Friday, December 19, 2014

Sunday, December 21st is the Final Date for Submission to the Timmy Awards!

The 2014 Timmy Awards will be announced on January 4th, 2015!

I will be giving out awards for the Novels and Short Stories that I read and reviewed during 2014 and the poems I've read! There are fourteen categories, and each work is only eligible to win in one category. Only the books I reviewed on Cody's blog are eligible to win. Any story contained in an anthology will be considered a Short Story for purposes of this award, and will be considered separately from the anthology itself. If you would like a chance to win, you must submit your book for review no later than midnight PST on Sunday, December 21, 2014.

In addition to the category awards, each book will automatically be entered to win "Timmy’s Top Book of 2014" and "Best Cover Design"!

And the Categories are...

1. Best Short Story
2. The Short Story I would most like to see expanded to a Novel.
3. Most Inspirational Poem
4. Best Adult Book
5. Best Tearjerker
6. The Hope Award (story that will most inspire hope in kids)
7. Best Coming Out Story
8. Best M/M YA
9. Best F/F YA
10. Best M/F YA
11. Best Sci Fi/Fantasy/Paranormal
12. Story Containing the Most Realistic Characters
13. Best YA Series
14. Best Emotional Roller-coaster Story

Overall Categories:
Timmy’s Top Book of 2014
Best Cover Design
See you on Sunday, January 4th, 2015!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Timmy Interviews Cody! Part One of a Three-part Interview!

Getting to know My Koti 

This is part one of a series of three interviews about Cody in conjunction with Love Bytes Reviews!

I have met some really cool people on Facebook and I love to soak up all the information I can about them. I like to feel I really know them. I know Cody very well, and respect him a lot. As I read interviews of him, I find that people ask him a lot of the same questions and those are mostly about his work as an author, and the work he does helping abused kids.

I wish people knew My Koti; the one who has helped me through so much of the difficult time in my life. There is so much people don’t know about him. So, on that note, I asked if I could interview him and he said yes! I had so many questions that I decided to make it a three-part interview! And he still said yes! Yay! I’m super excited!

This first interview is all about My Koti where I asked never before asked questions about him. Enjoy!

I have heard that writers do different things when starting a new book. Are there any rituals you go through when starting to write a new book?

Because I’m an organization freak, the first thing I do is ensure that all of my filing is complete. This may sound simple, but for me it isn’t. I detest filing with a passion. I create piles and am happy with my piling system...until I can’t find something. Then a bunch of keening and wailing occurs. I digress. 

Because I view starting a new project as an exciting privilege and I practice “get the worst over as quickly as you can,” I force myself to FILE. This involves a lot of self-talk. If you hadn’t let it go for so long, you’d have this done in ten minutes. But, no. You had to let it go for a month. It’s your own fault. Speed it up. 

Once the filing drama is over, I set up a binder and divide it into four categories: inspiration, notes, research, and draft MS. This is very time consuming. I use only white binders and choose a different font and color scheme for each project. I have wasted entire days setting up one binder. After I have wasted sufficient time customizing a binder, I organize the inspirational images I’ve collected on my computer by character, location, etc. I place one or two of those images beneath the plastic and it is the front cover of the binder. Finally, I select a song that fits the overall story, set it to play, open Word, and GO!

If you are sleeping and suddenly wake up with a new story or character on your mind, what is the first thing you do? 

Tell myself to go back to sleep, the idea will still be there tomorrow. True story.

There are some who say writer’s block is not real. What are your feelings on writer's block? 

Writer’s block is defined as “the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.” Setting aside for a moment that authorship is a profession and, as such, one does not have the luxury of being unable to write, I don’t have this problem. I was blessed with a wild imagination and, rather, I have the problem of having too many directions to go with a story. I’m oft burdened with figuring out how I can fit all the imagined options into a story. Realistically, this isn’t possible and I must choose what to keep and what to lose. I have a number of incredible talents, but the art of choosing is not one of them. Please see: keening and wailing, above.

I have heard it said that if you do something a million times you become an expert at it. Translated to writing, if you have written over a million words would that make a writer an expert? Are you an expert?

No and no. Writing does take practice and many of us have written well over a million words, but unless we hone our skills as we go and press ourselves to be ever better as we write, we won’t improve. I have been writing for nearly half a century and am nowhere near being as good as I hope to one day be. I’ll add another thought. I will never be an expert at anything. Being an expert infers that there is little or nothing more to learn about a particular subject and I won’t limit myself in that respect. Our worlds are not static. They’re ever-changing and ever-evolving things and there is and always will be more to learn about everything.

