Friday, October 30, 2015

Changing Perceptions One Incident at a Time

I'm still on hiatus while finishing Era of the Scourge: Reclamation, but I felt this was too important not to be shared. 

The story below happened to me on September 23, 2015. I discovered a similar story that recently went viral and decided to share them both. Based on what we see in the media, it's very easy to believe that all cops are bad guys and all people of color are criminals. That's just not the case. In most cases, treat people with respect, and you'll get it back in return.  

A state trooper had me dead to rights today.

I was carpooling with a friend, trying to make it to work on time and pushing the needle past ninety on the highway. An undercover state trooper rolls up behind me and lingers there long enough to make me uncomfortable.

I surreptitiously lower my speed. He stays behind me. At this point, I assume he's running my plates. I wait for the high pitch wail of the sirens and the telltale, patriotic, epileptic-seizure-inducing lights.
I figure he's got me. I'm doing ninety in a seventy. I have no excuses.

Then, he pulls around my right, gives me a look, and continues about his way.
I'm a black man who stands at six three and weighs two fifty. The cop could just as easily have racially profiled me, pulled me over, given me a ticket, and ruined my day. Instead he chose to let me go.

I tell this story as a cautionary tale. Not all police officers are bad. Not all people of color are criminals. Stop lumping people together, categorising, and looking for excuses to discriminate. Take one person, one situation at a time, STOP and THINK. You may change someone's opinion. You may save lives.

Stop judging and start thinking.

Steven Hildreth also relayed the story of his recent traffic stop, which is rightfully getting a lot of attention.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Yet Another School Shooting.

Yesterday, a psychopath walked into Umpqua Community College in Oregon. He opened fire, leaving ten dead and at least seven wounded.

He asked his victims if they were Christian. If they said yes, they were murdered. If they said no or refused to answer, they were wounded.

I write this with shaking hands because I am angry on so very many levels. I scarcely know where to begin, so I will address one point at a time.

Any sort of religious persecution sickens me. I don't believe any god condones killing in their name; only evil encourages that. But I am a Christian, often referred to as "New Age" by my friends because of my liberal beliefs, and as a Christian, hearing about people who had the absolute courage to stand for God in the face of their own death is both amazing and disheartening. And it makes me want to go to war. No one, not Christian, Muslim, or anyone, should be persecuted for who they are or what they believe.

I believe that people should have the right to live their lives in peace as long as they bring no harm to others. I don't like guns. Right now, I hate guns. I think guns make it too easy to do something unthinkable, something that can't be taken back. I absolutely do not understand why anyone would feel the need to own something that is fully automatic. But that's my opinion, and I don't expect everyone to agree with me. I will defend the American right to bear arms even if I don't agree with it.

I have never believed that gun control was the issue, rather, we should be addressing some pretty glaring issues with mental health. But I'm having a very hard time not jumping on the gun control bandwagon because, point blank, weapons are finding their way into the hands of psychopaths who shoot down innocent people.

I know plenty of law-abiding citizens who carry guns and I wish more like them could set an example. Mass shootings have been happening for decades, but in the era of social media, we are now much more aware of them.

So when do we transition from sorry-speeches and coming-togetherness to actually taking action? When the fuck do we actually start to do something about this?

Or do we just sit back and continue to allow this to happen? Is 'I'm sorry' all we're content to do?

I hope not.

As parents, we've lost enough children. As human beings, we have lost enough of each other.

We need to stop being sorry and start taking action. We owe the dead and wounded that much.

This blog is dedicated to the victims, and families of the victims, of the Umque Community College shooting on October 1st, 2015. It is also dedicated to Chris Spintz and his incredible valor.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Rebranding and Hiatus (No, I Mean It This Time)

Image Courtesy of Life of Pix

So I've reached the inevitable breaking point and am accepting the fact that I am simply trying to do too much. I wanted to resume regular blogging, but I just don't have the time or energy right now. I'd rather admit that something needs to give than put out crap work.

