the other end of the line.

“Yeah, it’s me. Sorry, man. I’m asking about literary agents.”

“You are writing a book? Are you fucking crazy?”

 “What? No, of course not. Look, I just saw on the news that the British security forces caught some literary agent implicated in planting the explosive device at my stadium. You should watch the news, man.”

“Yeah, sorry. A literary agent you say?”

“Yes.”              

“Okay, that is someone who helps authors find a publisher for their book. I cannot say exactly what they are needed for, but it seems like they perform the function of sifting through manuscripts for lazy or overwhelmed publishers. My sister – Daria – was looking for one to represent her for a romance book she wrote a while ago. I remember her saying that some of them are real snobby cunts, but it seems you need one of them to get published these days.”

“Well, there will be one less cunt soon.”

 

 

  1. What are you writing right now?

I’m at the pre-publication stage with the third installment – ‘Be First or Be Dead’, which should conclude the trilogy, at least for the time being, and it has a little surprise in it.

Michael, the Oligarch, tops Forbes billionaire’s list only to find out that those, who really dominate the global economy, rule illicitly and stay away from the public eye. He needs to confront the ancient cabal in order to survive and to save his country… For good or bad, it should be a transgressive, radical, uncompromising, grotesque, action-packed and philosophical read.

 

Thanks, Nik. Now please, let our readers know where we can find you.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Oligarch-The-Way-Book-ebook/dp/B00O3BEX4Q

http://www.amazon.com/Mortal-Showdown-Nik-Krasno-ebook/dp/B00X2DD7ZM

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009937664739
Linkedin:  https://il.linkedin.com/in/nik-krasno-1806b8bb

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8672304.Nik_Krasno
Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Nik-Krasno/e/B00O416OLU