As a thirteen-year-old boy, I find that I am way different from other kids my age. Romance is something I like to read and dream about. It gives me hope and it is one reason I work so hard to heal from my past. There is nothing better to me than reading a sweet romance story. If you were planning a date, where would you take him? What would be the perfect romantic date for you? 

Is this the part where I say I don’t date? Gawwww. What a question! A walk on the beach, good conversation, and dinner on the pier as we watch the sunset. Life is hard and I suggest that spending as much time as we can making our lives peaceful and easy, the healthier we’ll be. I like peaceful and easy.

I love reading about different time periods, whether in the future or the past. I always wonder what my life might be if I was born in another time. If you could live an any time period, what would it be and why? 

I would choose to live in the future. I want to be able to fly without the aid of large machinery, to travel instantaneously, and to live in world peace. While things may get worse before they get better, I’m certain we’ll achieve world peace in the future.

I think of the future often. I hope that one day everyone will see me as normal as they see themselves. Until then, we depend on our government to keep LGBTQIAP people safe and to force people to treat us equally. In your opinion, what is the most important law that can be or has been put into place to help the LGBT community?

Certainly, marriage equality has changed not only our country, but also the world. Nonetheless, rights are not yet equal or equitable. The disparity in both instances stems from discrimination and I believe more severe pecuniary measures should be in place not only for discrimination, but for concealing, fostering, and/or being a passive party to it.

I have always wanted a pet but, other then my fish, I have not had one. Tell me about the pets you have had in your life. Are they your friends? Are they your children? Do they make you laugh? Are they there when you are upset? 

I have had every conceivable domesticated animal as a pet, each with his or her own distinctly different personality. I had a fawn Great Dane when I grew up. Psyche was the sweetest dog ever and took up more of my twin bed than I did. Pyewacket, my beautiful chocolate Siamese cat, was very fickle and aloof, but also slept on my bed at night. Her purring is indelibly imprinted in my mind. As an adult, I had a black and tan hound named Dixie for thirteen years. Her disposition was as sweet as Psyche’s was. I miss all of them dearly. Now, I have a horse and three parrots. My horse, Majic, is fun but he is spoiled and can be a jerk. Having three parrots is like having three four-year-olds. They’re a ton of work and time-consuming, but so worth it. And yes, they know instinctively when I’m upset or angry. Two of them will immediately ask “Are you okay?” This goes on repeatedly until the third chimes in with “I love you.” It’s uncanny. #BestFriendsEver

Yes! They are stockings!

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes it’s hard to sit back and look at what your weaknesses are. My strength is caring. I care about people and things, and I believe that makes me a better person. My biggest weakness is self-bullying. If I could learn to be nicer to myself, I could save myself a lot of drama. What is your best strength and your biggest weakness?

I don’t know. I try to look at the positive side of things and think that's my best quality. It seems each trait we carry has two sides to it. I’m fun, caring, and try to be kind. Because I strive to be patient in all things, I often allow others to take advantage of me. #Note2Self #Area4Improvement I wish I was not as gullible as I am and wish I had a quick wit. I’m lousy with wit. I’d say my greatest weakness is my temper if I feel someone is being unjustly treated or, worse yet, mistreated. It’s a whoa gig for me. I force myself to walk away. A friend of mine bought me a stuffed animal as a birthday gift once. It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I still have it. Begs the question: Why do I still have it? :/

People say it doesn’t matter what others think about me. I say that’s a bunch of crap! It’s hard not to care when people look down on me. I know what your advice to me would be, but how do you deal with negative people in your life?

I ignore them. One of the benefits of age is that you care less about what others think of you. In caring less, you are more naturally yourself and the ease with which you function puts others at ease. As a result, less strife occurs around you. That said, when I was your age, I felt very differently. My grandfather kept having my hair cut short when I was young and I finally convinced him to let me grow it...and grow it...and grow it...and have had long hair ever since...because I can hide behind it when I’m feeling unsure of myself. That’s a secret. Please don’t tell anyone.

When I review books, I try to be careful not to hurt authors’ feelings because I know they put a lot of time and effort into their books. I understand that two of your books hit close to home for you. I can’t imagine what it took for you to write about such painful memories. How do you deal with criticism on these stories? How do you deal with what must be heartbreak when they say they are not realistic?

First, I swallow hard and stifle sadness. Second, I shake my head and decry the human race for believing that we are incapable of treating our youth so badly. Third, I smirk. Particularly at those who claim to be “in a profession” related to what I have not only written, but lived. Finally, I smile to myself and think there is nothing wrong with people disagreeing with or not liking what I write. Far be it from me to “tell” anyone anything. It isn’t my place. In the end, I try to be philosophical about it. The aforementioned said, Pollyanna is not my middle name and I welcome constructive debate when it comes to the treatment and care of abused children.