So for the time being, I am putting the Road Home on indefinite hold. I'll resume regular blogging after Era of the Scourge: Reclamation is released on November 26th, but right now, as the final draft is wrapped up, that's where my energy needs to be.

For the time being, here's what you need to know.
  • If inspiration strikes, I'll post a Monday blog. I'm just not going to be doing it regularly for the time being.
  • I will still promote everyone else's stuff.
  • I'll start a marketing campaign around Era of the Scourge: Reclamation around the third week of October. I'll also be handing out ARC's.
  • Era of the Scourge Book 1: The Ring of Asarra is being rebranded. It is undergoing a massive editing phase and will be retitled as Era of the Scourge: The Ring of Asarra [First Edition]. I'm doing this because these edits should have been done in the first place. Plus, this will ensure continuity for Era of the Scourge's timeline (which is an area I struggle with in writing, I confess)
 So this is my final, regular blog post for awhile. Excuse me while I finish telling this story of the first time we ever faced the end of the world, and I hope you like the end result.

Thanks for reading and your support. Feel free to share if you know anyone who's into dark, epic fantasy with a lot of action.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Indie Authors: Tools of the Trade For Android Users

From left to right along the dock; Evernote, Jotterpad, Monospace, OfficePro 8, Kindle, Wikipedia, and....just what the hell IS that at the end?!
It's hard out here for a writer if you're on Android, isn't it?

While it's true that Apple dominates the creative scene, the prices of its hardware and apps can be cost prohibitive (Looking at you, Storyist).

I prefer the extensive customization options users get right out of the box with Android, and I've been partial to Samsung for almost a decade. I work from a Note 5, which is the best phone I've ever used, and the Tab 4 to get things done. Thanks to a plethora of writing apps and the ability to sync to my desktop, I do roughly forty percent of my writing on the go. Here's a brief list of the apps I use. Best part is that these are free; paying for some of these opens up more options, and I'll get into that in a moment.

1). Dropbox
I've been using Dropbox for a several years now, and I've turned several friends onto it, so I've accrued more space than I know what to do with. I confess I'm still struggling when it comes to figuring out how to have multiple people work on the same document at separate times, I've found no better cloud storage/sync for my writing. Thee apps I'm about to recommend can be set up to work with Dropbox, so your documents can be waiting for you on your desktop when you're ready for them. My favorite feature allows any photo you take to be automatically uploaded, since I use a lot of images. I use Google Drive as a backup. It's competent, but Dropbox is as simple and easy to use as it gets.

Automatic photo syncing. In case I really need to see  a picture of the Bat-Mug.

Get Dropbox for Android Here.

2). Jotterpad

This has long been my favorite writing app for Android because of its rich array of features. Jotterpad is a distraction-free, fully-functional editor that will track your word count (it's always cool to know you've done a thousand words with your thumbs) and allow you to save your document in multiple formats (in case .txt doesn't cut it for you). It also features a night mode if you have a slumbering partner and a beautiful interface.

At the time of this writing, Jotterpad may have introduced a keystroke limit on the free version. I wound up paying the $4.99 for the full version, which included a dictionary feature, and I do not regret the purchase.

Get Jotterpad for Android Here.

3). Monospace

Monospace for Android. And a friend I really need to get back too.

A new, free app I just became acquainted with, it offers many of the same features that Jotterpad offers. Plus, it hasn't asked me for money yet. This is the app I turn to when I need to buckle down and get stuff done. You don't have to sort through anything upon startup; you just open the app and get to work. I also like this app's night mode better than Jotterpad's.

Get Monospace for Android Here.

Other honorable mentions;

Evernote allows me to categorize all of my writing into various notebooks, and is where my ideas go when they're in infancy. As soon as I can afford the premium option, I'm going to renew it. The app is available across all devices, and every so often, I get a headache with its inconsistent syncing issues.