I find that though being gay does not define me, many things about my appearance might indicate that I’m gay. What parts of your appearance are unique to your sexuality?

Being Intersex, it’s difficult to tell whether I’m male or female. From a distance, I appear female, but as one comes closer, they realize I shave, etc. What follows is a lot of staring. We’re deeply conditioned, sociopathically so, to sense gender first and above all things, and it’s tough for people to adjust to. Unfortunately, staring is also one of the few things that irritates me. I want to stare back and say: JUST ASK! 

Thanks, My Koti! This is great! The second interview will be about Intersex people and what is means to be intersex. The third interview will be about how being intersex has affected him and the challenges he has met with. Stay tuned!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Timmy's Review of Going the Distance by John Goode

Please read my reviews of books one, two, three, and four in this series, Tales from Foster HighEnd of Innocence, Taking Chances, and 151 Days

It's important to note that though this is book five of the Tales from Foster High Series, it is also book one of the Fadeaway Series.

As with all of John Goode’s books, this is a great book. The feelings and emotions that Danny has are all too real for a gay teenage boy coming to terms with himself. Though Danny was very frustrating for me, I completely understand his thoughts. It's easy to "arm-chair quarterback" as a reader and want to yell “do this!” or “do that!”, but I can admit from personal experience that it is hard to come to terms with your feelings and fear of disapproval from those you love. Trying to be the perfect child is very hard to do, and it takes a lot of control. Because we learn a little about Danny in 151 Days by John Goode, I have a pretty good idea of what will happen in Danny's future. I hope Mr. Goode is a speed writer because I WANT the other two books now! No doubt, the Fadeaway series will be as good as the Tales from Foster High series! I give this book 4 marbles.~Timmy

Going the Distance is available 

To Wish for Impossible Things 
(a lost tale from The Tales from Foster High) 
Dear God 
(a lost chapter from The End of Innocence)

About Going the Distance, 
Book One in the Fadeaway Series

Looking like the perfect all-American boy—tall, handsome, and athletic—makes it easy for Danny Monroe to blend in with the in-crowd of a new high school. It’s a trick he picked up moving with his father from one Marine base to the next. When you aren’t going to be around long, it’s better to give people what they want. And what they want are his quick hands and fast feet on the basketball court.

On court, he can be himself and ignore certain strange developing urges. Everyone knows you can’t like boys and be a jock, but for Danny his growing attraction is becoming overwhelming. At the thought of losing the only thing that matters, Danny starts to panic and realizes he has a choice to make: happiness or basketball.

Find John Goode on Goodreads, his Goodreads blog
on Facebook, on Twitter @FosterHigh, and on Tumblr

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Timmy's Review of 151 Days by John Goode

Please read my reviews of books one, two, and three in this series, Tales from Foster HighEnd of Innocence, and Taking Chances

If I were in high school, this is how I would picture it. I’m pretty sure Mr. Goode is a teenager, even though I have been told he is an adult. He has a way of not just explaining the teenage mind, but understanding teen motives as well. I have only ever met one other adult who has this quality. I think it’s very important that an adult writing for young adults understands us. If they don’t, we can see through the story right away, and it makes the story automatically fiction in our heads. Each book in the foster high series is very realistic. Kyle and Brad are so very real to me. They are like friends I have never met, and people I look up to. See, what makes them so real is their flaws. They are not perfect people. Not everything they do makes sense. As with the books before in this series, this is a story of hope and survival. There also seems to be one drama after another in this town. In 151 Days, Mr. Goode did a great job giving me closure to the things we learned in the first three books.

This book contains a school shooting. While no one dies, it is an intense scene and, because of that, I might recommend this for 14 years and older. Nonetheless, all the Foster High books are a must read. I give this story 5 marbles.~Timmy

151 Days is available 
in paperback from Amazon,
and in Nook & paperback from Barnes & Noble
To Wish for Impossible Things 
(a lost tale from The Tales from Foster High) 
Dear God 
(a lost chapter from The End of Innocence)

About 151 Days

With just 151 days left until the school year ends, Kyle Stilleno is running out of time to fulfill the promise he made and change Foster, Texas, for the better. But Kyle and his boyfriend, Brad Graymark, have more than just intolerance to deal with. Life, college, love, and sex have a way of distracting them, and they’re realizing Foster is a bigger place than they thought. When someone from their past returns at the worst possible moment, graduation becomes the least of their worries.