Pro Office Suite 8 is my go-to when I need to get my MS Office on, though I don't use Document to write very often; there is a frustrating lag between keystrokes and the words appearing on screen. But if I ever need to read .doc file or some such for editing, this is what I do it in. Plus, the full version will allow you to edit PDF files right on your phone.

The app usually retails for $14.99, but if you keep your eye on Amazon Underground, you can get the full version for free. The link is to the Amazon app store.

So that's my list. If you have a favorite app for Android, or something I missed, please let me know! I'm always on the lookout for new stuff.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, September 11, 2015

I Am Not Angry Anymore.

We all remember where we were, on that day, fourteen years ago.

I was in California at the time. New York might as well have been on Mars. I was violently roused from sleep, someone screaming at me the events unfolding on TV.  I thought it was a movie, or a trailer, or an exaggeration or something.

I was wrong.

I watched as the plane flew into the trade center and disappeared, like the tower had swallowed it or something. Then, a moment later, was the explosion that eviscerated the building.

What stuck with me most was the images of people leaping from the edifice that tilted and burned. The people who chose to plummet to their death rather than burn. I tried to imagine what their last thoughts must have been, knowing that there was no way out. Having to choose the least painful method of their own death. A death that should not have occurred that day.

And I was angry.

I was angry that these monsters had trespassed onto our soil and did this to us. I was angry that these zealots murdered thousands of lives in the name of their god.

I was angry and I acted on it. I hated anyone who wasn't Christian. I believed all Muslims were scum and terrorists, that Allah was a synoym of Satan. I believed it was us against them.

I've since come to learn that no God fosters hatred.

God eventually brought me into the path of other Muslims, and for a while, I hated them too. I especially hated hearing how offended they were at what had happened. I thought it was false anger, crocodile tears at the extremists who'd committed this atrocity.

I did not pay attention that these Muslims were giving me a place to go when I had none, they were feeding me, standing up for me, and teaching me to fight. All the while tolerating my bigotry, my anger, my hatred...patiently educating me and waiting for me to come around. I never truly did, but I walked away from them with a better understanding of their faith, and a my first best friend who did not share my faith.

Time passed. I eventually found myself in New York. I browbeat my contact into taking me to Ground Zero by night. When we arrived, we weren't the only ones there. I saw about twenty other people, sporadically placed to keep from drawing attention to ourselves. Some were looking for souvenirs, and I found that repulsive. I didn't want to carry a piece of the fucking WORLD TRADE CENTER in MY POCKET.

I had weight-training gloves on when I sank my hands into the ground. I remember thinking it was warm snow, and thinking that it was odd to have snow that time of year.

My friend told me that it wasn't snow. 

I was running my fingers through the dead.
That is still with me.

God continued to guide my education of the world. I spent time in churches and mosques. I learned there was nothing wrong with what I, or they, believed.

It's been fourteen years since the day our illusion of invincibility was shattered. I will never forget September 11, 2001 as long as I live. None of us will. But I am no longer angry about it.

To remain angry at the perpetrators serves no purpose. They don't care that we're angry, in fact, they may count that as a success because their aim is internal discordance and disarray. A divided enemy is easier to conquer. Our enemy doesn't care if we're angry.

But more importantly, to remain angry dishonors the memory of those who perished that day. All of us lost someone we knew or loved that day. These people, though no longer with us on the planet, look down on us, and watch over us. They see our hearts, our actions. They lament the pain that their loss inflicted on us. They may even lament our very human need for revenge. But to remain in a state of anger over an event that we can do nothing to change dishonors those who died that day.

No, I'm humbled, but I'm not angry. I live my life as fully as possible. I write my books. I love my family. I worship my God. I work my job. I love my friends. I try to make the world a better place. Because in doing so, that is how I move against those who would destroy us. Hatred feels good, but dulls a weapon, aim, and intentions. Love, the ability to forgive, keep smiling, and keep moving forward, that is the hard, and ever rewarding thing we must adhere too.

I will never forget 9/11.
I will never forget those who died that day, and those who continue to suffer as a result of that horrific day
But I'm not angry about it anymore, either.

Thank you for reading. Tell those you love that you do, and hold them tightly, because tomorrow is promised to no one.

This blog is dedicated to the memory of those who died on September 11,2001.

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Road Home Is On Hiatus So I Can Finish This Book! :-)

"The Road Home" Courtesy of Gratisography
Hey everyone! I'm taking a couple of weeks away from blogging so I can focus on the revision, and completion, of Era of the Scourge: Reclamation. Both e-book and paperback versions drop November 26th 2015, and the clock is ticking.

I may post something next Monday, September 14th, but new posts will most definitely resume September 21, 2015.

In the meantime, check out this post by RJ Blain, the hardest working indie I know as she chronicles her growth as an author. I have no idea how she produces at the clip she does, but I've learned a lot from following her. You can check out her impressive library of work and follow her on twitter.

I'm also putting together my first writing course, which is turning into a four-week jaunt on defining your goals, and developing a routine to get yourself into regular writing. James Neal has been kind enough to let me test this out with him. Blessedly, he's been satisfied with the result thus far. You can check out his thought-provoking blog here.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Era of the Scourge, Reclamation Plot and Release Date

Image Courtesy of Gratisography

The Era of the Scourge.

In a time long forgotten, when the Earth was called the Third World and the many nations were united as the single land mass known as Panagaea, our world enjoyed a thriving renaissance.

Then, the Scourge arrived.
For the longest time, no one knew where they came from, but their intentions were ruthlessly clear; the extinction of all intelligent life on the Third World. Man, elf, forge, centaur, and all denizens of Panagaea suddenly found themselves marked for extinction.

Forerunners of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the Scourge ruled the Third World with genocidal tyranny, exterminating millions of creatures over a period of approximately two centuries until the remnants of the Third World banded together and, aided by the unlikeliest of allies, drove them from our world.

At the beginning of their reign, some were spared to enforce the rule of their masters. These enforcers were strong, merciless, and willing to execute the will of the Scourge at a moment's notice.

Malakai, a terran battle champion, was the foremost of these enforcers.

Favored by Nero, the avatar of War and ruler of the Third World, Malakai enjoyed unmatched power and privilege as he served his master faithfully. But one terrible misdeed costs Malakai everything and Nero takes that which is most precious to him.

Anann, a young angel studying to be a goddess of love, takes pity on Malakai and journeys from Heaven to the Third World in his time of need. She offers him the power to reclaim what is lost, along with her assistance, having no idea of the struggles of the Third World or the lengths Malakai is willing to go to strike back at Nero.

The Angel seeks reunification, the man seeks revenge. Both will embark on the most perilous of journeys where they will be challenged not just by those corrupted by Nero but their own conceptions of right and wrong. For there are no greater forces in this universe than love, hatred, and a need for vengeance. Can an Angel who has never known conflict and a man who has known nothing but overcome their differences to take back what was lost?

Era of the Scourge: Reclamation, a Universal Warrior tale, will drop as an ebook exclusively for Amazon Kindle on November 27th, 2015. A paperback will follow shortly thereafter.

This story serves as one of two preludes for the upcoming Era of the Scourge Book 2: Warblooded, which will drop next year.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy.

Avery K. Tingle is a brand-new writing coach and author of multiple short stories across varying genres. Epic fantasy “Era of the Scourge Book 1: The Ring of Asarra” was named a recommended read by Amazon and is available as an ebook or audiobook. Ask how to get a free copy of the audiobook!
Scifi/Romance  “The Anniversary” is available in print as an ebook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Oyster, and Page Foundry. Ask how to get a signed copy!
You can also read urban drama “The Price of Justice” for free.
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