Find John Goode on Goodreads, his Goodreads blog
on Facebook, on Twitter @FosterHigh, and on Tumblr

Saturday, December 13, 2014

An Interview of me at Jase's Athenaeum!

Timmy's review of Taking Chances by John Goode

Please read my reviews of books one and two in this series, Tales from Foster High and End of Innocence

Taking Chances is the story of Tyler and Matt. Those of you that have read the Foster High series already know who Tyler is as he plays a part Kyle and Brad’s story. Tyler is the owner of the local sports store in Foster, and he is deep in the closet until Brad needs his help. Though he's out, he is still fighting that closet door. It has opened, but not completely. This story begins in End of Innocence so it covers some of the events in that story, but does it from another point of view. 

Though this book is about adult characters, it is still very much a coming of age story. Mr. Goode does as great a job telling the story. It’s interesting to experience Tyler and Matt’s lives as adults and how they handle the changes going on in the town of Foster. I got a better understanding of many of the characters who play important roles in the other books. I think this was an awesome addition to the series. It is something I have never seen done for a young adult series and it worked so well because it gave me a chance to envision how I might be as an adult. I hope to hear more from both Matt and Tyler in the next Foster High book. I give this book 4 marbles.~Timmy

Taking Chances is available 
in paperback from Amazon,
and in Nook & paperback from Barnes & Noble
To Wish for Impossible Things 
(a lost tale from The Tales from Foster High) 
Dear God 
(a lost chapter from The End of Innocence)

About Taking Chances

Fearing the backlash of living as a gay man in Foster, Texas, Matt Wallace runs away to California, only to find it isn’t the Promised Land he’d hoped for. Christmas sees Matt returning to Foster, where he bumps into his old flame, high school jock Tyler Parker.

Now that they’re older, it doesn’t take Matt too long to figure out that love at first sight is a very real thing. The only problem is neither Matt nor Tyler seems to know what to do after that. They’re both running from the past—and each other—requiring some reverse engineering to actually spur the relationship past the false start.

Find John Goode on Goodreads, his Goodreads blog
on Facebook, on Twitter @FosterHigh, and on Tumblr

Friday, December 12, 2014

Timmy's Review of End of Innocence by John Goode

Please read my review of book one in this series, Tales from Foster High

This book had me in tears through most of it. God, why?!? Why does life have to be so hard? This is not me being overly dramatic. This is real! That is the part that hurts so much when I read these books. They are so real it hurts a part deep inside me. I reread this book knowing what was coming and hoping, beyond all hope, that the words would somehow be magically different. Alas, this did not happen. I am a person who hates spoilers, so I am very careful to write reviews without them. I feel so strongly about this book that it is important to add a spoiler. Why? Because if I recommend this to teens, and someone is having a hard time with their sexuality or coming out, I do not want them to think I condone suicide. I don’t. I think the important part of this story is to look beyond the boy that didn’t make it and see what his loss has done to those still living. Also, to think long and hard about every action you take. Is payback really worth a life? Does whatever that kid did to you mean he doesn’t deserve to live? Please think about what your actions can cause, and remember meeting hate with hate doesn’t mean payback. It means nothing more than hate.

I would have liked to hear more about Kyle’s mom in this story. Did she stay sober? How is Kyle and his mom’s relationship progressing?

I hope that when people read this they see that just a little support from the school, a parent, or a friend, can save lives. I give this book 4 Marbles and many of my tears.~Timmy

End of Innocence is available 
in paperback from Amazon,
and in Nook & paperback from Barnes & Noble
To Wish for Impossible Things 
(a lost tale from The Tales from Foster High) 
Dear God 
(a lost chapter from The End of Innocence)

About End of Innocence

Kyle Stilleno is no longer the invisible boy, and he doesn’t quite know how he feels about it. On one hand, he now has a great boyfriend, Brad Greymark, and a handful of new friends, and even a new job. On the other hand, no one screamed obscenities at him in public when he was invisible.

No one expected him to become a poster boy for gay rights, either—at least not until Kyle stepped out of the closet and into the limelight. But there are only a few months of high school left, and Kyle doubts he can make a difference.

With Christmas break drawing closer, Kyle and Brad are changing their lives to include each other. While the trials are far from over, they have their relationship to lean on. Others are not so lucky. One of their classmates needs their help—but Kyle and Brad’s relationship may be too new to survive the strain.

Find John Goode on Goodreads, his Goodreads blog
on Facebook, on Twitter @FosterHigh, and on Tumblr